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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Weekend Dinners

This weekend I got to indulge in some of my favorite pastimes. Twice! I hosted two dinners here at home – which meant entertaining, having friends and family over, good food, lots of laughter and good times.

Friday night, I had some friends from work over for a dinner. Since none of them have ever really had Pinoy meal – I told them I’d prepare a homemade one just for them. I prepared a chicken and pork adobo (which I guess can be considered the Philippine national dish). Most Filipino households have their own versions of this dish that is made of either chicken and/or pork and the trinity of soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. My secret (or rather my mom’s secret that I’ve copied) is frying the meat first, then stewing it with the trinity of ingredients plus bay leaves and lots of cracked black pepper. I also had sinigang (a sour, tamarind based soup), which had large fresh shrimps, eggplants, string beans, radish, onions, tomatoes, and chunks of taro that made the soup nice and thick. My hubby bought a big bilao (flat basket like dish) of pancit palabok – a rice noodle dish with an orange sauce (the color is because of a local ingredient called achuete – not sure what the Enlish term for that is) and topped with fish flakes, chunks of pork, hard boiled egg slices, and chopped green onions. I also made fragrant jasmine rice. After all, what is a Filipino meal without rice!

Dinner was a hit. My friends loved our home and the food. I could not have gotten enough compliments. And it was not just lip service either – they food was going really fast! Two of my friends brought dessert. Peggy made coconut milk based fruit salad – it was really good – very light (unlike other heavier fruit salads that are cream based). Emily made a milk pudding (similar to the Filipino dessert, leche flan) and I told her it was a perfect end to our Filpino meal. The biggest challenge of the night went to my other friends Sylvia, Shari, Anne and Elaine who had to figure out what wine to buy for our dinner. I guess that’s a challenge since even high-end Filipino restaurants back home don’t serve wine with dinner. We settled with Merlots and Rieslings which are sweet types of red and white wines and go well with pretty much everything. After dinner, we did another very “Filipino” pastime – we sang karaoke! Other than Emily and Sylvia, the rest of us were not really that musically-gifted – but what we lacked in skill, we made up for with loud voices and kept it up all the way till they left around midnight J

On Saturday night, I had my hubby’s family over for dinner. My SIL brought Korean barbecue and I steamed some shao long pao dumplings (I had ordered from someone at work). Since I didn’t have a food steamer I had to make quick call to my mom to find out how I could improvise. As usual, my mom came to my rescue and walked me through creating a make-shift steamer with a deep pot, an inverted ramekin in the center of the pot, boiling water all around and baking tray with the dumplings balanced on the ramekin. I also made a quick broccoli and baby corn in oyster sauce stir fry. My other SIL brought two huge pizzas (cheese and supreme) for the kids and anyone else who wanted a slice. And for dessert my hubby chopped up watermelon and Asian pears while the kids had cherry flavored jello. After dinner, we retired to our family room to watch a Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view boxing match while the kids watched Eragon on DVD in our office.

Today, Sunday, we are relaxing at home after all that entertaining and all that eating. After a stressful and hectic work week, my therapy is having people over and sharing our home with them. But after that, I think down time just hanging out with my hubby is just as great too.


jol said...

You hit two birds with one stone! Your guests enjoyed the parties you hosted and you had fun hosting them.

jml said...

Entertaining is fun. Though it requires a lot of work it nevertheless relaxes because you derive pleasure and joy doing it. As I always say, a home filled with family and friends and the sound of laughter will always be a happy home.

kquill said...

Hi Joanne!

How're you? I miss our themed dinner parties we used to have at your home here in Manila back in our Jewelmer days. It's great to see that you're still a great host. Do leave me a post in my blog when you've the time.


leslie Ty said...

Jo! You're officially a home maker :) I'm so proud of're such a great host and a great cook too :)
I always enjoyed staying there in LA coz you always make me feel at home and part of your family :)

Junarakasa said...

I wouldn't really say I'm a great host - but I do enjoy having the "right" people over. :)

Great to hear from you, Kaye. Will drop by your blog again soon :)

Auntie Lillian said...

Joanne, you got your mom's genes for being a great hostess and a great cook. Your Filipino dinner sounds delicious. FYI - they call "achuete" - annatto seeds.