Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just-a-Pinch Recipe: Gisinggising

 I discovered this dish recently from our hospital's cafeteria. I was so intrigued at the name, Gisinggising, so I searched for it and found this recipe from Foodipino. I like the recipe, it's very simple and easy to follow.

As usual, I made some modifications from the original recipe. I cooked my version without the meat and instead of just using water spinach or water cabbage (kangkong), I added string beans (sitaw) and winged beans (sigarillas). I also cut on the amount of coconut milk.

Here's my own version which I posted in Just-a-Pinch Recipe Club. Click here to view recipe.


Actually, if you take a closer look at the pictures, you will notice that I added some left-over dried shrimps from my stocks to enhance the "shrimpy" flavor. 

I also tried another version using baguio beans instead of water spinach (kangkong), but my friends like the combination of kangkong and sigarillas better.

So there, you may challenge yourself to be awakened by chili flavor brought about by this dish.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Uncover the Strata

In my first post this month of September, I featured Vegetable Pastel, a Del Monte Kitchenomics recipe. In that post I mentioned that I experimented on another menu called Strata. I got the recipe from my new recipe book, "The Old Farmer's Everyday Cookbook Almanac," given to me by my eldest daughter, Ayana Grace. I remember mentioning this cookbook in my June 30, 2012 post entitled, "A Legacy from my Mother-in-Law" (click here to view post).

Photo taken from
 Last Sunday, I gave the recipe, Strata, a try. I promised to feature it in another post so here…
Photo of Strata taken from The Old Farmers Everyday Cookbook Almanac
I was intrigued seeing the picture of Strata featured in one whole page of the cookbook. I must confess that the first thing that came to my mind was "stratum = the singular of strata". So I turned to page 13 where the recipe could be found. There, Strata is described as a dish made with crumbled bacon or shrimp, sauteed mushrooms or leeks, and any kind of bread (raisin, whole wheat or rye). It is prepared by making layers of bread cubes arranged alternately with other ingredients in a baking dish so that explains the name Strata.

 As I read through the recipe, I excitedly decided to give it a try because the recipe looked very simple and easy to follow. Besides, I almost had all the ingredients except for the parsley which I had to buy from the grocery.

14 slices bread, crusts removed
1 cup diced cooked ham
2 cups shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tbps chopped fresh basil or parsley
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cut the bread into cubes.

2. Generously grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
3. Make a layer with half of the bread cubes, arrange them so that they cover the bottom of the dish. 

4. Sprinkle the ham, cheese, shallots and basil over the bread. 

 5. Cover with the remaining bread cubes.

 6. Beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
 7. Slowly pour the mixture over the top bread layer, saturating it evenly. 

 8. Cover and refrigerate overnight; the bread will soak up the liquid as the mixture stands.

9. Preheat the oven to 3250F.
10. Uncover the strata and bake for 1 hour, or until puffed and lightly browned.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

For my own version, I doubled the recipe using Gardenia wheat bread. Then I used parsley because fresh basil was not available at the time. But sorry, I shortcut the process by allowing the mixture to stand only for 4 hours because I was too tired the night before to prepare the dish.

Here's my Strata, fresh from the oven. Hmmm... not the exact result that I expected as my oven ran out of gas just as I was starting to preheat, so I cooked the dish using my oven toaster. I was just too careful not to burn the topmost layer.

My officemates seemed to have liked it so I'm planning to make another one soon.

So there, I have kept my promise. Till the next blog post! :)

Linking to Home Maid and Simple foodie friday, Simple Living and Eating Foodie Friday
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Reflections on 52 Years of Blessings

Hello, it's Sunday once again! It's a custom in our church for the Pastor to call all the birthday and anniversary celebrators for the week to stand in front for the congregation to greet and pray for. Last week, my husband and I were called because it was our wedding anniversary day. Today, I was called to stand in front again and as I listened to the brethren singing the Birthday Song, I couldn't help but thank and praise God for every blessing He has showered me with all these 52 years of my life.

Oh yes, I will be celebrating my birthday on Tuesday, September 11. Does the date sound familiar? I believe so. If you are an American, I'm sure you would remember one significant event! If you are an Ilocano born in decada 60, what could it be you are thinking of?

