Cousin Emma’s Sinanta Recipe!!!!

Kain Na Po

I was just back in the hottest, most humid part of the Philippines about a month ago.  It gets so hot there in the valleys of Cagayan, you could cook an egg on the asphalt!   Anyway, while in the place of my youth, we enjoyed the usual Tuguegarao specialties.   Longganisa, the varieties  of pansit,(will post about this soon, thanks to my godbrother, Erick Padilla) zinagan and of course, SINANTA!   Some of you might remember  I posted photos of many dishes we consumed, oy so masarap po!(So very yummy!)  Anyway, I did not have the recipes for most at that time.  Well, I have finally  received a couple of them  so here is the first of many that I will be sharing.   With some luck, I shall be trying them as well, and will report the outcomes. If you get to try them soon, please feel free…

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I am re-blogging this post to honor the man who helped make our days of youth so memorable in our hometown of Tuguegarao.   Students from Cagayan Teachers College, Cagayan High School, St Paul and St Louis  remember  beloved Manong Berong so well.  His  happy go lucky nature and ability to speak English   are  long lasting impressions  shared by many.   Last year, Ading Bong searched for him and thankfully, located Manong Berong. They had such a wonderful visit punctuated with so much laughter.    Manong Berong remembered so many of his pasaheros, it was mind bloggling.   Just recently, dear friends Manang Eileen, Manang Nene and Ading Bong saw Manong Berong at his home. They reminisced details of conversations that Manong Berong was made privy to because of hours upon hours of joy riding!   The photos we saw, spoke of great laughter and then tears.  Manong Berong is now a carpenter as he  had to sell his horse and kalesa years ago.  The trade has not been kind to our kutseros with the streets now filled with tricycles.   Life has not been easy.  He was so touched that many of his pasaheros remember him fondly.   I will be seeing Manong Berong when I visit Tuguegarao in the very near future.


Kain Na Po

Scorching Tuguegarao is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains , the Cordilleras and the Caraballo Mountains. It grew on the banks of the Cagayan River and the Pinacanauan River, near the southern border of the province of Cagayan…I lived in this once quiet town where I have great memories of the kalesa being the primary means of transportation. Idyllic times, eating adobong mani(local peanuts cooked with lots of garlic), the most sour native green mangoes and joy rides for P1.00 for an hour. Manong Berong put up with 8 girls giggling for a whole hour as we blissfully tested the poor horse’s stamina. That was 38 years ago. Where did time go? I am struck at how it truly has flown by. Tonight, we celebrated my Papa’s 80th bday. Tonight, I laughed and cried…and managed to eat morsels. I know I owe this food blog some photos. So soon after…

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Kain Na Po

Testing..1)Dollop of choc and white choc chip 2) Dusted with hazelnut coffee creamer 3) hazelnut chocolate caterpillar

Shishkabob!  January sure came and went, just like that!!  Wasn’t it just the holidays?  It is so true the old adage, time flies….and I think I was having a whole lot of fun but I also had to tend to some not so pleasant task, like finally taking a derelict former tenant to court.  So here we are, February lst and really feeling these months are going to roll.   I have to keep to my new year’s resolution.  Going to the gym, and that we did with regularity in January.  Now, February heralds the month where I measure my food intake.  Nope, I won’t deprive myself of good eats but certainly, in honest to goodness moderation.  I have exactly 8 months till the first wedding in our nuclear family!  My 26 year old son si getting married to his beloved and they have been together a decade!! I must…

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Summer is revving.  Our youngest has activities she is lining up left, right and center. On her to do list includes going on her  2nd driving lesson (by a pro)tomorrow and they are going on the freeway!  For a few months, we managed to get her to practice on surface streets and now, she is ready for the fast lane.  Prayers, please.   What’s a  nervous mother to do? Cook! And then cook some more!

So the caveman brought home three packs of organic chicken breasts.  I could have easily made adobo or chicken fried rice  but those  just seemed so unappealing.  So I rummaged through our fridge and put on our kitchen counter what could make chicken less  boring!  Suddenly I am reminded of someone who quipped, “death before chicken!”.  One’s serious aversion to manok gave me a chuckle.  I must endeavor to make this chicken absolutely to die for in contrast!  Sana po….

So here are the ingredients I used:

6 chicken breasts

1/3 c bread crumbs(I seasoned this by adding oregano, a little parmesan, a little basil, garlic and onion powder)

1/3 c Parmesan (more if you like)

1 egg

Spinach (about a cup) I cut this up in strips

Half of a bell pepper(this one was red)

Half an onion, cubed

Turkey Bacon!!!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Garlic was in my pantry (used about 7 cloves, minced)


Fresh tomatoes (one large one or two medium ones), cubed

About a 3rd of an onion, cubed

A couple of minced garlic cloves

1/3 Caesar Salad Dressing(creamy variety is best!)

