Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Italian-Pinoy Fusion

I just came back from an Alternative Class Program in Xavier School this morning. It was fun because it is in a way a coming home treat. I became a teacher once again for at least two hours. Many of my former students enrolled in that class too, so it also became a mini reunion.

I prepared a cooking demo (thanks to some of the students who volunteered to help) for an Italian-Pinoy Fusion Cuisine. Here's three of the recipe I prepared:

Leafy Green w/ Adobo Salad

1 pack romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 pack red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
00 gms. chicken breast, cooked adobo style and flaked.
1-2 pc. ripe chico (or 1 pc. ripe mango whichever is available)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced.
1 – 2 pc. bay leaves
pepper to taste
kesong puti (feta cheese may be used)

1. Fry adobo flakes until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
2.Prepare the adobo dressing. Combine garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan. Simmer until mixture turns into a syrupy consistency. Add pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Assemble salad. Tear lettuce and assemble in a salad plate. Top with adobo flakes. breast and sliced chico. Drizzle with olive oil and toss.
3. Add adobo dressing according to taste. Top with kesong puti.

Linguini with Vigan Style Longganisa

500 gms. Linguini or Spaghetti
4 – 5 pcs. garlic longganisa (Vigan style)
50 gms.. basil leaves - chopped
1 tsp. minced oregano (fresh or dried)
1 medium sized can peeled tomatoes
5- 6 cloves garlic, minced
3 – 4 medium seized tomatoes
5-6. olive oil
1 cup white table wine
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta al dente (about 5-7 minutes).
2. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add vigan longganisa and sauté until cooked..
3. Add diced fresh tomatoes, peeled tomatoes and white wine. Bring to a boil.
4. Add basil and oregano. Put salt and pepper according to taste.
5. Simmer then add pasta.

*Straight from the pan pasta : no need to drain pasta. While pasta is al dente (around 5 minutes of cooking), remove from stove and set aside and let it cook naturally in the hot water. Meanwhile, the pasta sauce is prepared

Monday, November 20, 2006

We Reached One Year!


Yehey! The Jesuit Gourmet Food Blog is one year old. Kudos to Katimugambalon who first thought of this idea.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Beef me up, Scotty!


It was our last community dinner for the semester last night! For our last hurrah, i served roast beef, pasta and green salad. Here's the recipe I used for the beef.

Herbed Tenderloin and Roasted Garlic

1-2 kls. tenderloin beef
3 tbsp wild honey
3-4 tbsp mustard
1-2 tbsp olive oil
minced fresh basil
minced fresh rosemary
minced fresh oregano
minced garlic
cloves of garlic (peeled)
salt and pepper
2 cups dry red wine


1. Season pat dried tenderloin with salt and pepper.
2. Combine mustard, wild honey and olive oil. Rub on the tenderloin.
3. Combine minced herbs and rub on the tenderloin. Let stand for around 1 hour
4. Roast tenderloin together with cloves of garlic. Cooking time depends on whether you want your beef well done, medium rare or rare.
5. Collect drippings. On a sauce pan, combine drippings, red wine and herbs. Beef stock may be added. Reduce wine until syrupy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Five Things to Eat Before You Die

from Jhaw

We've been tagged by Passionate Eater! She asked us to list "Five Things to Eat Before You Die." Here's my own list:

1. Cailles en sarcophages avec Sauce Perigourdine.
Since I've watched Babette's feast, I've been dreaming of tasting this delectable dish called "quails in their coffins." I think this dish celebrates the beauty and artistry of French Cuisine, not to mention the fine taste. Just imagine a quail in puff pastry shell with foie gras and truffle sauce. For me, it is really a dish to die for.

2. Korean Imperial Meal.
I got hooked on this Korean television series entitled Jewel in the Palace. The story is about a young lady who became the Chef of the Korean Imperial Court and later on became a doctor to the Royal family. I usually salivate when the episode comes to the part where they prepare food for the King-- and I ask myself "why wasn't I born a Korean king?"

3. An Authentic Jewish passover Meal.
I really long to have a Jewish family who will invite me to their Passover meal. The food is actually very simple, but what I want is the experience of going through this ritual that has been carried on even before the start of Christianity.

4. A Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Buffet
My God, why is Haagen-Dazs ice cream super expensive? The last time I've tasted this ice cream was 10 years ago!!! I'm so deprived....

5. One of Passionate Eater's Foodie.

No explanation needed. he-he

from katimugambalon

1. A croissant made with butter from Louviers, France.
My father had always raved about French butter. I could only read that the butter in Louviers has a higher fat content and an extraordinary flavour derived from bacteria indigenous to the region. And what could be more buttery than a flaky croissant that just melts in your mouth.

2. Fugu
No, not the quail. (Ok, only Filipinos will get that pun). I am talking about the poisonous fish that only licensed chefs are allowed to prepare. I just want to know what the big fuss is all about. Why pay $200 for a fish that could kill you. Well, in that case, it would really be the last thing I would eat before I die.

3. Gratin of Truffled Macaroni at "The Fat Duck" in Berkshire, U.K.
Reported to be the best restaurant in the world. The Fat Duck has a reputation for introducing innovative recipes such as the one above.

