My Mom had never been a big cook and I can only count with my fingers the number of dishes that she used to cook throughout my childhood. There was always someone cooking for the family so she didn't station herself so much in the kitchen. What I do remember is, with the very few dishes that she was cooking, they were all outstanding! One of them was this soup. In the Philippines, it is called Molo Soup. I referred to it as Pork & Shrimp Dumpling Soup because it contains dumplings filled with pork and shrimp then cooked in hot chicken broth.
29 December 2013
28 December 2013
Two broken records of mispronounced words of the first verse of the Jingle Bells song continues to serenade our house. It's been a month and they still haven't abated. They remind me of my Chipmunks Christmas album when I was a child. I kept on playing it until my siblings begged me to go for some normal music. But I ruled the music scene in our house then. I was the youngest and it was Christmas. Revenge comes decades after in the voices of my very own kids. Ever wonder how singing an English song sang by the Chipmunks voices with a strong Italian accent sounds like? You should come to my house and listen to my kids' daily concert.
23 December 2013
When Christmas comes, the baking comes too. Biscuit-making becomes a main activity in the kitchen and big boxes are prepared to be filled up once again with these goodies that are to be given to close friends and family. I had my share last week from my mother-in-law and her sister, who packed a small box for me and my family to take home. They are those Sicilian Christmas biscuits that they have been making generation after generation.
21 December 2013
Christmas Eve dinner is probably the only dinner of the year when we allow ourselves to splurge. We take out all our best stuff. The silver, the crystals, linens, the good bottles of champagne, wine and food. It's a dinner we have all been waiting for to celebrate with the people close to our hearts. This year, my mother-in-law and her sister are preparing everything for the 24th and 25th celebrations and I am allowed to sit back and enjoy their cooking. They have been planning and cooking for weeks already. I can't wait for the time to arrive.
20 December 2013
The thickest hot chocolate drink I know is Italian. Sometimes I think that it's already at the borderline of being called a beverage and a dessert. But wow, how I love it! Especially when dark chocolate is used. Like the cup I made in this post of Cioccolata Calda (Hot Chocolate). Cocooned in a comfortable corner in a warm room after coming from a freezing temperature outside, oh yes, give me a cup please! Winter has some really great features like this cup of delicious hot chocolate spiked with cognac. It takes away the winter blues!
18 December 2013
Maybe it's because Christmas time is arriving that the price of the seafood is skyrocketing. It has to be the reason because when my husband came home with the fresh shrimp I asked him to get at the fishmonger, he also showed me the amount he paid for half a kilo (1 pound) and I was astonished. The quality was really good though but still, it makes me think how much shrimp can really cost like gold sometimes!
16 December 2013
Why is it that kids need you the most when your hands are temporarily not available for use? Like when you just plunged your hands into a mountain of flour and egg making everything gooey? Or when all your fingers are stuck to each other with dough in between them. Mind you, before my hands dive into any food that I am preparing, I give out more than enough number of warnings that my hands will not be available for the next 15 minutes. I always get an affirmative then after 2 minutes, I hear "Mommy!" And that often translates to "I need you and your hands"!
14 December 2013
There is a time when making savory pies for dinner is just what epitomizes family winter adventures in the kitchen. When I was making these pies, the kitchen was a little mess, with flour everywhere and my daughter sharing the table with me (also covered with flour). She was flattening scraps of the leftover puff pastry with her own little rolling pin imitating all my movements (well, trying actually) and using different kinds of gadgets she finds in the drawers in making her own pies.
13 December 2013
You will almost never see our kitchen fruit bowl empty. Perhaps only on those occasions when I just washed it and it's waiting to dry on the kitchen counter. It's a big crystal bowl with a peculiar shape which is actually a punch bowl if I remember right. When I saw it on display in the shop, I could already imagine how it was going to look like full of multi-colored fruits at the center of my kitchen table. I thought that it was perfect. In fact, it has already been staying there for more than a decade.
12 December 2013
Wow, where has the year gone by? I have been too busy minding my things that I didn't even realize how close we already are in concluding the year. The hints hit me when the kids' class recital schedules get posted one by one. Next week, we have a ballet class recital, a couple of school class recitals, karate special class and I'm pretty sure something with the Boy Scouts too. To think I only have two kids. I wonder how parents with more than 2 kids cope with their children's activities.
11 December 2013
Perhaps two of the best things to combine with potatoes are cheese and pancetta (or bacon). In my mind they are! I love eating the warm softened potatoes with gooey melted cheese and toasted pancetta. It's absolutely divine! And one great thing about it is that there's a plethora of ways to put them together. I have a few of these potatoes-cheese-pancetta recipes in this blog too, all done in diverse ways.
08 December 2013
When I was young, I remember growing up watching the adults prepare the milkfish before grilling them. First, they are stuffed with onions and tomatoes then wrapped with banana leaves tightly before they are sent out to the barbecue grill. I never really asked about the necessity of having the banana leaves around them. I just thought that it was the only way to grill fish.
07 December 2013
When I became a parent, part of the package with the little bundle of joy I was holding in my arms was also stepping inside the world of getting to know all the cartoon characters that exists and children's parties (giving them and attending them). And in the process, growing deaf too as the years of attending children's parties progress.
06 December 2013
There's only one thing I can say about this dessert. I had fun making it. I was thinking of how the planets are orbiting in the solar system. If only my Science teacher can see my handiwork. I think he will immediately fail me as soon as he starts counting. I have 3 planets more and the sun is missing. I remember that when I was studying the planets, there were 9 planets. I am surprised to discover that now, there are only 8 left. Apparently, Pluto was disqualified as the 9th planet in 2006 because it is considered a dwarf planet.
05 December 2013
I am still undecided whether I like tofu or not. The texture bothers me when I eat it so when it's fried like this, the external crunchy part takes away that dread of eating something that I am not so crazy about. Being a part of Asian cuisine, it's a familiar ingredient to me. There are actually two ways I can eat it. One, with this dish and another, a peculiar sweet, warm breakfast called taho, eaten in the Philippines that is composed of a softer kind of tofu (the silk kind), vanilla syrup and sago pearls.
04 December 2013
Francese! (French!) My husband and I took our kids on a tour of the catacombs of the Church of St. Agnes Outside the Walls in Rome and there was a collection of different nationalities in our little group. The guide was checking which languages we all understand to determine which language she can use. Upon hearing the word Francese, my daughter immediately jumped up and shouted Francese!
03 December 2013
There are only a few seasonal fruits and vegetables that I literally check the calendar and stands for, and keep on rechecking until the first crops arrive at the farmer's market. Cavolo nero, as it is called in Italian or Tuscan kale in English, is one of those fresh food that keeps me going to the farmer's market until I get my own bunch to cook at home.
01 December 2013
Our Sundays have changed since last week. We start pretty early with a trip to the church to drop off our son for his Boy Scout meeting, an unhurried breakfast, food shopping, then Sunday mass at around midday at the church where we pick him up. It almost seems like a model Sunday morning for a typical family. Prior to this new twist to our hectic Sunday schedule, we were your typical family on a lazy Sunday morning.