"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

My Blogs


Baking & Cooking

Please use this search engine or the labels at the lower left side to look for a recipe. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Some Kitchen Cleaning Tips

From Martha Stewart Living Mag:

SOFTEN MINERAL DEPOSITS - Place paper towels or sponges soaked in full-strength vinegar or lemon juice over crusty build-up around faucets. Leave in place for an hour or so. Then scrub deposits away.

KILL GERMS - You can safely and effectively sanitize countertops with white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Spray the surface with one, then the other, and wipe. It doesn't matter which goes on first, but keep them in separate bottles and do not dilute.

SCRUB AWAY KITCHEN STAINS - Make a paste of 3 parts warm water to 1 part baking oda. With a damp sponge or cloth, rub it onto the surface to be cleaned, then rinse. Use to clean laminate countertops and refrigerator surfaces, to remove grease from pots, and to shine chrome and stainless steel.

Beef Cuts and Methods of Cooking

When my hubby's family had one of their cattles slaughtered for our own consumption, suddenly I had a freezer-full of various beef cuts - ground, soup bone, steaks (minute, cube, top round, rib eye, porterhouse, tenderloin, T-bone) and roasts (rib eye, chuck, sirloin, etc.). We did not have cuts for stewing, though. My husband did not care for them. (But next time, I will ask that we have them, too. )
I panicked at the time...I had to learn how to cook which cut. As usual, the internet came to the rescue. Click on this post's title to see the fully-illustrated beef cut chart.

Beef.org have these as tips for home-storage of beef:

Refrigerate or freeze beef as soon after purchasing as possible.

(If it will take longer than 30 minutes to get it home, keep it cold

in a cooler in your car.)

If refrigerating beef, place it in the meat compartment or in the

coldest part of the refrigerator.

If purchased beef is wrapped in transparent film, it can be refrigerated

without re-wrapping. It can also be frozen up to 2 weeks without

rewrapping. For longer freezer storage, to prevent freezer burn,

repackage in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic

freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.

Label and date frozen beef packages, including weight and/or

number of servings. Practice the FIFO inventory system

- first in, first out.

Do not defrost frozen beef at room temperature. Defrost frozen beef

in the refrigerator, to prevent bacterial growth. Place package on

a tray to catch any drippings and place in refrigerator the day

before it is needed.

Allow about 24 hours to defrost a 1 to 1-1/2-inch thick package of

ground beef or beef pieces.

Allow 12 hours to defrost 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick patties.

Allow 12 to 24 hours to defrost steaks, depending on thickness.

Allow 4 to 7 hours per pound to defrost large oven roasts or thick

compact pot roasts.

Allow 3 to 5 hours per pound to defrost small oven roasts or thin

pot roasts.

Cook ground beef as soon as possible after defrosting.

Refrigerate leftovers promptly after serving, within 2 hours

after cooking. To speed up the chilling, divide large quantities into

smaller portions or spread food out in shallow container.

Remember that ground beef, beef for stir-fry, beef for stew and beef for kabobs are more perishable than whole muscle cuts (roasts and steaks). During the grinding process for ground beef, any bacteria on the surface are mixed throughout. Cutting into strips or cubes creates more exposed surface area for bacteria to grow on. Both processes result in shorter shelf life.

And further has these beef-cooking tips:

Cooking Basics


Getting It Ready

Follow these smart handling tips when preparing beef.

Leave a thin layer of fat on steaks and roasts during cooking to preserve juiciness. Trim fat after cooking.

Pat steaks, cubes and pot roasts dry with paper toweling for better browning.

To make cutting into strips for stir-frying easier, partially freeze beef to firm.

Salt beef after cooking or browning. Salt draws out moisture and inhibits browning.


Keep It Clean

To avoid cross-contamination and prevent foodborne illness, follow these easy steps.

Wash hands well in hot soapy water before and after handling meat and other fresh foods.

Keep raw meat and meat juices from coming into contact with other foods, both in the refrigerator and during preparation.

