Sunday, August 25, 2013

Homesick for Pinoy Food - Fried Blue Mackerel Scad, Mung Beans & Spinach Soup, and Salted Duck Eggs

As I was cleaning and organizing our food pantry,
found out that I need more of my Filipino/Asian staples.
Made my list and took a trip to a local Asian Market that we frequent.

This market is the only one I found that I know of that sells fresh seafood.
When I say fresh seafood, here in Michigan, 
it just means not package in cans.
Seafood that is packed in ice and shipped to where we are at,
unlike when I lived in California,
seafood comes fresh off a fishing boat that morning.
I used to go to Port San Pedro at 4 a.m. to buy the catch of the day with my friends.
I miss that!
I miss getting up early, driving to the Fish Port.
I especially miss the smell of fish,
and the mix of saltwater in the morning crisp air.

Sounds weird right?
Missing the fish smell that others detest.
I grew up in an island,
my family's business is fishing,
so for me fish smell is heavenly.
I love Seafood.

Seeing the array of seafood, and Asian ingredients,
had a feeling of homesickness.
I miss my family get together at my grandmother's house.
I miss my grandmother.
She would always go to each of her married children's home in the morning
and drop off whatever the catch of the day from her fishing boats.
Or she would call us and send for us to come over to have
whatever she made that day.
My grandmother was a great cook.

At the market I found Galunggong a.k.a. GG my namesake. Hahaha!
Galunggong's scientific name is Decapterus Macrosoma.
Galunggong is also known as Blue Mackerel scad, round scad, or shortfin scad,
these names have been applied to other fish of the decapterus family.
In the Philippines,
Galunggong is a very popular fish.
It is often pan-fried and served with hot steamy white rice.
Known to my country as the "Poor Man's Fish", being it inexpensive,
it is the food for the masses.

So tonight's dinner was fried Galunggong, salted duck eggs with tomatoes and red onions, and Ginisang Monggo or Mung Beans & Spinach Soup.

Yes, you read that right.
No I'm not Andrew Zimmern's cousin.
And yes, another one of my Bizarre Eats.
Salted duck eggs has been one of the staples in Filipino cuisine.
Unlike the Chinese, we don't brine our duck eggs to make salted eggs.
The Pateros way (a place in the Philippines known for making salted eggs)
 is by mixing clay, table salt, and water in a ratio of 1:1:2.
The clay most used are from ant hills and termite hills.
Yes, you heard me right!
Mixing all ingredients until it becomes smooth and have a thick texture.
The eggs are then dip in the mixture,
 and kept in a box lined with newspaper in batches  
for up to 14 days.
After the curing period,
the eggs are hand cleaned and cooked in low heat
for about 30 minutes.
When eggs are cool,
it is then dipped in a bright pink color.

Fried Galunggong or Fried Blue Mackerel Scad
Seasoned with salt and deep fried until golden brown and crispy.
Easy peasy!

Salted Duck Eggs
No this is not Balut!

I'm good now!
All cured from my homesickness!
and my pantry is filled with goodies from home.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Momma G's Candied Pecans & Kitchen Safety Practices for Families with Food allergy

I was cleaning the Food Pantry today and I found pecans.
I'm not quite sure how that got to my pantry but I'm assuming one of our visitors bought it by accident.
My daughter has peanut allergies,
she does not have any allergic reactions to tree nuts,
but to be safe,
I try not to get any nut products at all.

Instead of putting the pecans to waste,
I decided to surprise my husband by making candied pecans.
Daughter is out of the house today,
so it's perfect timing to make this treat for my husband.
He can take it with him to work tomorrow.

Not all of us at home have peanut allergy but we are still considered a peanut allergy household.
We make sure that we clean and sanitize the pots and utensils we use thoroughly.
I recommend to use stainless-steel pots and pans since they are easy,
and that goes with your utensils as well, since stainless-steel can survive the hot dishwasher water.
Avoid porous materials such as cast-iron pans, wooden utensils and wood cutting boards,
instead, use plastic or silicone products, which easy to sanitize properly.
In our kitchen,
I make sure that I use a separate pot/pan or bake ware for recipes that contain nuts.
It's more expensive but less risky.

To clean the kitchen after cooking,
I use a separate sponge, and I make sure I discard the sponge
after using it.
Sanitize counters, door knobs, the faucet, stovetop, anything you touch.
Don't just wipe it off, make sure you wash it down with soap and warm water.
I also use antibacterial wipes right after.

