Sunday, September 27, 2009

Survival Cooking with Tomato Sauce

Now that my wife, Apple is not around to cook for us - she's in Tokyo for two months until Nov. 14, 2009 - I have to use my survival cooking techniques which I applied in Japan when I was studying at Nagoya for five years. I learned the basics of cooking from one of our house cooks, Tits when I was a first year college student. The most important task in basic cooking is how to saute' or "gisa" the garlic or ginger and onions. The next thing to remember is knowing which ingredients to put in the proper order - the meat comes first, followed by potatoes and/or carrots, then the vegetables. The seasonings - salt, pepper, soy sauce, sugar or whatever - are done for the taste. We never use "vetsin" or MSG! If you know these basic cooking tips, then the rest will be easy. Food recipes can serve as a guide only in your cooking.
Tomato sauce is a very useful ingredient in cooking many Filipino recipes. Shown in the photos are some of the tomato sauce-based recipes I cooked for the kids - chicken afritada, beef ampalaya, bangus sarciado and pork menudo. What distinguishes these recipes from each other are some of the ingredients and seasoning. The afritada has the red bell pepper strips, the sarciado has onion and tomatoes only while the menudo has assorted meat ingredients like liver, hotdog and potatoes. Of course, the beef amplaya has the bitter taste which the kids don't like yet.
When you cook, you must be organized. I prepare all the ingredients - chopped onions, potatoes, carrots, etc - before starting the fire. Cooking is a very relaxing and an exhilarating activity. It also enhances your creativity and resourcefulness - sometimes you have to invent your own recipe with the available ingredients in your refrigerator. My son, Geof, is starting to appreciate cooking - he's now a member of the Ateneo Grade School's Bleu Chefs. Happy Cooking to all Dads!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Favorite Fastfood Steak

Whenever I drop by EDSA Shangrila Mall, I make it a point to eat at the food court. Here is where I can only find the House of Mini's Steaks. Their steaks are not the thin and cheap type of other foodcourt grilled stalls. Mini's steaks are heavy, juicy and thick - grilled based on your choice - "rare", "medium" or "well done" and accompanied with potaoes and vegetables and mushroom soup. You can choose rice or bread with the set menu. I usually choose the bread since the meat itself will make your tummy full and heavy - digesting the meat will take more than 24 hours. Better drink tea after to speed up the digestion. The price? -ranges from P120 - P200 - it's cheap compared to the first class steak house. I remember eating in an Aussie steak resto and we went home disappointed because their steak was too dry - not our type. At Mini's, I always feel satisfied of the food and the price and I always look forward to eating there again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fish Foot Massage

During my short stay at Bangkok, my colleagues and I dropped by for night shopping at the Suan-Lum Night Bazaar at Lumphini. I know Bangkok is well known for the various types of massages - the traditional thai massage, foot, body, oil, herbal massages, etc. But this one is different - the fish foot massage!
You soak your feet in the water filled with small fishes who eat the dead skin cells. We did not try it but we enjoyed watching as the fishes nibble on the costumer's feet - "yaks, ang kunat", says fishy number 1. "Booh, ang baho", says fishy number 2. For only 150 Baht for 15 minutes, you feed the fish and you have a clean feet.