4. A Full Course Sulipeña Meal
In the Philippines, Sulipan, Pampanga is considered the capital of gourmet cuisine. In fact, during Spanish rule, the Kapampangan town of Sulipan, has become host to many dignitaries. The town of Sulipan exisits no more, but the culinary skills continue. Pampanga is still well known for its passion for food so much so that there are records of pre-war Filipino women from Pampanga studying in Le Cordon Bleu, France!

5. Like Jhaw, A Potluck Meal from International Food Bloggers, esp. PE
Yes, of course, one can just talk about food, but one should eat it! I've been reading so many tasty entries online that I cannot wait to meet and eat with people who are just as passionate about food.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Going Nuts

It's the season to be nuts! The first quarterly period has just ended and I need to prepare the marks of my students. Life as a regent involves juggling many roles: i'm a religion teacher, a moderator for a senior year section as well as the moderator of the school paper, the cafeteria committee chairman, and last but not the least, I am the kitchen minister in the house.

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, and I'm going nuts. Fortunately, preparing food relaxes me and so yesterday, I made ice cream sans ice cream maker. Here's a nutty treat for a nutty day:


banana-almond nougat ice cream

3 250 ml. pkgs. all purpose cream, chilled
1/4 cup brandy
honey

2 bananas, sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup brandy

chopped almond nougat (the hard crunchy European variety)


Melt butter in pan. Add the brown sugar and caramelize. Add the sliced bananas and the brandy, then flambé. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks and approximately doubles in size. Drizzle the brandy in the mixture and continue mixing. Then drizzle the honey to sweeten it to your desired taste.

Put the mixture in a container to freeze. Whisk the mixture every 30 minutes to prevent the formation of large ice crystals. When the mixture is almost frozen yet still mushy, fold in the chopped nougat then carefully swirl in the caramelized banana mixture. Freeze at least overnight before serving.

Serve with white chocolate curls.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Spanish - Cagayanon Feast

Here in the City of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro, the Jesuit Community in Loyola House celebrated the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola with a Spanish-themed meal. The menu consisted of

  1. seven tapas for our appetizers:
    1. gambas: a spicy dish made out of garlic, shrimps, tomatoes and wine
    2. salipicado: beef tenderloin bits with peppers
    3. jamon: ham slices
    4. setas del ajo: mushrooms sauteéd in butter and garlic
    5. paté de hígado de pato: duck liver paté
    6. croquetas: croquettes stuffed with ham and cheese
    7. queso: cheese
  2. sopa de ajo or garlic soup
  3. char-broiled tuna
  4. pollo de almodovar: chicken stewed in wine, generously topped with olives and almonds
  5. the traditional lechon de leche served in Cagayanon fiestas
  6. an authentic Paella Valenciana with chorizos imported from Spain
To end the sumptuous meal, I served a white chocolate mousse infused with the infamous Durian fruit. Here's the recipe:

Durian Mousse
8 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose cream
flesh from 2 durian sections
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 cups whipping (heavy) cream



  1. Beat the egg yolks until it thickens and lightens in colour
  2. Gently heat 2 cups whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat making sure it does not boil. Add durian flesh and incorporate into the mixture.
  3. Strain the mixture. You may have to push the mixture through a sieve to eliminate the durian fibers. Return to heat.
  4. Stir half of the durian infusion into egg yolk mixture, then pour the mixture back into hot durian infusion in the saucepan. Cook for around 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Melt the white chocolate by stirring it into the mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  6. Whip the all-purpose cream into a cold mixing bowl until it forms peaks. Then fold in the chilled durian-chocolate custard into the whipped cream. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Learning from the Masters

Contemplatio, Oblatio, Missio
Artwork by Schol. Jason K. Dy, S.J.
Loyola House of Studies
Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Philippines


This year, Jesuits all around the world celebrate the Jubilee Year of the first three founders of the Society of Jesus -- St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and Blessed Peter Favre. In these first three Jesuits, we recall that the Society of Jesus began in companionship. In each of them we see personal symbols of the essential aspects of the "original spirituality " of the Society

Ignatius and Loyola and apostolic spirituality. Ignatius' unique gift to the Society and the Church was an apostolic spirituality: a spirituality of labor with God, in God's labor in the world. Ignatius had a vision of a Trinitarian God at work in the world for the salvation of humanity. Christ for Ignatius is not so much a great figure of the past, but a living Lord, inviting men and women today to labor with him in his ongoing struggle against the enemy of human nature, in his ongoing project of filling the world with knowledge of the true life. Thus, for Ignatius, it was not sufficient to do some work for God. Ignatius wishes to insert himself into the very work of God.

Francis Xavier and mission. Francis Xavier, a man of intense missionary activity, stops at nothing to proclaim the good news. If Ignatius reminds us that it is God's work we participate in, Xavier symbolizes the human response to God's invitation. In Xavier, we see the passionate sense of urgency and the total giving of oneself in gratuity to the work of evangelization. We see in him that burning desire to "help souls," precisely because so many are deprived of their proper humanity and are plunged into misery.

Peter Faber and cura personalis. Peter Faber embodied the dimension of cura personalis. Not gifted for governance as was Ignatius or impelled toward great exploits as was Francis, Faber devoted himself to the spiritual companionship of a great number of people who were searching for God. Reflecting teh consoling ministry of the risen Christ, he accompanied people in a personal way, with delicacy, charity, and kindness, as friends are accustomed to console friends.

