Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 06/10/2010

Here we go:

1.  There was filming going on in our neighborhood again.  I thought it was another Dexter episode (a couple of shows from the third season were filmed at a home a couple of blocks from us) but I found out it’s a Kashi commercial.  It’s amazing to see the production that goes into shooting a commercial.  Prop trucks, catering trucks, costume and makeup trucks circled the block and then some.  All for a commercial.  I should have walked in.  I could have been in it!  Well, maybe my daughter.  She’s much cuter.

2.  We went to see Sesame Street Live!  We had so much fun.  I got a kick out of the kids, especially the way my daughter reacted.  My son was still feeling a little under the weather and was more interested in buying stuff, but he still enjoyed it.  My daughter danced in the aisles and in her seat.  I love taking them to live performances.

3.  This week my husband and I celebrated our anniversary.  Man, how time flies.  We’ve been through a lot in the short 8 years we’ve been together.  We’ve always been up against something, but have been blessed through it all.

4.  I didn’t get to bake over the weekend.  I had planned on testing another recipe but will have to wait until this weekend.  I also wanted to bake a Charlotte Russe, but that will have to wait too.

5.  I cooked Pork Menudo.  Very tasty and we had A LOT leftover.  That made one less day for me to cook and my hubby was able to bring some for lunch.  It was a lot of food.  I should have thrown a party!

6.  My baby girl does not like being scolded (who does?) or when I’m scolding her brother or daddy.  What makes me smile though is when she knows someone is about to get in trouble and she hears the irritation in my voice, she holds her hand up and says, “Stop.”  I can’t help but calm down because she says it with such authority.  She did, however, get in trouble with daddy because she “shushed” him while he was scolding her.  That got her in more trouble.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Weekend Dish: Pork Menudo

This dish serves 6 to 8 and takes 45 minutes to prepare.  This looks much more daunting than it actually is, so don’t fret.  Well, it looked daunting to me at first glance but it came together rather easily.  Oh, and this is a perfect recipe to use a Vidalia Chopper for the veggies.  I have one and it’s by far, my favorite kitchen gadget.

 Here are your ingredients:
Pork Menudo-1 
  • 4-5 cups of pork, cut into small pieces, cubes preferably
  • 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of annatto water (See recipe below. They are also known as anchuete or anchiote seeds. I found these in the Latin aisle of my grocery store with other spices and seasonings. You can omit if you can’t find it)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes or 1 large, cubed into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cubed into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of rice (cooked according to package directions)
Annatto* water:
  • 1 Tablespoon of annatto
  • 1/2 cup of water
*The Annatto water will stain your fingers, so be sure to wash your hands immediately after you squeeze the seeds.  To help, you can coat your hands with a little vegetable oil prior to squeezing.

Soak seeds in water 15 to 20 minutes.  Using your fingers, squeeze the seeds in the water to release its color.  The water will turn orange or red, depending on how much you get squeezed out and how long you let it soak.  Using a fine mesh colander or a couple of cheese cloths carefully strain the liquid into a container.  Here’s how it comes out before straining:

Pork Menudo-3
Pork Menudo-2 

Menudo:

In a covered pan over medium heat, bring the pork, soy sauce, vinegar, annatto water, tomatoes, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 20-25 minutes or until meat is almost tender.

In the meantime, in deep non-stick  pan, fry potatoes in 2 tablespoons of oil until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan over medium heat, sauté garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 30 seconds.  Add onion and red pepper and stir for a minute.  Add browned potatoes and cooked pork mixture.  Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir occasionally.  Serve over cooked
rice.

This recipe didn’t call for the raisins I’m used to, which I was okay with since I just pick them out anyway.  You can add raisins to the last simmering step.

I’m sure you can convert this to a slow cooker recipe, saving the potatoes, onion, garlic and red pepper for when you get home.  I would cut back on the 1/2 cup of water the recipe calls for down to 1/4 cup, or omit it completely and just add the annatto water.  You can leave it in the slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or low 5-7 hours.  Proceed with pan frying the potatoes and the remaining steps.  Your end result may be more “saucy”, but that’s okay.  It will still be yummy!

Pork Menudo-4

This turned out great.  It didn’t taste quite like the Menudo I’m used to, but I think that’s because the raisins were missing.  Regardless, everyone loved it.  Maybe next time I’ll add the raisins and pick them out.

Pork Menudo-5
Happy cooking (and eating)!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 6/04/2010

Nice short week.  So, nice short intro.  Here ya go:

1.  My daughter’s new thing is:  “Mommy.  Mommy.  Mommy.”  Me:  “Yes?”  My daughter:  “I la na na dee na na da” or something as ridiculous or she starts singing or she says nothing at all.  She’s found something “funny” and she’ll keep calling me until I turn her way and respond.  It’s hilarious!

