Aglio Olio pasta…

Aglio Olio Pasta…

“Nothing brings people together like good food.”

I used to like this Aglio olio thing with pizzas. Then I learned, it can be done with pastas too.

So I tried making one at home. And it was a winner. It is healthy and for a change, we were able to veer away from the usual red sauce base kind of spaghetti.

aglio olio
My version!=)

This “for a change” menu is ideal for a family who loves pasta a lot. I can offer them variety. Carbonara, Marinara, the simple pasta we used to prepare when everyone is lazy to cook – sauteed tuna in olive oil and dried tomatoes, baked macaroni, lasagna and this one.

Below is the recipe:

Ingredients

– Salt & ground black pepper to taste
– 1 kilo spaghetti
– 1 bulb of garlic, all cloves minced
– 3/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil)
– 1 tablespoon of butter
– 1 bulb of white onions
– 1/2 kilo of black tiger prawns, medium size (remove the head)
– a pinch of red pepper flakes
– 2 tablespoon of chopped celery leaves
– 2 tablespoon of chopped celery stalks
– 2 tablespoon of chopped red and green bell pepper
– 1/2 cup of chopped button mushroom

Directions:

– Boil 2 liters of water and salt it
– Once it’s boiling, add the pasta, add 2 tablespoon of oil (just so not to allow them to go together once cooked)
– On the side, heat the remaining oil and butter
– Stir fry the prawn’s heads (for the juice) and remove them after the juice comes out
– Saute the garlic & onions, when the onions are already translucent add the rest of the ingredients
– This usually takes about 10 minutes to cook
– In a colander or big bowl, add the drained pasta and mix the sauce evenly
– Add freshly ground pepper before serving, it enhances the aroma
– Topping it with Parmesan cheese is an option

Isn’t it so easy? =)

Bon Appetit!

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My Childhood Summer Cooler

My Childhood Summer cooler

“Who said that we have to grow-up?” ~Walt Disney~

I hailed from a family who loves to eat. Breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner meals plays a major part of the activities we do together as I am an only child. Once my mom or my dad took charge of a specific meal, expect that I am next to either of them. I volunteer to share some labor. Most of which were labor of love. It’s been a hefty meal most of the time.

However, preparing snacks between meals is another. Here’s one I thoughtfully remember as sweet and unique too. Kinda laborious but it’s all worth it.

jel1
Milky and sweet…

Just sharing…

Ingredients

– 2 whole grated coconut (juice extract that can yield a liter)
– 1/8 kg of washed sugar
– 3 pcs. native gelly (color of your choice/ i used green here). Or the easier one to prepare, Jell-o/ 30oz. or Mr. Gulaman (local brand) is good as well.
– 1 medium bowl of pinipig (rice crispies)

Procedure

1. Extract the juice or milk of the 2 coconut, set aside in a huge pitcher

2. Drop the gelatin cut in cubes

3. Stir and add sugar (depeding on how sweet you want it)

4. Pour in goblets or cute glasses (for presntation purposes)

5. Top with rice crispies.

Voila!

jel2
And hints of crunchiness too..

I looked up to summers for these kind of things. Childhood memories brought to adulthood it is. Loved by the next generations as well! Thank you papa!

jel 3
Legacy of love…

My version of Classic Potato Salad…

My version of the Classic Potato Salad 

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like.” ~Mark Twain~

p4
Yum yum!

We take eating seriously. We do not just take it seriously. We enjoy it. We love it. If you can’t see it in my built, maybe because I’m naturally petite. And even if I don’t work-out nor exercise regularly. I walk a lot. I tend to our garden on my own. I clean our not so big house. And I keep a 7lbs. soft-weights on hand and lift it regularly. And… I dance a lot! Especially if no one is watching! Ahaha!

With all the food that my parents prepared during my childhood days, I can’t recall if they used to prepare potato salad. It’s either macaroni salad and/ or buko salad. Both of which I love as well. But potato salad, not even once. So having tried it (and loved it) from parties and restaurants. I tried to do it once and like with a magic wand, they loved it. I received a lot of fun feedbacks from my family, my friends my office mates. Some even asked for its’ recipe. These are inspirations that takes away the tiresomeness of preparing food. It makes the kitchen one of my favorite place in the house. The potato salad signatured by me became a “regular” in the house too.

p1
Indulgence..