Reflecting on the charism of each of the first three companions, I always see myself lucky that I was called by God to enetr "this least Society." It makes me feel proud that this Society have been blessed by God to exist for about 500 years --thanks to these men who first responded to the call. At the same time, I am humbled because I know that great men have come before me, and my works in the Society are just mere shadows in the light of the work they have done for the Church. Lastly, I am encouraged because I know I still need to learn things --and I can always look at the examples of the first three companions and learn from the masters.

I want to share now one recipe I learned from a venerable Father in Xavier School, Fr. Santos Mena, S.J. He is a Spanish Jesuit who claims that one will not find any Sangria in the Philippines so tasty as his. I tried to infuse my own idea on his recipe and came up with this:

Santa Sangria

2 pcs medium oranges
2 pcs medium apples
2 cups mass wine (sweet red wine)
3-4 jiggers of gin
4 bottles of lime soda
2 bottles red table wine

Wash apples and oranges thoroughly and slice thinly. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Adjust sweetness by adding either more mass wine or sugar. Cover the pitcher and let the fruit slices steep for about 2 hours in the refrigerator to infuse the flavor. Best for cocktail parties.

According to Fr. Mena, this is the best way of putting your cheap and bad wines into use!

(I still have to take photos of my finished product. Meanwhile, I'm borrowing this photo from http://www.crepes.co.th )

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bienvenida

Bishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J. was recently installed as Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro. Last 4 June, the Xavier University Jesuit Community welcomed Bishop Tony. I was tasked to prepare the meal for the night And I decided on a Mediterranean theme. The ten-course dinner is as follows:

Appetizers:
Prosciutto con Melone
Bruschetta with Eggplant Caviar
Asparagus & Pancetta Gratin

Soup:
Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese and Baguette Toasts

Salad:
Country Salad with Feta Cheese and Parsley

Main Course:
Provencal Fish with Sauce Pistou
Rosemary Chicken with Potato Wedges
served with Pasta Con Aglio

Dessert:
Chilled Zabaglione w/ Fresh Mango Slices
Banana-Mango Flambé

I began preparing the dishes at around 1 pm, and the cooking/preparation continued until the dinner itself (which was around 630pm). It was overall satisfying for me to see my brothers gathering together, enjoying the food, moreover enjoying good company.

I capped the dinner with a zabaglione. It is a light custard dessert usually served warm. I decided to chill it and in place of berries, I put slices of ripe Philippine mango. Here's the recipe:

Chilled Zabaglione with Fresh Mango
5 egg yolks
1 egg
6 tbsps. sugar
4 tbsps. rhum
2 Philippine mangoes, sliced
12 mini barquillos sticks

Put the egg, the egg yolks in a double boiler and using an electric mixer, beat the mixture for around 5 minutes until frothy, slowly adding the sugar. Slowly drizzle in the rhum, then remove from the double boiler. Whisk first for around 1 minute on high, 2 minutes on medium, and then 5 minutes on low: this is to ensure a smooth consistency.

Chill the mixture for around 1 hour. Then, repeat the mixing process. 1 minute on high, 2 minutes on medium, and then 5 minutes on low. The end-product must be like a mousse. Proportionally distribute the mango slices into 6 serving cups. Spoon the chilled zabaglione into the cups. Place two mini-barquillos sticks in each cup just before serving.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Crab, The Cross and St. Francis Xavier

December 3 is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron of Xavier School.

Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506 in the castle of Javier, Navarre, Spain. He was the youngest son of an impoverished nobleman, who had died while Francis was still a child. Francis grew up with the clear determination to repair the damage to his family's fortunes. His plans envisioned dreams of earthly ambition. In the end, instead of becoming a wealthy patron to tenants and soldiers, he became the patron of missionaries. Thus God restored for all ages the family's honor by making him a legend and a saint. (Read More...)

One of the miracle stories attributed to Saint Francis Xavier is how he got his cross back after losing it at sea. It was said that Francis Xavier was caught up in a storm as he was travelling to Malacca in the year 1546. With much faith, he threw his cross into the sea, asking God to make it an intrument to pacify the turbulent sea. God indeed came to his aid. The storm halted and the sea calmed down. But he lost his cross. According to the story, Francis Xavier, upon reaching the shores of Malacca, found a crab crawling towards him holding the missing cross in on of it's claws. This story was so important that it was depicted on the altar at the canonization ceremony and was one of four miracles represented on the banner that decorated St. Peter Church on that occasion.
(It is believed that the crab that brought back the cross to St. Francis belongs to this specie. Notice how it bears the sign of the cross on its shell. )

This miracle story (some say it is a lore), came to my mind while I was preparing for my recipe this week--crabs. Live crabs are a little expensive, so i settled for cooked crab meat (Php 80.00 per 200 gms). I attempted to put a little twist to the usual crab cake recipe by incorporating it with eggplants and a simple tomato/basil salsa.

Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Crab Meat

Ingredients:
10 pcs. medium sized eggplant
olive oil

for the crab meat stuffing:
400 g cooked crab meat (drained)
1-2 tbsp finely chopped onions
1-2 tbsp finely chopped celery
1-2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1-2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
2-3 tbsp flour
2 pcs medium sized egg
salt and pepper to taste

for the salsa:
2 pcs medium size tomatoes (diced)
2-3 tbsp. chopped basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Procedure:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients fo the crab meat stuffing. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.


