Arroz ala cubana

I love to cook and this has been one of my better efforts. It’s great to eat arroz ala cubana in the morning. The fried egg smiling up at you makes the start of the day sunnier than it really is.

In this recipe, I used 1/4 kilo each  of ground pork  and ground beef. I like mixing the two up because I like the flavor of beef but having it alone makes the recipe oilier. Saute a head of garlic, 1 onion and 2 medium tomatoes (all of these should should be minced and chopped in small pieces) in olive oil. You can opt not to saute in oil. Instead, you can heat the meat in a little water and then when the fats are starting to separate, you can use some of that to saute. Anyway, if you opted to saute in oil, now mix in the meat and move it around to cook. When it has turned sufficiently brown, remove the excess oil, then add in the carrots. You can also put raisins but my husband is not fond of fruity stuff in our viand so no raisins in this recipe. You can season the dish at this point. I use soy sauce instead of salt, a little crushed black pepper, paprika (be generous here), chili powder, dried oregano. Mix them all. Then pour in the tomato sauce. If it seems  too dry and is in danger of sticking into your pan, you can put some (half a cup will do)  water. But not too much, this dish is not meant to be as soupy as menudo. Simmer for about 15 mins, occassionally stirring. Put it on low fire and heat for around 10 mins more. You can simmer it longer for the flavors to really blend together. Before you turn off the fire, taste it first so if it’s too bland, you can season it accordingly before serving.

Now fry an egg sunny side up, some saba bananans. Get your fried rice, pour a generous portion (just make sure you can eat it) on your plate. Pour some of the steaming tomato-meat mixture, the fried egg on top, the bananas around the rice and voila! Great breakfast. Bon appetit!

Sunset

Late afternoon at Waikiki Beach

For the second time in my life, I am in a different time zone. This picture is of another sunset, different from the ones I’ve been used to.

I realize now the aphrodisiac that travelling is to writing. It’s that feeling of alienation (a fish out of water, as the cliche goes) that enables you to look inside yourself and examine your life, your body in relation to those around you. Stephen King said that writing is really thinking that has been refined. And being with the unfamiliar; splitting from the comfortable and homey, forces one to think.

People I know and love have embraced this alienation without organized introspection. That is what frustrated my mother about them. My dear dead departed mother (“dead” and “departed” are redundant in the same sentence but I like the alliteration!). The first time I set foot in a foreign country, I felt so smug and superior to her who had never even had a passport. I wanted to gloat — I had this experience, I saw such things and felt a different air than what we have been breathing all our lives. She hadn’t. But then, maybe in the end, she really knew more than she let on. She made her choices, lived (and died) by them and (according to the letter she wrote a week before she expired), she had no regrets.

I want to live a life with no regrets. That’s why I am here now, despite the relatively gargantuan expense it entailed. I consider it part of my education and the cost was part of the tuition fee.

Sunrise

San Francisco Bay, hour after dawn

I went once  to Quezon province as part of a team that would provide free medical services to a certain island, sort of an outreach project. The sponsor was an organization of Fil-Australians who obviously felt guilty about leaving their country even if they couldn’t help it.

We went to this beach, crack of dawn, and I took this picture just as soon as the sun could  provide enough light because I was using my celphone camera which didn’t have a night mode. Came out well, I think.

I like to think of myself as a frustrated photographer. Back in highschool, I imagine that I was one. Real life got in the way and I got sidetracked. Why is it that childhood dreams have this tendency to pop up again and again?

Pad Thai

We went to Divisoria just before the Christmas Holidays. It was a crush! A stampede at that point would be fatal.

We finished the shopping duties in due time. And for refreshments, we proceeded to the food court of 168. I ate there before.  There was a stall called Thai Kitchen; and since I was hankering for a high-carb meal after all the pushing and haggling at the tiangge, I ordered a Pad Thai.

I must say that I had better. I forgot how much it cost, something like 120 bucks I guess and what I remember is the sweetness and the seeming lack of meat. Maybe it’s the authentic deal, I wouldn’t know since I’ve never been to Thailand and eaten Pad Thai in its native country. I like the pad Thai in Ten Noodles more.