The Cook In Me

Cooking has never been appealing to me. I would sing, dance, act, speak on stage, do yoga, play some sports, and would dare to try anything in this world, except for cooking.

I grew up having my hands-on mom do the cooking for us. When I went to a college far from home, I stayed in a dormitory run by nuns where meals were all prepared for us. When I started working, I ate out most of the time, and whenever I got the chance to stay home – at my Aunt’s place at that time – cooking and all other forms of food preparation were never a problem. She always had a cook run the kitchen. Basically, I spent my 26 years in this world in most places except the kitchen. I have never fancied myself cooking for dinner get-togethers or family dinners. I have always seen myself as the guest, but never the host.

My SSEAYP batchmate Aldean has initiated monthly dinner reunions at home. Having been exposed to a traditional British culture back in 2005, Aldean and I have experienced having most of the get-together dinners at friends’ homes especially during the winter season. With this, plus the fact that he started to appreciate being away from crowded restaurants on a Friday night (which equals getting old – haha πŸ™‚ ), he launched the group’s monthly home dinners in his very own home last month. I was actually amazed at how Aldean was able to handle the dinner very well – aside from making us really feel like his home was also our home, he still managed to entertain us, to prepare the food, to do sushi right in front of us, and even to offer a wide range of tea for beverage. After that very night, my eyes opened up to the world of cooking. πŸ™‚

Healthy Main Course As Prepared By The Host πŸ™‚

Sharing His Knowledge On How To Prepare Sushi

The Host And His Guests

Coincidentally, last weekend, Juk bought a cook book by Good Housekeeping (by the way, kudos to G.H. for the easy-to-cook yet really good food!) since she had wanted to spend her Sunday eating real good food.

When I saw the cookbook, I immediately thought of spending my Sunday in the kitchen, that is, to follow at least a recipe or two in the cookbook. Of course, the first thing that came into my mind was that salads are always the easiest, or so they seem to be. I first spotted a photo of Waldorf Salad, which kind of interested me. It looked like one of the salads I have had when I visited my Aunt two weekends ago.

Juk decided to do the main course, and that saved me from getting a bit pressured. For me, the main course always looked the most difficult among the courses. :p While browsing for more, I saw another recipe which I though would give me a bit challenge and it was Macau Fried Rice (No reactions, please! πŸ™‚ Haha!) The thought of merely buying the ingredients was already a challenge, what more following the recipe?

When we finally bought the ingredients after a very long day at home, I started feeling a bit tensed. It felt like as if I was preparing for an exam. Questions like, what if the salad won’t look like the one in the picture at all?, what if the fried rice will be too salty?, or too much?, or what if everything will come out bad? I was actually quite glad that there were only the two of us at home, otherwise, it would have added tension on me knowing that people would be watching me cook. :p

Anyway, the whole preparation and cooking thing took us an hour and 15 minutes, which was supposed to be less than 30 minutes! Haha! And that was all because I tried my best to make everything look as good as possible. I felt really tired after all the cooking but I was glad that at least I started something in kitchen. πŸ™‚ I’m planning to do the main course the next time around and I hope that everything will go well. πŸ™‚

Here are two photos of our meal taken by Juk. I wished we used our digicams but I guess we were too hungry then that we just grabbed our cellphones and took photos before we pigged out. :p

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4 Comments »

  1. Nur Nurani said

    if you’re planning to host a cocktail, try this… if you can’t find lollipops, most of the chicken vendors in the phils will do it for you free of charge… and believe you me, its one of those Only in the Philippines that they do it with no charge… at any other country outside the Phils, heck they charge you double for just the stupid service of breaking the chicken wings and letting the bone stick out. talk about going the extra mile for your clients…

    and one more thing, if you have pets (small birds or cats) make sure you put them at a safe distance from your kitchen (and leave your windows WIDE open!!!). the fumes from the buffalo sauce is enough to kill a small birdie…

    Buffalo Lollipops (one of my favorites)

    ——————————————————————————–

    Ingredients:

    For Fried Lollipops…

    1.5 kilos (or about 30 pcs) chicken wings (if you can find the prepared lollipops, even better)

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp crushed black pepper

    1 tsp garlic powder

    5 cups corn oil (olive oil is okay, but for this recipe i only use corn oil)

    For the Buffalo Sauce…

    1 large bottle hot sauce (any brand of your choice)

    1 small bottle tabasco sauce (again, I am not very brand conscious, but let me know if you have something that tastes great!)

    2-3 or about a quarter of a cup soy sauce

    2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

    1/2 cup tomato ketchup

    2 tbsp corn starch melted in cold water

    For Garnish and Dipping Sauce…

    15 celery sticks soaked in iced water for 10 minutes

    blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing

    Preparation

    Prepare the wings in lollipop style (if you don’t know how to do this, you can ask your butcher to do it for you), this should give you about 60 nice pieces. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and fry until golden brown. Cool then set aside.

    In a saucepan, combine hotsauce, tabasco soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and tomato ketchup and bring to an easy boil. The fumes are very nasty and may cause your eyes to water, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated. Add the corn starch mixture and simmer. Once the sauce is reduced, remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

    Put the fried lollipops in an airtight plastic bag and add the sauce. Make sure that you leave enough space for shaking. Seal the bag and shake violently to make sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

    Arrange in a nice plate and serve with the celery sticks and dipping sauce. This serves a small party of around 8 – 10 people.

  2. pamalfaro said

    On NUR NURANI: Thanks Nur for sharing. πŸ™‚ Will definitely try that one day!

  3. Joy said

    Way to go Pam… the next time I visit you, I shall expect to taste some home cook food.

  4. pamalfaro said

    On JOY: Hahaha! Thanks Joy. That’s gonna be a year from now still. Will have to master the art of cooking first so I won’t get tensed. Haha! πŸ™‚

    I hope to see you in Cebu on Sat for the SIGA! πŸ™‚

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