Worth the long wait

6 07 2009
S&R Chocolate Chip Muffin 00

My day started with Roger Federer, some Reese's... and this beauty of a muffin that can only be S&R's!

SEVEN MONTHS is a long time to wait.  For love to come along. For a reservation to confirm.  For the object of your affection to return the enthusiasm that you have hoped for.  Seven months is a long time to wait. For anything.

In December last year, my good friend, Senior Industrial Engineer Ricci Bejarin introduced me to what I have since regarded as the best muffin I have ever had.  I went to as far as calling it the best “death-by-chocolate” chocolate chip chocolate muffin there is.  You see that I didn’t hold back on using the word “chocolate” in christening this confection.  And that’s simply because I think only an overload of that word can give justice to it.  That, and the fact that I haven’t the faintest idea as to how the store calls it.  Hahaha! (I asked Ricci just a few minutes back and she said that the barcode only said, “Assorted Muffins” – and that’s because that was what she got).

S&R Chocolate Chip Muffin 02

A closer shot of the muffin further reveals the generous amount of the yummy, very good chocolate chips!


S&R Chocolate Chip Muffin 03

This wonderful confection is sitting prettily on my Starbucks Coffee 16-month planner and journal, courtesy of Partner!

But regardless of what it is really called, nothing can take away from the fact that this has got to be the muffin that is most chockful with chocolate chips.  And I have to say that they use only very good chocolate indeed.  I picked out some from the very generously covered muffin top and I played with them on my tongue, and waited for them to melt.  The jolt of chocolate flavor wasn’t enough to cause me to have a seizure.  Instead, it brought me to a happy place in my head that had me impatiently wanting to get a bite of the muffin itself!

You shall see that I shared the muffin with one of my best friends – Spider-man.  And he loved it too!  While normally we expect only the muffin top to taste great – which in the case of this one was a glistening, crusty, almost crunchy chocolate chip-studded top – this one was yummy beyond muffin top-deep.  The crumb was dense but at the same time so moist and – surprise surprise! – still riddled with the very good chocolate chips!  It’s a big plus that it is not greasy too.  Which to me was an indication of the skill that went into its baking – a not-so-greasy muffin that is surprisingly full of flavor and richness.

Spider-man with S&R Muffin 00

I shared my S&R muffin from Ricci with one of my bestest friends ever - Spider-man!

Yes, seven months was a long time to wait.  But for this S&R muffin from Ricci, I will have to concede it was well worth it.

S&R Chocolate Chip Muffin 04

Worth the long wait... S&R's chocolate chip chocolate muffin...

Hail to the master!

6 07 2009

SUPERMAN MUST be so happy right now.  That – and most likely – still sound asleep as he and millions of viewers around the world tuned in to the gruelling four-hour match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick for the Wimbledon 2009 men’s singles championship.

Roger Federer 01

The Philippine Star (July 5, 2009) captures Roger Federer's winning "smashing" form against Germany's Tommy Haas.

As a matter of fact, the tennis non-fan that I am, the very moment I snapped out of catching zzz’s – right around 4:45 A.M. earlier today – I googled the results of the match and found a NY Times article heralding Roger’s triumph on “the most famous patch of grass” in tennis history.

I was so ecstatic that I had to text message the one person I know would definitely love to hear the news, despite the fact that I knew he already had learned about it, having watched the game himself.  But I still sent the text message just the same.  Superman happens to be the most intellectual kind of fan that I have ever met.  While he has sworn loyal support to Roger Federer for the longest time, he hasn’t been blind to acknowledging the merits of the Swiss’s greatest nemesis – the Spaniard Rafael Nadal.  Unlike many “fanatics”, he did lick his wounds when Roger sustained one loss after another against Rafa.  But at the same time has remained steadfast in the hope that Roger, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, will soon come back to regain his glory and rightful place in history.

I’m starting to make Roger sound like the protagonist in some hit action movie.  But he did come back in top form and as of about eight hours ago, must have been catapulted back to the top of the world tennis ranking.  No wonder that best friend Superman has been a fan of his all this time.  He has stuck it out with his idol, not seeing the need to even join in on the group therapy session Jessica Zafra proposed the last time Roger lost to Rafa.

With this grand slam title, Roger Federer has surpassed his record-tying 14 titles (the most in history then) that he has shared with Pete Sampras, who by the way, was so gracious enough to watch Roger’s record-breaking performance.