Carve the eggplant. Remove the flesh to make space for the crab meat stuffing. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees then adjust to low heat. Stuff the eggplant and bake for about 30 minutes. The 30 minute baking time is just my approximation. I used low heat so that cooking process is gradual both for the crab filling and for the eggplant. I didn't plan to eat roasted eggplant--just baked.


Prepare the salsa. Combine diced tomatoes and chopped basil in a bowl. Add around 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may put this on top of your baked eggplant or you can serve it on the side.


This picture shows that I really need to attend both food designing and food photography workshops. The picture isn't that great, but I can assure you the taste is delicious!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Iron Chef on my Mind

One thing that really encouraged me in pursuing my "food inventions" is the fact that I have my fellow Jesuits who are brave enough to try my concoctions. They are honest enough to give me their constructive feedback if they find the food lacking in taste, zest, or kick. But honestly, the feeling is always like joining a food contest like Iron Chef and waiting for the panel of judges to give their thumbs up or thumbs down sign. Fortunately,here in my community, the Jesuits have been very generous in giving me the thumbs-up sign. As an added bonus, they even help me out in designing the food presentation!

Some weeks ago, Frs. Totet Banaynal and Earl Barredo visited our community through the invitation of the incoming House Minister Fr. Guy Guibeleondo. I took the opportunity to prepare something "special" for our guest; in other words, another opportunity for a "food test."

The idea that first came to my mind was a tossed salad with asian dressing. However, while inspecting our cupboard, i found some leftover black wheat noodles. And so the magic question popped up -- "What if I use this in my salad?" It was quite challenging because I don't know how to incorporate it in my salad. Ah, but I remembered one of the episodes of
"The Iron Chef" where Roksaburo Michiba (Iron Chef Japanese) used cold noodles in highlighting his dish. "Well, let's see what will come out, " I told myself.

After 30 minutes or so (for one dish--I'm definitely not qualified for any food fight!) what came out was a cross between a yaki-soba and a tossed salad. Hahaha. I could almost hear a dubbed voice over:

- "Fukui-san!"
- "Yes, go ahead."
- "What our challenger Jhaw is doing right now is creating some kind of deconstructed yaki soba, putting some of his noodles in a bowl of marinade. But wait, he's also doing that to his vegetables... what kind of dish do you think is this Fukui-san?
- "Mmmm, Sounds weird! Shinichiro-san, can you please find out from Jhaw what is he actually doing?"
- "Fukui-san! we asked our challenger Jhaw, and he said he's not also sure what he's doing either!"

For a while, i was tempted to ask our house cook to prepare another set of dish like the usual pancit (stir fried noodles). However, my vow of poverty reminded me that I have to use my resources wisely. And so, I continued with the dish. After adding some more ingredients, I finally came up with more or less presentable dish. The taste wasn't bad either (at least for me).

The salad was served. I waited for the verdict. Well, I was really surprised that our two guests and the rest of the Jesuit community actually liked what I served! The two guests plus Fr. Guy instantly became my panel:

--"Oh this one's good, I can actually taste the wasabi!"
--"Mixing Chinese and Japanese is something different..."
--"I like the noodles...and they're not stir fried..."


After the dinner, I firmly resolved to make the salad again. Here's an attempt to recreate the salad:

I combined shreds of rommaine lettuce, carrots, onion and cucumber. I tossed the veggies in a bowl and drizzled it with dressing which is combination of soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and honey (I used 1 teaspoonful of each). This my black wheat noodles. I cook it as I usually cook a pasta, but i made a little twist here. I cooked it in green tea. The aroma of green tea is great! After around 5-7 minutes, I drained the water and let it cool by putting some ice. Meanwhile, I prepared the marinade for the noodles. I used the same marinade from my vegetables, but I added around two tablespoons of kalamansi juice (philippine lemon), 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, and a little wasabi paste. I tossed the noodles with the marinade. Marinated it for about 5 minutes, then I drained the extra liquid.

I assembled the noodles on a plate. Topped the veggies and added some shredded kani sticks (crab meat). The mango slices are last minute addition. It can work both as a garnish, but I think it will also lend a different character to the salad. ( I'm thinking of how it worked well with california maki).

I don't have a name yet for this recipe. Any suggestions?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Salubong

One of the Easter practices unique to the Philippines and other countries influenced by Spanish conquistadores is the celebration of the salubong. The word salubong refers to the act of meeting someone who is arriving. As the word connotes, the celebration is a reenactment of the first meeting of Christ and his mother, Mary.

This is not written in the Bible, but the Filipinos' natural affinity to their mothers tell them that if there is someone to whom Christ will show himself first after his resurrection, it must be to his mother who loved him so much. This explanation is quite reasonable. St. Ignatius himself seems to have the same logic in his Spiritual Exercises (SpEx) when he higlighted this event by making it first among the contemplations of the Fourth week of the Exercises. He writes, "rising again, he appeared in body and soul to his Blessed Mother" (SpEx [219]). He explained that, "Although this is not stated in Scripture, still it is considered as understood by the statement that he appeared to many others." (SpEx [299]).

