Friday, August 26, 2011

Caroline's baby shower

My friend Carol had a baby shower last August 21. I made chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting that I tinted blue, yellow and green.

The day before the baby shower, we were busy chopping and cooking for the party. It was a good thing that I was still able to bake. I made 60 cupcakes. 50 for the party and 10 for personal consumption.

We'll see you in a couple of weeks JACOB :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pretty in Pink

My niece turned 6 months old today and to celebrate her monthly birthday I made moist chocolate cupcakes with baby pink buttercream frosting. I love the cupcake liners. Pink with white polkadots. Cuteness.

My little niece is not so little anymore. She looks like a little school girl all dolled up in pink. How time flies. Happy 6 mos birthday baby girl! May God shower you with blessings and keep you safe always. Tita loves you so much and can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pastel de Lengua

Sirens, not of the Greek mythology kind, but rather the kind that produced loud wailing sounds, greeted me as soon as I got out of the crowded airport and onto the busy city streets. During the drive back to my friend's house, I contemplated going back to the airport and hopping on the first plane back to the city up north.

I would be the first to admit that I was never enamored by the City of Angels. I am, however, smitten by the City by the Bay. You know, the place where one leaves his or her heart (or so I heard)? But I digress.

LA has been my home for quite some time now. Living here taught me how to be independent and has been a humbling experience for me. Although I've adjusted to life here in LA, being away from the comforts of home and family makes me homesick.

SJP's said, " The most important thing in life is family. There are days you love them, and others you don't. But in the end, they're the people you always come home to. Sometimes it's the family you're born into and sometimes it's the one you make for yourself." I am just grateful to my friend, as well as to my dad's friends, for taking me in and treating me like family. I've met and made new friends because of them. I've gone on road trips and shopping sprees and food adventures with them. I look forward to their family gatherings. Good company and a sampling of Tito Alex' kare kare or Manong Jake's tinola or Carol's beef caldereta or Tita Lurlina's pancit makes me a happy camper.

Oh I made pastel de lengua the other day. Meltingly tender ox tongue was cooked with mixed vegetables and cheese, topped with a golden pastry crust. It was a bit time consuming because I had to pressure cook the ox tongue until tender. Then I had to peel the outer white covering of the ox tongue once it got cool enough to handle. Then I had to do some sauteing and then baking. To do away with extra prepping of veggies, I went ahead and used frozen mixed vegetables. I also used a prepared pastry crust because I didn't have time to make one from scratch. This is a dish that's meant to be shared and eaten family style, although presentation-wise, I like serving it in white ramekins.

The sirens? They don't bother me anymore. In fact, they lull me to sleep. I've come to like L.A. but SF still has my heart.

Pastel de Lengua

1 ox tongue
2 onions , sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a pressure cooker , combine all ingredients and pressure cook until ox tongue is tender. Reserve broth and set aside. Let tongue cool. Peel the outer white covering of the ox tongue and slice diagonally , about 1/2 " thick. Set aside.

2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1 can button mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
2 cups ox tongue broth
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper to taste

ready made pie crust or frozen puff pastry

1 egg
2 tbsp milk

In a pan, heat butter and saute onions over low fire until onions are transparent. Add ox tongue and continue cooking for 5 mins. Add mushroom and flour. Stir quickly. Pour in broth, stirring to prevent sauce from getting lumpy. Add the vegetables, milk and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a baking dish and top with prepared pastry crust.

Combine egg and milk in a bowl and use to brush top of the pastry crust.

Bake in a 350F oven for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicken Curry with Basil and Mango Ginger Chutney

After three months, I'm back to blogging!

Hello cuppycreme. I've missed you so.

Life got in the way.

Yes, I have a real life and for the past three months it took me for a crazy ride. I've realized that although it's not as colorful as I want it to be, it's not wanting in blessings.

Oh I made dinner tonight. The second time in three months that I cooked dinner.

I opened the pantry and saw an unopened pack of green curry paste and mango ginger chutney from Trader Joe's and decided to make a thai style chicken curry with basil.

It's simple and fast and tasty and spicy and ready in an El Ay minute (hehe!) I kid. It took me around 20 minutes to make it, prep time included.

It's real life dinner for real people.


I wish I could make YOU dinner.
For real.


