Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thai Fish (or Tofu) Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing





This fish (or Tofu for vegans) salad is scented with coconut, mango and warm Thai spices that will give you a tropical taste of the Far East.  The fish is marinated in coriander, fennel and cumin mixed with chili garlic sauce, garlic, sugar and salt.   The magnificent and refreshing dressing is made from a mixture of coconut milk, lime zest and its juice and red chili pepper.  The sweet and refreshing mango goes particularly well with the fish (or tofu) and the dressing. 

The coconut lime dressing is good and versatile enough to go with other green and fruit combinations while the marinade can be used with other meats like chicken and pork.  One can even use it to marinate tofu for a vegan version (see below). 


Thai Fish (or Tofu) Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing

Ingredients

  • 16 oz fish fillet (I used tilapia) or 16 oz firm tofu for the vegan version
  • 1 head of iceberg or Romaine lettuce
  • 1 ripe mango peeled and sliced (I used canned mangoes)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
  • 3 green onions, sliced
For the marinade
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds or powder
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds or powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds or powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp hot chili garlic sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste
For the dressing
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 dry red chili pepper, crushed or fresh red chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
Cut the fish (or tofu) into even strips and place on a plate.

If you are using coriander, cumin and fennel seeds rather than powder place them in a mortar.  Add sugar and crush with a pestle.  Stir in the chili sauce, garlic, oil and salt and crush them till you form a paste.

Spread the paste over the fish, cover and leave to marinate in a cool place for at least 20 minutes.

Place all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar with a screw top and shake till they are thoroughly mixed.

Place the lettuce leaves in a bowl and add the mango, tomato, celery and spring onions on top.  Pour in the dressing and toss well to coat.

Place a tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and heat it.  Add the fish or tofu and cook for 5 minutes, turning once.

Add the cooked fish or tofu to the salad and serve immediately.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lemon-Flaxseed Loaf Cake




This is a delicious and moist cake with a refreshing citrusy taste.  It is also healthy and nutritious having been made from a recipe which incorporates into the batter flaxseed, a rich source of dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and omega-3 fatty acid. You will not notice the taste of the flaxseed at all but instead you will be tasting the tangy flavor of the lemon both in the cake and the glaze.

This recipe came from my friend Kathy Haver, one of the members of the prayer group I belong to.  She is an amazing person who has kept the Monroeville prayer group going since its inception in the late 1970's.  I consider her the glue that holds the group together.  She faithfully reminds us of meetings even when she was recently going through chemotherapy.  Every year she also organizes the bake sale held in December at St Bernadette Church that benefits the projects of the Sisters of St. Joseph.   


She is also a wonderful cook and baker.  The goodies she brings to our meetings are always a hit with the members.  This Lemon-Flaxseed Loaf Cake was what she brought recently.  I love it!  It has just the right amount of sweetness to it and the lemon in the cake and icing gives it an irresistible, refreshing taste.

Lemon-Flaxseed Loaf Cake

(Recipe provided by Kathy Haver.  This appeared in  "Recipes and Spiritual Reflections of The Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden PA" cookbook.  It is no longer available).

Ingredients


Cake

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp ground flaxseed*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, sprinkle with 1 tbsp granulated sugar.  Set pan aside.

Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and eggs in a large bowl; beat at high speed of a mixer for 3 minutes or until mixture is thick and pale. 

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with knife.  Combine ground flaxseed, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir well with a whisk.

Combine buttermilk, oil, rind and vanilla. 

Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.

Icing

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over top of warm loaf. 

Yield 12 servings.

*Place flaxseed in a blender or clean coffee grinder and process until ground to measure about 6 tbsp flaxseed meal.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vegan Vegetable Medley with Peanut Sauce or Vegan "Kare Kare"







This dish is the vegan version of Kare Kare, which is very unique to the Philippines.  In this version, a medley of vegetables consisting of browned garlic, onions, eggplant, green beans and cabbage is deliciously coated with a thick sauce made from peanut butter and soy sauce.  Even without the other traditional ingredients,  the thick delicious sauce makes this vegan version a fix for a Kare Kare craving.

I consider Kare Kare together with Dinuguan to be dishes that are truly indigenous to the Philippines.  The traditional Kare Kare is prepared using oxtail and/or tripe with a medley of vegetables cooked in a broth flavored with peanut butter which is either store bought or made from crushed peanuts and sometimes rice washings.  It is then eaten with "bagoong", a type of anchovy made from sauteing tiny shrimps with pork belly.  When I go home to the Philippines or visit my sisters in Los Angeles, Kare Kare is the dish that I usually request.  I have made the traditional Kare Kare using the slow cooker to cook the oxtail till tender and then adding the medley of vegetables later on.

