Friday, December 18, 2009

Pork Hamonado

I was asked recently by two fb friends about a hamonado recipe. I presumed it was the pork, since that was what we always used to have when I was still in the Philippines. I did not really have a recipe, but I do remember my Nanay simmering a big cut of pork, usually pigue in lots of pineapple juice, flavored with soy sauce and brown sugar.

1 pork ham (roast cut, about 5-6 pounds - whether cured or not, it won't matter)
1 liter pineapple juice (about 40 oz)
1 small can of pineapple, round slices, for garnishing (up to you if you want more)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 bay leaves
10 peppercorns

I slow cooked the whole ham in the pineapple, soy sauce, spices and brown sugar on high for about 4 hours (although my son disturbed the whole process by opening the lid after 3 hours, so instead of being completely done by the end of the 4 hours, it was still quite tough although done). I served this as is during the Filipino Christmas Party for the sake of our American hubbies (two attended, so that makes it three including my husband). Knowing my hubby would have liked it drier and more tender, I did not expect him to eat much of it since it was swimming in its own juice plus the pineapple juice and was very wet. But I did not have the time then to fix it some more to his liking. I did so the next day for supper using the big left over.
For those who will attempt to make it the way I did, the gist of the steps is: (1) boil ham in the mixture until just done, but will remain whole when lifted out of the pot instead of fall-off-the-bone tender; (2) remove fat and make the sauce; (3) roast ham with pineapple on top, basting from time to time with the sauce. They way I presented this recipe here is more like narration of how I made mine, adjusting under the circumstances. I encourage you to proceed as it suits yours.

To continue with the details of the next steps after boiling/simmering...

That night, I placed the big leftover ham in a roasting pan and left it out in the garage which serves now as my big refrigerator. The next day, I removed all the fat that solidified on top, then simmered the ham covered inside that roasting pan for about an hour, basting from time to time with the sauce. More fat shed oil, so that at the end of 1 hour (which assured me the ham was heated all the way to the middle), I used the fat separator in making the sauce. [Please take note that if you directly roast after slowcooking, you will not need to simmer again. I did this only to reheat before I roasted.]  Leaving about a cup of sauce in the pan, I transferred the rest to a small saucepan. I drained the juice off pineapple slices and placed the slices on top of the ham while I heated up the oven to 400 deg F. I placed the pan uncovered in the lower rack and started making the sauce in the saucepan. I just let it boil for about 10 minutes then started adding water-cornstarch mixture (about 1/4 cup of water with 2 tbsp cornstarch), and added in thin stream into the boiling sauce until it was thick as desired. Then I basted the roast/pineapple slices with this sauce about 3 times in intervals of 5 minutes, until the meat achieved a good browning and the pineapple slices were glazed good.
I took out the whole ham and placed it on a platter, then poured some more sauce on top, and had the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat for each person to pour as desired on their slices of ham. The ham remained intact as we sliced, yet very tender and done just to my husband's liking. And we shared with my in-laws, who found the taste delightfully good! This time, we had just a little left over, about 3/4 cup chopped meat, enough for me to make a small batch of pork hamonado siopao.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LP: Paskong Pinoy: Our Filipino Christmas Party 2009

I modified this post to participate in this week's LP theme: Paskong Pinoy. I have a related post in my tahanan blog here.

What are the major differences between the Filipino Christmas Party and a typical American Christmas Dinner? These are the differences in the two parties I hosted and will be hosting.

Pinoy - you will find a lot of main entrees (needless to say, some of which may be repulsive to some Americans
American - One main entree

Pinoy - buffet type table, with people in line waiting to dig in
American - Serve formally on the table

Pinoy - everyone can pitch in
American - I am expected to be able to make everything since I am hosting.

However, since I will have to include traditional desserts that I cannot make from bought groceries, my MIL and SIL offered to make them, especially that those are not my specialties. I will, however, make desserts that they truly find interesting and to die for (at least, in my MIL's opinion -- SANS RIVAL). And though they would be forgiving as to have bread from a bread maker due to time constraints and the stress of prep, I am inclined (still!) to make rolls (espcially that hubby requests it)...something that my in-laws are in awe of me for. To them I am the yeast roll/bread master.

Anyway, this post is about our recent Filipino Christmas Party. My close circle of friends always look forward to it now, especially with my penchant for preparing truly Filipino traditional favorites and my perseverance to find ingredients for it.
Hubby had to ask me which foods he had to avoid...not surprisingly, 3 out of 4 meaty dishes I prepped were not American-friendly. Good thing my friends brought some foods that our kids and hubbies would eat. Even among the desserts, many of our hubbies did not care for the consistency of rice- or cassava- or custard-based desserts, nor did they care for the coconuts. They liked the puto I made using white cake mix, though.

