Sunday, May 31, 2009

#131_Grilled B-B-Q Pork Ribs...Grill time

Grilled B-B-Q Pork Ribs
with Homemade Barbeque Sauce
served with Homemade French Fries

I love b-b-q ribs and the best ones I've ever had
was a place in San Antonio, Texas...
they were moist, tender and flavorful.

I'm a novice when it comes to grilling ribs, but
I know enough basics to be able to grill
a moist and tender and flavorful pork ribs.
Thanks to the food network hosts like Bobby Flay and others.
According to experts like him,
the secret to a moist and tender and flavorful ribs
is not only in the sauce but also in the method of cooking.
Slow cooking, that is, and
basting the meat with sauce while baking or grilling
make the meat moist and tender.

Dry Rub

I also learned that before grilling, you need to rub ribs
with a mixture of seasonings called dry rub.
So, here is my
favorite combination of seasonings:
I use some fresh cracked black pepper,
paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt.
Mix all of the ingredients together.

Prep the rack of rib the night before.

Rinse the rib with cold water and trim off fat.
Pat dry with paper towel.
Rub seasonings on both sides of the slab of ribs
and place the ribs on a shallow pan lined with aluminum foil.
Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap
and Refrigerate overnight,
or at least 5-6 hours.

Prelim...indoor baking

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the ribs for 10 minutes
then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees.
Cover the rib with aluminum foil and bake it for 2 1/2 to 3 hours
depending on the size of the meat.
Turn and baste the meat every 30 minutes with the
basting sauce
, recipe #130, (click here)
or scroll down to previous post.

Final grill... outdoor

Finish cooking the meat on the hot grill for 10-12 minutes
turning and brushing often with
barbeque sauce, recipe#130 (click here)

Fall-off-the-bones ribs
not to mention finger-licking
and lip-smacking good!!

Serve with homemade fries, (recipe coming up next).


When the weather was bad, I just baked the ribs in the oven all the way through uncovering it the last 30 minutes then basting with the b-b-q sauce. There was no charred taste to it but it turned out okay.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

#130_Homemade B-B-Q Sauce ( Getting ready to Grill)

This sauce that I'm going to share in this post
have taken me a few years to come up
with the perfect ratio and proportion of the ingredients.
I did a lot of "addition" and subtraction" in the process but,
all that experimentation was all worth it.
It passed the taste tests with flying colors
by friends and family specially by a son in law,
Karl, who is a grill/barbeque connoisseur.
The blending of all the ingredients is awesome and makes your
barbeque ribs lip-smacking and finger-licking good!
It is that good!

I use either one of these products in place of cayenne pepper:
one is chili Garlic Sauce and the other is
Sambal Oeleck, (chili paste)*.
They add a lot of kick to the sauce but,
they are very concentrated and have very strong flavor.
So use them sparingly unless you like powerful chili flavor.
These are sold at any Asian store.

Here's the recipe for the barbeque sauce and for basting:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp chili paste*
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
dash of allspice
1 tbsp corn syrup
2 heaping tbsp apricot or
pineapple preserves or apple jelly

Mix all ingredients well in a pot and save 1/3 cup for basting meat.

then cook what is left in the pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick like a consistency of bottled barbeque sauce.

1) You can make the barbeque sauce days in advance, or even weeks in advance.
Place in jar with lid and keep refrigerated. If not taking 1/3 out for the basting, this recipe yields 1 pint of babeque sauce.

2) Optional:
Can use honey in place of sugar but omit corn syrup.
Can also put some liquid smoke for a smoky flavor.

Friday, May 29, 2009

#129_Bacon-Wrapped Li'l Smokies

Bacon-Wrapped Li'l Smokies
or Cocktail Smokies
or Teeny Weeny Hot Dogs
or Li'l Wieners

Super simple and easy to make and kids just love 'em!
All you need are bacon, brown sugar
and of course the little wieners

Cut the bacon into thirds and separate them.

Wrap each wiener with the bacon piece
then coat them in brown sugar.

Arrange the wrapped wieners in a pan lined with aluminum foil.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for about 30 minutes.
Turn them over and bake other side for another 20 minutes
or until the bacon are nicely browned and crispy.

Serve with toothpicks, but if you want to
thread pineapple chunks or tidbits, use 4 inch skewers.

toothpicks are dangerous for little kids!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

#128_Celebrating Memorial Day with Friends and Food

We spent Memorial Day eating and visiting with friends
at a friends' house

Some friends at the party...
this group is my favorite group, that's
why I took this picture of them.

Preparing the smorgasbord....

There was plenty of food...chop suey, lechon kawali,
fried fish, just to mention a few.
The dessert table was full of good stuff.

I didn't get to take pix of all the food as I got busy eating...
you know how that goes!

Waiting around for the sun to go down....

