Coffee break!

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but here's my office mug with a cupful of my "own" special blend: half a sachet of 3-in-1 plus a cup of hot choco from the vendo.

1/2 sachet 3-in-1 coffee + 1 cup vendoi hot choco = perfect morning

My morning is perfect for just 13 pesos. =) *BB*

Weekday Cheap Shots (WCS): Turning Japanese...almost

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

26 APRIL 2010. I did something unique today. Right after dinner, I still had a bit of time. So I cleared a space on the table to make what I called sushi peke...because it was a fake sushi recipe. LOL

I think it's called Spicy Tuna Sushi in Yummy: Quick & Good. Instead of the usual raw stuff inside (I really don't like my food raw), the recipe used a can of spicy tuna. As it was, the recipe was already "fake", but what made it even more fake was that I skipped the wasabi (because I don't like wasabi as well) and in place of Japanese mayo I used Miracle Whip!

Will have to master the wrapping.

But the dish was a miracle. It made even my dad, who was already in bed contentedly waiting for his favorite late night Koreanovela, get up and go to the kitchen for a few pieces (he had to brush his teeth again afterwards).

Wrapping up the nori was a bit of a challenge. Good thing I bought me a sushi mat. Still, I ended up with deformed logs which were a bit too big in diameter with the rice (which was not Japanese rice, not even malagkit!) not very intact. Then all our knives weren't very sharp. Slicing became a bit of a chore, further making the pieces go out of shape. But the taste was good (despite the omissions and substitutions) and I found the rolling quite fun. For two days, I brought my sushi peke as baon to the office.

Packing up

Will surely do this again. =) *BB*

Sunday Quick Fix (SQF): Pasta ala *recycled* breaded chicken with lemon glaze

25 APRIL 2010. Cooking is a wonderful skill. I've always admired (even envied) people who can cook. I love watching cooking shows, but I would oftentimes feel depressed afterwards because I don't cook.

Cooking is a special ability that can make people happy. But to be able to whip up something new out of an old dish--recycle, if you that's talent.

So I made Breaded Chicken with Lemon Glaze for lunch yesterday. We had it again for dinner, but because my younger brother came home late, he didn't eat anymore when he got to the house. Three pieces remained, plus almost a mug-full of lemon glaze.

What to do? What to do? Hmmm...

Must cook...must turn this into a new dish!

Guess what happened?

Whipping up my favorite basic recipe (olive oil + garlic + tomatoes, but + parsley this time, not basil), yesterday's lunch ulam turned into this morning's pasta. Wahahaha!

Breaded chicken with lemon glaze spaghetti. LOL

Verdict: Well, it was OK for me (God, is that my standard answer?). The rest of the family liked it. Even Don, who's not a fan of sauce-less pasta, devoured the rest of the pot. I guess it was a good change from the usual saucy pasta we have here at home. Same reason why the accidental pasta was also a hit.

But this new discovery is subject to improvement (mainly because I had leftover chicken only, the topping was scarce). Will keep you posted on further developments. *BB*

ILYS-Rewind: Accidental pasta

Saturday, April 24, 2010

17 April 2010. OK, so I was bored. In times of boredom, crazy ideas sometimes come.

It was at this bored moment that I made up my mind to be a vegetarian for once in my life. I was home alone, and I had a 400-gram pack of spaghetti sealed away in a Lock & Lock pasta keeper, tempting me from the kitchen shelf.

I had a basic pasta recipe--just olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil--which I read from a Yummy feature on Sharlene Tan. I made up my mind and chucked in a boiling pot half of the pack of spaghetti. I tossed together the other ingredients.

Everything was going as planned, until I saw my kuya's whole pepperoni in the freezer. I kissed my vegetarian-for-a-day plans, and in flew a few rough slices of pepperoni.

Now I had no idea how this thing in the pot would taste. Odd, maybe. I've only encountered pepperoni in pizza.

OK, whatever.

Taking a seat in the dining table, with a plate of pasta topped with parmesan cheese and a glass of cold pineapple juice, I spent the afternoon leisurely. I had a very stressful week, so I deserved this. The pasta, I found, was OK. Nothing really grand. My kuya and his wife came home to find me in a very this-is-the-life attitude. Kuya took a bite (and did not get mad that I touched his pepperoni), said it was masarap, and disappeared upstairs.

My accidental pasta recipe

Now Snow, our dog, who was asleep awhile ago came to the screen door. She was looking at me so pitifully, i na pahingi-naman-ako way. I threw her just a couple of strands of spaghetti, knowing very well that she wouldn't eat it.

The pasta disappeared no more than 5 seconds after hitting the ground. After sniffing the ground it there was more, Snow looked up at me again. I gave her some more until I decided to hide less she finished the whole pan.

Only then I realized that I had had half of the pan already. I quit eating (with some difficulty). I thought about reserving some for my youngest brother, who was coming home in a while. I went online. Kuya came with his own plate of pasta, which he shared with my sister-in-law.

And just like the strands I gave Snow, the remaining contents of the pan also disappeared. Kuya finished everything. LOL. Masarap daw.

My younger brother complained when I said there wasn't anymore of the weird spaghetti I made. The next morning, I cooked the rest of the remaining pasta (more or less 200 grams). The amount of pasta my kuya and I shared, I now had to divide among 6 people. Naturally, the pasta also disappeared this time. And the accidental pasta (which still has no name until now) was an instant--and unexpected--favorite. *BB*

Lessons today:* Unlike saucy pasta (like spaghetti in meat sauce and carbonara), pasta in oil is less nakakaumay.
* Since pasta in oil less nakakaumay, then don't be surprised if you consume by yourself a serving good for 4. =) *BB*

I Love You Sabado (ILYS): To bread for the first time

24 APRIL 2010. Since I started taking cooking to heart, I always looked forward to Saturdays (Saturdays with no work, of course). It's a day for me to practice. Sundays are hectic, as my brothers and I have church commitments in the morning.