We would have had monito monita exchange gifts, but I myself forgot to get one, so Thess announced that instead of that, they would just give me the gifts since it was my birthday the past day. Nobody contradicted! It was done on a Sunday and some had to go to church, so we only had afternoon to be together and have some chitchat. They had to leave as early as 4pm (there was a snow storm beginning), no karaoke this time. But we had fun, especially with the buko salad!

I admit it was a stressful event, with lots of hard work from me and my kids who helped me prepare, but it was all worth it. Once a year indulgence in exotic ingredients...once a year reveling in each other's friendship...actually, twice a year now...if you count summer get-togethers for cookout. Filipino gathering just somehow brings me back home, and it is all worth the effort...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do you need Buko? Here's a tip...

I so want to post more about food, but these times are busy. However, I am posting this, hoping to help anyone in the US (particularly in New England) who needs buko/young coconuts in time for Christmas.

Last week I went to Hannaford hoping to find some buko (young coconuts) to make into pichi-pichi (for the juice) and to mix with cassava cake and sapin-sapin. I did not find a single one. Desperate to get them, I approached a guy unloading some produce from crates, asking who I could talk to if I wanted 15 pieces of young coconut, which I knew they carried before. I was asked for my name and telephone number, and would be referred to their manager (in the produce section). I told them I would need the coconuts by the next week. I also added 5 yucca (although I had several frozen grated yucca packages in my freezer).

Next morning, I had a follow up phone call about who would be the acting manager to assist me (they left a message). I was told they would try to see what they could do about my order.

In the afternoon I was told the coconuts would be coming to their store the next day, then I would just have to ask a guy to get them from the cooler at the back. Whoa!!! So soon! I did not expect that! I was expecting them in about 5 days if they could actually get those.

So off I went to the store on the afternoon of the second day after I made my request. Now they are sitting in a cooler, out in the garage (protected somehow from freezing by the insulation of the cooler.)

Now I am thinking of making them tomorrow into buko salad (although I originally intended to make a fruit salad) instead of just using some in pichi-pichi or cassava cake. My Filipino Christmas party will be on Sunday. My menu so far includes cassava cake, sapin-sapin, dinuguan at puto, bopis, escabecheng tilapia, beef lengua with onions and mushroom, and humba. Giveaways will be hopia, siopao, ensaymada, pan de coco, and lengua de gato plus some jams and pickles. I told my friends it would be potluck.

I hope you have a Hannaford store near you so you can do the same if you plan to make anything with more than 5 buko for Christmas or New Year. I love how they have accommodated my request and so fast too! They just made me into a loyal customer!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner

It is not my turn to host the Thanksgiving Dinner this year nor last year. So I am not hysterical at the moment...I will come Christmas time. Haha! But since we have basically the same menu for both Holidays, it is like having a preview before I actually have my turn to host.

Anyway, this post is about the traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner our family has...We cannot deviate from the basics...we can only add if we want anything new, but there should always be the following:

Roast Turkey & Gravy with Stuffing
Bread (usually white bread)
Mashed Potatoes
Boiled and Mashed Turnips
Boiled and Mashed Onions
Cranberry Salad
Fruit Salad
Bread & Butter Pickles
Pitted Olives

No we are not pumpkin lovers, so there are no pumpkins here.

We usually get 20++ lb turkey for a gathering of 14 people. The stuffing is cooked with diced celery and onions sauteed in butter. Some stuffing is stuffed into the turkey cavity, and some kept warm in a slow cooker.

My in-laws love the boiled-mashed-buttered turnips and onions (I tried, but they don't appeal to me at all, and they laugh about it, being smug that they found out something I would not eat!).

The cranberry salad is something my SIL Stacey makes, a mixture of cranberry and marshmallows and whipped cream, but I do not know the recipe. I like it, but not so much that I want to learn the recipe.

I love the fruit salad, but my MIL and FIL make that using their own canned fruits (peaches and kiwi in particular came from their own trees, which they canned right after harvesting, and the only fruit here that they get from the store is the cherry topping).

Bread & Butter Pickles is a must for my FIL.

Pitted olives from the grocery store is part of the tradition.

White Bread is made using bread machine/breadmaker.

[Now my frustration is, the same menu is what we have for Christmas. I would want to deviate, but my husband and in-laws are such traditionalists, so I cannot. Ham is for Easter. I can add other desserts, but I cannot change the entree.]

