Monday, April 30, 2012

Graduation Quick Cooking | Gensan Tuna Kinilaw


Inside that styropor package from General Santos City were packs of frozen high-grade tuna cubes. I knew already what to do with this tuna, and the first one that came in my mind was, of course, kinilaw. And the Kinilaw the way I wanted.

 
After dinner in Hukad, I ran to the supermarket to buy the needed “panakot” (spices) since I do not stock a lot at home. I bought some onions, ginger, green tomatoes and chillies. Unfortunately, the star of all spices Calamansi, the local lime was out of stock. Kinilaw will never be a kinilaw without this ubiquitous small sour fruit. Instead, I bought some lemon as a replacement. Back in Hukad, I secretly packed some unused Calamansi in our sawsawan. This can do the trick as long as there is a few calamansi.

How to prepare:

1 regular pack high-grade tuna cubes, thawed in running tap water still covered with the plastic packaging
1 large size red onion, diced
1 large size ginger, diced
3 Tbsp calamansi juice
Juice of one small size lemon
Vinegar for washing
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combination of sliced cucumber, green mangoes and raddish to add texture and flavor
Chillies (preference)

Graduation Quick Cooking | Sinigang na Hipon sa Kamias


I left my carrot cake to cook on its own without my presence as Joseph and I need to hurry up and pick up Mamsi and Kuya at Mactan Cebu International Airport – they were my two guests who will grace my graduation day later on that day. It was supposedly the entourage of my entire family here in Cebu, but because UP Cebu changed in a last minute the graduation schedule, I can only afford to re-book the tickets of my mom and my eldest sibling. I was glad to see Mamsi back here in Cebu after five years, and kuya after three years when he prepared for his BAR exam. And the best thing that made me excited was their pasalubong straight from General Santos City, wrapped in a small box of styropor container. All fine-grade sashimi tuna, tuna belly and frozen prawns! What more you can expect from the Tuna capital of this country? The small box was more than enough for the two of us (me and Joseph).



As we drove down home, I was already thinking on what dish and how best to prepare the fresh pasalubong. I couldn’t think of anything but home, and the foods we crave long time ago: grilled tuna belly, some sinigang na hipon, and of course the kinilaw.

The graduation rite ended in time for dinner. We dine in Hukad, as I wanted my mamsi and kuya to try good Cebuano food. We made sure not to order anything seafoods as we will indulge later with their pasalubong.

And so I cooked Sinigang na Hipon when we got back home in my pad. I wanted to sip a warm, soupy concoction of shrimps, tomatoes, raddish and water spinach, a sinigang the way I like it. Because sourness is the heart of sinigang, I made sure never to use easy to cook artificial flavor mixes (I’m sad most of the sinigang offered in restaurants are artificially flavored, very acidic). There was a Kamias tree jutting out of the fence in my pad, and just like the old days, I got some to sour my sinigang.

Here’s how to prepare:

8-10 cups of water
1 -1 ½ cup whole kamias (or Iba in local dialect)
3 medium size onions, quartered
1 medium size onion, sliced (or can be replaced with leeks)
 Fish Sauce (or table salt) and pepper to taste
1 medium size raddish, sliced diagonally
1 bunch of kangkong (water spinach)
1 medium bowl of prawns
5 pieces siling mahaba (espada)


1. Boil water, add sliced onions, tomatoes and the souring fruit. Boil in high heat until kamias is tender. Squeezed some kamias to get your desired sourness Add more kamias and simmer should you want a high level of sourness. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sourness of tomatoes and flavor of onions are mixed evenly.



2. Put raddish and simmer for 5 minutes. Then the kangkong leaves and simmer for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper.




3. Add the shrimps and simmer for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the shrimps just turned orange in color. Make sure not to overcook the shrimps.



4. Add during the last minute the siling mahaba. Serve hot.


Other than Kamias, I always prefer Siningang sa Sampalok (Tamarind). Back at home, if there's abundant or in season Santol or Bayabas, we can have sinigang out of it. In Iloilo and some Negros places, Batuan is used as souring agent, a tree common only in the Visayas region.

Sinigang, according to Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan in their book Memories of Philippine Kitchens (p12, 44), among adobo (vinegar-tart stew), kinilaw (relative of ceviche) and kare-kare are universal to all regions of the country and considered authentic Filipino food. They are eaten in daily basis by all classes in society and made with ingredients that naturally occur in our environment. Doreen Fernandez, a noted food critic, author and columnist who wrote extensively about Philippine food (wikipedia.org) considered sinigang the quintessential Filipino dish because it makes good use of the sour fruits that grow in the country (Memories of Philippine Kitchens, p45).

