Monday, December 3, 2012

Stir Fry Chicken with Vegetables

(Stir Fry Chicken with Vegetables)

Yield: 2 portions


1 1/2 tbsp     Corn Starch
2 tbsp        Sake or Sherry Wine
1/4 tsp        5 spice powder
2 tbsp        Oyster Sauce
1 lb.        Chicken Breast, skinless, boneless, julienne (sliced thin)
4 tbsp        Peanut or Canola Oil
2 cloves    Garlic, crushed and chopped fine
1 each        Onion, medium, julienne (sliced thin)
1/4 tsp        Ginger, chopped very fine
1 cup        Chicken stock or water
1 tbsp        Soy Sauce
4 stems    Bok Choy, washed and cut 2” across
12 each    Snow Peas, strung


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine corn starch, sake, 5 spice powder, and oyster Sauce. Mix well.
  2. Add chicken breast. Allow to marinate for 1 hour, refrigerated.
  3. In a wok, over very high heat, pour the cooking oil.
  4. Sauté garlic, onion and ginger for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken breast. Sauté 2 minutes.
  6. Add wine. Stir 2 minutes.
  7. Add chicken stock and soy sauce. Sauté for another 2 minutes
  8. Add snow peas and bok choy. Stir for 2 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Humba de Bohol by Chef Reggie Torres

 Humba de Bohol
(Braised Pork Belly)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time : 35 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 lb pork butt, cut in large cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp peanut oil (substitute other oil if you prefer)
1tbsp sweet soy sauce
2tbsp sukang paombong (palm vinegar)
1 cup banana blossom


1. Heat cooking oil in a non stick pan.
2. Add pork, brown all sides.
3. Add all the ingredients
4. Simmer in medium heat until meat is tender. 


Chef Reggie Torres has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry. He has lived in Paris, France for three years and has mastered the French menu interpretation along with preparation of classical French cuisine and advance French pastries. He has traveled Europe learning and honing food design, Hors d’oeurves, theme buffet, tallow sculpture, meat and fish decorations. He has worked with Chinese instructor Kem Home, blending Eastern and Western influences and with Italian Chef Giovanni Leoni, mixing the northern and southern Italian cuisine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pochero Pinoy by Chef Soc Inonog

Having a multicultural society, brought about by the different countries which ruled the Philippines, is one of the things the country is known for. But, albeit numerous nations that colonized the country, it was Spain which greatly influenced most of the cultural aspects of the Philippines, having ruled the country for 333 years.

The undeniable influence of the Spaniards on the Filipino culture and society is apparent even until today. Starting with the Filipino Spanish last names (all Filipino families were required to adopt a Spanish surname during Spanish colonial rule), Roman Catholicism, thousands of loan Spanish words, the numerous community feasts that also inevitably includes some cuisines greatly influenced by Spain. 

Drinking, dining, and merry-making in any social gatherings are also among the many traditions the Filipinos have acquired from the Spaniards. Spanish culinary specialties like menudo, mechado, caldereta, and relleno were among the most favored dishes served in any special Pinoy celebrations then, until today. 
The influence of Spain in the Filipino cuisine has adapted countless versions over the years, with the preparation and ingredients of the dish varying by region. One example of such dish is the pochero or stew pot which has two popular versions in the country---one, which is tomato sauce based, and the other which is similar to that of the bulalo, or the oxtail soup and stew. 

Puchero or Pochero, was originally a peasant food from Andalusia, Spain which was traditionally cooked and expected to last for several days. 

In the Philippines, pochero is usually cooked with either beef, pork, or chicken in tomato sauce with chorizo, saba banana, cabbage, green beans and pechay. Garbanzos or baked beans can also be added. 

The Pochero is  considered a nutritious meal with balanced ingredients comprising of meat, beans, and leafy vegetables. It is best served with steaming rice.

(Pork or Beef Stew)
Preparation Time:   1 hour and 13 minutes
Cooking Time    :    1 hr and 35 minutes

Yield: 8


2 tbsp        Vegetable oil
2 lbs          Pork Stew or Beef
2 lbs          Chicken Thigh, cut bite size
3 cloves     Garlic, chopped
1 tsp          Ginger, chopped fine
1 pc           Onion, chopped
2 pcs          Tomatoes, chopped
2 pcs          Bay leaves
1 tbsp         Thyme
2 cups         Water
1 tsp           Pepper, black , ground
1 tbsp         Fish sauce (Patis)
1 tbsp         Chicken Base (Knorr)
2 pcs           Chorizo de Bilbao, sliced across 1/8” thick
½ cup         Sake (Japanese dry wine) or Mirin  (Japanese sweet wine)
¼ bunch      String Beans,  long (Sitaw), cut 1 ½” long
1 lb             Potatoes,  sweet (Camote), peeled, diced, 1”
3 pcs           Plantain (Saba banana), 2 skin peeled, sliced 1” thick; 1 mashed
1 pc            Bok Choy (Pechay) cut up  1 1/2 “ length

