Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oysters in Butter

This dish is inspired by the Butter Oysters at a famous seaside restaurant in the province of Pangasinan.  Of course my version is not as buttery (or as rich) as the original, but as I have a good source of big, fat, shucked oysters...

This is a rather easy dish to make, especially if the oysters are already shucked and cleaned!  Not only is it easy, it is also fast.  Less than 8 minutes on the stove, really.

Mince a lot of garlic and ginger.  Saute in about 1/4 cup butter.  Add about 350 to 400 grams of shucked, cleaned and drained oysters.  Cook gently until the oysters are just done (they exude some liquid, but don't overcook!).  Season with salt and pepper, as preferred.  Remove from the heat immediately and transfer to a serving plate.  The secret of this dish is the dash of fresh lemon juice sprinkled over the dish just before serving!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seaweed Tofu in (Homemade) XO Sauce

Last Christmas, a dear friend gave me a wonderful gift... homemade XO sauce.  She told me that it was the best ever and it was great even if used solely in any dish.

Well, of course I wanted to test it out. And this dish would showcase that claim well...

The verdict?  Yes, it is very, very good.  It is the best I've tasted!

The dish is so simple but you wouldn't know it from its taste using the XO sauce friend C gave!

Just slice 2 cubes of seaweed tofu into cubes or slices.  Marinate in a tablespoon or two of light soy sauce for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Then saute onions and garlic with a spoonful of the XO sauce.  Throw the tofu in and stir gently until the tofu is coated with XO sauce and heated through.


Thanks, Friend C!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Baked Stuffed Potatoes

Sometimes I get wind of last minute guests... well, at the last minute...

It's a good thing that my mother taught me to keep the fridge (and the pantry) well stocked.

Well then, baked stuffed potatoes were what the guests had!

The recipe:

1-1/2 kilos large-sized potatoes (best if the potatoes are more or less the same sizes)

1 large onion, minced
250 to 300 grams thick-cut ham, cubed/diced

(all at room temp)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cooking cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese

Scrub the potatoes clean.  Steam until cooked.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and ham.  Cool.

When the potatoes are cooked and soft, cool slightly and rub with olive oil.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise.  Carefully scoop out the potato flesh, leaving a potato skin shell.

Mash the potato flesh with the butter, cream, milk, cream cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the onion and ham mixture.  Fold in shredded cheddar cheese.  Spoon into the potato skin shells.

Place stuffed potatoes in/on a buttered baking pan.  Top with shredded mozarella.  Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes to 25 minutes. or until the tops are lightly browned.

Monday, January 11, 2016


What is himugo?

When I first saw the finished product.  I thought it looked a lot like bucayo.  But bucayo is a delicacy from Central/Northern Luzon (Pangasinan).  It is made by cooking buko (coconut) strips with sugar.

Himugo, on the other hand (as Lola N says), is a sweet delicacy from Panay Island, Visayas, specifically Antique.  It is not cooked, but is made by pounding and mixing fresh (young) coconut strips, pinipig and muscovado sugar (and coconut water, if necessary).  The ingredients are pounded together until it becomes a sticky mess.  It is then shaped and placed on banana leaves.

In our case, the finished product was just placed in an ordinary bowl.  And we simply scoop it up with a spoon to eat!

What is the recipe you may ask?  (And yes, I did ask Lola N!)

Her reply - ay basta, haluin at dikdikin lang. tikman tapos kung anong kulang, idagdag!  (roughly translated - just mix and pound. taste, then add whatever seems lacking!)



This is definitely not an easy recipe!

My reply?

Ay basta!  Masarap!  (Oh well, it's delicious!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Suman sa Ibus

Lola went to her home province for a visit, and she just got back!  She brought with her a bunch of suman sa ibus!  Suman is a kind of rice cake.  There are many kinds of rice cakes, which are essentially "cakes" made from rice.  In the local language, the different kinds of rice cakes have their own names but in English, they are just lumped together as rice cake!  Suman sa ibus is a rice cake made of glutinous (sticky) rice and coconut milk, wrapped in buri leaves and cooked in boiling water.

Lola's suman is an "authentic" one.  Her family, from generations past, were largely farmers and fishermen.  The suman she brought back is a recipe passed down for generations, and her family makes their suman from the rice that her (extended) family planted and harvested. Her suman is the kind that has big, firm grains and not sweet from having sugar.  The rice, being fresh and organic has its own inherent sweetness. The rice is naturally sticky, and it is sooooo good.

It is really unlike the ones that are commonly found in the markets these days - the ones I no longer buy because their grains are either "durog" (crushed or broken) or "buhaghag" (loosely packed) and in all cases, almost always sweet from sugar being added! 

In any case, Lola says that it is easy to make the suman.  The difficult part is in making the buri wrappings!  The term "ibus" precisely refers to this buri wrapping but the suman can be wrapped in banana leaves instead, although it can no longer be called suman sa ibus.

The recipe (according to Lola) is not really a secret because everyone in their town (and I suppose elsewhere as well) knows how to make it.  Besides, the real secret is making it without measuring!  Still, she gives the recipe with (more or less) measurements by way of ratios (not by weight)!

Soak 3 parts glutinous rice to 2 parts coconut milk about half an hour to an hour.  For every 450 grams of sticky rice, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  

While the rice is soaking, the buri wrapping is prepared.  (Sorry but I don't really get how the wrapping is done... it appears that there are many ways to do it, as long as the filling does not escape the wrapping!) 

Fill the buri wraps about 3/4 full.  Arrange the suman in a large pot and cover with water.  Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for about an hour, depending on the size of the individual suman.  To be sure, test one for doneness.  

When done, remove from the pot and cool.  

The suman is traditionally served with muscovado sugar or ripe mangoes on the side.   
Personally, I like the suman lightly fried and with crisp edges.  Hubby recently discovered that it is divine when the lightly fried suman is eaten with homemade ube halaya!