Celebrity stylist and entrepreneur Cookie Ica Villanueva has long held the dream of becoming a pastry chef and baker, so with friend and business partner Shreky Luna, she put up Luna Baked, which makes cookies.
The two got the idea when they brought cookies for the cast and crew during a shoot of the TV show “Magandang Buhay.” Everyone enjoyed the cookies. So between their daily jobs, they developed a cookie recipe.
Luna, a graphic artist and videographer, took charge of branding and social media advertising. Villanueva did marketing.
I tried the Blackmoon, a chocolate crinkle with cheesecake at the center, a gift from my dear friend, Irma Rivera.
I found the cookie sinful. It was chocolatey, fudgy, very gooey and sticky; each bite lingered in the mouth. It was rich and sweetened just right. The cheesecake center kicked in beautifully to cut through the richness.Other cookie variants are Selene choco chip cookies, Luna triple chocolate mallow cookie, Sol strawberry cheesecake, Milky Way chocolate caramel cookie and Venus strawberry cheesecake macadamia.
Luna Baked, tel. 0917-1434888; follow @lunabaked on Facebook and Instagram
Nick and Christine Tan’s beef tendon is old-fashioned Sino-Filipino food. Developed during the quarantine, it is a wonderful representation of the Comida China of old.
The dish is cooked for six hours, between slow simmer and cooling; the long cooking removes the fat. The simmering develops flavor and puts the dish together. The Tans do not add MSG, or flavor enhancers, which is why the final flavor is natural, delicate and sublime.
Each container is generously filled with tendons, quite visually pleasing. They’re intact yet melt in the mouth. The few chunks of beef sirloin are tender and devoid of fat; they’re glazed and slathered in a sauce thickened by time.
Bambi Javelosa of Bambi’s Gourmet Kitchen cooks Japanese food for the Pinoy palate. I have written about my personal favorites from her offerings a couple of times, and here comes another: Hamachi Kabutoni.
Bambi’s version of the hamachi jaw is slow simmered in a light, salty-sweet soy-based sauce. It is cooked until the fish releases its natural oils, resulting in a luscious buttery flavor. The hamachi sits over glass noodles, silken tofu and fresh shiitake mushrooms.
During the long quarantine, Chique Canoza unleashed her kakanin-making skills to ward off anxiety. She said that in her hometown of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija, ginataang bilo-bilo is paired with chunks of inangit, a lightly salted type of suman flattened in a bilao. The chunks of inangit are mixed into the ginataang bilo-bilo for an enjoyable merienda.
Her cousin, Anthony Taberna, sent me a spread of the family’s typical merienda fare prepared by Canoza: ginataang bilo-bilo, inangit and my favorite kalamay with an overload of latik, swimming in sugar syrup. The kalamay’s texture was smooth and soft, affording the diner a delicate chew. It’s the best I’ve tried.
Canoza also makes suman sa kamoteng kahoy.
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