May 30, 2011

Puto Bumbong Brings Back Memories

Puto Bumbong

Just yesterday, as we were about to go to the Sunday Mass after our review class, I grew hungry and saw the fishball stand. While Alex and I were waiting for the fish balls to fry, I spotted a cookware I used to see during the wee hours of the morning, back then when I was a kid, attending Simbang Gabi with my mom and lola. It was so nice to have something like this way before the holiday season, so I asked Alex to buy some for us. Sadly, my cam's battery was drained so I had to wait until we got home to take a photo.

It was then when I still had school, when I whined when they would wake me up three hours before my usual wake up time so we can attend the early mass. They say that when you get to complete them all, you can have your wish come true. I never completed the Simbang Gabi ever, so I don't know how true that was. The best part of the early mass was that right after, we would go to the local pugon bakery and get steaming hot, soft pan de sal, and I can choose from a variety of other goodies to bring to school. Those were the simple days, when I don't have much to think about unlike now.

So how was it? It was absolutely yummy!
May 26, 2011

Dad's, Saisaki, and Kamayan: Eat All You Can Buffet

As I have mentioned in my last Friday's post, I made a promise to Alex that if he keeps his grades up for the rest of our summer class, I would treat him to an eat-all-you-can lunch over at Dad's, Saisaki, and Kamayan in SM Megamall. Seeing how well he does in each of our evaluation exams and how compliant he is on the diet I made for him, I decided to give him the treat. 

I learned in our nutrition class that diets will only be successful if you give yourself (in this case, Alex) a treat or break once in a while. And that break should be adjacent to the diet you gave. I made Alex go on a low carb diet, and the only carbs he ever touched in this buffet were in his sushi platter you can see above. He let me taste the one with the kiwi on top, and oh my, it was so yummy. The sushi plate below is mine:

Though I'm a big fan of sushi and sashimi, I did not indulge too much on Saisaki's that day. I only got one small plate. but I did choose according to the poster they provided about what's in each sushi. The temaki sushi (cone-shaped) tastes a lot like California Maki. The others were a mixture of flavours, from sweet, to tart, to a blend of salty and tartness that one would only enjoy if you consume the sushi whole.

This is my plate from Kamayan which showcases a mix of seafood, pork, and vegetables. Alex was too busy eating so I didn't dare disturb him from consuming a ton of meat and veggies. What I can say was that from all I ate from Kamayan, the seafood dish above called Yamang Dagat was my favorite. It has clams, mussels, squid, and crab, all smothered in nice sweet-spicy sauce that would make you melt. 

I also took a small bowl of crisp crablets, and a light soy-vinegar sauce.

My plate from Dad's consist of skewered seafood, buttered vegetables to balance out the meat, a syrup-smothered Gyoza, ham roulade, bacon-wrapped beef, and crab cakes. I could say that everything was delicious, but Dad's dishes were sort of ordinary. Others were just roast beef, salads, and chicken. But I did love the bacon-wraps.

The photo above shows the Roast Lamb from Dad's, served with a nice mint dip which Alex claims tastes like toothpaste. I had it and it tastes great with the Lamb, but never mind eating it alone. The lamb roast was tough, which may be a product of hurried cooking. I wish I could show you more but I didn't want to ruin our date by snapping at each plate we took.

A quick snap before leaving. Entry to the Ultimate Buffet for Dad's, Saisaki, and Kamayan is worth Php 675 each not including drinks. I think we spent around Php 1600 including drinks.

May 22, 2011

When I'm Not a Chef


You know what's funny? It's simply hilarious to think how much of a socialite Filipinos can be. We have previously dominated Friendster and every single social network out there, and now we have taken over Facebook. I know, it can be pretty addicting, especially when you can get updates from everyone in your huge network of friends.

I am admittedly a huge fan of Facebook. Actually, I use it mostly for my personal life, connecting with my friends from school, and friends that I can't have the privilege of hanging out with anymore. There was once a time that I was so addicted to the games they host. I think it was back then when Pet Society was so famous still, and the other games were catchy. Now I have the impression that they are just making games for profit.

