"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!

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Baking & Cooking

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Wish-Bone Marinated Broiled Chicken with Stuffing and Buttered Spinach

I offer no recipe here, but this is one of my hubby's favorite dinner: broiled chicken marinated overnight in Wish-Bone Robusto Italian Seasoning, plus poultry stuffing prepared as directed on the package, and boiled spinach with butter and salt. (He always has to have Pepsi -- drinks it as if it were water. I feel kinda hopeless about it.) Needless to say that our Pinoy tongues (mine and my kids') have also adapted to this American-style dinner. Posted by Hello

Friday, July 23, 2004

(Chuck Roast) Beef Caldereta

Beef caldereta is another Filipino dish that I found to be very satisfying to the taste buds of my husband. The liver paste makes it special. But I advice the Filipinas not to tell their Western hubbies about that special ingredient.

In this photo veggies listed as optional in the recipe page are not included. I usually don't really plan on any meals. I just keep some ingredients in the pantry and fridge, see what I can come up with them, and voila! I prefer having at least bell peppers in addition, the pineapple chunks my husband does not particularly care for.

In this recipe I used the chuck roast, which is a very tough part of beef, but when slow cooked, is such a deliciously tender delight to the palate!

Other smaller cuts may be used, preferably stewing cuts, but steaks will do as well. However, for such smaller cuts, cooking will require a much shorter time (approximately 3-4 hours for 1 -to 1 1/2 lb less tender cuts, 2 hours for porterhouse, t-bone, cube or minute steak cuts. These can also be cooked on the stovetop (see Sassy's foodblog for Beef Kaldereta).

Thanks to Sassy for tips on using liver paste instead of Reno liver spread (which I can't readily acquire here).


Chuck Roast (2-3 lbs)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup beef broth or water
3 cloves of garlic
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 sm can tomato sauce
1/2 cup beef (adobo) liver paste (liver plus 1 sachet Italian dressing mix)[use Reno liver spread if you have it]
2-3 potatoes
2-3 carrots
salt and pepper to taste

1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 small can pineapple chunks

Note: Optional also to add Velveeta or Cheddar cheese (about 2 oz or more according to your taste preference) at the end.


Place beef broth, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf in slow cooker. Cover and set on low.
Heat oil on high. Brown all sides of the roast. Place inside the slow cooker and cook for 2 hours.

Prepare the veggies while waiting.

After 2 hours, pour tomato sauce on the roast. Add the veggies around the roast. Cook for another 4 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the liver paste. Cut up cooked liver (I used leftover beef liver adobo) and process in the chopper by pulse. Sprinkle Italian dressing mix and process again until paste-like.

After 4 hours, add the liver paste into the slow cooker, mixing it with the juices. Adjust taste with salt and pepper. Add cheese if preferred.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pag Mataas ang Presyon Mo, Bawal ang Maalat...

Actually, mahaba ang litanya ng mga "bawal" sa mga taong may hayblad (high blood pressure po! aka hypertension). "Bawal ang maalat" is just one in the long list of pointers given by the doctor. (other bawals: mamantika, sigarilyo, especially when there's heart complications: bawal masyadong magpagod, bawal masyadong matuwa, etc., etc.)

Usually the doctor does not really bother to explain the why's of each pointer. Aside from being time-consuming (and there is a queue of patients waiting for their turn), the explanation can be so technical, and can lead to further explanations.

Pero sige, focus tayo sa MAALAT (salty) and its relation to hypertension.

Alam nyo ba, kahit sa medisina, me math? And that's not limited to calculating the charges for each item and hours spent during the consultation, the calculations for pediatric dosages...even during the first year of study, many would-be doctors would be dismayed to find out that they are not spared from  mathematical (specifically physics, more specifically in this topic, fluid dynamics) concepts.

Blood Pressure has an equation:

BP = CO x PR


  • BP = blood pressure
  • CO = cardiac output (yung dugo na binobomba palabas ng puso), and
  • PR = peripheral resistance (this is the tendency of the arteries to resist the incoming blood from the heart)

This means that blood pressure is influenced by these two factors.

