Friday, January 29, 2010


I just love the way the word adobo rolls out from your tongue. ADOBO! It sounds like it's a command. Or a salute.  For a Filipino the word adobo sounds like a nickname.  When you introduce yourself as Filiipino, instantly what comes to mind when it comes to food is... yes ADOBO!

A few years ago in Florida someone asked me if I'm from Hawaii... "your name Malou sounds Hawaiian" she said.   "No I'm from the Adobo Nation"  was my quick reply and she said "Oh so you're from the Philippines!"  she said.  This proved to me that adobo is synonymous to Filipino cooking...

I guess growing up in Adobo Nation made me veer away from cooking adobo. I'm all adobo-ed out!! haha But don't get me wrong, I still serve it to my family but only sporadically. I  usually cook a big pot of adobo because adobo is better after a day, and I usually put my "twist" on the dish. In my entry Adventures of the American Adobo   I "americanized" my adobo by adding apples to the dish. 

In another entry,  Skip To Malou I made a dish called Adobo Nation Salad Sensation wherein, the adobo is paired with green salad instead of rice and a special pineapple vinaigrette. 

If you're wondering why I'm posting another "adobo" dish, it's because this month Kulinarya (please see footnote below) is featuring ADOBO as the dish of the month.  This group was initiated by three ladies from Sydney: Trissa , Trishia and Kath  and I just joined the group last week (thank you ladies for the invite).

The adobo recipe I would like to share is called  Adobo Chicken Delight.  I was true to the basic ingredients of adobo but the twist is in that I made it into a fried chicken and made a sauce.  Yes folks it's cooked as adobo then deep fried...

So let's begin:

the basic ingredients of adobo:
2-3 lbs. chicken
3/4 c vinegar
1/2 c soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 bay leaves (crushed)
In a saucepan, combine all the wet ingredients and crushed garlic together. Let it simmer. Add black pepper and crushed bay leaves. Allow the ingredients to fuse in together for a few more minutes, then you are ready to add the  chicken. Cook for about 30 minutes. Drain the chicken and set aside the sauce as you will need it later  to make adobo rice.

You could actually end here, as this is the classic adobo dish... but if you want to go further, read on.
For the breading:
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c flour
salt &pepper
paprika or any preferred seasoning 
 Fill a large skillet (cast iron is best) about  half full with vegetable oil. Heat until VERY hot.. Meanwhile, roll the chicken pieces into the breading. Shake off excess flour.  Drop  5-6  pieces into the hot oil.  Make sure there's enough space to stir the chicken. Deep fry it until golden brown. Drain the fried chicken.  It should be crispy goden brown like so: 
Now for the rice:
Put cooked jasmine rice on the same pan where you cooked the adobo.  (remember the pan with the adobo sauce you saved earlier) Remove excess sauce as it may make the rice too mushy.  Add toasted garlic... your rice should look like so:
For the dressing:
Mix yogurt, vinegar, sugar and chives.  Adjust it to your taste.  I did mine really creamy, but if you want it thinner add more vinegar.  Now that you have the fried chicken, the adobo rice and the dressing you are ready to have  ta-dah... the ADOBO CHICKEN DELIGHT to enjoy:

.  The Kulinarya Cooking Club aims to promote the wonderful world of the Filipino cuisine. Each month, the KCC members will feature a dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Laura's Note

I was surprised one rainy day a couple of weeks ago when I saw a package at my doorstep. The package was drenched in the rain, the sender's name was unreadable. I tore open the package, and lo and behold I saw a cookbook called Momofuku.... with it came a note that said:

I thought about you when I saw this cookbook. The author not only shares his recipe but also his life story.
I hope this will inspire you to create more oh-so-delish  dishes. Good luck on your catering business.


I have known my old friend Laura since high school. I reconnected with her just recently (as commonly seen with other people my age - through Facebook) after almost 2 decades of not communicating with each other. Now we talk on the phone, chat online, email each other regularly. It's like we didn't skip a beat being close to one another, our friendship is still there, despite not keeping in touch for almost 20 years.

