Happy Labor Day Weekend 2014!

4July2014Food1

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!! I can’t believe that’s it’s almost the end of summer 2014! Still enough time to grill, swim, play in the sun, slurp up ice cream or popsicles, and enjoy other summertime activities! Especially the foods of the summer! Continue reading

Happy New Year! Some happy new recipes for 2014!

Happy2014

It’s now 2 weeks into January and I haven’t greeted you all a happy new year yet! Better a little late then never so…..Happy 2014 to you all! We wish you the best possible year! Have any resolutions? I don’t remember when I stopped making them, but this year I’m just focusing on being positive (and hopefully inhibit the production of gray/white hairs). I tend to stress (go bonkers) about things (such as finding recyclable plastic in the kitchen garbage can every morning). Nevertheless, I guess I don’t have much reason to be stressed. I don’t have kids yet, hehe, just higher-maintenance fur-kids. As always, here at food flavor fascination, we celebrate with good food (and a little tinkering of recipes & culinary ideas). In addition to the grub, we celebrated with New Year’s Eve traditions of displaying 12 or 13 round fruits to bring prosperity in the new year as picture above (click here to read more about this seemingly peculiar Filipino cultural tradition) and also watching all five of the original Planet of the Apes movies (my husband’s New Year’s Eve tradition). Now, back to the food. We rang in the year with some classic/traditional New Year’s dishes, but updated for 2014. Continue reading

Birthday Peach Pie

PeachPie3

Turning a year older, to me, is an exciting thing. More things to learn and explore!…and more time to celebrate life. Doesn’t hurt to celebrate a little, right? With a dessert of course! I love what Zen Master Edward Espe Brown writes in The  Tassajara Bread Book about sweet treats,

“A good dessert is a celebration of any occasion. Not that we have to treat ourselves royally every day, but offering dessert with generosity and warmth, we can appreciate the bounty of our lives and celebrate a moment of our aliveness…But I am not also going to scold people for eating a dessert that is really a dessert. Every moment is a gateway to the truth. Which way is in? Which way is out? Are you entering or leaving?…May all beings be healthy, happy, free from suffering. And may desserts celebrate our wondrous nature. Fully.”

Today is my birthday and I’m going to raise my glass, eat a dessert and say “Cheers to the world!” LOL. It’s fun to be a bit kooky, especially on such a day! Despite being a chocolate lover (who always has a chocolate stash!), if there was only one dessert in the world that I would pick, it would be this peach pie made with my dad’s homegrown peaches. Continue reading

Taco time: surf ‘n’ turf edition

SurfnTurfTacos1

I’ve had this post as a draft for a little over a week now. Finally done moving! Just some unpacking to do, but we are loving the new apartment. Especially the dogs! Below is the post as written before we finished moving. 

We’re in the middle of the moving process. Right now I’m at our new apartment sitting out in the patio typing this blog post. Life feels good when you have a nice breeze while relaxing outside. We’ll be moving everything officially this weekend with help from family and movers. It can be a headache at times to move and get packing (my husband jokes that the kitchen gear will be the worst to finish packing), but it is always an exciting time for us! I think it was my sister who gave me the good advice to keep Tylenol handy while moving! While cleaning out the fridge, I realized that I have some ingredients to make some tacos, two ways:  fish and steak. Or, as I like to call it, surf ‘n’ turf tacos. By the way, do you spy a hungry doggy waiting in the background? Continue reading

Blog of the Year 2012 ☆3!

Blog of the Year Award 3 star jpeg

Woohoo! Yay! A nomination for a 3rd star for the Blog of the Year Award! I truly feel honored to be nominated and to be a part of this great community of bloggers. Thank you to Fae from Fae’s Twist & Tango for nominating me! Her blog is one of my favorites and is also one of the most interesting ones out there! Go check it out! Continue reading

Broiled Hake in Tomato-Olive Crust

TomatoOliveHakeFillet1

I love fish! I love learning about them–their biology, systematics, ecology, etc. I spent many hours as a undergraduate researcher in a university biology fish lab (specifically with guppies & close relatives), was the first author of a manuscript, and for a couple of years was the lab manager in charge of hundreds of fish tanks. I became very attune to the needs of the fish that I worked with that I think I was in some ways “The Fish Whisperer.” I ordered all their supplies, coordinated a team of students to help care for them, spent weekends cleaning tanks and measuring their reproductive capabilities (for the scientific research of maternal provisioning–yes, some fish I worked with had placentas too! lol ), and I even made a special dish for them–a beef liver pâté for optimal nutrition. Anyhow, I get excited by the subject of fish. Just ask my parents! They have been there with me through all of my fish adventures at school and with the several incarnations of the family fish tank at home while growing up. Of course, I also enjoy fish in the culinary realm–cooking and eating them!

