ILYS: A quick fix for Saturday (finally, it's a pork dish)

Monday, March 28, 2011

On non-working Saturdays, I revert to what I call "housewife mode". For people who know me as a working girl, they probably could not picture me in such a mode. Some actually can't and they seem surprised that I can do household chores. Probably because I've always been the unica hija and people probably think I live like a princess. But I know my way around the house like any pauper would.

So on weekends, even before I got married, I do laundry (at least, the laundry that we do not send to the laundry shop), put our things in order, mend clothes, etc. And now, I also cook (and yes, I don a duster to complete the housewife look, hehehe).

Just this Saturday, I did something very housewife-y also: I went to the market. I usually tagged along whenever mom goes there. But I wanted to experience doing the marketing myself so I decided to go alone. Anyway, the market is nearby, about a ten-minute walk (or less) from our house. Hubby, who was on his way to work, and I caught a backride on a trike about a quarter past 5:00 AM, and I dropped myself off at the village plaza. I didn't walk as it was still dark as night.

I was at the market very early, early enough to catch the delivery of fresh meat taking place at Boyet & Belle's, mom's preferred vendor. I think they unloaded about 5 or 6 large pigs. I waited for a while as Mang Boyet and his boys chopped the meat into the different sections and cuts (liempo, kasim, pigue, even isaw, dugo, etc.) with such ease you'd think they were working on toys.

The nice thing about going to the market very early is there is very little crowd. In fact, almost zero. Mom's usual shopping schedule is around 8:00 AM, when there's already more than a handful of people in each stall. In some instances, a certain cut of meat is no longer available, or some kinds of fish and vegetables have also run out. I must say I did my pamamalengke quite leisurely that morning. I took my time consulting my Menu for a Month copy, and comparing and selecting what I needed. I had first pick of everything, so to speak.

I would've stayed longer, but the sun was finally out. And my load was heavy. For a while, I completely forgot I was shopping solo. On top of the meat I bought, I also had a number of different vegetables, a whole piling of lacatan bananas, and a loaf of sandwich bread. I must've looked like a walking store already. =) But if I had not yet felt the load, I would've probably shopped around some more. Maybe next time I'll bring a bayong.

I made mini pancakes for breakfast when I got home. Because I also started cooking early, I finished just as my parents and brother were waking up. I haven't quite made up my mind what to cook for lunch. But despite that and the laundry I had to do, I was looking forward to a relatively lazy Saturday...

Until the doorbell rang. Surprise, we had visitors. =) In came my mom's nephew (but because of our age gap, I was often confused whether to call him "uncle" or "kuya") and his wife and their driver. They had some business with my parents. At first, I thought they weren't staying long. We served them chips and biscuits and ensaladang mangga. I still had the lesiurely feel around me. But as was always the case with relatives, a visit which is "saglit lang" would last at least half a day. LOL. I ended up suddenly snapping out of it and rushing to cook lunch.

I bought several kinds of meat and fish: a kilo of semi-sukiyaki-cut beef for gyudon and half a kilo of ground beef round for pasta sauce, a kilo of pork strips for stir-frying, a whole fresh chicken for tinola or afritada, and some fresh sapsap, one of my favorite fish, for pinangat. After quick consideration, I opted to cook Pork Stir-Fry. And ASAP!

Marinade pork in a mix of soy sauce, honey and garlic

I always like to marinade meat longer, overnight if possible. So I marinated the pork for more than 15 minutes, while I was preparing the other ingredients.

Aside from their health benefits, veggies give dishes
beautiful colors so I try to cook with more of them

The beans and mixed vegetables were "cooked" quickly in boiling water with salt. I made a miscalculation with the mixed vegetables and bought too little. What I did to compensate for the lack was dice a big carrot.

I heated oil in our trusty old wok. Although it wasn't specified, I used olive oil and it was fantastic. The pork was stir-fried in high heat.

When pork is cooked, lower the flame and pour in the
marinade (ah, this is what I did wrong...I chucked everything
--pork and marinade--into the wok at wonder it
was soupy, LOL).

In went the the bell peppers and mushroom. Then later, during the last few minutes of cooking, the rest of the veggies.

Serve warm.

Wow, ready in a jiffy. =)

I immediately made a disclaimer that it was my first time to cook the dish. The fast stir-fry was received well by my family and our guests. I recall my cousin's driver commenting, "Sira ang diet ko dito." Mom assured her it was OK because I used olive oil. Of course, I cannot answer if the amount he ate was OK even if I used olive oil. ^_^

It was remarked that the dish tasted like higado. I'm thinking perhaps it was the amount of bell pepper I used.