Participating therefore in the salubong, is an actual contemplation of the consoling effect of Christ's Resurrection. And it is true, the grace that people get from this celebration is nothing but exuding joy - perhaps sharing the same joy that Mary had experienced when Christ appeared to him. In this celebration, one feels and experiences that Jesus is indeed alive and he is in our midst!

"The celebration starts at dawn just before sunrise, with two different processions that start at different points. The first one consists of the icon of the risen Christ carried by men while the second consist of the Blessed Virgin Mary (covered with a black veil to denote her mourning) carried by women.

Precisely at first light of sunrise, the two processions meet at the church courtyard from different routes. At the center of the courtyard, the icon of Jesus is faced with the icon of Mary under a canopy (Pallo). At this point, the ceremony of the meeting begins with the choir singing alleluias as Mary approaches Jesus. Under the canopy, an angel descends on top of the head of Mary and lifts the black veil from her, exposing a happy mother who is seeing her son.

Uproar of Jubilations is heard from the crowd and confetti fills the air and the choirs would hail the Risen Christ and sing songs of joy. Then the ‘Dawn Mass’ is said to the crowd at the courtyard. At the end of the mass, various activities, like a fiesta begins, to celebrate the victory of our resurrection." (read more...)

If there is one dish that really deserves to be in every Filipino Easter fiesta, it must be the Lumpiang Ubod (Coconut Spring Rolls). The main ingredient is taken from coconut shoots, which lends itself to the easter theme of new life and freshness. The following recipe that I will share here is not original to me, however, be rest assured that I tried to incorporate my own ideas like including buko (young coconut) as one of the main ingredient, and using rice as starch for the spring roll wrapper. The measurements and instructions are still sketchy-- i find some of the steps in making this dish better shown than written.


Lumpiang Ubod w/ Buko

INGREDIENTS
For the filling
2 - 3 tbsp. cooking oil
50 gms. cooked chiken breast
50 gms. cooked shrimps (small size; sliced)
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup julienned young coconut meat
1/2 cup julienned coconut shoots
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

For the wrapper / crepe
3 tbsp rice (soaked in 1/4 cup water overnight and then ground)
1 medium sized egg
1/4 cup of water

PROCEDURE
For the filling:
1. Saute garlic until golden brown.
2. Add in coconut shoots and carrots. Saute for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken and shrimp.
4. Add the chicken stock and simmer for another 3 minutes.
5. The young coconut may be added during the last minute of simmering.
6. Drain extra liquid and transfer to a bowl. Reserve the liquid for the sauce.

For the spring roll wrapper:

1. Combine water and ground rice in a food processor. Blend well.
2. Blend in the egg. You may add a little parsley or celery for color and extra flavor.
3. Put you medium sized non-stick pan on low heat.
3. Put an amount of crepe mixture into medium sized non stick pan just enough to cover the
area.
4. Cook the mixture as you cook an ordinary crepe or pan cake.

For the sauce:
1. Mix 2 -3 tablespoons of flour to 1/4 cup of water.
2. Add in the extra liquid drained from the filling.
3. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
4. You may add some fresh minced garlic and parsley.

Assembly:
1. You may put a leaf of lettuce on top of the crepe.
2. You may also put some ground peanuts with a little sugar on the crepe (this is practiced in my hometown)
3. Put two tablespoons of filling on top of your crepe, assemble it 3 - 4 inches long.
4. Gently but tightly roll the crepe. Using a sushi roller might help yield a good roll. Another way is to put the crepe on top of wax paper, and roll the wax paper as you roll a news paper on your hands.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Case of Strawberry Vinaigrette



With the curious inquiry of Passionate Eater , I decided to run a test of how celery could add a flavor to the vinaigrette. I still have some strawberries I bought fresh from Baguio, so tried my own recipe sans the celery. The result is the same sweet-sour taste with the acidity higlighted by the cane vinegar. The fruity sweetness however seems to be lacking, even with an added amount of honey. I didn't want it to taste "purely strawberry" or else my vinaigrette will be mistaken as a fruitshake. So I've decided to compare it with my original recipe. I took a sample and then I added a stalk of celery to the rest of the mixture.

The celery acted as a good complement for the taste. I've made a taste test with our two lady cooks. Both of them agreed that the "celery powered" vinaigrette tastes better - " the taste is more full and vibrant than the other one," Manang Linda commented.

So here's a picture of a salad I made just today for my community. This is a combination of greens, pine nuts, prunes, straberries and shreds of manchego cheese drizzled with olive oil. I'm just lucky that I've found a strawberry wine in our refrigirator so I've completed an all strawberry theme for this:

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Villa! Villa!

No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! As students from various schools jump with joy to celebrate the end of another gruelling schoolyear, Jesuits in the Philippines also have every reason to drop their books and pencils. Summer is indeed much awaited by Jesuits who are simply in need of a break from their various apostolic ministries. Last March 27 to April 2, Jesuits from all over the Philippines went up the country's summer capital and spent a week of rest and recreation there. It's Villa Time!

As always, the food was great. Each supper offered particular cuisine namely Filipino Barrio Fiesta, Italian, Chinese, American and Japanese. To top it all, cocktails and drinks were served after every dinner specially prepared by our resident Jesuit Philosopher/Theologian/Medical Doctor and Bartender!!!

