Make Healthy Fresh Cheeses
with Top Quality California Milk

Homemade butter made using Real Caifornia Milk

Homemade butter made using Real Caifornia Milk

FOR the longest time, we Filipinos knew only a few types of cheese—basically Cheddar, quick-melt and cheese spread, aside from our native kesong-puti. Then came mozzarella cheese with a nice stretch for pizzas and Parmesan cheese for pasta dishes. Now, thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), we have become knowledgeable about quite a number of different California cheeses, which have at the same time become readily available in the local market in recent years.

Not contented with just educating Filipinos about cheeses, the CMAB, an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture funded by California’s 1,300 dairy families, recently staged a cheese forum to teach Filipino cooks how to produce certain types of California cheeses as well. Heading the cheese forum was Mark Todd, dubbed “The Cheese Dude” and a cheese expert and consultant for respected dairy organizations in America.

Todd first discussed the uniqueness of different types of California cheeses—starting from soft and soft ripened cheeses, going to semi-hard then hard cheeses and, finally, Hispanic cheeses. Afterwards, he taught guests how to recreate certain cheeses at home using Real California Milk which, milk producers proudly claim, come from happy cows.

Mark Todd, The Cheese Dude

Mark Todd, The Cheese Dude

“Dairy products made with Real California Milk are packed with flavor because they are produced by well-fed cows from family farms in California. They are filled with nutrients like protein, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium that are needed by both children and adults, according to MyPlate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food guide,” explains Reji Retugal-Onal, CMAB country representative, while The Cheese Dude taught everyone how to recreate Quick Homemade Butter, Homemade Queso Blanco and Whole Milk Ricotta during the cheese forum.

“The availability of California cheeses in most supermarkets gives you the convenience of adding more texture and flavor to your dish when you need it. However, in case you’re looking for a specific taste for your dish, you can experiment creating your own cheese using Real California Milk at home,” says Todd.

Real California Milk, produced by happy cows, is used to make California Cheese. The cows are happy because the climate of California combined with the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality. Part of the milk produced in the state is packaged and marketed as California Milk products, while part of the milk production is used to make California Cheese. Having been producing cheese for more than 200 years, California is now the largest farming state and leading milk producer in the United States and California Cheese has become the largest and fastest growing category of all the state’s milk and milk product categories. In the Philippines, California dairy products are available in leading supermarkets nationwide, including Rustan’s, S&R, Robinsons Supermarket and SM.

Making homemade butter with top quality California Milk as major ingredient

Making homemade butter with top quality California Milk as major ingredient


Equipment needed:
Mixer/Food Processor (or jar to shake)

Heavy cream, preferably fresh and organic

1. Leave the cream out for a bit so that it warms to around 50˚F.
2. Pour cream into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Put a cover oer the mixer, so that you do not splatter cream all over the kitchen. Alternately, you can pour the cream into a jar you can shake. This will take longer, but your arms will get a good workout, and you can make it a family project.
3. Set on medium-high and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes. You can over-whip the cream.
4. Strain the butter into a bowl, making sure all the liquid runs out. Then set aside the liquid. That liquid is homemade uber fresh buttermilk!
5. Rinse the butter with water to remove any excess liquid.
6. Knead the butter with a spatula to bring together the curds. This does not take long, just a minute or two. If you wish to salt your butter, now is a good time to do so.

Homemade Queso Blanco

Homemade Queso Blanco


Non-reactive 6-quart stock pot
Instant-read or dairy thermometer
Flexible wire, long handle stainless steel whisk
Food-grade flexible blade rubber spatula
Mesh strainer or colander
Cheese cloth
Metal bowl or plastic bucket

1 gallon whole mik
1/3 + 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tsps. kosher salt

1. In a large pot, slowly heat whole milk to 190˚F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Go low and slow, stirring often.
2. Incorporate 1/3 cup vinegar evenly. Turn off gas and let sit for 10 minutes. At this point, curds are separating from the whey, which is becoming greenish and mosty clear. If the whey remains very cloudy, add another 1/8 cup vinegar and allow to set for another 10 minutes.
3. With a strainer ladle, gently remove curds to a dampened cheese cloth-lined strainer placed over a bowl, adding salt as curd is added.
4. Place loose curd ball in cheese cloth, press into cheese mold, and drain for 1 hour.
5. Flip cheese in mold. Press with sterile 1 lb. weight (e.g. bottle full of water) for 1 hour.
6. Serve or continue pressing for up to 4 hours. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 3 to 4 days.



Ricotta is a simple, fresh cheese that takes little time to make. It is best when used within a few days while its flavor is bright and the texture is still moist and creamy. Traditionally, ricotta is made by reheating whey (ricotta means cooked in Italian) after making other cheeses though it takes a fair amount of whey to yield a usable amount of ricotta. This home-crafted formula using whole milk and citric acid is very basic. If you like an even richer and creamier ricotta, try making it exclusively with heavy cream. If you don’t have citric acid, use lemon juice for coagulation.

For the milk, use raw or pasteurized whole cow’s milk. An alternative milk that can be used is pasteurized goat’s milk or raw goat’s milk, if you have a reliable source, that is.

