Monday, September 11, 2017


Well, this was a weird week. Last weekend was Labor Day, so we had a three-day weekend. And for a short week, it lasted at least a month. Seeing how I knew this weekend was going to be super busy, I made two of my recipes on Labor Day when I wasn’t doing anything. My weekends in September and October are pretty busy with ethnic fests and fall fests and arts fests galore. Yesterday was Scottish Fest (and yes, I tried the haggis). 

Not too bad and was pretty filling.

So, last weekend, I made two dishes. The first one was Pork and Shrimp Pancit. I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t think my recipe was quite as specific as I needed it to be. I bought a package of rice noodles, but I didn’t know if this is made with straight noodles or the vermicelli kind. So, I went with the straight noodles. I soaked my noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes and then drained them. In my large skillet, I sautéed my noodles but they were still a little stiff, so I added some water to see if I could get them softer. I removed them when I thought they were ready, adding a tad more oil to the skillet and sautéed my onion, garlic, ginger, and shrimp (I used cooked salad shrimp) and ground pork that I cooked and divided in half between this dish and the next (I actually just bought some bratwursts and removed the casings). Once I mixed those together and let it sauté for a few minutes, I added in my bok choy, soy sauce (in lieu of oyster sauce), crushed red pepper, and chicken broth and let it simmer until the bok choy was wilted. Then I spooned this mixture over my noodles and topped with some chopped green onions. I thought it had the potential to be really good, and it was pretty tasty. I just wondered if I got the right noodles. Mine were still a little stiff and chewy, like they weren’t cooked long enough. I think if the noodles were cooked differently and not according to this recipe, it would’ve turned out better. But it wasn’t bad.

I feel like every Filipina grandmother is shaking their head at me.
The second dish I made was lumpia, a dish widely known in Philippine cuisine and similar to spring rolls. However, mine didn’t turn out anything like what I thought it was supposed to be. I started out making the filling. I had already cooked the pork earlier and set it off to the side. In the same skillet, I sautéed the minced garlic and onion before stirring in the pork, green onions, cabbage and carrots (I found a bag of Southern-style cole slaw which contains the shredded cabbage and carrots, so that saved me some time). Then I added in a little salt and pepper, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Once it had sautéed for another minute, I took it off the heat and set it to the side. Here’s where I think I messed up. I couldn’t find lumpia wrappers, and the closest thing I could find where I was shopping was springroll wraps. But I’ve never worked with these before. These were waxy and had to be dipped in warm water before you could use them. I tried putting the filling in the middle, but then I had no idea how to roll them. Every single one of them was completely different, fat and miserable looking. But I tried frying them anyway, and most of them burst apart. So, it was a minor disaster. However, they still tasted good, especially with a little hoisin sauce. Somewhere, there’s a deep existential story here. 

Totally delicious. I can see why this is so popular. Slightly sweet -- it goes perfectly with strong coffee.
So, today I made my bread: pandesal. I was heading out to a picnic and thought I’d cross two things off at one time. So, I started this out by mixing my yeast in with my warm milk and adding in 2 tsp of sugar. I set it off to the side for 5-10 minutes. Then I mixed 4 ½ c of all-purpose flour and 1 ½ tsp of salt. I was supposed to use part all-purpose flour and part bread flour, but… I didn’t do that. In a separate bowl, I mixed the yeast mixture with 1/3 c sugar, 3 Tbsp of softened butter, and 2 eggs that were slightly beaten. Once all of that was mixed together, I slowly poured in my flour a little at a time and stirred until it came together as a dough. I rolled it in a little oil and covered it for an hour. After that time, I kneaded it a little and formed it into 24 rolls, rolling each one in bread crumbs. After baking it in a 350ºF oven for 18-20 minutes (or until it starts to look golden brown), I took it out and let it cool. I liked these. The outside was hard, but the insides were soft and were actually almost sweet. I tried putting hummus on it, but I didn’t like that so much. Jams or jellies, on the other hand, would be much better.

And one day, she'll catch that light that moved across the carpet.
Because I spread this meal out, I didn’t really get a photo of the whole meal together. So, here’s a picture of my cat, Morocco. She hates to be picked up and usually sits on top of my printer giving me judgmental looks while I write. She’s my biggest critic and hates her job as my writers block escape. Her goals in life are to be fed and be left the hell alone to contemplate the problems of the world. But then again, those are some of my goals, too. This is why we get along so well.

Up next: Poland

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