Pork Stir-Fry
Recipe on or Menu for a Month


WCS: Cookie cheat

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Each person has his fear. Or fears. Me? I have two main fears: I am afraid of (1) fire, and of (2) tight, enclosed spaces. The fear isn’t really of the abnormal sort, not enough to call me a case of pyrophobia and claustrophobia. I’m just afraid of fire. Period. It took me a long time to learn how to use matches and light candles or the stove. And until now, I never use lighters (good thing I don’t smoke, else I’ll probably always have a box of matches, which doesn’t seem very fashionable). I’m uncomfortable with enclosed spaces, for fear of getting locked in and suffocating (which is also connected to my fear of drowning). Morbid.

However, the combination is most unfortunate because:

Fear of fire
Fear of tight,
enclosed spaces
Irrational fear of ovens

Yes, I’m afraid of ovens. So if you’ve criticized my posts, you now know why they only relate action on the stovetop. I am irrationally afraid of the oven. I have this lurking feeling that either Hansel or Gretel will push me in and shut the door.

It’s a real misfortune for me because I love baked things: cakes, cookies, casseroles...  and the fear has barred me from learning to bake.

But early this year, I promised myself that I will learn to bake. Force myself to learn if need be. I want to be able to bake the delicious cakes mom and dad make, and all the cookies, pies, casseroles and baked things in the world. Mom herself doesn’t turn on the oven. She asks dad to do it. So perhaps, I’ll get dad to teach hubby to light the oven, too. LOL

And this evening, I am happy to report that I have kicked off my baking career. And what better way to do that... than by making NO-BAKE cookies!

Cheater. Hahaha!

Thanks to my beloved, I secured a recipe for No-Bake Oatmeal Drops. Great, since we have a pack of oatmeal nearing expiration. Hahaha! The other ingredients are equally commonplace, so I didn't need to drop by the grocery anymore.

Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2
cup milk* in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and
and remove from heat. (*I used evaporated milk)

Add 3 cups quick-cooking oats, 1 tsp. vanilla

and 3 tbsps. peanut butter. Mix well.

Drop in heaping tablespoons on a baking sheet lined
with wax paper*. Allow to firm before serving. (*As
seen here, I used a plate lined with a torn glasserine
sandwich bag. What a cheap cheat.)

The recipe yielded almost 30 cookies (my output was 29, LOL, perhaps there were a few pieces that were too thick). I finished the recipe in less than half an hour, just in time for dinner.

Assembly took most of the time, as I really made effort
to make the drops more presentable, using a spoon to
to smoothen the edges. Still, the recipe is very easy.

I left the cookies on the plate where I formed them and ate my dinner of sinigang na isda and rice. Mom and dad were looking at the drops with some sort of suspicion, and were surprised that I was actually already finished. "Hilaw?" mom asked me. "No-bake," I emphasized. "It's a no-bake recipe nga e."

The no-bake cookie was moist and chewy. And very
oatmeal-ly rough. Like eating whole wheat bread. It
looks like
kakanin here.

I cut the sugar, so it isn’t very sweet. Good thing i did it. The peanut butter was of the creamy sort and was sweet enough to compensate for the reduction.

At dad’s suggestion, I popped a few pieces in the electric oven (still not the real oven, LOL) and toasted them for less than 10 minutes at 175°C. But he didn’t get to try it as he already brushed his teeth.

Baked no-bake oatmeal drops. I just browned it a bit.
These actually resemble the photo on the recipe at compared to the no-bake pieces.

So I just tried it myself.

The toasted cookie was still chewy, but a bit dry and
crumbly. This really felt like cookies in the mouth.

The baked cookie (right) appears to have “risen”. If you ask
me which is better, I think I prefer the baked one. Of course,
the brand of oatmeal might have something to do with the
texture, as the one I used is one my family doesn't really like
(kaya nga meron pa e, enough to make 3 cups).

I immediately reported to hubby, who’s on night shift, that I made cookies. He immediately asked, “Paano ka nag-bake? Marunong ka na magbukas ng oven?” I just told him I’ll let him sample when he came home in the morning. I didn’t tell him that I cheated. Hahaha!

Little brother came home late tonight. I let him try a piece of both the original no-bake and baked versions, and sure enough he preferred the latter. So I finally decided to toast all the others. Little bro ate a couple more pieces while updating his Facebook page. It seems like he likes it, since he would normally stop at the first piece he tried if he didn't.

I wasn't eating everyhting tonight so I stored the
remaining drops in one of my trusty Lock 'n Locks.

The oatmeal I used is a brand my family doesn't like much, one which I bought because I expected it to be good--mainly because it's branded. Turns out, my folks prefer SM Bonus. Hahaha!

