May 28 2011

adobo baby back ribs

Adobo Baby Back Ribs with Apples and Jalapenos

It’s somewhat ironic that my husband, who is Filipino, loves to cook so much – especially Asian food – and yet he never cooks Filipino food! My mother-in-law makes amazing Filipino food, including pancit, chicken and pork adobo, sinigang, and my absolute favorite, lumpia. Joseph says that he doesn’t cook Filipino food because his mom’s food is so good, it’s just easier to go home for good traditional food.

That changed recently when we pulled Memories of Philippine Kitchens off the bookshelf. It’s a beautiful coffee table style cookbook, filled with mouthwatering photos, touching narratives from Philippine kitchens, and a cultural history of Philippine foods. It’s unfortunate that Filipino food isn’t more popular in the United States, because it’s good! Frankly, I’d take lumpia over  a Chinese spring roll any day and my mother-in-law’s version of longaniza (basically chicken or pork sausage in a delicious tangy barbecue-like sauce) is so good I dream about it. It saddens me that most of my friends are completely unfamiliar with these foods because they’re really missing out. You should have seen my parents, sister, and brother-in-law flocking to the kitchen when we brought them food from Joseph’s mom at Christmas.


I love Thai food, but I would gladly sacrifice one of the hundreds of Thai restaurants in Boston for just one Filipino restaurant. Unless you live in California, you’re likely going to have to head to your kitchen and pull out some pots and pans to get some good Philippine food.  There’s only one Filipino restaurant in all of New England, and while it’s good, it doesn’t come close to my mother-in-law’s food (and no, I’m not just trying to kiss up). Brooklyn has an outstanding Filipino restaurant, Purple Yam, which is owned by the authors of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, but it’s a little far from Boston to go just for dinner.

Adobo Baby Back Ribs

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Apr 14 2011

unagi-don (unagi sushi rice bowl)

If you had told me 15 years ago that one of my absolute favorite foods was eel, I would have laughed and told you you were out of your mind. I mean, who eats eel? That’s just craziness. today, freshwater eel, or unagi, is absolutely one of my favorite things. When we go out for sushi, I always save a piece of unagi nagiri for last so that I can end my meal with that perfect bite.

I’m a sucker for sauces and condiments and I just can’t get enough kabayaki sauce, the salty/sweet barbecue-like sauce it’s basted in. After your tongue gets a hit of the kabayaki sauce, you bite through the crunchy exterior to find that it’s melt-in-your-mouth succulent and smokey on the inside. It’s a wonderland of flavor and texture and once I finally tried it, I knew that unagi and I were going to have a very strong lifelong relationship.

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Mar 1 2011

fried rice with ham and pineapple

ham and pineapple fried rice

Joseph and I have a handful of recipes that we always keep readily available for the weeks when we don’t have any groceries and don’t have time to sit down and actually plan before going to the store. They’re all mostly healthy, quick, easy, and good. We’ve had this fried rice recipe in our arsenal for a while. Well, not quite this recipe. We usually make this recipe vegetarian, using tofu instead of ham, and the pineapple is a new addition. But that’s the beauty of fried rice — it’s so versatile! It’s great because the key components of it are so easy to keep stocked in your kitchen and you can modify it based on what other stuff you have in your kitchen.

ham and pineapple fried rice ingredients

Like I said, up to this point we had always made the dish vegetarian. But we had recently made a Hawaiian pizza (more on that later). We had already decided that we were going to make the fried rice and Joseph remembered we still had pineapple and then I remembered that we still had ham. It was just meant to be.

scallions, ginger, garlic

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Oct 20 2010

thai basil chicken

My boss got me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated last Christmas and I love it.  The first recipe that we made from the magazine was this Thai basil chicken dish and we’ve made it many, many times since then.  It’s juicy, it’s spicy, it’s garlicy, and it has Thai basil.

I first fell in love with thai basil when I was maybe 13 or so when I got some panang curry at a Thai restaurant in Bethesda.  I had never heard of it before and I just fell in love with its distinctive flavor.  It’s known for having a clove and anise-like flavor, but if you’re not an anise fan don’t let that deter you.  I’ve never been an anise fan myself and, not to beat the horse any more or anything, but I love Thai basil. Continue reading