Friday, September 19, 2014

The Wagyu Bacon Giveaway...We Have a Winner!!

How is everyone doing this wet and windy Friday?  Another typhoon has hit our shores and, as I've seen report after report on the news, floods abound and power is already down in some areas.  Now is the time to stay home and hunker down with your family...or with a good book and a bowl of something extra yummy.  Others are not so lucky, so do check out relief operations nearby.  I know San Antonio Parish in Makati has already started accepting donations -- just look for this hashtag on twitter:

On other news, rain or shine, I promised one of you some Wagyu bacon today.  And I deliver on all my promises.  So without further chitchat the winner of the Wagyu bacon giveaway is...Cheekeegirl!!

Cheekeegirl I will be in touch with you through email to sort out the details of how we can get your bacon to you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  For those of you who want to snag some for yourselves just check out Baba's Kitchen -- she has a lot of goodies, not the least being her chili garlic oil, which is dangerously addicting.  But that's for another post and another giveaway.

Meanwhile, the husband is cooking tonight...his special tuna pasta is almost ready.  Little C helped, choosing the noodles (tri-color farfalle that she picked out herself in the store).  Work was called off and so was school.  For the work-at-home work force though it is business as usual, so the rest of the family is preparing dinner for me tonight.  I have a lot to be thankful for, of that I am most aware.  So I am off to enjoy C's delicious pasta and all the simple things we sometimes take for granted.  I hope you are all safe and dry, and with people who make your life wonderful!

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's Friday....and some bits & things for the weekend!

It's Friday and I'm down with horrid bug.  It's been going around these parts, first with the little girl, then with the little boy, and then finally with mama...where it has settled with some vengeance in the form of achy bones and a really painful throat.  Not much of a Friday night for certain but I'm burrowing down with my family and that, above all, gives me great comfort.

Between managing the sickies and work there hasn't been much time for puttering in the kitchen.  As such, I thought I'd share as some of the delicious food (and drink!) I have been enjoying in and around the city.  These are by no means the latest hot tickets (I leave that to actual restaurant bloggers) but they are good and I am loving each and every one of them.

If you are looking for something to eat or drink this weekend may I suggest these?

From top left onwards:

** Crispy sisig at Manam - a cross between sisig and chicharon.  For someone like me, who is both a sisig and chicharon lover, this is absolute heaven.  Manam is located at Greenbelt 2.

** Braised tendon at Peking Garden - Soft, unctuous, and sinfully rich.  But strictly for tendon lovers!  Rice is a must.  Peking Garden is located at Greenbelt 5.

** Sloe gin at The Curator - I love having a place like The Curator nearby, where I can go with friends to have a thoughtfully made cocktail and feel like an adult.  Sloe gin, introduced to me by a friend, is my current new love.  Made with gin and sloe berries it tastes of a sticky prune cake infused with booze.  Which is really just up my alley.  The Curator is located on the corner of Legazpi and C. Palanca Streets, in Lagazpi Village, Makati (you'll need to go inside Cyrano first).

** Fresh ankimo at Tsumura - Ankimo is made of steamed monkfish liver and is, simply put, incredible.  I am not too fond of liver but, like foie gras, ankimo is different.  It is smooth and luxurious, with a slight hint of the sea.  In a lot of Japanese restaurants they use canned ankimo (which is not bad at all, let me just say), but in Tsumura, when the season is right, they have it fresh.  It is well worth seeking it out.  Tsumura is located at the 2nd floor of 88 Corporate Plaza, Sedeno corner Valero Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati.

** Sweet corn agnolotti at Wildflour - If you, like me, like a little sweet with your savory, then you (like me) will love this.  Pillows of sweet corn pasta nestled in a creamy sauce topped with prawns and wild arugula.  My new favorite.  Wildflour is located in V Corporate Center, 125 LP Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati.

** Órale has re-opened! - My husband is a big fan of Mexican food and Órale is his favorite Mexican restaurant.  It has been under renovation for about a month now and he has been waiting with bated breath (and a tad impatiently truth be told).  He dragged me, quicker that a fox in a hen house, as soon as we found out it had opened its doors again.  We are currently loving the soft tacos (barbacoa and lengua) and the grilled corn (I love corn, what can I say!)...which I had cut off the cob (I'm a lazy wench!) by the kind waitstaff.  Órale is located at the Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

I also want to add that my Wagyu bacon giveaway is still ongoing.  Yes, you still have time to win yourself some decadent Wagyu bacon!  Just head over to this post to find out how!

