Saturday, July 17, 2010

Locomoco Deluxe (sans le Spam)

“Huh? Brah, that doesn’t look like a Locomoco!”
Ah, but it is my friend. It is…and I’ll tell you why.

In this posting of Speaking Penguin, I’m taking what the people of Hawai’i call, “Locomoco” and giving it a Penguin dialect.
Haha! Like I mentioned at the start of this blog, Speaking Penguin is about: using my past cooking experiences, influences from flavors around the world that I have been blessed with being able to experience and putting a spin on the Hawai’i local flavors and Pinoy food that I grew up eating.

If you want, you can call it Pan-Asian-Fusion Cuisine, except for 3 things:
That category is totally played out.
If you haven’t experienced it yet or just haven’t noticed, most of Hawai’i’s flavors are a fusion of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Hawai’ian, Mexican, Portuguese, other Pacific Islanders, American, English, Irish and which ever other immigrants arrived in Hawai’i during the sugarcane/pineapple industry era.
That means the “fusion” of these flavors have been motion well before the 1900s.

As you can see before the term “Pan-Asian-Fusion Cuisine” was ever created the People of Hawai’i have been enjoying the flavors that they have mixed up for a long, long, long time and continue to do so.
So, you can say that I’m not really doing anything new either and yeah, you’re right. But, what I am doing is taking the flavors that have been created; that have become standards, and (as I like saying) “Giving it a new Dialect.”
Let’s get cooking!

And I Quote: He’ah’s da ingidaments, yah. ~ Aunty Maria Lani/ Rap Replinger. (Translated: Here are the ingredients.)
2” thick USDA Prime Top Sirloin Steaks,
Japanese style rice,
Schillings Brown gravy mix,
Ketchup (what ever is your favorite),
Shoyu (Preferably the Aloha brand, but any Japanese Soy Sauce will do.)
Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce,
Olive Oil
Cooking Oil

One of the most important things to do when prepping your steak is to let it sit out, unwrapped, and get to about room temperature.
If it is 102 degrees (like it was today, about 90 in the house) you don’t want your steak sitting 90 degrees. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about 65-75 degrees in the house.
Why, because the last thing you want to do is throw your steaks on a +375 degree fire when the steaks are still at refrigerator temp.
That’s just bad, mmm-kay.
I don’t want to go into details, but trust me…and Alton Brown from the Food Networks –Good Eats…and a millions other cooks.
Let the steaks get to about room temperature and then give them a nice coat of good olive oil, then pepper and salt.
I am a firm believer or not over spicing really good steaks. It totally defeats the purpose of appreciating their quality.
Let the steaks sit for a while.

Start your grill.

Make a pot of rice.
No! You make the rice, don’t get some one else to do it! Hehe…
One of the reasons I like to cook by myself is because everything is timed-out.

For instance:
The steaks are sitting…absorbing the olive oil, oxygen and getting to or maintaining room temperature while you are starting your fire.
As you are making your rice, and getting the other stuff ready, the grill is getting hot.
You see?
All timed-out.

Ok, back to cooking.
Where were we…?

Steaks sitting.
Grill getting hot.
Rice being made.

Ok, afterwards….
Get a small pan or pot that is more than 3 inched deep.
Fill is up with cooking oil deep enough poach your egg(s).
Yes, that’s what I said. We’ll get to why later.
And begin heating it up on simmer.

Prep the mix for your brown gravy, but don’t cook it yet.
Let that sit in the water on the stove.

By the time you’re done with all of this, your fire should be prefect and the steaks are ready to be cook.

Grill your steaks.
How you like your steaks is all up to you. I love having them really rare, especially when they are great quality beef.

Don’t worry about anything else at the moment.
Have a beer or a glass of vino, have some tunes going and chill.
That is of course, if you are like me and cook you steaks about five minutes each side and that’s it. Pretty much all I do then is have a smoke and keep and eye on the clock and the steaks.

Plate the steaks and take them in and cover with foil.
This is important. If you do, you ruin the steak.
Just cover them and leave them alone.

At this point, your rice should be done.

