Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mustard Greens Salad

Mustard Greens salad is one of my favorite salads served with any Filipino viand. It goes well with everything that it can enhance the food and the mix of flavors even more, making one's food experience extraordinary, fun and unforgettable.

I learned to make mustard greens salad thru my dad, who grew mustard leaves in a small vacant lot beside our old house when I was a kid.

Eating organic has been in our diet since I was a little girl. We practically ate whatever vegetable was grown from our yard. It's one of the things I enjoyed in my life. I experienced and witnessed my dad plant, harvest and cook those simple greens which in a way, kept us all healthy.

Here in the Philippines, the local name for it is Mustaza. It is often added to any Sinigang dish. We also love to pair Mustaza with Burong Hipon (fermented rice with shrimp).

One famous way of serving Mustaza is as a salad. Mustard Green Salad is easy to prepare. By the way, a bunch may cost 8-15php in a regular grocery store. But if you'll buy from the market (palengke) it's cheaper and fresher.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of Mustard leaves ( Mustaza)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp cane vinegar or lemon juice (optional)
  • drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Procedure: 
  • Remove the roots and wash the leaves well.
  • Chop the leaves with the stems into thin strips, set aside in a  bowl.
  • With a little water massage and squeeze the juice from the leaves to lessen its bitter- spicy flavor.
  • Set the squeezed batch in a serving bowl.
  • Toss the rest of the ingredients (including the lemon juice and olive oil or anything you want to add)  and mix everything evenly.
Personally, I don't squeeze the leaves anymore. I like it a bit bitter, because it goes well with the tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Then, I prepare an amount that will last us for a week then store it in the fridge. My goal is for every meal, there should be a little to go with whatever viand I cook. Makes me feel secure that my family is getting a dose of fiber everyday.
Chicken Katsu with Wasabi Mayo and Mustard Greens

Health Benefits:

Lowers the risk of Cancer. It acts as a strong antioxidant, detoxification, anti- inflammatory agent. Studies have linked mustard greens to the prevention of bladder, colon, breast, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. -source-
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homemaker Stand Mixer

Baking has become a hobby since middle of last year. I started with a hand mixer, then eventually, my mom and dad saw that I was enjoying it so they gifted me with a Homemaker Stand Mixer.  My parents used to own a bakery when I was a kid, so baking in the family isn't new.

I made this special post on a Homemaker Stand Mixer to answer questions/ inquiries that were and still are often asked in an old post.

* I am not a an expert on any field, not a certified pastry chef, baker etc... I did not take any baking lessons that can approve or disapprove anything when it comes to baking. Anything stated on this post is solely based on my experience as a Homemaker Stand Mixer user for 1 year.

Here we go!

My Homemaker Stand Mixer was purchased from HMR Surplus, Sta. Rosa Laguna. If I'm not mistaken, it was at 1500php. It was the only mixer available, brand new, boxed and sealed. 

Inside:
Manual
1 Dough Hook,
1 Beater, 
1 Whisk, 
4 litre stainless steel bowl (detachable)

It was a lucky find I must say, because we were informed that the items sold in that surplus outlet comes in randomly.  Sometimes, there are other stand mixers of different brands, and most of the time quantity goes 1 or 2 for each kind. It wouldn't hurt to ask, but don't expect that they'll give you "new stock" when you go to any surplus shops.
If you can't find it in HMR, try Save On Surplus, Market- Market, Taguig. They sell Homemaker kitchen equipments including the Homemaker Stand Mixer for 3990php. I've visited the place several times, and they always  have the mixer on display. Over the weekend, I went to check again and the mixer is still there.

Performance/ durability:

This Homemaker Stand Mixer has planetary action , 6 Speeds Pulse. Take note, it is not comparable to a KitchenAid Mixer. There's a reason why it's way more affordable than a KitchenAid. 

With what I mentioned in a separate post, for beginners like me, it's perfect for practicing. In one year, I made lots of pastries and cakes using this mixer. I always have 2-3 mixing bowls ready. If I need to make a huge amount of pastries, I don't mix it all at the same time. I cut the recipe so it will not overwork the mixer. Then, I just throw in another load.

I placed it to a test last Christmas. I made 4-5 dozen cupcakes (with frosting), more than 100 chocolate crinkles (in one day) and brownies all as our Holiday giveaways.  I often use my Homemaker Stand Mixer because I bake a lot. On a weekly basis, I make 6 to a dozen cupcakes with frosting and a cake. It depends on what I want to make and no, I don't sell them, I just like to bake. I save a little for myself and my children then the rest goes to my parents and siblings or I give some to my husband's team at work.

