On the National Food Front, today is Hot Chocolate Day. Perfect for the last day in January. Maybe next year, I’ll share a recipe more in keeping with the National Day.
On this day 48 years ago, my life forever changed. My daughter was born. She was bright and so talented. Like my father, Becca was an artist. She loved to paint. Unfortunately, my baby lost her way as an adult. Drug addiction is such an ugly disease. It affects more than just the addict. My greatest fear was that she would die on the streets and I would never know. My daughter did die, but not on the streets and not from an overdose. She died in August of breast cancer. While her passing was crippling for me, I am grateful to God that she did not die alone on the streets. She died in a hospice. Due to Covid, we could not be with her, but the staff was there and we were able to bring her home again.
Today is her birthday. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to celebrate her birthday with her. The original plan was for Kiddo and I to make Sloppy Joes and a Hot Chocolate Cake. But then I realized that my baby girl is with her Lola (my mom). If my mother were here, and Boo were here, we’d have a big Filipino Feast. So that’s what I’m going to do. Wipe the tears from my eyes and make a spread of all our family favorites.
Hug your loved ones while you still can. Celebrate every day God has given you together. Love does not stop because it hurts. Love will carry you through. Life is never easy. But it is so worthwhile.
Filipino Birthday Party
Chicken Adobo – Stove Top
Stove Top Chicken Adobo
8 boneless Chicken Thighs
1-1/2 cups Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
1 cup Chicken Stock
Water as needed
6 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Yellow Onion
4 leaves Bay Leaves
Black Pepper to taste
Place chicken thighs into a large pot. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and rice vinegar in a large pot on the stove. Add chicken stock. Stir to blend.
Add enough water to cover chicken completely. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and allow to gently “boil” for about 2 hours.
Peel and press garlic. Cut onion in half from root to tip. Peel half the onion, cut into slivers and break apart. Add garlic, bay and onion slivers to the pot. Let simmer about 20 minutes longer, until onions are tender. Taste juices and season with pepper as needed.
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
1-1/2 cups Water
1 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup Celery
2 whole Carrots
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 package Pancit Noodles
16 oz Chicken Stock
4 Green Onions
Black Pepper to taste
Soy Sauce for serving if desired
Cut pork into chunks, place in a large pot. Cover with 1-1/2 cups water, 1-cup soy sauce and 1/2-cup Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until meat falls apart, about 2-3 hours. Remove meat from liquid. When cool enough to handle, shred meat by hand. This can be made several days in advance, stored in refrigerator with a small amount of the cooking liquid to keep meat moist. Reheat the meat before continuing.
While the meat is cooking, boil the eggs and prepare the vegetables. Peel and chop the garlic, set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots, set aside. Wash and chop the celery, set aside. Cut the roots from the green onions, discard. Chop the remaining onion, white and green alike. Set aside. Core, seed and cut bell pepper into thin strips, about 1 inch long.
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with warmed broth. When noodles are soft, drain and cut in half. Set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, sauté the vegetables (except garlic) until tender to the bite. Add garlic and continue to cook about 1 minute. Add cooked shrimp, shredded meats and softened noodles, tossing to heat thoroughly. Off heat, add sliced eggs and green onions, toss to blend mixture. If desired, season lightly with soy sauce and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.
The Lumpia has already been made at least 24 hours prior to frying or you can use store-bought. Hubby, Kiddo and I recently spend a day making 125 Lumpia to have on hand whenever the need for Filipino Egg Rolls sprang up. If you’ve got an afternoon to spare, by all means make your own Lumpia. Regardless of store bought or home rolled, be sure to make a Sweet Chili Sauce to serve with your lumpias.
Lumpia with Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons Water
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
Prepare the slurry for the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons water and cornstarch. Set it aside.
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Serrano Pepper, minced
1 cup Water
2/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves, set aside. Stem pepper, split open, removing some of the seeds. Finely mince the pepper, set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the a cup of water with the garlic, jalapeno, sugar, rice vinegar, and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer it for five minutes.
Stir the cornstarch slurry mixture one final time. Whisk the slurry into the saucepan. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens, whisking constantly.
Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool. Place sauce in the refrigerator to continue to chill until ready to serve.
15 Frozen Lumpia
Oil for frying
Heat about an inch of oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, lay lumpia into the skillet. Do not over-crown, fry in batches if necessary.
Fry lumpia until golden and heated through, about 6 minutes per side.
Drain lumpia on paper towels before serving.
To serve, arrange lumpias on a large plate. Ladle dipping sauce into a small bowl and serve.
1 cup Sugar
3 tablespoons Water
Melt 1 cup of sugar over medium-high heat while stirring constantly to prevent sugar from burning. Continue to cook until all the sugar has melted and is a nice golden-amber color. Pour caramel sauce into the bottom of a large baking tin. Allow sugar to cool slightly before proceeding.
Note: You will need a flan pan OR large Tin from a canned ham. The thin walls of the ham tin are ideal for making flans. I have had mine for over 30 years. My family knows not to mess with or toss out that old ham tin!
20 Egg Yolks
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 large cans Evaporated Milk
1 cup Half and Half
Note: When separating yolks from white, reserve 4 whites for the meringue. The remaining whites are great for an Egg White Omelette such as Marseille Omelette.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a large casserole pan about a quarter of the way with water to create a bath. Set aside.
Beat Egg yolks slightly with a fork in a medium size bowl. Add vanilla and sugar, set aside. Scald evaporated milk and half and half in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Pour in egg mixture. Mix slowly while stirring constantly. Once mixed; remove from heat. Mixture should only remain on heat for about 1 ½ minutes – DO NOT allow eggs to cook.
For the ultimate smoothness of the flan, CAREFULLY ladle the mix through a sieve into caramel-glazed baking pan. Cover with foil and bake in a bath for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes or until firmly set and done in the middle.
Let custard cool in the pan for 1 hour. Invert onto oven-proof serving dish. Pour any remaining caramel from pan onto custard.
4 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Beat together egg whites, sugar and Cream of Tartar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.
Top custard with meringue and lightly brown under broiler before serving. Leche Flan may be served at room temperature or cold.