1 19 oz can coconut milk, divided
2 teaspoons green curry paste (use less if you don't want it spicy)
1 bell pepper cut into wide strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless chicken thighs cut into huge chunks
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 cup coconut milk and curry paste to a boil over medium high heat. Make sure to whisk constantly. Add bell pepper and onion. Saute for five minutes. Stir in chicken, remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Stir. Add basil and lime juice. Season with salt.

Serve hot with rice and mango ginger chutney.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pink & Blue Cupcakes for Bela

Last Feb 19, 2011, I officially became a tita (aunt). My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who she named Ysabela Ruth Florida ((Ruth and Florida are the names of Ysa's grandmothers) and who I love to bits.

This April 19 she's turning two months old and to celebrate I made some cupcakes.
I made some moist chocolate cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting and some carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting which I tinted blue using some gel food coloring.
It's been a while since I made some cupcakes so I wasn't able to properly frost them and I was also in a hurry.

Happy 2nd month BELA! I love you!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ginisang Gulay - KCC March Challenge

It has been my practice for the past 3 - 4 years to give up meat for the entire Lenten Season. It meant giving up juicy delicious cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken from Ash Wednesday up to Easter Sunday.
This year I decided to start early (February 1 to be exact) in order to ween myself to an almost vegetarian fare ( I still consume seafood, eggs. milk and cheeses).
Being a carnivore (hah!) I don't have an arsenal of vegetarian recipes at my disposal, which is why i decided on making ginisang gulay. This dish, although simple in terms of preparation is bursting with the flavor of tomatoes, garlic and onions, and for someone who arrives late and still has to make dinner, (sometimes) this is a reliable go to dish.
I know the challenge said to prepare a vegetarian dish, but I just had to add shrimps. (Don't worry I only added like 8 pieces).

I decided to give up rice too (I replaced it with quinoa and couscous).
I was the only one at home to go on the rice free, pesco-ovo-vegetarian route and yes I feel envious whenever they chow down on yummy beef-pork-lamb-chicken but I'm sticking to my Lenten sacrifice. After all it's just gonna be a few more weeks :).


I didn't bother measuring and neither do I bother with what vegetable goes first.

Ginisang Gulay

garlic, minced
onions, sliced
tomatoes, chopped
fish sauce
veggies (to be honest, I grabbed a package of Trader Joe's mixed asian vegetable and did away with the sauce that came with it, although it also tasted good)
shrimps (just a handful)
oyster sauce (about 1 tsp)

In a pan, heat oil. Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes until fragrant and tomatoes are tender.
Add, pepper and fish sauce (start with a small amount. you can always adjust it.). Saute shrimps. Add the vegetable. Add a little water and the oyster sauce.
Adjust seasonings accordingly. Cover pan and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Serve with rice. (or in my case, quinoa)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sugpo sa Aligue at Gata - KCC February Challenge

Technically speaking, it's still February 28 here so I still made the February deadline albeit I am late yet again.
This month's theme stumped me completely as I had to come up with a Filipino dish using food with aphrodisiac properties. An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire and in the Philippines, balut and the notorious Soup No. 5 are just examples of foods that have aphrodisiac properties. Why? I don't know.
I initially wanted to do either a strawberry dessert or a fried banana dessert drizzled with chocolate and honey but I had a craving for anything cooked in gata (coconut milk) so I decided to go with prawns (an aphrodisiac) with crab fat and chilies (also an aphrodisiac) and coconut milk.
This is not an everyday fare. This dish is meant to be eaten once in a blue moon. Why? Because crab fat is not exactly the healthiest of food. But since it's Happy Hearts Month, let's make our hearts and appetites happy. lol!

Sugpo sa Aligue at Gata (Prawns In Crab Fat and Coconut Milk)

600 grams prawns or shrimps, whiskers trimmed, unpeeled
vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (or go loco and use an entire head of garlic)
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 onion, chopped
3-4 siling mahaba (green finger chilis), sliced
1 cup aligue or crab fat
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce ( if using thai fish sauce, you might need to add more)
juice of 1 lemon or 2-4 calamansi
sriracha (optional)
cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a skillet or pan that is big enough to accommodate the prawns. When the oil is hot, saute ginger, onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chilis and the aligue. Cook until the aligue softens and oil separates. Add coconut milk and continue to cook. Add fish sauce and lemon or calamansi to taste. Add sriracha if you want it spicier.
Add the prawns and remove from heat as soon as the prawns are cooked. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve hot with rice.

