Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 21: Halabos na Alimasag & Tahong Soup

A while earlier, an office mate was asking our group out to lunch at the famous Dampa market where fresh seafood of all shapes and sizes could be purchased, cooked according to your preference and served right there and then. I wasn't able to join the group for lunch but the prospect of having all that seafood was so consuming that my appetite for seafood demanded to be satisfied.

And so we had halabos na alimasag and tahong soup for dinner. It's a modest take on Dampa, just enough to satisfy my craving for seafood. I bought a kilo and a half of Alimasag (P210) and a kilo of Tahong (P40). Not bad for a Dampa-ish dinner sans the traffic, pollution and, yes, it's relatively easy on the budget.

In cooking Halabos na Alimasag, just place the crabs in a pan; add 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle one and a half tablespoons of rock salt over the crabs. Turn on the fire and cover the pan to allow the crabs to cook from the steam created by the boiling water. This process takes only about 15 minutes.

For the Tahong Soup, immerse the mussels in a pot of water for about ten minutes, then remove the mussels from the pot. You will find sediments of sand and other foreign matter at the bottom of the pot. Discard the water and the sediments; discard the mussels that have opened up as it means they have turned bad already and would therefore be unsafe to eat. Remove any beard sticking out from the remaining good ones; return the cleaned mussels into the pot. Add two cloves of minced garlic, an onion that's been sliced and a finger and a half size of ginger that has also been sliced. Add about eight (8) cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes; it won't take long for the mussels to cook. When the mussels are cooked, turn off the fire and add a bunch of sili leaves. Add patis to taste.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 20: Sinampalukang Manok

I went to the neighborhood grocer today to get some inspiration on what to cook. At the vegetable section, I saw packs of tamarind leaves and there I had my eureka moment. I knew I had to take advantage of the precious find and make Sinampalukang Manok for dinner. It's easy to find sampalok leaves in the provinces; at least one household in every street nurtures a Sampalok tree in their backyard. But in urban Manila, it's certainly not the case. So it's best to take advantage of the ingredient whenever it's available.

Sinampalukang Manok is actually easier to make than, say, sinigang na baboy or hipon, since there is no other ingredient to the dish than the sampalok leaves and the chicken, well, aside from the usual aromatics. So, if you'd like to conserve on energy, Sinampalukang Manok is a great option; plus, it's a real comfort dish.

Saute a sliced onion and three (3) cloves of garlic in tthree (3) tablespoons of oil. Add a whole piece of chicken that's been cut into pieces. After a few minutes, add eight (8) cups of water, a pack of sinigang mix and one (1) chicken bouillon cube. Simmer till almost done. Add the sampalok leaves and simmer for another five miutes.

Day 19: Steamed Cream Dory and Baguio Spinach in Oyster Sauce

I had a 500 gram pack of Cream Dory fillets that's been in deep freeze for about two months now. I was certain to make a chinese-inspired dish out of it but as to what exactly, I haven't really thought it out. It was a toss-up between sweet and sour-style or just plain steaming. Eventually, I decided on the latter option. For after all, if you have a good ingredient such as Cream Dory, it's best to let the flavors of the fish shine. My family was very pleased with my choice.

Steaming fish is very simple to do. Just place the fish on a heat-proof plate, sprinkle a 2-inch long ginger that's been thinly sliced and the white part of 3 stalks of green onions on top of the fish. Then pour a mixture of 2 tablespoons each of chinese cooking wine & soy sauce, one (1) tablepoon of sesame oil, half a teaspoon of sugar. Steam the fish for about 15 minutes; when the fish is cooked, sprinkle the remaining chopped green onions over the fish.

I paired this dish with Baguio Spinach with oyster sauce. Wash the leaves of two (2) bags of spinach and set it aside. Chope four cloves of garlic and fry it in a tablespoon of oil. Then add the washed spinach and add about four (4) tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1/4 cup of water, one (1) tablespoon each of sesame oil and chinese cooking wine, hald a teaspoon of sugar. Once the spinach wilts, remove it from the pan and thicken the sauce with a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a little water.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 17: Giniling Turo-Turo Style

This recipe of turo-turo style giniling which I found at the Filipino food lovers blog is so reminiscent of my college days Giniling was a carinderia favorite since it was so packed with flavor that barely a platito of giniling was more than enough for two heaping cups of rice.

