Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It is no wonder that the cantaloupe with its refreshingly rich flavor and aroma and minimal number of calories is the most popular variety of melon in the United States.

The key to purchasing a good quality melon is to find one that is ripe, which is sometimes a challenge because oftentimes they are picked while still unripe in order to ensure that they make it through the shipping process undamaged. There are many clues that you can look for to find a melon that is ripe. If you tap the melon with the palm of your hand and hear a hollow sound, the melon has passed the first test. Choose a melon that seems heavy for its size, and one that does not have bruises or overly soft spots. The rind, underneath the netting, should have turned to yellow or cream from the green undertones that the unripe fruit has. The "full slip," the area where the stem was attached, should be smooth and slightly indented, free from remnants of the stem. The end opposite the full slip should be slightly soft, and you should be able to smell the fruit's sweetness subtly shining through, although be careful since an overly strong odor may be an indication of an overripe, fermented fruit.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

- Add some sparkling water to fresh squeezed cantaloupe juice for a delightfully refreshing drink in the warm months of the year.
- In a blender or food processor, purée cantaloupe and peeled soft peaches to make delicious cold soup. Add lemon juice and honey to taste.
- Top cantaloupe slices with yogurt and chopped mint.
- Slice melons in half horizontally, scoop out seeds and use each half as a basket in which to serve fruit salad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


(Sinangkutsyang Tahong)

Serving: 2 
Prep Time: 30 minutes

4 lbs live black mussels
4 oz ginger, julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
1 cup water or chicken stock
¼ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil and sauté half of ginger, garlic, onion.  
Add clean mussels, pour water or stock, add the rest of ingredients and cover tightly.  
Let it steam for 8 to 10 minutes until mussels have opened up.  
Garnish with cilantro and calamansi (optional).  
Serve hot.

Chef Cocoy Ventura, CEC

Present Executive Chef of Intramuros Restaurant  & Lounge in South San Francisco. The amiable and soft-spoken chef is no novice in the restaurant industry. A Certified Executive Chef by the American Culinary Federation since 2007, Chef Cocoy’s experiences include working with the Thomas Keller Group and with Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estate in Napa Valley.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Pechay is a cabbage. It is one of the most known vegetables in the Philippines. It is also known as one of the oldest green vegetables in Asia. The Pechay differs in many aspects from other (for instance European) cabbages. The leaves of the Pechay vary in length from 10 to 30 cm. The leaves are green and mild flavoured and less crisp than other cabbages.

It is often used in stews and soups. It isn't tasty by itself, so it needs some salt and other flavour to be added. Meals with Pechay are often completed with other vegetables and fish or meat.
Pechay with Sardines


1 bundle pechay, cut crosswise into thin strips
2 cans small Ligo red label sardines
1/2 head garlic, crushed, chopped
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 medium size tomato, chopped
cooking oil

Cooking procedure:

1. Wash and drain pechay, cut crosswise into thin strips, separate the stalks from the green leafy part.
2. In a skillet, sauté garlic, onion and tomato.
3. Add 1 cup of water let boil and simmer for a minute, season with salt to taste.
4. Add pechay stalks first and cook for a minute, add in sardines and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Add rest of the green leafy part of pechay simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.
6. Serve hot.

Ginisang Ampalaya

Bitter Melon, bitter gourd, ampalaya: This tropical plant which goes by many names, is commonly grown for its edible fruit, which is probably among the most bitter of all vegetables on earth.

The plant's fruit truly lives up to its name, because it really tastes bitter. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of this fruit have different uses, the fruit is considered as the safest and most predominantly used part of the plant in traditional herbal medicine.

Bitter gourd has been noted to be a potent herbal medicine for a lot of ailments, particularly in treating diabetes.

The Philippine variety is known for its more potent anti-diabetic components.


3 medium size amapalaya or bitter melon
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 sliced onion
3 diced tomatoes
4 eggs, beaten
some salt or patis (fish sauce) and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

1. Slice ampalaya or bitter melon thinly ( put in a bowl with water to lessen the bitter taste )
2. In a pan, saute garlic, onion, and tomatoes until the tomatoes have juiced out. While doing this, add some patis (fish sauce), or salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add ampalaya and 1/2 cup of water. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
4. When ampalaya is quite tender, stir in the beaten eggs and cook for another 5 minutes. Then it's ready to be served.

* Do not over cooked the vegetable so it will still have a distinct crunchy taste when you eat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spicy Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce


1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds pork spare ribs, cut to 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium-sized leek, thinly sliced
White sesame seeds for garnish, optional
Thinly sliced scallions or leeks for garnish, optional


3 tablespoons spicy black bean sauce (or 2 tablespoons black bean sauce with 1/2 tablespoon chili oil)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water


Mix together ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

In a wok or frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add spare ribs and stir-fry until brown on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and leeks and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Pour in sauce mixture. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 10 minutes. Sauce should be reduced enough to coat the spare ribs. Transfer to serving plate, garnish with optional sesame seeds and scallions, and serve with rice.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Morning snack...Ube (Purple Yam) Loaf

This is one of our favorites... Purple Yam (Ube) Loaf from Goldilocks.  They did not scrimp on purple yam, you would really taste the purple yam flavor . This loaf is soft, flavorful and very filling. Perfect for those morning cravings.