It's really challenging to live far away from home, let alone not in a place where there are a lot of Filipinos. The closes Phil store is in Chicago so that's roughly three hours one way. Not to mention all the traffic!
On the bright side, I'm super glad that there are a lot of Asian stores here - mostly Hmong. They carry a variety of Asian brands and some popular Filipino items. I'm really glad that they do. Now it's up to me to improvise to actually make the things that I love to eat. Obviously I'm a foodie so I crave certain things every now and then.
I was just browsing around Facebook and came across all these different meryenda foods back home. Meryenda simply means a snack between meals. No, not a light snack. I mean like a delicious and usually filling snack. So I experimented with my own!
I just wish that we had fresh langka here, but still glad I was able to find canned ones. I was also able to use Saba bananas that I got from Chicago when we went to Seafood city. I froze them so they turned out a bit too mushy. Next time I'll probably try some regular plantain bananas.
Ah Palabok... or what we call in Cavite City "luglog".
This one, I have never tried making before so it was something brand new for me to make. I cheated tho, I used a sauce mix LOL. I still added more stuff into it and seasoned it to my liking. I didn't have the tinapa or the dried shrimps so I had to improvise. I got some calamares and added that instead.
Needless to say, Hubby Bear approved!
Tikoy (Nian Gao)
Come the Chinese Lunar New Year, I was definitely craving for some tikoy.
I tried to look for it in various Asian stores, I figured it should be somewhere, but apparently not. I then looked it up online. Thanks to Google, I found the original recipe and it wasn't so hard to make at all!! It's just rice flour, some sugar, coconut milk and some flavor (I decided to add pandan on mine) and steam for like two hours!
I'm not even gonna be humble about this because I'm gonna brag that it turned out really, really good - just as I expected! I was afraid it will taste weird but it tasted great, in fact a little better.
I'm also glad that it's also Hubby Bear approved. Cooking it sounds pretty unusual because you have to dip it in egg before you fry it, but AlexBear still liked it. That makes me very happy yay!
Aside from my usual photography and crafting stuff, one thing I also really enjoy is cooking. For some reason, my mom really didn't like cooking but she was a really good cook! One of the reasons that she told me was that she used to cook all the time that she kinda got burned out. I guess it happens?
I'm a big foodie, so for me it's a really fun thing to do. One thing I super hate tho is having to wash dishes. I really am making it a goal that I'm getting a dishwasher! Another challenge that I face most of the time is the availability of Filipino ingredients, or Asian goods in general. Living in the Midwest, there aren't really a lot of big Asian grocery stores with a lot of variety. There are some places like in MIlwaukee or Chicago, but I don't live in those big cities so I somehow have limited quick access.
I'm still happy tho, because there is quite a large Hmong population in Wisconsin there are a lot of Hmong Asian stores in Oshkosh. Not bad, because they do sell quite a bunch of Filipino stuff!
My Filipino Spaghetti!!
I have been really craving my Filipino-style spaghetti a.k.a. sweet spaghetti (or so that's how foreigners, well, non-Filipinos) describe it. It's kinda hard to use the "term" foreigner now because I just realized that I'm the foreigner LOL.
I got several packs of the sauce from Seafood City in Chicago, and finally I'm able to make it! My recipe is a little bit more intricate than the usual, probably because I add a lot of other stuff in it. One thing about my sauce is that I love making it extra meaty. So basically it's meat, mushrooms and whole lot of good yums with some sauce.
And what's the best thing to pair with Spaghetti? Chicken!
I was to lazy to grill outside so I just grilled this one on the griddle.
TA - DA!!!
Cooking can be so relaxing, it makes me so happy (and fat!).
So aside from my beloved Pinoy spaghetti, I also crave so many Asian food that's really hard to come by here. And even if I do, since they're considered delicacies, they're usually quite pricey. Relatively speaking, I'd say they're fairly priced - but knowing how to make them myself, I still find it hard to spend that much.
Yes, I know. I'm stingy.
So I decided to just take a stroll at the store and came home with some wrappers, meat, veggies, and...
TA - DA!!
Gyoza and Siomai!
These are pretty tedious to make, but I actually find it really relaxing (more than the cooking itself). Just sit there and make dumplings.
Then of course, I had to make some Palutang / Palitaw! It's basically similar to mochi but cooked differently. It's sticky rice flour, molded and boiled. The name itself roughly translates to "to float" or "to show up" - which is how this snack is cooked. Once it floats to the top of the boiling water, it's basically cooked.
There's more to come, and maybe I'll post some recipes in the future too.
Hope you enjoyed all the foodie pics! :)
My obsession with French Macarons started a few years ago when I was still living in the Philippines. My office used to be in a building right next to a mall, so my colleagues and I frequently go there for lunch or dinner. One fine afternoon, while walking around the Mall of Asia, I passed by this French bakery called Tous les Jours. I quickly saw the colorful cookies and checked it out, and oh my crap (I'm trying to be child-friendly here, but I really did say profane swearing lol), they are expensive.
At 28php (around 60 cents) a piece, it's not a very cheap delight for daily consumption.
Well, it was still so enticing so I really couldn't help myself and tasting it was a big mistake - it's so delicious! I'm a big cookie person. I love cookies, period. But macarons are my... sin cookies. I can't resist these.
My Sweet Dream Come True
One of the things that I really loved when I moved here is have my own oven and my pink Kitchenaid mixer! Makes life a lot more sweeter. So okay, it's my turn to make these yummy treats! I've been here for almost three years now but I never really took the initiative to make the macarons.
It's another one of those impulse buy days, we were walking in the grocery and walked past the baking aisle. I thought, oh lets go grab some almond flour and powder sugar... and make macarons! I checked three different recipes and figured how much I would need. I have the rest of everything I need back home since I do bake every now and then.
The first try came out pretty nice! I think I underfolded it though, they didn't rise up as much as I hoped that it would. I'm sure I could do better!
I did the first attempt on a Thursday night and I was really glad they were good enough to bring to work. I really made a lot of happy team mates. So I figured - I just need to perfect the look. Taste-wise, they are awesome.
I thought the first batch was too sweet, so I tweaked the ingredients and... well.. they came out too flat and over folded... Still not bad, just needed to tweak it more!
I wasn't really happy with the previous results so I used a very similar ratio of ingredients as my first one - and I think I actually made my meringue and everything else perfect... except that I didn't fold it enough! You know, the cut and fold part - I didn't do it as much as I should...
So my little angels of delicious cookies puffed up to become crunchy meteorites!
They are still delicious! Yay!
So despite looking like flat patties and space meteorites, the taste is still "heavenly" according to my team mates at work! I'm really happy that they liked it, so I guess I'll be making more. In fact, I'll be making more this Wednesday. #MacaronLife #NoRagerts
I've always kept a diary growing up, and come the digital age I always maintained a blog - until life got too busy.
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