So when I am not in my kitchen surrounded by the wondrous aroma emanating from the oven, I can be seen outdoors, or simply lazing off in my bed with my laptop, clicking away.

May 19, 2011

Almond Oatmeal Cookies with Prunes

Almond Oatmeal Cookies with Prunes

When you have a boyfriend who is totally nuts about oatmeal cookies, you are sometimes obliged to bake a batch of some good ol' homemade ones to give him rewards for a job well done. We have been having summer classes, and so far his evaluation grades shot up from really low to the 4th place in the top ten, of course with a little bribing and a promise of an eat all you can buffet dinner at Dad's, Saisaki, and Kamayan. Why is that so much of a big deal for him? I put him on a diet recently, and he has been showing withdrawal symptoms. Haha.

Almond Oatmeal Cookies with Prunes

Anyway, these cookies are so good that he kept nibbling on them the whole day. The outside was crisp, and the insides are a bit chewy. I was supposed to bake chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies but I have to use up the almonds and prunes at home before they spoil in a month or so. Besides, prunes and almonds are a healthier option, and a yummier version of raisin oatmeal cookies.
May 15, 2011

The Secret

I got an email from Paula of BC Bloggers Secret sometime this week about a new feature of BC Bloggers that would amp up the edge of being a member. I haven't been very active lately because I had to prioritize certain things, but I guess I really wanted to make up for lost time. Anyway, she has a simple question for us to answer:

“What is one tool, tip, secret (or whatever it may be) that you have discovered  that has helped you in your blogging and would like to share to others?”

I have been blogging for a year now, and I must admit that it hasn't been a quick way to getting a little bit known. It may have been due to many months of inactivity that the friends I made during my first few months of blogging have thought I have retired from this. I started again early this year, hoping to bring my blog up to the next level.

But what I learned was that the numbers don't really matter. As long as you have even a few readers, you're in the right path. Sometimes I wonder where my readers came from, but I realized that they will come to you on their own if you can write passionately, talk about sensible things, and give something to your readers. Be it a new knowledge, the latest trends, some tips, great wordless photos, or in my case, recipes and thoughts about dining out. There has to be something in your post that says, "she isn't blogging for the sake of posting."

Oh, and if you really want to push things to their maximum potential, try to leave sensible comments and join memes with passion. Don't join memes with the thought, "free link exchange", but interact with the others who joined as well. This is only the second meme I joined, because I prefer to keep the quality of my posts at a rate I can provide well.
    May 14, 2011

    Alokon: Birch Flowers

    Alokon: Birch Flowers

    Having Ilocano parents means eating a lot of native dishes from Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Vigan. Oh, and a lot of vegetable dishes that have just entered the mainstream cuisine here in the metro. It has been a while before my dad cooked a dish from Alokon, more commonly known as birch tree flowers. Despite the similarity in appearance to the birch family, it is actually not a relative of the birch tree.  It has been widely available only to the provinces until a few years ago, and my dad seemed amused to find it in our local grocer. Other names for this vegetable/flower are alakon, alucon, baeg, and birch tree flowers.

    Alokon: Birch Flowers

    My mom in Canada said that they can only buy these in frozen form, all of which came all the way from Asia. Somehow, I don't like the idea of using frozen vegetables because it ruins their natural texture. The flowers above are supposedly freshly picked (within 24 hours) and newly delivered when my dad came across it, so he took the chance and bought the greens. Then he cooked an unfamiliar dish with alokon, pork and broccoli, which tasted so delicious that I missed going to Cagayan and Ilocos.

    May 5, 2011

    Army Navy Burgers

    Army Navy Burgers

    Oh, I know I'm not supposed to be addicted to burgers from fast foods, no matter how big, juicy, and tasty they are, but I just can't help it. Army Navy's burgers really hit the spot and has become my instant favorite in the burger joints across the metro. Of course, there's Crave Burger and others, but that's a different story. :)

    Whenever we pass by Army Navy in Taft Avenue, I always tell myself that burgers are greasy and unhealthy, no matter how mouthwatering they are. But Alex wanted to eat some huge burgers, and the nearest food shop we could find was this one. The place was small, but not crowded, with a few posters on the walls pertaining to their food and theme. It has that ambiance that no one will mind you eating sloppily.

