Archive | February, 2012

current addictions

29 Feb

For this post, I want to share a few things that I’m totally addicted to. First off, I’m currently addicted to listening to the Paleo Summit, that’s going on from now til March 4th. It’s a series of radio interviews with varios experts in Paleo lifestyles. Each day, there is a different set of audio interviews that are posted. These interviews are available for only twenty-four hours. When the summit is done, the interviews and transcripts will be available for sale. I’m loving the plethora of information because the organizer has set up a diverse set of speakers, some who contradict each other. If you have the time, check it out!

As I probably mentioned before (maybe not), I’m currently addicted to Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Admittedly, I own quite a few paleo cookbooks, but this is the one that I use ALL THE TIME.

There are several reasons why I love Well Fed so much. First, there’s a ton of variety. I’m never bored with the recipes because she lists ways to vary the them so that you can potentially make two to four different dishes using the same components. Second, it’s a true paleo cookbook. I like that Joulwan shows that paleo cooking can be strict, yet delicious. Third, she introduces some simple, but effective cooking techniques such as brining chicken to make sure it stays moist and emphasizing that chili needs to simmer for two hours to ensure deliciousness. Take it from me, she’s TOTALLY RIGHT! Third, her recipes are really easy. Fourth, she has a section where she shows how you can cook/prep for the week, making paleo eating very do-able. (Yes. Treating cooking like a CrossFit WOD definitely helps with making home-cooked meals manageable and efficient!) Fifth, she has a cooking style that I can relate to. I’m someone who isn’t good at following strict recipes. I don’t trust recipes. I take for granted that most cooks won’t share their secrets. Therefore, cooking is about 10% recipe and 90% instinct and soul. Luckily, Joulwan’s directions are great! But they also give you room to experiment. She provides the base ideas and you, the budding paleo cook can run wild. Pretty awesome!

Finally, the reason why I’m addicted to Well Fed is because it introduced me to my next addiction: Penzeys Spices! OMG!OMG!OMG!HOLYJEEBUS!OMG! For those of you who don’t know, Penzeys is a store (and website) that sells spices. That’s it. Just spices. Thing is, it sells deliciously fresh and totally inspiring spices! Luckily, there’s a Penzeys in Menlo Park. At my last visit, I picked up a few things. Aren’t these things just beautiful?

I have to say that shopping at Penzeys has totally inspired my inner chef. First off, it prompted me to re-organize my spice cabinet. Check it out, y’all! Isn’t she gorgeous? FYI – I get my spices in various places. As long as there is a Penzeys nearby, I’ll always go there first. However, I also shop for spices at Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus World Market. Though I have some stuff from Costco, I’m going to stop that because there’s no reason for me to have two pounds of cinnamon. Really. There isn’t.

With my spice rack all revamped, I’ve been really inspired in the kitchen. Here are a few results of this weekend’s cooking adventures. After a conversation with the Manpanion about my eating goals, I told him that I respect his love for carbs and such. Just because I’m trying to be better at a paleo/primal diet doesn’t mean he has to suffer. However, I do want to know that I’m feeding him well. (Yes. I pack him lunch everyday. I’m awesome like that.) I explained that he would see a few changes in his meals. Primarily, I’m cutting out bread, noodles, and pasta. Instead, I’m packing him potatoes (the colored ones, not the Idaho ones), yams, squash, and other friendly starches. He trusts my cooking senses, but will miss the rice. I cooked these seasoned red potatoes to pair with the pot of chili I made.

I swear this next dish tastes better than the photo looks. I wanted to make a creamy Italian-inspired dish. I make a mean alfredo, but I wanted to create something that had those sensibilities, but was (mostly) dairy free. Using coconut milk and two different cheese-flavored spices (they have minimal amounts of cheese, so this dish isn’t 100% paleo), I created this creamy chicken and vegetable dish. It turned out fantastic! Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact recipe. Let me think about this and I’ll post the “recipe” of this dish soon.

And there you have it. A few of my current addictions…

Live deliciously!


beef short ribs adobo in coconut milk

26 Feb

Seasoning and pan searing the short ribs until golden brown.  Get the beef plate not the English cut short rib.

Short rib on top of Jasmine rice and sautéed kale courtesy of MF (aka Octavia)

Octavia: “We have no footmen to serve the dinner!”

