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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spices in Filipino Cuisine by Carlo Villamayor (Guest Post)

It's no secret that Filipino cuisine is one of the best in the world, but like any good food, it has to have its secrets. Few people have really mastered authentic Filipino food, not the washed-down fare you get in fast foods and diners, but real, home-made native dishes. Although most of us can whip up something when we need to, it can be hard to capture that distinct Filipino taste.

So what really goes into our food? How do you make your food taste truly Filipino? There's really no single answer, because no one can define our food; we come from a hodgepodge of cultures, after all. But one thing that sets us apart from our Asian neighbors is our heavy use of spices. Whereas other cuisines prefer subtle hints of flavor, we like a big burst of it with every bite.

So that's the first rule: be generous with the spice. If you want your dish to fit in with other Filipino recipes, get to know the spices that go into them. Here are some of the most common.

Ginger

Ginger is used in most of Asian cuisine, and Filipino food recipes. In the Philippines, it is most commonly used in soups and stews; dishes such as arroz caldo (rice porridge), and tinola (chicken stew) use garlic as their main spice. It goes particularly well with chicken and fish dishes, where it provides a nice contrast to the strong meat flavors. Ginger is used both for flavor and aroma, although the flesh of the root is not always eaten. Most people just crush the root and drop it into the dish, then take it out just before serving.

Chili

We're not as wild about spicy food as the Thais, but we do like a bit of bite in our food. Virtually every Filipino dish can be spiced up with chili peppers, from rich meat viands to everyday soups and noodles. Sauces like patis (fish sauce) and soy sauce are often mixed with crushed chili and used as dips or marinades. Bicol, a region in southeastern Luzon, is known for using chili peppers in most of its dishes. Perhaps the most popular is Bicol express, made with meat, bagoong (saut'ed shrimp paste), coconut milk, and chopped green chilies.

Garlic and onions

These two almost always go together, especially in meat and vegetable dishes. You may be more familiar with Taiwanese and Australian garlic, which have larger cloves and are easier to work with. But if you want a stronger, spicier flavor, go for native garlic. Philippine garlic comes in smaller bulbs, with cloves less than half the size of other types. This makes them hard to handle, but it's well worth the trouble.

Philippine onions are strong and pungent, making them a great source of flavor. Use native red onions for saut'ing and pickling, but use the white ones for salads and sandwiches. If you're making rice porridge, top it with chopped green onions for extra spice.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass has strong-smelling leaves and stalks commonly used in soups, teas and sauces. The leaf is slightly sweet with a hint of citrus, a perfect complement to gravy and other meat sauces. There are several ways to use lemongrass, but the most common method is cooking the fresh leaves (sometimes the entire stalk or bulb) with the food to release the flavor. If you're using the stalk, take only the soft inner part and chop it up before dropping it in. You can also use dried and powdered lemongrass, especially if you're in the city and fresh leaves are hard to find. 




Pandan

Pandan is mostly an aromatic ingredient, most commonly used with plain white rice. Just add a couple of leaves to your rice as it boils, and it comes out with a strong, inviting aroma. Some regions even weave it onto rice pots for an even stronger scent. You can do the same with rice cakes, puddings, and other Filipino desserts recipes.

Bay leaf

The strong, pungent taste of bay leaves makes them a perfect fit for Filipino cooking recipes. The leaf has a wide range of uses, from meat sauces and dips to main dishes like adobo, menudo and mechado. Dried bay leaves are traditionally used; fresh bay is seldom available in local markets. The leaf itself is not usually eaten; like ginger, you can take out the leaves once you're ready to serve. However, most people just leave them in and set them aside when eating.



About The Author:  
Carlo Villamayor is a devoted cook, he makes it his personal mission to spread the joy of one of his Filipino food recipes with food lovers the world over. Bon appetit!  (Source:  ArticleCity.com)




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Friday, June 23, 2017

Mangos Plus Roses Equal Refreshing Earthly Delight

Almost everyone loves roses. But these flowers have a special meaning to me because of my late mother's rose bush which was the centerpiece of the front yard of my childhood home. Every time I see a roses, it's impossible to disassociate them from this childhood memory. 


My Facebook friend is knowledgeable about holistic health and alternative remedies and she published a wonderful article about rose water which she refers to a Grandma’s Secret Weapon. She explains the benefits of using it for skin care and suggests it be a part of aromatherapy. That sounds fabulous. But did you also know that you can drink rose water?



Following me so far? 

You're probably thinking: 'Hurry and get to the part about the mangos!'


Mangos (or Mangoes)?  Another childhood memory is being able to go out in my backyard or my neighbor's backyard and pick a mango from the tree to enjoy. To this day, it's always a thrill find any kind recipe that includes mango as an ingredient. Sharing the recipe gives me an even bigger thrill.



Here is a link to a quick and easy recipe that is sure to delight you.




In case you've never seen or heard of a “lassi”, here is a clear definition found in Wikipedia:

“Lassi (pronounced [ləs-siː]) (la-SEE) is a popular traditional yogurt-based drink from the Indian Subcontinent and originates from the Punjab. ... a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit.”