    Army Navy Burgers

    So Alex got his request: The Bully Boy Burger with three patties (topmost photo), along with a side of Freedom Fries. You can see in the photo above that they did not skimp on the meat. The burger was huge, and I wondered how he managed to fit it in his mouth. What disappointed me was their Freedom Fries. No matter how delicious they are, the serving was so small that it wasn't even enough for one person! But they are quite good, reminds me of KFC's fries, but thinner. It was placed on what seemed like a four-inch cardboard box.

    Army Navy Burgers

    I got a Double Burger, since I was starving, but I was overwhelmed because it was as big as the Bully Boy Burger, only it has two patties instead of three. It was really good. Not too salty, and good. :) I ordered onion rings with it but I was even more disappointed with the serving size of the onion rings. They were crisp, not greasy at all, but a bit too thin for me. I like my onion rings thick on the inside.

    Army Navy Burgers

    Not to mention that they are bland. I know that there are condiments available at the counter, but I like my onion rings bare, and not even tasting the natural taste of onions, or any hint of good taste, is torture. Here's the same cardboard box size as the Freedom Fries, and the serving is too scanty.

    But I am willing to forgive this time. We will definitely go back again. :)

    May 4, 2011

    Better Than Ice Cream: Fro-yo for more than a decade

    Better Than Ice Cream: Fro-yo

    I have known frozen yogurt for more than a decade already, way back before those fro-yo shops and gelato stands became popular here in the Philippines. Although I must admit that I was addiced to every single  fro-yo shop that set up in the past few years, I can never forget how, as a 6-year-old child, I came to love and crave for pistachio ice cream.

    Better Than Ice Cream: Fro-yo

    I remember that it's inside a mini mall here in Las Pinas back then, near an entrance. I don't really remember which mall it is, but I know it in my heart that I have loved BTIC ever since. When I asked my sister about it, she agreed and told me that she was the one who introduced me to BTIC. She said she was in 6th grade then, and I was in Prep school.

    When we passed by BTIC in Robinsons Ermita, I begged Alex for a cone of yummy pistachio ice cream. Of course, he can't say no to me, can he? I got my ultimate love: Pistachio! Rich, nutty, and bursting with sweet pistachio goodness! 

     Alex got his favorite Dark Chocolate and Almonds flavor. It was the thickest choco froyo I have ever tasted, and its bittersweet! What can I say? I like them better than the other brands of Fro-yo.

    May 2, 2011

    Southern Style Fried Chicken Wings

    This style of cooking chicken was supposedly from the South American regions, and there's a lot of versions regarding the authentic way of cooking it. But from what I understand, it is a battered or floured chicken deep fried to golden perfection. Oh, and the outer coating is really crisp and it has that sounding crunch.

    What I love doing is that I soak the chicken pieces in salted milk for half an hour. It actually makes the chickens a lot tastier, and the meat juicer. Then I dredge in my flour-cornstarch mixture, and it turns out really good. It actually makes for a healthier (note: less sodium) alternative to those salty, MSG-filled processed "breading" or coating for chicken available in the grocery, and it can really satisfy everyone's craving for that crisp outer coating.

    Southern Fried Chicken Recipe


    10 chicken wings
    1 cup cold milk mixed with 2 tsp salt
    2 1/4 tsp salt
    2 tsp Spanish paprika
    2 tsp garlic powder
    2 tbsp ground black pepper
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1/2 cup flour

    1. Pierce chicken pieces with fork several times and soak in salted milk for 30 minutes.
    2. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and pepper together in a bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the spice mix and leave in the fridge for thirty more minutes.
    3. Combine the flour and cornstarch together in a bowl and mix well.
    4. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and coat well.
    5. Let sit for five to ten minutes to allow the coating to stick to the chicken.
    6. Heat oil in a deep pan, and deep fry chicken 2 to 3 pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown.
    7. Drain on paper towels.