Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Restaurant Thoughts: Crazy Katsu

We spent the last day of our long weekend with errands. After shopping for some supplies, we decided to grab a bite on our way home. My husband thought of Miggy's at first, but we remembered that we just had burrito. Then we thought of driving back all the way to SM North to check YABU's new branch. Then again, since we're not sure if the restaurant is already open, we decided to stick with what the small restaurants along Maginhawa st. will offer.

If you're looking for a quick food adventure, you got to check Maginhawa st. It has always been our stop in case when we run out of options. For instance, if my husband wants a burger and I want a burrito, we go to Good Burger that's right beside Mexican Express and between the 2 is a milk tea shop. How good is that? You can never go wrong in this area.

So, my husband was driving slow because we were both checking both sides of the road for a good place to eat.

Then... lo and behold... the answer to our Katsu craving.

I've been seeing a lot of posts about Crazy Katsu, but I don't take time to go through the articles. I told my husband "There's Crazy Katsu, I've been seeing a lot of posts about it on Facebook." I thought it's located somewhere in Makati or Ortigas, but hey, I'm happy because here's another place where we can go to for our Katsu fix. Crazy Katsu offers dishes at a pocket- friendly price. Prices range from Php120-190. 

Outside the restaurant, the sign board is attracting guests with it's cute font and reddish background. It stands out.
Unit- 1, 81 Maginhawa st. Teacher's Village UP Diliman, Quezon City
Cozy, air-conditioned dining area with wifi.
When we got in, the staff was very accommodating. We were seated, served with glasses and a pitcher of iced water. The Crazy Katsu menu has a short list specializing on katsu dishes and house specialties such as their Pork Ginger, Sukiyaki, Fish and Vegetable Tempura.
Miso Soup (Php30)
Our soup was served immediately and it was smoking hot. It was very good, perfect for that rainy day.
Chicken Katsu (Php145)
This I must say, was one- tricky dish. I thought that it's going to be just an ordinary Chicken Katsu... I was surprised and got a "little" disappointed when I saw the siling labuyo. It's best to include a description on the menu, so the client will know of this extraordinary twist. Or better yet, make chili optional. I needed to dig through the bed of shredded cabbage for siling labuyo, but over-all, I still enjoyed my Chicken Katsu. The Chicken Katsu sauce has a touch of sweetness. The boneless chicken was juicy and crispy.
Tonkatsu (Php 140)
After the disappointing part from my Chicken Katsu, let me redeem Crazy Katsu for their Tonkatsu, Fish and Vegetable Tempura.

1. Their Tonkatsu is thick, firm and juicy. In comparison, it is as big as a 120g Rosu and is served on a bed of shredded cabbage and a cup of rice. With extra rice, the pork can be shared by 2 kids.

2. My favorite. Fish and Vegetable Tempura. This plate is composed of 8 pieces tempura mixed vegetable and fish. I just love that they serve 3 of my favorite vegetables: okra, talong (eggplant) and kalabasa (pumpkin) for their vegetable tempura. The fish tempura I got to say is also a hit. In most restaurants, they use Cream Dory for tempura, in Crazy Katsu, it's different. I can't recall the name of the fish Crazy Katsu uses, but one of the servers mentioned that it's a local saltwater fish. It taste like Tilapia.
Fish and Vegetable Tempura (Php140)
Crazy Katsu Iced Tea (php30)
With the taste of the iced tea, I guess, it's a special mix from Crazy Katsu.
Drinks: Php 30-65

Everything in Crazy Katsu is worth it. This is going to be added on our list. We've been in and out of Teacher's Village, it's nice to have a more reasonable alternative in case we want Katsu late at night or simply a budget friendly restaurant that serves high quality food.

Easy Burrito

I'm a burrito lover. I'd drive all the way just to get my burrito fix. Over the weekend, my husband and I craved for it, just in time for our DVD movie date night. Instead of buying, I suggested that we go to the grocery and buy ingredients and I'd be very happy to prepare burritos for us. It's more practical. If we're to buy burrito from a restaurant, a big burrito will probably cost around php150-200 each. With that amount, we were able to buy ingredients that can yield around 4-5 big burritos or 6-7 mediums ones.