I tried the recipe found in the blog above for dinner but I used green peppers instead of yellow peppers since the latter is very expensive; I also added half a cup of raisins which made it even more delicious. Pair this meal with a glass of your favorite ice cold cola and you'll see the look of satisfaction in everyone's face.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 18: Pinoy Fried Chicken and Ginisang Upo

Before we were introduced to the KFC-style fried chicken, Filipinos had their own idea of what fried chicken should be. I for one enjoyed the tart & salty flavor from my family's style of cooking fried chicken. It certainly has no resemblance in taste and appearance to the breaded fried chicken of today. In fact, no breading is required for this version of fried chicken. And cooking it every once in a while just gives me a mega dose of nostalgia of life way back then.

Here's how:

Cut a whole chicken into several pieces and marinate it for an hour in a mixture of 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/2 cup of Calamansi and some pepper to taste. Make sure that the chicken stays in the refrigerator while it marinates so it won't develop any harmful bacteria. Turn the chicken half an hour into the marinating process. After an hour, drain the liquid off and deep fry the chicken in hot oil till it is fully cooked and till the skin turns crispy. It's a bit dark in color because of the soy sauce marinade but I assure you, it's very tasty. It goes well with tomato catsup.

For the vegetable accompaniment, I made ginisang upo. Upo is very similar to a zucchini but it's much bigger in size. In making this dish, peel a whole piece of upo, chop it into bite-size pieces and set it aside. Saute some garlic, onions and tomatoes in a large pan till they release their flavor and aroma. Add 1/4 cup of dried shrimp or Hibe, half a cup of water and the chopped upo. Add some patis and pepper to taste and simmer the upo till it's done.

Day 16: Liver Steak

My sister has iron deficiency and so the doctor requires her to eat foods rich in iron as often and as much as possible. Liver is very much on top of the list of iron-rich animal sources since liver contains what is called "heme-iron"; heme-iron is easily absorbed by our bodies. Of course, vegetables and lentils are excellent sources as well.

I made liver steak to attune our meals to my sister's particular dietary requirements. I found a liver steak recipe at and I must say that this recipe is right on the money! It's delicious!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 15: Adobong Manok with Quail Eggs

There are about a million and one recipes on adobo. Every household has its own special recipe that's been handed down from generation to generation. I'm sure that as this blog goes along, I'll be trying several versions. This recipe is a deviation from the traditional garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and meat or fowl mix; I used coconut milk and quail eggs which is not entirely unusual since a lot of families have been maximizing the use of coconut milk which is abundant in these parts. Adobo with Quail eggs and coconut milk is a class of its own and certainly a most welcome twist.

I boil about 24 quail eggs and set them aside. I'll acutally use only about 15 to 18 of the eggs and the remainder is just for snacking. Next, I cut a whole piece of chicken into several pieces and place it in a pot, pour equal parts of soy sauce and vinegar (3/4 cup each), a whole head of garlic or as much garlic as you'd want that's been crushed and peeld, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns since we like our adobo a little spicy - besides, by adding coconut cream into the sauce, the spiciness is somehow muted. I simmer the chicken till it's almost cooked and then add half a cup of coconut milk. Once the chicken is cooked, I add the cooked quail eggs and half a cup of coconut cream (kakang gata) to make it really creamy. I just let the pot boil again. Once it boils, I turn off the heat and it's ready to be served.

Day 14: Skinless Longganisa, Garlic Fried Rice and Salted Egg with Tomatoes

Try throwing your family a curve-ball for dinner by serving up breakfast treats. This will surely be a welcome surprise especially if you pair your ulam with the ever so fragrant garlic fried rice! There's something about the aroma of garlic fried rice that just whets the appetite :)

I was thinking of fying ready-made tocino for this dinner, but where's the challenge in that? So I made my own longganisa; but since I'm a bit queasy about using the traditional animal casings, I used the kitchen-handy wax paper/cling wrap to form my longganisa sausages.

I learned making skinless longganisa from a summer cooking class way back in high school. The recipe required the use of praque powder, which is not readily available in grocery stores. Cute as it looks with it's cottony pink color, a lot of people have some misgivings in using this partifcular ingredient - myself included - because, as far as I know, praque powder sounds and looks like a chemically generated aritificial preservative. If anybody wants to correct me, please do! So I haven't really used the recipe that was taught to me in cooking school... as in, never.

