Feb 28, 2011

Lechon Pizza From Pizza Hut


I was placing Alex on a diet. As much as I have been trying to cut down the fats and calories from the meals I cook for us, the amount of food I prepare must have been too much because his tummy just keeps on getting a lot bigger than ever. But he hasn't been very happy with the smaller servings, and I guess every once in a while I can give him a treat. But the treat he asked for really made up for the inches he lost from his waist.

We went to Pizza Hut to order Lechon Pizza even if I relented it. Lechon is an extremely fatty dish. So while waiting I was warning him already of the consequences of this treat, which means more workout for us. Anyway, the Lechon Pizza was not as bad as I had imagined. Although it was a little bit oily, it was quite delicious.

Crisp pork skin just like in a freshly cooked lechon topped the pizza. At first I thought that it was all they can serve, since all I can see underneath was mozzarella cheese and drizzled lechon sauce. But when I got to slice it with the fork, juicy lechon meat was hiding under the sheet of melted cheese. No sign of solid fats around, so it can't be that bad, right?

It was really nice. I can't really distinguish if it's oil or lechon sauce, because it is really, really saucy. Yummy as well! For Php 495, it's quite a treat.

Feb 26, 2011

Barbecue Ribs Pizza, Pasta, and Chicken

BBQ Ribs Pan Pizza

We headed off to Pizza Hut for a nice afternoon meal. Since we were so tired from all the activities at school, neither Alex or I am the mood to choose where to eat. We passed by Pizza Hut and decided to order pizza. Somehow, pizza always makes our day a lot better. We never get tired of it, and Pizza Hut is becoming a favorite alongside Shakey's and Joey Pepperoni. I would have chosen Yellow Cab, but their pizza and meals are very salty for my taste. And I am trying to eat healthier despite many guilty food pleasures.

Mozzarella Sticks

We chose Pork BBQ Ribs for the pizza. On the side, I ordered a meal of New Orleans Chicken Wings with rice, and Mozarella Sticks. Alex had Spaghetti Bolognese with Meatballs. The New Orleans chicken wings were sticky and sweet, which went well with rice.

New Orleans Chicken Wings Meal

It's somehow like a sweet version of buffalo chicken wings. The Mozzarella Sticks were deep fried and breaded cheese sticks that made long strings when you bite and pull the fork away. We kept on pulling the sticks and laughing while eating. Those were childish moments but I had fun eating with Alex anyway.

 Spaghetti Bolognese with Meatballs
Feb 24, 2011

Freshly Picked From Silang, Cavite

Freshly picked and sliced pineapples on banana leaves

I haven't been able to cook or bake anything for some time now, simply because I am out on our Community Immersion in Silang, Cavite. We are supposed to conduct programs for the far-flung communities during this time, and we are of course required to live the life as a community member for three weeks.

Somehow between being homesick and sleeping in those hard bamboo beds the call papag, I saw how beautiful Silang really is. Our group was situated in the Sitios of Ilang-Ilang and Kasuyan, where we were adopted by our foster parents who live as farmers in the area. Here are some photos that I was able to take from our small trips to the bukid.

Newly harvested native corn cobs being sun-dried

Most of their crops were native corn cobs called yellow corn, which turn to a bright orange color when sun-dried. When ground. these are used to make native delicacies such as kalamay, as well as ground food for livestock and poultry. I tried using their wooden tool for separating kernels from cobs, and it was really fun and tiring to use!

Rows of pineapples ready for harvesting

A baby pineapple still red and small

Ready to pick!

Langka (Jackfruit) harvested from my foster parents' tree

                Wild Siling Labuyo           Old-Fashioned Stove using firewood

Newly cut banana bunches

Pang Ad-ad, wooden  tool used to separate dried kernels from cobs (Really fun to use!)

Kernels ready to be milled and ground
Feb 16, 2011

Traditional Bibingka With A Twist


Bibingka is a local rice cake available in the provinces of the Philippines. They are traditionally placed on banana leaves and cooked in a terracotta pot over live coals. From what I saw as a child, while the bibingka is cooked, it is covered with another banana leaf topped with live coals so that the top is also slightly charred and the whole cake is infused with the lovely aroma of toasted banana leaves.


I was never a fan of those bibingka sold here in Manila. Somehow they lack the distinct taste of the ones cooked in the provinces, where the bibinka explode with the flavors of freshly ground rice flour, newly churned butter, salted duck eggs, grated coconut, carabao's cheese, and toasted banana leaves. I passed by Bibingkinitan a few times already, and with curiosity I tried their version of the local treat. It was not as good as the real ones, but much better than their competitors. All of their bibingka are sold at Php 20 each.

And they also offer chocolate and strawberry-covered bibingka, which would surely win over the hearts of those picky eaters at home. When I brought two boxes of traditional and flavored bibingka yesterday, it was devoured within minutes. Alex loved it so much that we'll be buying more of these soon.

Feb 6, 2011

Deep Fried Crispy Pata (Pork Hock)


Due to many circumstances at home and school, I haven't been able to post and update for more than a month since the start of this year. There's the unsatisfactory PLDT MyDSL service, the router suddenly stopped working, and to top it all off, my laptop's hard disk crashed for no apparent reason, deleting even my backup partitions. And as stupid as it may sound, I don't have any external backup thanks to my lazy side.

Anyway, I'm back, and very much eager to start blogging again. The crispy pata in the photo may seem dry and a little burnt, but they are the exact opposite, actually. It just happened that the sky is extremely cloudy and dark, and the light on the dining table isn't suitable for photos, so I can't get the color right. But I assure you, it was definitely crisp on the outside, and juicy fall-off-the-bone tender. We had it for our Sunday brunch, and everyone was happy.

I used a pressure cooker first to ensure that the meat is tender, then deep-fried it to yummy perfection. I would have broiled it in the oven, but my dad had it chopped by the butchers in the supermarket. You can't broil those small pieces without turning them to stone, you know! Here's how I did it, but I revised the recipe for using a whole hock instead of chopped ones.

Ingredients:

1 large pork hock (pata ng baboy), preferrably whole
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon whole peppers (black peppercorns)
3 pieces dried bay leaves
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced in half
cooking oil for deep-frying

Procedure:
  1. Place the pork hock in the pressure cooker with all the ingredients, except the cooking oil. 
  2. Pour water until everything is submerged. Cook for 45 minutes or depending upon your pressure cooker's settings. Alternatively, you can use a casserole or large pan and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  3. Drain and cool the pork hock completely. If your have spare time, chill it for and additional 20 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan, or preheat the turbo broiler or oven alternatively.
  5. Once the oil starts smoking, place the pata skin side down and ensure that it is submerged. 
  6. Cook until golden brown and puffed on all sides.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Serve with vegetable salad or atchara.