Happiness is only real when shared -- Happy Holidays from Libreng Sabaw Blog!

And so I saw this boxed ham in the fridge. I've always had a distaste for holiday season ham, well, I never really got the point. So naturally, I was pessimistic with the boxed Christmas ham I found. It came with some sort of sweet sauce similar to the one we commonly put on the Taho. I didn't think it would go well with the Chinese recipe of the ham.

The brand is Excellente Ham. It's not the typical ones I usually see in the grocery stores from purefoods or CDO. I actually remember seeing the store where you can buy this. It's a few blocks from Hidalgo st in Quiapo (this is where you can buy affordable photography accessories and equipment). My mother says that it is a popular brand with a pedigree of making really good ham.

And so I got hungry, grabbed a few slices, put some rice on my plate and microwaved (I haven't really been in the mood to cook or write about food as you may have noticed). I went to my room with my plate of ham and rice and continued watching this show on Animal Planet about this guy living in a room full of snakes.

I was very surprised at how good the first bite was. It was actually very good. In a way, it's name fits it perfectly—this ham is excellent!

And so I tried to figure out, with this excellent slices of ham in front of me plus a good TV show on, why I somehow felt as if something was missing. And then it hit me—happiness is only real when shared. The whole time I wasn't fully satisfied because I am unable to share this experience with Adrienne Nicole Bernal.

I know that she loves the holiday ham. I know that it is something that can make her very happy. I remember when we were in the grocery one time, she was so excited to see the holiday ham. Seeing her happy is something that makes me happy. You probably already know that I'm not so into the whole holiday or Christmas season but when I'm with her, even the most ordinary days can be special. And somehow, because of her, I feel the Christmas spirit; I feel that there is a reason to celebrate and to share blessings and give gifts.

And so my first Christmas ham experience of this holiday season was bittersweet. I thought I'd share this story to all of you and remind you guys to never take your loved ones for granted and always share happy experiences with them.

Happy Holidays from the Libreng Sabaw blog!

Beef Pares and Street Food

I always love looking for hole-in-the-wall type of places to eat in. Not only will you be able to buy very affordable meals, you will also be able to try out local recipes and delicacies.

beef pares

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I got a chance to find this really good place that sells beef pares. For 35 pesos, you will surely be satisfied. It's different from all the beef pares recipes I've tried and it's so affordable.

I have written about Philippine street food before. I am very intrigued at how foreigners would think some of the local food we eat is gross but really it's a cultural thing. Not because something is unusual to you, does not mean that it is already something you should be afraid of.

Don't you just get sick of having McDonald's? or any of the other typical fast food chains? It is about time that you just explore a bit. A good meal is probably just a few streets away. You'll get to try out something new and at the same time get a chance to save money! Now that's what I call satisfaction.

How to Make Burger Patties Recipe

Hungry for some burgers? Try out Harry's Worcestershire sauce and Sesame Oil Burger Patty Recipe.

burger patty recipe
Last night, I found ground beef in the freezer and figured I should make my own burger patties. I was supposed to make a video but then I'm having some technical difficulties with some stuff right now so I just ended up taking pictures with my camcorder.

I've always loved the combination of sesame oil and beef. Sesame oil can really enhance the flavor of the meat and enhance the taste. And of course, another thing I loved mixing with beef would be Worcestershire sauce. So with that premise, I combined both with the ground beef, seasoned with Maggy Magic Sarap, and added some cracked pepper, garlic powder, and Tabasco hot sauce for a bit of bite.

The combination was some sort of east meets west kind of dish being that Worcestershire sauce originated in England while the sesame oil added a very oriental and Asian flavor to the burger patty. I always try to be very conceptual with my experimental dishes. The clash of opposing forces create a balance. The thesis and the anti-thesis will combine to form the synthesis. This is the culinary dialectic. Haha.

So here's the finished product. It's not that presentable, I know, but don't let your eyes fool you. The flavors of these patties are explosive. I really enjoyed it and consider it to be a success. I ate it with rice because we didn't really have burger bread and other stuff. Until next time! Don't forget to always have the courage to experiment and go against the conventional means! Bon App├ętit!

Harry's Chili Parmesan Herbed Cream Dory Recipe

Dory fillet has a very interesting texture that I've always loved. Plus, its flavor isn't really so overpowering which makes it very easy to pair with anything and fun to experiment with.

Of course, my approach would be some sort of deep-fried and breaded dish, being that it was inspired by a fish & chips recipe I saw on Top Chef Masters.

I added the typical seasoning of salt and pepper on the fish and added some lemon juice too. I noticed that many recipes of dory use lemon because I guess it's something that can really bring out its flavor.

