Filipinos In America

Filipinos are all over the place all over the world. I remembered my husband sharing to me when he went to a super remote place in Europe one time and would never thought another Pinoy will be living in that far away place where you won’t expect a kababayan may live in. Pinoys are easy to adapt in different places no matter what, no matter how. If you come to observe, they are like chameleons that would blend in different races. They are so versatile in many ways in the first place. Living in America is like living in a place where Pinoy can be everywhere specially in California, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and many more places to name a few. You will see how every weekend the houses having pinoy parties are loud specially when the videoke machines are on! Pinakbet, calderetta, turon and our very own pinoy sweet spaghetti will always be in party tables all year long. And during the week, we can’t stop to cook our tinapa or tuyo atleast once a week because we always tell ourselves, we’re tired of meat. The sinigang is always on in different ways atleast twice a week. And if ever we won’t have time to cook at home, we have our Filipino restaurants all over the place. Lucky for us in California since it’s almost in every corner. We can’t miss rice in a day that’s for sure! But what really is the reason why there are so many Pinoys outside our country instead?

A lot of our kababayans are trying to escape general poverty, they have millions of reasons but all boils down to one thing… We always wanted better lives for our family. True, it may be a better source of income compared to being home but sadly as well we couldn’t utilize within our country the talents and potentials. We studied and strived to use it somewhere else instead. I know it is not something new to say and realize but that’s forever been a reality.

On the other hand, Filipinos abroad scattered all over the world are still as scattered as they can be even if they are within the same area abroad. Compared to other races like Chinese and Vietnamese you would see their unity even if they are outside their own native land. They are mostly organized and united all the time, they have entrepreneurial power, voting power and all other strong connections. You would see them solidly working hand in hand together may it be at work or in the community. You can always find Chinatown in every city just to prove to you how unity is a strong means to have presence wherever you are.

It may be a biased way to say this but it’s a factual observation, Filipinos abroad are talented, can better communicate not to mention when we call customer service, we sometimes hang up the phone if we are not talking to a Filipino call center representative because we couldn’t understand the person explaining on the other line specially when it’s technical concern. Sorry, I personally can’t follow instructions when it happens… But nevertheless, going back to Filipinos, we have the talent, we have the adaptability in every community we lived in. We easily blend in different races all the time, not to mention we have tne power of welcoming them with our lumpia and pansit! Unfortunately, observing it and talking to different groups of Pinoys, we are not united or I may say, can’t be united, not for a very long time! There will always be ideals to unite the Filipinos abroad but, these people gets burned out and quit or they become successful in doing it but couldn’t last long enough to sustain because it’s either it gets into their heads or others are not happy for them in doing it and starts creating issues against it and pull them back down. A few of us can achieve it but takes double the effort to maintain it. That’s the sick reality of it. I remembered talking to a Filipino public servant his experience in running for position, his encounter with some Filipinos. They would rather support the contenders than support a Filipino to be in the US government position. First, why not your kababayan? Second, in the US it’s a better government system compared to our Philippine government, in the US it’s harder to be corrupt! It’s harder to commit plunder that’s for sure! So why not give a chance and support our fellow Kababayan too? Who knows, he can do a difference and support the Filipino communities. Thirdly, I have observed as an election inspector, whenever there’s free dinner, there is always long box office lines or like EDSA revolution. Big crowds long line for buffet dinners. But come election day, you’ll just see only 1 or 2 Filipinos coming out to vote. Just shows how united we are only in our own benefit and not for everybody. What is it for me? What is it for them? Why can’t it be just do it for the benefit of everyone…

I am hoping one day will come a time when we will all be one and be strong in numbers wherever we are because when we choose to get out of the Philippines we can still be Filipinos soaring high worldwide and not just plain hardworking employees, nurses, caregivers and what not, we are intelligent, mindful citizens and we can make a big impact wherever we may be… As long as we stand tall and be proud we are Pinoys and be united!

