Monday, May 28, 2007

Food, Facial, Fedi, Firates and Fancy Free

Last Saturday, hubby and I embarked on a day of beautification. We both had facials and pedicures. We would have gotten manicures too if we had more time. Hubby had a haircut and his back cleaned which we nicknamed, "backcial" (a back "facial"). I got a lot of massages from hubby too. Sheer bliss.

I remember the first time hubby had a facial and a pedicure, I had to coerce him to try them at least once. A lot of straight men do it for crying out loud. From then on, we often have facials and pedicures together. Here he is having a pedicure at our favorite neighborhood beauty parlor (pictured below). When I go to the beauty parlor alone, the attendants would often as me, "Ma'am, si Sir hindi nyo kasama?"

We had lunch at Sai-Bachi in Festival Mall. It's a cheap Japanese restaurant that has decent food. A bento box of shrimp and vegetable tempura, california maki, rice and sukiyaki costs only P199. Not bad. Just don't expect the food to be exceptionally good.

Of course, hubby had to order the futomaki. A staple order in any Japanese restaurant.

For dessert, hubby and I went to Cafe Breton for a mango crepe with manticado ice cream. Comfort food!

On Sunday, we also got to watch the Pirates of Caribbean. I didn't understand half of what they were saying (due to the loud sound effects in the background) but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Very action packed. Orlando Bloom is ssoooo cute. I think they left the ending a bit hanging so that they have the option to do another movie later on.

My in-laws as usual treated us to dinner last night and it's in the walang kamatayan na Teriyaki Boy. Ugh! I'm so sick of their food. We always have it every weekend. All their food taste exactly the same to me now. No kidding. We suggested dining in other places but they love it there so we eat there almost every Sunday dinner.

It's a good thing that we did some eating (at Sbarro) and shopping earlier so we already had fun.

I love weekends, these are the days that I have hubby all to myself (well, almost). Sleep late, wake up late, no cooking, no cleaning, just eating, shopping, malling and long massages provided by one obedient husband.

Is it Saturday yet?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hodgepodge Dinner

My schedule yesterday were quite full and I knew that hubby and I will be going out this weekend so grocery shopping is out of the question. I had to make do with found "objects" in my fridge.

For starters I had made a tomato, bell, pepper, basil salad of some sort. I didn't have any salad greens left so I plucked some basil leaves from my basil bush from my garden out front. I liked this salad but hubby didn't like it as much. He doesn't care for fresh basil at all. He finds the flavor too strong. Well, at least the salad looks colorful, eh?

I did a tomato, basil, mozzarella salad a while back and he didn't like it too. Anyway, for basil lovers out there you may like this one:

Cherry Tomato, Basil and Yellow Pepper Salad
6 cherry tomatoes, split in half
1 large yellow pepper, julienned
Basil leaves
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Liquid Seasoning

Toss the tomatoes and yellow pepper in olive oil, salt, pepper and liquid seasoning. Roast in a 350 oven until slightly browned. Cool slightly. Place on top of a bed of basil leaves.

For the shrimps, I just steamed it since hubby likes it that way. Served with a vinegar and garlic dipping sauce.

For a healthier dessert, I arranged grapes and apples in a small plate. Be sure to squeeze some lemon or calamansi juice on the apples to prevent them from oxidizing.

This wasn't a very heavy meal. Hubby and I found ourselves having a midnight snack of tortilla chips, salsa and chocolates. Yikes, talk about bad eating habits.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hamburgers for Grown-ups

Don't you just love biting into those big, juicy burgers with all the trimmings? With the mayo and the juices from the tomatoes dripping down your fingers. Well, hubby and I both love it. We also love the taste of burgers grilled in real charcoal.

