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31 August 2012

Cornflake Crusted Fish with Chili Tartare Sauce and the Town of San Felice Circeo

When I was in college,  I would take cooked food from my parents' house on Sunday nights that would see me throughout the week in my dorm.  My only relationship in cooking then was to press the button of my rice cooker and to reheat what I got from our house.  I never thought of cooking from scratch and it never bugged me that I don't have any relationship with it even if my dorm was equipped with its own kitchen.  It was spic and span when I arrived and after 4 years, it was still how I found it.  Shiny and almost unused.  

28 August 2012

Omurice, Japanese Omelette Rice

I am what you call an amateurish Japanese cuisine enthusiast.  I grew up eating and loving Japanese food but my knowledge ends at the menu of a basic Japanese restaurant. They're never even genuine because I never saw a Japanese chef working inside the kitchen or walking out casually in his chef's uniform. Only when I was in my early-thirties, a few meters from my Mom's house, did I walk into an authentic Japanese restaurant with a Japanese chef preparing the food right in front of everyone. For its authenticity, the menu was even in Japanese that for the life in me, couldn't decipher what was written on it. What was even more overwhelming was that the chef / owner didn't speak a single word of English! Luckily, that night, there was an elderly Japanese gentleman close to me who spoke English and voluntarily translated the food. 

25 August 2012

Sea Asparagus Salad with Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Isola del Giglio (Giglio Island)

After a seafood lunch of orata alla livornese in Eataly, I made my way to the seafood section to buy some shrimp to cook for dinner.  As I was checking the array of oysters from Brittany, France, my eyes landed on a big container of alghe (seaweed) beside them.  I went closer and was transfixed for a full minute.  My life raced back to my childhood, remembering fond memories of Sunday lunches in my grandparents' house. 

23 August 2012

Potato & Chickpea Salad with Smoked Salmon & Avocado

If you can only see my computer, there's an increasing amount of photo albums of food that I have been meaning to share.  My problem is, I am not a planner.  I have never been one and I will never straighten up with one wave of the wand.  I jump from one half-prepared post to another like a busy bee with no real aim.  I have been flying over this post the past few days, abandoned it, worked on another one, then came back to this one again.  See what I mean?  Even I get confused with my round-the-blog movements. 

18 August 2012

Cassata Gelato (Ice Cream Loaf Cake)

It took me longer to look for the proper name of this ice cream cake than preparing it.  In the town of my husband's relatives in Sicily (not in all parts), they call it il pezzo duro (the hard piece).  The first time I heard it, I was very amused.  Well, ok.  Literally, it IS a hard piece of loaf-shaped ice cream cake.  I asked another Sicilian from another province of the island and neither she knew about it. 

17 August 2012

Mango Shake, With or Without Milk?

Sometimes, we get the kick out of making complex recipes with extra long names that no one really understands except ourselves and the one who created the recipe.  When we have the chef-like confidence serum pumping in our veins, we conquer the world of cooking.   Then when the final dish is ready, we look at what we made alternately with the picture of the dish we were trying to copy, slowly at first then rapidly, with panic written all over our faces. 

15 August 2012

Mediterranean Farro Salad with Swordfish & Salmoriglio Dressing

No, you didn't enter the wrong door to a kindergarten classroom.  And neither is this an art class teaching the primary colors.  It's still Apron and Sneakers, the same old blog that you check out once in a while for recipes where you sometimes leave nice, heartwarming notes telling me how much you've enjoyed whatever it is that I have written, cooked or taken pictures of.  You are always welcome to leave me notes like that for they make someone else's day happy.  And that someone is me.  

14 August 2012

Three Sorbets: Prickly Pear, Rose and Violet

After the umpteenth time that my daughter came running to me for splinters in her hands, I finally told myself that never again will I put the fichi d'india (prickly pears) along with the other fruits in the fruit bowl.   They're full of small spines that, when lodged in the skin, can become a painful nuisance to deal with.   If I can't teach my child NOT to play with the fruits, then I will just have to teach myself to baby proof the kitchen.  Prickly pears included!

10 August 2012

Chicken, Pineapple & Mango Salad

When I serve a whole chicken, I always end up with half a chicken breast that I don't know what to do with.  Three of us at home are red meat eaters and only one is a white meat eater.  That means, we fight over the thighs and wings and we have so much white meat left.  But being a Mom, I cannot fight with the kids on who gets the thighs, can I? 

08 August 2012

Simple Lemon & Lime Tea with Mint

We are a tea family.  From 2-year old to 6-year old to parents, we drink an industrial quantity of our favorite amber liquid.  Hot in winter and ice cold in summer.  Correct that, we also drink cold tea in winter.   A good cold tea is not just any cold tea.  A little grimace here and there with the first sips can attest to the taste of what I am drinking.  In the commercial forms, we don't really have a lot of brands to choose from.  Five, tops, if I am not mistaken.  

07 August 2012

Pasta with Salsiccia, Drunken Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Discovering Eataly

I have a boring life when August steps in.  My vacations are finished and I start cocooning myself inside the house until the peak of the summer heat subsides.  With the whole country going to the beach (including my kids and husband), I choose to stay indoors and enjoy being away from the reach of the sun.  People are baffled about this when I live just a few minutes from the beach.  The only explanation I can give is that growing up in the Philippines, a tropical country with 365 days of sun (well, most of them), I enjoyed practically a lifetime of beach living.  Being an archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands, it's a beach paradise.  In that sense, I cannot let go of the memories of the comfort of staying in almost isolated beaches with white sands. 

05 August 2012

Parmesan Hamburger with Smoked Scamorza Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I'm not denying that I have frequent cravings for big, fat juicy cheeseburgers partnered with a tall glass of cold Coke. They're so good and satisfying that when you finally have that first big bite, everything falls into the right places. Healthy or not, I cannot refrain from eating burgers at the burger joints!

03 August 2012

Strawberry & Pineapple Shake with Limoncello (Frullato di Fragole e Ananas con Limoncello)

I can't help recalling how amused I was when I first made this frullato (shake).  It was the day before I left for France and I had been trying to empty the fridge the whole week.   My husband reminded me to make him the Pizza with Ricotta, Strawberries & Nutella/Chocolate right on the day I thought I was done with my work.  I bought 2 baskets of strawberries, which I already thought was too much but the vendor gave me the third and last basket for a fraction of a price or rather, just gave it to me as a gift because I paid almost nothing for it. 

01 August 2012

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Fennel & Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Parco degli Acquedotti & Tor Fiscale of Rome

I did turn on the stove for this a few days ago, when the heat was still tolerable.  I had this undying craving for grilled shrimps that my husband had to run to the supermarket a few minutes before closing time to get me some shrimps to cook in time for lunch.   It was a Sunday and the supermarkets in town, the only open shops on Sundays, were getting ready to call it a day.  The seafood section was already closed, and there was a nice lady working at the supermarket who went in to their stockroom, geared up for a trip to the North Pole and searched for a box of frozen shrimps for my husband.  She happily gave him a big box and shared her own opinion on the shrimps.  She herself buys them and loves them.  Her enthusiasm was infectious!