Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mais Con Yelo

Mais con yelo which literally means "corn with ice" is a kind of snack in the Philippines, which is a mixture of corn kernels, milk, sugar and ice. It is so easy and inexpensive to make, that's why it was one of the usual snacks prepared by my mother.

Whenever it's summer here in Texas, mais con yelo is one of those coolers that come into my mind. Some use canned whole corn kernels for their mais con yelo and some prefer cream style corn...but for me, there's nothing better than freshly scraped corn kernels from freshly boiled corn. I even add corn water in my mais con yelo for a richer corn flavor. But I think it really depends on how you want to enjoy it. If you prefer to spoon the corn and chew them with bits of shaved ice, then you should use whole corn kernels. But if you like your mais con yelo to be a plain beverage that you can drink from the glass when the ice has melted, cream style corn would be the better choice. My mother always served mais con yelo with whole corn kernels and crispy pinipig (something like rice crispies but is made from glutinous rice with no sugar added), so I grew up loving it as a snack and not as a drink. 

This is how my mom used to prepare mais con yelo for us...so simple, yet so delicious and refreshing!

I'm sharing this on Food Trip Fiday!

* Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups freshly scraped corn kernels from boiled corn on the cob (You can also use canned whole kernel corn)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 4 Tbsp sugar or 8 Tbsp condensed milk (or more depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 4 Tbsp corn water (water from boiling corn)
  • 4 Tbsp crispy pinipig or corn flakes (I didn't have both so the photos don't show any of the two)
  • 4 cups shaved ice

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Afritada

Two days after posting my Foodbuzz 24x24's Salo-salong Kamayan sa Tag-araw which included 3 additional recipe posts, I'm ready to share another Filipino recipe with you...

Chicken Afritada is a tomato based dish that Filipinos really love. This is another one of those dishes that we've adapted from Spanish Cuisine. Afritada came from the Spanish word "Fritada" which means fried. Chicken Afritada which is basically pan-fried chicken stew with tomato sauce has become a very popular dish in the Philippines with many regional variations. But chicken, potatoes and tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes are always the basic ingredients. I personally prefer using tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes, only because it's easier and quicker that way. :)


This version of Chicken Afritada that I'm going to share with you is the one I grew up eating. This is how my Nanay used to cook it, and for me, there's no better way than this. I've loved it since I was a child...and my daughters love it now...so it must be good! (^.^)


Ingredients:
  • 2 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup pineapple juice or juice from 1 lemon
  • 9 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves for marinade and 6 cloves for sautéing)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 medium-sized carrots, cubed
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ red or green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water (if you want it with more sauce)
  • salt and pepper

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: Salo-Salong Kamayan sa Tag-araw (Eating with Bare Hands in a Summer Get Together)

To us Filipinos (and I guess to everyone else), eating is one of our greatest passions...and like all other life’s pleasures, it must be enjoyed to the fullest. KAMAYAN (eating with bare hands) is the Filipinos' way of doing this!

In the Philippines, there are times when families and friends gather together for a feast (salo-salo) with certain kinds of food that call for kamayan such as boiled crabs or shrimps, grilled or fried fish, roasted pork or fried chicken, etc. When I got the "call to submission" email for June's Foodbuzz 24x24, this is the first thing that came into my mind. I thought a Kamayan themed dinner would be unique. With no second thoughts, I drafted my proposal and named it "Salo-Salong Kamayan sa Tag-araw" (Eating with Bare Hands in a Summer Get Together), with this as my proposed menu:


24x24 is Foodbuzz' amazing monthly event where 24 Featured Publishers are chosen to create 24 epic meal ideas that they will have to execute on the same day and post on their blog the next day. It was such a thrill for me to submit my proposal for the first time...and I'm truly honored that it was approved! What an excellent opportunity it is for someone like me, who's trying to promote the goodness and uniqueness of Filipino cuisine, to be able to recreate the most pleasurable way of eating for Filipinos! 

After receiving the proposal acceptance email from Foodbuzz, the first thing I did was to make my evite invitation with this as my chosen design:


Then came the planning. I really didn't worry too much about the food preparation because I knew that with the help of my very supportive husband, I could handle that well. What I was concerned about is how to make the setting more Filipiniana. At first I thought it would be hard but when I visited the nearby Asian store and found some items that I could use, I was relieved. I really didn't need a lot of props because SIMPLICITY is what Kamayan is all about! :)

Since the Pickled Green Papaya that will go with the fried tilapia tastes better when allowed to sit in the refrigerator for a longer time, Ryan made them last Wednesday. For the recipe, click here.  You should try it because it will definitely add life to your dull dishes like fried meat or fish!