I had made a grown-up version of the the typical hamburger for dinner last night. It's takes more effort than a regular burger because of the grilling but the taste is so much more satisfying. Here's my version:

Grown-up Hamburger
1/2 kilo ground sirloin
3 egg yolks
1-2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
3-4 tablespoons butter, chilled
Wasabi paste
Cucumbers, sliced in disks
Cheese of your choice
3 sesame-seed hamburger buns

1. In a medium bowl place ground beef, egg yolks, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and jalapeno (if using). Carefully mix with a fork. Do not squish.
2. Take a medium-sized ball, place a pad of butter in the middle. Roll and shape into your desired patty size.
3. Grill over hot coals for about 10 minutes on each side (for well done), less for medium. (if you like it medium, make sure that your sirloin is VERY fresh).
4. Remove from the grill and wrap in aluminum foil to seal in the juices. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven. Open foil and place cheese on top just until melted.

To make Wasabi Mayo:
Mix Wasabi and mayonnaise. Mix well.

To assemble:
1. Toast the hamburger buns.
2. Spread wasabi mayo on the bottom of a hamburger bun, top with lettuce then cucumber then the burger with cheese. Top with the other halt of the hamburger bun.

Hubby preferred quickmelt cheese over his burger (pictured below). Mine was smeared cream cheese (pictured above).

I decided to serve the burgers with a grilled pepper salad with balsamic dressing. You will need:

Grilled Pepper Salad with Balsamic Dressing
1 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 large green pepper, julienned
1 red onion, sliced into rings
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mixed lettuce

1. Mix Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.
2. Toss vegetables in the balsamic dressing. Soak for 15 minutes.
3. Grill over hot coals until slightly charred.
4. Remove from coals and put back in the balsamic dressing.
5. Place the peppers on top of a bed of mixed lettuce.

Eating burgers will never be complete without a milkshake. Our choice was an avocado milkshake. Perfect for a hot summer night.

Avocado Milkshake
1 medium avocado, pitted and diced, chilled
1 1/2 cups non-fat milk (or whole milk), chilled
2-3 tablespoons condensed milk (or sugar)

Place everything in a blender. Serve immediately.

Prepare yourself to be stuffed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cilantro Night

Cilantro is one of those special herbs that divide people. Those who hate it and those who love it. I belong to the latter. I love dishes with cilantro and I often keep a whole bunch in my fridge on hand. It's fresh taste is always a welcome treat on my palate. The fresh burst of flavor as soon as you bite on it, cools the tongue and instantly reminds you of summer.

All parts of the cilantro plant is edible, from the tender leaves, to the stalks and down to the roots. However, the fresh tender leaves are what's commonly used in cooking. Cilantro is an herb commonly used in Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mexican Dishes. I can't imagine having Mexican salsa without this fragrant herb!

Coriander or Cilantro leaves lose their flavor quite easily when touched by heat that's why it only added at the last minute of cooking or as a special garnish.

Since I love this herb so much, I had made dinner in honor of this herb. Since cilantro is most popularly used in Mexican dishes, I threw a Mexican dinner extravaganza for 2 last night. Well, extravaganza is a strong word.

I came upon an avocado and cherry tomato salad recipe somewhere and I put a twist on it by adding cilantro instead of parsley. This salad is quite refreshing and very healthy.

Avocado and Cherry Tomato Salad (for 2)
1 Avocado, pitted and sliced
5-6 pieces, cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Juice of 1 lime
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 shallot, sliced
Cilantro leaves

1. Combine avocado and tomato.
2. Make the dressing by combining lime juice, olive oil, shallot, salt and pepper. Pour over avocado and tomatoes.
3. Toss with cilantro leaves. Chill before serving.

