August 10, 2006

Fabada

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A simplified version of the Spanish/Filipino bean stew, Fabada.
  • Soak white beans overnight, drain, fill pot with water to cover beans 1 inch. Bring to a boil, simmer on low heat for 1 hour, add 4 garlic cloves, 1 onion (in chunks), 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 Spanish chorizos or Portuguese chouri├žo, a big chunk of smoked ham, then simmer another hour. Fish out the sausages and ham, cool slightly, then slice the sausages and cut the ham into small portions. Enjoy.
*I don't put morcilla (blood sausage) because I don't like its metallic taste which no amount of seasoning can mask.

August 9, 2006

DVD Review INSIDE MAN & CAVITE

INSIDE MAN 5 stars
Not your typical bank heist where nothing is what it seems. Worth every second of the 2 hours 9 minutes I spent watching this movie. My only complaint is Denzel Washington, who is in my view a very overrated actor, he IS Denzel in all his movies, only a little better perhaps in Malcom X. His cop partner played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (very good in Dirty Pretty Things and Serenity) was a better actor, too bad he barely said anything, Jodie Foster is fine, her "dishwasher" manner of speaking is not noticeable, Clive Owen is of course superb, and the Pinoy cinematographer (Matthew Labatique) is excellent. Spike Lee did a wonderful job, this movie is a cool and smart thriller without big explosions or annoying car chases. Highly recommended.

CAVITE 4 stars
Also a very smart, different thriller featuring a cellphone. This tells the story of a Filipino American working as a security guard in San Diego who had to go back to the Philippines to attend his father's funeral only to learn as soon as he got out of the airport that his mother and sister are being held hostage by Muslim terrorists. They communicate with him through a cellphone that was put inside his luggage by the terrorist and from then on he had to go to wherever and do whatever the person on the cellphone tells him. It was uncomfortable to watch the people living in the slums in the Philippines but that's reality, they exist. The actor, who co-wrote the script with the guy filming (also the voice of the terrorist), was not supposed to be IN the film because the role was written for a female. They couldn't get a Pinay (who would want to work in slum areas?) to do the job so he rewrote it as a male. He did a good job, although being there and inhaling the stench from the squatter areas doesn't require acting lessons, it will come naturally. This is truly an indie film made with the tiniest of budget and came out to be a one-of-a kind thriller. Highly recommended.

August 7, 2006

Book Reviews

END IN TEARS by Ruth Rendell 5 stars
Murder mystery about surrogate mothers and baby selling scams, the novel also discusses the different British social status and race. I love everything written by this author, has never disappointed me, excellent as usual.

AMERICA'S REPORT CARD: A NOVEL by John McNally 5 stars
A bizarre but hilarious satire/tale of conspiracy regarding America's standardized tests; full of strange, crazy characters; not for fans of G W Bush, religious fanatics, Federal Agents, etc.

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

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I was googling ice cream flavors last night and saw a recipe for lemon meringue ice cream. It took half a day to prepare, I had to bake the meringues first, then cook the custard which had to be chilled for 2 hours. It's worth all the work, the ice cream is fantastic, I just love the sweet and tart combination. The recipe says the meringue will stay crisp for 2 days, no it will not, after 4 hours in the freezer the meringue bits are soft. So I put a few crumbled meringue on top for that added crunchiness and sweetness.


We're having either Swedish meatballs or Lebanese meat patties tonight so for lunch I had some crab meat topped with taba ng talangka (crab fat from tiny Philippine crabs). The crab meat is canned from Indonesia, already shelled and ready to eat or make into crab cakes, and the crab fat came in a jar from Manila. Plain crab meat is so yummy just with native Filipino vinegar seasoned with salt and fresh or dried chili flakes, sauteed veggies and plain steamed white rice. This canned crabmeat is ideal for people like me who don't like the hard work of cracking and extracting meat from crab shells, all you need is a can opener. An added bonus is that these crabs are tastier than the local blue crabs. In my opinion Filipino, Thai and Indonesian blue crabs taste superior to ours here in Virginia. I was going to make crab cakes but changed my mind as I have not eaten plain crab meat in a long time. I'll just get another can to make into crab cakes.


 
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