The oil that is sitting on simmer should be brought up to medium.
Start the heat on your brown gravy mix.
Just follow the cooking directions on that and you’ll be fine.
When the gravy is ready, add about:
2 tblspns of ketchup,
2 tblspns of Shoyu,
1 tblspn of Worcestershire Sauce,
And a couple pinches of pepper.
By this point your steaks should have settled and released some of their juices.
Put this juice into the grave.
Oh yeah, baby.
This is the SHIZZLE!!
Taste and make adjustments to your preference.
Remove form the heat.

Bring the heat for your oil up to high.

Plate a serving of rice onto each of the plates and put a couple table spoons of gravy onto the rice.

The oil in your pan/pot should be ready.
Now, one at a time:
Drop an egg into it and poach it, A la Jacques P├ępin.
Give it a pinch of salt and pepper.
With a spoon, take some of the hot oil and douse you egg while you poach it.
When that is done, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and drain the oil for a bit before setting it on the rice.
Repeat as need for however many servings you need, or if you or anyone is like my brother, “3 more eggs please!”
Haha! Heart attack!

Take a steak and plate it with your rice and gravy.

*Now, for the sake of the photo, I sliced and fanned the steak for presentation.
Normally, I ONLY slice the steak when I am ready to eat that piece. To me, the steak retains its juiciness and flavor a lot more.

Drizzle gravy over the plate and steak to preference and serve.

Serve with your favorite salad.
Side rant for those who have grown up in or visited Hawai’i:
I don’t know if anyone noticed, but at some of the restaurants the server says and asks you when you are ordering, “Ok, you have a choice of 2 kind salads, yeah. Mixed or Mac?” This means your salad choice is either mixed greens or macaroni salad.
And seriously, Hawai’i’s Mac salad is DA BOMB! Not to mention, a proper choice when eating a Locomoco. But since we’re speaking Penguin here, eat what ever salad that makes you smile.

Eat & Enjoy
Now, for those that have argued about this not being a Locomoco…here’s what you do.

Break the yoke over your rice.
Take a piece of the egg, yoke and gravy covered rice, and a slice of steak, and stick it in your mouth.
Don’t tell me that is not a Locomoco you not eating there FOOL!!

Oh yeah, you can also eat this with my famous fried rice!

Much Aloha and Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

This is NOT your Nanay’s (mom’s) Banana Lumpia!!

Come to think of it…it's not my Nanay’s Banana Lumpia either.
That’s right Ma! Your little boy has grown up and I’m making moves of my own.
As I always like quoting Frankie, “I did it myyyyyyyyyy wayyyyyyyy!”

These are (wait for it, wait for it…..),
Banana Cream Cheese Lumpias!!!
YES, YES! That’s what I said, Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls.
Banana, Cream Cheese. Lumpia.
Alright…take your time, catch your breath…inhale, exhale, inhale and exhale.

* The recipe is slightly different, but the fundamental technique remains the same. Yes, there are just some things you shouldn’t mess with.

Ok people!!
As some of you might already know, making Lumpia or almost any type of “egg roll” thingy is not that easy if you’re a newbie at rolling food. I would think that most Asian people who has a sensible mom, would have found their butts sitting in the kitchen chair the night before some big family shin-dig, rolling a bagillion Lumpias/eggrolls/springrolls/etc.
If you are one of these kids, you can skip most of this and go straight to the recipe and go make yourselves some tasty treats. Unless you want to stay and be entertained :D
For those of you, who haven’t had the opportunity to get your rolling skills on, don’t worry about it too much, because rolling Banana Lumpias is a great way to start.

Unlike most rolls, the ingredients for Banana Cream Cheese Lumpias don’t come pouring out of the sides if you don’t roll them correctly and your wrapper doesn’t end up tearing due to rolling too slow ( the wrapper gets saturated from some ingredients/mixes). The ingredients are very forgiving to amateur rollers and also creates a great combination of yumminess.

