29 January 2012

Dinner at Johnny Rockets

Beng and I blamed The Great Food Truck Race for our craving.  Watching six episodes that featured, among other gourmet food trucks, a gourmet burger truck, left us with a serious need to stuff our faces with really good burgers.  So after mass, we trolled the food strip near our place for one.

We decided to try out Johnny Rockets.  It was a decision we did not regret.

It reminded us of family brunches at Subic at an officer's club when we were children.  We used to struggle through gargantuan burgers, mountains of fries, and tall glasses of brewed iced tea (which forever turned us off to the powdered kind).  We were each given two american quarters each to spend on either the jukebox or the video arcade.  I remember wanting to be fair so I would always relinquish one to the jukebox and the other either to Space Invaders or to Pac-man.  

When we saw the jukebox console at the booth, we asked the staff if it was just part of the decor or if it really worked.   She said yes.  Beng and I looked at each other and immediately dove right in to the selections.  We were delighted to find songs we actually liked.  (No jologs music: YEY!  No beiberish [gibberish]: YEY!)  We exchanged two Php10-coins for Php1 coins and "relinquished" them to the magic box in the wall.

The highlight of the visit apart from the music was the food.  We ordered onion rings, their Rocket burger, medium rare, and strawberry milkshake.

I'm very particular about onion rings, and I have to say theirs is really good.

Beng and I usually go halfsies on everything we order just so we can taste more than one or two dishes on the menu.  In the case of Johnny Rockets, it was a necessity.  The burgers are HUGE.  The fries are limitless and their single serving of milkshake nearly filled two glasses.

Look!  The ketchup bowl is happy to see me!

Before we left, we ordered a bacon cheeseburger with onion rings for Nards (who opted to stay at home).   And Beng and I both agreed, we're definitely going back.

21 January 2012

Saturdays at Home

It's been over three years since I moved out of my parents' home.  Occasionally, Nards and I would spend a couple of nights here.  My sister has long moved into my old room.  I now occupy her old room that has been turned into a hobby room of sorts at first, and eventually reverted back to a bedroom for Nards and my benefit.

Yesterday, I had to go to my parents' because Beng and I needed to bake to fill orders.  (My new oven is temporarily set up in my Mom's kitchen.)   I wound up spending the night.  After baking over 120 macaron shells, 40 pcs of chocolate chip cookies and two batches of muffins, (including prep and clean up) I could hardly stand up.  I curled up in my Mom's favorite chair by the piano and refused to move after I settled in.

This morning, I woke up to my brother making breakfast, my sister badgering my brother over something inane, my Mom folding freshly laundered clothes and my Dad reading an online broadsheet.  (It took a while to get him to migrate from reading an actual newspaper to reading them online.  It always makes me think of Mang Romy who used to deliver our newspapers daily, and how the advent of online broadsheets cost him his regular income.  It makes me so sad, and I always hope that he has found other means to support his family.  I'm digressing.)  I got asked the usual pre-breakfast questions.
"Ate, how many eggs do you want for breakfast?"
"Eew." (I REALLY don't like eggs.)
"Are you drinking coffee or hot chocolate?"
"So do you want eggs?" with a tone that is pressing me to say yes.
"(sigh) Okay one."
Late breakfast ensued with the usual morning chatter and lighthearted bickering.  The plates have been hardly cleaned up when the doorbell rang.  It's the sisters from a nearby convent popping in for a Saturday visit.  I grabbed my laptop and ipod and scrambled to get inside my room because I was still in my PJs.  I was hoping to check my email and to call Nards to check up on him.  My sister followed me, still holding her cup of coffee, which she puts on a stack of books on the shelf before sprawling on the beanbag beside the bed.  My brother came a few minutes later, muscling my sister out of the beanbag.  My sister ensconced herself on the bed, pushing me to one corner.  They took several trips to their respective rooms to gather all their electronics, before they settled in comfortably (for a better part of the day) in my (TINY) room.

Count the gadgets deduct one and divide by two.  The only thing there that's mine is the laptop.

They used to this all the time in my old room.  My brother would lounge at the foot of my bed occupying nearly half of it, and my sister would try to squeeze herself on whatever space we can share on the other half.  And stay.  We'd read, watch TV or play video games in my (always tiny) bed.

I love it.   

13 January 2012

PS I Love You

I have had a long affair with the Sony PlayStation. My siblings and I have spent a lot of quality time playing together. SO much quality time (more than 96 hours on Final Fantasy 7, even more on Final Fantasy 8). I still remember the time I pummeled my brother on Tekken 32-4. Or the Great War of 2002 when my sister accidentally overwrote my brother's saved game. Or the time we cowered in fear in the sofa as we played Silent Hill in the dark.

