Cooking from Pantry

An Appreciation

Yes, I know. It’s been quite a while since I’ve written and posted anything. I always have so many different tasks that writing always gets pushed further down my ‘to-do’ list. There have been many changes in my life as of late. My child has started school, I’m in a new phase of my culinary career and more importantly and much more recently, my father passed away. It’s been four months since his passing and life is slowly finding a new rhythm. My father’s death wasn’t a surprise or a sad tragedy. He was ninety-one and had lived nine of those years in a diminishing state of dementia as a result of his stroke.

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Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies

Brownies are definitely my favorite way to eat chocolate but it was something I rarely made. That’s because for many years, I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine that required three kinds of chocolate, two of which had to be chopped. Now, I have to tell you that chopping chocolate gives me a pain. Literally. On my shoulders.

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Ode to the Roasted Chicken

I’ve been thinking about Julia Child lately. It began when I was perusing my cookbook library and on a whim, began looking at some of Julia Child’s cookbooks. As it happened, a few days before, I tuned into my local public television station and watched old episodes of ‘The French Chef’ and smiled at the sight of Julia Child preparing a chicken for roasting on a spit. It made me realize just how much I learned from her AND just how much I love a good roasted chicken. It was marvelous to watch her truss the chicken, bard it with salt pork and place it on the spit. And then to watch her carve the bird made me salivate.

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Sauce Dreams

When I was in culinary school many moons ago, I fell in love with the idea of being a saucier. In fancy restaurant kitchens long ago, there were many chefs in the kitchen, so many that they were referred to as the ‘brigade’. One of the chefs in that brigade was the sauce chef or ‘saucier’. This person, as the name implies made all the sauces to be used during service. In order to make good sauce, one starts with a good stock. So this person made all that as well. I have always loved making stock.

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How to Make Portuguese Pepper Paste

I don’t know if it’s because I’m Filipino that I love condiments so much. I remember as a child setting the table for meals and getting out the bottles of condiments that my parents prefer and setting it by their places. For my father: Kikkoman soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, for my mother: Tabasco and fish sauce. It was from my parents that I learned to adjust the seasonings of my food with various sauces. So I guess it stands to reason that our refrigerator looks like the condiment aisle of a grocery store.

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My First Cookbook, The Super Bowl and Hot Dogs

My life has always centered around food. It seems to always be on my mind: I have ‘taste’ memories like the taste of the slightly melted salted butter that my Lola (grandmother in Filipino) put on my piece of hot pan de sal for merienda or afternoon tea; I associate certain words and names with food like thinking of ‘cake’ when I hear the name ‘Carol’. (I don’t know why this is- don’t ask please.) And of course, I have lots of food memories. One of my very favorite early food memories was my first cafeteria meal. I was six years old and I had just started school in Los Angeles.

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