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.