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29 August 2015

3 Easy Homemade Snacks with Nuts

When I went on my month and a half long vacation in the Philippines last June, I was thinking whether to stand by the fact that it was a vacation and I should be relaxing and enjoying myself with my family rather than stay attached to my computer, banging on the keyboard and rushing to meet deadlines because besides, I was staying in hotels. I chose the latter. But don't get me wrong. I went for a really low number of recipes to create because after all, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from grabbing a wooden spoon and a saucepan whenever I am close to a kitchen. 

28 August 2015

Coconut Water Cocktail

As soon as a fresh coconut is cracked, coconut water gushing out from its shell is one of the best things that remind me about living in a tropical country.We had a couple of tall trees in our garden and they were always full of fruit. However, getting them was a little problem because no one knew how to climb them. We can easily get them at the market because in the Philippines, you can buy coconuts everywhere. But getting them straight from your own trees and drinking the juice and eating the pulp as soon as they are detached from the tree have the freshness that nothing can top. 

26 August 2015

Grilled Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwich Sticks with Cheesy Dipping Sauce

When you have kids at home, eating three full meals at home plus incessant snacks throughout the day, you must run a very busy kitchen. And the food creations that come out from your little realm should be attract the attention of the young minds that rule the house. Throughout the whole month of August, when summer vacation officially happens, I had my hands full in keeping these little rulers busy and happy in the kitchen.

24 August 2015

Veggie Club Sandwich

"Grill, don't fry. Eat more vegetables, eat less meat." I think those are the two best pieces of advice that I got when I was starting to learn how to cook and I would like to convey the same thing to you. I follow both without fail even if I don't think I will ever be a vegetarian because I do eat meat and I cannot live without it. I serve meat at home in moderation and most often, I choose the lean part of the chicken because the kids need the protein to grow. And I thank my lucky stars that they love the chicken grilled plain then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt. So no fried chicken for them!

22 August 2015

Trulli Love Ristorante in Milan, Italy

You are in Milan and you are confused with the plethora of restaurants to choose from. I know the predicament fully well because I just went to Milan and being limited to just a few meals in my 3-day stay there, I had to choose well the restaurants to go to. When I travel, I want to eat well and foremost in my priorities is to try the local food. But after having some of the local food and you want to try other cuisines, then go for it because it is just the most natural thing to do in Milan. Milan may only be secondary to Rome as the second most important city in Italy but it plays a fundamental role in the gastronomic scene of the country. 

20 August 2015

Twice-Baked Vegetable-Stuffed Potatoes

Do you always have a bag of potatoes in your kitchen like I do? They are staple in my kitchen plus they keep well in a dark corner of the pantry for a longer time than the other vegetables. The most basic dish I make with them is to roast them in the oven with rosemary and sausages. My kids would party for that! Or sometimes I would just dice them then cook them in the saucepan on the stove. Easier, because there is no need to turn on the oven that way. But there are a thousand ways to incorporate potatoes in cooking. I think lately, I have been sharing a number of recipes with them. Let me add one more that every vegetarian would love..

19 August 2015

Stuffed Crabs

I may have been a picky eater when I was young but I put an exception on crabs. In fact, they are my favorite seafood. There are two ways of cooking them that I learned from my mom's kitchen. One is cooked in coconut milk with vegetables and loads of steamed rice to accompany them. In my opinion, this dish collectively puts all the fundamental Philippine flavors in one. Seafood, coconut milk and ginger. The second one, the Stuffed Crabs, is like an omelet that is stuffed in the crab shell. With crab meat and minced vegetables, these stuffed crabs are simply delicious.

17 August 2015

A Day in the Summer School of ALMA, La Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana

With my chef's uniform, toque and apron, I weaved my way at almost midnight through the hotel lobby and into my room, tired but dazed from the day's activities. My day had been so surreal that, if not for the things I just pulled out from my bag, I wouldn't even believe that I really spent a day with 40 of Italy's best neo-graduates from different hotelier institutes in the country. At such a young age, they are very passionate and dedicated to what they are doing and just incredibly talented!

13 August 2015

Healthy Chipotle Potato Skins

Potato skins recipe number 2. The previous one, the Garlic-Parmesan Potato Skins I posted is completely Italian in flavor and ingredients while this one has a Mexican flair because of the chipotle. It has a mild heat and a distinctive smoky flavor that makes the potatoes so pleasantly earthy and delicious. Since chipotle fast becoming everyone's preferred heat, these potato skins would be another recipe to add to your chipotle recipes and I promise you, you would love them because of the easiness in preparation and the simplicity of the tastes.

12 August 2015

Garlic-Parmesan Potato Skins

Let's speak about potato skins this time. Don't throw them out because we are going to make something delicious out of them. The next time you are thinking of preparing a potato dish, use the pulp, save the skin (leave about a couple of centimeters of pulp) for this recipe, flavor them, throw them in a hot oven then voila! Your snack is ready. I know that potato skin is not really the preferred part of everyone but don't take it literally because it still includes a little bit of the pulp. If you want to know the nutrition side, potato skin also has a significant amount of nutrients when you eat them like iron. Being very mild in taste, potatoes are great to mix with other ingredients because they quickly take on the flavor that you intend to take out. For this case, I simply mixed them mainly with fresh rosemary, garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano and the overall taste was wonderful.

Grilled Spicy Mediterranean Eggplant with Tomato Salad

Because there is an abundance of aubergines/eggplants right now, there's no better way to prepare a quick dish using them. Whether you eat them as the main dish or as a side dish, this will come out perfectly as a partner to meat and fish or as the protagonist in your meal with the simple tomato salad that this recipe comes with. It's one of my dependable summer recipes because it is very easy to make. I usually try to evade cooking in summer but in this case, I don't really mind the grilling part because whatever comes out of my warm kitchen is something that is healthy and light which is perfect for this season.

04 August 2015

Villa Eleiva in Montecchio (Umbria), Italy

When you are staying in a wooden lodge immersed in an olive orchard, how would you feel about at the outside world? You would actually forget that it exists. Because time stands still here and you will discover how it is like to live in a world of tranquility. I did for a weekend and I will tell you about it.

02 August 2015

Skinny Burrito Bowl

Make me go inside a Mexican restaurant and I will definitely have a burrito in my hand in minutes. It's one of my favorite Mexican dishes. But it is also on the messy side like any other food that has little fillings inside. There has to be a style in holding it up and biting into it without so much damage. You know, the filling ending up everywhere except where it should go. So when the idea of the burrito bowl came out, I was relieved because I would have 100% of that burrito filling in my mouth finally. And apparently, I was not alone in trying failing the art of eating a burrito properly.