Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She's My Kind of Cook!

Rachael Ray

We don't have cable TV at home, so whenever I had the chance to watch some cable shows, there are only three channels / shows I check: The Animal Planet, Discovery Living and Travel, and Rachael Ray on Lifestyle Network.

One time, the local network Studio 23 aired a few episodes of Rachael Ray, and that's when I started liking her. She's very bubbly, very pleasant to watch, and she makes cooking seem so easy to do. Too bad it was just a limited showing, and I admit her show was a big reason for me to wish we have cable TV, too.

While in Manila during my 14 day holiday with K, TV only had the Animal Planet... but when we went to Iloilo, I was so happy that the cable TV had the Lifestyle Network, and I was so happy that in one or two occasions, I was able to watch Rachael Ray. I wasn't able to watch the full of both episodes, but I am already happy that I was able to watch her cook.

She doesn't claim to be a chef; in one of her interviews, she happily said she is a cook, and I like her for that, because it makes normal people like me feel that good cooking doesn't always mean having a culinary degree. She really is my kind of cook, and I do hope a local network would air her show, even if it's from years back.

*** Jenn ***

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Eating - Grilled Chicken Breast

Welcome once again to Weekend Eating! If you're joining, please do take note of the obvious rules:
  • Post images of a food (or foods) you ate during the past weekend (Friday included). Please use only images that are your own.
  • Do include the code of the badge, which you can copy on the upper right part of this site.
  • Leave your link below once you're done making the post.
My share this week:

Grilled Chicken Breast

Last Saturday was my brother's birthday, and he cooked some pancit and grilled pork. He also marinated some chicken breast, and because he didn't grill the chicken meat, so for yesterday's lunch, I decided to grill it for our lunch, and I also cooked some shrimps as per mom's request.

The grilled chicken breast wasn't fancy - it was just that - grilled and served. I did prepare some chopped tomatoes and onions seasoned with kalamansi juice and bagoong balayan as partner for the meat. It was a simple lunch, but I enjoyed it. I am not fond of chicken breast, but because I was eating using my hands, I did take pleasure in eating it.

*** Jenn ***

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oil-Free Lumpiang Hubad

I noticed that I have been cooking and eating meat dishes, so as I flip my magazines looking for something to cook, I stumble upon this recipe and thought it would be a great dish to cook. This recipe is taken from the February 2009 issue of the FOOD Magazine.

Lumpiang Hubad

Oil-Free Lumpiang Hubad
{Serves 10}

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 piece jicama (singkamas), washed and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet potatoes (kamote)
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced carrots
  • 5 pieces green beans, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 1 pouch (10 grams) Mama Sita's pang-gisa mix
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Chinese parsley (kinchay)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic

How to Cook:
  • In a wok, combine water and singkamas. Bring to a boil and simmer until half-cooked. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, beans, cabbage and pang-gisa mix and stir well. Cover and cook briefly until the vegetables are tender.
  • Serve hot with lumpia sauce topped with Chinese parsley, toasted peanuts, and garlic.

Ingredients - Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

How to Cook:
  • In a small pan, caramelize sugar until it turns dark amber in color. Add water and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  • Add salt and soy sauce. Add the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens.
  • Serve with Lumpiang Hubad.

Needless to say, I had a great lunch that time. Eating crunchy vegetables with sweet-salty sauce was really wonderful, and the addition of minced garlic was good as well. The sauce was actually a good revelation for me - I liked it so much that even if I would just cook fishballs, I'd cook this sauce to pair with it. :)

This dish is good as is, now I am thinking of practicing in cooking crepes so I can add more texture to the dish.

*** Jenn ***

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ilocos Chichacorn

Continuing with the foods I bought from Vigan City...

One of the well known food pasalubong from the Ilocos is the Ilocos Chichacorn. What makes it different from the typical kornik is that the Ilocos Chichacorn is much easier to chew because the corn kernels are puffed. I am not sure if this is accurate, but if memory serves me correctly, apog is added to the glutinous white corn so that it will puff, just like how binatog is made.

I have tasted different versions of the Ilocos Chichacorn, including the famous Boy Bawang, but among all I have tasted, my favorite has to be one with the yellow colored bag, bearing the label - The Original Ilocos Chichacorn, made in Ilocos Sur.

