Monthly Archives: October 2005

trick or treat?

goblinsgisele and leoghouls
(clockwise fr. top)my favorite goblins, gisele bundchen and leo di caprio?, daughter’s former classmates turned ghouls…. [photos updated 11-02]
this is one American holiday i truly love…the first time when i was a junior in college, in a remote little Upstate New York village, was so festive and cute because of the little children.
now that i have my own, with my two youngest children’s birthdays sandwiched between Halloween it has become our family tradition. carve the pumpkin(s), prepare some costumes (homemade preferably, time willing) and get the candy basket filled.
they draw the faces on and then i carve them out.
this year we discovered “caspers”, white sugar pumpkins. at first i turned my nose up at them, thinking, huh! what are they going to mutate next!, then i thought, hey wait a minute! they’re perfect: ghostly pumpkins!
happy halloween children… watch out for angry ghouls! [the mommy in me says, don’t forget to brush your teeth extra-long tomorrow night!]
casper(soccer team won today 5 to 1! woo hoo…)
#1son drew “potatoes” on his pumpkin (on top most step) for the school pumpkin patch…homage to the hobbits and Golem of “Lord of the Rings.”

dang-si-long for breakfast


downtown Boston, October 29, 2005. can’t remember it snowing this soon!

my favorite breakfast lately. danggit, sinangag (garlic fried rice and longganiza.
was able to indulge in it, this leisurely Sunday morning with the switching back to Eastern Standard time.
ma sent me a little bag of dried fish “danggit”, little baby ones, delicious pan-fried and crispy.
i love it with garlic fried rice and the precious pickled green mango (ssssh don’t tell #2 son i’ve been dipping into our stash) and bonus longganiza (garlicky sweet sausages, Orientex brand).
if only every morning were as leisurely and slow-paced.

Childhood food memories meme

i didn’t realize i’d been tagged by stef until i went to revisit her blog looking for a new post ahem ahem mrs. stefoodie!!! and then there’s mommyspots who tagged me too so i won’t sleep easy until i finish and publish…

the earliest food memory is waiting for my sister to come home from school a few blocks away, for she always brought me home a treat. (she’s the kind one in our family eh). i so was eager to have the candies she brought, like white rabbit (which i remember as hard and taffy-like, not chewy caramelly as the ones available in the Chinatowns of the US) and most of all….sampalok (tamarind) candy.asim
i told you i was born with a sour tooth…tongue? i still have my lifelong mostly frustrated craving for sour green piko mangoes…i am just about the only one among my sibs with this obsession–so intense that i’d search high and low in the nearby stores and “talipapa” vendors near the University of the Philippines, giving money to my classmates to buy for me if they stumbled into one. as a lost resort i’d battle the “hantik” what surely seemed like killer ants and climb up our Indian Mango tree and settle for those. then dip them in sea salt and patis.
then there’s the chocnut. chocnut
CHOCNUT. with sarsi (sarsaparilla soda). need i say more? there was a “sari sari store” right next door and i always relished when it was my turn to get our “bayong” (a deep straw bag with handles) and jingle the change to buy our snacks.
i was a carb foodie very early: Skyflakes plain or buttered, Graham crackers slathered with cream cheese and our grandma’s after church treat of barquillos served with macapuno (“freaky” coconut ice cream….dreamy!
for a time i was the “treasurer” or budget manager of the family: my dad entrusted (*wicked grin*) me with the household market money while our ma went to California to visit her parents and attend their golden wedding anniversary. er. let’s just say i had a lot of extra cash in my levi’s jeans pockets shall we….that was the time when hot pandesal was all the rage and every other street corner had a little stall or counter selling the hot bread loaves…our favorite was a little window carved out of a high stone wall in Teachers’ Village, covered with ivy vines…. our oldest brother “kuya” drove us in his little yellow Datsun and we had great freedom—hot pandesal with canned sardines was my favorite snack that summer.
then there was the Italian Village…our parents didn’t particularly enjoy it but they’d steadfastly drive us there for our sardines and anchovies pizzas by candlelight (candles on old Italian wine bottles! great flickering ambience…) it was so new to us, watching the chefs-Pinoy of course!–twirling the pizza dough through the glass windows into the kitchen with the great brick ovens! remember. this was the 70’s so it was such a novelty in those days.
our dad was not a “hands on” dad, typical of many men in his generation, but when he was there he’d take us out for a fancy lunch. most memorable was the innovation of that era: the buffet, or “smorgasbord” as it was known then. he took us to Mexican and Italian buffets at fancy hotel restaurants on Roxas Boulevard, even though he and my mom deep down in their hearts only truly enjoyed the Chinese food and Barrio Fiesta type (“homey” Filipino fare).
we used to go to Batangas, Laguna or Cavite for weekend beaching jaunts…then we’d enjoy the watermelons and pineapples and “kakanins” on the roadside–like espasol or puto or bibingka or buko pie.
finally, before i get too bogged down ( a foodie like me has countless food memories from childhood, if only i could get my hands on the photographs of me eating at a young age!) in my trip down memory lane…i will never forget the little things my lola taught me: how to pick the fruits, from the trees all around her garden, and the cooking techniques she passed on to me, and the savoring of all of the above. “it’s good to get your hands sticky! garlic smells good on your fingers! you must be patient as you wait for the coals to heat up…..”
thanks stef and mommyspots for the tag!
chickensinulatnilolain lola’s handwriting…photo by my Ninang (godmother)
munching on adobo chicken thigh
i’m tagging anyone who reads this and wants to traipse down a sentimental path….

