Monthly Archives: July 2010

tom yum goong, shrimp in sour broth

through some strange, twisted logic, we crave hot, hot-as-in-super spicy, and hot-as-in-boiling -just-out-of-the-pot-hot, soup.

Thai-style shrimp in sour broth (tom yum goong, or as husband says it, “yum tom”).
start out with an excellent chicken broth base and layer on the ingredients that make this dish sing:
galanga root, lemon grass, wild lime leaves, bird chilies; and then adding the fish sauce, lime juice, shrimp, straw mushrooms, and cilantro leaves, just before serving.
makes you sweat, promise. (oh, and we made sure the kids had an alternative dish, that night!)
(from “Authentic Recipes from Thailand,” Periplus Publishing, 2004.)
:drive: off for some R&R in a “foreign land” :wave:

the heat is on

are you hot?
because i am.
sizzling hot. humid. hazy weather, wilting weather.
the kind where you just sit, and sweat pours out of everywhere, even your eyelids.
heat so hot, you start sweating right out of the shower.
yeah that kind of hot.
i don’t mind it at all, because it makes me feel like… like… like…i’m “home.” makes me feel right at home.
and now there’s another reason to feel like you’re still home.

above, Red Mango in the Philippines (Megamall).
my brothers, oldest and youngest, made sure i “enjoyed”–as much as could possibly be enjoyed, under the prevailing circumstances–my visit home. and in May, when temperatures were constantly in the mid to upper ’90’s F., it was imperative to be an expert on where to find cooling things to drink and eat. my best memory of that is the green tea frozen yogurt with mangoes and strawberries that my younger bro got for me…
green tea frozen yogurt
Red Mango, Boston
and now there’s no need for me to mope, and sulk and be “homesick” for it…
they’ve opened a branch in Boston: fairly new (November 2009), it is the first in Massachusetts, the only one in New England. (pinkberry opening soon too! stay tuned…)
i dragged my family out on the thunderstormy Sunday within the week of my return…sort of a cheer-up-and-welcome-back-to-the-fold food trip.
Red Mango toppings

Red Mango toppings menu
back here in Boston, sorry no green tea but there’s pomegranate and tangomonium (click here for a complete menu).
Red Mango original flavor...
with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and pineapple. i didn’t pick mango, because there is nothing to compare with Philippine mangoes.
you can betcha, i’m coming back here to get my fruit and frozen yogurt fix as often as possible.

red mango
334 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(857) 366-4116

(Symphony stop on the Green line)

room to roam

my blog is about to turn 6 years old!
i can’t really fathom how time just zoomed by…i only know that i’m keen on trying to slow everything down. (my kids for sure are on the opposite track, wanting to speed it up and grow up and have their own adventures.)
i don’t do it often but sometimes when searching for old recipes here at home at baby rambutan, i catch a glimpse of my old blog posts and cringe at my writing. i’m even tempted to edit or altogether replace most of them! but of course that would be cheating, even though the primary reason i started writing was to just explore and ponder my own life, for myself alone. but i guess putting it out there, out where?–in public, in the virtual world, exposed my writing to the public eye….
it’s been a roller-coaster journey. i think that’s the best way to describe it, and i would not turn back anymore. i started out with a free service provider but it sure felt cramped in there; with the help of a good friend i transferred to a server with unlimited web hosting and that was the ticket to freedom. room to ponder, room to roam. no regrets! advanced happy blog anniversary, baby rambutan.

chocolate raspberry layer cake

chocolate raspberry layer cake slice
it was his 75th birthday yesterday. we siblings decided to celebrate his life and cook some of his favorite foods.
i thought i’d make him a birthday cake. daddy loved chocolate cake, and my three kids all honored his memory with big slices of melt-in-their-mouths deep dark chocolate cake layered with rich chocolate ganache and raspberry jam.

