"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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Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I have long bought Bakewell Cream for something that I wanted to bake that called for cream of tartar. However, upon buying BC, I have forgotten what it was that I wanted to bake. So it sat on the shelf for quite a long time. There was a recipe for biscuit on the label. But because my concept of biscuits was different (flat and crunchy), I did not pay much attention to the recipe.

However, after several eat-outs, I have come to learn that biscuits are those that came with the meals and which I thought were rolls. They were like yeast breads, only with more tender consistency (not so chewy). My hubby liked it so much, and I do, too.

I decided to give the recipe a try. My first try was two days before my birthday, and the second was during my birthday.

Sorry I failed to take photos during the first steps.


2 cups flour

2 tsp Bakewell Cream

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup cold milk


Mix and sift dry ingredients.

Add shortening and cut into the flour mix.

Add milk all at once, and stir quickly with a fork. (Some flours may require a little more liquid to make a nice soft dough.)

Turn out on floured boards and knead 5 or 6 times.

Roll of pat to 1/2" to 3/4 " thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. (I had none; I used the screw band of a pint jar.)

Bake at 475 deg F for 5 minutes. THEN turn off heat and leave in oven for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Posted by Hello

Biscuits, when fresh from the oven, have crunchy crust, in contrast to those served in restaurants which are quite soggy. I expected the biscuits to be the same, and was almost disappointed that they were crunchy. But hubby said, "Honey, they're biscuits. They are supposed to be crunchy. And I like these better than Mom's, because they are crunchy all-around, yet soft on the inside. Maybe Mom's biscuits have sides which are not crunchy possibly because they are baked side-by-side, without space in between. Please don't change a thing in the way you bake them."

Hmmm...does that mean those biscuits served at restaurants are just reheated in microwave so they are not crunchy?

I'll take hubby's words for it. As long as he enjoys it (and I do, too! though the kids will have to acquire the taste for it), I will bake it the same way I did the first time.

He gave me two gifts on my birthday, one of which is a set of biscuit-cutter...so my next biscuits will have waves around...haha!!!

Monday, December 13, 2004


Hubby cooked this for my birthday. It's the best lasagna recipe that he's tasted. Last year, he made the same thing for my birthday, with chocolate cake that he made with the help of Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines. However, this time, I told him I'd bake my own cake, because I wanted to try the Crema de Fruta (thanks to Celia Kusinera for posting on this). I also baked biscuits to go with it. He felt uneasy that I had to do something on my birthday...haha...he's so sweet.


2 lbs ground beef (they call it hamburg)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 qt raw-packed tomatoes (which I canned; you may substitue with stewed tomatoes)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2 12-oz cottage cheese
2 16-oz pkg Aged Swiss cheese


Brown ground beef. Drain excess fluid. Add the garlic. Add tomatoes (if using tomatoes packed raw, drain the excess juice first), add a can of tomato paste and the spices, salt and pepper. Add more to taste.

Cook lasagna according to package directions. Place first layer of lasagna on bottom of 13 in x 9 in baking dish. Then divide the ground beef into two parts. Place the first layer of ground beef on top of the lasagna noodles,

then top with 1 package of cottage cheese, then top with 1 package of Aged Swiss cheese.

Repeat the layers.

Finalize with a double layer of lasagna noodles; the topmost used as a guard to avoid drying up the noodles below, and has to be discarded after baking (they will be tough and toasted, unsuitable for eating). Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

We (hubby, me and the boys) ate it with freshly-baked biscuits.

This is how we traditionally celebrate birthdays in our family, not quite different from what I had been doing in the PI before we moved here: I would cook to prepare for a special dinner usually consisting of lumpia, fried chicken, and spaghetti or pancit bihon, complemented with bought ice cream and cake. No luxurious and extravagant parties. No big and numerous gifts. I am glad my hubby and I agree on this. Our relatives would come later during the day to greet the birthday celebrant (me) and give their gifts and share the dessert (ice cream and cake) and chat.

There was not much left after the day. I divided this leftover into 4 serving portions and hubby had one for dinner the next day, and we had it for supper as well (as per kids' request). Posted by Hello

The boys told me that "Papa's lasagna tastes yummier than yours." Funny, but I don't recall making lasagna, and neither did hubby when I told him about the boys' comment. They liked his lasagna so much that they (all 3 of us, actually, while hubby was out to bring my stepdaughter back to her other house) had it again for supper. While Ting-aling froze her leftover lasagna, I did not have the need to. Hubby requested it for dinner-at-work the next day; the boys requested to have it again for supper the next day (spared me from cooking!). Posted by Hello

Munggo Guisado

This post does not mean I had this for my birthday. This is for Thess, who surprised me with her request for me to post my recipe for munggo guisado. (She herself is an awesome cook! I doubt that I can compare! Her cooking prowess is so evident in her blog.)

