#1-Asstd Mshrm-Tofu w Tamarind Broth

The bloom-watch (see chart below, a metro Washington, DC term at the start of spring time) was spot on, didn’t disappoint a bit during the past weekend, the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Tourists and locals alike flocked to the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC during the weekend. The bicycles for rent ran out, as well as the free parking spots, paid parking, Metro trains were packed, and according to the Sanitation Division, it was like a July 4th crowd that overcrowded DC.

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Sml-Cherry Blossoms Schedule Bloom-Watch

While there was good weather during the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival in upper 70s, rainstorm along the Eastern seaboard is looming, including April freeze bearing down in the Midwest. This week, having nasty rain or snow storms seems to be a repeat of what happened after the Super Bowl last February. It was a short weather reprieve, some snow flurries in the forecast here in the East Coast this week and then that rainy day feeling sets in again.

Making soups here in the East Coast became a regular part of the menu this 2014 winter, whenever the temps went below freezing. I have been musing if tofu will blend with anything sour easily. Oops, I forgot that the tofu absorbs any flavor you put it into. Necessity is the mother of invention, this Assorted Mushrooms-Tofu in Tamarind Broth is a mash-up of mostly Asian ingredients, and Thai method of cooking the old-fashioned way, using a mortar & pestle, to extract the juice of a vegetable.

                                           #2-Assrtd Mshrms-Tofu w Tamarind Broth

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Note: pkg/package – Tbsp/tablespoon – tsp/teaspoon -grd/ground

2 cups dried shitake mushrooms
1 pint hot water, to soak the mushrooms in
1/2 cup roots of cilantro, shake off dirt, washed & cut into small pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 pkgs sliced baby bella
3 Tbsp cooking oil
3 pints water
2 pkgs Nasoya organic cubed super firm tofu
4 red Thai chilis, cut diagonally
1 bundle of scallions, cut in 1” length
1/2 cup chopped pickled tamarind leaves, (made in Thailand @ big Chinese stores)
2 Tbsps tamarind paste, @ Indian stores
2 tsps Kosher salt
2 tsps grd white pepper
2 pkgs enoki mushrooms
zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 2 limes


  1. Soak shitake mushrooms in hot water for at least 30 minutes in advance.
  2. Pound the cilantro roots, minced garlic and salt together into a paste, set aside.
  3. Sauté baby bella in a skillet on medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until it’s tender to the touch.
  4. Add cilantro roots paste, sauté for 1 minute. Remove from skillet and drain in a paper towel.
  5. In a big pot, pour the shitake mushrooms with soaking water plus 3 pints of water. Let it boil for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients except the juice of limes and cilantro leaves. Allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot sprinkle with cilantro leaves and juice of half a lime for every bowl.
  8. Serves 4.


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Crawling mice in eateries, nothing new to New Yorkers, just don’t be caught red-handed!— http://www.thedailymeal.com/dominique-ansel-bakery-shutdown-heath-department/4414

  Sml-Caught in Their Acts




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#1--Sml Side-Baby Greens w Green Curry  The inspiration of this dish is not eye appealing, Laing (dried taro leaves with coconut milk). It comes from the southern part of the biggest island in the Philippines, Luzon,  called Bicol region where spicy dishes come from, mostly with coconut milk. It is cooked without any frill sautéed in the holy trinity of sautéed onion, ginger and garlic, then the leaves are tenderized in coconut milk with siling labuyo, (once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest chili, looks similar to Thai’s Bird Eye chili) until the coconut milk becomes thick and sticks to the leaves when scoop up.

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To give it medium heat (I cannot eat super spicy food), not as spicy as the inspirational dish, green curry is used together with coconut milk and added shrimps, very firm chopped tofu (from a company that makes organic tofu) to make it eye appealing. This spares us from cutting the tofu that somehow might disintegrate while cutting. Baby greens were used that comes in a package of spinach, bakchoy, kale, green & red chards, introduced by one of our area’s grocery chain in the East Coast last Fall 2013. 