1.       In a wok, pour oil. Turn fire to high. Brown all the meats and put aside. Note: Lightly brown chicken last
2.       In the same wok, add garlic, ginger and onion. Saute until onion is translucent. 
3.       Add tomatoes. Saute for 3 minutes. Add Bay leaves and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. 
4.       Add pork or beef.  Saute and cook for 20 minutes. Add chicken. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add chorizo. Mix and cook for 15 minutes. 
5.       Add water and chicken base. Mix. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. 
6.       Add patis. Mix. Simmer for 5 minutes.
7.       Add string beans and sweet potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. 
8.       Add plantain, cook for another 10 minutes, add mashed plantain (saba) 
9.       Add bok choy. Cook for 5 minutes. 
10.   Serve hot with steam rice on the side.

Chef Soc Inonog

Dean and Director Emeritus, Culinary Arts College and Development
International Students Departments, Johnson & Wales University Providence, R.I.
The First Certified Culinary Educator by the American Culinary Federation (ACF)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tortang Dulong by Chef Soc Inonog

This week, Isla Kulinarya takes you to the province located in the southernmost part of Cagayan Valley or Region II and the gateway to the world famous Banaue Rice Terraces—Nueva Vizcaya.

Also known as lowland Baguio because of its cold and pleasing climate, Nueva Vizcaya features a terrain of mountains, forests, plains, valleys. It also has several principal rivers such as the Magat, Matuno, Marang, Sta. Fe, and Sta. Cruz which leads to the Magat River that flows into the Cagayan River.

As a result of the Spanish rule during the early days, Nueva Vizcaya's named after the Spanish province, Vizcaya located in the Basque Country. Since then,it has become home to many ethnic groups such as the Ilongots (Bugkalot), Isinays, Gaddangs, Igorots, Ifugaos, as well as migrants from neighboring provinces like the Ilocanos—which make up for the majority of the people living in the Nueva Vizcaya, thus making Ilocano as the major dialect spoken among others. Majority of its people can also converse in English.

Like its neighboring provinces, Nueva Vizcaya is also blessed with a fertile soil and abundant rivers that make its natives survive through farming; raising farm animals such as cattle and swine; as well as fishing.

A fan of the healthy and simple foods, Nueva Vizcaya residents—especially the Ilocanos, boasts of delicacies such as the pinakbet--a vegetable dish defined by the distinct taste of the shrimp paste or the bagoong, and the dinengdeng—a vegetable dish with fish as the highlight ingredient and bagoong as its soup base.

Given a big gusto for fish delicacies, the natives of Nueva Vizcaya also enjoy having the tortang dulong or the silverfish omelet. It is favored by many because it requires only a few ingredients as well as simple cooking procedures.

Dulongs are caught at sea with fine nets because of its very small size. Aside from being tiny, dulongs are also identified by their small beady eyes and transparent white appearance.

To cook something in omelete or torta is to make a dish from beaten eggs quickly cooked in a pan with fillings—which, in this case, include the dulong among others.

The tortang dulong goes along with tomato ketchup very well and does not need salt because of the natural saltiness of the fish. 

Dulong Torta
( Dulong Omelette)

Yield : 8
prep : 30 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes

5 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 " Ginger, chopped fine
1 pc onion, small, chopped
1 pc tomato, chopped1 pc potato, grated
1/4 bell pepper, green, diced 1/2
1/4 bell pepper,red, diced 1/2
1 tsp chicken base (sysco)
6 pcs eggs, beaten
8 oz Dulong, washed and drained well

1) in a sauté pan,pour 3 tbsp oil. Add garlic and Ginger,sauté for 2 minutes
2) add onion and sauté until translucent. Add tomato and cook for 3  minutes
3) add bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes.
4) In a mixing bowl, place the chicken base and eggs. Beat well with a whisk. Add sauteed items in the eggs mixture.
5) add the Dulong mix slightly
6) in a frying pan, pour 1/2 cup of the Dulong mixture and fry 2 minutes on each side.
7) continue the process until all the mixture has been cooked.

Dean and Director Emeritus, Culinary Arts College and Development
International Students Departments, Johnson & Wales University Providence, R.I.
The First Certified Culinary Educator by the American Culinary Federation (ACF)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk by Chef Ron Bilaro

Pork is one of the largely consumed meat in America. Its tenderness and versatility had also made it as a favorite food staple.

Pork contains more protein than other meat, with 20.9 percent of it made up of protein.

