Monday, September 28, 2009

I got too lazy (and sad) with MB being away that all my planned solo dishes went down the drain. I survived on instant meals and leftovers. Here's a backlog post.

Char kway teow is a Singaporean noodle dish. Lots of substitution here. I'll give you the original recipe first (taken from Whats 4 Eats):

  • Oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Sambal oelek (chile paste)
  • Chinese sausages, sliced into rounds
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Fresh rice noodles
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Eggs, beaten
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Scallions, chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot over high flame. Add the garlic and sambal oelek and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the Chinese sausage and shrimp and stir fry until shrimp is almost cooked through.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the rice noodles, tossing them to heat through. Scrape the bottom of wok or pot frequently to minimize sticking. Then stir in the soy sauce and brown sugar and stir in to season the noodles.
  3. Scoop the noodles away from the center of the wok or pot and pour the beaten egg into the cleared space. Let the egg cook until just set, and then stir into the noodles.
  4. Add the sprouts and scallions and continue to cook, tossing frequently, until the sprouts are just cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve.
My notes:
I used gojuchang because I didn't have sambal oelek. I used Shanghai sausage. My rating, 2.5 out of 5. I want to taste this first in a restaurant before I cook this again.

I sincerely hope and pray that everyone is well. I am constantly praying that the waters will subside and that our fellow Filipinos will be safe. By God's grace, we can make it through.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I will never purchase this hearts of romaine bag from Dole again! I bought one bag last Sunday, opened on a Monday and ate some then on Tuesday, all the greens were wilted already!!! And not just wilting/wilted, most were mushy already! I can't believe it, P55 down the trash bin. And to think I was having doubts purchasing Salad Time's bag (P75) because of a measly P20! I wanted to save but ended up wasting so much money. The usual brand that we buy is Salad Time which lasts for 3-5 days. But since we were on a budget, I decided to get the Dole brand but was very careful to get the bag with the nice looking greens. Most of the bags already had wilted greens.

Sometimes we buy the organic ones which range from 20-40 pesos. They're quite good but the selection that day was mediocre.

I love salad greens. I could eat just the greens with some Caesar, thousand island or light honey mustard dressing and I will be happy. I was really disappointed. Would it be too much to say that I felt heartbroken? My disappointment was that bad. I really feel bad whenever I have to throw away food that's why I make use of leftovers wisely.

So whenever you feel like budgeting or saving up, think twice. Be sure to get a trusted brand. It doesn't really matter if you lose a few pesos if you get good, quality products. Buying bland, tasteless, below quality, mediocre food is like throwing away good hard earned money.

Sinful and healthy all in one dish. The EVOO makes this heart friendly while the bacon fat contradicts that! To make this very appetizing side dish, saute some garlic in a generous amount of EVOO. Add chopped bacon. Let the bacon and garlic cook in the oil. Add the french beans and mushrooms. Season with Maggi Savor. Yes, Maggi Savor! Don't eat this dish when you have cholesterol problems. I suggest cooking the bacon in a separate pan so the drippings won't get mixed with the EVOO.

Use as a side dish for sandwiches, salads and meats. Yum, yum, yum...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Like Marketman, I also love sotanghon guisado. Noodles are definitely comfort food for me. I have tried many recipes for sotanghon and most turned out good, not great, mediocre or ok lang. Until I found and absolutely fell in love with this very simple recipe from Marketman. I guess less is really more. I used what was in the fridge at that time - shrimps, leftover chicken breast fillet and half Shanghai sausage. I agree with Marketman's and his readers - buy the best sotanghon noodles that your money can buy. I bought the most expensive pack of vermicelli in Landmark that day (P35) and I still ended up with mushy noodles. I guess all the good noodles ran out after MM's post? = ) Amazingly, it was all okay the next day. Hmmm... Why kaya?

We had this for baon and as a typical Pinoy, also packed some rice. I also packed some patis and calamansi. Believe me, we were so full and satisfied that day that we didn't bother having merienda.

Cheers MM!

Monday, September 21, 2009

If you're a regular on this blog, you'd know that I love dried squid. Even as a child I've loved the sweet, salty, spicy taste of our local dried squid. I saw this bottle 2 weeks ago while I was buying some Portuguese egg tarts. I was curious about the 'teriyaki' flavor and so I bought one for P100.

