A Tenderfoot's Foodventures

A beginner's adventures in cooking

Thursday, August 18, 2005

LASANG PINOY # 01:
BIKO NA MAY LATIK


Lasang Pinoy is a Filipino food blogging event that aims to feature Filipino dishes in its full glory. It’s the first of its kind in the Filipino Food Blogging Community and so I feel extremely honored to participate in this joyous episode in history (how very dramatic of me… Hehe…).

Stef was actually the one who first introduced me to Lasang Pinoy when she invited me to take part in the said event. I was hesitant at first, partly because I’m a novice cook who has never had any experience joining a food blogging event at the time she asked me to join, and partly because the 1st Lasang Pinoy focuses on the days leading up to EDSA-1, which I didn’t really have any recollection of as I was still very young during that period. However, because the primary goal of Lasang Pinoy is to showcase Filipino foods and culture, the organizers allowed entries to consist of the entrant’s favorite Filipino dish.

Regardless, I still really wanted to stay in line with the theme, so as described in my e-mail below, I decided to focus my entry on foods that rally-ists commonly consume to tide them over the long haul.

In spite of my desire however, my plan of making a coffee and/or pandesal/bread/biscuits entry was eventually shelved due to extraneous circumstances, and I was left to ponder another entry.

Fortunately, last weekend, my Mom was craving for some Biko, and because I thought it would make a perfect entry for Lasang Pinoy, I offered to make some if she would teach me how to do it.

I know you’re probably asking, ‘What makes you think it's a good entry?’ I took the liberty of answering that very question below.

1. Biko is a kind of kakanin that is made out of ingredients that are the primary agricultural produces of the Philippines (i.e. coconut, sugar, and rice)
2. Filipinos have a ‘merienda time’ habit, and Biko is amongst the more common traditional Filipino meriendas, not to mention this is also commonly served at Filipino gatherings and Fiestas.
3. Biko is a foodstuff that is peddled and also sold near wet markets (peddling food is a common practice in the Philippines)
4. Since Biko is a kakanin, it is not too farfetched to assume, as biko is both a common merienda and peddled food, that rallyists probably consumed this food at some time too.
5. The texture of biko, being sticky and tough to mix, is also symbolic of how the Filipino people rallied together and stayed resilient in the face of danger and adversary, to fight for freedom and what they believed in. The color of of Biko symbolizes the Filipinos as a race (beautifully brown in color), and the sweet taste of the dish also reflects the endearing traits of Filipinos (e.g. kindness, hospitality, thoughtfulness).

What I like best about cooking Biko is that it has very few ingredients, not to mention those ingredients can easily be found in the market and is available all year round.
However, while the ingredients are few and in between, making this dish actually takes a lot of time and effort as you have to mix the very sticky rice thoroughly which is tough and in effect, quite tiring. Nevertheless, this should not deter you from preparing this delectable dish.

Being a Bulaceña, my Mom is versed in a lot of merienda/dessert/kakanin dishes. This is one of my Mom’s specialties, and the procedure of making the latik balls that serve as both a garnish and adding extra flavor and bite to this dish, is a knowledge that is rare among those who cook this in their homes.


Biko na may Latik (Rice Cake with Latik Balls)

Ingredients:
Niyog (shredded or grated coconut)
Brown Sugar
Malagkit na Bigas (sticky or glutinous rice)
Water

Procedure:
Extract coconut milk from the niyog. This can be done by soaking the niyog in some warm water then squeezing it to juice out the milk. Some people prefer simmering the grated coconut in water before straining and squeezing it through a katya (cheesecloth), but we prefer to just pour warm water over the niyog and juice it before straining the extracted coconut milk.
Then in a saucepan, pour the coconut milk and let it boil until oil and some solids form (the coconut residue that forms when boiling coconut milk is called latik). Set aside some of the oil and solids to make the latik balls. Add brown sugar into the remaining boiled coconut milk before pouring the cooked glutinous rice in the saucepan. Mix until ingredients are completely incorporated. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then spread on to a bilao/container that has been lined with plastic wrap.

To make the latik balls: In a frying pan, heat the oil and solids obtained from the boiled coconut milk that was set aside earlier over low heat. Once the latik browns, takes shape and forms into little balls, add some brown sugar and mix so the latik balls won’t stick together. Scoop out and spread on top of the Biko.

Tenderfoot's Note:

The oil and solids (coconut residue) that forms when boiling coconut milk is called 'latik', so the biko itself has latik apart from the latik balls used for garnish.