Wash all utensils, cutting surfaces and counters with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat.

Keep carving boards separate from other food preparation or serving boards.


Equipment Basics

Having the basics and knowing when to use them can make all the difference.

Choose pans that are thick enough to heat evenly without scorching.

Size matters! For best results, use the pan size specified in the recipe. If the pan is too small and beef is crowded, browning will be inhibited. If the pan is too large, overcooking may result.

Nonstick pans are easier to clean and they allow cooking with less fat.

When cooking with acidic ingredients, use pans with a non-reactive interior surface, such as nonstick, anodized aluminum and stainless steel. Reactive metals such as aluminum and cast iron can affect the taste and color of dishes with acidic ingredients.

Place beef on a rack in the broiler or roasting pan to allow fat to drip away during cooking.

Use an oven thermometer to verify that your oven is accurate.


Adding the Heat

The key to successful beef cookery? Choose an appropriate method for the cut you have selected.

For tender cuts, dry heat methods such as grilling, pan-broiling, broiling, oven roasting and stir-frying are best. Undercover cooking methods – braising, pot roasting, stewing – use moist heat and are better choices for less tender cuts. For quick easy reference, see our table below.

Once you have selected a cooking method, follow these helpful tips for tender, juicy, flavorful beef dishes.

High heat can overcook or char the outside of beef cuts while the interior remains underdone. For tender beef, cooked to the desired doneness, use medium-high heat for stir-frying, medium heat with all other dry heat cookery methods and low heat for moist heat methods.

Turn steaks and roasts with tongs, not with a fork. A fork pierces the beef, allowing flavorful juices to be lost.

Turn ground beef patties with a spatula. Do not press patties. Pressing causes the loss of flavorful juices and results in a dry burger.

Cooking times in our recipes and timetables are based on beef taken directly from the refrigerator.

Cooking times for gas and electric ranges are comparable. However, since individual ranges perform differently, it is important for you to become familiar with your own range.

Grilling times in our recipes and timetables are based on charcoal grilling. Because gas grill brands vary greatly, it is best to consult your owners manual for gas grilling guidelines.

Although I don't buy beef from the grocery store, some Filipina readers might find the following info from USDA useful:

Each USDA beef quality grade is a measure of a distinct level of quality -- and it takes eight grades to span the range. They are USDA Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner.

USDA Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard grades come from younger beef. The highest grade, USDA Prime, is used mostly by hotels and restaurants, but a small amount is sold at retail markets. The grade most widely sold at retail is USDA Choice. However, consumer preference for leaner beef has increased the popularity of the Select grade of beef. Select grade can now be found at most meat counters.

Standard and Commercial grade beef frequently is sold as ungraded or as "brand name" meat.

The three lower grades -- USDA Utility, Cutter, and Canner -- are seldom, if ever, sold at retail but are used instead to make ground beef and manufactured meat items such as frankfurters.

My favorite websites for beef recipes are http://www.cabprogram.com/food/recipes.html and

http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipes/default.asp .

Enjoy your beef!

Friday, June 25, 2004

Creamy Curried Beef

This has been a real favorite in our family since I experimented with the original Chicken Curry recipe to make use of beef (that's cheapest here and what we have in abundance). Using minimal beef broth and cooking slow brings out the full flavor of this dish, more so when the creamy goodness of the healthy coconut cream is added.

Said hubby to me: "If there is a leftover, can I have it for my dinner tomorrow?" (When he says that, I know he means it when he says "Hmmmm, Honey, this is delicious!"


1 lb minute beef steaks (about 4-5 pieces)
bell pepper, cut in strips
celery stick (cut in half longitudinally then cut in lengths appropriate for the steak size)
1 medium onion, sliced
garlic (3 cloves), crushed
ginger, thumb-sized, sliced
curry powder
2 carrots cut in chunks
2 potatoes cut in chunks
Coconut cream, 1/2 cup


1. Place veggie strips at one end of the meat slice. Roll and secure with a toothpick. Sautee garlic and ginger and Curry powder. Set on one side of the skillet. Brown the sides of the rolls.

