Thursday, June 30, 2011


Life is all about choices. The choices that we make sum up our life. I don't normally think philosophically like this, but I randomly pondered about this subject one morning while I was in line at Starbucks.

Looking up at the menu, I read the myriad of choices of drinks and pastries that they offered. The thought of a tasty green tea latte danced in my head... a warm sip would lend a comforting stroke for this gloomy day. "Green tea latte please!"

"Grande, Venti or Tall," asked the barista.

"Venti  please."

 "Low fat 2% or whole milk?"

"Whole milk please."

As I sipped on my delicious drink, I thought it needed more sweetener so I walked to the condiments station, where I was met by even more choices. I had to decide between pink, yellow or blue sugar packets, agave syrup, or any other sweetener you prefer. I went with the pink ones, and finally I was ready to enjoy a freshly brewed green tea latte. I was happy that I made the right decision.

On days like this, you feel as though everything is exactly how it should be. But then there are also days when you make the wrong decision, one that you regret, and consequently, you have to deal with its repercussions.  Ahh choices.

So as I waited for my daughter to move out of her dorm on her last day of freshman year in college, I pondered even more about choices. I was thinking about my daughter's choice to attend UCLA. It was a tough decision for her to make because she was accepted by a lot of respectable universities. Although I honestly wanted her to go to Berkeley since my eldest daughter was already there, my husband and I still allowed her to make her own decision. It took her a long time to decide as she carefully weighed her options, discerning what was best for her.

I watched her hug her friends goodbye and clutch her belongings, which contained her suitcases and rolls of K-pop posters, and I became filled with great joy and comfort. She made the right decision and she owned it. She feels at home in UCLA. There, she spread her wings and learned to fly on her own. My Izzy is coming out from her shell, and I was proud of her decision.

 "So where do you want to eat?" I asked her. "Do you care for Japanese food, Korean, or Filipino food?"

"I just want to go home and eat home cooked food," she replied. I started the car and headed home. Ultimately, it was the best choice because there's nothing like a warm bowl of home cooked food that says: "Welcome back home!"

Chicken Pochero

2-3 lbs chicken 
3 pcs chorizo, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 pcs. plaintain bananas, sliced (1 inch thick)
2 pcs medium sweet potatoes, quartered
1 bundle of green beans
1 can chick peas
1 small cabbage head, quartered
1/2 ground pork (make meatballs by seasoning the ground meat with salt and pepper to taste)
Fish sauce (optional) and salt and pepper to taste

First off, sear the slices of chorizos.  I do this to get the flavors out.  Sear chicken slices as well. Then remove chorizos and chicken slices.  Set aside. 

On the same pan, add olive oil.  Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes.  When tomatoes are wilted, add chicken back to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken broth.  Let it boil.  Midway into cooking, add chorizos and meatballs.   Let it simmer or until the meat is cooked.  Add all the other vegies. Let it boil until everything is cooked.  Season with fish sauce or with salt and pepper.

This is best served with a side of Mashed Eggplant.  (Sorry I didn't get any picture of the Eggplant siding)

Boil eggplant, peel it and mash.  Season with minced garlic, onion, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Perfect siding for a comfort food like this! 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Crepe the Promise

June 20th marks our 23rd wedding anniversary. 23 years???? Really??? Don't worry I get that question a lot. Every time I am given that look of disbelief, my candid answer is always, "yeah I got married when I was 13," hahaha!

The truth is that I got married when I was about to turn 21. Over here in America, people turning 21 look forward to drink legally, but for me 21 was the age when I made the vow to love my man "til death to us part." Sure I was a young bride and there were plenty of bumps in the road throughout the long 23 years, but one thing is certain: I am still keeping the love and the promise alive.

Over the past few years, I revisit that day by looking through the pages of my wedding album, and each page I turn makes me nostalgic. I vividly remember the excitement of marching down the aisle in my Pitoy Moreno (thanks to my parents in law!!!) wedding gown with a long yard of handmade trail amidst hundreds of people as witnesses. I was beaming as I marched down the aisle with my Papa by my side. There is something special in sharing the joys of life with my man. And I did all I can not to mess up reciting my wedding vow to promise to love him before my God. With that said, I was not afraid to make a decision to marry early. But I remember I was clouded with thoughts of what went through the minds of my family and friends at that time. Were they happy for me and Christian or were they sad and afraid for us?  Did I bring them joy or did I bring them worry? Up to this day, I still think about that... But looking at the fruits of our union (my three children who are now all grown) I know I made them proud.

The long thread of comments and likes that built up on the wedding picture that I posted on my Facebook wall humbled my husband and I. We are grateful for all the family and friends who are so much a part of our relationship. Every comment in that thread made me smile... I feel so blessed and I thank God for wonderful friends and family and for the sweetness they bring into my life.


