Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another red neck moment

The grandstand filled up with people from all over. Eager Boy Scouts peddled pop, popcorn and earplugs. EarPlugs?????

And over the muddied grounds of the inner tracks, those farm trucks I keep seeing across fields all over Illinois, were polished and sputting, ready to compete. There were these huge flatbeds called Iron Man, the purple had a 5000 LB weight that would swing from one end to the other as eager tractor racers tried to pull the flatbed towards the 300 yard line. Often times, the hapless tractor would get bogged down at the 250 yard line and the racers (who woulda thunk these huge heavy tractors could fly with their front wheels in the air like a motorcycle instead of the monsterheavy weight, like the hippo dancing in fantasia) were competing like crazy to top the one before them. Ear plugs??? OMG, the next set of races were these Hot Rod exposed fire breathing black smoke spewing NOISE RIDDEN tractors with aggressive names roaring to the point of sonic boom each trip. The ear plugs were definitely needed. i used the old fashioned two fingers in my ear trick because it wasn't worth a dollar to get two pieces of plastic to cover my ears for a few seconds at a time.

Another bit of Americana for me.

A bit of Sandwich

I always heard of Sandwich from daughter in law Dawn as she has been there with Anamite and kids for a few years in a row. So I finally took the trek to Sandwich, getting lost along the way with that stupid GPS, aughh.

Sandwich is a little town like most little towns with history. Old buildings and historic homes mingling with the new ugly box like homes. The Sandwich Fair is held in a dedicated fairground structure, that i gathered from the mini railroad that went around and around, plus the barn type permanent buildings interspersed with gaudily loud food booths.
But it is the food that was the draw for me. Huge mobile food booths with steaks grilling right in front of you with the accoutrement of onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese along side the steaks, brats, dogs, ribs, corn dogs etc. My mouth watered with every wafting scent of the different fair ground foodstuff. There were corndogs, waffles, mini donuts from a mini fryer dropper, funnel cakes, elephant ears dusted with powdered sugar, cinnamon and other mouthwatering dusts. You name it, it was there. Interestingly enough, no Chinese or Asian food booth, no spring rolls, rangoons, noodles.

My top faves? It was my first time to have an apple dumpling. There was this one dedicated booth for Hot Apple Dumplings, topped with vanilla icing and a slathering of caramel sauce, piping hot from the convection oven that continuously baked the dumplings. The pie pastry was a bit gooey with a taste of cinnamon, but the apple was perfectly round, peeled, scored, must be granny smith as it held its form and had a tartish sweet taste. Along with the vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, it was one of the best Americana food I have had in ages.

Dawn and Anamite told me the Pork Chop place was a must. The lines were long at Fay's but moving fast. Around and back were charcoal grills that were filled from end to end with huge thick pork chops, and the other side had grilled chicken just being flipped over (imagine your barbecue griller but in gigantic proportions) by eager young Caucasian boys, must be generations of them going through this summer ritual as a rite of passage working the grills for this destination Pork Chop stop. Undaunted by the long line, $12 got me a combo of a pork chop and quarter chicken, a small drink (coffee of course) and sides like the ubiquitous sliced bread, cole slaw, baked beans , applesauce and cottage cheese. Augh ...saan ang kanin at banana ketchup? Sa uulitin nga...magdadala ako. Of course, the food was good, chicken moist, pork chops just right, not raw. Wish it had a thicker layer of fat, sometimes lean pork chops can be too much....But these were finger licking good. My inner oink wanted to get ribs and totally stuffed potatoes but, this was it.

Until I saw the home made pies made by the Christian Church ladies, berry, apple and peach. Going back was the promise. Until doing so, later after walking off the over eating tummy, berry pies were gone, suddenly, pie was not that interesting anymore.

After the tractor pull show in the grandstand area, of which another short blog dedicated to this is next, found the Rollin Pin Bakery mobile that bragged of the Wisconsin State Fair staple, Chocolate Eclairs and Whipped Cream Puffs. And of course, Maridel had to have these. And man, were they good although I could've enjoyed the eclair better slightly thawed more. But understandable that with that home made custard, and in the quantities they were selling, these had to keep frozen. The whipped cream cream puff was already overkill but I did have many bites till I almost burst like the puff.

I need to plan the next fair better. Eat slowly and gradually. Spend the whole day there instead of the few hours. And of course, lose 4 pounds before going to the fair.Advice to all, it is a must to go to the Sandwich Fair at least once (or twice or all the time as this man, who probably belongs to one of the founding families of Sandwich boasted of not having missed the fair since he was 8 and he sure looks like he was a bit over 80). Oh and I did forget to mention all the other exhibits, antiques, competitions, livestock and fair rides...I overwhelmed myself with the food.

Monday, August 23, 2010

GYN gone 2 years.

