Category: Journal Art

My Version of Osso Buco

Today’s food journal entry is about my version of osso buco. I wasn’t really planning on making some today, so the ingredients aren’t complete. My husband just said that he wanted some osso buco with pasta and I saw that we had enough ingredients to make a version of it. Traditional osso buco (the modern iterations, at least) uses tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery in the base sauce. We don’t have celery (my husband doesn’t like it either) so I replaced it with green bell pepper. I think this would be ideal with a side of mashed potatoes, risotto, or plain rice but the hubby liked pasta, so…pasta it is! Together with prep, it took over 5 hours to cook but I must say, it’s well worth the wait. Chopping the aromatics for mirepoix took up some time, but slow-cooking over low fire definitely ate up the better part of those 5 hours. Good things are worth the wait, though.

Mamale / Balitobong

Today’s food journal entry is about locally-caught wild threadfin salmon. I bought salmon steak sets from my friend’s food  business last week. Salmon is my favorite fish, and I was delighted that she was selling them with her homemade rub and herbed butter using herbs from her own garden. I was surprised when she said that the salmon was locally-caught.

I honestly did not even know that there are locally-caught wild salmon in the Philippines. Apparently they’re not very common and they’re locally called Mamale or Balitobong.

I tried the homemade rub that came with the steak set, let it sit for a few minutes. I pan-fried the fish on a cast iron skillet using a bit of olive oil and butter. Just three minutes on one side and another minute and a half on the other side. I finished it off with their herbed butter and added some dill from my own herb garden.

I must say that the color of the salmon is more vibrant than store-bought, farmed salmon. The flesh is also more flavorful, very soft and juicy. Like it has more oil. It was really delicious.

I’ll pair it with pasta next time.

A Pandemic Food Fad

A bit of a late entry, this one was written back in March. I scoured my phone for photos of the actual dish I cooked but I deleted it already, bummer. Anyway, there has been a lot of food trends online during the pandemic and this one was the only trend that I was interested in trying. It involved baking a dish of cherry tomatoes, a block of feta cheese, and garlic. Then tossing some pasta in it.

I tried the original recipe first, making sure to use Greek feta cheese made with sheep’s milk. The result was quite delicious, but I thought it could be improved.

To make the recipe mine, I made garlic confit and used the garlic-infused olive oil on the tomatoes and feta cheese. I mashed a good amount of the garlic confit into the cheese, added chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, before I tossed in some fusilli pasta and pasta water. Then I topped it with some butter-fried salmon. That really hit the spot.

Tiramisu, I Love You.

Today’s food journal entry is about my first attempt at making tiramisu yesterday. It went very well, my husband and I enjoyed it. Tiramisu is one of the two kinds of cake that I enjoy eating. The other one being (any kind of) cheesecake. Mascarpone is not always readily available locally, though. So when I found some at a nearby S&R, I bought a tub and a pack of ladyfingers to experiment with.

The directions on the recipe that I followed noted that the whole process takes only about 45 minutes, I think that this is possible, but since it was my first time it took about an hour and a half for me to complete it.

I made a few notes on my first attempt so that I would fare better on the next ones. Apparently, I will be using a lot of espresso. I didn’t know how absorbent these ladyfingers were, and I only prepared 4 shots of espresso initially. I had to stop in the middle of assembling the cake and hand-ground enough beans for 4 more shots.

I think that it’s important to use real espresso here instead of just strong instant coffee. The concentrated flavor of espresso really cuts through the mascarpone, cream, and custard mixture.

I was also surprised that these ladyfingers fall apart pretty quickly. You really just need to quickly dip it into espresso. You can’t leave it soaking because it falls apart just a few seconds after. I thought that after leaving the tiramisu in the fridge overnight to set, the ladyfingers would fall apart. Apparently they really just turn into delicious, coffee-infused sponges. It’s delightful.

My husband and I absolutely love tiramisu, and we used to frequent a favorite restaurant where we get what we believe is the  best tiramisu in Metro Manila. They don’t sell whole cakes, though, and of course we don’t go out too often because of the pandemic. So having a ginormous baking tray of tiramisu at home was a delight to us. It’s quite perfect with coffee. Needless to say, I really enjoyed my coffee break this morning.

 

Canon Mini Photo Printer First Impressions

The Canon Mini Photo printer has been around a few years, but I’ve never been an early adapter to anything, honestly. I’ve been journaling a lot more since the pandemic, though. Quite a bit more than I usually do (and I usually do write a lot). I missed having a photo printer, my old HP printer broke down because the cat peed on it lol. I thought I’d look into these cute little pocket printers I’ve been eyeing for a while now. I was hoping to get the Mi pocket printer but it’s always out of stock locally. My second option was the HP Sprocket, but while searching for the Sprocket in Lazada, I came across this little gem in the Canon flagship store and it was on sale. I bought it on Friday and yesterday (Saturday), it was delivered. I was pretty impressed with how often the status was updated and how quickly it was delivered.

