So in the back of my mind I’ve had this pending goal that one day I will make pistachio ice cream from scratch.  Two weeks ago I got around to buying the pistachio nuts from the grocer and placing it at the usual spot in the pantry for later use.  But of course, my hubby and the ‘lil guy kept munching on them i.e., for a TV snack.  So much for THAT bag of nuts.

Again, this week, another attempt to buy a bag of pistachio nuts–this time I had the ‘lil guy with me, so I specifically told him that I would make some ice cream with those nuts–hint, hint.  In an effort to end my endless plea of please don’t eat the pistachios, I finally decided to make some yesterday!  Yesiree…Egg-less Pistachio Ice Cream, made especially for my hubby. It is his favorite after all.

Since I watched the last episode of Master Chef (currently on FOX Season 3) when Monti Carlo (one of the home cook contestants and…that’s probably not her real name, really?  Monti Carlo, anyway…) made a Scotch Egg on one of the challenges; and actually got great accolades from Chef Gordon Ramsay, I have had an inkling to make them.  Well, today (Sunday) was the day!

I honed in on my native Filipina roots to make an authentic Philippine dish.  This particular recipe does not require banana leaves, but I thought how rustic and comforting it would be for banana leaves aesthetics.  So I made “Paksiw Na Lechón” which in literal translation means “Pork in Liver Sauce”  BUT to make the recipe my way, I substituted the pork for beef oxtails.  And so it is…a 4-6 hour braising process in a dutch oven and not on the stove-top but oven baked.

So I am going to make this come out as my first product review for a DIY Butter-Making Kit I recently purchased from Williams-Sonoma online. On their website you will find a section called Agrarian, which basically means supporting a lifestyle of healthy living.  You connect a healthy living by the virtues of homegrown and homemade on your table.  It has become my favourite section on their website, almost to a point that I am on that site everyday just ogling at the many items I would like to have.  In my passion for both shopping and eating, I decided that my first ‘agrarian’ purchase would be easy and no doubt, fun and educational to explore.  This is where the DIY Butter-Making Kit came to play…kitchen play, that is.

I want to emphasize that my style of cooking is ‘free range‘…meaning, I try to make it my own unique style, but with the guidance of a recipe.  So on this note, I found a wonderful chicken recipe from bon appetit magazine with an emphasis on heirloom tomatoes–which I happen to just purchase a few days ago from our local farmers market.  I wanted to use them for something special, so I made a roasted chicken, using these beautiful heirloom tomatoes, a certified organic whole chicken, a variety of herbs and spices for my dish.  Below, I am going to give you the basis of the recipe and ingredients, and give you the option for making my version (as pictured) of the same recipe.

Saturday late afternoon, hubby, my 9-year old and I were invited to a friend’s house to shoot the breeze–both metaphorically and literally!  George, our friend, who was also our realtor when we initially met, (We met George when we were house hunting summer of last year) invited us to come over, meet the girlfriend, meet the family and do some target shooting in their property.  So what does all this have to do with fruit tarts?

Back in the ’70s I lived in large apartment building in San Francisco, in the corner of Gough and Market.  At least once a week, my parents and I would walk up to the supermarket several blocks away.  There were a couple of things I often took notice of along the way–the Old Mint Building and a mom and pop Vietnamese sandwich dive where from about 11 until 2pm people would line up to get their sandwich fix.  I had no idea what the sandwiches were called at the time, but I do recall a few ingredients that stuck to my mind: shredded lettuce, carrots, cucumber, salt, pepper and a well-seasoned meat, either beef, pork or chicken.  It was seriously the most satisfying sandwiches I ever had.

I’ve only tried to make this recipe once before and love it!  The first time was a semi-success, despite how half of the stuffing came out and the sense of nervousness upon trying out what looked to be a complicated dish.  This time I felt less nervous about making this dish and also bought a slightly larger flank steak.  With all baking aside, one thing you will learn about my style in cooking is that I don’t quite measure anything.  As long as I have all the right ingredients, and even if I didn’t, I just go with the flow of things.  I like to experiment with taste as I imagine most home cooks like me do.  Thus on this note, below is my personal recipe for this classic Filipino dish.

I was definitely early birding this morning, at 2:30 am to be exact.  You know what they say, ‘the early bird gets the worm…’ so after catching up on some blogging and a quick Cup ‘O Joe…off to our local farmer’s market I go!  My total shopping spree was $58.00 and my goal coming in was to buy fresh strawberries to make an Eton’s Mess.  So strawberries, amongst other goodies and back home I go.  My younger son loves to snack on strawberries and I can’t wait to make him the Eton’s Mess but before that, a special request for a strawberry smoothie…my way 🙂