"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, July 18, 2006

Bibingka Cake with a Twang

Imported from my old website...

This is my entry for this month's LP theme "Distinctly Pinoy with a TWANG" hosted by ces.

This cake was featured in GMA-7's 100% Pinoy for the segment on Fusion Dessert.

Here's the video for the said segment. Notice that the website being read by ChefKC for the recipe is this very same webpagefrom my old website with the photos down below.

Presenting, the BIBINGKA CAKE with a TWANG!

I had been wanting to try to make bibingka and found several recipes for them. While the most traditional would call for live charcoals above and under the batter, which resulted in toasted surface, I wanted a "tamed" version (for the sake of my intended tasters, my husband and in-laws). I found a recipe which seemed promising, and the original recipe can be found here.

When I first made them, I modified the recipe, wanting more of a Filipino taste to it by using 1 cup coconut cream and 1 cup milk instead of the 2 cups of milk called for in the recipe, then I added small squares of sliced white cheese on top during the last 5 minutes of baking. I offered one to one of my Pinay friends (I poured into three 8-inch round pans), and several slices to my MIL. We all loved this plain (as in no frosting) bibingka, although my MIL was intrigued by the cheese (she could not identify it and had to ask me what it was!). I loved the smooth texture albeit its heaviness, and the longer it sat in the fridge (less than 1 week, that is), the better it tasted!

BUT, I wanted to experiment more, hoping to offer some sort of an Americanized bibingka cake that I could offer to guests during my birthday (I try not to offer experiments on Pinoy dishes/foods during birthday celebs of my kids or hubby, as they usually have preferences that I try to stick to). Since I have observed that, in contrast to my inkling towards sponge cakes, my in-laws and hubby prefer the crumbly cake (which, to me, sort of represent a cake that is at least one day old). So for that, I thought of experimenting with the bibingka recipe using the ordinary rice flour instead of the sweet rice flour (I figured it would result to crumbly texture, because that's what I have observed with siopao , puto, and bibingka if made with rice flour as opposed to the ordinary flour.)

So my final recipe for the batter was as below, which I poured into two 9-inch round pans:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup premium coconut cream (Thai)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Cream the butter and sugar well (around 5 minutes on medium speed). Slow down the speed and add eggs one at a time.

Meanwhile, mix flour and baking powder. Mix the milk and coconut cream. Add this to the egg-cream mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients a little at a time. Add the vanilla and stir. Pour into two 9-inch round pans. Bake immediately for 35-45 minutes (keep checking!)

Since this is a fusion of Filipino and American cuisine, I did not use banana leaves (I do not have them anyway!) nor charcoal, but used the oven instead.

To make it more Americanized, I prepared JMom's

1-1/2 Cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites, and water in a pot or bowl over simmering water. Beat steadily over low heat with an electric hand mixer until the frosting stands in peaks, about 5-7 minutes, no more. (Overcooking will make your frosting brittle upon cooling). Remove from heat and continue to beat until thick enough to spread. Add the vanilla before spreading.

(I asked my stepd to taste the frosting, and her reaction was, "Hey, I know this! This is Fluff!" It indeed tasted like Fluff, only not sticky, and the sheen was superb! It is less sweet, too.)

As an additional Pinoy touch, I used sweetened macapuno as filling in between the two layers of cake. I actually mixed it with the 7-min frosting, which turned out to be a disastrous mistake as it made the filling runny, so that when I placed the top layer of cake, it squeezed out most of the filling. Next time, I will use just the macapuno as filling, and the frosting will be used exclusively to cover the whole cake.

I used some sprinkles to make it colorful.

Quite reluctantly, I offered it as dessert to hubby, and HE LIKED IT! I asked his opinion on whether it would be enjoyed by the others in his family as well. DEFINITELY! The next day my MIL came to give me brocolli, and I gave her two slices of the cake to bring home and share with FIL. They loved it!

I will definitely serve this on my birthday in December.

I bet this will also be a big welcome as cupcakes for school functions.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

Because of the most recent LP round up, I was reminded to try making UBE ice cream, something that I have been meaning to experiment on for quite some time now.

First step, of course, was to acquire an ice cream maker. I settled for Rival 6-qt ice cream maker that I got from Wal-Mart. I was excited! I have only seen home made ice cream making at my SIL but never had the chance to try it myself. It turned out hubby was quite excited also. He did not know how to prepare the mix, but he LOVED running the churning machine, putting in the ice and rock salt into the bucket.

