Steamed Fish ala Lucille

Because it is Holy Week…

As well as for BFF, because of the steamed fish discussion we had last Saturday afternoon!

whole white fish, about 500 grams, cleaned*
about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt**
2 tablespoons tausi, rinsed and mashed, OR 4-6 pieces dried black mushrooms, rehydrated, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of sugar, optional
splash of sesame oil***
splash of Shaoxing wine (or cooking rice wine)***
ground white (or black pepper)
1 tablespoon oil
1-inch knob (thumb-sized) ginger, sliced into thin matchstick size

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
ginger strips
1 piece labuyo, cut into largish pieces, optional
handful of wansoy

1 scallion, sliced thinly, diagonally

Rinse the fish and pat dry (use paper towels).  Make 2 to 3 diagonal slits on the body of the fish.  Rub salt on the fish; put a little inside the cavity also (through the opening on the side of the head).

Meanwhile, start the steamer and let the water boil at a gentle simmer.

Combine mashed beans OR diced mushrooms, minced garlic and sugar, if using, and sesame oil, wine pepper and a pinch of salt.  Rub the mixture on both sides of the fish; stuff some in the fish cavity also.

Place some ginger on the steaming plate.  Place the fish on top of the ginger.  Place some ginger on the top side of the fish, as well as in the cavity.

Steam the fish for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce; set aside while waiting for the 8 minutes to finish. Remove any liquid from the plate (drain gently).

Pour sauce over the fish and return to the steamer. Steam another 2 minutes, or until fish is done. Do not over-cook the fish.

Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.


*I like using a fish called Kingfish, basically a red tilapia. But any white fish (lapulapu, tilapia, pompano, etc.) will do. Fish fillets will also work, but steaming time will be a bit less.

**Adjust the salt based on personal taste.

***Adjust the “splash” to personal taste.




Peanut Butter Cookies!!!

It’s laundry day.  Usually I am done in a couple of hours but today is the day we wash the sheets and blankets…

So… 7 hours later…

I am sitting in the kitchen, tired and hot, but feeling fidgety… like I want to do something but in the same breath, too lazy to do anything.

Enter these cookies… the recipe that I made when I was 10 years old.  The recipe that got me hooked on baking and after, cooking…

This recipe:

from The Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook, published in 1975.  The only cookbook in my library that survived Ondoy 9 years ago.  It survived simply because it was such a precious book for me that I kept it in my dresser drawer…

The recipe specifies that the dough is formed by way of a cookie press but I’ve always formed the dough into balls.

This time I decided to make variations… plain soft and chewy, crispy peanut butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate, choco chip peanut butter, and peanut butter kisses…

My favorite?  the plain soft and chewy peanut butter cookies, of course!

I took a bite and it was like I was 10 years old again,  I even managed a little dance of joy.  It was a great comfort, especially with a cup of good coffee… a nice bit of comfort after a long, lazy day.

Homage to Tita Linda

My mother and I don’t have much in common, but one thing we share is our cooking/baking hobby and our love for kitchen gadgets and recipes!

But aside from my mother, there is Tita Linda.  She’s the mom of my college bud T.  From her I learned to make Snickerdoodles, which was my second-favorite cookie after Peanut Butter.  She shared not only recipes but life lessons and practical advice on how to live.  Oh, we all had mother issues but from her I learned that a good mother-daughter relationship is possible.

Sadly, she passed away sometime ago.  We miss her.

Today I pay homage to her, with this Tomato Salsa, the recipe of which (and its secret!) she unselfishly shared with me.

For you Tita!

Flat Bread… and Shrimp Curry!

The little girl likes flat bread.

When she discovered that I had bread dough in the fridge, she (sort of) requested her favorite flat bread.

And I am happy to oblige!  But then I couldn’t leave it at that.  The bread had to have something to slop up.

The perfect dish?  Curry of course!

The flat bread is easy – grab a small piece,flatten it and then cook it in a hot, lightly oiled frying pan… what’s important is to keep the flat bread warm.

As for the shrimp curry, clean and devein 500 grams of shrimp or prawns.  Set aside.  Sauté some ginger and sliced onions.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder mix (I get mine from the local Indian store – they have a really nice chicken and seafood curry blend) and stir fry several seconds.  Add about 1-1/2 or up to 2 cups of coconut milk then add the shrimp.  When the shrimp is done, add sliced red bell peppers (I used a large red one that BFF gave me) and season to taste.  The dish is ok to serve at this point.  But I like to add about 1/2 cup coconut cream just to have extra creaminess.

So yummy!!!


Fried Bread

cheese. homemade bread. deep-fried.

what’s not to love!!!!

oh so yummy!

the bread is the same whey bread yesterday… as for the cheese, it is homemade and was given to hubby as a gift last Christmas (yes I know, it took a while to get through all the food gifts!)

deep frying the bread was a fantastic idea!  the resulting texture is different but yummy all the same!

I wonder what else I can do with the whey bread?


Bread, Again…

I am making bread again.  Yay!  I have some time again, these days…

My favorite bread is my No-Knead Whey Bread.  I usually have whey when I make yogurt and I have time to make yogurt these days too.

This time, though, I decided to skip the sugar and add more olive oil (and lessening some water)

I do love the texture and taste of this bread – the adding of the whey makes the resulting bread mimic a sour dough quality.  As for the texture, it is chewy but no hard.  Just perfect!

Szechuan-style Hot and Sour Soup

My mother made a decent hot and sour soup – and despite my not liking spicy food, it was an exception.  It is unfortunate that I cannot find her recipe, nor can she remember enough to pass it on to me.

The next best thing? experiment and approximate!  But so far that has not worked for me.  Sigh.

What to do then?  Scour the cookbook library!

And, this recipe is good!  (although, as usual and always, I “personalize” the recipe – )

1.5 liters chicken stock
100 grams chicken breast fillet, julienned
8 pieces fresh shitake
handful of fresh shimenji
cloud ears, reconstituted
1 pack (50 grams) enoki mushrooms
2 blocks tofu, drained, cubed

1/2 tablespoon salt
pinch of sugar, optional
1 tablespoon each light and dark soy sauce
3 to 4 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 t0 1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(chopped labuyo)

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

I like to simplify things (read as- I am lazy) so I boil the chicken stock and dump the chicken, mushrooms and tofu.  Season with salt and soy sauces (I skipped the sugar) and the rice vinegar and black pepper (I substituted part of it with chopped chili-labuyo).

Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup, stirring at the same time to break the eggs.  Garnish with wansoy.

(Adjust and modify as you like!)

Honey-Vanilla Yogurt

I wasn’t a fan of yogurt.  I’ve always felt that they were too sweet or too tart…

But I became a convert when I started making my own.  At first I started with plain yogurt, then I began straining it to make Greek-style… then I began experimenting culturing yogurt with fruits in it (as opposed to adding fruits after the yogurt cultured).  Mostly though (assuming I have the time) I make plain, Greek-style.

Lately I have not made yogurt, that is, until the other day.  I was inspired by the Creamiest Vanilla Bean Yogurt by Food52.

I loooooooooove it!!!!

I just love it!

So much so that I am trying an alternative breakfast menu – yogurt on alternate days.  Let’s see where this gets me!

And, to add crunch, I made some granola, stove-top style.  But I prefer my granola to be nutty, not fruity… so I used about 50 grams mixed roasted nuts and sunflower seeds, and just some diced dried apricots just for a bit of sweetness!

Love, love, love it!

(will try using real maple syrup instead of honey next time!)