Archive for March, 2011

Food 911: Mom Burnt the Beef (Slow Cooker Beef Stew)

Repairing the beef in a ceramic slow cooker

My mom isn’t the best cook in the world.  My siblings and I know this, but we never actually tell her.  She does, however bake a mean sansrival and her food for the gods are to die for.

While I was having my lunch, my brother mentioned that he doesn’t want to have dinner at home because mom left some beef on the stove boiling and ended up burning the meat.  I went to check the beef and my brother was correct.  The beef was like leather and rubbery enough to play a few rounds of hoops with.

I do not like wasting food, so I thought to myself that I’d either need to throw this into a pressure cooker or a crock pot.

I’m not actually very good with pressure cookers.  Honestly, I’ve never even used one.  I believe that slow cooking is the best way to soften proteins and develop the most flavour.

Of course, I went with the slow cooker and decided to turn the beef and the boiling water into a stew.  Here’s what I did:

1.  I took the beef out of the pot and transferred the water to the slow cooker.  Then I mixed together, using a normal spoon, 4 spoons of all purpose flour, 1/3 spoon of salt and pepper and half a spoon of paprika.

2.  Then I took a spoonful of worcestershire sauce and drizzled it all over the beef.

3.  After that, I took the beef and rolled it around the flour/salt/pepper/parika mixture.

4.  In the pot of water, I threw in 2 white onions loosely chopped, 2 cloves of garlic minced.

5.  I also added a spoonful of Korean beef Dashida, which is basically a quick alternative to soup stock.  It’s available at any Korean grocery.  I don’t like using Knorr or Maggi bouillon cubes because of the msg and oil content.

6.  Finally, I threw in the beef along with the rest of the dry mixture and stirred.

7.  Dropped 1 bay leaf in and will now cook for a few hours until the beef becomes tender.

8.  Later, when the beef is soft enough, I’ll be adding 1 carrot, 2 potatoes and 1 stalk of celery to the soup.  These are all choopped, of course.

Hopefully, this turns out well.  If it does then I’ll definitely try it again sometime with beef that hasn’t been murdered by my mom.  So far, it tastes pretty good.

If anybody wants to try this recipe, I apologise for not having proper measurements.  I literally just used an actual spoon.  The spoon is also in the photo above as I used it to stir as well.

I bought the ceramic slow cooker from Makro for 1200 pesos.  I’ve seen it in the SM Department Store for the same price.  Slow cookers are great ’cause you can leave them for hours and do other things like laundry or blogging while your dish cooks.

The Toyo Egg

Dad calls the Toyo Egg "Itlok na lasang Manog".

Whenever we go to a friend’s place, we usually associate their homes to dishes that we’ve had there that we enjoyed.  One of the dishes associated to my house is the Toyo Egg.  Toyo is soy sauce.

I didn’t realise that this was not a common thing to do since it’s been done in my house since I was a baby.  I’ve had a lot of eggs growing up and in many different ways.  My lola (grandmother) allowed herself to be creative as my appetite would always demand for a loaf of bread, maybe 3 red hotdogs, and a half dozen eggs for breakfast.

I don’t know where the Toyo Egg originated from but I’m sure it wasn’t from my lola.  That side of the family is what gave me the Ketchup Egg.  I know it came from my father but I’m not sure if it was a family thing or a college dorm room special.

I realised that the Toyo Egg is one of the dishes that was memorable about our home when Chef Nino Laus of Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Brian Mendoza, bassist of Enemies of Saturn, whose family owns ISCAHM mentioned to me that they missed the Toyo Egg.  They are two of my brother’s best buds and spent a lot of time in our house growing up.

The Toyo Egg is one of those dishes we have at home when it’s too late to cook or order out.  All you need is eggs and soy sauce (I use Kikkoman, Kikkoman Light or Jin Kanjang F-3).  Put the eggs in the bowl and add the soy sauce to taste.  Beat the soy sauce in until the entire mixutre is brown and throw into a pan with a little oil.  I like the egg to be a little on the runny side because burnt Toyo Egg tastes nasty.

An Easy Way to Make Someone Happy

Birch Tree from the loot bag during dinner with Chuckie Dreyfus at Pepper Lunch.

Yesterday, after the dinner with Chuckie Dreyfus, Cecile gave everyone loot bags containing products that are usually associated with Chuckie.

When I got home, I gave the tubes of toothpaste and the bars of soap to the help.  Though I’m sure they appreciated it, they are used to getting random things from me and it was just one of those days for us.

Today, I gave the Birch Tree boxes to the tindera (storekeeper) at the sari-sari store (convenience store).  The tindera gave birth to a baby boy a few months ago and she brings the baby to work.  He looks a bit on the thin side, if you ask me.  And thin is not a look that babies can pull off.

