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SURIGAO DELICACIES

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One island that many tourists visit for its amazing beaches as well as for surfing is Surigao. Located in Mindanao and facing the Pacific Ocean, it is no wonder people who love riding the waves come here to enjoy the surf, the sun, and the sand. There are also numerous natural wonders for people to explore here, like the very famous Hinatuan Enchanted River. There is also the Tinuy-an Falls, and Hinayagan Cave.

Apart from these tourist destinations, Surigao is also home to a number of delicacies that you will not want to miss trying while there. Some of the delicacies you will find on this island include sweet as well as savory options, though not all are baked. Here are some of the more popular ones that people try, and even bring home with them:

Sayongsong – this is probably the most popular delicacy of Surigao, and is a sweet kakanin that you can find in the shape of a cone. This food item is wrapped in banana leaves and is actually made out of ground up sticky rice. This is mixed with coconut milk and sugar, then wrapped in cut banana leaves and shaped into cones, which are then placed in steamers and steamed until solid. These can be easily found in any local marketplace in Surigao.

Cassava Cake – another area in the Philippines that makes cakes out of the cassava tuber is Surigao, and they have a popular bakeshop that does just that, make cassava cakes that are heavenly. These are made using grated cassava, sugar, condensed milk, flour and oil. These are usually baked in squares and cut into easy-to-handle pieces that are then placed onto paper liners for easy handling.

Empanada – much like a lot of the places of the Philippines, Surigao also has its local version of this Spanish influenced savory treat. Filled with pork, chicken, or beef mixed with potatoes, peas, and other vegetables, this crescent shaped pouch is available in local bakeries and stalls in local marketplaces all over the island.

 

Dried Pijanga – while not a snack or a baked pastry, the dried pijanga is still something that Surigaonons are proud to call their own. These are discs of fish that are sliced thinly, fried, then dried under the sun. When the fish is as dry as it can possibly be (much like tuyo), it is then fried again.

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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – SALMON EN PAPILLOTE (SALMON IN PAPER)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on, washed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sprigs of dill
  • 2 medium lemons, sliced thinly
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, washed and cut in thick strips
  • 8 asparagus, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon drained baby capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE:

  1. Preheat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare your parchment paper by cutting a 12 inch long piece for each filet and folding it in half. Cut the paper to form a heart shape.
  3. Combine your asparagus, potatoes, and carrots in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then toss with a little bit of olive oil.
  4. Next, open up each paper heart and place your vegetables in the middle, making sure you have enough for each pouch.
  5. Place your salmon filet on top of these vegetables, skin side down.
  6. Drizzle the top with some lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and top with a few slices of lemon. Top with sprigs of dill and some capers.
  7. Drizzle the top of the filets with some olive oil, then seal the parchment packet by crimping the sides like you would an empanada.
  8. Place each packet on a baking sheet, with two packets for each sheet.
  9. Bake two packets at a time in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Once done, carefully open each packet by cutting the top with a pair of scissors. You can serve these packets as is on plates and have your guests open each one with their own pair of scissors. Serve piping hot.
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OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR OVEN ASIDE FROM BAKING PASTRIES

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Did you know that while ovens are popularly used for baking pastries, breads, cakes, and other desserts that you can actually use it for other things? While your oven is indeed used more frequently for things that come in dough or batter form, these can actually be used for a lot of other things. You can use your oven to prepare more than just sweet treats and breads, and here are some of the other uses your oven can have:

Roasting – ovens produce dry heat, hence it is a great tool for roasting. While some people choose to roast meats and poultry over charcoal or a low open flame, you can do the same thing with an oven. You simply need to elevate your meat and keep it from touching the metal of the tray or pan it is in to ensure even roasting. You can do this by using a wire rack underneath it. You can also roast meats and poultry evenly in an oven that has a rotisserie feature in it.

Broiling – if your oven has a heating element at the inner top part of its cavity, then broiling is another thing you can do with your oven. You can broil meat, poultry and fish with this feature. For faster broiling and browning of whatever it is you are cooking, you should raise the oven rack higher in the oven to get the food you are cooking nearer to the heating element.