Cardiac output also has an equation:

CO = HR x SV


  • HR = heart rate (bilis ng tibok ng puso)
  • SV = systolic volume (dami ng lamang dugo ng puso bago mag-pump)

If you combine the two equations,

BP = HR x SV x PR

So there are 3 factors that operate in increasing the BP:

  • HR - can be increased, for example, by exercise, extreme emotions like fear, anger and excitement
  • SV - can be increased by increasing the blood that flows back to the heart (ex.: elevate your legs, lie down, position yourself upside down, increasing fluid intake and salt intake - but these are usually temporary. The normal body tends to compensate through other woderful mechanisms to bring back the pressure to the normal levels as efficiently as it can)
  • PR - can be increased by decreasing the diameter of the arteries (kaya kung me atherosclerotic plaque, liliit and butas na dadaanan ng dugo), having stiff arteries ( ex. pa rin ang me atherosclerosis), vasoconstriction (constriction of arteries as in nicotine's effect on the circulation - kaya kawawa ang baby ng mga buntis na naninigarilyo)

(For more readings on blood pressure physiology, here is a good educational website by an anatomy and physiology academician)

In human physiology, the two major cations (positively charged ions) are Na (sodium) and K (potassium) ions. They directly affect the normal functioning of all cells.  Na is the main cation in the extracellular fluid (nasa labas ng cells, meaning nasa dugo, in-between ng cells, basta wala sa loob ng cells). K is (nahulaan nyo na siguro) the main cation inside the cells. And when we talk of these ions, we are concerned about electrolyte balance (narinig nyo na siguro ito pag me diarrhea kayo at kelangan nyo ng oresol).

From Martini's Anatomy and Physiology:

The total amount of sodium in the ECF represents a balance between two factors:

  • Sodium ion uptake across the digestive epithelium. Sodium ions enter the ECF by crossing the digestive epithelium through diffusion and carrier-mediated transport. The rate of absorption varies directly with the amount of sodium in the diet.
  • Sodium ion excretion at the kidneys and other sites. Sodium losses occur primarily by excretion in urine and through perspiration. The kidneys are the most important sites of Na+ regulation. (Kaya bawal din ang maalat sa me sakit sa bato.)

A person in sodium balance typically gains and loses 48–144 mEq (1.1–3.3 g) of Na+ each day. When sodium gains exceed sodium losses, the total Na+ content of the ECF goes up; when losses exceed gains, the Na+ content declines. However, a change in the Na+ content of the ECF does not produce a change in the Na+ concentration. When sodium intake or output changes, a corresponding gain or loss of water tends to keep the Na+ concentration constant. For example, if you eat a very salty meal, the osmotic concentration of your ECF will not increase. When sodium ions are pumped across your digestive epithelium, the solute concentration in that portion of the ECF increases, whereas that of the intestinal contents decreases. Osmosis then occurs. Additional water enters the ECF from the digestive tract, elevating blood volume and blood pressure. Thus, persons with high blood pressure are advised to restrict the amount of salt in their diets.

Ngayon, hindi lang "maalat" ang equivalent ng "restrict the salt intake". In particular, pay attention to the sodium content of your food. Gaya ng MSG (monosodium glutamate), peanut butter, etc. To see a list of sodium-rich foods, click here.

Gets nyo na? Kaya kayong me hayblad, WAG MATIGAS ANG ULO (If you still need more convincing to lower your BP, ask doc emer about the complications of HPN.)

Beet Greens

It's a sunny day today...and that means I will have the chance to stay most of the day outside!

Yesterday we had a bit of a thunderstorm. We (me and my sons) still pulled out weeds and tilled the soil despite the drizzle. At the end of the afternoon I wanted to harvest the beet greens but I was already getting quite afraid of the thunder and lightning going on around me...the procrastinator Manang thought of doing it the next morning (which is today). Lucky me!

So this is my harvest for today. A crate-ful of beet greens, leaving me wondering how on earth I would store the rest after consuming some of it while fresh. Mom said she just boils them and puts butter, same thing with other leafy veggies. Those which will not end up in the tummy right away will end up in the freezer bags. 

I'm hoping some Filipina visitors here would give me ideas. I am wondering whether I could use this is place of pechay, in ginisa, nilaga, or even in torta or lumpia.

Can anyone give me the answers?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Double Cheese Wheat Bread

When you are not experienced with yeast bread, yet you love the aroma of fresh-from-the-oven bread, it can be quite hard when you are in a an environment where a bakery is at least 15 minutes drive away.

Good thing here is that there is this "wonder" machine called Bread Machine, which was a wedding gift from my Mom. The first time I used it, and smelled the yeast working on the dough, my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood, the days I spent helping (panggulo at times) around at my Tatay's bakery. It took awhile for me to get used to it, initially just being limited to the recipes that came with the manual. Then I tried visiting www.breadworld.com as advertised in the label of the bread machine yeast I was using. Yeast breads then became a common item on the table.

So for Filipinos like me who are in foreign countries missing fresh-from-the-oven yeast breads, this is a good investment. One can easily train his/her fingertips in recognizing the right consistency of the dough prior to shaping by using the dough cycle. Once trained, baking yeast bread via the conventional oven becomes easier.