I have to admit the oxtail is what makes this wickedly delicious but it has a high fat content and sometimes difficult to find even at large grocery stores. Bagoong is also hard to come by in Pittsburgh, PA.  There are days, however, I just have to have my Kare Kare fix.  What to do then?

I have seen vegetarian Kare Kare in the menu of a Filipino restaurant in San Francisco but I missed ordering it.  This made me curious enough to look for this version in the internet.  I actually found several in vegan websites including this one.  I convinced myself to make a vegan version with more easily available ingredients and fewer steps than this one in the internet.

At first, I thought I would miss the key elements like the oxtail and the bagoong when I prepared the vegan version but I did not.  What really makes Kare Kare for me anyway is the peanut taste mixed with the saltiness from a certain source.  For the latter, I decided to use soy sauce though I could have used fish sauce.  I wanted it to be totally vegan as a challenge. 

I really love the result.  The key is the ratio of the peanut butter to soy sauce to water to give that right Kare Kare flavor that I crave for.  My prepared Kare Kare is thicker in consistency than the traditional and the vegan versions in the internet which were more like stews. I prefer my vegetables to be coated with a thick sauce rather than swimming in a thin broth.  I want the flavor to be pronounced enough you would not be missing the bagoong or the fattiness of the oxtail.

The choice of vegetables is also important.  I prefer including green beans, eggplant and cabbage.  You can add other vegetables if you want.  I make it also a point that the garlic is cooked till brown but not burnt.   This recipe is really a fix for my Kare Kare craving even without the oxtail and bagoong.  I can now sleep in peace at night when I have this craving for this dish knowing I can have it in a more convenient version.

Vegan Vegetable Medley with Peanut Sauce or Vegan "Kare Kare"

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in 1 inch slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, (slice vertically to 1/4 inch thick slices and microwave for 4-5 minutes till tender then cut to 1 inch strips)
  • 3 cups napa cabbage*, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 4 tbsps peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in medium heat and then add the garlic and onion till the garlic is browned but not burnt.    Add the green beans and sweet potatoes and saute them till they are tender.

Make a well in the mixture of vegetables in the wok or pan and add the peanut butter, soy sauce and water to this space and blend with a whisk.

Continue heating and then add the eggplant and napa cabbage and mix them with the rest of ingredients till they are heated through.  Watch that you do not overcook the napa cabbage.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over rice.

*Note: if you are using green cabbage, you will need to add it with the green beans and potatoes since they need to cook longer than the napa cabbage I used.



 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sausage Jalapeno Tortilla Cups



This easy appetizer is made from ingredients that have sure-fire appeal to a crowd.  Sausage, jalapeno, ranch dressing, cheese and olives are hard to resist.  This appetizer which uses tortilla as cups is perfect to serve on your coming Super Bowl celebrations.  They are not messy to eat like the chips and dips and are easy to serve also.  Just serve them around as one of your finger foods.

You can use any sausage you have or want.  I used breakfast sausage since they conveniently came already cooked.  I just needed to chop them and mix with the other ingredients.  If you are using raw sausage, saute them first and drain the excess oil before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. 


Sausage Jalapeno Tortilla Cups

  • 3-4 8-inch tortillas
  • 2 cups breakfast sausage chopped
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp green onions
  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive with pimento, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini cupcake pans with cooking spray and set aside.

Cut the tortilla into one inch squares.  Fit the tortilla squares into mini cupcake pans by carefully pushing them into the pan so as to make a cup.  Spray the tortilla cups with cooking spray. 

Bake tortilla cups for 7 minutes at 350 degrees till the edges are light brown.

Mix the rest of the ingredients except the olive slices in a bowl.   Fill the tortilla cups with the filling.  Place an olive slice on top of each cup. 

Bake the cups at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  I was able to make 48 cups.

Note:  You can make the cups ahead of time and bake them before your party.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Potato and Beet Salad and Our Trip to New York City


Potato and Beet Salad


Potato and Beet Salad


This is a glorified potato salad which can be eaten as a meal.  Vegetables of different colors and nutritional values, namely, beets, olives, green beans and carrots have been added together with sliced eggs.  Mayonnaise mixed with red wine vinegar and a little bit of sugar is used as dressing.  Very simple, delicious and filling salad not to say healthy too. I am thinking salad for this post on our trip to New York City since I had a couple of good ones with our meal while my husband and I were there after Christmas this past year.