Experts also say that pork contains less saturated fat, so there are lesser risks of clogging arteries. It also contains linoleic acid, which helps block out bad cholesterol.

Pork is also widely consumed by the Filipinos for the same practical reasons that the Americans do.

Aside from the lechon and the pork adobo, the sweet pork tocino another Pinoy pork recipe is very famous in the country.

Traditionally served for breakfast in the Philippines, “tocino” is derived from the Spanish word that means ‘bacon’ or ‘cured’ meat. To achieve its distinct caramelized texture, various methods and ingredients have been used in making the ideal tocino.

This week, Chef Ron Bilaro, a successful private chef and event organizer in Chicago, will teach you how to make a different kind of tocino—the Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk.

Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 to 3 ½ hours for baking
INACTIVE time: 8 hours for soaking/marinate
• 3 pounds pork belly, cleaned and cut into desired portion sizes
• 1 quart whole milk
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 cups brown sugar
• ½ cup annatto powder or achuete
• 10 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 bay leaves
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  1. Place pork belly into a flameproof casserole. Combine milk, lemon juice, annatto powder, garlic, sugar and pour it over the pork. Cover with foil and keep in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Adjust oven rack to center of the oven and pre heat to 350 F.
  3. Add bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for about 3 hours or until pork is tender.
  4. Check the casserole every 30 minutes to make sure the milk with the sugar does not burn.
  5. Add more milk if necessary.
  6. Remove pork from the liquid. Skim the fat form the milk mixture.
  7. Using a chinois or cheese cloth, strain milk sauce. Discard solid.
  8. Place milk marinade in a sauce pan, cook and reduce to about half, this may take 10 minutes. Taste the sauce. The sauce should be sweet and should be an red- orange color. Feel free to add more brown sugar and annatto powder to attain this consistency.
  9. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch with about half cup of the milk sauce in a small bowl. Whisk well until cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  10. Slowly whisk in to the simmering milk sauce on the stove. Continue to whisk until sauce becomes thick. This may take about 2 minutes. Turn off stove. Set sauce aside.
  11. Meanwhile, adjust oven to broil (450 F) adjusting the oven rack to about 8 inches from the top.
  12. Place pork belly pieces on a baking tray.
  13. Brush top of pork belly with milk sauce and broil for about 2 minutes until brown on top.
  14. Drizzle milk sauce on top before serving.

Chef Ron Bilaro

Chef Ron Bilaro is a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu program at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He is a chef known to many prominent families and corporations in the Windy City and the West Coast. Chef Ron even gained more publicity as Sous Chef to Art Smith, personal chef of Miss Oprah Winfrey. Chef Ron was recently launched at the One Go event and is now a certified Kapamilya. He is set to have a new show in TFC that involves a lot of traveling as well as finding great Pinoy eats all over  the world. For Chef Ron, having a cooking show is a dream come true. He said he is “excited” in “bringing my simple dishes to the show so people can make it at home.” A professional feature writer for Chicago Tribune as well as a regular contributor to
Baltimore Sun of Maryland and Sun Sentinel of Florida, Chef Ron is also currently working on his second book that is due to be released soon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pinoy Street Food - Adidas© (Chicken Feet Black)

Street foods are delectable, convenient, practical and best of all economical. There is a street food to match almost anyone’s budget.

In the Philippines, selling street foods has become a huge industry. It is one of the most viable means of livelihood among the common people as it does not require big capital investment. A few hundred pesos and a little knowledge of cooking are all that is required.

Street food reveals the inventive character of the Filipinos. The poor, after all, are forced to be resourceful. Thus we manage to cook, sell, and eat stuff normally junked as waste. For example, animal blood is usually thrown away after butchering, but we use it for the well-liked dinuguan or betamax (roasted coagulated pig or cow blood). 

Most street food is sold as barbecue, fried, boiled or steamed etc. These are usually finger food, snack, fast food or even fruits and drinks. They are most often exotic but they are also an adaptation of western food or any foreign food.
Pinoy street food names have been evolving thru the times and base on locality they are mostly coined after a similar food item or similar things around us.

One of the more colorful names and certainly a favorite of Pinoys is Adidas.

Adidas is barbecued chicken feet in bamboo skewer. Chicken feet are pre-cooked adobo-style. The name originates from a popular branded athletic shoe “Adidas”.