For the breading, I really decided to mess around and experiment with it. I really mixed a lot of things with the flour like garlic powder, ginger powder, and basil leaves, and a lot of parmesan cheese. I also added a generous amount of chili powder into the mix being that I was really craving something spicy.

So here's the finished product of my cream dory recipe. It was really just an experimental dish conjured with all the random things I found in our kitchen. It's actually pretty good, I'd say. I do really want to improve on presentation and plating. See you later folks! :D

Bourdain Joins Top Chef Season 8

Renowned chef, author, and traveler Anthony Bourdain joins Top Chef season 8 to be a permanent judge.

If you watch Top Chef then you've probably seen Anthony Bourdain as a guest judge a couple of times, more recently in season 7 during the NASA episode where the chefs were tasked to create a dish to send to outerspace for astronauts.

I do enjoy his writing, specifically in his book Medium Raw. It actually felt like I was reading some sort of exciting fiction story especially when he talks about being in the same room as the best chefs in the world. He actually does reference Top Chef many times in the book.

In Medium Raw, I or this blog wold probably be categorized as a wannabe chef or food critique. My palate is untrained and inexperienced. There's so much technique, history, and culture about culinary arts that I just don't know. Moreover, having no formal training in it dulls my credibility.

anthony bourdain philippines
Anthony Bourdain drinking Pale Pilsen and eating Papaitan in Pampanga

Chef Bourdain just inspires me in all aspects: writing, traveling, and of course cooking and eating. His trip to the Philippines for his show No Reservations was even more inspiring. He loved sisig and lechon! It's just that for someone of his stature to appreciate the local cuisine, history, and culture that I most of the time take for granted everyday--it is truly very inspriting.

One very important thing I learned from him would be: always be hungry for more!

I can't wait for Top Chef Season 8. :D

McCormick Buffalo Wings Recipe Review

You've surely seen it in the groceries with its appetizing package that comes in different flavors: classic, barbecue, teriyaki, and screamer. So what is my final take on this seasoning mix?

McCormick Buffalo Wings Philippines

I absolutely love buffalo wings. Plus, the wing part of the chicken is also something I have always been very fond of. And so surely I was instantly attracted to the idea of this instant buffalo wings seasoning mix and decided to try it out the other day.

I had just finished downloading a new episode of Conan's new show in TBS and figured watching it would be best while eating delicious deep-fried buffalo wings. Much to my dismay, this would be a disappointment.

deep frying chicken

The serving of the coating and sauce that comes with this package is very little and, in my opinion, insufficient for the 1/2 kilo of chicken wings it claims to cook. This was the very first thing that I noticed about the product and, at this time, I was already starting to be doubtful of the satisfaction I will be able to get.

The sauce that comes with it, sadly, tastes like cheap hot sauce. I don't know if it's just me and having too much expectations but it really wasn't good. It's certainly not even close to other recipes like the buffalo wings in the Brooklyn Pizza Philippines Menu.

I really don't know about the other flavors but there's a chance that the barbecue or teriyaki flavors would be better because the classic flavor was just too plain and unappealing.

But of course, what can we really expect from an instant seasoning mix? My recommendation would be to just learn your own recipe and do it from scratch. That's what I'm planning so watch out for that. :)

Raw Fish Recipes

I absolutely love eating raw fish like salmon or tuna and of course my ultimate favorite uni (sea urchin). There's just something so sensual about eating raw fish like with the taste, texture, and the whole experience of it all. Many times, I do believe that we were meant to eat raw fish, as if our taste buds were really meant to savor the lovely flavors of sashimi!

The other night, I decided to buy raw tuna from the grocery. It is about time that I had some fish after days of just having meat in my diet. I was planning to cook this recipe I learned from a friend a long time ago: seared tuna loin with this really good recipe of wine and butter sauce. But then after seeing the Kikoman and the wasabi in the fridge, I figured it is time to go back to basics and just eat the fish raw.

The sashimi, or the idea of eating raw fish, is probably one of the greatest contributions of the Japanese to humanity. And of course their soy sauce and wasabi that just creates this beautiful harmony of tastes with the raw fish.

Salmon has this very distinct, luscious and creamy taste that just invades the entirety of your existence. It literally takes your breath away, as if leaving you dead for a split second then resurrects you with every bite. The same goes for uni.

You see, I love seafood. I grew up in a family who love seafood and I do believe I have inherited that somehow. But most importantly, I have learned to love Japanese cuisine even as a young child. I've always believed that learning to cook Japanese foods is a secret to having a good life. You can even start your own Japanese restaurant and even if you're not that good, it is somehow bound to have higher chances of success.

But yeah, raw fish. I remember eating in this restaurant a bit near my school (it's closed now though). I always ordered this big bowl of assorted raw seafood. I forgot the name but I think my girlfriend has a picture of it somewhere. I'll post it very soon.

