Guns and Corned Beef

I hate guns but I love corned beef!

Not my favorite brand of canned corned beef, but it will do. I actually  forgot the name-brand of my favorite brand! Does that mean it's not really my favorite at all?

Not my favorite brand of canned corned beef, but it will do. I actually forgot the name-brand of my favorite brand! Does that mean it’s not really my favorite at all?

I came across this recipe for home made corned beef that I would like to try to make, one of these days.

The problem is, I have yet to find juniper berries and allspice in local markets; and these are ingredients to the recipe.

My favorite food blogger featured this corned beef recipe on his blog and my mouth literally watered.

I am copy/pasting the corned beef recipe by Alton Brown here  (just so I will remember):

Ingredients :
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons saltpeter
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
12 whole juniper berries
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds ice
1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
Directions: Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine. After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

You may notice that the recipe calls for saltpeter, which is also an ingredient in making gunpowder. I think I read that in the book “Like Water for Chocolate”.
like water for chocolate
I have a moral aversion to anything related to guns. Hence, I have resolved not to use saltpeter in this recipe.
Call me a pacifist (some people regard that as a dirty word along with “feminist”) but I have a thing against guns.
My opinion is that, this world is fucked up because of men with guns and men who want to have guns. Yes, despite Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton, it’s still usually men.
Sorry my darling! I know you think the way to Syria’s liberation is by supplying their guy rebels with air-to-ground missiles, and I don’t blame you. The Assad regime is a psychopathic sadistic bastard, if I ever saw one. Thank god, Ferdinand Marcos is dead; for I think he would now be dancing the cha cha with Bashar al-Assad were he still with us.
And yes, I don’t know anything about waging wars, psychological or otherwise. I’m a dimwitted girl who only knows how to pray the devil back to hell.
I would just like to ask, darling, if I may, have you actually inquired what these Syrian girls — er women — think about what would be the best way to deal with their guys who are hell-bent on killing each other? Oh, yes, silly me, you can’t hold a referendum, even an interview because the situation on the ground is hot. Oh well …
Syrian girl with bloody face (obviously) Picture from www.ottawacitizen.comic

Syrian girl with bloody face (obviously) Picture from http://www.ottawacitizen.comic

Syrian women (girls?) on a wall. Crying? Laughing like banshees after being sexually abused? I wouldn't know. The abaya keeps me from seeing their expressions. Picture from

Syrian women (girls?) on a wall. Crying? Laughing like banshees after being sexually abused? I wouldn’t know. The abaya keeps me from seeing their expressions. Picture from

Yes, this post is about a recipe, sorry for the digression. My housemate just said that I’m always saying sorry, for which I retort, “Which is why you love me.”

Would We Prefer Pork or Beef?

I am partial to seafoods and chicken. I especially love them grilled.

Picture from

Picture from

Picture was from

Picture was from

Tomorrow, August 26, people will be having a mass-picnic in Luneta where pork will be discussed.

I don’t have anything against pork.

But one has to admit, there are a significant number of problems (bodily or otherwise) that we may encounter from pork — like cysticercosis; hypertension and hypercholesterolemia have been observed in guys who love to eat lechon; the Muslims believe that the pig is a dirty animal, hence their disavowal from eating anything porky.

The question of the day, apparently, is shall we continue eating pork, albeit in moderation; or shall we switch into another type of diet altogether?

Personally, I am still musing at my answer. But here’s a nice one from someone who knows the law:

Tokwa’t Baboy

Tokwa't baboy for Sunday lunch!

This is one dish that I can do in my sleep. It has been 2 decades since I first tasted this dish, when my mom,  a pork vendor, decided to try out  a way to dispose of the pig heads she couldn’t sell. That was also the first time I tasted beancurd (tokwa) and it was love at first taste.

For this recipe I used about 200 gms of pork liempo which I boiled in salted water until well done. Afterwards, I fried it in some oil until brown on both sides. It would be better if one uses pork head or pork ears — boil that then grill — but cleaning and preparing a pork’s head with the snout and ears would entail more work and I’m not feeling up to that today. Slice the fried pork into small pieces then set aside. Four squares of tokwa would do for this dish. Tokwa costs about 4 or 5 pesos in the wet market. Cut it into small cubes and fry until golden. Drain it and set aside.