As main course, I served Chili Con Carne over baked potatoes. It takes a while to make but it's very easy and it's worth it. You will need:

3/4 cup red kidney beans
2 Baking potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 kilo lean ground beef
Worcestershire Sauce
Chili Sauce
3/4 can diced tomatoes
Cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream

1. In a big stock pot, place red kidney beans, salt and plenty of water. Boil for 2 hours or until very tender. Keep adding water from time to time for the water will quickly evaporate. Set aside, including the water. (You can used canned red kidney beans, if you prefer)
2. Meanwhile, toss baking potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Prick with a fork and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until tender. Slice in half.
3. In a separate pot, saute onions in olive oil until soft, add the garlic, saute until just fragrant, do not brown.
4. Add the lean ground beef and continue to stir until the meat is no longer pink. Add half of the red kidney beans,cumin, catsup, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce and the canned tomatoes with its juices as well as the boiling liquid used in the beans.
5. Mash the remaining beans with a little bit of the boiling liquid. Add to the ground beef pot. Simmer for 10 minutes or so.

To serve:
Place Chili con Carne between the sliced potato, top with grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

For side dish, some tortilla chips with homemade salsa will be perfect. In fact, hubby was munching on it when I was still taking pictures! That's how much he loves the salsa.

Hubby kept calling me the whole day telling me how excited he was with dinner. He loves cilantro and Mexican food too. He came home bearing gifts of Lord Stowe's egg tarts and red plump roses.

The egg tarts were for dessert.

The roses were for the wife, who slaved over a hot oven the whole afternoon :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Diary?

Hmm...after reviewing my posts, it seems that this blog has turned into a food diary of sorts. Ngek!

Bad Tummy Day for Hubby

Hubby's tummy was acting up yesterday and wasn't in the mood to eat anything heavy or extremely fatty.

For breakfast, it was just a BLTC whole wheat sandwiches (Bacon, lettuce tomato and cucumber). I made sure that I baked the bacon on top of a cooling rack (typically used for cooling pastries) to draw out the oil and to keep the bacon pretty straight, then I drained them further on a paper towel. It was yummy. Our sandwiches still had bacon but it was not fatty or greasy.

For lunch we just headed to Recipes in ATC (Alabang Town Center). Recipes is famous for their Fried Tilapia which is filleted and the meat is cut into strips, like french fries and fried together with the bones. It's typical Filipino fare but with better presentation. No more picking out the bones! We took home the fried bones and gave it to our cats. This dish is a hit both for humans and cats alike :-)

I also like their Thai Spring Rolls so we ordered that. The best part of that dish is the home made sweet chili sauce with carrots and cucumber.

Since hubby's tummy has been acting up the whole day, he requested to have some soup for dinner. I made a typical Filipino fare of Nilagang Baka, literally means boiled beef. This particular version is quite weak. For one, I used lean beef (fat removed) and there were hardly any vegetables in it. This is a major hit with hubby since he prefers his nilaga with no fat and a bit bland. Personally, I prefer to use beef shanks and brisket with lots of fat for they give a richer broth.

I also made salted egg salad with no dressing. Hubby and I usually prefer to just munch on the salad sans the dressing. This salad is just made with salted egg, tomatoes and assorted lettuce. The salted egg that I bought were much too salty though. We ended up just eating the tomatoes and the green stuff.

I still had some papaya left that hasn't been opened yet. We had that for dessert. This particular one was sweet and succulent. Almost like the ones from Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Simple Japanese Dinner at Home

For dinner last night. I went with a Japanese theme. I wanted to make something simple, light and yet filling. I bought some edamame from a Japanese store last week and I cooked that in lieu of a cucumber salad which is typical in a Japanese meal. Edamame is a Japanese term for soybeans. It's quite simple to cook.

1. Drop the edamame in boiling water.
2. Wait for the water to start bubbling again to remove the edamame and drain.
3. Sprinkle with sea salt.

The skins are not meant to be eaten. The beans inside are what's edible. My brother tried to eat the whole pod one time and he spent 3 minutes chewing the thing!

I also purchased frozen Tuna Sashimi which hubby loves. After defrosting it, I sliced it in bite-sized pieces. Always serve it with a Kikkoman and Wasabi paste dipping sauce. Both available in most grocery stores under the condiment section.