Braising – cooking meat in liquid using dry, indirect heat is called braising, and you can do this in your oven as well. More-often-than-not, the equipment that you use to do this is called a dutch oven, which is basically a metal pot with a cover that you can use inside your oven. You brown the meat in this pot over the stove, add the spices and the liquid, and over low heat, braise this in the oven for a few hours. This produces very flavorful and tender meats, and is great for those tough meat pieces.

En Papillote – this is a French term which means “in paper”, and you can use this cooking method in your oven as well. This is a great way to cook delicate meats and fish, like salmon filets and chicken breasts, without overcooking or undercooking, and without drying them out. You will need parchment paper for this, as well as a bed of meaty vegetables like asparagus and potatoes, for the fish or poultry to sit on while being cooked. These cook inside the paper in its own juices, with the steam remaining inside the paper packet as it is cooking.

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SAMAR BAKED DELICACIES

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Much like every other island in this 7,000 island archipelago called the Philippines, Samar is an island that is rich in many things, and this includes tourist spots, food, and delicacies. People here take pride in what they have to offer visitors as well as locals when it comes to these things. It would be a shame for you, if you are visitor to this part of the country, to miss out on some of the best spots and eats in the area.

When it comes to tourist spots, Samar has the famous San Juanico Bridge, which it shares with Leyte. It also has a number of very old churches that have stood the test of time and have been around for centuries. As for natural wonders, aside from the amazing surfing spots along the beaches facing the Pacific Ocean, Samar also has waterfalls, caves, and numerous resort islands for you to check out.

For the food, you will find that seafood is very popular as well as abundant here, with the island facing the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean. The other mouthwatering eats you can also find in Samar are their baked (and some non-baked) delicacies that make for good snacks and pasalubong. Here are some of them:

Corioso – this is probably the most popular delicacy that people can associate with Samar. This is a thin butter cookie that is made using flour, milk, eggs, baking powder and of course, butter. Surprisingly enough, these cookies also have lard in them, which helps make them super crispy while the butter makes them slightly moist and chewy.

Roscas – another butter cookie that you will also enjoy in this part of the country is the roscas, which is made using flour, sugar, egg yolks, baking powder, and butter. It also has sweetened condensed milk in the dough and aniseed for that distinctive aroma and flavor. These cookies are unique because of their shape and because these are actually split in half in the middle of the baking process, in order to give them the unique linked comma shape it has.

Sasima – this is a treat that is made using bread crumbs and caramel, and is a somewhat soft yet hard and sticky, chewy concoction that is uniquely found only in the eastern part of this island.

Hopia de Pili – while this is called a hopia, its shape is that of an empanada, which may be why people can get confused asking for a hopia and getting a crescent shaped delicacy instead. This is made using the usual mixture of eggs, flour, sugar, milk, butter, and baking powder for the dough. The filling is made out of pili nuts that are ground into a fine powder then mixed with sugar syrup to create a sweet paste.

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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – SILVANAS

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INGREDIENTS:

Meringue Wafer:

  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cashew nuts

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/8 cup milk

Coating:

  • 1/4 cup finely ground cashew nuts mixed with 1 3/4 cups white or yellow cake crumbs

 

PROCEDURE:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare your baking pans or cookie sheets by lining these with wax or baking paper.
  3. In your mixer’s bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Beat on medium while slowly adding the caster sugar. Add in the vanilla extract and beat on high until stiff peaks are formed.
  4. Remove from mixer and fold in the sifted flour as well as the cashew nuts. To ensure that the egg whites stay light and fluffy, sift in these two powdery ingredients while slowly folding with a spatula.
  5. Place meringue mixture in a piping bag and pipe discs of even sizes onto your prepared cookie sheets. You can draw the shapes of these discs on the paper with a pencil and an oval cookie cutter to ensure even sizes and shapes.
  6. Bake your meringues for 25 minutes in your preheated oven, or until these are golden brown. Remove from oven when done and let cool completely.
  7. Prepare your icing by creaming the butter in your mixer together with the powdered sugar. Slowly add the milk and once well blended, set aside.
  8. When your wafers are cool enough, ice one side of one wafer and place another wafer on it to make a sandwich. Ice the outside of this sandwich and coat the entire thing with the cake crumbs and cashew mixture. Place on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate to set.
  9. Makes about a dozen silvanas. Serve chilled.
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BAKED DELICACIES FROM BORACAY

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Boracay, located in Aklan, Visayas, is one of the most famous and visited beach in the country. It may be a small island, but it is amazingly huge in its scenic beauty and range of leisure and sporting activities. The country takes pride in its world-renowned pristine white beaches and wonderful recreational activities.