1 bunch banana
1 packet of eggroll wrappers (usually found in the freezer of most Asian markets).
1 pint (16 oz.) of cream cheese (which ever your favorite one is,)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg (scrambled, you’re going to use this to paste your lumpia closed)

For this batch of Lumpia, I used the Menlo brand of wrappers. Not my favorite, because I prefer the thinner wrappers. Menlo is a little thicker than most eggroll wrappers which take a little longer time to cook and doesn’t become as crisp.
* Make sure the wrappers are thoroughly defrosted before you use them.
For bananas, use Dole or Chiquita. They’re larger and you get 8 lumpias out of 1 banana. (4 lumpias if you make standard Banana Lumpias.)

Set up:

There are 3 things that are important when making food like this:
1) Organize. That way it becomes easier as you are repeating the process.
2) Keep the wrappers from drying up. You can do this by having a damp paper towel covering the wrappers.
3) Have great & helpful company with you or some awesome music to sing along with while you roll.

Here’s how I set things up (check out the picture).
1) Bananas, a cutting board with knife.
2) A plate with wrappers separated and covered with a damp paper towel.
       A) Separate as you go. Separate about 6-8 wrappers from the bunch if you’re rolling by your self. More if you have someone helping you.
       B) Store the rest back in its plastic bag and keep that covers as well.
3) A large ramekin of brown sugar and a tea spoon.
4) The container of cream cheese and a tea spoon.
5) A large ramekin of the scrambled egg.
6) A large round dinner plate to roll on.
7) And a dish to hold the rolled lumpia.

Rolling Directions:

Pay attention now and you’ll see why setting your area up in a organized manner is mucho importante’.

1) Take peeled banana (duh )
    A) …and cut it half.
    B) Take one half and quarter in the long way.
2) Take a wrapper and place in on the large dinner plate. (Here’s where you start referring to the pictures.) The wrapper should be in the diamond position. A corner pointing at you, another to the left, another to the right and another away from you.


3) Place a slice of banana on the bottom quarter of the wrapper of corner A. As depicted in the picture.
    a. Add about 1 ½ teaspoon of cream cheese. Distribute along the length of the banana slice.
    b. Add about a ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of brown sugar.

4) Take corner A of the wrapper and place over the ingredients and tuck it in.


5)  Fold corner B over A.


6) Fold corner C over B.

7) Now firmly but gently roll the bottom towards corner D while making sure that corners B and C stays even.
8) With your finger, dab a bit of the scrambled egg on corner D and close it.
9) Place the lumpia in the dish that you are using to hold the lumpia, make sure that corner D is sitting on the bottom. This will ensure that the corner will stay firm as the egg dries.

There you go! You’re first Lumpia!
Now go repeat steps 1-9 another 29 more times. :D

When you’re done rolling all of that, clean up your mess.

Now…one of the best thing about any kind of eggroll is, is that they can be stored in the freezer till you want to eat them.
How long can you store them you may ask?
Um…a couple months…I think?
So, Yeah! If you not planning on eating all 30 lumpias at that moment, then you should definitely store what you’re not eating away in a Ziploc freezer bag and into the freezer.

Deep-frying Directions:


1) Heat your deep fryer or a frying pan with a enough oil to 350-375 degrees, so that the lumpia can stay submerged beneath surface until it is evenly golden brown.

2) Now place a lumpia in the oil when it is ready. Always be aware (as with ALL deep frying) that every time you put a lumpia in the oil, the oil cools a few degrees. So always wait about 5-7 alligator seconds before you put another lumpia in the oil.

3) When the lumpia is a golden brown, place it in a steel colander to drain the excess oil and cool down for a bit.



Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve and ENJOY.

These Banana Cream Cheese Lumpias are delicious and a great for breakfast, afternoon tea or as dessert.
Great with ice-cream too!

It’s a hit at parties both large and small!
Your kids will love it!
Your husband will take out the garbage without being asked!
Your boyfriend will ask you to marry him!
Your wife/girlfriend will do what ever you want her to do!

…alright, enough of that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Loco-boy Chicken Jook.

Jook? Juk?  Spelling?

(So sorry, No pictures. I through this recipe together for a friend and decided to post it.)