I still believe it will happen one day…

Mabuhay ang Pilipino!

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Cooking and Dining – Laing (Taro leaves in coconut milk)

After my niece’s wedding when everyone was hang over… we decided to have another round of festivities… This time it’s a cookout! So one of the dish I prepared is Laing, it’s Candice’s request! Gotta fulfill the new Mrs. Garcia’s request!

Laing is a native dish from Bicol where my ex bf (now husband), Lyndon is from.  It’s made up of dried Taro (Gabi) leaves simmered in coconut milk prepared with lots of chili… I just don’t know why I can eat spicier than the Bicolanos in his family!

Kids don’t try this at home!

Laing (Taro leaves in spicy coco milk)

Ingredients:

1 bag of shredded Dried Taro Leaves (You can usually find this in Asian Supermarkets)
1 clove of finely chopped Garlic
1 cup of finely chopped Onion
2 cans of Coconut Milk
1 lb of finely sliced Pork Belly
1 lb of Shrimp
10 pcs finely chopped Chili (Use Siling Labuyo) in which you can increase or decrease the amount depending on how spicy you wan it to be
2 tbsp of Cooking Oil
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
4 cups of water

Procedure:
In a pan, preheat the cooking oil and saute chopped chili, onion and garlic and brown a little.  Add in pork and continue to toast a little bit more.  Mean time soak the dried Taro leaves in water until it’s completely moistened.  Add in the pan and pour in the first can of Coco milk and the water. Add in Fish Sauce and adjust saltness to taste.  Simmer until the leaves are completely soft.  Once it’s ready and soft, add in and the second can of coconut milk and simmer a little bit more until the shrimp is completely cooked.

Serve over tons of rice and water 😉

TIP:
If you don’t have enough cooking time, substitute the Taro leaves with Spinach.

Bon appetit!

Dining and Cooking – Crispy Pork Binagoongan

If you’re my friend or family you will for sure know my Crispy Pork Binagoongan is exceptionally great! Once you tried it you’ll never forget it!

Even my sister’s mother in law, Nanay Ida will ask a bottle of it and save it to enjoy it little by little and I feel guilty because it’s not allowed for her to have it.

Through the years I have improved this to be one of my signature dish. I have a few tweaks here and there every now and then when I cook it. I have long ways to prepare it as well as short cuts too! If given the benefit of the time I personally prefer to cook it with a lot of ample time… Aside from lots of love and time preparing it I think it tastes better for me.

I hope you will enjoy trying out my Crispy Pork Binagoongan recipe in your own kitchen. 🙂

Crispy Pork Binagoongan

Ingredients:
2 lbs of Pork cubed or cut (I use pork tenderloin cut in medallions, or pork butt or pork belly or ribs depending on the preferred texture I feel like eveytime I cook this dish)
1 lbs of Pork Fat (for longer version) or 200 gms of Pork Chicharon with fat on (for shorter version)
1 cup of finely chopped Garlic
2 tbsp of Cooking Oil
5 pcs of chopped Chili (optional if you prefer it spicy, I do!)
1 cup of Shrimp Paste (bagoong)
1 cup of Vinegar
4 cups of Water
1 cup of Brown Sugar
1 cup of Tomato Puree
A dash of Pepper

Procedure:
Longer versions melt pork fat on slow flame until all the oil gets released from the fat and the fats become crispy. Drain the oil and place it in a plate lined with towel paper and set aside. This takes quite a long time about an hour at least so I recommend you prepare this ahead of time. If not, just use Pork Fat Chicharon and try to choose a ready-made that doesn’t have too much salt nor msg which is why I don’t like doing the shortcut version as much as possible to avoid msg. If you have a chance to use lechon kawali it’s great too!

