Sunday, April 14, 2013

consider yourself SPAMmed!

In my little kitchen world, I dare say, SPAM is the next best thing that came "out" of World War 2.   Next, of course, and not saying this lightly or dismissively, but just in totality to what happened then, to the triumph of good over evil of that time.

Tastes differ, but personally, I like the taste of SPAM.  In this health-conscious generation, need I say that it is not organic?  Definitely lots of preservatives there.  But my oh my, what do i not like about that salty goodness? :)   And I am sure I have kindred palates out there. :)   

I have fond childhood memories of my mom serving fried SPAM to our family.  It will be a rare occasion (as SPAM was very expensive then in the Philippines) and we are quite a large brood.  I remember while my Dad or Mom was saying grace, I would be peeping out to that plateful of SPAM on the table, getting ready to grab a slice or two right after the "Amen!". :)  I am pretty sure my sisters were also doing the same :).  To this day, SPAM still has an effect on me, where to some it may be just an ordinary meat in a can, to me, it is a special treat. :)

SPAM IS. SO. EASY. to cook, any newb can do it.  Just fry it in a little oil, and voila!  And it's a very versatile addition to any dish.  Usually mine goes to soups, sandwiches, fried rice or to embutido (the Filipino take on meatloaf).    This canned delight has certainly saved me a  many headaches on those i-just-don't-know-what-to-cook-today days.  I do make it a point, that since I'm cooking for my kids too, I use the SPAM Lite edition - less on the sodium.   And more not than often, pun intended.

Here's one sandwich night we had a few weeks ago.  Easy-breezy & yummy. (The veggie pasta was a left-over reheat :P.  Perhaps I'll do a post of that recipe next time too).



SLT sandwich
  1 can of SPAM Lite, sliced into desired thickness
  white or wheat bread, lightly buttered & toasted
  cheese slices
  lettuce
  tomato, seeded & sliced to rings
  onion, sliced to rings
  pickles
  mayo
  + other optional "innings" of your ideal 'wich :-P

  1.  heat frying pan, add a little oil, then pan-fry SPAM slices
  2.  On a slice of toasted bread, layer SPAM slices w/ all the other ingredients.
  3.  Top with another toasted bread 
      (or you can also opt for an open faced sandwich!)

enjoy! ^_^

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

pratha, baby!

Since the plane that we flew in touched down here in Singapore late quarter last year, up to today, I have seen, I have come, but still I am not anywhere near to conquering Singapore food :).  There are just so many many more yet to try!   For one, there's that infamous chili crab!!!  (oh, hubbytot, let me try one someday :P)   But for the ones that i did get to try, most I liked, only a few I have yet to acquire my taste buds to. 

Pratha or pa-ra-tha.  Have you ever heard of it?   Neither did I.   But thanks to my adventurous hubby, who in the family was the 1st to try it, and enjoyed it, and introduced me & our little tykes to it, it has now become another staple in our pantry.   What is it?    Merriam-Webster defines it as:  "an unleavened Indian wheat bread that is usu. fried on a griddle."

Was it the music band BREAD who said "A picture paints a thousand words"?  or some Chinese emperor?  :P  .. in any case, here's what this pratha looks like.



And here is one yummy eat we can whip up with it!



   Crunchy Pratha "Tacos"

   ingredients
        a cup of shredded cabbage
        a handful of red/green bellpepper julienned
        a handful of red/white onions sliced
        a cup of ground beef sauted in oil-salt-pepper
        + other optional what-tickles-ur-fancy-taco-toppings
        a cup of tomato sauce
        pratha wraps

    1. pan-fry pratha for a couple mins. on each side on low heat

       (you'll know it's done when it's turned golden brown)

    2. fill  pratha w/ the ingredients above,
       dry ones first, then slather w/ the sauce 

       (tomato, in this case)

    3. fold the pratha in half like a taco wrap


    4. bite!  :)


my lesson learned:  
pratha can pan-fry in its own oil.   The yummy crunchy bites you get with it more than makes up for what little grease it comes with.


enjoy!  ^_^


bellpeppah flowah powah!

