What I Am Thankful for in 2011

I am thankful for everything I had in 2011.

I turned 11 on April 10, 2011.

My b-day cake

My b-day

I joined the Junior Master Chef competition and made it to the top 30 finalists.

My plaque from Junior Master Chef

I went to Treston International college and  learned knife skills, the difference between pots and pans , the  cooking hazards, about FATTOM and how to make different kinds of pasta sauces.

I went to Treston International college

My brother and I went to basketball classes last summer.

My brother and I with Coach

My family and I went to Avilon zoo.

We went to Avilon zoo

I learned how to cook restaurant recipes in Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s Culinary Arts school.

Me and Chef Ernest Gala

Me and Chef Ernest Gala

I started a web show called “The Adventures of a Junior Chef” on YouTube.

I also started this blog.

The Junior Chef - my blog

My family and I went on a few vacations….Malayan hotel, Diamond hotel, Discovery suites, Linden suites and Edsa Shangri- La hotel.

I saw my old friend , Andres  again on his b-day.

I met my old friend ion his b-day

I met some real chefs. I met Chef Laudico, Chef Ferns, Chef Jp, Chef Ernest and his mom Tita Sylvia. I also learned that Chef Ernest started cooking when he was my age :D.

Me and Chef Roland Laudico

Me and Chef Roland Laudico

I learned how to cook Mediterranean dishes, Filipino dishes, salads, steaks, pastas and snacks. I also learned how to debone and stuff a chicken.

My deboned chicken

My deboned chicken

We  went to the Lantern Parade in U.P.

I’m thankful that I was a finalist in the Philippine Blog Awards.

I am thankful that I met many great new friends-  Pinoy Food Writer, Ms. Chun Valencia, sisig lover, Mr. Fred Briones , Mr. Martin Banana from Bacolod Food Hunter, Kat from she cooks, he eats, and the nice lady from Love2Type. I also met new friends from Junior Master Chef.

I’m thankful that my new friend,  Mr. Martin Banana , drew a picture for me. It made me happy on New Year’s Day.

Martin Banana's picture for me

I am thankful that we went back to our lola’s old house at Sunnyside Heights to do a rummage sale.

I’m also thankful for our charity named the Healthy Kidchen.

The Healthy Kidchen

What I learned about myself and my family

I learned that I’ll be a great chef someday. I learned that I love cooking and I hate baking. I like to be with my friends and my family.   I also like to learn more recipes.

I learned that my sister wants to be a pianist when she grows up. My brother wants to be a drummer, an artist, a waiter, a basketball player and a chef.

We want to help people. We like to be together. We all want to learn new and wonderful things. We always want to be happy. We want to see everyone really happy. We want everyone to be healthy, too.

What I want to do this year

This year, I’ll complete all of Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s Culinary Arts courses and I’ll join another cooking contest. I’ll cook all the dishes in my cookbooks.

My cookbooks!

That’s it for today everyone! Happy New Year!

My Passion and My Steak….

Mom and I , when I was 2My 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.

Me and my siblings at Avilon zooI 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.
Me, Chef Ernest Gala and other classmates

Me doing the sauceWhile 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.

Filets mignons with caper sauce
sizzling italian pork parmigiana topped with magnolia mozzarella cheese
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.

SALADS

Festive tuna, potato, beet and apples salad

Festive tuna, potato, beet and apple 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
Hearty mediterranean salad 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
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.

ROASTS

Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce
chateaubriand with bernaise sauce

Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber 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

Tender roast monterey pork baby back ribs with special BBQ 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.

PASTAS

BAKED LASAGNA WITH RICOTTA AND MAGNOLIA MOZZARELLA CHEESE
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

Special magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheese
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.