Yah,'s killing us softly!! (music).

somebody emerged from the smorgasbord tent
with some yummy food on her plate....
Aside from pancit and lumpia (egg rolls)
she has on her plate the bacon-wrapped smokies,
Filipino bistek, chop suey, some kind of green veggies
and rice at the bottom.

Poor chicken, they got grilled!
Marinated then grilled.

Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Smokies

Yours truly made these and they were a hit.
I will be posting the recipe later.

I made 2 packages of the Li'l smokies and were gone quick.
Other food I took to the party were
Pani popo, (recipe
here) another best seller,
Bread Pudding (recipe here) and the Filipino bistek.
These last two weren't the most favorites but were eventually gone too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

#127_Ground Beef Alfredo 'N Breadsticks

This casserole is super simple and super easy to make
and yet very appetizing.
It is a recycled idea from the
Sweet Potato Alfredo Casserole recipe #99, click here.

It only takes a few ingredients such as ground beef,
veggies, condensed soup, Alfredo sauce, shredded cheese,
and a can of refrigerated bread sticks.
Cooking is a breeze specially when you
have the meat ready like store-bought
rotisserie chicken
Of course you can use any kind of meat
you want or you can even go meatless.

I already have browned ground beef in the freezer ready to use.
I just thawed it out in the microwave.

If using fresh ground beef
here is what you need to do:
1) Brown ground beef with chopped onions in a skillet without any oil, over medium high heat until the meat is no longer pink.
2) Put browned meat in a colander to drain off fat.
3) Spread this mixture in a deep baking dish, about 3 inches high.
4) In a pot over medium heat, combine the veggies, Alfredo sauce and the condensed soup. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook until just bubbly.
5) Spread this mixture over the meat.
6) Spread some shredded cheese on top. I prefer pizza blend which is a combination of mozzarella, provolone and romano cheeses, or you can use any kind.

7) Arrange the bread sticks on top of the cheese. You can lay them flat or twist them as you lay them on the cheese.
8) Cover the casserole loosely with aluminum foil.
9) Pop it in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven and bake it for 45 minutes. Take out the aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until the breadsticks are light brown.

This dish is a complete meal in itself
and it is very good in every bite!
Kids love it as well as adults.

1) I usually use store-bought frozen vegetables and I don't need to thaw them out.
suggested vegetable combinations: asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, squash
2) If using fresh vegetables, you might want to blanch them first.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

#126_Sweet Perfection Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding....
amazingly to die for!

The original recipe is from Ina Garten
who is one of my favorite tv food network host.
In this recipe she used panettone bread.
I have her recipe for the panettone bread too but
I thought I'd just use some ensaymada since I was making some.
I also threw in a couple pieces of
cinnamon rolls that were a few days old.
The result?
amazing! luscious!
this is what happens when Ensaymada (recipe here)
meets Leche Flan (click here).....
you put them together in a dish and
it becomes a scrumptious dessert.
This pudding is exactly the way I like it...
the custard is not runny and
the bread is not soggy at all. In other word, perfect!!
and ...
if you want to make it more sinful than it already is,
serve it with vanilla ice cream on the side
or whipped cream on top.

This bread pudding so simple and so easy to make.
Better yet, if you are not up to baking the bread
just use some store-bought sweet bread
like Challah, Brioche, Italian Panettone,
or cinnamon-raisin loaf and you're ready to go.

Toasted bread cubes in a 9"x13"x2" baking pan

Place the baking pan with toasted bread cubes in a larger pan.

Leche Flan or Custard mixture.
(for Leche Flan, you can use any recipe your have)

Pour the custard mixture in to the toasted cubed bread.

Bake the pudding in bain marie

First slice for the cook!
Mmmmm you gotta try it!!

Here's the recipe.

for Leche Flan I used this recipe, but you can certainly use whatever recipe you like.
3 large whole eggs
8 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup white sugar (or more if prefer sweeter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup raisins, soaked in orange juice for at least 15 minutes
6 pieces good quality ensaymada or other sweet breads (about 1 lb.loaf)


The bread:
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Cut the ensaymada (bread) in cubes and place in a baking pan.
3) Toast the cubed bread in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
4) Grease a 9" x 13" x 2" baking pan and place the toasted ensaymada cubes in it.
5) Set aside.

The custard:
1) In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, the cream, milk, vanilla and sugar.
2) Pour this mixture over the toasted bread cubes.
3) Drain the raisins onto a piece of paper towel then spread them on top of pudding.

Bake pudding in Bain Marie: (definition of bain marie, click here)
Here's HOW:
1) Place the baking dish with the pudding into a larger pan and slide it in the oven.
2) Add a very hot tap water to the larger pan half way up the sides of the baking dish.
3)Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.
4) Bake the pudding in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 45 minutes.
5) Uncover and bake for another 25 minutes or until the custard is set and the top of pudding is golden brown.
6) Allow the pudding to set for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
7) Serve warm or at room temperature.

