Monday, November 21, 2011

Destination: Orlando

I'm in Orlando right now, and yes I'm having too much fun time!  I know you would be thinking Disneyworld or Islands of Adventure or the other water parks Orlando is famous for, but no, the highlight of my stay is the overwhelming joy of being with family and friends.

The Disney song "Making Memories" is in my head as we write our own.  Our magical adventure began when the garage door at my sister's house opened and saw my Mom, aunt and my brother who came from the Philippines.  It is as spellbinding as stepping into Main Street USA in Disneyworld.   I was enveloped in sheer happiness when I hugged my mom for the first time in awhile. Her face lit up and there were no signs of being tired from the 26 hour long flight. The cheery and oftentimes loud hellos and tight hugs that go with every person arriving one after the other (mom's sisters from Canada) to attend my sister's 20th wedding anniversary celebration. My sister's house is instantly transformed into a bed and breakfast inn, its halls murmur so much fun and excitement.  I watch in marvel as my mom and her sisters  gather around as they tell their never ending stories; their smiling  eyes  lend a window of the world I have not seen. These moments are truly as magical as watching the Disney Parade.  I listen to their animated stories that are engaging and often times hilarious.  The echoes of their laughter that vibrate all throughout the house, enthrall me like sparks of fireworks at the end of the day.  Now in their aging years,  their love and support to each other never faded.  Indeed it warms my heart seeing my mom having a great time with her sisters like old times.

One morning I woke up to their (loud) "whispers"  and the aroma of toasted garlic coming from the kitchen downstairs.  The scent caressed my nose that it got me out from the snuggles of my bed even if it was way too early.  I learned later that my aunt started cooking at 4 am, her congee (rice porridge) that I wanted to try.  I thought she didn't hear my request, as the chorus of their voices drowns my voice.  But the bowl was just soothing to wake up into... a spoonful hits the spot as an early morning meal...And so for this month's Kulinarya I share with you:

Nangnang's Congee

1 chicken breast
1 cup jasmine rice
shitake mushrooms, sliced
3 cups soup stock (add more as needed)
1 medium onion, quartered
1 thumb sized ginger, peeled


Boil chicken breast in a stockpot. Scoop out the chicken and set aside.   Using the same stockpot, add onions and ginger.  Add rice.  Let it boil then reduce heat to medium and let it simmer.  Add shitake mushrooms.  Continue to simmer until rice is mushy.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken breast and add it to the rice mixture.  Season with fish sauce and pepper. Dash some sesame oil.
Serve hot.

For garnish:

Sprinkle some toasted garlic, ground crispy pork rind (chicharon) sliced green onions. And boiled eggs.

Squeeze some fresh calamansi or lime.


This has been my Kulinarya contribution for this month's theme of arroz caldo.  Visit all the other Kulinarya Members to check out their posts.  


  1. Such a pretty presentation. And I'm envious you have kalamansi so readily at hand! - Louie

  2. Great to hear your heartwarming story about the family reunion you're having,Malou! What better way to celebrate than by sharing Congee? Nothing else will rival those memories! Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

  3. Lovely congee! I bet it tasted better eaten with family. Send me some sunshine, Malou, it's cold and dreary here. Enjoy you holiday!.

  4. Thanks for sharing malou! I always appreciate your stories just as much as your recipes.


  5. I'm glad to know that you're having a wonderful time with your family. Great post as always...and your Nangnang's congee sounds really comforting!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Malou!

  6. Maribel of Foodgeek's DiaryNovember 21, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    So pretty! I love sesame oil. I will have to try that next time. Thank you and Nangnang for sharing the recipe!

  7. I can vouch that it was truly scrumptious! Thanks Nangnang and to you for sharing. The condiments were great but I believe the labor of love is what made it so special!

  8. you know what's even better than your lovely arroz caldo? .... it's sharing it with your dearest family members ... so warm ... so comforting :-)

  9. what a way to wake up - family and good food!

    lovely congee you have here!

    happy to be cooking with you, Malou!

