My Favorite All Purpose Spice Rub

To be precise, this is my NEW favorite all-purpose spice rub…

I used to have a steady supply of a component of my OLD favorite – which I used to make and give away at Christmas time but my friend who supplied me is no longer able to do so… So I do the next best thing – try to replicate it with whatever ingredients is available locally.

To be honest, I do not know if this is as good as my old one. Then again it hardly matters since I don’t have a choice! Hehehe.

My new recipe –

2 tablespoons chopped dried onion (not powdered)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black peppercorns (not powdered)
2 tablespoons chopped dried garlic (not powdered)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized)
1 to 2 tablespoons chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried mustard powder

Place all ingredients in a mortar and pound lightly with the pestle. Don’t pulverize so that the texture remains nice and chunky. Mix the spices well. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of spice for every kilogram of meat, chicken, or fish.

Creamy Anchovy Vinaigrette

Ever since I learned how easy it was to make vinaigrette, I’d been experimenting with all sorts of combinations.

The basic elements of a vinaigrette are (1) the sour, (2) the salty, (3) the oily [olive oil], and at times, (4) the sweet, and/or (5) the creamy [if preferred].  Add spices as desired (seasonings like herbs, or flavor profiles like bacon, etc.)

For this salad – mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, feta and double-cream cheese, I decided to use up the leftover anchovies in the fridge.

In a shaker, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons calamansi juice, about a tablespoon of anchovies, mashed, a large pinch of sugar, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.  Shake, shake, shake then pour over the salad!


Homemade Vanilla Extract

There are many recipes for homemade vanilla extract.  Basically, there are 3 ingredients – vanilla beans, vodka (or brandy, rum, bourbon, as long as it is at least 80 proof), and TIME.

The most important ingredient in the recipe is – TIME.

How I made mine?

I started in 2014.  December.

With 1 liter of vodka and 14 Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans.

I split the beans and scraped the seeds out.  I placed all the seeds and pods into the bottle of vodka, capped the bottle, and then wrapped the bottle in brown paper.  The bottle got named and tagged then into a cool cupboard it went… where it stayed for 3 years.

I opened it today and took a whiff.




Homemade Sinamak

How could I not have thought of it before?

Actually, I did not think of it at all. The idea came from A-te J. After trying out the various kinds of suka (vinegar), and figuring out which I like best, and then deciding to buy Sukang Tuba (native coconut vinegar) and Sinamak (native spiced vinegar) on my next supermarket day, A-te J told me to make my own. And when she told me, I actually smacked my forehead!

After all, how hard would it be to make your own spiced vinegar???

A cursory look at the label made me realize that it was totally doable! After all, if I could make my own vanilla extract, surely I could make sinamak. A-te J, who hails from the southern regions where sinamak is popular, told me that it was as easy as placing ginger, onions, garlic, peppercorns, green and red siling labuyo (or similar) in a bottle and pouring in my suka of choice (tuba, of course!) and waiting a couple of weeks! In her home province, they mix their own all the time (they ferment their own suka, too!). And here’s the best part, A-te J says that when their bottle runs low on the suka, they just top it up with more suka and it’s good to go!

As for the recipe? According to A-te J, just dump in matchstick slices of ginger, garlic, and onions into a glass bottle. Add black peppercorns (I added white peppercorns also) and birds eye chilies (or the local labuyo) with the stalks removed and pour in the suka (vinegar) of your choice (mine is obviously tuba).

(my proportions – Stuff the following spices in a liter bottle – 1/2 cup chopped labuyo (bird eye chilies), 1/8 cup thin ginger strips, 8 smashed cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons cracked black and white peppercorns, 1 small onion, sliced thinly into strips.  Pour in sukang tuba (native coconut vinegar) and give the bottle a shake or two.  Leave it in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks.  The longer the time, the spicier the it gets!

Now all I have to do is wait!