Hospitality is a strange word.
Strange, at least, for someone like me who has spent a good deal of her childhood in and out of hospitals. Back then, I always thought it seemed strange to associate such an admirable quality with a place that meant sharp needles, stark walls, and cold rooms with a distinct antiseptic smell. Hospitals usually shooed away visitors, sometimes discouraging them from staying too long by rationing the number of extra chairs in a room. Why then, wondered my eight-year-old brain, does “hospitality” mean the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers?
English can be such a curious language sometimes. Or so thinks this non-native English speaker. Continue reading Fudgy Flourless Cookies
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
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
Last week, I innocently tweeted:
Dear Nutella: I really think you should start selling Nutella baking chips. Seriously. They would rock.
I don’t know what made me say that. Maybe because these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies have been on my mind, and when I went to my cupboard to check if I had chocolate chips, I saw two jars of Nutella sitting right in front of the peanut butter. Or maybe it was simply because I happened to overhear someone else publicly declare their deep and abiding love for that irresistible hazelnut chocolate spread. (That happens a lot.) Continue reading Nutella Chip Cookies with Homemade Nutella Chips