Garlic Flavor

Garlic Flavor. The very first flavor I have tasted. I think it was in 2001 when I first tasted this one, thanks to my Aunt Julie. The garlic flavor has lots of garlic cloves in the bag, although I now find it quite salty, so whenever I eat it, I would put some in my hand and use my palm and fingers to shake off some of the salt and MSG. Even if this one is now saltier than how it was before, I still love it.

Cheese Flavor

Cheese Flavor. My sister's favorite. My sister really loves cheese-laden foods, and even then I didn't like the cheese chichacorn, but when I gave this one a taste, I did find it delicious. It wasn't as salty as I expected it to be, which made it really pleasurable to eat.

Sweet Flavor

Sweet Flavor. I was in elementary when I learned that there were sweet flavored korniks. I liked it then, and I always make it a point to buy a bag of sweet flavored chichacorn if I see one, but I don't know what happened with this particular bag that I wasn't really impressed. It's like eating the sweet corn junk food. I opened the bag before I went on a two-week holiday with K, and now that I just got back home, the container was still there. Seemed nobody in the family liked it either.

Before, there was only one flavor - the garlic one. As more and more companies come up with their own versions of the chichacorn with different flavors, the Original Ilocos Chichacorn has also released different flavors, too. These bags of chichacorn are sold for 35 pesos each or three bags for 100 pesos, and there are smaller bags for 25 pesos. I kinda regret buying the 3 for 100 ones... I should have went for the 25 pesos each so I can buy all of the flavors available. Other flavors I saw (which I didn't buy) were: Adobo-Garlic, Barbecue, and Hot & Spicy.

*** Jenn ***

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Not Really, But Close!

Taipan Grill - SM Fairview
New Annex Building
Belfast Avenue cor. Quirino Highway, Quezon City
29 March 2010

Since my mom had her eye operation, white hairs were showing, and she was itching to get it dyed. She could take a shower, shampoo her hair and all that, but one thing she can't do was to get her eyes wet with water or anything other than her eye drops. She asked if I could dye her hair (she's using the henna hair dye), but the problem was that neither one of us was willing to rinse it off after in the fears of getting some water into her eyes. She really wanted to get her hair done, so I came with her to the salon. Unfortunately, even if the salon uses hair dye made from organic plant products, the salon manager told mom it might be best not to do something just yet, and wait for a doctor consult before doing anything.

We took tita Lisa's gown with us, which mom used at a wedding, and because the gown can only be dry cleaned, we decided to just go straight to SM Fairview to leave the gown to the cleaners, shop for some grocery items, and to eat lunch as well. It was just the two of us, and we were about to just eat somewhere known to us, but as we walked, we saw this new food place, and as we read the leaflet handed to us, mom and I decided to give it a try.

Taipan Grill

The Taipan Grill is one of the new restaurants in the new annex building of SM City Fairview. It was a new name (which was often times a risk), and being neighbors with big names like Teriyaki Boy, Pancake House, Mexicali, and Tong Yang... it was the only food place in the area with foods below 150 pesos. Despite the foreign name, the foods served were quite Filipino.

Taipan Grill

This place of the mall always don't have much traffic, so when mom and I got there, the place was still quite bare, although somewhere in the middle of our lunch, people starting coming in as well. So many choices, but we went for:

Chicken Barbecue

Grilled Chicken Drumwing with Rice (p95). The chicken tasted okay, typical Pinoy style chicken barbecue... the only complaint was it was a bit small, but then again, given the price, it was good already. Mom ate the wing part, I got the drumstick.

Sizzling Boneless Bangus

Boneless Bangus with Rice (p135). Mom's choice, but we cut it in half so we both could eat it. The marinade was good, the dipping sauce that came with it was a great compliment, if only mom and I could eat using our hands, we would. It was great.

Buco Pandan

Buco Pandan (p35). Knowing the foods weren't that expensive, we decided to go for some desserts, and we chose the buco pandan. I did find it delicious - good mix of cream and condensed milk, although I could sense they used the condensed milk that wasn't too thick because it was a bit soupy. Still, both mom and I liked it.