I think I spread the latik balls a little too sporadically than should be... Sorry about that... Evidently, I'm still not much of a cook. ;-) Here's to hoping I get better! :)

LASANG PINOY:
AN OVERTURE

I'm feeling too lazy to type anything else, so I'm just gonna post the email I sent to the Filipino Food Bloggers (sort of) Mailing List that explains everything... Yeah, yeah, so I'm a sloth... What? You haven't figured that out judging from how many times I post in a week? ;)

By the way, if any of you want to join the Mailing List, just e-mail me and I'll forward your email addy to the rest. :)


Hi all! I'm jeyc and I'm new to this mailing list. Anyway, I hope you guys don't mind if I talk as if I already know you all. I'm wacky like that.... Hehe. :)

Anyway, in case you guys don't know yet, my food blog is entitled "A Tenderfoot's Foodventure" located at
http://tenderfood.blogspot.com. The name of my food blog is pretty much a dead give away that i'm a total n00b when it comes to cooking, so I'm hoping to learn a lot from all of you. I can't tell you guys how very happy I am to be a part of this e-mail correspondence. :)

Now that we've disposed of the introductions, let's move on to the replies! :)

Nice to hear that you already have your entry for Lasang Pinoy joey! I'm looking forward to seeing it.

To be quite honest, I was too young to remember anything that happened that time, but I have seen enough plays and documentaries about that day (and rallies on tv as well) to know that coffee, hardboiled eggs and pandesal/bread/biscuits are the common foods that rally-ists would bring along for their consumption throughout the whole duration of the rally. So I thought my entry would be a variation of the foods mentioned above.

I actually posted a new coffee concoction that uses Baguio products as ingredients and served with Baguio Butter Oat cookies, and at one point, I thought of using it as an entry for Lasang Pinoy. It would have been perfect too due to the fact that Baguio is an 'ilocano' speaking province (w/c Marcos is) and there's this big statue of Marcos' Head planted on one of the highways leading to Baguio as well. However, since I also wanted to join SHF and their current theme happens to be coffee, I decided to use it as an entry for that instead. I have another entry in mind anyway, and I'm hoping to be able to cook that before the deadline, unless I would be allowed to use PBJ coffee as a double-entry... May I? Hehe... Either way, I'll still cook the other dish, I just want to know if I can still use the PBJ coffee as another entry so I'll have two! :)

I rambled on for far too long, didn't I? Hehe... My apologies... :)

P.S.
Stef, I'm glad that your mom is okay. Btw, thanks again for the encouragement to join food blog events! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005



'HIGH' ON COFFEE


When I was a kid, I remember other people saying that drinking coffee stunts your growth so I tried to avoid it as often as I could when I was younger. The only time someone could make me ingest coffee was if they dunked pandesal with butter filling in it.

When I got around to college however, Starbucks was becoming the new "in" thing with co-eds at the time, and because I didn't want to be left-out---that and the fact that we had to stay up 'til morning at times just to get a school requirement done---I started drinking coffee (albeit in small gulps) and I slowly but surely got hooked on it.

Now, I can say that I'm a true blue coffee fan. My college friends' favorite hang-out, as a matter of fact, happens to be a place that serves bottomless brewed coffee. With that said, I'm very happy that my first experience in joining a food blog event involves an ingredient that totally enthuses me: coffee.

SHF, short for Sugar High Fridays, is a food blogging event which features dessert creations by food bloggers all over the world that uses a common theme/ingredient each month. I actually first came across SHF through Stef. When I posted in the Pinoy Food Talk Forum that I've always wanted to join IMBB (Is My Blog Burning), another popular food blogging event, she encouraged me to join in the fun and told me of the current theme for SHF. Well I must say it couldn't have come at a better time because my parents went to Baguio last weekend and brought home with them lots of products that is hard to find anywhere else, and I think now is the perfect time to put them to good use.

Well the recipe I came up with is pretty basic. It's a simple drink with an atttempt to add in a few twists. I'm not even sure if it'll qualify since it's only beverage.

This creation was actually inspired by Sentro, one of the more unique Filipino restaurants here in the Philippines. They serve this sago and gulaman drink that makes use of panutsa as sweetener (I actually found out that bit of info thanks to Sallygirl from the Pinoy Food Talk Forum).

Well one of my favorite sweets to munch on happens to be panutsa with whole peanuts (commonly sold at Antipolo and Tagaytay). Baguio's Romana Peanut Brittle is actually a lot similar to panutsa with whole peanuts except that the sweetness and texture is more in tune with regular peanut brittle, so I thought I could use the Peanut Brittle as sweetener for the coffee. I originally wanted to use the Romana Peanut Brittle since I prefered how it tastes over the more common peanut brittle (the more common peanut brittle has small chopped/grinded nuts as opposed to whole nuts as Romana uses). However, by the time I was ready to experiment, the Romana was all gone and I ended up using regular peanut brittle which I think worked out better than expected.

The extra nuttiness from the chopped nuts compliments the liquid much better because it doesn't become too big an obstacle that chokes you or hinders you from drinking a lot of the coffee, but at the same time, it achieves its purpose of creating that extra bite that makes drinking the coffee much more enjoyable. The Chocolate Flakes (kind of similar to the texture of cereal covered with chocolate, also from Baguio) that I liberally sprinkled on top of the coffee gave it an extra kick as well, and the chocolate wafer stick melting into the hot coffee just tops of this successful invention.

