My weekend with Sam

Cupcakes with herbal tea

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 Face-Time often but it’s not really the same as having her here. But, anyway…

Even with only one daughter home for the weekend, things don’t really slow down — especially in the kitchen. Sam has this thing about having at least one baking project every weekend. And I don’t mean Sam baking anything. Rather, it means, “Mommy have you baked already?” »

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 … »

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. … »

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 … »

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 … »

Nilagang baboy (boiled pork ribs with vegetables)


Every culture has its version of boiled meat and vegetables. So I said in my Dublin coddle post. In the Philippines, the generic nilaga (literally, boiled) can refer to boiled beef and vegetables, boiled chicken and vegetables or boiled pork and … »

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 … »

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 … »

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 … »



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 … »