Have a wonderful weekend ahead!  Armed with medicine, multivitamins, and lozenges I will attempt to do just that as well!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Breakfast #72: Wagyu Bacon & Eggs, Indulgence, and A Giveaway!

I left you last week while I was bemoaning my sorry state of having been reduced to wearing all flats…my heels gathering dust as they no longer fit my post-pregnancy feet (not to mention my post-pregnancy lifestyle).  What is a girl to do?  Do I resign myself to the fact that tottering around, 3-5 inches off the ground, my less-than-perfect legs feeling like a million bucks, is no longer in the cards for me?  Do I accept the fact that I can no longer say “fashion before comfort” with as much youthfully brash confidence as I did before I had children?  Do I start investing in (sigh) “practical” shoes?

The obvious answer, for a responsible, almost-40 mother of 2, is, of course, no.  No, there won’t be any “resigning to” or “accepting the fact”.  What do mature grown-ups like me, who obviously know better, do?

We go out and buy ourselves some high heels.  As God is my witness, that is exactly what we do.  And that is exactly what I did…marching into the store and declaring, “Get me everything with heels in a size 9!

As I walked out with my shiny, black, peep-toe heels***, dreaming about the ultra-red pedicure that was going to go perfectly with said peep-toes, I knew I did exactly the right thing.

Because we need to indulge ourselves sometimes.

Because we are mamas and are usually indulging everyone else.  Because we schlep ourselves to the office 5 days a week.  Because we work hard to make ends meet.  Because we sleep a fraction of the time we used to.  Because we just noticed our first white hair, or our 100th. Because the pediatrician just gave us the biggest lecture in the history of parenthood.  Because we are tired and haven’t had time for that massage we keep promising ourselves.

Because we deserve it.

Whether you are a mama, a papa, single, married, or somewhere in between…you work hard, you do what needs to be done, you dig your heels in and stay the course, you recognize when change is needed and make a stand.  You deserve it friend.  So indulge a bit.  If a little indulgence puts a spring in your step, there will be one happier human in the world.  And God knows the world needs that.

And, as we are talking about indulgence…Wagyu bacon.  Yes, Wagyu bacon that comes to take your breakfast of bacon and eggs to new heights.  I won’t share a recipe here, as I am sure you don’t need me to tell you how to get some bacon and eggs on your plate.  I will share some of this bacon with you though!

This comes from Baba’s Kitchen, a purveyor that I sometimes go to for steaks and her wildly addicting chili garlic oil (more on that one day soon!).  When she started carrying Wagyu bacon I knew I had to try it, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Just like Wagyu steak, it is marbled with fat, rich and, since we are on the topic, absolutely indulgent.  It is already seasoned (made with love by “Baba’s” aunt with no harmful chemicals), so all you need to do is fry them up.  Don’t expect smoky bacon flavor though, as beef and pork are, obviously, two different creatures (although both delicious).  Wagyu bacon is another thing entirely flavor-wise and should be enjoyed as such.  Also, and healthy-lifestyle people may lynch me for this, but when I eat Wagyu bacon I am reminded once again of that age old fact…that beef fat is truly the tastiest fat there is. 

Although I have had this, so far, the same way I would have bacon, I can imagine it also working well using it the same way you would use beef – in a stir-fry, in a ghetto-style cheesesteak, even in a creamy, stroganoff-y type preparation.  You wouldn’t even have to season, since it already is.  Almost like a luxe, emergency stand-by, all-around beef.  Important to remember though is, as with any kind of beef, do not over-cook! 

So, since sharing is caring, I will be giving away one pack of this Wagyu bacon to one lucky reader…to remind you how important it is to indulge yourself!  All you have to do is any of the below:
- Leave a comment on this post
- Email me at the address on my sidebar
- Tweet me a message
And tell me that you want the bacon!

Other mechanics and details:
- As much as I want to share this with all my readers, because of the perishable nature of the giveaway I’ll need to limit this to Metro Manila residents only. 
- If you live in Makati or The Fort, Baba’s Kitchen can deliver straight to you. 
- If you live elsewhere then we will need to do a meet up so I can hand you the goods :)
- If you live abroad but will be in Manila anytime until December 2014, you can join too!

What are you waiting for…indulge!!

