Manok Tim and a raffle!

well hello

Ok, I won’t go into how long I haven’t been here. Or why I’ve been away for so long. Or about life and life and time and work and work and family and “the universe.”

You have lives…so I think you know the drill. And I won’t waste both times looking back. Just to say that nothing terrible has happened, we are sailing with the utmost peace of mind, and indeed some exciting things have happened and are happening. But I guess the most important thing, for this little space anyway, is that I’m here now.

(and hopefully you too)

And I’m here, as always, with a recipe to share.

But first, a little history, as background.

It was our 25th year of high school last year. The rush of preparations, practices, fundraising events and get-togethers. A whirlwind that can both stimulate and drive you crazy…as I’m sure many of you who have been through the homecoming can attest. In any case, I contributed as much as I could, and as much as my abilities allowed. In other words, I joined the cookbook committee.

Our institute has been producing cookbooks since before, so this was not a new idea. But with a bunch of food-loving individuals in our lot, we wanted to do something different. So with money from our pockets we hired a professional photographer, ordered heirloom recipes and got to work.

As anyone who has published a cookbook can tell you, it was a tough and demanding process. Shoot food all day (with the great help of our partner, this ladyand the incredible food conglomerate he has built!), recipe editing (three heads of copy editing until the wee hours!), and I won’t even get into the financial aspect (we had an amazing finance team…able to juggle numbers and call accounts receivable with breakneck speed and an iron fist!).

But it was wonderful and rewarding and an incredible experience. Work with people who are equally passionate about food. Working on something that was purely food related (as some of you know my real job has nothing to do with food). Working at something that didn’t feel like work…that left you tired but satisfied at the end of the day.

And, of course, make a lot of money for our return home!

This is one of the recipes in the book (from our classmate, Racky Torres Manalastas). It’s homey and comforting and simple and full of flavor. Passed down from generation to generation. It’s a delicious example of the timelessness and value of family recipes.

Tim of chicken
(recipe adapted from Legacy cookbook from Baccalaureate of the Assumption ’92)

  • 1/2 kilo of it
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup of water chestnuts
  • 1 dozen dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Calamansi (enough juice to baste the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (I use sea salt)
  • 2-4 cups of water (more or less)

– Cut the ham, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and dried mushrooms into strips.
– Rub the chicken with the calamansi and salt.
– Put the chicken, and all the other ingredients, in a pot. Add the water: depending on the size of the pot, you can add more or less. The water should come a little more than halfway up the chicken but not cover it.
– Cover your pot and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done and starting to get tender. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning only if necessary.
– Uncover the pot and place in a preheated 400F oven for about 10-20 minutes until the top of the chicken has taken on some color.

The ham you use here should be a good salty/salty one, Chinese ham would be ideal. Ham is a big part of what flavors the dish, so you want to use a flavorful one.

This dish may not win any beauty contests, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor and ease of preparation. It’s a criminally easy one pot meal. All you have to do is pour everything into the pot and let the ingredients do their work. And what you get in the end is much more than what you put into it. Chicken, ham, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots make the most amazing broth…intense and deeply flavored. This is both a slow tender chicken and an incredibly rich chicken soup!

You can enjoy this dish in many ways. Place a piece of chicken in a bowl and ladle over the soup and other ingredients. Or have the chicken and ham with rice and a cup of broth on the side. Sometimes I like to sneak just the ham and mushrooms into a bowl of wet white rice with the broth. Leftovers, shredded, can make a nice bowl of noodle soup!

I have one extra copy of our cookbook so I thought I would make a small one gift. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post! Yes, that’s it! Just comment why you’d like this cookbook, or share a family recipe/dish, or even just say HELLO! That’s all!! I will pick a comment at random (hat style names) in two weeks, and send the cookbook to the winner! The only conditions for entry: you must enter a Valid email address And you have to be based in the Philippines!

So happy to write here again. The end of the year is coming but it’s never too late, as they say. I hope you’re ready for more recipes, because I’ve got a few up my sleeve that I’m tweaking. And eager to share it with you!

Maybe one day I will publish my own cookbook. A collection from my kitchen to yours. Wouldn’t that be nice? Until then I will be sharing recipes here, as I have been doing, as I hope to always do.

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