For the animal protein, you may substitute shrimps or combine pork with shrimps, or add shredded tinapa (smoked herring). I love adding roughly crumbled (if big) pieces of chicharon as topping for ginisang munggo. I got the idea from my medical school where I got free board and lodging and the kusinera was another Ilokana. If you know how to make good chicharon, they're better (I have not had any luck with my experimentations.)


mung beans, 1 cup, washed and soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes prior to boiling

1 tbsp cooking oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 small onion, sliced

1 cup pork (sliced thinly about 2 inches long by 1 inch wide)

2 tbsp patis (optional)

3 medium tomatoes, sliced

1 cup broth (or more; may use water; add acoording to the consistency you want)

salt and pepper to taste

dash of dried basil leaves

2 cups spinach leaves (or amount depends on how much you want)


Boil mung beans for 30 minutes on moderately-low heat. Check from time to time to ensure it does not get dry. Stir occasionally.

When almost ready, sautee the garlic, onion, then pork for about 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and sautee for about 1 minute. Add patis (and tinapa, if using) and let simmer for about 10 seconds.

Add mongo and broth. Cover and simmer (you may lower the heat some more) for about 5 minutes. If you are using shrimp, you may add at this point.

Add the basil, stir and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and add the spinach, stirring it in.

Place in bowl. Top with chicharon, if desired.

Serve with rice.

Hubby has never had the interest to try this, as is always the case with veggie-based dishes.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tuyo at Tocino

Hindi ko po kinain nang sabay yan...di bagay no?

Thanks to the internet and the gift of blogging by Blogger, I have found quite a few friends online. Though I have not met them in person yet, they are already treasures. Amongst them are my fellow Pinay foodbloggers. Some are quiet friends (they read/scan my blogs and email me about it). One of them is Joe from NY (not NJ!). Siguro naawa sya kasi malayo ako sa Pinoy/Asian store (gaya ni stel at ni Ting), he sent me some familiar items.

Sinigang mixes, tocino mixes, a bottle of patis (fermented fish sauce), pancit luglug (I have yet to find a recipe for that), tuyo in a jar, and mung beans.

I wasted no time, the night (gabi, ha! hindi umaga) after we went grocery shopping, my sons and I were so eager to eat the tuyo with tomatoes, and munggo guisado was also part of it (I had to remember to take a photo before they were wiped out by us!). Tsalap-tsalap!

Then, the next morning I sliced in half (butterfly style) the pork steak cuts that I bought and marinated them in the tocino mix. I was not sure if hubby would like them (I actually have served it once before and he did, but to make sure it was not just bola, I try serving it again without saying anything, then watching his reaction. He was out splitting wood when I called him to lunch, but he was not quite ready to quit his task, so me and my sons ate our share. When we were piling up the firewood, my husband finally had his lunchbreak, and to my surprise, he did eat what I left for him (tocino and rice). He even asked me if we had it before, because it was really good!

If my fussy husband likes it, so will most Americans. So for get-togethers, tocino will most probably be well-accepted by non-Filipinos.Posted by Hello



Another Filipino comfort food, champorado is among those which I enjoyed not only during cold days in the Philippines, but also during the warm days as snack.

Would you believe that it was my first time to cook this from scratch? In the PI, there were mixes ready to cook. Now, I am just too glad to have the resources I need on the net, not only from recipes already posted, but also from my fellow food bloggers who have proved to be jewels in the cyberspace.


1 cup glutinous rice

5 cups water(up to 6, depending on the consistency you prefer)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

some evaporated milk


Cook rice in a medium saucepan with water on low heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. When rice is transparent, add cocoa powder (may add some more depending on how chocolatey you want it to be), sugar and vanilla extract and cook for several minutes more, until rice is soft. Adjust sugar according to taste. Serve in bowls with swirls of evaporated milk on top.Posted by Hello

I was excited to let my hubby try it, for he is one chocoholic. I was hoping it would be another Filipino food that he would like, but....I was disappointed with his reaction...

However, I found a kind of rice that is cooked somewhat like fried rice that my hubby likes. Actually, he was the one who pointed it to me when we were grocery shopping. He said I should try it. I did. Everyone, including my boys, liked it. I will post about it some time later...