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#2--Sml-Baby Greens w Green Curry

Note: Tbsp/tablespoon – lb/pound – pkgs/packages  -  oz/ounces

Green Curry:
4 green or red Thai Bird chili, remove seeds & stems (add more chilis if super spiciness is desired and don’t remove seeds)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro with stems and pound roots to extract lots of flavor (after water rinse to remove dirt, do a vinegar rinse to eliminate bacteria)
1 Tbsp sliced galangal
1/4 cup finely sliced lemon grass OR zest of 1 lemon (thoroughly washed before zesting)
2 Tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp grd cumin
1 tsp grd tumeric
1 tsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce, chk images on Google)
1 tsp Thai shrimp paste
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cooking oil or water
If most spices are not in your pantry or hard to find vegetables, buy ready-made green curry from Thai or Chinese grocery store. 

Vegetables & other ingredients:

2 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup sliced peeled ginger
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans, 13.5 oz coconut milk
3 Tbsp green curry
2 Tbsp sautéed Bagoong (cooked bottled Filipino shrimp paste)
1 pkg organic firm chopped tofu (Nasoya or any chopped firm tofu you find)
1/2 lb medium shrimps, shelled & deveined
2 pkgs of Spinach & Power Greens (baby spinach, bokchoy, kale & green/red chard)


  1. Make green curry a day ahead—put all ingredients for green curry in a food processor or blender, process until it turns into a smooth paste or add cooking oil or water to ease the process.
  2. Put aside the green curry needed in refrigerator and freeze leftover separately in strong plastic bags.
  3. Pour oil in 12” pan, sauté ginger until it changes color, add onion stir-fry until almost translucent and then add garlic, sauté until it changes color to golden.
  4. Add coconut milk, stir occasionally to avoid scorching in bottom of pan. 
  5. Add Green Curry, sautéed Bagoong and firm tofu as coconut milk thickens a little bit and continue mixing up to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the greens in three batches. Add to mixture as the 1st batch wilts down.
  7. Lastly, add shrimps, mix for about 1 minute or until it turns reddish in color not more than 1-1/2 minutes. It will cook in the residual heat of vegetables.
  8. Turn off heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes and it will be ready to serve.
  9. Serves 6. 



Sherri Shepherd spreading her germs in Clinton Kelly’s stew in today’s The View cook-off among The View vs The Chew co-hosts. She was eating continuously from the pan, evidence she doesn’t know how to handle cooked food, beside doesn’t like cooking due to too much stuff left in the sink.

Sml-Sherri Eating from Pan

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#2-Curried Mussels & Okra

I saw fresh okra at the Korean store, I grabbed two packages at once. I seldom see fresh okra that doesn’t have brown spots on it. More often than not, I end up getting frozen ones. Frozen okra is not good when making curry with coconut milk. It will not give a thick curry sauce. It has to be simmered longer to make the coconut milk sauce thick. I don’t deal with cornstarch in making curries. I like most of my veggies with a little crunch, okra included, therefore, needs shorter cooking time.  Continue reading

#1 Curried Mussels & Okra

I was searching in google how does cactus taste like and I saw most of the comments were compared to okra including the sliminess. If not properly handled it is, therefore, okra should be washed before cutting off the top. I’ve been eating okra since I was a kid in Manila. Its origin is said to be from South Asia, Ethiopia and West Africa. It thrives in a warm climate around the word.

FRAMED Mussels for BLOG

Chosen one of the recipes of the day, March 10, 2014, in Epicurious Community
Table, a food, lifestyle blog of Bon Appetit magazine.

The bigger mussels are preferred almost like the size of oyster from Thailand. They are frozen in a box and in half shells, hence no debearding necessary yet it needs to be scrubbed. The rule that if the mussels that do not open when cooked should be discarded is an old wives tale, scientifically proven by the link of how to debeard mussels. 