To stay in tune with the song, "Count your Blessings" (written by Johnson Oatman, Jr and composed by Edwin Othello Excell), I would do so right now.

"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."

So here, I recount my blessings and summarize them collectively altogether as my family and loved ones, my church and brethren, my work and the friends I made all through the years… these of course, are on top of all material and spiritual blessings, too many to mention.

I thank God for shaping and creating me (Job 10:8). I'm happy that His timing has been and always will be perfect  (Psalms 18:30) for me. The process of how I came to know Him was a perfect example of how He gradually unfolded His grand plan in my life. All the places I've been to, including my school and all my teachers (from pre-school to college, including my mentors at work), were all instrumental in shaping my life to become as it is now.  How He led me to our church where I met Billy, my husband and how He gave us our two lovely daughters (Ayana Grace, 22 and Ana Cristina, 20) are among His most beautiful gifts to me.

As I sat in the pew this morning, I believe God was speaking to me through our Pastor as the title of his message was "Walking with God for a Lifetime." Let me quote verse 4 from the key verses of his message, Isaiah 46: 3, 4:

"Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

What great assurance it is to know that I have a God who knows me inside out (Psalms 139) and who will never cease to hold out His mighty arm to guide and protect me. How He does it I need not understand. I just have to be content to savor such thought as I walk in stride with Him in my lifetime! Oh, may He give me such grace, I continually pray!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stories from the Cupboard: Feature No. 2 ---- Vegetable Pastel

Happy Sunday to all! What's so special about this Sunday? Well, my husband and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary today and that makes today a special day! Today also, I baked bread for the Lord's Table which we celebrate every first Sunday of the month in our church. In baking the bread, I use the recipe in making pie crust. So I prepared extra ingredients for the Vegetable Pastel I had in mind. It has been quite some time since I last cooked this menu. The first time I did, I remember my family and friends liked it. So Vegetable Pastel here I come!

Remember one of my posts in July entitled,  "Stories from the Cupboard: Feature No. 1 --- My Kitchenmates" (click here to view post). In that post, I featured about some of my favorite recipes using Del Monte Kitchenomics. Vegetable Pastel is one of the recipes of Del MonteKitchenomics.

20 g (20 g)
garlic, crushed
50 g (50 g)
medium onion, sliced
150 g (150 g)
medium carrot, sliced
200 g (150 g)
gabi, sliced
150 g (150 g)
singkamas, diced
100 g (100 g)
mushrooms, sliced
50 g (50 g)
medium red bell pepper, cut into squares
250 g (250 g)
415 g (415 g)
vienna sausage, drained and sliced
0.2 g (0.2 g)
laurel leaf
14 g (14 g)
17 g (17 g)
all purpose flour
79 g (79 g)
evaporated milk
1/4 cup
28 g (28 g)
cooking oil
2.3 g (2.3 g)
iodized fine salt
0.75 g (0.75 g)

1. WHITE Sauce: Melt margarine. Add flour while stirring. Remove from heat. Add milk-water mixture gradually while stirring. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until thick. Set aside.

2. SAUTÉ garlic, onion and vegetables except bell pepper. Add 3/4 cup water, 1/3 tsp iodized fine salt (or 1 tsp iodized rock salt), 1/4 tsp pepper and laurel leaf. Cook for 10 minutes.

3. ADD DEL MONTE Tomato Sauce and Vienna sausage. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add bell pepper and white sauce. Allow to simmer. Top with grated cheese if desired.

For my own version of Vegetable Pastel, here are some modifications I made. First, I didn't use singkamas and gabi (these were not available at the moment, and besides, nobody in my family likes gabi very much). 

Second, after step #3, I transferred the dish into a round foil pan lined with pie crust.

Third, I forgot to add the grated cheese before covering the pan with the top crust.
And finally, here's my Vegetable Pastel. Very much like a pie, yes, because the original version of this dish is said to be baked where the stew is placed in a pie crust.

Oh, I also ventured on a new recipe called Strata but I don't think there's still room for that in here. That gives me every reason to post another one in a day or two. Meantime, have a productive week ahead!