(Chicken Feet Black)

2 lbs Chicken feet (Pre-prepared:  Method of preparation noted below)
2 cups Oil (Corn)
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 cup   Marsala  Wine
1 cup   Sherry Wine
3 pcs  Star Anise (whole)
2 tbsp  Five Spice Powder
1 tbsp  Ginger, fresh, chopped fine
2 tbsp Garlic, chopped fine
4 tbsp  Honey (or  Maltose Sugar)
1 tbsp  Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp  Lemon Juice
1 tbsp   Lemon Rind, grated
1 tbsp  Soy Sauce
1 tbsp  Oyster Sauce

  1. Pre-preparation of chicken feet: Wash chicken feet thoroughly over running water.
  2. Chop off toenails. Remove any trace of scaly yellow skin. Cut into thirds.
  3. In a pot, pour enough water and boil chicken feet for 5 minutes. Remove from fire and rinse well. Dry well with paper towel.
  4. In a wok with cover, over high heat, pour oil. 
  5. Fry chicken feet until brown (cover to avoid splashing). Remove from fire.
  6. Place in the marinade for 1 hour (or preferably overnight, refrigerate).
  7. In a thick bottom pot, pour marinade and chicken feet.
  8. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour (reduce marinade liquid almost completely)
  9. Pour sesame oil before serving.

CHEF SOCRATES ZALDIVAR INONOG, AAC, CCEThe First Certified Culinary Educator by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Dean and Director Emeritus, Culinary Arts College and Development.International Students Departments, Johnson & Wales University Providence, R.I.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tropical Fruit Smoothie by Chef Drif Reforsado

FOR people who are always on the go, one of the best ways to indulge without feeling guilty this summer is to sip on some fruit smoothies. 

Not only does it quench thirst, smoothies are great substitute for meals usually consumed during breakfast, or just about anytime of the day.

Not to be confused with milkshakes, smoothies are very nutritious alternatives especially for the picky eaters at home like children who rarely eat fruits.

One popular smoothie recipe is the combination of strawberries, bananas, and peaches. Strawberries consist of Vitamin A, C,  B6, fiber, potassium, and folate that help prevent heart-related disease and cancer.  Strawberries also promote better skin and hair conditions as well as a good immune system.

Bananas, on the other hand, can be usually found in every smoothie recipe for it gives the drink a smooth and thick texture. It also adds natural sweetness to the smoothie making it extra delicious.  Also known for its high potassium content, bananas are one of the best sources of energy and are ideal for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. The antacid effects of bananas have been known to prevent stomach ulcers,  replenish the loss of potassium after diarrhea, and improve eyesight as well.

Like the strawberries and bananas, peaches also have high levels of potassium. It is also high in Vitamin A that help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue. Peaches are perfect for those who want to have that summer glow as it make the skin healthy and add color to the complexion as well. Made up of 80 percent water, peaches help keep the body well hydrated. It is also packed with a lot of  fiber,  perfect for those who wants to shed those extra weight.

In making a smoothie you just have to whir all the fruits of your choice in a blender and serve it right away. Not only is it easy to make,  a strawberry banana peach smoothie will be a healthy summer concoction that will keep you cool, hydrated,  and energized as you perform all your activities this summer. 

Catch us again next week for another refreshing drink that you can include in your summer diet. Don’t miss it!

Tropical Fruit Smoothie
Strawberry, Banana, Peaches

1 quart Strawberries, hulled
1 Banana, medium size, broken into chunks
2 peaches
1 cup water
2 cups ice
2 tbsp simple sugar
Ingredients for simple sugar:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 handful of fresh basil , minced

How to make simple sugar:
  1. In a pan, combine water and sugar, should be sand consistency.
  2. In a medium fire, let it simmer for 5 minutes. Do not mix.
  3. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has a clear consistency, the syrup is already done.
  1. In a blender, combine strawberries, banana and peaches. Blend until fruit is pureed. Blend in the simple sugar. Add ice and blend to consistency.
  2. Pour into glasses and serve.


Chef Drif has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry.  He has worked in various upscale restaurants in Los Angeles such as La Defence Restaurant, Kado Japanese & Teppanyaki Restaurant; and Sushiko Kosher Japanese cuisine. He has mastered the art of culinary and has an extensive knowledge on a wide range of International cuisines. Currently, he is a Private Chef catering to private parties and events.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Caprese Salad by Chef Ryan Bergunio

MOST people usually pay more attention on how their bodies look like in summer than in any other seasons of the year. A person’s tendency to be physically conscious during summer is associated with the reason that the warm weather calls for having fun on the beach; getting a tan in their best swimsuits; and of course, eating dishes that keeps them going for the list of the day’s fun activities.

Too much exposure from the sun, however, can cause dehydration. Intake of vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, and including them with leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and other vitamin-packed dark leafy vegetables is one way of improving the hydration and nutritional value of a person’s diet.

When it comes to a refreshing summer diet, salad served cold is among the first things that come to mind.  One of the most delicious yet simplest of salads best to have this summer is the Caprese salad which originated from the region of Campania in Italy.  Ideally made out of buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper, the Caprese is preferably served as a starter and not as a side dish.

