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Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa

Ginataan is a Filipino term that refers to anything cooked with coconut milk (or gata), while Sitaw means string beans and Kalabasa means squash. Ginataang Sitaw and Kalabasa may therefore be translated to "String Beans and Squash cooked in Coconut Milk." It can't get any shorter than that I guess.

Bok requested for this dish and so I checked the recipe from the Internet. Most of the recipes I found in the Internet would suggest to cook the coconut milk or gata first before adding the vegetable ingredients. The reason was that to avoid solid forming of the coconut milk. I thought that can only be true for fresh coconut milk and since I'm using canned coconut milk (which is more dilute) I altered my version into stir frying the squash together with the other ingredients, except for string beans as I don't want to overcook it. After a quick stir fry I then add the coconut milk. I was right, the milk did not make any solid form.

  • 1 small bundle of Sitaw or String Beans, cut into 2-1/2 to 3 inches long
  • 1 small size kalabasa, peeled and cored, cut into 2 inches cubes
  • 200 grams pork belly, sliced into short strips
  • 1 large canned coconut milk (fresh gata is more commonly used)
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 pieces hot green pepper
  • Fish Sauce
  • Vegetable oil

    Cooking Instruction:
    1) Heat oil in a deep pan. Fry pork belly until lightly brown and set aside (be careful in frying as the oil tends to pop out from the pan.)
    2) Saute garlic and onion in the same pan then add back in the fried pork belly.
    3) Add the sliced kalabasa, stir then add fish sauce to taste and cover for 5 minutes.
    4)Add the coconut milk and hot green pepper and let it simmer.
    5)Add the string beans, then simmer for 5 minutes or until the string beans is cooked while stirring occassionally.

    Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
    Serving size: good for 4 persons

    Useful Info:
    1) This dish is best served with steamed rice.
    2) Boil pork belly first so you can slice it easily.
    3) Cover your pan when frying pork belly as the oil tends to pop out from the pan.
    4) Take the pan out from the heat when taking out the fried pork belly, again to avoid oil from popping out from the pan.

    Healthy Option:
    1) Replace pork with fresh shrimps or prepare the dish completely without it.

    This recipe is just delicious, trust me!
  • Beef Ampalaya in Oyster Sauce

    This recipe is a surprise treat for beef fanatics. The bitter taste of ampalaya or bitter gourd and the sweetness of oyster sauce make this dish exciting. Boq and I are ampalaya lovers, whatever way it is cooked (e.g., just boiled whole) we would finish it off.

  • 300g beef strips, fresh and clean
  • ½ kilo ampalaya or bitter gourd that’s about 2 to 3 pieces
  • medium-size, cored and sliced to about half an inch
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6-8 tbsp. oyster sauce (adjust according to your taste)
  • dash of salt
  • vegetable oil

    Cooking Instruction:
    Heat oil in a wok or pot. Sauté garlic until light brown. Follow with onion and cooked until translucent. Stir fry beef strips together with garlic and onion. Add in oyster sauce, stir then cover for 5 minutes. Add ampalaya slices. Stir occassionaly until cooked.

    You may want to add a dash of salt depending on your taste.
    This dish makes 4-5 servings and is a great pair for steamed rice.

    Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes

    Useful Info:
    1) Do not overcook the beef to achieve its tender state.
    2) To reduce the bitterness of ampalaya or bitter gourd, shake it with salt then wash with running water.

    Did you know? Ampalaya has medicinal properties. Aside from its ability to lower blood glucose level, reports show that it can lower fat in our blood and makes us resistant to both viral and bacterial infections. Not only that, amplaya can help us protect from developing cancer as it enhances our immune system. Wow, that’s a lot of medicinal benefits from this modest vegetable.
  • Healthy Option - Sitaw Adobo Recipe

    Adobo is a famous Filipino dish, which can be done with chicken, pork, fish or vegetables.

    Adobong Sitaw is a healthy option for Adobo recipe since the primary ingredient is vegetable. Sitaw is the Tagalog term for string beans. If you prefer to add some meat to it, like bite-size chicken breasts or strips of pork, you may do so, but it's already delicious on its own.

    This dish is super easy and fast to prepare. When cooked, serve this dish with steamed rice and fried fish of your choice.

    Here's the recipe for Adobong Sitaw.

  • 1 bundle of Sitaw (string beans), washed and cut into 3 inches long
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed (or minced)
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • black pepper (powder or coarsely ground)
  • vegetable oil

    Cooking Instructions:
    Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic until light brown, follow with the onion until translucent. Sauté string beans for 2 to 3 minutes. Add soy sauce and mix well before adding vinegar. Let it simmer while stirring occasionally. Add black pepper just before the string beans get cooked.

