daisy dream

August 22, 2006 at 7:12 am (mirepoix)

here are few pics of the cupcakes and gum paste daisies i made for my cousin’s debut a few weeks back. thank you to my entire family for helping me to assemble the lil devils. go teamwork! for any cake or cupcake needs, call me! i also have tons of leftover chocolate cake dry mix so if anyone is interested, let me know as well.


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pan de sal (bread of salt)

August 16, 2006 at 6:18 am (mirepoix)

olongapo, july 2006. 

typical pinay breakfast: 

fresh sliced sweet pineapple, koppi coffee bun, raisin bread, sinangag and corned beef, fried fish, sweet pork tocino… 

there was so much good food, though the only breakfast i ever craved while in the philippines was freshly baked pan de sal (pandesal) cracked open with butter melting in the center. on my last morning there, i had just this with a hot cup of milo with a little sugar stirred in.  

oh, and philippine mango that literally melts in your mouth.

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uji-kintoki milk kitkat

August 15, 2006 at 1:14 am (mirepoix)

on my layover at narita airport, japan i picked up a bag of these candies from the sundry store. i cannot read any japanese so based on the picture on the bag, i figured it had something to do with green tea and azuki (red bean). i waited till i was home and shared the first bar with mom, who loves this kind of stuff. 

 at first taste, my brother told me it tasted sorta like rabbit food. i stuck it in the fridge overnight and on his second helping, he said it was pretty yummy.  

apparently, there are about a hundred varieties of kitkats all over the world and japan seems to have the most varieties spring up on it’s ground. so far, i’ve tried the passion fruit, matcha and now uji-kintoki milk. i remembered that the passion fruit was pretty good, not too sweet and tangy passion fruit flabor. it was a limited edition valentine’s day version created by le patissier takagi, a pastry chef in japan. i think it’s cool a chef is peddling kitkats. the matcha was good as well, though i love anything green tea (except for the matcha frappuccino at starbucks… icck! i had one at the narita airport and it tasted much better.) there was another variety at the airport: fruit parfait. supposedly, it had freeze dried fruit bits in it with a strawberry striped white chocolate. i think i missed out…

check out the scoop on the share-able candy….


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food for soul

August 13, 2006 at 6:05 am (mirepoix)

– fire cooked lunch after a 5 mile hike through the pamulaklakin forest trail/binicticlan drive in olongapo.

fish, bamboo steamed rice, sinigang manok, fresh buko juice, sinigang broth



Doreen, The Revolutionary

We knew Doreen Fernandez as a respected and multi-awarded teacher, prolific writer, author and editor of many books, historian, journalist, literary critic and sought-after lecturer on food, theater and Philippine culture. But the gracious and ever-smiling Doreen as a radical and closet revolutionary? A supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF)?

By TEDDY CASIÑO Bulatlat.com

We all knew Doreen Fernandez, the food critic. Her weekly column in the Inquirer served as an infallible guide for many of us looking for a good place to dine.

We also knew Doreen, the respected and multi-awarded teacher, prolific writer, author and editor of many books, historian, journalist, literary critic and sought-after lecturer on food, theater and Philippine culture.

But the gracious and ever-smiling Doreen as a radical and closet revolutionary? A supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF)?

Well, why not?

Doreen Gamboa-Fernandez died of pneumonia last June 25 while vacationing in New York. She was 67. Her death came as a shock to many at home, especially her friends, students and fellow writers whom she had inspired and supported through the years.

Last Tuesday, it was the turn of Doreen’s “comrades” to give her a tribute.

Organized by the University of the Philippines Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), the “Luksang Parangal” was held at the UP Faculty Center in Diliman and was attended by a hundred and so activists, professors, cultural workers, artists and writers.

UP Prof. Edru Abraham, who emceed that evening’s affair, opened the program by noting that many write-ups on Doreen failed to mention her activism. Thus, that night’s task of bringing to light this significant part of her life.

The entire evening was filled with the militant and nationalist music and rhetoric commonly associated with the Left, punctuated from time to time by Doreen’s words herself, written by her and read by one of the performers.

Describing her transformation from housewife and teacher to activist, she had this to say: “I came to the Ateneo in the ’70s a housewife — the kind who went to Inner Wheel Club meetings. The activists wondered what I was doing there — was I serious? I did receive some criticism for not being politicized at that time. I joined a few discussion groups, though it was mainly to learn since I was so ignorant. There were some friends who said, How can you sit there and do the burgis (elitist) things you do? So I said to them, Teach me. And they did.”