Eggs are a staple in my pantry, and a favorite in my family.  My hubby, the padre de pamilya, isn't "E99y" (read: "eggy") for no reason.:-)  I know there must be hundreds of ways to serve eggs but I am always on the lookout for those simple recipes that still deliver a great punch!  So when a friend posted this on her Facebook timeline, I just had to try it!   Simple things are really the best, eh?   Easy to make, pretty to look at, and because it's tasty, it's pretty easy to gobble up too! ;-p    I wonder how I never thought of doing eggs this way!   I say, "Great job!" to whoever came up w/ this idea first.  I could just imagine him to be one artsy person, wouldn't you?

So without further ado, here's one pretty meal our family had a few weeks ago...



     Bellpepper flower eggs

     ingredients:
          olive oil
          bellpepper sliced to 1" rounds
          eggs
          salt
          ground black pepper

     1.  in a pan, pour 2 tsp of olive oil on medium heat

     2.  pan-grill the bellpepper rounds for a couple of minutes 
         per side to brown them a little and release the juices

     3.  break an egg into each bellpepper round, 
         add some salt to taste

     4.  add ground black pepper to taste (optional)

     5.  cook til the eggs are done to your liking

     6.  serve w/ sidings & soup for a light but complete meal :)

my lesson learned: 
depending on the size of the eggs, increase the size of your pepper rounds so the eggs don't overflow


enjoy!  ^_^

Friday, March 15, 2013

on buns, pork & peanut sauce

Lately, my tastebuds are tickled with thoughts of tasty pork bits cupped in soft,yet firm white lotus buns and drizzled w/ rich brown satay sauce.   mmmm.   though i know of some Filipino recipes that use peanut sauce, like Kare-Kare (oh my, i should try that sometime too!), but what i am craving for now is that distinct taste of Thai pork bbq in satay.   And i've always loved pao... when i eat one, it feels like im transported to some place sunny, warm & happy.  

Hey brain o' mine, this is some curious combo.. and y'know what?   the mix of flavors & textures may come out just right!

So to indulge... 
i checked if i had pao in the freezer.  check.  
i went to trusty google for an easy peanut sauce recipe that works.  check.
and then, i racked my imagination & my food memories, for the pork filling.  check.

...And here's how it came out.   it was definitely good eats for family dinner :-).
  



Peanut Sauce
     2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
     2 tablespoons soy sauce
     1-2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
     1/4 cup water
     1 tablespoon brown sugar
     juice from half a lemon(to taste)

Pork Marinade
     2 cloves garlic crushed
     soy sauce
     water
     sugar or honey, to taste
     salt & pepper

Pork filling
     
     slice 1/2 lb of pork into 1/4" strips          
     marinate for an hour

     heat ~2 tbsp of canola/vegetable oil
     stir-fry pork for a couple of mins.
     add green bell peppers, stir-fry for a min.



my lesson learned:  
watch that lemon!  It could overpower the peanut flavor.  So, make sure to add a little lemon & water at a time, to taste.


enjoy! ^_^

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is da you?

i & our achi are having a bout of colds & flu.  she got hers from school, i think.  and i got mine from hers, from the all-nighters i had taking care of her the 1st few days onset.    but by God's grace, we are better, it's just a matter of time :-).  our shobe is just like her papa, healthy as a horse, (er maybe pony would suit her better), and still all by God's grace! :-)   

so anyway, i just had to cook some soup for us.. something easy to swallow w/ our sensitive throats, not oily, and with a chock-full of vitamins to help our bodies in this battle with the virus.  to me,  tinolang isda (translation: fish) is just the right answer!

the last time i cooked tinolang isda was in Cebu 7-ish months ago.   when I and my family got here, i was hesitant to cook the same, because i was not familiar with the fresh fish in this region.  Always, all i end up buying at the grocery is the same packed frozen suchi fish.. and i had tried these fried, and steamed and they were really tasty.  

to make the story short, i did end up boiling the suchi fish into a yummy bowl of tinola goodness.  the kids loved it (finished their meal pretty fast too!  that does say something, right? ;) ).  and i loved it.  it was such a comforting food.

yey!  antibodies powered up & energized!  fight, fight, fight!




