Friday, January 22, 2010

pata tim

This is Pata Tim. For those of you who are not familiar with this dish, let me tell you, you are not alone. In fact, I've never heard of Pata Tim until I met the Perlases. This is Nanay Rose's specialty. Although, I did not get this recipe from her (and that's probably a mistake because her pata tim is unbelievably good!), I had to decide what to do with left-over pork hocks from yesterday's kare-kare. I found this recipe online on Lutong Pinoy. I think the difference from Nanay Rose's recipe is she uses pineapple juice instead of root beer as stated in this recipe. At the end of it, it was very rootbeer smelling, which was weird for me. I am very bad at following recipes. In fact, I find that the six cups of water they said to boil my pork in was too much. Instead, I used the same water I had boiled the pork in the first time which is not six cups for sure. I just removed the fatty residue and foam that formed on the top and used the same broth. I also think 1 cup of brown sugar was probably too much as it made my pata tim a little too sweet for my taste. Nevertheless, here is the link to the recipe for those who are interested.

kitchie nadal visits beadgirl in toronto and other stories

I got a call two days ago about an opportunity to meet and photograph Ms. Kitchie Nadal for a promotional visit at BeadGirl, my sister-in-law's store. This is our second time meeting Kitchie since her last visit in Toronto in 2005. You can catch her visit on a video blog posted at her webpage at this link.
Here's a picture of us UStreaming and Kitchie trying to decide which necklace to wear for her Saturday show at The Gateway Centre for new Canadians. View the Facebook invite here.
Kitchie signing an autograph on her Loveletters CD
To view more pictures of Kitchie at BeadGirl, click here.
While waiting for Kitchie, I fell in love with Italian mesh. I had seen a picture of it being used before while browsing for wedding accessories. This is a combination of silver Italian mesh with European crystal beads.
It's so uniquely distinct, and can be pulled apart many different ways for personalization. It'll be a sure hit at your next soiree. It's also very easy to do. For lessons, visit BeadGirl at Yonge and Erskine.
I made kare-kare yesterday. Too bad it doesn't photograph well because it's such a nice and authentically Filipino stew. This particular dish is usually made with oxtail bathed in peanut sauce and atsuete oil and served with a little bit of shrimp paste. It's an acquired taste for most people but I have yet to meet a Pinoy/Pinay who doesn't love kare kare.
I just realized the videoposts below are not playing due to a blogsite glitch. I will be reposting them to my Multiply account soonish. =) (Although, you will also need a Multiply account to view them. Sorry!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

video project #2: captions

I love travelling. In fact, I loved the idea of travelling long before I could actually afford to travel. I used to think if I had all the money in the world, married or not, I would be travelling and learning new things about different parts of the world. Of course, it is always nicer to travel with people you love and care about. Thank God, A loves to travel now as much as I do. The funny thing is, he wasn't much of a fan of travelling before he met me. We were the same in the sense that we've never actually been anywhere aside from a few out of town trips every now and again.

This video is from our last cruise to Western Caribbean. This is Cozumel, Mexico during our very first real snorkeling experience with our dearest friends. We took a boat with our snorkeling guide, Tiger on route to this 15-20 feet location. It was a blast! Sorry for the shaky video recording. The camera was practically left floating while A attempts to swim with his tiny lifejacket -- too busy to enjoy the scenery to realize he cannot really swim. I had fun attempting to put captions with movie maker. Happy watching.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

video project #1

This is "Make It Real" -- the Jets

Excuse my enthusiasm, I am very bored haha! This is me going back to my first love - my guitar I called "John" (nope, it's not a coincidence that I named him after my true love -- JM). By the way, the guitar I'm using is not "John" but "Taylor", our new replacement guitar who I'm learning to love a little more each day =). Taylor and I have not completely bonded you see, and that is why he has such an unoriginal name (Taylor IS a Taylor guitar! haha). I used to play with John till the wee hours of the morning in my now defunct walk-in closet at our old apartment. And now, I am more than a little rusty as you can tell. I haven't held my guitar since my forefinger accident in December which left it with some nerve damage. I'm just realizing now how much harder it is to play with my nerve damaged forefinger. Anyway, I also just recently discovered that my three year old laptop has movie maker. I played around with the effects a bit and I really liked that old movie style they have there. So again, excuse my enthusiasm. I am but a beginner movie maker. Haha!

