Tuesday, December 30, 2014

MOLO SOUP (Wonton Soup)

Here we are about to bid adieu to 2014. I am enjoying the last few days of the year with my family. And I sincerely hope you are forging new memories with your family and friends as well.

I'm remembering the connections between family, traditions, and of course - food. I remember being in the Philippines during this time of the year - and my memories stir in me (pun intended), encouraging me to feature a dish called Molo Soup. This soup is comfort food for us during the holidays. It is our version of a wonton soup.  A soup that initially warms us with its broth, then upon biting into the wonton, takes us back thru time - with its burst of flavors triggering previously formed neural pathways - bringing us back to happy times celebrating past holidays.  

Indeed, the  holidays are a special time. My kids are home and we're surrounded with laughter and love. It's also the perfect time to remember those who are no longer with us. That's what I love about traditional fare like this soup - they have the magical ability to connect the past with the present, and even the future as the recipe is passed down to our children. 

I hope you are enjoying the moment, basking in the festivities around you.   Getting lost in the moment... as we welcome the new year with optimism and excitement... thus forming new memories that we hope to recall in the soon-to-be-here future...

I would like to share with you a Filipino traditional soup associated with the holidays: MOLO Soup (Filipino Wonton Soup)

May the spirit of the Holidays be yours...



Molo Soup (Wonton Soup)
For this recipe, Skip to Malou brings the familiar flavors of the classic soup but infused some creative flare into it.

I made it as simple as possible so we need:

Nasoya Wonton wrappers
1/2 lb. ground pork
1//4 lb shrimp, chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 fresh egg
1/4 c water chestnut, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
green onions thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 pack Nasoya firm Tofu, sliced into cubes
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For the soup stock:
annato oil
4 cups of chicken (beef or shrimp) stock
1 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
onion leeks, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Crack one fresh egg and stir briefly.  
On a flat surface, lay the wrapper.  Put half a spoon full of the pork mixture at the center.  Fold the wrapper and seal the edges.

On a stockpot, let the soup stock to boil (you could use shrimp stock, chicken or beef stock).  Drop the wanton into the pot and let it cook.  Drop the chopped carrots, leeks and celery and gently drop the slices of tofu.

Now for the most important part:
On a pan, add  2 tbsp of annato oil and brown the minced garlic.  When it's brown pour it over the soup.  Garlic oil will enhance the taste of your wanton soup.

You could also watch it on my You Tube Channel:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Celebrating 5 years...

I can't believe it's been five years!

Indeed what a great ride it's been!  I created my food blog which I appropriately called Impromptu Diva.  As most impulsive decisions go, a change had to be made and I came up with Skip to Malou... And yeah highlighting my name Malou is like shouting to the world that I am Filipina. “Ma- what?” they would ask… so I would tell them my standard reply: “It’s Malou, like skip to my Lou,” and that helps them with their pronunciation. They would say May-Lou!  Hmm I thought Skip to Malou is a catchy name, so why not name my blog SKIP TO MALOU?  

And oh yeah it's been five years... and I can't be happier where I am at now. My culinary journey has taken me to places I never would have imagined.  

Starting this blog has led  me to reach a much wider audience.  I have broadened my reach further thru teaching cooking classes and guestings on TV and in articles in magazines. For the past year, I've run a very successful pop up restaurant featuring Filipino comfort food.  Also, I've started a cooking channel on Youtube, which incidentally has more than two million hits!  And along the way, the greatest gift this journey brings is meeting wonderful people... and that includes YOU!  You who would spend time reading my blog... You who would remind me that I have not written in awhile... YOU who would leave comments .. yes YOU who fuel me when my gas is low.  THANK YOU dear readers!

Also, I can't thank enough my husband, who throughout this 5 year journey of mine has remained supportive (and sane, hehe).  He has been my editor, my official taster, my menu planner and my videographer.  He's always there to listen to my stories upon stories about the blog... and about the blog... and yes, more about the blog. haha.  Thank you Christian!

Thank you to my three wonderful children.  They've been my inspiration behind so many blog posts.  They are in fact the reason why I started the blog.  Thank you Heather, Isabelle and Joey.  You made  my role as a MOM so enjoyable and fruitful... I can't help but to share it with others.

