Green Tomato Salad

It was the week after Labor Day, and the last of the tomatoes in the Summer season was being sold at our local Farmer’s Market. It was where I spotted some gorgeous green tomatoes from one of my favorite vegetable vendors.


I initially thought of making some fried green tomatoes but quickly changed my mind since I don’t relish the thought of frying and the cleaning up after that goes with it.

This turned into a refreshing salad instead that I served with my Peruvian roast chicken.


You will need 1-2 green tomatoes, one small white onion, one cucumber, and mint leaves. Rinse your tomatoes and cucumber ( I used Korean cucumber) and slice thinly. Please do the same thing with your onion but let it soak in cold water for a few minutes to take the bite out of it (this step is optional). Arrange your tomatoes, cucumber, and onions in an alternating pattern on your serving platter. Sprinkle some mint leaves on top. Drizzle your dressing made up of 2 Tbsp. White wine vinegar, 1 tsp. Salt, 1/2 tsp. Black pepper, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of sugar.




Eggplant Omelet with Ground Beef

I have several versions of this recipe but this time around I stuffed it with ground beef. The easiest recipe for “tortang talong” is the one where you just simply dip the roasted eggplant in beaten eggs before frying. This recipe is a little bit more involved since you need to prepare the filling ahead.

Make your filling by sautéing 2 minced garlic cloves and one small chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Cook until onions have become translucent. Add about 1/4 lb of ground beef and cook until a bit browned. Add 1/4 cup diced green or red bell peppers and cook just until the vegetable has softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.


First, you need to grill or broil your eggplants. You can do this on top of your stove if it is gas, or inside the oven or outside grill. The purpose is to soften the eggplant and to make it easy to peel off the skin. Wash and dry your eggplants. Then lay it on top of a grill mesh specifically made for stove top use. Let the skin blacken all over. When cool enough to handle peel of the skin. Then flatten the flesh using a fork creating an oval shape.


Beat 3 eggs in a shallow rimmed plate wide enough to fit your eggplant. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Then dip your eggplants making sure to coat both sides. Carefully add your ground beef mixture on top of the eggplant making sure not to spill the filling onto the sides. Gently spoon some of the egg mixture on top of the filling.



Get a non-stick pan and heat 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil or any neutral oil until hot. Carefully slide in your eggplant. Slide into pan stuffed side up, when it’s brown on the bottom carefully flip it and continue cooking until brown and a bit crisp on the other side. We eat this for lunch or dinner with steamed rice and ketchup.




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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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.


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




Purple Sweet Potato Fritters

I wanted to use up the sweet potatoes that have been sitting on my kitchen counter so I made fritters out of them this week. My family loved it so I thought of turning it up a notch and replacing it with purple sweet potatoes.

For this recipe, I used Okinawan purple sweet potatoes. To make peel and grate two medium-sized sweet potatoes and 1 small carrot and place them in a bowl. Add 1 small onion finely chopped, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Mix everything together until well combined.

Take a small pan and add about 1/2 an inch of any neutral oil. Place over medium heat, once the oil is hot drop a heaping tablespoon of your sweet potato mixture. Fry for 1 minute or so, flip, and cook until brown and crisp on both sides. This takes so little time to cook so be careful not to burn it. I served this with the “Chick-Fil-A” dipping sauce I got at my local Target. You may use sweet chili sauce or a yogurt mayo garlic sauce too, the possibilities are endless.




Bulalang (Tagalog Pinakbet)

In my family we call this Bulanglang or Tagalog Pinakbet. Ilocano style Pinakbet is never sautéed but is simply steamed or simmered in onion, tomatoes and ginger and flavored with bagoong na isda (fermented fish sauce), this according to a good family friend who is from Ilocos Norte. Bulanglang is sautéed in garlic, onions and tomatoes and seasoned with bagoong alamang (shrimp paste).



This is an updated version of my recipe for Pinakbet. The original one I featured on this site was a bit dry. I just added a little bit of water and cooked it for a few minutes longer but not too long for the vegetable to become too soggy.