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Notes:  lbs/pounds – pcs/pieces – Tbsp/tablespoon – tsp/teaspoon – oz/ounce – grd/ground

2 lbs half mussels, about 30 to 32 pcs
1-1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped ginger, about 2 thumb-sized ginger pcs, sliced in strips, then coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbumb-sized galangal, optional
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp grd coriander
3 birds eye chiles, sliced OR 2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 curry leaves, @ Indian or Korean grocery stores, optional
1 13.5 oz coconut milk
1 lb okra, washed before removing the tops


  1. Scrub and debeard mussel shells, if half shells are not available. Set aside cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in refrigerator.
  2. In big skillet or wok, pour oil and sauté onion on medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add ginger and galangal if available, stir-fry until they get a little darker. Add the garlic, stir-fry until it gets darker.
  4. Turn off heat, add tumeric, garam masala, coriander, chiles or pepper flakes and curry leaves.
  5. Turn back heat to medium, add pour coconut milk and okra. Stir often to avoid the coconut from getting burn and even up the consistency.
  6. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes or until coconut milk is thicker
  7. Add mussels, stir to distribute the heat for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until to desired texture of the mussels but not more than 2 minutes. Overcooked mussels get rubbery.
  8. Serves 4.


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At the MTV Awards look who are back together, muddying the dating waters!!!

  Sml-LJared-Lupita Perfect Mussel


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Jared Leto wonders if Jennifer Lawrence clumsiness is an act. Wondering is he upset he denied dating Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o. Denials from both, yet they were seen in Paris after Oscar festivities staying in same hotel, ooh aah! They looked like a perfect mussel.

Sml-Dating Lupita



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#2 Sml TCIN-Brown Rice-Quinoa

More often than not, when I want a dense soup, my go to soup is Arroz Caldo con Pollo. For fear of hearing complaints I just made it a month ago, I had to be a little creative. Hopefully, this is the last onslaught of combined rain, then ice covered with snow this winter. There were 300 cars & trucks crashes in Northern Virginia (from midnight to March 3) with this kind of winter storm.

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Quinoa in this soup not only gives added calcium, protein and potassium but also a robust, nutty flavor when added to brown rice. I make this almost daily for about 6 months now when I serve rice. Having quinoa, baby bella as regular pantry/refrigerator items among other things like couscous, tomato paste, garlic, red onions, chicken or beef broths, ginger slices in freezer, tofu, lemon, frozen homemade pesto, eggs, I had no problem having a few in the soup I made.

Brown Rice-Quinoa Recipe of D Day

Chosen one of the recipes of the day, March 7, 2014, in Epicurious Community
Table, a food, lifestyle blog of Bon Appetit magazine.

For a side dish, I made Tempura Catfish Belly, a lowly regarded part of catfish, (something I’ve never seen sold in Manila because it was sold as whole fish and then most often stuffed & grilled). Serve as tempura, it is so yummy due to the fatty tissues, then serve with a spicy-garlicky vinaigrette dip.

#1Sml TCIN-Brown Rice-Quinoa

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Note: oz/ounce – tsp/teaspoon – pkg/package

1 8 oz whole or sliced baby bella
3 Tbsp cooking oil
8 cups water
1-1/2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 32 oz beef broth
1 tsp salt
1 pkg baby spinach


  1. Pour oil in same pot where rice will be cooked. Sauté mushrooms until they’re brown and wilted.
  2. Add 4 cups of water into the pot and the rice. Stir occasionally; let it cook for about 20 minutes or until water is almost absorb
  3. Stir the rice, add more water about 2 cups. When rice has absorbed the water, add the quinoa and 2 more cups of water.
  4. After 10 minutes, add the beef broth, salt and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes, then add the spinach.
  5. Stir then turn off heat.
  6. Serves 4.


 WASHINGTON FUNNIES – March 2, 2014 

Unless you’re a British, Australian actress, or multi-talented like Whoopi Goldberg (EGOT awardee, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony), check the list of supporting actress Oscar winners on following link who are still actively working with movies which earned $100M or more in the box office. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Best_Supporting_Actress

Sml-Logo Star Selfie


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TAPA – (Filipino – Thinly Sliced Marinated Beef)


This appetizer’s name, lost in translation from our Spanish heritage, is usually served during breakfast but in the 90s, three breakfast components were combined which are now serve during brunch or lunch, called Tapsilog (tap-Tapa, si/for Sinangag [see-nah-ngahg] AKA Fried Rice with garlic and log/itlog [egg] either Sunny Side Up or as an Omelet) and Tosilog (to/Tocino, a thinly sliced sweet marinated pork belly and the last 2 are si for fried rice and log for egg). There are more variations that may need a few postings.

