Picadillo Torta

Lasang Pinoy 15: Giniling Galore

LP15: Recycled, Reloaded

What do you do with leftover food? Everyday cooking has made me a bit of an expert in calculating how much we can consume and which dish is a hit that I seldom have leftovers. But of course it doesn’t happen all the time. Fine. Yet I don’t think I could throw away a good and decent portion of food without feeling guilty for the hungry street children and leftovers aren’t as appetizing the second time around so a makeover is usually the case. One way of being creative is to camouflage it as an ingredient to a new dish. Usually I cut pieces of meat (like adobo) or vegetables, and use them as ingredient to fried rice the next morning for breakfast. A stir-fry vegetable dish could be toppings to fried noodles. I think of fish balls when there is leftover steamed fish. What’s left of sinaing na tulingan can be made into tuna pasta or tuna omelet. Don’t be surprised that I even made something out of take-away beef rendang!

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Lasang Pinoy 15: Erwin’s Paella

Erwin Ines is this blog’s reader/commenter who never fails to give great cooking tips. I invited him as a guest blogger and I am ecstatic that he agrees to contribute this entry for the 15th round of Lasang Pinoy. A Credit and Financial Analyst in Manila, Erwin migrated to Canada in 2003 and made a drastic career change a year and a half later. With his passion for food and love for cooking, he decided to take a Continuing Education Chef Training Course at George Brown College’s Chef School in Toronto. He currently works as a cook in an Italian-American restaurant.

Strange Love

Ever wondered why Filipino cooking has never transcended into the realm of fine dining? In Manila, fine and casual dining has evolved from 15 to 25 years ago because of several obvious factors: economy, competition, creativity, the need for newer and fresher concepts and globalization. These liberal and presented juggernauts of world politics and common belief of almost total to complete improvement of self as well as self-respect and political parody have brought Filipino taste to majestic heights. However, this is only true for Manila, the city I have abandoned and loved. How about across the Atlantic? Have Filipinos realized how far Pinoy food has competed against their counterparts? South Asian, Thai and West Indian Cuisines have flourished, expanded, mutated and sprouted from all over, releasing their exotic and Caribbean tastes and spices. Indeed, they have become known and popular through these years. Spices such as All Spice, Garam Masala, Curry Powder (in paste & powder forms), Jerk, Coriander, and Cumin have become a mainstay in many kitchens nowadays. They have also been praised by Professional Chefs who have in time included some noticeable, succinct flavours into their menu-fusion.

Sadly, Pinoy food has only reached a certain level of appreciation and has never soared to a new level or new heights. Did you ever wonder why Pinoy cuisine, despite the never-ending and continuous flooding and flocking of immigrants around North America, have never transcended into the realm of true, exquisite, fresh, and flavourful cooking? In my short stint here, I have discovered one reason for this shortcoming: SHORT-CUTS. I feel, for many involved in cooking as a hobby, more so as a profession, and based on my kitchen experiences, Pinoys tend to cut corners and alleviate from what is right and proper or to what should be to what NOT. For example, Italians generally know how to make healthy, nurturing food for the family at a short time without making sacrifices on many ingredients. The key to good food, in their case, is freshness.

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LP12 – Starry Nilagang Baka

Ex-colleague Ces‘ LP theme is truly interesting especially for us who live abroad. For more than a decade, my eating habits include appreciating foreign cuisine through dining out on a regular basis and Pinoy cooking at home as the craving for lasang Pinoy will never go away. I blogged about quite a few fusion recipes before and since I am here in Beijing I had the urge to share one with Northern Chinese influence for LP12. I could easily whip up a quick Chinese-looking stir-fry dish that would still taste distinctly Pinoy. Since one won’t find a Filipino store around … Continue reading LP12 – Starry Nilagang Baka

LPXI – Saba Con Hielo

When it’s summer in the Philippines, everybody thinks of halo-halo – a mixture of sweet beans, macapuno (sweet coconut meat), langka (jackfruit), pinipig (toasted and flattened glutenous rice), saba banana, sago (pearl balls) and sugar, filled with crushed ice and milk, and topped with ice cream, ube (sweet yam) and leche flan. Not me. I’ll pick saba con hielo over any other pinoy dessert on any given day. Call it whatever you like – minatamis na saging, banana with ice, saging con yelo. I just love this stuff.

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LP10 – Ang Prutas, Bow!