Over the years, people have come up with their own different styles of making the Italian Caprese. Some delicious adaptations include replacing the buffalo mozzarella with small balls of mozzarella cheese otherwise known as the bocconcini; and then adding buttered crostinis out of  a baguette (french loaf)  to the original recipe.

Not only is it very easy and fast to do, but the green and healthy raw ingredients of the Caprese salad provide a lot of nutritional contents beneficial to anyone who is keen on having a fit and healthy bod to show this summer. Isla Kulinarya shares with you a healthy food option that you can easily prepare this Summer-- the Caprese Salad prepared by Chef Ryan Bergunio.

Caprese Salad


2 ea french baguette (sliced & grilled or toasted)
4 oz salted butter (melted)
as needed boiling water
2 pckgs cherry tomatoes (blanched & peeled)
as needed water w/ ice
2-1 lb bocconcini
1 bunch fresh basil (chiffonade cut)
to cover extra virgin olive oil
to taste salt & pepper

  1. Sliced the bread with a bread knife ¼ inch thick.
  2. Lightly brush each slice with butter.
  3. grill or toast the crostini until crispy over low heat.
  4. Set aside in a serving bowl until ready to serve.
  5. (To peel the cherry tomatoes, boil the water in a pot.Place the cherry tomatoes in a strainer and blanch it for 15 seconds. And then shock in iced water. This would blister the skin and makes it easier to peel.)
  6. Place the peeled tomatoes, bocconcini, and basil in a bowl, and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Season it with salt & pepper.
  8. Make sure to taste before serving.
  9. Serve w/ the grilled/toasted crostinis.

Chef Ryan Bergunio

• Former Executive Chef & Executive Pastry Chef,  Lola’s Restaurant in West Hollywood
• Former Chef De Cuisine & Executive Pastry Chef at Kado Japanese Restaurant

Monday, July 16, 2012

South East Asian Barbeque Chicken by Chef Ryan Bergunio

Who doesn’t look forward to the warmer months? It is the perfect time to go out and spend some time with family and friends. Social gatherings during summer call for swimming by the pool or the beach and surrendering to the sweet aroma of that meat cooked in an open fire afterward.

Anyone can have barbecue for it does not require much of precise mixture or concoction of ingredients. Barbecuing, however, includes several techniques that depend on how the cook wants the meat done. Some techniques include smoking, braising, baking, and grilling—which is the most popular way to have a barbecue. When grilling, the meat is cooked on dry heat over a hot fire that may come out of wood, electricity, charcoal, or gas (natural gas or propane).

Having a barbecue is considered as one of the most fun and popular activities in America every summer not only for the reason that it implies togetherness, but also because it promotes healthy choices both in health and in budget.

The same goes for Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where barbecue is considered as an inevitable part of every feast. The most common meat used when barbecuing in Southeast Asia is chicken because some or most parts of these countries are predominated by Muslim nationals which do not include pork in their diet. The trademark of barbecue in Southeast Asia is its sauce which is made out of spices similar to that of curry, mixed with peanut powder. The sauce is also used as a marinade or as spread to the chicken, pork, or lamb before being skewered on bamboo sticks.

Perfect with garlic vinegar as dipping sauce and steamed rice, a grilled chicken barbecue done South East Asian style never fails to make any bonding experience memorable.

South East Asian Barbeque Chicken

2 cups low sodium soy sauce (Kikkoman)
2 heads garlic (smashed)
2 ea yellow onions (roughly chopped)
1 ea fresh lemon juice (or 5 ea calamansi juice)
1 ½ cup sprite or 7-up
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup agave nectar (if available. OR honey)
1 tbsp black pepper (coarsely ground)
12 oz (1 bottle) banana ketchup
10 lbs chicken thighs (skin taken out)

for basting or brushing:
1 cup banana ketchup
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup water
for garlic-vinegar dipping sauce:
2 cups red wine vinegar or white vinegar
6 cloves garlic (smashed, and peeled)
to taste salt & pepper
to taste granulated sugar

Note: this must be done a day or two prior to the gathering.
  1. make the marinade by combining all the ingredients above, and set aside.
  2. take out the skin, and trim out the excess fat of the chicken.
  3. marinate the chicken for 24-48 hours in a bowl covered loosely in plastic wrap.
  4. make the basting sauce for brushing the chicken while grilling by combining all the ingredients until it is well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Chef Ryan Berguino

Former Executive Chef; Pastry Chef, Lola's Restaurant in West Hollywood
Former Chef De Cuisine; Executive Pastry Chef at Kado Japanese Restaurant

Monday, July 9, 2012

Binusog na Pusit (Stuffed Squid) by Chef Reggie Torres

Squid is one of the most favored seafood in the world not only because of its peculiar shape, but also because of the many dish one can make out of it.  Japan is known to consume the largest number of squids.  In the Mediterranean, squid is referred to by the Italian term “calamari” (singular calamaro), which was later on adopted by other parts of the world using calamari in any culinary dishes that include squids.