The Buko(young coconut) Ice Candy, one of the desserts in my proposal, needs to be frozen overnight or longer to set well, so I made them last Thursday just to be sure that they set nicely. For the Buko Ice Candy recipe that will yield around 36 pieces, click here.


The day before the scheduled Kamayan party, I prepared the Lumpiang Shanghai which is the Filipino version of Egg Rolls with a combination of pork, shrimps and vegetables for filling. It's quite time consuming to make so I really had to do it ahead of time so I'll just worry about the frying on the day of the party. For the recipe, click here. I made 85 pieces egg rolls for the party.


I also marinated the pork belly for grilling. In the Philippines, most of the time, pork belly is simply sprinkled with salt before grilling. To add more flavor, I sprinkled each pork belly with salt and pepper and marinated them overnight in a mixture of lemon juice (from 2 pcs. lemons), 1/2 cup soy sauce, 4 Tbsp banana ketchup and minced garlic (1 head).


For my proposed drink, Sago't Gulaman, I also cooked the sago (tapioca pearls) and gulaman (jelly) the day before the party. Tapioca pearls take quite a long time to cook, and the gulaman takes time to set well, so it's just wise to cook them ahead.  For the complete procedure in preparing this very refreshing drink, click here.

I also cooked the blue crabs that I used for my Ginataang Alimasag at Hipon (Crabs and Shrimps in Coconut Milk) on Friday night. We bought them live from the Asian Store, and after Ryan killed and cleaned them, I just sprinkled them with salt and boiled them.


June 25 came and I'm glad that with the help of Ryan and my girls, everything turned out as I want it to be... 
Two tables were set to accommodate us and our adult guests. I put green table covers on them and topped them with banana leaves. I arrange the appetizers and main entrees in the center of the 2 tables, rice included of course!


The freshly fried Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Egg Rolls) as well as the Roasted Dried Anchovies were placed in bamboo plate holders which I covered with banana leaves that I cut in flower shapes. Instead of plain roasted dried anchovies, I thought of adding soy sauce, sugar and sesame seeds to it based from a recipe that I found on the internet. Though it tasted ok, I wasn't satisfied with the outcome so I prefer not to share the recipe with you.


I served the Ginataang Alimasag at Hipon (Crabs and Shrimps in Coconut Milk) in 2 large bowls which I then put in bamboo bowl holders to make it look Filipiniana. I wish I have "palayok" (clay pot) for this...but I don't, so I just contented myself with this presentation. For the complete recipe of this very flavorful seafood dish, Click here


For the dry entrees which are the Inihaw na Liempo at Maanghang na Sukang Sawsawan (Grilled Pork Belly with Spicy Vinegar Dip) and the Pritong Tilapia at Atsarang Papaya (Fried Tilapia with Pickled Green Papaya), I just arranged them on the banana leaves in such a way that they are accessible to everyone on all sides of the table.



The Sago't Gulaman drink as well as the Palitaw and Ice Candy for dessert were arranged on the island counter. Palitaw are small, flat, sweet rice cake which are traditionally made from malagkit (sticky rice) washed, soaked, and then ground and called galapong. It's not readily available here so I used glutinous rice flour instead. For the complete recipe, click here.


Our friends also brought some food which include spring rolls, ensaladang mangga (mango salad), mung bean dessert, KFC fried Chicken and Selecta Mango and Ube Ice Cream.


All of us seemed so excited to start our Kamayan Dinner...and when we did, everyone was so quiet at first...as if all we want is to just savor the food! "Sarap" (delicious) is all I could here! I was glad to see that even the non-Filipino husbands of our Filipina friends did Kamayan with us. And even the kids enjoyed eating with their bare hands. Though they ate on paper plates, they still did "kamayan"...they didn't use spoon and fork.


After dinner, we watched a movie on Netflix and then played Tong-its and In Between.

A truly great night with good food and wonderful friends...thanks so much to Foodbuzz for making this happen!

