Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: What is Jerky?

An old-fashioned meaty cure

A jerky consists of a meat – usually sliced beef -- product that has been seasoned then dehydrated using a heat source, such as a smoky fire, dehydrator, or conventional oven. We dried our tinala’ katne at 200 degrees, but a constant temperature of at least 165 degrees works well, too. Beef jerky is great for long camping trips when refrigeration is a luxury. Removing moisture and eliminating bacteria are the two main goals when safely preparing any jerky. The addition of salt, although not required, helps kill microorganisms. The results are a preserved and tasty meat product that has a longer shelf-life when kept properly. Many consumers like buying vacuum packed beef jerky at most major supermarkets. Meanwhile, look for select varieties of chicken, turkey, venison, at some specialty food markets or butchers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Tinala’ Katne

A Spanish derivative

European settlers brought livestock to the Marianas Islands in the 1600s and 1700s. Food was available but how to store it was the question. And, there was an answer: Drying raw food items has been a method of food preservation that’s been used for generations. The word “katne” constitutes a spin on the Spanish word “carne” that translates into meat. Tinala’ katne literally means “exposed meat.” Simpler recipes usually call for a curing solution (or marinade) of salt, black pepper, and a splash of vinegar. Tastier renditions of tinala’ katne might call for brown sugar, soy sauce, or lemon juice. Some cooks prefer the old-fashioned preparation procedures where slices of beef dry in the hot sun for days. Meanwhile, others prepare the meat above a mild fire to smoke for several hours. Tinala’ katne now makes for a Chamorro fiesta staple dish that quickly gets devoured by party-goers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chamorro Beef Jerky

Making dry meat -- on purpose

The Mixed Stew crew eagerly learned to make Tinala’ Katne or Chamorro Beef Jerky since it disappears off serving trays at Guam parties. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large bowl with cover
1 pair of tongs
1 large baking sheet with wire rack
3 to 4 lbs beef, sliced into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsps brown sugar or raw sugar
¼ cup vinegar (palm, sugar cane or cider works best)
Sea salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Thoroughly toss and coat beef strips. Cover bowl and let meat marinade for at least 8 hours in fridge. Preheat oven at 200 degrees. Arrange seasoned beef strips on wire rack over baking pan. Place pan in oven and let meat dehydrate for 6 hours. Turn strips over half-way into cooking time. Remove dried beef from rack and store in vacuum-packed zipper bags or heat in microwave and serve immediately. Reheat Tinala’ Katne by pan-frying or zapping in the microwave for at least 30 to 40 seconds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's Last Spoonful: Just a matter of egg coloring

Brown vs. white

Wonder what the big deal is about brown eggs and why they’re usually more expensive than white ones? Brown eggs come from certain breeds, such as Wyandotte or Rhode Island Red chickens. These chickens require more feed per pound since they’re also larger in size compared to the breeds that produce white eggs. Farmers spend more money raising these chickens. Merchants pass along the slight cost hike to consumers. As for content? Comparisons have shown no real difference in nutrition or value. Scientists have identified protoporphyrin as the added chemical agent that causes the brown- colored shells. White eggs lack protoporphyrin.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Smoked Salmon

A favorite for flavor

Producers of smoked salmon first cure a salmon fillet then smoke it through cold smoking or hot smoking. Cold smoking procedures mean that fillets aren’t cooked before smoking, which creates a softer and much sought after texture. Meanwhile, hot smoking salmon requires cooking the fish fillets beforehand and makes for drier and denser results. Cold smoked salmon must be stored in fridge or freezer to prevent spoiling. Native Americans along Pacific Northwest have been smoking salmon for centuries. Connoisseurs all over the globe view smoked salmon as a delicacy among seafood and fish food products. Look for frozen, dry-packaged, and canned smoked salmon at any major grocery store chain. Smoked salmon is a good source of Omega 3 oils, which promote a healthy heart and circulatory system.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Best of the Egg Whites

A healthy way to scramble

Look for diet conscious eaters buying whole cartons of these pre-packaged egg whites at most major supermarkets. A (16 oz) container goes a long way in producing several servings of yolk-free omelets or scrambled eggs. Manufacturers save the usual time and extra labor that usually goes into cracking then separating individual egg yolks from the egg white. Each box contains 10 servings or the equivalent of 10 eggs. The contents are 100% egg product. We also recommend this product for baking recipes and dishes that require a large number of eggs. Safeway carries Lucerne brand “Best of the Egg Whites” and costs anywhere between $2.50 (on a sale day) to $4.99.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Cupful: Extra Spicy Deviled Eggs

