A Filipino Foodie goes to A Filipino Party!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend doing something fun and delicious. This past weekend I had the pleasure of coming back to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to celebrate my aunt’s 70th birthday. Many friends and family including my mom and dad worked hard to create a special surprise event for a landmark occasion. Though I only live two hours away from my family, I’ve found that I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like so having an opportunity to see so many friends and family PLUS chow down on some Filipino favorites was incredibly exciting. The color theme for this party was white and khaki:women in all white, men in khaki and white…we had a black and white party a year ago for my other aunt during her 50th birthday (our family LOVES birthdays!). My mom had been working diligently to create the perfect centerpieces and overall decor for the party. Below is one of her creations using coffee filters, painted branches, and a revamped vase. What do you think?

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My aunt was definitely surprised upon entering the house full of old friends and family!

photo by Jesar Quizon photography

photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyWe thought an “07” would look much cuter on the cake than “70” 🙂

On top of the excitement of my husband and I getting to see so many of our Filipino friends and relatives, we got to enjoy some of my favorite childhood dishes. Between an hors d’oeuvres table, a dessert table, and a buffet of various Filipino delicacies, we had quite the spread. My photographer cousin Jesar Quizon took some gorgeous pictures of our food selection…check it out!

Photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyAh fruit!

10538064_10152678281337927_8790287291428846717_oA creamy Alfredo pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted chicken

10838259_10152678279522927_3551597531357317356_oMy cousin Happy made these puto flan cakes…OH MY LANTA…delicious.

10854465_10152678278422927_5509912970962003008_oMy talented Aunt Gayle who also made my delicious wedding cake created these delectable caramel maracons.

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10955015_10152678280942927_2214983393392635779_oGorgeous butter lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps with the ground chicken and mushrooms seen below.

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11008813_10152678280757927_8524095545649533705_oIt’s not a party without fried rice!

11016793_10152678279087927_1957488489216933595_oMy Aunt Gayle’s famous carrot cake

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11033069_10152678277932927_4336291857299983686_oMy cousin Ashley made some incredibly tasty white chocolate bars (worth every calorie!)

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11038109_10152678280042927_4715430861833728115_oOne of my favorite Filipino dishes…ASADO!!

11038696_10152678280327927_4586791690413506870_oBaby cucumbers in a rice wine vinegar and sesame seed mix.

11041925_10152678278922927_6127576121760501219_oUbe cake!

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10955015_10152678280457927_784410524930748753_oAnd last but not least…pancit: the pinnacle and definition of all Filipino get together foods.

 As you can see, we’re all about food in my family. It’s actually inspired me to make some pancit and asado here in Tuscaloosa soon (future post ALERT!).  However, no Filipino party is complete without some singing and line dancing!

11016130_10152678299047927_2539784957184882014_oMy dad rocking out!

11063809_10203278859885969_72576554953388386_oA little cha-cha slide

Until next time!

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Me and my hubby with my mom, dad, and little brother

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Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

oven roasted corn and okra salad

Okay clearly I have been on an okra kick lately! I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but ever since buying some okra a few weeks ago at the farmer’s market, I haven’t been able to stop myself from purchasing this amazing vegetable another time.  I am happy to say that this recipe was inspired by this recipe from Cook Up a Story Blog that I am so happy was shared in the comments to my Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon dish from a few weeks ago. I love both corn and okra so when it was suggested to me to try them together, I could not resist. The delicious flavor of the roasted okra was well paired with the contrasting sweetness of the corn that I roasted in the oven, off the cob. If I had to make this recipe again I’d likely use a little less okra (I bought 2 lbs and used all of it) so that I could roast the corn and the okra on the same cookie sheet.

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Ah take a look at this beautiful okra from the farmers market!!

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After I washed up the okra, I chopped it up, only omitting the heads and placed them on a cookie sheet.

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After coating the okra, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, ground sea salt, and a little sprinkle of some garlic powder. After seasoning, I put the okra in the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees then started to work on prepping my corn. I knew that I’d have to use a separate cookie sheet for the corn and from the recipes I saw on the internet, it looked like the corn wouldn’t need as much time to roast but would need an oven temperature adjustment (~475 degrees).