I'm so glad to share this very memorable night with you...hope you'll have a great time reading! (^.^)

Ginataang Alimasag at Hipon ( Blue Crabs and Shrimps in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Alimasag at Hipon (Blue Crabs and Shrimps in Coconut Milk) is my favorite way of cooking crabs and shrimps together. It is so easy to cook but produces a very flavorful seafood dish. I love it with lots of spinach or Bok Choi plus eggplant and pepper. It's always so irresistible for me to cook this whenever I find blue crabs at the Asian Store.

I included this dish in my proposed entrees for my Foodbuzz 24x24 Kamayan Dinner...and I'm telling you, it was a hit!


Ingredients:
  • 12 pc. crabs (cooked and cut into 2)
  • 1 lb. shrimps
  • 2 cans coconut cream
  • 6 heads pechay (Bok Choi) , washed and trimmed
  • 2 large eggplant, sliced diagonally
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered 
  • 2 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 1 head garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 4 pcs. anaheim pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste

Sago't Gulaman

Sago't Gulaman is a very popular refreshment in the Philippines. It is basically sago (tapioca pearls) and gulaman (jelly) in caramelized sugar with lots of ice. In restaurants, it is served in a tall, footed glass...and in the street stalls, it is ladled into plastic cups or plastic bags with straw. It can be an after-meal beverage-dessert, a snack or simply a drink. 


I made this drink for the first time last night for my Foodbuzz 24x24 Kamayan Dinner. Check it out and learn how to prepare this most favorite taste quencher in the Philippines...

Ingredients: 
  • 12 oz sago (tapioca pearls)
  • 1 bar agar-agar
  • 1 can grass jelly
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 8oz goya Piloncillo (brown sugar cane)
  • 12 cups water
  • lots of ice


Buko Ice Candy

Here's another ice candy flavor that you'll love...Buko (Young Coconut)! I made this for my Foodbuzz 24x24 Kamayan Dinner yesterday!


Check out this very refreshing summer treat!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded young coconut (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups coconut juice (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cans Nestle table cream
  • 2 cups milk


Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Que

Saging na Saba (Cardava Bananas) trees are common in the backyards of Filipino homes especially in provinces. I grew up with saging na saba as my frequent afternoon snack either in the form of turon (Banana Rolls) or  Banana Que, and sometimes, inihaw (Grilled Banana). These are all popular street food, so even during times when we didn't have saging na saba from our backyard, they were always readily available. My favorite is Banana Que which is deep fried saba with caramelized sugar coating in bamboo skewer. It is called such because like the Filipino Barbeque, it is on a bamboo skewer. But it is not grilled. The skewer is just for ease of handling and eating.


Just like me, Clarise and Cherlin love banana que...and we all like it with crispy sugar coating. So unlike my mother who used to add a little water on the caramelized sugar, I don't. Her way of cooking banana que results in a soft and smooth sugar coating. Mine has a crunchy texture.

I'm also sharing this on  Food Trip FridayFoodie Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Friday Potluck@EKat's Kitchen Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me Home.

Ingredients:
  • 4 Large Cardava Banana (not over ripe)
  • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw (this gives a better crunchy texture compared to regular brown sugar)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 bamboo skewers 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pork Steak

In the Philippines, Pork Steak or Pork Bistek which is a variation of Bistek Tagalog, is a favorite way of cooking pork chops. Though "pork steak" refers to the cut from pork shoulder blade roast, this dish doesn't necessarily use pork steaks. Filipinos commonly use pork loin chops but any other parts could be used. The only reason why pork  loin chops are preferred by Filipinos is that pork loin chops sold in the Philippines have fats and skin which add more flavor to the dish.  The dish became known as Pork Steak because it is cooked the same way as the Filipino Beef Steak which is commonly called "Bistek". The pork version then became popular with the name Pork Bistek.

I've loved Pork Bistek all my life. The best thing about this dish is it doesn't require much ingredients. With just soy sauce and kalamansi or lemon, you'll have a scrumptious pork chop dish. If you have onions, it would make it more flavorful. I love it with lots of onions, red and yellow combined.

I have a big bag of green beans in the refrigerator so when I cooked Pork Bistek last Monday, I thought of making green beans side dish. I simply reserved some sauce with onions from the Pork Bistek and simmer the trimmed green beans in it until cooked .