What took me by surprise was the look on her face when I told her the boxes were for her, for her baby.  Her gratitude made my heart float and sink at once.  She was so happy to receive something that I thought was so menial.  I didn’t know how I should be feeling.  She thanked me.  I responded accordingly and walked away.

It’s amazing how sometimes things that we take for granted can bring so much happiness to other people.  I’m not talking about the National Children’s Hospital, Womens’ State Penitentiary or Fabella Hospital.  I’m sure they appreciate all the help they receive.

I’m definitely not talking about street kids and those beggars that are probably part of some large syndicate operation.  I’ve seen Oliver Twist.  I know all about Bill Sikes, Fagin, Monks and the Artful Dodger.

I was thinking more along the lines of the tindera with the newborn baby at the sari-sari store you frequent or the attendant at your favourite Ministop that comes from the rural areas of The Philippines and is taking care of his parents and paying for his brother’s education.  I’m talking about people that you often come across but never bother to know.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is to keep them in mind when you have a little extra or something that you might not need or want.  You might just make someone’s day today.

The Maginhawa Experience: In Da Ghetto

Packing tape and a clear folder cover a bullet hole on my sister's window.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about Maginhawa Street.  Since then, the strip has grown to become a destination for food lovers, hipsters and artists.  In fact, the popularity of Maginhawa Street is now spilling onto its side streets with places like Leona’s Art Restaurant, Moon Leaf Tea Shop and Chef Tatung’s choosing the quieter option of “off-Maginhawa”.

I’m very happy to see my neighbourhood flourishing and growing into a place where people can walk around to enjoy art and culture.  I do, however, have concerns.

In the Philippines, we have an extremely localised branch of government called “Barangay” meaning village, district or ward.  I’m afraid that the barangays around Maginhawa Street (Sikatuna Village, Teachers Village East, Teachers Village West and UP Village) are ill-equipped to handle the fast growing number of visitors.

These barangay officials are no longer handling the loose residential areas they once were.  These villages are now very commercial.  I think the barangay needs to realise that the more a place becomes populated and commercial, the higher the threat will be to personal safety.

It’s sad but people I know have been victim to mugging, side mirrors being stolen, car windows being broken into, homes being robbed and cars being stolen.

Now, I don’t know if they’ve actually discussed this matter at their local government meetings.  I just wanted to say something about this today because my sister stayed in my room last night because she was too terrified to stay in her own bedroom after a stray bullet had broken her window.

Oh, Hello. You’re Mister Chuckie Dreyfus.

I was on my way to Pepper Lunch at Shang for “something”.  I didn’t know what it was because I am, apparently, clueless a lot.  I have these gaps in my memory which is probably a sign of aging or obesity or something really serious like that.

When Grace picked me up, I had to ask her where we were going.  I knew we were going to Pepper Lunch but I didn’t know which one and why.  She told me that we were meeting Chuckie Dreyfus.  I shit my pants!  No, I didn’t.

Chuckie Dreyfus was a child star who was really big in the 80s.

I had already met Chuckie a decade ago through one of my good friends.  Back then, he was this techy/geek guy and that’s all I can remember.  Oh, and he was really nice.

Chuckie is now happily married with 3 kids and he produces musical scoring for film and television.  He’s lost 40lbs and is planning to get back into the acting game.  Good for him.  Now, that’s all I can say about that.  Oh, and he’s still really nice.

My 80s entertainment consisted of watching Sesame Street and The Facts of Life.  Also, listening to Tchaikovsky, Glenn Miller and Lea Salonga.  That’s Entertainment?  I’m drawing a blank.  This is probably how stupid people feel most of the time.  It’s uncomfortable.

At Pepper Lunch, Cecile gave us all loot bags with Birch Tree Powdered Milk, Besuto Prawn Crackers, Hapee Toothpaste, Colgate Toothpaste, Likas Papaya Soap and Chuckie Choco Drink.  All of these things are associated to Mister Chuckie Dreyfus.  I don’t really know how but it was hilarious nonetheless.

I keep saying “Mister Chuckie Dreyfus” because I have a Parokya Ni Edgar song stuck in my head.  The lyrics are about how the singer wants to be part of That’s Entertainment and the 2nd stanza goes “Kapag ako’y makapasok, siguradong malalaos. Ang pagkagwapo ni Mr. Chuckie Dreyfus.”

Follow Chuckie Dreyfus on Twitter:

If I Let You Go: My Denims

Dondi, Kerin and Dianne in the Garage

I woke up this afternoon at 1:30pm, which is the time I usually get out of bed.  It was a pretty standard afternoon in my life.  I thought I was home alone (still standard) until Dianne, my brother’s girlfriend, came into the house to pee.

