Thursday, August 12, 2004

Maja Blanca

A friend of mine came over for a cooking/baking session. We made Maja Blanca and Brownies (to follow). I got this recipe for the Maja from Rosemarie Lim's (demo) class on Native Kakanin. She's part owner of Caro and Marie, a well known school of cake decorating and culinary arts in Cebu.

On to the cooking!

We started with the Maja. My friend came with all the ingredients needed for the Maja and more. I was thinking it was high time for me to follow a recipe to the last dot. Or so I thought...

Maja Blanca

Posted by Hello

Mix together and bring to a boil:
3-1/2 coconut milk
3/4 to 1 c. sugar

Stir in: 3/4 c. cornstarch dissolved in 3/4 c. evaporated milk. Add in desired ingredient (flavor) and coloring and stir until the mixture is thick. Spread at once into a bilao. Top with latik. To make latik: put 1/2 c. grated coconut (sapal) with 1/4 c. sugar on a frying pan, cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until golden brown.

Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello
So much for following the recipe...We decided to double the recipe but since the coconut milk (canned) was not enough, I used fresh milk to make up the difference. My friend also brought along a jar of preserved langka, which she thought would make a good flavoring for the Maja. So I was thinking of two Majas with different flavors. When it was time for us to mix the flavoring ingredient, my friend thought it was too much trouble having to divide the Maja into two before adding the final ingredient and suggested to just add both! What a radical idea! hahaha

Finally, she won me over (didn't take long!).
And the result? Not bad, not bad at all!

Additional notes/comments:

Adjust amount of sugar according to the sweetness of the flavoring ingredient added. Flavoring ingredient is usually added at 1/2 c. per recipe (I forgot to adjust the sugar before adding the langka, hence the maja came out more on the sweet side).

I didn't use any coloring for this recipe, the cream-style corn (instead of kernel) plus the langka imparted this yellowish tinge, which I thought was just right.

Quantity of cornstarch may be increased up to 1 c. if a firmer and thicker maja is desired. Note that the cornstarch is added when the coconut milk is already boiling otherwise it will take a long time for the mixture to thicken.

Make sure that when using freshly grated coconut, there are no brown bits from the husk as this will affect the color of the maja.

Maja Blanca was originally made from fresh carabao's milk and was therefore very white.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Chinese Sausage with Basil

Chinese Sausage with Basil Posted by Hello

Our neighbor came over with a bunch of fresh basil from her garden so don't be surprised when you see a lot of basil in my dishes these following days, starting with clams with basil, here's another one: Chinese Sausage with Basil. The Chinese sausage that I'm using here is made from pork (with a good amount of fat in it) and the texture is something similar to longganiza as opposed to the dried Chinese sausage that we commonly have in the Philippines.

To cook the sausage, I first boiled it. My sister-in-law once told me to fry it whole then slice into serving pieces but I prefer the insides to be browned as well. So after boiling, slice the sausage it into serving portions (about half an inch long). Heat wok, saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then add the sausage, and stir-fry until browned, the basil is added last. Dish out at once and serve.

Chunky Beef Spaghetti

Chunky Beef Spaghetti Posted by Hello

I actually cooked this last week (or the other?) but didn't have time to post it. My son "ordered" spaghetti for lunch. A friend of mine came over that morning to confer with me on a project for the Women's Club here, so I didn't have much time to prepare for lunch. I didn't have any ground beef but I still had some of that beef shank which I had already simmered so that's how I came up wth this recipe.

Here's how I did it:

Heat wok, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes in olive oil. Add mushrooms, and stir-fry for a few minutes (you can add a little bit of butter in sauteing canned mushrooms, I think that gives it a special flavor) Add beef (shank plus a little bit of tendon). Then I added tomato ketchup and tomato juice with a little bit of beef broth. Tomato sauce is not available here, what they do have is spaghetti sauce which I didn't have naman, so lucky for me that I still had some tomato juice (my husband's favorite!). I added a bit of sugar for that special Filipino touch. Simmer. Top over pasta and serve.

Wonton Noodle Soup

Wonton noodle soup Posted by Hello

I was in a rush! Picked up my kids from somewhere, drove my mother-in-law to the bank and did some grocery shopping somewhere in between. We got home at 6:30 pm and everybody was hungry so I got out some giant wontons, meat balls, instant noodles (chicken flavor) and put together this meal-in-a-minute (or two). Topped it with blanched camote tops, fried scallion and shredded pickled vegetable. Voila!

Stir-fried Clams with Basil

My mother-in-law taught me how to cook this dish. My husband and daughter both love seafood, and this dish is a particular favorite. On cleaning the clams, rinse with cold water and brush shells to remove dirt. Soak in salt water for a few minutes.

Cooking this dish is really very simple, just heat the wok, saute garlic and ginger. Drop in the clams, cover for a few minutes. The clams are done when the shells have opened. Drop in fresh basil leaves. I usually dish out those with opened shells first to pervent the clam meat from getting overcooked as this can get tough. A frined of mine cooks this dish with wine and a litlle soy sauce. You can also add chilli peppers for a spicy twist.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Stir-fried Asparagus with Mushrooms

I served this veggie dish with the Beef Mechado. Since my mother-in-law is not particularly fond of beef/meat, I would usually prepare a vegetable dish for her and (hopefully) for the kids as well. Most of the time I would just stir-fry whatever vegetable is available, paying attention to color (usually 3 ) and flavor ( should be complementary).

Anyway, here's how to cook this dish:

Heat wok. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until fragrant. Add red bell peppers and asparagus cut in 2 inch pieces. Add a little hot water or broth and season with maggi(tm) seasoning, salt and pepper. You may add a little soy sauce or any favorite seasoning/sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Add mushrooms last. Here I used two kinds of mushrooms, fresh shiitake and straw mushrooms ( you can also use any other desired vegetable). Dish out and serve at once.

My kids didn't like it and I'm not even surprised :=(

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Beef Mechado

Beef mechado is a recipe that calls for beef with carrots, potatoes and tomato sauce. This recipe is adapted from beef mechado. I know it's a far cry from the original recipe with the conspicuous absence of potatoes and tomato sauce, which can be rarely found at grocery stores here anyway. But for lack of a better word, the name will stay, for now, that is.

I'm using the same beef shank and tendon which I have simmered (was that a week ago?). But don't worry, I cooked this dish days ago but just couldn't find the time to post.

Anyway, on to the cooking...

Heat wok, saute garlic, onions and red bell peppers. This is like my father's trademark. Almost always, he would saute garlic, onion and tomato at the start of his cooking (even in cooking beef nilaga) and this really brings out the aroma and taste of the garlic and onion.

Since my beef has already been simmered, I added the carrots at this point. Then the beef and a little of the beef stock. There was no need for any thickening agent (cornstarch) since the broth was actually thick enough. Season with salt and pepper, maggi(tm) liquid seasoning. And we're done!

You can actually season this dish with anything you want. You can also add tomato sauce, and a dash of italian seasoning or even add curry and coconut milk to make this beef curry. Scrap the carrots and add more onions then you have bistek. There are so many ways to work with beef, huh?!!

my husband and son loved it! but my daughter (the finicky eater), didn't so I guess this time I would qualify this dish as a partial hit! that's not cheating, or is it?