Tag Archives: breakfast

Bistec Tagalog

I always looked forward to visiting my lolas (grandmother) on Sundays. My lola and her sisters lived in Lipa, and we would visit them almost every weekend.  They would always have treats waiting for us when we came.

My favorites were:  Sundot Saging (skewered bananas fried in brown sugar), Pilipit (steamed ground sweet sticky rice, fried and then dipped in caramelized sugar), and Pastillas (sweet pastilles made with cow’s milk and rolled in white sugar).

Although I loved the sweet treats, I enjoyed the special savory dishes more.

For Sunday breakfast, Tita Nena would cook Bistec and serve it with pandesal (bread roll) or fried rice rice and sunny side up.

My lola’s Bistec is topped with raw Vidalia onion rings.  I love onions, but I don’t like them raw.  So, I tweaked the recipe and cooked the onions.

This is one of the few dishes that my children  don’t mind eating with brown rice.

Bistec Tagalog

1 pound of thinly sliced sukiyaki beef

1-2 onions cut into rings

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 lemon

pepper to taste

olive oil

Cook garlic with olive oil until golden brown.  Set aside.  In the same pan, add olive oil and caramelize the onions  (around 4-5 minutes).  Set aside.  Still using the same pan, add a little more olive oil, and cook the beef.  Sear the beef in batches to ensure that pan is always hot.  Once all the beef slices are cooked, put the garlic and caramelized onions back in the pan.  Add soy, water, sugar, pepper, and lemon.  Let simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve with rice.

     

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Breakfast

School started for all of us this week.  If you are running a household without any additional help (aka a maid), then chances are you are in the same boat as I am.  You too wake up a bit earlier than you want to, so you can prepare a healthy breakfast, and pack snack and lunch for the kids.

I have several favorite breakfast fares.  The food becomes my favorite if:  it is easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time, and has grains and protein.

(Sidenote:  My daughter was asked in preschool to sort the food in the play kitchen.  She sorted the plastic food according to grains, protein, milk and milk products, fruits, and vegetables. Teacher was impressed.)

 

Frittata is one of my favorites.  I can throw in any vegetable that I have in the fridge.  It takes 7 minutes from the time I crack the first egg, until I put the hot pan on the table.  Pretty good, I think.

Spinach Frittata

5 large eggs

2-3 cups fresh spinach

½ cup milk

2 Tbsp water

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup-1 cup cheese to sprinkle

olive oil spray

Heat oil in a large ovenproof pan over medium heat.  Wilt the spinach in the pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Add milk, water and pepper.  Pour over the wilted spinach and wait until the eggs set, around 3 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.  Sprinkle the top of the frittata with cheese (cheddar or parmesan) and put under the broiler.  Cook until the top is golden brown, usually 2 minutes.  The frittata will look fluffy. Be careful not to overcook the eggs.  Cut into 8 slices and serve with toasted baguette.

On Cooking: I Can Do That!

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For a couple of weeks last December, I had to take an unplanned trip to Manila.  My children were still in school, so I went by myself. Thanks to Apple’s Face Time, I was always in the loop.

The first night I was away, I got a detailed account of the children’s first morning without me:  At 6AM, a full hour before they usually wake up, they went to the kitchen and started cooking scrambled eggs.  My 7-year old was already plating his dish when my husband discovered what he was doing.  I was told that my daughter, 5, had her bowl of beaten eggs, and was waiting patiently for her turn to use the frying pan.  I heard that they were both beaming with pride!

After I calmed down from the initial shock of the children firing up the stove (it was electric), I thought about how thrilled they must have been of accomplishing a task without an adult. They were hungry, they wanted eggs, and so they cooked eggs. The excitement in their voices, when they told me about their accomplishment, told me that they were just as proud of themselves as I was of them.

They made a statement: They are independent.

I quickly thought about why they would think that they would be successful in cooking– they are comfortable working in the kitchen, and they know the safety rules.  I think that they attempted to cook on their own because they know they can.

Encouragement and support do play a huge role in fostering independence.  They are my proof!

Their cooking repertoire has expanded to include French Toast, and a bit more since then.  On weekends now, my two children take turns making breakfast.  My son would alternate between French Toast and Champorado (see earlier post for recipe) and my daughter would make pancake.

As long as the enthusiasm to cook is there, I will keep on encouraging them.  I would hate for this to turn into a ningas cogon (aka an interest that starts with great intensity, but fades quickly).  Sadly, a trait that Filipinos are known to possess.

French Toast

8 slices of any dense bread (challah or brioche works best)

1 cup milk

½ cup condensed milk

3 eggs

pinch of cinnamon(optional)

butter or cooking spray

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except of the bread. Dip each slice of bread long enough to absorb the custard, but not too long that the bread becomes soggy.  Put on a well-buttered pan and cook on medium heat until golden brown.  Flip to cook the other side.

Serve warm with topping of cottage cheese, fresh fruits, and maple syrup.

Cooking with Chocolate

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Everyone who knows my family well knows that my son’s favorite breakfast is champorado.  It is made with sweet sticky rice, water, and chocolate.  Everything is boiled together until porridge consistency.  Depending on the kind of chocolate used, sugar can be omitted or added.

I can’t remember when I first cooked it for my son, but I am sure he had it even before I allowed him to eat sweets.  I would let him eat as many bowls of champorado as he wants, and yet I would not allow him to eat a single chocolate bar.  It does not make sense, I know.  I was convinced then, that by allowing him to eat champorado, I was helping him create a memory of enjoying a Filipino dish that would last him a lifetime.

If we were in Manila, we would eat champorado with crispy dried fish–tuyo, danggit, or sap-sap (my favorite).  The contrast of the saltiness of the fish compliments the sweetness of the chocolate meal.  Although I could find a variety of dried fish in the local oriental store, I have yet to try one processed in California.  Instead, I use another complimentary side dish–Bacon!   I broil applewood smoked bacon to a crisp.  It offers that same balance in taste as the salty fish (obviously, with more cholesterol).

I have used Antonio Pueo’s tablea and Bohol Bee Farm tablea.  Good friends who know that champorado is a favorite of ours have brought tablea from Palawan and Davao as pasalubong (thanks, Raquel).  But if in a bind, I use plain and simple chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Hershey’s, Trader Joe’s).  They work just as well.

Champorado

1 cup sweet sticky rice

4-5 cups of water

2-3 pcs of tablea or 6 oz of chocolate chips (dark or regular)

In a pot, bring everything to a boil.  Stir regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Once rice is cooked (approximately 20 minutes), turn off heat.  Because of the glutinous rice, the mixture will become very thick (malapot) after it cools.  Mixing a little bit of milk will help with the sticky consistency. Condensed milk is perfect to be used if tablea is the chocolate preference.  Otherwise, use regular or non-fat milk.

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