When Nards and I got married we donated our TV, and the playing consoles were put away in a box somewhere gathering dust. So it's been quite a while since I played, except for a brief stint with Final Fantasy 8 on the PSP.

Recently I discovered PC versions of my favorite games. Nards got me a USB controller so I didn't have to bang on the keyboard while playing.

I took a photo of the game I'm currently playing and sent it to my brother, who got envious, and took out our old PlayStation out of retirement.

Looks like we're all going to have a sleepless weekend.

12 January 2012

This Is How We Roll

Ingredients for 7 batches of macarons.

Last December, my sister and I had to make a LOT of macarons.  And by a LOT, I meant more than 200 shells each time we baked.    It was difficult at first, because we were still trying to find our groove.  But from measuring, baking, making the filling, assembling to dispatching the boxed macarons took an average of about 3 days (which includes refrigerating the macarons overnight before we hand them to the clients).

We did get our groove eventually, and we're more economical with our time and energy.  But I do think we need a helper just to wash and clean up after us because after we've taken out the last tray and turned off the oven, Beng and I just want to crawl under the covers and hibernate.

Nards and I gather the leftovers after all the orders have been filled, bring it home and take photos for the catalog.  Last week was the only time we had all six flavors available for a photoshoot.  Here are a few of the outtakes.

Calamansi Macaron.  I was supposed to put calamansi around the 
shells but we used all we had in the ref for the filling.

This is Beng's favorite: coffee cream cheese with Kahlua. 

11 January 2012

Vinyl Solution

Nards and I recently discovered the CDR King at Trinoma facing Peach Blossoms.  It's a vast wasteland of cheap electronics that one doesn't necessarily need but definitely want.  We picked up Nards' late birthday present: a PS/PS2 to USB controller adaptor.  (He's been hankering to play his NBA pc version but found it utterly difficult to play using a keyboard.  In hindsight we should have bought two units, because I have yet to play Onimusha because he's been hogging the adaptor.)

We went around the store for about half an hour before we bought the adaptor and I found this:

It's perfect for my Dad who still has a considerable vinyl collection and is looking for a way to convert them to mp3s.   

I'm definitely going back there to get this. 

And another PS2 adaptor.

09 January 2012

Guilty Pleasure of the Month

Ferrero Rocher.  Need I say more?

Thank you Arnold of Manila Bulletin for indulging our sweet tooth. :)

08 January 2012

Making Palitaw

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm crazy about palitaw. When I was in grade school and high school, recess meant I can get a single serving of palitaw from our cafeteria for Php2.50.  Recently, Beng and I feasted on some palitaw during a bazaar and they're now a whopping Php10/piece.

On our most recent trip to the farm to visit my in-laws, my Mother-in-Law taught me how to make them.  And I made my first batch last Friday, after Beng and I baked a couple of batches of macarons.  My other sister Claire, requested the recipe, so here it is :)


glutinous rice flour (make sure it's glutinous otherwise it wouldn't float)
sesame seeds
grated coconut (niyog)

I'm sorry that I don't have the exact measurements, but I basically eyeballed everything.

On a non-stick pan, toast the sesame seeds lightly.  It should be done quickly, because left a tad bit too long it becomes bitter.  Mix with sugar (with the sugar just a little bit more than the seeds) in a small bowl and set aside.

Place a cup of glutinous rice flour in a bowl.  Add water a little at a time mixing (I used my hand) until it's a smooth dough.  It still needs water if it's dry and powdery.  It is too wet if the dough is sticky.  It should be pliable and smooth.

In a deep pot, boil water.  (While I waited for it to boil, I prepared two shallow dishes: one with about a cup and a half of grated coconut and the other with the sugar sesame seed mixture.)  Once the water is boiling, peel a small amount from the dough, shape it in a flat oval, and drop in boiling water.  Once it floats, take it out of the pot.  Roll in grated coconut and in the sugar and sesame seed mixture.

Makes about 10 or so servings. :)

02 January 2012

First Work Day for 2012

How was your holidays?  We had fun!  And we would personally like to thank all our rich neighbors who spent a lot of money on fireworks to entertain commoners like us.

It's the first work day of January and I worked on the template for the e-bakeshop my sister and I are putting up.  Nards took photos of some left over macarons on hand from an order  a few days ago.  We're slowly putting the catalog together.  We're not yet done with the product shoots, because every time we get something baked, it does not last long enough to get photographed.  Beng and I will have to bake some more this first few weeks of January.  Hopefully, hopefully we can do an official launch before February.

Wish us luck!!

If I may share with you my favorite lemon curd recipe for our macarons :)

Ina Garten's Lemon Curd Recipe

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions: Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar. Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.


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