Monday, October 31, 2011

Quince Jam

Quince is a lesser known fall fruit that looks like a cross between a green apple and a pear...only uglier. It is goof for making jam, jelly, and marmalade but can also be used in baking and cooking. It can also be made into wine because of it acidic nature. It can be found and cultivated in almost all parts of the world particularly in the Middle East and South America. Unripe, it is hard and cannot be eaten raw but when allowed to ripen in the vine, it turns slightly yellow and soft which can be eaten raw. This is one fruit that I have only discovered recently when I saw them at the grocery store. I bought some and made it into a jam. I really liked the result and taste that I made it again and again. I like spread it on top of a lightly toasted bread and enjoy with my morning tea.

This recipe is a very small batch which yields barely a couple of jars (8 ounces) of jam but its okay because I can always make more before quince season is over. The only problem sometimes is finding quince as they are not always readily available , even when it is in season, at the supermarket and it can be a little pricey at times too. I used shortcut in making this jam by using the food processor to puree the chopped quince. Be warned though that, like apple and pears, the color can turn brown if you don't work quickly. Make sure that you keep it submerge chopped quince in water to prevent discoloration. I think next time, I will make a chunkier version by using just chopped quince instead of pureed.


2 Quince, seeded then chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

1. Heat sauce pan over medium heat and add water. Bring water to a boil
2. Wash and core quince then chop coarsely
3. Place in food processor along with lemon zest and puree then add to the boiling water along with lemon zest. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
5. Continue to simmer until it thickens to desired consistency.
6. Transfer to sterilized container and seal according to direction.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Persimmon Smoothie

My brother-in-law returned my Korean drama DVDs yesterday and brought a box full of persimmons, kalamansi (Philippine lime), and a couple of guavas. The persimmon and kalamansi was from the fruit trees in their backyard while the guavas was from his office mate. My brain was working double time churning possible dishes that I could create from the goodies that I got. Will post update of them when I get a chance to make the dishes that I planned. The fruits of their persimmon tree is really great because it is sweet and crispy. I love eating them raw but I think I will use some of them to make persimmon jam and bread.

Kalamansi is the Philippine version of lime which is a citrus fruit. Like its American counterpart, it is slightly sour but the taste is slightly different. I can't really explain the difference but it has a distinct flavor that sets it apart. The juice is often mixed with water, ice, and sugar to serve as a juice/ beverage. The juice, like lemons and limes, can also be used in dishes such as part of a marinade for beef, pork, and chicken. It can also be combined with soy sauce and served as a dipping sauce. Normally, kalamansi do not grow very tall but my brother-in-law's kalamansi tree is almost as tall as their persimmon tree which bears so many fruits. Fresh kalamansi fruits are hard to come by even at the Filipino store but you can purchase it frozen and comes in small sachet which cost a fortune :(


1 ripe persimmon, peeled and chopped
1 frozen banana
1 cup milk
sugar, according to desired sweetness
3-4 ice cubes

1. In a blender, combine persimmon, frozen banana, milk, and sugar.
2. Blend until smooth then add ice cubes.
3. Blend some more until smooth.
4. Transfer to a tall glass and serve immediately

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Balsamic Vinegar and White Truffle Oil Bruschetta

This is a nice starter to any meal because it is easy to make and packs great flavors. I think it only took me 15 minutes to chop, season, and assemble the entire dish. The secret to this bruschetta is the use of white truffle oil and balsamic vinegar combination which gives it an unusual earthy flavor.

Making bruschetta is very easy and takes just a few fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. The bread is lightly toasted so that it is able to soak the liquid from the topping a little better plus it makes it taste better too. I use french baguette but you can use any bread of choice just make sure you slice it at an angle for a bigger surface area to hold the topping.


1 loaf of french baguette, sliced into 1 1/2 inch thickness and then lightly toasted
5-6 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Lightly toast your bread in a toaster or oven.
2. In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Scoop the tomato mixture using a spoon and top it on you toasted bread.
4. Place on platter and serve.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fried Garlic

Fried garlic is one of the toppings that is frequently used in Filipino least from the place that my family was from. We use it as topping for fried rice as well as soups and porridge. The smell is heavenly and permeates the whole house. It gives an impression of a lived-in, warm house. It also conjures up an image of a loving family gather together to share a meal prepared by a loving mom :) Ah, it makes me miss my mom and wish she is here with me right now but I am sure that she is happily looking down from up above.