***Full disclosure: they were wedges!  But not stodgy wedges.  They thinned in the back to the width of a stiletto so when unsuspecting people see you from behind they actually do look like pencil-thin heels.  Quite genius really.  There was another pair calling out to me but I think I need a little more practice first.  Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Three Cups Chicken

I swear.  I look around and realize that I have, suddenly and frightfully, reached the depths of un-sophistication.  Ok, I’ll be honest, maybe not so “suddenly”.  But most definitely frightfully.  I was puttering around one morning, organizing my shoes (puttering?? organizing my shoes?? Why am I not out changing the world? Or at the very least sipping a gin & tonic at that swanky new place?), and I realized…they are all flats!  I have nothing against the occasional ballet flat, especially in animal print, but to go from stilettos to 99% flats is a bit troubling.

That’s not even to say anything about my shameless stay-in-bed fixation, cold a/c and soft warm duvet, ratty pyjamas and e-reader.  And the difficulty in which I drag myself to wear make-up, or at least get myself some proper cleanser and moisturizer for my face (although I have to share, I am getting better in that department…in small increments, Rome wasn’t built in a day after all!)!

And the supermarket fetish.  Oh the supermarket fetish.  Since when did this pass for a respectable after-office event?  What happened to happy hour??

In truth, I’ve always loved going to the supermarket, I think from the very vestiges of my early memories, when my mother took me.  I remember standing in the midst of the butchery section taking it all in and loving it (yes, I loved the meat section as a child).  I, of course, also remember the treats she would allow me to place in our cart, only one per trip.  My favorites were Yan Yan and those little packets of Nutella, the kind that came with it’s own little spoon.

My whole family has this supermarket obsession I suspect, so it’s not just me on this point of nerdiness.  How do you explain my husband so willingly taking me most of the time?  It can’t be just that he’s a good husband (although he is I promise you!)…and I know this because of the Spam and Vienna sausage and cup-noodles that mysteriously appear in our cart whenever he is pushing it.  Little C loves it too, primarily because of the treat – I’m continuing my mom’s tradition (choose just one sweetie!).  Little H couldn’t care less at the moment…as long as there are possibilities for wrecking havoc then he is happy.

And what do I sneak in the grocery cart?  Lately it’s been more items to complete my Asian pantry: Shaoxing wine, soy bean paste, various chili pastes (speaking of, can anyone share where to get some good doubanjiang?) and chili oils, that savory sweet condiment Kecap Manis, which I used to make this.

Three Cups Chicken
(adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
  • 500 grams chicken thigh fillet, each fillet cut into two
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 6 slices ginger, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
  • A bunch of Thai basil leaves
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon baking soda (to tenderize the chicken)
- If you want to do the tenderizing step, sprinkle the baking soda on the chicken and toss with your hands to coat.  Let this marinate for 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly with water.  Make sure all the baking soda is completely rinsed off.  Pat the chicken pieces dry and set aside.
- Heat up a clay-pot (if you have one) or a wok over high heat, and then add the sesame oil.  Add the garlic and ginger to the oil and stir-fry until aromatic.
- Add the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and Kecap Manis and toss.  Lower the heat and let this simmer for about 5 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.
- Add the basil leaves, toss, and then remove from the heat to serve.

A word on tenderizing the chicken with baking soda: One of the reasons I love Bee of Rasa Malaysia so much is because she makes Chinese cooking so accessible to the regular non-Chinese cook (i.e. me).  This includes such tips and tricks as this tenderizing one.  Giving chicken, beef, or pork this relatively quick and easy to do treatment renders them soft and velvety, just like the ones you get in Chinese restaurants.  It’s marked as optional, but I'd say it’s worth the (tiny) effort.

I didn't have any chicken drumsticks so I used thigh fillets instead.  I also couldn’t find any dark sesame oil so I use my Korean brand of sesame oil, instead of my Chinese brand one, as it seems to have a stronger sesame aroma.  I have no idea if that is even true in actuality but since I had the choice, and the recipe called for “dark” sesame oil, I just opted for the stronger one and hoped that would make the difference.  In any case, the dish turned out delicious (clean plates from both kids) but as I’ve never had dark sesame oil I would be none the wiser of the difference.  You can be sure though that “dark sesame oil” is going on my next Asian ingredients run since we now know I will use any excuse to go to the grocery.

I think I’ll stand by this supermarket fetish.  It gets us fed to say the least.  Hopefully, it will make for some happy family memories as well…just as it did when I was a little girl, mesmerized by the sight of mountains of raw meat, munching on Yan Yan.

I’ll also be keeping the burrowing in bed habit – love that way too much to ever let go!

I will make it a point though to have more high heels in my life…a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do after all.