I'm sharing this on These Chicks Cook and What's Cooking Wednesday

Ingredients:
  • 6 pcs. pork chops
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • Lemon juice from 2 pcs. lemon
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into rings ( I used one red and 1 yellow)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Celebration with Deep Fried Stuffed Peppers and Homemade Avocado Ice Cream

After going to church yesterday, we went to Ozaka Sushi in Plano for lunch. For Japanese sushi buffets, this is probably the best here in the DFW area. They have a very large selection of seafood, sushi maki, sashimi, soups and hot plates. 


Just as always, we enjoyed the food. Their sushi is always fresh and well prepared -- good rice and appropriately sized slices of fish. The shabu-shabu and teppanyaki stations are both good. They also have a wide dessert selection which though not that Japanese, are so tasty. At Osaka, everything seems to be nicely done all the time. It's one of our favorite restaurants because of the great food, excellent service and awesome atmosphere! Ryan had a really satisfying Father's Day lunch! And so, I can say that Osaka truly provides great value for our money. 

After lunch, we went to watch Mr. Popper's Penguins which both Ryan and I, as well as the girls, loved. It is a very nice movie that shows the importance of family. It is absolutely delightful and has a good message that busy fathers should listen to. If you've got young kids, or even if you don't and you just want to enjoy a good laugh, you should go see this movie. I assure you you'll have a great time.

When we got home around 5pm, both Ryan and I still felt so full from lunch...so we agreed to just have something light for dinner. He asked me to make Fried Stuffed Peppers which we saw last Friday on Kankana'sSunshine and Smile. We found some Anaheim Peppers (which is what Kankana suggested to use) from the Asian Store last Saturday and we bought a dozen. I was planning to make Kankana's fried stuffed peppers today, but Ryan suddenly craved for it yesterday. Since I don't have the other ingredients yet, I just made a totally different filling. He wanted it with meat. Luckily, I had ground pork in the freezer, so that's what I used together with onions, garlic and ginger. I didn't have chickpea flour, so I used all purpose flour instead. Though it didn't turn as gorgeous looking as Kankana's version, it tasted good! It could have been better though if I had chickpea flour. But Ryan liked it and Clarise, who always says she hates pepper, ate 2 pieces. Anaheim peppers are so mild and are really good for stuffed peppers.


Check it out and let me know what you think. I say it's good as either appetizer or snack.

I'm sharing this on Mangia Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Hearth and Soul Hop Hub, Temp My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays At The Table, Delectables Tuesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

Ingredients:
  • 12 fresh anaheim peppers
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 1 medium –sized onion, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb -sized ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Vegetable oil

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Greetings and Oven Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers


HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE LOVING DADS OUT THERE!!! 
May God's blessings and guidance be with you always to help you be wonderful role models to your children every single day...

A real father is very rare….that’s why I've always felt so blessed to have one! No words can express how thankful I am to have a father who’s responsible, strong, smart and filled with love...a father who fulfills all his duties - to teach, to guide and to protect. I am the woman I am today because of the strong foundation he built. Now that I have my own family, I am so thankful to God for giving me a husband who's very much like my father. The first time Ryan held Clarise in his arms was so amazing to watch. I just quietly sat in the hospital bed watching them. Ryan is truly an  awesome dad! From the day Clarise was born until now that we already have 2 daughters, he wholeheartedly accepts and performs the role of a real father. Never was there a time when he fails Clarise and Cherlin. Each time I think of what a good father my husband is, I fall in love with him more. My father was one of the few great fathers and husbands of all time, and Ryan is right up there with him.
 

Today, I celebrate these two great men in my life. What a blessing it is to have the best father and husband in the world!


Happy Father's Day to my father, Ernesto Flores...and my husband, Ryan De Guzman! I love you both so much! 

If my father is here with us now in Texas, this is what I'll cook for him today. He loves anything with beef and pepper, so I'm sure he'll like this one. It was in April when I saw Chris of Gourmet Fashion's Oven Baked Stuffed Bell Pepper post. I got so intrigued by it and promised myself I gonna try making stuffed bell pepper myself. The other day, I got the chance to do it. Though I didn't follow Chris' recipe, I want to thank her for showing me through her post that making stuffed bell pepper isn't hard at all. 