In fact, it has received several awards and recognitions, both local and international, as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Its stunning white sand and clear turquoise water make the island a paradise. Not only it is known as a tranquil oasis when you need relaxation, it is also emerging as one of the top destination for amazing night life.

Aside from the beautiful beaches, scenic views and fun activities, Boracay is also known as a rising gastronomic hub. From its local delicacies to five star restaurants, your taste buds will surely be satisfied as you try the different cuisine and delicacies from the island. The locals, with their hospitality, will amicably ensure that your stay is worthwhile.

The more popular eats of the island is, as you might expect, the wide selection of seafood that you can choose from. These days however, locals are beginning to add more food options for tourists and locals alike to enjoy. These include not only savory items like steaks and sandwiches, but  also desserts and sweet stuff.

Popular chains that sell pizzas, donuts, and other similar eatables have emerged as favorites here. There are also a few that are considered local baked delicacies and are becoming the items that tourists take home to family and friends after a vacation on this island. Here are some of the more well-known choices:

Calamansi muffin – Every visitor, local and tourists, must try these must-eat muffins. Real Coffee Boracay is famous for its baked golden brown calamansi muffins. These zesty calamansi baked treats are so moist on the inside. With a bite, you will surely end up buying boxes of muffins to bring back home with you as pasalubong.

Potato Chip Chocolate – The ice-cream-in-dough pastries are famous in Boracay. its chocolate filling is not too sweet and is perfectly complimenting the dough. These treats are available in Boracay station 2. It is perfect for the humid beach weather.

Biscochio – Although it is not an exclusive delicacy of Boracay, these delicious delicacies from Aklan province are perfect pasalubong to take home with you. These are baked bread topped with butter, honey or sugar.

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HOW TO FIND BUDGET FRIENDLY INGREDIENT ALTERNATIVES

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When you bake, you will notice that there will be recipes that will call for ingredients that can break your budget, so to speak. More often than not, ingredients like walnuts, pecans, and the like tend to be more expensive than other nuts. Almond flour, Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and other ingredients that are also pretty difficult to find in the Philippines can also be rather expensive when you find them.

How can you bake the recipes you want to try without going over your set budget? You will need to use alternatives that are not as expensive but will still produce similar results. In order for you to do this, you will need to figure out which expensive ingredients can be swapped for lower costing ones without affecting the outcome of your cake or pastry.

Of course, it would be difficult for you to find ingredients that can replace very specific items in your list that are not common in your area. Your solution for this would be to create ingredients that are similar in taste and texture, which is easy enough with a search of the internet. Remember, the internet is your friend when you need to find alternative, lower-costing ingredients for your recipes.

To give you an example of these budget friendly alternatives, here are a few:

Cheaper alternative for walnuts – some of the nuts you can use in place of walnuts include cashew nuts, hazelnuts, and even peanuts. If you need candied nuts however, you have to choose nuts that can hold caramelized sugar pretty well. Almonds and cashews are the best for this.

Cheaper alternative to Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt can be rather pricey, so you might want to look for an alternative. Some people suggest using sour cream since it has a similar consistency. If you want the texture and flavor of Greek yogurt and find sour cream to be too sour, simply buy unsweetened regular yogurt and strain this with the use of cheesecloth and a bowl. The liquids of the yogurt will pass through the cheesecloth, leaving you with the thicker yogurt that is similar to Greek yogurt.

Alternative to buttermilk – the reason why buttermilk can be pricey at times is because people in the Philippines rarely use it. If you cannot find buttermilk for your recipes, you can actually something similar on your own. All you need to do is to pour a tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup, then add milk to this until you get one cup of liquid. Let this mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes after stirring, and you now have a great substitute for buttermilk. You can also use sour cream mixed with an equal amount of water for your buttermilk needs.

