I had the worst week — no, make that the worst several weeks. Which explains why I have been missing in action insofar as my website is concerned. But, I have been monitoring the blog’s traffic and still, thanks for coming by to check every so often. The past few weeks have been hectic, and they reached quite a climax this past week when I went back to school. Last week, I needed to weather my fourth subject in finance. The truth is, I have never liked math (which, I know, makes someone I know cringe a lot and wonder if I was adopted! Haha!). All the more, I have never liked accounting nor finance. And yes, that’s why, like many others, I had chosen journalism as my course and first professional. But I guess there’s no escaping finance, most especially if you’re taking your MBA. Go figure.
I survived this week, thank you! And after this week’s battles, which officially ended yesterday late morning, it really was time to unwind. So from computing financial derivatives, I went to my comfort zone, computing ingredients for the recipes I made yesterday and just this morning.
For Saturday’s lunch, I made two dishes, which I was very happy about.
The first dish was baked salmon. I love salmon. This one’s a very simple recipe. I just used tartar sauce with a few cloves of garlic and chopped white onion. Topped it off with parmesan cheese. Baked for about 40 minutes.
The next Saturday dish is my version of Pasta ala Paella. I love paella, and a number of restaurants do offer a dish similar to this — which inspired me to make this one at home. The noodles were boiled in chicken stock, salt, and white wine. For the sauce, I used paella seasoning from Spain, white wine, green peas, red bell pepper, shrimps, and shelled Manila clams. Results were fantastic! Next time though, I would add squid, black olives, and sliced hard boiled eggs for a more authentic taste. Still, it’s a good dish as it is.
Now for Sunday brunch…
For Sunday brunch, I made champorado. For those don’t live in the Philippines, champorado (sometimes spelled as tsamporado) is a chocolate rice porridge. My girlfriend’s mom inspired me to make this. She used Lindt chocolate instead of the usual cocoa. In my case though, I used Belgian chocolate, which came all the way from Minnesota (thanks again, Tito Joy). The chocolate is oh-so delicious and I have been saving it for special occasions such as important parties, and perhaps, making myself feel human again after a difficult finance class! Haha!
The formula: in your pot, just put 2 1/2 cups of water for every cup of rice. Cook in low heat. Once the rice starts to get translucent, add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tsp. of butter (as Julia Child says, everything tastes better with butter). Once the rice starts to soften, I added 1/2 cup chopped Belgian chocolate. To darken the champorado (it’s a bit pale if you use the Belgian choco only), I grated native hot chocolate (tsokalate-eh tablets) and added them to the mixture. Some like their champorado thick. Some like them a bit soupy. If it’s soupy you want, feel free to add more water until you get your desired consistency.
As topping, I added a swirl of condensed milk, and finally topped the dish with toasted hazelnut, which added crunch to the champorado. And, I also put in some sliced bananas. I would also put mango next time, if they are in season.
The end result was very good. It’s actually the first time I cooked champorado from scratch, so I’m very happy with how it turned out.
A lot of people who eat champorado would pair the dish with fried salty fish like herring to balance the sweetness of the chocolate. Well, we ran out of herring, and since it was breakfast, I was craving for eggs with cheese. So what I did was to make scrambled eggs. After melting the butter, I sauted 2 cloves of garlic and added 2 tbsp of capers. I let the capers cook for about 3 minutes. I then added two eggs and 2 1/2 tbsp of cream cheese. No need to add salt because the capers take care of that. I also observed that the capers tended to taste a bit sweeter when sauted for a while in butter. During the plating, I seasoned it with pepper. And — I put the smoked salmon on the side, fresh from the refrigerator.
It was the perfect breakfast — taking one’s time enjoying the food while reading the Sunday paper, and thinking about wonderful things, while forgetting about work (most of it, at least), for a few hours. So I believe I should be ready for battle once again by tomorrow.