In a deep chef pan, saute garlic and you can add in chopped chili as well if you prefer it spicy if ever and toast a little. Add in Pork cutlets until it’s brown. Add in shrimp paste and continue to saute until the shrimp paste change its color into red or brown. Pour in vinegar and water and simmer until fluids reduced to just a little bit left. Add in tomato puree and brown sugar and continue to cook until sauce thickens. Season with pepper to taste. Turn off heat and cool down a little bit for about 10 minutes. When it’s done cooling down, mix in pork fats lastly to have a crispy texture. I usually prefer adding it in only before I serve it so I can keep the crispier texture on this dish. Serve it with heaping hot rice and sliced green mango and tomato!

If were lucky to have left overs, I usually turn this dish to Binagoongan Rice eventually. But it only happens in a blue moon! Usually reaches the finish line or being brought home for to go.

Bon appetit!

Dining and Cooking – Crockpot Beef Mechado

I had a craving for a real good melt in your mouth Beef Mechado which I decided to prepare myself for the very first time in my crockpot…  Yes! Slow cooked Beef Mechado.   Mechado is a Spanish inspired Filipino Dish which is usually done in oh so many different versions…  Some uses calamansi others uses vinegar.  Some quote the beef with flour before frying to help thicken the sauce but since there’s not much calamansi that can be found in the US, I used vinegar to get the meat tender and potato to thicken the sauce instead.  You can know it’s a good mechado if you can just have the sauce by itself to satisfy your palate whether with rice or bread.  My crockpot saves me so much effort and in preparing different dishes since after just preparing it in a crockpot, you can leave it and do other things without fear of burning whatever you’re cooking…

Crockpot Beef Mechado

Ingredients:

2 Lbs of 1 inch cube sliced beef brisket

1 Clove of Minced Garlic

1 Medium size Finely Chopped Onion

1 Julienne Sliced Red Bell Pepper

2 Large size Finely Chopped Tomatoes

2 Cups of Quartered Potatoes

1 Cup of Sliced carrots

1/2 Cup Green Peas (Optional)

1 Can of Tomato Sauce (15 oz)

5 pcs of Bay leaves

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce

1/2 Cup Fish Sauce

1/2 Cup Vinegar

Fresh Ground Pepper

2 Table Spoon of Olive oil

Procedure:

In a frying pan with olive oil, brown beef starting with pieces of beef fats from the beef brisket to melt a little more oil and flavor from beef.  After browning all the meat, drain excess fat and transfer the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, saute garlic, onion and bay leaves until brown and add in bell pepper and tomatoes.  Add in 1 cup of potato and brown a little.   Then add in tomato sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar and pepper and let it simmer a little and pour in mixture to the crockpot making sure all the browned meat are coated and covered with sauce.  Cook it 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low which is ideal if you want to have it at dinner and you can prepare it in the morning or prepare it at night and leave it and it will be done in the morning just don’t oversleep if you don’t have a timer on your crockpot.  1 hour before serving, brown remaining potatoes and carrots and add it in the crockpot mixing it in a little until coated with thick sauce.  Serve it with hot white rice on an empty stomach and you’ll be left with just the sauce eventually! In which can still be good on a hot pan de sal! 😛

Note:  I believe cooking it in a Crockpot instead of the traditional stove top makes the meat remain really juicy and fresh and not dry because cooking it on stove top gets the moisture out of the meat.

Bon Appetit!

Dining and Cooking Exploration….

Cooking is always a passion for me…  I love to cook for my family and friends (given the chance and time to…)  I know, I know, I should do it more often…

 Dining is also an adventure as well.  As much as I love cooking, I love dining out too…  Dining experience is usually a school zone for me not just enjoying to try new kinds of food but also to learn new ways of preparing food…  You get some tricks and tips believe me!  Cooking and Dining out always comes together, as what my cousin Ate Babe does, she’s dissecting it so she can try and prepare it at home!

It runs in the blood starting from my grandma with her “Oh so deadly pork adobo!!!”  You’ll have a heart attack but it’s all worth it!

