25 March 2015

Seafood Mix with Fried Barley and Garlic Lime Sauce


When my kids casually stroll to the kitchen while I am preparing dinner, they usually look around for some clues what will be on the table soon. Seafood has a particular aroma so they already know that it will be one of those meals that they cannot complain about. If their father requires them to eat their fruit everyday, I make sure that we all have fresh seafood on the table at least once a week. With my persistence, they each have their own favorites now after a struggle of even making them eat before. My son loves clams, shrimp and salmon while my daughter loves salmon but only with soy sauce and lemon dipping sauce. For now it is like that but I know that when they grow older, they will open more possibilities for more kinds of seafood.

24 March 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken, Potatoes & Mushrooms


You're not too tired yet of all these slow cooker recipes avalanching from my blog are you? It's ok to admit it because I myself am getting weary continuing to write about slow cooker this and slow cooker that. But let's face it. We still do have our slow cookers on our kitchen counters and we still are using it, aren't we? In fact, I have another recipe project for tomorrow that should be published in about 10 days. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I am the only one who takes away the slow cooker and puts the gelato maker in its place because I am already starting with summer recipe projects. I have a small kitchen so I have to learn how to systematize things around me.

23 March 2015

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Casserole


Everytime I pass one of the three apricot trees in our compound, I gaze at the budding blossoms waiting to open up and delight us with its beauty. Out of the three, the one in the sunniest position blossoms ahead of the other two. We have some fruit trees in the garden but the apricot is my favorite. Its small white flowers coming out from the dark pink to almost bordeaux buds are spectacular. These blossoms are already out as well as the quince blossoms and some other beautiful buds that are preparing to bloom.

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables


When quinoa became a sensation, everyone, including me, started using it everywhere. One of the first recipes where I used it in a unique way (that became quite popular) was in a smoothie. When I had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge and I needed something to thicken my Chamomile, Strawberry & Quinoa Smoothie, I looked at the quinoa resting in its bowl and I thought, why not? That 'why not' gained me quite a number of ripples in my blog. It is also one of my favorite smoothies because it is healthy, subtle and delicate.

22 March 2015

Quinoa Nasi Goreng


Solar eclipses don't happen often so when I saw in the television that it can be seen partially in Rome, I couldn't wait for the day. Friday it was and both of my kids were home. After all the prep talk about the importance of not looking straight at the sun, explaining and demonstrating to them how the moon will cross the sun's path, we always go back to number one. What will happen again Mommy? And more than anything, they had an intensifying fear of the sun. They refused to go out and see the eclipse outside. Did I explain something wrong?

20 March 2015

Slow Cooker Kale and Quinoa Soup


From a food photographer's point of view, there are some kinds of food that are impossible to take good photos of. Soups and brown food are examples and when I have them in the list of recipes that I have to create, I dread the time when I have to take photographs because however much the creative juices are running in my mind or whatever food props I use, I come out with a barely acceptable piece. But that doesn't mean that the food is not delicious. That just means that looks can be really deceiving because non-photogenic subjects can be also the next best dish that you've ever had.  I just wonder how I can make it a winner too in the photos.

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs


There's the kid in me that gets very excited when meatballs are for dinner. All kids love them don't they? And that continues on until adulthood. Love for meatballs doesn't have barriers or limits and there even so many different kinds to enjoy. Ideas are also becoming more creative and nowadays we can find some that are adapted to most diet needs like these mouthwatering meatballs cooked in tomato sauce and with melted mozzarella cheese in the middle. Did I just get your attention? Since tomorrow spring officially starts, I would like to share this meatball recipe before you stash away your slow cooker. And to be honest, I think I still have a few slow cooker recipes to share.

18 March 2015

Zucchini-Crusted Pizza


When I was asked to make this, I didn't know from where to start. After skirting around the assignment for a while, the inevitable arrived. It was time to submit my recipe and photos. Being the birthplace of pizza, Italy only has the traditional pizza crust, differing from thick or thin crust.  Zucchini is an unexpected ingredient to use and so I finally settled myself in front of the computer and started to learn about using zucchini as pizza crust.

17 March 2015

One-Pot Meal: Cheesy Polenta, Sausage, Mushrooms and Eggs


How did your weekend go? Mine had been quite slow and quite pleasantly relaxed like most of my weekends lately. I decided to slow down a bit and smell the roses. Running around with too much haste makes things happen faster but I forget how to enjoy what's around me. Some things can wait and some things need more attention. I think it is time to make amends with myself for forgetting how to live life better and I want to start it with slow Sunday brunches with my family, still rumpled from the previous night's sleep. Yes, it is nicer that way.

