Thursday, July 14, 2016

Where to eat in Tagaytay

Tagaytay City is one of the Philippine's most popular tourist destinations.   Because of it's higher altitude, the climate is cooler.  It also provides outstanding scenery as it overlooks Taal Lake in Batangas plus it provides an excellent view of Taal Volcano.  It is only 55 KM (34 mi) away from Manila which makes it an excellent choice for a weekend getaway to escape from the heat of the city.

There are numerous restaurants in Tagaytay and choosing where to eat is a little bit difficult especially when you are already hungry.  So if you happen to be in Tagaytay, where to eat?  To help you out with your choices, I am starting out in this blog my restaurant recommendations.

If you crave for home-cooked style meals, LZM Restaurant should be your first choice.  They actually have two branches in Tagaytay City, the first is at Magallanes Square and the latest one being at Ayala Malls Serin (please click on the links to visit their Facebook pages).  

The food choices are many and to help you out, I am suggesting their best sellers.  First should be the Fried Boneless Bangus, what they call their Queen of Specialties.  No visit to LZM is complete without trying this one.  The bangus is big (bigger than the plate) and is good enough for 3 people.  Crispy outside, tender inside.  It appears to have been marinated in soy sauce and is dredged in flour before it is fried.  This prevents the flesh from being tough and chewy.  They indeed serve the best crispy boneless bangus!

Fried Boneless Bangus
Fried Boneless Bangus

Next on the list would be their Chicharon Bulaklak.  This I guarantee is to die for.  It is not greasy and not oily and very crunchy to the max.  Goes well with the vinegar dip.  Just be very careful if you are watching your food intake though.

Chicharon Bulaklak
Chicharon Bulaklak

Your meal will not be complete if you do not order the Bulalo.  Bulalo seems to be the national dish of Tagaytay and almost every restaurant seems to offer this, but LZM's bulalo is simply the best for me.  This is a huge serving and very meaty.  Best of all, you can request for free soup top-ups.  The broth has the right mix of flavors.  I eat this with toyo, sili and kalamansi to enhance the experience.


And lastly, their must try and award winning vegetable dish, the Pinakbet.  The vegetables are crunchy and not overcooked.  The taste is a great balance of sweetness and saltiness.  Definitely worth it!


Other food worth mentioning are sizzling bulalo steak, sisig, crispy pata, stuffed squid, calamares, tortang talong, kare-kare, ampalaya con carne, and inihaw na liempo.

So the next time you are in Tagaytay City, try out any of the two LZM Restaurants, you will not regret it.

BTW, there are also two other LZM Restaurants.  The original one is at Silang, Cavite fronting Riviera Golf.  The other one is at Ayala Malls Solenad 2 in Nuvali, Sta.  Rosa.
LZM Serin
LZM Serin

LZM Magallanes Square
LZM Magallanes Square

LZM Silang
LZM Silang

Photo of Pinakbet taken from Pinterest.  All other photos and logos courtesy of LZM Facebook pages.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Busy Day Slow-Cooker Meals

Busy Day Slow-Cooker Meals

Fix it and forget it! Start dinner in the morning, go to work, run errands and come home to a piping hot supper. It couldn't be easier with the recipes that use a slow-cooker.

2 tablespoons butter
3 pounds lean beef stew meat
6 cups sliced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1 tablespoon beef flavored bouillon granules
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups dark beer-with or without alcohol
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Heat butter in large skillet and brown beef. Place browned beef in a slow cooker. Add onions and garlic to skillet and brown lightly; place in slow cooker with beef. Add water, beef granules, thyme, beer, brown sugar and mustard to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 5-7 hours. Add cornstarch mixture to stew and continue to cook 20 minutes or until thickened. Serves 8.

6-8 short ribs, about 3 pounds
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup water
2 teaspoons beef flavored bouillon granules
1 cup hickory smoked barbecue sauce
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in small amount of water

In large skillet over medium high heat, brown short ribs on all sides.
Place ribs in a slow cooker. Top with onions. In bowl, combine water, beef granules, barbecue sauce, brown sugar and mustard. Pour sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours or until tender. Add cornstarch mixture and continue to cook 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serves 4 to 6.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can cream of chicken & mushroom soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 (4-ounce) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
6 slices fully cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cube chicken flavored bouillon dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in 3 to 4-quart slow-cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Serves 6 to 8.