The key to a good tokwa’t baboy is the the sauce, particularly, the proportion of soy-sauce and vinegar. I usually just estimate the amount I use, and then taste the concoction until I am satisfied. But since a recipe to be followed need adequate instructions, I propose to use 1 part soy sauce to three parts vinegar. For this recipe it’s 1 cup vinegar to 1/3 cup soy sauce. That will ensure that the sauce won’t be too salty. It would also be wise to add 2 tbsp of red sugar to the mixture to temper the sourness of the vinegar. Add a pinch of crushed black pepper and stir. You can add a pinch of salt but I prefer not to do that since the pork I used was already salted. Finely chop a medium red onion (the white one is not as flavorful), and a piece of green  finger chilli (or “siling haba” in local parlance). Throw that in into the sauce and mix well.

You can serve the sauce on the side or mix the pork, the tokwa and the sauce together before serving. I personally prefer the latter because it’s more flavorful.

This serves 2 and would be a great accompaniment to lugaw or arroz caldo. Bon appetit!

Look at what I cooked this morning

I was pretty stressed up lately. I am in a transition phase in my life and I hate the feeling that I don’t seem to know where it’s going.

One of the things I love to do when I’m  stressed is to cook. I love the routine of chopping up ingredients, the hiss and sizzle of the pan calm  my nerves. So even if it was 7 am I went ahead with my ampalaya with pork. So this will be both breakfast and lunch for today.

Ampalaya with pork  (good for 2)

1/4 kg pork laman

1 medium ampalaya

3 cloves garlic crushed

1/2 head of medium onion minced

1 medium tomato  cut in quarters

olive oil (about 1 tbsp)

pinch of crushed black pepper

soy sauce

The fat and the meat of the pork must be separated first. I wanted the fatty part drained of oil so I usually boil it with a little water then fry it until it looks like chicharon. I drained about 1 tsp of oil from the fat of  1/4 kg of pork laman. I then added olive oil for flavor and then sauteed the garlic, onion and tomato. I added the pork meat and let it cook, occasionally mixing. When the meat was half cooked, I added the ampalaya and stir-fried it with the meat. I seasoned it  with pepper and soy sauce and voila! A not-quite-usual breakfast eaten with piping hot rice.

Coffee Ko

I love coffee. I love it black or with cream. I love drinking it with something sweet like Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

I just consumed the last of the Kona coffee I bought in Hawaii last January. I have to remember to call my mother in law and ask her to send some of that barako beans she has with her.

We tend to believe that coffee is bad for us but  literature abounds regarding its beneficial effects. It contains antioxidants, chemicals that may play a role in delaying aging. It has been documented to have protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, both brain diseases common in the elderly. Although documentation is unclear, coffee was drank as early as the 6th century in Africa; in the 17th century it caught up in the Arabian peninsula and started to be enjoyed in Europe particularly Venice in the 1700’s.

Ah coffee, one of my passions. Got to drink this cup. More on this topic later.

Luk Foo

What I love about Luk Foo is the dimsum platter. The first Luk Foo that my housemate and I first tried was the one in Puregold Las Pinas. The owners of Luk Foo and Puregold must be the same; I have yet to see a Luk Foo without a Puregold beside it.

The dimsum platter was about 200 pesos and it contained about 6 types of dimsum. The best machang, in our opinion. And a decent beancurd roll. I also loved the spring rolls with taro, very tasty. We were quite ravenous at that time and we were able to finish the whole dimsum platter as well as a noodle dish.

When we chanced upon the newly renovated Puregold in Cubao, we were very excited to see that they have a Luk Foo branch there as well. It is a smaller one than the branch in Las Pinas or the one beside Puregold Araneta/E Rodriguez. Unfortunately, no dimsum platter, to our disappointment. We ordered spareribs with salt and pepper instead, as well as one serving of taro spring roll. The spareribs were pretty good, very tender with no bones. The spring roll was just as I remembered. It certainly is worth trying out again.