Aug 25, 2011

Weekday Potluck #5: Calamari


I'm a big fan of calamari, those battered rings of squid coated in a rich batter and deep fried to a crisp. Served with rice, or on its own with a sweet-spicy vinegar dip, this simple dish is definitely a winner for both kids and adults alike. This yummy treat is from Mymy, the wonderful author of My Bric-a-Brac.

Here are the list of sponsors that you need to place at the end of your post if you wish to be included in the weekly link exchange:





Aug 24, 2011

Mercato Centrale: Ha Yuan's Chilled Taho


I'm a big fan of taho and soy milk. We used to have our own soy milk maker here at home, but it's not working anymore. Soy milk that's missing from our diet is tolerable, but to have our morning servings of hot, steaming cups of silken tofu glazed with sugar syrup and tapioca balls is something else. I wondered why our taho vendor has gone missing, turns out he was selling in the afternoons, carrying two large containers of flavored taho. 

On a recent project with City Delivery, they also sent me Manang's famous twice-fried chicken and Ha Yuan's chilled taho, aside from the Bale Dutung meal. What I love about this taho, though, that made me feature it is that it is so silky and cold, with a light sugar syrup that won't make you guilty when you indulge. Yes, I love pouring lots of arnibal (caramelized sugar) in my taho. And what's better is that their taho tastes sooo good with fruits because of the lighter syrup, and it makes a great and healthy afternoon snack!

Aug 18, 2011

Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe



Pineapple fried rice is Thai in origin. The sweetness of the pineapple chunks combines well with the wonderful aroma and flavor of the bell peppers, and the salty taste of soy sauce. It usually has a moderate amount of heat, but since I made this one from scratch on a lazy morning, no chilis for me. It's not as colorful as the ones made with bright red chilies and red bell peppers, but I can assure you, it really brightened up my day!

Here's my version of a Thai-inspired pineapple fried rice recipe, all made from what I could find in the kitchen. What's wonderful about this is that it doesn't have a strong or too savory flavor that would overpower the taste of whatever meat or fish dish you're having with it. It's mild and sweet, and it reminds me of our younger days in the province where we eat our meals with fresh ripe mango chunks mixed in with the rice.


Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe


Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1 pc large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • a few chopped scallions for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine the olive and sesame oils.
  2. In a wok, heat the oil. Saute the garlic, ginger, and bell pepper until fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked rice and pineapples. Stir until well mixed with the oil.
  4. Pour the soy sauce and oyster sauce and mix well until evenly distributed.
  5. Heat through, and top with chopped scallions.
  6. Serve hot.

Aug 17, 2011

Weekday Potluck #4: Fish and Pie


This week's Weekday Potluck schedule was delayed for two reasons, one was that I was sick and couldn't put it up, and that I wanted to move it closer to the weekend, where most of us including me indulge in so much food. :)

To start the party, here are three featured participants from last week:


Fish and Chips by Jenn of I Live To Eat!

Salmon Cakes by Pattie of Olla Podrida

and Buko (Coconut) Pie from Maiylah of Picture Clusters

I would like to make a few changes to the potluck, and make things a bit more interesting. We are going to have an automatic link exchange here at the potluck. Here is the rundown of the mechanics:

  • Each week, all the participants who submit their links to Weekday Potluck will be included in a list.
  • For each following week, those included in the previous week's list will be placed at the end of the post of each participant, so everyone can have their links exchanged.
  • So if you participated last week, you are included in the sponsors for this week. Those who do not include the link list at the end of their post will not be included in the list.
  • Participants for this week who follow the guidelines will be included in next week's sponsor list.
  • There's no more need to place the button at every post, instead the small link list will take its place.
  • This is a great opportunity to widen your scope of readers and boost your buzz. :) Let me know what you think :)
  • This is the test run, if everything goes smoothly, then the automatic link exchange will be a keeper. 
Here are the list of sponsors that you need to place at the end of your post:


    Aug 16, 2011

    SM Master Chefs 2011: Jonathan Chua



    SM Hypermarket has just reached its 10th anniversary, and to celebrate, well-known chefs are giving their Cooking Marathons and Demos live in many Hypermarket branches nationwide. From July to September, every week there will be cooking demos in different branches. To catch their wonderful events in your area, see the Cooking Marathon Schedule. Apart from the Cooking Marathon, they are also giving away a kitchen makeover to one lucky winner. SM Hypermarket will also be holding Supersized Cook-off Series, so watch out! With only a little more than a month to go, make sure you don't miss out on the culinary events SM Master Chefs have to offer.

    Yesterday's Cooking Marathon was held at SM Hypermarket in Sucat, Paranaque, with Chef Jonathan T. Chua on the spotlight. He finished Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management from De La Salle College St. Benilde, as well as a graduate of California Culinary Academy with the Associates Degree for Culinary Arts and Baking. Chef Jonathan started off the event with a little background of the sponsoring brand, San Miguel Food Corporation, and went off to the cooking demos of four dishes for today. There was audience participation, a Q&A throughout the demo, as well as raffle prizes for the participants.