Basil, fresh is best but the jarred variety will do too…

Here’s what I did….

First, I turned on the oven and preheated to 425 degrees…

Then, I rinsed off the chicken breast, made a slit to create a pocket on each…And then I turn on the stove and heated

some evoo.  I threw in the onions and just before it turned translucent, I added garlic and the red bell pepper, careful

not too cook too much.  I put these in a bowl to cool off.  I was a bit impatient so I actually put the bowl in the freezer.

Now, I combined the bread crumbs, parmesan, a little garlic powder, a little onion powder, oregano and basil,

add salt and pepper to taste… I  scrambled the egg and blended all these to a gooey paste.  Then I poured the cooled

vegies I sauteed earlier, mixed  those in.  And then, I stuffed those in the pockets of the chicken breast.  I brushed a little

butter on the   chicken breast and then took a strip of turkey bacon, and wrapped those around the chicken breast, hence the

bra.  :)   And then  I lined the pan with nonstick spray…

Since I have never made this before, I posted the question on FB and sought advise from my kithen magician pals… Pitpat

advised me to turn up the initial baking to 425 degrees  for the lst 15 minutes to get the bacon crispy. So  I did, and

dropped the heat to 350  for the remaining 25 minutes.  Depending upon the size of your chicken breast, a or b  cup,  it could

take a tad longer, ha!    I used a convection oven so it got done within 4o minutes. Conventional ovens  could take up to 55

minutes.  Just check it carefully, there is nothing worst than a tough meal even with a pretty bra, it will turn ugly.

While I was waiting for the chicken to bake, I decided to make a sauce for the dish…So here’s how it went….I simply

sauteed the onions, added the tomatoes, basil and garlic, let those cook to a saucy consistency…And just before

pouring over the chicken, add the Caesar dressing.  It was such a delightful surprise!!!   You can also add more

parmesan on top if you like. I didn’t, trying to keep it not so rich…. And the  empty plates spoke volumes.  Phew!

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Today, is Memorial Day  here in the United States…and the 3 day weekend is coming to a close….

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May.[1] Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.. ”  Source:  Wikipedia

And summer truly is here for us…and that also means the BBQ’s are getting fired up, and for us  the turkey patties have been seasoned and formed by the caveman.   My dear friend from my hometown of Tuguegarao,  Ading Malou has a winning food blog called Skip to Malou.   She puts out some pretty amazing dishes spun from old recipes kept in her family for years while putting in her own twist.   We both live in America now so other ingredients have resulted in some pretty unique outcomes, and I must say hers are pretty darn impressive.  For this Memorial Day weekend,    Ading Malou posted her creamy potato salad recipe and got me salivating for it. Her winning recipe was featured on Foodbuzz!!!  Check it out!!  http://www.foodbuzz.com/blogs/5628313-well-hello-summer-creamy-potato-salad  So,  I quickly took note of the ingredients and instructions on Malou’s blog. My caveman’s famous turkey burgers will certainly go very well with homemade potato salad, a first for me!   As I was fixing to put together the potato salad,  the caveman said, don’t put sugar, and no celery… Hmmmm…..okay. Our Meep chimed in, and said she is not too crazy about potato salad from the market which has  sweet undertones.   Ok then, here’s my chance to play  kitchen witch to my dahling  guinea pigs!!   The wonderful potato salad I was going to copy from Ading Malou has evolved into something a tad different so as to allow the caveman’s request and the Meep’s hints.  There’s two of them, and only one of me. Fine.

Here’s what I used:

3 large potatoes, boiled and cubed

3 pcs eggs (boiled, peeled, dice eggs whites, smash yolk)

3 tbsp rounded mayo

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 bell pepper, diced (set aside a spoonful for garnish)

1/2 red onion, diced  (set aside a spoonful for garnish)

1-2 stalks green onions(set aside a spoonful for garnish)

1 tbsp Pinakurat Spicy Vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Smoked Paprika is also a nice touch, optional of course!!


Mix eggs, mayo, mustard, onions, bellpepper, green onions, spicy vinegar.  Fold in cubes of potatoes.   Salt and pepper to taste.  Add more

vinegar as desired.  Garnish with cubed bellpepper, red onions and green onions, and my Meep loves smoked paprika on it, so yup, try some!!

Serve chilled.   You know what?  It is pretty darn good if I may say so myself!!   

