Month: September 2012

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Filipino Braised Pork Adobo

Sometimes I have to play games to get through a busy day with a smile. Here are some good things that help me out (in no particular order): – watching the sun peek through the clouds. – listening to my shoes squeak in the library. – counting how often our daughter giggles. – feeling her small hand in mine. Other times it’s all about vinegar, slowly reduced with soy sauce and brown sugar, with a hit of black peppercorn and bay leaf. What? I know, I know. But it’s true. As a long time fan of Vinegar City, Pork Adobo is just right for those sweet and sour days which cling to us like paperweights. Whatever that means. The inspiration comes from our Filipino Global Table, which (in turn) was inspired by the cuisine of Portugal. It would seem adobo can be anything in sauce (particularly vinegar based), but pork adobo is particularly grand with pork belly or shoulder. In other words, any meat that is thick, fatty and wonderful on the slow and low side …

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Tapioca & Jello Sipper | Sago at Gulaman

It’s Friday. We all need a little love. A quick fix to carry us into the weekend, Filipino-style. Also, we’re on our way to October, which means we’re on our way to Halloween… The answer? <gulp> Sago at Gulaman, a.k.a. Tapioca and Jello Sipper. This drink hardly even needs a recipe. First step, make some jello. For brownie points, make agar agar “jelly.” Agar agar is seaweed based and sets up at room temperature. Very cool. You can find it on the international aisle of Whole Foods, or at your local Asian market. I used pandan flavored jelly from Nam Hai, one of our local Asian markets. They also had mango, lychee, and many other fun, tropical flavors. (Note: You might find it easier for dicing to make your jello in a 9×9 container – but Ava and I had a blast using these molds) Next, up, the tapioca. Drop the dusty white pearls into a large pot of boiling water. Give several stirs and cook like pasta until completely transparent. My small pearls took almost …

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Lumpia Shanghai

Are you the sun or the moon? Do you shine hot and bright, or glow cool and blue? Is there a better of the two? There’s a Filipino folk tale that says the sun and moon once had an argument. The sun angrily told the moon “you only shine because I shine on you.” The moon spat back, “no one likes you because you’re too hot – at least at night the women can go out and dance under my cool glow.” This made the sun so angry, she threw sand in the moon’s face. And that’s how they say the moon got dark spots all over her face. There’s nothing quite like bitter emotions to bring out our worst characteristics. All too easily we become blindsided by anger, jealousy, and resentment. These are normal parts of living. Of being… well… human beings. But in the midst of all this emotion, there’s a better path than acting out in anger. The key is to realize that we all glow. And that every single glimmering spirit is valuable. …

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Menu: Philippines (& Giveaway)

Yum. That’s all I can say. Slow cooked pork, crispy lumpia, and a sweet, jiggly drink… this is our little taste of the Philippines. We’re talking bold flavors and big bites. Perfect for your fall table. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Lumpia Shanghai [Recipe] This is the long, flaky cousin to the egg roll – a shatteringly thin wrapper stuffed with ground pork, carrot, green onion, and jicama then fried to deep golden perfection. Filipino Braised Pork Adobo [Recipe] Pork cooked in a tangy combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorn. Served over rice. This is serious stuff. Tapioca & Jello Sipper | Sago at Gulaman [Recipe] A wiggly, jiggly drink which has variations all over Asia. This one can be found with street vendors in the Philippines, mixed with crushed ice. Super fun for kids. THE GIVEAWAY UPDATE:  *Winner from this week’s Filipino Menu Giveaway was selected at random by random.org. There were so many fantastic ideas for globally-inspired baking dishes.  Congratulations to Katherine, who said: “I would …

The Chocolate Hills in Bohol Province, Philippines. Photo by Ramir Borja.

About the food of the Philippines

Welcome to our week at the Filipino Global Table, where you can stovetop travel your way to these 7, 107 tropical islands in the western Pacific ocean. Tucked between her mountains, tropical rain forests, and gorgeous coasts live 28 million people who enjoy a diet with influences from Spain, China, and Malaysia and beyond. The food packs a serious punch. According to wikipedia, “Filipino cuisine is distinguished by its bold combination of sweet (tamis), sour (asim), and salty (alat) flavors. While other Asian cuisines may be known for a more subtle delivery and presentation, Filipino cuisine is often delivered all at once in a single presentation.” Pork is extremely popular. If you’re ever in the mood to roast a whole pig, you can learn how from the beautiful people of the Philippines. Called Lechon, the meat is slow cooked over charcoal until tender on the inside and crackling on the outside. Then there’s pork in adobo, braised in vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce (chicken is also used for Adobo). You’ll also find pork in lumpia shangai, …

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Monday Meal Review: Peru

THE SCENE Ava’s on to us. When we pull up to the dining table on Thursday nights she knows. It’s Global Table Adventure night. In fact, she strung together these words for the first time this week: “”Gwobal” Table Adventure (“can I go there, mama?”). When a three year-old child knows that she is expected to try an unusual meal every week, one of three things can happen. 1. She can go for it wholeheartedly. 2. She can eat with normal interest/disinterest, depending on the day. 3. She can rebel. With tears. Man, that last one’s a doozy. Two and a half years ago, when we started this adventure, Ava simply ate what we gave her. Sure, she spit some of it out (she was a baby after all), but overall she was more open than we were to trying new foods. She had zero preconceived notions. Now that she’s hit the ripe ol’ age of three, Ava is way less accepting than she used to be. While still extremely open minded compared to her peers, she’s …