I added scallops to the dish too :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kare Kare - KCC January Theme

I joined Kulinarya Cooking Club October or November of last year and I've been meaning to joinfellow KCC members in their monthly kitchen adventures but life and work and the daily commute got in the way. Not to mention that I am, yet again, late in posting. But hey, better late than never!

This month's theme is "What Filipino Dish (savoury or sweet) would you like to have on your birthday?"

I celebrated my birthday in the earlier part of January and we had all you can eat Korean Barbecue but if I had my way, I'd ask my dad to cook my ultimate comfort food, Beef Pinapaitan or have my mom make her Pinoy Spaghetti . However, I've already posted those two dishes on my blog, so I decided on another favorite of mine, Kare Kare.

Kare Kare or oxtail and peanut stew is something that I learned to cook when I moved to this city. I learned by watching my uncle cook it for dinner and then added a couple of things I learned from my mom.

My version of kare kare is nothing like the authentic version where you have to use roasted peanuts and annatto seeds. I simply don't have the time. I use a kare kare mix (boo!) but I use it mostly to impart color not flavor. I also don't put banana blossom or puso ng saging because, well, I don't know how to prep it. Sometimes I use the cut of beef meant for stewing because oxtails are pretty expensive. One thing I do know is that Ludy's peanut butter can tramp Skippy's anytime!

So here is my version of Kare Kare (as always, I don't measure when I cook so adjust the seasonings to suit your taste).

1 package oxtail ( pre-packed when i buy it in the groceries)
tripe (i'd say about 1 - 1 1/2 lbs i used the what they call "honeycomb")
1/2 of an onion, sliced
2 T garlic, minced
1 - 1 1/2 cup peanut butter, or one bottle of Ludy's peanut butter
salt & pepper to taste
sugar to taste ( i don't add sugar when I use Ludy's PB)
1 pack Kare Kare mix ( i use mama sita)
2 chinese eggplants, sliced diagonally
green beans or string beans
pechay or bok choy

Wash the tripe and oxtail thoroughly. In a pot, combine the tripe and oxtail and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Boil for a few minutes then drain and rinse oxtail and tripe in cold water.
Place oxtail and tripe in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Pressure cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until oxtail and tripe are tender. (if the tripe is still tough, you can transfer the oxtail to another bowl and set those aside.) Once the tripe is tender, drain and cut into serving portions. Reserve the broth. You can dissolve the kare kare mix in it.

In a pan, saute onions and garlic. Add oxtail and tripe. Season SPARINGLY with salt and pepper.
Add the dissolved kare kare mix and the peanut butter. Adjust seasonings accordingly. Add sugar if you wish or more water if needed. Let it simmer.

In another pot, boil water. Add green beans and eggplants. When the eggplants are almost tender, add pechay or bok choy. Transfer vegetables to a bowl under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Then drain the vegetables and add to the stew.

Serve warm, with bagoong.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic Ginger Sesame Soy Dressing

Do you love fish? Do you want the freshest catch and pay a fraction of the cost you are paying at the grocery stores? Is it okay for you to wake up early on a Saturday morning, say 3 AM and drive all the way to the Port of Los Angeles? If you answered yes to all the questions then grab your jacket and car keys because I'm pretty sure you'd want to be there on an early Saturday morning when the San Pedro fish markets are open to the public.
Inside the pink building located at the end of 22nd Street, you will see a crowd of shoppers picking through boxes of live crabs, shrimps, lobsters, squid and fish. At the market you can find a variety of fish from mackerel to red snapper to sole to salmon to tuna. Some have been filleted, while some you can buy whole. Prices are astonishing low too. Imagine 89 cents a pound for squid? We were able to purchase a huge fillet of salmon and sole fillets for $5.00 each. You can't get that good a deal in your neighborhood grocery store. There are also bins of crushed ice for shoppers to pack their loot in for the drive home.
Okay back to cooking. Originally, I wanted to pan fry the fillets of sole and serve it with a creamy butter sauce but eventually decided on steaming the fillets for a change.
Steaming gave the fillets, a tender, delicate, melt in your mouth texture and balanced the asian flavors brought about by the other ingredients in the dish. If you have a huge steamer, then you don't have to cut the fillets, but if you don't, you can always slice it in half. I served the steamed fillets over a bed of Chinese cabbage that I sauteed in garlic, onions, ginger and a dash or two of oyster sauce.

