Happy World Cup Final 2014!

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Happy World Cup Final 2014! Argentina vs. Germany? Who do you want to win? Currently watching it  right now as I type! Just hoping for a great game! It’s been a pretty exciting month-long competition! Given that it is now on, I won’t take too long to tell you about this dish that I created for the World Cup 2014 final. What could it be other than pasta?  Football/soccer players and all athletes around the world eat pasta to fuel them!  Continue reading

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Cherry-bottom Cheesecake (Pie)

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Happy Father’s Day 2014!

My dad loves to garden and has several fruit trees and veggie plants. With the produce that he harvests, he often asks me when I visit, “Can you make a pie or a cake with this?” My dad has a cherry tree and since it is cherry season, I did what he asked! Made a delicious cherry-bottom cheesecake (pie)Continue reading

Noodles and Salad, Part II

UdonPalabok16 Very excited to share these birthday recipes! They turned out really well and my husband really enjoyed them! As I mentioned in the last post, I made Cobb salad, my husband’s favorite salad, and pancit palabok with udon noodles and smoked salmon. Why noodles and salad?  We always celebrate birthdays with pancit! As for salad, my husband loves to eat salads. Get ready, this post is picture heavy!  Continue reading

Chicken & Waffles B.L.A.T.

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Been busy in the lab trying to help get some data for a grant that the professor (who I work for) is submitting by the end of the month, hence my lack of wordpress activity. This post has been saved as a draft for about a month! But here it is, in time for Memorial Day! Maybe you are having a picnic, brunch, or other get-together this holiday. A waffle sandwich might hit the spot!

Recently, there seems to be a resurgence in waffle popularity. Nowadays, people are coming up with new dishes using waffle irons. Sorry, the wonut is a bit too over-the-top for me. Nevertheless, I am down to try my hand at waffle sandwiches, as kooky as that may sound. A couple of weeks a go, on a bus ride home, I was thinking about chicken and waffles and craving it. I thought to myself, how about a chicken & waffle B.L.A.T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwich with sourdough cheddar and chive waffles!? Continue reading

Kale-nola?!

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Sometimes you can’t help but be angry or irritated. It just happens. Some stupid little mistake can make you blow a gasket. You just want to scream! There have been times where I have reached for that bag of chips or box of cookies when I am upset about something, but I’ve found another cure for the bad mood — kale-granola aka “kale-nola”Continue reading

Turkey and Greens Kreplach

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Happy Purim! After we had dinner yesterday, I remembered that this Jewish holiday had started (ends this evening) so I decided to make something for lunch today. Jewish holidays usually celebrate with specific dishes, which are delicious and comforting. Lunch today was another comfort food dish, a traditional Purim dish called kreplach, which are dumplings, also known as “Jewish wontons.”  Continue reading

Mexican Chocolate Pie with Almond Crust

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Yay! Here’s the post that I promised yesterday on Pi(e) Day! Even though I got home a little late yesterday after a day in the lab doing science-ythings such as concentrating proteins and SDS PAGE , I was devoted to coming up with and making a pie! Every year we celebrate Pi(e) Day no matter how busy it is! Inspired by Dr. Andrew Weil‘s True Food Kitchen, one of my favorite San Diego restaurants, I made a Mexican Chocolate Pie with an Almond Crust. At True Food Kitchen, the motto is “Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure.” Their mission is that “every dish served must not only be delicious but must also promote the diner’s well-being.”While the focus is  fresh, nutritive dishes that highlight organic fruits & vegetables, grass-fed meat & wild-caught fish, there is something for everybody whether or not you are a health nut, are a vegan, or eat gluten-free. My in-laws like the restaurant too! You feel content after eating there. Satisfied, but not heavy. I even feel energized enough for a workout. Everything we’ve had is delicious, from the beverages, appetizers, entree to dessert. I’m a big fan of their desserts, especially Dr. Weil’s signature flourless chocolate cakeContinue reading

Happy Pi(e) Day 2014!