Anyone else love fish? I learn a lot about food when I go grocery shopping. On a grocery trip recently, I encountered a new fish for me, a white fish called hake (Merluccius capensisor also commonly called Cape Capensis in the U.S. and Merluza in Spain. Continue reading

Super Sweet Blogging


super-sweet-blogging-award21w6451

I hope you all had fun on Valentine’s Day! It was a lovely Valentine’s Day for my family and I. Nice and relaxing. I am out of town so I couldn’t celebrate with my husband today, but he was very sweet to send me a dozen red roses 🙂 My mom stopped by The Cupcake Place, a cupcake bakery near her work and got some very delicious cupcakes–the favorite of ours was a chocolate cupcake called “Tall, Dark, and Handsome.” I only ate half of it and it was one of the best cupcakes I have ever had! Nice and balanced–not too sweet at all. So, I would say that this Valentine’s Day 2013 was really sweet!

Been behind on doing award posts (sorry!), but I will get to them. Going with the sweet theme, I’ve been nominated for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!  Thank you to the super sweet Fae from Fae’s Twist & Tango  for nominating me! I really enjoy learning new things every time I read your blog! Continue reading

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

VIB-Trophy-Blog-M

Yay! I am so happy that I got nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!! It is really nice to get to know great bloggers out there and learn about new blogs through these awards. I want to thank the authors of the blogs Savor the Food and tuttacronaca for nominating me for this award! I really appreciate the support! Continue reading

Pancit Canton Bistek + Happy Birthday Dad! & Happy Anniversary to my Parents!

PancitBistek1

Happy weekend everyone! I have to start by wishing my Dad a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today is his birthday and I am so glad that he is my Dad! Also,  on Thursday it was my parents 31st Wedding Anniversary! They are definitely a couple to look up to and admire. I’m glad they went out to celebrate yesterday by going to a Lea Salonga concert in Palm Springs. They had a great time and they deserve it! This post is dedicated to them.

As you probably know or if you have read some of my posts, that Filipinos (and many other cultures) celebrate special occasions by feasting well and by eating noodles, specifically a noodle dish called Pancit. There are many variations of Pancit noodles such as Pancit Guisado, Pancit Malabon, Pancit Hab-Hab, and Pancit Canton to name a few. Wikipedia lists 29 variations! I’m sure there are more out there!

I was thinking, for these specific occasions that I would do a different type of Pancit and of course continue in my fascination of tweaking and tinkering with foods. Since we are celebrating my Mom and Dad, I thought,” Hmmm…what is a dish that my Dad is known for and that my Mom often requests?” My Mom asks my Dad to make Bistek very often and it is a family favorite. It is a dish with Beef Steak and Onions in a soy-lemon sauce. Bistek is one of his specialties! Also, he loves to eat steak on his birthday in addition to Pancit, so I thought that the best dish to fit the special occasions would be to combine Pancit with Filipino Bistek. The result is a dish that is flavor-packed and fun to eat! It is hearty, yet light at the same time. It’s a noodle wonderland with meaty goodness!  Continue reading

Blog of the Year 2012 award ☆2!

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg

Wow, I have been nominated for a 2nd star for the Blog of the Year 2012 award! I want to thank  Fae from Fae’s Twist & Tango for nominating me. Along with great pictures and videos, she has awesome travel stories and a wide knowledge of cultures and cuisines throughout the world. When you read her blog you will learn a lot!  Thank you again Fae! Continue reading

Blog of the Year 2012 Award!

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

I am always surprised to receive an award nomination, but was even more surprised to be nominated for the Blog of the Year 2012 award! I am behind on posting about some awards, but I thought I would get to this one as soon as possible since it is the new year. I thank TUTTACRONACA for nominating me for this award. Check out this blog! Very interesting and profound posts, pictures, and info that makes you think. I always learn something new from reading it. Thank you again. Continue reading

Happy New Year 2013! + a New Year’s Pizza

BuonNuovo2

As much as I wanted the holiday season not to end, I am happy that it is 2013! Looking forward to this new year and all that it brings. We had a nice, laid-back New Year’s Eve celebration that included our tradition of watching a Planet of the Apes (from the late 60’s and early 70’s) marathon , setting out 13 round fruits for a Filipino tradition, and of course eating good food. How did you celebrate New Years Eve and/or New Year’s Day? Continue reading

The Liebster Award

liebsteraward

Sorry this took a while to post, but I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! Chef Randall at Savor the Food has nominated me for this award. I was very surprised! Thank you! You can tell that Chef Randall loves food and sharing it with others–check out Savor the Food (he has nice video tutorials too)!

Liebster Award Rules and Requirements

1) Post eleven facts about yourself.
2) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3) Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4) Go to their page and tell them.
5) Remember, no tag backs.