Hmmm...maybe I will try using SM Bonus next time. =)

P.S. (3/16/2011): I brought a few pieces as baon, just to see how it'll be if not eaten at once and stored for a while. Will post a follow-up to this. ^_^

No-Bake Oatmeal Drops


WCS: Rice gone wild

Friday, March 4, 2011

4 MARCH 2011. I still laugh when I think about this. =)

As I have mentioned a post ago, my mom cooked too much rice the other evening. We ended up bringing some for baon yesterday (with the katsu-daw) and still had enough for dinner for 5 people last night. And there was still some more rice!

I had my breakfast at the office canteen yesterday morning. I brought rice from home, so I only bought ulam, a serving of pork tapa. I wasn't able to finish it so I packed what was left (about 2/3 of the serving) to be brought home. I thought maybe I'll make fried rice out of it.

Which was exactly what happened. As I mentioned, we still had a lot of rice. Even after we had dinner that night, the rice can probably feed 3 or 4 more people.

I shredded the pork tapa pieces and heated them in a pan. Following no recipe, I drizzled the meat with Worcestershire sauce.

What? O_O

I tossed in thinly sliced onions...and added a wild combination of ingredients: soy sauce, bagoong and chili-garlic sauce.

WHAT? @_@

I put in the rice, adding a bit more of each ingredient as needed (or as my whim dictated).

Voila. "Wild rice". LOL. I let it cool down for a while before packing it in a container and putting it in the refrigerator. This will be for breakfast tomorrow.

Wild rice (or should it be weird rice?)

Up close. Pork tapa in Worcestershire sauce and onions,
soy sauce, bagoong and chili-garlic sauce.

It was a good thing I decided to cook this the night before, because I woke up late the this morning (thanks to Bejeweled 3). For some reason, hubby also woke up a bit later than usual (to think he went to sleep more than 2 hours earlier than I did).

I heated half of the wild rice. I thought that would be enough for the both of us. I put just half in a plate and hubby had it with a bit of corned beef (also leftovers). He finished the whole pan. -_-' I ended up heating the rest, with additional chili-garlic sauce on hubby's request.

His merienda at work (including two sandwiches and a
chunk of 
pandeciosa) and my breakfast at home.

This paper bag was from an officemate'
s gift last
Christmas. It has since become hubby's lunch bag. =)

Is it wild, or is weird? Tell me about it! ^_^

Wild Rice
Serves 2-3 (but ended up serving just 2--or rather, 1 1/2, hahaha!)
5 cups day-old rice
Leftover pork tapa (might also work for other leftover meat)
Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsps. Chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp. Bottled spicy bagoong


WCS: Last night's dinner at home is today's lunch at work...but with an upgrade

Thursday, March 3, 2011

03 MARCH 2011. I don't know what time the idea exactly hit me. I got up (with a bit of struggle) to get hubby’s breakfast in order, which is—tada: rice topped with a fried egg. OK, I’m really dismayed at myself. I can do better than that. But hubby didn’t want sardines or anything else with his meal, and apparently enjoyed his breakfast (I would never have finished all that rice with just a bland, fried egg).

We still had a lot of rice from the night before. Hubby said I bring some for our lunch para hindi masayang. Lately, rice spoils easily at home. We don’t understand the phenomenon. We used to have leftover rice survive until the next evening, at times, even the day after. There was still leftover pork chop, the thin kind you buy from the grocery already breaded, from the previous night. It was mom who cooked it last night so there were pieces that were too brown (in other words, sunog! LOL). I said I’ll heat it and put it over the rice.

I put hubby’s baon together—which was composed of Spanish bread and ensaymada we brought from the plaza last night, a bag of steamed peanuts and a pack of Hansel cookies—and went upstairs to get a few more minutes of sleep. I leave the house for work an hour later than hubby does so he encourages me to sleep some more. I’ve been having a toothache that has been waking me and keeping me up at night the last few days, robbing me of precious winks.

So I really don’t know what time the idea hit me—just before I took a nap or when I woke up again. I do remember remembering the bottle of mirin—Japanese sweet rice wine—in the refrigerator, the one I used for the gyudon-ish beef dish a few weekends ago. Then the cold leftover porkchop on the kitchen table…

And katsudon. I want katsudon.

Wait…maybe I can make katsudon, ne?

The last katusdon meal I had was the one served at Sizzling Plate at SM Southmall food court (OK, it’s not even authentic, hahaha!) before the total renovation. The sudden craving is understandable.