Taipan Grill's slogan said, "The best charcoal grill in town." Was it really? Well, if town meant in the SM Fairview area, then maybe... but I really don't think it was the best. What I did love, though, was their condiments. I don't know if these were made exclusively for them, or one can buy it at a supermarket, but I did give each a taste, and it was great! I especially liked the barbecue sauce in roasted peanuts flavor. I have tasted this flavor in Reyes Barbecue, but I do find Taipan's less saltier, and much enjoyable to dip the meat into.

If you want to eat there, you can enter through the Belfast Avenue entrance of the mall. If you're coming from the main mall, you can walk straight to the end and turn left. Taipan Grill is located right next to Mexicali. As for other branches, I still don't know if there are. If you happen to know a different branch, please do update me so I can edit this article.

Affordable good food. That's what Taipan Grill's about, in my opinion. Will we eat there again? I don't see why not.

*** Jenn ***

ps - I have started the Weekend Eating meme... if you want to join, please do read the instructions HERE. Thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Eating - Gyoza

Last Saturday(20 Nov) afternoon, an unfortunate thing happened - the tripod where I put my camera tipped over and the camera dropped on the shores of Talipanan Beach (Puerto Galera), and the lens caught quite a lot of sand. I was able to take some out, but obviously, it started a damage in my camera. I can turn it off and on, but whenever I do, I would hear some crunchy sounds, and that I had to move the lens cap so I could capture pictures.

The next day, I realized I cannot zoom my camera in, because the movements in the lens made the sands doing more damage. Good thing, when K and I reached the airport (we had a flight to Iloilo), I still was able to capture images, including our lunch that day:


We decided to eat at Raku Hokkaido Ramen House at Ninoy Aquino International Airport - Terminal 3. Part of the meal I had was this gyoza, my very first one. I did find it good, though I guess my taste buds are more accustomed to the Chinese version of this food. The sauce I liked much, it complimented the dish really well.

I am happy with the way the terminal 3 changed from the last time I saw it; now there are more food shops, sadly, we can only eat at one. I am glad we decided to go for this one.

*** Jenn ***

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blackened Chicken with Cream Spinach

Aside from cook books, culinary magazines and passed down recipes, I also love watching cooking shows because of the dishes I could try. One of the culinary shows I always love to watch is the "My Favorite Recipes," and I really, really loved that season with Chef Gino Gonzalez co-hosting the program with Chef China Cojuanco. Anyway, one of the dishes that caught my interest was this one - the Blackened Tuna with Cream Spinach.

Blackened Chicken with Cream Spinach

Blackened Chicken with Cream Spinach
{Serves 2}
Recipe Taken From: WMN.ph

Ingredients (Chicken):
  • 2 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp paprika picante
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp iodized salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Ingredients (Cream Spinach):
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup Carnation Evap
  • 2 tsp cornstarch diluted in 1 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper
How to Cook:
  • For the blackened chicken: mix all dry ingredients together. Rub on the chicken.
  • In a very hot cast iron skillet or pan, put oil and swirl around to distribute oil. Cook chicken.
  • For the Spinach: Saute onions and garlic in butter. Add spinach and saute for 1 minute.
  • Pour Carnation Evap. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Add slurry and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Serve chicken on top of spinach.

I really hoped to cook it right after they aired the episode, but spinach was scarce that time, and I didn't want to get canned or packed spinach. I really wanted it fresh, so it was just this moment that I was able to do it. I cooked Blackened Tuna sometime back, and I did like the Cajun Rub, and I ought to do it to this one, too, but since I am following the recipe, I did it how they did it. Honestly, I didn't like the flour in the chicken - it made the chicken soggy, maybe because I used a regular iron griddle. It still came out good; but I think it would be much better if flour was omitted.

As for the cream spinach, it was a good pair for the chicken. It was a good way of putting something leafy, greeny to the dish, just to help balance things out. Although, as with any creamy, milky foods, having too much of the cream spinach does give the "umay" feeling.

Will I cook it again? Perhaps... but I surely will omit the flour in cooking my chicken, and I might lessen the milk and will add cheese cubes in the spinach instead.

*** Jenn ***

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}