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Creamyt Guitaang Pork (with Coconut Sauce)

Dryer version were infused with coconut flavor and made into finger food

Lately, I have just gotten so enamored with coconut milk.  Laing and Bicol Express are my most fave foods so I guess it is no big surprise that I am finding other dishes with coconut milk so palatable!!!

I was feeling a bit of a rebel one day and truly hankering for some pork adobo…And then wham!  I was suddenly thinking gata this, gata that.  I posted on FB that I was at the verge of making some contraband in our house.  Well, I say that playfully because my hubby and daughter don’t eat pork or beef!   Upon posting my query on FB, I was given this very easy recipe by my dear friend from Ilocos, fierce and fearless Vic.  Oh you ask, why fierce and fearless?  Well okay, she eats live shrimps. LIVE!!  Anyway, I followed her suggesion and made  guinatang baboy and the  another dish, pork adobo!

Here is the guinataang pork recipe:


2 cups cubed pork  or chicken

1/2 medium garlic, mnced

1/2 medium onion, minced

I eggplant, peeled(or not) and cubed (optional)

1 cup coconut milk

salt/pepper to taste of simply use patis(fish sauce)

Sili Labuyo to your liking or red pepper flakes


Saute onions, garlic then add pork and seasoning…When nearly cooked, add coconut milk.  Reduce to your liking…Add more patis as desired, as well as the sili labuyo or pepper flakes. Add eggplant and cook until done… You can reduce so the sauce is thicker and therefore, you will have a drier dish,  or you can have have a creamier version by keeping the coconut juice from evaporating. You can add more coconut mik if you prefer the  latter.  It is that simple!!!

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It’s been just over a year since I started this fledgling of a food blog. I am ever so grateful for your encouragement, your support and presence here.  THANK YOU….I am learning , evolving and trying to be patient so  I don’t post too quickly, and to  learn to edit, really edit before I post…Thanks again…

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TGIF!  Going through what  we have in the fridge…We have vegies galore and the caveman  wants sauteed collard greens with the usual stuff.  And I am hankering for some Pinoy food. .  I really want laing. but t aro leaves are not found in our local stores and I just don’t go to the Asian market 20 miles away that often. Too lazy to drive the distance!!  So, I am forcing laing with what we have.   Will it work?   We shall see.  It is now in the final stages of reduction and frankly, I can’t see how fresh garlic, onions, ginger, coconut milk and patis can go wrong!!I also have a bottle of gourmet tuyo, boneless to boot and I think that will be my topping!

Here’s what I used

Half of a medium sized garlic, minced

Half of medium sized onion, minced

About a tsp and a half of sliced ginger

4 cups (or more) cut up collard greens

2 cups(or more) spinach  (you can use either one, I just happen to have both)

Patis to taste

Sili Labuyo or pepper flakes if you don’t have the sili

1 can coconut milk


Wash collard greens,  using a knife, separate stems and center.  Cut up stalks into one inch stems, and then  set aside.   Pour  coconut milk in the pan, get it to a gentle boil. Add onions, garlic, ginger, bring to a simmer. If you are a carnivore, you can add pork pieces here too at this time…Add collard stem, cook up  for about 5-10 minutes in low fire. When the coconut starts getting creamy, the natural oils will develop.  Add the remainin greens, cook to your liking, Simple! One pot method and oh so yummy! KAIN NA PO!!!

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Hump day!   The fridge is stuffed, brimming with goodies we picked up  at Costco yesterday.   I did the unusual,  I went grocery

shopping when I accompanied my Mom to do her monthly restocking .    I typically don’t do the marketing, that’s the

caveman’s job.   Shishkabob, Costco feeds you in every aisle!  There were samples of cheeses, burritos, mini burgers, smoothies

and so much more!  You could end up  with a full meal just walking about!  Of course, shopping while hungry makes all you see  so

so much tastier, people end up buying more stuff!  Some probably even feel compelled to buy after tasting, just to help the lady with

the apron feel she has done her job, hehe…

Anyway, I bought a big slab of salmon for $16.00. The whole point of  my getting  the fish  is to make salmon pasta tonight.

I sliced a few pieces and dredged those in milk and egg, and then  I breaded them.  The breading mix consisted of  parmesan,  some

crushed  croutons,  Italian spices. I  cooked the breaded salmon gently in evoo…That’s done and will continue with the dish for the

family later…..

As for me, I saved  1/3 of the salmon slab to make my paksiw.   And that is the point of this blog entry!!!

Here is what I used:

About a pound of salmon, cut up and I kept the skin

6 large garlic cloves, minced (loooove garlic!)

Half of a medium size onion, cut up

1 tbsp fresh sliced ginger  (less if you are timid,more if you are brazen!)