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Peruvian Tiramisu

Yes. Peruvian Tiramisu. It’s real and it’s happening right now. This is tiramisu exactly as you know it with the addition of one magical ingredient from Peru: lucuma fruit. To me, the brilliant gold flesh of lucuma tastes like a combination of caramel, sweet potato and pumpkin. With a bit of banana leaf undertones. I’m not sure how it came to be that there is a fruit which tastes like caramel, but I’m smitten. I mean, really. This is the perfect dessert to serve with falling leaves, crisp afternoons, and a whisper of frost. (Hello, autumn.) Kelly, the owner of Mi Tierra in Tulsa, tells me that, while lucuma fruit is folded into ice cream, drinks, and more, tiramisu is the “big city” way to enjoy the fruit in Lima. Now… about the fact that they’re eating Tiramisu in Peru… Here’s the deal: the Italian influence in Italy is second only the the Chinese influence. The first wave of Italian immigration to Peru occurred during the period 1840–1866 (the “Guano” Era): not less than 15,000 Italians …

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Chifa Beef Stirfy | Lomo Saltado

Remember the girls who could do Double Dutch jump rope? I loved them. I loved them because I was never coordinated enough to do what they could do. Every day I watched their hair fly, their feet pump like pistons, and ropes slice through the air. Today, I’m not even sure if I can jump regular rope, let alone Double Dutch. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been on a playground for my own pleasure. But if there’s one thing I can do, it’s eat double carbs. In this case, I might as well be Peruvian. I’m talking about Chifa – a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese food… and it’s not something just a few people love. Chifa is Peru’s heart and soul, considered one of the country’s top favorite dishes. Today’s Lomo Saltado is a simple beef stir-fry, but made with Peruvian peppers, cilantro, and  cumin (of all things). And… this is the important part… Chifa is served with French Fries and rice. Double carb town. Lomo Saltado is the strangest sounding combination, …

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Ginger & Rocoto Ceviche

Last week I spoke with “Kelly,” a short, black-haired Peruvian restaurateur whose father had a thing for Western names (he also named one of her brother’s Kennedy – and, as she admitted with downcast eyes, another brother “Hitler”). If that wasn’t enough to blow my mind, she added in her thick, rolling accent that halibut ceviche is the “Dunkin’ Donuts” of Peru. I asked her twice to repeat herself. Each time her smile grew bigger and her words clearer. Ceviche is the Dunkin Donuts of Peru. Ceviche- Peru’s pride and joy – is light, fresh, and healthy, so I found the comparison strange. Unlike the doughnut, which takes a dip in a bubbling cauldron of oil, the seafood “cooks” in the acid of lime or lemon juice. Nothing could be cleaner. Each bite is bright, flavorful, and often spicy with the addition of the rocoto pepper (although any hot pepper can be used to taste) and a hit of fresh ginger. When I tried Kelly’s ceviche, I was happy to find an assortment of goodies accompanying it. There were the oversize corn kernels …

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Menu: Peru (with $150 Giveaway)

There’s a Peruvian proverb that reads… “Gold, when beaten, shines.” This simply means it takes a little elbow grease to make even gold look good. As with most things in life, the more effort we put in, the better things go. I’ve been trying to teach this important lesson to Ava, especially when the going gets tough. Not everything is as instantaneous as twitter or as fun as facebook. Incidentally, I’ve been using this proverb as I prepare to deliver a speech tonight in front of 350 people at the Global Vision Dinner here in Tulsa, put on by the Tulsa Global Alliance. I’m excited but scared. I’ve never spoken in front of that many people before.  Keep me in your hearts – I’ll need strength to let my message shine. And, now, for the food of Peru, which (thankfully) shines with hardly any effort on our part. Especially that delectable ceviche… …all recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Ceviche [Recipe] Find out why one Peruvian calls this the dunkin donuts …

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About the food of Peru

The dream was born in seventh grade geography class; I had to feel the sunrise in  Machu Picchu. One photo of that misty, lush mountain topped with ancient Inca ruins was all I needed. I was in love. Sure, there were snow capped mountains, modern cities, sashaying rivers, and lush, green jungles to explore… but I wanted to teleport straight into the incredible mountain city that’d been mysteriously abandoned so many years ago. All these years later and I still haven’t reached Peru. Thank goodness for stovetop travel; this week’s Global Table will pacify me a little longer. The funny thing is, for all my passionate dreaming as a child, Machu Picchu didn’t come up during my initial research. My exploration of this ocean-front South American country started rather simply with a restaurant here in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Mia Tierra recommended by long time reader Brian Schwartz. It was in this little restaurant that I got a first hand sampling of authentic dishes from a Peruvian woman. She insisted we try ceviche [Recipe], a natural dish found on Peru’s long coastline. …

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Monday Meal Review: Paraguay

“Here at last,” I think, as we pull up to our cabin at Beaver’s Bend State Park. I gaze up at the tall, skinny trees and then down to the sturdy stilts which keep the cabin from falling into the river below. They are the same circumference. A familiar smile curls my lips and I look back at Ava. She’s staring out the window in awe. Here is our little house on the water. A space to listen to the birds, feel the breeze, and watch the seasons change. For four days, at least, until the next family comes to call it home. The cabin reminds me so much of the house we almost bought two years ago. The house that “got away” from us (due to failed inspections). They look nothing alike, but feel the same. The spirit of a house on the water is so different from a landlocked house; the water sliding past your window can easily trick you into thinking you’re continually traveling, exploring, moving. I’m still entranced by the view when …