  10. love the post, malou! a heartwarming story that goes perfectly with the warm congee :)
    Really glad to have joined KCC, such a learning experience.

  11. There is nothing better than having lugaw pool side! Ok, Malou next time you are in ORL let me know.

  12. Louie: thank you so much for stopping by. the calamansi tree of my brother in law has so many fruits... not to make you jealous tho haha

    betty: thank you for the kind words.yep iim having fun and you're right nothing beats being with the family and the memories made around it.

    Adora: I wish i could have pocketed more sunshine. I need more of it now that im back here in stl.

    fred: aww thank you so much. i really appreciate you stopping by.

  13. tina: thank you tina happy thanksgiving to you too.

    Maribel: yes the sesame oil was a welcome addition. love the flavor it added to my 'usual" arroz caldo.

    Cecille: aww thank you for taking your time to comment here. I greatly appreciate it. thanks for all the fun in Orlando. see you next week.

  14. RandG: so true the bowl is as heartwarming as the time spent with family.

    isabel: hello and Im glad to meet you on this challenge. i hope to see you more as we blog along.

    dudut: thanks for stopping by and for collating the entries. you are so helpful.

    rowena: hey next time i visit florida i really want to meet up with you ok? see you!

  15. I wish I was waking up to that. Enjoy Orlando and all that warmth. May you have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

  16. Oh wow, Malou! That is the most sosyal arroz caldo I have ever seen. Nice composition of the photos there especially the one shot from the top, mare. hhmmm... :)

    ~ ray ~

  17. Congee by the swimming pool!! That's so awesome! I hope you have a great time with family and friends. Here it's raining and raining and COLD!

  18. Oh Malou, I loved reading of your families gathering and just know even beyond your words how much joy is being expressed. And although Thanksgiving is a tradition of a meal, it is really more of a feeling, this I see you have :)
    Wishing you and your lovely family all of the wonders that this can bring!
    And as you said, something I am most grateful for and always will be is my friendship with a long and lasting one :)
    Oh, and as for the food, so wonderful and love that you shot it out by the California girl, lol :)
    Big hugs

  19. Oh wow, I would love to try arroz caldo with looks perfect!

  20. Claudia: I'm being nostalgic already as I miss florida ... Happy thanksgiving to you too.

    Ray: salamat I m glad the tips that you shared with me was put to good use hehe. Happy thanksgiving to you.

    Nami: yay Nami is in the house haha. I'm now in stl and having the same rain and cold weather that you have.

    Chef d: thank you for stopping by

  21. Lovely presentation and the congee looks absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing your story Malou! :)

  22. Oh that just made me cry! What a beautiful surprise:-) Enjoy every moment! The Congee sound really lovely! Hugs, Terra

  23. I would enjoy this lovely congee relaxing along a pool side at Orlando. The weather must be perfect!

  24. looks like a fab breakie oh wow your all together the best thanksgiving ever have loads of fun Malou hugs Rebecca

  25. Beautiful photos and the congee looks delicious.

  26. Malou, what a lovely breakfast! Sarap....specially cooked by somebody who loves you=) When somebody cooks for me, extra special iyong taste kasi may extra magic/love sprinkled to it!

  27. Such a nice experience to see the happy faces of your; your mom, whom you haven't seen in a long time and traveled so far.
    A beautiful and comforting dish, love the roasted garlic on the top, and the presentation is beautiful!
    Enjoy your time with your family, Malou!

  28. Dear Malou, I can certainly feel the joy that enveloped you when you saw your family! I have been coming and going for more than twenty years, and we still cry when we meet and when we say goodbye!
    I have never tasted congee, but I know that it is the epitome of comfort, warmth and family love. One of these days, it will warm its way into my kitchen and I'll think of you:)

  29. Thanks for sharing malou! I always appreciate your stories just as much as your recipes.


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