The festive mood of the house lured the Jesuit Gourmet in me to whip up some salad dressings for the community. Here are three of the easy-to-prepare fruit based salad dressing concoctions that I served during our villa. Try the taste of these three refreshing summer coolers in your salad.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh strawberries; sliced
1/2 cup cane vinegar (or apple cider)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery (medium size)
4 - 5 tbsps honey (or brown sugar)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor/blender. Blend ingredients until pureed. Pour dressing over your favorite greens and enjoy. (picture taken from http://www.christinespies.com)

Mulberry- Balsamic Dressing

1/2 cup mulberries
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 - 5 tbsps honey
3 clove garlic
1 tsp rosemary leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Combine wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and mulberries on a food processor. Blend well until the mulberry and garlic is pureed. In a sauce pan over medium heat, boil the mulberry -balsamic mixture. Add in rosemary leaves. Season witha dash of salt and pepper. Reduce the mixture to half its volume or until a syrupy consistency is attained. Set aside and let it cool down. Add in the olive oil and mix well (or put in a container and shake well). This will be a refreshing dressing for your green salad. This also goes well with focaccia bread as dipping sauce. (picture taken from http://www.ornamentaltree.co.uk)

Mango Pesto

2 pcs ripe mangoes (Philippine variety)
3 - 4 tbsps chopped sweet basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Slice mangoes into half and discard the seed. Scrape off the mango flesh from the peel.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and puree. season with salt and pepper. You may add more olive oil depending on your own preference. Serve as usual. I have not tried this yet, but it seems this salad dressing can also be used as pasta sauce. Combine this with heavy cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Looks like this will go well your fettuccini served with pork or lamb medallion. (Picture taken from http://jadedafrica.dekarabaw.com)

Friday, March 24, 2006

On to a New Mission

Last night, the status or the list of new assignments for Jesuits in the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus was posted in every Jesuit community. One of the entries there says, "J Haw: leaving Xavier School - going to Loyola House of Studies for theological studies."

I must admit that I felt some kind of sadness because few weeks from now, I have to leave the community that has become my home for two years. I have to leave friends who have become very supportive of my vocation as a teacher and as a Jesuit. I have to leave the teaching profession which I have discovered I am so passionate about. I have to leave the students who became my friends. I have to leave a certain kind of stability that I have enjoyed for two years.

"His assignments always have something of the provisional about them; he must remain open to the summons of obedience to another place, to another task. This detachment from stabilitas, from the definition of himself within a single family or extended set of relatives or even a particular church, culture, and place, characterizes a Jesuit. It is constitutive of his obedience, and it is his remaining celibate for the Kingdom of God that makes such obedience for mission possible. If this apostolic availability is not to cripple his affectivity, it is only because his chastity embodies a contemplative love that includes all human beings and makes the Jesuit open and able to find God everywhere. " [GC34 #238]

Despite the sadness, however, there is also a sense of peace and consolation. I might be leaving the place, the profession, the events and the people, but I bring with me a whole gamut of experiences that will help me in my vocation of becoming a Jesuit Priest. There is a sense of peace because the connection with the people I met was all the more strengthened by the fact that I am pursuing this kind of vocation.

oOo

Today, I together with my fellow regent went on a picnic with our co-teachers to celebrate our friendship and to celebrate this "moving on to a new mission". We went on a resort in a semi-rural town in Bulacan and enjoyed each other's company the whole day. We shared stories, played games and enjoyed a Filipino provençal food. I wasn't able to escape their request to cook for the group since they used the magic word for nostalgic appeal to emotion-- "for the last time." But since, we already have so much food that day, I decided to prepare a salad for the group.




Seafood Garden Salad

Ingredients:

for the salad:
Rommaine Lettuce (washed and pat dried)
1/2 cup tuna flakes (in brine; drained)
1/2 cup Pitted Prunes (cut into half)
1 cup diced Ripe Mango
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

for the dressing
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. rosemary leaves
3 cloves garlic (minced)
6 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Arrange the lettuce in a salad bowl.
  2. Top the lettuce with the rest of the salad ingridients (except the cheese) in this order: mango (and/or orange) cubes, tuna flakes, pitted prunes and pine nuts. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Top the salad with parmesan cheese.
  4. Prepare the dressing. On a sauce pan, combine garlic, rosemary with balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce to at least half the volume or until it achieved a syrupy consistency. Put a dash of salt and pepper according to taste. Pour in olive oil after the mixture has cooled down.

Some suggestions:

  1. If you want to serve the salad for a big number of guests. Serve the salad in buffet style with the dressing on the side. This will give your guests a free hand on how much dressing they want to put into their salad. This will also make life easier for you.
  2. Follow the same procedure for individual plating. Decorate plate with the balsamic dressing. You may also want to use shredded parmesan cheese instead of grated one.
  3. Try the following substitutes for your salad.
    - substitute mango with chico(zapodilla) fruit
    - substitute pine nuts with cashew nuts
    - substitute tuna flakes with steamed crawfish meat, shrimp or squid (you may also want to use a combination of different steamed seafoods.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Food is Sacrament Too!

(Hello there! We're back after a two-month long hiatus. We, the Jesuit gourmets, got busy with our individual apostolates so we have to force ourselves to "pause in silence." Since most of contributors here are either students, teachers or involved in student formation, the month of February and March are really months of "testing in the desert" or what some of our students refer to as "hell months" due to the voluminous requirements to finish.)