The taste is very much similar to the local squid but this one is evenly coated with the flavor. It doesn't taste teriyaki to me but tastes good all the same. You also won't get clumped up sugar. The texture is nice, crunchy and doesn't hurt your teeth or gums. It's not makunat at all. Although the sweet flavor was consistent, there will be some pieces that are too spicy so watch out for because they can cause you to cough. Be ready with a glass of water or other drinks if you plan on munching on this (like I do).

Was it worth it? Sure! We just bought our second and third bottles. The third will go to Iligan as pasalubong when MB goes there this week. And while he's there, expect meals for one posts.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Since I can't get over my ham and slaw sandwich, I decided to serve it one more time for dinner but with a different side dish. Still French beans and still very easy to make.

You will need garlic, onions and tomatoes. Saute in olive oil. Add sliced sausage or chorizo. Stir a little and allow the chorizo to cook. Add the french beans. Season with salt. Slice boiled eggs and arrange on a plate. Skip the chorizo if you want it to be healthier.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing up, I was made to believe that pasta with white sauce was carbonara. I don't like white sauce that much because I'm lactose intolerant so I shied away from "carbonara". It's only in my late teens that I found out that real carbonara doesn't have milk nor cream. Since I like pastas with olive oil and light sauces better, I still didn't try to make carbonara...until I saw Tom Cruise's recipe.

I made a mistake with the eggs here. I used 3 large ones when I should've only used one to two. This is the original recipe taken from Oprah's site:

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 inch olive oil (for frying pan)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 8 to 12 thick slices Italian bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 packages spaghetti
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
In a frying pan, combine 1/2 inch of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, one chopped onion and the Italian bacon cut into small squares. Let simmer for about a half-hour, being careful not to let the oil get to a boiling point.

In a bowl, beat 4 eggs with lots of salt and fresh ground pepper.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Cook both packages of spaghetti until al dente, drain and immediately add egg mixture to pasta. The eggs are actually cooked by the pasta. (Make sure the eggs are thoroughly cooked before proceeding.) Stir the egg mixture until it is well mixed. Pour in the mixture from the frying pan and stir. Finish with the Parmesan cheese and serve!

This was really good! Migraine Boy was down with the flu last Monday and this is what I served him for lunch. In spite of having very little appetite and a very painful cold sore, he managed to finish 4 servings! Thanks, Tom!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm very excited about this sandwich. Yeah, sure ham and slaw has been around for ages. But let me tell you what makes my sandwich special. I used walnut bread and toasted just right, gives the sandwich a special crunch. Not annoying, hurt-your-gums type of crunch. Just a light delightful crunch. The bread is from French Baker.

Inside is quite simple. I used Purefoods Ham Selections sweetened ham. I was looking for another type of ham but the choices in Landmark is pretty limited. I cooked the ham in an oven toaster to lessen oil usage. On top of of the ham is coleslaw from KFC. If you want to make coleslaw from scratch, I applaud you (and envy you). I'm trying to simplify my chores as I'm getting busier with Manila Thrift Style.

On top of the slaw is mild cheddar cheese. I forgot the brand but it's from Landmark too. I will post the brand here once I check it out (and hopefully remember). There are only very few cheeses that I like and this one I really like.

Side dishes are buttered French beans, tortillas and salsa. Serve with ice cold mango orange juice.

The taste? The sweet, salty, crunchy, meaty combination was fantastic! The beans and chips make this a complete and satisfying meal.

Sauteed vegetables are great because you can pair it with almost any kind of "meat". Here I made the usual gisa of garlic, onions, carrots and beans. I added quail eggs because that's what we had in the ref and I didn't what the eggs to spoil. For seasoning, you can try Magic Sarap, kikkoman or patis or a combination of any of these flavorings.

I added 3 slices of Chinese luncheon meat just to give the rice bento a bit of color plus I was worried that MB might look for meat. You know how vegetables are perceived to be just side dishes.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

As promised, here's the recipe for my homemade salsa.

You will need tomatoes, onions, garlic, vinegar, sea salt, sugar, chili and Spanish paprika.