    Here's a quick rundown of recipes featured on yesterday's event:


    Star Ranchero Rice 
    (click for recipe)


    (click for recipe)

    Aug 13, 2011

    Lunch in Crisostomo, Nuvali


    One of my previous posts was about a nice Gardenia Plant Tour with a group of happy bloggers. After the tour and the open forum with Gardenia's president Simplicio Umali Jr., Mr. Nestor Constancia and the staff, we headed on to Nuvali for a late lunch, as if the bread buffet wasn't filling enough. :) 



    Crisostomo gave me the impression of a restaurant serving upscale versions of classic and well-loved Filipino food. It has a rustic and homey feel to it, and unusually peaceful. It's something you would look for when trying to escape the bustling city life of Metro Manila. I was warned, though, that we were just lucky. In the evenings and on weekends, Nuvali is packed with a lot of people.



    For our appetizer, there was wonton soup and sinigang na sugpo. What I love about their wonton soup is that it wasn't salty. There's also crispy pata and the chicharon bulaklak below, which is so surprisingly not greasy. Of course, you can't take all the fat away, but compared to those sold in stalls by the mall, you'd probably consider it oil-free. Just crisp and light.



    Crisostomo's Tiagos Triumph, oysters topped with creamy spinach and bacon bits, is probably my favorite among the dishes served. The creamy spinach and bacon blended well with the slightly metallic taste of the oyster.



    Then there's the whole fried chicken dish named San Gabriel, which reminds me of Max's chicken. Crispy, savory skin and juicy, flavorful meat. Need I say more?



    Their San Lucas, is basically marinated tuna cheeks (they call it panga or jaw, but I beg to differ) that are grilled to perfection. It's good, but I've had a lot of tuna in my life and there's nothing too unique about this one.



    If you're looking for delicious laing dishes but you're not fond of the spicy taste, then you might as well have their Sinang con Laing. It's gabi leaves stewed in coconut milk. I would have loved it completely if it were a bit spicier, but despite lacking the spicy part of being a laing dish, it is actually yummy. 



    When I saw their Crazy Sisa Squid, I thought that this is something new to me, in the sense that I always had green mango salad, but this time with crispy strips of fried catfish.



    For dessert, we were served colorful flavored silvannas, churros on sticks with fondue, suman on sticks, and sesame banana spring rolls. I think the spring rolls need more sugar. :)



    I had the pandan-flavored one, which is really yummy, and a nice deviation from the usual chocolate or vanilla flavor.

    ]

    We had fun, and everything was yummy that our tummies were screaming already. :)

    Aug 10, 2011

    Sweet and Savory Tocino Fried Rice



    I'm not really fond of fried rice. That is, if we are talking about the greasy, bland, fried rice infused with tons of yellow food color and topped with a scant amount of garlic. While I always opt for plain rice whenever we eat out, at home it is quite different. Everyone loves waking up to a hearty breakfast, right? Well, in my case, they are the ones to wake up to that because I'm doing the cooking. But even on days like this, I sure loved cooking this sweet and sticky, savory tocino fried rice.

    If you happened to read my post regarding the SM Master Chefs event I attended, we were shown how to cook Tocino Chao Fan during the cooking marathon. I usually associate that name with Chowking, so I am vouching for fried rice instead. This is my take on the tocino fried rice, which is sort of a  mixed up and homey fried rice as opposed to Chef Cauilan's Tocino Chao Fan (photo below). The beauty of home-cooking is that you don't really have to make it look great when you're cooking so early in the morning.




    Sweet and Savory Tocino Fried Rice Recipe

    Serves 4
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 stalks leeks, chopped
    • 250 grams frozen mixed vegetables
    • 1 pack pork tocino, cooked in a little amount of water
    • 4 cups cooked rice
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup oyster sauce

    Cooking Directions

    1. Slice the cooked tocino into small pieces.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Saute garlic, then add leeks. Stir for a a few seconds.
    3. Add mixed vegetables, followed by the tocino.
    4. Stir in the salt and pepper.
    5. Add in the rice and mix well.
    6. Add the oyster sauce and mix until evenly seasoned.
    7. Pour in the beaten aggs and quickly mix to spread. Heat through for five more minutes.
    8. Serve hot.

    Pasko sa Agosto Mini Giveaway

    Pasko sa Agosto

    With the end of the year drawing near quite quickly, everyone's starting to get hyped for the Holiday Season. It usually starts during September, and the malls are quick to put up decorations and early Christmas sales to get shoppers in the mood of generosity.

