Sunday, January 24, 2021

Favorite Take-Out Goodies during the Pandemic

 If you can not EAT OUT, go for "TAKE-OUT" or delivery. This is the NOW NORMAL to protect our families during the pandemic. So whenever we go out for groceries, we usually drop-by at our favorite food shops. 

If we crave for Kapampangan specialties, Susie's Cuisine near ABS-CBN compound at T. Morato, QC is the place we visit. My favorite, of course, is the "tidtad" or pork dinuguan with puto. Their dinuguan has a balance in sour taste and pork ingredients - just the right amount of "taba" and "laman" and "asim."

Pork Dinuguan and Puto/Kutsinta

Leche Flan of Susie's is Julia's favorite dessert.

Tibok-tibok - a Kapampangan dessert made from Carabao's milk with latik is another favorite dessert from Susie's. I believe only Susie's sell tibok-tibok.

If you crave for Crispy Chicharon Bagnet and Okoy, Farinas Ilocos is the place. Geof loves chicharon like me. Apple loves the chicharon without the "laman" - boring! The okoy is quite hard to bite, might break your teeth - so be careful. Better dip the okoy in vinegar to soften the hardness and enjoy.  Ofcourse, do not forget to buy the Ilocos empanada and miki noodles.

Whenever we visit UP for our walking exercise, our final stop-over for take-out is Snack Shack at the EC Building besides the UP Bahay ng Alumni. Snack Shack serves freshly grilled burgers and fries. Their serving is very generous, I usually eat only half and save the other half later. I rate their burgers for taste, quality and value for money as 5 stars better than the imported and expensive burgers like the one with almost the same name. 

Along T. Morato is one of the best Takoyaki in the city - Octoboy. Now during the pandemic, their takoyaki is on sale at Buy One Take One at about P150.00 +. The taste and the size are similar to the original takoyaki in Japan. Read a related blog on takoyaki

Popeye's at Eton Centris, QC serves mild and spicy chicken, burgers - chicken, shrimp and fish - and Cajun-flavored potato fries. We tried their food via Grab Delivery one Sunday. What's the verdict. Chicken was marinated well - so the taste was good and with mild spice (I wonder how their spicy chciken taste). The chicken burger passed Goef's taste (better than McDo), however their fish and shrimp burgers lack some taste - you need to add ketchup or sauce to enjoy them. Potato fries are ok. Will we order again? Hmmmm .... maybe .... !

Friday, January 22, 2021

Apple's Pandemic Food Creations

Because of pandemic and community quarantine, we miss eating out in our favorite restaurants especially on Sundays. Moreover, our grocery runs has  become very  limited.  Food delivery is one option to address our cravings for our favorite dishes - Japanese (ramen, yakisoba, tempura, hotpot), Korean (kimchi, ramyeon, bulgogi), Singapore/Malaysia (laksa, curry, roti, kaya) and of course Pinoy dishes and delicacies. 

To create your own dishes, you only need to browse and search Google. And that's what superwoman Apple did to sustain our love for food. The secret for creating these recipes is on the sauce, the spices and ingredients which can be bought in Korean and Japanese groceries - Sauces for Yakiniku, Bulgogi, Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Goma salad sauces, Salad, Kewpie mayo and more umami spices.

Here are some photos of Apple's pandemic food creations. Geof is the food critic and he enjoys eating almost all. Julia and I just love eating. Although sometimes we also have our favorites among Mommy's food discoveries. 

 Fried rolled egg was perfected by Apple after buying a
rectangular frying pan from Lazada.  You can put any kind of fillings inside.  

This is really just fried mashed potatoes.  You can flavor the potato anyway you like.  I put cheese and ham inside and fry it.  Geof likes it flavored with cumin and oriental spices, which he eats  with bread like burger patties, garnished with chutney.

Pandesal is the traditional Filipino bread that literally means bread with salt.  Kaya jam spread, on the other hand in the Malaysian/ Singaporean version of the Pinoy's cocojam.  The difference is that the Filipino cocojam is sugar and coconut milk and very sticky (similar to a semi-processed candy), while the Kaya spread has egg yolks - the egg yolks temper the sweetness and makes the jam more tasty and spreadable.  Kaya spread tastes better if you put butter on top of it.

It took me about 20 to 30 mins to make the Kaya spread.  As for the pandesal, they were good when freshly cooked, but became a bit hard the next day --- more practice is needed to make the pandesal better. 
 We tried the quintessential Katsudon, the all time feel-good food.  We used pork cutlets  for the fried pork - cutlets are thinner in slice than the porkchop so the fried pork can really be made crispy - similar to the German Schnitzels.  For the egg and sauce, there's available Katsudon sauce from Japanese stores - just ask your friendly grocers.  (For Korean and Japanese items, we visit the specialty stores  ourselves; for ordinary grocery items, we shop online).   

 We did attempt to do a baked sushi, but since our ingredients are limited, the outcome misses the mark.  

  We are very pleased with this creation.  We love hummus and pita bread and miss eating them badly.  Fortunately, making hummus and pita bread are actually easy. Google and Lazada have become my best friends these days.  Google provides the recipes; Lazada gives me various options on the tools I can access to make my creations.  

This Hummus was made from scratch.  I don't have tahini, so I made one (roasted sesame seed, grounded and mixed with lemon and olive oil).  For the chick peas, I used the canned garbanzos  - remove the skin, boil, and pound/ grind it.  Mix the ground chick peas and tahini, season with salt and cumin powder, and voila - home made hummus. 

As for the pita bread, it's just flour, yeast and oil.  And patience (you have to wait for at least 30 mins to 1 hr for the yeast to do its magic on the flour.).  Fry in lightly oiled pan.    

MAKI in Japanese,  GIMBAP in Korean. 
This is rolled rice wrapped in nori.  They are similar in concept, but Japanese maki usually has a tinge of wasabe and is more simple with the filling (e.g. single filling of tuna, salmon, cucumber, crab), and eaten with soysauce;   while Korean Gimbap has a lot of going on in its fillings (combination of egg, cucumber, carrot, ham, cheese etc), and you eat it as it is.  The Japanese California maki is the closest to the Korean Gimbap.   

Our version of Maki brings together cucumber, carrots and artificial crab.  Since we don't have Japanese rice, we used the regular rice mixed with a dash of salt and mirin (if you don't have mirin, vinegar mixed with a little water and  sugar can be used as substitute).  Better to use also a ceramic knife in cutting the Maki - rice sticks in a stainless steel knife but not much on a (wet) ceramic knife. 

The trick in crispy kangkong is to use rice flour.  Just mix the flour with a little water and salt, and bathe the Kangkong.  Fry each side for a few seconds.  Dip in either in garlic sauce or the traditional Pinoy sauce - toyo, vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt.  

This is also one of our favorite.  Yakisoba is just sauteed vegetable and noodles - you can use any vegetable that has neutral flavor (togue, carrots, cabbage, pechay baguio).  That's the basic.  You can add also whatever you wish - shrimp, chicken, fishball.  Here, we simply used cabbage, korean fish ball, and the Lucky me pancit noodles (minus its sauce).  The key ingredient is the yakisoba sauce. which you  can buy from Japanese groceries.