Beef Short Ribs Adobo
Adapted from Memories of Philippine Kitchens

3 Tbs. canola oil
3 lbs. beef short ribs, cut in equal pieces
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic, cloves peeled, separated, and smashed
3 bay leaves
3 whole birdseye chiles or red pepper flakes (optional)

Season ribs with salt and pepper and pan sear. Transfer ribs to a plate and pour off the oil. Return ribs to the saucepan add all the rest of ingredients plus the remaining 1 tsp. of pepper. Bring mixture to a boil then slow cook until the meat falls off the bone about 3 hours. Skim excess fat as you cook. Take out ribs and reduce the sauce until thickened.

This dish was absolutely delicious but I think the vinegar came out too strong for my taste and overpowered the creaminess and sweetness of the coconut milk.  For next time, I’ll only include 3/4 cups of sherry vinegar.

Tamarind Martini Cocktails
by HM (aka Hotdish)

Can there be anymore perfect cocktails for the night?  I absolutely loved the chili powder and sugar on the rim.

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream topped with Coconut Flakes
by AK (aka Maplescone)

One of the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever had hands down.  As Octavia aptly puts it, “it has a very sincere coconut taste.”  The coconut flakes add a nice texture and balance to the smoothness of the ice cream.  I didn’t care if I lost and came in third.  The ice cream made up for it!

Nothing beats good food, good company, and a game of scrabble.  Hope you all had a great Saturday evening.

-FM (aka Flamin’ Fritzie)

dry roasted baby back ribs

21 Feb

Pan searing the baby back ribs since they ran out of short ribs at the store.  I love my new cast iron pan but it is hot and heavy!



Finished product.

Roasted Pork Short Ribs
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc

Short Ribs
Sea Salt
Canola Oil

Make sure the meat is at room temperature. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 20 minutes for the meat to absorb the seasonings otherwise the salt and pepper will just end up on the pan. Pan sear the meat until golden brown on all sides. Roast in the oven, 350 degrees for about two hours. Let the ribs rest somewhere warm for at least 30 minutes. Longer resting time will yield more tender meat!  I’m now waiting for my dinner to finish resting.

In the meanwhile, I made some enselada as a side salad and dipping sauce: vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, red onion, and tomatoes.


crepes, glorious crepes!

20 Feb

When I lived in the Philippines a few years ago, one of the restaurants I used to frequent was Bacolod Chicken Inasal, introduced to me by my cousin Ofelia. My favorite dish was their fresh lumpia, or lumpiang ubod. My measure of fresh lumpia (or lumpiang sariwa) is my mother’s, which is filled with pork, shrimp, tofu, veggies, and topped with a peanut and garlic sauce. My mother makes the GREATEST lumpia wrapper. No joke.

The lumpiang ubod at Bacolod Chicken Insasal was very different from what my mom makes because it was small and required no sauce. The taste was simple, just fresh heart of palm, garlic, and some other ingredients that my palate can’t quite identify, wrapped in a crepe. After sifting through my old photos from the Philippines, I’m sad to report that I don’t have a single image of these delicious treats. The closest I’ve found online is here (be sure to scroll down).

Given my love for fresh lumpia, I’ve been trying to find a paleo friendly recipe for crepes (the filling is paleo). Well folks, I think I found it here. I used this recipe and modified by replacing the water with olive oil (a tip from my mom’s recipe!). For fresh lumpia (or savory crepes), add a teaspoon of garlic salt. For sweet or dessert crepes, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Fill as needed. Depending on how thick you make them, you can get about 12 crepes or so.

In truth, I haven’t gotten around to making fresh lumpia. I will say that given the texture and flavor of these crepes, they will work wonders with fresh lumpia.

However, I did make dessert crepes for the Manpanion on Valentine’s Day. His weren’t exactly paleo. For the filling, I sauteed bananas in a touch of coconut oil, making sure they were slightly charred (he likes semi-burnt things). I then spread some mascarpone cheese inside a crepe and placed the freshly charred bananas on top and rolled away. From there, I topped it with cinnamon and vanilla/honey crystals. Here is the result:

It should be noted that the crepes were made on an eight inch nonstick pan and one banana was good enough to fill these three crepes. My VDay crepes, were a little more paleo. I took 1 cup of frozen wild blueberries and slow cooked them with the juice of one Meyer lemon and 1/2 cup coconut milk until it lightly bubbled. My beauties are pictured below. It should be noted that this was quite a bit of filling. I’d say it could satisfy about 6 crepes or so.