Here in Cebu, their “Tuwa” (short for "Tinuwa", Cebuano version for Tinola) is a bit sour because they add Kamias as the souring agent. Larang, a fish stew sinigang version of Cebuanos is sautéed first and simmered.

Note: Give your sinigang the respect they deserve, use only common fruits for souring, and not the artificial, MSG-laden one.

Carrot-Squash Walnut Cake | My first in baking

 
I never had my hand in mixing bowls and oven, as I was not exposed at home in baking. At home, we don’t have oven. My Papsi used to make puto out of grated cassava and coconut, cooked in between metal sheets with fire under and above it; he said he was baking a puto balanghoy, and that was my only vivid memory in baking. Breads and cakes are part of our daily life, but only in consuming those.


I bought a book in baking and pastry making a few months back; it was still a book up to now, though pages were read and re-read. I even bought some baking pans, measuring cups and spoons before I bought that book. I told myself: once I will move in my new pad in Liloan, I’ll make sure my kitchen will have the basic oven and that will be my grand time to try baking.

Days prior to my graduation in UP Cebu, I was handed by the owner of Happy Rooster a page that contains recipe on vegetarian cakes and cupcakes. Glancing on it, I made mental notes, and asked few questions from the culinary students who is handling the baking session. I found it simple, and even a 5-year old kid can do it. While I’m on my way home, I decided to treat myself with my favorite carrot cake. However this time, it will be me who will bake it. I finally decided to bake!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sooo Pinoy Food Food Trip Cebu Leg | Crimson Beach Resort’s Kalderetang Kanding nga may Tuno and Escabecheng Lapu-Lapu in Adobo Sauce

 
I was delighted when a fellow blogger Matud Nila invited me to join Unilever Food Solution's Sooo Pinoy Food Tour Cebu Leg. Though it was already on the second and the last batch, we still covered a number of Cebu's known hotels and restaurants. I have heard of Sooo Pinoy campaign in the past year but it was only this time I realized its purpose and importance: it aims to identify the best Pinoy dish across the country, discover more our diverse culinary culture and understand deeper the heart of Filipino Cuisine. This is all about pinoy food and  our pride as one nation.

The team went to Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City, for a one-of-a-kind Kalderetang Kanding and Escabecheng Lapu-Lapu treat. I love 'kanding' or goat dishes because of leaner meat and has low-cholesterol compared to pork and beef.

Kaldereta, a tomato-based goat stew - is a uniquely Filipino dish. Originally it uses chevon/mutton and served during special family occasions and fiesta celebrations. Pork, chicken and beef can be used as a variation whenever there is no available goat meat. The meat is simmered until it is tender, mixed with potatoes, carrots, liver and cream. This is one of the "borrowed" dish from Spanish era (it came from the Spanish word "caldera" means couldron according to wikipedia.org), but we made it uniquely our own through the years. For Cebuanos, goat meat is considered special, and are being offered in some specialty restaurants.

Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan came up with its own Cebuano version of Kaldereta, expertly prepared by their very own Chef de Partie Chef Lemuel Algabre. This dish is both a come-on and a turn-off if this is not properly prepared, as the goat meat has usually a strong and gamey flavor, so this was my point of consideration when eating kaldereta or any goat meat dishes.

When it was presented to us, it was artistically plated. It was both a feast on my eyes and in my palate as it never failed to disappoint my taste. The meat was tender and the creamy tomato flavor was just right, and long before I realized I was eating already the rice! Chef Lemuel, a true-blue Cebuano knows how to win all my senses and gave me a good dining experience. 

Oakridge Sunday Market | Great Produce. Great Foods.


Scroll down below and be amazed of what Oakridge Sunday Market has to offer. 

1. Fresh, direct from the farm, all-organic produce

Bright red, plump tomatoes! By just the color of these succulent fruit makes me drool! I can make pasta dishes with lots of fresh tomatoes, or preserve them for future use. P200.00 per kilo.
Fresh salad greens: you have two options, either you can buy the"baby" version (above) which you can still grow for a few more days (or weeks) and can be assured of its freshness, or the one below, in two varieties. Personally I preferred the red-colored one as its contrasting colors give life to your salad bowl.


Oakridge Sunday Market | Start your Herb Garden this summer!


