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Showing posts with the label 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge

H is for the Holy Trinity of Ingredients

If I could only have three ingredients in my pantry, they would be onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The onions could be yellow, red, or white, in that order of preference. The garlic could be bulbs or shoots. The tomatoes could be fresh, frozen, or canned.  Onions, garlic, and tomatoes are my holy trinity when it comes to making sautes, stir fries, soups, and stews. Casseroles, pastas, and rice dishes, too. If I had to do without one of the holy trinity, I could go without the tomatoes. Onions, garlic, and tomatoes. It's the way I learned to cook, which was by watching the Mama. Smash the garlic with a smooth granite rock brought back from the beach, or with the side of the knife with a satisfying whack as demonstrated by Martin Yan on Yan Can Cook .  Cut the onion in half, then cut thin slices out of each half. Repeat with the tomatoes, except the slices don't have to be so skinny. The above photo is pancit, a Filipino noodle dish made out of mung bean noodles. If you&

G is for Garlic

Garlic.  Yummmmmmmm. Can you tell that I like garlic? I eat so much garlic I can no longer taste the garlic. So, it's possible I have what people call awful garlic breath. I don't know.  But, I must not eat that much garlic since mosquitoes still love to bite me. About 15 miles from where we live is a garlic factory. Lots of people dislike the smell that comes out of the factory. Not me. I love driving by it and getting in that sweet spot on the road where you drive right through the aroma. Yummmmmmmmmmm. Too bad a tomato cannery doesn't stand right next to the factory. I was about 30 years old when I realized that not everyone cooks with a lot of garlic. At a dinner in which we, guests, helped prepare the meal, the hostess asked me to make the garlic bread. She set out a loaf of French bread, a cube of butter, and a bulb of garlic. So, I smashed, cleaned and minced the garlic, then cut the bread in two, slathered butter over the two halves, and sprinkled the garl

F is for Foul, Fowl!

The Daddy bought several live chickens at a time from a local chicken farmer, and he and the Mama would slaughter them in the backyard.  I was 11 or 12 when the parents decided it was time for me to help with the slaughtering. Like I really wanted the experience. I suppose they figured a day would come when I would need to slaughter a chicken for survival. Yes, it would definitely be an asset if I were to be chosen for Survivor , the reality show. But, that's if I didn't get kicked off before my team won a challenge that rewarded us with chickens. I digress. My part in the slaughter was simple.  I only needed to hold a chicken firmly down on a block of wood while the Daddy slit its neck. On the day of my rite of passage, I watched the parents do the process a couple of times. Then it was my turn. I kneeled behind the wood, and the Daddy put a chicken beneath my hands, face towards him. He did not let go of the chicken until he was sure the bird could not get away from

E is for Experimenting

I used to think that the Mama was a rigid, but, awesome, cook. Everything she cooked was perfect. Her cutting of meats and vegetables always came out precisely small and neat. Her dishes always tasted consistently the same—yummily delicious. When it came to Filipino cuisine, nobody, including Filipino restaurant chefs, came close to her food. The Daddy came very close. The one dish of his that surpassed hers by a tiny bit was his fried chicken. His was a subtle melt-in-your-mouth delicious, while the Mama's was more a pow! wow! in-your-face delicious. My perception of the Mama-the-cook changed when I was in my late 30s. Suddenly the food she put on the table when I came to visit was different. Her pork adobo no longer was the consistently same delicious taste. It was still delicious, but the taste slightly differed each time she cooked it. At first, I thought she was being forgetful when she cooked. And, perhaps, there was a bit of that. During one visit, the Mama served f

