Filipino


I apologize for the lack of posts going on for this blog. It is certainly not from a lack of material. I’ve just gotten so backlogged on my photo editing that I just haven’t gotten around to posting anything on here. Also, I’ve tried to focus my attention to my other blogs which for the majority of them, post on a regular basis (every other day). So as not to leave you out in the dark, please check out those other sites of mine in the Blog Roll on the side as well as conveniently collected on my main site Jara Mae. From there you can be updated on all my blogs, my twitter and various social media sites. Please also support my site by joining the Facebook page (Jara Mae Inc) to receive updates on everything that I’m working on.

In the meantime, I decided to start up a new series called Meal of the Day. Often times I cook/make simple meals at home consisting of leftovers or food that I have around the house. Food that I wouldn’t necessarily devote a whole blog to as it normally wasn’t created by me. I think it would give some insight about what I was eating every day, maybe record some memorable meals. I will try to do them as often as possible, though don’t hold your breath on getting it on  daily basis but I’ll work towards it. If you have meals that you’d like to share feel free to leave a link so I can take a look. It’s always interesting to see what people eat regularly besides all the creative recipes/dishes that you see on food blogs.

This is what I had for dinner last night. A fairly well-balanced meal if you ask me. It consisted of:

  • Half a plate of salad: mixed greens, dried cranberries, feta, almonds, red onion, fresh button mushrooms, lemon citrus dressing
  • quarter plate of white rice: I normally eat brown but this is what I had on hand at the time
  • a few slices of smoked salmon
  • 2-3 tbsp of giniling: Filipino dish of ground meat with potatoes, tomatoes and peppers
  • for dessert: 2 yogurts, vanilla & mixed berry

A very filling meal. I ended up eating a banana as well later in the evening to tide me over for the night. Not bad for student eating :)

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UPDATED 01/12/09 @ 3:45PM — I forgot a few more dishes so for those who have already read this post, check the end to see even more food from the party

New Year’s is a huge event for my family because it’s a two fold celebration. In addition to the general excitement for the new year, New Year’s day happens to be my father’s birthday. My family throws an annual New Year’s bash, invite all of our family and friends and party from the afternoon until the wee hours of the morning. Because it is such a long event and there are more people than the normal get-together, there’s a pretty big spread on our table.

After a year of numerous parties, my family tends to feel like we’ve gone through the majority of the Filipino dishes out there. Therefore, we like to attempt to ring in a new year with different food that isn’t always typically seen at a Filipino party. When deciding upon the menu, we consulted a variety of sources for inspiration and recipes and came up with a menu that features some of our most favourite dishes, some experimental food and some tried and true Filipino food.

Recipes that I reviewed

Recipes from various sources

Click to see more food from the party!

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I know I am terribly over due for a post and I have several (decent) reasons. First is the fact that I went home for my Christmas vacation and although you make think that I would have more time to update since I have no school to distract me, its actual more time-consuming as there are more responsibilities and duties while at home. During the holiday season there are several parties to attend, a lot of shopping/errands to run and many attempts at cleaning the house. Second is the fact that although as readers, there are no new posts, I do work on the behind the scenes stuff. For example, I’ve really been working on generating more readership that is stable. I’ve been joining other blogging/food networks to promote the blog because my secondary goal for this blog is to gain a decent amount of readership. I think I’ve done very well for only 3 months of publication and I hope that things only get better from here on out. I also spend a lot of time uploading/editing photos. My lighting and camera quality are not always the best so I do take the time to edit photos to make them as appetizing as possible. I’m trying to do the research needed to improve my photography skills so that I can cut down on editing. So I’ve caught up on editing, done a good chunk of promotion and gained more readership so now its time to get back to what it’s all about; food posts!

We’re gonna go way back to feature the main party food for this Christmas season. This is what a Filipino feast is like during the holiday season, in particular my home for New Year’s. Warning: this post is picture heavy!

For the annual Christmas day party, our family friends take turn on rotation deciding who will host it. This year it was held at my uncle’s house in Whitby from lunchtime until dinner. It was a potluck event and everyone was required to bring something. My family had decided to bring shrimp & vegetable tempura. It was also our opportunity to open our gifts with everyone else. Shortly after, I fell asleep from just exhaustion of the past few days. I awoke in time to eat a little bit of dinner, picture taking with the family and then headed home. But back to the food. There were tons and I wanted to feature all of them.

This was a black forest cake made by a family friend who specializes in baking. I’m not a huge fan of black forest cake, primarily because I’m not a fan of cherries. However, I was informed by my all-cake-loving sister that it was delicious. It was a beautiful cake fit for the season.

This was the tempura my family had brought. We used shrimp, eggplant, sweet potato and green peppers. It was a hit at the party and there were hardly any left overs. My favourite is always the sweet potato. It wasn’t as crisp as it could be since it was cooked earlier in the day but it was still very delicious and very easy to make.

Click to see more photos!

