Sunday, May 29, 2011

a TwEAT up

We call her Ninang. That means "godmother" in Tagalog. She's the godmother of our group, which we call Berks (a term short for "barkada," the Tagalog word for "group of friends"). Our Berks is spread across the globe, a friendship forged online, so we've been keeping in touch mainly through Twitter. But for those of us who live in So Cal (Caroline and Remil), we've started tweat-ups -- meet ups with our twitter buddies -- regularly. So while I was in the Bay Area last week, I knew it was the right moment to have a tweat-up with Ninang. 

"Let's meet at the Ferry Building, Malou! You'll love it there," she suggested.  Although it wasn't my first time to visit San Francisco, a city that I find so endearing that I could see myself living there, it was my first time to go to the Ferry Building. Ninang's choice was perfect for food bloggers, since the Ferry Building is like a mecca with all of its shops and markets.  

I was standing by the pier when Annapet came from behind me and she surprised me with an excited "boo!".

Reeling in from the surprise, I asked her how she knew what I looked like, since this was our first time to meet in person. She laughed and reminded me that I had tweeted a picture of me waiting by the Transbay bus that brought me to San Francisco. Since my daughter lived across the bay, she was worried about me and the bus trip over to the city. So she took my picture with my outfit that I tweeted "just in case". I looked (and felt!) like a little school girl headed for a field trip as I stepped unto the school bus, while my daughter and her boyfriend looked from the sidewalk, waving goodbye to this bus. Talk about role reversals; my daughter was being so protective.

Annapet's greeting had set the mood. This was not your usual meet-up, as first time friends should meet. I felt like we were long-time friends coming in for a reunion instead of twitter friends meeting up in person for the first time. Stories flowed so naturally and we laughed so much. She also handed me this box...

When someone hands you a box wrapped so nicely like this, what would you expect?

Chocolate truffles, maybe? Or perhaps, since she is known as the Queen of Macaroons, a box of those cute, delicious little French pastries? But boy, was I wrong! Instead, she gave me this:

Look closely. That's home-cured pancetta! And it's mangalitsa pancetta at that. How could I have missed it? When you visit my friend's blog, The Daily Palette, you will have all the clues that hint at what she loves. She loves gardening and cooking; she loves mangalitsa pork and who is into charcutepalooza.  It may sound like I'm talking Greek, but drop by The Daily Palette and you will understand what I mean.

This is the Ferry Market Building -- the site of our rendezvous.

It was a gastronomical delight, with diverse choices.

There were artisans and crafters selling their work of art... There were mushrooms and fresh cheeses.

Farm to table products...

Gourmet food galore...

When you step outside, the city bustles with buildings and cabs. The landscape is so different from the inside, which looked more like a Farmer's Market.

And it was so magical to see the Golden Bridge right outside.  I was enthralled. It fed my soul like no other. It made me remember how I felt the first time I set foot in this city more than 20 years ago. My heart felt like singing Frank Sinatra's rendition of "I Left my Heart in San Francisco" as if it was the first time I visited this wonderful city. At that moment, I realized that I wanted to live in San Francisco again. But for now, I am comforted by the thought that I have a new friend in Annapet who lives there.


Since Annapet is an active member of Kulinarya Cooking Club  and Chartucepalooza, I made this post to hit two birds with one stone. This month's theme for Kulinarya is Flores de Mayo (flowers of May), and to incorporate her chartucepalooza project of pancetta, I made a plate of Palabok Pancetta.

Palabok is a noodle dish with shrimp sauce whch has layers of garnishings.  Traditionally, one may use gound pork or beef, but I replaced that with pancetta instead. I hope you enjoy this dish that's inspired by a new friendship and a new taste!

Palabok Pancetta

Slices of Pancetta
Prawns or Shrimps
shrimp broth (boil shrimp heads, crush the head or use an Osterizer, then drain)
1 tsp annatto powder
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 medium onions chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch disperesed in water
1 package of rice stick noodles

For toppings
green onions
toasted garlic
boiled eggs


For the sauce:
Fry pancetta slices.  Drain and set aside.  Reserve the rendered fat from the pancetta.
On the same pan, sear prawns on both sides. Set aside,
Pour rendered fat on the pan.  Saute garlic and onions with oyster sauce.  Add shrimp broth.  Let it simmer.  Season with  fish sauce.  Add cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.  Crack a fresh egg and give it a quick stir.

For the noodles.  
Boil water in a stockpot,  Add noodles and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Add 1 tbsp of rendered fat and toasted garlic.  Toss  and set aside.

To assemble:
Put noodles on a plate.  Ladle up a scoop of the shrimp sauce.  Garnish with shrimp, boiled eggs, green onions, pancetta and tofu. 

The saltiness of the pancetta together with the shrimp sauce,  the prawns and eggs will create a wonderful chorus in your mouth...hmmmm...  YUM!

Thank you Sefie of Sefie Eats and Connie of Home Cooking Rocks  for the Flores de Mayo theme for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club theme.

Click here to check out the rest of the KCC members

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bravo Taco Adobo Para Cinco de Mayo

The sun's rays seem brighter than usual, as I get a first taste of summer.  I actually stepped out of the house in flip flops. Yep,  it's sandals and flip flop season again. as we say hello and welcome to the merry month of May.

Another celebration that's in the air is Cinco de Mayo.  In Los Angeles, where the largest street fair is held to celebrate Mexico's victory over France in 1862, people will still celebrate the festival in their own special way.  

Here at mi casa, we have my own version of a Mexican favorite.  I have combined the taco with our ubiquitous Filipino adobo.  Here in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, I'd like to share with you ... Bravo Taco Adobo.

Bravo Taco Adobo

I knew I was going to make my Bravo Taco Adobo for an easy to prepare lunch for the weekend, so I went ahead and cooked a big batch of pork adobo ahead of time.  So let's begin:

The basic ingredients of adobo:
2-3 lbs. pork (cubed)
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 together for a few more minutes, then you are ready to add the  cubes of pork. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is totally reduced. You could stop here for the adobo dish. But for this particular taco, I wanted the meat to be rendered.  When you hear the pan sizzle due to the grease rendered from the pork, put your fire on low. Let it sizzle a little more until it is brown and stir again to cook all sides.

For garnishing

Plantain: Slice plantain and fry each side.  Let it brown on the surface.  If you want it crunchy, fry further but I wanted mine to be crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside.
Crumbled Boursin Cheese
Green Onion leeks
Toasted Garlic 

To Assemble:
Heat the tortillas on an open fire on the stove.  Make sure to use tongs.  
On a flat surface, lay the hot tortilla.  Add the cubed adobo.  Layer it with fried plantain, cheese, green onions and top it with scrambled egg.  
Optional: You may want to add white rice and tomatoes. My son loved it when he did.

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