2. Add beef broth. Add curry powder as needed. Slow cook at low setting for 1 1/2 hours. (You may opt to continue cooking on the stovetop under low heat setting with the cover on, for about 1 hour. I just preferred using the slow cooker for worriless slow cooking, because kids will have nil chances of bumping onto it thereby causing burns. Plus, with a slow cooker, I can check the dish without lifting the lid thereby letting heat escape. I can also shake the cooker from time to time to "baste" the meat.)

3. Open the slow cooker to add carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook on high setting for 30 minutes. Then add coconut cream.r. Stir and let simmer uncovered for 10-20 minutes. Serve immediately either wit rice or rolls.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Cornmeal Muffins

I was supposed to post about Chicken Curry, but I realized I was not able to take photos of the cooking! Anyway, I will just prepare the recipe page for its beef counterpart. For today I decided to post a recipe for baking: Cornmeal Muffins.

Cornmeal muffins are NOT MY FAVORITE muffins; they're my husband's. And while I like to eat it only fresh from the oven, my husband likes it cooled to room temperature. No other muffins will do for him (and no amount of experimenting with various muffin recipes on my part will convince him otherwise). So I am still sharing this recipe for those Filipinas whose husband's taste is as weird (?) as my husband's (he says I have the weird taste).


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Corn Meal (Quaker or Aunt Jemima)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten


Heat over to 400 deg F. Grease muffin pan.
Combine dry ingredients.
Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack. Remove with a small rubber spatula.
Serve with maple syrup or strawberry jam.

Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil - is it healthy or unhealthy

A reader left a comment in one of my posts:

"It's just like making curry, where a fair amount of coconut oil is used. This is very unhealthy."
I am not sure whether the statement was in relation to his liver ailment or not, but I have my beliefs about the coconut oil that I strongly hold on to.

I came from a country where coconut is so common. It has been touted as the "Tree of Life" ever since I was in elementary school. And before any non-Filipino (or even (educated Filipinos) criticize coconut oil in front of me (who is a big fan of it), I would want him to scrutinize the physique of those who use it (mainly Asians) and those who prefer to use the polyunsaturated oils (like olive oil) in the belief that the latter is healthier.(Americans used to be slim, the increase in obesity happened only in the most recent years, and this is not only traceable to their diet, but also a significant change in their lifestyle. Obesity is now a big problem in the US. )

I vividly remember a teacher of mine in Organic Chemistry when I was in my pre-med days in UP Diliman, who, during a time that we were making hand-made soap using coconut oil, mentioned that the reason why olive oil was preferred in making those popular soaps manufactured by multinational companies was not because it was inferior; rather, resorting to coconut oil would economically benefit more the local (Filipino) industries, and kill the olive oil industry in that parent company.

So with all the marketing strategies done by all the big companies to promote their products to compete globally, no wonder there is an abundance of researches (mostly funded by the companies themselves) that "scientifically prove" that saturated fats (like coconut and soybean oil) are bad for the health and increase the risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases.

So when it comes to fat, I would like to reiterate my stand: eat the minimal recommended amount of 5% (some recommend up to 30%) of your daily TCR.

What happens when we eat the (whatever kind of )fat is that it has to be emulsified by bile salts (product of liver, stored in gall bladder, released in response to the presence of fat/oil in the gut), in order to be acted upon by digestive enzymes and finally run in the bloodstream to be distributed in the liver and other tissues for storage or for energy production. Click here for more information on fat metabolism (choose Fatty Acid Oxidation and Cholesterol and Bile Metabolism).

I read and read a lot of publications online about the coconut oil because my intuition and the lack of solid and direct evidence linking it (saturated fats in general) to atherogenesis left me uncomfortable with all that propaganda against it. I just feel that the coconut industry (of Asians) is at a disadvantage in the global competition with the Western companies primarily because of vigorous marketing by the latter.

