Friday, May 4, 2007

Chicken with Sweet Pickles

Every time I call my mom, cousins or a friend, I would always ask them what is good to cook or easy to make after a hard day from work? "Adobo" chicken or pork or beef will always come up. I've cooked it so many times so I really need something new to surprise my husband and son.
Few days back my husband and I were munching with some crunchy baby sweet pickles and so I thought, why not cook a dish with some sweet pickles. And I happened to know one which is chicken with sweet pickles. Back home in the Phillippines it is normally serve during Fiesta time or special occasion. And the smell of it will make you hungry for it. But ofcourse it can be served also on any regular day also.

So I've looked for the recipe and found it in my recipe book. As always I will subtract some or add some ingredients according to our taste and to make it my own. I do this so I could cook it according to the taste of my family. I have the pickiest people that I needed to think of and to feed, none other than my husband, our unico hijo and moi ofcourse.

So for our dinner Chicken with Sweet Pickles it is. My husband and I love to eat baby crunchy sweet pickles for snacks and our son likes sweet and tangy taste so it will do.

Chicken skinless cut to desired size
1 onion
3 tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of sweet pickles cut thinly (put aside the juice from the pickles)
1/2 cup of sweet pickle relish
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper ( optional for added color)
2 siling labuyo crushed or pinch of red pepper flakes
soy sauce,vinegar and sugar
1 can of vienna sausage cut diagonaly (if you have kids this will be a hit but this is optional)

Saute garlic,onion and tomato then add the chicken and your "siling labuyo" or a pinch or two of the red pepper flakes. When chicken is almost done add the sweet pickles and its juice. Let it simmer for a few minutes then add your soy sauce,vinegar and sugar according to your taste. Add the vienna sausage and red bell pepper last. Serve with steam rice and garden salad will be perfect.

Pork Sinigang or Sinigang na Baboy

Sinigang na Baboy or Pork in tamarind soup base

Winter is over but lately its been cold out here in the west and the weather keeps changing, hmm "inconvenient truth"? you've got to watch it. So I have been cooking "ulam" or a dish with soup to keep us warm. For today I thought sinigang would be great with "inihaw" or grilled fish (tilapia). "Sinigang, a tamarind soup base with lots of different vegetables could have fish,pork,beef or chicken well if chicken you call it "sinampalukang" manok or tamarind chicken soup. I'll post different version of sinigang and lets see if it is going to be a succes with my avid customer, my husband and my son. They like actually we like "Sinigang" Salmon Steak with Miso, pork and beef. Havent tried cooking "sinampalukang manok" since I got married. I've cooked it quite a few times when I was single and it was a hit with my parents and brother. And sometimes when it was our "ulam" and our relatives were there, sometimes they drop by after work to make " kwento" we will invite them to join us and while eating my "sinampalukang" manok they will say" hmm parang nasa philippines tayo ah, sarap" hmm eating this feels like we're back home. So lets see if it would be a success with hubby and unico hijo, so watch out for it next time. For today "sinigang" pork version is what we will have on "our meza".

Sinigang "Pork" (Pork with tamarind soup base)

1 1/2 lb Pork cut to desired size (or get the pork stew so you dont need to cut and wash it)
1 onion sliced
2 tomatoes sliced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
string beans or green beans
spinach or mustard greens
eggplant cut diagonal
raddish cut diagonal
okra (optional)
gabi or taro (optional) skinned it and cut in halfanaheim pepper or could use 2 smashed siling labuyo
1 tamarind knorr soup base
salt if needed (normally not)

Saute garlic,onion and tomatoes. Add your pork let it simmer then add your water, water that is just enough to cover your pork and you've got to check it now and then to see if theres more water so it wont burn. If still not tender add more water, normally takes 45 min. to 1 hr. When tender add your anheim pepper or siling labuyo and your sinigang mix or tamarind mix. Let it simmer until pork is done. Add more water to make more soup if you want. When almost done add first your gabi and wait until it is almost done if none, add all your vegetable except your spinach or mustard greens. Do not over cook vegetable,taste if salt is needed add a pinch or 2. When done add your greens,stir and cover it. Serve it with steam rice and fried or grilled fish.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Looking for something healthy to eat? This vegetable dish is healthy as it can be. It is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Pinakbet or bulanglang is a filipino vegetable dish that is always pair with a grilled fish or fried fish. Fresh vegetables are always the key ingredients for this dish. You could prepare this once a week aside from your other vegetable and fruits intake and you will feel rejuvenated.

Shrimps deveined
String beans or green beans
Eggplant, Bitter melon or if too strong for you, bitter melon leaves can be used. My husband does not like bitter melon so I use bitter melon leaves and he enjoys it. I don't put salted shrimp also or "alamang" but I have it on the side on "our mesa" just in case someone wants it.