What we are thankful for? That we have a happy and closely-knit family. No one is antagonistic to others. No one is envious or jealous. Everyone is supportive, warm, and loving. The youngest generation, for the most part, behave how they should behave. And of course we are thankful for generally good health for everyone, and all the blessings we receive.

Here's wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Buttermilk Donuts



1 beaten eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat lard to 375 deg F. Lard should be enough so that donut will float when cooking without touching the bottom.
Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients together.
Mix them together until soft dough forms.
Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead.
Use rolling pin to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.
Grease and flour your donut cutter before cutting.
Deep fry until well browned.
Let drip on rack liked with paper towel.
Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Per redvelvet's request, I am reposting here the hopia recipe which I posted in series of 3 at my new kusina.


My family went skiing today (it's my first time!) and my body is S-O-R-E all over. Blame my blogging for the lack of exercise, so my muscles were not in their optimum condition to be subjected to this new activity. My upper body strength proved to be almost nil as I tried to get up several times when I chose to fall to the ground rather than roll down the (almost flat) hill. Pathetic...I (alone) never had the courage to go up the hill. My excuse: I am too old for this...I can easily get a fracture with one major wrong move.

Anyway, that is the reason why this is another teaser post the first in 3 (1/3) in my Hopia Series. I will continue tomorrow and the next day as I recuperate from my seemingly major injuries (muscle strain...akkk! I need a soak in the tub but my husband temporarily disconnected it from the pipe as he works on our bedroom...sigh!)

Of course, at least a day before, we ought to prepare the filling. It will be much easier to wrap the filling when it is cold and easily moldable.

My favorite fillings are ube and munggo (mung beans). As you probably know by now, I made ube haleya recently. I had several 8-oz jars in the fridge, some of which were used for the ube cake roll and ube cream cheese filling, and some I reserved for hopia.

Needless to say, I do not have to post here what the recipe for ube filling is for this hopia.

Following is how I prepared the yellow split mung bean filling, following a recipe found here (I did make my own version of the dough).

14 ounces dried peeled split yellow mung beans
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak beans for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Add more water to about an inch above. Boil for about 30 minutes (keep watching so it does not dry out). Skim the scum as it arises.
Puree in food processor by batches (see the max capacity of your container). You may want to leave some intact for interesting texture (my kids did not like it, though).
Place back in saucepan and continue cooking.
When almost dry, add salt and sugar. Continue stirring to cook further until dry enough.
Transfer to jars and refrigerate.


Photo above shows the very first homemade hopia I sunk my teeth into.

As promised, I am posting here today the dough for hopia. Thanks to these two recipes that gave me the idea on how to make this pinoy favorite snack that I have missed so much. When my older son tried it, he said that the dough was very much like that of the eng bee tin hopiang ube that I made him taste several days ago, but I noticed the big difference in taste because of 100% ube haleya I used here (the bought one just did not taste quite like the hopiang ube I used to buy back in the Philippines. I don't know if eng bee tin has changed their recipe). The only thing is that the underside is quite thick because of several layers of dough, but it was not too bad once baked.

Just like in one of the above links, I used lard in making the dough. But I used my homemade pork lard. My Nanay has taught me how to render the fat of some meat to use for sauteeing, and I learned how to render my own pork lard when I came to the US. Others might say "ew!" but nothing beats pork lard when it comes to flaky pie crust. Besides, it is very mildly sweet scented with the flavor of pork fat, it is so subtle and pleasant. Every year, I make this after our pig has been slaughtered, so I know where the pork came from, how it was raised, what it ate during its lifetime. In other words, my pork source would be the envy of a lot of real food foodies. You want to question the health implications for this? Here is a quote coming from my previous correspondence with fanatic, a nutritionist by profession.

My opinion about pastry ... there's nothing better than lard for making pastry (with a little butter for flavor). Lard is almost 100 percent fat, where butter is only about 80 percent fat, the other 20 percent is protein and moisture. Butter's moisture (water) makes it a poor choice for pastry (when used exclusively), since water will form gluten when it comes in contact with flour ... making the final product chewy instead of flaky.

I stay away from vegetable shortening. Even though it has about the same fat content as lard (making flaky pastry), the trans fatty acids from the process of hydrogenation are now supposedly more of a health concern than the saturated fat in lard. Shortening is pretty tasteless too.

The lard I can purchase here, believe it or not, is hydrogenated. It also contains BHA and BHT (known carcinogens) as preservatives. It's hardly a product I would consume. You deserve a pat on the back for rendering your own lard!Just yesterday I purchased a new product. It's an organic non-hydrogenated shortening, made from palm oil. Palm oil is very saturated naturally, so it's more solid at room temperature.