Known to have the advantage of being low in fat and calories but  rich in protein and minerals, squid is usually cooked fried (fried calamari), stewed, or be added as an ingredient in pastas and soups; its shape is also ideal for stuffing ham, rice, or cheese.

In the Philippines, stuffing the squid or pusit is also popular. They like stuffing pusit with with tomato and onions then brushing it with a soy sauce marinade and then grilling it; or elaborately filling it in with finely chopped vegetables, squid fat, and ground pork.

Adopted from the stuffed squid of the Mediterranean, binusog na pusit is usually stuffed with white cheese or the kesong puti. Ricotta, parmesan, or any cheese of preference can also be used.

The pusit is prepared for cooking  by holding it with one hand and reaching inside its body with the other, pulling away the head along with its tentacles. The dark skin is peeled away leaving a transparent cartilage that resembles a plastic, which also has to be pulled away. The body is then rinsed with water.

After washing, the pusit is set aside while the cheese is briefly cooked together with garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. The squid is then stuffed with the cheese mixture, sealed,  fried for a minute, and is simmered with a tomato mixture. After simmering for several minutes the binusog na pusit  is ready to serve.

Binusog na Pusit (Stuffed Squid)

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4

½ lb roma tomatoes – diced
cooking oil
1 ½ cup yellow onion – finely chopped
6 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
2 ½ oz ricotta cheese
2 ½ oz parmesan cheese
4 large squids – cleaned
½ cup green onion

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan. Add 1 cup onion cook until translucent. Add ½ garlic cook for 1 min add bread crumbs eggs and cheese. Salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  2. Fill the squid with cheese, stuffing but do not over stuff, secure end with toothpick.
  3. In a clear frying pan,  heat 2 tbsp oil. Add squid cook for 1 min. remove.
  4. Add ½ cup onion, cook add1/2 garlic cook for 1 min stir in tomato. Simmer for 5 mins until thick. Return squid to the pan and cook. Cover for 10 mins. Serve.

Chef Reggie Torres has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry. He has lived in Paris, France for three years and has mastered the French menu interpretation along with preparation of classical French cuisine and advance French pastries. He has traveled Europe learning and honing food design, Hors d’oeurves, theme buffet, tallow sculpture, meat and fish decorations. He has worked with Chinese instructor Kem Home, blending Eastern and Western influences and with Italian Chef Giovanni Leoni, mixing the northern and southern Italian cuisine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Watermelon & Lemon Slush by Chef Drif

MOST people like to take advantage of the warm summer sun before the cold weather sets in again. Who wouldn’t be? We are only given 3 months of warm weather in the sunny California for us to enjoy. Too much exposure to the sun, however, may cause dehydration which can ruin a fun outdoor activity. When a person is dehydrated, the balance of the body—which is two-thirds water—is disrupted through perspiring or other fluid-releasing methods of the body. Dehydration is not a condition to be ignored for it can do serious harm to the body.

According to recent studies, adults tend to have less water intake because they have a harder time recognizing thirst, the trigger for it becomes delayed. That said, it is important for a person to be aware of his daily activities so that he can keep track of his water intake even if he is not feeling thirsty, sweaty, or weak.

Aside from bringing in plenty of water, people have always considered fruits in general as a healthy alternative to water. In the summer, fruits like watermelons and honeydew melons are abundant in the market usually from August until October.

Rich in calcium and magnesium,watermelons are excellent in keeping the body hydrated and energized all throughout the day. More important, it is made up of 92 percent water, perfect for hydration; and 6 percent sugar which makes it ideal for those with cases of diabetes. Watermelon also include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9.

Watermelons have become an essential summer fare in most outings , picnics and trips to the beach. Aside from taking it in its fresh form, watermelons are also best enjoyed as a drink. The warm summer sun calls for a refreshing and hydrating drink --perfect time to make your favorite concoction of fresh fruit drinks. Slush drinks are very easy to make and are the best way to keep the body cool and hydrated during summer.

Isla Kullinarya shares with you a healthy and refreshing drink made from Watermelon and Lemon. Here for your enjoyment this summer is the Watermelon and Lemon Slush made and prepared by Chef Drif!

