Monday, January 16, 2012

The Lite Week- Day 1

Today begins our journey to detoxifying ourselves from the richness and lavishness of the Christmas season which is something much needed after the month-long indulgence on fatty, buttery, sugary and carb-laden excesses that Christmas dinners and soirees are so much known for.  Not guilt-tripping here though, because we don't fight the seasons of our lives and rather roll with it with as much grace and gusto as we possibly can.  Besides, THAT season, is the best of the lot.  And ours in the Philippines (no offense to all of you out there) is the best Christmas celebration in the world.

But we also do not fight detox season.  We accept and embrace it because detox in our kitchen isn't a bad thing at all.  Lite doesn't mean bland nor boring as in the case of today's lunchbox the recipe of which came from my latest Kindle subscription of Gourmet Bon Appetit.   I did an interpretation of a steamed fish dish (Cream Dory fillets) with a chili-garlic-lime-cilantro marinade served with some coconut steamed rice. It was as it looked-- fresh, flavorful with a tug-of-war of the sweet-spicy-aromatic that Thai food is quite known for.  And because it was steamed, there wasn't even any fat in it.  For additional variation in texture though, I fried some thinly sliced leeks until they were crispy and topped the fish with it.  The boy tried some of it before he left for school and he enjoyed it a lot.  It looks like we're off to a good start.  :-)
Today's lunchbox:  Thai Steamed Fish with Lime, Chile and Garlic and Coconut Rice

Steamed Fish with Lime and Chile
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2012)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro stems, plus leaves for garnish
1 Tablespoon, chopped green, Thai chillies (use more or less, I used red ones)
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
pinch of black or white pepper
1 whole head-on fish (bass, grouper--I used Cream Dory fillets)
2 Tablespoons low-salt Chicken broth
1 lime cut into rounds
Steamed Jasmine rice
  1. Pound together in mortar garlic, cilantro and chili.
  2. Put in a saucepan the fish sauce, sugar, broth and the pounded garlic, cilantro and chili.
  3. Adjust seasonings.
  4. Pour on fish and steam as you normally would being careful not to overcook the fish.
  5. Top with coriander leaves and/or as I did, with crispy-fried leeks.
  6. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back on The Saddle

I have fallen off the saddle of lunch box making and am carefully lodging myself back on it.  This is not to say that the we have been remiss in packing the boy's lunch for the past month or so. Yaya (our nanny) has been doing it the whole time I couldn't and there were some stellar moments there too.  Like the crispy tofu with black bean sauce and crispy fresh bacon  she once made that the boy raved about when I returned from the trip.  It's just too bad they weren't able to take photos of their lunch boxes while I was away.  I would have written an entire post about it.

So I finally got my groove back and made another Japanese bento with 3 things in it: Pork belly Teriyaki with black and white sesame seeds, Kakiage (vegetable fritter of carrots, leeks and shrimps) and Tamagoyaki (Japanese sweet omelet).  Kakiage by the way, is an excellent way to sneak in vegetables in your child's diet.  You can put zucchini, sweet potatoes, eggplant, sprouts in it.  And because it has a texture like Tempura, kids are bound to love it. I've been planning the lunch box since yesterday because I wanted to start weaning everyone in the house from all the heavy food we ate during the Christmas season.  So I'm thinking of going Vietnamese and/or Thai next week.

However, my brother is going back to Canada on the 19th and I promised to make his favorite Kare-Kare (Oxtail Stew with a peanut based sauce) for this weekend so we might just have to go out there one more time.  And then we go cleanse.  Hopefully.

Today's lunchbox:  Pork Belly Teriyaki with Black and White Sesame Seeds, Kakiage (Vegetable fritter of Carrots, Leeks and Shrimps) and Tamagoyaki.

See you next week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy New Year!

Whew!  And so my Christmas break officially begins this week.  I had announced on the 18th of December that we were closing the kitchen doors on 2011 that day.  Of course, I hadn't been able to do that truthfully as last minute food orders came pouring in (AS ALWAYS) even on Christmas Day!  But to be fair and somewhat true to my word, I only accepted orders from those super close to us as in people of near family status and that was it.  But.  I had a food tasting scheduled a couple of days after Christmas for the recently concluded wedding which was our very successful opening salvo for this year.  So technically, I didn't have much of a break.  Not complaining though and if the wedding last Saturday is a preview of things to come, this should be a pretty good year again for us.

Of course a busy kitchen meant that I couldn't do much of my motherly duties preparing these lunch boxes, hence the month long absence.  December is, after all, the craziest month for us in the food business.  So this part, the boy wasn't happy about.  He has been nagging me since my return from that short trip to visit family in the States to get back to making his lunch box but it truly was impossible for me to get up in the morning after having just slept a couple of hours before, as I was busy preparing food for other people.  Heck, I was even too busy to pay much attention to our own Christmas spread!  Yes, guilty as charged am I.  And so with heavy lids and still hurting limbs, I crawled out my bed and onto the floor of our home kitchen to make him his first lunch box of 2012.

It's not exactly the healthiest lunch I've ever made having filled slices of pork loin with mortadella and Swiss cheese and then deep-frying them in oil. But today, this will have to do.  And as I watched him excitedly pack this lunchbox by himself (something that has never happened before) I just know I will make a better one tomorrow.

Today's lunchbox:  Tonkatsu filled with Mortadella and Swiss Cheese, Garlic Rice Pilaf

Happy new year!  :-)