My mom always told us that in order to be successful, we must first find that one thing that ignites our interest, stirs up our passion, and tickles our imagination as to how far it can take us. To many people, finding that one thing takes a long time. To some, it comes as a surprise. To others, such as myself, it comes as a result of circumstance. Some time ago, I was attending school , like most kids. But my family decided that it was much better for me and my siblings to learn at home.
As a home schooler, I learned the word “pressure”, “catalyst” and “carbon dioxide” by sticking Mentos inside a bottle of Coke and watching it explode in our backyard.
I learned about the classifications of animals by going to Avilon Zoo, and taking notes from the tour guide.
I learned about divison by separating candies that my Papa brought home from his trips abroad into 5 of us siblings. I learned about fractions, estimates, units of measure, converting ounces to cups, and boiling points by cooking pasta , risotto,soup, etc.
As I learned Math, I also started to develop an interest in cooking. It often was the case that my mom, seeing my interest, started asking me to do things in the kitchen, such as making omelets for breakfast, cooking risotto for dinner or grilling steaks. Then my mom thought of having me and my brother audition for a cooking show for a major television network. It turned our world topsy turvy. From then on, I never looked back. Experiencing people other than my mom and my Papa criticize my cooking made me want to be better. Well, such were the circumstances that led me to the revelation of my passion for cooking.
But there was one dish that I had specific passion for- steaks. Now I will tell you about the week that was.
The Steaks Workshop
Not too long ago, I enrolled in Chef Ernest Gala’s Steaks, Salad, Pastas and Roasts course at Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary School.
While waiting for Chef Ernest to arrive, we watched his shows on the television situated in the kitchen. Three friends whom I met there were curious as to my schooling, perhaps because it was a Tuesday and yet I was preparing to grill steaks rather than reviewing for a Math or Science quiz. I told them that I’m home schooled and that I love cooking. That day, we were cooking salads, pastas, roasts and steaks. I really love learning the different aspects of cooking, but my weakness lies in baking. Maybe I’m just not born for it.
We made three kinds of salads. I made a Festive Tuna, potato, beet and apple salad. One of my classmates made Hearty Mediterranean salad with anchovies, capers and feta cheese. My other classmates made the Special crab salad with creamy mayo. I learned that if balsamic vinegar isn’t available, we can use Knorr seasoning or worcestershire sauce. It changes the flavor but it’s good too.
Then we made filet mignons with caper sauce, sizzling Italian pork parmigiana topped with Magnolia mozzarella cheese, and Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce. Last but not least, the Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce. I learned that when roasting, we must use a meat thermometer to know whether it’s over cooked or it’s still raw. I never used a thermometer at home, as I only used a wall clock and my gut feel.
We made pastas like Special Magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheeses and Baked lasagna with ricotta and Magnolia cheese. I learned that in some countries, mozzarella cheese are colored white because they use carabao’s milk. In the Philippines, we have yellow mozzarella cheese because we use cow’s milk.
Festive tuna, potato, beet and apples salad
This salad includes all purpose cream, salt and pepper, diced potatoes, beet, apples, pickle relish, onion and tuna. It is served with prepared lettuce and eggs.
I found the salad a little unusual because it had beets in it. It was my first time to eat beets . I actually thought that a beet is a fruit but it’s technically a root. The cream and beet combination gave the dish a subtle but intriguing taste.
Hearty Mediterranean with anchovies, capers and feta cheese
This salad includes baby tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, Feta cheese or Quick melt cheese, dill leaves (fresh) and peeled cucumber. There is also crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper.
This salad is simple but good and tasty. I like the flavors of the olives and all the cheeses. I also like the cucumber because it’s sliced really thin.
Special crab salad with creamy mayo
This salad has iceberg lettuce, peeled cucumber, big salad tomatoes and boiled eggs. For the dressing it has MAGNOLIA mayo, HUNTS catsup, salt, pepper and PEOTRACO corn syrup .
The cucumber – tomatoes – boiled eggs combination gave a crunchy, sour and sweet taste..a taste that appealed to my mom’s palate.
Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce
Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce
This ribs has crushed garlic, rock salt, Mc Cormick rosemary, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil. The sauce has cucumber, grated cheese, minced onions and salt.
I like the ribs because it’s tender and it’s well seasoned. The consistency of the sauce is perfect- not too watery, not too thick.
TENDER ROAST MONTEREY PORK BABY BACK RIBS WITH SPECIAL BARBECUE SAUCE
This baby back ribs has garlic, knorr seasoning, rock salt, mustard, molasses, chili powder and Hunt’s tomato sauce. The sauce has chopped onions, brown sugar, vinegar, HUNT’s tomato sauce, Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce, knorr seasoning and salt and pepper.
I love the flavors of the chili and mustard plus the onions and the vinegar on the tender ribs.
BAKED LASAGNA WITH RICOTTA AND MAGNOLIA MOZZARELLA CHEESE
This lasagna has sausages, ground beef, salt, pepper, herbs, sugar, eggs and ricotta cheese, among others. I was not able to taste the lasagna because when we heated the lasagna at home, the glassware cracked in the oven!
SPECIAL MAGNOLIA CHICKEN SPAGHETTI WITH 4 CHEESES
This spaghetti has Magnolia butter, boiled chicken, cream, grated mozzarella cheese, grated quick melt cheese, Fontina cheese, grated provolone cheese, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper….Loved this one too.
We had these dishes for dinner that day. It’s plentiful, very delicious and the taste is right on. I’ll give these dishes *****stars for the taste and **stars for the difficulty. (because it’s yummy but easy)
Now all this talk about food is starting to stir up my imagination again….I think I know what I'm gonna do today.