An Entry to Lasang Pinoy 10 – Food Memories from your Childhood hosted by Buhay Cucinero. I did try thinking about other food memories from my childhood but couldn’t single out another one that could trigger more fond memories than those I’ve already written months ago in a meme with the same theme. My dad, who has such a green thumb, planted lots of fruit-bearing trees around our home that one may get lost finding it. Star apples, coconut trees (including macapuno, freak coconut full of soft meat), chico, santol, mangoes, papaya, guyabano or soursop, atis or sugar-apple, banana (finger-like … Continue reading LP10 – Ang Prutas, Bow!

LP8: The Round-Up!

In setting the theme for the 8th round of Lasang Pinoy, little did I know that not only we would be charmed by bulilits playing ‘kitchen’, amused ourselves with wonderful details of our own childhood and delight our souls with the revelation of each participant’s own journey through foodie life – as kids and with kids, but also be enthralled as most of the entries pay tribute to those who are responsible for our love and passion for cooking.

LP8 also marks the 1st time Lasang Pinoy goes on video!

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Lasang Pinoy 8: Kusinang Bulilit, Lutong Paslit!

Now that it’s going to be my turn to host Lasang Pinoy, I got so excited I couldn’t think of a theme! We finally came up with this wonderful topic about cooking with children. Kusinang bulilit, lutong paslit! (Children’s kitchen, cooking by children!) So what would this be all about? As I reflect on the subject and start to write about this announcement, I can hear my son here singing a line that goes like this…

Cooking, cooking, I like to cook!
Eating, eating, I like to eat!
It’s fun to cook and eat together!

He would even say he would like to bake a cake. “May I ask you how?” He said all he needs to do is… “take some milk, take some flour and 2 eggs.”

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LP7: Tosilog for Almusal

Almusal means breakfast and it’s an essential part of every Filipino’s day. At least before life sneakily speeded up its pace to breakneck and McDonald’s had a drive-thru. It’s the fuel we need to start a day of hard work… whether it be tilling the fields or trudging through the corporate jungle. Lasang Pinoy 7: Gising na! ALMUSAL! – 80 Breakfasts When we were kids, with the exception of pandesal, champorado and oatmeal, almusal (breakfast) was always heavy and hearty with sinangag so as not to hear your stomach growl before lunchtime. Ulam (main dish) would either be tuyo (dried … Continue reading LP7: Tosilog for Almusal

LP6: Adobong Isaw

My chosen field is said to be a man’s world. Back in college where one interacts with more males and t-squares than females, important and close friendships between opposite sexes is as natural as breathing. And after each semester of hard work and sleepless nights, breaks and summer vacations were celebrated with parties full of booze. (Parents, no need to worry. As long as you know who your kids’ friends are there is no reason to panic.)

The 1st time we had a drinking spree at home was my 19th birthday and that day marked the beginning of a series of inuman either with friends and relatives. My parents were always there enjoying every bit – mom drinking liters of cola while dad with just half a bottle of beer that’s consumable for the whole night.Social drinking eventually played a huge part in my kind of work for a lot of reasons. Dealing with colleagues, clients, consultants, suppliers, contractors, even laborers. Also like Ting said, drinking is a way of unwinding. It’s a person’s way of de-stressing from a hard day’s knock although now it’s been quite a while since I went into such a pinoy-style gathering and my tolerance to alcohol has diminished considerably.

Pulutan is a kind of food that is served as accompaniment to a drink. It comes in different kinds like meat, fish, nuts, chips. It’s prepared in different ways… fried, steamed. Basically, it is anything that makes drinking enjoyable.

Too bad I forgot what Dad & Mom normally prepared for pulutan. My guess, menudo or inihaw na tilapia (broiled tilapia over live charcoal). With my friends, I do remember that isaw has always been a favorite. It could be IUD (chicken intestines) from a street vendor (IUD photo is courtesy of GUTS. GRIT. GUMPTION.) or crispy chitterlings as prepared by my friend’s mom. Here in Beijing we occasionally go to this English bar with Pinoy musicians, an equally Pinoy chef, and among our favorites are sisig (a sizzling dish of spicy chopped pork head & liver) and chicharong baboy (pork rinds).

However, when it comes to pulutan it’s the other way around over here as it is alcohol that accompanies food. The Chinese traditionally drink while eating so you can imagine the scenario as it’s considered improper to say no to the host especially if he’s our Client. Gan Bei! ( Pronounced ‘gam bay’, meaning ‘dry cup’) You are expected to empty the glass. The good thing is that drinking with food decreases the rate of alcohol absorption and may also reduce the amount consumed.