Sharing this to all foodies out there. My version of the classic potato salad (just making it easier and better):

Ingredients:

– 1 kg. russet (or better known as classic potato) potato (peeled/ cut in cubes/ bite-size)
– bacon (Purefoods/ 5000gms.)
– cheddar cheese (Magnolia or Kraft/250gms.)
– mayonnaise 470ml from Lady’s Choice
(Hellman is best in abroad)
– pineapple chunks (Del monte/ 227gms.)
– celery stalks (4 medium stalks/ 12 inches long)
– onions (1 medium size red onions)
– parsley (to top)
– Nestle All purpose cream (in pouch/ 250ml.)
– salt and pepper

Procedure:

1. Boil the potato for less than 15 minutes or if you pierce it with a fork and the texture is already fluffy and each piece is soft to the bite, treat this a big deal as some results into a mashed potato if over-cooked (you don’t want it too mushy) and if not, the bites are too firm if under-cooked, you don’t want it crunchy. Make sure that the water is already boiling if you drop the potatoes.

Hint of over-cooked potatoes:
Granules are starting to be visible in the water

2. Fry the bacon (bits) – it is easier to slice them first while raw instead of slicing them when already fried
Note:
I put away half of it while frying to be tossed along the other ingredients. The other half that’s crunchier is for my bacon toppings

3. Cut cheese in cubes, prepare the chopped celery stalks, parsley and onions.

4. Drain the juice from the pineapple chunks.

5. When the potato is done. Put in a bowl, let it cool. Then pour the mayonnaise. Toss. Add the all-purpose cream. Toss. Make sure both are evenly distributed. Add the bacon, pineapple chunks. Toss. Add the onions, celery and cheese. Toss. Add iodized salt and ground pepper to taste. Toss.

6. Find a pretty bowl to serve it. Top with the crunchy bacon bits. The parsley is just for decorating purposes. Just so to enhance your presentation.

You can also use lettuce (iceberg variety) as base for your potato salad. Another tip to present it delightfully. It’s your call!

p3
Happy eating!

Enjoy! =)

My papa’s MORCON! <3

My papa’s morcon! ❤

“The best way to cheer yourself up, is to cheer up someone else.”

This is what I have been eating at Christmas morning since I was a child. I grew up in a clan who loves to eat. It might not be seen in our bodies, though some of us really grew bigger than the rest. And this is my favorite of all times. My papa’s morcon. With pride I must say that I have been blessed with a father who is very caring, selfless and is very expert in the kitchen, not to forget mentioning that he is an artist in the true essence of being one. You might recall the name Al Cabral. Yes, he is that. A local illustrator who have been popular due to several short stories in the comics industry during the 70s. And he is my papa. The one who patiently cooks the yummiest morcon for me. Anytime he can. Each time I asked for it. =)

Clearly, I remember that papa cooks more often than my mama and the one thing I definitely miss is his morcon. He went home three years ago, and his presence is still felt in our home, in all corners. I thought then, each time I see friends and families losing a loved-one that moving on takes time. It doesn’t. There’s no such thing as moving-on. That is my personal opinion on losing a loved-one. Please do not take it negatively. We do not move-on like totally forgetting the person, no, we continue living our lives even he’s no longer physically around, and remember him and all the special memories we shared together.  One of which is his special holiday dish – Morcon. And this is just one of his many specialties.

We often hold Barbecue parties almost every month, and my mother’s siblings will visit us and my cousins. My childhood is full of kilos of pork being marinated for days in time for that much awaited once a month Barbecue party. =)

He is an expert in cooking Leche flan too, Ube halaya, mechado, embotido, just name it. He can cook them, and he cooks good! As a matter of fact, all of my father’s siblings has their own specialty. They were trained to be that because as I’ve said the clan were all foodie! I even have an Aunt who bakes the best Brazo de mercedez I’ve tried. I guess we can consume the whole log like we’re starving kids. (–,) The minute we smell the scent of cooked batter patiently done by Mama La, as everyone calls her. We run to the kitchen fast to check if the baking is finished already. I missed childhood days.

They are a brood of kitchen enthusiasts from Pampanga. The home towner of this  province in the Philippines has always been recognized to be kitchen gurus. And I guess it was somehow transferred to generations like a legacy.

Enough of my chattering. I am now sharing with you the recipe of this famous morcon. =)

boil 2
While boiling…
boil
Patience is needed in the kitchen..
boiling
Almost done..

Beef morcon recipe:

Estimated at 2 hours to cook.