My recent visit to Oakridge Sunday Market had made me wanting to buy all sorts of herbs that are available, albeit I still have some of those growing in my potted garden. My eyes were feasting on "healthy-looking" plants, since still I don't have some of those. The temptation to indulge in buying was strong but, praise heaven, I was in control. The main reasons why I was so ecstatic that Sunday morning were because of the variety of herbs one merchant is selling (there were plenty!), and the price was for me is acceptable compared to the ones  in Banilad Town Center. Another thing that prevented me was the fact that I may not need all of those, and the time I should spend in caring and rearing the plants. I hate to say the word 'busy' but that's the reason why I feel so guilty looking at my current state of my garden now, some are not properly nourished, and a few died.

Summer, though literally hot and humid, is still a good time to start your herb garden. All you need to do is assess what herbs you usually need, buy those, and grow them. We can place them under shaded bushes, or from time to time inside your balcony, or windows side. Water them frequently this time, and during rainy season, we can let them out in full sunshine and rain.

Oakridge Sunday Market is by far for me is offering the best selection of herbs, at a very affordable price. Pay a visit one of the Sundays of this month and grab some to grow.


Oregano is easy to grow, cuttings are used to propagate. This variety is a variegated one, so aside from using it in the kitchen, this can be a good ornamental plant. Go Greek or Mediterranean dishes should you intend to use oregano! This can be a good substitute or addition to pasta.


Tarragon has anise-like flavor and is usually used to flavor vinegars for salad dressings. Aside from culinary use, leaves boiled in water and drink as a tea can help calm the digestive tract. It grows easily through cuttings.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Oakridge Sunday Market | The newest weekend market in Cebu



Weekend market is beginning to invade Cebu City. If there is one who started it all, it’s Banilad Town Center Weekend Market sometime 2 years ago (see related post: Weekend Organics Bazaar at Banilad Town Center). I have seen how it transformed from mere table displays with limited varieties of offerings to what it is now-- a more organized with eclectic offerings of fresh organic produces in an enclosed mall setting. Zubuchon, Cebu’s famed lechon started on this weekend market. I was delighted to learn that Oakridge Business Park, a posh Retail and BPO community in AS Fortuna Street, Mandaue City will be having for the first time their weekend market.


Since Cook My Garden started blogging, weekend markets have been always on the list of must-to-go places, other than my comfort places the supermarkets and 'palengkes'. Weekend Markets, or community markets (or farmers market) as known outside our country are just your typical 'palengke', elevated with higher standards, that offers unique merchandise from organic produces, kitchen ingredients, to dry goods, and now as it evolves, a haven of home cooked meals and dishes.

I lived just within a kilometer radius from this park, so last Sunday, April 15, 2012, I was so eager to check this place that I went there early at 8:00 in the morning. The well-manicured park was packed with enough number of tents and it was carefully arranged in a circular fashion. It was not crowded as there were only enough merchants invited to display their goods and dishes. I was literally enjoying the feel of a market set in a green park –cemented pathways, great landscaping, with park tables and chairs for more than just al-fresco chit-chat and dining, and there were even something for the kids to enjoy: there were mats (banig) with throw pillows, clowns, stilt walkers, and one huge inflatable playhouse.

Sunday is always a family day, and it is being celebrated here in Oakridge Business Park. Moms can check on the fresh organic produces, Dads can eat on authentic home cooked meals and on ornamental plants. Anybody can join the cooking demo set at the center of the tented area. Kids can enjoy playing at the park and there are a lot of foods to keep them busy and amused. It’s a first in Cebu and Oakridge Business Park truly made the weekend market concept alive.


I was too early when I went to this place and wasn’t able to get photos of the crowd. I was even early than some of the exhibitors. The place was clean, and all are in order. There were only 10 tents for almost 20 exhibitors, with one central tent for the cooking demo. I love this kind of thing where merchants engaged with their customers through cooking demonstrations. I was informed that Chef Steve Shrimski of Canvass Bistro Gallery, a chic Australian restaurant in Ayala Terraces would do the cooking demo for the kids.