Ryan and even the girls loved it! I'm sure it will be a hit to your family too! Just like what Chris said: "this is really so simple to make and ingredients can always be modified to whatever you happen to have on hand .. as long as the combination of ingredients works with the taste of the bell peppers you've got dinner in 30 minutes!"  

For Chris' recipe, click here

Here's mine. I'm sharing this on Savory Sunday and Yummy Sunday.

Ingredients:
  • 6 pcs. Red Bell Pepper
Filling:
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, cubed
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Mexican 4 cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Friday, June 17, 2011

Homemade Mango Ice Cream

I'm sure that you'll agree with me when I say that all of us have "growing up" memories of ice cream, and summer or not, it is everyone's favorite treat! I grew up in a country where tropical fruits grow in abundance, and ice cream flavors are adapted to whatever fruits are in season. I remember this ice cream company named Magnolia which sold special edition ice cream dubbed "Flavor of The Month," which as the name implies, is only sold for a month. I was always so excited to know what the next flavor would be, and I would see to it that my father buys it for me. When we moved to the US, I was kind of disappointed that I can't be able to eat the ice cream flavors that I grew up eating! Though there are American flavors that I love like the butter pecan, cookies 'n cream, neapolitan and strawberry, there are times when I crave for Filipino flavors like Avocado, Mais-Queso (Corn and Cheese), Mangga(Mango), Nangkasoy (Jackfruit & Cashew), Quezo Real (Cheese) and Ube Macapuno (Purple Yam and Coconut Sport).
I've long been wanting to make homemade ice cream, but I was thinking that it is so time consuming to do if you don't have an ice cream maker. When I saw the Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker that is currently on sale at Costco, I didn't even have second thoughts of buying it, and when I found Mexican mangoes at the Asian Store last Sunday, I knew that it's the first flavor that I gonna make. Though there are mango ice cream available here, I still miss the Filipino Mango Ice Cream which is made from Philippine Mangoes, most commonly known as Manila or Carabao mangoes, a variety similar to Mexican Ataulfo Mangoes except that they are sweeter and has less fibers inside making it a lot softer.
Between the two basic types of ice cream which are the Custard or French custard-style which as the name suggests, is made from a custard base and the Philadelphia also called "New York" or "American" style which contains no egg yolks and does not require cooking, I chose to do the latter which is less time consuming and easier to make. It was my first time to make ice cream, and though I have an ice cream maker, I prefer my first ice cream making experience to be as hassle free as possible.
I'm so glad that it turned out perfect! I'm excited with the thought that now, I can already make the other Filipino ice cream flavors that I love and terribly miss like the Avocado, Quezo Real and Ube Macapuno. 

I'm so happy to be sharing with you this very simple ice cream recipe that I came up with after checking on some homemade mango recipes online. This will be my entry to A Latte with OTT'A's June Iron Chef Challenge which is sponsored by Dean Foods & Kelsay Farms. The themed ingredient for this month is milk, which is still my family's favorite source of calcium. Not only does it provide more calcium per serving than any other food, it also contains other nutrients like lactose and vitamin D which increase calcium absorption. For my mango ice cream, I used Borden Milk, one of the products of Dean Foods which is one of the leading food and beverage companies in the United States and a European leader in branded soy foods and beverages. Since we got here in Texas in 2004, Borden has been our favorite brand. We've tried some other cheaper brands, but I can say that nothing compares to the taste of Borden Milk
I'm also sharing this on  Food Trip FridayFoodie Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Friday Potluck@EKat's Kitchen Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me Home and Simply Delish Saturday.

Ingredients:
  • 3 large mangoes, peeled, seed removed and cubed (approximately 2 cups)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed - approximately 2 Tbsp (Lemon is used to bring out the flavor of mango and other fruits)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup milk

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Halo-Halo (Mixed Fruits and Beans in Shaved Ice)

Halo-Halo, whose root word halo means "mix" in Filipino, is a traditional summer cooler in the Philippines. It is basically sweet preserves like kamote(sweet potato), langka(jackfruit), kidney beans, monggong pula(red mung beans), nata de coco(coconut gel), saging na saba(cardava banana), sago(tapioca pearls), sugar palm(kaong) and ube(purple yam) mixed together, filled with shaved ice and milk, topped with ice cream, leche flan or haleyang ube(purple yam jam) and sprinkled with rice crispies, ground nuts or coconut flakes. This refreshing treat is usually served in a tall, clear glass or bowl that shows it's colorful contents.

