Filipino & Japanese Join Forces; Philippine Eggplant, Manila Mango & Soba Noodles

Philippine Eggplant, Manila Mango & Japanese Soba Noodles

Philippine Eggplant, Manila Mango & Japanese Soba Noodles

By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins

Did any of you watch “the Great Raid”?  OMG, its so good. Lots of folks slept on this flick, but if you want to watch a great movie with Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, a nostalgic depiction of the city of Manila and Filipinos kicking ass in World War II, peep it. The Americans and Filipinos don’t mesh well with the Japanese in the film, but hopefully we’ve moved on. In this recipe, we have. In fact, we’ve  joined food forces. What better way to get all kumbaya than with eats?  Fruity, creamy, Manila mangoes and musky grilled Philippine eggplant are mixed with Japanese Soba Noodles and gently tossed in sweet and spicy vinegar. The dish is colorful and harmonious. The final touches of fresh and fragrant bright green cilantro and parsley are EVERYTHING. It is balanced and beautiful, like life should be.  MAKE FOOD, NOT WAR.

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Short & Sweet; Banana Coconut Cake

Whole Banana Coconut Cake

Banana Coconut Cake

Lemonade, the cafe/lunch counter, is one of my favorite spots. They make salad look so darn good. I’m pretty proud of myself and my choices up until I hit the register. That’s where they get me. Those refrigerated glass boxes are strategically placed and packed with sweets and treats aka my kryptonite. Macarons, cupcakes and blondies fill the shelves, but my favorite is spinning in the well lit display case. It’s the layered banana cake. The bananas taste fresh. The cake is always moist and the frosting is slightly tart creamy cheesy goodness. I order it almost every time. I’m so in love with this slice of heaven that I decided to make my own version, tricked out of course.

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Slangin’ Siopao in Silverlake; Boss Andrea De Guzman

 

With Boss Andrea De Guzman

WIth Boss Andrea De Guzman

By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins

United Bread & Pastry  has been anchored in the same spot off of Sunset for over 27 years, and although the De Guzman Family has watched their Silverlake neighborhood go through changes, their traditional Filipino baked goods remain old skool. I had a chance to chat with Andrea De Guzman aka Tita. She dropped knowledge, including her  unique approach to marketing,  how the fear of getting busted was a good thing and why bigger is not always better.

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Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Calamansi Drizzle

Sweetened Condensed Milk   Pound Cake

Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pound Cake

By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins

Man oh man, there’s nothing quite like sweetened condensed milk.  Sweetened Condensed Milk is a special blend of milk and sugar that has been dissolved using a vacuum process.  I just love it If I didn’t feel so damn guilty about possibly causing myself some form of diabetes, I’d probably drink a whole can every day. No, seriously, I would, but since I choose not to onset an illness, I’ve come up with a moderate way to get my liquid crack. It comes in slice form, a slice of a pound cake that is! LOL. Y’all thought I was going to get all low cal, low fat on you. Nope,  just an alternative version with smaller portions, ya’ heard.  Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Calamansi, yes Calamansi,  Drizzle.

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TOCINOLIO; Filipino Spaghetti

Pasta & Tocinio Unite

Pasta & Tocino Unite

by Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins 

I love Ina Garten. She makes food look so simple and delicious. Recently, I caught the “chef” episode. She goes around asking chefs what they cook for themselves at home. There were several tasty dishes, but the one that stood out was the pasta olio, simply put, pasta with olive oil. With the exception of the Parmesan, I had all of the ingredients in my pantry. I decided to give the recipe a twist and a try. I added that Filipina flavor, TOCINO! So for my version, Pasta Tocinolio, I added chopped tocino and sprinkles of fresh lemon juice. The annatto marinated pork adds a light and smoky sweetness to the spaghetti entrée.  The lemon gives the entire dish that fresh sour punch.  It’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

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Don’t Stay SUKA Free; Filipino Vinegar

 