This is a simple addition to any dish which gives it a nice extra flavor and dimension. It only takes a couple of ingredients and few minutes cooking time. You have to be careful though not to burn them as they will taste bitter and not fit to eat. I find that gently frying them works in making sure that they don't burn and stay crispy longer. They are actually readily available in the Filipino store but I like frying my own since they do not really take that much time and effort. I usually use a few bulbs of garlic at a time and them place them in airtight container to keep them crispy and ready for use anytime I need them. To save time, you can use a food processor to chop the garlic but make sure that they are chunky instead of finely chopped. I prefer to chop them by hand though.


4 or more bulbs of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup oil

1. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and heat it gently.
2. When oil is moderately hot, add garlic and fry them until they turn golden in color. Make sure you stir them frequently while frying to prevent burning.
3. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
4. When they have cool down, transfer to an airtight container to store.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kinilaw nga Kapayas (Papaya in Vinegar)

Kinilaw or kilawin means raw food marinated in vinegar. This dish is not really kilawin per se but vinegar is added to semi-ripe or under-ripe papaya to add flavor. This is a common dish in the Visayan region of the Philippines. It can serve as an appetizer or an afternoon snack, which ever you prefer. Under-ripe or semi-ripe papaya has not fully ripen so the taste is slightly bland or just slightly sweet. The addition of vinegar and salt gives it a nice flavor but I recommend not to leave the papaya in vinegar too long because it will lose its crispness as well as become too sour to eat.


1 under-ripe or semi-ripe papaya, seeded and peeled then sliced
1/2 cup vinegar
salt, according to taste

1. Combine everything together in a bowl and serve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tinolang Manok (Chicken with Papaya and Ginger)

Tinolang manok is a common Filipino dish that can be found in a lot of different islands of the Philippines. It is a soup mad up of chicken, green (unripe) papaya, pepper leaves, and ginger. Green or unripe papaya are available at most of the Asian markets. If green papaya is not available, you can substitute it with chayote which is readily available at the regular supermarket. You can also substiture pepper leaves with malunggay leaves. Both are usually available at the Filipino market in the freezer section. You can just thaw them out and add to the dish or do like I do, add it frozen while cooking the soup and let the heat thaw it out.

This is another dish that is appropriate for fall or winter because it will help warm you up. It is also healthy and nutritious as well as delicious. Filipinos usually eat this warm with piping hot bowl of rice...yummy...Leftovers, if any, can be stored in the refrigerator and heated on the stove or microwave.


2 - 3 lbs chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 small unripe (green) papaya or 2 chayote, peeled and seeded then sliced.
2 inch ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package frozen pepper leaves
3 Thai chillies, whole
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fish sauce

1. Heat pan over medium heat then add oil.
2. Add ginger, garlic, and onion. Saute until translucent and fragrant
3. Add chicken and saute until brown.
4. Add enough water to cover the chicken then simmer until chicken is tender.
5. Add papaya slices and continue to cook until tender.
6. Add Thai chili and frozen pepper leaves and simmer until thawed or 2-3 minutes if already thawed.
7. Season with fish sauce, salt, and pepper then remove from heat.
8. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arroz Caldo (Rice Porridge)

I am feeling a little down today so I made some arroz caldo to help lift my mood up a little bit. Arroz caldo (rice porridge) is the Filipino equivalent to chicken noodle soup. This dish is usually served to someone who is sick but also makes for a light meal or snack. This is the quintessential Filipino comfort food. Eating this dish just reminds me of home, family, of rainy days...

Arroz caldo is made by boiling rice until it becomes soft and thick. Addition includes eggs, chicken, garlic, onion, and ginger. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little soy sauce. This dish is served warm with toppings such as fragrant fried garlic, a few drops of knorr liquid seasoning, and chopped green onions.

Arroz caldo is perfect for rainy days and fall because it is served warm. Aside from that, it also invokes warm memories of the not-so-distant past for me. It also gives me warmth and comfort when things are not going the way I want them to go...