Apparently, they were having a garage sale.  By this time, I had made 90 pesos from a couple of things of mine that they sold.

I remembered that I had about 4 pairs of jeans that I had set aside under the “maybe” in my room.  It was a tough decision whether or not to include them in the sale.  They were very expensive (at the time of purchase) and very distinguishable.  Finally, I took a deep breath and handed them over to Dianne for her to price them and include them in the sale.

It sometimes hurts to part with old things.  I knew that I’d probably never wear them again because I feel that they’re too “young” for me.  Well, maybe not too young but they’re not who I am now.  My sister pointed out that there were a few pairs of jeans that were already in the pile that she loved on me.  I told her that I’m too old to have my butt crack showing.

I thought the garage sale was kind of funny to look at because to the left in the photo is Dondi of the Techy Romantics, a band that was recently nominated in the 2011 MYX Music Awards, and to the right is Dianne Elise, a singer that was nominated for an Awit Award last year.  It was a very musical garage sale to say the least.

Oh, Hello. You’re a Big Drag Queen.

Pollo Del Mar

I was tweeting about RuPauls’s Drag Race last night because I had just started season 2 of the series.  I was surprised when I received a reply from a stranger with huge orange hair and really colourful make-up.  Actually, my heart probably skipped a beat from the shock.  A drag queen had messaged me.  Woah.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love drag queens.  I actually have a good friend that’s a drag queen.  I was just caught off guard when she tweeted me because there aren’t very many drag queens in The Philippines.  A lot of she-males, yes.  Drag queens, no.  You can also throw in a few boys in dresses that lipsynch to women’s songs, but I don’t consider them drag queens ’cause I’d probably do a better job if someone would just do my make-up and find me a dress size 10 (okay maybe a 12 LOL) outfit with size 11 heels.

Getting back to the queen.  Her name is Pollo Del Mar, a drag queen out of San Fo.  She is a GLOSS magazine journalist and SF Bay Times Columnist.  She’s friends with people that I loved on RuPaul’s Drag Race like Juju, Pandora Boxx and Ongina.  We exchanged a few words and I think she’s hilarious.  I could be biased though because she’s a Glamazon (She’s 6′ tall without the heels) which is something I can relate to in a country where the average height of the men is around 5’4″.

You can follow Pollo Del Mar via twitter:

The Other Cheek

A rare photo of Mariah Carey from a left angle.

Mariah Carey’s baby is due in less than a month.  I really hope that her twins are going to be cute.  And by cute, I don’t mean how all babies are the most beautiful thing to their parents.  What I mean is, I hope that they’re Suri Cruise cute.

If they turn out like Bobbi Christina (Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s eldest) as a baby, then she’s gonna lose some fans.  Yes, she is.  No one wants to see photos of their favourite celebrities with ugly babies.  No, sir.  They do not.

I think Mariah lost a few fans when she married Nick Cannon.  After all, he is a gigolo spending lots of dough… always surrounded by so many ho(s).

It took me awhile to accept that they are actually in love.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project

I added a Social Vibe widget to the blog.  The non-profit organisation it supports is The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project is the leading organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The Trevor Project was founded by writer James Lecesne, director/producer Peggy Rajski and producer Randy Stone, creators of the 1994 Academy Award®-winning short film, Trevor, a comedy/drama about a gay 13-year-old boy who, when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, makes an attempt to take his life.

When Trevor was scheduled to air on HBO® in 1998, the filmmakers realized that some of the program’s young viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and began to search for an appropriate support line to broadcast during the airing. They discovered that no such lifeline existed, and decided to dedicate themselves to forming what was, in their view, a much-needed resource: an organization to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in crisis and suicide prevention among that group. Thus, The Trevor Project was born, and with seed funding provided by The Colin Higgins Foundation, The Trevor Lifeline was established and became the first and only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Today, in addition to operating the crisis and suicide prevention lifeline, The Trevor Project provides online support to young people through the organization’s Web site, as well as lifesaving guidance and vital resources for educators and parents.

In This Photo: Me!

Me @ Robot by Nina Sandejas

This photo was taken by Nina Sandejas.  It’s the first photo that she’s ever uploaded of me.  She’s actually taken several photos on several occasions but they were probably too ugly and she didn’t want to post them.

I think I might have come out really fat in her other photos.  Nina would never post a really fat photo of me because I’m bigger than her and I can always just squash her with my huge ass.

Is my ass huge?  It can be.  I gain weight in that area when I put on pounds.  That’s one of the good things about putting on weight.  I get an ass.

Again, this is just another test entry to see how the blog is working out.  I’m not happy with the way it looks yet, so I think I’ll be posting one or two more entries to see the full picture.