     Tinolang Isda

     fish fillets or fresh fish
     small slice of ginger
     1 pc onion, sliced to quarters
     1 pc large tomato, sliced to quarters
     spring onion, sliced to strips
     fish sauce (patis)
     salt, pepper
     spinach/baby potato leaves/alugbati (or green-leafy what-have-you)

     1. in a boiling water, add fish fillets.

        let boil for 5mins or so.
     2. add the ginger and the tomato, let boil for 3 mins.  
        then simmer.
     3. add a dash of fish sauce, salt & pepper, to taste.
     4. add onion and spring onion, simmer for a minute or so.
     5. add the green leaves, simmer for a minute.  
     6. turn off heat, then cover for a minute.
     7. serve with warm rice.  and enjoy!

my lesson learned:  
add the onions last, so they're still bright violet (and retain most of their vits) when served.

enjoy!  ^_^

Friday, March 1, 2013

nuked bananas!

oh no...i got the overripe bananas situation!  i remembered i still have them, but too late!  they're now brownish and eeeky soft.  still, i dont want to just throw these away.  

banana cake sounds good, but i don't have an oven. got to think half-full...  what is my alternative?   
could it be....my trustworthy microwave?

<googling....>


aha!  here's one interesting recipe that just might be the solution.

thanks to Avery at Avery Cooks for this recipe (refer to link below).  

<cooking...>

i tweaked a bit coz i wasn't sure of the banana size...  & i didn't have cinnamon on hand, as well as non-stick oil spray..  Didn't put Peanut butter toppings too.  And I nuked for an additional 30secs.
                     
     Microwaved Banana Oats Cakes

     1 banana, mashed
     6 tbsp quick-cook oatmeals
     2 tbsp brown sugar
     makes 2 servings.

     - mix banana, oatmeal & sugar.
     - spread 1 serving into parchment-paper-lined microwaveable container
     - nuke on high for 2minutes
     - let cool for a minute and indulge!

i paired mine w/ coffee, the kids' paired w/ a glass of OJ.




aroma in the kitchen was so heavenly while 'cookin'!   best of all, my kids loved em in today's PM snacktime!

my lessons learned: 

  1. nuke too long, cakes get dry.  more vitamins lost too, i suppose.
  2. add too much oatmeal, cake too dry.

enjoy! ^_^


Reference:
Avery Cooks: http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2013/02/30-favorite-banana-bread-and-banana-recipes.html

Thursday, February 28, 2013

purposedly, in the kitchen.

I am no master in the kitchen.  I am in fact, a newb.  Some days i whip up good food, when i follow a recipe from the web to the dot.  Thank God for Google!   Some days, i get inspired by another recipe, my imagination kicks in, and i start tweakin'.  30 mins or so later, the food from my stove is just blah. T_T

Although my hubby has got way more kitchen sense than me, I am the cook in the family, because i am the full-time homemaker these past few months.  It has been a real real real real challenge to deliver good food on the table for my family.  3 meals plus AM & PM kids snacks in a day;   7 days, 1 whole week, every week, every month.   You get the picture.  It must not just be edible or palatable, but it must be finger-lickin good.   And equally important, it should be healthy!   Not to forget - varied too, to keep those taste buds excited!  I am sure this is the challenge for every one out there who is assigned in the kitchen, well, save for the likes of Rachel Ray, that is.  :-0


My husband, he loves easy meals, but he can eat pretty much anything.  My eldest at 3y.o. is one picky eater (hates veggies at this stage ;-( ).  My youngest at ~18mos, she's just like her papa.  Any food she sees you pop in your mouth, she wants it in her little mouth too. ^_^


...So, you see.. cooking for me is truly a labor of love.  There are days I very much enjoy doing it, and some off days.  Some days i stick to the menu, some days i just want something different, but even with a full pantry, this cheffed up brain keeps comin' up blank.   I so wish I had my mom's cooking talent, bless her heart, she's always WonderWoman in the kitchen!  Still, hope floats.   After all, practice makes perfect, right?   So, here's to my adventures & misadventures in the kitchen!   


By the way, my validation for yumminess

    80% audience impact      ==>  from hubby: that subtle "mmmm" \o/  +
                                        ==>  from 3y.o.: ecstatic "it's tasty, mama!" \o/
   10% presentation             ==>  picture-worthy, post-worthy ^-^
   10% taste-sustainability    ==>  savored to the last bite, clean plates! ;-p
  -----------------
   100%              

...nothing scientific really, but now, i aim to satisfy those who eat at my table. ;-)