For our main dish. I made Chicken Tonkatsu. "Katsu" is a Japanese term for breaded fried meat, normally pork. I already had chicken on hand so I used that instead. Here's how simple it is to make:

Chicken Tonkatsu
5-6 chicken breasts, pounded thinly
Flour for dredging
Salt and Pepper
1 egg, beaten
Japanese Breadcrumbs (Panko) for dredging
Worcestershire sauce

1. Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken breasts in flour, then egg then the Japanese breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown.
2. Drain in paper towels to remove excess oil.
3. For dipping sauce: mix catsup and Worcestershire sauce.

If you get confused with the order of dredging always remember F-E-B (like the month of FEBruary) for Flour, Egg and Breadcrumbs.

For dessert, we just had Red Lady Papaya to wash down everything. We've had this type of papaya in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and hubby and I kinda miss its sweet and succulent taste. I've seen some in the grocery store and bought some. Unfortunately, Malaysia's variety is much better.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A funny label

I love to visit the 88 Store. I've bought many things from there since they're so cheap and most of the items are good quality. Here's a funny label from my latest purchase.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations, it's a thorn that irritates and hurts, it's a sword that kills"

You can find other memorable quotes here

Another Martha Moment

This chocolate chip cookie recipe from Martha is fabulous. They're easy to make and they come out of the oven perfectly. I used half of the recipe that was originally called for. I don't actually need 50 cookies. Mine yielded 23 cookies.

Alexis' Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients (Full recipe)

Makes fifty 4-inch cookies.

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheets
3 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups best-quality chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment; set aside. Cream butter until smooth; add sugars, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Into a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

2. Drop 2 to 3 tablespoons dough per cookie onto prepared baking sheets; space dough at least 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and allow to cool on baking racks.

The cookies were crispy but still chewy, just as Martha promised it.

Be sure to wrap the batter in cling wrap and refrigerate first before baking and use an ice cream scoop keep the cookies a pretty even size.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Easy "Pizza" Dinner

For dinner last night, I made simple dishes that took almost no time to prepare. I still had some chicken breasts left in the freezer. I pounded that between two sheets of wax paper to prevent it from splattering all over the kitchen counter. I used the chicken as "pizza dough". Here's the recipe:

Pizza Chicken
5 pieces chicken breasts, sliced thinly and pounded
Olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small green bell pepper, cubed
1 large tomato, cubed, seeds in
1/2 of a small can of sliced button mushrooms
Quickmelt cheese
Parsley for garnish

1. Marinate the chicken breasts in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for at least two hours.
2. Grill chicken until just cooked. Top with bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese bubbles. Garnish with parsley.
4. Devour immediately to prevent the chicken from hardening.

I was too lazy to grate other cheeses so I just used Quickmelt cheese. Mozzarella will work well with this dish.

I also made Spaghetti with Asparagus since I still have some asparagus and mushrooms leftover. You will need:

Dried spaghetti noodles (or any type you like)
Olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of baby asparagus, sliced in half
1/2 small can of sliced button mushrooms (fresh shitake will work better)
Shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a separate pan, saute asparagus in olive oil until halfway done, add garlic and mushrooms. Do not brown the garlic. Season to taste.
3. Add the drained pasta and about 2 tablespoons of the pasta water to prevent it from drying out.
4. Serve with shaved cheese on top.

Adding bacon on the pasta will give it a richer and more salty taste.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Seafood Night

As I run errands all over the place, I find myself in the wet market again today. I purchased some prawns, lapu-lapu (snapper) and live tilapia which I asked the fish monger to scale and clean.