how i eat coffee

it’s snowing outside. but it’s Saturday so i decided to eat my coffee.
coffee jelly cream
am very suggestible: another idea from santos who recently posted a ravishing only-in-Manila Starbucks coffee item.
#1 son and i had some in the old Italian Village just off the Quezon Memorial Circle after it had morphed into a Bistro…more than a decade ago.
i saved the sliced peaches’ syrup (for #2 son’s cake filling) expressly for this. yes, the heavy syrup is perfect paired with hot strong coffee, agar agar powder and more sugar if you need it, for making a subtle mocha jelly. (i used 1:1 ratio for the syrup and coffee). chill until firm, cut into cubes and serve with cold coffee, a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream (or coffee ice cream, sure, why not!), and whipped cream.

why a buddha’s feast???

because i’ve been “pigging out” literally…*sigh* not really needing another layer of blubber, although it is getting truly bonechillingly cold here, but i served this to the kiddies…
red steak
rib eye steaks simply seasoned with salt and pepper and sizzled on the hot grill pan…and this
lechon turbo
lechon liempo ala turbo after seeing instructions left by my favorite chef in Guam on marketman’s comment box on his post re: turbo chicken…
truly great with a vinegar, soy, onion, sugar, garlic, bird chili and black peppercorn dip ala ting a ling’s fishball dip.

i had a little bit extra of jumbo peanuts for my little foodie, shown here with the shells of what he’d demolished (after i made him stop and leave some for our dinner)…
jumbo peanuts

and so, craving greens-grasses-plants… i added them on to an all vegetable rendition of a Chinese New Year dish i’ve made before…this time no cheating and adding on of any meat or animal product…
buddha's feast 2

let’s count, shall we?:
carrots, green beans, snow pea pods, dried black mushrooms, straw mushrooms, baby corn,
fried firm tofu cubes, tofu sticks, sea moss, boiled peanuts…in a stir fry with garlic, ginger, fermented white and pink bean curd, soy and hoisin sauce and a splash of water.
(traditionally it calls for 18 vegetables to represent Buddha’s 18 disciples, but 10 is quite ample).

delicious! made me feel healthy immediately!
dried bean wafers dried bean curd sticks: these are hard and almost like yellow plastic, but when rehydrated in boiling water become soft and ivory and have a yummy mild taho flavor.