June is the most popular month for weddings. That said Adora of Adora's Box and Diona of Tita Flips picked white as the theme for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club cooking challenge. What immediately came to my mind was the bridal song "Here Comes the Bride All Dressed in White." Although the dress doesn't fit me anymore, LOL,  I still remember what brought me to wear that wedding dress. In retosprect, I believe that all it took my hubby, who was then my boyfriend, was to take me to Jeepney Coffee Shop at the Intercon in Makati many, many years ago. Over a plate of the Hotel's signature Mango Crepe Samurai, he told me the first time, he wanted to be with me forever. Could you imagine just how I felt at that time? Oh well it still gives me chills up to this day. And every time I make crepes for my family, I think of that time and place... and 23 years later I still "crepe" the promise.


Crepe with Mango and Coconut Tapioca Filling

Crepe batter (This is my basic crepe recipe.  Make it ahead of time.  I usually make them before dinner and refrigerate it.  While everyone is still at the dinner table, make the crepes so it's hot and fresh.)

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter, melted

Mix flour and eggs together.  Add the milk and stir it together.  Gradually add the water and stir well, removing lumps until you get a smooth batter.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into a hot pan.  Make a circular motion to spread the batter thinly and evenly.  When the sides turn light brown, flip it on the other side and cook it for another minute. Don't get intimidated.  It's easy, all it takes is practice to come up with a perfect crepe.

Coconut Tapioca filling

1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 can condensed milk
1/2 c small tapioca pearls (cooked)
1/3 c cornstarch dispersed  water
2 tbsp melted butter

Pour all the ingredients together: coconut milk, butter, condensed milk.  Let it boil.  Add the tapioca pearls and the cornstarch mixture to thicken, stirring continously.  Until thick.  Set aside.

Slice some mangoes.

To assemble:
Lay the crepe on a flat surface.  Spread the coconut milk filling on it.  Lay some slices of mangoes on top.  Fold crepes... your ready to make the mango tango!

Check out all the other Kulinarya members and their "white food" posting for this month by clicking the logo below.  Thank you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Hamon Experiment

My mother in law gave us 2 large hams for the holidays not so long ago.  As a result, my husband and son were all ham'd out.  Don't get me wrong, we love ham but my hubby could only take so much.  I made ham and eggs for breakfast, ham omelette on the weekends, ham sandwich for lunch, ham steak for dinner.  But alas a week later I still had a big slab of HAM, "Son-of-a-HAM" I shouted out of frustration.  I thought that if I would serve another ham left-over dish, my husband and son might not want to sit down and have a meal with me ever again... hahaha.
But I didn't want to put my ham to waste so I thought of masking it and making my Hamon experiment. What better way to hide the look and taste by adding a strong ingredient, bagoong (salted shrimp), thus a new dish was born:  Binagoongan Hamon (Ham with Shrimp Paste) . I posted a picture of it on Twitter and I was surprised by the tweet backs that I got.

The verdict?  My hubs and son were unsuspecting that I used ham.  The pineapple glaze blended so well with the saltiness of the shrimp paste. The dish was so good it licks the plate before you do haha! Oh well I'm glad I put my ham to good use... until  the next ham comes along... haha!

Binagoong Hamon and Rice

Left-over ham (cubed)
2-3 tbsp shrimp paste (bagoong, I used Kamayan brand)
2 tbsp cooking oil 
1 medium size onion ( chopped)
1 medium size tomato
3 cloves garlic
bay leaves
3 tbsp pineapple glaze left over
3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sugar

Saute onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add the ham, give it a quick stir.  Mix the pineapple glaze, vinegar, ketchup and sugar in a bowl, pour it over the ham.  Let it simmer until the sauce is reduced.

For the rice, use the same pan and mix the rice thoroughly with the left over sauce on the pan.  Add toasted garlic.  Mix well.  Voila, you are ready to dig in and... ENJOY!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


C.A.Y.G.O., which stands for Clean As You Go, is my mantra whenever I'm in the kitchen.  But shhh... I have a confession to make. I am not that good at staying true to my mantra while I work. When I cook, I follow the system of organized chaos, but I must admit that sometimes I wish I could maintain the C.A.Y.G.O. system.

When my mother-in-law was here a few weeks ago, I watched in total amazement as she kept the kitchen clean while she cooked dinner. She definitely had established the C.A.Y.G.O. system in her routine. I thought I could replicate that, but it still remains a work in progress.

There is, however, one thing I was able to replicate: her Shrimp a la Mama Bernie. I was able to mimic the scrumptious taste of her dish, and I even removed the long shrimp whiskers just as she taught me. As for applying the C.A.Y.G.O. method as strictly as she does... we don't really need to dwell on that part haha.

Here is the recipe that she shared with me during her visit. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend. Until the next post, let me leave you with this recipe:

Shrimp a Ala Mama Bernie


2-3 lbs. shrimp
1 can of 7 up
freshly chopped thyme
salt and pepper


Boil shrimp in a pan with a can of 7 up until the soda is reduced.  Add butter.  Sprinkle chopped thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Voila, dinner is ready! Yes it's that easy, and yet your family will think that what you've just made is something fancy!

Share this thru:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...