For dinner, I made a simple salad with fried calamari and prawns. It's very easy to make. You will need:

5-6 pieces squid, cleaned, skins removed and sliced into rings
5-6 prawns, shelled and deveined
1 cup of flour
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Romaine and Lolo Rosso lettuce, torn
2 Red bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
Bottled Japanese dressing (I suspect it has tahini in it)

1. Dredge the squid and prawns in flour with salt and pepper. Fry. Drain in paper towels and set aside.
2. In your stove top, flame grill the bell peppers and slice (I prefer with the skin on for that smoky taste)
3. On a bed of lettuce, place the bell peppers and calamari and prawns. Drizzle with dressing.

Option: Sprinkle with walnuts or toasted pine nuts.

I also made Fish Sarciado as main course:

2 lapu-lapu (red snapper) fillet
Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, sliced
2 tomatoes, cubed

1. Dredge lapu-lapu in flour with salt and pepper. Fry. Drain in paper towels.
2. Drain pan except for 2 tablespoons oil.
3. In the same pan, saute garlic, shallot and tomatoes until soft. Add a little bit of water.
4. Place fish on top of the sauce.
5. Eat.

We were so full. We had no more space for dessert!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pasta with Broccoli and Pine Nuts

My love affair with bacon continues. I had leftover dried fettuccine and spaghetti noodles that is just enough for one person and some of the ingredients already on hand so I concocted this simple pasta dish. Despite it's simplicity, it's quite rich and filling.

Pasta with Broccoli and Pine Nuts

Dried fettuccine or spaghetti
4-5 pieces bacon, sliced
1/2 cup Broccoli florets
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
2. Boil broccoli florets in pasta water for 2-3 minutes.
3. In a non-stick pan, cook bacon until the fat is rendered. Drain in paper towels. Discard fat.
4. In the same pan, saute garlic in olive oil and butter. Do not brown. Add bacon, pasta, broccoli, pine nuts and chopped parsley. Season to taste. Toss very well.
5. Place grated cheese on top. Serve immediately.

If you hate broccoli (like my hubby does), asparagus is a great option. I prefer my pine nuts not toasted, you can toast yours before adding to the pasta. Just watch them carefully because they burn quite easily.

A New Member of the Family

Congratulations to my cousin Trish (from my dad's side of the family) and his husband Al on their new baby girl, Isabel Claudette Smith who was born on May 10, 2007. Welcome to the family little girl. Isn't she cute?

Congratulations too to Tita Winnie on your first grandchild and to Ken on your first niece.

Party! Party! Party!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day, the Big Day

Here it is, the verdict for my labor of love. As our usual family tradition, LP again hosted us on this special occasion. It is truly special. Tita Socky has promised to cook! This is the third time in my 33 years that I've seen her cook. Hmmmmm, I was kinda doubting if she actually can :-)

Our menu consisted of Tita Socky's salad greens with roasted yellow peppers, asparagus and shitake mushrooms with Japanese dressing. It was great. I'm totally stealing this recipe.

Then we had the baked cream dory. A fish filled dish that was baked with lemon disks, onions, olive oil, tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. It was yummy, soft and flaky. Everybody loved it.

We also had barbecued chicken legs. Marinated by mom but was grilled by the maid in charcoal.It was grilled perfectly and the chicken was cooked through without being dry. Another winner.

My brother brought pancit palabok from a small restaurant here in BF called, Little Quiapo. They are famous for their pancit palabok and has always been a crowd favorite. Quintessential Pinoy fare, if you must. Sorry, forgot to take a picture.

Of course the grand finales are my carrot and butter cakes. I wasn't very happy with how the carrot cake frosting came out. Back to the drawing board, as they say. But both cakes were pronounced winners nonetheless. My mom as usual said that it's the best carrot cake that she's ever tasted. And also told me that the butter cake tastes just like what my lola used to bake when they were children. Aaawww, I was touched.

Spending one whole day baking in my hot kitchen was all worth it.

To my mom, I love you. Happy mother's day.