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Finally got this pie out of the oven! After a long day in the lab (+ busy long week) and trying to finish up some chores, I was able to bake a pie, specifically it is a Mexican chocolate pie with almond crust. Last year we had pizza with a gluten-free crust. I love Pi(e) Day! I had a bit of a snafu while making this pie and accidentally doubled the amount of eggs, so it is more souffle-like. I’m waiting for my husband to come home to taste a piece. Anyways, gotta go finish up cleaning the kitchen, so I’ll post more tomorrow! So we hope you had a ….

Happy Pi Day!

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Bidding farewell to the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Khachapuri

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Today I was a bit sad that it was the last day of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. I always look forward to watching the olympics and keeping track of it. It doesn’t matter what sport or event is on, I just enjoy watching it! It is a worldwide tradition! The athletes are inspiring as they are dedicated to their sport and also dedicated to their health. That’s something I admire. This year’s olympics, even though amidst controversies, was pretty good, in my opinion. Do you have a favorite winter olympic sport? I think I got into watching the skiing competitions more this time. I wish I could go watch the olympics in person sometime. Today while the last events were on the TV, I made khachapuri, a Georgian dish that I hear is a Sochi staple. Continue reading

Beet Red Velvet Æbleskiver (pancake puffs)

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Happy Belated Valentines Day!

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Yesterday, for our Valentine’s Dinner we had a wonderful 3-course meal, made by my husband and I. He makes a mean steak, especially filet mignon. Sorry, don’t have pictures of the first two courses, but here’s the dessert:  Beet Red Velvet Æbleskiver with cream cheese filling. Continue reading

Giniling (Filipino-style Picadillo) Kasha Bowl

Giniling2Giniling! Kind of fun to say out loud! It’s a family favorite that I grew up with and it’s become one of my go-to weeknight recipes as it is so easy and pretty quick to make. Maybe takes 30 minutes, tops.  It’s the Filipino version of picadillo, a  ground beef dish with veggies, though other types of chopped up meat is also popular. Usually it is served with rice or as a filling of some sort, commonly in empanadas or other fill-able fare. As usual, I like to veer a bit from the traditional recipe that I grew up with and use a different mix of veggies and serve it with something other than white rice. Kasha?  It’s a grain, more specifically lightly toasted buckwheat groats that can be fluffy like rice, has a nice slightly nutty flavor, some good nutrients, but less intense in taste than the uber-popular quinoa. I was craving for something like a rice bowl, but we are not eating much white rice nowadays so I got the idea for this Giniling Kasha Bowl, a delectable and easy 30-minute meal. Continue reading

Fresh Kamut Noodles with Almond Sauce

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Pasta! Can’t deny it. I’m a sucker for some good pasta or noodles of most any type…even of the squash variety. It’s a comfort food  that has the innate ability to just make you feel happy and remind you of good times with friends and family, at least I think so. On a commercial promo that plays on the Cooking Channel, there’s a guy that says something like, “When I want to feel happy, I go grab a cheeseburger.” For me, it’s noodles! And its so fun to make too! When I was a kid, I had a lot of fun making noodles for Miki Nilad-dit (another type of Filipino chicken noodle soup) with my dad, so I’ve always enjoyed making them. Lately, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with kamut flour and whipped out my pasta gear and made some fresh kamut pasta. Continue reading

Ottolenghi-style lamb rib chops and some fun-sized sweet treats

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In my last post, I mentioned that we had lamb for New Year’s Eve as well as desserts. I wasn’t sure about posting about them, but decided to anyway. These are double-cut lamb chops (from a Frenched rack) with a cilantro and honey sauce from Ottolenghi:  The Cookbook. Yotam Ottolenghi is the chef “known for being the champion of vegetables at the same time as eating and loving meat”(to quote wikipedia). With his cookbooks and eponymous restaurants, he is also known as “the man who sexed up vegetables.” I do not yet have Plenty, his cookbook dedicated to vegetables and vegetarian cooking, but will probably soon get it as well as JerusalemSo far, I like the bold, vibrant Middle-Eastern flavors in his recipes. See more of his recipes and food commentary in his Guardian column. Ottolenghi pulled pork recipe? It’s on my cooking to-do list and maybe I’ll report if this recipe is “bringing sexy back” to pulled pork. Continue reading

Happy New Year! Some happy new recipes for 2014!