For business purposes, I can't really answer for that inquiry. But personally, in case I'll be putting baking a notch higher like selling my pastries, I will definitely invest on the best mixer around. 

With all that was mentioned, my Homemaker Stand Mixer is working like brand new.

Quality of pastry:

I did not take any baking lessons. But I've learned that the secret to baking is to follow the recipe step by step. That includes use of the right materials, measurement and ingredients. The mixer is just secondary for me. If I wasn't given a stand mixer, I will probably continue with a hand mixer. But then again, nobody wants to overwork their arms and hands right? it gets really painful especially if a recipe requires a certain level of consistency this Homemaker Stand Mixer works for me.
Here are some of my creations made with the help of a Homemaker Stand Mixer:
In addition, I haven't used the dough hook attachment yet. I'm giving it some thought, been gathering old bread recipes from my mom's bakery. Soon!

I hope this entry is going to be useful for those who love to bake. The Homemaker Stand Mixer is a good choice for starters. It mixes well, it gives perfect results. I'm satisfied with its performance.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No Bake Lasagna Rolls

This is my favorite of all the things I came up with in my kitchen. I didn't have an oven then, so I thought that one way to come up with lasagna is to spread some sauce over the pasta as filling, roll it , top it with my special white sauce, cheese and pop it in the microwave. It was a success! It's delicious and easy to make. Perfect for parties and gatherings.

Servings: 4-5
Materials:
  • Sauce pan for boiling pasta
  • Sauce pan for spaghetti sauce
  • baking sheet or anything with flat surface for rolling the pasta
  • microwavable containers

Ingredients: Pasta and Sauce

  • 1 454g box Lasagna
  • 1 kilo ground sirloin (boiled)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 kg spaghetti sauce 
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • a dash of salt
  • a pinch of black pepper granules
  • *(optional) Bechamel sauce (can be found anywhere online)

Procedures:
  • In a sauce pan boil Lasagna al dente then set aside.
  • In a separate sauce pan,  heat cooking oil.
  • Saute garlic until light brown.
  • Add onions and red bell pepper.
  • Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add boiled ground sirloin.
  • Simmer for 30 seconds.
  • Add spaghetti sauce and simmer in low fire for a few seconds. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

  • Using a tray, line cooked pasta.
  • Spread some spaghetti meat sauce over each.
  • Roll it up slowly so it won't break.
  • Arrange each lasagna roll in a microwavable container.
  • Pour some white sauce and quick melt cheese.
  • Pop it inside the microwave for 30 seconds.
* if you do not have white sauce, just add extra cheese.

Enjoy!
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Ampalaya Con Carne

One way to make bitter gourd more enticing and interesting to eat is by mixing it with beef or any meat that will surely balance its bitterness. We all want our little ones to eat vegetables. As a mom, I introduced eating Ampalaya or bitter gourd to my eldest son as early as 3 years old, same thing will follow with my youngest.  With my experience, to be able to get my kids eat bitter gourd, I make the dish saucy. Tomato sauce will do, oyster sauce and serve it with their favorite food (fried chicken, fish, etc). It's also best to just serve it on the table, let them eat  it (but don't force them) than say a lot of things about it.

Here we go!

Servings: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups beef cubes (boiled until tender)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium red tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Ampalaya (sliced into thin pieces)
 To lessen the bitterness, get rid of the seeds and the white lining beneath it then soak it in water.
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper granules
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Procedure:
  • Boil beef cubes until tender. Drain the meat and set aside 1 1/2 cups of beef broth.
  • Mix soy sauce, water, cornstarch and black pepper granules then set aside.
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until medium brown.
  • Add onion and tomatoes, stir for a few seconds.
  • Add beef cubes and stir for a few seconds.
  • Add bitter gourd or ampalaya.
  • Add beef broth and simmer for 30 seconds or if vegetable is at least half- cooked.
  • Shift to low fire then add soy sauce mixture and stir evenly.
Ready to be served!
Of course, bitter gourd has a lot of health benefits. One is lowering/ balancing blood sugar levels. Every part of the plant is useful, that's why some prefer to juice it. But personally, would rather cook it.

For leftovers, check this out!
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