Cut vegetable according to your desire size. Saute garlic,onion and tomato. Then add your shrimp and when almost done add all your vegetables and add water to boil. Sprinkle it with salt to taste and do not over cooked your vegetable. Serve it with steam rice and grilled fish or fried fish and you'll have one healthy meal.

Pancit Bihon

What is a birthday party or any party in filipino household if you do not have any rice noodle dish? Pancit Bihon is one kind of rice noodle dish that always frequent filipino's dining table or "meza" during a party. Most of the time you will have "Palabok",Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton, Pancit Molo, Pancit Sotanghon and Lomi. Why do we have to have it? Well this noodle dish especially pancit bihon is prepared during birthdays because it is a tradition and we believe it signifies long life. And when you prepare and cook the rice noodle you are not suppose to cut it. You are suppose to leave it as it is which is long so that the birthday celebrant and our guests whom we are sharing it with will have a long life. It is prepared also during holidays or if you have a family get together. It became a regular potluck dish request here in the west also.
Some find making pancit bihon easy but I find it not so because you have to cut so many ingredients but I guess if you have carrots,green beans and cabbage will do. I find pancit palabok easier to make which others find it not so because you really need to buy ahead of time the few key ingredients because you dont normally store it in your pantry. Well I guess to each its own.
But my husband and my son prefer pancit bihon than pancit palabok so I cook it most of the time. Honestly though my son loves my spaghetti. If we have it he'll ask for it lunch,snacks and dinner. Ok ok I'm getting side track, this is a Pancit Bihon post, i'll do my palabok and spaghetti post next time. My sister inlaw came over for a visit from New York and so I made some Pancit Bihon for her.
Here is the picture as I prepared it on "Our Meza".

Rice Noodle (brand pamana,lapu-lapu
1 1/2 cup of water
1 Onion (diced)
garlic (crushed)
carrots (julienne)
green beans (sliced thinly)
celery (optional)
soy sauce
pork or chicken diced
shrimp deveined
fish balls cut into 3

Saute garlic and onion followed by pork or chicken then shrimp. season with pepper and pinch of salt. when done set aside but leave at least 2 tablespoons in the pan then add water and the soy sauce. while waiting to boil soak the rice noodle to room temperature water until it softened a little do not cut it and do not over soak.
When the water in the pan is boiling add all the vegetable and the meat mixture. Let it simmer and remove most of the vegetable and meat. Add the rice noodle. When it turn translucent add back the vegetable and meat mixture slowly but leave atleast 2 cups of it for later use. Add pepper and soy sauce according to your taste. And when done transfer to serving platter. Top it with remaining vegetable and meat mixture. Garnish it with fresh lemon wedges. Serve hot with "pandesal" or dinner rolls and ice cold lemonade would be an excellent drink with this dish.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The "Pamana" Chicken /Pork Adobo

Chicken/Pork Abodo is one filipino dish that taste better the next day. It is easy to prepare so after a busy day at work and I need to prepare something fast for my family, Chicken Adobo is the way to go. Also I make sure that I have some greed salad on the side and the ever loyal steam rice. For our dessert , it could be any seasonal fruits, like right now we have some sweet "manila" mangoes.

Chicken Adobo is not prepared on a regular day or busy day only but you could prepare it too when you have some friends coming over or even bring it when you have a pot luck at work. Most of the time if not often, it is the all the time request from my old job. When the sign up sheet is going around, they will ask me "Are you going to bring Chicken Adobo?" Ofcourse I will say yes, aside from it is easy to make, I know also that it is one of the dish in our pot luck that will be gone right away. It always warm my heart to know that they like my cooking.
There are different ways how to cook it but the ingredients will always stay the same.
Here is the picture just after I cooked it and below is the recipe.
Chicken (skinless) or pork (cut into desired size)
Soy Sauce
2 Bay Leaves
Olive Oil
2 siling labuyo or sprinkle it with a pinch of red pepper flakes
*you could add sugar if desired, it will make a difference if you do.
You could either saute the garlic so your adobo will have like a roasted garlic taste or combine all ingredients except the bay leaves in your cooking pot let it simmer and when almost done add the bay leaves. And when done serve with steam rice,green salad or fresh chopped tomatoes on the side.

Sinigang Sa Miso

Sinigang Salmon Steak with Miso

My husband and I eat few kind of fish only. And we are lucky that my son did not get that because he loves fish. You could count the fingers in your one hand and still not count them all with the only kind of fish that we like to eat, not proud of it but it is the truth. So as the Chef of La Casa Castillo , I try really hard to cook a really good fish dish so it would be a constant favorite in our household. And my Sinigang Salmon Steak with Miso is the number one favorite fish dish prepared on our "Meza". It is good especially when you just cooked it and it is steaming hot and you partner it with some steam rice. It is loaded with some green leafy vegetable,raddish,string beans or green beans plus your miso and not to forget your fish so this is really one healthy dish. You could prepare this on a regular day or prepare it when you have a special occasion goin' on in your home and you wont go wrong. Ok enough with the introduction
Here is the picture of the salmon fish as I just finished cooking it. You could substitute any meaty fish example Milk fish, cat fish, stripe bass etc.

