Friday, January 20, 2012

The Tomato Pasta Challenge

I cooked this tomato pasta dish, because something happened. Nothing really serious or important. I was with my husband and kids when we decided to have a quick snack in a small restaurant in SM Cubao. This dish accidentally landed on our table, because we originally ordered beef and mushroom and they served us with this pasta plate. Lucky for the manager and the rest of the crew because I was in a happy mood, so I didn't mind if they served us the wrong meal. I kinda find the restaurant version of this tomato pasta dish a bit bland and obviously, well I thought that there was something missing.

I got a little challnge from my husband and asked me: "what can you do to make this pasta more delicious and more enticing?".
As a foodie, when I don't get satisfaction from certain dishes, I make sure that I will alot time on making the dish myself. Resulting to a more refreshing and satisfying grub both for the palate and the mind. This is not my first time to prepare this simple but amazing pasta dish. With this scrumptious plate you see, adjustments were made, improved a lot of things. Like adding more mushrooms and fresh tomatoes and balancing the mix of flavors coming from the garlic and tomatoes was the challenging part.
1. Instead of chicken balls, I used fresh shrimps.
2. Lots of  fresh red tomatoes and less canned crushed tomatoes.
3. Since the sauce is based on fresh ingredients, I added button mushrooms for more texture and to hold the sauce and the pasta together.
4. Olive oil  and garlic--- key ingredients to a good pasta dish.
5. Fresh or dried basil will rock it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Raintree My Special Milk Tea

Lately, milk tea shops has been sprouting everywhere. Milk tea is nothing new to us. Especially for my husband, the only person in my family who loves milk tea and make that sugarfree. Raintree Teapresso Blends is located along Katipunan Avenue, St. Ignatius Village. If you're taking White Plains, coming from Corinthian Hills, before the Boni Serrano- Katipunan Avenue intersection, you'll find Raintree on the left side. We've been passing by Raintree eversince but we never really tried to set time for a quick visit until... one Monday morning, my husband was in the mood to have some milk tea. I immediately suggested that we check  the newly opened restaurant. It was a quick 5 min. drive from our house and the moment we got there, I was smiling from ear to ear, I fell in love with the set up and feel of the place  in an instant and I haven't seen their menu yet.

To make my story more interesting... personally, I am not a milk tea lover and I am very particular with this drink. In my previous posts, I even shared that I don't like the taste of tea and milk combined. But I still gave it a try, I ordered a tall glass from a famous milk tea shop, but... nahh... it wasn't that good.
But believe me, after tasting Raintree's Specialtea, things changed. Thanks to my husband by the way. In a span of 1 month, I've already consumed 2 VIP cards from Raintree. For every order, they will sign or put a stamp on the card and after your 10th drink, you'll get a free 16oz. pearl milk tea.

Take this entry as an opener because more blogs about Raintree are going to be posted.

Whenever I am in a new restaurant or anything I haven't tried or anywhere I haven't been to, once I get to make a stop in that place, I make sure to try what they call "the house specialty". That Monday morning, since we were in the mood for some milk tea, as "the house specialty", I decided to go for Raintree's specialtea or simply: Raintree Specialtea Note: with extra pearls or coffee jelly
22oz. Raintree Specialtea and Almond Joy  (php100)
  22 oz.Taro and Belgian Chocolate (php95)
Our favorite milk teas goes around these 4 flavors. Raintree Specialtea, Almond Joy, Taro and Belgian Choccolate. Raintree's pearl milk tea is composed of freshly brewed tea and non-dairy milk which makes it the perfect drink for someone who is lactose intolerant. Served with pearls and sugar level will depend on the customer's request
Levels of Sweetness: no sugar, 1/4 sugar, 1/2 sugar, 3/4 sugar, normal sugar.
22oz. Moroccan Mint (php95)
Uniquely flavored. It stands out. Best with coffee jelly.

Coming out of the box, getting off my comfort zone, I was able to enjoy another extraordinary drink. Considering that I love anything with mint, Moroccan Mint tea was the next best choice for me. Wanting something different, I think I made the right pick. It doesn't end here though, more drinks and even pastries and cakes are bound to be tasted, so stay tuned.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Franky's Young Chefs Academy Experience

My son Franky, as he matures he is also developing his interest in cooking and helping me around the kitchen. He helps me with the chopping, sauteing and even with setting up the dining table. By the way, he uses a bread knife to cut simple vegetables. He knows the basic rule before handling food, which is handwashing. The nice part of this growing enthusiasm of his is the fact that his values are also being practiced. Being helpful, he waits for his turn, he's never a picky eater. A few months back, my son's school arranged a trip to the CCA Kitchen at the Eastwood Mall. I got really excited for him, since Culinary Arts has been an interest of mine since I was a kid. This experience of  Franky was very rare especially for a school activity.
At the Young Chefs Academy, Franky experienced baking his own chocolate cupcakes, bread and other pastries.  It was a bit disappoiting when I found out that parents and guardians were not allowed to accompany the child. So I waited the whole day, feeling excited to taste my son's first baked goodies.
Franky took home some of the cupcakes and bread he made. Along with the package are the recipes the children used for their baking session. Immediately, my son asked me if we can bake some. Of course we can, it's just that we still need to buy baking materials such as muffins molders, baking sheets and new mixing bowls. But as soon as we're all set with everything needed, I bet our kitchen's going to be open 24/ 7. I'm looking at enrolling my son at the Young Chefs Academy for summer. He really loves to cook. He told me that he wants to become the person wearing a tall white hat, a chef's hat!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ARMY NAVY My Burrito Stop

After dropping off my son in school this morning, I decided to grab some burritos. After the holidays, and being stuck at home recuperating... I thought... let me start the year right, a post worth as an opener for the new year. I have been raving about my favorite burrito stop. ARMY NAVY. It's been one after another shoutout, especially on facebook.

Check: ARMYNAVY Graces Us With A New Branch

I don't know, there's something about our location that makes me a happy eater. The recent addition to the line of restaurants that surrounds us is ARMY NAVY. I remember traveling as far as Ortigas just to be able to get a taste of their wonderful burrito in the middle of the night. Having a branch minutes away from my house is something I am very grateful for.
I first tried ARMY NAVY in Glorietta 5. We had a meeting with some friends and my husband suggested that I try their all-day breakfast. Later on, I end up loving their chicken burrito more than anything else.
The recent addition to my list of favorites is their
Chicken Quesadilla (php 145)
A Double Burger (php195) is recommended for those starving for bugers. But don't forget, Bully Boy Burger (php250)is another worthy buy for the more adventurous foodies out there.
Fearless Fried Chicken (php145)
quarter drumstick thigh served with rice and pepper gravy
Chicken (php145), Steak (php165), Carnitas (pork php165), Vegetarian (php 145) and an all-day Breakfast (longganisa php165, steak php 190) Burrito...
everything mouth- watering! It's always best that for every visit, one should try something new from the menu.
The Verdict?