Monday, January 18, 2010

chicken tinola

I haven't cooked much over the last few days, at least not the ones I'd like to share =) We've been craving Burrito Boyz the last few days that we hardly ever cooked dinner. I am by no means an authentic Mexican food expert but for the price you pay for those huge (and tasty!) burritos, they are definitely worth your $$$. I wish I have a picture to share with you, but we've easily devoured them before we could take a picture. And note to self: do not let them put even a drop of hotsauce in your burrito/quesadilla unless of course you can take it. Your --s will thank you in the morning. Pardon my French =P

Anyway, I cooked chicken tinola last week when a friend visited. This is probably one of the easiest Filipino chicken recipes you can make. It's such a nice soup on cold weathers like this =) A lot of people might think it's weird to use fish sauce in these dishes but trust me on this. It's a Filipino thing =P I've written my own version of the recipe after the picture. Enjoy!
Chicken Tinola
boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small pieces
2 medium sized chayote or 1 medium raw papaya
a few spinach leaves
1 onion sliced into rings
1 palm sized ginger cut into strips
minced garlic
1/2 a cup of fish sauce
4 cups of chicken broth

In a saucepan, sautee the minced garlic, onions and ginger in cooking oil. Add the chicken breast. Cook thoroughly until the chicken has a nice golden brown colour. Add the fish sauce and continue stirring to allow the flavour to seep in. Slowly add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer under medium heat. Add the chayote or papaya. Keep simmering until the chayote or papaya is nice and soft. You may choose to add 1 chicken bouillon for added flavour. And lastly add the spinach leaves. Continue simmering for a few minutes and serve!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

memory box

An apron here, and a few recipes there...and five days flew by really fast. I am on to another set of working days. Did I tell ever tell you I have a pattern of four long shifts and five days off in between? I love my patterned schedule, even though the long shifts are sometimes crazy enough to make me want to quit my day job. Anyway, I had an interesting couple of days with a blast from the past, through a tagging incident at Facebook. A friend had started a juicy gossip and before we know it, I was digging through old pictures and reconnecting with old friends from at least 16 years ago. My, do I feel old! This was us at eleven.
I guess I didn't realize how much I missed old friends from school until today. I had their letters in shoe boxes hidden in storage for so long, though I never once thought of getting rid of them knowing I'd want to come back to them someday and re-read them. The stories made me laugh, and cringe at some point; acted like a time machine that brought me back to the fun and worry-free times we had shared as kids. It made me really miss everyone back home. It would be one hell of a reunion once I get to see these crazy kids (grown-ups now!) again.

Wanna hear me sing?? Click on this link! The music is played by A himself! A cover of Claire Marlow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the apron project....and many more!

I've been wanting to make an apron since I fell in love with the aprons from Anthropologie. So these 5 days off, A and I made our way to Fabricland to buy the materials. I wanted a nice print and I was sure I wanted some ruffles so after a few sketches and pinning down, I finally got a hold of a sewing machine and made this. I am so happy with the way it turned out, I had to share it with you =) Excuse my "cooking" hairdo and the fact that I look like I just woke up in this picture!
Another thing I've been meaning to try -- Betsey Johnson inspired charm bracelets. I love the idea of mixing the chain and the silver beads together. I also added a few swarovski crystals into the mix and got some nice charms all from BeadGirl.
On the way home from a dessert run with a friend, we passed by Chapters and I've decided, I waited long enough to get this book. Look!
I've only read a few pages but I'm loving it so far! I love how the pages seemed more like blog entries and how personal her recipes were. She truly is a pioneer woman.
Anyway, I couldn't decide what to cook for dinner, but vegetables are always good. I always pick at least two different coloured vegetables to cook. They look more pleasing that way. The choices for this evening were zucchini and red peppers. I added the mushrooms just because =)
Excuse me as I play with my camera =)
You can cut the vegetables pretty much any way you want. I always cut my zucchinis in half circles because they remind me so much of cucumbers (they are from the same family, are they not?) The red peppers, I cut into horizontal strips.
I usually sautee the vegetables with a little bit of garlic and onions if I have them. (I don't have onions in this case but I use the pre-chopped garlic in oil, yes...the ones you buy in jars. I like taking shortcuts =p). Add about 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce. I use the thick teriyaki sauce since you can also buy the regular not-so-thick teriyaki sauce.
Here it is =)
After making the vegetables, I went ahead and cooked the main course --- salmon! Did I mention we love seafood?? We eat a lot of salmon, A and I. This is pretty much all we eat especially when we're eating out. For this recipe, I wanted to create a cream cheese sauce to add to my fried (or grilled) salmon. I always season my salmon with a little bit of lemon juice and salt.
Here is the recipe for the cream sauce:

Half a bar of cream cheese
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon of dill weed

In a saucepan, mix the milk and cream cheese until the cheese is melted. Add the chicken bouillon. Don't ask =). Finally, add the dill weed. Pour on top of your nicely cooked salmon and serve!

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Woke up early to start slow-cooking this beef in my trusty crock pot. In the Philippines, this recipe is called "nilagang baka" which literally translates to boiled beef? haha. Doesn't sound quite as appetizing, huh? It's very good though, and quite easy to make but if you want your beef nice and tender, then you better start early to have this in time for lunch. My mom makes the best beef stew and it always makes me so nostalgic everytime I try this recipe. With my crock pot set on HIGH, I poured about 2 quarts of beef broth. I peeled some potatoes and cut them into cubes and placed them into the pot. I also added 2 beef bouillon into the pot and about half a cup of fish fauce (patis). I told you, it's a Filipino thing =P
Before adding the beef, I sauteed some garlic and onions in a pan, and fried the beef bones (I used beef neck for this recipe. It had just about the right combination of meat and bones needed for the stew). When the beef is partly cooked and looks brown, I added them to the pot. The last thing was to add the bokchoy but only when the beef is fully cooked and tender. Look!
It's very good and A is quite pleased. =)
I'm working on a cookie monster themed invite and I'd like to share this with you. Isn't it the cutest??? I love cookie monster!