Check out the recipe below. As with my other recipes, please feel free to adjust seasonings to your liking. I don't measure when I cook.
Oh and before I forget, the San Pedro Fish Market is open to the public every Saturday from 3:30AM to 7:00AM.

Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic Ginger Sesame Soy Dressing

For the Vegetable

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 of an onion, finely sliced
half a head of chinese cabbage or napa cabbage, washed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
dash or two of oyster sauce
pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the fillets
4 fish fillets, I used sole but you can use dory or any white fish fillets you have on hand. (Slice them in half if they wont fit in your steamer)
1/8 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine or Chinese cooking wine (I used mirin because thats what I had on hand)
3 tablespoons ginger, julienned
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 stalk green onion, julienned
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
cilantro for garnish

For the vegetable:

Heat oil in pan and add the ginger, onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the chopped cabbage then season with oyster sauce and pepper. Pour in water and cover pan for two to three minutes. Drain cabbage and transfer to a plate; Set aside.

For the fish:
Clean and wash the fish then pat dry. Arrange fillets on a plate that fits inside a steamer basket.
Add water, cooking wine and a tablespoon of soy sauce over fish and then top with half of the ginger. Place plate inside the steamer. Cook for about 8 mins or until fillets are tender and cooked properly.
Using a spatula, carefully remove the fillets from the steamer and place on top of the vegetable.
In a pan, heat oil and and saute ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the remaining soy sauce, and any remaining liquid left on the plate where you steamed your fish in and sesame oil. Add the green onions. Check seasoning. Add sugar if needed. When the ginger, garlic oil is hot, pour over the fish. Serve hot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Orange Chicken

For the longest time I've been meaning to drop by "THAT" restaurant that serves this particular dish but I keep fighting the urge to do so.
What? Am I dieting? Heavens no! (but I'm trying to eat smarter, though.) I'm trying my hardest to save up for a kitchen aid and upon checking the pantry and the fridge, I had all the ingredients to recreate the dish. (Yes stingy me is trying to save a buck or two.)
So off to the kitchen I went!
This is not exactly what you call "health food." I mean come on! It's fried chicken for crying out loud. Then it's drenched in a sweet, tangy, spicy sauce and served on a bed of white rice. No brown rice here. It's full carbs or nothing. So if you're looking for a healthy meal, I suggest you keep looking. I, on the other hand, will enjoy my dinner. If you want to give it a try, check out the recipe. (Please note that I do not measure the ingredients when I cook, so I kinda eyeballed the measurements in this dish.)

Orange Chicken

4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 to 7 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (i used brown sugar)
1/4 cup soy sauce ( i used low sodium)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp + 2 tsp cornstarch dispersed in
2 tbsp water

For the coating:

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp water
1 cup cornstarch
cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
Canola oil for deep frying.

In a saucepan, combine ginger, garlic, orange zest, pepper and cayenne. Add chicken broth, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir.
Measure out 3/4 cup of the marinade and put in a resealable bag and marinate chicken pieces 30 mins to 60 mins. (keep in fridge).
Heat remaining marinade until slightly thickened.
Add cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until sauce is translucent. Set aside.

Drain chicken pieces and pat dry.

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, cayenne, baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add water. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture then dredge in cornstarch mixture.
Deep fry the chicken pieces and transfer onto plates lined with paper towel.
Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve with rice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


(photo via: thenotebookdoodles )

Yes, 2011. Please be good to me.

I've been so busy during the past six months that I totally stopped blogging.
I moved:

1. to a different time zone
2. to a different city.
3. far from my family.


The thing I like about the move apart from making new friends, is learning to be really independent and summing up the courage to learn new things and take on the adventure that is life.

However, I really, really miss my family. I miss their hugs and kisses and laughter. I miss being with them which was why I spent an ample amount of time in the kitchen, cooking. It's something we love to do as a family. We love gathering around the table, having a good time while partaking of the food we prepared. So yeah when I feel sad, or when a wave of homesickness hits me, I hie off to the kitchen and prepare food that we used to enjoy :)

And I will be posting some pictures of the food I've prepared pretty soon.

So yes, 2011, please be a good year not only for my family and I, but for everyone else as well!