2.  My son has NEVER ever said anything disparaging about anyone or anything.  Ever.  He has such a good heart and always sees the good in things.  BUT recently, we were driving home and saw a van decorated (yes, decorated) all over with black and white material and beads.  I asked, “Did you see that car?”  My son (for the first time ever) responded candidly with, “Yeah, that’s ugly.”  I laughed so hard.  I have never heard him call anything ugly.  I’m laughing just thinking about it now.

3.  During the week I was talking to someone about the Tylenol/Motrin recall and my son asked what "recall” meant.  I explained it to him, then he continued on with his homework.  Over the Memorial Day weekend we were having oatmeal for breakfast.  My son likes his made with apple juice but this time we decided to just make one big pot for everyone, no apple juice added.  Well, my son noticed the difference and was not happy.  He started wailing, “I think my oatmeal was recalled!”  I was cracking up!

4.  My kids go through fruit like water.  Which I love.  I thank GOD when I see our refrigerator filled and kitchen counter covered with fruit.  My husband’s favorite thing is what he’s named “The Family Banana”.  It started because whenever he was eating a banana the kids would follow him as if he were the Pied Piper, begging for a bite.  Then, my husband would offer me a bite, which I would gladly take.  Now, whenever he has a banana he splits it with all of us.  Thus, “The Family Banana”.

5.  Monday morning my husband made chocolate chip pancakes for our kids.  My son wasn’t feeling well so he left one of them on his plate.  My daughter, after finishing her one pancake and eyeing her big brother’s for awhile, climbed up onto his chair and started to play with it.  She didn’t think I was looking when she tore a piece of it off and started eating it.  I said, “Hey, that’s your brother’s.”  She climbed down, pancake piece in hand, took a bite then said, “I’m sorry.”  She then proceeded to walk away and polish off what she had.

6.  My son is still sick.  He has an awful cough that just won’t quit.  He’s missing the last few days of school.  It started as a cough, but now a runny nose and sneezing have joined in.  Poor guy.

7.  I watched Glee for the first time because it was on right after Hell’s Kitchen (I heart Gordon!) and I was told I’d really enjoy it.  I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a cute show.  I only stuck with the whole thing because every time the singing started my daughter would get up and start groovin’ to the song.  Her rhythm is uncanny.  I know she didn’t get that from daddy!

8.  I didn’t get to cook a Filipino dish over the Memorial Day weekend.  Bummer.  We had leftovers that needed to be eaten and with both kids feeling sick, there was no point in me cooking.  I baked instead.  I’m testing some recipes to sell for Fourth of July

9.  We had my son’s IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meeting.  It went fairly well, thank GOD.  They’re trying to cut one of his services, but we’re going to fight it and see what happens.  All in all, it went well.

10.  My brother is moving down my way!  Yipee!  He’s going to school to get his Doctorate in Physical Therapy and had his pick of three schools.  He chose to come down here.  I’m super excited.  Though, I hear it’s a tough curriculum, so I’m sure he’s not quite as excited as I am.

11.  I had to share this:  Jennsylvania.  I first fell in love with her book Bitter is The New Black and then read a few more.  The full title is actually:  Bitter is The New Black; Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office.  How could I not read that?!  She’s witty and hilarious and her sarcastic, smart-mouthed moments remind me of me, which is probably why I find her so entertaining.  What makes it even more interesting is that her current books are NOT FICTIONAL.  She’s writing about her own life.  From what I’ve recently read she will begin work on fictional stories, but the ones that are currently out are all about her.  The link above is to the most recent post on her blog.  It made me think of my hubby.  Lol.

12.  This morning as my son was getting ready for school, his little sister tried to help him out by getting his comb and sunblock from the bathroom and bringing it to him.  It was so thoughtful and sweet.  My son thanked her and she replied with, “You’re welcome.”  I love how they take care of each other.  Sometimes, though, my daughter can bully her big brother.  She’s a meanie sometimes.  I think she gets it from me.

13.  Last, but never least, I have to give props, kudos and congrats to my nephew, Grant for winning:  2nd Honors, 1st Honors in Music, The President's Award for Academic Achievement and Achievement Award for Choir.  Whew!  I’m very proud of him, not just for these awards, but for the young man he’s becoming.  He must have a wonderful mom!

Alright, that’s all.  I hope you all enjoyed this short week and have a wonderful weekend.  Summer is in the air.  Aaaah!