From start to finish, the process of making the cheese will take 1 hour; while draining the cheese will take 20 to 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Yield of this recipe is 1 lb.

Non-reactive heavy core bottom 6-quart stock pot
Instant-read or dairy thermometer
Flexible wire, long handle stainless steel whisk
Food- grade flexible blade rubber spatula
Mesh strainer or colander
Butter muslin
Metal bowl or plastic bucket as sink
Wooden spoon for hanging cheese

1 gallon pasteurized whole cow’s milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream (no fillers or stabilizers)
1 tsp. citric acid powder
1 tsp. kosher salt

1. Combine the room-temperature milk, cream, citric acid, and salt, then combine thoroughly with a whisk; using the up and down method.
2. Place in non-reactive pot and, over medium-low heat, slowly heat milk to 185 to 195˚F, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir frequently with a flexible rubber spatula to prevent scorching. As milk reaches around 150˚F, curds will start to form.
3. As temperature gets closer to 185 to 195˚F, curds and whey will show a dramatic separation. The whey will be yellowish-green and just slightly cloudy. If the whey is too cloudy, add a pinch more of citric acid and stir down into the whey to cause more curds to form. Turn off heat.
4. Gently run a rubber spatula around the edge of the curds to rotate the mass, and then let the curds set without disturbing them for 10 minutes.
5. Line a colander or strainer with water-dampened butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander, being careful not to break up the curds. Use a long handle mesh skimmer to capture the last of the curds. If any curds are stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave them there. You don’t want scorched curds flavoring your cheese.
6. Drain for 5 minutes, then gently toss the curds with 1 tsp. kosher salt. Be mindful not to break up the curds in the process.
7. Tie two opposite corners of the butter muslin into a knot and repeat with the other two corners. Slip a dowel or wooden spoon through the knot and then suspend the bag over the whey-catching receptacle.
8. Drain curds for 5 to 10 minutes or until the desired consistency has been reached. If a moist ricotta is desired, stop draining just as the whey stops dripping. If a drier ricotta is desired, or if the cheese is being used to make Ricotta Salata, let curds drain for a longer period.
9. Transfer the cheese to a lidded container. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*Note: If a moist, plump curd is desired, first heat the milks to 180˚, and then add the citric acid. Add the salt when draining the curds.


(To learn more about California Milk products, please get in touch with Ms. Reji Retugal-Onal at 534-8534 or 534-8223, email her at or log on to


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Fusilli with Anchovy Caper Sauce
(Doña Elena)

Fusilli with Anchovy Caper Sauce

Fusilli with Anchovy Caper Sauce

THOUGHT thick, tomato-based sauces are only great for pasta?

They are delicious on rice, as well. And the best thing about it is that they are healthy and easy-to-prepare. Just follow a few simple steps and you’ve got a one-dish meal that’s sure to satisfy even the most discriminating palate.

Here’s one such recipe from Doña Elena, a line of premium Mediterranean food products that includes Black and Green Olives, Capers, Olive Oil, Flat Fillets in Anchovies, Spanish Sardines and Canned Tomatoes. These are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Fly Ace Corporation and are available in all leading supermarkets nationwide.

This recipe of Fusilli with Anchovy Caper Sauce, courtesy of of Doña Elena will come in handy during these ‘ber’ months, when things get busier and preparing elaborate dishes get more difficult.

1 Tbsp. Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil
1/2 stick butter
1/2 pc. white onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
8 fillets Doña Elena Anchovies, mashed
2 Tbsps. Doña Elena Capers, drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 pc. lemon, juiced
1 pack Doña Elena Al Dente Fusilli pasta, cooked
pasta water (from boiling the pasta)
Doña Elena Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling

1. Heat pan to medium low. Add a drizzle of Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil and butter.
2. When butter melts, add onion, garlic half of the chopped parsley, tarragon and mashed anchovies. Cover and cook until onion becomes soft.
3. Add capers, cherry tomatoes, pepper and salt. Continue cooking, uncovered.
4. When the sauce begins to thicken, squeeze a little lemon juice on it, and add a ladle of starchy pasta water (*the water where the pasta has been cooked) from the pot, and stir it in.
5. Stir in the cooked fusilli pasta. Drizzle with Doña Elena Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, then toss until well combined.

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Get That 4+1 Breakfast Advantage
at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

Blissful breakfast buffet at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

Blissful breakfast buffet at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

ALWAYS in such a mad rush every morning that you have to skip breakfast, which happens to be the most important meal of the day? It’s probably because breakfast takes time to prepare, and you just does not have the luxury of time to do so.

At Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, you can have your favorite breakfast and get a treat, too, with the hotel’s ongoing 4+1 Breakfast Advantage. For every four members of the family, friends, officemates or business contacts who avail of Eastwood Richmonde’s breakfast buffet at the regular rate of Php680nett, one additional person gets to eat for free. So, a total of five persons can enjoy tasty breakfast favorites, including Western staples such as cereals, hotcakes, bacon and hash-browns; Filipino comfort foods like bistek, longganisa, tapa and tocino; eggs and omelettes cooked the way diners want them; healthy options such as salads and fresh fruits; wide selections of freshly baked breads and pastries; plus unlimited chilled juices and freshly brewed coffee.

Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s 4+1 Breakfast Advantage is available from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. daily until September 30, 2017. For reservations, call The Lounge at 570-7777.


(Eastwood Richmonde Hotel is located at 17 Orchard Road, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Quezon City.)

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Enjoy German Confections
at Marco Polo Ortigas’ Cafe Pronto

Apple Strudel and Sacher Cake are available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Cafe Pronto this whole month of September

Apple Strudel and Sacher Cake are available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Cafe Pronto this whole month of September

APPLE Strudel, that lovely tart filled with apple laced with cinnamon and topped with crumble, is a German confection. Its real name is Apfelstrudel, which is very German. Not many people know it, but Sacher Torte (or Sacher Cake) is also a German creation that chocolate lovers enjoy all over the world today. It is, after all, a 185-year-old specialty cake that was created for royalty. The cake is coated with luscious chocolatey fondant that brings the right amount of sweetness and all the goodness of good quality chocolate—perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Both Apple Strudel and Sacher Cake, along with a selection of other German desserts, can be enjoyed at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Café Pronto this entire month of September. Oozing with timeless goodness, these centuries-old desserts are also available to-go at the casual yet chic coffee shop through Grab N’ Go. Best to pre-order by calling (02) 7207777 to make sure the cake is available upon pick-up.

Café Pronto is located at the Ground Floor of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila and is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The hotel can be found at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire St., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

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Cipriano Sans Rival:
Made Just the Way It Should Be

Classic Cipriano Sans Rival has makunat meringue layers, buttercream icing made from real butter, and loads of cashew nut

Classic Cipriano Sans Rival has makunat meringue layers, buttercream icing made from real butter, and loads of cashew nuts

WHEN you have tasted the best, you simply cannot appreciate what’s second best. This is the situation that former food publication colleague Kris Alcantara-Mendoza has found herself in when it comes to appreciating that quintessential meringue-and-buttercream cake called Sans Rival.

Her paternal grandfather, Lolo Cipriano Alcantara, made delicious Cashew Sans Rival during his lifetime. Despite the fact that he was not a professional baker, he knew how to make really delicious stuff that brought joy to his grandchildren.

When Kris was small, he would make chocolate icing for her. Made with cocoa powder, sugar and butter, it was rich and thick, much like fudge, and he kept it in the refrigerator overnight so that the mixture thickened and the kids simply had to scoop the fudge out with a spoon and eat it.

DSCF8609DSCF8632Lolo Cipriano’s Cashew Sans Rival came to be when he and his wife Dolores got their hands on a Sans Rival recipe from an old magazine some 50 years ago and started experimenting on it, tweaking it here and there, until he got exactly what he wanted. Having perfected the recipe, he started selling it from the house, initially just to relatives and friends, and got good reviews for it. It was, after all, just the way Sans Rival should be—rich French buttercream made with real butter, spread over layers of makunat (chewy) meringue, with lots of chopped toasted cashew nuts. The cake was covered with the same buttercream icing, then decorated with the tines of a fork. Soon, it was not just relatives and friends buying from him but everyone who has tasted his Sans Rival and loved it started patronizing his products. Lolo Cipriano sold Orange Chiffon Cake and Chocolate Cake, but it was his Cashew Sans Rival that commanded the most attention and following.

More than selling the cake, however, Lolo Cipriano took great pride in serving his Cashew Sans Rival to his family, and that is what he did in every family gathering. And so, his grandchildren, including Kris, grew up eating his Sans Rival, and it became the standard by which all Sans Rival creations must measure up to. Sadly, in the course of time, Sans Rival recipes have changed, and so have people’s appreciation of the cake.

Since Lolo Cipriano’s Sans Rival has been a big part of the Alcantara family tradition, Kris and her generation missed it when their grandfather passed away in 2010, and store-bought Sans Rival could really fill in the void that it left on their palate. So what Kris and her husband Pocholo Mendoza decided to get hold of Kris’ grandfather’s 50-year-old recipe and tried to recreate the lovely confection. The recipe was handwritten, and it had to be decoded. It took Kris and Pocholo some six months to figure it out. Constant experimentation in the kitchen finally found a perfect ending—her Lolo Cipriano’s Sans Rival straight out of her childhood.

For the coming Christmas season, Cipriano Sans Rival is coming up with a new smaller size to go with its standard sized Cashew Sans Rival

For the coming Christmas season, Cipriano Sans Rival is coming up with a new smaller size to go with its standard sized Cashew Sans Rival

Now, Kris shares a piece of her childhood—and a part of her Lolo Cipriano—by making the Sans Rival available to everyone who wants to enjoy it. Each cake, packaged in a white box, is laboriously and lovingly made just the way her Lolo made it. Operational for a year now, Cipriano Sans Rival has attracted a steady clientele of satisfied customers. Everyone who has tried it loves it, and Kris has never been happier.

For further inquiries or orders, call or send a text message to 0917-5836833 or order through Cipriano SansRival’s FB and IG accounts @ciprianosansrival.

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