1 (2 1/2-pound) boneless eye of round beef roast
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (6-ounce) can Italian flavored tomato paste
6 teaspoons beef flavored bouillon granules
1/2 cup water
12 Kaiser rolls
12 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese

Place roast in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add onion, tomato paste, bouillon granules and water. Cover and cook on HIGH 5-6 hours or until meat is tender. Remove roast from cooker. Using two forks, shred meat. Return meat to cooker, stirring to coat with sauce. Evenly divide meat among Kaiser rolls. Top with cheese. Serves 12.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Golden Margarita Glaze

Golden Margarita Glaze

Cinco de Mayo not only marks a heralded Mexican holiday, but also provides an opportune time to bring out the grill and turn your backyard BBQ into a fiesta.

While tequila, Mexico's most renowned export, is most commonly used in margaritas, it also makes an excellent marinade ingredient for grilling.

Golden Margarita Glaze

Brush on a little fiesta flavor every time you grill with this luscious, zesty margarita glaze. Great on fish and shellfish, chicken, pork or vegetables. 
Makes about 1/2 cup or 4 servings.

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
  • 1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. taco seasoning or ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. 
  2. Brush your food with glaze during the last 1 to 2 minutes of grilling. 
  3. Drizzle any unused glaze over your food just before serving.

Stir-Fry Shrimp Scramble

Stir-Fry Shrimp Scramble

Whip Up an Easy Dinner

For a hurry-up evening meal, it's hard to find a food that's faster to fix than eggs. Making dinner in a flash is especially easy when you put a skillet scramble on the menu. To make one, simply cook up your family's favorite flavoring foods, then pour on eggs and scramble.

In Stir-Fry Shrimp Scramble, green onions, garlic and ginger add Asian flair to egg-enrobed shrimp dotted with pea pods and water chestnuts. Interesting contrasts are the highlight of the dish's appeal. The texture contrasts of the crunchy pea pods and water chestnuts and softer scrambled eggs and shrimp are enhanced by the contrasting colors and flavors of the ingredients, too. Making this special dish more economical, the eggs stretch the protein of the more expensive shrimp. Along with their high-quality protein, nutrient-dense eggs also provide an assortment of other essential nutrients, all for a relatively low calorie count.

Stir-frying itself is a cooking method that requires little fat. For this scramble, you need only one tablespoon of oil to cook enough food for a family. The end result is a dish supplying needed nutrients without a lot of calories. In addition to good nutrition and speedy preparation, clean-up is quick, too, because stir-frying requires only one pan. 

Stir-Fry Shrimp Scramble (4 to 6 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 package (8 oz.) frozen pea pods, thawed
  • 4 ounces medium to large fresh or frozen raw shrimp
  • 1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions with tops
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • Green onion fan, optional

  1. In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat, cook garlic and ginger in hot oil until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add pea pods, shrimp, water chestnuts and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turns pink, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Beat together eggs and salt, if desired, until blended. Pour over vegetables and shrimp. With pancake turner, gently lift and turn mixture until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains.
  4. Garnish with onion fan, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving of 1/6 recipe using corn oil and fresh shrimp without optional salt and onion garnish: 145 calories, 8 gm total fat, 241 mg cholesterol, 96 mg sodium, 186 mg potassium, 7 gm carbohydrate, 12 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins B12 and C, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus.

Monday, July 11, 2016

3 Great Coconut Shrimp Recipes

3 Great Coconut Shrimp Recipes

If you love coconut shrimp, here are three different, but very good coconut shrimp recipes to try.

Coconut Beer Batter Fried Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

  • 2 eggs 
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup beer 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • coconut oil 
  • 3 cups grated coconut 

Seasoning mix: 
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper 
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  1. Thoroughly combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix 1-1/4 cups of the flour, 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix, baking powder, eggs, and beer together in a bowl, breaking up all lumps until it is smooth. 
  3. Combine the remaining flour with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix and set aside. Place the coconut in a separate bowl. 
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the shrimps with the remaining seasoning mix. Then hold each shrimp by the tail, dredge in the flour mixture, shake off excess, dip in batter and allow excess to drip off. Coat each shrimp with the coconut and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Heat deep fryer to 350 degF. Drop each shrimp into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, approximately 1/2 to 1 minute on each side. Do not crowd the fryer. 
  6. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
  7. Lay shrimp on large lettuce leaves and serve with Pineapple Salsa dip. 
  8. Garnish with lemon, orange, or lime wedges.

Pineapple Salsa Dip
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple 
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup pineapple preserves (or apricot-pineapple preserves) 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeno chili 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

Combine ingredients and gently toss.

Coconut Shrimp Kabobs with Island Coconut Salsa

  • 1 lb. shell-on shrimp, uncooked 
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk, canned and sweetened
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red chili peppers, seeded and minced 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 12 to 18 fresh pineapple chunks 

Island Coconut Salsa
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or macadamia nut oil

Combine ingredients and gently toss.

