"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, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bread & Butter Pickles is a must for my FIL.

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

White Bread is made using bread machine/breadmaker.

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

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

Here's wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reader's Gallery # 13

Email by ellen b:

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

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

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

How to Hard-Boil a Single Egg in Microwave

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

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

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

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

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

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