When I see a handwritten note from an old friend, emotions creep in... her familiar handwriting transported me back in time: about the high school that we both went to, about our friendship, and about the eighties.  Pictures of our blue and white school uniform flashed before my eyes, and yes, the oh-so-awful 80's fashion statement:  the bulging shoulder pads and the stick up bangs!  Scenes from the past came rambling through my mind.  So I picked up the phone and called her up, and as she answered it was as if we were on a time machine, reminiscing about high school, our giggles in the corridors, the songs and dance steps we used to share and how much we loved to hang out.  Memories of our good relationship made us realize why we didn't get in touch much earlier.  20 years?  But yeah no matter how long time set us apart, reconnecting was a natural thing to do because of the bond we had in the past.

I told her how much  I appreciate receiving a cookbook from her, much more about the note she had written.  She shared with me how much she enjoys my blog, and because of it she's learning how to cook... a very good reason for us to reconnect. And as we plan on how we could meet up, I can't help but feel excited about our newly restored friendship.  Just like that fateful day more than 25 years ago, when we first became friends in high school, as she invited me to watch the movie E.T. (the betamax version) at her home.

So Laura this recipe is for you:

Roasted Chicken ala Francis (Lechon Manok)
(Francis C. is an old friend from my hometown.  She asked me to try sinigang mix as a rub to roast chicken. Sinigang Mix is a tamarind flavored souring agent that comes in powder form. It's traditionally used to make sour soup, so I was intrigued. But alas what a discovery, and thank you Francis! It has been a favorite ever since.  It's so convenient. I didn't have to add any other seasoning... and as  a bonus, you could buy the mix in my neighborhood grocery store like Ralph's and Vons!!)

This recipe is under the category: I can't believe it's that easy recipe:

We need:
A Whole Chicken

Tamarind Mix (Sinigang Mix)-
Lemon Wedges
1 whole garlic sliced in the middle

As I've said, this is under the category I can't believe it's that easy recipe, so let me deliver the promise...haha!  So let's begin.

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Meanwhile, thoroughly wash the chicken.   Pat it dry with a paper towel.  Rub the outside of the chicken with a generous amount of the tamarind mix. 

Rub on  both outside and inside the cavity. You would love to have that sour /citrucy flavorings to be absorbed into the meat during roasting.
Add the lemon wedges, garlic and more tamarind mix into the cavity of the chicken.  This will add more kick into the dish.

Slip more of the mix under the skin. You need some TLC while rubbing it under the skin, you don't want the skin to tear. Doing this will give you the desired sourness and will keep the meat moist.
Some tie or truss the chicken but  for me that's way too complicated.  Bake it  breast side up, by doing so, it traps all the juices in.

I initially put the temperature at  450 degrees F  for about 20 minutes.  This will give a nice brown color and crispyness to the skin.  Then reduce temp to 350-375 degrees F.   Standard cooking time is  usually 30 minutes per pound but ovens vary so be cautious.  You don't want to have an overbaked chicken as it will be so dry.  You know it's cooked when: the skin should be golden brown, and the liquid that runs through should be clear.  To avoid guess work stick to what your thermometer reads.  If it reads 170 -180 degrees internal temperature, you're good to go.

Rest the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, backside up.  All those trapped juices will find its way to moisten the breast giving a full flavor to every part of the chicken!

For sauce and dippings:  Get soy sauce and squeeze some lemon into it.  Add a little sugar and crushed garlic. Mix it altogether, and enjoy!


Attending Mass last Sunday, my family-- all five of us --we were all seated in one pew when suddenly, a guy (looking debonair in his blue suit) sat at the very end of the pew. My daughter, who was just beside him, tried to scoot over and signaled us to move... but the stranger kept on moving closer to her and my daughter was all red and looked puzzled as to why is this guy trying to move so close to her. She then looked straight at the guy and he was so surprised to realize that my daughter was not his wife. He was two pews short... He apologized profusely and moved to where his wife was sitting... and the funny thing is, my daughter did not resemble his "real" wife. We couldn't stop laughing....even after mass we were still teasing her, much to her chagrin.

Immediately following mass, and after much deliberation of where to have lunch, we ended up having Pho (or Vietnamese beef noodle soup) at this hole in the wall joint called Pho Cow Cali. We were introduced to Pho when we moved to Cali a couple of years ago, but it's our first time to visit this place

It's one of those places where you go for the food, not the ambience. It's like one of those places Anthony Bourdain would frequent. You'll forgive this place for having long tables joined together for separate groups to sit at... and not so good customer service... because their Pho tastes amazing.