A final note… There seems to be some debate about whether arrowroot powder/starch is paleo. With that, I also experimented with this recipe, using coconut flour. My final verdict? I prefer the first recipe with arrowroot starch. It tastes better, has smoother texture, and holds up well even after storing for a few days. The coconut flour one breaks too easy and it has a bit of a gritty texture.

Live deliciously!


in defense of filipino food

13 Feb

After a conversation with my dear friend Vika, I’ve been wanting to do a post on Filipino food and the whole Paleo/Primal eating thing. Then, I realized I already wrote something along those lines on my other blog. The post was originally written here. I’m re-posting it for you all tonight. Though it was written in 2009, I think it’s still relevant. Enjoy!

Live deliciously!



During a recent visit, my dear friend Gladys and I talked extensively about food. She’s been scouting Mark’s Daily Apple and has decided to transition to a primal (or semi-primal) diet for her and her family. The issue we both tackle with respect to such diets is How do we maintain our love for Filipino food? while on such a diet? After lengthy discussions, we both agreed that if we cut out the rice and breads, Filipino food is actually very good for those going primal. It just takes some minor adjustments. While here, Gladys and I had dinner at Tribu Grill in Union City. Below are some of the yummies we ordered… fathlete confession: We started chowing down before I took these photos. Therefore, I had to jimmy-rig the plates to look uneaten. Sorry…

Sizzling Bangus Belly (or Sizzling Milkfish). Served on a sizzling platter, this is grilled fish topped with onions and garlic. It’s also boneless. The fish fat is supposed to be good for you.

Tilapia with ginger and lemon sauce with mango and tomato salad. This was yummy and very clean tasting. Personally, I liked it better than the bangus because I liked the balance between the fish and the salad. Also, the tilapia was so juicy and flaky! Yummy!

Eggplant Salad. The veggies were a little hard to settle on. Oftentimes, veggies in Filipino cuisine is not vegetarian friendly. Warning: Our “veggie” dishes still contain meat for flavoring. Always ask for clarification because in our culture, vegetarian food still allows for seafood. Vegetarians, you have been warned. Gladys and I both love eggplant, so we settled on this dish. It was yummy, but oilier than I had wanted it. When the menu stated it was grilled eggplant, I was thinking it would be fire grilled then peeled (like how my mom does it). Nonetheless, it was a good dish. Gladys and I did opt for rice, but we ate minimal amounts. I can usually do without rice in Filipino food as long as I have a clean veggie dish to make up for it. Again, the eggplant didn’t do the job because it was a little oily.

A few weekends ago, my dear gal pal Dorothy and I met for Sunday lunch at The Intramuros. It’s much more upscale than the Filipino restaurants in Union City. In fact, it reminds me of the schmancy places in Manila. The food was pretty good. Here are some of our dishes…

Callos. This is a tomato-based stew consisting of beef tripe, sausage, garbanzo beans, etc. When cooked right, it’s one of my favorite dishes. In fact, I think my mom makes some of the best callos around. I liked this version, but wished it was a little more soupy. Again, sans rice, it’s quite primal friendly.

Laing. Ah, this is one of those veggie dishes that are deceiving. It’s taro leaves that have been cooked for hours (so you don’t get that itchy throat thing) in coconut milk. It’s seasoned with ginger and shrimp. It’s heavy, so I tend to eat it in small portions. But it’s very good and the greens are good for you. In fact, taro leaves are a staple in a lot of Polynesian food as well.

Sizzling Bangus. This is another variation of sizzling milkfish. I really liked their take on this dish because it was very clean tasting and the fish was boneless. In fact, it reminded me of kelaguen, a popular dish on Guam, but without the coconut. Fish and lemon are one of my favorite combinations!

Bibingka Souffle. This is not primal at all because it’s a dessert. But for those of you who have had bibingka, this was a fantastic take on a traditional dessert. I loved that they incorporated the salted egg and cheese on the side. (If you have never had Filipino food, you can shut your judgmental asses up about the ways we include salted egg and cheese in our desserts. Seriously. You can.)