Sacraments, as any religion teacher would explain, are the visible signs of Christ's presence in his Church. These are acts which are supposed to make the people of God feel and experience the real presence of Jesus in the church. And so we have the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, reconciliation, ordination, marriage,and anointing of the sick.


What's interesting about these seven sacraments is that one of these uses food and meal as main symbols. Yes, the sacrament of the Eucharist, revolves around our basic experience of celebration and making past experiences alive and alive again. It makes use of bread and wine to make Jesus's presence real. In fact, we Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ.

"Of all the possible human activities why are the appearances of the Risen Lord frequently associated with meals? What is in a meal that makes it the experience of the Risen Lord? Food is always associated with life. Therefore, it is no mystery that the Risen Lord who brings new life uses the symbolism of food. Food and the activity of eating are signs of the presence of life in people and in Jesus." (from An Easter People by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle)

One of the things that helps me understand this sacrament is my own experience with my students. Last year, I accompanied them to Subic Bay for their class outing. Aside from being responsible to their parents during the entire outing, they also turned me into an instant chef. One dinner, they asked me if I can prepare pasta for them. I gladly obliged and prepared for them Spaghetti Amatriciana. The gang, finished the pasta in no time at all! Up until now, when we see each other along the corridors, we always go back to that experience and talk about it as if it just happened the day before. It always brings back memories and make them alive in each one of us. As one of my students said, one thing that he will never forget in that vacation is the pasta, haha!

In the Jesuit tradition of haustus, Scholastics and Brothers usually congregate in the pantry area to take some snacks. Here, all the creativity in making a common pantry supply like spanish sardines comes out. From dips to sandwiches to pasta - we've learned to make this ingredient versatile. What comes after is a lively chit-chat about anything under the sun. At the end of the day, when the Jesuit scholastic or brother sits alone in prayer, he gently goes back to that occasion and finds Jesus very much present there.

And so, I guess, food really has a power to bring back and make memories alive. Aside from filling up our hungry stomachs, food is a sacrament too!


Carabao (Water Buffalo) Cheese & Sardines Panini

2 med slices of Foccacia Bread
2 - 3 pieces of spanish sardines (preferrably in olive oil); drained.
carabao cheese or cottage cheese

garlic
romaine lettuce
fresh basil
alfalfa sprouts (if available)

1 tsp olive oil
2-3 tsp reduced balsamic vinegar w/ rosemary

  1. Spray or drizzle olive oil over slices of foccacia bread then grill
  2. After grilling, gently rub a piece of garlic in both sides of the bread. This will give the bread a subtle garlicky aroma and taste (I got this idea from Mario Batali)
  3. Arrange sandwich in this order: Rommaine Lettuce, Slices of Spanish Sardines, Slices of Carabao Cheese, then the alfalfa sprouts. Drizzle a little of reduce balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top.
  4. Serve the sandwhich on a plate. You may put some of the balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture around the plate as an extra sauce and to give your sandwhich that gourmet look.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai!


Xavier School greets you "Gong Xi Fa Cai".

The most common Chinese ways of saying Happy New Year is Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin)
Gong Xi is congratulations or respectfully wishing one joy. Fa Cai is to become rich or to make money. Thus, Gong Xi Fa Cai means wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year.

For our Chinese New Year Celebration, our community opted for a simpler menu. I prepared a steamed fish fillet dish, roasted oriental chicken and mixed chinese greens for our main course. Someone from the neighborhood sent us "Cha Misua" or fried noodles, so that became one extra course. I prepared the soup the way my grandma used to prepare it --a simple chicken broth with winter melon, fishballs and pork tendon. For dessert, we have preserved lychees with almond gelatin.

Here's a very simple dish that can make your Chinese New Year meal a real treat.

Steamed Grouper with Ginger Sauce

1 kg fillet of fish (grouper or any substitute)
100 gms. dried shitake mushrooms; soaked and drained
slices of chinese ham
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
2 - 3 stalks of leeks
ginger; thinly slice
4 tbsp corn oil


  1. Thinly slice the fillet of fish and shitake mushrooms
  2. In a baking dish, arrange slices of fish fillet, shitake mushrooms and chinese ham alternately.
  3. Thinly slice the leeks and put it on top of the fish fillet layer. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Saute the ginger until it becomes golden brown.
  5. Add the soy sauce and sugar. (You may increase or decrease the amount of soy sauce and sugar depending on how much you like your sauce to have that sweet-salty taste). Bring it to a boil then set aside.
  6. Pour the ginger soy sauce over the fish. Cover with foil.
  7. Steam for about 15 minutes.
  8. Serving suggestion: On a plate, arrange a layer of steamed fish fillet, ham and mushrooms. Garnish with thin slices of leeks. Pour ginger sauce around the fish layer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Holy Desserts

A Jesuit I lived with during my studies liked to create special desserts for a particular Jesuit saint's feastday. He used store-bought pastries or cakes and available items in the pantry such as food coloring, toothpicks, birthday candles, and ready-made icing. Below are two samples of his work.


A raspberry pie for the feast of St. Paul Miki and companions, who were martyred in Nagasaki in 1597. Feastday: February 6. Take note of the fake blood and toothpick spear.


