"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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Friday, December 18, 2009

Pork Hamonado

I was asked recently by two fb friends about a hamonado recipe. I presumed it was the pork, since that was what we always used to have when I was still in the Philippines. I did not really have a recipe, but I do remember my Nanay simmering a big cut of pork, usually pigue in lots of pineapple juice, flavored with soy sauce and brown sugar.

1 pork ham (roast cut, about 5-6 pounds - whether cured or not, it won't matter)
1 liter pineapple juice (about 40 oz)
1 small can of pineapple, round slices, for garnishing (up to you if you want more)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 bay leaves
10 peppercorns

I slow cooked the whole ham in the pineapple, soy sauce, spices and brown sugar on high for about 4 hours (although my son disturbed the whole process by opening the lid after 3 hours, so instead of being completely done by the end of the 4 hours, it was still quite tough although done). I served this as is during the Filipino Christmas Party for the sake of our American hubbies (two attended, so that makes it three including my husband). Knowing my hubby would have liked it drier and more tender, I did not expect him to eat much of it since it was swimming in its own juice plus the pineapple juice and was very wet. But I did not have the time then to fix it some more to his liking. I did so the next day for supper using the big left over.
For those who will attempt to make it the way I did, the gist of the steps is: (1) boil ham in the mixture until just done, but will remain whole when lifted out of the pot instead of fall-off-the-bone tender; (2) remove fat and make the sauce; (3) roast ham with pineapple on top, basting from time to time with the sauce. They way I presented this recipe here is more like narration of how I made mine, adjusting under the circumstances. I encourage you to proceed as it suits yours.

To continue with the details of the next steps after boiling/simmering...

That night, I placed the big leftover ham in a roasting pan and left it out in the garage which serves now as my big refrigerator. The next day, I removed all the fat that solidified on top, then simmered the ham covered inside that roasting pan for about an hour, basting from time to time with the sauce. More fat shed oil, so that at the end of 1 hour (which assured me the ham was heated all the way to the middle), I used the fat separator in making the sauce. [Please take note that if you directly roast after slowcooking, you will not need to simmer again. I did this only to reheat before I roasted.]  Leaving about a cup of sauce in the pan, I transferred the rest to a small saucepan. I drained the juice off pineapple slices and placed the slices on top of the ham while I heated up the oven to 400 deg F. I placed the pan uncovered in the lower rack and started making the sauce in the saucepan. I just let it boil for about 10 minutes then started adding water-cornstarch mixture (about 1/4 cup of water with 2 tbsp cornstarch), and added in thin stream into the boiling sauce until it was thick as desired. Then I basted the roast/pineapple slices with this sauce about 3 times in intervals of 5 minutes, until the meat achieved a good browning and the pineapple slices were glazed good.
I took out the whole ham and placed it on a platter, then poured some more sauce on top, and had the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat for each person to pour as desired on their slices of ham. The ham remained intact as we sliced, yet very tender and done just to my husband's liking. And we shared with my in-laws, who found the taste delightfully good! This time, we had just a little left over, about 3/4 cup chopped meat, enough for me to make a small batch of pork hamonado siopao.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LP: Paskong Pinoy: Our Filipino Christmas Party 2009

I modified this post to participate in this week's LP theme: Paskong Pinoy. I have a related post in my tahanan blog here.

What are the major differences between the Filipino Christmas Party and a typical American Christmas Dinner? These are the differences in the two parties I hosted and will be hosting.

Pinoy - you will find a lot of main entrees (needless to say, some of which may be repulsive to some Americans
American - One main entree

Pinoy - buffet type table, with people in line waiting to dig in
American - Serve formally on the table

Pinoy - everyone can pitch in
American - I am expected to be able to make everything since I am hosting.

However, since I will have to include traditional desserts that I cannot make from bought groceries, my MIL and SIL offered to make them, especially that those are not my specialties. I will, however, make desserts that they truly find interesting and to die for (at least, in my MIL's opinion -- SANS RIVAL). And though they would be forgiving as to have bread from a bread maker due to time constraints and the stress of prep, I am inclined (still!) to make rolls (espcially that hubby requests it)...something that my in-laws are in awe of me for. To them I am the yeast roll/bread master.

Anyway, this post is about our recent Filipino Christmas Party. My close circle of friends always look forward to it now, especially with my penchant for preparing truly Filipino traditional favorites and my perseverance to find ingredients for it.
Hubby had to ask me which foods he had to avoid...not surprisingly, 3 out of 4 meaty dishes I prepped were not American-friendly. Good thing my friends brought some foods that our kids and hubbies would eat. Even among the desserts, many of our hubbies did not care for the consistency of rice- or cassava- or custard-based desserts, nor did they care for the coconuts. They liked the puto I made using white cake mix, though.

We would have had monito monita exchange gifts, but I myself forgot to get one, so Thess announced that instead of that, they would just give me the gifts since it was my birthday the past day. Nobody contradicted! It was done on a Sunday and some had to go to church, so we only had afternoon to be together and have some chitchat. They had to leave as early as 4pm (there was a snow storm beginning), no karaoke this time. But we had fun, especially with the buko salad!

I admit it was a stressful event, with lots of hard work from me and my kids who helped me prepare, but it was all worth it. Once a year indulgence in exotic ingredients...once a year reveling in each other's friendship...actually, twice a year now...if you count summer get-togethers for cookout. Filipino gathering just somehow brings me back home, and it is all worth the effort...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do you need Buko? Here's a tip...

I so want to post more about food, but these times are busy. However, I am posting this, hoping to help anyone in the US (particularly in New England) who needs buko/young coconuts in time for Christmas.

Last week I went to Hannaford hoping to find some buko (young coconuts) to make into pichi-pichi (for the juice) and to mix with cassava cake and sapin-sapin. I did not find a single one. Desperate to get them, I approached a guy unloading some produce from crates, asking who I could talk to if I wanted 15 pieces of young coconut, which I knew they carried before. I was asked for my name and telephone number, and would be referred to their manager (in the produce section). I told them I would need the coconuts by the next week. I also added 5 yucca (although I had several frozen grated yucca packages in my freezer).

Next morning, I had a follow up phone call about who would be the acting manager to assist me (they left a message). I was told they would try to see what they could do about my order.

In the afternoon I was told the coconuts would be coming to their store the next day, then I would just have to ask a guy to get them from the cooler at the back. Whoa!!! So soon! I did not expect that! I was expecting them in about 5 days if they could actually get those.

So off I went to the store on the afternoon of the second day after I made my request. Now they are sitting in a cooler, out in the garage (protected somehow from freezing by the insulation of the cooler.)

Now I am thinking of making them tomorrow into buko salad (although I originally intended to make a fruit salad) instead of just using some in pichi-pichi or cassava cake. My Filipino Christmas party will be on Sunday. My menu so far includes cassava cake, sapin-sapin, dinuguan at puto, bopis, escabecheng tilapia, beef lengua with onions and mushroom, and humba. Giveaways will be hopia, siopao, ensaymada, pan de coco, and lengua de gato plus some jams and pickles. I told my friends it would be potluck.

I hope you have a Hannaford store near you so you can do the same if you plan to make anything with more than 5 buko for Christmas or New Year. I love how they have accommodated my request and so fast too! They just made me into a loyal customer!

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