The good thing about bread machine breads is the small size of the dough, just enough for family consumption.

Fleischmann's website has a lot of recipes that are suited for beginners as well as for the more skilled, and also has recipes for dough setting only. My friend's mom, who lived in a different state and was here briefly to support her daughter when she gave birth, felt the need to buy a bread machine when I demonstrated to her how to bake pan de sal using it.

In my experience with basic bread recipes, I have also tried to use the dough cycle instead of the basic cycle so that I can shape them into rolls, or wrap them around sausages or hotdogs.

The recipe page only wishes to show the readers how a bread machine works (conveniently!) so they can consider having one, too. It is really a good buy.

Among our favorites are: Basic Egg Bread, Basic White Bread, Mustard-Dill Bread, Herb Focaccia, Buttery Sweet Bread, Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Bread, and Fragrant Cloverleaf Rolls, all from Fleischmann's bakery (see the link at my side bar).

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Typical Filipino lunch (for me)

NO recipe today...just wanted to share about what I did with spinach I harvested from my garden...

 Posted by Hello

While washing I was imagining using it for tinola, ginisang munggo, and salad (in place of camote tops eaten with kamatis with patis and calamansi). I planned on eating it with fried rice and sardines. While taking out the leftover rice from the fridge I recalled the leftover lechon paksiw from my friend Ana, which she gave the day after July 4th (we shared it for breakfast, with my kids).
I thought I would fry the rice using the leftover lechon paksiw, eaten with spinach blanched in boiling water, dipped with tomatoes, patis, spring onion, and lemon juice...
I don't feel the need to talk more about the nutritious spinach. We all know that already...It's just the season for it. I have 7 big bags of it now. I will soon have to store some of them for winter use...Thanks to a friend (balut) who already gave me some ideas...

Monday, July 05, 2004


It has dawned on me how people who live in areas where the summers are short and winters long have mastered the methods of food processing and preserving...from berries (which would have been of little value to Pinoys if they were native berries and grew wild, eaten all through the year for free...) to meats. Come to think of it...how many rotten tomatoes and veggies are being thrown away daily in the Philippines?...I have learned to take advantage of the growing season here...and I have learned to make jams and jellies among other things to preserve the produce that I got from my garden.

These are strawberries from Mom, freshly-picked from her garden.

I and the kids particularly liked the fresh strawberries mushed (in the chopper) and mixed with fresh cow's milk plus sugar...better than strawberry smoothie...

Posted by Hello
And because harvesting is done every 4 days or so, and Mom has 100 strawberry plants in her garden, the buckets we received either had to be eaten right away, or made into JAM...

Sweet and nutritious, strawberries are the first berries of the year. When picking, look for bright-red ones with fresh green leaves. Refrigerate 2 to 3 days, loosely covered. When ready to eat them, give a gentle rinse. Washing or slicing in advance will encourage spoiling.

Some tips from http://www.mycustompack.com/healthnotes/Food_Guide/Strawberries.htm#Nutrition-Highlights%20:
Strawberries freeze well. You can do so with or without sugar. To freeze strawberries using sugar, mix equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool the mixture completely. Measure 1 cup (149g) of stemmed and sliced strawberries into a 2-cup-size (473.16ml) freezer bag. Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup (118.3,157.7ml) of the sugar/water mixture into the bag,just enough to completely cover the strawberries. Seal and freeze the bag, keeping berries in a single layer.

To freeze strawberries without the use of sugar, set whole, firm berries on a cookie sheet, in a single layer and not touching each other, and place in the freezer. After berries are frozen, put them in a sealable plastic bag. This way they are 'individually frozen' and do not stick together.

Because the moisture content of strawberries varies throughout the season, it is recommended that home-frozen strawberries be used in beverages and sauces, not in recipes where liquid variations could make a difference. (Commercially frozen strawberries are consistent in texture and density.)

Thawing strawberries in the refrigerator will allow them to retain their shape better. When thawing at room temperature, keep the berries in a clean, sanitary environment. Cover and refrigerate unused thawed berries within two hours. Never try to speed up the thawing process by running water over the outside of the container, as that allows bacteria to grow. After thawing, keep berries refrigerated and use within three days. Never re-freeze strawberries.

While still attractive, thawed strawberries may be a little darker and lack the sheen that a fresh berry would have.
We consume about 1 small jar in 2-3 days, on Ritz crackers, or PB&J sandwiches, on pancakes, on muffins, and anything that suits us! Hope you too will enjoy your strawberries!

I also made jelly out of concord grapes.

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