Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ebi Fry lunch at home

Ebi Fry has got to be one of my most favorite meals of all time. But not just any Ebi Fry. I only go for the ones made with big shrimps like the ones served at my favorite Japanese restaurant along Macapagal Boulevard. Anything smaller than that is popcorn shrimp- still good, but not as great. Good Ebi Fry, as with all good authentic Japanese food, however, can get quite pricey so imagine craving for it every single day.

Today was one of those days. Fortunately, my mom, bless her foodie heart, had eight large shrimps in the ref this morning and, surprise, panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) in the cupboard. Inspired, I also set out to make Japanese fried rice and steam some store-bought prepared vegetable dumplings (a la Gyoza). I also prepared sauce for the Ebi Fry, because, let's face it, it won't taste like the real thing without that rich and tangy sauce. I also made this delicious side salad made of minced cucumber and mayonnaise which goes great with the Ebi Fry meal as well, as I learned from Yasubei.

Below is the recipe I used for Ebi Fry, it's very easy and it worked like a charm. I actually served it with shredded cabbage, just like how they serve it in the restaurant.

Fried Shrimp

* 12 large shrimps
* 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1 egg
* oil for frying

Peel shrimp and make a couple incisions on the stomach side so that it stays straight. Put flour on shrimp lightly Dip the shrimp in beaten egg. Cover the shrimp with panko. Heat oil in a deep pan to 350 F degree. Fry shrimps until brown.

*Makes 4 servings

What follows is my favorite recipe for katsu sauce. Ebi Fry simply won't be the same without it.

Katsu Sauce

* 1 cup ketchup
* 4 teaspoons dry mustard powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1. In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors before serving.

And, for a completely satisfying home cooked Ebi Fry meal, I just had to have Japanese Fried Rice.

Japanese Fried Rice

* 2 cups cooked Japanese rice (*left over rice is the best)
* 1/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/4 cup chopped carrot
* 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
* 1/3 cup diced ham/pork
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp garlic salt
* 1 tsp chicken bouillon
* 2 tbsp soy sauce
* 2 tsp vegetable oil

Put a wok or a pan on high heat. Add oil to the pan. Wisk the eggs in a small bowl. Put the eggs in the heated pan and scramble very quickly. Stop the heat and remove the scrambled eggs from the pan into a dish. Put the pan on high heat and add more oil. Saute vegetables and ham until soft. Add garlic salt and chicken bouillon. Add rice and stir well. Add the scrambled egg that was cooked earlier to the rice mixture and mix together. Turn the heat down to low, add soy sauce and stir quickly. Stop the heat right away and serve.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some cafe favorites captured on camera phone...

As part of my yearly resolution to "declutter" I weeded through the pictures in camera phone. I really believe that camera phones are one of the most fantastic things human kind has ever invented.

Picture quality may not be as satisfying as my favorite albeit bulky pro-sumer camera, but.... Imagine taking a picture of a reclusive rockstar in a restaurant and never getting noticed. Imagine having your picture taken with a reality TV singing contest champion during an autograph signing where you just happened to walk by after a client meeting when otherwise, of course, you would not have a camera with you. Imagine taking a picture of a rainbow (How many times do you see a rainbow and have a camera with you?). Imagine taking a picture with another rockstar from the outside of a mall restaurant which just happened to be the path that rockstar took from the parking lot to the restaurant/bar next door where he is doing a show that night. Imagine going to a cafe and having one of their special edition coffee or dessert and pausing to think- "This is really, very good. Too bad they may not be regulars on the menu. I should take a picture."- And you do.

Black & White Mocha by Seattle's Best Coffee

Lemon Meringue Bar by Starbucks Coffee

See? Fantastic.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sister!

Incidentally, February 26 is my sister's birthday, too...

To celebrate this day, I made a cupcake tower composed of her favorite dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. I adorned the cupcakes with blue and yellow pinwheels, which I got from Gourdo's last Saturday. And I threw in a couple of mini cupcakes in pink foil bon bon cups. The top cupcake had the obligatory birthday candle. All in all a fun alternative to the usual birthday cake.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Red Velvet cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream frosting and Cocoa Powder

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mc Wilson Cakes and Pastries at Rainbow Cafe

I discovered this cozy cafe at the Metro Oil gasoline station along Kalayaan Avenue that serves Cakes and pastries by a food company called Mc Wilson. Tucked away behind gasoline pumps in a corner where a gas station convenience store should be, the Rainbow Cafe offers coffee, cakes and pastries, and curiously, Japanese food. It reminds me a little of the UCC Cafe concept, only on the more affordable side of the spectrum.

I ordered brewed coffee and sylvanas while I waited for the car wash attendants to finish washing my then rolling-dustball of a car. Good thing the cafe had a bunch of magazines there, too, I expected quite a bit of wait.

I had very little expectation for this quiet little cafe as I wrote it off as mere a customer lounge for those having their car washed there. But surprisingly, the coffee was not bad. And the sylvanas turned out to be the best I've ever tasted. It was crisp to the bite, the rich buttercream was perfectly light, not too sweet, and the cake crumb exterior provided an interesting texture and added flavor to the whole package.

I would come to this place again and again every time I find myself in the area, just for the coffee and that wonderful sylvanas. Last Christmas, they offered an interesting menu of holiday themed desserts. I had wanted to get something there for Noche Buena but the distance and the wild holiday traffic deterred me.

I was able to try their Sansrival, too (when there was no Sylvanas available). And it was just as heavenly. They have a sugar-free Chocolate Mousse that I also want to try. Imagine, having dessert without the guilt! It would also make for a great gift to friends or family who are medically banned from all things sugar. With that, I think I should try the rest of the cakes and pastries. Who knows what else surprises me in their lineup.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Spread: a photo album

For our Christmas dinner (served with plain steamed rice of course!)...

(made with 1/2 cup of paprika rather than the 1/2 of a Mc Cormick bottle called for in the recipe in the link)

Roast Chicken
(my father's specialty. A whole chicken is marinated in calamansi juice, rock salt, and ground black pepper and stuffed with lemon grass and young tamarind then roasted over flaming hot coals rotisserie-style for three hours.)

Fine Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
(with White Chocolate Frosting and Christmas-themed candy sprinkles)

For Media Noche (served along with cold cuts and warm, crusty baguette or batard)...

Arroz Valenciana
(Kuya Iyong's classic concoction, made with glutinous rice)

Suman sa Ibus
(Joint effort by Kuya Iyong and my father. Made with glutinous rice soaked in coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves, then slow cooked in more coconut milk. A household new year's tradition.)

Strawberries dipped in Dark Chocolate
(The chocolate is a combination of Dove and Meiji dark chocolate)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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