“to live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die…”
recipe, from Bon Appetit, June 2010, follows: Continue reading

summer eats

one hot day in July, when i was feeling sluggishly sloth-y, and not feeling like doing any cooking, let alone moving at all…the urge to eat this moved me greatly.
pasta w/ capers, olives, tuna, grape tomatoes
i should have this memorized by now! from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection, i added extra of everything (garlic, chili, anchovies, basil, capers, tomatoes, olives), used thin spaghetti and added a can of solid white tuna in olive oil.
all strong, punchy flavors, over pasta: somehow it just worked on a hot summer day.
chicken inasal
and then on to more summer eats! i have three kids at home, very hungry and constantly checking out the fridge and checking in on mom at the kitchen–so i tend to be preparing quick and easy dishes, such as this bbq chicken a la Bacolod Inasal, a style of grilling marinated chicken.
i had heard about it a lot, and finally got to try it at a chain restaurant in the Mall of Asia, by the seaside Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
i used a recipe mostly based on Chef Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing’s via the Inquirer.Net. i added lemongrass stalks (as suggested by several recipes i found in other sites) and marinated the minimum 30 minutes (more than that and the chicken meat will get “de-natured”).

the special technique is the butter-calamansi-atsuete (annatto seed, used as a vibrant colorant) basting sauce. (i could not bear to use margarine, which is the original recipe).
i was nervous about using all that vinegar, with no soy sauce to soften all that acidic kick.

but it was a hit, yet i’ve decided i will use chicken leg quarters instead of whole chickens–i used baby “young chickens”–because the breast meat dried out. NO MORE BREAST MEAT. :fryingpan

highly recommended with achara as side dish…
achara of green papaya plus:not-so-secret formula here.

recipe for Chef Pauline’s chicken inasal follows… Continue reading

Electrolux #splits: a tropical banana split

Foodbuzz, Electrolux, and Kelly Ripa are doing it again! and i am determined to join in this time, with the Top 9 Takeover banana split theme.

on this day, Foodbuzz Featured Publishers gather together and feature the classic banana split, and for every entry Foodbuzz will donate $50 (up to $5,000!) to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
here’s the link, if you’d like to help out and donate even more to this crucial cause:

i played around with the classic formula though, and made caramelized plantain bananas the centerpiece, with vanilla ice cream, sweetened coconut sport strings (macapuno), fresh sweet mango bits, crushed pineapple, and honey-roasted cashew nuts, in homage to the tropical weather
we’re enjoying right here, now! in Boston, and to my recent impromptu trip to the Philippines….

my tropical style…

the classic, with a recipe for chocolate fudge sauce, here

Sunday lunch, Penang, Boston

breezy sunny days, not too hot, not too cold, 365 days of the year: don’t i just wish they’d last forever. (note to self: look for place like this to move to, convince all members of family, pack up and leave, pronto!)
barring that, you just enjoy what you have every moment, rain or snow or sleet or shine.
South End Sunday market
some cute little stuffed toys/monsters.
so on a sunny Sunday afternoon we were able to get the 3 kids out and about to explore a wee bit of town. this is the “SoWa” street market open sundays at the South End neighborhood, Boston, with tents of fresh produce and baked goods and local artists’ works for sale. #1son found something he’d been looking for, an old fashioned flip alarm clock at the flea market area.
then off we went for lunch at one of our favorite spots in town, Penang Restaurant.
Penang, roti +chicken curry dip
our favorite appetizer, hands down: the roti bread–very light and flaky with just the right amount of bite and chewiness–with a luscious but tiny pot of chicken & potato curry. so good, we had to order just one more!
i surprised myself about not having blogged about this before. it was a unanimous vote when we canvassed the kids about where we’d go for a late lunch….
Penang, oyster omelette
wow oh wow they had oyster omelette and it was pretty close to what i had in Sincerity Restaurant, Binondo Manila…the only thing different was that it didn’t have that chewy rice cake texture but it sure was very tasty, with a spicy sweet chili dip and a generous sprinkling of oysters.
Penang, popiah
another appetizer, popiah, which we’ve had before is a shrimp, jicama and tofu roll stuffed inside a fresh lumpia wrapper…sort of like fresh lumpiang ubod with a spicy kick from the drizzled sauces on top.
kang kung belacan, Penang
they indulged me some more and let me order kang kung belacan, water spinach with a very spicy shrimp paste stir fry. one more dish that’s so similar to what we eat in the Philippines.
nasi lemak, Penang
my daughter and i had the same dish, a medley of rice, chicken curry, anchovy and vegetable, and pickles. truly mouth-wateringly-spicy good. we both decided we should have just shared one!
Hainanese chicken, Penang#1son had the Hainanese style steamed chicken, which he normally doesn’t like, but this one he proclaimed was really fine.
i won’t discuss the dishes that we didn’t like….my ma always says, if you can’t say anything good about anything/anyone, don’t say anything….
but i will say this, that i truly am regretful that i didn’t blog about them before, and maybe in some small way influenced how they might have kept the menu intact: there was one beautiful appetizer that they’ve now struck out of the menu, which i tried hard to replicate at home:
i featured it years ago in an online appetizer “party”:

chili stuffed deep fried pork intestines….*sigh*
still, it is one restaurant which we’ll always return to, to relish our favorites, and to just feel smug about, that we have it in Boston.

685 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111-1611
(617) 451-6373

a voice from the past

i interrupt my regular (ok “somewhat” irregular) programming….well i had such a huge scare today, when i found out my blog was g.o.n.e….as in kaput, pfffftttt! it went on all day, the panicky emails, attempted phone calls and such. bottom line, i got it back. but underline…i do not ever want to go through that again! especially when i felt truly compelled to publish something important, something tugging at me all this time, as if someone from the past were pushing me to publicize something very important.

i watched a bit of the inauguration of the new Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, or “P-Noy” as he’d like to be called, allegedly. i listened to the lyrics of one folk singer, Noel Cabangon, and as i always do i went back to my grandfather’s Credo, which was published anonymously in the Manila Chronicle many decades ago, and then in his published work, “Fragments, Thoughts and Short Essays,” and which i saw first hand, painted on to the walls of the Courthouse of Gumaca,Quezon, where he was a judge from 1962 until 1967. he worked at the Bureau (later Commission) of the Civil Service from 1915 to 1962….i always read it as a sort of prayer for the Philippines whenever Filipinos pin their hopes on a new regime.

“Credo of the Public Servant

1. I believe that a position in the government is a public trust to be administered for the good of the people and not for the personal profit or benefit of the office, holder, his family, or his friends.

2. I believe that public service calls for sacrifice, humility, and renunciation; that although public office is an honor and gives opportunity for leadership, those wielding it and exercising its powers are servants of the people and not rulers or masters.

3. I believe that the government employee should be imbued with a high sense of honor, a steadfast devotion to duty, and unswerving loyalty to the Republic, and its cherished institutions.

4. I believe that the government employee should be physically, mentally and morally fit for service, should be strict and exacting with himself, and should expect and require of himself more than he expects and requires of others.

5. I believe in “the importance of little things,” in neatness and accuracy in beauty and art, in simple duties faithfully performed, little temptations earnestly resisted, little courtesies extended, and “myriad self denials.”

6. I believe that the employee should lead a simple temperate life, free from pretense, from excesses, or suspicion or appearance of evil.

7. I believe that moral leadership contributes to good morale and esprit de corps and that the law is but the ethical minimum.

8. I believe that job satisfaction is not all a question of pay or hours of work.

9. I believe in strict adherence to the principles of the merit system and just democratic management.

10. Lastly, I believe in human dignity, in a regime of justice, liberty and democracy, in the rights of minorities and the little man, in a government of laws under the protection and guiding hand of an all-wise, merciful, and just God.” –Amado del Rosario, 1957