Lastly, my family and friends and my kapaMEALya... for constantly supporting me throughout the journey.   For brainstorming with me... For giving me inspiration, for mapping out my SKIP TO MALOU plans and goals.  I thank you all.  You know who you are!

From the get go, I started sharing recipes with a focus on Filipino food.  Why not? Filipino food is the food of my childhood and the food of my soul.  Food pundits say that Filipino food is the next big thing. So it's an exciting time for Filipino food proponents like myself.  Ultimately, my goal is to help transition Filipino food from an ethnic curiosity to a fledgling mainstream cuisine.

And to celebrate my fifth year anniversary, I am changing my logo.  While it's true that SKIP TO MALOU was derived from my name, I also would like to say that I am now from the LOU, hence the arch, and the star at the bottom is from the flag of my home country.  Thank you Nancy Ilagan Neal of NBMI Design for executing  the idea.  And thank you Maxene and Oliver for all the help.

And here's a new episode with my STL KapaMEALya on YOUTUBE  to celebrate the occasion   For this episode and the previous one were directed by Ina.   And Ina, I can't thank you enough for this and for all the wonderful support.

Click on the photo below and I hope you enjoy another episode on HOW TO MAKE KARE KARE!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Salo Project: An Epic Event

The Salo (a gathering) Project-  moveable pop up dinners by Yana Gilbuena is a series of  epic events.

Yana has been traveling across the US doing what she does best - cooking a feast for a gathering of adventurous diners; she believes that to best understand the culture is thru food. And that's exactly what she brought to STL: The experience to eat with a big group Kamayan style on banana leaves, yet with refined dishes is just amazing. On top of that she's doing this for a cause: for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Thank you Yana for inviting me to be a part of this noble cause. I truly enjoyed working with talented Filipino chefs, supported and made possible by the friendly staff ofWinslow's Home headed by the owners, executive Chef Wil, Angela and Nowell. I've also always wanted to collaborate with Joel Crespo of the Guerrilla Street Food fame, and having said that, Salo is a dream... a sweet dream. 

Thank you also to the adventurous diners and the unfailing support of my family and friends. Honestly your endless support is what fuels my passion to promote and celebrate Filipino food.

The fierce and the force behind Salo: YANA GUILBUENA

Hats off to you Yana for pulling it off with every single dinner that you create from state to state... This is a noble and courageous project. More Power!

Prepping up my dish of DINAKDAKAN.  I call it the SISIG of the North

Met another Filipio Chef, Nowell Gata, who was a powerful force at the back of the house.

Chef Nowel executing Yana's  Squah Flan.

Joel Crespoo co-owner of the Guerrilla Street Food truck;winner of the best food truck in the US.  They served DINUGUAN for SALO.

The executive chef of Winslow's Home(the venue) Chef Wil  Fernandez-Crus, together with Sauce editor in chief Ligaya Figueras

The adventurous diners

My KapaMEALYA (my ever loyal family and friends)

SALO rockstar Yana Gilbuena pouring her ginataan concoction over fried hito

The venue: WINSLOW"s HOME,  where it brings you to s different era.  It used to be a grocery store but the owners gutted it down in to a bohemian chic resto cum bookstore, cum kitchen store with up cycled everything.  I just loved the hip ambience.perfect for an epic event

Serving my Dinakadakan and a short spiel.

My daughter Izzy and foodie friend Maxene... in the foreground are beers from Urban Chestnut who sponsored the beer pairing for the event.

My friend Gerome with the "special" in the menu: BALUT

Balut-brave eaters

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Let's MEAT-UP 2

Let's Meat Up is an initiative of Meat Livestock Australia's (MLA) Philippine Office to promote awareness of premium quality Australian beef and lamb. I've been developing recipes for MLA for the past few years.  I aim to share with home cooks my mouth-watering beef and lamb recipes in line with MLA's Let's Meat Up program.