A butter cake with chocolate icing reworked to celebrate the 429th death anniversary of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, the patron saint of religious brothers. Feastday: October 30. The figure of St. Alphonsus opening a door is a reminder of his job as porter at the Jesuit college in Majorca, Spain, which he carried out with great dedication and charity for 46 years.

My friend had also created an arm-shaped cake to commemorate the feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries. Feastday: December 3. The cake imitates the relic of Xavier's right hand displayed in the Jesuit Church of the Gesu in Rome. This relic represents the thousands of baptisms administered by Xavier during his ministry across Asia. Unfortunately, my friend used green food coloring for the cake, making my other housemates uneasy about partaking of Xavier's edible arm.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Open House

It is customary for Jesuit Communities to have an open house. Once a week or depending on the house's custom, a Jesuit community usually prepares a special meal and "opens the house" for Jesuits from other communities to have a good time of bonding and fellowship.

This reminds each Jesuit that they are "a communitas ad dispersionem but also a koinonia -- a sharing of goods and life..." and that "each member of every Jesuit community is ever mindful of what St. Ignatius says about love, that it consists in sharing what one has, what one is, with those one loves." (cf GC32 [28])

Personally, i find "open houses" and community meals in general very helpful in sustaining my vocation. This is where I get to know the lighter side of the Jesuits. This is where I find how human the Society of Jesus is. And that is why during our open house (Saturdays), I always try to preapare something special for my fellow Jesuits. It is my little way of saying "thank you" for making the Society of Jesus a compagnia for me.

Here's a simple recipe that I served last Saturday. (I was inspired to create this when passionate eater asked me about using Tilapia as substitute for my lemoned sea bass recipe). Pardon the picture, I'm still a beginner in this area (used a cell phone cam—yaiks).

Tilapia Crisp with Mango-Orange Salsa

3 Large sized Tilapia; filleted
2 cups Corn Flakes; slightly crushed
1-2 eggs; beaten
flour
2 large Philippine Mangoes; cubed
3 - 4 pcs Kalamansi (or Lemon)

1/2 cup Fresh Orange Juice
1 large onion; chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Drizzle with kalamansi or lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Coat the fish with flour. Soak it in egg then roll it in the slightly crushed corn flakes. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a medium frying pan. Fry the fish until golden brown. The corn flakes will give your tilapia fillet an extra crisp. Set aside.
4. Sauté and caramelize onion in olive oil. Add in mango cubes. Pour orange juice and dry white wine then simmer (Cornstrach may be added for a more syrupy consistency)
5. Serving suggestion: On a plate, place fried tilapia on top of steamed or grilled vegetables (asparagus tips or for that familiar Filipino look, try eggplant). Pour in Mango-Orange sauce around the plate. Garnish with fresh tomatoes, poppy seeds and orange zest.

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Quick and Tasty Gourmet, the Jesuit Way

I had lived in a small international Jesuit community when I was in special studies. We all had to take turns to cook dinner. A lot of community bonding happened in our kitchen as we helped rescue one another from various cooking disasters. Because we had books to read, papers to write, and classes to attend, we could not afford to spend more than two hours to prepare and cook a meal. The dishes that became popular in our community were those that were tasty, used readily available ingredients, and took minimal time and effort to prepare and cook. I would like to share two of our favorite dishes.

1-2-3-4 Chicken

1 pound of chicken legs or thighs (skinless)
2 tablespoons vinegar (regular or rice)
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce

Calculate ingredients by estimating half a pound of chicken per serving and multiply the amount of vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce by the number of pounds of chicken required

Bring the last three ingredients to a boil in a sauce pan. Put in the chicken and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook chicken for about 45 minutes until almost done. Turn once during cooking.

When chicken is cooked, turn off heat and keep covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Reheat, serve warm or at room temperature.

If you want you can remove the chicken and thicken sauce a bit with some corn starch.

Serve with lots of rice to soak up the juice.

Baked Salmon

Salmon fillets
packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Mayonnaise

Coat generously top of salmon fillets with mayonnaise
Sprinkle Lipton Onion Soup Mix on top of coated fillets.
Coat a baking dish with olive oil and lay the fillets, coated side up in the dish.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 20 minutes or until salmon can be flaked by a fork.
Serve with some lemon, if desired.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Herbed Rack of Lamb

(continued from A Jesuit Christmas Meal)

1/8 cup fresh oregano ; finely chopped
1/8 cup fresh rosemary; finely chopped
1/8 cup fresh thyme; finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C + 2 T olive oil
6 T Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
2 rack of lamb (about 800 gms per rack; french cut)

1 – 2 cups of dry red wine

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except red wine. Mix well.
  3. Season lamb rack with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until just below smoking. Sear rack of lamb for about 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Remove lamb from skillet and place in an oiled roasting pan. Gently pat the mustard and herb mixture over the top, underside and sides of rack, leaving bones exposed. . Set aside to marinate.
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from the roasting pan and set aside.
  7. Save dripping from the roasting pan and remove excess oil. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine lamb drippings and wine. Simmer until wine is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  8. Serving suggestion:
    Slice rack in between bones. Serve one to two pieces on a plate with portabella risotto. Pour in red win sauce on top of lamb. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

This recipe served 12 community members.