23 September 2013

Toaster-Baked Brownies (Semi-Missed)

With the sprout of cupcakes/cake bakers left and right, you don’t need a genius to say that baking is “IN” nowadays. I am always told that baking is the easiest “branch” of cooking, I’m not convinced. Maybe because, as I have said in the past, I do not follow procedure religiously (this is a must in baking). Thank goodness we do not have a decent oven in the kitchen, may best palusot ever. But 1 day, I came across this brownie mix which contains the tag line “oven toaster ready”, so why not give it a try.
1 pack White King Brownies Fudge and Crinkle Mix
1 egg, beaten
Butter, softened
Cashew (optional)
** You can follow the easy instructions written at the back of the box.
1) Mix all ingredients together. It will be a little sticky and will be hard to mix, but you’ll get there.
2.) Brushed the baking pan with butter, transfer the batter and spread evenly.
3) Bake in the oven toaster for 9 minutes. You may check if it’s cooked by using a toothpick, if the mixture did not stick to it, it’s done.
4) Cut into desired proportions.

My take: This mixture was so close to the taste of the “real” brownies, not bad for a ready mix. It almost got the same kunat factor and sweetness just like my brownies of preference. Also so easy to prepare.
Tips: I really missed big time here, which resulted to almost inedible brownies. So believe me when I say "Follow instructions and proportions religiously" - this is a must. 1) Don’t rely on the suggested baking time (this contradicts the opening statement, but you know, every oven varies with temp). It is always safe to check the brownies from time to time. 2) Once baking is done, remove it immediately from the oven. The heat inside the oven is still enough to burn the brownies (like what happened to mine). 3) Leave the toppings for later, yes after it is baked, especially if it is marshmallows, that burns easily. ;-p
The verdict: Oh well, I still want an oven, but still not for baking pastries. hehe       

10 September 2013

Pino Resto Bar at UP Teacher's Village

Saturday was a fun and spontaneous day for my family-in-law. We slept over at their place the night before so Mr. M and I could join a fun-run sponsored by the Civil Service Commission the next day. The run was fun and yes, few pounds were shed, I’m sure. And since were already in the city, we decided to take the chance to scout for a possible venue for Master E’s party after it. My SIL, after hearing the plan asked if she can come and pick her son from school along the way (not a problem at all), then the whole in-laws decided to tag themselves too (aren’t they sweet). It was so spontaneous that the kids were all still in their PJs.     
We took Maginhawa Street, in Teacher’s Village on our way to The Ateneo (where we're picking my nephew). Since everybody knows “the street” as a food haven (did you Mr. M?), it only took a little jolt for everyone to get-off the car and sample on what it has to offer. Yes, even in PJs (and post run outfit).hehe Since it was lunch time, we decided to dine at Pino Resto Bar it was actually at Malingap St., Teacher's Village., QC.

We were there at around 11am and only 2 tables were occupied. The gracious wait staff ushered us to the combined table where we settled and read the menu, they offer fine dining type. The place was small but cozy, the wait staffs were accommodating and very patient with the kids who loved to roam around the place, even in their kitchen. They only have 1 highchair though, maybe because it was supposed to be a "bar", after all. We feast on:

Crispy Calamares (P175) to start off. It’s the kids’ favorite, it’s always present at every dine-outs. But the adults loved this version all the more. It was so crispy yet the squid under the coating was so tender. It accidentally became our appetizer instead of kids’ viand. So we got another order for them.  

Pino French Fries (P125). Not a lunch menu but Miss L. insisted. The spoiler/Auntie was the 1 who got 1 for her and for the family to share. I allowed it in 1 condition, she has to eat rice, she agreed - everybody happy. It came with 2 dips and it was nothing but ordinary.    

Kare-Kare Bagnet (sharing for P575). This came as a surprise - presentation wise, but disregarding the look, the dish can stand on its own. This was actually a hit. Bagnet was crispy and was very fork friendly. The Kare-kare sauce was flavourful and unlike the usual, no need for bagoong (but it was still provided). It has a generous serving as well.  

Crispy Pata with Laing (P495, for sharing). The pata was served on top of the Laing - the way you want to keep the crispy-ness of the meat. But I thought the Crispy Pata was dry and the crispy balat that was supposedly wrapping the meat was no where to be found. The Laing that came with it was good. It has the right balance of flavor and spice. I just didn't like how it was too saucy and durog though, but it was still worth it.

Plain rice was at P30 each. We also ordered a pitcher of Iced Tea for P125, which was enough for all of us. It was a little sweet for Mr. M., he just added a little more water in his glass, but I didn’t hear any complain from anybody else.

My take: I liked how Pino captured the distinct Filipino taste of every dishes but presented with a twist.
Tip: The “for sharing” tags was big enough to feed 4-6 adults, especially if you have another food items on the table. 
The verdict: Pino Resto Bar was worth every pounds re-gained. lol