Misua Soup

Not too long ago, Ting sent me misua, which was very timely, because now it is really getting too cold here. And what better way to enjoy misua than as a soup! One of the comfort foods I used to love when I was a kid. I still love it now, and so do my boys. Posted by Hello

Ingredients (good for 2-3 servings):

4 cups chicken broth

a handful of shredded cooked chicken meat

a handful of misua

salt and pepper to taste

shredded veggies (I use the ones for tacos)


Boil the broth and the meat. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add the misua and boil for about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve in bowls topped with shredded veggies.

Simple and satisfying...

Friday, December 03, 2004

PORK RECIPES (of parts unwanted by others...)

This is a series of recipes (pambawi sa katamaran ko these past days) which I included in one post since I made them all in one day a few days after I got from my sister-in-law those pork parts that she did not want which I wanted: heart, liver, small intestines, blood and lungs. A special bonus which I did not request for was the pork kidneys with its surrounding fat. I forgot to ask that the head be reserved for me. It would have been nice to have it for sisig.

I deliberately eliminated my tendency to show step-by-step photos to avoid grossing out some readers.



These are dried lily buds that stel sent to me quite a while ago (thanks a lot, blogsis!), for paksiw na pata. I used Sassy's recipe to the letter, save for using less liquid (1/2 cup water) and adding a bit of cider (about 1/2 cup) instead of pouring water enough to cover the pork legs,

because I used the slow cooker (which would render a lot of juice from the meat, and allow very little evaporation).

Here is now the finished product. I placed some in a small jar to let my brother-in-law have a taste of it. He said it was good! (His wife, hubby's sister, would not even look at it.) At present I have it frozen. Posted by Hello



While slowcooking Paksiw na Pata, I next searched for a recipe for dinuguan. Since Sassy's used sinigang mix which I did not have at the time, I looked again and found this Kapampangan recipe. But while the original recipe called for pork shoulder, I used the most fleshy part of pata, I retained the pork heart, I eliminated the beef tripe and replaced it with pork small intestine cut in 1-inch length after cleansing and boiling. I also retained the pork liver. Then instead of looking for green chilies I used my ground red pepper for added kick. Posted by Hello


2 tbsps cooking oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, minced

3 lbs. pork meat, diced

1 pc pork heart, boiled then diced

1 pork tongue, boiled then diced

1/2 lb. small intestine, cleansed, boiled and diced (Type in google search "pork intestine and you'll find the methods to do this.)

100 gms. pork liver, diced

1 cup vinegar

2 cups water

1-1/2 cups pig blood

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

salt to taste

(Note: My mother used to just have pork meat with some fat and some slices of sayote or papaya, without innards, and with some more water. Personally, I prefer this dish cooked like my mother did.)


Those ingredients that called for boiling and dicing, you can throw all at once in a stockpost and boil for 15 minutes.

Saute garlic and onion in cooking oil.

Add diced pork, tongue, heart, liver and SI. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.

When meat is tender, add vinegar, broth, and hot peppers and bring to a boil. Add salt.

Add pork blood stirring continuously until thick. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

My older son still recalls having had this in the Philippines, although my Mom cooked it a bit differently, adding a little sugar and thin slices of sayote. I brought some to my friend Ana's house for lunch when she fetched me to share with her the tilapia which she roasted. Hmmm...we liked it! I never let my hubby see this (and the bopis and pork kidneys), though. He'd puke for sure.


I have just browsed stel's foodblog and eureka! She also cooked dinuguan! Wish I had her recipe before I cooked mine.



I remember when I was still a child, I used to help chop the pork lungs after it has been parboiled. I particularly liked munching the soft lung tissue then the contrasting stiffer cartilage pieces that formed part of the bronchi and bronchioles (those smaller continuations of the windpipe). Probably there were only about 3 such events in my entire life in the PI.

For this recipe, I used Nanay Mareng's as passed on to me by stel (thanks again for that recipe!). I just replaced the tomato sauce with my homemade canned Italian-style TS, then replaced the pineapple juice with cider (I just experimented; the idea popped into my head when I was thinking of what I could possibly use since I had no pineapple juice, then suddenly I recalled that in minced deer meat, we used cider to keep the mixture moist. I figured it probably would have the same effect on dinuguan, except that it would give a twist in the flavor. It worked!). I also used frozen green bell pepper and my ground red pepper to make it a bit hot.

Once again I did not anymore include step-by-step photos because I don't want to make anybody's tummy turn topsy-turvy.


2 pork lungs with heart, parboiled then chopped.

1 pint tomato sauce

1 cup cider

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/4 tsp ground red pepper


Saute garlic and onions, then add meat and heart, cider and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer, and without stirring, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add peppers amd simmer until sauce is reduced and almost dry.

