Fettuccine Al Nero Di Seppia (Squid Ink Pasta)

I have always wanted to try making squid ink pasta ever since I made my own Paella Negra a couple of years back. I was torn between making pasta with the squid ink sauce or making the dish using the dried Squid Ink Pasta you can usually get from specialty stores.

For this recipe, I decided on making the squid ink sauce using the bottled cuttlefish fish ink I recently bought at Eataly in the Flatiron district. I scoured the Internet for the perfect recipe and after reading and comparing dozens, I came up with my own.

First up, prepare your squid if using fresh by cleaning and gutting it then cut it into rings. I used 2 medium-sized squid. For the shrimp, I just used the frozen raw jumbo shrimp from Sam’s club which I defrosted. I used about half a pound for this recipe.

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Place the shrimp in a bowl and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. paprika and a dash of olive oil. Mix until shrimp is well coated with the seasonings.

Get a non-stick skillet and place over medium heat. Fry your shrimp until opaque and has changed color for about a minute on each side. Remove from pan and set aside

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Cook your pasta according to the package directions. While pasta is cooking prepare your sauce. In a wide skillet place, combine 4 – 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant. Then add 1 medium-sized chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 cup white wine and bring to a boil until it has reduced to about half. Add your squid and cook until just firm to the touch, it will only take about a minute or so. Then remove the squid and set it aside together with your shrimp. Then add the puree of 3-4 Roma tomatoes (I cut the tomatoes in half and removed the seeds then let it pass through a box grater and discard the skin) and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Stir and cook for 2 minutes then add 1/2 – 1 cup pasta water and 2 Tablespoons of the cuttlefish ink. Continue to stir and cook until everything is well blended and the sauce has turned black and thickened a bit. Add the cooked pasta and the squid into the pan and toss until every strand of pasta is coated evenly with the sauce. Season with salt to taste.

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Transfer pasta onto a plate and add your shrimp and sprinkle some parsley on top.

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Peruvian Roast Chicken

This has become one of the family’s favorite dishes. I first made this at the start of the pandemic, I wanted to serve something other than the usual roast chicken. It’s packed with more flavor since it uses different kinds of spices. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by Spain which may be one of the reasons why we love it. Since Spain has the strongest culinary influence on Filipino food.

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious. This for me gives the perfect balance of flavor and taste I was looking for. To make you will need one whole spatchcock chicken. I got the Bell & Evans brand from Whole Foods.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F

Rinse and pat dry your chicken. Rub the chicken with the juice of one lemon and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the following: 3-4 cloves finely minced garlic. 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1 Tablespoon Cumin, 1 Tablespoon Olive oil, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, juice and zest of 1 lemon. Mix well. Rub the marinade all over both sides of the chicken. Transfer your chicken on a roasting pan lined with foil.

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Place chicken in the oven and roast for about 1 hour. While chicken is roasting baste every 20 minutes or so with it’s pan juices or with your marinade. I usually reserve a bit for basting.

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I serve it with rice and garlic aioli. For the aioli, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 yogurt, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, salt to taste and a sprinkling of parsley flakes.

You may use chicken drumsticks, wings or thighs if you don’t have spatchcock chicken.

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Fried Danggit

When my nephew and his girlfriend came to visit us last month, they first made a quick stop at a Filipino Restaurant cum grocery store in South Jersey. While there they asked if they can get anything for me and sent me photos of their selections. I immediately spotted a small container of fried danggit and this is one of the goodies they gave us.

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Cebu is known for dried danggit, and it is where I had it for the first time. I remember I ordered it for room service at non-other than Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu, during our honeymoon. We rarely eat this since one has a funky smell when you cook it, and I hate having my house smell of dried fish. Two, finding it here in my neck of the woods is not easy. So this, for me, is a treat.

I served it for breakfast the next day with garlic fried rice and sunny side egg.

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Pasta with Tomato Butter Sauce

I made this pasta dish when my girls invited their friend who is vegetarian for dinner. I happen to chance upon a video on Youtube featuring this meatless pasta dish. It looks easy enough to make with just a few simple ingredients.

To make start by cutting in half 3 pints of cherry tomatoes and set them aside. Then chop a medium-sized onion.

Get a large skillet and place over medium to low heat. Add a stick of butter and saute your onion until soft and translucent. Then add your tomatoes and season with a teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook for 25-30 minutes over low heat. Make sure to stir it once in a while to prevent it from burning.

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While tomatoes are simmering cook your pasta according to the package directions. I used spaghetti pasta but fettuccine or linguine would also be good options.

After about 20 minutes you can see the sauce thickening a bit and the skin of the tomatoes softening and starting to burst. Gently press the tomatoes with the back of your wooden spoon while stirring. This helps the flavor of the ingredients to blend well. Before the end of cooking time add 1 cup of pasta water and stir. Then add your pasta and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add about a quarter cup of basil leaves that has been torn to pieces. Add more pasta water if needed and top with grated parmesan cheese before serving.

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I was a bit skeptical when I started making this but after tasting the end product my mind was blown away by the taste and flavor of this pasta dish. You would not even notice that it is meatless.

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Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

One thing I share with my dad is my love for peanut butter. The first brand of peanut butter I was introduced to was Lily’s peanut butter slathered in pandesal. I believe most Filipino children in the 70s are familiar with and grew up with this brand. Later on, we would always buy a jar of Jiff or Skippy whichever is available from Rustan’s or Landmark every time we would go grocery shopping.