13 March 2015

Villa della Pergola in Alassio (Italian Riviera)


I've been keeping this secret of a place in my external drive for a long time and after I had just recently browsed through my archives, the pictures just came tumbling out to me and left me wondering why I never shared all these photos before. I took them on both my visits to this beautiful 19th-century British villa in Alassio, a town in Liguria (along the coast going towards France), Italy.

12 March 2015

Garlicky Beef Tenderloin Tips (Beef Salpicao)


When I made this then went through the painstaking job of photographing it afterwards, I was suffering from having to stop myself from picking a little piece of tenderloin with one of the forks in the picture. Believe me, it was hard. I was aware that if I did so, I would dirty the fork then ruin the way I put together the dish. This only happens to me when I love the food that I am photographing while its irresistible aroma keeps on beckoning me to grab a piece. Beef salpicao, as it is locally known in the Philippines is a very tasty and tender meat dish that is pretty popular on cocktail hours.

Bruschetta con Capuliatu e Basilico (Bruschetta with Sicilian Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil)


There is something about speaking with older people that has always captivated me even when I was a child. It's true that the more years a person adds to his life, he also gains more wisdom, stories to tell, experiences to share and practical advice to give. It's like shedding off what is unnecessary and just going back to basics, what's important and what is genuinely good. In Italy, one of my favorite topics in speaking with them is food. The advice they share sheds light to what was good hundreds of years ago (even before their time) and still good until now.

10 March 2015

Chicken Parmesan Rolls with Homemade Marinara Sauce


Yesterday was International Women's Day. I think it's the first year that I didn't receive a bunch of mimosas but I don't really mind because from breakfast until dinner, my husband and kids took over. Breakfast, like all days, my husband prepared everything, lunch was in the woods with simple tramezzini (triangular sandwiches) and gelato while dinner was pizza al taglio that my husband and kids ordered take out from our local pizzeria. And to conclude the celebrations, we had a proper lunch at a good cozy restaurant today. I think all these treats were much better than any bunch of mimosas, don't you think?

09 March 2015

Frittata Soup


Leftovers, what do I do with them? I am sure you asked yourself exactly the same question a hundred times. After meals, however great or simple they were, there is always a piece that remains - too small to be considered a part of a meal again but you are just too full to eat more. I tend to almost beg my family to finish everything on the table so that we don't waste any food because my kids are not enthusiastic about having them again in the succeeding meals. Unless I think of a good recipe where I get to revive the leftover and make it into something interesting again.

07 March 2015

Filipino Chicken Egg Noodle Soup (Chicken Mami)


Sigh, it is another cold windy day. Very early this morning, I stood up to combat the wind and cold to take out my dog. I was sleeping snugly in my warm bed but since I am a light sleeper and I know my dog's ungodly hour ritual very well, I heard him walking towards our room then he stalled at the doorway, choosing whether to wake me up or my husband. I was the obvious winner. This morning was still very windy and chilly like the past days and it was a good thing that my dog himself wanted to go back inside the warm house immediately after doing his doggy things.

06 March 2015

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken, Rice and Bacon Soup


The weather is a bit off again. It is too cold, raining a lot, strong gusts of wind are making everything fly (including myself at times when I walk the dog) and maybe too much snow for some of you. Being confined indoors is the only option around and we have to stay as functional as we can inside the house. Thank goodness I work at home! And it is also the best time to take out those recipes that we have been meaning to cook a long time ago (where are they anyway?) or experiment a bit for to create new recipes. I guess that's me.

05 March 2015

Protein Quinoa Pancakes


Let there be breakfasts like this! Always and always, to wake me up immediately. I swear, I won't be needing that snooze button to prolong my stay in bed and shake off the sleepy cobwebs hanging on my head. Because I write at night and anyway I have always been a night person, I have a terrible time waking up in the morning. No matter where I am, my internal time zone will always be inverted. So here I am, a big lover of breakfasts but not really a morning person. I know they don't go together but if I have a delicious breakfast waiting for me, I can even wake up ahead of the alarm clock!