Instead, I often use the recipe taken from a recipe hand-out from Del Monte Kitchenomics which makes use of tomato sause to flavor the longganisa. This time though, I made use of the Vigan-style recipe posted on the overseaspinoycooking blog post, which tastes really good. Please check it out at

I paired the longganisa with garlic fried rice and sliced tomatoes and salted egg. Yummy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 13: Tinolang Manok

There's nothing as comforting as chicken soup. The Filipino version is called Tinolang Manok. It's another simple recipe that is good with rice. All you need is a whole chicken (about a kilo in weight) that is cut it into several pieces, two (2) medium-sized Chayote's that have been peeled and sliced, two (2) cups of sili leaves, a piece of ginger and an onion that's been sliced, and patis & pepper to taste.

I saute the onions and ginger in a pot with about a tablespoon of oil, then I add the chicken pieces and six cups of water and bring them to a boil. I then add some patis and pepper and simmer the soup for a few minutes. When the chicken is almost cooked, I add the chayote slices and simmer the soup till everything is well cooked. I adjust the seasonings, turn off the heat and add the sili leaves.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 12: Beef with Peppers and Fried Rice

I was thinking of making beef caldereta today but I simply didn't have the time. What better way to whip up dinner than to make a simple yet delicious stir-fry.

I sliced a fourth of a kilo of beef tenderloin into very thin strips so it would be easy to cook. Then I marinated it in two (2) tablespoons of soy sauce, one (1) teaspoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of cornstarch for about five (5) minutes. I sliced a green and red bell pepper into strips and minced a clove of garlic and one (1) siling labuyo with seeds removed. I poured about two (2) tablespoons of oil in a pan and when the oil was up to temp, I stir-fried the beef for about two minutes, then I added the garlic, the siling labuyo and the peppers. I splashed some Chinese cooking wine, a tablespoon of oyster sauce and a pinch of sugar. The dish was done in a jiffy.

And since we had leftover rice, I made made yangchow fried rice, cleaning up the fridge in the process. I chopped two (2) cloves of garlic, a small shallot, a small piece of ginger & two (2) slices of ham. I also scrambled an egg.

I heated some oil in the pan and stir-fried the garlic, shallot, and ginger till they turned fragrant. I added a tablespoon each of soy sauce and vinegar, a splash of chinese cooking wine and half a teaspoon of sugar. Then I added the ham and four (4) cups of rice and stir-fried it thoroughly so that the sauce fully combines with the rice. Then I added the beaten egg, making sure also that it is well-combined. Some people add green peas but since I didn't have any, I just sprinkled a tablespoon of chopped scallions as garnish.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 11: Calamares and Sauteed Green Beans

The nice thing about living in the Philippines is that you could never run out of fresh seafood to choose from at the market. The funny thing though is that cooking seafood is more challenging to me compared to cooking meat or poultry. Probably because fish is more delicate to deal with, preparation-wise and cooking-wise. So how to hurdle the preparation? Ask the fish monger to do it for you, of course!

I asked the fish-monger to clean, skin and slice 1/2 a kilo of squid into centimeter-inch thick rings. I squeezed calamansi over the squid and seasoned it with pepper. Then I got about half a cup of flour and seasoned it with salt & pepper. I heated a pan with oil, dredged the squid rings in flour and fried the calamari till they turned golden and crisp. I laid the fried squid on a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess oils. While the squid was still hot, I seasoned the squid again with some sea salt. This calamares goes well with a vinegar, garlic and chili pepper dip.

As for the green beans, I sliced 1/4 kilo of green beans very thiny on a diagonal, as thinly as possible. (I remember that during my childhood, my grandma would instruct the cook to use a Gillete razor blade in making this dish. It took quite a while to prepare this dish as the cook had to go over each green bean, one at a time, to make paper thin slices.) Nowadays, I just slice them with a knife and I'm no longer particular about making it the way my grandmother did. I sliced three (3) slices of bacon into small pieces and cooked them in a pan till they turned crispy and its fat, fully rendered. I removed the crispy bacon and set it aside for garnishing. I added chopped tomato, shallot and three (3) cloves of garlic to the bacon fat and sauteed them till they turned tanslucent. I then added the green beans, 1/4 cup of water, some patis and pepper to taste. Simmer the green beans till done and transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle the bacon on top of the green beans.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 10: Sinarabsab & Inihaw na Talong

Making Sinarabsab - the Ilokano version of Inihaw na Baboy - requires a marinating mixture of vinegar and other condiments to make flavorful grilled meat. But I read an interesting Sinarabsab recipe on the internet sometime ago that utilized tamarind/sinigang powder in order to simplify the marinating process. I took note of the idea and decided to apply it to my own recipe. Here's how:

I made a dry rub by mixing one (1) 25g packet of Sinigang sa Miso mix to a tablespoon of brown sugar and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I rubbed the mixture all over half a kilo of pork liempo. I set the meat aside in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to develop the flavors. I grilled the pork till done and chopped it to bite-size pieces. It is good served with a relish of tomatoes, garlic and spring onions.

