Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Spent the last few hours updating my Ipod- deleted songs hardly listened to and uploaded more from Limewire.
My playlist tonight is quite eclectic and am not sure if this means that my personality is also eclectic (read: weird/ strange/ disjointed like my musical choices) or merely a reflection of a wide exposure to a variety of music. Come to think of it, my musical education was by all means, pretty limited to the american top 40. So my taste for new wave is understandable but where in the world did i get this fondness for the Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Supremes??
Mind you, 80% of the music in my Ipod are 80's classics, 10% from the Disco Fever of the 70's and the other 10% a smattering of Eraserheads, Christina Aguilera and Selena (wait! she's 80's too!).
Here's a sample of tonight's playlist:
Lady Marmalade- Christina Aguilera, Li'l Kim, Missy Elliot
Staying Alive (Ultimate Remix)- BeeGees
Friday I'm In Love- The Cure
Our Love (Don't Throw It All Away)- BeeGees
Sahara Nights- Fr David
Sahara Nights- Fr David
Sahara Nights- Fr David
Como La Flor- Selena
Red and Black- Les Miserables
Your Smiling Face- James Taylor
The more I listen, the more sleep evades me. Methinks i'm missing my College Years.
Monday, July 30, 2007
She layers banana slices with jackfruit and mascovado sugar and wraps them in China or Vietnam-made rice paper. (The imported rice paper remains crunchy even the next day, not like the local lumpia wrapper which becomes soggy).
These are deep-fried until golden brown.
Then drizzled with soft-ball stage syrup made from brown sugar. The result is crunchy and chewy at the same time.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
It started off with a delightful (never mind that my blood pressure did spike a little bit) afternoon shopping at the newly opened Rustan's Fresh.
My menu was not fancy- our Sunday fare actually, although a bit time consuming to prepare. I chose a Spanish theme as our guests were from the US of A and Switzerland. We were sure that they would have had their fill of Pinoy or Cebuano food like Sinugba and Kinilaw already as they had been in Cebu for a couple of weeks.
My menu is as follows:
Meal started with a fresh green salad: romaine
lettuce, red lettuce and iceberg; tomatoes, cucumbers,
shrimps, feta cheese, whole black olives, sweet pea shoots
in a dressing made with the oil from the feta cheese, white
wine vinegar and garlic.
The Lengua that I made a couple of weeks back.
I love cooking huge batches then freezing them
in tupperwares, to be thawed and reheated when
Pancit Palabok as a filler as a couple more people
arrived. I topped mine with squid, shrimps, eggs,
fried tofu, tiny bits of pork, crushed pork cracklings,
and smoked fish. Rich!
I used the thick rice noodles that really soak
up the sauce making each chewy mouthfull
burst with flavor.
Baked Chicken stuffed with Potatoes and flavored
with sage. The drippings make a wonderful gravy.
My nephew can eat one whole chicken so I always
cook 2 large fowls (1.4 kgs each) or 3 if they weigh
only 1 kg or so.
I have a newly discovered secret that makes this
dish thick and sticky.
There were many speculations at the table that
night- tomato paste, cornstarch. But no, no.
I did not use any of that :-) hehehe
The looong, hearty meal ended on a high note
with leche flan. This i think, i might safely call
a family recipe as this i how i always remembered
our leche flan made.
It does not have any condensed milk so its not
The strawberry syrup provides a contrasting
tang to the flan.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I found myself at SM Mall this lunch hour. I was there to pick up my new set of business cards only to be told that they were behind schedule and my cards were not yet ready.
In a blue funk, I walked off to the Exit Doors in a huff.
On the way out, I passed by the Butterbean Cookie Factory. I had never tried their cookies and brownies but today I thought, "What the heck, the oatmeal cookies should bring me out of my cranky mood." So i bought a couple of cookies and brownies to take home.
So a sampler box with 6 varieties of brownies and a sambo and a sylvana were thrown in with my other purchases.
But when I got home, to my immense dismay, I found the cookies from Butterbean to be just way too sweet. Into the trash they went. Sorry Lord for wasting food.
By nature I am not fond of sweet stuff but can swallow tolerably sweet items. But those were just too much for me. Is this really how other people prefer their sweet levels? Maybe, i'm just out of touch :-(
The Brownies Unlimited experience was only a step better. Still way too sweet for my taste, the brownies were stale too but at least the sambo and the sylvana were not bad and were tolerably sweet.
Sylvanas are meringue sandwiched and coated with buttercream and rolled in cake crumbs. Sambos are the chocolate version.
In a refreshing departure from the usual, Brownies Unlimited made theirs with Italian Meringue making the balls soft and chewy.
A little difficult to eat while held with the warm fingers because Italian Meringue tends to melt and collapse on itself. But they were not bad when attacked with fork and knife.
Each was larger than a tennis ball and one serving is more than enough for one person.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The chef of Grand Majestic at the landmark Grand Convention Center has always been the venerable Chef Romeo Aragon, master of the Peking Duck.