I was finally appeased upon reading several articles, both by Filipinos and non-Filipinos:


"...no evidence has ever been presented to prove that coconut oil causes coronary heart disease in humans. All the evidences presented have been in various species of animals who were given coconut oil alone without the necessary dose of essential fats or PUFA that should be given, just like the essential vitamins and minerals. On the contrary, the human epidemiologic evidence proves that coconut oil is safe. Coconut eating peoples like the Polynesians (Table V) and Filipinos (Fig. I) have low cholesterol, on the average, and very low incidence of heart disease.

Health and Nutritional Benefits from Coconut Oil: An Important Functional Food for the 21st Century by Mary Enig, Ph. D. says

It is important to realize that at that time (1960s) the edible oil industry in the United States seized the opportunity to promote its polyunsaturates. The industry did this by developing a health issue focusing on Key's anti-saturated fat bias. With the help of the edible oil industry lobbying in the United States, federal government dietary goals and guidelines were adopted incorporating this mistaken idea that consumption of saturated fat was causing heart disease. This anti-saturated fat issue became the agenda of government and private agencies in the US and to an extent in other parts of the world. This is the agenda that has had such a devastating effect on the coconut industry for the past decade. Throughout the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s, the anti-saturated fat rhetoric increased in intensity.

There is another aspect to the coronary heart disease picture. This is related to the initiation of the atheromas that are reported to be blocking arteries. Recent research is suggestive that there is a causative role for the herpes virus and cytomegalovirus in the initial formation of atherosclerotic plaques and the recloging of arteries after angioplasty. (New York Times 1991) What is so interesting is that the herpes virus and cytomegalovirus are both inhibited by the antimicrobial lipid monolaurin; but monolaurin is not formed in the body unless there is a source of lauric acid in the diet. Thus, ironically enough, one could consider the recommendations to avoid coconut and other lauric oils as contributing to the increased incidence of coronary heart disease.
Coconut Oil: You Want a Food Loaded with Real Health Benefits? You Want Coconut Oil by Ray Peat, Ph.D., posted in Dr. Mercola's website also gives me enough reason to stick to my practice of using coconut milk and oil as often as possible.

This page on “The Tree of Life”: The Wonderful Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil lists several articles that prove such claims on the wonders of the coconut oil, which comes from coconut milk, which is an extract of the coconut meat.

And I am posting this today because I am preparing my recipe page for Chicken Curry, and I have tried using the ingredients for that using beef as well. My husband loves these dishes.

And to further defend my affinity to coconut, despite my love for coconut oil and milk, and despite having delivered two kids already, I am definitely within the normal BMI category, far from being obese, my lipid levels are within normal. And I am sure a lot of Asians are, too.

Oh,...in addition, coconut oil is also good for massaging; coconut milk is very good in hair treatment (applied on hair for 30 minutes under a shower cap about once a month).

I have not changed my belief that coconut tree is the tree of life.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Cheesy Mushroom Sauce

I have always used this sauce for burger in my attempt to come up with something like Jolibee's burger steak, which my children loved. But the Piquant Meatloaf recipe that I found on the net and which I recently featured (under the post "Two Meatloaf Recipes") included a mushroom sauce recipe to go with it (however, this is my own recipe). Though my (boring) husband would still prefer using ketchup on his meatloaf, I and my kids like this sauce. It is just so rich and yummy! And I am a big fan of mushrooms.


