Tuesday, August 9, 2011

(Only 20 Weeks to Go Until) The Ultimate Getaway

Well, hello there August! Actually, we’re busy counting the days until we come home to the Philippines for our New Year vacation. I know we still have “mini-travels” (as what I would refer to ‘em those short lakwatsa) but the mister and I had already planned out our itinerary for Pinas.

When vacationing, I really prefer to have a set schedule. Of course, I allow spontaneous happenings but an itinerary is indeed a timesaver. Besides I’m not that strict; I include options. I just choose to be ready than be all over the place. Talking with my cousin, Lui, makes me even more psyched about it. She’s my gala partner, we are already blueprinting our foodtrips as well! (After this, we’ll arrange Elysse’s first birthday there too.)

Also this would be Vince’s first trip to Pinas after 7 long years! Can you imagine how culture shock he would be?! (ako ngang umuuwi halos every year hindi maiwasang magulat everytime, sya pa kaya?!) I’m very excited for him and Elysse. I’ve been dreaming of this since we became official. I can’t wait for him to be reunited with his family.

Hay December, bilisan mo! (but then again, I’m thrilled for our September in Austin and October in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Hehe!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Off

Last Saturday, Vince and I had another day off. We watched Les Miserables with my brother and some friends. Vince had seen this musical twice already but he loves me so much that he’s willing to experience it for the third time with me! ♥

Before we had our little girl we both agreed that once in a while we’re going to take some hours off from being parents and just be mister-and-misis. We’re so blessed that my family is here to babysit Elysse. May it be a quick run to the grocery, or a 2hr movie, or a fine dinner; we’d grab time to be with each other. In this way we’ll be able to flourish our communication and really talk about our concerns regarding family life.

This is one important reason why I love being married to Vince, we share this same view. Don’t get us wrong, we adore our little miss a lot, we just know that if we’re wonderful as a husband-wife team then for sure we’d be better parents to her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Food Blog Entry #3 - Beouf Bourguignon

When ‘Julie & Julia’ came to theatre, I knew I had to watch it. But I didn’t. It didn’t occur to me that I’d love the film. I watched it on DVD and I was blown away. It was like an instant inspiration to cook more and blog more!

I’ve never encountered Julia Child before the movie. (Remember my “not-so-fascinated-with-French-cuisine” attitude?) But right after being captivated by her heartfelt kitchen spirit, I began scouring for her recipes. Beouf Bourguignon (which is simply braised beef in red wine) is one of her most famed masterpiece. Hence, the quest for a Dutch oven started (I don’t have budget yet for a Le Creuset so I settled for a Red Martha). Then the rest is all in my cooking history.

Cheers to another faboulous French dish!

1 tablespoon good olive oil
5-7 pcs center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 lbs chuck beef / tri-tip loin cut into 1-inch cube
1/2 pound carrots, (I used baby carrots)
1 pc tomato (optional)
2 pcs red potatoes (optional)
1 medium sized onions, sliced
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac (optional)
2/3 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine (I used Merlot for a rustic/full-bodied taste)
1 can beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound fresh mushroom, thickly sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional for serving
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a large plate. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, onions (tomato and potatoes), 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. (Optional: Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.) Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste. (For each serving, sprinkle with parsley.)

- the mister’s reaction upon tasting this was “perfect”. (takot nya lang magutom!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Food Blog Entry #2 - Moules Au Champignon

I never wanted to try French cuisine. I told myself that if I couldn’t pronounced the name of a dish I won’t eat it. I ate my words as usual.

My brother and I went to this local French bistro called Bleu Boheme for lunch. He ordered Coc Au Vin (braised chicken) while I got Boeuf Bourguignon (braised beef). For appetizer we had this Moules Au Champignon. It's just mussels in cream sauce, but it is to die for! (Especially when you have a newly-baked bread for dipping! Yum!) Anyway, my mom always cooks mussels but it is the Filipino way of cooking it. – soup based, Tinola-like. This one was exceptional, very savory because of the herbs and white wine used to sauté it.

And so the search for the recipe began. Fortunately, I found one close enough for this bistro to have a run for their money (of course, I modified it). ;] The mister was impressed, so was I.

1/2-1 lb mussel (cleaned)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 pcs. salami (bacon can be used, just drain the fats when sautéed)
1 tsp. thyme, rosemary, oregano or mixed herbs
1/2-1 cup dry white wine (I used blanc de blanc, chardonnay would be fine too.)
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 tbsp. Flour
2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion (to taste)
Chopped parsley
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper

In a skillet, put a little bit of oil. Throw in fresh mushrooms, garlic, onion, and salami; sauté. Then put the mussels. Add wine. Reduce until almost gone. Add the mixed herbs, salt, and pepper. Put in heavy cream. Reduce until thick. In separate skillet mix butter and flour, mix and brown. Add to cream sauce. Whisk it until thick. Use chopped parsley to garnish dish.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Food Blog Entry #1 - Creamy Tomato Penne With Spinach

A friend once told me to make my blog “Julie & Julia” style. I don’t know if I can commit to cook (and then blog about it) everyday! I can do it once in a while though. I’m starting to be kitchen-smart now (if there’s such a word). For jeezsake, I’m beginning to have a cabinet full of spices.

I grew up watching my mom cook. Even before I was born, her passion has always been cooking. She even made me a recipe notebook that’s handy every so often. Since I got married I’ve been interested into trying out new kitchen techniques (the mister acts as my guinea pig. I haven't heard him complained... yet.). Some were successful, some weren’t but I’m proud to say that to date, all was edible. I decided that I’d share those recipes that in my opinion are salivatingly good!

To start this food-blog-entry series is my take on “Creamy Tomato Penne with Spinach”. Great thing about this recipe is that you can always substitute. I love modifying ingredients and directions to my own convenience. You can always use a different pasta or put more veggies according to your preference.

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 16 oz package penne pasta
fresh spinach
4 tsp cream cheese, or to taste
4 tbsp parmesan alternative
1 tsp parsley (garnish)


Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat the jarred pasta sauce. throw in the chopped spinach. Drain the cooked pasta, and combine it with the pasta sauce. Lower the heat level, and stir in the cream cheese or parmesan. Serve and enjoy!