Breakfast at Pancake House in Alabang

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coming from a funrun (a story for another day) I had a craving for french toast and sausage. It is sort of reminiscent of how my Saturdays were, when I was still “gainfully employed”. Where I will meet up with friends or singly walk around the lake, stopping at the farmers market-final destination will be a diner /greasy spoon.

So on our way back, I asked if we can stop at the pancake house.  Pancake house is an old establishment, a place that I have frequented so many years ago.

Food was typical, coffee was good, the french toast could use more butter and maple syrup.  I’d rather the side of breakfast sausage (that’s what they said it is) was plated with the french toast for easy access.

Waddya say, how is this post for a comeback, too light? 

It’s a wonderful world with Arroz a la Cubana

It is a wonderful world indeed. It is starting to rain in our area, typhoon Ruby has landed in several areas last night. The government is prepared for this, more prepared than last year’s typhoon. Of course, the preparedness extends only to as far as getting the residents to evacuate and providing for the food and shelter during that time. Homes, personal effects, memories, death of family members, and other difficulties resulting from the typhoon are borne by the residents. The sad part about it is some of them have not even recovered from the previous events. Hope is not lost among the affected and those who are on the sidelines praying for them and extending help when they can.

So many days after, Pope Francis visited the Philippines; I am amazed at the devotion and the number of people who went despite the rain and the crowd. It was heartwarming indeed, even for people like us who just watched the television. About 6 million people gathered at the Quirino grandstand to listen to him. There were non-Catholics who were awed and showed respect, there were instances of disrespect of which I will not dignify a mention on this post.
It is indeed a wonderful world when there is hope, love, and compassion.
So, let us talk about arroz ala cubana, this dish is not really from Cuba but perhaps brought by the Spaniards in their colonization efforts from way back. The main ingredient is ground beef or port for that matter, tomato sauce, egg, and banana. I am thinking that it is popular because it is a one-dish meal.
I first tasted this dish from the cafeteria of the bank that I used to work for in Intramuros. It was a special then, several versions have since then evolved, but I would still remember when I savored it first. It is like my mom reminding me that her cooking methods have not changed but my palate has matured. Therefore the memories of how my tastebuds encountered a dish the first time will always be different. There is no expectation.

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The fried banana can provide as a palate cleaner to tone done the richness of the mean and the fried egg. You will notice that the sunny side-up is prepared with crispy sides and almost cooked yolk; I guess, this is still the Spanish influence in our culture. The North American egg will be over easy, soft, not firm. At any rate, arroz a la cubana is prepared by cooking beef in a small amount of water until the juice has evaporated and oil has come out. Add a little bit of olive oil and sauté onions and garlic, if preferred add green peas. Once cooked add tomato sauce, put in raisins when the sauce has thickened. Fry bananas and egg separately. This is best enjoyed with rice but will go well with dinner rolls too.

It is an easy prep and the picture didn’t do it justice but it will hit the spot. Enjoy it with gusto, just as how you would savor the beautiful world around you.

Fading Summer by Monange

This post is written by Monange, but she didn’t want to be a formal contributor, here goes:

Fading Summer.

I feel like summer slowly fading as the next season comes that I am beginning to count my blessings by the day, at least since I reached my golden year.

There were lots to be thankful for…so much that I am not sure whether I can still track them, but I guess I can line them up as my Life’s Meter:

A family – makes my life complete, though there were times we have difficulties I realized that the most important thing is that we fought the battles together. I have been blessed with parents who enduringly taught me a lot about life itself…resilience, patience, love, faith, and contentment.

I have wonderful kids whose eyes reflects their love and faith in me as a person, and a husband that says ‘I love you’ whenever he feels like saying it, and mean every word of it.

A shelter – a place I come home to every end of even the most gruelling day. With weary eyes and tired feet I can easily crouch on the seat to savour the smell of the would-be dinner.

Friends who make every day worth laughing about, and worth forgetting, too…Now you see them, now you don’t. But at least they’re in my heart forever. They include some whom I never had the chance to meet face to face, but by today’s technology I was able to chat with and exchange humour and nonsense.

