Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eve's Pancit Canton Chicken Scampi: Inspired by Betty Crocker

Hello there! Today is Sunday but I wasn't able to attend the Worship Service. There were carpentry jobs at home which I had to supervise, and while doing so, as usual, the experiment in the kitchen goes on. Never a day without trials and tests in my kitchen. My experiments usually consist of  modifications in the original recipes that happen when:
  1. I deliberately change the ingredients of the recipe according to what is available 
  1. I modify the sequence of the cooking directions as I deem appropriate

Today's recipe experiment is a variation of Betty Crocker's Quick Chicken Scampi. This is a delicious skillet dinner made with linguine served with chicken mixture and vegetables. Betty Crocker's recipe has the following ingredients:

A Sequel to "Life is But a Weaving"

How are you spending your weekend?

Remember my post two Sundays ago featuring the poem of Corrie Ten Boom? Here's a sequel to that.

Actually, when I read Corrie Ten Boom's poem, "Life is But a Weaving", I remembered an excerpt I copied and wrote in my notebook many years ago (as in yeaaaaarrrrssss since I wrote it when I was still in college, so 30 or more years ago ). I don't remember the source anymore though I'm sure it was from one of the books I've read. While posting Ten Boom's poem, I exhausted all my efforts  recalling the similar excerpt, sad to say, my efforts were in vain. That meant I had to search among my clutters to find that old notebook of mine.

After searching some corners of the house, that includes bookshelves and boxes where books and old notebooks are stored, I finally found the most wanted notebook!! :)

See, here it is…

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Of little pigs and silver fishes

Hello there! How well do you like fairy tales? Well, I do (did, and still do)… very much! As a child, I was able to keep my own collection of Classics Illustrated, numbered them one by one as my mother bought one or two every time we would go to the city to shop. Then my father would read the stories first and read them to me, until I was old enough to read them myself. I would keep them in my bookshelf, invite my friends to read over, until I left our hometown for my college education. Sad to say, while I was away, my mother lent quite a number to a cousin who never got to return the borrowed items :( Years later, I had all my comic books bound and read to my own children during their early years, just the very same way my father did when I was still a small child.

This morning, as I went to the market earlier than usual, I remembered the story of the Three Little Pigs.

Let me reminisce a little bit. In the story, one of the three pigs was wise enough to build a house of brick and play tricks by going an hour ahead each time the wolf would lure him into picking turnips  and apples in order to get him as his prey.

The little pig who made a house of bricks

This wise little pig picked turnips and apples an hour ahead in order to avoid the wolf

And other tricks which led to the bad wolf's doom

Note: All photos about the 3 little pigs are from

Oh, please don't get yourselves deceived. This post is not really about the story of the Three Little Pigs. But just like the one pig who was wise enough to pass the wiles of the wolf by picking turnips and apples one hour ahead of the wolf, I was just glad to have been able to get more and better choices for fish and meat today from my favorite vendors than when I'd come later in the morning as I used to.

Now, let me get to the core of my post. Today, I'm featuring  the heroine of the day---White Pampano, also known as Silver or White Pomfrets (Pampus argenteus).  Are you familiar with this kind of fish? Well,  I'm not very good at remembering names of fishes I see in the market but the first time I was introduced to this fish by my favorite fish vendor, liking it was not difficult at all because of its soft meat and rich tasty flavor. For the past few months, this White Pampano has caught not only my attention but also my taste buds. Surprisingly, it also took both my husband (who has been on fish diet since he recovered from a mild stroke last year) and my eldest daughter captives of its tasty flavor.

Okay, if you are not familiar with White Pampano, let me tell you something about what I, myself, have learned about this fish.

Found mostly in coastal waters in the Middle East, South Asia and SouthEast Asia, Silver or white pomfrets  are characterized by their flat body, forked tail fin and long pectoral fins. Silver Pomfret are usually silver or white in color, with few small scales.

  This fish is prized for its taste. Not only that, at this writing, I just discovered its high nutritional value! Pomfret muscle contains  protein and fats. Pomfret protein is known to have a well-balanced amino acid composition, with high amounts of glutamic acid, lysine, leucine , and aspartic acid. Twenty two fatty acids were found in pomfret oil and saturated fatty acids were the most abundant. Palmitic acid was the dominant fatty acid, followed by oleic acid, DHA, myristic acid and stearic acid. Pomfret muscle is rich in n-3 PUFA.       

So for today's menu, a platter of Fried White Pampano with Spinach and Camote Tops Salad again! Yes, again, because last week I also prepared the same salad with a little variation. You can see that in my post last week.

For the fish, I simply fried them after sprinkling them with iodized salt and ground pepper.
Then for the salad, after blanching, I just poured a tsp. of Balsamic Vinegar, a dash of salt, sugar and ground pepper to the green leafy vegetables and topped them with sliced tomatoes and onions.