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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

…and the holiday beat goes on

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Christmas just flew by so fast! Belated Merry Christmas! Though many of us have gone back to work, the holiday spirit is still there. The lights are still up, yuletide decor is still hanging happily and the Christmas tree is still supple (hopefully until New Years!). The doggies had fun with Santa as you can see in our Christmas picture. It makes me laugh to see the different expressions–especially Santa! My mother-in-law said that Santa might have been thinking, “What did I get myself into!?!” LOL 🙂 Continue reading

Fall delights–gobbling it up

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What are your fall delights?  I’ll leave afternoon delights alone, LOL. For me, one fall delight is pie and a cup of coffee for breakfast on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of Black Friday shopping, I’d rather eat naughty ;). I had no shame in it, especially after an hour long walk with the dogs 🙂 Thanksgiving, as always, was a splendid time spent with family, reflecting on things and being full of thanks. The holiday has come and gone, but it still lingers in my mind (+ we’ve been savoring the leftovers). How was your Thanksgiving? And we can’t forget about Thanksgivukkah/Thanukkah as well! Continue reading

Sotanghon Soup v2.0

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We ate a lot of great food on our anniversary. San Francisco is such a delicious city! Who can resist indulging while staying there? Especially with places like Tartine Bakery where we got our pastry craving satisfied. When we got home, I think we wanted to be a bit more salubrious and eat more veggies. My husband has become a big fan of veggie-heavy dishes….except for those with kale….or mixed with quinoa, LOL. I love both, but try not to cook those superfoods as often and just get my fix somehow some place. I blogged about a Filipino-style chicken noodle soup last spring and was craving that, so last night on Halloween we had a different version of it, a veggie-loaded sotanghon (mung bean noodle) soup. Continue reading

Garden Vegetable Slaw with Pea shoots, Corn, and a Creamy Calamansi Dressing

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There’s a backlog of drafts that I will be posting in the next week or so. “So many ideas, but so little time!” That’s how life can be, so I’m going with it. Been back in a lab doing lab things and learning a lot. It’s fun! Besides being in the kitchen, I love being in the lab. For those of you who work in a lab, doesn’t it seem that labs are synonymous with working long hours? I’m studying for the biochemistry subject GRE too. Anyways, back to the food, a dish that can be prepared when you are especially busy. Last month, I came up with a surprisingly delightful slaw of sorts that features some of my dad’s garden goodies. Continue reading

Apple-Honey Challah with Craisins

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Happy New Year! Rosh Hashanah started on Wednesday evening and the celebration ends this evening. It is a time to welcome and celebrate the new year with sweets, traditionally apples dipped in honey. Round-shaped challah, symbolizing continuity, is also a staple for this holiday. A couple of hours ago I finally baked some apple-honey challah with dried cranberries! Continue reading

When Summer meets Autumn: Zucchini Bread Pancakes & Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

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With windows wide open and summer skin rests,
Fall pulls back his bow and aims at the crest.

Its cool thin arrow cuts through thick air,
It glimmers like silver and tickles the pear.

Slicing through wheat and brushing the sparrow,

It stirs up the hay that lay in your barrow.

Into the window and onto your breast,
Through thinly spun linen it kisses your chest.

Despite the dream and amongst it all,
You know you’ve been kissed by the coming of Fall.

