breakfast recipes waffles

Crispy Waffle’s Crispy Waffle

I inherited a waffle maker from a friend a few months ago, but the romantic notion of making waffles on weekend mornings ran into a few obstacles, namely finding a good reliable waffle recipe and the motivation to cook after rolling out of bed. Last week, I found both.

Sheryl, a Filipino American ex-pat in the Netherlands, runs a food blog called Crispy Waffle, and her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffles” recipe is a great example of truth in advertising. Instead of baking soda and baking powder, she uses yeast as a leavener and lets the batter rise overnight in the fridge. I followed her recipe exactly and cooked the waffles for around 5 minutes. Here’s what I got:

Crispy Waffle's Crispy Waffle
Filipino hot dog recipes

Filipino Spaghetti

UPDATE: Check out my Filipino Spaghetti 2.0 post for another version of this dish)

Filipinos love spaghetti…so much so that it’s a staple at fast-food restaurants in the Philippines, including American franchises like KFC and Wendy’s. The Philippines biggest fast-food chain, Jollibee, offers burgers, fried chicken and spaghetti under one roof, and lucky for me, there’s a bunch of them here in California.

Filipino spaghetti is sweeter than a traditional Italian spaghetti, usually from the addition of sugar or banana ketchup to the sauce. It’s other defining characteristic is hot dogs, which sounds weird to non-Pinoys, but it acts as a salty counterpoint to the sweet sauce. (I always knew there was a reason I was partial to Spaghetti O’s with Sliced Franks when I was a kid.)

Filipino Spaghetti

I generally freestyle my spaghetti, but I always start with a plain sauce (like canned Hunt’s or Del Monte) to use as a base since other ingredients are going to be added. A friend who makes her own excellent version of Filipino spaghetti swears by Prego. I prefer using sugar as a sweetener instead of banana ketchup since it’s something I always have on hand.

Mexican recipes SPAM

Chilaquiles con “Lardones” de SPAM

A friend’s Facebook status message this morning that mentioned a chilaquiles craving inspired this crazy dish. I haven’t had chilaquiles since our trip to Chicago, and this version won’t win any awards for authenticity, but the final product was delicious, and that’s all that matters, right?

Chilaquiles con Lardones de SPAMSome cracked-out chilaquiles.

This recipe is pretty cracked out since I had to improvise on the ingredients. I had some old tortillas, but I didn’t have any salsa verde. The only salsa I had was an almost-finished jar of Trader Joe’s Salsa Authentica, but there wasn’t enough. I found an old bottle of La Victoria red taco sauce in the fridge and mixed that into the salsa. I didn’t have any eggs or crema mexicana so I mixed some sour cream with a little water to thin it out and drizzled it on top of the chilaquiles.

I chose SPAM because it was the only meat I had readily available, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare SPAM anyway. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to cut up the SPAM, but as I thought about, the “lardon” idea came to me. Lardons are generally bacon cut into thick chunks, so I thought I do the same with the SPAM.

SPAM SPAM “lardons”
bacon Filipino musings recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Lumpia with Alfie the Lumpia Queen

My homegirl Alfie has been experimenting with lumpia lately and recently started wrapping them in bacon. Yes, that’s right…bacon-wrapped lumpia. It started with turkey bacon, but Alfie was apprehensive about whether or not real smoky pork bacon would work or not. I told her to go for it since I don’t acknowledge the existence of turkey bacon (I feel the same way about turkey SPAM also).

bacon-wrapped lumpia
Yes…that’s bacon-wrapped Lumpia.

Anyway, I wish I was back in L.A. to be one of Alfie’s tasters, and the more you read about Alfie’s Lumpia Project, you’ll wish you were one too.

beef musings recipes sous vide

A Sous-Vide Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone and the deep-fried short ribs and “dismantled” prime rib were big hits.