Another benefit of using animal fat (lard) for use in cooking ... it has a high smoking point so you can brown with it and it will not break down (oxidize). Most vegetable-based liquid oils cannot be exposed to high temperatures without oxidizing, and oxidized (rancid) fat is carcinogenic. And as your Nanay says ... fresh lard tastes better. I think you need to weigh the costs and benefits of the fat you plan on using.In the end, as long as you eat in moderation and are relatively active in life, I don't believe small amounts of animal fat are deleterious.

With that said, I present to you my recipe for a special hopia dough (I have a hunch that the same practice is done by hopia makers in the Philippines.) If you want, you may use shortening or vegetable lard. If you are interested to make your own, feel free to approach the butcher in your grocery store to inquire. They might even give this to you for free. You can freeze pork lard to keep them fresh longer. Thaw in the fridge when you are about to use. I also use it nowadays for making pie crusts, instead of vegetable shortening.

Dough 1:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup pork lard

Mix together until crumbly (or it appears like coarse meal). Use your hands.
Divide into 4.

Dough 2:
Mix together until crumbly (same as in dough 1):
2 cups flour + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup pork lard

Once thoroughly mixed, add 1/2 cup water to the above and mix with your hand. Divide into four. This dough is not really sticky compared to my pie crust dough, but the principles are almost the same.

Once the two are ready, proceed as follows for each part of the two types of dough (which you now have 4 of each):

Use cling wrap above and under dough 2 to make it easier to maneuver. Flatten with rolling pin and shape into a rectangle. Distribute dough 1 above. Roll the two together. Wrap tightly with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Note: The contact of water in the above mixture will result to gluten formation. Gluten is what makes dough pliable and chewy. The rest time is necessary for the full development of gluten and making this dough more pliable come rolling and wrapping time. Chilling ensures that dough 1 remains physically "unmixed" with dough 2 despite proximity. The flour+lard (or flour+oil or flour+shortening) in between sheets of flat glutinous dough will create air pockets in between the sheets during baking and the results is hopia pastry with very thin flaky "crust" which is not at all crunchy or hard.

[You might be wondering why I have gloves on. Since working as an RN, I have developed dishidrosis, aka "homemaker's hands" and for me, I can very well call it "nurse's hands" because this condition develops when the hands are subjected to frequent handwashing. My skin gets tiny blisters that itch a lot, then turn flaky and super dry, then they crack and it's ouch! So I try to avoid washing my hands as much as possible. Using gloves and washing them instead of my skin helps me avoid exposure to too much handwashing, especially if I want my cracks to heal before my next duty at the hospital. It's not because I am too particular about "cleanliness" when cooking or baking. It's merely to protect my hands. Baka sabihin nyo, ang arte ko. Hindi no!]


This is my final hopia post in a series of 3. I am writing this while waiting for my cinnamon rolls to rise (using supersoft ensaymada dough).

Photo above shows my first batch, with experimentations on different wrapping. Slideshow below shows few hopia I made with the last roll of dough I prepared before (one of 4 rolls), baked in oven toaster set at 450 deg F for 15 minutes or so. Each roll of dough could make 4-5 pieces of good-sized hopia. (Suggestion: Maybe a better method would be to flatten the whole roll and then punch out circles before putting filling in, rather than flattening each piece. )

The slideshow is pretty much self-explanatory.

While my first batch was baked in my oven set at 350 deg F, I figured, I would try baking at almost the same temp I bake my empanada. The main objective anyway is to cook and brown the dough wrapping. The filling itself was precooked, so there is no danger of underbaking.

And since I was left with only a roll of the dough I prepared earlier, I had only 8 pieces to bake. I did not feel like wasting that much energy by heating up the big space of conventional oven, so I opted to use the oven toaster. The only thing to keep in mind when doing this is not to burn the ones closest to the heating element; i.e., the middle row. So after about 10 minutes, I rotated the pieces so that the brownnest ones I placed at the periphery and vice versa, to achieve even browning of all pieces.

Baked at this temp, the crust had more crunch to it, which will only hold true for when it is freshly baked, of course. If you refrigerate then reheat later, you might not have the same crunchiness anymore. Not that a lot of Filipinos will miss this "freshly baked" sensation because a lot of us are used to the already cold hopia in the bakeries. I myself had only a few chances of getting really freshly baked hopia when I was still in PI. The hopiang baboy my Manong and the other bakers in our cheap (neighborhood type) bakery was not one I really liked, mainly because I knew there really was no "baboy" in it; only lots of onions in oil. (That said, please know that I will never have a recipe here for hopiang baboy. Now that I have shared how to make the dough and wrap the filling, it will be up to you to experiment making hopiang baboy or hopiang hapon (although I think hopiang hapon uses a different dough recipe/method).