The definition does not specifically mention “rose water”. But it does say “water” and that's good enough! :)




Rose Flower Water by Malandel (French) 16 oz


The malandel is a product of France.
Rose flower water is produced by water distillation from rose flowers.


  • Not only is it great in a smoothie but can be added to a creamy tapioca or rice pudding and marries well with most ricotta cheese desserts and Italian sponge cakes, cookies and biscuits.


  • Shop TyentUSA.comSprinkle a few drops into ice water for an amazing transformation.


  • In the Middle East, it is used to flavor baklava (or filo desserts) and sherbets, and Turkish delight candies.










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Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'd Like to Order Kung Pao Chicken Smothered with Melted Cheese! (Yuk!)

A few years back, I was having a spirited discussion with co-workers at one of my temp jobs and the discussion turned to food preferences. Mexican versus Chinese.

I said: “I love Chinese food!”

My co-worker's response was:
“No way! Chinese food doesn't have near enough cheese for me!!”

I laughed and thought to myself: 'Yep! She's right about that!'

But why? ⍰
Why is there hardly any cheese in Chinese cuisine?

Did some research. Here is the quick answer, according to Corinne Trang, affectionately referred to by her many admirers as the “Asian Julia Child”. She says: “In Asian food culture, you have thousands, countless amounts of herbs and spices that we use at any given time. So few of these spices go well with cheese.”

Nevertheless, there is a food trend going in the “fusion” direction and chefs are experimenting with incorporating cheese into Asian recipes.

I seriously doubt that you can order a plate of kung pao chicken smothered with melted cheese.  I didn't say the chefs had taken leave of their senses.  😋

But what do you think of this "adaptation"?

Do you like your Chinese food with or without cheese?

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Quote Source:
Kuo, Stephanie. "The Real Reason There's No Cheese In Asian Cuisine." CheeseRank : Your Go To Guide for All Things Cheese. N.p., 28 July 2014. Web. 15 June 2017.



Cheese in Chinese Cuisine

How many authentic (ie., not fusion) Chinese dishes use, or incorporate, cheese? When I say cheese, I mean actual cheese -- either from a cow, goat or whatnot. What I don't mean is "Chinese cheese" or fermented, preserved tofu. The only Chinese dish I can think of that has cheese is Yunnan Goat Cheese, served sprinkled with sugar and pepper.

It Turns Out, There is Such a Thing as Chinese Cheese

The Blog: Cookbook author and teacher Diana Kuan writes about traditional and modern takes on Asian home cooking on her blog, Appetite for China. She has also recently launched an online shop called Plate and Pencil, with cute gifts like a "Dumplings Around the World" tote bag.

Discovering Cheese in One of the Most Unsuspecting Places

It's nearly impossible for any Westerners to remember the first time they tried cheese. From pizza to pasta to hunks eaten on their own, cheese's ubiquity in our diets means that we've been enjoying it since before we could eat most other solid foods. For Liu Yang, a cheesemaker in Beijing, the o...

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pascal Caffet is a world famous chocolatier ...

Pascal Caffet is a world famous chocolatier and the French are more than happy to say “Ooh la la!” whenever this name is heard. He is revered as “le roi du chocolat”, that is to say, “the king of chocolate”. 

Zchocolate is partnered
with Pascal Caffet.


These luscious candies are offered to very appreciative customers. The products are often romantic gifts for Valentine’s Day. But these luxury French chocolates are a perfect gift for any occasion?

Discover the zChocolat Product Collections with greatest impression!



Nougats

Nougats ~ This assortment of nougats is handcrafted with whole Provence almonds coated with a paste made from lavender honey. 


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EES shares recipes, cooking tips
and all things foodie!

 


Monday, June 5, 2017

Perfect Gift for the High School Graduate Who is Off to College - A Cookbook!

A Cookbook? For a college student? Am I nuts?

No. No I am not. During my freshman year or first year of college, I was fortunate because I had a meal plan. As long as I got to the cafeteria before closing time, I didn't starve! But for my remaining 3 years at the university, I lived in an on-campus apartment and my roommates (friends I made when I was just a freshman who lived in the apartments) loved to cook!! The Chinese-Jamaican guy who lived in the apartment above ours always had good smelling coming out of his kitchen! His specialty was curry chicken. 

But before I get too far down memory lane and forget why I am writing this post, let me get back on track. The purpose of this post is to recommend a cookbook for a student you know who is heading off to college, already in college, getting ready to graduate from college. In fact, this cookbook is great for anybody!!!


Gift Idea found at Fabulous Ideas For Graduation Gifts - Daily Two Cents

Friday, June 2, 2017

Foodie Friday : World Cuisine : Japan’s 10 weirdest ice cream flavors (Reblog)

ATTN Foodies and  food lovers. Check out this Top Ten List. Do you have a taste for something sweet, cold and delicious, yet strange and exotic or ... maybe just a little salty? Then you should probably be visiting an ice cream parlor in Japan. Have heard of sweet potato ice cream, which I thought was weird; but it's not on this list! Squid ink?? It's Number 8. Eh! It's soft serve! Worth a try! :)







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