Crazy Pizza Bread

 
 
When Rachael of Fuji Mama asked me if I’d be interested in developing a recipe for Lindsay Olive’s Back-To-School Challenge, I immediately said yes. See, at first all I heard was “Rachael…Fuji Mama…Lindsay Olives…” and of course, at some point someone mentioned food. What was there to think about? I love Rachael, I love olives, and olives are food. It was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

 
Then, of course, the whole “challenge” part of the deal suddenly started sinking in. For one, it’s a back-to-school theme. Which means kids. Kids who might start crying if they open up their lunchbox and find something they really don’t want to eat. And as much as I love olives now, I wasn’t a big fan of them when I was a kid. Growing up, I had great appreciation for recipes that disguised the olives. I could not, for the life of me, understand how my mom could snack on olives and appear to enjoy them without gagging. Continue reading Crazy Pizza Bread

Details

The last two weeks have seen me busier than I’ve ever been in a long time. From a weekend beach wedding shoot to re-designing my blog to a little potluck that we put together, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone write.

 
While the never-ending activities have left me with a deficit of words, what I do have is a surplus of photos. And I’d really love to show you some photos from the wedding but that’ll come later. The bride gets first dibs on seeing the shots.

 
Instead, I’m going to show you photos of that wee little event we organized: the Big Summer Potluck. The wonderful Anderson family of Three Many Cooks graciously welcomed everyone to their beautiful home for this event. I am told that I spoke a bit about photography, and that I might have even made a little sense. My mom was in attendance, bless her, and although I figured it was for moral support, something tells me that she was there to block all exits in case I decided to make a run for it. Continue reading Details

Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

 
When this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club theme was announced, I was incredibly excited. The theme was gata, which is Filipino for coconut milk. Anything made with coconut milk was fair game, and the posts so far have covered both savory and sweet bases. With the wealth of choices available, I expected to be overwhelmed by the task of choosing just one. However, my mind pretty much made itself up for me early on, and despite my attempts to steer it toward more creative lines, it stubbornly held on to its first choice. Continue reading Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)

Change

Change. They say it’s the only thing you can count on in this world, and yet people have mixed feelings about it. Dread, eagerness, fear, hatred, relief, or even indifference. Often, the emotion tied to it depends on the change itself and how it comes to our door. A change for the better that comes unexpectedly is commonly called a “welcome change.” A turn for the worse that drops on us suddenly is called … well, it’s called lots of names, many of which I can’t repeat here.

 
Just as often, how we react to change depends on its source. If we initiate it, then there is some measure of control, and from that, a measure of comfort. If we are blindsided, then sometimes, instinct takes over.

 
But not all change is apparent. There are instances when the change happens ever so slowly, gradually making itself at home, steadily and incrementally establishing itself until you wake up one day, suddenly realizing what happened, not quite sure how it all came down.

 
I’ve been in a reflective mood about change these days because of this. Continue reading Change

The Oyster Man

Trinidad offers some of the best street food you can find. From breakfast to dinner to midnight snacks, the food you can get from the various stalls and carts outside will rival just about any restaurant’s standard fare. For me, when the late afternoon hours stretch into dusk, the sight of a stall lit with a cloth wick in a fuel-filled bottle can only mean one thing: the oyster man is open for the night. Or at least as long as his day’s catch lasts.

 
Trinidad street food oyster man
Continue reading The Oyster Man

Caribbean dreams

I’ve always loved traveling. It doesn’t matter much if it’s somewhere new, or some place that I’ve been to dozens of times. The whole process of leaving home, putting miles between me and the familiar, breathing in new air, and naturally becoming more observant because everywhere my eyes rest there is something different, something to be noticed … it exhilarates me, recharges me and makes me tingle all over, literally and figuratively.

 
(Apparently, it also makes me write really, really long sentences.)
Continue reading Caribbean dreams

Achara

Filipino cuisine is a colorful blend of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and even Indian influences. Most meals are served with a wide selection of condiments and dipping sauces, often laid out in little bowls or dishes, so each person can fully customize the meal to his or her heart’s content.

 
One of my favorite condiments is achara, or Philippine-style pickles. Different regions of the country have their own versions of achara, using different vegetables and slightly different pickling liquids. I prefer the kind of achara served in Aristocrat restaurants—a crunchy, sweet and tangy version using green papaya. And so when my mom mentioned that our family recipe for achara was just like that, I got excited. In fact, I think I might have looked forward to the achara a wee bit more than the Filipino chicken barbecue, because I asked Tom to hunt down a green papaya for me a full two weeks before my planned grilling date. Continue reading Achara

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