D is for Dining Out

Today, I'm going to describe my fantasy day of dining out. Six small meals. A graze pig out. My full day of dining out would be in San Francisco. With the dear Husband, of course.  We would be doing a lot of wandering around the city to get our appetites up for the next meal. Breakfast: A chocolate croissant, from a real French patisserie, with a big cup of organic coffee. Snack: Half a fresh organic papaya. The Husband gets the other half. Lunch: Dim sum. Yummm. Stuffed eggplant. Taro cake. Sticky rice in lotus leaf. Chinese broccoli smothered in lots of garlic. Snack: One old-fashioned doughnut hole. Okay, maybe two. Dinner: Without doubt, a Korean dinner where we grill kalbi, tender short ribs, at the table. And, that isn't even the best part of the meal. That belongs to the banchan, the several small dishes of vegetables that are served on the side. Some spicy such as kimchi cabbage,  kimchi radish, and spicy beans. Some kinda sweet or mild to balance the s

C is for Collecting Bottles for Candy

Tootsie rolls. Tootsie pops. Big Hunk. Almond Joy. Bit of Honey. Root beer barrels. And, M&Ms. I was at the store nearly every day, pointing at one, two, and, sometimes, three candies in the glass display, which helped turn me into a roly-poly candy girl. I was barely tall enough to put my coins on the wooden counter. At the age of five, I walked by myself to Dunneville Store, which we happened to live behind. Back then in the late 50s, it was no big deal for a little girl to walk herself to the store.  I always seemed to have a penny or a nickel to buy candy on my own. I may have found coins on the ground or in the cracks of the couches. A friend once told me about a day she was visiting when I pulled some money out of a cigar box, and we walked to the store and bought a toy tea set. I don't remember this at all.  Somewhere along the line I learned that I could return empty soda bottles to the store and use the money for candy. We always had a bunch of empties because

B is for Turning Blood into Pudding

I bet that title caught your attention. Maybe you shivered and thought I must be a vampire. Of course not!  Or, maybe you went, " Ewwwwwwww! " Well, turning blood, pork blood, to be precise, into pudding is definitely not for the squeamish. I was ten years old when the Daddy gave me the task of turning pork blood into pudding. (If I could, I'd put in a sound effect like Dum da da dummmm! ) Okay, let me give you some context. Back then, every now and then, the Daddy and his friends would purchase a pig from a local pig farmer, bring it back to our house, and slaughter it in the backyard. We lived in a small neighborhood two miles out of city limits so that was okay, and, as far as I know, the neighbors did not care.We lived in a rural area after all. This usually happened on a Saturday morning. The men would be out in the backyard partying it up with a bottle of whiskey as they butchered the meat. The pig's blood would be brought into the house to turn into a th

A is for Adobo, Pork Adobo

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants. The clatter of metal against metal and heady aroma of frying pork, garlic, and onions lured me to the dark, cool kitchen that hot summer morning. At the stove was the Daddy's young cousin who was staying with us while on leave from the Navy. One hand shook a large grey soup pot on a burner, and the other hand stirred the ingredients rapidly with a large silver spoon that made a rhythmic clang against the inside of the pot. His body swayed and seemingly danced. The sizzle of the meat and vegetables was his music. I was maybe four or five years old. I don't recall the Mama being home, otherwise why would the handsome, dark-haired man with a sweet smile be at the Mama's stove. But, maybe that day the Daddy's cousin said to the Mama, "Let me cook." So that she could care for Baby Sister who Died too Early. Now that I think of it, that was more likely what happened. The Daddy's cousin smi

Sunday Ramble

Who thinks Sunday is the start of the week? Who sees it as the end of the week? And, who shrugs and asks, "Is today Sunday?" "Wake up you sleepy heads!" Molly the Cat meowed rather insistently outside our bedroom door. I was ready to float back to sleep. So much for being lazy this morning. Today, I hope to get the Husband and me out the door to stretch our legs on a nearby trail. I'd like to see the green slopes and wildflowers before they are no longer. All signs say that we'll be going through another year of severe drought. A few weeks back, the newspapers were carrying stories that stated our reservoirs hold only one year's worth of water. In our county, the powers-that-be has decided to continue with educating us about water conservation rather than fining us for excessive use. Unfortunately, the stubborn folks, who don't believe that the drought is horribly bad, will continue to make sure their lawns are green.  For the past two years