Lasang Pinoy 3: mani mani mani!

this month’s Lasang Pinoy, on its 3rd installment, congratulations everyone!, is hosted by Kai of with the exciting theme of street food. thank you do much, kai, this is such a fun trip-down-memory-lane- event for me….
growing up my ma was surrounded by in-laws “in the know” (er, know it all’s?) : the sort who nagged her and backed up their nagging with scientific “know how” terminology. the chemist auntie-in -law, the food technologist cousin-in -law, the doctora sister-in-law. so we were thoroughly brainwashed into thinking that the street food was all quite forbidden: unhygienic, cancerous, and “sira tiyan” inducing. we longed for “sorbetes,” the local small-time ice cream vendors, for fish balls and the fried and barbecued meats at the street corners. i was quite torn-up-conflicted when ever i bought a bag of my beloved blossom-cut green mangoes smothered in red bagoong (fermented shrimp sauce).
and of course while ma was away (she worked full-time starting from my babyhood) and while under the care of a succession of helpers…we were able to sneak in one forbidden food: the sago gulaman (pearls and jelly) drinks at the jeepney stops. when we moved houses in the middle of a school year, we started commuting from Saint Ann’s School in Sta. Ana (hehe where else) to Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong. “sa malamig! sa malamig!” i remember them calling out to us.. …my sister and i set aside coins for the refreshing ice cold banana extract flavored cooler. after a hot day at school and being elbowed by jeepney passengers it was invigorating…..ahhhh! (this photo is from our summer sampling at Cendrillon restaurant in NYC).
so the more forbidden, the more delicious the quest to sneak into the vendor’s carts and stalls…
regrettably i have never tried the exotic meats like isaw, adidas, walkman, and uterus–incredibly, husband has! when he was a Peace Corps volunteer in the island of Samar he’d hop on the boats and go to Cebu (Mango Avenue, late at night) and Leyte, and on the seaports he said they were cheap and hearty snacks. but of course with an unaccustomed Americanized belly, he fell ill a couple of times. that still didn’t deter him from enjoying street food over and over though. he especially loved the barbecued tahong with sweet and tangy sauce from Catbalogan street vendors (special mention daw ito).
my second entry for LP3, nilagang mani is precious for me because i remember my [grandma] lola’s stories of pulling out the peanut plants and unearthing the lovely little legumes under the sandy loam, and boiling them in sea salt. the other day i snagged a net bag from the Asian grocers and boiled them for my 3 little kittens…who fought over them and made me promise to make some more, make some more! pleeeease mama please please.
boiled mani
boiled peanuts. simple and yet so filling and so tasty.

IMBB #20: souffle! ole!

this is the kind of cooking i love to do…when i am trying out a new recipe, a souffle! no less, and there is no deadline to meet and i have what seems to be a foolproof step-by-step illustrated instructor in the form of BBC’s Good Food, June 2001 issue.
i’ve never done a souffle and in one of the memes i mention that this is the thing i have to conquer a fear of. i think it was a little bit nerve racking but knowing it was supposed to deflate didn’t scare me away anymore.
years ago i saw Julia Child prepare it in my friend and neighbor C’s fancy cookbook. i saw her, and countless other celebrity chefs, prepare it on tv.
so after the busy frantic weekend i made this cheddar cheese and chive souffle (the original recipe called for goat cheese but i opted for seriously sharp cheddar to increase the chances of my kids’ trying it). they’re not quite cheese heads. yet.
IMBB #20 is being hosted by kitchenchick (check out her chocolate and coconut custard souffle! it’s gorgeous) and slay that souffle phobia.
butter the souffle dish generously. i made a wax paper collar to “help” it along a little bit–butter this too.
let the bechamel base cool before adding on the beaten egg whites.
…it began to deflate in the wink of an eye. it was delicious though and light and fluffy–nothing like an omelette at all, which is how i thought it would be after losing its fluff. the recipe is here..

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he’s 6!

a very exciting day for #2 son…he designed the cake–chinatown-style cream cake with sliced peaches and 6 knights in battle–and enjoyed this long-awaited day in flashy style! now, why do they want to hurry and grow up so quick???
designhuhglowknights cakegirlsyeyemamawowboyzgoo2deeuncstuma

i ran out of time…so i ended up making only two things for his party: shrimp chili, Singapore style and the birthday cake a la Chinatown, using Nora Daza’s sponge cake recipe from Galing Galing…