Mother's Day, Prep time

Whew! What a busy weekend. I spent my entire Saturday baking in preparation for Mother's Day celebration the following day. I've made four desserts. I originally planned for just one. Carrot cake. Hubby tells me the night before that he doesn't want carrot cake and would prefer to have something else but couldn't decide what he wanted. I had already promised the carrot cake to my mom. I desperately searched for recipes that I could use. I settled for 2, Carrot and butter cakes. But what about my mother-in-law? I had to bake her something too. She likes leche flan and I decided to make one for her too.

As my husband went off to have our car serviced, I prepare everything that I need. Lo and behold, I don't have enough sugar! I hurriedly drove to the supermarket to buy some. Fortunately there's a supermarket near our home.

I finally start baking. First up, the butter cake. I've always loved this simple cake and has been looking for a great recipe. I finally came upon a recipe from Food Magazine for butter rum cake. I decided to fore go the rum since we will have kids dining with us. I placed the batter in a bundt pan that my mom had gifted me a few years ago. It's pretty with little edges. Takes a few steps to make but my butter cake came out perfectly. I'm very happy. It's another Martha Stewart moment for moi.

Hubby came home for lunch and was eagerly waiting for his meal because he could smell the butter cake baking and he was hungry. I was a bit tired already from the heat and from making the cake. I just steamed some shrimps and heated the leftover rice. Sorry hubby that's all I'm cooking. I have a lot to do. He was pretty happy with the meal and eagerly finished everything.

Next on my Agenda was the carrot cake. Oh my golly, it needs three cups of grated carrots? Oh boy, as I was grating the carrots, I was thinking to myself, "what did I get myself into?" Fortunately, it too came out perfectly. Yey! Moist and fragrant.

The leche flan was next. I used my previous recipe and watched it carefully so that I won't have the burnt edges. Came out perfectly also. I was on a roll, people!

Leftover egg whites? Why, make meringue of course! Hubby suggested to make meringue instead of throwing away the eggwhites. There were a total of 2 cups leftover! Well, actually hubby wanted me to make canonigo but I've already used the tall cake pan. So, meringue it is. The meringue tasted great but it looked like poop :-) because I don't have the proper equipment to pipe the meringue.

I was exhausted! Fortunately Tito Boy invited mom, hubby and myself to dinner and I didn't have to cook.

Hubby was a sweetie as usual and gave a me a long massage. Haay.... sarap. I slept like a baby afterwards. Sheer bliss.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dining Japanese

Between attending a funeral, running errands, cooking, baking and mounds and mounds of laundry, I called my husband yesterday almost in tears. I don't want to cook dinner, I'm exhausted! He readily agrees and said we could have dinner anywhere I liked. Such a sweetie.

I've been wanting to eat at Omakase since I've read it in Carol's blog. They have a reputation of a "new age" Japanese restaurant with inventive takes on their makis. Hubby and I both love Japanese and are always eager to try new places. I was pretty excited of our impromptu date. I put on my new dress and even curled my hair and wore my favorite red shoes. Hubby called me sexy as soon as he saw me (even though I felt like collapsing out of sheer exhaustion). Shucks, he knows how to say the right words when I needed them the most.

The place is cozy and located at the ground floor of Susana Building in Madrigal Avenue, Alabang. You will hardly notice it unless you know it's there. The place was packed with families, yuppies and young couples on a date. We had to wait a few minutes to get a table. I mentioned to hubby that the food must be good if there's a line of people waiting to be seated.

Hubby and I were both famished and ordered a lot from the menu. For starters, we ordered the Special Miso Soup (P55) and the Tamago Miso Soup (P45). We were sadly disappointed. My tamago miso soup just had fried egg mixed in the soup. What gives? I thought it'll have the tamago "curd" that I love so much. The special miso soup had just extra serving of tofu in it. Nothing really special in it at all.

Next, we had their makis. First up the Jurassic Maki (P230) which has ebi tempura, kani, ebiko, salmon skin and unagi. It was good on the first bite but a little malansa (very fishy taste) as you eat it. Does not leave a pleasant after taste. Makes me want to gargle with Listerine after eating it.