My mommy Chachi’s 5 minutes flash instant dishes (pansit, friend rice, menudo and all her different inventions!)  If Rachel Ray does it in 30 minutes, my mommy, she just looks at what’s in your fridge and then in a few minutes she’ll come up with something right away when you’re hungry in the middle of the night or on a surprise visits…  everyone comes to the house to check out what she just cooked…  when she visited us here in the States, my husband felt like he’s back home in the Philippines to have piping hot Pinoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack…  My mom is notorious with midnight snacks!  My father in law even got spoiled by it too!

My brother Rvin with his Nilagang Bulalo (Boiled beef knuckles), Sinigang (Sour soup) and KareKare (Ox tail and tripe in Peanut sauce), in which my husband is just more than willing  to cholesterol load  (By the way, good luck in your upcoming catering venture Rvin!!!) not to mention, my hubby made Bulalo an excuse when he was pursuing me… (I know, he won’t admit it!) And, I’m so sorry brother, I have not tried your head over hills Leche Flan for a very looooonnnnnggg time!!!  This is to die for, you’ll fall in love with my brother over and over again when you get to try his melt in your mouth oh so good leche flan…  He cooks it with love and patience!  When I mean patience, I really mean more than 2 hours patience…  Not a single bubble, but just purely creamy milky decadence….  (is this good enough Vin to sell you out I mean your Leche Flan?)

 … and my youngest brother Bob who just loves to cook in the middle of the night!  He makes instant pansit canton at its finest…  Eggs, veggies, left over adobo or whatever he can just perk it up with…  no more hungry nights when you’re with him.  (Bad as it can be eating late at night…)

Oh, before I even forget, my Daddy Ambet!  (RIP) From his Prawns ala king, the sauce itself with rice, you’re already in heaven…  and his Sputnik!  His miniature version of morcon…  you’ll forget you name!  Hey, maybe I should try and cook Sputnik one of these days when I get better!  Or maybe for a good occasion  I wonder what’s coming up…  The labor of doing it is too demanding!!!  Short cuts, well then it’s not a sputnik anymore!  We’ll see, you’ll know in my blog when I made them, I’m gonna post some pictures and faces of people trying them!

My little David have shown interest in cooking at a young age already, he started baking cupcakes when he was 4 years old…  He had suki (avid buyers) who wants to order a dozen of them but he’s limited for being a little man!  ;p

My Daniel and my husband, they just love what ever food we all cook!  The taste testers!  My Daniel (Mr. I wanna try) keeps eating David’s cupcakes that upsets him because Daniel doesn’t pay for his cupcakes that he’s selling!  My husband who does my final taste test most of the time and will always say, “you really got what I thought you!” :p But, I heard my husband makes great Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich… hmmmm although I know he makes Dollar size scrambled eggs that my David and Daniel loves, although it can’t beat Mommy’s Bestest Scrambled Eggs, right David?!

Not to mention tons of my relatives who ventured in all types of food businesses!!!

The ultimate satisfaction why I love cooking is seeing the face of my loved ones and friends enjoying and loving the food I cooked…  I usually can’t even eat what I just cooked!  But, watching them finish off the pans and the bowls and plates of my labor of love is more than just enough to keep me full…  I just wish they leave some left overs because I got to get in the mood to eat too!

Anyway folks, this is just the intro of my blog on cooking and recipes…  and as of writing this blog, I’m actually preparing some comfort Pinoy food!  Fried Pinakurat Marinated Boneless Daing na Bangus (Milk Fish) with a side of salted eggs and tomatoes over garlic rice!  Heaven!  Lord promise me You’ll have them there too ok! ;p

Alright, alright, this is just about it for now… I’ll need to eat and be inspired first!

God bless and happy cooking and dining!!!

Peace!

Rose :p

Oh by the way, if you scroll up and click on my picture in this blog, this will bring you to my French Food Trip Album!!!

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