3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 sm can sliced mushrooms
1 can condensed cream of mushroom (Campbell)
1 cup beef broth
dash of paprika
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese (or according to taste) or 4-5 sliced white cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in medium heat. Sautee garlic and mushroom.
Add condensed cream of mushroom and beef broth. Stir.
Add the cheese and a dash of paprika. If necessary, add salt and pepper.
Pour on top of meatloaf slices or burger or meatballs.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Food Poisoning

When I was still practicing as a GP in the Philippines, I often had patients who manifested with severe nausea and vomiting, and usually they came to the clinic looking very weak due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. History usually revealed eating food bought from karinderya or a fast-food restaurant (I had it when I bought king congee at a fastfood whose name I have forgotten - tumatanda na ako!. It offers Chinese dishes like siopao and pancit. Maybe some of you remember?) Some patients with the same symptoms consulted at the same time (My patients then had history of eating halo-halo bought near the talipapa.)By the time they consulted, they had gotten rid of the toxin, and once hooked to IV Fluids, almost readily felt better. They thought the IVF was a medicine, but actually the rehydration and restoration of electrolytes made them feel better, plus, the nausea and vomiting had stopped, which they often thought was secondary to the IVF but actually because the illness had resolved spontaneously. Well, the IVF also encouraged the highly-irritated bowels to rest.)

I recalled those events because of this eDiet Health Tip from My Yahoo:

Food poisoning can be downright deadly. Before handling raw poultry, seafood, meat or eggs, always wash your hands in hot, soapy water. Check to see that your refrigerator's thermostat is set to 40 degrees or below. Do not thaw foods at room temperature, but rather defrost them in the refrigerator. Wash the cutting board with hot, soapy water when using it for a variety of foods.

And I add: Always reheat thoroughly leftover foods that were refrigerated prior to consumption, especially if they had been cooked or prepared more than 12 hours. For mayonnaise- or egg-containing food like salad or some frosting, consume as fast as you can and keep refrigerated. If they had been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours, throw them away unless you intend to reheat them (I especially like toasting bread with mayo-egg or mayo-cheese using the oven-toaster).

To give you more information on Food Poisoning, read this page from the Merck Manual website.

You may also look at the US FDA website on the said topic, particularly for those etiologic/causative agents not mentioned in the Merck Manual.

If you happen to have the symptoms, be prepared to recall where you last ate and what items you had. So if you happen to eat at restaurants often, keep the receipts within at least 2 weeka. You may have to use them.

 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Microwave Cooking...is it safe?

I have often used the microwave for reheating small amounts of food. One day, for lunch, I decided to eat the leftover rice and beef dish (heated separately), but thought of adding egg on top of the rice just because I miss eggs. I was wondering whether I could cook egg like sunny side up, without the hassles of frying on the pan (getting rid of the need for the unnecessary oil and having less to wash).

I usually reheat my rice by sprinkling it with some water and some chicken flavoring (excess from chicken noodles that my sons and which I as a child used to love) for 1 minute under high power setting. This time, with the egg, I decided to have it sit on top of the rice (which was in a microwavable plastic container), sprinkled some garlic powder, ground black pepper, salt and powdered onion on it, then set the time at 1min 30 sec under high power. Wow! I was so glad with the result: all white eggwhite and the yolk was just right for me (cooked on the sides but with a little gel-like consistency at the middle). Parang malasado! For those wanting a fully-cooked egg, maybe 1 min 45 secs is enough cooking time. But I am speaking here of cooking my egg with my rice (which, by the way, tasted like fried rice without the fat!).

I decided to have this method of cooking eggs for my sons. Then some thoughts nagged me. I recalled some issues before about the effects of microwave on hotdogs, etc. Though I haven't really thought that microwave is harmful to the food and eventually to the eater, my readings on the manual when it was relatively new technology (like how to use foil to shield some parts of the chicken so they will not burn) led me to infer that it operated on the concepts of photons being converted to heat energy (which I found out now to be erroneous). So I never really thought it was dangerous. Only now have I really tried to seek explanations on how microwave works. A Physicist I am not, but this highly credible link by a university with Qs answered by a physicist provided me with enough facts to be assured on using my microwave oven whenever I feel like it, and also gave me pointers on how to treat microwave-heated liquidsi with respect (I also heat up my milk for 1 minute using the microwave, heat a hotdog piece for 35 seconds, 2 pcs for 47 secs, etc.). I have tried heating a plate of foods but I was disappointed with the result, I ended up reheating each item separately.