Martial law did not stop Doreen from pursuing her newfound activism. She involved herself in theater and founded the theater group Babaylan which dared to stage plays critical of the Marcos dictatorship.

She was also instrumental in organizing the Cultural Research Association of the Philippines which advocated studies on nationalist culture. Both organizations dared to challenge the repressive culture imposed by the fascist regime.

Again, in Doreen’s own words: “That was the time of political theater — our political theater was very advanced. Theater was a fighting weapon: you could say things in theater that you couldn’t in a novel.”

Even Doreen’s articles on food bore the stamp of her patriotism. She often wrote about food consumed by the common tao (person) — the worker, the peasant, the fisherman. She introduced her readers to their tastes and, in so doing, introduced them to values and ways of life of the ordinary Pinoy (Filipino).

“(W)ith politicalization came the idea that food doesn’t have to be the way it is in the best restaurants of Europe. One should put food in the context of the culture,” she once wrote.

Thus, Doreen wrote not only about food, but about the distinctly Filipino in food. She treated the subject with apt reverence. “Food punctuates Philippine life, is a touchstone to memory, a measure of relationships with nature and neighbors, and with the world,” she wrote in a yet unpublished essay.

Doreen herself loved to cook. Among those who enjoyed her cooking were members of the NDF and other underground personalities who frequented her house during those dangerous years till the late ’80s.

In a letter read during last Tuesday’s tribute, NDF’s Mela Castillo Zumel remembers Doreen as a warm and gentle lady comrade who welcomed to her home those who resisted the fascist terror. Among her most frequent visitors was then CPP secretary general Rafael Baylosis, who shared with the audience his group’s delight as Doreen always served them a minimum of five delicious viands per meal.

In one of the most poignant parts of the program, Mr. Baylosis narrated how touched he was when, during one of his clandestine visits to the Gamboa residence, Doreen asked his permission to clean his fresh bullet wound sustained in an encounter with government soldiers.

Doreen valued and nurtured her relationship with the revolutionary movement, taking on special tasks in the resistance movement against the Marcos dictatorship and helping out till the late ’90s.

She even took such small tasks as inputting into the computer Jose Maria Sison’s ten lectures delivered at the UP Asian Center from April to May 1986.

In 1999, Doreen helped prepare the menu for the NDF’s 25th anniversary celebration which was timed with the return to the Philippines of NDF leaders Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma. She wanted to be sure the food served was in keeping with the nationalist and democratic aspirations of the revolutionary movement.

In a message read during the tribute, Coni Ledesma remembered spending an afternoon with Doreen last January, where she expressed keen interest in the NDF’s work, especially among overseas Filipinos. A few weeks before her death, she sent Coni several of her books on Philippine food and culture to help in the work among Filipino compatriots abroad.

Doreen was well respected as an intellectual, patriot and kind comrade by the progressive people’s movement. She was a sterling example of a transformed burgis, with her quiet but strong conviction for a Filipino culture that is at once democratic and liberative.

Her gentle presence will be sorely missed.

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ube cupcakes

July 1, 2006 at 5:51 pm (mirepoix)

i can’t remember the steps nanay took to make her ube buttercream cake. throughout it all, i was trying to channel her. i think she spoke to me, telling me… it’s okay.

ube cupcakes

for ube:

1 package dehydrated ube (or, 1 bottle ube halaya)

1 c sugar

for frosting:

6 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened to room temp

3 c confectioners’ sugar

for cake:

1 c butter (2 sticks), softened to room temp

2 c sugar

4 large eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cup cake flour

1 c whole milk

3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

(you can use violet cake coloring gel to tint the batter and frosting. it makes it pretty!!!)


– boil 2 c water and add ube powder. heat till thickens and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.


– mix cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar. add 1/2 cup ube halaya. set aside.


– preheat oven 350 degrees.

– sift flour, baking powder and salt in medium mixing bowl. set aside

– cream butter and sugar in a bowl. mix till fluffy. add 1 egg at a time and mix till well blended. add 3/4 cup of ube halaya mixture and stir well.  

– add flour and milk to butter/egg/ube mixture in intervals. mixwell.

– stir in 3/4 cups coconut.

– fill cupcake liners 1/2 full. pop in oven and bake for 22 minutes. if using more than one oven rack, rotate pans 1/2 way through baking.

– allow cupcakes to cool on cooling rack for 1 hour.

– spread ube halaya on top of each cake. next, spread cream cheese frosting on top of each cake.

