Pinoy Plates!

Pinoy” is a nickname for Filipinos.  However, it describes more than a people.  It also describes the culture, including the food culture.

(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)

(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)

In this week’s Blast I want to share with you some cuisine, Pinoy style.  After all, people ask me, “what is Filipino food?”  My quick answer is:  DELICOUS!

In a more technical sense, I would describe Pinoy food as a unique fusion of Asian and Spanish flavors.  It has truly become a place of world flavors.  Colonized by Spain, situated in the middle of Asia, and heavily visited by Europeans, Australians, and Americans for military purposes and exotic getaways, Filipinos have adapted their traditional plates to create unique flavor profiles.

(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)

(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)

(Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines. Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.) 

(Click to watch a video: Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines.  Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.)

Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations, showed the struggle to discern what is truly Filipino Food.  The fact that the Philippines’ nation is comprised of more than 7,000 islands means each island has its way of doing things.  Yes, the “island mentality” means the inhabitants of each island think their food is the best!  But Chef Bourdain agreed, Philippines is the “Land of lechón!”

(Lechon – filipino style.)

(Lechon – filipino style.)

Let’s start with the common foods.  Filipinos eat pork, seafood, and chicken, in familiar sautéed, grilled, stewed, and fried preparations.  Philippine beef is not as succulent as well-fed Midwestern cattle or Japanese Wagyu.  Instead, the red meat more often used is goat.  Slaughtering the fattened calf comes only during big celebrations.

Filipino fruits and Asian vegetables help maintain healthiness in a diet that can be saturated by fatty fried, but oh so tasty, foods.  The use of rice wine vinegar to help break down richly flavored foods brings a vibrancy and variety to the flavor profile of dishes such as the lechón, Filipino manok (friend chicken with infusion of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce), and adobo (vinegar-braised pork or chicken that would be drained and refried).

(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)

(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)

Pancit, the famous clear rice noodle that combines poultry, pork, and seafood can be prepared in several ways.  So too, the Filipino egg roll, called lumpia, which uses rice paper to wrap all types of fillings (primarily beef and vegetables) before its deep fried to a perfectly crisp golden brown.

(My mom's egg rolls – a taste that makes you say "Thank you, GOD!")

(My mom’s egg rolls – a taste that makes you say “Thank you, GOD!”)

There are some very strange foods, like blood pudding (dinuguan); the famous Fear Factor speciality, Balut (a gestated and fermented duck egg); and a few others too unique for this family friendly E-mail Blast!

Despite the unique (or odd) foods, travelers to the Philippines never go hungry.

(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)

(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)

In fact, visitors often rave about the seemingly endless variety of flavors you can choose from, as long as you’re willing to be at least a little adventurous.  For the American and European palate, Filipino food is best described as well marinated and exploding with flavor.  If someone has to add salt or pepper to a Filipino dish, then that person must have muted taste buds!

(Mrs. Dorothy's Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)

(Mrs. Dorothy’s Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)

I (half) joke with people and explain the reason why I had friends as a kid was because my mother cooked so well.

(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka. Good food makes good friends.) 

(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka.  Good food makes good friends.)

Maybe you can try my version of Filipino Food.  Click here for the recipe.

Let Us Pray:

God bless our families with faithfulness, celebrations around their dining room table, and the perseverance to celebrate together around God’s sacred Table – His Altar of Sacrifice.  In a special way, God bless those families that struggle with putting food on the table and bringing their families around it.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)

(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)

What was your favorite traditionally ethnic family meal?  Have you ever had Filipino food? If so, what is your favorite?  Your comments help encourage our community to share ideas and to spread the word.  Be sure to encourage family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for these free E-mail Blasts.

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Posted in Grace Before Meals, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Recipe- Pork, Recipe-Fish, Recipe-Pastry, Recipes | 7 Comments »

Posted February 9th, 2010 | Recipe-Pastry

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

1 bagel, plain and ripped into small pieces

1 egg, plus 2 additional egg yolks

½ cup chocolate, (milk or dark) shaved

1 cup milk

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 Tbs coffee liqueur

2 Tbs unsalted butter


Instructions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Rip one bagel into small ¼ inch pieces and set aside.  In microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, coffee liqueur, and butter by microwaving for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Mix and incorporate all flavors together.  The consistency should be “soupy” and loose.  Beat one egg and 2 additional egg yolks together.  Temper eggs by adding chocolate sauce a few tablespoons at a time, so not to cook the eggs.  Once fully combined, pour over the bagels, and be sure to mix so that each piece of bagel is fully soaked by the mixture.  Place in a small oven safe dish, sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 30-35 minutes.  You will notice the bagel pudding will rise.  Be sure to serve quickly to get that fluffy and warming comfort with each bite!  Serve with a little vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream.


