I started a new fad in my household. We now eat soup more times in a day than we have dessert. Not kidding. I love soup. Ari likes soup but only occasionally, like every time we eat out 🙂 Uri hates it. Turo is so-so about it. But hey, I’m the President of my kitchen. I do the grocery and get stuff from the market and pay for takeouts and I set the meal plan for the week. In short, I wield a lot of power over everyone else’s food choices. So one day, I woke up and said, we’re gonna eat soup everyday. And so we did.
Every morning, I wake up, cut up vegetables, simmer them in water, add a pinch of spices, a sprinkle of herbs, maybe some milk or yogurt or cream, grated cheese when I’m feeling fancy, or egg when I’m feeling exceptionally hungry. And then the rest of the pack wakes up to a bowl of soup each, with toast or crackers on the side. That’s what we have for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY for about a month now.
Nobody’s complaining. Who could resist my I-don’t-have-to-fix-my-own-breakfast offer? So y’all might think I’m dragging my entire household into this diet revolution, but there’s more to it than trying to lose pounds or belly flabs.
We are 5 months (and counting) without a house helper (the first time in 8 years!). I never imagined I’d be brave enough to fire, perhaps lay off is more politically correct, our house helper of 4 years. But I got to the point when I decided I needed to be in full control of my household and our family life, and that meant cutting off our dependencies on other people. This whole ‘simplifying our life’ has really gotten to me, that many people might think I’m crazy for letting go of our reliable house helper when other families I know are in dire need of one. Continue reading slow cooker success→
Today is Mother’s Day weekend and we’d rather stay home and avoid traffic jam and the summer heat. This is my last day off because tomorrow I go back to the world of work and deadlines. Also, this could be the last time I could do some dough kneading before my belly gets too big I couldn’t reach the edge of the table :). So homemade pizza it is.
These basil plants have almost outgrown their seedling bags. It’s time to move them to their new home at the farm. We are just waiting for their new containers to be delivered. On Friday, which is a holiday, they will be replanted on the ground so that come Christmas time, we’ll have enough basil leaves to make plenty jars of pesto.
I’ve always placed sisig under the category of “bar foods” but my mother-in-law tells me otherwise.
For the longest time, and probably for many of us, sisig is just about equivalent to anything you eat while drinking ice cold beer. So long as it is piping hot, because it is served on a sizzling plate with a newly cracked egg that’s supposed to get cooked from the dish’s own heat, is fine and I never really cared enough to pay attention to how it tastes.
Sisig is of Kapampangan origin. And so is my mother-in-law. And just recently, she opened my eyes to the real deal–that Sisig is a tradition like no other, and just like any other delicacy, you need to be under the tutelage of an elderly Kapampangan to master. Here are 3 unbelievable myths about this specialty. Try to keep your eyes from rolling in disbelief as your read them. Continue reading sisig kapampangan→
My grandmother is a baker by profession. She’s tried to teach me to bake cakes since I was in grade school. But I cursed baking ever since my first (flop) pineapple upside down cake, and the rest of the flop cakes and flop cookies that followed.
For reasons I could not explain, Turo and I find ourselves with much more free time now than when we’d lived in the city. We’ve started to enjoy lazy weekends even when we have more housework now than when we lived in my parent’s house. Before we had a laundrywoman and an ironing lady, now I am both. It used to be my parents who took over house repairs and garden work, but in our tiny apartment, this was Turo’s domain. In addition to the usual cooking and cleaning and looking after the kids, now we also take turns fetching Ari to and from school.
Running a household on our own certainly means a lot of work. But it’s the kind of work we lovingly attend to however physically exhausting it gets. Still, at the end of the day we get to sit down with a cup of coffee or a couple bottles of beer before getting some real rest. And in the morning we are woken by our hungry little monsters clamoring for breakfast that we all enjoy without the rush.
I also found myself accessing the internet less, reading more, bonding with my kids more, even cooking more. Proof of this is my recent reunion with la germania. After years of enjoying my lola’s perfect pastries without ever having to learn to make them myself, I realized I still wanted to learn how to bake—bread in particular. I love bread, I love herbs in my bread, but gourmet bread is not as easy to find here. No Rustan’s, no delicatessen anywhere close. If you can’t buy them, why not bake them yourself.
After some serious consideration and more second thoughts, I signed up for Italian Bread, Pizza and Pasta lessons in Sylvia Reynoso-Gala’s Culinary Studio. Up until the first day of my cooking classes I felt reluctant to go. What if I start baking perfect flops again?
But my hands found themselves kneading dough for the first time that day. I felt liberated and satisfied.
I finally woke up early. I didn’t get to jog. But I finally got to make those blueberry pancakes I’ve long planned to make.
Yes, some wild variety of blueberries grow in this country. I bought a few grams of fresh blueberries when we were in Baguio last Feb. I love blueberries because they’re among the superfoods. Together with avocados, apples and pomegranates, they’ve got tons of antioxidants and lots of anti-aging properties, including fighting memory loss. These little berries have also earned the distinction as the fruit with the greatest anti-cancer properties, compared to other fruits.
We had a few pieces chicken quarters leftover from the dinner I prepared for Turo’s officemates the other weekend. I pan-roasted the chicken quarters while I cooked last night’s leftovers for lunch today. Ideally, meat for roasting should be elevated on a rack so that it’s the heated air that cooks the meat. This process causes browning or caramelization on the surface of the meat and enhances flavor.
I’m no techie and when I talk gadgets I mean kitchen gadgets. Not those electric types that Rosebud Benitez use in her MSG-laden show. But those traditional yet currently practical tools that everyday cooks could use to make cooking quick and fun.
Finally, I have a wire whisk. Since I’m not a very good baker, I never saw the need for one in my kitchen. I’m content with using a fork for egg beating. But now that I plan to experiment more on salad dressings and sauces I think having a wire whisk + osterizer could temporarily take the place of a food processor in my kitchen–something I’m saving up for along with an immersion blender. This is a Wilton cyclone whisk. The red spiral in the middle is supposed to help aerate mixtures more.
I also bought a citrus zester because I tend to waste a lot of citrus peel everytime I juice lemons and oranges, which we do quite often. The outer layer of citrus fruits contain high amounts of aromatic oils and flavor that can add an instant kick to your recipe. While a vegetable peeler or a box grater can also be used to zest, a citrus zester will yield the best possible results. If you want finer shreds, you can also use a microplane grater. Unfortunately this is way out of my budget.
My current favorite is the jar lifter. I’ve been studying home canning methods for a while now. As a working mother learning food preservation techniques is important if you want to save time and money by cooking ahead, but do not want to compromise the nutritional content of the food you serve your family. If only I had the time, I’d like to take classes on food technology and preservation. There is a science behind kitchen works and it’s something I would eagerly want to learn.
The jar lifter I bought was from a brand called Antique Gadgets. The company specializes in making everyday helpful kitchen gadgets that have been out of production or replaced by electronic devices. I wish they had more products available here. But for now this cool tool that will allow me to pull out hot jars without having to dip my potholder in boiling water.
Now I’m really excited to use my new gadgets. So I’m off this early to the wet market to do a little shopping and whip up a few bottles of my specialty sauces, preserved in the traditional way, despite this day and age of vacuum sealing and microwave reheating.