Filipino cuisine is a melting pot of several different types of cuisine, but it is said that 80% of Filipino dishes have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. The Philippines was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898. Almost 400 years of Spanish rule certainly left its mark, many Filipino specialties are local adaptations of Spanish dishes.
One of our family favorites is Escabeche, or a Sweet & Sour Fish dish. Escabeche is a common Spanish dish that is popular in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. Typically it refers to a dish of poached or fried fish that has been marinated in an acidic sauce before serving. It can also composed of other meats including chicken and pork, or vegetables. The Filipino version of Fish Escabeche is fried fish in a Sweet & Sour sauce. It is a favorite Filipino party food, specially when it’s made with a whole fish that’s artfully arranged on a platter and topped with colorful veggies and sauce.
I’ve made it the traditional way using whole fish, but my grandsons have difficulty with the small fish bones. To make it easier for them to eat I have started making Escabeche using fish fillets than have no bones. Any kind of white fish will work. We have used Tilapia, Flounder, Orange Roughy, and other white fish we find in the market.
Like many Filipino dishes Escabeche isn’t difficult to make, but it is “fussy” meaning its preparation requires several steps; in this case dredging, frying, chopping, and making the sauce. It takes about an hour or so tho cook so it’s not something I make very often, but when I do my family loves it!
6 – 8 Fish Fillets (any white fish: Tilapia, Flounder, Halibut, etc.)
1 Large egg – slightly beaten
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 1/2 + 1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Ketchup
2 Tbls. Corn Starch
1 Large Onion Sliced into strips
2 Medium Green Peppers Sliced into large chunks
4 Cloves Garlic roughly chopped
Mix flour and spices in a shallow bowl
Place egg in another shallow bowl
Pat fish fillets dry with a paper towel
Heat oil in frying pan
Dip fish fillet in egg, then dip in flour mixture, shake off excess flour
Fry in hot oil until both sides are cooked
Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain oil
Repeat with the rest of the fish
Keep fried fish warm by placing it in the oven at about 200 degrees
Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup water and set aside
Place sugar, vinegar, water, and ketchup in a medium pot and bring to boil
Stir in garlic, peppers, and onions
Make sure cornstarch solution is still dissolved, if not stir until it is
Slowly stir in cornstarch solution until you get desired thickness. Sauce should be the consistency of gravy.
Place fish fillets on serving dish and pour sauce over it
Serve right away. It goes great with steamed white rice.
Escabeche - Filipino Sweet & Sour Fish
Popular Filipino dish featuring fried white fish in sweet & sour sauce.
Combine flour, garlic powder, salt & pepper and place in a shallow dish.
Heat oil over medium - medium high stove.
Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towel.
Dredge fillets in flour mixture and place in heated oil.
Fry fish until cooked and turns golden brown - about 4 - 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness
Remove from pan and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Set aside.
Combine sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. About 10 minutes.
Mix 1/4 cup water with corn starch until smooth.
Slowly stir corn starch liquid into the boiling vinegar mixture to thicken. Reduce heat to low and let sauce gently simmer. Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to get too thick. If it gets too thick add a bit of water to thin.
Saute onions in the oil you fried the fish in until it starts to turn a bit soft.
Add garlic, saute until cooked.
Add green peppers and cook until peppers turn slightly soft.
Return fried fish fillets to pan with veggies.
Gently stir fish mixture for about 3 - 4 minutes.
Arrange fish and veggies in a platter.
Pour sauce over all.
The most efficient way to make this dish is to start making the sauce while the fish is frying. Keep the sauce simmering over low heat while you finish sauteing the veggies. Stir the sauce periodically to keep a skin from forming on the top.
When you drain the fried fish and set it aside keep it warm by placing it in a warmer or on the stove top. Don't cover the fried fish, it will get soggy.
When you replace the fish in the pan gently stir it so that the fillets warm up a bit. Transfer fish and veggies on to your serving dish (or you can keep it in the frying pan) and pour the hot sauce over all.
This dish is perfect served with steamed white rice.
We’re all very busy working on our gift lists just like Santa’s little elves. In all the hustle and bustle of the season we sometimes forget to give our furry little friends a little something.
We’ve been giving not only our family pets Christmas gifts for years, we give our pet lover friends gifts for their fur balls too. I’m not sure who started this tradition and when we started, but I do know that we all love it!
I know sometimes things get too crazy and you think do I have to think of pet gits too? Not to mention pet gifts at the pet stores can be ridiculously expensive, sometimes hard to fit into a Christmas budget specially if you have lots of pet friends. But you don’t have to break the bank on buying gifts for the furry critters or your friends that have some.
This year we’ll be giving out homemade doggie biscuits. They are very easy and inexpensive to make and you can package them in any type of container you like. We’re packing ours in pint size Mason jars, it’s sort of the double gift, the jar can be used throughout the year for more treats!
I baked these treats in about an hour using just a few ingredients, many of which I already had in my pantry. I used rolled oats, ground flax seeds, and olive oil along with the other ingredients for a tasty and healthy treat. Rolled oats are a good source of fiber and the flax seeds and olive oil are good for skin and coat. My Siberian Husky, Cannoli, loves them. She’s my taste tester!
Here’s my recipe! It will make 24 bone shaped dog treats about 3″ long and 1/2″ thick
2 cups flour – organic if you have it
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 small jar of chicken in chicken broth strained baby food
1 small jar of carrot strained baby food
3/4 + cup water
1/4 cup Olive oil
1. Mix all ingredients except water together in large bowl.
2. Knead dough, adding water about 1/4 cup at a time until the dry ingredients are all mixed in and you can form a ball.
3. Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness.
4. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters or use a glass to make round shapes.
5. Place biscuits on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
6. Re-roll dough until you have cut it all into biscuits.
7. Brush both sides of biscuits with olive oil.
8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turning biscuits halfway for even browning.
9. Remove from oven and cool on racks. Cool completely before placing in containers.
Store at room temperature in sealed containers. It will keep for 2-3 weeks or place in freezer to store longer.
A chocolate chip cookie, the ultimate comfort food. Who can resist them? But do you know its history? Most of us don’t and it’s really quite interesting no matter which version you believe!
For starters the chocolate chip cookie is a true American concoction that came to be quite accidentally when its original baker ran out of Baker’s chocolate, or nuts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ok back in 1930 a dietician named Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth purchased a Cape Cod style house in Whitman a town between Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts. The house was originally built in 1709 and was used by travelers to rest, change horses, have a meal, and pay any tolls needed to use the road. Ruth and Kenneth soon turned their home into a lodge which, with a nod to its past, they named “The Toll House Inn”.
Now Ruth was a skilled baker and soon drew in visitors from all over the northeast. Many came to sample her delicious baked goods. One of her favorite desserts were Butter Drop Do Cookies and her recipe which dated back to colonial days called for Baker’s chocolate. So one day in 1937 Ruth was making these Butter Drop Do Cookies and found herself lacking the chocolate, so she chopped up a bar of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate into tiny pieces thinking that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the dough. When it didn’t the chocolate chip cookie was born! Well that’s one version; another version is she ran out of nuts and substituted the chopped chocolate; still another version claims she accidentally dropped a bar of chocolate into the dough and it broke into tiny morsels. Whatever the version it’s all part of chocolate chip cookie history!
The new cookies were a hit and Ruth called them “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies”. Her recipe was published in news papers all over New England and the sales of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars rocketed.
Then in 1939 when “Betty Crocker” (she was a fictional character who had a radio show) featured them on her radio series “Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places” the chocolate chip cookie went big time! Ruth being a shrewd gal approached Nestle’s and struck a deal, they could print her recipe on all their semi-sweet bars and later bags in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolates. Lucky lady!
The cookie has become the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts. As for Ruth and hubby they sold the Toll House Inn in 1966 and it burned down on New Year’s Eve 1984.
So now you know its history. I’m sure you also know many versions of the chocolate chip cookie recipe have popped up, you may even have your own, I know I do! But have you ever tried The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie? It’s one of our favorites! You can order it for dessert at their Mariposa Restaurant where you get a boxed set of 3 cookies and a recipe card, very cute! Or you can buy the giant sized cookie at their Bistro. And you can also buy tins of them from the Neiman’s gourmet food department at Christmas time. We do all 3! A box of 3 from the restaurant costs $6, the giant cookie at the Bistro is $5, and a tin of them will set you back about $20+.
But Neiman’s is nice enough to share their recipe, remember the boxed set at Mariposa comes with a recipe card. So if you don’t feel like shelling out $5 or more for a cookie or two; or if you’ve never tried the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie then read on because I’m sharing it today!
I’m pretty sure you know what Chicken Fried Steak is, although I’ve always wondered why it bears such a name. For those who’ve never heard of Chicken Fried Steak it’s basically a beef steak that’s been dipped in batter then fried. Sort of like fried chicken, I guess that’s where it gets its name. It’s usually smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes. Really it’s diner food, you know the place that serves up grease laden food. Anyway since I’m not a big fan of this dish I decided I should make it with chicken and call it Chicken Fried Chicken!
I know the name Chicken Fried Chicken sounds redundant, why not just call it fried c.icken. Well that’s because when we think of fried chicken we think fried and battered drumsticks and other chicken parts cooked with the bone. My Chicken Fried Chicken uses boneless skinless chicken thighs so it sort of looks like the ever baffling Chicken Fried Steak.
Like its beef counter part, Chicken Fried Chicken is served with gravy and a starch and veggie. It’s actually really good. My family loves it!
So here’s my recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken.
8 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Tbl. Garlic Powder
1 Tbl. Salt
1/2 Tbl. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Oregano
1/2 Cup Milk
Oil for frying
Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towel
Pound chicken thighs until they are about 3/4″ thick
Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl or dish
In a separate bowl whisk together egg and milk
Heat oil in a deep fryer or large frying pan to 350°
Dip chicken into egg and milk mixture, shake off excess liquid
Dredge chicken in the dry ingredients until it’s evenly coated
Fry chicken in hot oil about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature is at least 165°
Place cooked chicken on plate covered with paper towels to drain oil
Snowball Cookies are also called Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes. What I love the most of these cookies is the texture and the fluffiness, not too sweet powdered sugar coating. My mother baked snowballs during Christmas, New Year and other special occasions.
Snowballs comfort me whenever I’m sad, my mom gave me those when I’m upset and crying. It makes me feel better and happy.
This is my version of Snowball Cookies also called Mexican Wedding Cookies and also called Russian Tea Cakes. Enjoy!!!
2 cups butter “2 sticks”, soft. I used salted
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
+ 2 cups powdered sugar (for coating)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix butter & powdered sugar together using a large mixing bowl and add in vanilla extract.
Add the flour & mix until soft dough ball formed.
Roll the dough into 1″ balls & place on ungreased cookie sheet (I used a nonstick baking mat).
Bake for about 9 minutes or until cookies are set but not brown.
Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes then roll in a bowl of powdered sugar.
Place on cooling rack to cool and roll in powdered sugar again.