UPDATE: Here is a recipe for hopiang hapon by Mrs. Rusty. (Note to Mrs. Rusty: Many times I would have wanted to leave a message on your site but I would have to register in Multiply so I back out. I tried to look for a way to send you a message, but it's the same thing. Please know that I love visiting your site!)

I HOPIA all enjoyed my hopia series!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reader's Gallery # 13

Email by ellen b:

Dear Manang,
i would like to congratulate you for a job very well done when it comes to cooking. most of the food you're making are my favorite so i followed your blog right away. Bravo on the recipes! it is very detailed, with matching pictures and videos pa. every time i make something, like ensaymada for instance i make sure i watch the slide shows too that way when i make it i can picture it on my mind how it's supposed to look like and if it is not similar with your picture i know i did something wrong na or if it is somewhat similar then i can be confident and say that the end product will be good. i was also doubting the comments at first, you know they might not be real or something but when i tried my ensaymada (your supersoft ensaymada recipe) it was really good...

i have been searching on the net for recipes for pan de coco, pan de sal and the like, for a long time na and you are one of the few na ung recipe is very reliable. some sites will give you some of the recipes but not their secret ingredient so everytime i make them it's always not perfect kc me kulang always. i can understand nman why some people don't wanna give their secret ingredient just like that, maybe for business purposes... by the way, i also shared the recipes to my other filipinos friends here, that way they can make filipino foods eventhough they are so far from home (philippines). another thing i like about your site is that you also make an effort to give a different method/instruction on how to make the recipes especially to those people who doesn't have a high tech kitchen equipment such as the bread machine. i am doing all my pastries and breads manually cause i don't have the budget to buy a bread machine and a mixer ang mahal kasi...heehhe... pero ok lang worth it nman kahit manual and pagod masyado kc ang product is excellent!!!

Saludo ako sayo Manang, you are a blessing sa lahat ng mga filipino na nasa ibang bansa tulad ko who craves for filipino food. you make our lives a little bit easier and belly happier...
thanks so much!!! God bless and more cooking pa ha!!!
Aabangan ko yan lagi.

How to Hard-Boil a Single Egg in Microwave

I posted before how I make hard-boiled egg in the microwave, for purposes of adding to noodles, which I cooked together with the egg (see here).

Some of the most common reason readers land on that post was they were looking for a way to hard-boil egg in the microwave. Here is a method for those who want only ONE egg for salads, sandwiches or as snack, not for noodles. If you would like to cook more than one egg, this post is not for you. Personally, if I am going to boil several eggs, then I would just use the stovetop, or as MaMely did, use the rice cooker.

This time, my post is about preparing hard-boiled egg in the microwave using only water, a bowl, and paper towel. NO, YOU DON'T NEED A SPECIAL GADGET FOR THIS. Please take note that my microwave is a 1.6 kW one, so if you are going to try this, you will have to modify the time and experiment until you get it right.

I also have to let you know (so you won't have to repeat this) that prior to coming up with the method below, I experimented placing an egg with cracked end inside a cup with water only, and it exploded within 30 secs (I tried 3 times, using different power levels, then I gave up). Knowing that the egg does not explode when it was with noodles, I then thought, maybe the egg should have some other "competition" for the microwave energy, so it is not too concentrated in the egg and cause sudden increase in temp then explode. Hence, I thought I would try the paper towel, soaked in water so it would not burn. The first time I did this for 2 minutes, the egg had some leaked soft egg white so I nuked 30 seconds more, and the result was perfect. The second time I tried it for 3 minutes, the egg exploded before it reached 3 minutes. The third time was for 2.5 minutes, and that is the method I describe below, which gave me perfectly hard-boiled egg. Lessen the time if you want soft-boiled.

Here's how:
1. Make a ring out of paper towel and place in a small bowl. Add water to soak the paper.
2. Using a corner of a table of your stovetop, gently crack the wider end of an egg to make a small depression. This will serve as an outlet for escaping steam and excess pressure as the egg is cooking and getting hotter.
3. Place the egg cracked end up in the middle of the bowl, supported by the paper
4. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes (or stop as soon as you notice the depressed crack rise up so it becomes level with the rest of the shell again). You will also notice that cracks will also develop originating from this depression as the egg expands a bit while cooking.
5. Let it sit for 2 minutes. The egg will continue to cook with its heat and that of the water around.
6. Use tongs to get the egg and run it under cold tap water to stop the cooking process and to make it easier to handle and easier to peel (the cold shrinks the egg and it separates a bit from the shell).
7. Peel, slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No-Knead Bran Bread


3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant non-fat dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 envelopes FLEISCHMANN’S RapidRise Yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups water
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 cups all-bran or bran buds cereal*
1 egg, large
1 tablespoon melted butter (optional)

In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, dry milk, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water and butter until very warm (120 to 130oF). Stir in all-bran cereal; let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal is softened. Stir into dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour to make stiff batter. Place into 2 (8 -1 / 2 x 4 -1 / 2-inch) greased loaf pans. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375oF for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter, if desired. Cool on wire racks.