I also grilled a few eggplants and served them with bagoong alamang and chopped green mangoes.

Day 9: Fried Galunggong Patties and Suam na Mais

We had leftover Galunggong from the other night so I decided to make Galunggong Patties. Galunggong Patties are very much like Potato Latkes but with a good protein source from the fish. What I did was flake the leftover fish that made about two (2) cups, shred potatoes to make two (2) cups, chop one (1) red bell pepper and about three (3) tablespoons each of green onions and wansuy (but you can use kinchay too, whichever is available). I mix everything together with a tablespoon of cornstarch, salt and pepper to taste and a beaten egg to make the mixture stick together. I take spoonfuls of the mixture, form them into little patties and fry them in oil till they turn golden brown.

I paired the Fried Galunggong Fritters with a traditional Filipino soup called Suam na Mais. I took the recipe from Page 24 of the Maya Kitchen's "The New Filipino Cookbook". Here's the recipe:

1 tablesppon oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium-size oion, chopped
1 small ginger, sliced
3 cups shrimp stock, strained
2 pieces fresh corn, removed from the cob
Patis and pepper to taste
2 cups sili or malunggay leaves

Heat the oil in a saucepan then saute' the garlic, onions ang ginger. Add the stock and corn. Simmer until the corn is tender. Season to taste. Add the leaves just before serving.

Day 8: Sinigang na Baboy

Whenever I have sinigang, I always end up overeating. I can't help but reach out to the rice bowl for seconds. The delicious tart flavor of the soup that contrasts with the saltiness of the patis requires more than your usual modest scoop of rice. There are many variants of sinigang and for this recipe, I made the most common i.e. Sinigang na Baboy sa Sampalok.

Being an urbanite certainly has its conveniences, one of them being that you won't have to slave too long in the kitchen to come up with delicious comfort food. In Manila where I live, it's no longer a crime to make use of packed mixes and preparations to expedite cooking; in fact, it is more the norm these days to avail of packaged mixes, pastes, concentrates & powders rather than make the tamarind soup from scratch. But if you're a stickler for slow-food cooking, just boil a third of a kilo of unripe tamarind fruits in water till the pulp gets soft & mushy when you pierce it with a fork. Pass the tamarind fruit through a seive and try to get as much pulp as you can, removing the skin and the seeds. This is what you'll be using to flavor your soup.

But for this sinigang, I used tamarind powder. There are lots to choose from at the grocery so choose your brand and just follow the instructions as seen on the package. What I do, however, is choose the add-ins well.

I use a kilo of pork bones to add extra flavor to the soup and add half a kilo of pork cubes with a good amount of fat ( I use liempo). I simmer the pork bones and meat with an onion that has been quartered and two (2) tomatoes that have been halved; I also add about two (2) pieces of green finger chilis and four (4) bulbs of gabi that have been cleaned, peeled & cut into the size of the pork cubes. When the pork is almost done, I then add the sinigang mix. I also add two (2) eggplants that have been sliced thick diagonally. When the pork and the vegetables are tender, I add a bunch of kangkong leaves with their stems. I reduce the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are done. I also add patis for more flavor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 7: Gisadong Pechay at Tokwa and Piniritong Galungong

Say what you want about Galunggong, that it's the poor man's fish, etc., but it's my favorite fish! It has no pretenses and for which, it's popularity crosses class lines. I especially love eating the small-sized galunggong that's perfect for fying. I just season the fish with rock salt and a little bit of pepper and fry it crisp. Galungong is actually good with gisadong monggo but we didn't have any mung beans in the pantry so I made gisadong pechay at tokwa.

The gisadong pechay at tokwa is also easy to make. Fry about 200 grams of firm tofu or tokwa till they brown; remove the tokwa pieces from the pan. Slice the tokwa into strips. Saute' three (3) cloves of chopped native garlic and an onion till they turn translucent. Add a diced medium potato, a cup of water, patis and pepper to taste. When the potatoes are done, return the tokwa and add 1/3 kilo of chopped pechay. Adjust the seasonings and simmer till done.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 6: Paksiw na Bangus with Ampalaya and Talong

Okay, so we're having bangus again. But this is a totally different flavor experience from the grilled bangus that I served the last time. This is one-pot dish that has a flavorful sauce coming from the ginger and vinegar. There's something about using the traditional claypot for this dish. And, it just gets better when served the day after. My mother just used sea salt as condiment for this tart dish.

