Winner Winner Pan-Fried Chicken Dinner

Been a while since the last time I wrote here. Long enough, in fact, for the layout of WordPress to change. Being that it’s a Friday night and that I’m just bumming around here in the condo, I decided to cook up this simple chicken dish that I’ve been making quite often these passed few weeks. If you want the blow by blow of how I make it, keep reading.

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Basic Stock Recipe: Leftover vegetables and other scraps that can save you some money

Alternate title: Stock so rich it can buy you, your friends, and that club.

It’s rare that I use up all of the ingredients that I buy whenever I cook at home. More often than not, I would end up with half an onion or a few sticks of celery left over from the recipe. Luckily, these vegetable scraps and any other bones or shells would actually make a delicious stock that you can keep in your freezer for future use!

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Some leftover vegetables I found lying around. These three are the main vegetables I put whenever I make a vegetable stock.

Note: For this batch of stock, I used the prawn shells from last week’s gambas for a flavorful shrimp stock.

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Gambas al Ajillo: Building flavors to complement rather than overpower the traditional

One mention of gambas here in the Philippines would usually bring to mind images of shrimps in a deep red-orange sauce (that’s usually more sweet than spicy) with some bellpeppers and onions thrown in for good measure. In some cases, this even comes in a smoking hot sizzling plate. Personally, I’m not a fan of this style of gambas mainly because the shrimps tend to come out overcooked and all the flavors that are added in the dish just overwhelm the subtle taste of the shrimp.

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What you’ll see when you search for “gambas” in Google.

My preference for gambas is to have it as gambas al ajillo, shrimps in garlic to put it simply. Traditional recipes I have seen make use of just four ingredients outside of your basic salt and pepper seasoning: Shrimps, olive oil, garlic, and chili. The dish, as you would expect, lets the shrimps shine with none of the other flavors getting in the way. My take on this though adds a few more ingredients that work to elevate the shrimp flavor even more than just having your basic ingredients.

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Pan-grilled Pork Belly: The no frills dish when you want something simple but delicious

The new cast iron pan and my baby mint plant got me excited to make something in the kitchen tonight. I wanted to make something simple and the first thing that came to mind was some inihaw na liempo or grilled pork belly. This was a dish that always takes me back to Sunday lunches back home with the family and how I did it couldn’t have been simpler! A word of caution though: This can get smokey.

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The plant that made me cook.

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Beer on Ice and Color Play

It’s been a while since I last did a fun shoot of a random image concept that’s been playing around in my head. This one, in particular, was planned as far back as mid-December last year. I remember since I was at the Rockwell Christmas Bazaar when I came up with the idea of shooting this.

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So the plan: Beer bottles on/in a bed of ice with light coming from beneath the ice for what I imagined would make it look clear and crisp. Think looking into a cooler filled with ice and these delicious beers waiting snugly in their cold embrace. That’s what I was going for.

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Three Years Older and (Hopefully) Wiser

One of the things that I’ve always strived to do in my photography was to always push myself to learn something new. Being behind the lens served as my sole avenue for expressing myself in a more creative manner. If I would get stuck in a creative rut, everything else feels flat. And constant. A place where anyone doing creative work would avoid like getting stuck in. I’ve seen myself going from a strobist-obsessed freak that would light anything and anyone I could point my camera at, to shooting portraits using only good old mother nature’s light, to shooting my food cold and still getting the dishes to make others drool, to shooting undeniably heavenly bodies.

Now all of these fields of photography would require a particular set of technical skills to shoot properly as well as a bit of digital darkroom work to come up with the “best” possible image you can churn out. My fickle-minded pursuits in photography have led me to expand my own skill set to adapt to whatever it is that I am shooting. Of course, having experience in shooting a wide variety of subjects is all well and good but there is one thing that I don’t really want to be: A jack of all trades but a master of none.

All of these shifts in my subjects made me think. Am I improving my skill with each little mini project without making me a better general photographer?

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Just a few images of the random photos that I shot in the past nine years.

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Halal from the other side: Checking out the street meat from halfway across the world

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My friend Jizz and I decided to meet up a few days ago to try out Peperoni Pizzeria, a new pizza shop in the not-quite-open-yet Uptown Mall. Since our other friend that we were planning to meet up with wasn’t going to be in Peperoni, we decided to just check out Halal Guys instead. Now I’ve always heard stories from my friends about how awesome a place Halal Guys was in New York. How it was a stall that you should NOT miss if you find yourself in the Big Apple. Needless to say, much was expected.

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