Monthly Archives: August 2011

shrimp adobo with coconut milk

so the evil Irene has left us somewhat unscathed,except for a messy backyard. i feel sorry for the trees but mysteriously even as their tops were sheared off our cars were spared.
it was–err, uhm, miraculous.
the morning after Irene
the downed tree branches (one of them was big enough to be a whole tree–all twenty feet of a top branch, deposited by the wind on a clearing, missing out on our garages, cars, and basketball pole/net thingy). all we had to do was clear away twigs and leaves from the windshield wipers– and then gas up the chain saw to cut away the tangled mess. thank you angels!

we did not even lose power…it is not occasion to gloat though because this hurricane/storm wrought so much havoc and destruction in other places. i prayerfully wish there will be no more.

i had stocked up the freezer and pantry and we were prepared to ride out a long spell of a blackout. one of the items i bought was a big box of frozen white shrimp (suaje) and i made a dish stitched together from two recipes of my new Filipino cookbooks:
shrimp adobo with coconut milk, garnished with sliced kamias (bilimbi fruit).
in my childhood, every home seemed to have their own kamias tree–the fruit so perfect for souring soups, for drying into candy like prunes. i used to eat them fresh out of the tree dipped in rock salt–hehe, i know, i’m weird that way. now i make do with frozen fruit from my Asian or Pinoy grocery.
the result is an interesting mix of complex flavors…this dish is not the one to serve picky, dainty eaters because the shrimp must be cooked shell-on. serve these to your more adventurous friends.
shrimp adobo with coconut milk
before stewing in coconut milk, marinate the shrimp briefly in coconut vinegar and garlic…
marinating shrimp adobo
would you like the recipe? Continue reading

tri tip (bis)tek

my kids really love fried potatoes.
and they will eat any dish that accompanies it. :comedy:
i had made a big batch of deep-fried sliced yukon gold potatoes to be the star side dish of the lovely tri tip steak i had finally located and was just about to serve them, all artfully arranged on the edges of the platter, when crash! boom! bang! i dropped my nice Rosenthal platter! :censored: :censored: :censored: ! i don’t know what happened but broken jagged ceramic bits=unsalvageable potatoes.
thankfully no injuries were incurred but i did send husband out to buy them some french fries. :frenchfries thank you sweetheart :glasses-slip: this special bistek is not the same without them bad fried potatoes.
this is a sample from the other cookbook i bought from the going-out-of-business bookstore sale.
bistek is easy and tasty home cooking that can be dressed and fancied up–this time with tri tip sirloin, which is kind of hard to find in my neck of the woods.
now. i’ve been pondering why i picked up these two cookbooks.
sometimes when it’s so warm and breezy and humid all at once, like it is now here in my Boston ‘burb… i fool myself into thinking i’m back in Manila.
so i could pin the purchase down to homesickness.
but also, these two cookbooks highlight Filipino cooking in such a lovely way that i’d like to test the recipes i’ve learned to cook with just tasting, smelling, feeling, instead of with precise measurements and methods.
maybe then i can get those unfamiliar yet curious to taste Pinoy food to cook it for themselves, at home, with these cookbooks. :grandma:
Filipino Style bistek, from Authentic recipes from the Philippines, Reynaldo G. Alejandro, recipe follows—-> Continue reading

chicken inasal, take two

how many more bookstores will shut down? i can’t help but mourn the demise of the corner bookshop, even the big box chain bookshop. for now i have no plan to get an electronic gadget reader, there’s nothing like a book, a real live book–for that is what a book is to me, the way i can escape into its words, the way it feels in my hands, and the lovely art in its book covers and illustrations.
we went to the Big Mall and found one of the last chain bookstores about to close, and i felt guiltily like a vulture in picking out books with deeply-slashed prices. i got two cookbooks… i just could not pass them by. curiously i chose two on Filipino cuisine.
i immediately tested another chicken inasal recipe, and my family loved the results.
this barbecue recipe from the Visayan region of the Philippines is quite popular in Manila and i had tasted it with two of my siblings at the great big Mall of Asia one hot hot afternoon, last year.
i’m sticking to this version for now, as it is simpler and i preferred the texture of the meat: tender and juicy and flavorful.
chicken inasal

recipe follows… Continue reading

a sweet reunion

…with my old flame, New York City!
we do love our Manhattan.
but with our family of five, it’s difficult to find great accommodations in the heart of the city, so we stay in New Jersey, just a short hop across the river.
it was intended to be a jolt of vacation–isn’t that what a Big City vacation gives you, a quick jolt of adrenaline rush? and one of our goals was to dine at Peking Duck House in New York’s Chinatown.
it was precisely 23 years ago B.C. (before children) since we last dined there, but of course i’ve been attempting to make it at home and we’ve had Peking duck dinner here in Boston restaurants.
somehow or other, i remembered the dinners at Peking Duck House as so memorable that i wanted to bring my three children to try:
Peking duck dinner
sliced by the chef
green beans with pork
a crispy side dish of green beans with minced pork, another nostalgic pick from my college days
crispy shredded beef
crispy shredded beef–my #1son enjoyed its sinful battered goodness :drunk: but. where’s the beef? overwhelmed by the fry and the sauce.
it was a shock to find the restaurant so transformed–what used to be a down-to-earth, cozy little Chinatown eatery, is now a swanky, dim, plushly decorated place, with sharp modern lines. the steps down to the basement level had little stage lights! gosh…
the food? i guess either the memory can play tricks or the chefs have changed. the duck dinner is mostly fine, fresh and crisp and perfectly roasted, even if the price has steeply risen since the ’80’s. we wouldn’t mind paying the difference but for the outrageously arrogant service. i would sum it up as service with attitude: “you want Peking Duck, or not?” no welcoming smiles here but a greeting of “you have reservations?” and all through the evening the staff was hurrying us along. i understand that a quick turnover is what they aim for, but we were paying customers, and we deserved better. husband thinks what they need is a kick in the pants in the form of competition.
i asked the kids what they thought of the Peking duck and compared to how we have it at home, and they diplomatically responded, “same.” but no attitude from mom, right kids??

gluten-free caveman cookies

so, who would eat healthy cookies?
i mean, it’s a contradiction in terms isn’t it–a healthy cookie? when someone says that, a cookie that’s good for you, i automatically turn on my skeptic button that goes, beep beep beep, system failure! system failure!
but when i got these cookies in the mail (my kids were thrilled no end), i immediately tore them open, sniffed them, cut them into portions for me and my kids to try…
cookies in the mail!
tropical caveman cookie
…and we all passed judgment, and poured out the milk:
our favorites were the tropical and the original recipes. the alpine? i think it would be best to stick to dark chocolate instead of carob, but that’s just me.
who’d have thought! a delicious healthy cookie? yes! yes! yes!
with only a few ingredients and not a drop of butter or a dusting of flour, these incredibly moist and chewy and most importantly tasty cookies will impress your tastebuds.
ingredients from the website:
“Original Caveman Cookies are made with honey, almond meal, walnuts, raisins, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Tropical Caveman Cookies are made with almond meal, honey, unsulfured coconut, macadamia nuts, and ginger.
Alpine Caveman Cookies are made with honey, hazelnut meal, almond meal, and toasted ground carob.”
click here to learn more about caveman cookies and their provenance, and for more info on where to buy….

*i received a free sample of caveman cookies.*