My weekend with Sam

Yes, the title is a play on the movie about the beautiful American actress. And, yes, it's just Sam who's home for the weekend. Alex hasn't been home for many weekends; she's deep into rehearsals and stage set-up, and will be for another few weeks. I miss her so. We talk via … [Read more...]


Miso, chayote and spinach soup

One thing I like about ground meat is how it is such a budget stretcher. A little goes a long, long way. Even if a lot of vegetables are added, and even if the proportion of vegetables to meat is terribly lop-sided, no one really feels too meat-deprived because everyone … [Read more...]


Sam’s picadillo

In 2003, I posted a recipe for picadillo that was such a far cry from the traditional. Instead of ground beef, I hand cut stewing beef into small cubes. And, instead of adding potatoes OR chayote to the beef, I added potatoes, carrots AND chayote. It's been our standard … [Read more...]


Stir fried beef and chayote

Inspired by a dish that chef Luke Nguyen cooked in his TV show, this stir fried beef and chayote combo is another example of the yin-yang concept that is found across various Asian cuisines. The ingredients are simple, few and inexpensive, the seasonings are minimal, and … [Read more...]


15-minute ground pork and vegetable curry

The thing about cooking with fresh ingredients is how the preparation time seems to be just as long the actual cooking time, if not longer. Take this ground pork and vegetable curry dish -- peeling, trimming and cutting the vegetables took twenty minutes; the actual cooking … [Read more...]


Friday night soup

I often cook up a feast for dinner on Fridays when both girls are home from school and the family is complete. Last Friday, we had the Asian-style chicken lollipops and this pork and vegetables soup. This soup is similar to my version of picadillo but using strips of pork … [Read more...]


Ground pork, spinach and chayote soup

When we were buying veggies over the weekend, Speedy suggested a bag of chayote and almost as soon as he saw them. I understood. He was thinking of a soup from his childhood. A soup so comforting in its simplicity that it makes one think of life decades ago when everything … [Read more...]


Spicy shrimps and chayote in white wine

Just like the mac, cheese and shrimps dish, this easy sauteed shrimp and chayote dish was made with frozen, vacuum-sealed shrimps that came shelled and deveined. The vegetables are boiled in white wine (which really enhances the natural sweetness of the chayote and carrot), … [Read more...]



When I first posted a recipe for halang-halang, the only thing I knew about the dish was that it was similar to tinola except for the addition of coconut milk. It turns out -- based on readers' comments -- that halang-halang literally translates to anghang-anghang … [Read more...]


Chicken soup a la picadillo

Don't confuse Filipino-style picadillo with the Mexican and Cuban picadillo which is a ground beef stew. The Philippine version of the Cuban picadillo is arroz a la Cubana.Picadillo in the Philippines is a soup with small pieces of beef. My father made his with potato … [Read more...]