Our New York City Trip

The subway and lottery tickets for Broadway plays
We were in New York the day after Christmas for three nights and four days.  Upon learning it will cost us at least 80 dollars and even up to more than 100 dollars to get to our hotel from the airport we decided to take the Metro bus and then transfer to a subway train.  The subway actually became our main means of transportation all throughout our stay aside from taking the taxi for a couple of times.  I am proud of this feat of finding our way around this transit system which we accomplished with the help of kind co-passengers that we met.




We also lined up for the so called lottery tickets for the Book of Mormon play   Those who win the lottery held before the performance get to buy the tickets for a low price of around $30 versus the regular $100 .   When we were not lucky to get them,  we joined the queue for standing room tickets which we also failed to obtain.  We did not mind.  These were all new experiences for us and we found them fun.   The enthusiasm of the other people at the lottery waiting for the results and the patient people in the line for the standing room tickets was infectious.

We also got to talk to people during the waiting period which made the time go by really fast.  We met the twins from Singapore one of whom will be studying at Oxford for his law degree after studying at Georgetown.  His twin brother will go back to continue study law at Singapore.  Both will be working for their government after they finished their degrees.  Before we could learn more about their future plans the announcement that all standing tickets for that afternoon show were all gone was made and we bid them good bye as both they and we left empty handed.  This was the twins' seventh futile attempt.  The pursuit became more important than what is being pursued it seemed for people like them.

Where to eat
We ate at several places.  After all we were in New York City, one of the gastronomical capitals of the world.  First night was at the Benjamin Steak House where we had a wonderful waiter, originally from Albania, who oversaw almost all the tables.  That is part of their system, one guy getting the orders and then directing the rest with specific roles.  It is one of the greatest services I ever had in a restaurant so this approach works.

I found out a curious fact after we ate.  The nine year old restaurant, Benjamin, is occupying what was once the Chemists' Club.   What a coincidence since both my husband and I are chemists. When I learned about this factoid I started picturing famous chemists like Djerassi (who created the Pill) and Hoffmann (another Nobel Prize winner) having coffee as they discuss the latest developments in chemistry.  I am still very excited to realize I just ate where the chemists I idolize met and discussed concepts and discoveries we read later in journals or even applied in our experiments in the lab.

The other memorable meal we had was at the Grand Tier Restaurant located right at the Metropolitan Opera House.  Anyone with tickets at any of the performances held at one of several in the Lincoln Center complex can dine at this splendid restaurant.  I ate the best fish dish I ever had in my life.  It was striped white bass on a bed of cranberry bean ragu.  The waiter claimed it was their French way of cooking the fish namely on a hot flat skillet that kept it moist and crispy at the same time. Whatever. It worked.

Grand Tier Restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera House, NYC

I had an awesome salad before the meal.  Greens with butternut squash, figs and pecorino. The wonderful saltiness of the Italian preserved meat still lingers in my memory.  We had a dessert (Creamsicle Tortino) after the meal which we shared.  Then we each had our choice of dessert during the intermission in the same dining room at the same table.  Very convenient than sipping coffee in the lobby. I had chocolate mousse while my husband an apple cobbler. We were living it up, calorie wise.  We were on vacation so we rationalized to ourselves. By the way, one can have dessert only without the meal in this restaurant during the intermission, just make a reservation.

For our last supper in the city, I had to have the spicy chicken from the Halal kiosk at the corner of the street where the hotel we were staying was. It was just as delicious and memorable as the ones from the fancy restaurants we ate at and much much cheaper.

The operas I saw and "did not see"
Oh I almost forgot we were at New York to see three operas at the Metropolitan Opera Theatre.  It was my Christmas gift for my husband who is an aspiring amateur opera singer.  I was not feeling well all throughout the trip and as a result I only stayed fully awake for one of them, La Traviata.  I slept through the whole performance of the magnificent Aida and managed to see only the last half of the famous children's tale Hansel and Gretel.  The fact that I was awake through out La Traviata is a testimony it was not because operas were boring.  I was just bone tired and very sick with a sore throat and cough. 

La Traviata was staged, as intended by Verdi, the composer, using props reflecting the era during which it is being performed.   I love the fact that they used only one main stage setting for the whole opera designed in a very sparse modern manner.  It was adapted for the differrent scenes with just the use of clever props and staging.  My husband, on the other hand, found this approach a little bit too contemporary and boring for him.


