Something from the Kitchen

I know I’ve been yammering a little too much about Bukidnon and Dulang-Dulang lately. Sorry about that. I’m just head over heels in love with the place and I still can’t get over the fact that I just reached the summit of a really high mountain. (This is what happens when a lifelong wimp achieves a minimal level of physical prowess.) Anyhow, I still haven’t gotten around to writing about the actual climb but I did accomplish something today that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I cooked!

While traveling is loads of fun, the downside is I end up spending my time at home packing, unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning my room (which seems to be 10 times filthier when I get back even if I’d only been away for three days), and most of all, bonding with my bed and pillow which I missed so much. I end up eating junk food and whatever’s left in the fridge that hasn’t morphed into a new species yet while I was away.

Earlier today, I finally overcame sloth and managed to buy vegetables in our neighborhood store. I love home-cooked meals and simple vegetable dishes. One of my favorites, which my dad makes, is stir-fried sayote and kalabasa (squash). For my version, I added pechay because, well, I like pechay.

Pechay leaves

Chopped pechay stalks

Sliced kalabasa and sayote

I don’t have the best peeling, chopping and slicing skills so it took ages to get my veggies to look like this. But my labors paid off and I got this for a finished product.

*Pat on the back*

Not bad for someone who had pathetic kitchen skills until she was 22.

Everyone in my family is a good cook. My dad makes the best laing and kinilaw. My mom is great at cooking pinakbet, escabeche, afritada and things with sauces on them. Her Pinoy-style spaghetti had my entire high school class drooling. And my older brother always manages to whip up something delicious out of anything. He can turn whatever dregs are left in the fridge into a great meal. I, however, only succeeded at producing charred remains on the stove. This fueled my suspicion at one point that I was adopted. Everyone else had the cooking genes except for me.

I left for college at 16, much to the relief of my family. I probably would’ve burned the house down if I’d been given further access to the kitchen. I lived in a dorm on campus and survived on horrible food in the cafeteria. After college, I moved into a big house with 10 other people, all of whom knew how to cook. I was the perpetual dishwasher.

Then I moved again into a smaller apartment and had to fend for myself. After watching tons of cooking shows on Lifestyle Network and Asian Food Channel and copying recipes at Pinoycook.net, I finally learned how to sauté vegetables without reducing them to mush, cook fish and not turn it into a massacre, and boil an egg without making charcoal out of the shell. And I haven’t burned down our apartment yet. Congratulations are in order.

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