    Preparation and Cooking Time: 15 minutes
    Serving size: 2-3 persons

    Boq and I like adding a pinch of chili flakes in every Adobo recipe to make it a little spicy. The chili flakes though complements the taste of meat Adobos more than vegetable Adobos.

    Bon Appetit!
  • Food for Inspiration

    For a few days now, I am completely drawn to beautifying this food blog but since I don't have an artist touch, I had to recruit Boq to do the artsy stuff for me. To help him get some ideas I was checking some blogs that I find neat and beautifully designed and forwarding to him the urls. As I do so, I discovered some inspirational blogs: moms blogging about their growing family, the joy of parenthood, lost of an angel, adoption journey and faith in God. I was just after checking out the templates, banners and other crafty items in those blogs. I never thought I would be glued to reading their posts. I got really inspired and would like to mimic their blogging passion. And so I thought, someday, when I and Boq finally receive our gift from God, I would like to document the whole thing like what those moms did for our child to see his or her conception and growing up years. Isn't that an inspiring idea?


    Yummy Chocolate Cake Roll

    I and Boq indulged into something sweet after dinner last night, a yummy chocolate roll cake from Miss J Cafe. I know it's not a healthy treat with the calories that we’re going to take but who cares when a nice rolled slice of cake comes out from a nice little box! You just can't wait to taste it I'm sure. And this one is a choco cake hottie as it tastes creamy, soft, delicious, rich but not overly sweet. It's worth the indulge, we'll just deal with the guilt later.

    Did you know? There are two basic types of cake. The cakes made with fats and the cakes containing little or no fats. Those made with fats are commonly known as butter cakes or creamed cakes as they contain butter, margarine or vegetable shortening, which contribute to the cake's fine texture, tenderness and moist state. While, the cakes that do not almost contain fat are called foam or chiffon cakes. This type of cake has a larger proportion of egg than butter cakes.

    So, the next time you visit a cake or pastry shop, decide which one you should order, with fats or no fats?

    Refreshing Mocha Frescato

    I was half hour early for my business appointment earlier today at Business Central Towers in Jebel Ali, Dubai. The temperature outside was very hot (around 40 deg. celcius!) so I welcomed the situation as an opportunity to have time for refreshment at Costa Coffee in the same building where my meeting was while I was killing time.

    I would’ve liked to drink an iced cold lemon tea at that moment, unfortunately, they only serve hot tea so I ordered mocha frescato instead.

    What's a frescato you might ask? Frescato is an ice blended drink. It's ideal for a cool summer drink which can be fruit or coffee-based.

    I like bittersweet taste so I like my coffee to have enough cream and sugar in it to make it tastes bittersweet. That's why when I go to coffee shops, most often than not I would order mocha drink whether it's cold or hot, although I sometimes crave for hot chocolate especially during winter months. I like mocha because its coffee and cocoa mixed into one.

    What about you? Are you a coffee drinker? Do you like it with cream and sugar or plain black coffee?

    Best Food Quotations

    Just for fun, I thought of sharing some of my favorite quotations about food.

    My Top 5 Food Quotations to live by from famous people:

    1) "The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live." - Confucius

    2) "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside." - Mark Twain

    3) "To get the best results, you must talk to your vegetables." - Prince Charles of Wales

    4) "Never eat more than you can lift." -Miss Piggy

    5) "Well done is quickly done." - Augustus Caesar

    My Top 5 Hilarious Food Quotations:

    1) "HAM AND EGGS - A day's work for a chicken; A lifetime commitment for a pig." - Anonymous

    2) "Vegetarian: an old Indian word for bad hunter." - Author Unknown

    3) "I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded, dead." - Woody Allen

    4) "Soup is just a way of screwing you out of a meal." - Jay Leno

    5) "A refrigerator is a place where you store leftovers until they're old enough to throw out." - Al Boliska

    Burger and Chicken Salad Brunch

    Yesterday was a special day for me and Boq. We planned to eat out for lunch (brunch actually) after hearing Friday Mass. I was craving for burger and fries but a fast food joint wasn’t appropriate for the occasion, so we decided to dine in Fuddruckers at Marina Mall.

    After several minutes of checking out the menu, we ordered two dishes that we thought were worth to try – Specialty Burger with beef bacon and cheddar cheese (I was craving for burger & fries, remember? :) ) and Buffalo Chicken Salad.

    The salad was served first on a black-colored ceramic plate with crispy chicken mixed with cheese, lettuce, snow and violet-colored cabbage, fine strips of carrots, tossed with ranch dressing and topped with franks buffalo sauce. (Wow, I did remember all the ingredients!) I wasn’t sure at the time we were ordering the salad how the buffalo sauce tastes. Maybe I was ignorant but the sauce sounded strange to me, a skeptic that I am about tastes of strange sounding food I managed to oblige to try the salad with Boq's suggestion. It turned out to be a little salty and sour and nothing strange.


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