– sprinkle coconut on top. ENJOY ( :

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sd weekend

June 27, 2006 at 12:32 am (mirepoix)

ohhh, i love san diego in the summer!!!  

weekend meal ticket:

mister tiki mai tai lounge – (hawaiian/fusion) key lime martini, spicy seared salmon, ahi poki, peanut butter mousse  

spices – (thai): gai curry lunch special, veggie samosa, egg roll, rice & thai tea 

extraordinary desserts – (cake): coconut cake

cotija’s – (mexican): fish taco, shrimp burrito

emerald’s – (chinese): 10 course wedding banquet spread / things like lobster in garlic house sauce, steamed fish, squab, chinese bbq, abalone with shitake mushrooms and bok choy, steamed imperial chicken 

san diego chicken pie shop – (pie): chicken pie, mashed potatoes & gravy, mixed veg, coconut cream pie

for the wedding party, my friend and i made some yummy sangria. you could spike it with as much or as little rum as you wish. my favorite is the red. the secret is in the fruit (after you’ve mixed and marinated it).

sangria, tropical & red: mix wine, rum, juice and sugar; add fruit. stir and refrigerate overnight. serve cold. – serves a lotta people.


24 oz. fresh pineapple juice

1 bottle riesling wine

1 cup mango, cut into chunks

1 cup pineapple, cut into chunks

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. light rum 


24 oz. peach juice

1 bottle cabernet or merlot

1/2 c. light rum

1 c. pitted bing cherries

1 peach, cut into slices

1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

bonus summer surprise dessert: tofutti cuties ( : these boogers are non-dairy and vegan and incredibly delicious!!! 

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so rich and so fresh

June 19, 2006 at 3:35 am (mirepoix)

i've been working on a chocolate cupcake batter and have finally reached a simple, moist and flavorful version that could be whipped up in one bowl. (i think my family and friends won't be able to eat another cupcake and i am grateful for their constructive criticism of my many trial runs). it involves a few layerings of flavorings and i'll post the recipe as soon as i get pictures. the impetus for this project is that i'm going to be making them for my cousin's not-so-debut debut. step 2 of project cupcake crazy: gum paste daisy flowers!

so i picked up this cookbook, forever summer by nigella lawson at ross for literally free99. i have learned to never buy cookbooks at retail price anymore and ross is where one could often find many a culinary gem. there's this recipe for vanilla shortbread in the book that really was pulling at me, calling me with it's rich, stick-to-the-roof-of-your mouth cookie personality. all week i've been wanting to try it out, however, only finally got the chance while spending the weekend away from the bay. this sucker is super rich, lemme tell ya, flecked with vanilla beans that literally melts in your mouth. the only pan that i had available was a wilton springform pan and i should have made two batches instead of one. the result: chunky wedges of crumbly, buttery artery clogging goodness. i like almost everything a bit more toasted than usual so my version of vanilla shortbread was browned a bit more than advised. shortbread, i've learned, got its name because the flour is shortened by the addition of fat (butter). one could add a bit of dutch-processed cocoa and i'd think it would a great choco version. 

vanilla shortbread, adapted from forever summer – nigella lawson

**1 3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour (preferably 00 italian flour) 

3/4 cups confectioner's sugar

2/3 cup cornstarch

**1 vanilla bean, scraped

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. sweet butter (unsalted), softened at room temp.

sugar for sprinkling

**places you could get:

vanilla beans- traderjoe's (as well as other baking goodies)

00 italian flour – williams-sonoma, whole foods, a.g. ferrari's

– throw all the dry stuff in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. add butter and pulse till a big ball clumps around the blade.

– spread dough mixture into a jelly roll pan using the back of a spoon. make sure to spread evenly. evenly cut out rectangles using a sharp knife. with a fork, press holes into each piece. this will allow the cookies to evenly cook.

–  bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

– sprinkle sugar atop baked cookies. allow pan to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling wire.

a few weeks ago, i went to an awards ceremony in santa monica where they served this awesome butter cookie drizzled in dark chocolate. this is a distant cousin of what i made today so i guess i'll try and experiment sometime.  

question of the week: what is your favorite cookie??

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May 4, 2006 at 5:55 am (mirepoix)

Tierra Viva Health & Environmental Justice Project is launching SEBRANDO SALUD en una TIERRA VIVA

***Community Markets for Health***
Affordable, organic produce stands in low-income neighborhoods in San Jose

Open PDF version of poster

Tierra Viva is launching three pesticide-free produce stands in low-income neighborhoods in San Jose. We are partnering with local farmers to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious produce at affordable prices!!! Our launch will be an event to remember! Come by…-see cooking demonstrations-get healthy Latino recipes-taste free samples-get information about diabetes and – buy healthy produce!!!

Please save these dates!