Then, we attached the Spider Maki (P185) which is a maki with deep fried soft shell crabs inside it. The "tentacles" are really the claws of the soft-shelled crabs. Hence, the name. This one is good but a bit salty for our tastes.

A visit to any Japanese restaurant won't be complete without hubby ordering his favorite Futomaki (P115). Omake's version is a definite winner. It was delicious and refreshing after the heavy tastes of the Jurassic Maki and Spider Maki.

I was feeling a bit adventurous so I ordered the Uni Tempura (P175) which is sea urchin wrapped in nori, dipped in tempura batter then friend. I love uni, normally. But, ugh, this one is super lansa I only ate one piece. Even the lemon that I squeezed on the uni didn't help. I will never order that again.

I don't know if hubby and I would go back there again. Maybe the chef/cook on duty that night was having a bad day that all of his dishes turned out malansa or salty. On the other hand, people flock there so I guess it's a hit and miss type of restaurant.

The jury is still out on this one, folks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Chicken Quesadilla

I had some left over tortilla from a previous dinner. It's quite perishable and it's very important that I use it immediately. Hubby loves quesadillas and he was very excited when I told him we'll be having quesadillas for dinner. It's very simple to make. Here's how:

Grilled Chicken Quesadilla
1 Recipe of my grilled chicken, sliced
Emmental Cheese, sliced thinly
Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thinly
Cream Cheese, sliced thinly
Fresh flour tortillas
Bottled salsa dip (mine is homemade, filed under "family secret") or
Sour cream

Grilled Chicken Quesadilla
1. Preheat stove top griddle.
2. Lay tortillas in a table, like an assembly line. Place the cheeses on the tortillas and then top with the sliced grilled chicken.
3. Grill and fold when grill marks appear.
4. Serve with salsa dipping sauce or sour cream.

Best eaten piping hot.

Hubby hates anything spicy. I didn't tell him that there were jalapeno peppers in the salsa just to see if he will refuse to eat it. What do you know? he loved it. I told him to bring the leftover salsa to the office and share it with his buddies with some chips. Nope, he said, he's keeping it to himself for future use :-)

For dessert, fresh cold sweet mangoes. Refreshing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Ultra Simple Banana Shake

Here's a very simple recipe for a shake or smoothie. Perfect on a hot summer afternoon.

Banana Shake (single serving)
1-2 pieces ripe bananas, preferably lacatan, chopped
1 cup cold non-fat milk
1 teaspoon sugar (optional) or 1 jigger simple syrup
Crushed ice

Mix everything in a blender. Serve immediately.

1. For a richer taste, use evaporated milk instead of non-fat milk.
2. Good for melons, mangoes, strawberries or any other frozen berries that are available in the supermarket.
3. You can mix and match fruits for a unique and healthy flavor.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Fast Food Day

It's been a very busy day for me with endless errands and mounting housework clamoring for my attention. I had decided that I won't do any major cooking today. Everything will be "fast food" and less fuss as possible.

For brunch I decided to use leftovers from the fridge. I needed something quick and easy and delicious to eat. I had some leftover taba ng talangka (crab fat) calling my name to be cooked. Aligue fried rice it is. Here's a super simple recipe:

Aligue Fried Rice
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup leftover rice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon aligue
Green peas
Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1. Scramble the egg in a wok. Break in small pieces. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, saute the garlic in olive oil until golden brown.
3. Add the rice and season with salt. Mix well to remove clumps.
4. Add the aligue and mix well. When thoroughly mixed, add green peas and scrambled egg. Turn off the heat. Add cilantro leaves and mix once more.

The cilantro gives a refreshing flavor to an otherwise salty dish.

If you're making this for a special occasion, you can add leeks, shrimps, leftover barbecue, chorizo, shredded chicken or flaked tinapa (smoked fish then fried and flaked). Be sure to warn your guests though that this is very high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.