In Manila, Tapa is usually allowed to dry under the sun which makes the beef tough almost like beef jerky which is not to my liking, so I let it marinate inside the refrigerator overnight for at least 12 hours.

Notes:  lb/pound  -  tsp/teaspoon  -  grd/ground  -  Tbsp/tablespoon

1 lb sirloin or ribeye slices, available in Chinese or Korean grocery stores sliced, due to the popularity of Bulgogi & Pho 
1/2 cup Silver Swan Soy Sauce @ Filipino, Chinese or Korean grocery stores or use any dark soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tsp grd black pepper
1 Tbsp Kalamansi juice or Key West lime juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cooking oil


  1. If buying from a regular grocery store, freeze the beef for easy slicing at least for 2 hours, if your local butcher is not available to do the job.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare and mix the next 5 ingredients while the beef is in the freezer.
  3. After slicing the beef, mix the marinate by massaging the beef to be sure every slice is covered by the marinade, then refrigerate overnight or 12 hours.
  4. Pour oil on pan and pan fry the slices over medium low heat until the pieces carmelizes on the edges for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.
  5. Serves 4.


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Sml#1-Sauteed Rice Vermicelli

Serving noodles on a special occasion is way of life in Manila. When celebrating an occasion to have a longer life span, something pass on by the Chinese to us, specially in the Tagalog region (Metro Manila & suburbs) we serve it, like for this blog’s 1st anniversary. Continue reading

Sml#3-Sauteed Rice Vermi

For a first anniversary good luck, I’m posting a sauteed noodle dish, topped with most Filipino dishes I love—Chicken AdoboTapa (its name lost in translation from our Spanish heritage, thinly sliced marinated sirloin), Pan Fried Garlic, Salt & Pepper Shrimps, and a Taiwanese Salad of Carrots, Napa & Tofu.

Of all the noodle dishes in Manila, a noodle dish called Bihon Guisado is a favorite and easiest to prepare, no sauce. Most noodle dishes in Manila have sauces like most pasta dishes. This, however, is a Chinese style of cooking noodles but topped with fixings.

Lap Xuong On this Sautéed Rice Vermicelli, the ingredient that ties up the whole flavor of the dish is Lap-Xúóng, a dried Cantonese sausage. It is similar to what chorizo from Spain makes, its influences the flavor of the dish.


Note: pcs/pieces – Tbsp/tablespoon – tsp/teaspoon – pkg/package

1 lb large shrimps, peeled & deveined in a skewer
1 Tbsp bottled minced garlic
2 tsps grd black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 pcs chicken adobo thighs (click link for recipe)
1 lb cooked Tapa (click link for recipe)

For Noodles:
4 pcs minced Lap-Xúóng (a Cantonese type sausage), available @ most Asian grocery stores or @ the global web store
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1-1/2 pint hot water, for soaking noodles
1 pkg rice vermicelli
2 Tbsp cooking oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole white onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sesame oil

Salad: do before assembly
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup napa cabbage stems, thinly sliced
2 cups napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup julienned tofu, 1″ length
1/2 cup broccoli florets, shredded with a peeler while still on the stem
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt


For shrimps:
1. Peel & devein shrimps then combine, pepper, salt, 5-spice powder, garlic & parsley seasoning and mix with the shrimps.
2. Let it sit for an hour in the refrigerator, then pan fry for 1 minute.

For Chicken:
1. If possible, do chicken 1 day ahead.
2. Click link for recipe of Chicken Adobo, exclude the mushrooms from the recipe and follow direction of cooking and make slits on thighs to cook faster.
3. Cook for about 25 minutes, turn off heat. Let it cool.

For Noodles:
1. Soak the vermicelli in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain.
2. Cut noodles crosswise, a third of the noodles, then cut the remaining 2/3. Do the same lengthwise.
3. Meanwhile while noodles are soaking, mince Chinese sausage.
4. Pour cooking oil in a 12″ wok or big skillet, sautè the minced sausage for about 1 minute or until it gets darker in color over medium low heat.
5. Turn off heat and set aside.
6. Pour another 2 Tbsp oil in same wok, sautè onion until translucent, add garlic, mix until it changes color to light brown.
7. Transfer noodles into the wok, mix thorougly with garlic mixture.
8. Add water, salt and mix noodles until water disappears. Turn off heat.
9. Add sausage, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix until everything is absorb by the noodles.  

