Beef Nilaga (Boiled Beef Soup)

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This is how I would celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this year. Instead of going for Corned Beef and Cabbage boiled dinner, I’d go for Filipino-style boiled beef soup which we call Nilaga. This is a very similar clear broth dish in terms of ingredients and cooking style.

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This is the supreme comfort food in the Philippines. It is served all year round even on a hot summer day. Unlike the Irish corned beef and cabbage, Nilaga doesn’t usually include carrots but may sometimes include string beans or sweet corn roundels, if corn is in season. Bokchoy, Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage could be used as well instead of head of cabbage.  As for the meat, Filipinos usually use beef brisket, shank or tendons. Often, pork ribs and pork belly are also used as cheaper substitutes.

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Irish Soda Biscuit

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This recipe is not your traditional butter biscuit or an Irish soda bread. The difference is – it has other “fun” ingredients which added more depth to its flavor such as dried fruits, nuts and aromatic spices like fennel. The Irish calls it the Americanized version of their soda bread. Traditional Irish Soda bread has only 4 basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. And unlike typical biscuits, this recipe uses baking soda instead of baking powder, so it’s more crumbly than flaky.

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Creamy Potato Basil Soup

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When I thought I was done making soup for cold winter days because it already felt like Spring here in Wisconsin in the middle of February; then came a big snow storm just couple of days ago. Only in Wisconsin where you have such a Spring-like weather in 4 days and a snow storm on the 5th day.

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But anyway, I was craving for hot soup so I decided to make an easy and light creamy potato basil soup without using any heavy cream or cream soup in cans. Instead, I made roux which is a paste-like texture of flour and butter mixture cooked on low heat. Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. When you add milk into the roux paste, you create béchamel or white sauce, which is the base of most cream soups.
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Venison Jerky

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During hunting season in Wisconsin from mid-September to December, we have a bounty of venison meat in the big freezer in our basement. Last Christmas, as additional gifts to the kids (grownup kids) we gave them pounds of frozen packed venison hamburger plus a few pounds of frozen packed tenderloin steaks to take home with them.

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My man is a seasoned hunter; he hunts deer, guts them out in the woods and brings home the carcass and the heart. He has certain way of butchering and packaging venison as well as his little celebratory ritual, as I call it.

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Wisconsin Cheese Curd Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

savorysweetWisconsin Specials
Besides Badgers and Green Bay Packers, cheese is Wisconsin’s next great pride. And only in Wisconsin where you can find deep-fried cheese curds in almost all sports bar in any town and local fast-food restaurants such as Culvers. They are even served at Mcdonald’s in most of its Wisconsin locations and also available at some A&W and Dairy Queen locations in the state.

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What are cheese curds made of?

Cheese curds are product of cheese making process. Before cheese are formed into blocks or wheels and aged, they start out as curds. Fresh cheese curds have a slightly rubbery texture and squeak when eaten. Hence, they are often known here in the Midwest as squeaky cheese. They squeak because the elastic protein strands in cheese curds rub against the enamel of the teeth and create the squeak.

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Ginger Tea with Mint and Honey

bittersweetHealing Food Series
This post is a tribute to Ginger or ginger root and all its outstanding health benefits to human life. It’s truly amazing how Mother Nature heals us by giving us spices, plants, fruits, vegetables and trees with incredible healing potentials that could prevent us from becoming ill. All Her natural medicines are all over us, we just have to explore and consume it properly.

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Ginger has a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance called gingerol which makes it one of the best natural home remedies for almost everything. Hence, ginger is considered one of the superfoods in the planet. Ginger’s medicinal benefits are scientifically proven.

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HOT PANDESAL, an authentic Filipino Bread Roll

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I woke up this morning and the temperature was a little chilly, the sky was overcast and I was craving for hot Pandesal, a popular Filipino bread roll I remember eating on breakfast or afternoon snacks back in the Philippines.

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Looking back, I used to buy hot pandesal at Solomon Bakery, an old Chinese baker’s shop in Tondo (Manila) which was only a block away from the house. At five in the morning, people would start walking from different neighborhoods toward the bakeshop to get their paper pouch bag (or supot) of hot pandesal for the morning meal. When I get there between 6-7am, there would be a long line already. At 8am, the shop was done making hot pandesal. My next chance for a bag would be at 3-4 in the afternoon. Since, Filipinos are not big on bread diet, pandesal is the most common freshly-baked bread roll we consume.

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Baked Apple with Banana Oatmeal Filling

sweetHealing Food Series
Heartburn doesn’t generally pose any serious health concern but the discomfort it causes can hold a person from accomplishing important tasks.

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Heartburn, as defined by Mayo Clinic, is burning pain in the chest, just behind the breastbone. The pain is often worse when lying down or bending over. The pain arises from the stomach or lower chest and then spreads towards the neck, throat, and jaw as a result of stomach acid backing up to the esophagus (swallowing pipe where the food passes from the mouth to the stomach). It commonly appears after a meal or during sleep.

To curb heartburn, WebMD suggested cutting down the amount of food to eat at a time. “No matter what the food is, how good it looks, or how much you like it, eating too much food at once makes heartburn more likely.”

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Beef Empanada and an Afternoon Prepping with Tasha

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Empanada is also known as “turnover” or stuffed pastry which is usually made by filling the dough with savory or sweet ingredients, folding it over, sealing and baking or frying it. It could be served as appetizer, snack or a meal on its own.

Turnovers are very flexible dish since you can make so many versions depending on what stuffing, spices or pastry to use. Some use regular flour to make pastry dough while others prefer wheat. In southern states, they prefer to use corn flour instead.

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Changing the stuffing also changes the flavor profile of empanada, for instance:
* Asian – (savory)  – use ground pork or tuna, cabbage or potato,
garlic, onion, carrots, and parsley
* Italian – (also called panzerotti) use minced beef, almonds, walnuts, chocolate,
sugar, cinnamon, basil, and cloves
* Mexican – (spicy)  use ground beef, onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn, beans, cilantro,
cumin, cayenne, jalapeno, and coriander or taco seasoning
* American – (sweet) use apples or any fruit, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon

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Seattle: Seafood, Wine, Beachfront, Surgery and More…

I was in Seattle, WA with my significant other for medical reason. He had a hip surgery at the Virginia Mason Medical Center and I was the volunteered caregiver/assistant/travelling companion 😉

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Before the big day (surgery), we decided to make the most of limited time we had. First things first, we went food hunting to appease our cravings for fresh seafood Seattle is abundant with being close to the Pacific Ocean.  We went to Pike Market as every new-towner does to catch a sight of the “fish throw” which always delights the crowd they said. To our regret, we didn’t catch any of that but we saw bounty of fresh seafood I haven’t seen for decade since living in the Midwest.

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