After finishing my wifey duties, I felt hungry once more. I was craving for a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I sauteed the banana in a mixture of butter, nutmeg, sugar and cinnamon. Yum!

I called hubby earlier at work today and and told him that I won't be making dinner tonight. We'll just have the left over tacos from yesterday but with soft tortilla instead of the taco shell. Of course, he agreed. There are only two types of leftovers that he will eat wholeheartedly. Pizza and tacos. I had to make another batch of salsa though since we ate everything yesterday.

For dessert, we just had a bowl of fresh fruits. A healthy combination of our favorite fruits in one heavenly bowl.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Lunch at LP: Mahirap pumayat

Lunch again at LP. This time, we are celebrating Tito Boy's discharge from the hospital. The family again congregated to our special home, LP. It's everyone's second home since we spend so much time there eating.

For this particular lunch, we decided to keep everything simple. We had inihaw sa uling (grilled in charcoal) na tilapia with tomato and onion filling, misua soup, pork barbecue (store bought) and I made tacos and leche flan.

My husband loves tacos. Particularly the one that I make. He always complains if he eats tacos somewhere else and it doesn't "measure up" to the one that I make at home. For our usual family sunday lunch/merienda (mid-afternoon snack) in LP, hubby requested that I make tacos. It takes a huge effort to make a big batch like this but it's worth it. After all, it's a special request of my hubby dovey :-) Upon his request also, I am not posting the recipe here. This one is reserved for the "family secret" file.

I can however give you the recipe for the leche flan. I found this recipe in maiden issue of Yummy magazine (I made some adjustments on the recipe). I baked mine bain marie style because I don't have a big steamer. I wasn't very happy with the way it looked, the custard took too long to set. But it was mucho delicioso. Here's the recipe as well as the correct way of baking it bain marie style.

1/4 cup sugar (more if you want more caramel in your flan)
12 egg yolks (yes, 12)
2 300-ml cans condensed milk
1 370 ml evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 Lime (optional but highly recommended)

1. Caramelize the sugar in a non-stick pan, using low heat, swirl the pan just until the sugar melts and have that golden color. Pour caramelized sugar in the custard baking dish.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. In a separate bowl, place yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and lime (in that order) and gently mix (to avoid bubbles). Make sure that the yolks are fully broken up.
4. SLOWLY strain to the baking dish to remove "cooked" or undissolved eggs and lime zest.
5. Place boiling water into a separate square baking dish. This must be bigger than the custard dish. Place the custard dish w on top of the bain marie. Cover custard dish with foil.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the sides have set and the middle is still wobbly. (My mistake was that I waited for the center to be completely set, hence the browned sides of the flan)
7. Cool completely before refrigerating.

There isn't enough syrup on the photo because hubby ate the syrup from the mold when I unmolded it :-)

Mom's Misua with Meatballs is so good. I asked for her recipe. She doesn't measure anything so I'll make an approximation on her recipe. Here goes:

For the meatballs:
1 small onion minced
1 egg
Salt and pepper
1/2 kilo ground sirloin
Vegetable oil for frying

For the misua:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 packs misua noodles (rice noodles)
Patola or upo (optional but highly recommended), sliced into disks

1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Drain in paper towels and set aside.
2. In a separate pan, saute garlic and onions in the oil until fragrant but not brown. Add water until boiling.
3. Add meatballs, patola or upo (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until patola or upo is tender. Add misua and simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Everyone present loved ALL the food that was served. Each one had several helpings on everything. Too bad Tito Boy couldn't eat the food that we served since he's still on a special diet due to his operation. He kept asking if he can have some, sorry the warden was there (Tita Socky :-), he he he).

After having two servings of dessert, mom laments, "Hindi ka papayat sa pamilya na 'to!"


I tried the leche flan recipe again. Using one can of condensed milk instead of two. The change made a smoother and better flan :-)