The short ribs were cooked in a 135F/57.2C waterbath for 48 hours and then deep fried in 360F vegetable oil for a few minutes to crisp up the skin.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

I probably could have fried them a bit longer to get an even crispier skin, but overall, they were great. Here’s how they looked on the platter.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

The dismantled prime rib was a lot of fun to put together. My butchering skills definitely need some fine tuning, and I know I’ll do better next time. The calotte (cap meat) was separated from the ribeye and they were placed separately in the same water bath as the short ribs about 2 hours before service. Here’s what the cap meat look like when it came out of the bath.


I seared the calotte in a grill pan for a couple minutes a side. The ribeye roast was browned on all sides in oil. Then butter and thyme was added to the pan and then meat was basted in butter for a few minutes before resting and carving. Here’s what they looked like together on a plate.

Dismantled Prime Rib

The meat was soft and tender and even though it was medium rare, it had a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, which is why sous vide cooking is so great. You can’t get that texture when you do a traditional roast. I also liked doing the calotte and the ribeye separately because you can finish them in different ways. We served it with my wife’s bacon garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms sauteéd in butter, and green beans.
Garlic Bacon Mashed Potatoes


We had cookies and apple pie for dessert, although no pictures of those because we were so full that we couldn’t really move. Apologies also for the lack of prep pictures. It’s hard to think about stopping to taking pics when you’re focused on the task at hand. I’ll try and do better next time.

Merry Christmas! (if this applies to you! :-P)

beef Bistek Tagalog Filipino recipes

Bistek Tagalog 3.0 (Grilled Version)

Thanksgiving was at my cousin’s this year, and we both agreed we didn’t want to do turkey. I decided that I would make a big batch of Bistek Tagalog, only this time (and inspired by Marvin at Burnt Lumpia) I was going to grill it. Bistek is great as a traditional single-pan dish, but I was confident that grilling the steak would make it even better.

Grilled Bistek

Unlike previous versions of bistek I’ve made that used thinly sliced New York or sirloin steaks, I picked up some flap steak at Costco. Flap steak is very similar to skirt steak, cooks quickly, and is extremely tender. Again, you can use almost any cut of steak to make bistek, but I think that skirt, flank, or flap steaks might be the best cuts of meat for this dish.

I used the same methods as in Bistek Tagalog II (Kalamansi version). I got some more kalamansi from our family friend and ended up needing 60 of them to get almost 1.5 cups of juice. I mixed this with a cup of soy sauce (to ensure there was proportionally more juice than soy sauce) and four chopped garlic cloves to finish the marinade. The meat should be marinated for no more than an hour before putting them on the grill. (Make sure you save the marinade to make the sauce later).

Grilled BistekOn the Grill

I grilled them for about 5 minutes a side on a very hot grill and then rested the meat for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. The meat ended up being between medium rare and medium, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Grilled BistekSlice against the grain.

I had a bit of trouble getting the onions onto skewers, so I just put them directly on the grill. I lost a bit of onion this way, but for the most part it worked well. I’m sure you could fry up the onions in a hot, dry frying pan or grill pan if you want to maximize your onion yield. :) When you’re done cooking the onions, mix it up with the meat.

While the meat rests, take the remaining marinade and cook it down to your desired consistency to make the sauce. You might find that you don’t even need the sauce after you try the meat, but it’s always good to mix it in with your rice, too. We ended up pouring the sauce into a gravy boat so that people could just pour it on the meat if they wanted.

Of the three different bistek’s that I’ve made, this one is by far my favorite. Grilled meat always trumps pan-fried in my book, and the flap steak was also the ideal cut of meat to use for bistek. A pan-fried flap steak would also be excellent, but if you have access to a grill, by all means use it.

How did it go over at Thanksgiving? The bistek was the first platter to be finished off, and I also got several compliments on it, so it went very well. :)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend…now it’s time to focus on Christmas dinner!

beef Bistek Tagalog Filipino recipes

Bistek Tagalog 2.0 (Kalamansi version)

We’ve been cooking a lot for my parents this week, and when my mom showed me the bags of kalamansi (Philippine musk lime) she got from her friends, the first thing I thought of making was Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beefsteak).