Stir Fried Snow Pea Leaves

I am used to having a side dish of vegetable during mealtimes, specially at dinner. This was just something that my mom and maternal grandmother have always done as far as I remember. So I picked up this habit and have always made sure we have a side of vegetables specially if our dish does not contain any type of greens.

I just don’t make elaborate or complicated vegetable dishes like my mom and grandmother. I must confess, it was too much work for me then with too small children to care for. So I resorted to just making simple steamed veggies like brocolli, asparagus and beans. But our favorite is stir fried Asian greens such as yuchoy, bok choy, Chinese brocolli to name a few. If you want to learn more about Asian greens here is an easy guide for you to read.

Stir fried snow pea leaves is something that you always see at Cantonese restaurants. It’s somewhat hard to find these here in our area, the only place I have seen these is at 99 ranch. I was lucky enough that when I was shopping for it, the lady from the grocery store helped me pick the best from the pile.

First make sure to sort and clean the snow pea leaves, separating the hard stalks from the tender leaves. Then soak this for a a few hours before washing 2 -3 times to rid of dirt and sand and set aside.


Get a wok or a skillet and place on high heat. Then add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then add 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped then the snow pea leaves taking care not to burn the garlic. Stir contanstly and season with salt and white pepper. Cook until leaves are just wilted and still a bit crisp. Serve immediately.




Salted Duck Egg Salad

Salted Duck Eggs is not solely Filipino. In fact it originated in China centuries ago. This was probably brought to us by the Chinese merchants who came before the country was colonized by Spain. Salted duck eggs even became a food trend in Asia several years back where it was added to everything imaginable, even potato chips !

We always have salted duck eggs as a side dish with tomatoes added to accompany fried seafood or meat. This is just a fancy version of the salted duck egg and tomato I made before.

This is an easy recipe, you just need to peel and cut the duck eggs into quarters. You can get salted duck eggs in any Asian store by the way. Then get some grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Thinly slice some red or breakfast radish. Arrange everything on a plate then sprinkle some micro greens on top. I also added some mango strips as an after thought. I did’t add any dressing but just a sprinkling of kosher salt since that is what we do. But you can definitely use a combination of lemon and olive oil if you want to dress it.




Ensaladang Talong (Eggplant Salad)

My mom usually serves this eggplant salad as a side for any grilled fish or meat. It’s a very Pinoy dish since green salad is not something that you will regularly see on a Filipino table. Specially in the early 70’s where iceberg lettuce is the only leafy salad greens that is available in grocery stores.

Start by grilling 2 Asian eggplants. This is the long and thin ones which has a sweeter taste. When cool enough to handle peel the charred skin and flatten with a fork to form an oval shape. Set aside.


Chop 2-3 tomatoes and half a medium sized red onion. Place in a bowl. Season with a mixture of 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon Philippine cane vinegar, juice of half a lime and ground pepper. Toss until the onions and tomatoes are coated with the dressing. Pour on top of the eggplant.


One other way to serve this is just by placing the coarsely chopped grilled eggplant in a bowl then and add tomatoes and onion in. Pour your dressing and toss to combine. Serve chilled.




Kimchi Pancake

So in my quest to find recipes to use up my 3 lb tub kimchi. I’ve decided to make kimchi pancakes for the first time. I’ve tried the frozen ones sold at our local HMart but we really didn’t like the taste of it.

After looking at several recipes online this is what I came up with. It’s fairly easy to make.

First, place 1 cup of chopped kimchi in a bowl. Then add 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 Tbsp. kimchi juice and 1/2 cup water. Mix well to combine.

Heat a non-stick pan and place a generous amount of oil. Then pour about 1/3 cup of the batter making sure to spread it thinly. I intentionally made smaller sized pancakes than bigs one usually the size of the pan as what you would normally see in recipes. Cook until brown on both sides and crisp around the edges. This won’t take long around 2-3 minutes per side.

I served this with a dipping sauce of black vinegar, lite soy and sesame oil. Proportions is totally up to your taste. You can use rice vinegar in place of black and add a pinch of sugar for a touch of sweetness.