 –Randy Holden, “A Poem:  When Summer Meets Fall” in Chronogram Magazine

Late last month, my husband remarked that it feels more like fall than summer where we live (SD).  I like the weeks in August (and in other months) that is sort-of in-between seasons. But I do have to say that fall is my favorite season. Since getting married in the fall almost two years ago, I like it even better. Now that I think about it, it’s interesting how the seasons and the weather plays such important parts in our lives. In the food world, it is definitely a tremendous influence.
But I’m still enjoying summer and still enjoying the summer bounty of vegetables and other seasonal fare. Many home gardeners like my dad are having to find ways to use up certain fruits or vegetables that grow like weeds. Zucchinis are notorious for that. I think my mom makes 20-30 loaves of zucchini bread every summer. I visit my parents often and was thinking of ways to use up them up and one way is to make… Continue reading

Strozzapreti “Priest strangler” Primavera

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It’s nice so far this August at food flavor fascination headquarters. Lots of stuff to do, but always trying to do things with a smile and that “keep calm, carry on” mentality. We had lots of smiles and laughter yesterday with my family at Del Mar for the horse racing. We’ve been going to the races at least once every season since we have been living in San Diego. I never win at gambling, but I just bet on the horses for fun and not over 10 dollars a race, LOL. It’s nice when someone in my family wins like my husband did. I think maybe a couple of others in our clan won too. But we always have a great time. Great weather, fun food (Gourmet Food truck Festival was on that day too!), and great company! Having an excuse to wear a fascinator hat is also a good thing for the ladies 🙂 “Easy breezy,” I think could sum up the day in two words. I’m not really talking about the Cover Girl motto, however. Just the experience of letting loose, especially with the weather and the nice breeze. Okay, I love being out in the breeze. Speaking of that and going with the theme, if you are looking for something “easy breezy” to cook, here’s is a dish for you:  strozzapreti primavera (no-cook tomato sauce). Continue reading

Birthday Peach Pie

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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

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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

Brie-stuffed Burgers and Quenelles

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Happy 5th of July everybody! I hope you all had a ball of an Independence Day yesterday! Good times here at food flavor fascination headquarters too! Did some fun cooking in our soon-to-be vacated apartment. We are in the process of moving closer to my husband’s work. Yesterday he made some great burgers, probably the best burger I have had in a long time. One of his specialties is the cheese-stuffed burger. He has made some with cheddar as well as slider-sized ones in the past. This time it was brie’s turn to be stuffing. It’s one of our favorite cheeses. Sometimes we sneak a small piece to give to the dogs 🙂 Continue reading

No-bake Goat Cheesecake

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Don’t worry, the creative juices are still flowing! Still cooking and working on recipes to post! A couple of weeks ago for Father’s Day, we were driving through Southern California for some family celebrations. It was a bit of a busy time, but I made some mini no-bake goat cheesecakes that came along for the ride, in a cooled container of course. I think that my dad’s favorite animal are goats, hence the goat-themed dessert. Continue reading

David’s Pancit with Bacon, Salmon, Vegetables and more Seafood

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Yesterday was my husband’s birthday so of course we had to have pancit! This post is dedicated to him and also to my mother-in-law (birthday the 17th), my grandparent’s-in-law (June 9th wedding anniversary, birthdays on the 10th and 11th), and uncle-in-law (birthday on the 1st). This weekend we are also celebrating my brother-in-law’s graduation from college. Lots of things to celebrate in June! (See the Remixed Chicken Tikka & Aloo Gobi post on June 1st for my sister’s birthday) I think this is a noodle recipe that’s perfect for all of these special occasions. It is hearty, meaty, yet light and fresh-tasting. It’s not as filling as pasta, but it’s satisfying. Plus, there’s bacon in it! In our families, you can’t go wrong with good bacon! We also love seafood and one of my husband’s favorite fish is salmon. In fact, at our wedding, he chose to have salmon over filet mignon. I think I’m becoming a salmon-cooking master. I cook it often as we are able to get good wild-caught salmon at the market. Also, a noodle dish isn’t a pancit unless there are some sort of veggies mixed in (and calamansi or lemon!). If my husband David were to make a pancit recipe,  I think he would make something similar to this, a noodle dish centered on fun ingredients that he enjoys with pasta (like bacon and shiitake mushrooms!) with rich flavors. Continue reading

