Banana cake was one of the very first things I ever attempted to bake. I still remember clearly the day. It was sometime in the mid-90s, when my hair was much longer and I still had
delusions dreams of being some kind of Melissa Etheridge rock musician. I was at our neighbor’s condo, watching our friend make banana cake without a recipe, simply mixing ingredients together until the consistency looked right to him. I was so amazed you’d think I was watching someone split an atom. Continue reading Browned Butter Banana Streusel Cake (Gluten-free!)
Growing up in the Philippines, we didn’t have a wealth of choices of pizza places. We had a favorite restaurant called The Italian Village, and we’d get to our table, order our food, grab a few breadsticks, then my brothers and I would rush to stand in front of a giant glass pane in front of their kitchen, watching the pizza guys fling the dough in the air. Forget about crayons and connecting the dots. The only thing that could pry us away from that sight was the wafting scent of our pizza as it arrived. Continue reading Friday Special Pizza
Lately I’ve been on a Filipino food kick. Perhaps it’s because I’d grown weary of this overstaying winter (though today was beautiful and warm). Or perhaps because some of the best comfort food is the food you grew up eating. The food of my home makes me think of my grandmother, the sound of a tropical breeze rustling coconut leaves, and Sunday afternoons playing in the sun with my cousins.
(Then I remember the time we played hide-and-go-seek outside in the middle of the night and no one came to look for me for half an hour. That part? Not so comforting.) Continue reading Squash and Green Beans in Coconut Milk (Kalabasa at Sitaw sa Gata)
Ever since Michael Ruhlman wrote about home-cured bacon, I’d been wanting to take a crack at it. As a dutiful Filipino, I’m no stranger to pork belly. We slice it thick and grill it, cut it into large cubes and make adobo or sinigang (a tamarind-flavored soup, the Filipino version of tom yum), or we dice it up and serve it with fried tofu cubes and a soy-vinegar-garlic dipping sauce. Continue reading Home-cured Bacon
There are few things that can make me just sit still, or instantly transport me to a different time and place: the cry of a plaintive violin, a lingering sunset too beautiful for any lens to capture, the warm nuzzle of Pacific waters, music that gives heartache such enviable beauty. And poetry—the kind that cuts right through, needing no excess of words drowning its sentiment, letting you fill the necessary spaces with your own voice.
When a poem is masterfully written, hearing it read aloud is often a hit-or-miss affair. When it misses, it’s almost painful to hear. But when it hits, oh, what new life it gives to familiar words. Continue reading Words and Sound
Growing up, I was a wimp when it came to spice. Oh, I could ingest enough garlic to leave vapor trails and I’d pile the sauteed onions on my bistek Tagalog until you couldn’t see the beef underneath, but if I so much as half-bit into a whole peppercorn, I’d be fanning my mouth and asking for water. I couldn’t even tolerate our local banana catsup that was flavored ever-so-slightly with banana peppers.
A wimp. That’s what I was. Continue reading Whiskey Hot Sauce
Some weeks ago, I received an email from a lovely lady named Anne. (Yes, I already knew then that she’d be lovely.) She wrote to invite me to spend a day in San Francisco taking photographs of the sights, followed by a 3-hour Lightroom workshop with the amazing Julieanne Kost the following day. Oh, and Adobe was sponsoring the whole thing. She then so kindly remarked that she thought I might need the break. Continue reading Finding my groove