I served the coffee with a small plate of Butter Oats (cookies that also came from Baguio).



P.B. & Jeyc's Coffee

Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut brittle*
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 - 2 cups coffee
1 tbsp. non-fat milk (optional)
chocolate flakes
chocolate wafer stick**

Procedure:
In a sauce pan, melt the peanut brittle in water over medium-high heat. Once melted, pour in the coffee immediately.*** Add non-fat milk or creamer if you wish and bring to a simmer. Then turn off the heat, let cool for a few minutes then pour into a mug. Sprinkle a good amount of chocolate flakes on top and put a stick of chocolate wafer in. Serve immediately.



Tenderfoot's Notes:
*There are different kinds and brands of peanut brittle, and it is important that you like the taste of the one you use because it's pretty much how your coffee's sweetness will be.
**I originally wanted to use a cinammon stick, but we didn't have any. Anyway it all worked out. The chocolate wafer stick just made this drink all the more sweet! By the way, when drinking the coffee, you can choose to pull out the wafer stick and munch on it, or you can just leave it to melt in the coffee. It tastes good either way, 'cept that it's not much too look at when you see the soggy stick floating in the coffee. If you're not bothered too much by the appearance however, it tastes really good when melted.
***It is important that there aren't any lumps of sugar before you pour in the coffee, but it's also important that you pour in the coffee immediately once the peanut brittle is melted because the peanut pieces tend to get smaller when you leave it on top of the heat for too long. Also, if you want the coffee less or more sweet just put less or more coffee in.

A BUNDLE OF FRUSTRATION

Argh!!! This has not been a good week for me. I'm buried up to my neck with backlogs from last century and deadlines are zoning in fast. To cap it off, not only is our digicam busted, but I accidentally deleted pics from my phone that I wanted to post here! I had pictures of dishes we made in the past week like pinipyan (pounded rice congee with annatto), fried eggplant, cheese omelet and quesadillas that I lost along with some of the photos I took from the 'Organic' Exhibit at Shangrila mall as well as pictures of various Baguio products that my parents brought home recently. I'm only grateful that the photo of my entry for SHF (Sugar High Fridays) was not obliterated as well.

I'll post my SHF entry here in a while and post the left-over pics of the Baguio products as well as the photos from the Shangrila exhibit thereafter. By thereafter, I mean soon..... I hope!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


THE EXPERIMENTAL CHICKEN


My Aunt and I have been wanting to try a recipe from one of her cookbooks for quite sometime now. Fortunately, the other night, the opportunity to make it presented itself when our cook forgot to prepare extra helpings of food for my siblings who were home that night, so my Aunt and I decided to cook a chicken according to the recipe in her cookbook as an extra dish for us to consume.

The recipe called for anis and sesame oil to be cooked with the chicken. Unfortunately, there wasn't any anis available at any of the nearby stores, so my Aunt did a little dabbling with the ingredients and came up with a more-than-edible recipe.

This dish actually tastes like a cross between a pata tim and adobo. So if any of you are craving for pata tim, I encourage for you to try this recipe, as not only is this a healthier alternative, but it tastes great too!


CHICKEN ALA PATA TIM

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken chopped in adobo pieces (about 1 kilo)
1 cup of water
1 cup of soy sauce
ginger
garlic
white rice wine
sesame oil
sugar

In a saucepan, pour half a cup of water and half a cup of soy sauce with the chicken. Bring to a boil, then add ginger, garlic, sesame oil and white wine. *Simmer chicken until tender, pouring the rest of the water and soy sauce as the liquid dries up. If you want the dish to have a bit more sauce, just put more water. Add sugar according to your taste. Simmer for a few more minutes, then serve.



Tenderfoot's Note:
*Simmer is a cooking term meaning "to cook slowly just below the boiling point where bubbles form at a slower rate and burst before reaching the surface" (c.f. Mix and Match Meals, 1991).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


THE SNACK TURNED BREAKFAST


I seldom eat breakfast, not because I choose not to, but because I often wake up too late to make it to the breakfast table on time. Well, a miracle occurred the other day and I seem to have woken up before everyone else. Since we had some mozzarella in the fridge, I decided to try out a recipe I saw in an episode of Nigella Bites airing on the Lifestyle Network once.


I couldn't find this recipe in her website, so I decided to post the recipe for those who would like to try it.


Mozzarella and Milk Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 slices white loaf bread
mozarella cheese
whole milk
all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt
pepper
olive oil


Procedure:

Remove the bread's crusts, then fill it with the mozzarella cheese leaving a space around the edges to seal the sandwich with. Using your fingers, press the edges of the sandwich together to seal it.

Prepare two bowls to hold the milk and the flour separately. Then in another bowl, beat the egg and add a pinch of salt and pepper to it.

Dip both sides of the sandwich first into the milk, then the flour, then the egg, then fry it in a pan with olive oil. Brown both sides of the sandwich, then take off the heat and drain in paper towels.

Cut sandwich in half and serve hot.