Bistek Tagalog

The first time I wrote about this, I only had lemons on hand, but kalamansi is the traditional ingredient.


Kalamansi are really small, and I think I used at least 30 kalamansi (I lost count) to get 1 cup of juice. The kalamansi juice is mixed with soy sauce and minced garlic and used to marinate the steak for about 30 minutes.

My mom said that the bistek she grew up with a had a strong citrus flavor, so instead of the 1:1 citrus/soy sauce mixture that I used before, I reduced the amount of soy sauce to let the kalamansi juice come to the forefront.

When my mom tried my bistek, she said it reminded her of home, which was the ultimate compliment.

bacon OMG recipes sandwiches

Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich

When my group leader at work told me that she made it through college by eating peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, I was immediately intrigued.

Peanut Butter and Bacon sandwich

My version was made with Niman Ranch bacon and some Trader Joe’s organic crunchy peanut butter. It was really good, but I really want to try this with some creamy Skippy….you know, for that true “after-school snack” vibe.

barbecue pork recipes sauces

Pulled Pork (and Smoking Flower Pots)

My Lazy Barbecue posts (beef ribs and tri-tip) were an easy and convenient way to make barbecue in an oven, but it also stoked my dormant curiosity about smoking meats…with real smoke. We’re technically not allowed to grill or barbecue where we live, so I started looking for ways to build a smoker that didn’t look so conspicuous. Google eventually led me to an old episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats where he made a smoker out of a terra cotta flower pot and bowl and an electric hot plate. I’ll write more about the smoker in another post since i want this one to focus on this:

Pulled Pork and Baby Back Ribs

(I’ll talk about the ribs some other time…let’s just discuss the pulled pork.)

Making pulled pork is pretty simple. For this attempt, I coated the entire pork butt with yellow mustard and then sprinkled the meat with a barbecue spice rub and let sit in the refrigerator uncovered for 18 hours. Generally, pork butt is smoked for more than 12 hours at a fairly low temperature (usu. between 225-250F) until the meat reaches a temperature of 195F.

From what I’ve read, the meat stops “absorbing” smoke at around the 3–4 hour mark and any time after that just adds to the smokey bark that accumulates on the meat. Since I was using an electric hot plate and didn’t want to leave it on overnight, I smoked the meat for around 4 hours at an average temp of 240F and then double wrapped it in heavy duty foil and put it in a 225F oven to finish.

The total cooking time was around 16 hours, and after I took it out of the oven, I put it in an empty ice chest where it rested until I was ready to pull the pork and serve it. Here’s what it looked like after removing it from the foil. The “gap” in the meat is where the shoulder bone used to be.

Finished Pork Butt

Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

KFC featured in September Bon Appétit

coverNo, not Kentucky Fried Chicken or even my beloved Korean Fried Chicken…I’m talking about Keller Fried Chicken.

Nearly a year after Food and Wine magazine published Thomas Keller’s Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken Recipe, the September 2008 issue of Bon Appétit magazine features another version of Keller’s fried chicken.

It’s no secret that I really love Keller’s fried chicken. I’ve had it at Ad Hoc on several occasions (Mothers’ Day, New Year’s Eve Brunch, Fried Chicken Night), and I’ve even gone into the kitchen to make it for family and friends (Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe, Comfort Food Christmas).

Conceptually, the Bon Appétit recipe for Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken is very similar to the Food and Wine version—brine, double dredge, fry. The proportions are a little different, and I’m sure Keller is always tweaking his recipes anyway.

I’d transcribe this recipe for y’all to read, but it hasn’t made its way to yet. You can always pick up the magazine next time you’re at the grocery store and after reading the recipe and checking out the pictures, you might even be tempted to start adding a few more items to your shopping cart.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Do it. You know you want some.

(Thanks to Susannah at Amuses Bouche for this tip!)