Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Palm Corned Beef = Comfort Food

Palm is my absolute favorite brand of canned corned beef. Once a rare commodity and popular balik-bayan box staple, it's now available locally in most supermarkets. I always thought corned beef is made out of ground beef until I was introduced to this brand. It's chunky and packs an amazing flavor, more like a version of slow cooked beef stew rather than corned beef. In that sense, I don't think anything in the market comes close to it, really.


At the house, we cook Palm in a number of different ways. My mom, for instance, cooks it in the traditional ginisa way-

Ginisang Corned Beef
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 can Palm corned beef

Directions:
Saute garlic in cooking oil until lightly browned. Add onion, and cook until translucent. Add in tomato. Then toss in the corned beef. Stir fry for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Add a diced potato and you have corned beef hash. Have it plain heated or try it cooked until crispy or ensconced in egg to make a corned beef omelet. Anyway you cook it, it's a quick meal to do especially during those days when you get home from work dead tired and hungry.

Palm is available in most supermarkets and in two sizes- 12 oz. and 16 oz. While the original flavor has always been my favorite, you may want to try its other flavors- a couple onion, chili, garlic, hash, and barbecue.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Magnolia's Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes

A friend of mine lent me her copy of the More from Magnolia cookbook and I am having a ball flipping through the pages (Thanks, Yen!). It is packed with mouthwatering photos and very interesting recipes. Unfortunately, I've been busy lately at work and I have not been baking quite as much as before. Truth be told I have tried out only a couple of the recipes from the book.

I hope to try out more of the recipes but so far, I am a fan of the chocolate cupcake recipe. It sure came in handy when I made these cupcakes for my sister's birthday last January 26.

Magnolia's Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake papers and muffin tins)

CUPCAKES:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted (see Note)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

ICINGS:
Vanilla Buttercream (recipe follows) or Chocolate Buttercream

Note: To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm 5–10 minutes.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30–40 minutes.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fine Italian Cuisine at Buona Vita

Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano is a fabulous little restaurant at the Greenboro Building, Verdana Village Center along Daang Hari Road. For those familiar with the area, yes, it's that building right on the opposite side of the road from the Verdana Homes gate. They have since expanded to accommodate a decent sized crowd but it still retains that quiet and elgant but cozy atmosphere that we love.

Bolognese

Buona Vita has an appetizing array of Italian food offerings from appetizer to dessert. Their Italian Cheese Platter (Php350) is a favorite, served with a basket of three kinds of deliciously warm bread. The platter has 5 kinds of cheeses, of which, my absolute favorite is the Gorgonzola. Spread it on to the thin wedge of bread that comes with the bread basket and it is the most perfect pairing of cheese and bread you will ever have. The Italian Cheese Platter along with their fresh brewed coffee (Php65) is something that we keep coming back for on afternoons after a hard day's work.

Tiramisu and Dalandan Ice Tea

Try their Ravioli di Ricotta (Php250) or Bolognese pasta, they're great with their refreshing Dalandan Ice Tea. For dessert, since a trip to an Italian restaurant is not complete without it, do not forget to order a slice of their sinfully rich but heavenly Tiramisu. No matter what you choose from their menu, you're sure to be in for a great dining experience at Buona Vita.


Bouna Vita is located at:
Greenboro Bldg., Verdana Village Center
Daang Hari Road, Bacoor, Cavite

For reservations, contact Buona Vita at:
Tel.: (046) 517-4105
(0917) 816-6163

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