Though Halo-Halo is a favorite during summer when the weather is particularly hot and humid, it is eaten year round in the Philippines, and is available in most restaurants and fast food chains. My most favorite is that of Via Mare & Chowking...but I must say that nothing compares to homemade Halo-Halo.


What I like with homemade Halo-Halo, just like any other homemade food, is that you can always make it according to your taste, and you are always sure that you are using fresh ingredients. You can always opt for the bottled fruit preserves available in stores but as for me, I prefer cooking them myself. Though it takes lots of hours to cook beans and tapioca pearls, it's worth it. I can always cook the ingredients ahead of time anyway! 


Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup gulaman, cubed (cubed gelatin)
  • ½ cup minatamis na kamote (sweet potato in syrup)
  • ½ cup minatamis na langka (jackfuit in syrup)
  • ½ cup minatamis na saging na Saba (Cardava Banana in syrup)
  • ½ cup minatamis na sago (tapioca pearls in syrup)
Toppings:
  • 4 to 6 cups shaved ice
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 4 scoops halayang ube
  • ½ cup pinipig (rice crispies) or ground peanuts or roasted coconut flakes

Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Baklava

They say Filipinos have a sweet tooth...but who doesn't? I guess a lot of people whether Filipinos or not are born with it! I, for one, am a big fan of sweets (though hard candies are excluded)! I like chocolates, cakes, cookies and all sorts of pastries. But I don't like them too sweet. I always look for something with just the right amount of sweetness in it. 

When I first had Baklava years back at a friend's party, I liked it instantly. It was so new to me, and the crisp and the nuts in it made me kinda addicted to it. It's good that we can always get it from Costco. But it's way too sweet, that after a few times, we don't buy it that frequent anymore. Thinking that it's something complicated to make, I never dare to try it. I was so glad when I found a Baklava recipe from another blogger whose recipes I trust to be always good. I'm referring to Sandra of Sandra's Easy Cooking! I found her blog not so long ago...but within that short span of time, I came to admire her and the recipes she shares through her blog. When I saw her Homemade Sweet Baklava recipe, I realized that making homemade Baklava is pretty easy. 

I got the chance to try it last Wednesday. It came out really good though kinda too sweet for my family's taste buds, and a little soggy. Last Saturday, there was this potluck dinner party that we had to go to...and I thought of making Baklava again. But I used less sugar, just 1/8 cup for the nuts...and instead of adding ¼ cup sugar in the syrup, I didn't...I reduced the water to ½ cup and just let the honey work on the sweetness. It came out just perfect with just the right crisp and sweetness!



For the potluck party, I put each slice of Baklava in a cupcake liner for easy serving! It was a hit! Thanks so much to Sandra...I wouldn't have known how easy it is to make Baklava if not for her! For her original recipe, click here. Be sure to check her other recipes too...I tell you, they are all mouthwatering!


I'm sharing this on Savory SundaySweet Indulgences Sunday, Yummy Sunday, Mangia Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Hearth and Soul Hop Hub, Temp My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays At The Table, Delectables Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, These Chicks Cook and Cast Party Wednesday.
Ingredients:
  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1 Lb chopped mixed nuts
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate syrup for topping (optional)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baked Tahong (Baked Mussels)

Tahong (Mussels) is one shellfish I love (next to oysters that is)! Though back home, we seldom bought it because of the fear of red tide poisoning, which is very common in the Philippines when there is a high concentration of dinoflagellates (a type of algae that produces toxic substances that are poisonous to humans). When fishes and shellfishes eat dinoflagellates, they store the toxins of the algae in their digestive tract, making them dangerous to eat. I remember how careful my mom was in buying tahong. She would always wait for a month or two after the red tide warning had been lifted before she buys some.

I really like tahong in whatever way they are cooked, but my favorite is Baked Tahong. It is such a delightful appetizer that is so easy to make.


Most Baked Mussels that can be found in restaurants have mayonnaise in it. I prefer it with just cheese and bread crumbs. Whenever I make it at home, I add cream cheese and I use Panko bread crumbs. I really love the combination of creaminess and crunch that they add to my Baked Mussels! 

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs large tahong (mussels)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped (for garnishing)