Peach Marmalade and Tomato Braised Pork Steaks

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Weekends are golden days for me. As soon as Friday creeps in, that feeling of having a few uninterrupted hours to catch up on all things mundane excites me. I think you might know by now that I’m a geek who loves children’s fiction, and I’m currently halfway done with The Mark of Athena. Usually I can devour a book in a day, but I choose to savor the third installment since the next one will be out in the fall of 2013.

This weekend was a good one for me. After a long while, this blog’s pulse has been racing again, with a few updates on my life as a would-be glorified cook, the new header image and I think I boldly declared that I’d be posting a recipe soon. I couldn’t post a recipe without actually cooking something, and cook I did.
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My routine doesn’t involve a lot of cooking at home. The horror, I know. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to cook something for my survival – and because the place where I live doesn’t run out of places to eat (thank you, my friendly neighborhood ihawan/barbecue place), I find it pretty convenient that my needs are satisfied.

It’s funny that it took making a proper home-cooked meal to realize just how I missed myself. By “myself”, I mean the food blogger. And not just the blogger who writes about what he ate, but the blogger who writes about and shares what he cooked. The latter has always been who The Hungry Giant is.
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This is a simple recipe that involves only a few ingredients. I needed to practice my tourne abilities, hence the shaped carrots and chayote. They were simply steamed while the rice was cooking, using the steaming basket that comes with almost every rice cooker.

I wanted something other than the usual adobo (not that there’s anything to hate about adobo), and the idea of braising something in a thick tangy tomato sauce made me not miss adobo that much. And thanks to that trip to the Pancake House, where I had peach waffles, I asked myself why it took me this long to appreciate the sweetening power of anything made with peaches. A few heaping tablespoons made all the difference.

Not all weekends are like the one I had recently, but at least I milked it for what it’s worth.
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Tomato and Peach Braised Pork Steaks with Steamed Vegetables (serves 3 – 4)

  • 1 carrot, tourneed (or just slice it like you would thick fries)
  • 1 small chayote, tourneed (or just slice it like you would thick fries)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons butter
  • half a bulb of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 6 pieces pork steaks (choose a cut with good marbling; this is roughly a kilo)
  • one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water/stock
  • 5 – 6 heaping tablespoons peach marmalade
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. As you cook the rice in the rice cooker, place the vegetables in foil or in a bowl with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Place it in the steaming basket and place it over the rice to steam. Once the vegetables are cooked (not too soft that it becomes mushy), remove.
  2. Pat-dry the pork and season it pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. In a pan, heat a little bit of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until aromatic. Remove from pan. Turn up the heat to high. Add around a tablespoon of oil.
  4. Sear the pork steaks on both sides, until they start to brown. Remove from pan.
  5. Add the tomatoes (together with the liquid in the can), marmalade, garlic, onions and water.
  6. Place pork back into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced. If the pork is still not cooked through and the sauce dries up, add more water. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the cayenne.
  7. Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Pancakes with Caramelized Carrots

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I had a dream.

Sadly, there was nothing about human rights. Not even the RH Bill. It involved a plate of pancakes and an “almost butterscotch” sauce. I call it “almost butterscotch” because I vividly remember that there was no cream involved. Glazed with the liquid gold that is the mixture of sugar and butter, were thin slices of carrots. Carrots. Then I woke up and I was so hungry.

I dreamt about it a few weeks ago, even before I started cooking school. It was around the time my blog celebrated its first year of existence. During that time, being with the people from The Maya Kitchen for half a day probably had a hand at shaping the course my slumber. They were generous enough to give me a swag bag of their products to boot!

Then there I was this morning, having been woken up by the noise of my phone. It was my mom, reminding me that it was her and dad’s anniversary today. She apparently bought a cake and made it look like it came from me. I didn’t raise a single cent. I love my mom and dad. (Happy anniversary folks!)

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But what the heck, I thought. Today was the perfect day to make my dreams come true (HAHAHA CORNY! forgive me). I had a few carrots chilling in the fridge, and a few perfectly portioned pancake mixes from Maya. Although the key here is convenience, making your own pancakes from scratch is also rewarding, especially if you wake up feeling like a boss.

And let me address the issue that might be swirling in your head right now – “why the hell would I put carrots on top of my pancakes?” Well, ye of little faith, give this a shot. Despite being laden with butter and sugar, I used coconut sugar which is great for diabetics. Since it makes sense to eat carrot cake, why can’t it make sense to eat pancakes with carrots? I could go on and on, but I’m taking too much of your time. Just go ahead and make this already!

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Pancakes with Caramelized Carrots (serves 2 – 3)
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 200-gram pack instant whole wheat pancake mix (I used Maya Kitchen) or make your own buttermilk pancakes and just add oats!
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons coconut sugar (or: use dark brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup butter (a quarter of a regular sized butter block)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Cook the pancakes according to package instructions. When done, set aside.
  2. Make the caramelized carrots: combine the butter and sugar in a small bowl/pan over really low heat. Allow the butter and sugar to melt and stir everything together. Add the carrot slices.
  3. Cook the carrots in the butter and sugar over low heat for around 3 – 5 minutes. If the butter or sugar starts to show signs of burning, remove it from the heat source or make sure that it’s cooking over really low heat. (I didn’t have this problem but it’s good to be careful)
  4. Add the vanilla extract and the salt. Mix well. When done, top the carrots and the sauce over the pancakes. Serve warm and enjoy!