Monday, April 21, 2003

busy busy weekend.

Went to buy sticks on Saturday. Drove all the way out to Sacramento to get them. Not only were they cheaper but they were of the length and width I wanted. It's hard to find proper Kali sticks. Most of the martial arts stores specialize in Chinese and Japanese styles. If they have sticks, they're the short ones or of overpriced poor quality and selection.

A Kali artist's weapons bag is like a tool kit with different sticks for different purposes. There's the main weapon. The one you know inside and out and can make it do just about any technique you want. The all-purpose stick. Then you have a balanced pair you use for double-stick work. Followed by the various heavy sticks of different lengths and thickness: mahoghany, axe handle, rattan. The idea is to eventually be able to pick up any weapon at any one time and use it well. My main purpose in buying sticks was to find weapons that fit women's hands. Many of the sticks in stores are not cured/smoked/burned so they're fatter and harder for smaller hands to grip. Curing them makes they thinner and denser.

Since we were coming from Sacramento, we stopped by Davis for a Murder Burger Ostrich Burger. Well, actually, it was formerly known as that, now it's called Redrum Burger. The Ostrich meat is supposedly healthier (leaner and more vitamins) than beef. In addition, the resource consumption (land, water, food resources) to produce an equal amount of beef is much cheaper for ostrich. I like 'em. Though when we add up the milkshake and fries that we had I don't know if it's all THAT much healthier.

Today, we prepared for Easter dinner. We invited a couple of folks over, which always inspires me to clean my place up. Whenever, the place gets a bit raggedy, then it's time to invite people to the pad because then I have a real deadline to clean the place.

On the menu tonight:

Kalderetang kambing - goat stew
roast lamb
fried spinach with onion and garlic dipping sauce
kamuting kahoy
macadamia and white chocolate chip cookies
(not to mention the bread and cheeses we ate)

OK the low down:

The roast lamb was soaked in a soy sauce and vinegar marinade for 4 days! Apparently lamb seems to soak up the flavor more readily than beef. Flavor in every inch of that lamb!

Kaldereta was a first for us. A friend I'll call, the Watcher, scored a recipe for it. Everyone seemed to have their own version: "put coconut milk" "put beer". We decided to stick to the published recipe plus add some coconut milk for thickening. It's the richest thing you've ever tasted. The ingredients were all in metric with a few presumed typos which added to the challenge. For some we went with proportions, for others, I had a metric cup. We figured we could just guess and if it turned out bad then we could blame it on our amateurism. It seems bizarre at first. Ingredients include: cheese, green and black olives, liverwurst. With each new ingredient we tossed and proclaimed, "Bahala na!" (Bahala na is a phrase which means roughly, "leave it up to God" or "what God wills." A sign of surrender to the forces greater than ourselves which often allows us to be more than we really are. More on that in another post.

Yet in the end it all blends together and adds to the overall flavoriness. It does take a long time to cook. The goat initially has to be cooked for 2 hours. But when it's done, it falls off the bone and flakes under a fork's pressure. Ay sarap!

Fried spinach is this popular snack sold near De La Salle University in the Philippines. This too seemed odd at first, but we were all game. How could you go wrong? mmm...mmm...fried stuff! You dip the leaves in a flour/corn starch batter, then deep fry them until they're stiff and crispy. They turned out really addicting! It still tastes like spinach, but crispy. Then when you dip it into the sauce it changes the flavor of the sauce. It's oily as all hell. But you end up compulsively eating it. The leaves sometimes have a crispy/chewiness to them.

The Sago or tapioca pearls were much harder to make. We'll have to try this one again. We never did get them quite boiled hot enough to really be soft. The liquid for the drink varies, but we used the sago't gulaman drink: water, brown sugar with a touch of vanila and banana extract.

The cookies we made from a frozen cookie batter. And the kamuting kahoy we got from a friend's mom. Maybe next time we'll make that.

We washed it down with Rodney Strong 1999 Estate Bottled Knotty Vines Zinfindel (very tasty) and some lambanog flavored with jack fruit and prunes. Boy that lambanog just clears out all the oil lining your throat! Well, my friend who brought it, did say they lit it on fire just to prove it was the "good" stuff. We drank it in little Japanese tea cups. It kind of looked like tea but tasted more like strong sake. I'll have to bring the rest down to LA for my brother's 21st birthday later this year. hehe

My friend found it all too domestic. Cooking, drinking wine, chatting. She said she felt all "thirty something." Perhaps we were. It certainly wasn't something we did in our twenties. Then again, our kitchens were matchboxes and our dining rooms/living room/bedrooms couldn't accomodate hosting a gathering.

I now understand why my mom had so many parties when I was growing up. It's a lot of fun! you learn all these new recipes and techniques. There were pots and pans everywhere. And more importantly food for days! Best part about kaldereta is that it just gets better as the days go by. And when I woke up this morning, the smells of coconut and goat stew lingered in the hallway. yum!

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