My old but reliable car. Its name is Maldita and I love it, and it endured being a very big bin for bits and pieces of my everyday struggle to work, to the supermarket, to the unscheduled trips and weekend outings. It still survives the countless distances, too, to wherever the tank can bring us to.

Some pairs of shoes. We always reach our destinations with them… and mine have weathered tough summers and rainy days… some pairs of shoes that pad my way as I trek down life’s many byways.

Things that I needed and those that were not, which will serve their purpose to those who need them more.

I have some pennies that jingle in my pocket and in my cookie jar. That reminds me that everyday survival is the most important thing. That I have to live my life by the day and savour every moment of it.

I have my faith that always remind me that there’s Someone up there who’s always been watching over me.

Some turns and runabouts that show life is indeed full of roses, and full of thorns, too…

Everyday people that makes me wonder the why’s and how’s… faces of longing, sadness, happiness and awe, worry and gladness, beaming around me like life’s gauge for meaning..

Those hands that stretch out to me whenever I need to have something to cling to, and those ears that listen to whenever and wherever…

I have those places, though limited, that remind of everything that passed …youth, joys, laughter and tears, agony and triumphs…

I have a place to sit and lie just thinking about life…and how it’s gone before and past me…along with my mistakes and lessons learned…

Surely, I have been blessed with so many ups and downs, with more or less of the things I have wanted and needed. For some extra bonus, I have been granted wishes that I wanted for so long.

Life’s meter, indeed, all within my golden years. Though every time I think of how life has become for me, I’m not sure how I’d be measured.

How much more on my twilight?

 

Life, death, taxes and russian pasta salad

These past months has been an interesting turn of events. We sent off my cousin’s husband to his final resting place, they were married for oever 30 years with grown children all professionals and starting on with their lives. Just realized that my cousin married young, just out of high school. He was born with a defective heart but he was able to make good use of it albeit some complications along the way until he was 60. Life well spent, I would say.

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Not sure if it is an awareness thing, but I seem to hear accounts of defective heart some are able to recover some don’t. The heart (core) controls our body our feelings, emotions is controlled by it too. My prose is not rhyming correctly this time, but you get it right? Of course, life goes on around us, despite all these. I have reconnected with friends, my nephew is now staying with us, life is still good. Then I found out that the Franchise Tax Board levied my account for alleged back taxes..that really screwed up everything..


Such compendium of events and feelings prompted to make russian pasta salad to eal with it gastronomically. Checking the larder (I was watching a european movie, hence the word) I found a piece of beet root, carrot, fruit and nuts, crushed pineapple, egg, celery stalks, olives and cheese. I boiled 2 cups of macaroni pasta (barilla or similar kind, would have been nicer) following the directions to add salt and oil and to run cold water when it is cooked. The beet root, carrots, and eggs were also boiled. Everything has been cut into small dice pieces.

One and a quarter mayonnaise was placed in the mixing bowl, salt (I found that it is more effective to start the mixture with mayo, then onions, salt, and pepper. To ensure that the ingredients is evenly distributed it is best to mix in gradually. Oh, I said it is Russian because of the beet root, but it is still your typical pinoy macaroni salad. Best served chilled.

Letting go, conscious uncoupling, try it with palitaw..

IMG_2393Some time ago, my FB newsfeed had a breaking new, the conscious uncoupling of Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband. I don’t follow the news that closely that I don’t even know who her husband was. It was received by different groups as something respectable a very mature handling of the situation. Even psychologists weighed in on it. indicating that it is not a new thought. Bottom line is it is still letting go being able to come to terms that a relationship that once existed is not there anymore. True for a couple the uncoupling can be had amicably, but what if it not voluntary, something that is not planned, an accident perhaps? A parent losing a child or a child losing a parent, friends, people where strong connections are formed.

I feel that separation needs a certain degree of time for it to marinate in one’s consciousness then there will be acceptance. A friend who got married not too late in life always has feelings of anxiety unless her husband comes home. She said that she always looks outside the half expecting the police with the sad news. Imagine how hard it is the stress of waiting. This patter is causing her not to fully enjoy the company of her husband because of that feeling for foreboding.