Chop the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Spread the chopped tomatoes in a pan. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Add the garlic and onions. Stir and simmer for another minute. Splash some vinegar. For one pack of tomatoes from Landmark, put about 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Adjust if you want it to be more sour. Season with sea salt, a little sugar, chili and Spanish paprika. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes. Transfer to another container and refrigerate or let cool on a plate. I like the salsa better when it's cold. Serve with tortilla chips and a cool glass of ice tea. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I bought a pack of this one pounder last Sunday for P167 at Landmark. You might think it's too expensive. It's well worth it! I like corn chips and tortillas. I can't stand the regular junk food that's available locally except for Oishi's potato chips. I'm more of a nuts (almonds, cashews, etc) and tortilla gal nowadays. I brought one small ziplock full of this to the office last Tuesday for merienda. I paired this with homemade salsa, a recipe from my sister. And wow! This hit the spot. It was actually bitin.

Some thoughts on this. It's a bit too salty for me. It's great if you'll eat this on its own but not so great with MY salsa. I say my salsa because my salsa differs from the regular salsa that's a bit too sour. I will give you the recipe of my homemade salsa soon. Silly me forgot to transfer the pics from the cam to my laptop.

When eating corn chips, chew well. You don't want to risk scratching your throat with the sharp edges which in turn might lead to an infection of the throat (sore throat, antibiotics, doctor visits, bed rest, etc). You get the picture right?

Transfer chips into smaller packages. The bag is too big that opening and resealing too often might affect the crispiness of the chips. This is also a good idea if you're on a diet. Small portions will make you stop eating once they're all gone and remember to keep the other bags away from you!

Eating tortilla chips is much healthier than regular junk food. Plus, you get to eat a healthy dip (like salsa) with it.

Will I repurchase? Definitely!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I've been getting sick more frequently. This was my lunch the other day I stayed home. I needed something fast and easy to cook. Solution? Pasta and canned food! I used Century Tuna hot and spicy and canned tomatoes.

Saute garlic and onions in a little oil (a lot if you're using EVOO). When fragrant, dump the contents of the tuna can. Mash the tuna a little to separate the meat. Add some black olives. Pour the contents of one canned tomatoes. I use the whole peeled ones. Pour everything even the tomato water. By the way, is that really tomato water? It looks like pureed tomato to me. Anyway, let this simmer and season with salt, pepper, basil and oregano if you want. Also add a little sugar depending on your taste, just to control the acidity of the tomatoes. Mix with the pasta. Serve this with bread.

Do I like it? Not so much. I don't like the spiciness of the tuna. It's too much. It's baduy already but that's just me. I like spicy food but the spice accentuated the fishiness of the tuna and I don't like that taste. If you like spicy food and you can tolerate the fishy taste, I really think you should try this one especially if you're a guy and you're all alone and you fend for yourself. Enough with the cup noodles and pancit canton already! This is too easy to make. Heck, it might even impress a girl. And if you're a mom who's strapped for time, just replace the hot and spicy tuna with the regular one and add a little more sugar for the kids.

I wasn't able to finish my meal but I did eat the mangoes though. The pasta didn't go to waste. My babies had a grand time eating it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We are cutting down on expenses. Our grocery bill used to be P2000-2500 per week. Now it's less than P2000, about P1500-P1800. Having so many illnesses limits the variety of food that I can eat so even though we're on a tight budget, I still manage to have small treats every now and then. The key here is substitution.

An original recipe of Waldorf salad includes walnuts. Walnuts are expensive so I used cashew nuts. I originally bought the nuts for snack purposes but I was craving for a salad and I had everything I needed for a Waldorf salad so here's the final product. I bought 2 Fuji apples for P28 a piece, 2 packs of mayo, about P20 each, some celery stalks and cashews. This would be more rockin' if you put seedless grapes. But we're on a budget so these ingredients will suffice.

