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Both my parents love to cook.  My mom was a Home Economics major in college and my dad learned how to cook from his mother.  When they were starting out in their married life and money was hard to come by, they turned to cooking to augment their income.  They would cook siopao and piaya (a Bacolod delicacy) to sell to their friends.

It was no surprise, therefore, that we were raised in the kitchen and taught how to cook at an early age.  Since my mom loved to bake, she taught me how to make cookies, cakes, and other goodies.  I didn't like making ulam, but I loved baking.  I was about 10 or 11 when my mom taught me how to make meringue, which I would sell to my classmates for P1 apiece.  I remember my sister and I would bake cookies almost every Saturday, and I had a childhood friend with whom I also cooked.  We would take turns baking in each other's homes.  While other kids were out playing patintero, we were in the house baking – and eating, of course – our goodies. 

My dad worked as an engineer in a sugar central where we also lived.  We had a huge lawn which was surrounded by many fruit bearing plants, such as santol, indian mango, and bananas.  There was a time that we had an unusually huge harvest of bananas (the green kind), and since we couldn't eat them all, my mom taught me how to make banana cake.

After my first few failed attempts, I finally got the recipe right, and pretty soon, I was cooking banana cake for birthdays, specialy occasions, and every time we had an oversupply of bananas.  Eventually, my siblings got tired of it, but my mom would always ask me to make banana cake.  Now, every time I see a banana cake, I am reminded of a happy childhood and the warmth of my mother's kitchen.

Here's the recipe to my banana cake:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking power

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup butter or margarine 

2/3 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (4-5 medium sized lakatan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Add shortening and half of the buttermilk.  (To prepare buttermilk, place 2 tsp. vinegar or calamansi juice in a measuring cup.  Add milk to make 2/3 cup.)  Mix until flour is moistened.  Add eggs, bananas, and other half of the buttermilk.  Beat until smooth.  Pour into greased and floured muffin pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until done.

Now that I have 2 kids of my own, I can't wait to teach them the joys of cooking… maybe in a few years when they become taller than the kitchen table.

Here’s the other dish I made for Hubby’s (belated) birthday dinner.

Roast Chicken with Mango-Kiwi Salsa

Ingredients

For the chicken:

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 whole chicken, quartered

For the mango-kiwi salsa:

2 mangoes, coarsely chopped

2 kiwi, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons, rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon minced wansuy leaves

Step 1.  Cook the chicken.

  • In a bowl, combine rosemary, turemeric, curry powder, salt and lemon juice.  Rub on the chicken and let stand for about one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degreed F.  Drain chicken from marinade and discard marinade.
  • Cook chicken about 25 to 30 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of the meat is pricked.  Serve with mango-kiwi salsa.

Step 2.  Make the salsa.

  • In mixing bowl, combine mangoes, kiwi, vinegar, ginger, and wansuy.  Mix well to combine. 
  • Refrigerate before serving.

Per serving:  153.3 calories, 20.9 grams protein, 5.8 grams carbohydrates, 5.5 grams fat, 34.1 mg sodium, 29.5 mg cholesterol

I didn’t really follow the recipe to the letter.  Instead of roasting the marinated chicken immediately, I cooked it first in the marinade with a little water over high heat.  I did this to make sure that the chicken would be thoroughly cooked and so that I could cut the roasting time.  When the chicken was half-cooked, I transfered it to a roasting dish and put it in the oven.  It turned out quite well.

For the salsa, try to choose mangoes that are slightly sweet and medium ripe so they retain their firmness when mixed with the rest of the ingredients.  That’s a tip from Food Magazine where I got this recipe.

Try it and tell me how your dish turned out. 🙂

I promised my friend Jenn I would post the recipes I tried last week.  Here’s the first one:

Oriental Pork in Lettuce Cups

Ingredients:

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. peanut oil

1/4 kg. pork fillets, cut into thin strips

1 onion, peeled and sliced

4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked, blanched, and sliced into strips

1/4 c. sliced button mushrooms

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

1 c. bean sprouts

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 shallots, chopped

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

2 tsp. cornstarch dispersed in 3 tbsp. water

4 tbsp. oyster sauce

4 tbsp. sweet sherry

8 small lettuce cups, washed and drained

Heat sesame and peanut oils in wok or frying pan.  Stir-fry the pork and cook over high heat for 5 minutes until browned.  Lower heat.

Add onions, mushrooms, carrot, sprouts, garlic, shallots, and ginger and cook, stirring over heat for 2 minutes longer.  Add cornstarch mixture.  Cook, stirring until mixture boils and thickens.  Add the remaining ingredients except lettuce cups.  Remove from heat and spoon into lettuce cups.  Serve immediately.

I cooked this again last night because it can be easily prepared.  Actually, the cooking time is much shorter than the time it takes to prepare all the ingredients (i.e., peeling, slicing, chopping).  There was some leftover tofu in the fridge which i added to the dish.  More protein!  Although dinner was a bit late last night, it was pretty satisfying… even Enzo ate more than his usual share. 🙂