Statistically, I noticed that the visitors of my page preferred my written work over my videos (which I found ironic because I've always thought that our generation has a short attention span). Thank you to all those who take time to read my posts. I really appreciate it. Always remember: in order to survive you must eat, but in order to be happy you must eat good food! :D

If you liked this post then you might also like:
1. Sashimi Raw Fish Recipe

Beef Tapa Recipe - Harry's Tips in cooking the all-time favorite tapsilog recipe

For the past few days, I've had nothing left to cook here at the house except for beef tapa. And so with my growing experience with this dish, I also learn more about it and eventually learn better ways of cooking and serving it. And so here are some of my tips in cooking the Filipino's all-time favorite breakfast meal.

tapsilog recipe

Let me begin by saying that I absolutely love eating tapsilog. It's all I've been cooking and eating here at home because there's not really anything else as of now. And so in my experience of cooking it over and over, I learned some new things about it and thought of sharing these learnings with the people who visit this blog.

I found the beef tapa already marinated for a few days in the refrigerator with the typical ingredients in the Tapsilog Recipe. So my tips, will really be more of in the cooking rather than the mixture in the marinade or recipe.

The first real thing I did to innovate the already marinated beef in the fridge is to cut them into really small pieces. I realized that cooking them whole would sometimes result in hard and chewy meat. Cutting them into really small pieces would make the meat tender and crispy. So no matter how crappy the meat you got, cutting them into really small pieces would really enhance your tapsilog eating experience.

fried egg

With the egg, I prefer to sprinkle it with rock salt rather than iodized salt. I've realized that rock salt can add a more distinct flavor as compared to its iodized rival and can really bring out a good mixture of tastes when mixed with fried egg. The ideal would always be to cook the egg sunny side up and the technique here, as I have learned, would be to just let the egg be and not really mess with it until it is cooked. This will allow for a better shaped egg that is perfectly sunny side up.

Many times, I would prefer to fry in butter. But for this instance, I decided to fry with my favorite kind of cooking oil--canola oil. Canola oil, in my opinon, can really give your dish a very appetizing aroma as compared to other oils. Plus, it is most definitely healthier. I really do love frying with canola oil.

beef tapa

As I have said, I cut the meats into really small strips. I use kitchen scissors to make the task easier. You can even decide to slice them up even more and create sort of like beef shreds and cook it as beef tapa flakes.

What I learned about frying beef tapa is that you will know when you are done cooking when the frying sound is minimal. When what you are frying becomes more quiet then it is a sign that you are almost done. You can just allow it to fry for a bit more if you prefer your beef tapa strips to be really well-done and crispy.


And so here is the finished product that I cooked and ate a while ago. Don't forget to serve it with maanghang na suka (spiced vinegar). Mmm sounds yummy.

I hope you enjoyed and learned something new from my tips in cooking tapsilog. Come back again soon for more recipes and ideas from your hungry friend. :)

Beef Pares Recipe

May bagong script akong ginagawa ngayon. So basically parang paris je t'aime or new york I love you. Series of short stories na ang setting ay Makati. May studyante, may office worker, may mayaman, may squatter, may nagmamahalan, at may nag iisang unifying factor: ang karinderya na may sobrang sarap na pares. Nais ko din ma-incorporate ang mga natutunan at na-experience ko bilang isang OJT doon sa Makati.

Two Lovers Go to KFC

KFC Delivery Philippines

My friends organized a Chill Barbecue Party

Finally a chill and relaxed party in the south. The loud music and late nights are getting tiring it is a good thing they organized this. Singe it is all about grilling and barbecues and food recipes, I'm planning to bring my camcorder and post the video of the event here.

Experimental Dumpling Soup Recipe

Cooking with Harry

Harry Santos
Why did I start a blog about cooking?

I decided to start this blog about cooking. Entirely, I love eating more. And it is this love for eating that has encouraged me to experiment with cooking. Aside from taste and satisfaction, in cooking, I also see artistry and culture. For instance, a lot of our native and local recipes can really tell a lot about our heritage and identity as a nation and the same goes with foreign cuisine.

There have been some instances when I wrote about cooking in the past such as my Recipe for Lamb Chops. In my Hubpages blog you will also see that I've written a lot about fast food deliveries and even unusual and unique cuisines from the Philippines like Gotong Batangas or Tapsilog Recipe.

But as you can see, I figured it is about time that I dedicate one blog where I will be writing and telling stories about my cooking and the places I eat. I hope that you enjoy coming to this blog. My cooking and recipes are very experimental and unique and most probably even something you would consider unusual. Join me in my culinary adventures and explorations!