Congratulations, Roger Federer!

I have to say that Andy Roddick wasn’t able to hold off Roger Federer from snatching that title that has now put the Swiss in a league ALL HIS OWN.

Chef Sylvia Reynoso-Gala’s Roast Spanish Chicken and then some

6 07 2009

I FINALLY caught again the Secrets of the Masters episode of Chef Sylvia Reynoso-Gala!  For the second Saturday in a row, I got out of bed before lunch time. I turned the TV on and was surprised to see her while surfing through the channels.

So off I went to grab my notebook and blue Bic ballpen – I prefer to write in blue ink – so I could jot down the recipes.  I hope this helps one of my readers who had inquired in the past about Chef Sylvia’s recipe for Pollo Iberico (Roast Spanish Chicken).  Previously, all I could write about was how I felt about Chef Sylvia, not exactly her recipes.  So, with two ripe guavas that had fallen from the tree outside and a tall glass of sub-zero water for breakfast, I take down notes as accurately as I can.

Here they are – the bacon-wrapped roast beef with three-mushroom gravy and pollo iberico (roast Spanish chicken)! I’m throwing in the roast beef for good measure.

(By the way, I noticed that she really gives out most of the measurements – not only her secrets! – which to me comes across as a true mark of a teacher. She’s been doing this for over three decades, that’s why!)

Bacon-Wrapped Roast Beef with Three-Mushroom Gravy

For the roast:

250 grams           Honey-cured bacon

1 ½ kilograms    Beef tenderloin (center still frozen)

For the gravy:

½ cup (1 stick)   Butter

½ cup*                  Fresh white button mushrooms, sliced

½ cup*                  Fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

½ cup*                  Fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced

1 piece                    Beef Bouillon Cube

½ cup*                  All-purpose flour

1 cup*                    Water

2 teaspoons         Liquid seasoning

*measurement I assumed based from what I saw, as it was not explicitly stated


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  She didn’t specify this. I just based this from my own understanding of how to roast meats.*

Line up the bacon slices.  Put the beef tenderloin on the end near you and fold the bacon slices onto the beef.  Roll the whole thing so as to tightly wrap the bacon around the meat.  Put the bacon-wrapped beef on to a roasting rack placed on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan.  Put it in the oven to roast.  Oh, she didn’t specify how long (and at what temperature*)!  Though I would suggest to roast it until medium to medium well only. For a beef tenderloin this size, 30 minutes would be for rare.  35 minutes for medium rare.  So, I suggest about 45 minutes.  Serve with the three mushroom gravy.

For the gravy, melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy bottom pan.  Saute sliced fresh white button, shiitake, and oyster muchrooms.  Turn them a number of times in the butter, then set them aside.  To the remaining butter in the pan, add the beef bouillon cube.  Add the flour.  Make sure to cook the flour well in the butter to avoid having that “raw” taste.  Add all the water.  Change to a wire whisk and whisk the gravy to prevent any lumps from forming.  When it has thickened and is coming to a simmer, add back the sauteed mushrooms.


Pollo Iberico (Roast Spanish Chicken)

(Chef Sylvia said that they give this to family friends for Christmas and everbody just loves it!)

1 or 2                      Spring chickens, whole, cleaned

For the marinade:

1 cup*                     Vegetable oil

3 big heads            Garlic, cloved separated and then smashed (pounded)

3 tablespoons       Soy sauce

3 tablespoons       Black peppercorns

2 tablespoons       Rock salt

1 teaspoon             Dried rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon             Paprika

½ teaspoon           Dried basil

½ teaspoon           Dried oregano

2 teaspoons           Sesame oil

*measurement I assumed based from what I saw, as it was not explicitly stated


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  She didn’t specify this. I just based this from my own understanding of how to roast meats.*

In a big bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients well.  Rub the marinade all over the chicken – on the skin, in both cavities, and in between the skin and the meat.  Stuff the rest of the marinade inside and in between the skin and meat of the chicken.  With kitchen twine, tie the legs and the wings of the chicken, to ready it for roasting.  Wrap the chicken in cellophane (yes, cellophane!) and put it on to a roasting rack placed on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan.  Let it roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes*, until the chicken reaches your desired golden brown doneness.  Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and lemon wedges on the side.