Mozzarella, ricotta, ‘pastillas de leche’ in ‘pandan’ and ‘dayap’ flavors–all from carabao’s milk
I recently got to try a really good local mozzarella, made by the Philippine Carabao Center in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
I was hooked the minute I tasted it. To think that I only tried the low-moisture and not even the more delicate bufala variant, which is soaked in brine. That variant is excellent as an appetizer, served alongside assorted cured meats or sliced and plated alternately with sliced salad tomatoes, anchovies, a pinch of pepper, oregano, a fruity extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.
The mozzarella is so fresh and toothy. What I find most addicting is its chewiness. I can eat the whole thing in one sitting. It also melts perfectly, thus making it an excellent topper for pizzas and baked pastas. It is really of superior quality.
According to Mina Abella, PCC was created in 1993 as an offshoot of the Carabao Development Program. It is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, mandated to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk and hide, for the benefit of rural farmers.
It produces not only mozzarella, but also kesong puti. I am told the institute can even make bocconcinni, ricotta and quark cheeses if you order in advance. Other products include butter with herbs, yogurt (plain and flavored), cream, yogurt milk, pasteurized milk (full cream and nonfat milk), whey milk, buttermilk, fruit-flavored milk, and pastillas de leche (in natural flavors such as pandan, lemongrass, dayap, malunggay, squash, carrot and langka).
All of these products, says Mina, “contain NO preservatives. Our mozzarella cheese and kesong puti, as well as other dairy products, are produced from pure buffalo milk. If you wish, we also make low-fat variants of the cheeses.”
The cheeses of PCC I consider as yet another feather in our collective cap. They are something we can be truly proud off. Let us, therefore, give it our warmest and fullest support.
(For orders, Call Pia Lim Castillo for Makati, tel. 0917-8331009; and Celia Elumba for Quezon City, tel. 0917-8118673.)
Make your own soda
I have a new toy! Soda Stream is known as the home soda factory. If you are a carbonated water fan, you no longer have to keep rushing out of the house to buy bottles of it. With Soda Stream, carbonated water will cost only P12.
Furthermore, it is you who fashions your drink. With this gadget, you are in control of how potent you want the fizz of your water to be, with just one or two or three buzzes.
The water I made was pretty good! With a twist of lemon, a fancy glass and a raised pinky, it all felt authentic!
You can also add assorted juices to the carbonated water to make fancy drinks. And with the Soda Stream flavorings, you can even make your own root beer, lemon lime and cola at home.
I am now having a blast, serving homemade root beer while entertaining! The choices are endless—though there are certain combinations that will make the bottle overflow. So it is wise to carbonate the water first before adding anything else.
Buko, being very similar in composition to water, can be carbonated directly. Other users have tried adding grapes to the water in the carbonating bottle before pumping it with carbon, and someone I heard also carbonated wine—all with good results.
As for me, well, I am looking forward to many more experiments with my new Soda Stream. (Call 0917-8565613.)
Kitchen floor mats
New kitchen floor mats under the Gelpro brand help you to stand in the kitchen for hours on end. I recently tried it and, gosh, six hours of cooking and I had no pain in my legs or in my back. Both feet and legs, for once, were not even tired. They felt just as they did when I woke up in the morning. If your work requires you to be on your feet, consider getting yourself a Gelpro (call tel. 0917-8424140 or 0918-9292929).
Meanwhile, if you are getting married or if you want a romantic evening, let the musical director of the Manila Philharmonic orchestra Rodel Colmenar (piano) and saxophonist Hermie Longalong, who is visiting from Scotland, entertain you. The duo will leave you breathless, as they did us during Miriam Balingit and Rad Ocampo’s wedding. Hermie is only on holiday here, so hurry. (Call tel. 0917-5374841.)
For my new cooking class schedules, call tel. 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346, 4008496, 9289296.