Kinilaw, Filipino Ceviche

Ceviche

by Haydee Vicedo

Suka (pronounced soo-ka)  may sound like a figure skating move Michelle Kwan’s about to attempt successfully – “and Kwan landed that triple suka beautifully…”; but it actually means Filipino vinegar. Yes, Michelle landed those triple salchows like nobody’s business, but she was definitely not  aiming for vinegar. Suka, along with patis (fish sauce), toyo (soy sauce) and bagoong (fermented fish/shrimp), is one of the main staples of the Filipino pantry. If you’re making Filipino food, you have suka somewhere in your kitchen. And if you have suka in the kitchen, you probably have at least one or two of the many varieties out there. Some are named after their place of birth –  Sukang Iloko is from a region in the Philippines called, you guessed it, Ilocos, a la New York cheesecake. Others, meanwhile, get their moniker from the plant/tree they originate from. Sukang Tuba, for instance, comes from coconut sap, while sukang nipa (also known as sukang paombong) derives from the nipa palm. The latter is probably the vinegar most widely used in Filipino cuisine. And because you asked so politely (you didn’t know it but you did), we’re going to name just a few of the many delectable dishes in which suka’s presence reigns supreme.

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Oodles of Noodles: Celebrate Chinese New Year with Pancit

 

pancit canton filipino noodles

Pancit Canton, Chinese-Filipino Noodles

By Haydee Vicedo

Chinese New Year is just a few days away and there isn’t a more delicious and appropriate dish to serve and eat than pancit.  Filipino cuisine is a combination of many influences, with one of the biggest coming from the most populated country in the world, China. Quick history lesson for those who don’t know, the Chinese entered the Philippines for trade purposes in the 1600′s, bringing with them noodles. Oodles and oodles of noodles. Since Filipinos are such creative folks, we made about eight million (give or take a few million) versions of pancit. It has since become one of the most well-known Filipino dishes in the world, right next to adobo and lumpia. Noodles (or pancit) symbolize “long life” for many folks in the Philippines, thus many households serve a batch during special occasions, including birthdays, (Gregorian calendar) New Year and, of course, Chinese New Year.

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Filipino Pantry Staples; Banana Ketchup

 

Fried Chicken & Banana Ketchup

Fried Chicken & Banana Ketchup

 

by Allan Roman Reyes

I don’t claim to be a  “ketchup aficionado or even think there’s such a title out there, but an early dinner at Max’sRestaurant got  my mind going about a new career, “Condiment Sommelier”.   OK, it wasn’t THAT dramatic, but the flavor of their “banana ketchup” was so memorable that I went a little bananas(get it?). Banana ketchup was created and formulated in the Philippines during World War II because of a tomato shortage. Ingredients consisted of local mashed banana, cane sugar, and native vinegar with “colorants” added to emulate the red pigment of traditional catsup.

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Game Day Goodness; Perfectly Pickled Awesome Okra

Who Says Filipino Food Aint Pretty!

Pickled Okra with Red Onions & Yellow Peppers

 

By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins 

Although many of us hate to admit it, deep frying is one of our favorite ways to get down in the kitchen. For some, it’s the only way.  So it wasn’t a surprise when Chef Sheldon brought it for the “Everybody Loves Fried Chicken Challenge” on last week’s episode of Top Chef Seattle Not only did he serenade his bff with his awesome ukulele, Sir Simeon threw down serious eats with his rendition of a Momofuku recipe. Lucky Peach founder David Chang was in the house, which made this move mad ballsy. Ginger Josh shook things up with his secret spice blend in a brown paper bag. Both cooks gave it their best efforts and dos dishes sounded delicious, but the homie with the handle bar stache  took the top spot. Congrats.

So, in honor of the lard lovers, Super Bowl watchers and Beyonce believers, I’ve come up with two versions of one slightly sweet, super sour, tasty-tangy side dish for that  game day fried chicken, Pickled Okra with Red Onion and Yellow Peppers. They’re the perfect addition that cuts through the “richness” and just compliments the goodness.

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Vanilla Champurrado; Rice Porridge with Soft Bananas and Salted Chopped Almonds

Filipino Rice Porridge

Vanilla Champurrado

By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins 

JAYSUS! It’s FRESSING! I know folks in other parts of the country are laughing at this statement, but HELLO, I’m a spoiled So Cal lady. I’m not used the temps going below 65 degrees. Because of this unseasonably, yet seasonably cold weather, I decided to make something to warm me from the inside out, champurrado.  Champurrado, the Filipino version, is chocolate rice porridge. It’s usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack. When eaten in the Philippines, Tuyo, salted dried fish, is the preferred condiment. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten it this way, but I can understand why some people do.  The combination of chocolate, sugar, rice and milk with dashes of sodium makes sense. I’ve developed two alternative versions of this popular AM food.

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