This is egg microwaved on regular for 45 seconds, uncovered. Instead of poaching or boiling it, I preferred to use this method if only to be used in chicken mami noodle soup...

And this is like a frittata where I used bits of hotdogs and ham plus chopped onions and tomatoes...

I also tried microwaving to make mashed potatoes. My microwave had a setting for such. 4 minutes was all it took, no wasting of flavor because it didn't need submerging in water.

For my hubby's dinner at work (I didn't tell him I didn't boil it. Baka maging prejudiced...):

I have found a website before which featured microwave cooking. I wanna try that some time.

Other uses of microwave aside from cooking: kill the bacteria from sponges and washcloth if you are still handwashing your dishes. Put in microwave and heat for 1 minute.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Two Meatloaf Recipes

Sorry for the long absence. Aside from working on my gardens (flower and veggies), I have been working on my INS papers in past few days.So to make up for it, I prepared this page for 2 meatloaf recipes. However, I might still be a slowpoke in the following days, probably until after summer. I might post more often during the winter days, though, but right now, I want to enjoy the sunny days fully. (I feel so deprived of sunlight 2 months ago!).

We have a freezer full of frozen beef cuts (for 1-yr supply). (That is beef raised by my in-laws, grass-fed, lean, BSE-free!). For our share, we had 1/4 of the whole cow, 50% of which is ground beef because my husband loves burgers.With all those 1-lb bags of ground beef, I wanted to come up with dishes aside from burger patties. And meatloaf is a very good one.

The recipes featured are Piquant Meatloaf and Raisin-Oat Meatloaf. Piquant Meatloaf is my husband's favorite. It is characterized by strong herb flavors, with a little spicy taste. Raisin-Oat Meatloaf is a result of my attempt to combine the classic meatloaf recipe with some healthy ingredients like rolled oats and raisins. The resulting taste is a sweet blend that appeals to my children (whom I am trying to feed with veggies discreetly).

While other people refer to veggies as extenders to most dishes like in egg roll and meatloaf, primarily to cut down on costs, I refer to it as extenders of life -- it is a healthy and tasty way to add fiber and vitamins and minerals to meat. Too bad my husband's taste buds can detect even the smallest addition of an ingredient that is new to him, making me stick to what I know he likes best.

I always prepare these meatloaves simultaneously to maximize the use of the oven and save on energy. I freeze some in portions just right for the meal, in reclosable freezer bags with minimal air to avoid freezer burns. I may serve it in the future as is, or I may cut each slice into 4 parts and cook it with mac and cheese plus chopped carrots and celery to create sopas (one of my favorite breakfast items in the Philippines).
Posted by Hello

To make a more balanced meal, I serve it with asparagus (sauteed in the meatloaf's gravy) and rice. Posted by Hello

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F. Line 2 loaf pans with aluminum foil to easily lift out after baking.



1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsps paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 tsp parsley flakes
3/4 c milk
15 pcs saltine crackers, crumbled
1 egg


Mix milk and crackers. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

In a big bowl, place all other ingredients. Add the cracker-milk mixture.



1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp brown supgar, packed
1 egg
dash of celery flakes


Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your clean hands. Transfer to lined loaf pan.

Bake at 350 deg F for 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 minutes prior to slicing, then drain the juice by lifting up the meatloaf by the foil liner, letting the juices drip back into the pans. Serve the meatloaf separate from the sauce/gravy. Gravies may be prepared from the drippings (see below), or ketchup may be used. May serve with vegetables prepared as illustrated below.

Sauteed veggies:

Excess gravies may be used to liven/flavor up sauteed/stir-fried vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and/or snowpeas (any of these or a combination).