The day began like any other day, with me waking up to the tune of my baby nephew's meowing in the other room. Played with him for a while and went down to get ready. I already knew what I'd be doing today.

I liked eating breaded stuff: breaded chicken, breaded pork, breaded fish, breaded whatever. But I've always thought breading is difficult. It seemed like such a hassle. So, back then, if you'd ask me to cook breaded chicken, I'll just fry the thing and say I didn't hear you say "breaded".

My nephew asleep in his carrier on the dining table while
I was cooking, oblivious to the chaos I was making in
the kitchen.

Now that I actually tried breading, I found the FEB (flour-egg-breadcrumbs) process quite entertaining. I thought before it was a hassle. Well, there were a lot of soiled plates and bowls after, but it was cool. Used to a workplace where the Toyota Production System is standard, a simple setup for cleaning up while cooking is in progress became second nature. It was of course quite tricky when doing breading, as you need all the containers at the same time and you finish using them at the same time. But it was OK.

OK, so they're supposed to be golden brown,

and they're just, well... brown. LOL.
Hey, there's my reflection on the kettle! 

I finished frying the breaded breast fillets... and it turned out we didn't have rice yet! LOL. So I took a break... to fold up some clean laundry and finish washing my own clothes the moment my sister-in-law vacated the sink (talk about multitasking!)

My Meals in Minutes propped like the Holy Bible next to the stove.
Breaded Chicken with Lemon Glaze on page 31.

Just as the rice was almost done cooking, I made the lemon glaze. I didn't exactly follow the quantities here, though, as my 3 lemons yielded 2 extra tablespoons of juice (I just needed 6 tablespoons). So I just made mental calculations on how much more water and honey I should put.

And voila! My first breaded project was plated, drizzled over with sweet-sour lemon glaze and topped with not-so-very-finely chopped parsley (OK, tinatamad na ako, noh! Gutom na ako!).

Breaded Chicken with Lemon Glaze

Dad was the first to have a bite. Was quite flattered when he said I can already cook for a restaurant (palakpak ang tenga, hehehe). =) I also got positive comments from my mom, older brother (who cooks better than I do and is very hard to please when it comes to food) and his wife.

Baby can't eat with us yet, so he settled for his favorite finger food.

Personally, the dish was OK. I think I should season the chicken a bit more. I was also afraid to dump the entire all the glaze on the chicken when I served it. I was thinking that it might be too strong, but I put some on a small bowl and served it on the side. As it turned out, we ended up pouring spoonfuls of it on our plates like soup and I had to refill the bowl. =)

I started prepping for this dish past 9:00 AM. We ate by 12:30 noon. Not bad, as I had to wait for the rice to cook (which involved some bumming around and lying on the bed) and did laundry and cleaned up and had to call my parents several times to come to the table. 

Breaded Chicken with Lemon Glaze
Find the recipe on On Yummy Meals in Minutes


(Belated) Happy Earth Day 2010!

Finally found a reason to use my new Starbucks mug. =) I'm not much of a coffee drinker. I only drink coffee if I feel like it (which is rare) or when there's chocolate in it. LOL

We got P40 off on a tall Strawberries & Cream. Dondon picked this flavor, and I made a mental note to learn a strawberry beverage recipe...

I'd like to thank my sponsor (this mug is a gift from a visitor at the plant),
whom I don't remember... Sorry... =(

I hope other restaurant's develop a similar campaign. Then we can all have a lot of options to help Mother Earth in our own little way. And in a way we actually enjoy! *BB*

Everything must start somewhere...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Key performance indicator for a kitchen beginner:"If it looks like it, then you must have done it right!"

I guess it's true that a lot of extraordinary things happen on ordinary days. It was just any ordinary day for me. I woke up--not sure if I had work on that day--and the realization just came to me like divine inspiration.

I'm getting married.

And, Lord God, I don't know how to cook.

Sure, I know how to fry. But I guess everyone can do that. I know some recipes taught to me by my mom. She insists that I learn because I will eventually have to cook for my own family, etc, etc. But as she is always the automatic cook at home, I don't get to practice all the stock knowledge, resulting to my always mixing up ingredients (if I actually
know the ingredient at all) and never getting the sequence of steps to stick to my head. Reading cookbooks and online recipes didn't exactly help me; I didn't understand the terms and all the prepping involved disenchanted me...what the hell is a slow cooker?!

And now I'm about to cross the border to a new life. I guess I must've panicked, I don't know... My fiance and I, as per our plans, will be moving to our own home a couple of years after we get married. But I found myself thinking, what would I feed my husband? My kids? Myself?

Then one day at work, I saw an officemate going through the pages of a small cookbook. It turned out to be the first issue of the quarterly released Yummy mini cookbook. I also took a look, saw how easy it was to understand (there were even recipes that can be cooked under 10 minutes, and some having just 5 main ingredients) and was delighted at how handy the book was (it was small enough to go into my bag).

Not long after, I came home with my own copy of Meals in Minutes and it was the first cookbook I ever owned in my entire life. And not long after that, my mom accompanied me to South Supermarket in Alabang to shop for ingredients--the first time we ever bought olive oil in the house! More first-ever times followed, until the first time I whipped up breakfast all by myself--and it was pasta! (I food I've always been fascinated with as I thought it was complex)

And so began my romance with the kitchen, and so begins the Beginner's Bible (read more). *BB*

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