  • Thursday, April 27th @ George Mayne Elementary 7:30-10:30am, 5030 North First St., Alviso, CA
  • Thursday, April 27th @ Washington Elementary 12:30-3:30pm, 100 Oak St., San Jose, CA
  • Friday, April 28th @ Olinder Elementary 7:30-10:30am, 890 East William St., San Jose, CA

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phony pho

May 3, 2006 at 5:10 am (mirepoix)

This past weekend, I was able to check out Le Colonial with my friends from San Diego and my friend's grad school cohort.

On the way to SF, I was stuck in Friday rush hour commute, took a wrong exit at SFO and ended up taking BART from So. SF to Powell Street and trekking around Nob Hill to the restaurant. I figured that taking BART was probably cheaper than paying the $15 for parking. I HATE driving in SF looking for parking. Enough said.

The restaurant was absolutely beautiful and by the time I finally made it to the restaurant, it was dark and candles illuminated the restaurant, making it seem like the perfect, "You are a cutie patootie and I think I like you but why don't we sit a little closer and get to know each other better" first date-type of restaurant. Upstairs, a live band performed for most of the evening. (or at least a kick-ass speaker system that tricks our brains into thinking there's one there)

When I got the the restaurant, everyone had already ordered drinks and were chosing their fare for the evening. After playing musical chairs, I ordered a yummy mojito and stole a piece of Jerry's Goi Cuon, a spring roll with cilantro, shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, mint with a peanut dipping sauce. Though it was tasty, it was something you could order at any standard Vietnamese joint, sans the $11 price tag. Ouch!

Another friend in our party ordered the Pho Vit, a duck noodle soup. The server brought out a bowl with shredded duck atop rice noodles and set it in front of lucky contestant #1. He walked away, muttering that he'd be right back with the broth. Shortly after, he came back with a metal tureen and proceeded to pour the broth into the bowl. Another friend at the table asked the server if he could fill the bowl just a little more. At $9, it was a little pricey to be shorted on the broth, no?

I had ordered Vit Quay, which was a seared Muscovy duck breast with foie gras butter atop a bed of spicy banana heart leaves. The duck was good, however, the dish came out cooler than I had expected it to be. The banana heart leaves were quite tough and bland, except for the spiciness of the chopped jalapenos that were tossed with it. Altogether, the dish didn't hold together well and I opted to eat the duck with a chicken fried rice side dish we ordered to share as a table.

All around, we were not impressed by the entrees. However, the desserts were quite the saving grace, though we all did have to share:

…pineapple upside down cake, coconut flan, mango profiteroles, and a TO DIE FOR chocolate lava cake. I was lovin' the chocolate cake so much I think I tried to lick the plate.

At one point, the exec. chef Mike Yakura came out. You might remember him:

He was standing right in back of you, Et, and you didn't even know it!

I'm glad he didn't talk to us, though, maybe Jerry could have given him a few pointers or two…

It was fun, anyhow ( :

Other notable weekend food adventures:

Golden Gate Bakery

Egg Custard Tarts & Baked Char Shiu Bao

(The family that runs this place occasionally takes a 2 month siesta so don't be alarmed if it's closed when you go. It's better to call ahead. Be ready for phat lines.)

1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, 94133

New Hong Kong Sun Restaurant

Scallop and Abalone Congee with Fried Doughnuts & Fried Oysters

606 Broadway, San Francisco, 94133


Peking Duck with Pancakes, Duck Chow Mein

(This place was the only spot open late night around town. My favorite is the skin, sandwiched between the bleach white siu-bao dough and slivers of green onion, brushed lightly with hoisin sauce… heaven!!! This was hands down a better use of fowl than my duck at Le Colonial.)

3288A Pierce St., Richmond 94804


Deli Manjoo

A custard filled corn shaped freshly made cake. 50 cents a pop. Best warm. Yum.

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oh snaps!

April 28, 2006 at 4:57 am (mirepoix)

Foothill College was the place to be…

Monday, April 24
Halo Halo Food Workshop
A sweet, creamy and filling dessert, Halo-Halo (from the word halo which means mix) is a favorite Filipino dessert or snack. It’s a mixture of sweet preserved red beans and chick peas, coconut meat (macapuno), jackfruit (langka), pounded dried rice (pinipig), sweet yam (ube), cream flan (leche flan), shreds of sweetened plantain (saba), crushed ice, and milk or coconut milk topped with ice cream. The Foothill Filipino Club will demonstrate how Halo Halo is made, and then make your own.
Time: 12:30–1 p.m.
Location: Room 3523
Free Admission

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