Last year, I had the opportunity of cooking in front of home cooks showcasing my original recipes.  And on my recent trip to the Philippines, I did the same thing.  Yes, I was excited to do it last year as it was my first time but I'm doubly thrilled this time since, a: it is in a larger venue (Kitchen 1B, a high-end organic gourmet restaurant and I love the modern ambience), b: in front of a bigger audience (Food Media and Manila Mommy Bloggers) and  c: with a better set-up (in an open kitchen and with a DJ hosting the event).

That's me prepping in the kitchen.  I was lucky to have the whole kitchen crew of Kitchen 1B helping me out during prep time.  Their expertise in mise en place came in handy.  I couldn't have done it without them.

An overview of Let's Meat Up was presented by Paul P. Perez; country manager for Meat Livestock Austrailia for the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Through the years, I've developed more than 30 recipes for MLA.  It feels good to see my recipes in print.  Hmmm... is a cookbook next in line?  Maybe?  Fingers crossed.  I am throwing positive vibes to the universe that I would have a cookbook soon!

Out of the 30 recipes that I created, I cooked 5 dishes for tasting.  No worries, I will be sharing all five recipes that I cooked for this event in later posts.

To start with a bang - I am sharing with you the most raved recipe for the event, which is the Mango Tango Australian Beef Tenderloin. The recipe appears at the end of this post.

Do you see me behind the counter? Well with me was my kitchen assistant Lito, who was very efficient in helping me.  The lady in red is DJ Jada of Jam 88.3. She acted as the  host/commentator who made the event even more livelier.

I cooked 5 of my original recipes.  Right after each dish was cooked, it was immediately served for tasting.  I thought it was scary... there was no room for error.  I felt like I am being judged like the ones you see on reality food TV. Fortunately, after each bite, all I heard were wows and oohs and saw thumbs up.  It's gotta be the Australian meat that I used that made my dishes so tasty :).  But thank you MOMMY BLOGGERS, it felt good for all of you to be on my side.

Photo-op with the lovely Mommy Bloggers. It was great meeting these ladies who are so much like me--- a wife, a mom and a BLOGGER... and we can all relate to having deadlines for our posts.

I can't thank enough the MLA Team Manila headed by the country manager Mr. Paul Perez for giving me this opportunity to collaborate with them.  Cris, thank you for your patience and your calm and smooth efficiency in coordinating the event.  Therese and Sigrid, thanks again for the feedback and support.  And of course Joyce, thank you so much for the bringing in the audience.  You guys rock.  

I look forward to doing more gigs with MLA Manila in 2015!

Mango Tango Beef Tenderloin

2-3 lbs beef tenderloin
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
salt and pepper 
2 tbsp olive oil

Pre-heat grill to medium high.
Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.  Lather with olive oil.
Then sear the sides of the beef until it’s nice and brown.
Lower the heat and cook for another 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the beef.
Remove the beef from the grill and brush with butter.

Mango Tango

Mix together sliced mangoes, scallions and tomatoes. You may also add chopped cilantro. Set aside.  Mix together 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1/3 cup vinegar, sliced onions, 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger, 1/2 tsp of chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper and sugar  to taste.  Drizzle a little sesame oil.  You may add chopped Thai Bird's Eye Chili. 

Toss the mango tango together with the sliced beef tenderloin.  Mmmm good!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Purple Yam Stint

5 weeks.

That's how long I took off for my recent vacation in the Philippines.  I sit here quietly reminiscing - and the first things that come to mind include two significant cooking gigs during my visit.

First off - my stint as a guest chef at Purple Yam Malate.  And second, my gig Let's Meat Up, an initiative by Meat Livestock Australia wherein I shared my recipes to a group of bloggers and the media.  I'll share more details of the latter gig in a future post.

Now I can hardly sit still.  Thoughts start to flood my mind every time I attempt to write. I have a hangover.  Well, from my vacation rather than from alcohol.  But today I shed off the sluggishness, the headache and the thirst - I say to myself:  HEY GIRL, BACK TO REALITY.. TIME TO WORK!

One of the biggest achievements in my culinary career is to be invited as a guest chef by world-renowned Filipino Food advocate Ms. AMY BESA.  You see in my book, Amy is the hottest name globally in promoting Filipino food.  Together with her husband Romy Dorotan, they brought Filipino food to the mainstream in New York city when they opened the highly acclaimed Cendrillion.  They then moved to Brooklyn to open Purple Yam.