Please take note that some ingredients were already at hand, like the dried Cilantro and cheese sauce.
Servings: 4 large Burritos

  • 1/4 kilo lean ground beef
  • 3 medium red tomatoes finely chopped
  • 3 red onions minced
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 pack Chili Con Carne mix dissolved
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp dried or freshly chopped cilantro
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 tsp granulated black pepper
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese sauce or cheese dip
How To:
  • Dissolve Chili Con Carne mix according package instructions.
 Preparing the beef
  • In a frying pan, saute 1/4 of the minced onions.
  • Add ground beef and stir fry until half- cooked.
  • Add 1/2 cup of dissolved Chili Con Carne mix and simmer for a few seconds until cooked. 
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.
Preparing the rice
  • Using the same frying pan, heat cooking oil and saute part of the minced onions.
  • Add 2 cups of rice, then, get 5 tbsp from dissolved Chili Con Carne mix, add to the rice.
  • Stir rice until sauce is mixed with rice evenly. Set aside.
Preparing the beans
  • In a small sauce pan, pour and heat canned baked beans.
  • Simmer for a few seconds then add about 1/2 cup of the remaining Chili Con Carne mix.
  • Simmer for a few seconds. Set aside.
 Preparing the salsa
  • In a bowl, mix chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
Assemble the prepared burrito fillings.
  • In a pan, heat up Tortillas one at a time.
  • Assemble filling:
Salsa then
  • Roll Tortilla sides just like how we make spring rolls.
  • Eaten wrapped or plate topped with more cheese and salsa.
Other add ons:
Chicken in substitute for beef
Bean paste

It may look hard because of the preparation process. But once assembled, wrapping a burrito is easy breezy. I  make lots of fillings and put it in microwavable containers, stock up on tortillas so anytime we crave for a burrito, I can just wrap our own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Treats From My Kitchen

I love to cook, but it doesn't mean that I'm as good when it comes to baking or making pastries. Early this year I got the urge and interest to learn and experiment on making pastries. Since I don't have a background on baking, I relied so much on online recipes for my first trial until I was able to concoct my own. I must admit, it's pretty expensive because I spend on ingredients with the risk that I might not be able to get the finished product right. But if one will study the procedures well and research for suppliers, I think everything will turn out fine. Based on my experience, once I've set the basics aside, with a little adjustments, excluding and adding ingredients, I can say I'm getting there...

One of the sweet treats I love is Chocolate Crinkles. I want my crinkles to be soft, moist and chewy. I'm happy to share that I was able to meet my criteria, but the shape of the cookies were uneven because I had to give the kids the fun part of placing each chocolate ball on the baking sheet.
My second project was Chocolate Chip Cookies. In a much older post, I shared my love for the cookies made by one of our friends. They used to give us a box full for Christmas. But I can't wait a year just to have a cookie right? So I decided to make my own. Again, like my Chocolate Crinkles, I want my cookies to soft and chewy. The recipe I used was for giant cookies. Again and again, the size of the finished product was uneven. This time, I disregarded the size of the cookie sheet. It wasn't big enough for my giant cookies.
Before proceeding, let me share a short story about my mom and her love for baking. When I was a kid and we were still living at my grandmother's house in Manila, my mom would often bake cakes for occasions like birthday parties. And not just one but she can go for 3 or 5 different cakes. Later on, my dad and my mom was able to put up a bakery store. Every bread was made from scratch and with my mom's hard work. The bakery business was doing great for some time, until my mom had to give it up because she got pregnant with our youngest and my dad got a job offer. Her recipes are still with her, I even offered to continue the business...
The next pastry are cupcakes. No, it's not the ready-to-bake mixture. Everything was made from scratch. Thank God my mom has a background on baking. She shared with me her recipe, same with the frosting.

So far, among the pastries, the cupcakes turned out well on the first try. It's moist both inside and out.

For months now, I have been preparing these pastries. It will take a lot of practice in order to nail the right texture, size, shape, flavor and consistency. Do I plan to have this as a business? Well, to be honest, as of the moment, I am just enjoying baking and sharing it with my whole family. 

Next on my list: 

Cream Puffs
Chocolate Eclairs
Making my own fudge cake for my son and dad's birthday.

Shrimp Scampi

Sometimes, I look back through my old recipes in this blog and if I find something not as appealing in terms of presentation, I give the recipe another whip. For this week, I decided to redo my easy Shrimp Scampi recipe.

Servings: 2-4
  • 450g Linguine
  • 10 pcs shrimps (peeled and deveined)
  • 10 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2  olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium fresh red tomatoes (chopped, with seeds)
  • 1 can 400g diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • A handful of freshly chopped basil leaves or 1 tsp dried basil 
  • Salt and pepper for tasting
How To: 
  • In a sauce pan, boil pasta until firm then set aside.
  • In a separate frying pan, melt butter and stir fry shrimps until orange. Set aside.
  • On a pan, heat a little olive oil, saute garlic until light brown.
  • Add cooked shrimps, chopped tomatoes and stir for a few seconds.\
  • Add canned diced tomatoes, basil and green bell pepper. Stir for as few seconds.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add pasta and Parmesan cheese then toss it evenly with the sauce.
You may top your pasta with more cheese and pair it with some hot wheat bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

French Toast

Personally, I prefer French Toast than pancakes for breakfast. My kids are used to having pancakes. Now, they're loving French toasts slowly, especially every time I serve it with some chocolate syrup.