Molecular Mac & Cheese in a certain shade of orange

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What? Molecular macaroni and cheese? Yet another macaroni and cheese recipe! Yes! If you like to experiment and spice up your weeknight dinners, this is a fun recipe to try. But it’s really delicious too! And you don’t need a roux! Yay that rhymes 🙂 What makes this mac and cheese recipe “molecular” is the use of a molecular or modernist technique of emulsifying sauces (cheese sauces in particular) with sodium citrate. It’s a salt that comes from citric acid. Citrate itself is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle and thus is involved in the metabolic processes of aerobic organisms. If you majored in science, like I did, you would know citrate intimately, and if you finished a masters in biochemistry like I did, you would know it even more intimately as a friendly metabolite. Add on a sodium ion via bicarbonate and you get sodium citrate, which is nothing to fear. At least I don’t. It’s in our bodies even if you don’t use techniques from modernist cuisine. Continue reading

Happy Birthday to My Sister! Chicken Tikka Masala and Aloo Gobi Matar Remixed

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Happy Birthday to my sister! I hope you have a good time today! You deserve it! If only I can send you some of this food! A fun memory I have of my sister while we were kids was when we had some visitors over and a lady asked my sister, she was then a 3 year old, “What is your favorite food?” My sister responded enthusiastically, “Chicken and mashed potatoes!” However, the lady’s daughter, about the same age said “Malunggay!” I can’t believe I still remember this, it makes me laugh thinking about that time. So, for her birthday, I made chicken and mashed potatoes, inspired by Indian cuisine. She loves Indian food and even traveled to Southeast Asia for a mission trip last year as a nursing student. We are really proud of her achievements and desire to help people. In addition to serving many people, I think she developed a taste for foods with spices. So for her birthday, here is an Indian fusion dish:  Crispy potato chip chicken tikka masala with aloo gobi mash. Continue reading

Crispy Purple Yam Tots and a breakfast salad bowl?

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I’ve been a proponent for salads as breakfast fare and was craving one lately. While watching Trisha Yearwood making Garth’s breakfast bowl on her Food Network show Trisha’s Southern Cooking, I suddenly had a craving for a breakfast bowl too. So, that lightbulb thought sparked in my head to combine the two cravings into a breakfast salad bowl with tots, of course. This time crispy purple yam tots for a nod to my Filipino roots. Why would you want salad for breakfast? Try this recipe, tweaking this to your taste if you like, and see for yourself. 😀 Continue reading

Avocado-Coconut Panna Cotta

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One of my favorite desserts is panna cotta, a creamy gelatin-based dessert originating from Northern Italy in Piedmont (possibly since the Middle-ages). Panna cotta translates to “cooked cream” in Italian. So delicious. If I see it on a dessert menu, I am most often going to order it! Light, yet creamy and rich-tasting. I like it even better than custard. I think it is about time that I tried to make this dessert! But I always like to play around with ingredients. Tweaking things is a fascination of mine. I just can’t help it even if a food experiment sometimes ends up as a mess or something not palatable at all. Luckily, this recent panna cotta experimentation was a success. Panna cotta should be fool-proof. As David Lebovitz says, “Panna cotta is incredibly easy to make, and if it takes you more than five minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong.”

There are some great dishes out in the blog world that celebrate spring and all its green-ness and vibrancy, so I thought I would chime in and do something with avocados as they are in season here. Creamy and rich, I thought it would be a nice parallel in panna cotta. So here’s a spring recipe contribution:  avocado-coconut panna cotta. Continue reading

Oaxacan-style Chicken and Dumplings (Mole Amarillito con Pollo y Chochoyotes)

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Being a Philippine-American, I am naturally drawn to Mexican culture and cuisine as Philippines and Mexico share customs and traditions dating back to some 400 years. If you are interested in reading about the Mexican-Philippine cultural relationship, check out this article. Many  traditional Mexican dishes (non fast-food ones) that I have had remind me of Filipino home cooking and comfort foods. The first time I ate cochinita pibil at a Mexican restaurant, it reminded me of a pork dish that my dad would cook. Though there are some differences in ingredients used (for example:  Filipino adobo refers to a meat stew cooked in a vinegar & soy based sauce and Mexican adobo involves dried and/or smoked chiles), something about Mexican food transports me to my family’s table. I can feel the warmth and care put into making the dishes in the same way that my parents and other relatives do with Filipino food.