No sooner had I made up my mind to it, I was in the kitchen once more. I didn’t check a recipe online—honestly, it didn’t occur to me as I was just so focused to get at it. =) All I did was try to remember what was in a Sizzling Plate Katsudon bowl (gosh, it isn’t even authentic)…

I beat an egg in a bowl and added thinly sliced onions and a pinch of salt. There were no veggies in the refrigerator. Was looking if we had at least a small carrot (to make for a “healthy” dish). But I had to make do with the onions. Anyway, I think that’s what the recipe just calls for…and green onions, which I do not have.

Shortcut of all shortcuts, LOL

In a small bowl, I mixed a small bit of mirin with soy sauce. I didn’t put anything more, as the breaded porkchop already had this sweet taste that little bro—Mr. Plain Dry Food Please—complained about last night. I bought it thinking it was plain (it looked plain), and not knowing it had some kind of marinade. Malay ko ba.

Soy sauce and mirin only. It just happened
that my leftover breaded pork chop already
had this light sweet flavour. On normal
occasions, sugar will be needed.

I dipped a porkchop in the egg mixture and fried it, constantly turning the porkchop over so the egg will coat it, dripping a bit more egg and onions as needed. As the egg was cooking, I drizzled the soy sauce-mirin mix on it. I wasn’t able to do this quite evenly though. I also made some more of the sauce to put on the rice, but too little, fearing it would already be too salty.

I know this isn’t the correct procedure,
but I don’t want to be late for work!

It was done in almost a flash. It is after all a shortcut. I put rice in a big Lock-n-Lock, put the katsu-daw (katsudon daw) on top, slipped in fried sweet potato slices (leftovers also) and locked it up.

OK, so it isn’t very attractive (with mom
burning the meat last night), but hubby
and I had a rather enjoyable lunch today. ^_^

All packed up!

I immediately made a disclaimer, just as hubby and I got seated for lunch, that I did something with our ulam. So he was no longer shocked when he saw the egg-y thing I bought. And he liked it. Enough to finish all that rice I brought. ^_^

Makes 2 pieces
2 pieces leftover breaded porkchop
1 small egg, beaten
1 tbsp onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
Pinch of salt

Katsu-daw sauce*
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tsp mirin

*I used store-bought breaded porkchop that has been flavored. If yours is plain (or you make it from scratch), a few more ingredients need to go into the sauce like sugar. For the real recipe, you may refer to this one I found this afternoon, long after I swallowed the last bite of my cheap shot lunch. =)

Hulog ng langit...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

[VLP - Very Late Post] It was a Wednesday morning way back in April last year. Mom called me up in the office and said something that did not at all make sense to me at first. I had a hundred different things running in my mind--of course, I was at work, then I was organizing a surprise birthday party for my dad (who was in a few days turning 60)...

To make the long story short, someone came knocking at our house asking if we were interested to buy a 12-piece stainless cookware set. Now what were the chances of such a thing happening? The person who came to our house--mom said he was a young boy--had a rather sad story to tell. His father lost his job and just came home from Dubai and they needed to sell some of their things to raise money for his tuition fee.

Mom and dad saw the cookware set and said it was very good. And at the price it was being sold, it was a steal. They told the young boy to come back as they had to call me up first. I always trusted mom and dad's opnion and said I'll buy it.

Now, it was just a few months before the wedding and the preparations were underway. I was definitely in no position to go throwing around money.  And there's (then) will he react when I tell him about it? I was sure he's going to scold me. =|

I think I just told hubby-to-be about it via text. To my surprise, he was interested. He said he hoped the boy would come back so we can buy the set.

For a while, I was like, "huh?" LOL

There was no sign of the boy that night. I guess I was a bit sad. But well...more pressing matters were at that moment before me. It was finally dad's surprise birthday party tomorrow!

Thursday came and the surprise kiddie birthday party for dad was successfully pulled off. Boy, was he surprised! =) But the day wasn't yet at an end. It turned out that the boy came back that morning when I was out of the house. Mom and dad completed the purchase on my behalf and the cookware set was waiting for me at home.

So while dad was opening his gifts gleefully like a 6-year-old, I opened my own gift. Well, one that I purchased. LOL. Mom helped me put the set together and laid them out on the dining table. Even hubby-to-be, who accompanied us home, admired it.

It took my breath away. Wow.

Later I tried to research more about the item, and was surprised to see that this set is priced at more or less P18,000 on buy-and-sell sites. With handles made of 24K gold, we got the set at P4,500. It was a real steal. =)

P.S. I haven't used the set until now. I haven't even seen it since dad's birthday last year. It's currently boxed up among our wedding gifts, ready for transport to our future home. ^_^

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