French toast is easy to make. 

Servings: 2

Ingredients: Plain French Toast
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2- 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
How To:
  • Mix cinnamon and fresh milk with beaten eggs.
  • In a frying pan, melt butter and add vegetable oil in medium heat.
  • Dip slices of bread one at a time in beaten egg mixture.
  • Fry dipped bread slice and flip until golden brown on both sides.
  • Ready to serve with maple syrup.

Add ons:
Whipped cream
Almonds or Walnuts
Maple syrup
Fresh fruit
Chocolate spread
More cinnamon
Fresh fruit
Bacon or Spam
Ripe mangoes or slices of apples
Cream and syrup
There are more ways to serve French toast. With strawberries, peaches, coconut, powdered sugar, as a sandwich with some jelly. It can also be a good dessert. Just arrange the bread slices in a baking platter stuff it with fruits and cream in between, top it with maple syrup, cream, a little cheese and nuts then bake it for a few minutes.
My family loves it for breakfast, but French toast can also be an all-day meal. I remember having them as an afternoon snack to match my milk tea. It was really good. And I might just try making a French Toast Dessert Platter.

Restaurant Thoughts: Raintree More Than Just Milk Tea

It's been awhile since our last visit to Raintree. My family moved to a different location, so it took some time for us to visit our favorite milk tea shop again. Last time I made an article about it was back in 2011 see here: http://frommomachie.blogspot.com/2012/01/raintree-my-special-milk-tea.html

Since then, Raintree has moved up to a different level. It's more than just a milk tea shop, it's now a cafe that offers, pasta, sandwiches, other pastries (aside from their delicious macarons) like brownies and cupcakes and beef rice bowls.

On the side, the cozy cafe also opened it's doors and added Pampanga's Best and a confectionery called Raintea Confectionery that sell French Macarons.
 Jasmine Floral and Belgian Chocolate
We never tire of our usual from Raintree. They serve rich milk teas. When I say rich, there's not a taste of artificial flavoring. For the diabetics, Raintree sells Splenda as substitute so you can still enjoy something cold and tasteful.
On a regular weekday, my husband and I stays at Raintree while waiting for the fetching time of our son whose school is just a few minutes away. I like matching my milk tea with some macarons (php30ea) and a cupcake (php60ea) which I share with my other half and a little for our baby.
Raintree's Pasta Carbonara (php150)
Here, we paired our pastas with Raintree's Specialtea and Amaretto (almond) milk tea.
Raintree's Pasta Pesto (Php150)
Their pasta is one of my favorites because everything in it is freshly made then served. Pasta sauce is thick and is not salty. The pasta noodles itself is firm. But the part I like the most is the large amount of Parmesan cheese that covered the pasta and the slice of French bread.

There's a lot to look forward to on the coming days... Remember, we still have some Manly meals: Beef Rice Bowls to try. (wink!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Home- Cured Bacon

I really didn't think of making my own bacon until I saw the pork belly (bacon cut) S&R was selling. I must admit, it's such a blessing to have time to go shopping on a weekday, less people, relaxing stroll from one aisle to another and more choices for me. When I saw the pork belly streaks, it reminded me of S&R's cured bacon itself. They sell good bacon by the way.

For a change, thought I start fresh, like make my own bacon "again" instead of buying the commercial ones.
This was my second attempt on dry curing my own bacon. This time, I was successful. One of the most important things to take note of in producing good bacon is the freshness and the cut of the meat itself. On my first try 4 years ago, it didn't turn out well because I used regular pork belly slices which is thicker than the ones I recently used.

The process of home- curing is very easy. Of course it will all depend on the bacon marinade you're going to use.

Here's a link that may help you. Home- cured Bacon

Here are some points:
1. Buy fresh pork belly streaks.
2. Once you've marinated your meat, put it in a Ziploc.
3. Refrigerate for 7 days.
4. Every other day, turn the Ziploc upside down or just enough to reposition the meat in the bag.
I personally prefer using Ziploc in marinating meat. It's well- sealed and it preserves freshness.

My second batch is on the way. Even if the waiting period sucks, it's all worth it. Breakfast is love with bacon. Our champorado is made special with bacon on the side. Bacon can make a bland, ordinary sandwich more enticing and exciting to eat. Plain bacon and rice is the best!