Since my husband is recovering from a nasty cough and it has been a bit cloudy outside last week, I made  Oaxacan-style chicken and masa dumplings (mole amarillito con pollo y chochoyotes). This orange-red colored mole is not usually what you would think about when talking mole. Probably the most common is the mole poblano or mole negro that involve chocolate and a slew of other ingredients and spices. There are several types of mole originating in Oaxaca and other states in Mexico, but this mole amarillito isn’t very complicated and doesn’t require so many ingredients. It is easy to whip up and is  full of flavor, I guarantee it! Continue reading

Pasta al vino, zafferano e salsiccia (Pasta with wine, saffron and sausage)

PastaAlVino4 My friends, family and I love to go out to eat at Italian restaurants and I never seem to tire of it. Especially the pasta dishes (and maybe tiramisu as well). How about you? My husband and I have eaten at several great Italian restaurants in San Diego, our hometown of about 3 years. Our favorites are Antica Trattoria and Osteria Panevino (our dog loves eating there with us too!). My husband likes to eat pasta and cooks it really well too. The first meal that he cooked while we were dating was a salad and a vegetarian pasta dish (as I was a vegetarian at the time), like a pasta primavera. I was impressed. Today, pasta is a staple in our home.

We had a bunch of pork shoulder stored in the freezer so I decided to grind it up and make sausage out of it. I left it loose and did not stuff it into casings so I could cook a really interesting dish:  pasta with wine, saffron and sausage (also known as pasta al vino, zafferano e salsiccia).   Continue reading

The Double-Double Burger, a vegan variation

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Yes, we are going vegan today. Like with many dishes, I am not afraid to try different variations on the theme whether it be vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or carnivorous versions. There are only a few burgers that I haven’t liked and that’s mainly due to culinary execution.  I’ve had the common beef, turkey, and salmon burgers in addition to boar, buffalo, elk and my favorite–Crazee Burger’s alligator burger with fruit & curry tapenade. So I’m always on the quest for a good burger, including the vegetarian or vegan ones. I grew up eating veggie burgers and have enjoyed them throughout the years, but this vegan double-double burger is my new favorite burger. Continue reading

Matza Lasagna with Greens & Mushrooms

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Since it’s Holy Week and Passover at the same time, I had to cook dinners with no meat and also Kosher for Passover for both my husband and I. During Holy Week, there are days when Catholics abstain from meat. I always follow these traditions. My husband always follows his Jewish traditions too. So for a dinner that had no meat and was Kosher, I was reminded of some ideas I found last year, while perusing Pinterest. I saw some pins on lasagna using matza as the noodles. So, I decided to give it a go and made matza lasagna with greens & mushrooms. Continue reading

Passover Popovers

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Popovers for Passover? Never heard of them until about a year ago when my Grandma-in-law gave me a recipe for it after we were all full from eating the really good food that she made for Passover seder last year. After getting that recipe, a few days later, I tried making them and they turned out to be delicious. Actually, they are “delectable” as Martha Stewart would often describe the food she was tasting on TV. This recipe is from a Martha Stewart episode on Passover years ago. These popovers are made from matzo cake meal, which I also used in the mocha brownies. The procedure is pretty straightforward. It’s like making choux pastry. Continue reading

Filipino Chicken Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs (Sotanghon Soup)