To save time from washing another pan, after I toasted the cubed bread, I transferred the bread into a bowl and greased the pan with shortening and then I put back the toasted bread in.
Well, I guess it is not really a time-saver because I dirtied the bowl!

Enjoy anyway!!!

Chocolate-Covered Fruits

Angela made these chocolate-dipped grapes and strawberries.
Use recipe and procedure for Cakeballs recipe #86, click here.

They looked very presentable when placed in cellophane bags.
Nice treat!!

#125_Sugar Cookies Choco Bars

This cookie bars is simple and easy to make and
is the kind you'd like to take to potlucks
and watch it disappear with pleasure.

I watched Giada De Laurentis on food network
make these cookies one day.
I basically followed her recipe except for some changes
in the ingredients as I used whatever I had.
I didn't have the mascarpone, so I substituted cream cheese.
She used refrigerated cookie dough,
I used my sugar cookies recipe #48, click here.
She used toffee, I used butterfinger bars.

With my sugar cookies recipe I made this bar cookies
using 12" x 16 1/2" cookie sheet
as it is twice the amount Giada used.
I doubled the rest of the ingredients as well.
It can yield from 48 to 60 squares depending
on the size you want your slices.
This is a big batch, ideal to take to pot lucks.
You can also use any of your favorite sugar cookies recipe.

Mix the chopped toffee bars or butterfinger bars with the cookie dough.

Spread the dough evenly onto a cookie sheet

You can press the dough down using your fingers
or you can use this gadget, mini rolling pin,
if you have one.
It makes it faster and easier to press the dough down,
and with the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over.
Bake the cookie in a 350 degrees pre-heated oven for 14 minutes
Or till the edges are lightly browned.

Let it cool, then spread the chocolate topping (recipe below) on the cooled cookie.

Sprinkle some chopped toffee bars and toasted sliced almonds.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing.

The cook gets the first slice!
Do you think the cook can wait 2 long hours before slicing it?

Here's the original recipe by Giada De Laurentis on food network:

Vegetable cooking spray
1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough (recommended: Pillsbury)
2 (1.4-ounces) chocolate-toffee
candy bars, coarsely chopped, divided (recommended: Skor) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chip (recommended: Ghirardelli)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone
cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan.

Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract.

Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan.

Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.

Chocolate topping:

Place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium bowl.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted.

Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes.

Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth.

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust.

Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.

Cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.

To toast almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly

#124_Treats for the Mothers

Sweet Perfection Bread Pudding
a.k.a. Leche Flan with Recycled Bread

Angela's Chocolate-Covered Fruits

Sugar Cookies Choco Bars

Ground Beef Alfredo 'N Breadsticks

Recipes coming up!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

#123_How to Clean and Fry Fish

Fried Whole Tilapia
served with dipping sauce and papaya pickles

Usually these fish are already scaled and gutted
when you buy them at the Asian stores.
If they are frozen, thaw them out in the fridge overnight
before you can clean them.

Rub really well the inside and outside of the fish with salt
or baking soda to get rid of the slimy-ness and fishy smell.
Rinse fish good with cold water.
Using a very sharp knife, make a couple of gashes
diagonally across both sides of fish.
Drain on paper towel.
Sprinkle plain salt or garlic salt all over the fish,
inside and on the skin.

These are trouts given to me by my friend Bobbi, who got them from her friends who went fishing to Idaho. I love trouts specially the German brown. I would choose trouts over bangus anytime..and I love them fried or stewed (sinigang).

You can tell that a non-Filipino gutted and scaled the fish as the heads and tails had been chopped off. I think the fish look more like snakes without the heads on than they do fish. That is probably the reason most Filipinos including myself like to keep the head intact even though we d
on't usually eat that part of the fish.

Whole Tilapia

How to fry fish:

Heat oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium-low heat. When oil is hot enough, drop a couple of crushed cloves of garlic in the oil. The garlic not only adds some flavor to the fish but also can be used to test the temperature of the oil. If the garlic turns brown so fast, that indicates that the oil is too hot. Turn the heat down. Then slowly drop the fish in the fry pan. Be careful because the hot oil splatters upon contact with the fish. If you have oil splatter screen, it will be useful for this task, if not, you can just use a piece of aluminum foil loosely placed over the pan to avoid oil from splattering all over.

Fry fish about 8-12 minutes on one side turning just once. The other side should not take as long. Remember, this is whole fish, so it takes a little longer to fry than fillets do. Also, cooking time varies according to the size of fish.
If you want the skin of fish to be soft, put a lid on while frying. If you want the skin to be a little crispy (but not burnt) or nice crust, do not put lid on, just place oil splatter screen on the pan.

(My) rule of thumb when frying fish: when the sizzling sound starts to die down or subside, it's time to flip the fish and fry the other side. I learned this trick from my mother who was born and raised in Binmaley, a town in Pangasinan where there are fish ponds all over the place.
There is no science to this but it works for me all the time.