Category Archives: meal ideas

Baked Chicken And A Dog Named Vishnu

Baked whole chickens are just about the simplest thing you can make with limited time and resources and still come out with a creation that would merit the reaction “Wow!” I made it first in high school under the direction of a teacher who also taught me how to make lasagna.

Doesn’t it look amazing? So easy!

Many years later while broke and jobless in a house in Quezon City, Philippines, we gathered our resources to buy a whole jumbo chicken which I marinated and baked. We ate it for Christmas dinner and proceeded to cocktails and guitar playing. And then our dog named Vishnu quietly reached up onto the dining table and grabbed the rest of the chicken, prompting our screams as she ran out the door. Vicoy, an uncle figure in that household, chased after Vishnu and pulled the bird out of her mouth and brought it back inside. We then asked what he planned on doing with a carcass that had already been inside a dog’s mouth and on the ground. Disgusted, he threw it back out for Vishnu to feast on for her best and last Christmas. (Poor dog died the folowing year shortly after nursing her only litter.) But again, I digress.

This gravy is so simple but so rich with the flavors of rosemary, oregano and garlic.

Serving a whole roasted bird with shiny brown crispy skin could be just as rewarding as serving a labored-over lasagna. But the difference in prep time and the versability of a baked chicken is hard to beat. I hope you enjoy one of my favorite dishes to make and I hope you also get the WOW you deserve. Continue reading

Stuffed Peppers and Zuchini Boats

Do CSA shares rock? Of course they do, especially if you don’t pay for them. đŸ™‚ We’ve had some friends take vacations coinciding with their CSA pickup dates and we’ve diligently made use of their haul. This dish came about because of the desire to use the amount of produce we had accumulated in our fridge from these harvests.

Dinner tonight: Stuffed pepper, stuffed zuchini, and a side of greens and beets.

These stuffed peppers and zuchini boats used our pepper and zuchini stash all in one blow. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to realistically use all of that bulk.

The filling of ground meat is browned along with onions, seasoning, and carrots and diced peppers for color. Continue reading

Salad Pizza on Focaccia

Focaccia is an Italian-style flatbread that is similar to thick crust pizza in taste in consistency, and is often found piled high in Italian specialty shops. This is precisely where R found them when she decided to make pizza out of the bread. She bought some fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and dried oregano, and ran home.

The result was a refreshing mix of fresh and nutty arugula flavors, the bite and savoriness of the prosciutto, and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella atop a soft and tasty piece of bread with crunchy edges. Continue reading

Homemade Panizza

During a recent trip to Manila, I fell in love with what is supposedly a purely Philippine phenomenon: the panizza, thin crust pizza filled with greens and sprouts and rolled into a bite-size piece of crunch perfection. Having been unsuccessful at locating a nearby source for this creation in NYC, my good spouse decided that she would make one of her own.

Enter the roll-up wrap which as available in grocery stores for use in making your more conventional wraps. On the package there is a photo of its use as pizza crust, which gave us the idea that we could create panizzas of our own. Continue reading

Lingayen Food Festival

…or that’s what I would call it, except that it’s not a public event but actually a private one I partake of whenever I go home to the Philippines for a visit.

Steamed shrimp, seaweed salad (arorosep), grilled milkfish (bangus), sauteed oysters, tamales, green mangoes and shrimp paste.

Steamed shrimp, seaweed salad (arorosep), grilled milkfish (bangus), sauteed oysters, tamales, green mangoes and shrimp paste.

I spend some time at my parents’ beach house to visit my childhood nanny who lives nearby. Consequently, my need for a place to stay leaves me the opportunity to sample the food cooked by our decades-long caretaker Mila, who takes local delicacies and comes up with a feast according to my request.

And if you’re one of the lucky people I picked to come with me, then you’re in for a treat. Food highlights below: Continue reading

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