Monday, January 23, 2006

How my son prepares our sandwiches

Can you spot the difference?

My son has a very personalized way of preparing everyone's sandwiches at home. If there's one expert sandwich maker I have come to meet, it would be him

He prepares our sandwiches exactly the way we want ours to be. We all want meat, so the meat is on. He also knows exactly how to layer the vegetables so that the tomatoes wont make the bread slices soggy. The cheese should be on the other side to protect the pickles also from well...making the bread soggy.

Now here's the funny part. He puts as many or as little pickles as you want. Sometimes, when we have pickled jalapenos at home, he exactly knows who want jalapenos in theirs and how much. Isn't that neat?

Guess which one is mine?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pata Tim

One more try on Pata Tim, this time, a diner friendly one. I had to debone the hocks since I had a few oldies for guests. I was also lucky to find "mustasa" from the Filipino store. You will have to pardon me because I actually cook without measuring my ingredients. We call this cooking talent "tancha-tancha" in Pilipino.

Maybe, I should just tell you how I cooked this. First, I boiled one big hock in a pot adding a few star anise seeds, soy sauce and brown sugar in it. I added about two cups of water. I was more generous with the brown sugar this time. I think I actually put about 1 cup of it. The soy sauce is of course depending on your taste but in mine, I might have added about 1/4 cup. Once it was tender, I asked hubby to debone the hocks so that the taste will stick to the meat. I had to simmer this on low heat for about 2 hours. In fact it is better to cook it in a slow cooker but I cannot remember why I didn't use mine that time.

Once it is tender or even better if it could melt right in your mouth, add the mustasa before serving. Do not overcook the mustasa. I made this a day earlier because with pata tim, the taste improves if left overnight in the fridge. Make sure though that the mustasa is added only upon serving.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lasang Pinoy 6 : Let's wash it down with booze! !

(Logo courtesy of my kasaya, Mike Mina of Lafang)
With the holiday season over, I am sure you guys have a lot of stories to tell. Yes, the tender kilawen na kambing that your brother-in-law prepared, the sweet dilis you received as a present from a classmate, the inihaw na bangus you bought from Aling Vering and even the dinuguan when Mang Tomas butchered the pig for lechon.

In the Philippines, drinking is a past time, a way of unwinding (for the men anyway). It's a person's way of de-stressing from a hard day's knock. Not that it is not in other countries, but there is an added twist to how Filipinos enjoy drinking. More often than not, they always have a pulutan to go with their drinks. Sometimes, the reason why a drinking spree is unforgettable depends on how good the pulutan is. Only in the Pilipins, so they say!

So what exactly is a pulutan? Well, out of curiosity, I googled it but even wikipedia did not describe the way I have known pulutan to be. I shouldn't say that. It is a finger food alright but I am sure there is more to it than a finger food, literally. Maybe we should add to wikipedia's with an intimate description of it.

Pulutan is a kind of food that is served as accompaniment to a drink. It comes in different kinds like meat, fish, nuts, chips. It's prepared in different ways...raw, fried, steamed. Basically, it is anything that makes drinking enjoyable. Even a pet might start to look as a pulutan depending on the level of alcohol drinkers(I call them "bingeirs") have had but that is a different story I would not even like to touch.

Pulutan has evolved in a hundred ways. When I was young, I was made sure to understand that pulutan was only for men, drinking men--hands-off that saucer served in front of those drunk men. Of course there were no comprehensible reasons given to me and I wasn't allowed to ask why, lest I'd be sent to bed. In many occasions, I always ended up dreaming about how they tasted. Now that I have reached the age of reasoning, I believe that had the drinking men allowed me to eat their pulutan, I would have finished the pulutan all up before they even got drunk. Drinking wouldn't have been fun for them then.

As street-hawkers and restaurants mushroomed, so did the meaning of pulutan expand. Pulutan is now served as a delicacy and specialty in reputable restaurants, not as a pulutan per se but as appetizers. From a simple dinakdakan, evolved "crispy sisig". I couldn't even draw the line between ingenuity and poverty when it comes to pulutan anymore. The chicken feet that my father used to throw away when he cooked tinola are now delicacies called "Adidas" and you will find out from my round-up why. If you're walking down the streets and see IUD-like barbecues, well they are called IUDs indeed made out of chicken intestines. They do make drinking enjoyable whatever they're made out of.

So, let's not waste our time. Bring out all the pictures we took during the holidays to show-off how we enjoyed our boozes or bring out the pots and pans and cook one up if you haven't done one yet and let's re-live the holiday feeling over again.

Do you want to join? Here's how it works. Write your thoughts about pulutan on or before January 31. Post them in your blog and send me an e-mail at or so I could include you in my round-up. You don't need to be a Filipino to join. Yeah, tell us how your trip to the Philippines was, that's alright!

Take it away!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lasang Pinoy 5: Impromptu Christmas Dinner

Ola and cheers to everyone straight from the Philippines. Behind all the revelry, remind me next time not to go shopping for Noche Buena on December 24 itself. The que was just unending and you have to ready to stand behind the lines for an hour just to pay. But then again, our Christmas this year was something unusual. We just arrived from the province, tired from a celebration happening 2 days prior to Christmas eve. My brother's birthday is on the 24th so he was given the task of cooking for us. We were'nt difficult to please. Exhausted, we didn't mind whatever he prepared for us.

My sister who attended the grand celebration herself also had it. She wasn't ready to touch anything in the kitchen despite the fact that we were having the birthday celebration at my parents' house where she lives now. Father does not live there anymore. Since mother passed away, he decided to retire in the province, 6 hours away from the city. The cold water, the weather, the travels we had made us all contented with whatever was on the table. And oh, the helpers gone as well to celebrate Christmas with their families. (sigh!)

I decided to prepare something light myself. I bought a few pieces of Malaga and steamed them. I seasoned the fish with sauteed ginger, soy sauce, knorr seasoning and garnished it with finely chopped green onions. Brother prepared dinuguan from the lechon. My sister prepared lychees with gelatin and ordered a tray of macaroni for the kidlets.

Well, this was our Noche Buena but we had a better one the next day.

Kids were happier the next day. They got to meet cousins from afar and played different games. And this is how it is every year no matter where we are. Same place, same day and same time but maybe not the same people. The host never leaves her post for it has been a tradition as far as I can remember. We know where to go if we happen to be in Baguio on Christmas Eve and Day, for my family anyway.