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Posted November 11th, 2009 | Recipe-Pastry

Apricot, Brie cheese, and Toasted Walnut Tartlets


Pastry puff (refrigerated)

Apricot preserves

Brie cheese

Chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Nonstick spray


Adding Walnuts


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish for small muffins with nonstick spray.  Cut the pastry puff into 1inch squares, according to the size of the muffin pans.  Place pastry puffs in individual spaces.  Cut brie cheese into small cubes, about ¼-inch pieces and place on top of pastry puff.  Spoon about a teaspoon of apricot preserve on top of the cheese.  Add chopped walnuts on top of the apricot preserve.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry puff is fully cooked.  Let cool before removing and plating.  Note, the preserves will bubble and melt to create a sticky and gooey center, so it’s best not to plate these tartlets on a paper doily.

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Posted June 30th, 2009 | Recipe-Pastry

Raspberry Lemon Meringue Cake

Raspberry Lemon Meringue Cake
3 Cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup milk
Peel of 2 lemons, finely grated
1/2 Cup lemon juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
4 large eggs
3 egg whites at room temp
11 oz. jar of lemon curd
1 1/2 Cups fresh raspberries (I added blueberries too)

Jen Rice with delicious cake

Jen Rice with delicious cake

Instructions:  Preheat oven to 350, Butter & and flour two 9″ cake pans.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, stir together milk, lemon peel, and lemon juice.   Beat butter & and 2 cups powdered sugar until fluffy, Add eggs, one at a time.  Then add half flour mixture, then milk mixture, then remaining flour mixture, mixing after each addition.  Divide batter between buttered or sprayed pans and bake 25 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes in pans on a baking rack.

Beat remaining powdered sugar and egg whites, Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch (2-3 minutes).  Remove from heat and beat on high until stiff peaks form and mixture is cool (7-10 minutes).  Remove cake from pans and place one cake layer on cake plate,  Spread half of curd on cake,  Top with berries, then drizzle remaining curd evenly over berries.  Place other cake layer on top of raspberries, Top cake with meringue.  Click here for a meringue recipe.  Preheat broiler to high.  Broil cake until meringue peaks are golden (about 2 minutes).

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Posted May 13th, 2009 | Recipe-breakfast, Recipe-Pastry

I hope you all had a chance to celebrate the great gift of your mom this past weekend for Mother’s Day. But there is no reason to limit a celebration of moms to just one calendar day.

Consider offering her an extra surprise and make her a Mother’s Day breakfast next Sunday, too. Here’s a simple recipe that reuses (or updates and renews) day-old French baguettes for a luscious French toast with a rum and berry syrup!

3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk or light cream
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 slices day-old French baguette, cut on bias
2 tsp butter
¼ cup syrup
4 strawberries, cleaned and cut
1/8 cup of blue berries
1 banana, sliced
½ cup of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut Flavored Rum (or any other spiced rum)

Beat eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla together. Soak day old- baguette slices in mixture so each piece of crusty bread becomes soft, but not mushy. Heat butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add baguette slices to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Once cooked, remove bread and put on a plate. In the same pan, add the spiced rum and cook out alcohol for 1-2 minutes. (ATTN: Alcohol can catch on fire if exposed to a lit flame.) Add syrup and heat until syrup becomes less thick. Turn off heat. Add berries and bananas and mix together. Spoon syrup and fruit over the French baguette toast.

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Posted May 5th, 2009 | Recipe-Pastry

It begins with making pastry puffs as you normally would. Use the recipe below to make the dough. Click here for a simple recipe for the chocolate cream sauce. Both of these recipes come from various recipes online.


1 cup water

3 oz. butter, cut in pieces

1 cup flour, sifted

4 large eggs

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring water and butter to boil. Turn down heat. Add flour and spice at the same time and beat vigorously for 2 or 3 minutes. The dough will form into a mass. Add eggs one at a time and blend until smooth. Spoon onto baking sheet 2 inches apart, using small amounts to make hors d’oeuvre shells and larger amounts for dessert shells. Bake 20 minutes for larger pastries and less for smaller ones. They will double in size. When baked, remove and pierce side to let out steam. When cold, fill shells with a French cream for dessert.

Be sure to leave some extra dough to create the neck and head of the swans. Simply, roll out some of the dough into about the length of a toothpick, but the thickness of breadstick. Make one end a little thicker, and bring the other end to a point. This will serve as the head and beak for the swan. Next, bend the dough, so it looks like a swan’s neck and head. Then, bake with the rest of the dough.

Once the pastry puff is cooked and cooled, cut in half so the base of the pastry and the top of the pastry remain intact. Cut the top part of the pastry in half. This serves as the wings. Add a lining of sweet cream frosting, and assemble the halved top of the pastry in a way that makes “wings” for the swan. Add the swan pastry neck and head by inserting it into the cream. Keep in the refrigerator to cool and settle the wings in the cream. These desserts may take a bit longer to make, but they bring a special quality to end a wonderful meal!

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