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DUMAGUETE BAKED DELICACIES

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While Dumaguete is not as popular as the other localities around it, like Cebu, Bacolod, and Iloilo, this does not mean that it does not have its own share of popular pasalubongs and such. Of course, if you are talking about tourist destinations in the area, there are a few that are pretty spectacular and widely visited. These include nature spots, man-made structures, and historical areas like Casaroro Falls, Bell Church, and the St Catherine Cathedral.

When you talk about Dumaguete and baked favorites here, you will notice that people will mention the Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries Shop. They may also mention the popular pizza place called Neva’s, and Breadworth. Here are some of the baked delicacies (and snacks) that you can find in this city:

Sans Rival – this is a favorite that is actually used in the name of a famous bakeshop and café in the city. This is a pastry that is made with layers of meringue, buttercream, and nuts. The famous bakeshop that makes it in Dumaguete crafts these in blocks that have around 14 layers, with meringue sprinkled with cashew nuts sandwiched in between layers of buttercream. The entire block is then covered in buttercream with more chopped cashew nuts sprinkled all around.

Silvanas – while some may consider these as handy, smaller versions of the sans rival, there is a slight difference. While the sans rival and the silvana are both made with meringue wafers and buttercream layers, the sans rival is made in a cake form and is covered in buttercream with nuts, while the silvana is in a small disc form and is covered in buttercream covered with cake crumbs.

Crack-de-sal – this is Dumaguete’s take on the pan-de-sal. While the original has a soft crust on the outer layer of the roll, this version has a thicker and harder crust, which has a crack in it (hence the name), and a soft center much like that of the traditional pan-de-sal. This can be purchased in BreadWorth, along with other types of bread.

 

Local Pizza – the city has quite a few local pizzerias that create their own versions of this popular Italian treat. There are brick-oven baked versions that use cheddar instead of mozzarella, and there are those that stay true to their Italian roots and use the same ingredients as their Italian counterparts. Those that use cheddar are often cheaper, with some pizzas selling for as low as P99.

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TOASTED MAMON RECIPE

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  • Ingredients:
    • 8 egg yolks, room temperature
    • 2 cups cake flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 cup sugar, white
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/3 tsp orange extract
    • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 8 egg whites
    • 1 tsp cream of tartar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar

    Procedure:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Sift and combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Set aside.
    3. In a medium mixing bowl, put egg yolks, sugar, butter and milk.
    4. Beat the mixture on high speed until the consistency is light and smooth.
    5. Add the flour mixture, orange extract, lemon extract, lemon zest and vanilla to the butter and egg yolk mixture.
    6. Beat all these ingredients on high speed, and set aside once completely combined.
    7. In a clean mixer bowl, baet egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed, and add sugar gradually once soft peak start to form. Beat until the mixture forms stiff and glossy peaks.
    8. Combine both egg yolk and egg white mixtures by adding the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture using the folding method. Folding is done with the use of a spatula, and this should be done carefully until combined well but not deflated.
    9. Place the batter in prepared muffin or mammon tins and bake at for 15 to 20 minutes.
    10. Let these mamons cool. If you are using muffin or cupcake liners with these, remove the liners once these are cooled.
    11. Place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
    12. Toasted mamon is basically fresh baked mamon that is baked twice to give it a crunchy texture.
    13. Bake again for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until these are toasted and crisp.
    14. Remove from oven and let cool.
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BAKED DELICACIES FROM AKLAN

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Aklan is known for its famous Ati-Atihan festival and export quality abaca. Also, like every province in the country, Aklan has its fair share of natural wonders, good cuisine and delicacies. It is located in Western Visayas and is situated in the northwest part of Panay Island. Its capital is Kalibo and it is usually the jump-off point to get to Boracay Island.

Apart from the many attractions that can be found here, this part of the country also holds quite a number of treats for foodies from all over the world. Specialities here include such savory treats as tinu-om and the tinumkan. The former is a chicken dish that has ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes in it. What makes it rather different from other similar chicken dishes in the region is the addition of lemon grass which gives it a very tangy, aromatic flavour. The latter is a seafood dish that can be made using either crab or shrimp, and has coconut milk as well as gabi leaves in it.