Ingredients:

– 1 kilo beef yields at least 3 to 4 rolls (please ask the vendor to slice it thinly and mention that you’ll use it for morcon)

– 1/4 pork liver

– 2 pcs. chorizo de bilbao

– 1/4 kg. pork fat (cut into strips)

– 4 eggs (scrambled each as base of all the ingredients if yield of 1 kilo beef are 4 rolls, 3 eggs if 3 rolls)

– 100 grams of cheddar cheese (strips)

– 1 big size green and red bell pepper (strips)

– 2 large carrots (strips)

– 3 pcs. jumbo hotdog (strips)

– 20 pcs. celery stalks (3 inches length)

– 2 mini box of Sun maid raisins

– 50 grams of pickle relish

– Butter to spread on the beef

– 1 kg. tomatoes (chopped or osterized without the seeds)

– 1 pack 200 gms. tomato sauce

– 1/2 cup of soy sauce

– 1/2 cup of Kikkoman soy sauce

– 3 onions, chopped

– 1 head of garlic, chopped

– 2 pcs. bay leaf (big ones)

– 1 tsp. ground black pepper (better if freshly ground)

– salt and sugar to taste

– 2 cups of water

– string to secure the beef roll

Procedure:

BEEF ROLL

– spread the beef on a huge tray

– spread it with butter

– place the scrambled egg

– top with pickle relish and raisins

– arrange the fillings (all those in strips) accordingly (chorizo de bilbao, hotdogs, carrots, bell pepper, cheese, pork fat strips, celery stalks) for each beef strip

– carefully roll the meat and secure with threads (there is an edible thread for this if you want)

SAUCE 

– saute garlic, onion, tomatoes & chopped liver

– When all four are cooked already, pour the water and soy sauce

– let it boil for 5 minutes

– place the rolls to the sauce and let it simmer, be vigilant to turn them around from time to time

– this will take more than an hour depending on the softness of the beef (you can try its’ softness by piercing it with a fork or cut a small strip and taste it to your preference

– if it’s soft already, you can pour the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and the bay leaf

– when cooked already, let it cool, remove the thread, slice them and arrange on your prettiest plates. Some pour the sauce on top. I usually pour the sauce first on the plate and arrange the beef rolls. Both works well. It’s all up to you. =)

morcon
Some of our Christmases with papa..

morcon

This seems to be the hit every Christmas dinners that we’ve had all our lives. Everyone’s favorite! As we usually say, it is the star of the “Noche buena” feast! =)

Happy eating! ❤

My Purple Yam…

MY PURPLE YAM

Take your pleasure seriously. – Charles Eames

I am not a chef. I did not take up HRM during college nor courses like Nutrition or things related to the Culinary arts. Yet I was exposed to the gastronomic know-how of my papa who hailed from Pampanga. It is a town in our country that is very famous for their delicacies, sumptuous delectable recipes aged old to perfection and innovation through the years. my mom on the other hand hailed from Cavite and had been a big influence as well in my style of cooking. I myself is awed that I do not need enumerated recipe to complete a meal. Just by tasting it, I can cook it in no time. I’ve learned to cook and have some recipes done almost perfectly. I have a couple of recipe books (most of them were gifts) and I just used them as a guide. I am sharing one:

THE FAMILY’S PURPLE YAM

Halaya or ube or purple yam is an old dessert which is never not included on the list of banquets during modern parties. But try to go to fiestas (Town festivals) and it takes center stage! It takes time and patience and lots of patience again to perfect it.

For 2 kgs. of taro, It needs:

– 1 kg. white sugar

– 1 kg. brown sugar

– 2 big cans of evaporated milk

– butter to taste

– grated cheese to taste

– 1 box of cream

The 2 kgs. of Taro would need grinding. Place in a heated wok and mix the 2 cans of milk. Allow to boil and stir continuously. This would normally take hours until it is thick. The sugar, butter and cheese can be mixed anytime. It would like a lava so be careful not to get too near while stirring. =)

You will also be needing an arm strong of love while cooking it. As it gets thicker, it gets more difficult to stir, you gotta need someone to assist you to finish it up. There was once, I experienced doing it all by myself and I would not want to do it anymore! Ahaha!

ube 1
Brown sugar..

In Baguio, they boast the purple yam prepared by the Nuns of Good shepherd. When you get there, anticipate the long queue. It is how people loved that purple yam. It is a softer version. They sell that in Tagaytay too!

Here’s our family’s version (transferred by my Grandma to my papa (and his siblings) and my papa to me):

ube 2
It needs butter too..

We don’t want it soft like those we get in bottled containers. Though secretly, I like it better. Ehehe!

halaya
Our chewy purple yum!

Ours is more solid, thicker and almost like a candy, it is also chewy. You can also wrap them in little portions like candies. Very good as dessert after meals that are oily and saucy, like saving your fork as the best for last.

Happy cooking!