Saturday, August 30, 2008

Going (Gasp!) Vegetarian

Yeah, you heard me. VE.GE.TA.RI.AN...

Two nights ago, I decided not to have dinner because I had had a very late lunch. So, naturally, after deciding on no dinner, I promptly got hungry. Since I never could get behind tinolang manok, and our cupboard is due for another major trip to Shopwise, I had to make do with what little was left in our fridge. By "little" I mean "no more meat" which would have, ordinarily, sucked. But deprivation breeds resourcefulness and some good came out of this no meat situation, in the form of a new recipe for a spicy snack, herein so detailed...

Spicy Tomato Dip/Sauce/Palaman/Whatever on Whole Wheat Crackers:

Ingredients (for single serving):
1 medium sized tomato, diced
1 tsp olive oil
basil and italian herbs to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 dash/es cayenne pepper or paprika (optional, for spice)
1 tsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
3-4 whole wheat crackers (the new Rebisco crackers are awesome!)

1. Mix all ingredients (save the mayo, mustard, and crackers) in a small bowl.
2. Blitz in microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
3. Stir in mayo and mustard.
4. Spread on to crackers.
5. Enjoy.

Yesterday, I walked all the way from the Ortigas office where I work part-time to the MRT station in Ortigas. Got off at Cubao and walked around, bought some stuff in, Gateway mall. Took the LRT. Got off at Katipunan then walked home. So I was walking a total of 1 and a half hours. To reward myself, I made some vegetarian tortillas for dinner. No meat is all right if you can have beans. Beans, baby. Beans...

Tomato and Refried Bean Dip/Sauce/Filling/Whatever on Tortillas:

1 can fat free refried beans
3-4 medium sized tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp onion, minced
herbs to taste
barbecue seasoning (with chilies) to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 dash/es cayenne pepper or paprika (optional, for spice)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup warm water
shredded cabbage
grated cheese (optional)
small tortillas

1. Saute garlic and onions.
2. Add tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
3. Add herbs. Stir until tomatoes are soft.
4. Add refried beans and some water to thin it out a bit.
5. Add tomato ketchup and cayenne pepper. Simmer til thick.
6. Heat tortillas in a pan.
7. Spread generous amount of tomato-refried bean stuff.
8. Top with cabbage and/or cheese.
9. (Optional) Heat til cheese melts.
10. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going Tropical

Yesterday, I was walking along Quezon Avenue when I, seemingly suddenly, got a hankering for a Tropical Hut hamburger. It was midday, time for lunch, and I was contemplating going into Red Ribbon for some empanada and palabok. Then I remembered that there was a Tropical Hut at the other side of the road. The last time I ate a Tropical Hut hamburger was maybe 7 years ago when my mom brought home a couple for me. Tropical Hut isn't exactly a bright red spot on the burger radar like McDonalds or Jollibee. Which is really, if you think about it, a strange thing because Tropical Hut hamburgers actually taste great. The only reason I've not eaten some in the past years is because there's not too many Tropical Hut branches around Metro Manila anymore. So when I get a craving for a burger, I go with either the McDonalds Quarter Pounder or Double Cheeseburger or the Jollibee Champ. If I feel like gourmet burgers then it's Brothers or HotShots. Invariably, Tropical Hut gets pushed out of the picture. No blinking red spot on the radar.

So thank goodness I was in the vicinity of the only Tropical Hut branch I know in Quezon City. And thank goodness I was hungry at that time. I was overdue a taste of Tropical Hut burger, with the firm yet fluffy sesame seed bun and the burger pattie that tastes like a joining of beef, pork, kinchay, and spices. It's the pattie that often makes the difference for me, and Tropical Hut's burger patties are soft and feel almost crumbly. They're not greasy and they remind me a lot of the concept of the 5th taste, Umami. The meat slides down your throat like tasty, crumbly tofu.

I'm glad I opted to go Tropical yesterday.