WELCOME

 

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Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area. Welcome to My Bay Kitchen!

Growing up in Baguio City, Philippines, I learned most of my cooking from my late mother,  just watching her in the kitchen.  She had no recipe books or cheat sheets, just the skills and knowledge  gained from my grandmother and great grandmother. I honestly believe that the best dishes are probably the ones that are passed on by word of mouth and practice, perfected not by measuring cups or kitchen timers, but by intuition and the pouring of one’s heart into the cooking. I have personally tried each of the recipes in this blog, injecting my own tweaks to make them more healthy and easy to prepare. More

I hope you will enjoy cooking the recipes as well as the story that goes with each of them. Select from the Category drop down menu  or visit this site’s pages by making a selection from the top menu bar. You can also use the search button to look for recipe key words.

Oh, and keep coming back for a second serving!

Tinolang Tahong (Ginger-based Mussel Soup)

IMG_2288For the rare times that I’d prepare mussel soup while I was in California, my limited options would include buying pre-packaged mussels from the frozen section of Costco and the supermarkets.  Even those I bought directly from the “fresh food section” could have been — in all likelihood — previously frozen.

So it always delights me to be able to prepare this popular Filipino dish using fresh mussels from Baguio City’s (Phlippines) public market.  Sure, they may have been brought up from the coastal waters of nearby La Union, but still I know that they’re fresher than the ones I buy in California.

Tinola is basically an onion and ginger-based soup and is often prepared with chicken (Tinolang manok).

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. mussels (tahong), thoroughly cleaned

2cups spinach (or kangkong)

2 thumbs ginger, peeled and julienned

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps, Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat Olive oil in a large pot.  Add garlic and saute until golden brown.  Add onions and cook for one minute. Add ginger and mussels and saute for another minute.  Pour in water and let boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add the spinach or kangkong. (The remaining heat will cook the spinach).  Serve warm.

 

Ready For The Hot Summer? Deep-Fried Halo-Halo

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(This post first appeared in Positively Filipino)

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 25 years, I have been exposed to the rich international cuisine that is one of the marks of its cultural diversity. Food from Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific are plenty.

It was in the Bay Area that I tasted my first mochi ice cream, fried ice cream and garlic ice cream.

So when I first heard of deep-fried halo-halo being served as a specialty in a restaurant in La Union, I immediately became a doubting Thomas.

How can this shaved ice-based snack be fried and still give me the cool and refreshing pleasure of this popular Filipino delicacy filled with all the sweet ingredients? And so began my kitchen adventure for my deep-fried halo-halo.

It’s just perfect for the warm summer weather!

INGREDIENTS

12 pcs. lumpia (egg roll) wrapper
1 boiled saging na saba, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup kaong (sugar palm fruit)
1/4 cup nata de coco (coconut gel)
1/4 cup ube jam
2 tbsps brown sugar
Oil for deep-frying
You favorite flavor ice cream

DIRECTIONS

Place a slice of the saba and 3 to 4 pcs each of the garbanzo beans, kaong and nata de coco on top of two lumpia wrappers. Add a half-teaspoon of the ube jam on top of the other ingredients.

Fold and roll the wrapper like you would normally do for your regular lumpia. Moisten and seal the edge of the wrapper.

Heat oil. Sprinkle brown sugar over the oil. Deep-fry the egg rolls in batches until nicely browned and crispy. Remove from heat, let cool before slicing each egg roll diagonally.

Arrange the sliced egg rolls on a saucer or ice cream bowl and top with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream. If desired, garnish the plate with additional banana slices, kaong, nata de coco and ube jam.

Curry Chicken

IMG_1856.PNGNothing beats the aroma and after taste of curry, but it’s also the flavor penetrating the meat and other ingredients that makes this dish so delightful and mouth-watering. Combined with potatoes, carrots and coconut milk, curried chicken is to die for.  What a difference this spice makes!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb chicken drumsticks and breasts

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces

8-10 baby potatoes, peeled

1 large white onion, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsps curry powder

1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)

2 tbsps Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large pan, heat Olive oil.  Add onions and tomatoes and Coke for about two minutes. Add curry powder and mix well.  Add chicken pieces, making sure they’re well coated in the curry mix. Add carrots and potatoes.  Stir for about two minutes.  Add in coconut milk and let boil.  Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until the chicken pieces are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with green onions.

 

Got Green Mangoes? Will Have Pickle And Salad

IMG_1785I could eat sweet, ripe mangoes anytime. What is there not to like about them?  But I know that some folks are not as keen on earning unripe green mangoes, especially if they don’t have a clue on what to do with them.

Green mangoes are quite popular in the Philippines. They’re available almost everywhere, including from sidewalk vendors who well them peeled, sliced and partnered with baboon (fermented fish sauce).