Salmon Steak or any meaty fish
Mustard greens
String Beans or Green Beans
Aneheim Pepper
1 tomato
3 to 5 pieces of garlic.
Shiro Miso No MSG Added (You could use this kind of miso, the frozen filipino miso tend to give a very strong flavor and smell that some people find it too strong and with the Shiro miso you could taste the individual flavor of the ingredients so it is up to you)
Knorr Sinigang Mix (Half of the Package)
Little Salt or no salt at all is ok because this is a very tasty dish already.
Saute garlic,onion, tomato and add the miso. Let it stand for couple of minutes then 2 cups of water at first and you could add more when needed. Let it boil, then add the Aneheim Pepper when its green color paled add your fish,raddish. Let it simmer and when it is almost done add your green beans. Taste it add salt or water if needed and just befor you turn it off add your green mustard leaves.
Serve it hot with your steam rice and believe me you will like it. Easy recipe of Sinigang Salmon Steak with Miso or Salmon with Miso in Tamarind soup base. ( my version of sinigang sa miso Recipe)

About my "Our Meza" Blog

May 2007

On Our Meza

I have been wanting to start my own blog about food. I have been a constant visitor to some. It fascinates me how passionate they are and how committed they are in their food blogging. And they are all very interesting,very entertaining and very informative. And so since I love to cook and I love trying different kind food from different country, decided to have my own food blog.

Here is the history of my love of computing and cooking. First my love of computing..I once made my own web site about my favorites and myself in the late 1990's. I was trying to be a programmer/graphics designer during that time. Succeeded? I got my degree but I ventured in a different path. Nevertheless the profession that I went into is something that I love and enjoy .

Then I've got to put my career on hold while I  started a family of my own and my family became my top priority. But my love for computing did not stop there because I continued on practicing them by playing graphics design with my "unico hijo" he is my apprentice. We make animation using flash(old way of making animation I guess) which he enjoy, picture editing using adobe photoshop which he love and picture presentation using powerpoint and my son's very own website. Speaking of my son ( 4years old going 5 this Dec. 2007), he is now curiously watching what I am doing so he could copy me and now playing typing on my laptop computer ( while I am using his father's PC) he absolutely look adorable.

Ok and then theres  my love for cooking.. back then I already enjoy cooking but I got more passionate about it when I got married … I started experimenting and trying new recipe/s … and the food I make were and are always enjoyed by my husband,my son,my parents ,brother, some of my relatives and our neighbors as well. Speaking of our neighbors, sometimes  I let them try my cooking and surprisingly they will want to order it or buy it. They often buy my homemade "Tocino ,Longgonisa and embutido".  They like it because aside from it is delicious they know that it is less fattening and freshly made. I use lean meat and I make it only when they order so it is freshly made.

Ok so my first website or web blog may have been lost in the world wide web, I think now is the perfect time to resurrect my web blogging. I am more matured and  I could multitask effectively..  between taking care of my family and recently resurrected career of mine. Yes, I am back to the workforce ,part time for now but hopefully fulltime soon , as my "unico hijo" is now enjoying his pre schooling and he is constantly saying " I need to go to school, I have work or project to do". He is very curious and very smart. He loves trying and learning new things. I guess he got it from hmm dad or mom..both of course.

To go back to a food blog?

So why a food blog when there are so many already, well I guess like many other food blogger, I am passionate about cooking. It is funny though because when I was a kid I am very picky with food and show little interest in cooking. But I outgrew that and even became the cook for my family.
Am I still a picky eater? Not so much, I guess, as a person age, the taste buds changes and became more willing to try new things or even crave for the things you don't like when growing up ( for my case its true). For some reason lately, I am more willing to try anything and now craving for authentic filipino dish that I didn't like before. Some of the dishes or food that I prefer not to eat when I was little, were ginisang ampalaya (sautéed bitter melon), talbos ng kamote  and  Fish (except for milk fish)... specially the "Sinigang na Ayungen". Oh I would not eat Ayungen and would just have the "sabaw" or soup. But the last time I went back home 1999 my mother requested for my aunt to cook " sinigang na ayungen na malalaki". I tried it, it is good but still can not add "Ayungen" yet to the things I like or enjoy to eat but I do love the ginisang ampalaya now  and I now eat quite a few kinds of fish.

So much with the introduction…well for my first food blog entry will be non other than a "fish dish" My son ask for it all the time and my husband loves it would be the " Siningang Salmon Steak with Miso.