As I was watching this opera, I could not help reflecting on the thought provoking opinions in the programme given to us.  The writer stated that the courtesan or prostitute, Violetta, was the true, decent character in the opera while a respected citizen of the community, the father of her lover was the villain.  He was a hypocritical, self righteous and manipulative person according to the writer of the programme. The father was asking Violetta to stop seeing his son, Alfredo, or else the fiance of his daughter will give up marrying her because of Violetta's reputation and connection to the family.

As a testament to the goodness of her heart, Violetta decided to go with Alfredo's father's request and broke off her relationship with Alfredo by hooking up with another guy.  And the plot thickened which kept me awake throughout the performance despite the sore throat I had.

All these wonderful experiences made the New York City trip special. You will find the salad below just as special too.

Potato and Beet Salad

Ingredients:                                      

                                 

  • 2 1/2 cups boiled red potatoes cut in wedges
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots, boiled till soft but still crisp in the microwave with little water
  • 3/4 cup frozen sliced green beans, microwaved till cooked
  • 1/4 cup sliced pimento olives
  • 1 8 oz can of sliced beets*, drained
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsps sugar or Splenda
  • salt to taste
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • pepper
Mix all the vegetables (except the beets*) in a bowl.  In a small container mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and salt.  Toss the vegetables with the dressing.  Garnish with the hard boiled eggs and beets*.  Add freshly cracked pepper before serving.

*Note (an update):  The beets may be added together with the eggs as a garnish like I did in the picture shown above to avoid making the salad turn red.  If you do not mind "seeing red" you can mix them with the other vegetables.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Hot Sausage and Cabbage Soup and When I Was 25



Hot Sausage and Cabbage Soup

The hot Italian sausage makes this simple soup exciting to the taste buds.  The cabbage as well as the red beans not only add nutritional value to the tomato based soup but also complement the delicious flavor and heat of the sausage.

I based the recipe for this soup on one of the soup entries in the annual Souper Contest sponsored by the Monroeville McGinnis Specialty Food Store.  All of the submitted recipes that year, 2014, were delicious but this is one of my favorites and it has never failed to please my family and friends.  I simplified the preparation by utilizing the slow cooker and skipping the sauteing steps in the original recipe.

I served this during the recent annual January party I give to honor Sue Sciaretti who hosts one of the monthly Monroeville prayer groups I belong to and Natalie Foley who facilitates two of these monthly prayer groups.  I initially was going to serve this to Linda only who needed a gluten free soup but when the others beside her heard that she loved it they requested to have it too.

During this party  we had a pleasant surprise and treat in the person of Jon Bindley, the grandson of Sue's sister, Mary.  When Mary found out that we played Jon's awesome and delightful Three Rivers YouTube video (below) probably 5 times during our last year's annual party in January, she graciously invited Jon over to join us this year.  I almost passed out when I saw him come in. 




Jon can not only sing, he can also talk.  After a brief prayer meeting, he regaled us with songs and stories about his pursuit of his singing career including his Nashville experience after he finished degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.  It is an interesting and inspiring life filled with ups and downs.

Jon singing one of his songs as one of the guests, Dot, listens. 

When I asked him his age which was 25, flood of memories of where I was at that age and the dreams I had came back.  I felt both the bravado I had at that time to chase my dreams as well as the fear and confusion along the way as I followed them.

What I was searching (which I wrote about in a past post) though was more formularic and clear cut namely, get an advanced degree in my field and then go from there.  His is more challenging in its uncertainties and I admire his guts for leaving the comfort of his hometown and set forth to Nashville to go after starting his singing career especially at a very young age. 


One can glean from the way he shared his insights, especially the passing of one of his friends, days before the Three Rivers video was shot, that Jon is a soulful and deep person.  His witty lyrics, especially the cute song about his co-worker in a Mexican restaurant in Nashville, are so captivating and it is no surprise.  He majored in English in college.  Back then he probably already felt the urge to express his thoughts and feelings not only in writing essays but also in composing songs.  He has a laid back charm and wit when he spoke that he had the ladies in attendance at the party in rapt attention listening to his stories and comments and readily engaged in conversation.

From the left, Mary Cay, Linda, Sue, Chris, Kathy, Dot and Jon.

I am not sure if the others at the party felt the same, but he really took me back to the time when I was 25 and made me remember and feel grateful I had the opportunity to have those dreams and go after them.  Somehow I felt not only young again but inspired to pursue my present goals in my bucket list. 