Monday, January 04, 2010

soft prezels warm my heart

I've always wanted to make soft prezels and I had time today so here they are. I used The Pioneer Woman's basic dough recipe then I boiled four cups of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and soaked the pretzel shaped dough in the water for a minute. These are baked at 475 degrees for about 11 minutes.
Look closer. Look at all that yummy goodness!
Now, you can stop with the basic soft pretzels and dip them in say, cheese dip or the ever-so-popular caramel dip or.... can melt some butter and mix 3/4 cup of sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar and...
Go make these now!

thai ginger chicken in peanut sauce

So yeah, I made dessert before I made lunch. Haha! Anyway, I am running out of vegetables in my fridge. I only had red peppers, a carrot, a zucchini and bag of spinach. I also know I had some boneless, skinless chicken breast waiting for its fate. Anyway, this is actually made using a mix of peanut sauce with some coconut milk.
My mom always said to never be afraid of mixing different types of vegetables even when they seem to not go well together. Check below for the recipe =)
Thai Ginger Chicken with Peanut Sauce


skinless, boneless chicken breast,
any two types of vegetables as you please.

For this recipe I used one red bell pepper and one medium zucchini (you can also use mushrooms for this recipe). I also used some garlic and a medium sized (about the size of half your palm)ginger root. I also used a peanut sauce mix and half a can of coconut milk.

Start by heating up the pan with some canola/vegetable oil (medium heat). Add the garlic into the pan. Then add the chicken and the ginger cut into strips. Stir fry until the chicken has a nice golden brown colour. Add a little bit of salt, or some fish sauce to season. (Don't ask. It's a Filipino thing)

In a saucepan, mix your peanut sauce with 1/2 a can of coconut milk. Add the sauce into the pan. Simmer for a bit. Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons of water with a little bit of flour or cornstarch. Mix well and add into the pan. This will make the sauce a little bit thicker. Add the vegetables last. This will ensure that the vegetables will not be overcooked.

After a few minutes, turn off the heat and serve. Enjoy! =)


I made some molten chocolate lava cake today. This is A's favourite cruisin' dessert.
Look at all the rich, gooey chocolate oozing from the moist chocolate cake. A dallop of ice cream makes this even better. Dig in!

Sunday, January 03, 2010


I started an album on Facebook called Dinner at the Perlas' with the intention of posting pictures of recipes I've tried since A and I got married. I love the idea of taking pictures of food, and what better way to salivate at food than to learn to make them myself. I wasn't much of a cook before we got married. I used to help my mom in the kitchen a lot and I love to eat so I thought, how difficult could it be? I love experimenting and trying different recipes and I've been having a lot of fun. Along the way, I'm teaching A how to cook as well, which is a yummy bonus. The funny thing is, the title of the album is somewhat off since we haven't had visitors in our home for ages! We cook in this tiny kitchen, using our two-person dinner table as a make-shift kitchen counter and it would be almost close to impossible to have an actual proper seated dinner. But for what it's worth, it's enough for us. Feel free to browse and see what we've been eating. =)

Anyway, lobster tails! I can't say it enough. We found these at the grocery store on a random late night snack stroll. I can't take full credit for these though because they're partly A's idea. (and he did a great job boiling them) Just look!
Thank, God we both love seafood! I used to joke I was born in July for a reason (crabs for cancer, clever huh?). It's actually very simple to prepare. Boil your frozen (or fresh, if you may) lobster/lobster tails in a quart of water with some salt and peeled ginger root. After it's nice and red, prepare your seasoned melted butter with a dash of salt. And pour. Yes, I said pour! Trust me on this. Doesn't butter make everything so much better???
I baked my first cupcake order of the year. Some Thomas the tank engine chocolate and red velvet in regular and mini size. Too bad, I have no pictures to show for it.

Kae, take some lovely pictures for me. I hope Noah's having a great time!

Friday, January 01, 2010

happy new year!

I guess I was aiming for something reflective to write. After all, it's the start of the new year and there was much that went on the last year that needed some overthinking. But some things were better left unsaid. I don't want to disregard the greatness of the year that's passed. 2009 was a great year for me and A. We celebrated our first year; we were able to go to places we've only ever dreamed of reaching. We've shared great milestones with friends and family. The road is rough at the end but even with all the trials of this year, I am thankful for these amazing people in my life...I am thankful for family...I am thankful for love.

From my family to yours, have an amazing year, everyone!

Thanks August Empress for the cool background!