Slice medium-sized bangus on the bias into several pieces. Place tha bangus pieces into the claypot then add about four (4) crused garlic cloves, a quartered medium-sized onion, half of an ampalaya (seeded) and a large eggplant that have been sliced diagonally, two (2) thumb-sized pieces of crushed ginger, green finger chilis siling haba (apportion one siling haba per slice of bangus) a cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar, patis and a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. Simmer till done. Serve straight from the claypot.

Day 5: Chicken Afritada

So we had fish, beef and pork so far. It's chicken this time. Chicken Afritada is a staple viand in most Filipino homes. If you've noticed, I began this blog with stock recipes that I've learned from my elders. This won't last long though since my inventory is quite limited. Suffice it to say that I look forward to trying recipes from other cultures. But for now, it's Chicken Afritada. Here's how:

Saute a chopped onion in oil together with two cloves of garlic. When the aromatics turn translucent, add half a kilo of chicken pieces to the pan just to brown a little. Add a pouch of tomato sauce, a cup of water, about four (4) tablespoons of fish sauce or patis, a teaspoon of sugar and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked. Add two carrots that are cut into chunks; after a few minutes, add two medium-sized potatoes that are cut approximately the same size as the carrots. When the carrots and potatoes are almost cooked, add a diced green bell pepper and simmer till done. You can adjust the seasonings accordingly.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 4: Paksiw na Pata

I love using the pressure cooker especially on a busy night which is perfect for this paksiw na pata recipe. All I need to do is dump my ingredients into the pot, stand back and just let the contraption do its magic. No fuss at all.

I pulled out a one (1) kilogram bag of pata slices from the freezer and dumped it into the pot. Then I filled the pot with water just enough to cover the pork. I also added 3/4 cup each of soy sauce and packed brown sugar, 100 grams of banana blossoms (bulaklak ng saging), two (2) bay leaves and two (2) teaspoons of whole peppercorns. I pressure-cooked it for 45 minutes (but thirty minutes is good enough if the meat isn't frozen) till the meat is cooked tender. Serve with hot rice.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 3: Tortang Alimasag at Talong at Minatamis na Saging (Crab & Grilled Eggplant Omelet & Stewed Bananas in Syrup)

The fish monger at our neighborhood grocery had a basin full of fresh crab meat. I instantly knew what we were going to have for dinner, so I bagged 400 grams of crabmeat plus the rest of my ingredients. Eggplants. Check. Spring Onions. Check. Garlic. Check. It’s been a while since we had tortang alimasag.

To add more flavor dimension to this simple dish, it’s best to grill the eggplants first. I’m using six eggplants for this dish. Immediately after grilling the eggplants, place them in a dish/bowl covered in plastic wrap to create steam that would moisten the skin. After about ten minutes, you will find that skinning the eggplants is a cinch. Peel the eggplants and keep the stems intact but resist the temptation to wash them. Washing the eggplants would wash off the grilled flavor. Set aside the skinned eggplants.

In a bowl, mix together the crabmeat, one (1) large egg, a bunch of chopped spring onions, chopped two (2) garlic cloves, a teaspoon of salt and a little bit of pepper to taste.

Beat one large egg in a bowl. Heat vegetable oil in the frying pan. Flatten the eggplant with a fork while being careful not to break it apart. Coat the eggplant with the beaten egg. Transfer the dipped eggplant to the frying pan and fill the face of the eggplant with the crab mixture. Fry till golden brown. Serve with hot rice. You can use catsup as a condiment for this dish.

The Cardaba Banana or Saba is very similar to its Jamaican cousin, the plantain. It’s a cooking variety that is very versatile for both sweet and savory dishes. The minatamis na saba is perhaps one of my most favorite desserts. It’s cheap, festive and simple to make:

Peel and slice a dozen saba bananas into one-inch coins. Place the bananas in a deep casserole with half a liter of water, one a half cups of packed brown sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Boil for five minutes then simmer until the bananas are tender and opaque in color. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and simmer for another minute. Cool the bananas in syrup and serve it for dessert with crushed ice and fresh milk.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 2: Bulalo Soup

Simply put, Bulalo is a beef soup, Filipino in origin, that is made from boiling shanks and bone marrow with potatoes and cabbage. The prized morsel is the melt-in-your-mouth bone marrow that is absolutely delicious. The Province of Batangas in the south of Manila is the place to go when craving for really good Bulalo. When made well and served piping hot, Bulalo could really hit the spot.