It also came with this pouch, which in the product photos looked kinda meh (definitely would not really add to the motivation to buy) but in person, it’s pretty cute.

There flap has a metallic close, and it has a little pouch that can hold extra Zink sheets or your blue smart card if you need to use it again. It’s also thick and sturdy, so the printer is properly protected. At least I won’t need to buy a case for the printer anymore. The printer itself is pretty compact and light although it feels solidly built. Feels like a pocket wifi modem. I like the sleek lines around it and I’m happy that I chose the unit that has a grey-colored back panel instead of rose gold because the print on the cover is grey too. Continue reading “Canon Mini Photo Printer First Impressions”

Food and Mourning

My first food entry for this year. If 2020 was difficult, the entrance of 2021 for our family is even more challenging. We opened the year faced with challenges we’ve never had to face before. When your heart is grieving, you tend to try and seek out places that made you feel safe and happy. A lot of those involve happy food memories. It can’t make things better, but it can help you get into that headspace where you can gather your thoughts in peace and quiet while enjoying an uncomplicated bowl of pasta.

Mmmmm. Warm Rolls.

Yet another late post. This year I saw that there’s a stand mixer on sale at S&R so I bought one. Of course one of the first things I tried making is dinner rolls.

I followed a simple recipe for it, not using sourdough first because I wanted to eat it right away lol. I will make the next batches with sourdough, for sure. These turned out pretty well, although it could be a bit more fluffy inside. Maybe I didn’t proof the dough enough.

The smell that fills the house while baking bread is just amazing. Even the memory of it has a way of making me feel peaceful and happy inside. Like the smell of marinara sauce simmering, the smell of bread is just bound with happy thoughts of home.

I’m happy to be able to make dinner rolls now. I can’t believe that I only started learning to bake bread last year, because that’s on my birthday wishlist of things to learn. I’ve always been a little intimidated with the thought of learning to bake bread, but I realized that I had a lot of time on my hand, might as well knock a few things off my wishlist.

Next item in my to-learn list is sandwich bread. 🙂

My First Plate of Gnocchi

Late post. This is a journal entry I made late last year about making (and eating) my first plate of gnocchi.

I’ve never actually tried gnocchi before, but I’ve always been curious about it because it seemed so easy to do. So I thought I’d make some, since I had some potatoes and 00 flour at home, and since our sage had a growth spurt and was just branching out all over the place. I figured it was the best time to try something new.

It really was quite easy to make, I enjoyed it a lot. I wish I had a better surface to make the ridges on the gnocchi more pronounced but I just rolled the little nuggets of dough against a fork to make shallow ridges.

I browned the gnocchi in butter, took them out to cook the butter and sage some more, and then tossed the gnocchi back into the sauce to finish it. The sage crisped in browned butter sauce is incredibly delicious. I would recommend frying more of it and putting it on the side.

My husband enjoyed this a lot. I’ll be cooking it again soon. I think I want to try making this with white, creamy sauce next time. Or even my homemade marinara.

Outdoor Dining

Late post, this was from late last year. My husband and I went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. We picked an odd day and off-peak time, so there were hardly any people. On normal days (as in pre-COVID19), not a lot of people would be at the mall during weekdays after lunch time. These days, there are even fewer people. The place didn’t have air conditioning on, and we were seated beside the window. There were barely any other diners there aside from us, and everybody was staying away from other people. Even when walking through the mall, people were mindful of social distancing, and hardly had to be told to avoid others. Everyone wore face masks and face shields. Thankfully, nobody makes a fuss about that here. The feeling of eating a well-cooked piece of fish in a restaurant again was awesome. Not having to hurry because there weren’t crowds to be stressed about is even better.

Happy Kitchen

Today’s food journal entry. I have completed a few pages on this food journal. I wish I thought of this earlier, it’s pretty awesome to have a compilation of entries that are just about one topic. I’m looking forward to finishing this journal and making a flip-through. In this entry, I wrote down my pasta sauce and meatballs recipe. I don’t measure my ingredients, I just cook the amount that I need and take my cue from how it smells and tastes throughout the cooking process. I made it this weekend and I added a lot of herbs from our garden. Far from making it taste too herb-y or vegetal it had layers of complex and complementing flavors. We used dried penne for it, though, because I wanted to bake it with cheese sauce. I must say that I really missed freshly made pasta and wished that I made some instead.

I count myself blessed to have a quiet and loving home during this pandemic. We’ve been hibernating, rarely going out. We’re enjoying the peace and quiet of our home. I understand how others can have a drastically different experience during this time. The least we can do is to reach out and check on our family and friends. It’s been a long year.