Tuesday, June 21, 2016

empathy, gratitude, and celebration

Sorry, it's been a while since my last post. It's the Holy Month of Ramadan - a time when Muslims exercise in empathy for millions who are living under poverty by not eating any food or drink from sunrise till sunset, do charity work or do any form of aid to the needy. During this time, newspapers, magazines, even social media is filled with articles reminding Muslims its significance, fund raising campaigns and charity works.

However for me, I think of food alot more. I can't help myself not to: I smell food during late afternoons, I see ladies exchanging plateful of food, I see food advertisement on billboards, newspapers, I receive emails, SMS about food, read recipes shared by prominent personalities or chefs from famous restaurants, and food being wasted (which is an eyesore). So I make food almost everyday during Ramadan.

I tend to make soups almost every single day, though I also make something else or even try a new recipe:

Day 1: Mexican Chicken Soup (top left corner):
This is an Ina Garten recipe I tried sometime ago which I initially thought was a hit with my family but it turned out that it is only me and my dad who likes this alot.

Day 2: Filipino-style Chicken Noodle Soup (top middle)
I was really happy when one of the grocers regularly stocks fresh Chinese egg noodles making it possible for me to make this soup.

Day 3: Minestrone (bottom left corner):
This is one of my dad's favorite soup; the rest would drink this soup as long as there is croutons. I like to use pita or "lebnani"  bread for croutons instead sliced white bread. I chop 2 pita breads, toss some oil, season with salt and pepper and into preheated oven for few minutes.

Day 4: Lentil Soup (bottom middle):
This soup is almost a staple during Ramadan; at least to what I have noticed. I have come across with many recipes of lentil soup but I liked the version with potatoes the most. Just sauté onions with cumin, coriander, and turmeric, add lentils, water and chopped potatoes. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, then simmer till the potatoes are done. Let it cool, transfer to a food processor or use a hand blender, reheat, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Day 5: Churros (extreme right):
After 4 consecutive days of drinking soup, I craved for something fried. I made choux pastry long time ago so I wasn't so intimidated in making these. My pulled my brother as my sous chef: I piped the pastry to the hot oil, he fish it out once it reached golden brown color.

Day 6: Vegetable Spring Roll (top right corner)
This is known in my home country as "lumpiang prito"; I craved for something fried, crunchy and savory - and this is perfect. This is a spring roll filled with bean sprouts, shrimps, celery and chopped tofu. I placed a parsley leave as I wrap the spring roll for presentation.

Day 7: Crab and Corn Soup (top middle)
This must be the one of the easiest soups there is. However, I probably "murdered" this one by using butter - I have no regrets.

Day 9: Potato and Leek Soup (bottom left)

Day 12: Vietnamese Pho (bottom middle)
I never associate cinnamon with savory dishes and never really like anise seeds and yet, I took up a courage to make this one. The beef was tough that it sat in the simmering and aromatic broth for 6 hours but it was worth the wait. Though it made the broth cloudy it was very satisfying.

Day 13: Spaghetti Stroganoff (extreme right) 
It was only the night before when my brother reminded me it was Fathers' Day the following day. This is one of my go-to dish whenever there celebration in my family.

If you notice, Days 10 and 11  was skipped: I didn't cook on these days and my mom took over the cooking duties as usual.

See you in my next post!