For LP6, here is the recipe of our carinderia adobong isaw ng baboy (stewed chitterlings, chit’lins or pork intestines, whatever) as I remember it from my Dad. It’s not standard turo turo (eatery) food but a delicacy especially popular with the common masses served as pulutan. Oh was I glad to find that the chitlins being sold here in supermarkets are really clean.

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Lasang Pinoy 5: Leche Flan & Pinoy Christmas away from Home

I’ve been based in another country since ’93. If I am not mistaken, I have had about 6 to 7 Christmases spent away from home. Before Cean was born, I would say all those Christmases are the worst I knew in my life. Imagine this scenario: I would always put up a happy face and take refuge in the comfort of strangers but after all the fun and I was nested alone within the confines of my square bedroom that would be the time when the reality of not being with my family sets in, tears were shed while calling my mom until exhausted enough to fall asleep.

What was it back home that I wouldn’t swap for a Christmas in another country though I was young and got to live independently without my parents’ nagging (not to mention that it was a non-Christian country way down south of the Philippines)? Oh I could think of a lot of things…

Seeing my dad hang parols (star lanterns, kaleidoscopic and bright or not) while us kids decorate our home with the Belen depicting that first Christmas, the Nativity Scene, and the Christmas tree when we could finally afford to buy one. Struggling to complete Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo , a traditional nine-day novena of Masses in pre-dawn hours with my ate & kuya for 9 consecutive mornings before Christmas to either obtain special graces, implore special favors, or make special petitions (whichever is your reason). The aroma of native puto bungbong (purple yam glutinous rice dessert) right after the dawn Mass. The visits of carolers going from house to house and what fun we had when we would sometimes turn off the lights to hide from ‘serial carolers.’ The colorful Makati by night. Buying gifts especially the ones for my family and the challenge of hiding them before Christmas day. The Misa de Aguinaldo, the ‘gift mass’ held before the clock strikes 12. Mommy still cleaning the kitchen mess when it’s almost midnight. My dad’s pancit bihon, my mom’s fruit salad, kuya’s sweet & sour fish, ate’s lumpiang shanghai, while I, the youngest, got the simple task of frying the fiesta ham. Oh I am also sure they do miss my leche flan (caramel custard) as I am the only one who knows how to prepare it.

But most of all, for a small family of 5 who lives away from other relatives most of our lives and especially during this season, what I miss is our family togetherness, our simple and sometimes humble Christmas feasts, our ceremonial gift-giving after the Noche Buena, and those few hours before we finally retire to bed when we would sing or talk about anything or just enjoy each other’s company. None of all those drunken partying I’ve done away from home can compare to all these.

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Lasang Pinoy 3 – Marbleized Quail Eggs or Tea Eggs

This post is for the Food Blogging Event: LASANG PINOY 3 – Pinoy Street Food.

What would be my favorite street food? Trick question. I was what you call the all-too-obedient child at home while the street kid-type once unleashed. When we were young I don’t recall our parents ever buy us any kind of food being sold in the streets with the exception of sorbetes or ‘dirty’ ice cream, balut, penoy & nilagang itlog ng pugo (boiled quail eggs), which I fancied most before grade school. I could devour a whole pack, which I remember contained about 5 to 6 pieces, during any bus or jeepney ride.

In school (recess period & after class), we would buy all kinds of stuff – cotton candy, scramble (crushed ice w/ sorta fruit juice & coloring), sa malamig (any cold drinks from fruit juice to gulaman at sago or gelatin and tapioca balls) , manggang hilaw w/ alamang (unripe mango w/ unsauteed shrimp paste), kalikot (I suppose it’s coconut jam picked & eaten from a piece of bamboo stem), & ofcourse the ever popular fishballs. I remember spending my entire food allowance for these fried well-seasoned balls of ground fish, day after day, at least for a year maybe. When we got a little bit older, our folks would buy taho (made from bean curd w/ sago & arnibal, a sweet syrup) and puto (rice cake) so I don’t really think they hate ‘street food’ per se. I guess it’s more of the responsibility that goes w/ being parents.

During HS & university days when food allowance was better, my preferred street food became barbeque – pork, hotdogs & the radical inihaw na isaw ng manok or chicken intestine barbeque). In college, we had series of overnight jobs working on projects as a team. These would be like all work, work, work, and rest would be during meals or snacks. There were instances when we will just set off to our favorite barbeque stall for merienda. Buy ice-cold coke poured into plastics from the nearest store & eat right there while queuing for our isaw. I remember a particular street in San Andres Bukid, Manila near the railways & the South Expressway. Never been there for a long time. Hope somebody would tell me if that particular place of barbeque stalls is still there. (Isaw photo courtesy of Karen.)

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