One of those dishes is Kare-Kare. This is a dish that we don't usually eat because mom used to stay away from anything with nuts, because of her arthritis. Well, during our last visit to the doctor, he said that my mom indeed has arthritis, but she could eat nuts (hers is a different kind of arthritis), so I immediately wrote this on the list. The problem then was the meat, but sister thought of something to present this classic Filipino dish...
... by combining it with another well loved Filipino dish - the Crispy Pata.
Since we don't have a big frying pan and we didn't want to use too much oil for the meat, we decided to buy a small one at the supermarket and have it cut as well as they do use electric saw to cut through bones, making a clean cut compared to the ones in the public markets that uses manual chopping, making the bones crack and shatter.
Cooking the dish, she first tackled the pata. Seasoning the water with salt, pepper and bay leaves, she let the meat boil in it and later pressure cooked it to ensure the meat would be tender. Then, she baked it for a while to take out excess moisture then she fried it 'til it became crispy.
The vegetables she blanched in boiling water 'til it reached the "just cooked" stage and dunk them in ice bath to keep them cooked yet crunchy.
Last thing was the sauce, and the pata was already time consuming as is, so she decided to just use the Mama Sita mix - the creamy one, not the powder. We prefer to use the creamy sauce mix because it had real peanuts.
Plating was better when done this way...but of course, once all pictures were taken, we did mix the vegetables with the sauce. One thing we overlooked - the bagoong. Sister just seasoned the sauce with a little salt, so it wasn't completely bland.
For dessert, I baked Caramel Custard Cake. Actually, I had no intentions of baking. Sister planned to use the cake mix we bought from MAFBEX, but it was tricky to cut the the recipe in half, so she canceled it. Seeing we have enough ingredients, I baked this, as this still fits the Filipino theme, leche flan being a favorite dessert of many Pinoys.
I still cannot share the recipe as this was a trial cake, and it didn't turn out to be 100% good...but still very good. Problem was, the custard just wouldn't set. Baking this in baine-marie method, I baked this for over 1 hour (the recipe says 40 minutes), and it just wouldn't set. I decided to dry bake them and after 10 minutes, the custard finally set. However, the long baking time dried the chiffon cake a little, and oh dear, when I cut the cake, I realized I didn't pour enough custard...it was so thin! Actually, the recipe I followed used a round pan, but we don't own one yet, so I used two loaf pans and cut the batter in half, though the custard, I just couldn't gauge the level in the pan as I poured it.
Despite the problems, it tasted really, really good. I now know how to handle this should I bake this again, and when I do, I can then share the recipe.
For us who is used to eat out during Sundays, it sure felt great to stay in the house and be slaves in the kitchen. I am not sure if we can do this every weekend, but we will try.