Monday, January 28, 2008

Yes, I am drooling as I type this out.

Due largely to the holidays and my new herb garden, I have renewed my interest in all things delicious. Today, I found this:

The all bacon burger made its online debut in the middle of 2007. Then the creator of this thing of total beauty took it a step further and found a way to stuff it with cheese and DEEP FRY the sucker. And now, thanks to writer and major foodie Adam Kuban, you too can recreate this sinfully delicious delight at home.

For the full recipe check this out

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Pantry Cheffing: Brown Sugar and Rum Bananas

I grew up with fried banana served with sugar for merienda. Later on, I tweaked the 'recipe' a little to add more flavor. I usually make this when I'm in charge of bringing dessert to parties but without the rum. Then my friend Venus made it with rum once at a party and I've been sold on that version ever since. I've done a bit of tweaking to her recipe and came up with this.

Unfortunately, I often cook by taste so I dont have actual measurements for the ingredients. Heehee.

Saba bananas
Brown Sugar
Rum (preferably Tanduay)
Cinnamon (sticks or powder)
Lemon Juice

Slice bananas lengthwise.
Combine Rum, Lemon Juice, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon in a deep bowl.
Soak bananas in liquid for 15 minutes.

In a heated pan, melt butter and introduce banana slices. Pour rum-sugar liquid into pan as needed to heighten flavor. Once slices have turned a golden brown, remove from pan. Place on paper towels in futile effort to absorb excess oil.

Best served warm with a side of French Vanilla ice cream and eaten in a hammock overlooking a pristine beach while the smell of frangipani blossoms wafts in the air. Or you know, for merienda on a Sunday afternoon, whichever comes first.

Note: you can also grill the banana slices in another effort to make it a healthier version of this rum soaked, sugar packed pottasium filled treat.

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Pantry Cheffing: Shop Boys' Chicken

Cybs introduced me to the term 'pantry chef' many moons ago. It banks on going through what you have in your kitchen and inventing a dish. Some are total duds. Others become staples at potluck dinners.

This is an impromptu meal I invented for Jun's Despedida and it is super easy to make.

Goes great with olive oil-based pasta or with dry brown rice. Best eaten with friends over cold drinks and amidst lots of good vibes.

Here we go:
- Chicken Breast Fillets, cut into strips or cubes.
-1 bottle Sweet Chili Sauce (I am partial to Jufran)
-2/3 bottle fresh honey (different varieties taste slightly different, I like Palawan honey)
- One bulb of garlic, rough chopped
- One inch of ginger root, rough chopped
- Chili powder to taste

-Marinate chicken in sweet chili sauce, honey and chili powder.
-Allow chicken to sit for at least half an hour.

-In a heated non-stick pan, stir fry garlic and ginger in light olive oil.
-Add chicken when garlic has started to brown.
-Coat the chicken pieces with chili-honey mixture for added flavor and color.
-Remove from heat when chicken is cooked through. (use a toothpick or fork to test)

Serve with love.

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Pantry Cheffing: Sundried Tomato Pesto

For Christmas this year, I thought I would make pasta again. Then I found out that a neighbor had sent over spaghetti and some green pesto. So I looked around the pantry and cobbled this together instead. And you know what? I think we have a new winner!

If you dont have the time to make your own pesto, you can always get the pre-made ones from the local grocery stores. I like the brand Bravo, P220 for a bottle. Really yummy.

- For Sundried Tomato Pesto

250gm sundried tomatoes
toasted pinenuts
2 cloves garlic (crushed)

2/3 cup shaved parmessan

150 mls olive oil

chopped basil

chopped parsley

salt to taste

pepper to taste

- One box All Purpose Cream
- 5 fillets spicy sardines, deboned and shredded
* Alternatively you can use shredded anchovies, tuna or chicken breast

For Sundried Tomato Pesto place all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and blend to a course paste. Gradually add your olive oil and blend to a smoother paste.
With a wire whisk, slowly add the all purpose cream and shredded sardines no longer lumpy. Keep adding cream to desired texture. Personally I like it a bit lumpy.

Spread on thin bread with some shaved pepper jack then toast, or use as a dip for chips. Or thin it out with more all purpose cream and use as a pasta sauce.
(When I do this, I like to shred some old queso de bola as a topping for a little zing)

Serve to friends and family members with a smile. :)

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Ten Hour Road Trip home

Gloomy Baler weekend for Aya's first despidida. Only one day of surf where it took me an hour to get out during the morning session. Moro, Aya, Dom and I were all on borrowed boards. JB didn't even have a board at all. Then Tin's new board came with faulty screws, which led to the immortal phrase of the weekend "All I need is a long screw." Hahahaha.

It took me close to half an hour to get to the line-up. But I refused to quit and finally made it through that one tricky section. Of course, by then I was too tired to do much more than sit there and rest. I did feel a tremendous amount of satisfaction though that I didn't just turn back and go have a coffee.

The afternoon session had a majority going to Cemento. Moro, Del, Raf Aerika and I stayed behind to surf the beach. I actually only got one wave that afternoon. Decent, not anything to brag about but still, fun enough to talk about post-sesh.

By sunset, it was raining haaaaard and we were all getting worried about the next day.

Sunday was pouring down rain and howling winds. So for the first time ever, we were out of Bay's Inn before lunch. And yet it still took us 10 freakin' hours to get to Manila. Why? Well... first there was the rickety bridge incident. As Philip drove his pick-up over the temporary timber bridge, they noticed that one plank was too small for the car. It was definitely going to buckle under the weight of the vehicle. So they stop right on the bridge, which really was just a bunch of large planks thrown together. The entire convoy held their collective breath as a "rescue plank" was found by some enterprising locals. Once Phil's car was over the river, the rest of followed with a mixture of speed and caution. We made it through the rest of the mountain with no incidents.

Then Raf's front tire bearing decided to call an early retirement. It took us two hours to find a mechanic. Then Philip's rear tire went flat and we had to make another roadside stop. Seriously, this was the longest trip home from Baler ever.

But I'm just glad nothing more adventurous happened to us (like landslides and getting swept away by the raging rivers). And that this crew knows how to roll mellow-like, with no high maintenance hissy fits or tantrums.

We are Surfer, even when there's hardly any surf to be had. (We are Surfer is a trademark of Paeng de Leon)

For photos:

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Monday, January 14, 2008

A birthday in three parts

Part 1: The traditional salubong with the Crew. This year's venue: La Maison. This year's unexpected theme: Playing with Frames (aka Chino! Stop it na!) As usual walang photos ng food cos we were all playing catch up... and picking on Jen kasi sabi ni Chino masungit daw sya that night.

Part 2: The traditional early morning wakey wakey then, much later on, family dinner. Not a lot of photos from part 2 cos we were eating like 90% of the time. You must try Hula Hula in Shang Mall. It's the best! It is also owned by Red Crab so they have that menu plus a lot of new items. I love, love, love the Lemongrass & Coconut seafood soup. Every sip was a bit of heaven. And they also have their own version of Nasi Goreng that goes perfectly with my personal version of culinary heaven: Crabs Lillian (steamed crab in a coconut and chili sauce) Yum! Then we spent the weekend in La Union with Mama, Ton, Sug, Moro, Gigi and Jason. I didn't surf much over the weekend but I also didn't mind much.

Part 3: OMG!!! Super thanks to Moro, Dom and Aya for planning a surprise party for me! I was totally oblivious to their planning... and even when I arrived earlier than all the guests, I still didnt have a single clue. Hahahaha. This is the first time anyone has thrown a surprise party for me and I was super duper stoked.

For photos:

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