In homes and specialty restaurants, green mangoes are served as appetizers or salad, especially as a companion to fried or barbecued fish and meat.

I recently received  about half a dozen green mangoes as a gift so I decided to make two things out of them: a pickled appetizer and a fresh salad.  As for the rest of the mangoes, maybe, just maybe, I’ll leave alone to ripen.

Pickled

INGREDIENTS

Two green, unripe mangoes, peeled and julienned

4 tsps brown sugar

1 1/2 tsps salt

1 Thai chilly

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, combine mangoes, sugar and salt and toss.  Place them in a jar along with the Thai chilly.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (Liquid will form from sugar and mangoes.)

Salad

INGREDIENTS

Two green, unripe mangoes, grated (with liquid squeezed out and discarded)

1 large onion, sliced

1 large tomato, cubed

1 Thai chilly, chopped

1 tbsp bagoong (fermented fish sauce)

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well.  Cover and let chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, transfer to a small plate or saucer and top with the bagoong.

Callos a la Madrileña

IMG_1748.JPGCallos is a stew common across Spain, and is considered traditional to Madrid where it is referred to as Callos a la Madrileña. It contains ox tripe and chickpeas, blood sausage and bell peppers. Chorizo sausage may also be used.

It is one of the Spanish dishes that have been adopted widely in the Philippines.

For my version of this recipe, I skipped the chickpeas because it is on the list of prohibited food for someone in our household.  Instead, I used unsalted peanuts.  Works as well for me!  I also added raisins to add a little sweetness to the dish.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ox tripe, cleaned

1 cup unsalted peanuts

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 pc chorizo de Bilbao, sliced

1 large bell pepper, sliced into bite-sized squares

1 medium onion, sliced

1 small carrot, cubed

1/2 tsp whole peppercorn

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

3 pcs dried basil leaves

1/2 cup raisins

2 tbsps Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a casserole, bring water to a boil.  Add onion, whole peppercorn, basil leaves and tripe.  Simmer until the tripe is tender.

Remove tripe from casserole and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing it into bite-sized strips.  Reserve stock.

In a large wok, heat Olive oil.  Add chorizos and cook for about 6-8 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Add the tripe and 1 1/2 cups of the reserved stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste.Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add carrots and bell pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Add raisins and peanuts.

Remove from heat and serve warm.

 

Fern Friday Salad

IMG_1683.JPGDon’t be misled. The only reason I named this recipe as such is because where I currently am in Baguio City, Philippines, Fiddlehead ferns are only available in the public market on Fridays.

But this is simply a fresh fiddlehead fern salad, known locally as pako.

This is not the same as just fiddlehead, the curly top of the fern plant which is a delicacy in countries like Canada.

This salad uses more of the leaves rather than the fiddleheads.

I’ve been craving for this salad since I first tasted it at a gourmet restaurant in Manila.  Since then, I promised myself to make it in my kitchen, if I could find a source for the fresh ingredient.

Well, I did find a source.  You can bet I’ll be having this every Friday!

INGREDIENTS

One bunch, Fiddlehead fern leaves

1 medium onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

A dash of ground black pepper

1 red, salted egg, sliced in half

DIRECTIONS

Separate the fern leaves and fiddleheads from the stem.  Discard the stems. Thoroughly wash the fern leaves.  Blanch and drain.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and black pepper and set aside.

In a serving bowl, combine fern leaves, onion, tomatoes and Olive oil. Toss.

Pour the vinegar dressing over the salad mixture.  Toss one more time.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, top with the salted egg slices.

Rosemary Gizzards And Potatoes

IMG_1580.JPGIf you like chicken gizzards and are not bothered by their texture, there are several great ways to enjoy them. You can cook them — adobo-style — along with chicken liver.  You can also fry them breaded as done Southern style.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying fried or baked Rosemary chicken, so I thought I’d try cooking the gizzards in a similar way.  And while at it, why not add some baby potatoes?

INGREDIENTS

1 lb chicken gizzards, cleaned and thoroughly washed

1 cup baby potatoes, scrubbed and thoroughly washed

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 tbsp dried Rosemary

2 tbsps fish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup cheese melt

3 pcs dried basil leaves

Water for boiling

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken gizzards in a pot and pour water up to fully submerge them. Add basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the gizzards are tender (about 60 minutes.)  Add fish sauce during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pot, boil the baby potatoes until half-cooked.  Remove from heat, and slice them in half.

In large pan, heat butter or margarine. Add boiled gizzards and dried Rosemary.  Stir-fry until the gizzards turn light brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the potatoes and fry until nicely browned and tender. Remove from heat.

To serve, place the gizzards and potatoes over a bed of blanched spinach or your favorite greens. Top with green onions and cheese melt while still warm.