Watermelon & Lemon Slush

makes 4-5 glasses

      8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
      1/4 cup fresh Lemon juice
      2 tbsp simple sugar
Ingredients for simple sugar:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 handful of fresh basil , minced

How to make simple sugar:
1. In a pan, combine water and sugar, should be sand consistency.
2. In a medium fire, let it simmer for 5 minutes. Do not mix.
3. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has a clear consistency, the syrup is already done.

1. In a blender or food processor, cover and process the watermelon, fresh lemon juice and simple sugar in batches until smooth. Pour into a freezer-proof container.
2. Cover and freeze for 30 minutes or until edges begin to freeze. Stir and return to freezer. Spoon 3/4 cup into bowls or glasses. Serve immediately.


Chef Drif has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry.  He has worked in various upscale restaurants in Los Angeles such as La Defence Restaurant, Kado Japanese & Teppanyaki Restaurant; and Sushiko Kosher Japanese cuisine. He has mastered the art of culinary and has an extensive knowledge on a wide range of International cuisines. Currently, he is a Private Chef catering to private parties and events.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guinataang puso ng saging, baboy at hipon by Chef Soc Inonog

This week, we feature Isabela, the second largest province of the Philippines located in the Cagayan Valley Region or Region II. It is also reputed to be the rice and corn granary of Luzon. 

Isabela’s industry thrives on agriculture. With an aggregate land area of 10, 665 square kilometers that represents almost 40 percent of the regional territory, its natives typically harvest rice or corn from its wide arable fields; or catch fish in its bountiful river and ocean waters. Aside from agriculture, some potential investments opportunities are found in fisheries and tourism.

Isabela is the most populated province in Region II, with a total of 68.71 percent of its total household identifying themselves as Ilocanos. The rest of the population are comprised of the Ibanag and the Tagalog ethnic groups, among others.

Ilocanos are known for being spendthrift or frugal, preferring the practical over leisure. Ilocanos exemplify individuals who apply respect and modesty in their everyday lives.

Aside from their outstanding traits, Ilocanos are also known for their love of food. People even say that you can identify an Ilocano if his or her favorite expression is mangan tayon (let’s eat)! Ilocanos diet boast of a healthy diet comprising mostly of boiled or steamed vegetable and freshwater fish. Among the Ilocano favorites are the pinakbet, a dish that include vegetables as ingredients partnered with shrimp paste or the bagoong.

Another favorite is the simple and healthy ginataang puso ng saging (banana flower heart or blossom in coconut milk). With its name derived from its heart-shaped appearance and reddish color, the puso ng saging resembles the flavor of an artichoke and is usually harvested after the banana fruits have formed. It is used as a spice when dried and is the main ingredient of ginataang puso ng saging.

Ginataang puso ng saging is as easy as its name suggests: with the blossom cooked in coconut milk with shrimps or dried fish flakes as optional ingredients. It is also rich in iodine, fiber, and other minerals that makes it a healthy dish.

Guinataang puso ng saging, baboy at hipon 
(Banana Bud/ heart, pork and shrimp in coconut milk)

Yield : 6
Prep : 30 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes

1 pc Banana Bud (puso ng saging), whole, julienne
2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tbsp vegetable oil / canola
1 lb pork loin
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, black, ground
3 cloves Garlic
1/2” Ginger, julienne
1 pc onion, medium, julienne
2 pcs tomato, medium, sliced 1/8”
2 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup Sake or Sherry wine
1 tbsp Shrimp Base (sysco)
1 lb shrimp, large,peeled and deveined
1 pc jalapeño pepper, seeded, julienne

1. In a bowl,combine banana bud and salt. Let sit for 15 minutes,then squeeze moisture out of banana bud to remove the puckery taste. Wash well and drain as you squeeze

2. In a wok or a deep braising pan, pour oil. Brown pork that has been dusted in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Remove from the fire and set aside.

3.  In the same vessel, sauté garlic, ginger and onion. Cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

4. Add browned pork and water. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes until tender

5. Add coconut milk, sake, and banana bud. Return to a boil and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir gently while simmering.

6. . Add shrimp and jalapeño peppers. Simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir.

The First Certified Culinary Educator by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Dean and Director Emeritus, Culinary Arts College and Development.International Students Departments, Johnson & Wales University Providence, R.I.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fish Tempura by Chef Ron Bilaro

Introduced to Japan by the Portuguese Jesuits during the mid-sixteenth century, the tempura is a Japanese dish made out of seafood or vegetables. It is dipped in a batter that is usually made out of cold water and soft wheat flour. After dipping it in the batter, it is then released in a pan of hot oil.

In Japanese restaurants, tempura can be found both in average fast food chains and the five-star ones.

Restaurants in America has adopted the original recipe for tempura as well and has also served tempura using different meats like chicken and cheeses that is usually mozzarella.