For Salad – do last before assembly, to avoid wilting of napa leaves
1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add shredded tofu and cook 2 minutes.
2. Pour out the tofu in a colander, then drain well by pressing with paper towel and place in a large bowl with shredded carrots and napa cabbage.
3. Add sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt, then mix well. Add shredded broccoli florets, then toss lightly.

1. Place noodles in a center of plate, top with salad.
2. Place the Tapa on top left side of the plate, then the Chicken Adobo pcs on the opposite side and the shrimps on the bottom center. 

Serves 6. 

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#1-Buffalo Chckn Empanada

As one of the appetizers, or should I say the main appetizer, because it represents one of the football cities in New York, Buffalo. I remember a co-worker from Buffalo on a long weekend ages ago, he went out with some friends and ate at the Anchor Bar. He requested for the hottest wings they could make. At 3:00AM next day, he was rushed to the emergency room with burning stomach pain. Continue reading

This one has less fat. It’s baked and easy to eat better than searching for the last morsel of chicken left on a wing. Instead, one can focus on the seconds left on the clock if your team is ahead.

Gadget Used

This is a healthier Buffalo chicken without the skin of the chicken thigh, home-base of the chicken fat, using coconut oil instead of butter and gives more meat. This Buffalo Chicken Mini Empanada is baked not fried, so chow down game folks.

2nd Buffalo Chickn Empanada

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Note: tsp/teaspoons – Tbsp/tablespoon

4 skinless thighs
1-1/2 pint water
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic & parsley seasoning
2 tsp 5-spice powder
1 Tbsp shredded fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Maggi seasoning
1/2 cup Gochujang paste, hot pepper paste available @ Korean grocery stores
1/2 cup water, to dilute the pepper paste
1/4 cup Tabasco or any hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil

2 boxes, puff pastry
2 beaten eggs 


  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
  2. Make slices on the thighs back and front for quicker cooking before pre-cooking.
  3. Put chicken thigh on 3-1/2 qt pot and pour water. Let it boil and turn it off after 15 minutes. Remove the thighs, set aside and let it cool.
  4. Remove the chicken skin from the thighs, if skinless is not available. Cut off the meat from the bone.
  5. Mix red pepper flakes, , garlic & parsley seasoning, 5-spice powder, ginger and salt, Maggie seasoning and Tabasco.
  6. Drain the pot used, place coconut oil, chicken & bones (there’ll be some meat left, I’m sure), the mixed seasoning, and the diluted Gochujang paste. 
  7. Simmer the chicken on medium-low heat for 25 minutes or until sauce is thick.
  8. Let the chicken cool off before assembling the empanadita. 


  1. Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees F.
  2. Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread out the puff pastry on a floured board and cut the dough with empanada press or with a 5″ appetizer plate or bowl (width of the gadget).
  4. Brush inside part of the pasty with beaten egg before filling.
  5. Fill each cut dough with 1-1/2 Tbsp chicken in the upper part of the circle, giving 1/2″ allowance edge for pressing.
  6. To seal, fold lower part of the dough in half, then press the edge with fork tine, if gadget is not use. After folding, make sure there are no open seam on the edge of the dough, otherwise, sauce will pour out during baking time. (see top photo)
  7. Place on a greased cookie sheet or use parchment paper, and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. 
  8. Serves 5-6.

WASHINGTON FUNNIES – February 4, 2014

NOT HOMELESS –  Cancelled flights, airport full with stranded passengers.  