* 4 cups 40% bran flakes may be substituted

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reader's Gallery # 12

This latest email with photos I received from MPC sounds like a blog post. She definitely has a very engaging style of writing.

Thank you so much for your email and photos (I love your teapot!) and your wonderful feedback!

"Dear Manang,

I never thought I'd say this, but I successfully made Ensaimada and Pandesal this weekend after reading your blog for the first time last Thursday!

For me, home-made Pandesal and Rich Ensaimada was practically an urban legend.
I've always imagined that breadmaking is only limited to bakeries who have access to a Pugon or other Industrial Ovens whose temperature can shoot to a high 500 degrees or at least those who would be lucky enough to possess a terracotta Pizza Stone! (sighs) So I just got to be contended with dabbling on flatbreads and baking cupcakes, brownies and cookies. (I make a mean Chocolate Chip Cookie, learned it from reading the back of labels of Nestle and Hershey products, where else?! heehehe)

Then I chanced upon your blog after searching for a good Ensaimada recipe. Long story short, I got tired of eating Pita Bread, Focaccia, Tortilla, good as they are, but after 3 straight days?! Balik pinoy pa rin ako! hehehe.

So on to search for Pinoy recipes..

Other than the fact that your blog was very user-friendly, the recipes were very easy to understand and the illustrations were a great help.

I successfully made "home-baked Buttery/Supersoft Ensaimada" on my first attempt (a few tweaks like combination of shortening and margarine, less egg yolk, no cheese ... in other words, "kung ano lang available na ingredients ko that night", hehehe) I also made Pandesal almost immediately after baking the Ensaimada (super excited?!). Thus, my back is practically aching right now propably from all the kneading that I did. I don't have a bread machine nor do I have access to Rapid Rise Yeast (only ADY) so everything had to be done manually. Ang yabang ko pa with the "coil" method of Ensaimda since I had a lot of time to spare, but after the 20th piece my fingers were practically twisted!

Ang hirap pala, especially for first timers like me! Kaya pala may "pang tamad" na method, para shortcut! hehehehe.

BUT, after one taste of the Ensaimada and another of the Pandesal... alas! I'M IN BREAD PARADISE.

I ate 5 fairly large ensaimadas right out of the oven, and gave the rest to my family, otherwise, baka atakihin na ko sa puso! (hehehe) Quite a novelty, "Death by Ensaimada?" hhmmm...

Manang, you are truly heaven sent Many thanks for your kindest generosity in sharing
your ideas with the rest of the world. Your recipes are to be treasured and passed on for many generations.

May God continue to bless you and your family.



P.S. I was able to take a picture of a few pieces of breads before my family wolfed it all down. In a few minutes, ubos na siya! Hence, I'm off to make another batch today "if I I still value my life" (as in kung gusto ko pa mabuhay!) hehehe.

Much love from the Philippines ... MPC

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

After my first ever successful (as in not flat!) chocolate cookie chip recipe, I looked for another recipe to try to see if I would get another satisfactory result. And I did, with these cookies that have both semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. Recipe courtesy of Bev who posted it on recipezaar. I edited the procedure because it was quite confusing, and changed dark brown to light brown because that was what I had on hand and it turned out great anyway.

All the kids and the big boy (and me!) loved these cookies.

22 min | 10 min prep

36 Cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


Place oven rack at the center. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together; Set Aside.
Cream the sugars, butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla together using handheld mixer.
Mix in Flour Mixture into Creamed mixture just until blended.
Then Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop out and drop onto parchment paper on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. For into pyramids for thicker cookies.
Bake on center rack of oven 12-14 mins, until lightly browned and edges are set.
Remove from oven; wait about 2 minutes to firm up; transfer to wire rack to cool.

Note: You can reuse the parchment paper after you have removed the baked cookies.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crispy Pata, the Healthier Way

How do you cook crispy pata with less guilt? Use the oven!

No wasted gallons of cooking need for oversized splatters!