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First I wanted to feature my kitchen at home. The lady in red is the head of the kitchen, my lovely grandmother. My kitchen back home isn’t huge but it suits our family fine. It’s hopefully going to get renovated in the near future to a more dark wood finish, granite top, better shelving within the cabinet, a bigger fridge and better lighting. My parent’s vision for it will be amazing I’m sure. During the summers and when I’m home in Toronto, this is where I cook.

To continue my birthday lunch coverage, I wanted to show you what a typical Filipino get together looks like. Despite the seemingly mass amounts of food, it’s still a pretty casual affair and the food choices are much more extensive during a really big celebration such as Christmas and new years. I only contributed by cooking the Prime Rib but the rest was cooked by my loving grandmother. I did all the set up and ensured that everything was warm and tasty with the help of my sister and father.

Click to see all the food!

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In my storage I have tons of noodle packages from udon, to vermicelli, rice noodles, soba, somen, buckwheat and so forth. It’s only in the last little while that I started cooking different types of noodles and I still have a long way to go when it comes to mastering each othem. I often just throw whatever noodles I want with whatever sauce I have on hand regardless if they were really meant for each other. Below is an example. I didn’t have rice noodles but I was craving the taste of Pad Thai so I substituted for a different udon noodle. I added onions, garlic, shrimp and garnished it with fresh onions, peanuts and coriander leaves. I think I went a little overboard with the onions so I didn’t eat most of it but it tasted good and satisfying.

A has a major sweet tooth so whenever we make a trip to the grocery store, he always requests to get a cheesecake and I’m more than happy to oblige, although I really think he should cut back. We normally get a plain kind but for whatever reason, they don’t hold stock of it anymore at the Loblaws so now he’s opted for an even sweeter version (good grief!). We ended up getting the Dulce de Leche cheesecake. Another thing about A, he eats cheesecake by the quarters and although this personal cheesecake isn’t that big, you can see what I urge him to cut back. He’s a pretty active dude though so he can manage to get away with it. This particular cheesecake has three components to it: regular cake, cheesecake filling, and dulce topping. I eat the cake from time to time because he’s more fond of the rest of it. It tastes pretty good and if I can remember to look at the brand, I’ll be sure to post that up. For now, some photos that I manage to take before he devoured it again…

 Up next, Champarado! Champorado is a filipino type of porrige primarily made of chocolate and glutinous rice. It is very filling and eaten primarily in the morning. My family doesn’t cook this very often for no other reason than we just don’t but upon special request, my grandmother makes it for us in the morning. It’s sweet and satisfying. The ingredients list is simple, comprising of glutinous rice, chocolate powder, water, sugar, vanilla, and milk.

My grandmother makes it without the sugar to accomdate to my diabetic dad and allows us to custom make it to our liking. We use regular sugar, splenda or brown sugar to sweeten it and either add milk or evaporated milk to give it a creamier texture. I don’t know if other filipinos do this or just mine but because we like foods that balance out, we usually put something salty and crunchy into our porridge for added texture. Now hear me out and trust me that it’s not as weird tasting as you think; we add little salted dried shrimps or anchovies to it (I can just sense all the cringes right now lol) or salted slivers of cooked beef (my personal fav) It honestly sounds pretty strange but it’s how I enjoy it. Opting for the plain version is acceptable too. Here’s what it looks like. I didn’t know how else to make it look appetizing, it is afterall basically a bowl of (warm, sweet, gooey) mush.

I only added brown sugar and 2% milk this time around.

 

When I first moved into my apartment, I had about a week to readjust my life. I had to figure out what buses to take to get me to campus, to the stores, to my favourite restaurants…etc. My grandmother is always kind enough to cook me anything on request to bring back to Kingston. This way I get some semblance of home cooked meals.  I requested one of my favourites, Giniling na Baboy. Baboy is pork in Taglog but you could easily substitute it for any ground meat. The meat is sautéed with bright coloured vegetables like potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers and green peas in a rich tomato sauce. Although fairly simple to cook, it does require some extensive prep work since the vegetables must be in uniform sizes.

Translated over to American cooking, its similar to something like shepherd’s pie but without the mashed potato topping. I love shepherd’s pie which is probably as a result of eating giniling.  I don’t think I could really choose between the two. They each have different flavours and tastes but both equally delicious when prepared right. My Grandmother forgot to add peas to the giniling which is usually a must-have for me for the colour appeal and the little pop you get from biting into them. Instead though, she substituted it with chick peas since she knew those were a fav of mine. It added a different flavour and I certainly enjoyed it so if you like chick peas I’d consider adding it next time to giniling or shepherd’s pie for a change in texture. I also added more cheese because I like the gooey flavour it gives. I classed up by presenting it on a white plate with some fresh red onions and white rice. I have no idea how to make it like my grandmother but I’m sure there are plenty of recipes out there that would be comparable to hers. Here’s some food porn for you :)