Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deviled Eggs or Eggs Mimosa or Salad Eggs (Rellenong Itlog)

In line with the fast approaching holiday season where parties and gatherings will be regular happenings in most homes, schools, offices, churches, peer groups, etc., I thought of featuring a feast or get-together food which is easy, simple and yet a sure delight and conversation-fare among families, friends, guests and other party attendees – the Deviled Eggs. Also known as eggs mimosa or salad eggs, deviled eggs are hard-boiled eggs cut in half and stuffed with the hard-boiled egg's yolk mixed with various ingredients, seasonings and some spices. They are usually served cold, either as a side dish, an appetizer or even a main meal.

Having originated in ancient Rome, deviled eggs are still popular across Europe until today. They are known as “ceuf mimosa” in France and usually flavored with pepper and parsley. They are also a regular table fare in Hungary where the yolks are mixed with white bread soaked in milk, mustard and parsley. Interestingly, they are called as "Russian eggs" in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany as they are usually filled with caviar and served in remoulade sauce. In Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States they are also called dressed eggs apart from salad eggs. In the Philippines where they have gained wide acceptance as well, they are sometimes referred to as “rellenong itlog”.

I affirmed that the dish is unfussy to make because it does not really involve elaborate preparation and long-time cooking. Basically, cool hard-boiled eggs are peeled, sliced lengthwise and the yolks are removed. The yolks are then mashed and mixed with a wide range of other ingredients such as mayonnaise, mustard or tartar sauce and spices. Other common flavorings are: Worcestershire sauce, diced pickle or pickle relish, chives, ground black pepper, powdered cayenne pepper or chipotle chilies, vinegar, green olives, pimentos, poppy seed, capers, and minced onion, among others. The yolk mixture is then scooped with a spoon or piped with an icing bag and tip into the yolk cavity and dust with paprika for added flavor and garnish.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adobong Atay at Balunbalunan (Chicken Liver and Gizzard Adobo)

Following the lively discussion that ensued after the “iyasi” post in the Facebook page of this blog where “pulutan” or the Philippines’ answer to Spanish “tapa” or the “bocas” of Central America or the “anju” of Korea, has caused some stirs, I decided to prepare another popular “pulutan” cum viand entrĂ©e made from the reliable chicken liver and gizzard called “atay at balunbalunan ng manok” in the Philippines. I’m pretty much sure that you already have an idea what the dish is going to be. Yes, it’s the widely-prepared “adobong atay at balunbalunan”.

The dish is probably the most common Filipino way of cooking the versatile chicken liver and gizzard even beating barbecue. It is quite easy and really simple but extremely tasty. The combined flavors of liver, gizzard and heart (that usually goes with the liver) and their contrasting but complementary textures make the dish exciting. With liver alone it will probably be too overwhelming. With gizzard alone it will be plain and boring. But with the combination of the two, or three with the heart, a distinctly delicious dish with the right amount of flavors and a pronounced appeal is achieved.

In cooking the dish, I joined our group’s “adobo king” himself, my wedding grandson (“inaanak”) Dong of the famed “Pork Adobo a la Dong” post here. Basically following the same procedure in his pork adobo recipe, I helped him cook and document our version of “adobong atay at balunbalunan”. Like “sisig pampanga”, “bopiz”, and “imbaligtad”, this adobo dish is highly regarded as “pulutan” and at the same time widely accepted as “ulam” or viand in a regular Filipino meal. The whole family loves it which goes well with either plain steamed rice or the tastier fried rice.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Iyasi - The La Paz Batchoy of Batangas

Nippy wind starts blowing in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Torrential rains continue pouring hard over the entire island of Sri Lanka and other South Asian nations. Heavy snow started falling in the UK, Germany, Italy and other parts of Europe. We are experiencing a cooler weather all over the world. Truly, the cool and joyful season of Christmas is almost here. It does not only stir excitement to the Christian world but also brings a chilly feeling deep down to the bones. It makes us stay longer in bed and even longer inside the comfort of our homes.

During such cold season, the family will be delighted if served with steaming hot soupy dish like “tinola” or “sinigang” or “nilaga” during meals. In line with this, I thought of preparing another soup dish, rough recipe of which I learned from the mother of my brother-in-law. It is locally called “iyasi” in some parts of Batangas which is basically a type of “bachoy”, utilizing almost the same “bachoy” ingredients, with just a few twists in the preparation like the addition of chopped coriander or “kinchay” and “misua” or long and thin wheat flour noodles in the end.

As a backgrounder, “bachoy” is the term used to refer to the combination of pork meat composed of some tenderloin (“lomo”) and entrails like spleen (“lapay”), kidney (“bato”), heart (“puso”) and liver (“atay”). It is also the name of a traditional soup cooked using the collective meat ingredients and flavored with lots of ginger and topped with chili tops. If noodles are added and the noodle dish is topped with ground pork crackling or “chicharon”, it is called “la paz bachoy”. Since “iyasi” have “misua” noodles, it can be considered the “la paz batchoy” of Batangas (Philippines); the reason for my post title above.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicken Adobo cum Paksiw (Chicken Braised in Vinegar & Sugar)

The adobo fever is still on! Using the same technique employed in preparing the well received “adobong puti”; I decided to try its version using chicken. As we all know, next to pork, chicken is probably the closest contender for the throne of best-ever adobo. In fact, the combination of the two is extremely popular on its own. While this variant is not really new to me as I have been served before with a wonderful chicken adobo that is simply braised in vinegar and salt and cooked in its own juice (alone) until fork tender; that is, without the addition of water. So, we are speaking of a type of adobo with no soy sauce and not aided with any liquid, water or broth, while it tenderize.

With such a limiting requirement you can imagine that this is only good for easy to tenderize meat, hence the use of the chicken. With its relatively tender meat which requires shorter period of cooking, we can be sure to have a fully done dish even by just braising. In addition to “adobong manok sa dilaw”, this is another alternative to uniquely enjoy the tasty chicken in the form of the well-loved Filipino adobo. Call it daring or peculiar but this simply titillates my palates and therefore will be a regular fare in my diet.

You probably noticed that I included the words “cum Paksiw” in the title. Like “adobong puti” this chicken adobo uses almost the same ingredients as the “paksiw na pata” and therefore the resulting dish is expected to have a very strong resemblance with one another, in taste and in depth. Although as I said before, the obvious difference is that the dish is intended to be cooked until somewhat dry or “iga” and served coated with a rather oily residual liquid instead of a rich and thick sauce. Having said that, I believe “chicken adobo cum paksiw” is such a fitting name to this dish.


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