So we ordered, 3 different kinds of Pho: Beef Flank, Beef Brisket, and mixed Beef cuts with tendon, which were all excellent ... the hot and sweet broth really hits the spot...

My youngest daughter and son, who don't enjoy Pho as much, ended up ordering barbecue pork and shrimp over dry rice vermicelli noodles.  However, upon having a taste of the broth from our Pho, they have changed their mind.

We also ordered Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (a Vietnamese roll wrapped in rice paper), which we thought was above average, but we've had better. One of the dipping sauces (the peanut based tương xào) was too thick and salty. My husband preferred the fish sauce with vinegar dip or Nước chấm.

After chowing down a bowl of Pho, accross the street was this boba (or tapioca tea) place called Tapioca Heaven Cafe. Again, it's where you'd go when you crave for boba milk tea, smoothies, slushes and yogurt. About this small Cafe, well, I thought the seats could have been in better shape, and the decor was mismatched. But then again, we frequent the place because of its boba.

They have a wide range of bobas to choose from. Trust me, you wouldn't know what to order. And among the boba places in San Diego, this is one of our favorite boba places. It's not watered down, service is fast... but yeah as I've said, the interiors needs updating.

I've always been curious what teenagers do when they hang out at a boba place, especially since my daughter regularly asks permission to go grab some boba with friends and here's what I found out. They play Jumbling Towers, a.k.a. Jenga - the "stacking the wooden blocks" game, while enyoing their boba.

And when the Jumbling Towers go down, the boba too has been heartily consumed...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prayer for Haiti

"Good Morning, Mom!" This was the cheerful greeting that I got from my youngest daughter this morning. I was surprised since it came from her, as she is not a morning person at all... so I asked her, "What's good with the morning, Izzy?" She quickly answered, "Because we are alive, Mom!"

This was definitely one of those mornings when you want to go back to sleep and not do your morning chores, but waking up to a greeting like that changes the mood.

Why shouldn't we feel good in the morning when everything seems great?  The tragic natural disaster that happened in Haiti has put things in perspective.  I attended the daily mass last Thursday, the sermon spoke loudly to me as the priest said, "How would you feel if you were on the other side? Take, for instance, the earthquake in Haiti.... they have so little to begin with; the earthquake made it more horrible... What would you do?"

I am grateful to be alive, and I thank God for all His blessings. In this regard, my prayers go to those who are affected by the earthquake in Haiti.  I pray for the victims and survivors, that they will have the strength to endure and rebuild their country.  I pray that relief efforts will swamp the island nation and the people will receive the basic necessities the soonest possible time.

Please, let us all help in any way we can. God Bless!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dancing With My Daughter Again, Part II: Glimpses of Tomorrow

Today is Monday; it is the first day back to school and the first day back to work after the holidays. It is not just any ordinary Monday though, as it is the the FIRST Monday of the year... the FIRST MONDAY OF 2010 --- the first Monday of a new decade!

Everyone's back to the old grind... everyone, that is, except for my eldest daughter. She is on her winter break from college. I love when she comes home because she tags along with me as I do my daily routine. And I love it because it's giving her a glimpse of my day to day life and we get to spend a lot of time together. Today she woke up early and saw me preparing lunch boxes for everyone (the hubby, the daughter and the son). She even pitched in and made some spam musubi for her siblings to take for lunch. She then accompanied me as I dropped off her younger siblings to school. Of course, with her being the elder sister, she still had to taunt my other two kids, "Have fun in school while mommy and I stay home!" I smiled as we drove away in my Mom-mobile (the minivan); she definitely knows how to make her siblings jealous, even after all of these years.

I had a wonderful time driving around the neighborhood with my daughter, as she noticed everything around her. We were driving in the church's parking lot when she pointed out a little kid in uniform getting dropped off at school and she squealed, "Oh, Mom! Look, she's not even taller than the bumper of our car and he's now in school!" Minutes later, we drove some more and she exclaimed, "Look at that dog, what a chubby little dog!" As I parked the van, she mentioned so many more sightings that she found cute. She simply could not stop!

I took her along with me to attend daily Mass that started at 7:30 AM. After Mass, it was my turn to point out someone to her. "That's Jack," I whispered to her while we were walking out of the church. Jack is 93 years old and he's the sacristan during the daily mass. When I told her this, she held her heart and said "Aww..."  At that moment, I saw myself in her, because she notices everything that makes my day delightful, my everyday life that I'm always thankful for, the sights that make me grateful I am alive...