And you end up with crispy pata that has the crackled look on the skin, which has dripped some of its melted fat onto the pan it sits on (and you can even use the drippings to make pork gravy later)...

How to make crispy pata the healthier way?

This was a eureka moment for us... We were celebrating my friend Fe's birthday party last Saturday. As I said in my previous post, I brought pandan chiffon cake (which Fe and her son love!) Cecilia brought a big chunk of pork pata that she had been cooking since 3:30 am and still had not achieved the crunchy skin stage (we know about the skin being smooth and crunchy on traditional lechon...that's what we wanted to achieve). When we arrived at Fe's house, she was still out WORKING! But she was coming home soon, so we started to fiddle with her oven. We really did not know how to set the digital controls...We placed the pan on the lower third of the oven.

When she came back, we cooked rice...then she noticed the lechon...and that the oven was warm but not baking at that time she checked (off, in other words!). Cecilia went on to say, "Hindi pa malutong yung balat eh. Pano ba gamitin yang oven mo?" Fe checked, and said, "I-broil na lang natin." So she set her oven to broil.

After 5 minutes we took a look and saw what you see in the pictures on the slideshow above.

I then realized...the traditional way to cook chicharon or lechon kawali or crispy pata was to boil the pork/rind first in some mixture of water, vinegar and spices, then dry, then deep-fry. This accidental discovery was the short cut method in that you cook the pork first by roasting for about 3 hours to fully cook it (provided you brined the pork or flavored it somehow with spices prior, or placed spices like lemongrass, bay leaf, peppercorn, etc. underneath the roast while roasting, along with a sprinkle of garlic salt on the skin), then broil to create the crackled effect on the skin. (Did I not post about chicken skin chicharon, where I said I turn it to chicharon by using my nuwave to broil/bake the pre-cooked chicken skin? I also posted about smaller pork roast using the rotisserie after cooking/boiling and letting dry the chunk of pork pata.)

We wolfed down this roast in less than 30 minutes...nagpipigil pa so everyone (including our kids) can have his/her share! The thing was, we did not have Sarsa ni Mang Tomas! So we just made our own alternative dip of vinegar with chili, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

The cut that Cecilia brought had no skin underneath, but if you will try this method using pork pata with skin all around, I suggest that once the "cooking" phase is done and you are ready to broil the pata, use a wire rack to elevate the pata so the underside is open to hot air and is not soaked in juices, then after crisping the top, rotate so you crisp the bottom also (have not tried this, but it is an idea.)

Try it yourself! You won't regret it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Before I start, may I please request for one of my readers to please send me some more of pandan paste (as in the slide show below) or the canned pandan extract (that I used in buco pandan salad)? I would gladly pay for them (just could not find them here). My previous supply was sent by a co-blogger, stel of, and my present pandan and buco-pandan extracts were sent to me by Deb from California. Thanks to them, but I do not feel like requesting from them again. Dyahe....

The pandan chiffon cake recipe I have below is courtesy of my online friend Helen in Australia. I made it for the first time last Friday to bring to my friend Fe's birthday celebration last Saturday.

Helen cuts the sugar and coconut milk in half per her preference. I used the exact amounts stated in the procedure and still found the cake a bit less sweet than I had anticipated, although the sweet frosting made up for it. Fe, however, is like Helen in that she always cuts her sugars in half whenever she makes cakes, rolls, or kakanin. It is a matter of preference, so feel free to experiment with yours.

The pandan butter-coco-cream frosting was something I made up basing on some online recipes I found.

(The chocolate writing on the frosting was melted semi-sweet morsels that I piped out to write onto a parchment paper then cooled. Too bad it broke when I was trying to stand it up on the cake, so we just laid it down.)

Just this afternoon, Fe called me to ask whether I had posted the recipe yet, because she only had a slice of our leftover (We had two cakes, a white cake from my friend Ana, and this one, so Fe ended up with leftover of both. She had half of pandan cake left that Saturday). Then her son had finished the rest of the leftover, so now she wants to bake one.

Thanks, Helen, for this delightful pandan chiffon cake recipe!