Thank you Jon for spending the time with us.  I wish you all the luck and God's blessings as you further pursue your dreams.  Thanks Mary and Sue for bringing Jon to us.  Thanks to all who attended also.  It was a spirit filled day.  

Jon singing for us during lunch that followed the prayer meeting.

Jon's fabulous Aunt Sue is on the right.  Beside her on the left is Linda.  The one in royal blue is Rose.


Grandma Mary is on the right beaming with pride. Who wouldn't?

I am now going to listen to Jon's video again one more time.  It really captures the heart of the city of Pittsburgh as one of those comments stated about the video.  Do warm yourself on this cold dreary day with this charming video of our beloved Pittsburgh. 

Slow Cooker Hot Sausage and Cabbage Soup

(Based on the recipe of 2014 Souper Bowl Monroeville Contestant - Theresa Burner)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage with casing removed and sliced to bite sized pieces (or you can use hot bulk sausage)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can water
  • 4 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 can red kidney beans, un-drained
  • 1/2 head of cabbage chopped
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook at low for 8 hours at low setting or 4 hours at high setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand Rice Cooker/Slow Cooker at slow cooker setting for 3 hours.  Enjoy. 




 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Macaroni Pineapple Chicken Salad

Macaroni Pineapple Chicken Salad

This macaroni salad which features pineapple as one of its ingredients is very popular in the Philippines and is a favorite of anyone for that matter who has tasted it.  In fact I find it heartwarming how one of my American friends described what one of her Filipino friends gave her as a thank you gift as "macaroni salad with pineapple".  It is an unforgettable dish not only because it is unique but also because it is delicious.  Filipinos love to serve this for parties and fiestas since it goes well with any main dish like ham or fried chicken for example.

The version I am sharing with you came from one of several cookbooks that have been published by the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh through the years. Nenette Angeles was the editor of the 4 editions of this cookbook titled "Cooking with the Filipinos of Pittsburgh, PA". 

Nenette Angeles has devoted much of her life in Pittsburgh to two things, namely,  her family especially when her children were very young and promoting Filipino culture.  They moved to Monroeville, PA when Olie, Nenette's husband, got a position at US Steel. 


Olie and Nenette at their kitchen where they both love to cook sumptuous, authentic and mouth-watering Filipino dishes.



She and Olie both graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP). She was chosen one of the Lakambinis at UP, an honor given to those women at UP who have achieved outstanding academic performance.  Her husband was a National Science Development Board (NSDB) scholar all through out his college years at UP. They both finished their PhD degrees at the University Wisconsin. Madison, Nenette in Food Science while Olie in Chemical Engineering.  They are brainy indeed but they are also very humble and down to earth.

I have never seen a couple so devoted to promoting the Filipino culture the way Nenette and Olie have been and continue to be so with the Philippine American Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh (PAPAGP). Do visit the PAPAGP website and marvel at the incredible fruits of the love and labor that they put into the organization along with the other hardworking members of the PAPAGP.  The website features the outstanding dances choreographed by the creative team consisting of the prolific president of the PAPAGP, Deedee Portugal, and Co-Artistic Director Beth Hoey, and performed by the talented dance troupe.  (see picture below showing Deedee at the rehearsal for the 2014 dance recital).

Deedee with the young members of the dance troupe during the rehearsal.
  
One of many dances performed during this 2014 recital is the intricate singkil shown below.



Singkil, one of the dances performed during the November 22, 2014 PAPAGP Recital.

When you get to visit Nenette and Olie's impeccably decorated and clean house, you will notice the various photographs that grace the walls of their family room. Here are some of the ones I took pictures of.  If you are lucky like I have been you might also get to eat some of the delicious dishes that they cook.



Nenette all dressed up as one of the Reyna Elenas during the Santacruzan, a yearly summer procession observed in the Philippines.

Their graduation pictures at UP.

Nenette and Olie at their wedding which was held in the United States.


Nenette and Olie in traditional Filipino garbs,  "saya" and "barong tagalog" respectively.
Here is the easy and simple recipe of the Macaroni Pineapple Chicken Salad taken straight from the recipe file of Nenette's mother, Victoria. (See picture below).

Victoria, Nenette's late beloved mother, is in the middle of this picture representing three generations of Nenette's family.  Maureen representing the third generation is on the right.