For the health conscious, seafood and vegetable tempura is still preferred any time of the year. This week, Isla Kulinarya shows you how to pull a different fish tempura recipe that uses beer as a part of the batter. Packed with proteins, this fish tempura is a recipe that is not only very healthy to make, it can also be a unique addition to the usual meats being served during parties.

Fish Tempura

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves 4 with a side dish


• ½ cup very cold beer (used Busch beer in can)
• ½ cup club soda (used Canada dry)
• ¾ cup all purpose flour
• ¼ cup black sesame seeds
• Canola oil for deep frying
• 1 ½ pounds grouper fillet, boneless,
cut into 1 inch thick x2 inches wide x4 inches long
• Salt and pepper

• Heat oil to about 350 F. Meanwhile, make the batter by combing beer, club soda, sesame seeds and flour. It should be a slightly thinner version of a pancake batter.
• Use a food thermometer to test oil. Dip fish pieces into the batter and slowly release into the oil.
• Fry in batches for about 5 minutes until brown.
• Remove from the pan and place in a colander lined with paper towel.
• Season immediately with salt and pepper. You can also use garlic salt.
Note: it is important to use a non stick frying pan.

Ron Bilaro

A graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu program at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute  of Chicago, Chef Ron Bilaro is passionate in finding Pinoy eats around the world to share to his kababayan. With his new show in TFC in the works, Chef Ron is excited to share his new flavorful dishes. He will also have a segment in Adobonation at TFC. An avid supporter of Gawad Kalinga and Ronald McDonalds House Charities, Chef Ron’s ultimate dream is to have a cooking school and to teach people how to cook healthy food.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meet the Pears

The Pear Family

Green Anjou
Refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus. (in season September-July)

Quintessential pear flavor and aroma with abundant juice. (in season August-February)

Crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness. (in season September - May)

Crunchy and earthy with a hint of vanilla. (in season September-January)

Bite-sized, crunchy and ultra sweet. (in season September -March)

Red Anjou
Juicy and fresh with a sweet-tart finish. (in season September -June)

Red Bartlett
Juicy and aromatic with a supple sweetness. (in season August-February)

Sweet custard-like flavor and texture. (in season September-March)

Crisp, tangy , and refreshingly sweet. (in season September- March)

Aromatic , moist and sweet with a floral essence. (in season August- January)

How to know when pears are ripe

Check the Neck

Apply gentle thumb pressure near the neck, or stem end. If it yields slightly, it's ripe. Then you'll enjoy the full-flavored sweetness for which USA Pears are famous.

What about skin color?

You can't depend on color to tell when a pear is ripe. While Bartlett pears will turn from green to yellow as they ripen, Anjou, Red Anjou, Bosc, Comice, and other pear varieties show little change in color. That's why it's best to check the neck!

Ripening Tips

Place your unripe USA Pears in a fruit bowl and let stand at room temperature. Check the neck daily to determine when they are ready to eat. Refrigerate them to slow further ripening.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carrots for you

One cup of chopped carrots is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K. A source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Look for smooth, firm, and well-shaped carrots with an even color.
Avoid carrots that are crackled, shriveled, soft , or wilted.

California grown varieties, available year round, may be fresher and cost less than varieties shipped from other regions.

Store carrots in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to two weeks. If you buy carrots with the green tops, break off the tops before refrigerating.

Snack on carrot sticks and light dressing.

Add shredded carrots to coleslaw for extra crunch, color and flavor.

Taken from

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cabbage is good for you!

Nutritional benefits of Cabbage
One cup of shredded green or red cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and vitamin A.

How to select a good cabbage:
Look for firm cabbage heads that feel heavy for their size. The leaves should be a green or red -purple color.

Avoid cabbage heads that have lots of loose outer leaves and heads with wilted, brown , or yellow leaves.

California grown varieties, available late winter to mid-spring, may be fresher and cost less than varieties shipped from other regions.

Store whole or cut cabbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Serving Ideas:
Make "rainbow" coleslaw by using a mix of green and red cabbage.
Add shredded red cabbage to chicken salad for a colorful dish.

The versatile Spinach!

One cup of raw spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and folate.

What to look for in a spinach?
Look for loose-leaf spinach with crisp, green leaves.

Avoid spinach with leaves that are limp, damaged , spotted, or browning. Also avoid spinach bags that are damaged or have expired use-by -dates

Peak Season
California grown varieties, available year round, may be fresher and cost less than varieties shipped from other regions.

Storing Spinach
Store washed and dried spinach loosely in an open bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Serving Ideas
Toss spinach with apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, and a light vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing salad.

Stir-fry spinach with brown rice, garlic, onion, and chopped red bell peppers for a colorful side dish