" Oh Vreneli, my pretty one, please tell me where's your home?"

"My home it is in Switzerland, it's made of wood and stone.."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Instant Pesto Linguine

Pesto is heavenly in pasta. And healthy too. A Pesto pasta is truly for everybody, vegetarian or not, young or old. But there are just a couple of things that prevents some people from having it as often as they'd like to. Like me. And here they are:

1) No food processor or blender - this is one piece of equipment that you need in making pesto in order to chop and mix all the ingredients with ease.

Solution 1: Use dried basil (usually in spice bottles and can be bought in grocery stores). Dried basil is already chopped finely so all you have to do is mix with the other ingredients. One bottle of dried basil is approximately P45 to P50 pesos.
Solution 2: Buy the bottled or ready to serve pesto which is far too expensive than making your own (around P120 to 250 pesos per small bottle). Which leads us to the next problem...

2) Expensive ingredients - one main ingredient for making pesto is evoo or extra-virgin olive oil. As we all know, this is one of the healthiest and also one of most expensive cooking oil. But if you're only making pesto, it's worth buying since the smallest bottle (usually at P120 pesos per 250ml bottle) takes a long way to go and you can make lots of pesto from it. Some other expensive ingredients are the nuts (gives added flavor and texture to the pesto), the toppings (shrimp, olives, bacon and grilled chicken breast fillet are commonly used in restaurants) and the Parmesan cheese.

Solution for the evoo: I cannot think of any solution for the evoo. If we substitute it with just olive oil, it's just less expensive by a few amounts. Canola oil, mustard seed oil and sesame oil is cheaper but the taste will surely be different. Vegetable oil will not be as healthy. So I suggest we stick with the evoo :)
Solution for the nuts: Use cheaper nuts. Replace those almonds and pistachios. Cashews and even peanuts are just fine. Nuts are just optional ingredients pesto can live without. So you can just delete this if you'd like.
Solution for the toppings: Don't put any toppings at all! The pesto alone can surely make a great pasta. But if you have left-over bacon, ham, chorizo, or fried chicken, pesto is also very kind to allow them in. Dried fish (tuyo or tinapa) can also be used.
Solution for the Parmesan cheese: There's nothing compared to the texture that Parmesan cheese can give. And aside from that, it just adds salty flavor to the dish. Other types of firm cheeses are still very expensive and hard to find. So I suggest that instead of putting cheese, just put additional salt until it fits your taste.

THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION: Below is my own recipe of pesto pasta which I bet is the simplest recipe that you could ever find in making Pesto Pasta. Why? 'Coz it's as easy as 1-2-3! Pesto! I mean...presto! My Instant Pesto Linguine.

- 1 medium bowl of cooked or Left-over linguine pasta (or any pasta will do)
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil leaves
- 1 tablepoon of evoo
- salt & pepper to taste

The two main ingredients: Evoo & dried basil leaves

1) Sprinkle the basil and drizzle the evoo on top of the pasta. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.
2) Microvawe for 2 minutes.
3) Stir all together and enjoy!

This is not the actual photo (to be updated)
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to control myself that I ate the finished product all up...
...before I remembered to give it a flash :D

There you go, with this I bet you can already have your daily serving of Pesto pasta. You can cook in advance a bigger amount of pasta, like one 400 grams pack (this is approximately sold at P50 pesos in grocery stores) and keep it in the fridge so you can just do this over and over again everyday until you consumed them all :)

Godetevi il buon cibo! (Enjoy the good food!)

For the traditional way of making pesto in a pesto pasta dish, view one of my favorite cooking websites. Click here:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/pasta-with-pesto-cream-sauce/

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baguio: One Night Only

We had to go to Baguio for a business trip. A visit to the newest property being developed by our company - Baguio Ayalaland Technohub. We went there for punchlist inspection of the common areas and the compliance of the constructing tenants within the building. But of course, along with the day's work, are a taste of the place's specialties. And much more after the long day's work, are more of getting the most of the place due to our limited time left. Here's a chronological order of our trip:

DAY 1 1st Stop: Beginning of Work at Baguio Ayalaland Technohub 
Address: Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone
Website: http://www.ayalaland.com.ph/baguio_technohub

DAY 1 2nd Stop: Lunch at Tabligan's Kambingan
Address: #100 Scout Barrio
Website:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tabligans-Kambingan/147399208648328?v=info

Kambingans are popular in Baguio City, and not illegal as the Doggie Meat Restos, eeww...

They have the usual group dining set-up, but we chosed the kubo or nipa hut fit for smaller groups (2-5) and for a more private feel. 

We waited for our orders, the usual menu that can be found in a Kambingan Resto...

Ulam #1: Sinampalukang Kambing
Ulam #2: Kalderetang Kambing
Unlimited brewed native coffee is free for customers :)

The food is ok, tastes as usual. I just can't imagine afterwards why our total bill here got up to P615. For 4 orders of the viands (2 orders papaitan and 1 order each of kaldereta and sinampalukan),  plus 4 cups of rice and a bottle of 1.5 liters Coke. We were in a hurry to have them itemized. I thought it was cheap since the place is just like an upgraded carinderia. But I realized later that it was expensive, if my assessment is right below:

Rice @ P15 each - P60 (expensive for a carinderia)
Coke 1.5 litres - P75 (expensive for a carinderia)
Each viand - P120/order (EXPENSIVE! Serving is only good for 1 person per order)
DAY 1 3rd stop: Dinner at Glenn 50's Diner
Address: #92 Upper Gen. Luna Road, corner Brent Road 
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/50s-Diner-Baguio-City/132750289785?v=info

The restaurant has details of the 50's look such as the stainless steel bar tables and chairs, diner style couches, 50's inspired framed posters, plus the neon signs.