Frequent Traveller



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#1-Big Apple Stffd Brgr

The main finger food I’ll serve for Superbowl 2014 is one of America’s favorite food—the burger. It’s a burger that inherently embodies the various food of New York City is known for, Nathan Hotdogs (they have an annual eating contest of this hotdog) serve in amusement park like Coney Island, football and baseball stadiums, Pastrami, a cold cut serve at the best delis in the city, like Katz Delicatessen and New York’s famous cheesecakes. Continue reading

#2-Big Apple Stffd Brgr This Big Apple Stuffed Burger which uses a gadget (see them at this post, BURGER STUFFED with MAC & CHEESE), is inspired by the iconic food NYC represents in one bite.  It’s a hearty snack to have while watching the Superbowl, for backyard tailgaiting or picnics. No Heidi Klum needed to do a “Mrs. Robinson commercial” to sell this burger, and will score a touchdown rating with the game day folks your partying with. 

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Notes:  grd/ground  -  lbs/pounds  -  tsp/teaspoon  -  pcs/pieces  -  oz/ounces

6 Nathan hotdogs for mixing with the grd beef
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 lbs ground beef sirloin, 80% less fat
2 tsp salt
4 tsp toasted fennel seeds, toast for 3 minutes in a small skillet
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 tsp Grill Mates Mesquite seasoning

6 pcs Nathan hotdog, pan grilled on stove top for 5 minutes on each side to discard extra fat, then cut crosswise into 2

1 cup mayonnaise
8 oz pastrami pkg, 3 pastrami roll per bun      
1 8 oz chive & onion cream cheese spread

Salad Topper:
2 cups sliced iceburg lettuce
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 tsp salt

4 hamburger toasted buns on both sides or 6 if making single burgers
1 cup mayonnaise


  1. Grill hotdogs for 10 minutes, turn around after 5 minutes, to get rid of excess fat, in oven or stove top grill.
  2. Divide 6 hotdogs into 2, crosswise, if doing the stuffed burger, 3 halves per burger.
  3. Chopped the rest of hotdogs to combine with ground beef.
  4. Beat eggs in same bowl where ground beef will be mix.
  5. Combine ground beef and chopped hotdogs into the beaten eggs. Mix well to evenly distribute the hotdogs.
  6. Add salt, fennel seeds and mesquite seasoning, mix.
  7. Place 2/3 cup of grd beef mixture into the bottom of press (see link for burger press).
  8. Press the burger using the top, to make a dent/well for the stuffing.
  9. Add the 3 pcs of hotdog in the center of burger. 
  10. Add 1/3 cup of mixture on top and press to seal.
  11. Grill for 3 minutes on both sides for the stuffed burger on medium-low; for single burger, grill for 1-1/2 minutes on a stove top grill or heavy skillet.
  12. Meanwhile, mixed lettuce, cilantro, red onion and salt, to make the flavor of cilantro blend with the lettuce.
  13. Toast the breads.
  14. Before assembly, place 1-1/2 Tbsp cream cheese spread on top end of pastrami and roll. Make 3 pastrami rolls per bun. Set aside.


  1. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the bun.
  2. Place burger on the bottom bun, top with the pastrami rolls and then the salad.
  3. Serve warm.
  4. Serves 4 if you do the stuffed ones, 6-7 if you do the single.

WASHINGTON FUNNIES – February 4, 2014

NEEDS HELP   –  For Redskins’ sake, give me a break . . .@WashDCFunnies

Orakpo--HELP ME



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Chinese – RED COOKED PORK with CHESTNUTS (for Chinese New Year, January 31)

#1-Red Ckd Pork

I’ve always ordered and enjoyed this dish way back in Manila whenever I visited Chinatown. To me, it’s similar to dining in a Vietnamese restaurant and always ordering something that has to be wrapped in rice paper (I enjoy this playing with food activity while dining), whatever it is, pork, beef or seafood.

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The difference between Manila and Northern Virginia is the accessibility of cooked chestnut in packages. In Manila, chestnuts are only available during Christmastime. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a few vendors roasting them along the sidewalk, but one has to pay a high price during the non-Christmas season. Here in the US, the cooked chestnuts in packages have been available, if I remember right, in the late 90s in all Asian grocery stores.

Red cooking, also known as Chinese stew, is long braising in Chinese cooking that somehow makes the meat turn reddish in color with the mixture of the liquid ingredients.  Longer cooking time is needed, simmering pork in medium-low heat on a stove top, to get the reddish color.