1/4 C  Vinegar ( I used Pinakurat because I love spicy vinegar) You can use milder versions

2 tsp Patis(Fish Sauce for seasoning) Salt will work if you have none


1/8 C water or more, taste as you go…


Heat up pan, pour vinegar, water, patis, pepper and get it to a gentle boil.  Immediately add fish and then the ginger, garlic, onions,

pepper. Cover and steam for about 5-10 minutes.   Let the liquid reduce a bit, and then taste.  Add water or more  vinegar to your

liking.   Some people add a little vegetable oil in the end or EVOO if you prefer.  The oil coats the fish nicely.  I skipped that as I am

keeping my food less  fattening these days, plus the salmon has loads of its natural juices/fat.  So masarap!!   ENJOY!!  KAIN NA PO!!

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While we were vacationing in Lake Tahoe, my friend  and I kept in close touch via Facebook.   Vic is from

Tuguegarao just like me , and  she  has seen much of the world.   During her many forays into  varied cultures, she has tried and

and tested a variety of foods.   This makes her a connoisseur of sorts in my book.   Anyway, she was telling me she was heading to the

grocery store and while there, she will make time for some crunchy balut.  Well, that was enough to intrigue me.  First off, I am the

only one in my family who can’t eat balut.  As a child, I remember the musical pandesaaaaal, tubaaaaa,  “baluuuuuut” bellowed by the vendors.

We used to travel nearly 20 hours  to get to Manila from the valleys of Cagayan.  And those trips were always punctuated  with the

yummy stops to enjoy  morsels from street vendors.  I remember the smell of  fresh  hot pandesal, and most unforgettable, balut.

I remember the vendor had her basket draped with a cloth. and it  was late then,  so it was pretty dark.   Papa bought a few  and

gave each of us our own egg while Mommy gave us instructions on how to eat the so called treat.   First,  peel the shell  ever so

carefully so as not to spill the soup.   My siblings and I sprinkled a little salt and we all proceeded to slurp  soup.  It was yummy,  just

like chicken soup.   Next, we were told  to drop the contents of the partially peeled egg into our mouth.   Everyone proceeded to do

that and were obviously enjoying the mouthful of goods.  Just when I was about to pop my “egg” into my mouth, a car drove past and

its light illuminated my area just right.  Yup, just right so I could see clearly what everyone was enjoying !!!   OMG, my exact words

were, “ano yaaaan?!!!”  My pitch a few octaves higher.  I  was mortified.   The black hair like feathers, the huge eyelids, and oh my

goodness, the BEAK!!!  I  freaked.  I could not and would not pop that thing  in my mouth, no way.  Basta ayaw ko!!!   Everyone else had

already enjoyed their morsel and I  refused.    To this very day, I can not and will not eat balut.   Many of my countrymen

might find this very un-Pinoy of me.   But take  look…

This is of course, RAW.

Oh, now there is another version to this balut….My friend Vic told me about it…She even took photos for me.  And with the dipping

sauces, I think it would be good.  Unfortunately after I saw in great detail the real deal , there is just no way I could eat beak or hair or

bulging eyes!!   Can you?

I have eaten hard boiled quail eggs, encased  in batter, deep fried and dipped in vinegar sauce, and boy that is superb.  The innards are

your standard whites while and yellow yoke, simply yellow and  nothing more, unlike BALUT…

Here is more info on balut…

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

balut is a fertilized duck embryo that’s boiled alive and eaten in the shell. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. It is commonly sold as streetfood in thePhilippines. They are common, everyday food in countries in Southeast Asia, such as Laos,Cambodia (pong tea khon ពងទាកូន in Cambodian) and Vietnam (trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn inVietnamese). They are often served with beer.

The Filipino and Malay word balut (balot) means “wrapped” – depending on pronunciation.


In the Philippines, balut eaters prefer salt and/or a chili, garlic and vinegar (white or coconut sap) mixture to season their eggs. The eggs are savored for their balance of textures and flavors; the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled, and the yolk and young chick inside can be eaten. All of the contents of the egg may be consumed, although the white may remain uneaten; depending on the age of the fertilized egg, the white may have an unappetizing cartilaginous toughness. In the Philippines, balut have recently entered haute cuisine by being served as appetizers in restaurants, cooked adobo style, fried in omelettes or even used as filling in baked pastries. In Vietnam, balut are eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, plus ground pepper and Vietnamese mint leaves (southern Vietnamese style). In Cambodia, balut are eaten while still warm in the shell and are served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper.

Anyway, here are some pictures my friend, Vic took for me when she went to the grocery store in Manila…Thanks, dahlin’!!

BTW, those whole fried chicks are for real.  They are day old chicks!!!   6 pieces for just over a buck. Wacked!

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