Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tagaytay Bound First Day of 2014

First day of 2014, the girls decided to head out of town. Braved the 2 hour slow traffic to Tagaytay and another 30 minutes to 1 hour just to get to our choice of destination. We just thought that a dinner in a cool place, away from Manila was perfect to open the new year.
Just the other day, I shared a post on my other blog on how I spend quality time with my sisters and my mom them being my best friends too. Here's one instance when we just go for something unplanned. It just so happen that we're all okay with the idea, my family slept over at my parents' house in celebration of the New Year. The following day, us girls were still in celebration mode, and so we went up to Tagaytay. We borrowed our dad's car so my husband and kids can tag along as well.
Even for frequent Tagaytay visitors like us, we never fail to have an order of the famous Bulalo which is a native dish at this part of the Philippines. Bulalo is a beef viand particularly made of beef shanks and marrow bones slow- cooked for hours until meat is tender. The soup of the Bulalo matches the cold weather in Tagaytay. Aside from Bulalo, we also ordered Kilawin na Tanigue, Eggplant Salad (Ensaladang Talong), Beef Kaldereta and Pork BBQ. My husband thought of ordering some beer to go with these Filipino dishes but we decided to save it after dinner.
The nice view of the Taal Volcano made our trip worth it. After our delicious dinner, we decided to head somewhere we can have some more drinks. Coffee for my mom, beer for me and my husband and some non alcoholic beverage for my sisters. As we relax in preparation for the long traffic back home, part of our conversation went around sites where one can buy non alcoholic wine online. My husband and I loves to explore and taste new things when it comes to beverages. Well, mostly alcoholic but non alcoholic are worth trying as well. The topic alone warmed up our evening, it was just too cold in Tagaytay.
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Herbed Orange Chicken

This is one healthy dish I often serve my family. My 3 boys love it! It's baked, chicken breasts as main, coated and soaked in fresh orange juice, mixed herbs and spices. I can go rice less  with this viand with just some crackers to match.

Servings: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 4 Chicken breasts (skin removed and sliced thinly)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated quickmelt cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • slice remaining half orange thinly 
  • 1 cup of sliced baby potatoes or any vegetable of your choice. 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice or half an orange squeezed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole fresh garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

To Marinate:
  • In a bowl, rinse chicken, drain.
  • Season chicken breasts with 2 tbsp olive oil, spread evenly, add a little if necessary.
  • In a separate bowl, mix fresh orange juice, minced garlic, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper.
  • Pour orange & herb mixture with the chicken breasts then spread evenly.
  • Marinate chicken for 10-15 minutes.
Cooking Directions:
  • Heat oven at 200C.
  • Grease your baking dish with 2 tbsp olive oil or butter.
  • Arrange marinated chicken on baking dish, spread evenly.
  • Top with chopped baby potatoes and parsley.
  • Pour remaining marinade with the chicken including the juice. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes. 
  • After 20 minutes, gently remove baking dish out of the oven. Careful it's hot!
  • Top baked chicken with grated quickmelt cheese and orange slices.
  • Then bake it again for another 3-5 minutes.
In case you're wondering why you have to bake the cheese over the chicken separately... For me, I just want to avoid the cheese from browning too much that might give the dish a burnt taste. You can also use Mozzarella cheese as topping.

Enjoy!
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Longganisa With a Twist

Longganisa/ Longaniza is a famous breakfast food, sausage made of ground meat, usually with a sweet or garlicky taste. Traditionally cooked by simmering it in small amount of water until dry, poked with a fork so it's natural oil spurts out, then fried using its own oil.

 My choice of Longganisa is skinless, lean and not too sweet. I like serving a regular skinless Longganisa in different ways, here's one: 

Servings: 2- 3
Ingredients:
  • 5-6 Longganisas chopped into small pieces. 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole fresh garlic minced,  or about 2 tbsp of processed garlic bits.
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon juice/ orange or calamansi juice
Directions:
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Saute minced garlic until light brown.
  • Add chopped Longganisa (skinless or not).
  • Stir fry for about a minute on medium heat.
  • Add lemon juice or any unsweetened citrus juice available.
  • Stir fry for another 30 seconds.

Serve it with hot rice, some eggs and slices of fresh tomatoes.
Often times, I eat Longganisa with vinegar on the side. With this recipe, the tangy taste that the vinegar's suppose to give is already mixed with the Longganisa thru the fresh citrus juice.
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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Closing 2013 with Lunch Date at YABU

After Christmas and before welcoming the new year, my husband and I was able to find some time off together. Actually, we went on a quick errand in SM Aura to look at some shoes at a Palladium shop. While we were there we checked on the list of movies showing. We're kinda hoping that The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug was still showing. IMAX didn't turn us down. We were very happy that IMAX has a special viewing of The Hobbit in the middle of the MMFF Festival.

So we bought our tickets around 1pm, movie starts at 3pm, we still have 2 hours to find a good restaurant and enjoy our lunch date. The choice of restaurant was YABU. As a couple, we always find YABU a good place to enjoy good food, ambiance with friendly service. We only hop into another retaurant if the waiting line in YABU will take more than 30minutes.

But on a beautiful Monday afternoon, even with a long waiting line, we were seated immediately and by the window with a fresh view of Bonifacio Global City.
Most of the time, our orders goes around the usual Tonkatsu set or a Seafood set. With our recent visit, my husband had a Original Katsudon Set and I went for a Chicken Mixed Seafood Set.

Turf meets surf: Chicken, Black Tiger Prawn, Squid, Oyster and Eggplant & Pepper.

Just a friendly advice, in case you can't figure out what to order, I greatly recommend YABU's Chicken Mixed Seafood Set. It has everything your palate will enjoy. It is "the set" if you want to try more than one specialty.

I was pumped up enjoying my meal. I had a refill of everything: Japanese rice, miso soup, fruits, even the pickle and not to forget my bottomless house blend iced tea. I don't go for refills in any restaurants, but at that moment, I told myself not to hold back on a second round. It's been awhile since I enjoyed a real meal.  Being sick for a week before Christmas was such a drag. So when I was feeling much better, I didn't waste a single second savoring each moment when I get to taste something beyond my kitchen.

Our lunch date to end 2013 was remarkable. As we enjoyed our food, we also cherished every minute of the short but sweet time given to us as we take a break from being Papa& Mama and just be plain Dolf & Enchie.
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