#2-Red Ckd Pork


Note:  Tbsp/tablespoon – tsp/teaspoon – lb/pound  -  pkg/package

1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 pint hot water to soak the mushrooms
6 green onion stalks, sliced
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup thick soy sauce like Silver Swan, available in Chinese & Filipino grocery stores
6 Tbsp Shaoxing or dry sherry wine
1/4 cup peeled, julienned ginger, about 1 inch long
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
2 tsp 5-spice powder
3 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trim off fat, cut into bite sizes
2 pkg chestnuts


  1. Soak shitake mushrooms in hot water.
  2. Combine the green onion, soy sauce, Shaoxing or sherry wine, ginger, sugar, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and star anise in a 6-quart slow cooker or 6 qt pot.
  3. Add pork shoulder into the mixture. Cook overnight in a slow-cooker on low or over a stove top on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Check if additional water is needed after 30 minutes, add the chestnuts and mushrooms.
  5. When pork is tenderized after another 30 minutes, discard the cinnamon sticks and star anise, then add the rice vinegar. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serves 6 and serve with rice or over noodles.



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1# Beef Shnk-Peanut Bttr Soup

Every time I want to make a soup without noodles or pasta, it seems impossible. I grew up in Manila, where most soups have noodles (the Chinese influence), those without noodles were introduced by Spain when they occupied the Philippines for 300 years, like Sopa de Ajo, Sopa de Albondigas, Gazpacho, etc. Without noodles, it seems like diluted stew. Well, it is the altered state. This one adapted from Filipino Kare Kare (oxtail-beef tripe stew with lots of vegetables in peanut butter-toasted rice sauce). Continue reading

Instead of using the fatty oxtail and beef tripe, beef shank offers more meat, and the bone marrow makes a hearty soup stock. It has less fat than oxtail & tripe combined. As an added treat, I have a container of leftover beef tendon in the freezer. I used it for Beef Tendon with Spicy Garlic Sauce (an adaptation from a Taiwanese dish called Suan Bao Niu Jin) I made while watching weekend football, one cold afternoon.

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2# Beef Shnk-Peanut Bttr Soup  


Note:  Tbsp/tablespoon  tsp/teaspoon
4-5 pints of water
3 beef shanks w/ bone marrow
2 cups of diced beef tendon, optional 
2 Japanese eggplant, diced, bite sizes
2 Tbsp cooking oil (for extracting color from annatto seeds) OR
1 cup hot water (have to use disposable gloves when extracting color w/ water)
1 Tbsp annato seeds (used for coloring cheeses like cheddar, Gloucester, American cheese, Velveeta and butter & margarine), annatto seeds are available at Filipino & Chinese groceries or in Latin aisles of regular grocery stores
2 cups broccoli florets & stems, cut into bite size
6 bunches of baby Shanghai bokchoy, sliced, separate stems from leaves (available in big Chinese grocery stores or grocery stores with big vegetable section)
1/2 cup low-fat peanut butter
3 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water


  1. Remove the beef shank from the bone with kitchen sears. Cut into bite size for soup.
  2. After cleaning with salt, transfer shanks in a big pot and pour 2 pints of water to cover shanks. Let boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
  3. Remove beef scum from the liquid mostly on the side of the pot. Add another pint of water to cover beef, and let boil for 30 minutes. Check water level and add more to cover the meat.
  4. After 45 minutes, check tenderness of shanks, add more water if needed, and the bone marrow.
  5. Meanwhile, heat cooking oil over low heat on a small skillet, add annatto seeds and allow the oil to turn into red-orange. Turn off heat.
  6. OR with hot water, pour 1 cup hot water into a small bowl with the annatto seeds, let it sit for about 10 minutes, when the water is cold to touch, wear disposable gloves and rub the seeds with your fingers and the color will come out.
  7. On the last 10 minutes when shanks are tender, add the diced eggplants, check tenderness after 5 minutes.
  8. Pour 1 Tbsp annatto oil (set aside rest for future use), add broccoli and bokchoy stems. After 2 minutes, add peanuts butter and salt, stir gently to allow the peanut butter to melt into the broth faster.
  9. Let it continue to boil, add the bokchoy leaves and cornstarch that has been diluted in water to make the broth a little thicker.
  10. Serves 6.
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