Now for a flashback (insert music and animation here): Last year, I got an invite from Ms. Amy to meet up with her while we were both visiting Manila.  I couldn't believe it! She mentioned to me that she will be opening Purple Yam in her ancestral home in Malate.  "I would love for you to come and cook once we open" she said.  Did she just say I could come cook with her?  Well yes she did.

So let's fast forward to this year.  Days before my trip I couldn't decide whether to go home, but alas a private message from Amy Besa was the voice of reason.  So after a few days, I found myself packing my bags and went for a 5 week vacation.

On the last week of my stay, surreal as it may seem, I was briefing the  Purple Yam team. Imagine my excitement because one, I will be cooking at PURPLE YAM, and second, I will be showcasing the cuisine of  Tuguegarao, my hometown.  Indeed, preparing Ibanag cuisine is very special to me.

To feature Ibanag Cuisine, I named the dining experience Pabirillayan or sharing (the love for Ibanag Cuisine).  The food I shared is close to my heart.  It is the food of my childhood - the food of my soul.

Thank you Amy for giving me this opportunity.  It warms my heart to know that someone who is way up there in the culinary field treats me so special.  Thank you for giving me the confidence to "just do it".

Thank you especially to the Purple Yam team and my brother-in-law for your help with the recipe development and execution... And a special shout out to my new found friend Chef Cocoy Ventura.   Cocoy brought fresh vegetables all the way from Isabela despite the rainy conditions and helped out prepping for the event.  Thank you Mama Isi and Nangnang for procuring the freshest ingredients  that I took with me to Purple Yam.

Lastly, thank you to all my family and friends who attended the special lunch I served last Oct. 18th.  You continuously support me in so many ways.  I could not have done this without you.

I'm so grateful, I'm so happy that I am close to tears.

Here are the photos I'd like to share with all of you... Enjoy!

Briefing the team with what Ibanag Cuisine is all about

I could have not done it without collaborating with these young and very talented PY team.  Also included in the team is my brother in law Oliver, who helped me conceptualize the menu

The Purple Yam team: Chefs Joesph, Patricia and Rap  Also included here is Chef Cocoy Ventura who came all the way from Isabela, and of course Ms. Amy Besa

So grateful to see old friends from childhood and college 

Celebrities in the house!

My daughter Izzy, who was with me throughout my trip home ---thanks Izzy.  And my sister in law Donna and Oliver's family, who unselfishly hosted us during our stay... 

My nephew Enzo with his girlfriend Eenah and my pretty niece Ayi, and again my lovely daughter Izzy

Chef Cocoy enjoying the food.

My brother Paul and wife Sigrid cuing up to get Amy sign her cookbook.

Sinanta: a combination of flat noodles and glass noodles with Cagayan river clams, chicken and shrimp with crustacean broth

Fried Fillet of Catfish with Dinengdeng Puree

Amy's dedication on her book Memories of Philippine Kitchens, which reads: Dearest Malou, As I've said I am a fan.  What a delicious meal you cooked at our home in Nakpil.  You are a goddess of Philippine food and culture.  I'm stoked.  I am truly your biggest fan.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My 4 Minute Thrill on TV

Wow! I just did another segment on a local morning TV show.  And the excitement is as thrilling as the first time I appeared on the boob tube. 

I was featured on Great Day St. Louis on KMOV Channel 4 as the Food and Lifestyle  expert to do a gadget round up on how to throw the ultimate labor day bash even on a budget.   This is to help viewers to end summer with a bang. 

But it was challenging - as the verse "the show must go on" meant nothing to me until I experienced it yesterday.  Phew! It is funny now in retrospect but a few minutes before the I was "live" on TV, I had to go through different challenges, that I couldn't even think about being on the show.  But then .. yes I have to say it: THE SHOW MUST GO ON... lol!

Here's the link for you to check it out.  But before you view it, let me say thank you to the hosts of Great Day St. Louis, Kent, Virginia and Matt for making me feel at ease in front of the camera.  And to Patti and Daniella, thanks so much for all the help and moral support.

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