Weekend market is where we can buy some of the freshest, and to borrow a word from Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, “not tired” vegetables and other organic produces. There is always a premium for choosing healthy organic foods, it’s a bit expensive than the usual vegetables we bought in palengke, but we are assured it is  not laden with toxic chemicals, it is grown sustainably (if we are loving this earth) and we are helping farmers earn a living!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A visit in the garden of Eden | The Herb Garden


My heart belongs to the mountains and now, herbs. I was inspired to cook because of my fondness to herbs. It is the very reason why Eden Nature Park never failed to amuse me. My recent visit to that mountain resort was worth it: I have seen an organic garden and the other thing that almost blown me away was the rows and rows and rows of herbs…the first time I saw herbs grown organically in volume. Wow. Good thing the last pitstop was just near the garden, and the moment we stopped, I didn’t waste a time---off I went to the organic garden with so much excitement. I literally separated myself from the pack. While they were busy taking pictures probably for facebook, I was busy on the herbs. I examined carefully each plant one by one, since it was already an opportunity to observe those herbs in real life than in books and photos. I pinched a leaf, rubbed and took a moment to register each and every aroma of the herbs to my memory. I tasted some. I enjoyed the feeling of doing it. Ahhh...I love this place! I couldn’t imagine myself thinking of these herbs used in my recipes!

So much for that.

I’d like to share to you the photos of those herbs. Honestly, I learned something from that garden and I will tell you what:

1. Dill versus Fennel - Dill and Fennel are always mistakenly confused from each other, probably because of the leaf formation. However taking a closer look will spell a difference:
























Further, a blog Gardening Airy Fairies had clearly made distinction between the two:

Dill (Anethum graveolen) - Dill is found in Mediterranean regions and western Asia. Dill resembles fennel, but is shorter, with a single, easily uprooted hollow stem, grey-green leaves. Its leaves have a strong parsley-caraway smell. A pungent, cooling, aromatic herb that calms and tones the digestive system, controls infection, and has a diuretic effect. Both seeds and leaves are used in cooking, especially in Scandinavian cuisine, with eggs, fish, seafood and potatoes.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A visit in the garden of Eden | The salad garden


In one of my trips in Davao earlier this year, I made sure to come again at Eden’s Nature Park in Talomo, Davao City. Though quite far from the city center, it’s all worth another visit. This time, its no longer for leisure or event, but for one thing about this blog: gardening. I was not able to cover the entire mountain resort of 80 hectares, nestled in 3000 meters above sea level in my earlier trips, that’s why this time, it is worth spending time in this man-made forest park. Before, I have indulged in their lunch buffet of fresh garden salads handpicked in their organic garden with variety of self-concocted dressings and vinaigrette. This time, my priority is to visit that garden where those fresh salad greens and herbs came from.

I listed for a guided shuttle day tour, along with some friends since I don’t have much time to stay in the resort, as I need to go back to Cebu on that same day. Unfortunately along the way, there were only three pitstops for photo taking and the hydrophonic gardens as well as the organic garden were not included. I was a bit disappointed, but managed to get some photos while the shuttle paused for seconds in these places. As advised by their guide, guests are not allowed to enter the hydrophonic garden. None of the chefs and culinary students visiting the place were able to do that.

Here are some photos on how they grow their produce.























I have not known of hydrophonic technology being used by our farmers in Busay or in Mantalungon. This is something Cebuanos can learn so as to lessen our dependency on locally imported vegetables.






















These "greenhouse" structure serves many purpose: one is to diffuse sunlight that is directly hitting the plants, and protection from pest and other airborne diseases.
 





















I have an earlier posts about hydrophonics in Talisay City made by a graduating student for her thesis, see this link.

Deconstructing BINIGNIT | A Good Friday’s Treat


Binignit, a sweet and creamy sticky rice porridge is always synonymous to Holy Week and summer time vacations. Holy Thursdays and Good Fridays are never complete with this traditional pinoy merienda. In other parts of the country, they call it guinataan, but at home, we call it sampelot. It is a complete meal in itself, based mostly with starchy sticky rice, plantains, sweet potatoes and taro, a reason maybe why it is popular among Cebuanos who are fasting during the lent season.
I have vivid and fun childhood memories about Holy Week and Binignit at home. During this time of the year, all of us gather at home and my mom would always cook this staple, along with biko with rich latik, enough to feed us on Good Friday, a fasting day.
I woke up very early this morning to catch the sunrise at the Basilica Minore del Sto Nino. I have never tried visita iglesia during holy week, so I decided to try one this morning armed with my new dSLR camera. I decided to walk some more down south going to Carbon Public Market. The traffic-less streets seem walkable and inviting to wander that early morning. 

As expected, Carbon is packed with busy market goers. Interestingly, one street is lined with binignit staples – varieties of landang (tapioca), colorful sago, plantains, sweet potatoes, purple yam, taro (gabi), even the coconut graters that were used to be inside the stalls were now lining up the streets. I felt the festivity side of Good Friday. I missed home!


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