Spicy hard-boiled munchies

Kimchi spices and smoked salmon add some sizzle to these otherwise simple deviled eggs. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 cutting board
1 metal spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
3 cups water
1 medium-sized sauce pan
8 large eggs
1 ziploc sandwich bag
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons kimchi, minced (cabbage kind)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 large serving plate
1 knife
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Place eggs in sauce pan. Fill saucepan with 3 cups water and place on stove at high heat. Let water reach a rolling boil and reduce heat to medium-high. Eggs should cook for at least 10 to 15 minutes or until hard boiled inside. Once eggs have hard boiled, then remove them from heat. Position saucepan in kitchen sink and run eggs under cold water for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, carefully crack and peel off eggs’ shells. Discard shells. Slice each individual egg in half. Remove and collect hard yolks in small bowl. Empty egg whites should serve as edible foundation for deviled eggs. Combine egg yolks, mustard, kimchi, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise in bowl. Mash bowl’s contents with wooden spoon or metal fork until a smooth paste is formed. Pour yolk paste into Ziploc sandwich bag and cut off bottom edge of bag to delicately squeeze egg yolk paste into each egg white. Squeeze enough yolk paste to refill eggs. Top each deviled egg with small slices or shavings of smoked salmon. Chill in fridge or serve immediately.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On Holiday

Happy President's Day to all our readers! The Mixed Stew will be back on February 21st with more food recipes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Monks' Bread

A bread from a brand belonging to brothers

Have you sampled slices or loaves of these specialty breads, which are prepared, baked, and packaged by the Trappist Monks of the Abbey of Genesee in Piffard, New York? The brothers use quality ingredients and their own secret recipes to make five unique flavors, such as Raisin W/ Cinnamon, Rye-Caraway Seeds, and Sunflower W/ Rolled Oats. The cooking process takes five hours and visitors to the abbey can observe the brothers preparing and loading stacks of bread. The Mixed Stew crew especially liked their Maple Cinnamon bread. The order, which is a community of 30 monks, lives by prayer, quiet contemplation, and the common work of baking. You can purchase their bread loaves on their website, at the Abbey of Genesee store, while still others can find their loaves for sell at some special locations. We bought three loaves for $12.00 at the gift shop for the Shrine of St. Anthony in Maryland. A special bulk order through their website of six different loaves costs $19.95 without shipping included. Also, look for cakes, fruit preserves, and butter made by the Trappist Monks of the Abbey of Genesee.

The Abbey of the Genesee
3258 River Rd.
Piffard, NY 14533

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Chipotle Scrapple

Hotter and spicier

We found this new variation of a yummy original while grocery shopping at Giant. Rapa brand scrapple has always been a breakfast meat that’s akin to spam for the Mixed Stew Crew. Look for the chipotle peppers’ red spots, which dot several areas of this scrapple while cutting and cooking slices. The extra smoky and hot peppery flavors enhanced the scrapple’s usual porky tastes and ingredients. Also, the sale price at $2.50 per pound is easy on anyone’s budget.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Remove the membrane from pork ribs

Extracting an uninvited guest

Are you wondering why your barbecue ribs (both spare ribs and baby back ribs) are tough and chewy when you cook ‘em? Well, the usual reason may stem from forgetting or neglecting to remove the translucent membrane that’s a bothersome attachment to pork ribs. We’ve learned (over the years) to identify the membrane and pull it off with
several quick motions. Lay the ribs on a cutting board with the membrane side facing up. The ribs’ bones should curl up towards you or the ceiling. We recommend using a sharp knife -- for all the first-timers -- to cut away and peel off the tough membrane of or from any rack of pork ribs. Removing the membrane helps any marinade or dry-rub better penetrate and season the meat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Baby Back Ribs

Delightful pieces to consider

As cuts of pork go, baby back ribs have their fans who like them for their charming finger food qualities. These meaty ribs, when barbecued ‘til tender in any tasty sauce or dry rub, can be enjoyed or eaten while the meat falls off the bone. Other names for these ribs: Canadian back ribs and pork loin back ribs. Their pork loin meat tends to be leaner yet still flavorful compared to regular spareribs. Ordering baby back ribs makes for a yummy safe bet when trying a new food joint.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chipotle Baby Back Ribs

Spicy finger-lickin good to the bone

Try these spicy oven-roasted pork ribs. Stewed chipotle peppers, mustard, and sweet onion form the essence of this hot and tangy marinade. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 metal spoon
1 small bowl
1 medium-sized bowl
1 blender
Aluminum foil
1 baking sheet
1 slab baby back ribs, membrane removed
1 yellow onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 tbspns olive oil
2 tablespoons yellow mustard powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Cooking and Directions:

Combine salt, oregano, and mustard in small bowl. Set aside. Place chipotle pepper, onion, garlic, and olive oil in blender. Cover blender with lid and puree ingredients until smooth. Pour in dry-mixed ingredients and pulse again in blender. Preheat oven at 275 degrees. Coat and lather the slab of baby back ribs (on both sides) with blended sauce. Gently wrap seasoned pork ribs in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet. Place ribs and baking sheet in oven to slowly bake for 3 hours. Unwrap and baste ribs after that time has elapsed. Set oven to broil. Place ribs under broiler to brown and singe to your liking on both sides. Remove browned ribs from oven and let ribs rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Valentine's Day surprises

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

Valentine's Day has a story that goes back Centuries for mankind. Here's some background on the "love holiday" from

Don't forget the men this Valentine's Day. REAL SIMPLE features gift ideas for the male species on their site.