Has it really been two years ma? My mind blanks at the thought. But you are never far from my thoughts, regardless of what these are. As an amazing accomplished woman, whose childhood was a wild ride up the mountains of Baguio, ahead of your time in many things that became trendy way after you already created it....
Missing you and celebrating your life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another year RSM

Hey dad, it's been 22 years. Seems like yesterday. Yet the fond memories and the funny stuff become a great topic for table talk, specially tonight's Thursday Night Dinner.
We had Mexican food, ground beef tacos (with that la preferida mix the grandkids enjoy) and chicken fajitas from the little mexican grocer down the street. I also made black beans and rice, I sauteed a sofrito with the beans and added rice, along with onions. I hand made my tomatoes, cilantro and onion side, had whole wheat, corn and flour tortillas, sour cream and quesadilla cheese and shredded lettuce for the mixings and fixings. I should've had shrimps, crabs, inihaw na baboy or lechon kawali in your honor, hmm, maybe next week.
Here's to missing you dad, but you'd have been 90 by now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Italian Beef

It was a quiet Thursday Night Dinner, no Bells, No JB and chinoys. But fun none the less with just the Dawnamites. Even Miggy decided to dance the night away after work.But, food goes on. I learned by just listening a quick way to do Italian Beef. The last time I made it for TND, I cooked it stove top and finished it oven, with lots of this and that. I heard from a friend I hang out with that a bottle of pepperoncini peppers and juice on beef in slow cooker would work. Skeptical, I added a head of sliced onion, salt and pepper but used the pepperoncini water and only half the peppers in a tall bottle. Wow. Place smelled tantalizing when we came home. With freshly baked italian bread, a quick pasta with meatballs, and some arugula for greens since I didn't want to use my asparagus, we enjoyed the meal. I still have to Julie and Julia challenge myself to cook everything in Kulinarya as is. With my penchant for tweaking, to follow it to the letter will really be a challenge. But.....we'll see and I will also blog it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

GYN at the apartment

Finally took mom's cremains home after months of whining and prodding by sister Patty who claims she cannot move or do anything because mom's cremains comfortably settled in her blue and white room whose doors are always closed made her feel creeped out. So we have her on the top shelf facing all of us at the dinner table, with Santo Nino and two iconic prints the baker/cook and fish (mom's known to be a baker of course and fish is good luck but she's also pisces) and a pretty stained glass something with purple flowers and a small votive candle holder. Hope you're ok with that mom until i can take you home and have a beautiful memorial mass for you at our old church in San Juan. Until then, welcome home.

Julie and Julia

I missed watching this when it came out on the big screen. But watching it on TV wasn't bad. I enjoyed Meryl Streep's rendition of Julia Child and the passion of this blogger who challenged herself to cooking everything in Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It got me thinking. So maybe I won't kill myself with trying all the recipes within one year, but I want to challenge myself to cooking everything in the Kulinarya cookbook collaborated by a group of gourmets and great imaginative cooks who decided to try a book of Filipino dishes to as close as standards as it can get. With the Pinoy penchant for tweaking and pinching this and that and adding this and that and secret this and that, plus our remembered memories of various food palates challenged by what we eat on a daily basis....hmmmmm.

Of course, I have to push myself to start. hahaha that would be the challenge in itself. So I may start tomorrow or next week and then blog it. Remember, I was known to be a good cook, but the mistake was not learning the kitchen food. Regrets weigh me down when I could have learned the secrets of mang Lucio and mang Emo, and I was lucky enough to have the baking recipes of Rolling Pin written down and usable, including secrets of mang Ernesto for his Vienna Cake icing. But truth is, tamad lang ako. i was known for spaghetti sauce, lasagna, Turkey and trimmings, etc. But I had to learn to make lengua and paella and still struggle with the perfect pancits.

Time will tell. Here I go again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

JB and TND

So TND had 2 types of pasta in honor of JB's 34th birthday. I made the clam pasta and a sausage and beef marinara for a baked penne with asiago and mozzarella cheese. He enjoyed this and that's all that matters. Come to think of it, 34????I can feel my bones (with osteoporiosis) creaking with the memories. Now he's a dad, with two kids and a wife, an obsession for baseball cards and blogging.....sigh. where did that little boy go? somewhere deep in the hulking frame is still the pasta monster!


So I made lambing my eldest apo Hunter last Thursday night dinner and he said "ow, ow" and of course I said =, after I was poking him on his arm, what do you mean Ow? I am making you lambing! Next day i find out that there's a big huge pasa on his arm. So of course I asked. Seems like an over zealous church elder, a pillar of that church community they go to, decided to take it upon himself to force Hunter to go to the church service since he was outside standing around. Au contraire, his folks allowed him out because he was getting antsy. forcing a 10 year old who sasses back is really a challenge. But I do not see any reason why there would be deep painful bruises on his arm from the zealot. And the quandary is that his dad didn't react nor does his mother want to face the guy since he is a higher up, popular and revered person. Unfortunately, the only witness, just like in any bad movie where the only credible witness is a prostitute whose words hold no water, the only one who saw the incident is a person whose stature is somehow the lowest in the totem pole of the community. But there is a pasa, and that's a form of abuse. no amount of apology (and the person did not apologize or acknowledge to the parents) will erase the suddent break of trust. Sure, my kids do not want to destroy this man's good name in the community. but for goodness sake, take the kids away from the program he is heading until he gracefully retires from the program. the kid said that if he had a kid and this happened, he would call the cops. spoken like a 10 year old of today who has been taught that no one should take abuse from either parents, relatives much less a stranger. and to keep him in the program is like living next to an offender, you're always going to fear a break down, or retaliation or, even the kid's emotional scar. do something or i will.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Bye Julius

