Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Noche Buena Cooking : Baked Macaroni with Cheese Topping

Last dish I cooked for our family Noche Buena, Christmas 2007: Baked Macaroni with Cheese Topping.

I followed's Baked Macaroni.
recipe for this dish. Click here to view the recipe.

Pretty rich but tasty. Not your everyday dish but reserved for those special occasions.

By the time I got to cooking this dish, I was already getting pretty tired
so I was rather slow in cooking it. It still made it to the 7 PM Noche Buean dinner.

Instead of the Recipe's Magnolia Quickmlet cheese, I used Velveeta Cheese
and combined it with Philadephia Cream Cheese that's easily available here in
North America.

Once again, thank you Connie Veneracion for the Recipe, mabili yung recipe mo, he, he.


Noche Buena Cooking : Pork Barbecue

My take on Pork Barbecue:

I cooked pork barbecue for our family Noche Buena, Christmas 2007.
I followed's Home grilled pork barbecue
recipe for this dish. Click here to view the recipe.

I must say it was a hit for the grown ups with its spicy
taste and hint of citrus flavor. The kids, well they
liked it as well but had to get a glass of cold water
ready for them to drink because of its spicy after taste.

I used Vietnamese Chili Paste that comes in small jars
for the chili component of the Recipe.

For the basting sauce, I used honey instead of sugar.

I cooked this twice, first for a trial run and second
the actual Noche Buena. The second time around I forgot
to add minced garlic. A family member's comment: its more flavorful
with the minced garlic added. So, huwag kalilimutan ang bawang
sa inyong marinating at basting sauce.

Thank you Connie for the Recipe.


Noche Buena Cooking : Sweet and Sour Lapu-lapu fish

I cooked Sweet and Sour Lapu-lapu fish for our family Noche Buena, Christmas 2007.
I followed's Sweet and Sour Lapu-lapu
recipe for this dish. Click here to view the recipe.

My family liked it. It was a good variation from the meats served such as Ham or Turkey.

I had to modify the cooking procedure, instead of frying the 15 inch length Lapu-lapu fish (bought from a local Seafood market), I greased the fish’s skin with Olive Oil, wrapped in foil then grilled it. I couldn’t find a frying pan large enough to pan fry that size of a fish. The sweet and sour sauce had a good fruity sauce to complement it. -Julius

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Steamed Tilapia

I made Nilagang Tilapia tonight good for a solo dinner.

Its healthy to cook by steaming and stay away from
fried foods if at all possible I guess.

Also, fish or any seafood is good for a balanced diet.

As usual I used a recipe from my favorite website:
Steamed Tilapia by

With chopped ginger to remove the fishy odor and a distinct Asian flavor,
diced onions, crushed garlic, Soy Sauce, juice of fresh
Lemon, and served with steamed rice, this dish is heavenly.

Click here to view the Recipe.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Slow Cooking, Chicken and Rice Casserole

If there is one thing I can't stand, its having to be
at the kitchen still on my work clothes to cook a Dinner
good for four people after a toxic day at work.

I mean who wants to stand there for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs
when you can be putting your legs up to let them rest.
Eating out is not option for me either. I like to take my time
and enjoy dinner at the comfort of my home.

Well, one Solution I'm using now is the slow cooker.

I still have to master the secrets of cooking recipes meant for the
slow cooker, but it sure is convenient to come home to a warm pot of
comfort food given the cold weather and a tiring day.

Well here's a sample slow cooker recipe.
Not a Filipino dish but a Spanish Paella dish.

The dish has the familiar chopped Onions and minced garlic
as base that is common in Filipno ginisa dishes, bit it takes off
with Chicken thighs, sauteed bell pepper, bacon bits, Chicken stock,
oregano, kasubha, and lots of rice.

Interested in the Recipe?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Noche Buena Food Blog

Have you checked out the Noche Buena Blog
by Connie Veneracion yet? I'm so excited,
I just had to share it.

Click on the URL below to be transferred to
her Christmas Food blog. Go to:


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Delayed Entry- Kristen's Fourth Birthday 2007

Delayed entry:

November 4, 2007

We celebrated Kristen's fourth Birthday today November 4, 2007 at home.
I guess it was just a simple celebration. I invited some close friends , Ate Christine and Kuya Chito, Kuya Raul, Joan and kids,some neighbor's kids, and served a fare of home cooked dishes. It was enough to commemorate my dear Kristen's fourth Birthday.

Happy Birthday my dear Kristen. May you God bless you with more birthdays as you grow up.

Click on the image to see more pictures.

Kristen's fourth birthday


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Guinatang Bilo-bilo

Back during my childhood years, I regard Bilo-bilo
as my favorite dessert after dinner
or merienda on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Laden with tapioca balls, bilo-bilo balls,
kamote (sweet potato), lanka (jack fruit), and gata (coconut milk)
it is indeed a gastronomical delight.

I made a pot full for the kids tonight.
They were delighted with the sweet dessert.

You know, I look at food as one way of passing
my Filipino culture to my US born kids.
Later when they grow up, they'll look
back to food as a way to identify with their
Filipino culture.

Well, my version of bilo-bilo is not any different from the
bilo-bilo recipes available on the Internet. I used Connie Veneracion's
Pinoy Bilo-bilo Recipe with some slight variation.
I added Jack fruit on my Bilo-bilo otherwise everything else follows her Recipe.

