Monday, April 25, 2011

Sofie Goes Egg Hunting!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Cooking: Hawaiian Pork Loin Morcon

Cooking Morcon has always intimidated me, this fiesta favorite is so deliciously yummy that I used to think you have to slave away in the kitchen to make one. Morcon is a Pinoy meatroll either pork or beef, stuffed with sausage, cheese, bell peppers, carrots and eggs. This is one of those dishes that I always said I'd learn to make for the holidays but never really did because I'm afraid it would be a disaster. However after mustering my culinary cahones, I was actually able to pull it off and even do my own variation. Instead of the usual beef morcon, here's my recipe for Hawaiian Pork Loin Morcon. 


1 pork loin 
1/2 cup soy sauce
juice from 5 pcs of calamansi
1/8 tsp or a dash of black pepper powder
1/8 tsp or a dash of garlic powder
2-4 chicken sausages (you can also use hotdogs)
2 hard boiled eggs
4 fat strips of  cheese (preferably cheddar or other hard cheese that can stand braising)
1 bell pepper sliced
1 carrot sliced into 4 fat strips
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed and  finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1 can pineapple chunks
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2-3 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste

butcher twine


1. First step is to butterfly your pork loin, do not fret it's not as difficult as it sounds. You take the round pork loin and place it on the cutting board. With a sharp knife cut on the side until your about a third of the way. Pull back the meat as you continue cutting, it does not have to be perfect, but try to make it into about a quarter of an inch thick when laid flat. Here's some nice instructions from, see their photos I borrowed on the right. 

2. After butterflying the pork loin, marinate it in the half of the soy sauce, calamansi juice, black pepper and garlic powder for 30 minutes to an hour. If you do not have calamansi you can substitute with juice from half a lime. Once the pork is well marinated, place the sausages, cheese, peppers, carrots and eggs slightly off center of the loin and begin rolling it together. It should be something like a jelly roll and the ends should overlap to fully cover the filling. Use some twine to secure the pork into a nice, tight roll. 

3. Heat 2 table spoons of cooking oil on your frying pan until you see a little smoke rising. Place the pork roll on the pan and sear for a few minutes on each side until all sides are golden brown. Set aside on a plate. 

4. On the same pan, saute the onions and  garlic until the onions begin to change color, add in the tomato paste, the rest of the soy sauce, the can of pineapple including the juice, brown sugar  and beef broth. When the broth begins to simmer put in your rolled pork loin and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender, turning it over every ten minutes.  The broth will continue to thicken so you need to add a little water, about 1/3 cup at a time if it begins to dry. Do not forget to taste your food every so often to adjust the taste to your liking, I used a couple of teaspoons of fish sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. 

5. Once the loin is tender and you can see some cheese oozing out, turn off the heat and start plating your dish. Slice the roll cross-wise, arrange on a plate and pour over some of the sauce with pineapple chunks  and enjoy with rice or dinner rolls ;-)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao At Long Last

I am super crazy about Chinese food, specially noodles and dumplings. There's nothing like a perfectly round, meaty and juicy dumpling and a bowl of piping hot noodles to make me happy. Needles to say, hubby and I are always on the prowl for good Chinese near our neighbourhood.  I have been hearing about Crystal Jade  epic Xiao Long Bao for quite some time now, I even pass by the restaurant in Greenhills during my morning jogs but for some reason we have never tried it until today. 

As we were approaching the restaurant, the first thing I noticed is the kitchen, it was open for public viewing separated from the world only by a glass wall. This is a plus for me, as a mom I want to make sure that the food my daughter will be eating is made in a very clean kitchen. And it is. . . with chefs from Hong Kong to boot. We later on found out that the restaurant in Greenhills is their one and only branch in the Philippines. 

The first thing we ordered is of course their fabled Xiao Long Bao or Soupy Pork Dumpling with meat and soup inside. Yup, soup in those small little buns. The xiao long bao was served with a light ginger soy sauce,  I dipped mine in chilli oil for an extra kick. The dumpling exploded in my mouth with what I can only describe as  heaven!!!

Xiao Long Bao (Php 158.00)
Next thing on the menu was the Noodle with beef in Spicy Soup, we were worried since it could be too spicy for my daughter. The server was very considerate, he separated our order into two bowls and served the Spicy Sesame Oil separately. We did not even ask him for this, I'm pretty sure he has kids! The beef just melted effortlessly in our mouths and the soup was very comforting. The soup is similar to Pinoy Bulalo but the chinese parsely combined with the chili sesame oil gave the noodles a distinct flavor.

Noodle with Beef in Spicy  Soup (Php 288.00)
Another hit that we will surely be back for is the Sauteed Chicken with Cashew Nuts in Spicy Sauce. It can be eaten in two ways, topped over rice or wrapped in pancake that came with the dish. The pancake was very much like Indian roti but it was slightly thinner and softer. Although the chicken had a lot of chillies, it did not kill the other flavors, you can still taste the sweetness and smell the aroma of the herbs. The cashews were quite crunchy as well, giving the dish a real punch. 

Sauteed Chicken with Cashew Nuts in Spicy Sauce (Php 288.00)
Our daughter loves finger food so we also ordered some stuff that she will like, all of her leftovers of course ended up on my plate but I did not complain. We had the Pan-Fried Shanghai Pork Bun, it was a tasty treat that was a cross between Siopao Bola Bola and Siomai. I swear I could've finished 10 buns if there was enough room in my pants. We also enjoyed the Deep Fried Cua Pao served with sweetened condensed milk, it was both a side dish and a dessert. 

We had a great meal and will definitely come back for more. The food was great, we loved the service, it was clean and the fact that even though the interior seemed kind of boring for a toddler, my 3 year old was very much intent on attacking the noodles and did not roam about. It was a big plus! 

Mom Foodie Rating:

Food - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Ambiance - 3/5
Value - 3/5
Kid Friendly - 3/5
Average Price/Meal per person -  Php 400.00

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Unit 117-121 Virra Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, 

Greenhills, San Juan City, Philippines
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.




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