Of course, as with any other area in the Philippines, the region also has a number of baked and sweet items that can be considered homegrown. Some of these are shared with other regions while others are exclusively found here. No trip to Aklan, or any other area of the Philippines for that matter, is complete without a trip to the local bakery or pasalubong shop, which can offer you these treats:

Barquillos – Barquillos are Spanish in origin and are one of the favorite local sweet delicacies. These are thin, rolled cookies or wafers that are made by pouring a thin batter onto a wafer iron (barquillera). It is also available with polvoron powder inside, which locals call the barquiron, a combination of polvoron and barquillos.

Ampao – These are sweet and crunchy rice wafers and are also known as rice crispies to others. These treats are made using rice kernels that have been dried, fried, then mixed together with sugar syrup as well as peanuts to create bricks that people can easily carry around and eat. This is also available in the southern town of Carcar in Cebu.

Cassava Buchi – Buchi is a rice cake that is made from sweet rice flour. Traditionally, buchi has a sweet mung bean paste filling and is coated with sesame seeds but Aklan’s buchi is somewhat different.  It is also made out of sweet rice flour but instead of the sweet bean paste filling, it is filled with sweet cassava filling.

Piaya – Piaya is another local favorite that many locals and visitors alike enjoy. It is a flat bread with muscovado filling.  Before baking them, the dough is filled with muscovado and glucose syrup mixture. It is flattened and baked until golden brown. This is also available in Bacolod and in Iloilo.

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FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, unsalted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water, cold

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl and mix well by hand.
  2. Cut the butter into 4 portions and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Break the butter and squeeze it into the dry ingredient and mix all ingredients evenly until it resembles a coarse ground cornmeal. You may use a pastry blender or do it by hand.
  4. Add water a teaspoon at a time into the butter and flour mixture. Stir the mixture gently with a fork until the dough holds together easily.
  5. Place dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and form it into a disk.
  6. Put the disk of dough in between two pieces of plastic wraps and press it into a 6inch circle.
  7. Refrigerate the dough until firm for at least an hour.
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TIPS ON FLOUR SELECTION

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Flour is one of the main ingredients in baking. Although it may seem like all flours are alike, given that they are generally in powder form and are used for baking, not all flours are actually the same. Some of these may look the same, but there are actually a few different flours for you to choose from. Some of the more basic choices that you have include cake flour, bread flour, and all-purpose flour. There are also specialty flours like rice flour, multi-grain flour, and even almond flour.

Choosing the right flour for what you are making is crucial to the success of your baking endeavors, and there will be times when making the wrong choice produces lacklustre results. To help you out, here are some tips that can help in the flour selection process:

Identify the amount of gluten needed for different types of baked goods – Gluten is the protein found in flour and is formed when wheat and water is combined. It binds the dough and traps gas released during fermentation. It is basically the substance responsible for giving your baked goods its fine texture and shape.

Doughs vary on gluten content requirement and are good for different kinds of baked goods. For instance, foods such as pasta or pizza usually have elastic dough, so they need flour with high gluten. Flour with high gluten content is ideal for chewy baked goods or any yeast-risen baked goods. If you want your baked goods lighter and fluffier, a flour type with less gluten is what you need. This makes your knowledge of the gluten content of the different flour types important since it will help you decide which type will work best.

To give you a primer on gluten content, the two most commonly used flours are cake and bread. Cake flour is considered weak flour with lower gluten content, making it ideal for fluffier and lighter baked goodies like cake and soft buns. Bread flour, on the other hand, is a strong type of flour with higher gluten content, which is why this is used to create denser and heavier baked products, like crusty bread and hard biscuits.

Know the flour’s shelf life and proper storage – Aside from quality and gluten content, shelf life is also an important factor to consider. As the flour ages, it will lose its strength, which is why it is critical to know how long a flour will last. For example, white wheat flour will stay fresh for a year if stored in a sealed container but if refrigerated, it will last longer. Whole wheat flour, on the other hand, should be used within 3 months, but if it’s stored in the freezer, it will last for a year. When you are using self-rising flour, it should not be stored in the freezer but should be left on the shelf. This will stay fresh up to 6 months.

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