About 2-3 hrs cooking time.

1/2 chicken w/ skin & bones.
1 1/2 - 2 cups of rice
4 whole clove of garlic
4-6 slices of ginger
1/2 onion
1/4 cup shoyu
1 tblspn white pepper
1 tblspn salt
1/2 onion

Suggested garnish:
Sliced ginger or pickled ginger (Japanese style)
Sliced green onions
Sesame seed oil (Korean style)
White pepper
Kimchee (Korean style)
Boiled chicken or duck egg (Chinese style)
Bonito flakes (Japanese style)
Seaweed flakes (Japanese style)
Corn (Japanese style)

In a 1 gallon pot of hot boiling water

*have a tea pot full of hot water simmering handy to replenish h20 that evaporates from the pot.

*it's good to use chicken with the skin & bones, especially if you cut through the bones to expose the marrow. Lots of flavor and nutrients.

Boil the chicken w/ the ginger, onions (cut into huge chunks), garlic, ginger, shoyu, salt, white pepper.
Boil the heck out of it so that the chicken is easy to remove from the bones. When that happens then that part is done.

Strain your broth into a separate pot or large bowl.
Remove all cooked ingredients from the main pot into the strainer.
Replace the broth back into the main pot.
Bring the broth back up to boiling and add the rice and boil the heck outta that.

As soon as the chicken and other ingredients are cooled off remove everything but the chicken. (Garlic, ginger, bones, cartilage. I like leaving the skin in there). Once you remove everything from the chicken. Shred the chicken and place it into another bowl.

*I like to take the cooked ginger, onions and garlic and mince it to use as a garnish on the finish product. It’s

Your broth and rice should get to the consistency of porridge before you do anything else to. This takes time. If your rice gets too heavy due to absorption and dissipation, add some hot water till you get the right texture.
*of course that is also preferential. I like it a little heavy.

When you get your preferred consistency, stir in the shredded chicken and let it simmer for a bit.

!!Important note!!
It’s easier to add hot water slowly to the broth than it is to remove too much water.

Jook should start off as a mild dish to be garnished when serving.

Mmm! ono.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shoyu Chicken Ramen w' mushrooms.

I believe the word  'Ramin' translates into: Using your imagination.
I could be wrong.
Hehe....but here is what me and my imagination literally cooked up.
Shoyu Chicken from a couple nights before.

A mushroom, parsley and lemon juice salad loosely based on Giada's recipe, made last night.

1 package or your favorite ramen.

Cook you favorite ramen.
Remove the noodles and place in a bowl.
Heat the chicken in the ramen broth.
Put the mushrooms over the noodles.
Once the chicken is heated, place over the mushrooms.
Pour the broth over the chicken and mushrooms.
And, voila!
Instant gourmet ramen!

Shoyu Chicken

If there is one thing that I've learned and live by: is that I will never ever be able to make any dishes the way my mom (or many one else's mom) makes them. But, by that same token, if there is one thing that I learned from my mom about cooking is: "just make 'em taste good, braddah!"
Yeah, my mom talks like that.
And, yes. I do, "make 'em taste good...".
So, with all that said, here is my Shoyu Chicken:

1 dozen chicken thighs w' skin and bones
2 cups brown organic sugar (organic -  being optional)
1 1/2 cup of Aloha Shoyu (soy) Sauce
4 cloves of garlic
3-4 slices of ginger
1 table spoon of pepper corn
2-3 bayleaves

In a big pot. Heat about a table spoon of oil and then brown your chicken.
Don't just throw everything in there. Put as much of the chicken as you can fit in there so you can brown and cook you chicken evenly. Brown both sides and then remove and put into a separate bowl.
Drain oil and repeat process until all your chicken is browned.
Don't worry about the chicken being fully cooked. All you want to do is brown the chicken and the pot and cook off some of the chicken fat. But not all of it.

When all your chicken is browned, put it all back into the pot with the garlic, ginger, peppercorn and bay leaves. Cover it and turn the heat down to medium for about half hour.
This will finish cooking most of your chicken and create a broth at the same time.