 And lastly, my own version of Beef Strips with Sigarilyas and String Beans

Sesame oil (just enough to grease the stainless steel pan)
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion sliced thinly
1/4 kg beef strips
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
4 pcs string beans cut 2-inch long
3 pcs sigarillas cut diagonally 1/2-inch thick

Cooking Directions:

Saute beef in garlic and onion until onion becomes translucent. Add oyster sauce and Hoisin sauce. After 2 minutes, add water and simmer until beef becomes tender. Add water as necessary. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. 

Once beef becomes tender, add sigarillas and string beans. Simmer for 2 more minutes until vegetables are cooked according to desired consistency.

Serve hot over a cup of rice.

So this is what we had for lunch.
Fried White Pampano, Spinach-Camote Tops Ensalada and Beef Strips with Sigarillas and String Beans
Have you tried these meals before? If not, then, I challenge you to make your own experiment with these very simple but nutritious recipes. Happy eating! :)
Linking to:

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Salad Experience---inspired by Chef Dolly

It's been more than a month since I last posted (I Turned my Kitchen into a Laboratory this New Year) about my kitchen spree. After more than a week of being contented with fast food meals due to overtime and late nights from work, I was finally able to spend more time in the kitchen this weekend.

For this post, I'd like to feature the salad showcases by Chef Dolly for lunch on February 3, 2012  during the Closing Meeting of the FERCAP-PHREB Advanced Training for Surveyors/Accreditors. Chef Dolly is the Head of 1475 Cafeteria of the Philippine Heart Center, the hospital where I work.  She impressed not only the local and foreign surveyors but all the participants with her Talinum-Apple  Salad with Bagna Cauda SauceMelon-Bitter Melon Salad with French Onion Sauce and Alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarillas-papaya salad with bagoong-vinegar sauce .

Here, take a glimpse at each of the three---  First, the TALINUM-APPLE SALAD WITH BAGNA CAUDA SAUCE.

In case you are not familiar with Talinum (Talilong in Tagalog), it is a green leafy vegetable rich in vitamins, including A and C, minerals (iron and calcium), oxalic acid (hence, consumption should be  limited by those suffering from kidney disorders, gout and rheumatoid arthritis). 

Here is what Talinum looks like:

Surprisingly, in his blog post, Dr. Gemiliano Aligui (Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee of The Medical City) who was also among the participants of the Surveyors' Training) mentioned that the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has included talinum as an ethnic food with high nutritional value and is actually promoting its consumption. 

Bagna Caudaon the other hand, is a gourmet sauce made of anchovies, garlic and olive oil, cooked until the components become creamy.

Look at how Chef Dolly gives her Talinum salad a final stir before serving the local and foreign surveyors...
Now, introducing Chef Dolly's second menu, the Melon-Bitter Melon Salad.  I'd say it's a one-of-a-kind dish that I have tasted so far! I would love to have this salad again!
  The third one is the alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarillas-papaya salad, another special dish which has captivated everybody's taste buds. 
Alugbati (Basella rubra Linn/Malabar Night Shade), a popular leafy and stew vegetable, is a good substitute for spinach. Sigarillas, also known as Sigadillas or Sigarilyas or Winged Beans (Psophocarpus tetrogonolobus) has a flavor suggesting a hint of asparagus to some people.

These are all the salads on the buffet table. I took a combination of all three for my second serving. See the one in the middle?
This was what I had for lunch---a taste of every salad and chicken curry as the main dish. 

 I remember there was something special about the chicken curry. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember anymore as I placed more effort in remembering the bagna cauda sauce. I used to forget the term "bagna cauda" for several days until I deliberately encrypted it in my mind using "barracuda" as a sound-alike strategy.
The alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarilyas-papaya salad inspired me to concoct my own version minus the alugbati and papaya and using a different dressing. So here,  I'm featuring a very common native menu consisting of daing na boneless bangus (fried marinated milk fish) paired with spinach-camote tops salad with French Garlic Dressing and Sesame oil.

I wasn't able to find a nice bunch of alugbati leaves from the market to complete the original version. Instead, I just used the following ingredients:

1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of camote tops
1 piece tomato sliced
1/2 red onion sliced
Iodized salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
2 tbsps. French Garlic Dressing
1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
Blanch the green leafy vegetables, drain and top with sliced tomato and red onion. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper. Add the French Garlic Dressing and Sesame Oil. Use as garnish to the fried boneless bangus.

See the finished product ---

 Till next time! Have a productive week ahead! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life is but a weaving, a poem written by Corrie Ten Boom

Praise God I found this poem by Corrie Ten Boom from

"My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

This weaving is displayed in the home of
Corrie Ten Boom. She often would use it in
talks, and if you go on a tour of her house
the guide always shows it underside first.