    Pasko means Christmas in Filipino, and it has always been our tradition to scour every shopping mall and stores for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Pasko sa Agosto is a collection of giveaways all ending at August 31st, just in time for the start of early Christmas, started by SAHM Writes.

    To celebrate this blog's fruitful half of the year 2011, Sassy Chef is giving away something not conventional. I'm supposed to give away something related to food, but since some of the sponsored items haven't arrived yet, those will be for the next giveaway.

    Before the reveal, let me explain why I chose this. In the news, I have heard a lot of incidences wherein a child is always caught between two parents fighting. Some of the headlines report that someone in a relationship (read: married) was killed or hurt by the other because of an unhappy marriage. While it doesn't always end up this violently, I know many people who are having trouble with their marriages, so this would be a great gift to yourself or to a friend who needs something to boost their relationship.
    If you have a good relationship, this will stimulate you to grow deeper in love with each other. If you are struggling in your marriage relationship, this will provide hope by giving you biblical and practical help.

    These are two volumes of Mahal Ko Ang Aking Asawa, a talk held by Pastor Clem Guillermo. They are in VCD form, but my mom said she watched her copy on the DVD players and it is working well. She bought this in Canada, so I have no idea if they are sold here, and I believe it is in English.

    On to the mechanics:

    Mandatory:
    1. Like Sassy Chef on Facebook (see sidebar)
    2. Follow Sassy Chef on GFC, or if you're not a Google user, follow me on Twitter. (see sidebar)

    Optional:
    1. Click on the Google Plus One button on the floating bar to the left (+3 entries)
    2. Share this giveaway on Facebook, and tag Sassy Chef. (+1 entry)
    3. Share this giveaway on Twitter. (+1 entry)
    4. Blog about this giveaway (+5 entries)
     IMPORTANT: Leave a comment on this post with the following format:
    Name:
    FB Profile Link:
    GFC Username:


    Google Username Used in Plus One
    FB Post Link:
    Twitter Post Link:
    Blog post Link:
    This giveaway will end on August 31, 2011 along with the rest of Pasko sa Agosto Giveaways. Winners will be drawn via Random.org and announced the next day. Open to all with a Philippine address to ship to. If you are outside the country, you can join as long as you can have the prizes shipped to any Philippine address. :)

    Here are the other Pasko Sa Agosto Giveaways:

    1. SAHM Writes: Plants vs Zombies Plush Toys Giveaway
    2. My Painted Lips: Maybelline Products Giveaway
    3. Proud Mommy of Three: Kung Fu Panda Stuff Toy Giveaway
    4. Maldita.us – Maxi Dress Giveaway
    5. I Heart Contest: Kawaii Kiddie Stuff Giveaway
    6. The Misis Chronicles: Pink Fortune Accessories Giveaway
    7. Diva Fabulosa: Black-Gray Pearl Necklace & Earrings Set Giveaway
    8. Life of a Filipina Blogger: Ivory Necklace Giveaway
    9. Second Hand Philosophy: Tsumori Chisato Giveaway
    10. LEVYousa: Human Heart Nature Items Giveaway
    11. The Working Mom: Organic Soap Giveaway
    12. Hot Fun Stuff: Hot Bag Giveaway
    13. The Oblepias Family Blog: Baylis & Harding Giveaway
    14. Brown Pinay: $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway
    15. Late Bloomer Blog: Kikay Starter Kit Giveaway
    16. Certified Foodies: Sharon Maya Mixes Gift Pack Giveaway
    17. Just Another Pixel: Yahoo! Wall Clock Giveaway
    18. Ken Avenue: Yahoo! Wall Clock Giveaway
    19. The Smart Shopper: Faith Hill Collection Giveaway
    20. ZoWanderer: Fairy Minnie Disney Bag Giveaway
    21. Mom’s Ups and Downs: Beauty Products and Coin Purse Giveaway
    22. Women’s Central: Health is Wealth Giveaway
    23. Pinay in Germany: 15 Euros Giveaway
    24. Shygirl’s Own: All About Love CD Giveaway
    25. The Life Encounters: $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway
    26. The Food, The Placed and The Bad Trips: $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway
    27. Beauty Queen Gene: Olay Total Effects Extra Nourishing Body Wash Giveaway
    28. Panoramica: Accessories Giveaway
    29. Life According to Me: $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway
    Aug 9, 2011

    Weekday Potluck #3: Carbonara, Clam Soup and Beef Steak

    Last week's potluck has almost gone bad with a few issues with inLinks, but everything was resolved and gave way to the second week of weekday potluck. I still am trying to get the hang of hosting a meme, and I'll probably make a few changes with the schedule and other things to make it more convenient for the participants.

    While I love the idea of having an automatic link exchange for each participants, I still would need more opinion, and of course permission from BC Bloggers to incorporate their idea.  So, before anything else, here are the featured posts for last week:


    Jenn of I Live To Eat served up a creamy plate of yummy Carbonara. Everyone loves pasta, and this is one of my favorite pasta dishes!