Their lunch buffet at 499 (or thereabouts, i can't exactly remember) is one of the best in town, especially with the endless supply of Peking Duck and all its varieties- soup, rice, etc and 30 something courses in their back-to-back buffet table that does not hold a repeat of dishes.
I attended a party at Grand Con last week and I got another chance to revel in their food, monosodium glutamate notwithstanding.
Crisp coating on the tender white fish inside.
Sauce is mild with a light acidic tang.
Yang Chow Fried Rice.
Fluffy, not greasy and with small chunks of chorizo.
Steamed Pork in Lotus Leaf.
Pork is very tender and slightly salty with
The specialty of the house: Noodles.
Special noodles slightly thicker than angel hair
and slightly thinner than miki.
The sweet-salty sauce is redolent with slices of squid,
pork, chicken and vegetables.
Friday, July 20, 2007
It serves the best tasting, fork tender Baby Back Ribs that i or anybody else has ever tasted. And at a most pocket friendly price too- P 90 for an entire rack plus rice and vegies a couple of years ago, then up to P 120 last year, then up again to P 128 this year. Despite the constant price hike, it is still plenty affordable and the taste remains the same.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The other Fresh branch at Paseo San Ramon in Banawa is kind of small and does not stock much. And do i need to say anything about the strange "old freezer" aroma that hovers over the shoppers. Sign of a poorly ventilated building or poorly maintained freezers methinks.
The crowd was something short of a stampede when the Ayala branch opened last July 10. Lots of kibitzers milling around, sampling the numerous freebies and generally pushing carts that contained noodles- just checking out the wares and not really shopping.
That REALLY frustrated serious shoppers like moi and my sistah who were there to pick up some things for a dinner party we were hosting the next day. I had to snap at some people so i could finally get my ox tail. That showed them! They were elbowing for a quarter a kilo of this or that, but I hacked off with a WHOLE tail plus some.
I went back this lunch hour and had a leisurely stroll through the aisles and checked out the delicacies.
meat: ox tail, goat or chevron, pork belly, tripe,
beef cubes, and more!
No need to line up at the meat counter.
several varieties of white rice, brown rice, kidney
beans, white beans, mung beans, etc.
Linguini, Macaroni, Semolina, Whole Wheat,
including Organic! Mind boggling!
I also took a stroll through the Bakeshop. What i saw were some appetizing although not very imaginative breads and pastries. There was a good variety of whole wheat breads but the garlic bread and the baguettes could have used some more crunch.
The cakes looked rich enough but at the same time, pretty artificial with the strawberry toppings looking more gelatinous than fruity.
Monday, July 9, 2007
A delight to eat but a total bitch to make.
Scrape off outer layer of tongue.
Cleaning tongue is an absolute horror for me. I always end up
peeling than scraping as the outer layer of the tongue is very
tough and requires a very strong hand to clean it up.
How i wish there was pre-cleaned tongue available in the supermarkets!
Dredge tongue with flour and brown all sides in
1/4 cup President brand butter.
Add water to cover. Add 1/2 cup red wine and simmer
for 3-4 hours until very tender.
Midway through the tenderizing process, take out
lengua or tongue from broth and cool slightly.
Cut into thin slices and return to broth.
Continue simmering until fluid has reduced to just enough
to cover the sliced pieces of meat.
Add 1 big can of mushrooms, sliced and 1 bottle of
Season with salt and freshly crushed peppercorns.
Thicken sauce slightly with cornstarch.
This weekend i did a bit of cooking as it also involves some delightfull shopping. I sequestered the kitchen for the day and cooked some Bicol Express and Lengua.
When i was in Bicol, i was struck by the many versions of the Bicol Express, so unlike the plain chili-coco cream version we get in Filipino restaurants. Much, much yummier and with more variety in the ingredients.
Bicol Express follows. The Lengua is in a following post.
Soak 100 grams of white beans or pinto beans overnight.
Simmer over a low heat for 2 hours to soften.
Saute 4 large garlic cloves and 1 large onion in 2 Tablespoons oil.
Fry fat portion taken from 1 strip pork belly until oil has been extracted.
Add lean portion and fry till brown.
Add 4 cups of thick coconut cream. Simmer for a few minutes.
Season with salt at this point.
Add 100 grams of pre-soaked and pre-cooked white beans.
(I prefer the spotted beans, i think they are pinto beans, but none
were available when i went shopping for ingredients.)
Add 100 grams of chopped fresh shrimps.
Add 1 bundle of sliced stringbeans (winged beans
are more visually appealing but once again, none were
available), and 1 kilogram of thinly sliced chilis.
I let the whole chilis sit in the kitchen for a few days
to allow some of them to ripen and provide an nice
contrast in color to this otherwise green/white-colored dish.
Simmer Bicol Express for a few minutes until coconut cream
A wonderful siding to grilled meats, adobo or steamed fish.
Brave souls have this as the viand itself.
A platterfull of fire!