This is the first time I really cooked this from start to finish, and the first time for my kids to see it. When they came home that day I offered it to them, and, having quite picked up my hubby's tendency to be paranoid with what I serve, they asked what was in it. I always try to be honest with them, so I told them that it was pork lungs, and the dish was called bopis (with matching enthusiasm to convince them). They were reluctant to taste it, saying "yuck!" in a soft tone. I was not discouraged. I placed about 3 pieces on a spoon and told them to taste it first before saying no. They did. Both of them liked it! We had it for supper before my hubby was home. Hubby had mac & cheese plus hotdogs that night. I did not tell him what we had, or he would not kiss me that night and the next day.

UPDATE: 1/17/2010
Here is a slideshow:



As I said above, when I finally had from my SIL the pork parts that she did not want, I was surprised with pork kidneys with surrounding fatthis: pork fat with the kidneys still attached. I have read in a past issue of Cook's Illustrated that pork lard is the best for pie crust, and that it can be derived from the fat surrounding the kidneys, but other fatty parts can also be used. However, there was no procedure given for that (making lard) since the topic was about pie crusts. So I searced again my virtual library and found a procedure for it here. It was quite simple.

In quest for a kind of shortening that was nearest to its natural state, and having been exposed cooking the diced fat in heavy skillet over low heatto my Nanay who used to render fat from the skin of pork or chicken to sautee spices or meat, I ventured into this unfamiliar territory (I imagine this might be done quite frequently by the Filipinos whose business is raising and selling swine).

I cooked it over low heat to avoid getting to the smoking point (at which point it will be oxidized). Before making this post, I had to ask Fanatic, a nutritionist, about her opinion on pork lard, and here's what she told me:

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 .

Nakahinga ako nang maluwag...It's good to hear those words from one with authority on the subject matter. I mean, yeah, I have my opinions on some food products, with my understanding of how the human body metabolizes the major chemicals we get from foods. But food and food processing itself are things made complicated by the "more civilized" people. "Medical studies" and business interests, plus the government's tendency to appease the public make things more complicated and puzzling that the obvious seems obscure. Anyway, you can check out her organic non-hydrogenated shortening for a healthier option in making pie crusts if you can't make your own lard.

As instructed, I continuously transferred the rendered fat (liquid lard) into clean dry jars as available, straining it first.

 rendering fat strain

I made a mistake of waiting a little bit further afterpork lard should be kept in the refrigerator getting about half of the liquid fat (aka oil), because it turned a bit more brown when there was no more to melt. Hence here you can see the jars containing lard with different colors. I use the whiter lard for pie crusts, and the brownish lard for deep frying. I keep these jars in the fridge as directed. The white lard had almost no smell, only a hint of sweetness. It really works great with pies! The brownish lard had that distinct but subtle pork fat scent. I used it to make french fries (Fries always give my kids and hubby a thrill. They feel like they are eating at a restaurant.)

Posted by Hello


PORK KIDNEY "à la douaisienne"

pork kidneyThe last unwanted pork part that I cooked was the kidneys. It was my first time actually, and I found this French recipe and tried to follow it to the letter, save for the step that called for flambe/Cognac. I did not know how to flambe and I had no flame on my stove. Neither had I Cognac. There were no proportions in the ingredients list, so I approximated.

When I tasted it, it was yummy, though the dish was very unfamiliar. The kidney itself reminded me that I already had a taste of this, usually with a kind of dish that was like tinola and the name of which I don't know. I only had it from karinderias. I also vaguely remember having bits of this in Batchoy (the original I tasted in Miag-ao, Iloilo during field zoology in college, seasoned with toyomansi) .


2 pork kidneys

1/2 c Breadcrumb

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Parsley, minced

1/2 cup Milk

1 Egg

Enough water to keep moist


Kidneys should be cleaned carefully to avoid any unpleasant taste.

Prepare the stuffing by dipping the breadcrumb into the beaten egg mixed with milk. Incorporate the chopped garlic and parsley in the preparation (in reasonable quantity). The stuffing should be wet but keep a good consistence.

Stuff kidneys and tie them up. In a pot, brown the kidneys in butter on strong fire. Without forgetting either the salt or the pepper, pour enough stock (or even water) to obtain an averagely thick sauce (that can be thickened with flour). This sauce will later be used as dressing on the boiled potatoes that will be served as vegetables. Do not hesitate to cook the remaining stuffing in the sauce. Slow cook for half an hour, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

I was the only one who tasted it (my kids preferred the dinuguan. I could not offer it to hubby; it would freak him out for sure!

Posted by Hello

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