Continue reading

Chaat Masala Chips – Two Ways

IMG_1263

About a week ago, at lunch, I was at home heating up a bowl of chicken and vegetable noodle soup and wanted something crunchy with my meal. Something crunchy that was also spicy. Chips! Who hasn’t liked those sensations that you get from eating chips? It’s those sensations that hook you. Crunch. Flavor. Crunch. That’s why chips are so addicting. Can’t explain that experience of eating chips into words very well. Some phenomenological qualia that’s addicting. Lol. However, chips are usually fried and I don’t like to eat fried foods often. When I make nachos, I make my own tortilla chips by baking them, so I decided to make myself some baked tortilla chips since I had some corn tortillas on hand. Of course, normal fried tortilla chips taste better, but baking the chips is a nice compromise. For the flavor kick, I used chaat masala, an Indian spice mix that I really enjoy. I like the hint of sweetness from the amchoor (dried mango powder) in the blend of spices.

I’m also a fan of veggie chips and earlier this week wanted some kale chips. Why not spice it up with some chaat masala? Kale with  garlic, salt & pepper is a great classic, but it also pairs well with the sweet and spicy notes in chaat masala. Below is a recipe for chaat masala chips, two ways:  spicy kale and tortilla chips. Continue reading

Mommy Bene’s Macaroni with Beef Recipe and Giving Tuesday!

Hey everyone! Happy Giving Tuesday! After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, charitable groups have pooled together to start a new tradition, Giving Tuesday! Basically, after all the “consumption time” it is a day to give back, show some generosity and help others by volunteering or donating to a cause. Continue reading

Seafood & Vegetable Ya Mein (peanut noodles), a birthday dish for my favorite twins, my Mom and my Aunt

Yesterday was my Mom’s and my Aunt’s birthday. They are identical twins who are both very successful and are role models of mine. Though my Mom lives close to me in Southern California and my aunt lives in the Philippines, they sometimes see each other at family events (last time was at my wedding!) or when my aunt visits us. Since they are twins, It’s cute to see them together and it’s fun to joke and laugh with them.

Like many Asian cultures, we also celebrate birthdays with a noodle dish to represent a long life. In the Philippines, we have pancit for birthdays and also for special occasions where we feast with lots of food. When we cannot all be together to celebrate, we still have pancit, or at least some type of noodles.

To celebrate their birthday, I made a dish called “ya mein”. Continue reading

First Year Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our first year wedding anniversary and we made a great dinner together! Pork chops with sauteed apples and white & wild rice with mushrooms. More on that later! Continue reading

Black Beauty – Kimbap

“There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham – all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out and put down for what they are.”
Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CRas7uVsL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Black Beauty! Do you have memories reading this book as a child? I almost forgot about this great book until I stumbled upon a blog post on Kimbap (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls aka Korean “sushi”).  Holly at beyondkimchee.com calls the rolls “black beauty.” At first I chuckled because those words sound sort of awkward to say out loud (try saying any color before the word “beauty” – it’s kind of funny to say), but then I remembered the book from my childhood. Continue reading

MasterChef Audition – What was it like?

https://i2.wp.com/www.masterchefcasting.com/templates/img/header-inner.jpg(Fox.com)

So what is it like to audition for the reality TV cooking competition MasterChef? A little over a week ago, I auditioned in downtown San Diego. I never thought that I would try out for a reality TV show! But with the urging of good friends and support from family, I thought, “Why not?” I know that I can cook well enough to impress the judges on the show: Chef Gordon Ramsay, Chef Graham Elliot, and Restauranteur & Wine Expert Joe Bastianich.

(Fox.com)

After registering online, filling out an 11-page application, and days of practicing a signature dish, I was ready to WOW everyone who tried my food at the casting call. Continue reading

Hello and Welcome to my food world!

Hi there!

Finally I got the courage to start this food blog after wanting to do so for several years. After getting my food critiqued by notable chefs (that you might see on TV) at my MasterChef audition and getting very positive reviews, I thought I should do something to push myself to keep cooking, learning and exploring, thus this blog is born.

About Me

This picture makes me laugh, I am making a  funny face  😛

I am a 26 year old housewife living in the beautiful city of San Diego, CA.  When I’m not volunteering and itching to go back to school, I love to cook and have a passion for all things food-related. My husband and our Papillon-mix named Pipi are the executive taste testers in my kitchen. Yes, I even cook gourmet dog food per Pipi’s request. I’m a self-taught home cook who loves to experiment with different ethnic cuisines, but my most significant cooking lessons came from the family kitchen.

My approach to food is to keep it fun and fresh. Food nowadays has become so skewed towards being instant meals and chemical experiments. It is largely processed, packaged, and unhealthy. When I was a grad student and had a full-time job, I learned that I don’t need to succumb to convenience food. I can make food myself and make it healthier, economical and more convenient for me. Cooking for yourself and others can be fun, exciting, and can give you more nom-noms than takeout.

foodflavorfascination

Continue reading