beach blues

Summers around the world vary, clearly. Don’t worry I won’t dork out this post by subtly discussing seasonal differences all over the world (although it’s very tempting). For me though, as soon as you can walk outside in one layer of clothes without feeling like you’re about to become the next flavor or Ben and Jerry’s, it’s summer! Which means that right about now, I’m having those urges to frequent the beach or go on hikes or even book a spontaneous international flight (to Bali, maybe).

Are you having the same thoughts? Tell me all about it on the comments below. I’m planning to write another summer bucket list and must tries. Do you guys have anything in mind? To be honest, I wanna be super active and try new things this summer like water sports (surfing, wakeboarding)

1-Misibis Bay

or go on an unplanned road trip to somewhere I’ve never been before

and try local delicacies I’ve never seen or heard before (good luck tummy).

Whatever my summer plans (or the lack thereof) are, my goal is to live it and enjoy it. Come try it with me? *wink*

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family lunch: pork asado

Originally I was gonna call this post ‘HUNGER GAMES’. It’s an inside joke my sister and I came up with when we know we PIGGED OUT BIG TIME or when we’re planning on it.  While I was taking pictures, my little sister devoured 3 servings of this. She cautiously filled her plate with more food without us noticing. When we realized she ate almost a third of the food, we all started laughing. Had we been busier, we wouldn’t have had anything for lunch.

Our family’s secret recipe for Pork Asado

Pork Asado is a very common dish among Philippine households but like many of our national dishes, its recipe always varies from family to family. Basically, it’s tenderized pork marinated overnight in soy sauce, lemon or lime, tons of onion and pepper. Fry the pork then add the sauce made of pineapple juice, soy sauce and sugar. Simmer and wait for it to thicken and then serve with rice.

asado

Because my sister and I are not big fans of sweet dishes, (I know, I know. It’s weird that we hate sweet food and are not big dessert people.) our recipe is low on sugar and pineapple and high on lemon and onion. And to add that extra kick, we throw in some lightly charred chili. YUM! Makes me hungry just writing about it.

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A while back, hypersensationalism asked me to post a family recipe for a Filipino cuisine. I was originally planning to make a video of me cooking Adobo or Sinigang but the lighting in our kitchen is just not conducive for it. For now, I’ll be posting this one but I promise to really try and work on that lighting so I can show you how we make Filipino home-cooked meals. *excited*

Penafrancia Fiesta in Naga City

I was raised by a pious Catholic family, deeply committed to practices and festivities that come with the faith. Many of you guys must have already guessed that my grandparents are still very Hispanic in practice and are therefore very strict in imbibing traditions they grew up with to us, the ‘NEXT GENERATION’. Although I am now more liberal, I am still deeply attached to some of these practices including the one we’re celebrating now, Penafrancia Fiesta. 

penafrancia

Every September, for almost a century now, people have been gathering from all over the world to offer prayers and join the festivities for 9 days in honor of ‘INA’, Mother Mary- as she is better known. More than the long walk, the rain, the multitude of people pushing each other in an attempt to touch Her, it is a spiritual journey and I’ve always found it rejuvenating.

The process may not be for everybody but so far it has worked for me so for anyone who feels lost and would want some time to pray, think or be one with those who are also searching, this may just be what you need.

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my take on spicy pork

For those new to my blog, I’d have to confess how big a foodie I am. I enjoy food, from all parts of the world, and I’m willing to try even the strangest, spiciest and most unorthodox food there is. It comes from a long fascination for the art of cooking which I developed from years of living with my grandparent’s rustic, very homey dishes. Waking up to the smell of fried rice, one of my grandfather’s specialty, is always a welcome start to my day.

To my older subscribers, this doesn’t come as a surprise anymore. I’ve been posting tidbits of my humble attempts in the kitchen hoping other lost souls out there would take inspiration from my chutzpah. I’m nowhere near amazing but I thought chronicling my small victories would help me see how much I’ve improved and would either push you to the kitchen to try or have something good to laugh about.

Okay, so a few days ago I cooked SPICY PORK.

spicy pork

It’s a family favorite, something we usually order in Chinese restaurants- abundant in our side of the city. There’s not much to it. I used pork loin, no fat. The upside is it’s a healthier option but it also dries out quickly so I’m always extra careful not to overcook it . Then I added dried herbs and powdered spices to the flour I was gonna use to coat the chunks of pork. On a small wok, I sauteed  garlic, shallots, ginger and spring onion in sesame oil, dropped the pre-fried meat then added around 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, same amount of hoisin sauce and about 3 to 4 chopped chili picante. Just added salt and pepper to taste.

It’s always fulfilling putting something you’re proud of on a plate but it’s 10 times better that after a long prep, I can finally eat. YUM!

This is the finished dish, my take on Spicy Pork.

spicy pork- finished


the jeepney allegory: TRUST

For those who are not Filipinos, never been to the Philippines or have never seen travel shows featuring this living art of a country, a jeepney is our version of the famous, roughneck American Jeep. It can traverse any terrain and is durable. In contrast to the jeep that most are familiar with jeepneys are public utility vehicles meaning they function like buses or subways or toktoks in other countries. They’re one of the most popular means of public transportation and also one of the cheapest.

Pinoy Jeepney

Photo from a blogger friend, photosfromajuanderer.wordpress.com

There’s a lot to learn from a jeepney ride. I decided to devote a few entries every now and then to tell you about them.

This first entry is on trust.

Like most developing states, blue collar workers- jeepney drivers included- have to work extra hard to make ends meet. Most of them spend over 12 hours laboring intensively to earn minimum wage salaries often devoured by inflated prices of food and other staple commodities. It’s no sob story, just the truth. 

You would think that a jeepney driver would guard his earnings closely and ferociously considering his and his family’s sustenance for another day depended on it but he still exhibits an admirable degree of trust. Seldom will you see him accompanied by a conductor to collect fare from passengers. It will rest upon your conscience whether you pay or not. It’s fairly easy to get away with not paying but I’ve heard of very few successful attempts. It’s just the culture we grew up in. We pay whether the driver is aware that we did or not.

The driver allows us to make a decision for ourselves and trusts enough to make the right one.

We, in turn, are raised to prove him right.

I’ve heard many stories of honest drivers returning bags full of cash and valuables to their owners, even making the effort of visiting radio stations to find who lost them. I’d like to think the trust they have for people, those who would pay their fare even when no one’s checking, strengthened their moral high ground to remain honest even in the face of material temptation.

My moral for this one: trust is a value worth keeping even in the face testing circumstances like collecting money or people doing what’s expected of them.

You have to see the best in people, just like what a jeepney driver sees in his passengers.

a little chef inside

I LOVE FOOD.

That much I made clear in my previous entries. What I haven’t written about as much is how much I love preparing them. There are days when I dream of a bigger kitchen, more ovens, more recipes, more chances to cook and discover food. It has always been a passion, since I was very young and watching my grandfather cook rustic, Filipino dishes on the weekend for our whole family of 30 something to enjoy. That aroma that fills the kitchen then seeps into the living room where we wait patiently for lunch, it enlivens and draws me in so much that start fiddling around asking to help.

Now 15 years later, I still love it as much if not more. I see myself gravitate towards watching cooking shows, rooting for chefs at same time envying them. I spend more time in the kitchen that I’ve ever had. When I start cooking, I feel at home, like I am where I should be.