Okay, so I prepared the mix. I was thinking of using a vanilla ice cream then would just try mixing the ube-macapuno later. However, there was probably something wrong with the way I prepared the ube from the powder form, and it did not turn out the way it should be, appearance-wise or taste-wise. Hence, I will not bother to jot that down here, and will just concentrate on the Olc Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream.

This recipe came from the manual that came with the machine.

4 Quart
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

5 Quart
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 1/4 cups milk
5 eggs, beaten
5 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons plus 11/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 Quart
3 1/2cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 cups milk
6 eggs, beaten
6 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine sugar, flour and salt in saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat approximately 15 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Take off from heat. Gradually stir about 1 cup of hot mixture into the beaten eggs and stir well. Add egg mixture to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Place back on medium heat and cook 1 minute; remove from heat. Cool down and then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Combine whipping cream and vanilla in large bowl; add chilled mixture, stirring with wire whisk to combine. Freeze as directed by your ice cream maker manufacturer.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream: Crumble chocolate sandwich cookies (25 cookies for4 quart, 30 cookies for 5 quart, or 40 cookies for 6 quart) into mixture before freezing.

Coffee Ice Cream: Combine instant coffee (4 tablespoons for 4 quart, 5 tablespoons for 5 quart, or 6 tablespoons for 6 quart) with sugar, flour and salt. Continue as directed.

And here are the photos....

Here on the left, I am mixing the chilled mixture with whipping cream and vanilla.

Middle photo: we are ready to churn. The mixture is placed in the ice cream can, then the dasher is inserted, then covered, then the driving machine is attached. It is turned on by plugging into an outlet, and only then will the ice and the rock salt be added.

On the right shows the set up during churning. Rock salt tends to lower the freezing temperature of ice, such that, even when "melted," its temperature reached down to about 15 deg F (freezing temp is 32 deg F). The white spots on the bucket are actually frost formed by freezing the moisture in the air immediately surrounding it.

My stepdaughter was eagerly watching after about 40 minutes of churning. The machine automatically stops when done. Here, hubby is removing the dasher.

Finally, we had the goodness of this rich vanilla ice cream soft served! I froze the remaining to harden or "ripen" further. Hubby had been looking forward to this all day! (We had been working hard on the kitchen construction, and we still are. We have just finished painting the walls.)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oatmeal - Not only for breakfast, but also for skin allergy

As I mentioned in my "diet" post, I sometimes eat oatmeal for breakfast. I like the fast effects of its fibers (won't elaborate further, hehe...).

My favorite is the Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple & Brown Sugar flavor. I eat it plain or with slices of banana, or fresh berries (blue/black, strawberries), or even cantaloupe.

There is another oatmeal "preparation that I like so much especially during the summer season --- the Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal bath.

I have had no prior history of allergies to medications nor to food. When I would have rashes, usually it would be to an unknown allergen.

Last year, I had my first ever attack of "urticaria," where rashes are welts, wheal, appearing like maps all over. It lasted three days, during which I just took Benadryl and Alavert. On the third day, which was Friday, I decided to see a doctor for a prescription in case I will need a drug that worked better than those I was already taking. He prescribed prednisone, and suggested Aveeno oatmeal bath.

That oatmeal bath was something new to me. I tried it, and as early as the first bath, my rashes resolved gradually over the day, and I woke up the next day without rashes. Whether it was that the attack was really at its conclusion or not, I was not sure whether oatmeal bath really had the desired effect.

This year, my attack was worse and different. It did not occur all day, appearing mostly at night and getting worst in the wee hours of the morning, usually waking me up with intense pruritus (itchiness) and burning sensation, despite having taken both Benadryl and 24-hr Claritin the night before, that I could not help but take another dose of Benadryl then continue my sleep. This pattern continued for more than two weeks, with the worst attack around the 10th day. The offending agent, I was sure, was not due to a food item. But there are foods that are to be avoided in such a condition, including strawberries, tomatoes, shrimps, eggplants, spinach, tuna, etc., as these have histamine-releasing actions (histamine causes the itch).

