Kitchen experiment: Food52’s oven-baked fried chicken

In which, I tried tweaking a classic, with much success!

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Continue reading Kitchen experiment: Food52’s oven-baked fried chicken

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Now where were we?

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So this was my lunch today. I was checking out the fridge for what to eat (and also with the idea of planning dinner) when I spied a lonely eggplant in the corner of the veggie crisper. Voila! Lunch dilemma solved. I sliced it up, fried it and had it with leftover rice. Dipping sauce is made up of rice vinegar, soy sauce, chopped up garlic and a bit of salt. Yum!

While I was eating, I was reminded of the time D and I were making moussaka. Our version involved sliced up eggplant, which you then fry and layer with sliced cooked potatoes, sauteed minced lamb, white sauce and lots of cheese before baking everything to perfection in the oven. As we were frying the eggplant, I turned to D and said that in the Philippines, the fried eggplant alone with rice would be a complete meal by itself. D looked at me like I was crazy (but in that polite way Brits do it) and merely said that it didn’t sound appetising to him at all. I only laughed. Which got me thinking about the different ways we’re culturally conditioned to like certain things that someone from a different culture might find strange. For instance, D with the fried eggplant and rice (and probably a lot of Pinoy dishes; but this is probably more because of my cooking than the inherent qualities of the dish itself. I once cooked him adobo that had too much vinegar in it. He hates sour dishes, so that adobo probably, uhm, soured him on the dish forever!).

In my case, am still struggling to come to terms with his love for the quintessentially English baked beans on toast. We once had this for lunch at home in the UK, because we couldn’t be bothered to cook something and I was thinking then that it was a strange meal. I eventually mentioned that I found the combination of beans and toast was not what I’d consider a meal. He was amused and vowed not to serve it to me again, remarking that as a penniless university student, he practically lived on the stuff. I guess to him and many Brits, baked beans is a staple, same as rice for Filipinos. Or maybe instant pancit canton (fried noodles), if we’re going by the analogy of starving uni students. For me, that was the staple and even for a few years after uni, which is probably why I don’t eat it today. There’s a pack of six Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton packets in the pantry that we bought last year (I think) and I haven’t opened it yet. I don’t know why I bought it. For nostalgia? Or a worst-case scenario for when the zombie apocalypse happens maybe and we’d need supplies? Who knows!

So what did you have for lunch?

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Got the fright of my life today. I was thinking that I really should update ye ol’ blog again so logged on to WordPress via my laptop and while I got into my blog, all other pages were white with only the WordPress logo on them! WordPress did not even recognize my account name and password! I know I don’t post as much any more but this incident has made me realize how important this blog is to me! Any ideas why I could’t access my blog from my laptop?

Kitchen experiment: Tuna cakes

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What do you do when you’re not really feeling any of the leftovers in the fridge for lunch? If you’re like me, you experiment (so long as said recipe experiment wasn’t too complicated, of course! I don’t pretend to be a great cook).

So here was the situation: After a long morning wrestling with editorial plans, I was getting hungry. I could eat a banana or a tub of yogurt but that was not going to sustain me for long. A glance at the pantry showed that there were canned corned beef; I could make a quick corned beef hash (that’s always good, but we’ve had that recently). There were also packets of instant noodles (not an option, unless there wasn’t anything left to eat and we’re in a midst of a zombie apocalypse. Nothing against instant noodles, but I ate a lot of it growing up and during college. Also, I was trying to eat healthy)… Ooh, there’s canned tuna. Wonder what I can make with that. Quesadillas? An option, except that I have to open a packet of tortillas and only use one or two of them. I didn’t want to add to the leftovers in the fridge. Hmmm, tuna salad? Yes. But yikes, no bread.

Continue reading Kitchen experiment: Tuna cakes

Buns, Balls, and Crabs (part 2)

… Or how I ate my way through Taipei and lived to tell the tale. Or, how I learned sharing is caring. (Second of multiple parts)

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Crab legs and claws, snails, shrimp and other drool-inducing delicacies at the Keelung Maiokau Night Market

Taiwan is not a good place for dieters. There is just too much delicious food. Our first afternoon alone, in the first three hours in Taipei, we have managed to eat mee sua, which is thin rice flour noodles in a thick broth/gravy with pieces of meat in it and flavored with soy sauce and vinegar. It was mouthwatering. Before that, someone bought a packet of fried chicken nuggets that were out of this world, which our group all sampled. I must say, the Taiwanese really know their street food. And almost anything can be considered street food, as I would later see as we visited the night markets — the first of which, I would be introduced to that first night.

I love traveling by myself and getting lost in a new place. But I must admit, for this first trip to Taipei, I’m glad that I had colleagues who have been here several times and can just guide us as to where to go. I suppose finding the night markets would be easy, for a newcomer. But finding the little stalls and carts that sell the best buns, for instance, is going to be a problem for newbies. There’s also the language problem. More people now speak English, especially among the young university students, but non-Mandarin speakers may still have a hard time getting understood. Still, that’s part of the beauty of travel, isn’t it? On this trip, though, we had a guide who knew her way around. That saved time figuring out how to get to the different places. And of course, the company had hired a van to take us to the more far-flung areas we wanted to go to, which again, saved us valuable time.

Continue reading Buns, Balls, and Crabs (part 2)

Buns, Balls, and Crabs

…Or, how I ate my way through Taipei in five days and lived to tell the tale. (Part 1 of several parts)

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Entrance to Keelung Miaokou Night Market. Taiwan is crazy with night markets and they’re fabulous places to eat, drink, eat, shop, eat, meet friends… and eat

This was a company-sponsored bonding trip that happened mid-2013. Yes, a bit late to be posting it now more than a year later, but you know how it is — sometimes things just pile up! So Taiwan. Had to admit, it’s not on my travel bucket list (I don’t really have an actual list; but when pressed on where to go, I can name a few places) — in fact, it’s not even top of mind of places that I would consider visiting. Blame a friend’s comments more than a decade or so ago when she was on a business trip to Taipei and had a miserable time of it because ordinary people didn’t speak English and there were not enough signages in English to make your way around on your own. But since then, had heard great things about Taipei and Taiwan in general, so when the office went for a trip there, I was excited. Who wouldn’t be, when it was practically a free trip to go gallivanting?

Continue reading Buns, Balls, and Crabs