After about a half hour, drain the broth and fat into a separate bowl and add the sugar, and shoyu (soy) sauce into the pot.
Don't stir it! Just cover it and leave it alone for about 15-20 minutes.
Bring the heat to a medium-low temperature.

Make a pot of rice.

While you are doing that the broth and chicken fat sitting in the bowl will begin to separate.
Once it's separated, slowly and gently remove the chicken fat from the broth.
This should be a slow process. Take your time.

*note~Shoyu sauce is Japanese soy sauce. 
Hawai'i people love using the Aloha brand shoyu, being that it had a lighter flavor than most of the Japanese shoyu sauces, Chinese soy sauces or any other Asian soy sauce out there.
My favorite shoyu sauce is Kikoman, because of it's richer flavor.
Now you know....

Once you take out all of that chicken fat, put the broth back into the pot.

One of my favorite cooking techniques is making reductions. Which is basically cooking a liquid to the point where most of the H2o is taken out of the sauce. This technique leaves you with a thicker and richer sauce.

So at this point, I remove the cover from the pot and bring the heat up to about medium high and basically watch the sauce boil down. Feel free to carefully turn your chicken over one-by-one to ensure that all the pieces are being cooked evenly in the sauce. You should also use a tea or table spoon, to drizzle the sauce over the top pieces.
This could take about 20 minutes or so.

Make what ever kind of veggies you feel like eating.
For some uncanny reason, when ever I make Shoyu Chicken, I always end up having corn with it. I just happens.

Once you sauce attains a slightly syrupy viscosity, your chicken is done.

This is even better with my famous fried rice:


Green Papya & Pork

OK. I gotta let you know:
I have NO idea what the name of this dish is.
You figure, after years of eating and cooking this dish, I would.
But, no. (I should find out...)
Although, It might be based on a Pinoy(Filipino) dish, something similar that my Nanay(mom) made before....but not exactly.
For now, we'll call it Green Papaya and Pork Stew.
This is one of those recipes that you feed 6-8 people with, or you'll find yourself eating this for about 3 days. Which some of you all can appreciate and agree with me, that soups and stews are so much better the next day or the day after that. Can I get an "Amen!"
All of my ingredient were picked up at Ranch 99. So that makes the shopping part real easy.

1 med-med.large Green Papaya - 11/2 - 2 inch portions. Yes, get rid of the skin and seeds.
2-3 lbs of fatty pork belly - 11/2 - 2 inch portions. Salt and pepper your pork and let it sit for a while.
1 bunch of Chinese long green beans - 2 -3 inch cuts.
2 tomatoes  - sliced thin. These you want disintegrating into nothingness.
1 large onion - sliced thin. These you want disintegrating into nothingness, too.
5 cloves of garlic - peeled whole.
4-5 slices of ginger
2-3 Bay leaves.

*note~ you don't have to follow the recipe to a tee. How much of each item you want to put into the stew is really up to you. But you might want to think about what it is that you want to aim for as far as over all taste goes.
I was focused on the subtle but fragrant sweetness of the The Green Papaya and sweet and saltiness of caramelized pork fat. Doesn't that sound like the bomb-doggity
As Tony would say, "Oh, yeah baby. Come to poppa."

Prep & Rant:
Now, when prepping a stew such of this, you have to really factor in cooking time. Stew of ALL forms cannot be and must not be rushed.
Don't you hate it when you find a recipe that says 4-5 hrs. cooking time. And you're like, "Seriously? Why the hell for?"
I won't leave you in the dark for this one.
When stewing: What you really doing is breaking down the physical structure of the ingredients and turning some of the solid matter into liquid. What you are trying to achieve is a certain flavor, texture and liquid consistency throughout the stew.
This particular stew at the very earliest can be eaten after 2-3 hrs. of cooking.
But again, it is best appreciated the next day (or 2).

So, what I was trying to get at is this: because of the extended cooking time, you should cut everything in larger portions. Or everything will shrink and disintegrate into mush.
Which would be fine, if you were eating through a straw or tube.