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Picked up this package of corn from Publix grocery in my city.

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I feel like I made a mess during this process but was still able to avoid not losing too many kernels. Next time I am going to plan to use this technique with a bundt pan.  🙂

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All 4 ears of corn with the kernels removed raw off the cob. I did the same light drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder as I did with the okra. About 8 minutes into the okra cooking I raised the oven temperature to about 475 degrees. At the 10 minute mark I added the corn in the bottom rack of the oven and roasted both the okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes with an additional 5 minutes at the end rotating the corn and okra to the top rack to broil on low for a little teeny extra browning 🙂

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Okra out of the oven!!

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After the veggies finished roasting, I added an additional drizzle of olive oil, some extra salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder (although I think that minced garlic would be really nice with this too) and a few shakes of red pepper flakes to give it some kick.

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We ended up pairing this concoction with some steaks off the grill. I apologize for the blurry picture; I honestly didn’t want my husband to catch me “again” taking pictures of my food before eating it….and I was pretty anxious to get to try all these yummy flavors in my mouth 🙂

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And without further ado, here is my recipe:

Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

Ingredients
1-2 lbs okra, washed and chopped
4 medium ears corn
sea salt or kosher salt grinder
freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder (or minced garlic if available)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees. Wash okra, chop into 1 inch or so sections, removing the “head” but leaving the tails. Place chopped okra on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and using a brush or hands, make sure okra is lightly coated. Next add 1 tsp or so of sea salt or kosher salt followed by black pepper and garlic powder as desired. Place in oven and set timer for 10 minutes. While okra is cooking, wash raw corn and remove kernels from cob; place raw corn on a separate cookie sheet and oil and season in the same way the okra was prepared. At the 8 minute mark on the oven timer, increase your oven temperature to 475 degrees. When the timer goes off at ten minutes, add corn to your bottom rack of the oven and roast both okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes. If you’d like to get some additional browning on your okra or corn, alternate the vegetables to the top rack and broil on low for about 5 minutes total or as desired. After roasting and broiling is complete, add cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl and mix together, adding an additional drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder (or 1 tsp minced garlic) along with a few shakes of dried red pepper if you want it spicy. Serve warm.

There really is no specific way to make this dish and you may find yourself wanting to experiment with the oven temperatures a bit. The next time I try this recipe I will likely heat the oven to 475 from the get go and also use a tiny bit less olive oil on my okra to yield a slightly crispier texture. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how you like it and if you had some additions so that I know some things to try next time!! 🙂


Balsamic Basil Summer Pasta Salad

balsamic basil summer pasta salad

Today I’m going to share a recipe of one of my most favorite pasta salads. I originally got this recipe from a close family friend after she brought it to my parents’ house for a family get together.  If I’m ever tasked with bringing something to a potluck, especially on short notice, this is my go-to item. Any of my friends, family, or co-workers that have been to a potluck function with me have likely tasted this at some point in time. Some of the things I love most about this salad is how well the basil enhances the taste of the pasta along with the sweet and salty tones of grape tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives. Overall however, I really like how this dish is so quick and easy to make!  P.S. this would be totally great dish to bring to an upcoming 4th of July get together 😉 😉 😉

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When I headed to Publix to pick up the ingredients, I spent a good bit of time trying to decide which pasta to pick up. I noticed that Dreamfields pasta that boasts 5 grams digestible carbs/serving (still very questionable on this) had a penne rigate, but since I had tried their pasta before with some sundried tomato chicken sausage, I figured I’d go with something else.

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I noticed the Barilla Plus pasta had a decent bit of protein per serving but not necessarily as much fiber. Though the Dreamfields contained less sodium as well, I found myself going with the Barilla, since I was accounting for cost as well 🙂

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$1.19 vs. $3.79 per box sounded like a great deal to me!  The Barilla also had about an ounce more in the box compared to Dreamfields.

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Getting all my ingredients together: fresh spinach (on sale!), Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette (sale!), Barilla pasta, fresh basil, 1 container grape tomatoes, slided olives, and crumbled feta cheese (yuuummmm)

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You want to start by cooking your pasta per package directions— I always like my pasta al dente.