    This Lemongrass-infused Clam Soup cooked by Margarita of Pinoy Kitchenette is definitely a great dish to have during the long and rainy days. Very yummy and comforting indeed!


    Rose of I Am No Fangirl whipped up a savory plate of Beef Steak for the potluck, and added some flavorful twist to it by infusing the dish with star anise. Yum!


    I made a few party rules for Weekday Potluck:
    • Link to your post page, not your homepage.
    • Link back to Sassy Chef in your blog post using the button below or any text link going to My Sassy Chef's homepage.

    • Visit and comment on at least one of the participants (optional, but it would make the party livelier)

    Plus watch out for a giveaway for Weekday Potluck participants that I am currently brewing. :)





    Aug 6, 2011

    How To Make Pasta



    They say freshly made pasta tastes better than store-bought, and they are definitely perfect for the recipes featured in Vermicelli -- Indian Pasta. Quite frankly I am no expert at making pasta, but my dad has been making them since his childhood in Ilocos, where he has probably made a lot more miki (a popular pasta in Ilocos) than he knows. Whenever he makes a batch of pasta I'm always helping out in small ways. If you're eager to get started on making the pasta, you can go to the recipe below this post. :)
    How To Make Pasta

    I got to roll out the dough using one end of the machine. You can probably roll it out by hand, but you have to cover and let the dough rest for a while before hand rolling so it won't spring back and get you all frustrated. After rolling out, let the dough dry out a bit and give a generous flouring, then it's ready to go through the cutter:

    How To Make Pasta

    After a few minutes of waiting, the sheets were slightly dry enough. I let one pass through the other cutter by mistake and got wider strips of pasta. It would probably pass for fettuccine or the local mami noodles. :)

    How To Make Pasta

    I know, they look horribly twisted there, but here's how they look like after the whole sheet has been cut:
    How To Make Pasta


    And the smaller-sized pasta:

    How To Make Pasta


    After many more kneading, rolling out and cutting, the pasta is up for air-drying. My dad's complaining that I'm slowing him down with all the photo-taking and playing around, but you know how they are, haha! :) Here's the proverbial written down recipe of the pasta he's been using:

    Homemade Pasta Recipe

    Ingredients:
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tbsp salt
    6 eggs
    2 tbsp vegetable oil

    Procedure:
    1. Sift the flour and salt together on a clean table or counter. 
    2. Make a well in the center of the flour, pour the oil and crack the eggs into the well.
    3. Using a fork, slowly beat the eggs and oil into the flour, working your way from the center outwards.
    4. Knead the dough until firm and dry. It should form a firm ball, but it shouldn't stick to your hands.
    5. If it's sticky, add more flour little by little as you knead, until it's no longer sticky.
    6. Divide the dough into small four-inch balls.
    7. Roll out a bit, then pass through the machine for an even thickness.
    8. Let dry for a minute or two, flour generously, then pass through the cutter.
    9. Air dry.

    Free Coffee to Boost Your Mojo


    Whether you're a blogger, a columnist, or a student racking your brains out to get your mojo flowing, it's always nice to say that there's always a place where you can find peace and stimulation to get those creative juices flowing. If you're like most city dwellers who just can't find your home conducive to thinking, either from the noise of a nagging relative or the crazy running around of kids who woke up extra early, McDonald's is opening its doors for you even at the wee time of 4 in the morning. And no, I am not compensated for this advertisement, if any of you are wondering.

    While coffee is a known stimulant, and lately there has been a surge of gimmicks to boost the sales of coffee, a hot, steaming mug can offer you a lot of comfort and the energy to finish that writing assignment or to improve that thesis you've spent sleepless nights trying to figure out. I've seen slimming coffees and coffees advertised to make your skin glow, among others. But it does come down to one thing, coffee has been a part of our lives here in the city that no matter how things go bad, we can always have a cup be it hot or iced.

    So here's how it goes:
    MECHANICS

    Get a free 8 oz. McCafe Premium Roast Coffee from August 8 to 12
    at any McDonald's breakfast store from 4:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

    HOW TO GET A COUPON

    Be on the lookout for the McDonald’s crew who will distribute the coupons in selected offices, universities, colleges, terminals, churches and even outside the McDonald’s stores nationwide starting August 5!

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    1. Present the "Free Coffee" coupon at any McDonald's breakfast store from
    4:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., from August 8 to 12 to get an 8oz McCafe Premium Roast Coffee.
    2. Only one (1) 8oz. McCafe Premium Roast Coffee can be claimed per coupon.
    No purchase requirement.
    3. Coupon will be surrendered at the counter upon redemption of the free coffee.
    Redemption will be within the promo period only. No coupon, no free coffee.