Cooking steps:
Heat a huge-ass pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil).
Not too much oil, as you will get a lot when the pork fat melts.
As soon as the oil is really hot, put several pieces  of pork into the pot. Enough to cover most of the surface, but not too much. Bring heat down to medium-high and brown all side. When the pieces are done, remove into a separate bowl and repeat with the remainder of the pork till all of them are done.
Depending on how much pork you actually get, this could take about a half hour.

Now with a pot of just hot oil and pork fat, throw you tomatoes, onions and garlic. Salt and pepper.
Then put your pork over that and cover and turn heat to medium.

Walk away. Have a beer or something. Watch the LA Laker's get their butts kicked by the 8th seed OKC. Have a smoke....something to keep you away from messing with the stew.

After about 20-30 minutes, go and check on your stew.
Has the liquid in the pot built up on it's self? 
If it did. Good going.
If not, then looks like you're going to need to boil some hot water.
*The medium heat should have drawn out the liquids from the tomatoes, onions more from the pork. Some time it needs a little help. By adding in about cup of hot water, this helps to coerce the ingredients to sweat out it liquids. The liquids in the pot at this point should be covering most of the ingredients.

( my best Martin Yan imitation.)
Put in your ginger and bay leaves.
Stir the pot until every thing is turned over.
And then.
Cover the pork with the Chinese long green beans.
Salt and pepper.
And then.
Put the Green Papaya over the green beans.
And then.
Salt and pepper.
And then.
Turn the heat to medium low.
And then.
You cover the pot, and walk away.

Leave it alone for about another half hour.
After about 30 minutes of really slow cooking, you should have a little more liquid in the pot. And your papaya should be starting to look translucent.
Turn the heat down to simmer, and leave the cover just slightly open to release most of the steam. You don't want to build up too much liquid.
*note~ I put in the ginger and bay leaves after the higher heat cooking process, because I don't want those flavors to be so dominant.

Make a pot of rice.

By the time your rice is done. The papaya should be translucent and soft to the touch.
If it's  not. Then it's not ready. Only when the papaya is done is the stew ready to be eaten.
Have some patience and it will be worth it.
I promise.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quick and Painless...

..and good for you too! ( I think : / )

Fried Rice! 
Who doesn't like fried rice?
Me? I love making fried rice with left-overs from the previous night.
(or the night before that, or the night before get my point.)

Here is  what I threw together for brunch this after noon.

Corn, Peas & Spinach
A couple eggs.

No big deal right?

Take your left over rice, and in the rice pot mix these ingredients in.

Sesame Seed Oil
Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
Garlic Powder
Ginger Powder
Pepper or White Pepper
Salt (optional)

Because I always make fried rice, I didn't measure any of these ingredients and did everything pretty much instinctively.
For the Sesame Seed Oils and Shoyu sauce, I just try to make sure that there is enough to cover all of the rice. And the spices, I just gave a couple pinches of each.

By hand (and even better if you have plastic disposable kitchen gloves) mix your ingredients and break apart all the rice, and make sure the rice is getting evenly covered with your sauces and spices. This should only take a couple minutes.

In your favorite non-stick pan heat up about a couple tbl.spoons of regular cooking oil.

Tangent* In my experience in the kitchen, it is never a good thing to fry food with pure Sesame Seed Oil. Sesame Seed Oil is too thin and heats up too fast, and in my opinion can over dominate the flavor if the dish.

Back to cooking :)
When the oil is hot enough, dump you rice mixture in the pan and just evenly distribute the rice throughout the pan. Once you get a lot of heat activity going on in the pan, turn the heat down to med-high.

At this point, I have reheated my vegetables from the previous night and they are ready to be thrown in the the pan with the rice. Add about a qtr.cup water, turn content over and cover.

Tangent* I try not to stir food while cooking (unless it's soup). To me, stirring items while cooking only abuses the contents and by the time you're done cooking, you end up with mush.

 After about 4-5 minutes, turn you rice and veggies over and then crack a couple eggs into the pan and fold the eggs through the rice and veggies. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover for about 7-10 minutes.

That's it.
Eat and enjoy.