What's a romantic dinner without a serving of fine wine? Design Swan lists 15 cool gadgets for wine lovers.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Ube Mochi Cake

A flavorful combo
The Mixed Stew Crew can’t get enough of mochi cake. We substituted a package of ube aka purple dagu (in the Philippines) for the coconut in our original coconut mochi cake recipe with yummy results. The ube added extra richness and subtle flavors in every bite of ube mochi cake. Ube bits and pieces studded this otherwise plain mochi cake.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: What is dagu?

Found in Guam’s boonies
We admit that there may be much to be desired when it comes to Guam’s dagu. The harvesting of these tuber roots during for the yearly holiday season coincides with dagu reaching maturity in the ground. Dagu is scientifically known as dioscorea alata and comes in white and purple. English names include water yam, winged yam, and ten-months yam. Filipinos know it as ube. Also look for these yams in areas of Africa, Vietnam, and Australia.

Dågon håya is the Chamorro phrase that specifies dagu with finger-like appendages. Some of these dågon håya can grow upwards of 3-feet or more in girth and weigh over 10 lbs. Yes, that’s several pounds of tuber root or dagu from one specimen. Dagu lovers can also find it for sell at Guam’s weekly farmers’ market or at food stands that dot Guam’s southern villages during the holiday season.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Dagu

A challenging specimen that yields a real treat
The Mixed Stew crew remembers venturing into the jungles of Guam to locate and dig up dagu. What to look for? Experienced harvesters look for the creeping dagu vines that wrap themselves around the jungles’ tree trunks. The vines have sharp thorns so the dagu must be harvested with care to prevent scratches or punctures to the skin (We wore gardener’s gloves). Pulling up the stems of these green vines yields the valuable roots. We also would use hollowed-out coconut shell-halves as make-shift hand shovels to scoop and dig around the larger dagu specimens. Peeling and cleaning dagu can leave stains to one’s hands and clothes. Meanwhile, the dagu itself is dotted with thorns, too. Dagu is comparable to stateside yams; however, they look nothing like them. The base recipe for bonelos dagu is a sweet variation that borrows from the preparation of American-style fritters that we mentioned previously in our post about shrimp patties.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Bunuelos Dagu

A Guam holiday treat

The Mixed Stew crew grew up preparing and craving these fried yam doughnuts, which are a Chamorro holiday tradition. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 large bowl
1 baking spatula
1 large fry-pan
1 food processor
1 large metal spoon
1 serving plate covered with paper towels
3 to 5 lbs dagu (cleaned, peeled, and cubed)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ cups canola oil
Pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Place cubes of dagu into food processor and puree into a paste-like or batter consistency. Be careful not to overload. Repeat until all dagu is pureed. Pour batter into large bowl. Next, mix in flour, sugar, and baking soda into batter. Heat oil at medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon and drop batter into hot oil. Each portion makes one bunuelos dagu. Let doughnuts fry until golden brown then remove from fry-pan and position on serving tray covered with paper towels.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Cooking up entertaining fun

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to DVD helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better. Here are three DVDs with kitchen adventures:

No Reservations stars Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones as chefs in New York City’s competitive food service industry. Watch Zeta-Jones finicky character handle more than her fair share of kitchen duties in this film.

Have you watched Like Water for Chocolate? We recommend this Spanish movie (Reading the subtitles are worth the effort.), which was originally released in 1993. This period piece is a fine treat.

The coming and goings in Downton Abbey have the manor’s cook, Mrs. Patmore, cooking up many fine meals for the gentlemen and ladies. Here’s a new take on the British society during the early 1900s.

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Red Velvet Cake Mix

Look for the red box
The availability of red velvet cake mixes is a fairly new and rare occurrence based The Mixed Stew crew’s experience. Count on Duncan Hines to provide this short cut to red velvet cake bliss, but you may have to make a visit to more than one major grocery store in order to find it. We’ve enjoyed a very good outcome from this particular (18 oz) cake mix. Plus, it’s decently priced as cake mixes go (We’ve seen it for sale as low as 99 cents on a good sale day).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Diet Conscious Cake

Lowering the calories

Cooks have options now when it comes to lightening up cakes. We suggest substituting apple sauce for the same amount of cooking oil called for in yellow or white cake recipes. Fold or stir in the apple sauce, but do not over mix. Over mixing can lead to a rubbery texture to the finished product. This substitution also works conveniently with cake mixes packaged in boxes. Meanwhile, switch out an equal amount of pureed prunes for the oil called for in chocolate cake recipes or chocolate-based mixes. Again, we advise that you not over mix the cake batter when using pureed prunes. Lastly, look for Splenda No Calorie, Granulated that’s a diabetic-friendly alternative to baking with plain sugar.