Patty has had Julius long before even Hunter was born. Smart little sheltie who adored her and was her constant companion all these years. But at age 13, it was downhill all the way after he ingested rat poison which made his inner lining bleed. Came the prognosis of cancer, and poor Julius. But such a brave dog, no whining, no moaning. When Patty went down that fateful Saturday, when she came to the store, she was pale, sweaty, out of breath and enough to make me ask dawn to take her to the emergency room which became a 3 day stay in the critical care unit because she lost a lot of blood and they had to pump 4 units of blood into her, Julius had to stay with Dawn and kids. By the time she got out, her concern was for him and not for herself. I told him not to leave her, to hang in there for her.And so he did. The mag-amo were both bleeding and losing blood together. He did wait for her. Allowed her a week more of his presence but he was fading fast. She made the ultimate gamble of chemo for him but this was the final straw. on Friday, January 22nd, when Kylie and I got to the vet hospital, Patty and he were in a visitation room. He perked up and looked so alert that I had that little queasy feeling that we could be making a mistake. But after our petting hands lifted off him, he immediately slumped into Patty's chest. He just waited for all of us. He was gone even before the 2nd shot was done. I'm outta here. He looked like he was fast asleep. I remembered mom when she sneezed twice and was gone. The crying came, and the sadness. Hunter. Maddie, Kylie, Dawn, Anamite and I wailed along with Patty. But I know Julius was glad to rest, he knew Patty was ok, and now he's out there with Mom.
I know it will take Patty many months to heal. She came for dinner and the moment I heard his little collar ringing, i thought he was in the room. I feel the sadness of loneliness settling in on my sister. but she knows we are here for her. But we cannot have the same effect as Julius did with her.

Lasagna & Pizza

One Thursday night dinner, I made pizzas for everyone. Rigo made the dough and I got all the accoutrement , from freshly sliced mozzarella, mushrooms, sliced pepperoni, spinach leaves, basil, fresh plum tomatoes, shredded junk cheese aka pizza cheese by the bag, italian sausage. Each pizza was different and I had them in sheet pans aside from the required 13" rounds. You'd think this would be easy but instead, what a mess, and to bring them in and out of the oven so they were freshly hot.

The next week, I continued my Italian streak and this time got Ricotta and shredded mozzarella/provolone to make lasagna. And yes, I used diced tomatoes, ground beef and Italian sausage for my sauce, Oh and sam, I did make the bechamel sauce, it does make a difference. Layering the cooked lasagna, sauce, cheeses, bechamel sauce and spreading the ricotta was a bit tiring but I did end up making 5 assorted trays. Kudos to me, I still had it in me to come out with a decent lasagna. I usually get lazy and buy the GFS or Stouffer brand of lasagna because I almost think there's no difference, oh wait, mine's not that salty!!! And richer with the amount of stuff I put in it. Another TND done.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Wow, that came too fast, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's eve and New Year's day. Suddenly it's 2010.
And the eating was non-stop. We did all traditionals although maybe I will try other stuff next year...the only changes made were the lengua done with tomato sauce estofada style instead of the cream of mushrooms, no long noodle, just ravioli.
Let's see, ham and pork loin rib roast for Xmas eve, Prime Roast Beef bone-in for Xmas day with the accoutrement mashed potatoes etc. and Yule Log (Buche de Noel) from the MACC. Migay turned 26 and disappeared as usual. But January 1st was Cocido with the eggplant side, Lengua and Paella and Kylie's signature fruit salad. Kudos to Sam for the much improved leche flan, )probably because he used the correct llanera .
All in all, a good time was had by all. And another year begins.

About Me

My photo
wife, mother of 5, lola(grandma)of 5,joined facebook and still wonder why friend, cook, baker, decorator,daughter,sister, Mrs.A'sCupcakes&Cookies Virgo Year of the Snake St. John's Academy 1970 University of the Philippines BSHRA I'm afraid to admit this, but oh well, Jack of all Trades, master of some. Football fan. Totally. Mrs. A's Cupcakes & Cookies, my latest venture.

another year and patty

another year and patty

Trendsetter at 8

Trendsetter at 8
Cooking on live TV with Nora Daza, the Philippines' Julia Child


All Mine!!!

All Mine!!!
Taylor, Maddie, Daniel, Hunter & Lynn

GY Nichols and Grandkids

GY Nichols and Grandkids
looks like lola's birthday

simple elegance

simple elegance

wedding cakes and me

wedding cakes and me
finishing touches


pure joy, returnable at the end of the day

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

patty and me

patty and me
another holiday has come and gone

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake
labor of love following tradition, merry-go-round