I was having daily oatmeal baths upon waking up, taking my Benadryl and Claritin at night, sometimes experimenting on skipping them to see what the effect would be. It appeared that no matter what I took or not took, the pattern was the same, only with varying severity, with the most severe attack at the middle of the whole duration, during which (2nd week), I was actually worried that it might turn out to be a chronic case (6 weeks minimum). I am glad that during the past several days, I woke up with less and less of them. Yesterday was the first day I woke up with NONE. Hooray!Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kilawing Tuna

Tuna Kilawin
While many Filipinos prepare kilawin to enjoy a booze, I love it with or without alcohol. As a matter of fact, I even eat it with rice, especially during summer when it is too hot to cook nor to eat hot foods.
Used as ulam instead of pulutan
Here is how I prepare it basing on my Nanay's method, plus adding more veggies and less hot peppers.

Ingredients and Procedure:
Tuna steak (I bought 2 steaks, about 1/4 pound total), cut into bite-size pieces
vinegar (I like the raw coconut vinegar; enough to submerge the fish)
Soak in vinegar for 30 minutes
Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes, after which, drain and squeeze gently to remove excess vinegar.
gently squeeze off excess vinegar
Meanwhile, chop the following must-have spices:
fresh ginger (thumb-size)
onion (medium size)
Must-have spices
Add a dash of red pepper flakes (siling labuyo, chopped, if you have), depending on your taste

optional veggies:
bell peppers, diced (I love these here)
chives, snipped
cucumbers, diced
green mangoes
spring onions

Squeeze 1 whole lemon (My substitute for kalamansi) and remove the seeds.
Add lemon juice
Mix everything together, add salt and ground black pepper to taste, mix again, then let sit overnight (I like it overnight so that the lemon will fully "cook" the fish flesh. I do not want it overcooked, though, as it tends to be crumbly. I guess the size of the pieces matter. I prefer the size of the pieces to be about 1/2 inch by 1 inch by 1 inch. Any thinner and it will be "overcooked;" any thicker and it will be undercooked (with the inner flesh still looking pink, which I do not prefer. Others may prefer it that way, though, but I am no sushi lover.)
The must-have spices + red pepper flakes for an extra kick
Leeks for extra flavor
I prepared just a little amount because I expected only myself to eat it. To my surprise, my older son liked it as well, and remembered that he has had it before.

I had my FIL taste one prepared by my friend, with pieces quite thick so the inner part was not "cooked," and he could not stomach it. I could, but I really would prefer the "cooked" version.

I remember in Kamayan Restaurant, they serve the kilawin quite raw even on the outside (perhaps only mixed the the lemon-spices the moment the order was made), and I really could not take it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 07, 2006

Korean Beef Ribs

This is a reposting from my old kusina...

This is probably the 4th time I have prepared this dish, mainly because my kids and I love it.

I got the recipe from JMom's, which she said she saw in purplegirl's blog. (Thanks to both Pinay bloggers).

Although husband does not like short ribs (he said there is too much work to separate the meat from the bones and fat), I prepare all our beef short ribs using this recipe, with only a little tweaking on my part.

As in the recipe except for the water, I followed these:

Take 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and sprinkle or rub onto the slices and marinade for 10 minutes while getting the rest of the ingredients ready. Mix in a small bowl: 4 garlic cloves crushed and minced, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (I omitted the 1 cup water).

But since I do not have a pressure cooker, I opted to slow cook it on high for 4 hours. As I mentioned, I omitted the water, and let the beef cook in its own juice (which also accounts for the shrink in size) until the meat literally falls off from the bone. Then I just thicken the sauce and pour over the beef (omitting the caramelizing part of JMom's method, mainly because we can not prolong the already long cooking hours, plus we can't wait usually (the aroma while it slowly cooks always torture our olfactory centers for hours). If you still have time to caramelize, just place in the oven on high broil then baste with the thickened sauce.

I am thinking of using this same recipe for beef chuck roast instead of the recipe I use for beef pares the next time I have a get-together here at the house.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Beef Tapa


In PI, beef tapa is usually served in carinderias, most commonly as part of tapsilog (tapa, sinangag (fried rice), at itlog (egg). But although I liked the taste then, I did not like it in that the beef cuts, however thin, were quite tough and chewy.

When I recently went to the Filipino store, I got this beef tapa marinade to try making my own, but I wanted it not too dry and chewy.

I used top round steaks and sliced them thinly, marinated overnight, then stir-fried in batches for 1-2 minutes over high heat using only about 1 tbsp of olive oil. I served it topped with chives, and with Rice-A-Roni. When prepared this way, it turns out to be so good, not dry or tough! As soon as hubby tasted it, he said "Hmmmmm, Honey, this is so good!"

Salamat uli ke Mama Sita, this is an addition to Filipino dishes hubby likes. Posted by Picasa

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