Some relationships are just meant to be savored for a short period of time and therefore the inevitable end comes, some would try harming themselves so that the other party will not leave, but that is cheating, because the reciprocity of feelings is gone.But the memory that it leaves shouldn’t be left behind, after all it caused the heart to flutter a certain excitement was present.

What about the parents letting go of their children who left early, it is my request to Lordy that my mom please not bury her children as she will probably be too distraught to handle it. But this things we don’t have control of, a friend of mine whose daughter passed while in high school was so sad, i can feel her heart trembling. But she decided to dedicate her energies to a good cause, fund raise in honor of her daughter to send other less fortunate sons and daughters to college.

Indeed there are so many ways to deal with loss but because we are different individuals, we deal with it or NOT in ways that only we can answer.  But most of all don’t bottle it up, talk about it, for only when we share our emotions, is when our burdens become light. What can I offer but to distract but food.

Palitaw (literally to float in English) is a Filipino delicacy made of rice flour and water. So with two cups of blutinous rice flour , I used mochiko, pictured below, I guess you can grind your own glutinous rice add a cup of water, mix well to dough consistency.  Once this is done, boil water, 2 teaspoonful of dough balled and then flatten, put in the boiling water, once it floats then it is cooked. Oh you need roasted sesame seeds, maybe just 3 teaspoons and enough sugar.  Mix the sesame seeds and sugar in a small plate and then roll the cooked palitaw for flavor.

 

This is best enjoyed with tea regular or ginger tea. But let me leave you with this love and compassion is a gift handed to us by God, a gift that we need to savor, enjoy and feed our souls with. It shouldn’t be a cause for our anguish.

Good night!

 

Jajangmeun — black bean noodles, a Korean delight

If you are a Kpop fan, then you are familiar with the jajangmeun noodles, a pretty inexpensive wheat noodles with black bean sauce, and an assortment of vegetables. This has Chinese origins.  This is often a delivery item in Korean movies and dramas, my mom and brother are not specially fond of these noodles. I first had jajangmyn noodles in Oakland, called Jajang Koryo, tblack bean noodlesthe dish in itself is not extraordinary, but it has a homey taste. comfort food, really.

I just love this type of noodles, it is hearty, inexpensive and yet very filling.  Because this is a favorite, I have taken a lot of friends to try after mass, early dinner, late meet ups, i think they grew tired of it as they started choosing the venue.

So when i returned to the Philippines, I had a craving, we don’t have yelp here, googling for a specific food or restaurant in the area is a futile activity, unless it is a 5-star category. But why google it, right. So we tried to make it ourselves, noone in the family was impressed.  Granted that we have different taste buds it really was not received well.

The comment even by cousins, “wha, OMG is this what the food in the states is?”

Then, we discovered that there is a host of Korean restaurants along Aguirre St. in BF Homes, so proud was I, with mom and brother in tow, we sat down I ordered the famous jajangmyun noodles, mom had chapche (a little gross) as it is spicy and had no flavor at all. I had my first chapchae in Malate, i think it is near Adriatico, the only Korean resto at the time ear;y 80’s that was. My brother, Ali, had a sort of stew with glass noodles, he resignedly indicated that he is not really impressed with Korean cuisine. It will never take the place of Japanese cuisine as his number 1.

Anyway, i do encourage you to try it, it is good paired with gyoza and sweet and sour pork. maybe white wine if you are going to have it for dinner, Chablis? I must warn you though the black bean sauce is rather dark which can be daunting for some who has color issues on their food.

Let me know what you thunk.

 

 

A posthumous tribute to Anja Niedringhaus..

No, I don’t know her personally, I was browsing through FB this morning and noticed an unfamiliar post, it was for a friend.  Curious that she showed up on my newsfeed when we don’t have a direct link, I chance upon a picture saying goodbye

Her name is Anja Niedringhaus her images are linked here too..

I found that she was a journalist for the Associated Press and the only woman member of a team that covered Afghanistan and Bosnia.  I was amazed at her bravery, her desire to publish the truth.

A prayer is being sent your way. hoping that your death will not be in vain.

Goodnight.

life, yours, mine, theirs – loose, random — aging gracefully, discovering, cooking brazenly and eating wisely

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