Waitresses in Sailor Outfits plus the B&W checkered flooring

This ride is included in their concept. It sure does fit well and afterwards served as our live photobooth background :D

Here's our food in HUGE, American-style servings

I ordered this, it's called "Chop and Chop" which includes 2 pcs. Grilled porkchops, rice and sauteed veggies on the side (P125/order)
This is what they called "Guys on the Hood", their bestseller which composes each of almost everything you'd like: Fried Chicken, Rice, Veggie Side Dish, Grilled Porkchop, a slice of pizza, and spaghetti (P120/order)
3's is their Fried Chicken with Rice Meal which consists of not one, not two, but three pieces of chicken! (P150/order)

They have varieties of humongous meals fit for an American Soldier. Burgers, Fish and chips, steaks, REALLY BIG clubhouse sandwiches, and salads plus fries, fries, fries. They also sell different ice cream dessets, milkshakes and their unique and famous pancake towers which we didn't order since its nighttime. Compared to the kambingan resto, I think that their price here is more justifiable because of the large servings. In fact, we paid only P515 here, much cheaper!

Address: Session Road
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rumours-bar/103910599684506

Since we're not gonna spend any more nights here, we decided not to go back to our condo after dinner. Not yet. Session Road is a very lively street in Baguio City and its stretch has a qeueu of nightlife. We hopped into what's known there as the oldest bar in Baguio City - Rumours Bar. A typical-looking bar with normally dimmed and colored lighting and a wide variety of alcoholic drinks and starters to choose from. As I've said earlier, in 50's Diner where we had dinner, they served HUGE, that we had some leftover chicken wrapped to-go, and we ate them all up here (tipid sa pulutan!) :D.

Nice mosaic table

Promo girls approached and offered us cigarettes with free lighter, 2 packs for P80 (not bad and the lighter is cool)
Concept wall (handprints on hardened putty frame)
Potato wedges for P80 (we had two orders)
Here, were still chatting at the bar...
Suddenly, no one's talkin to me anymore!
Hehehe...after a hard day's work :)
SMB Lights costs P30 per bottle. It was a nice bar that served perfectly chilled beer. Our total bill here is P340 (6 beers amd 2 starters) or below a hundred bucks per head since we're 4. REALLY NOT BAD!!! I can have two-bottles here everyday!

We Stayed Here: Pineridge Condominium
Address: Brent Road

This hotel is owned and managed by our mother company. When our principals schedule a visit, an Executive Suite will always assigned to the visitors. Alongside with the VIP treatment :)
Living Room showing door to veranda

Living Room
Dining Room
Kitchen with breakfast nook (door beside ref leads to the laundry and utility area with maid's quarters)
Bedroom 1

Master's Bedroom (sorry, used beddings!)

I luv the mirror
We woke up late (except for one of our companion), so we weren't able to jog and drop by at the nearby church just like he did. My room's shower heater is kind of broken so I tooked a torture of an early bath in the cold water of the foggy morning, brrrrr!!!

We're about to go home in a short while, so I said, "Alvin, strike a pose and feel at home!" :D

I've searched the net and find out that some units are for sale here, starting from P7M and up. Some owners and realty brokers also offers their units for rent for vacationers at around P7k per night.

DAY 2 1st Stop: Breakfast at Axe's Cafe
Address: #1A Gibraltar Road

Silogs, silogs and Benguet Coffee...

Solid wooden and varnished tables and old-fashioned chairs
Steamy Benguet Coffee
There's a story about this creamer :D
Mouthful Glenn, hehe...
 DAY 2 2nd Stop: WORKMODE again at Baguio Technohub

We still have a few work balances so we went to finish them first...:)

Ignorant mode...:D

Inspection mode...
Trivia mode...

Day 2 3rd Stop: Good Sheperd Sisters Convent
Address: 15 Gibraltar Road, 2600 Baguio City
Website: http://www.goodshepherdsisters.org.ph/baguio

We just stopped by here to buy their delicious and quality-made Ube Jam (P200/bottle) and Strawberry Preserve (P190/bottle). I didn't get the chance to take pictures. I also forgot to take pictures of the products, but I guess most people already know it's patented looks. Though expensive than the other brands (more expensive than Tamtamco's), they're worth it and buying there means helping too. Just outside the convent are tiangge's where you can buy cheaper products (good for giving-away as pasalubongs). Here I bought Chocoflakes (chocolate covered corn flakes, P90), and Lengua De Gato (Cat's Tounge cookies, P65).

LAST STOP FOR THE DAY: Victory Liner Terminal
Address: Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City
Website: http://www.victoryliner.com/terminals/

We're going home...we had a car when we got up here, but the rest of our team also left yesterday since their visit is only a  daytour (imagine? Baguio? Day tour?!?). So in short, we commuted. Its ok, because riding the Victory Liner bus is also very convenient. The seats are comfortable, we slept mostly during the travel (sarap!). At P445 (Baguio to Cubao), we got home conveniently and safely. For me, Victory Liner is still the best Bus transport service that I've ever tried.

But of course, what's a visit to Baguio without taking these home...

STRAWBERRIES...2 kilos (P60/kilo)
So far, the biggest, plumpest and prettiest batch of strawberries I've ever brought home from Baguio (though I'm already worried that it has something to do with the genetically motivated, artificial and unhealthy stuff...)
Too bad, I never had the chance to take a picture of the old lady who sold these to us. Her strawberries are placed on a traditional bilao, and I bet she just walks from La Trinidad where the strawberry farms are.

I left some fresh, dipping in a little iodized salt triggers more of its sweetness...I also turned some into a dessert, mixed them with cream and sweetened milk. Delicious! Oh I wanna sing Beatles :)