One-Skillet Breakfast with Sausage, Beans, Roasted Grapes and Tomatoes


Now that my kids are back to school, my dog and I are sharing a strange silence at home. A week and a half of nursing them back to health after both of them got sick (and I think most of their classmates too) made the house busier than usual while I shuttled two food trays from the kitchen to their bed all day, all week. One wanted this while the other one wanted that, tea is too hot, more bread, water, juice, and the list never ceased. Work was tenfold but looking at their poor little sick faces peeking out from blankets until their necks, my heart just melts. Kids are not meant to stay in bed being sick. They are meant to be jumping everywhere, running around the house and just showing off their incredible energy and rosy cheeks. 

03 March 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Brandy


Is it Sunday yet? I have here a very tender pork roast dish that I cooked in the slow cooker for 8 hours which is lightly flavored with brandy and juniper berries. For years, I had been cooking this pork roast in the oven but this time, I turned to the slow cooker for a change. The only difference is that the sauce from the slow cooker is watery whereas when it is cooked in the oven, it is thicker. To make the sauce thicker, just simply recook the sauce with flour at the end.

Cabbage Rolls with Soy-Honey Chicken and Rice


When I thought that my family and I were going on a trip to the Philippines last year, I couldn't hold my excitement. Months (or was it even a year?) in advance, I had already mentally mapped out our itinerary of the restaurants to go to, the dishes that I had to have and the perfect island to stay in to get to include the term relax in my vocabulary again. I was almost there but still physically rooted in Italy. But things shifted as the months progressed and we had to postpone the plan for another year. My foodie thoughts however flew ahead of me. As much as I love Italian food, Asian food keeps creeping in my thoughts.

01 March 2015

Georgia on My Mind: Wines of Georgia from the Kakheti Region (Part 3)


Georgian wines are starting to invade the wine shelves from different nooks of the world. I saw the first few bottles in Italy a few months ago, and having seen and experienced the unique wine making in that beautiful country, I couldn't help getting excited myself. It has been almost a year since I went to the Republic of Georgia and had an unforgettable experience of trying their unique food, wine and culture. I shared some of them in two posts namely: Georgia on My Mind: A Tour of Georgia's Capital, Tbilisi (Part 1) and Georgia on My Mind: Hotels & Sights at the Kakheti Region (Part 2). This is the third part and perhaps the most important one because I put together the different wineries in the Kakheti region that we visited.

Sweet Jam-Filled Gnocchi


I still remember the first time I ate a dish of sweet canederli di albicocca (dumplings with apricots) in a restaurant in South Tyrol. I love savory canederli rolled in melted butter with sage and sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano or sometimes simply served with vegetable broth but when I saw the canederli in the dessert section of the menu, it just jumped at me and I couldn't wait to try it. It was the highlight of my lunch and I couldn't forget how good it was. The apricots were in full season and they were so good with the right touch of cooking.

28 February 2015

Slow Cooker Chunky Squash and Chicken Stew


Again, let me share with you what transpired in the kitchen with the use of my slow cooker. For sure, it is something good because I am sharing it with you here. It is also very healthy because the ingredients are mainly squash, vegetable broth and chicken. If your kids eat squash, then this can be a meal to serve next time to your family. I am still working on my own kids to eat squash and since they both love chicken, this is a great dish to push them to accept squash in their diets. With the presence of the chicken, it helps making them eat it easier.

27 February 2015

Slow Cooker Kale and Sausage Soup


If there is ever a recipe that gave me surprising results, this has to be one of them. This soup is definitely not a looker, in fact, I had a hard time photographing it. But don't let the looks deceive you because this is full of flavors, thanks to the kale, and the sausage gave it a delicious accompaniment in the overall taste. Yes, the sausage gives a strong taste too but do choose the kind that doesn't have so much overpowering herbs and spices mixed in because it might clash with the kale. The sausage I used in this soup has some fennel seeds and other mild-tasting herbs and spices. So choose the sausages well to make a great-tasting soup and don't forget the less fatty ones too. A good choice makes a big difference in taste and in nutrition.

Slow Cooker Barley and Vegetable Minestrone


One of the many talents of the slow cooker is to be my super silent assistant in the kitchen. I just put all the ingredients inside and off it goes to slow cooking for hours. I don't need to worry about cutting it short in the middle of cooking because I have to hop off the house for a few minutes to pick up my daughter in school. Lacking in proper time management skills (no one is perfect!), I sometimes find myself in the predicament of having to turn off the fire in the stove or the oven for a few minutes while I step out of the house for a few minutes. I never want to be late in picking up my daughter and I will never leave the fire (however low it is) nor the oven on while I am not home so my only option is to cut short the cooking and resume afterwards. And that's when I applaud one of the great advantages of slow cookers. I can leave it cooking for a few minutes while I am out.