As we stepped into the van again, she told me that she wants her kids to go to a Catholic school, just like the little girl in black knee high socks and a plaid uniform who we saw earlier. I told her that she just has to continue doing what she's doing: working hard towards graduate school, having a clear vision of what she wants, knowing how to get it, and asking God's blessings in all that she does. The future is beautiful, I tell her, and she nods. Suddenly there's a sudden gush of joy and pride. She's 21 years old now: the age when I found my life to be on the fast track. 21 was the age that I got married, I gave birth to my first baby, facing a life that seemed daunting at the time. Now, it's her turn to face her future, and I'm glad that she has what it takes to be successful. This is something we parents dream of, something that we pray for...

When we arrived home, we made breakfast together... as we danced once more, side-by-side in the kitchen, just like we always do when she's home. This leads me to share with you my Top of the Monday breakfast offering...

Spanish Omelet in a French Baguette

Cooking Gadget:  Kitchen Gourmet Omelet Maker (when I was at my in-law's house during the holidays, I was amused by all her kitchen gadgets, and this was one of them.  My sister-in-law, who saw how I was raving about all the gadgets, happened to see the omelet maker in Walgreens and she surprised me with one... for $6.99, this is the best deal ever! Buying this for me was a sweet gesture, and this gadget was such a sweet discovery, as it makes omelet making a cinch!)

5 eggs (beaten)
Cubed Ham (you could actually use any left-over meat dish!)
1 medium potato -- cubed (I microwaved it for 1 minute)
Green Bell Pepper, diced
Onions, diced
Salt and Pepper
French Baguette


Pre-heat the omelet maker.  The light switches on when plugged in and when it switches off you are ready to cook.

Slice the potatoes in cubes.  Microwave it for about 1 minute 20 seconds.  (make sure not to overcook it)

Meanwhile beat  five eggs in a bowl.  Add the cubed ham and cubed potato (the potato should be fork tender) Season with salt and pepper. Set Aside.

When the omelet maker is ready, pour in the egg mixture.  Add 2 pcs of baguette into each hole of the omelet maker.  Close it and walk away.  This gives me time to make coffee, pack some lunches, you know the morning drill...

Then it's done... this is a good morning breakfast surprise... Your family will love it...  and it's so convenient, a great way to start the day... in this case, the first Monday of the decade!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook

I'm thrilled to let you know that I have entered two entries: Meatloaf With An Asian Twist and Adobo Nation Salad Sensation  to the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest.  Winners for this contest will have a chance to have their recipes published in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook! I am so so excited! But I will need all your help. Please, cast your vote now!
Thanks Mucho!

Meatloaf With An Asian Twist on FoodistaAdobo Nation Salad Sensation on Foodista

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010

New Year's Eve included the traditional midnight meal, or Media Noche, and Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve Party on TV for me and my family. As the girls and I were preparing our Media Noche, I asked my son to tape some grapes on top of the doors. He gave me a weird look and asked, "Is this some kind of prank, Mom?" I laughed and assured him that it wasn't; it's something meant to bring us luck in the New Year. "This is one of the weirdest things I've ever had to do for you, Mommy." He said. But he did it anyway.

I got the tradition from my mother-in-law, and where she got it from, I don't even know. But I do know that hanging grapes by the door is supposed to bring in financial luck for the rest of the year. I know it's awfully supersitious of me. I have been remiss with these traditions through the years, but this year, I figured there wouldn't be any harm in trying them out. So, I carried a few classic traditions out, like making sure I wore somethiing with polka-dots at the stroke of midnight, serving circular dishes (like pork loin - which is cylindrical, I know, but that's close enough... right?), and a fruit salad with 13 fruits (again symbolizing good luck). And on the first of January, I made sure we did not spend.  No purchase made the whole day. Even when my daughter needed passport photos on that day, I somehow convinced her to get them done on the second instead. Haha, that's not too terrible of me, right?

Right before Media Noche, my family said our traditional prayers. We went around the table and had each of us offer prayers of gratitude for the year past, and prayers of hopes for 2010.
So hello 2010! Let's begin another year!

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