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While your pasta is on the stove, start prepping your other ingredients. Wash your grape tomatoes thoroughly, slice length-wise and set aside.

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Next you’ll want to grab your basil- wash it down and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. I like to get the basil leaves, put them in a little stack and roll them up for quick cut as you see below. Fancy folks like to call this technique, chiffonade.

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You can place your chopped up basil in the same bowl as your tomatoes.

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You’ll do the same chiffonade technique with the spinach. I personally like to remove the stems from the spinach leaves. I bought a 9oz bag and ended up using about 1/3-1/2 of the bag. It’s more so personal preference as to how much spinach you want in there. You are also more than welcome to add more than one package of basil, or enhance the flavor by adding dried basil in addition to the fresh that has been chopped up. I used a good bit of spinach simply because I wanted me and my husband to get a good serving of veggies from this dish 🙂

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Once your pasta is done cooking, drain and let cool.

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I only waited about five minutes before I decided to proceed with the pasta. You’ll put your pasta in a large bowl (you want something big enough so that you get mix up the ingredients pretty well) and add your balsamic vinaigrette…I only use about 1/2 of the bottle so that the other 1/2 can be saved to add to the pasta the next day if needed. Don’t worry about seeing some of the dressing towards the bottom of the bowl or the pasta not appearing to absorb it; once you add your other ingredients, everything tends to mix pretty well.

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Next you’ll add your feta cheese— you can use plain crumbled feta cheese but sometimes i like going with the flavored ones like basil and tomato. I bought two 4 oz cartons and ended up using about 1 1/2 cartons. Again, it depends on your preference for how much cheese you want in there. Letting your pasta cool down can also be helpful in preventing the feta from getting “mushy” in your pasta. *I should have waited for my pasta to cool a little bit longer. Oh well, c’est la vie.

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Next you’ll add your bowl of chopped of veggie/herb goodies and mix well.

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Drain your olives and add those in too.

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I decided to do a little bit of fresh ground black pepper and mixed again

So there you have it! I used Newmans Own Balsamic Vinaigrette simply because that’s what the original recipe that was given to me called for. I’ve used the Publix brand tangy balsamic before and was really just not a fan. If you have a personal favorite balsamic or like to get fancy and make your own (I wasn’t feeling too motivated when I made this dish to get fancy with it) then I’m sure that would be super delicious too! I primarily made this dish this past week per my husband’s request… he told me he noticed that I don’t make a lot of the things I used to whenever I was “pursuing him”/dating him, which included this pasta salad…hahaha. I”ve included the recipe below for your use. If you make it, please let me know how you like it or anything you did to enhance it. I’m always looking for tips 😀

Balsamic Basil Summer Pasta Salad

Ingredients
1- 14 oz box penne pasta (or whichever you prefer)
1 package fresh basil 2/3-1 oz)
4 oz fresh spinach (I bought a 9 oz bag from the grocery store and used about 1/3-1/2 the bag)
4-6 oz crumbled feta
1 small can black olives
16 oz bottle Newmans Own Balsamic Vinaigrette (or any other brand you like)
1 container grape tomatoes
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Cook pasta per package directions, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, prepare other ingredients: slice grape tomatoes length-wise and set aside, chiffonade entire package of basil and about 4 oz of spinach (or as much as you’d like), set aside with tomatoes. In a large mixing bowl, add pasta and about 6-8 oz vinaigrette. Next add feta cheese, mix, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.

The pasta usually tastes best after chilling in the fridge overnight so the flavors can meld. The leftover dressing can be mixed in just prior to serving  as needed.


Welcome to A Filipino Foodie!

Many of my personal friends and family know that I’ve wanted to launch my nutrition-related blog for quite some time. For the past few years I’ve enjoyed writing things on my personal blog about life and events, but now I am excitedly launching A Filipino Foodie! I can’t wait to use this blog as a way to share nutrition information on every day healthy eating and delicious recipes from time to time. If there are certain topics you’d like to see on here, please let me know!eat better bama