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What are cellophane noodles? Do you know what they are? It is a type of noodle made out of mung bean starch and is also known as mung bean threads, glass noodles, or mung bean vermicelli among other names. Filipinos call it sotanghon. These are one of my favorite noodles and my mom would often cook with sotanghon more than bihon (rice vermicelli). I guess I was jonesing for some sotanghon soup. It’s the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup, though there are multiple variations on chicken noodle soup in Filipino cuisine. Just replace the sotanghon with elbow macaroni and you have sopas! Or take out some of the veggies, use homemade pasta and you have miki nilad-dit, which is my dad’s specialty. Today is sotanghon day and even though the weather has gotten a bit warmer, I’m still wanting some soup. How about you? Heck, I don’t mind eating this in the heat of summer either! 😀 It’s just a comforting dish. I’ve added some turkey meatballs to make a two bird soup of Chicken Sotanghon Soup with Turkey Meatballs. Continue reading

Lucky Pasta

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This weekend was all about green things and Irish fun. I hope you all had a fun St. Patrick’s Day weekend! We had a good time with good food and good people adorned with green. Had some left over corned beef and cabbage and some cute four-leaf clover shaped pasta I found at World Market so I made a dish out of it:  lucky pasta. Continue reading

Greek Greens Pie with Cornbread Crust (Hortopita)

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Those that know me know that not only do I love to cook, but also that I like to spend some time watching cooking shows. I was watching PBS one morning and came across a show on Greek cuisine called The Cooking Odyssey hosted by Chef Yanni Mameletzis. It was an episode on Trikala, a city in Northwestern Greece, in Thessaly.  I enjoyed watching the show. Every time I see Greece on TV or some sort of media, its so beautiful it just makes me feel like in awe, like I would want to be in that world. I’d be staring at the beautiful scenery with my mouth open, my eye muscles relaxed and softened to a gaze as if in a trance. Haha, anyways, most of the PBS cooking shows I like, in contrast to Food Network. What do you guys think about PBS or Food Network? PBS shows appeal to me more, though there are some shows that I like on FN. On The Cooking Odyssey, a particular rustic-type pie called hortopita caught my eye. It is a cornmeal pie with a wild greens filling. I never saw cornmeal used as a pie crust, or if I did, it did not catch my attention then. I’ve eaten phyllo based dishes such as spanakopita, but didn’t know that Greek cuisine included cornmeal much. So…since I was fascinated, on a nice and sunny day  in San Diego while yearning to be in Greece, I made Greek Greens Pie with Cornbread Crust. Continue reading

Mussels Adobo with Potatoes

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought some cookbooks (I finally caved in!) and have been eager to test out some recipes or find inspiration from the recipes in the books. One of the books that I purchased was Chef Brian Malarkey‘s Come Early Stay Late and it is a beautiful book with photographs of each dish (yay!). I would recommend buying this book if you are into cookbooks. We’ve been to 2 of his 5 restaurants in San Diego, and have had nothing but delectable experiences. Searsucker and Gingham are a couple of our favorite San Diego restaurants. We make sure to eat there especially on restaurant week! Maybe you have seen Chef Malarkey on the new reality cooking show The Taste or on Top Chef Miami (season 3 in 2007)? Anyways, if you haven’t heard of him, I’m telling you that his food gives you a happy feeling like a beam of sunshine. Well, that’s how I feel!

One of these days, we’ll have to check out his Asian-influenced restaurant called Burlap as one of their top dishes there is Mussels Adobo. I was proud to read about the popularity of the dish and proud that people are enjoying dishes inspired by Filipino cuisine. There is actually a Filipino mussels adobo dish which in Tagalog is called “adobong tahong.” Seeing the mussels adobo recipe in the cookbook inspired me to explore my family’s recipe with a restaurant-style touch from the Burlap version. My parents also gave us some half shell green mussels–thanks! So here is my version of mussels adobo with potatoes. Continue reading

Broiled Hake in Tomato-Olive Crust

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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

St. Valentine’s Day Pop Tarts—something for the kid in all of us

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The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.
—English nursery rhyme, Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784)