Macaroni Pineapple Chicken Salad


(Courtesy of Nenette Angeles .  This recipe appeared in one of the cookbooks by the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh  It is currently no longer available)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, undrained
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, boiled in salted water and diced
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup Hellman's light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt or adjust to taste
  • Pepper, adjust to taste
Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.  Toss all ingredients together including juice from canned pineapple.  Mixture will appear watery at first, but the pasta on standing will absorb juices.  This salad must be chilled and refrigerated overnight.  It cannot be frozen. 


Enjoy!  Every member of my family loves this and so would yours.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin in Sauerkraut, Cranberry and Barbecue Sauce


The sauce made of sauerkraut, cranberry jelly and barbecue sauce is to die for and will make the sometimes bland, dry pork tenderloin "oh my gosh" good.  This is an easy dish to prepare in your slow cooker.  Mix the ingredients and forget it and you will end up with a spectacular dish impressive enough to serve when you have company. 

Giant Eagle Grocery was selling pork tenderloin in 6 or more lb packages for less than 2 dollars per pound this past week.  I decided to buy a 6 lb package and divided it into three 2 lb portions and stored them in ziplop bags. 

I searched the internet for a recipe that will help make the sometimes bland and dry pork tenderloin be more palatable to eat.  None appealed to me especially after reading some mixed comments so I decided on using the combination of cranberry jelly and barbecue sauce that I use for my meatball appetizer recipe.  I also decided adding sauerkraut which I felt will cut down the too sweet taste of the cranberry jelly and tone down the smokiness of the barbecue sauce.  I followed my instinct and I love the result.  I was slurping the sauce.  That was how good it was. 

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin in Sauerkraut, Cranberry and Barbecue Sauce


Ingredients:


1/2 cup cranberry jelly
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (any brand)
1/2 cup sauerkraut
2 tbsp minced dry onions
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups baby carrots
2 lbs pork tenderloin

Place the first five ingredients in the slow cooker bowl and blend well.  Add the baby carrots and whole pork tenderloin to the sauce ingredients.  Slow cook at high for 4 hours or at low for 8 hours.  I used the Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker and cooked it for 3 hours at slow cook setting.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Egg Rolls with Bean Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes





This is a simple, vegetarian but delicious egg roll recipe consisting of only three vegetables - bean sprouts, shredded sweet potatoes and scallions.   The sweet potatoes give the egg roll a welcome sweetness more than the carrots would. The bean sprouts lend something different to the egg roll other than the usual cabbage we are used to in the Chinese take out versions of egg rolls.  They give the egg rolls both great taste and crunch.

Other recipes would add tofu or pork but I decided to streamline the preparation of the dish and decided to skip the protein.  You can add them if you like which entails one more step, namely stir frying and seasoning the protein first with soy sauce or oyster sauce before adding the vegetables.  I prefer less steps and despite the absence of the pork or protein,  this appetizer came out a great crowd pleaser during our family Christmas dinner. 

One can also use the lumpia or spring roll wrapper which are available in any Asian store for a thinner and crisper covering instead of the more available egg roll wrapper .  However, if you fill the egg roll wrapper compactly with the vegetable mixture and then cook a few of the egg rolls at a time the resulting appetizer you will get will be just as crunchy and beautiful.  You or your family members or guests will not stop at one so prepare enough of these egg rolls.


Egg Rolls with Bean Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes       

4 cups bean sprouts, washed and drained
2 cups shredded sweet potatoes (you can also use carrots)                 
3 scallions, cut to 1/2 inch length
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
2 pkgs egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil

Stir fry first three ingredients till sweet potatoes are cooked but still crisp then add the sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Place about 2 -3 tbsp of the filling at end closest to one corner of egg roll wrapper.  Fold over this corner and then fold the two other sides beside it.  Make sure that the filling is completely compact inside the cylinder by pushing the filling under the fold before rolling.  Continue pushing under and rolling until you form a compact cylinder. 

Deep fry only two (or three depending on the size of your sauce pan) of the spring rolls at at time for 4 minutes in hot vegetable oil.

Drain the spring roll using a strainer with a paper towel underneath. After the oil is completely drained from the egg rolls, you can transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel.

Serve with soy sauce.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year Wish





I would like to share with you the beautiful thoughts for the new year written in the poster above that was taken from the daily devotional site Sacred Space.  Today is the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  She exemplifies the two words THANKS and YES in this poster.  We do owe her so much for saying Yes without question to God's loving plan for us.    Aside from saying Yes, Mary also knew the word Thanks and she was grateful for the responsibility given her though she did not fully understand it then.  Perhaps giving thanks makes saying yes easier.  Just a thought.

Happy New Year to you all and your family.