  1. Peel and devein shrimp retaining tails; set aside.
  2. Combine coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, red peppers, cumin, coriander and pepper; pour over shrimp.
  3. Marinate no more than 1 hour. Thread shrimp and pineapple chunks on skewers. 
  4. Broil or grill, 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp are done.
  5. Arrange coconut shrimp on large lettuce leaves.
  6. Serve with Island Coconut Salsa on the side. 

Caribbean Shrimp Run Down

  • 1 lb shell-on shrimp, uncooked 
  • 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 3 cups coconut milk 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • Finely chopped hot pepper to taste 
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar 
  • 1 t. fresh chopped thyme 
  • Sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Peel and devein shrimp retaining tails.
  2. Pour the lime juice over the shrimp and set aside.
  3. Cook the coconut milk in a heavy frying pan until it is oily.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and cook until the onion is tender.
  5. Add the hot pepper, tomatoes, salt and pepper, thyme and vinegar. Stir and cook very gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Drain the shrimp, add the other ingredients and cook until the shrimp is tender, about 10 minutes.Serve hot over rice. 

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

Adapting Your Recipes for the Slow Cooker

Adapting Your Recipes for the Slow Cooker

If you are using your crock pot slow cooker regularly, you are probably wondering how you can adapt your traditional recipes to use in a crock pot. The ease of preparing a meal with a slow cooker has literally changed the lives of busy families. With the help of their slow cookers, families are eating healthier and consuming less greasy fast-food. 

Here are some hints for adapting your favorite traditional recipes for crock pot cooking:
  1. Add vegetables like peas and broccoli to your recipe in the last 15 minutes. If you are using frozen vegetables, remember to add them to your crock pot recipe during the last 30 minutes.
  2. Make sure to soak your dried beans so that they are completely softened before adding them to your recipe. If your recipe includes tomatoes, salt, or sugar, then your beans should definitely be soaked before cooking.
  3. If your recipe calls for pasta, any kind of seafood, milk or other dairy products, then only add them during the last 60 minutes of cooking, and cook pasta to just a bit tender before adding them to the cooker. Condensed cream soups are good alternatives to dairy products because they can withstand longer cooking times.
  4. When cooking a recipe with rice, add an extra cup of liquid for every cup of rice. 
  5. Always remember to reduce the liquid in your recipe when you are using a traditional recipe in your crock pot.
  6. A good idea for cooking stews and soups that call for vegetables is to put the veggies on the bottom and sides of the slow cooker and then place your meat on top.

Traditional Recipe to Slow Cooker Use:
  • 15-30 min traditional = 1.5 to 2 hrs High or 4-6 hrs Low in Crock pot
  • 35-45 min traditional = 3-4 hrs High or 6-10 hrs Low in Crock pot
  • 50 min-3 hrs traditional = 4-6 hrs High or 8-18 hrs Low in Crock pot

If you are like most families, your slow cooker supplies lots of food per meal, so you will very likely have leftovers. Always remember to never reheat your leftovers in the crock pot. One of the additional rewards of slow cooking is the ability to make lots of food and freeze for future meals. Happy slow cooking!

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Feta and Summer Vegetables

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Feta and Summer Vegetables

More people are calling almonds their favorite nut and they are putting their almonds where their mouths are. 
From roasted and seasoned almonds in creative, portable packaging to almond granola bars, energy bars and breakfast bars to entrees and vegetable dishes, almonds are found in a variety of new food products. 
One reason for their popularity may be their health benefits. Studies have shown that almonds as part of a balanced eating plan can lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and can help promote a healthy weight. In addition, almonds are packed with the antioxidant vitamin E, magnesium, protein and fiber. They also contain calcium. It's no coincidence almonds have become a favorite ingredient and the healthy snack of choice. 

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Feta and Summer Vegetables
Serves: 6

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 ounces cubed feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, roasted*
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • Basil-Chive Vinaigrette (recipe below)

  1. Place quinoa in a medium pot and rinse with water.
  2. Strain out water; add broth and turn heat to high.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  4. Cool and toss gently with feta, almonds, vegetables and vinaigrette.
  5. Serve. 

Basil-Chive Vinaigrette:
  • Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Combine vinegar and lime juice in a small bowl.
  2. Gradually whisk in olive oil until mixture is smooth and uniform.
  3. Stir in chives and basil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*To roast sliced almonds, spread in an ungreased baking pan. Place in a 350degF oven and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to roast slightly after removing from oven.