Love is in the air as St. Valentine’s Day is approaching (on Thursday) 🙂 The history of this holiday and it’s origins is rooted in the martyrology of Valentine, who was said to have illegally performed weddings to soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted during the Roman Empire. Then, by the time of Geoffrey Chaucer (known as the “Father of English Literature“) in the High Middle Ages, Valentine’s Day became a day to celebrate romantic love full of flowers, sweets, and valentine cards.  Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash, Onion, and Cashew Pizza

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Who doesn’t like pizza? I guess it is rare to encounter someone who  isn’t into pizza. It’s a very customizable dish, which makes it fun for everybody. Even gluten-free pizza satisfies many, myself included. I like all types of pizza! From salsiccia (sausage) to spinach and goat cheese (my husband’s favorite), there are so many types of pizza to shkoff! I always wondered why Chicago-style fans and New York-style fans butt head over which pizza is better. I think, the more the merrier! Why not enjoy more than one type? The only thing that gets to me with pizza is when it is too greasy. I get a sickening feeling seeing an oil slick, often with the reddish hue, on my slice. One way to circumvent that problem is to make your own pizza!

How about an unusual one? A little while ago, I wanted to make a weird pizza. In the kitchen, it’s not a rare occurrence for me to make something that I think may be unusual. I have a fascination with such things 🙂  So… here is what I thought up:  a Spaghetti Squash, Onion and Cashew Pizza. This is the type of dish that you can just throw together without following a recipe, as are the case with most pizza. So here is a step-by step tutorial of sorts with comments. Continue reading

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

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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

Fresh Lumpia Cabbage Wraps, a Remix on Lumpiang Sariwa

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Last week, I was at my parent’s house visiting for the week. Since I still go to my dentist near where they live, I often stay at their place for a few days when I have an appointment. One thing that I love, besides spending time with my family and the good food that they make is that I get to test some recipes on them. They have a bigger kitchen, so it is a nice change-of-pace to cook there instead of my small apartment kitchen. I think I mentioned in some of my other posts that my Dad has a big garden and that I often get some of his homegrown produce. One new item that he planted this season is a type of cabbage. I’m not sure exactly what the name of it is, but it seems like Savoy Cabbage. I told my Mom that I was thinking of making some sort of cabbage wrap with it and she gave me the delightful idea to make Lumpiang Sariwa (aka Fresh Lumpia) with the cabbage as a wrapper and some of the Spaghetti Squash Pancit Guisado (+ added veggies) that I had made. Continue reading

Pancit Guisado with Spaghetti Squash Noodles

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Noodle time again! Though it was not anyone’s birthday this week, I wanted to make Pancit Guisado, a Filipino stir-fry noodle dish with vegetables, seafood, and meat. We’ve been continuing to enjoy the winter squashes that are available, especially Spaghetti Squash, which are in it’s peak season from fall to winter. I’ve seen a lot of pasta applications to Spaghetti Squash, but I think that  it could also be adapted to any noodle dish or beyond. What better way to satisfy my Pancit craving and my fascination with tweaking dishes like this Filipino favorite than with the tasty, nutrition-packed and unique Spaghetti Squash? Continue reading

Sorghum Flatbread (Jowar ki Roti/Bhakri)

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As you probably know, I love experimenting with and eating gluten-free foods. I’ve had some sorghum flour that I wanted to make something with and was excited to try making Jowar ki Roti or Jowar ki Bhakri. This is a flatbread made with only sorghum flour and without the help of any gums or other common gluten-free binding agents. To make this flatbread you need just the sorghum (jowar) flour, salt, water, and oil which is optional. Continue reading

Esau’s Lentils

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What can I say about lentils except that they are awesome! Radical even. I came across several recipes for Esau’s Red Lentil stew (also called Jacob’s pottage), a dish inspired by ancient times. In addition to ethnic dishes, historical and ancient dishes fascinate me. What a story about a birthright and lentils that was! I cannot deny that the story of Jacob and Esau is a very fascinating one for me. So, I was eager to try to make lentils that seemed to be worthy of a birthright. Continue reading