1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1/2 lb chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 Tbsp soy sauce
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten slightly
6 cups water
oil for sauteeing

Topping (optional)

sliced hard-boiled egg
crispy fried garlic
a few drops of knorr liquid seasoning or soy sauce
chopped green onions

1. Heat pan over medium heat then add oil.
2. Add ginger garlic, and onions and saute until fragrant and translucent.
3. Add chicken and saute until brownish in color.
4. Add rice and continue to saute for about 3-4 minutes
5. Add water and bring to a boil then simmer until rice is soft and chicken is cooked. If needed, add more water. Stir occasionally to prevent bottom from burning.
6. Season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper according to taste.
7. Add beaten eggs while stirring mixture to distribute eggs evenlly and cook for another minute or two more.
8. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish.
9. Top with toppings, if desired.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Banana Avocado Smoothie

I bought unripe avocado last week because they were on sale at one of the supermarket that I go to and they have ripened really well so I made some smoothie today. I used both avocado and banana which is a perfect combination. I also added milk and a few ice cubes. They result is a very creamy smoothie which has the consistency that is almost similar to soft serve ice cream.

I think the frozen banana really did help to make it very thick and creamy. I bought a little too many bananas (again) last week which ripened almost all at the same time. I intended to make some banana-nut bread but I was just not in the mood to bake so I ended up with too many bananas that were really ripe. I was going to throw them away since I am not really a big banana eater but it was such a waste since there was too many so I peeled and cut them in half. I then wrapped them individually in waxed paper, placed them in freezer bags, and popped them in the freezer. Wrapping them in waxed paper prior to placing them in freezer bags made removing easier since it prevented the bananas from sticking to each other when frozen. This little trick is a keeper for me. It also cut down the amount of ice cubes which I needed to add for the smoothies.


1 ripe avocado
1 frozen banana
sugar, according to desired sweetness
1 cup milk
3 ice cubes

1. Cut avocado in half then scrape the flesh using spoon and place in blender.
2. Add frozen banana, milk, sugar and blend until smooth.
3. Add ice cubes and blend some more until smooth.
4. transfer to glass/es and serve.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ground Beef Fried Rice

The past two days has been an emotional roller is that time of the year so it should be understandable...

I cooked some fried rice with ground beef, corn, and peas. It is a simple recipe which was even made simpler because I used ingredients that are already cooked. I cooked the ground beef, corn, and peas the night before. It is actually a complete dish which I just added to the fried rice. The result is a complete, easy to make, one-bowl dish that taste really good.

Fried rice is actually an easy dish to make because there is no limit to what one can add to the dish. It can be served as a side dish or a main course depending on the ingredients that has been added into the dish. The seasoning can vary as well. It can just be seasoned with salt or whatever seasoning that you prefer. I prefer to add soy sauce on mine because that is what I have been accustomed to :) The most important thing with fried rice, in my opinion, is using day old steamed rice or rice that was cooked the day before. It is a little drier than freshly steamed rice which makes it perfect for the recipe.


1 cup Sauteed Beef with Corn and Peas (recipe here; just substitute ground beef for ground pork)
3 cups (day old) steamed rice
2 tsp soy sauce
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp oil

1. Heat pan over medium heat. Add oil then saute shallot and garlic until translucent and fragrant.
2. Add rice and stir fry until warmed through.
3. Add prepared sauteed beef with corn and peas. Mix well and continue to cook. Make sure you stir the rice frequently to prevent burning the bottom.
4. Add soy sauce and mix well. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
5. Cook for another 4-5 minutes then remove from heat and serve warm.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ginataang Mais (Sweetened Corn in Coconut Milk)

This is a classic Filipino recipe which is usually served as an afternoon snack. It is made of cream style corn, whole corn kernels, sweet rice (also known as glutinous rice), and coconut milk. Sugar is added to sweeten it. It can be served either warm or cold. The coconut mil as well as the cream style corn gives it a creamy and rich flavor and texture.

Dishes that uses coconut milk, like this one, is very common in Asian cuisine and Filipino cuisine is no exception. You can usually buy canned coconut milk in Asia market but I remember back in the days in the Philippines, canned coconut milk was not readily available (not sure if it is now) and most household usually grate their own coconut meat then painstakingly extract the coconut milk manually. That is a really hard process and I do not know if I will be able to do that now...too much work is involved in extracting the coconut milk. The advantage of doing that though is that the coconut milk taste fresher. Another advantage is that it is thicker because you can opt not to add water if you want.


1 (14 oz) can cream style corn
3/4 cup frozen corn (you can also use canned corn)
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup sweet (glutinous) rice
sugar, according to desired sweetness
6 cups water

1. Place a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add sweet rice and water. Simmer until rice is soft and almost all of the water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn't burn.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to simmer until corn is soft and done.
4. Remove from heat. May be served cold or warm.