Just chop up the apples and the celery. Mix with mayo and cashews. Season with salt and pepper then chill. Serve cold. I bring 2 portions to the office. One for lunch and one for merienda. The whole dish costs around P120 and will last for 6 servings (1 serving is good for 2 persons) unless of course, you won't be able to stop eating and go back for seconds. = )

Monday, September 7, 2009

I know, I know, I've been using the same bento over and over and over... But bear with me for a little longer. I've been trying to find a practical bento that doesn't leak and I'm bored with my Lock & Locks. I promise I'll try to change bentos. = )

Goya. It's not our local chocolate. In Japan, the humble ampalaya or bitter gourd is called goya. It's normally cooked in the summertime. The dish is called goya chanpuru and is a specialty of Okinawa. Here we use eggs and shrimps or pork. In Japan they use tofu and the basic soy sauce plus sake combo to season the dish. This is not goya chanpuru. It's our regular ampalaya guisado. I know it kinda looks yucky in the picture. Well, what can I say, we like soup.

In the yellow container is Spanish style bangus by Century. I always, always put Maggi Savor calamansi in sardines, tuna, spanish sardines, etc. I forgot to bring some so I wasn't too excited about lunch. Surprisingly, this wasn't bland at all. This actually paired nicely with the ampalaya. I like it! When you're running late, you just open a can and dump the contents into your lunchbox and you have instant lunch. You can pair it with rice, with salad or make it as a main dish and just bring some fruit for dessert. Fast and healthy!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Justify FullThis is the last batch of the spinach bag that I bought. This is a very simple and healthy way to jazz up your rice.

Saute garlic in olive oil. Add pitted and sliced black olives. I use the Figaro brand. Around P70 for a bottle. Add the spinach leaves and mix until the leaves are a bit wilted. Add the rice and mix. Make sure that the spinach leaves are not all clumped together. Put about 1/2 teaspoon of butter, mix to coat the rice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot. We had this with fried chicken. Superb!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong with my body, I recently found out that I'm at high risk for glaucoma. How did I find out about this? I went to see an eye doctor for conjunctivitis. That's all. He did all these fancy exams on my eyes then told me to have annual check ups as I'm at risk for glaucoma. I've been having red, itchy eyes for a few months now. I just wanted a cure for that. The reason for this? Oh, I don't blink my eyes as often as I should. Doctor said that I forget to blink. I think one reader in the US would be laughing his head off by now. He knows the whole story. The doctor just confirmed it.

Anyway, since this is another challenge to tackle I decided to research on it to find foods that will help me avoid developing a glaucoma. Turns out spinach is really one of those supah foods. This is the first dish I made with spinach.

Saute garlic and onions in a little oil. Add the spinach leaves. Season with oyster sauce, Kikkoman and mirin. Oh, by the way. Did you guys know that Hatchin now has its own brand of mirin? And it's only P60. Yay!

Cook on low heat then serve. We ate this with fried bangus. That's how I like my fried bangus. A bit burnt on the outside. On the far left side is a dollop of ginisang bagoong, leftover from a previous dish which I cannot remember.

The verdict? MB loved the spinach!

Another variation on this dish is bagoong. Saute garlic and onions in very little oil. Add the spinach. Mix. Add bagoong then stir. Pour in about 2 tablespoons water. Mix, mix, mix. Squeeze some lemon juice then mix. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've been getting up late for the past few days now. So what to do when you only have 30 minutes to prepare breakfast and lunch? Kill de lata! This is leftover adobo rice from dinner. I just packed it with fried corned beef. I wanted to make it into crispy corned beef but didn't have enough patience to wait thus it came out halfway between regular cooked corned beef and crispy corned beef, meaning some parts were crispy some were still tender. Finally, that's the last of the potato and chicken salad. So fast, so good!

So what's your baon in a jiff secret?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another leftover bento. It was almost the end of the week last week and I was running out of food in the fridge. Luckily, we still had some leftover homemade tomato sauce. I just asked MB to buy a small can of tuna at the reliable sari-sari store in our street and voila, tuna pasta!

On the upper left is potato and chicken salad. I think it's the most modest salad that I've made as it lacked ingredients. Just Miracle Whip, chicken, potatoes, salt and pepper. No pickles and other things that make the salad more sumptuous because we didn't have them! It still tasted okay though. MB finished the salad. The leftovers in the fridge, I gave to the babies. And of course, the ever reliable breadsticks from French Baker and Belcube cheese. Yum!


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