Tomatoes and Salted Egg. I made this dish myself. If you recall earlier, I mentioned that I can go without the rice as long as I have a clean veggie on the side. This is something that I make routinely. It’s a simple mixture of tomatoes (heirloom if it’s in season), red onions, and salted egg. If I can find green mango or mango that’s not sweet, I’ll throw that in too. The salted egg isn’t uber salty and serves as a flavoring agent. This side dish is great for those meat heavy dishes such as the fish dishes. It also helps cut your rice intake.

Okay. There you have it. My spiel on the goodness of Filipino food. I will confess that I know a number of Filipinos who get a kick out of “tricking” non-Filipinos into eating things like blood, intestines, and unborn duck egg. Admittedly, I think it’s funny. But I’m not one of those people. I love Filipino food and I’m also more than happy to introduce the cuisine to others. It should be noted that if you’re going to try out Filipino food, I’m your girl. I won’t lead you to the funky stuff (um, unless you want me to).

island style

6 Feb

For those of you who don’t already know, I was born and raised on Guam. When I was thirteen, my family and I moved to Union City, California and I’ve been a Cali girl ever since. If you’ve ever been to Guam or have ever had food from Guam, you most likely tried chicken kelaguen and red rice. Recently, the Manpanion made a special request for these two dishes. Since he asked so nicely, I couldn’t say no.

In truth, it wasn’t until college until I finally realized that chicken kelaguen and red rice (and other food from Guam such as shrimp patties, chicken corn soup, etc.) are NOT Filipino food. Up until then, I just thought my Filipino friends were snobs who thought they were too good for my food. (Granted, the “snob” part is partially true, but I’ll save that conversation for some other time. Perhaps over coffee, should you decide to show me where your favorite coffee place is.)

Admittedly, food is kind of personal to me. I can’t stand it when someone feels the need to judge me for the food I’m eating – especially if I’m eating food I grew up with. For example, in college, Kelly from South Lake Tahoe, the girl in the dorm room next door, always poked fun of the unfamiliar food smells that came from my dorm room. That she thought red rice, BBQ beef, and lumpia were “gross,” lets me know that she was likely born from a jackal. Looking back, I should have followed my instinct and just punched Kelly from South Lake Tahoe when she started making her sorority girl vomit noises at the sight of my food. Oh well. Live an learn…

Anyway, I’m eternally grateful for having grown up on Guam. I firmly believe that people from Guam have this special bond with each other. It’s like, we can instantly pick each other out in a crowd and there’s this instant connection. We share a special experience that no one can ever take away from us. Perhaps this is why I tend to be over-protective with sharing food from Guam. I don’t make it for just anybody. And I definitely don’t share exact recipes. This food is sacred to me. Only those I adore and who I know can respect the food can actually share it with me. This past Christmas, I finally gave the Manpanion his first taste of chicken kelaguen. A few days later, I told my dear friend Brad about it and he said, “Wow. It took you a long time to cook that for him.”

It’s true. It did take a while. I was just waiting for the right time to share. Since then, the Manpanion has had a hankering for the dishes. Last week, I whipped up a batch of red rice. Usually, I leave this for my sister to make. However, after years of avoiding the task (in fear of ruining the batch), I think I finally mastered the art of red rice. Someone once described red rice as a bastardized version of paella. Um, no. Red rice is not bastardized. It’s evolved, thank you.

Next, I whipped up some chicken kelaguen. Again, I did this during Christmas. My mom usually does the kelaguen, but this Christmas I took on the task. The Manpanion liked it so much that he says he doesn’t mind if I make it in huge batches. He can eat this everyday if it was available:) While I won’t make this every week, I thought we were due for some island fare. Kelaguen is one of my favorite dishes because it’s yummy and totally healthy. For those of you who are paleo or primal, this is the ultimate dish (and proof that indigenous islanders are indeed, healthy people)!

Of course, red rice and kelaguen would not be complete without finadenne. I try to keep some stored in the fridge in case the Manpanion wants to put this over white rice. According to my friend Brad, finadenne is what brings it all together. I think many of us agree:)

Much to the Manpanion’s dismay, this batch did not last all week. It made it through two days. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to make a bigger batch next time!

Live deliciously!