I had my first taste of grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich from Oliver’s Super Sandwiches the HK franchise sandwich shop in Glorietta that opened in the 90s. One time my dad handed me a brown bag from the store when he picked me up from work. He knew I would be hungry as we almost always hit traffic along South Expressway on the way home. He said he chose it since he knows how much I love peanut butter. I still do, and I sometimes eat a slice of bread with peanut butter for dessert.

This blog is dedicated to my dad who is no longer with us. Every time I eat this I am reminded of him and all the memories we have sharing the love for this food.

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To make, get 2 slices of bread (I used oat but you can use whatever you prefer). Slather one side with peanut butter, then layer it with banana slices. Place the other piece of bread on top.

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Get a skillet and place over medium heat. Add a pat of butter and carefully place your sandwich and cook until browned and a bit crisp. Then flip and continue to cook until brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and slice in half. Serve with a cold glass of milk.

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Asparagus Fries

The first time I had asparagus fries was at Barn Joo a Korean gastropub on 35th in New York City. It reminded me of Zucchini fries which I also love. I usually get a pack of asparagus from Sam’s Club. It’s a 2 lb bag and I have a little less than half a bag left so I decided to make this before it goes bad.

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To make wash your asparagus and set it aside. Place in a shallow container 1 cup all-purpose and add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Mix until everything is combined. In another container beat 2 eggs. In a third container mix 1 cup panko bread crumbs with 1 tsp. paprika.

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Dredge your asparagus in the flour. Then dip in the beaten eggs. Last coat it with the panko breadcrumbs mixture, make sure to press firmly to coat. Repeat with the remaining asparagus.

Get a skillet and pour about an inch of oil. Place over medium heat. Fry your asparagus in batches until golden brown about 2 minutes. Drain in paper towels.

Serve with a dipping sauce of mayo and ketchup, we also like to dip it in Chick-fil-A Sauce.

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Three Ways to Use Figs When in Season

Fig season is somewhat short-lived. It runs from August thru October but you are lucky if you find good ones in your local grocery store during this season. I immediately grab a pack when I saw some at Trader Joe’s. It was quite a steal, it was less than 10 dollars for a 2 lb pack.

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It’s so versatile you can serve it as a savory or sweet treat. I made some figs stuffed with mascarpone as an appetizer. Wash and pat dry your figs. Cut off the stem and make a “X” cut on top of each fruit. Using a piping bag stuff your figs with mascarpone cheese, alternatively, you can use ricotta or goat cheese. Arrange on a platter and drizzle some honey on top.


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I also added figs to make a salad. Just cut into quarters and add to some baby lettuces, sprinkle walnuts and blackberries and some cubed cheese and add your favorite dressing.

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For breakfast, I added it to greek yogurt and drizzled honey to sweeten.


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Ham Salad Sandwich

Cold sandwiches are lunch staples in our household during the Summer months. It’s easy to make, so there is no need to sweat in the kitchen. Ham salad reminds me of the sandwiches my mom prepares for us for recess. In the Philippines, school recess means a break and a time to have a mid-morning snack for grade school children and high school teens.

I have some hickory smoked ham slices that I got from Sam’s club. I just diced it and added 1 rib of celery, 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1 Tbsp. relish, 1 boiled egg, just enough mayonnaise to moisten everything, and 1 tsp. dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

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Generously spread on some wheat or multi-grain bread slices. Serve with some chips or dill pickles on the side.


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Bicol Express

Bicol Express is one of the Filipino dishes that use coconut milk. Coconut milk or kakang gata in Tagalog is widely used in Southeast Asian cooking. I hardly ever cook with coconut milk since I grew up in a household that isn’t overly fond of eating food made with “gata.”

This dish is a favorite of my husband and he would always get this at the Cafeteria-style Filipino restaurant in our area. Since their Bicol Express is too spicy for me to handle, I made this so I can adjust the level of heat and amount of chiles in the dish.

Get a large saucepan and place over medium to high heat. Add 2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil and saute 6 cloves of minced garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant add 1 medium-sized chopped onion. Cook until onions are translucent. Add 1 1/2 lbs pork butt cut into cubes. Stir and cook until no longer pink and has turned a bit brown on the edges. Place 2 Tablespoons “shrimp bagoong” and stir fry everything for about 2 minutes. Pour a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water, and let this come to a boil. Lower heat and continue cooking at a simmer for 35-40 minutes until meat is tender and coconut milk has thickened. Make sure to cook at low heat so that the coconut milk will not curdle. This will give your sauce a creamy consistency. Then add 1/2 cup chopped “siling haba” or Korean green chili peppers and 2-3 pieces thinly sliced Thai chiles or siling labuyo. You may add more if you want it spicier. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Let this cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

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Korean Vegetable Pancake

This is a family favorite and one of the easiest to make when we are craving some Korean food. It’s also versatile; you can add anything you fancy: meat, seafood, or veggies.

I just buy the Korean pancake mix at my local Asian grocer, and I particularly like this brand.

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To make prepare your batter by mixing 1 1/2 cup pancake mix with 1 to 1 1/4 cup cold water and an egg. Mix until just combined. To these add your grated or chopped vegetables. I used cabbage, carrots, zucchini, king oyster mushrooms, onions, and spring onions. Mix until vegetables are coated with the batter.

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Get a large non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Scoop 1/2 cup of your vegetable mixture onto pan. Fry until crisp and golden brown on the bottom. Flip and continue to cook until the other side is brown and cooked to your desired crispness. You may need to add more oil to your pan. When done place on a paper lined plate. Finish cooking remaining batter.

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For the dipping sauce, combine 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil and some ground pepper.

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