I spend for pork roast. I love it and on difficult days, or at least once a month, I’d like to have a good pork roast.
Recently, I live in a place that hardly has a good raost around, not even Baliwag! Hence, this weekend I thought of giving myself a good roast for the weekend.
I’ve never made roast before and when I did, it often tasted bland. Maybe if I got myself into some online college classes to better my cooking skills, I might be able to make it taste better. But even Jamie Oliver’s videos were hardly helpful. Sorry Jamie O, your recipes look hopeful but it doesn’t seem to work with Philippine pork (or maybe I’m really just not doing things right).
But I saw this technique of Market Manila where he brined the pork first for flavor and slit it in the middle to put some stuffing in. Hence, with great courage, I went to my butcher and got me a good slab. Since I didn’t have a rotisserie, I figured that it’ll be all right if I just cook it in my oven.
Here’s where Jamie Oliver comes in. He does this roasting technique where he puts either onions or lemons under his meat to keep it from sticking and to making it really flavorful. I thought I’d do just that and as soon as I stuck it in the oven, I waited for magic to happen.
The result was… all right. I think I got too confident with the salt. It was a little salty at first but it got better much later. It was definitely flavorful and juicy. The skin still… needed some work. I couldn’t get the temperature right in my oven hence rather than being a smooth crackle… I got this oven popped skin. It was a little like chicharon but some parts were not worth eating.
The filling inside was simple yet glorious. It’s just a mix of kinchay (parsley), leeks, lemon, and garlic. It was a good flavor but I was aiming for a chimichurri-esque flavor. Next time, there will be peppercorns and chili. Also, next time, I will buy a smaller portion of pork. -A-) I cooked too big a slab that it was… yeah… too much. Overporked much.
A friend has challenged that my knack for familiar things has made me “incapable of becoming a Junior Master Chef.”
While it was said in a joke, I said CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
So last weekend, I chocked up the courage to make my own bread. *w*) I made whole wheat bread with… a breadmaker. And while it’s not particularly exceptional, it’s still something done!
The result was… not good actually. It was too hard and quite salty. It turned out that the yeast was too old.
Next time… Put live yeast. T^T)b
For the longest time, I had seen Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, and them likes fry up zucchini flowers like it was nothing. It was nice and orange but I never could imagine how it tasted. I hardly ate flowers. I see a rose petal on my soup from a wedding — I take it off.
That said, it took a trip to Italy two years ago to find out that there’s something nice and lovely about this zucchini flower dish. I fell in love with the balance of the herbs, the nice gooey cheesy ricotta, and the crunch of the flowers. As soon as I got home, I was wondering how can I do it… can I even do it?
Since then, I’ve been trying to chance upon some zucchini flowers but never really managed to find anything close to it until last week when my uncle cooked pinakbet with some squash (kalabasa) flowers. It looked like the zucchini flowers but I wasn’t quite sure it would work. So I gave it a shot today and the experiment was a success. I think I’m ready to be a chef!
Fried Kalabasa flowers ala Tuscano
I took after this recipe and modified it a little to my tastes. Rather than using ricotta cheese, I mixed parmesan and quickmelt cheese. Herb choices were slim in the market but they had lovely leeks which I just minced and put it in the cheese concoction. The flowers were also smaller so I had to use lesser batter.
We had no egg this morning but I figured that if I just make a tempura-consistency for my batter, it might just work. Mix cold water with the flour, season with some salt and pepper, and voila!
This dish turned out to be a really nice, even better and crispier treat compared to what I had in Tuscany. Blame it on the tempura batter or something but in the end, it was a sublime gooey snack. It wasn’t as laborious as I had imagine either. Needless to say, my first shot at localizing something I had abroad with supplementary local ingredients worked wonders.
Out of all the holidays, I’ve grown to love the New Year.
It must be the hope that comes with the unknown. The fact that it’s new, the year’s bound to have something good to offer. Old troubles from the previous year disappears and everything is a clean slate again.
I’ve had the luck of spending my New Year differently for the past three years. And it’s interesting how each New Year brings a new experience for me. This year was rather laidback compared the previous year. Perhaps I’m starting this year with clearer head and a calm compared to last year.
Last year was filled with excitement as it was my first New Year to spend with a Japanese family. A close friend of mine, the Sugawaras, decided to share this holiday for me and spend that time, Japanese style.
Now I’m not saying that this is what Japanese people usually do. It’s best to say that this is what Japanese people spend the New Year’s when they’re far away from home. While they may not go to temples, play badminton, and all that jazz, some New Year traditions never change. The joy of having to eat an osechi and ozoni is still a staple in this Japanese home away from home.
Nothing comforts me more than a bowl of chicken noodles on a cold rainy stressful day. It hasn’t been easy as of late, and sometimes you want something quick and good to remind you that there are some things that can warm your heart.
My good Japanese friend gave me some food for comfort, and quite an interesting one at that. She gave me the packet of first chicken ramen. Not that this was the very first packet but it seems that Nissin has kept the tradition of the product that changed the world.
Chicken Ramen was born from Japan where hard labor was the key to survival after the war. Preparing a lavish meal was out of the question hence a pioneering ramen cook, Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Ramen, decided to fry up some flavored noodles until they were dry and then sold them to some loyal customers. It was expensive at first but now we know it’s the most accessible item to many.
And why wouldn’t it? Unlike the chicken ramens available to us, this chicken ramen was very straightforward. No packets. No crazy oil. Just a simple packet of rust-colored noodles waiting for its boiling water. What was stranger for me was the instruction said I should just cook it for 1 minute in boiling water. It’s good enough to even steep for 3 minutes with hot water. My friend suggested that it tasted best with one egg. So following all of their instructions, I boiled up some water, dunked all of the noodles, cracked an egg in, and waited for a minute. Actually a little more since I had to make a quick drink of water.
The result was a nice humble comforting soup with noodles rich in flavor even without the crazy packets. It was heartwarming without being too plain or too simple. I expected salt and the egg I tasted. However, the egg, half-cooked, thickened the soup once you break it in the broth. And the broth had this lovely soft flavor of egg, chicken, and strangely, roasted sesame seeds. When I cooked the noodles, it even had sesame oil in it and I remember quite frankly that it didn’t have those crazy oil packets. I personally loved that strange roasted flavor of the noodles which made the ramen completely aromatic and engaging — like your mother welcoming you home on a wet rainy day if she had perfumed herself with a bit of sesame oil. You just want to sink into the ramen and you sigh in comfort in joy once you’re done. As you leave it in your bowl, the noodle just soaks more of the broth. It’s alright when that happens. If you like your noodles softer, you can leave it an extra minute more. If you like it a little mushy, you can leave it a little longer.
Eating the ramen makes you understand why this lived on and made an industry that sustains us in an instant. This ramen is also conveniently available to us through Chotto Stop, in Little Tokyo Makati. It costs 78 for 2 packets of ramen. And I tell you, it’s one of those things that definitely makes the day a whole lot better.