2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup sugar or to taste
1/3 cup oil
6 egg yolks
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp pandan extract (I used paste)

6 egg whites
1 tsp lemon (or vinegar)
1/2 cup sugar

-Pandan Butter-Coco-Cream Frosting-
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp buco pandan extract (McCormick)
2-4 cups confectioner's sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)

Sift dry ingredients together (up to 3 times, ideally). Mix well.
Make a well at the center then add oil, yolks, coconut milk and pandan paste. Mix well.
Beat egg whites with vinegar until soft peak forms. Add sugar slowly while beating, beat until stiff but still glossy (do not overbeat).
Add a little of the meringue to batter mixture and blend well, before slowly folding in the rest of the batter into the beaten whites.
Pour into an UNGREASED bundt pan or angel food cake pan (no grease apparently helps keep the volume fluffed up by helping the cake cling onto the walls).
Bake at 350 deg F for 45-50 minutes.
After baking, invert onto a wire rack WITHOUT REMOVING THE PAN. Let the cake COOL COMPLETELY before easing it out of the pan. You may use spatula to let the cake loose. (Again, these apparently help keep the chiffon cottony fluffy.)

Note: The emphasis I made in the procedures were tips I read about AFTER I made the cake. My chiffon cake was quite dense but still of satiny texture, and maybe I should have read more on those tips to maximize its volume and make it lighter.

For the icing, heat up the coconut milk on medium, stirring constantly until creamy. Let cool.
Cream the softened butter with 2 cups confectioner's sugar and pandan flavor, and add the coconut milk gradually. Taste if you like the sweetness already. If not, add some more sugar to taste. If it becomes to thick, you can thin to your desired spreading consistency by adding a little (about 1 tbsp increments) of regular milk or cream (if you have run out of heated coconut milk).

Let cake cool completely before spreading the pandan icing/frosting.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reader's Gallery # 11

Thanks to Jane for sharing her photos of empanada.

Manang K,
Thanks for the recipe again... this is my second attemp to bake Empanada, my first is when I was pregnant ( last year pa yun) hehehe. My hubby loves it so much and even my baby.=) di ko na napicturan si hubby 3 bite lang yung empanada ubos na yung 1 piraso.
Thanks again Manang, now I can say everyone can bake!!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Pork Sesame Siopao (Pork Sesame Steamed Buns)

I have long posted about how I turn leftover beef pares into siopao or the baked version beef asado roll. Now I made use of leftover pork roast (the one with Mang Tomas Sarsa, but if you plan to do the same, you can also use the simple pork roast with just salt and pepper, or leftover meat from a whole lechon, as long as you remove the fat first).

I got the sauce ingredients from Gary Lee's WOK Appetizers and Light Snack cookbook. It has wonderful flavor! I brought these to my friend's birthday (along with Pandan Chiffon Cake) and our kids just gobbled them up in no time!)

Ingredients and Procedures:

2 cups leftover roasted pork (fat trimmed off, then meat chopped roughly)


1 medium onion, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp oil (optional)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup water
2 tbsp oyster sauce

Trim fat and chop the meat, then set aside.
(optional) On medium heat, sautee onion in oil. [Since I had onions in my leftover pork, I skipped this part)
Mix all other ingredients and whisk well. Add to pan and whisk to cook until thick.
Add sauce to meat and mix well. Chill overnight or until cool enough to feel solid.

Dough (I used my favorite siopao dough for Parker House Rolls, as I posted in previous siopao entry)

4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 envelopes FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat milk, water, and 1/4 cup butter until very warm (120o to 130oF). Stir into flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover;* let rest 10 minutes.

Instructions to assemble:

Cut or pinch off dough into just a tad bigger than a pingpong ball and lay on greased baking sheet. Let rest for further 10 minutes to develop the gluten some more and give you more volume to play with as you fill each piece with the meat mixture.

Flatten each piece using your palm, making the edge thinner than the center. Scoop out roughly a tbsp of the filling and place at the center of the dough. Pull the edges to envelope the filling and pinch to seal. Place seam side up (if you want it smooth like I do), of you may want to do it the same way the Chinese make them (turn them into graceful pleats that are positioned at the top). Place on coffee filters cut into squares (cut in half, then fold and cut again, then trim off the rounded sides to come up with squares).

Boil about a cup of water with 1 tbsp of vinegar (I used distilled). Position the buns about 1-2 inches apart on the bamboo steamer lined with either flour sack or parchment paper. Spray with some oil to lessen possible sticking to the side of the steamer or to one another. Cover and steam on briskly boiling water for 12 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack to cool before storing in ziploc and refrigerating if not consuming right away. You can also freeze at this point (lay on pan first before stuffing them all into plastic bag. To reheat, microwave each piece for 30 seconds for chilled and 1 minute for frozen while still in its ziploc bag or use a covered plate (the idea is to let it steam again with its own juice, without drying it up). It will be piping hot, so let it sit at room temp for about 1 minute before you eat. If reheating a big batch, steam again, or you can try microwaving them in a covered container for about a minute then check for hotness/coldness and heat some more in increments of 30 seconds until you are satisfied that they are hot enough.
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