Ingredients:(Every measurement is approximation only. You may adjust accordingly)

1 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 cups assorted veggies (any of the above-listed)
1 tbsp cider vinegar + dash of ground black pepper (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup beef broth
1/2-1/4 cup gravy (maybe more depending on the amount of veggies)


Sautee minced garlic cloves, add vegetables (I used asparagus as I had plenty of them freshly harvested by my Mom-in-law).(I like adding 1 tbsp cider vinegar and a dash of ground pepper, style adobo, leaving unstirred to cook under low heat for about 5 minutes, but this step is optional), then add 1/2 cup beef broth, let the steam cook veggies further (you may add less beef broth and don't steam further if you like the veggies crispier), then turn off heat, add gravy and stir. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Freezing Fresh Herbs and Spices

When I get parsley, chives, and other fresh herbs from the grocery store, I usually use only about a tbsp or two, and I am left with a lot! Sometimes I also have celery sticks and bell peppers (leftover from parties) that I would hate to waste by throwing away. So, I store them for later use in making soups or spicing up sauces by chopping them, putting them in ice cube trays, filling with water then freezing. When they have turned into ice cubes, I place them in resealable plastic bags (grouped accordingly), ready to be used anytime! (It's the same thing I do with my frozen beef broth pre-measured at 1-cup amounts.) It sure saves time and money! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cupcake

This is my very first attempt to make a cake (this can be baked in 2 9-in round pans for 30-35 minutes), and prior to this I did not know that all-purpose flour can be used to make a cake! Not only that, I was surprised to find the cake to be moist and spongy. Maybe the boiling water did the trick.

I did not have round pans then, so I used my muffin tins. It also had an advantage in that muffin liners (paper) make it easier to eat the cake. No slicing, no dish and fork to wash. After baking them, I cool them completely then place in sandwich bags and store in the fridge, ready as snack items anytime. I keep the frosting in the ziploc bag, squeezing it out as cake is consumed.

The kids have fun sprinkling the decors. My husband loves bringing a couple to work. It is such a big hit in the family.

I usually make the frosting first before the cake batter. And I boil the water and turn on the oven as I start measuring the dry ingredients. This is to maximize the effect of baking powder on the cake (once mixed with the wet ingredients, the dough should be baked within 30 minutes.)

I think the boiling water here interacting with the baking powder is responsible for the big holes of the cake, thereby making it spongy.

Posted by Hello

Recipe courtesy of Hershey's (I found it at the label, but below is a cut and paste from their site):


2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Salmon Loaf

This is a re-posting from my old kusina. Photos updated as of 7-9-09.

Salmon loaf is one of my husband's favorite seafood recipes (I only know of 3 seafoods that he likes: RED salmon, haddock, and Kippered Herring (canned). He hates squids, doesn't care for shrimps or lobsters or freshwater fishes or even tuna, nor the PINK salmon (which is sad because I love all those!). So, since I have very limited seafood dishes which I can offer to him, I asked my Mom to share the recipe with me. The very day my Mom told me how to make it, I prepared it for supper. My husband excitedly ate it!

The next day, my Mom asked me whether I have tried the recipe. And of course I told her about the previous day. She was impressed that I made it the very day she shared the recipe with me! The impression they got was that I loved my husband that much that I was willing to learn from his Mom those recipes which he used to love so much when he was still living with them. (His ex never made that salmon loaf for him, and never baked rolls for him either.)

Well, what can I say? I do love my husband that much! Besides, the recipe requires very few ingredients and is very easy to make. I once tried to add some powdered garlic and onions (just a tad!) but my husband detected the change in the recipe right away! He really prefers the original recipe...the one he grew up with. Can't blame him there...I would stick to a recipe that I have come to know while growing up.

He loves bringing some leftover to work.


1 can Red Salmon (Bumble Bee brand)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup saltine crackers, crushed (about 15 pcs)
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Lightly grease an 8" x 8" square pan. Prepare the ingredients.
Crush the saltine crackers (may use plastic bag then pound with bottle or use the chopper or blender or food processor). Let soak in milk for at least 5 minutes.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients with the milk-cracker mixture.
Transfer to the greased pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

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