Click here to view the Recipe.

I'm providing a more detailed procedure to make Bilo-bilo for folks
out there who can't buy Galapong or bilo-bilo in the local Market.

Bilo-bilo balls:


1 cup glutinus rice flour
1/3 cup water

Bilo-bilo procedure:
1. In a bowl of rice flour, gradually add water while using hands to clump flour
into a dough ball.

2. Wrap the rice flour dough ball with cling film and
let rest for 20 - 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

3. Sprinkle Rice flour in a flat surface.

4. shape bilo-bilo balls from the dough, about 1/4 inch diameter.

5. Roll the formed bilo-bilo unto the floured surface.

6. Store the formed bilo-bilo balls on a flat plate and resume with the rest of the recipe.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pampano Wrapped in Banana leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chile, and Coconut Milk for dinner

I cooked Jamie oliver's* Recipe: Monkfish Wrapped in Banana leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chile, and Coconut
Milk and what a seafood delightc was this dish.

Here's a link to the Recipe:,1977,FOOD_9936_19207,00.html

With the Recipe's unmistakable Asian ingredients, I suspect Jamie discovered this dish on one of his trips to Thailand (just a guess).

I got my ingredients such as fresh Pampano fish, wansuy leaves (cilantro), Patis (fish sauce), tanglad (lemon grass), ginger,
banana leaves (yes we buy banana leaves here in North America while it just grows anywhere in the
Philippines),juice and zest of limes, red chili, a can of coconut milk, sesame oil from our reliable Seafood City Market.
Although, I'm sure you can get all these ingredients in a wet or seafood market.
Any white meat fish such as Tilapia, Mahi-Mahi, Sea Bass, or Catfish will do for this recipe.

To serve it, I made individual fish wrapped in the banana leaves and serve it in a plate with steamed rice. Allow the diner
to open the individually banana wrapped fish.

Try this dish! You'll really love the aroma, and of course the taste of fresh fish.

*Jamie Oliver is a well known cook in the UK. He had a show titled "The Naked chef" shown in Food Network
years ago but I think it has since been discontinued.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Trinnie's Chicken Pastel

You might ask who Trinnie is and what is Chicken Pastel. Trinnie's one of my online friends, hails from Cavite Philippines. She shared and asked me to try cook her recipe. Since she describes the recipe to me through Yahoo Messenger chat session, then there is no way for her to quality control (QC) what I’ve cooked whether it was cooked according to her specifications.

Obviously, she can't QC it because a large Ocean divides us.
Well maybe in the future, I'll cook this in the Philippines and ask her to
taste and give me a feedback whether I paid tribute or made disservice to the dish.

Chicken breasts in a thick cream sauce, reminds e of Cream of Chicken
or Chicken a La King. Try it sometime. She describes it, it is pretty special and rich. Trinnie, for now, you would have to take my cooking of the dish at face value.

3 tablespoon Butter
1 onion chopped
2 chicken Buillon cubes
2 pounds of Chicken Breasts cut into 3 inch strips
1 four ounce can of Cream (Nestle Cream)
½ cup Cheese, shredded
½ cup carrots

Cooking Procedure:

1) In a pot, melt butter in low heat.
2) Add and Saute the carrots and celery until cooked.
3) Transfer the vegetables in a small plate and keep warm.
4) In the same pan, saute the onions in melted butter still in low heat.
3) Saute the chicken breasts in the melted butter.
4) Add the Chicken Buillon cubes to season the Chicken.
5) Simmer the Chicken until it starts to sweat.
6) Mix in the Cream, stirring often so it doesn’t stick to the pan
7) Return the vegetables to the pan.
8) Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
9) Shred the cheese on top and stir.

Food for the gods for the Holidays

Finally, I tried my hand in making Food for the gods cake.

The fragrant aroma and sweet taste of this cake reminds me of the Holidays.
It reminds me of another cake, the Fruit Cake which as a child came this time
of the year - Christmas time and New Year.

I always get little squares of Food for the gods wrapped in foil
whenever I visit my sister-in-law Ate Marivic. Well its about time
I demystify and explore the how-to's in making this cake.

I used - Connie Veneracion's Food for the gods and Christmas Cake recipe. Click here to view her recipe.

One of the ingredients Molasses, I had to buy in a gourmet food specialty store.
The other ingredients pretty much you can get from a regular grocery market such as butter, eggs, baking powder, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, mixed nuts, pancake syrup, alcohol such as rum , brandy or whiskey.

It wasn't hard to make this cake at all. I was just be mindful of the cake while its baking. After 20 minutes, I made sure it wasn't burning , and checked on it every ten minutes. Total baking time: forty minutes.

Also, it takes time to make it. Total time to make the cake: one day. I had to moisten the cake with the syrup-whiskey mixture with a brush, every one to two hours throughout the day. But, its worth the wait to enjoy this marvelous cake. After the syrup mixture was used up, I cut up the cake in small squares, and placed it in a cookie jar. I'll see the reaction of the kids when they get back today.

Here's a couple pictures of cake in the making:

combining flour with the coarsley chopped nuts and raisins

brushing pancake Syrup/Whiskey on the cake