In a food-allergy household just remember the following:
  1. Avoid cross contamination. Assign a dedicated "safe" shelves in your food pantry, refrigerator, and separate shelves in your kitchen cabinets for pots and utensils. 
  2. Clean and Sanitize food preparation areas before and after the cooking process.
  3. Educate the whole family on sanitation practices.
  4. Sanitize your hand thoroughly, and often.
And always keep an Epinephrine Auto-Injector with you at all times.
I have 2 at home, 2 at my daughter's school and 2 at our emergency bag.
It's costly but your child's life is Priceless.



1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups pecans


  • Preheat oven at 350° F.
  • Put pecans in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking liner (silpat).
  • Lightly toast pecans for 3-5 mins .
  • Remove from oven and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and milk.
  • Cook, stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Boil until mixture is  in a soft ball stage.
  • Remove from heat, blend in vanilla. 
  • Add toasted pecans, stir until mixture is creamy and pecans are completely coated.
  • Transfer pecans onto lined baking sheet, spacing apart using a fork.
  • Bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Cool completely on sheet.


Store in an airtight container, at room temperature.
Can be made 4 days ahead.

Friday, August 9, 2013

GERD Safe Cantaloupe Fruit Freeze

A few months ago, I have been diagnosed with GERD
And I have been cautious with everything I eat.
fresh fruit smoothies is very popular at my house.
I have to make myself a separate smoothie from everyone else,
because I have to avoid one or two important ingredients on smoothies.
Yogurt or milk is to be avoided
because of it contains a considerable amount of fat.
I was told by my physician that a little skim milk won't hurt.
I'm trying to still be able to eat and drink what I love.
I just need to replace some ingredients to avoid trigger for my reflux.
And for you with NO GERD,
NO acid reflux, NO heartburn and NOT lactose intolerant,
see note below for a delicious substitution
to make a delicious creamy smoothie.
1/2 a cantaloupe, cut in chunks and rind removed
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup skim milk or filtered water
Agave or Pure cane sugar or Honey, to sweeten to your taste
  • Cursh ice until it has the consistency of shave ice.
  • Add all ingredients in the blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Garnish with Melon Balls and a sprig of mint.

  • For my NON-GERD, No-Heartburn, No-Acid reflux sufferer friends, you can substitute skim milk with evaporated milk for a delicious creamy smoothie.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

No Fire Needed S'MORES on a Pretzel Stick

Every Summer our church host's Vacation Bible School for the Little Ones.
This year Little Taz is old enough to join in.
My daughter enjoyed it.
She is now too old for VBS but not old to volunteer.
She and I volunteered while Taz enjoys VBS camp.

Little Taz enjoying the Sack race

I was surprised when my daughter agreed to volunteer
 because she is extremely shy around people she does not know well.
Just as expected,
 she had a hard time with her volunteer work the first day of camp.
But the following days she was fine,
and enjoyed helping out the Team Leaders with the games.
As for myself,
I helped my friend Angela in the kitchen,
and a few more beautiful ladies, Cindy and Kim, 
and our ever so helpful teens.

For some it's a challenge to think up snacks that are healthy and peanut free.
Angela is now an expert at that.
She even knows which grocery store to go to
for certain ingredients that are process in a nut-free food plant.

On the last day of VBS,
Angela's menu included this yummy treats for the kids.
Very easy to make and no fire needed.
We just needed a microwave.
You can make this treat ahead of time, to lessen work at the day of your party.
We recreated this at home, and Little Taz enjoyed making it with me.

What we made at VBS.
Kids had popcorn, mixed fruits,
and  Angela's S'mores on a Pretzel Stick.

1 lb Large Marshmallows
1/2 of 14.4 oz box Graham Crackers, processed into crumbs
1 lb of Semi- sweet chocolate chips
Pretzel Sticks

  • In the food processor pulse graham crackers until fine crumbs form.
  • Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips for 1 min., stir until smooth.
  • Dip each marshmallow halfway into the melted chocolate.
  • Then dip into the graham cracker crumbs.
  • Insert a pretzel stick when done.
  • Set the coated marshmallow on a baking sheet (line with wax paper), repeat process for the remaining marshmallows.
  • Let stand at room temperature until chocolate sets, about an hour.


You can choose to thin your melted chocolate chips with a 1 tsp of shortening.
DO NOT USE anything else such as butter, milk, oil or heavy cream, this will make your chocolate "fudgy", and will make your melted chocolate undippable.
It is better to use nothing at all.
You can use the thicker pretzel sticks especially when serving it to the kids, they don't break easily.


My version
I found this rectangular shaped marshmallows
and I covered one side with chocolate and graham crackers
so we get a taste of the chocolate and graham crackers in every bite.

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