Grab a kilo of bone-in beef shanks and ask the butcher to slice the beef across the grain and through the bone to make approximately two-inch thick slices. The marrow should be showing so guests won’t have to break open the bones themselves to get to the prized marrow.
Place the shanks in a pressure cooker and cover it with water. Add the following: one (1) bay leaf, two (2) teaspoons of whole peppercorns, one (1) onion and a whole garlic bulb, halved. Add four (4) tablespoons of fish sauce or patis. Pressure cook the beef for about 30 minutes till fork tender. When done, remove the scum from the broth and transfer the beef into a serving bowl. Add three (3) medium potatoes cut into large cubes and a large head of cabbage quartered into the pot and re-heat the broth till the vegetables are done. Add more patis when desired. You may cook bulalo conventionally in a large casserole but it will take about an hour and a half just for the beef to tenderize.

Bulalo is good served with hot rice and a mixture of Philippine lemon (calamansi), patis & chili pepper (siling labuyo).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 1: Inihaw na Bangus at Adobong Kangkong (Stuffed Grilled Milkfish and Water Spinach Adobo)

I asked my officemate ride to stop by the fish market to buy me the freshest fish she could find. She bought me a large-sized milkfish weighing about 1.3 kilos. The milkfish or bangus as it is called in the Philippines, came from one of the fish farms in Dagupan. Dagupan is a city in the Province of Pangasinan, at the northern part of Luzon. It is home to a thriving bangus industry; in fact, Dagupan is the bangus capital of the Philippines. In my view, bangus from Dagupan is the tastiest ever; its meat is creamy and has no muddy aftertaste.

I must say that cooking fish is a lot of work. But if you can have the fish monger clean, butterfly and debone the fish for you, three-fourths of your work is done. The rest of the process in making this dish is fairly easy.

I chopped four (4) cloves of native garlic, two (2) plum tomatoes and a medium-sized red onion, mixed them together with a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper and stuffed it all into the fish. I wrapped the fish in aluminum foil and grilled it on the barbie for about 15 minutes on each side.

My sister helped in making the vegetable accompaniment. Adding a few crispy pork pieces would add great flavor to this dish, but we opted not to. Here’s the recipe for Water Spinach Adobo:

Chop both stems and leaves of two (2) bundles of water spinach, but make sure that the leaves remain segregated from the stems. In a large pan, sauté four (4) cloves of native garlic and one (1) onion in about two tablespoons of oil. Add equal parts of vinegar and soy sauce (about ¼ cup each) and a bay leaf into the onion-garlic mixture. When the mixture starts to boil, drop the chopped stems of the water spinach into the pan. After about two minutes of simmering, add the leaves. Simmer till tender. If you prefer to add pork, make sure to add it after sautéing the onions and garlic. Fry the pork until it crisps up then proceed with the recipe as indicated above.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is my initial foray into blogging. So, please bear with me.

I visited the neighborhood thrift bookstore yesterday; I noticed that aside from the self help and romance novel sections, the cookbook section had the most number of patrons. The cookbook section is a huge section; I see stack upon stack of cookbooks in various states of aging. And according to the attendant at the store, cookbook sales eat up a large chunk of the store's inventory. Which made me think.... If I were to cook one meal a day- everyday - without ever repeating a single recipe, would I eventually run out of ideas? But, with cookbooks abounding and with the availability of cable tv channels solely dedicated to cooking (not to mention the resources available online) how could I run out of ideas? After all, there are only 365 days in a year.

Hence, this experiment. My hypothesis is simple. I'd like to prove that with the accessibility to and availability of food resources, I could serve meals to my family without ever repeating a single recipe.

But I won't be too overly ambitious. To make life easier on me, I'm delineating the limitations of this experiment, as follows:

First, the period covered by this experiment shall be, as you probably guessed already, 365 days.
Second, the menu involved would only be for dinner which could take the form - at the very minimum- of a modest but well-balanced single entree dish.
Third, for purposes of economy, I shall be allowed to tweak leftovers into new meals.
Fourth, the serving should be for an omnivore family of four.

Let's see how this goes.