Do you have any kitchen stories to tell?

Several years ago, I was in a car with my then-boyfriend and his dad. I don’t exactly remember where we are coming from, but I distinctly remember that they were driving me home. Anyway, during the short drive, my ex’s dad asked me if I knew how to cook, to which I replied in the affirmative. Then, he asked in the vernacular, “What? Boiled water?” I just laughed in response, but in my mind, I was doing it sarcastically. And, no, if you are wondering, that was not why that guy is now an ex. Anyway, after that “incident,” the boiled water thing has become a running joke in my family (yes, our family has an uncanny sense of humor).

I do know how to cook, though. It’s just that I am not one to spend my time in the kitchen experimenting on recipes and whatnot. I would rather be tasked with grocery shopping. Also, there was never a chance to practice my cooking skills when I was in my teens. My mom was always cooking, and if it wasn’t her cooking, it was my ate (older sister). The only time I relegated myself to kitchen duties was when my mom left to live in the United States for six years. And even then, I only cooked for my brother and myself for a few months before he got married and his wife took over the cooking. Since then, my forays into cooking, er, the kitchen, have been “seasonal,” for lack of a better word.

Finding My Way Back into the Kitchen

However, just last week, I was thrown back into the battlefield. Yeah, I know, I am being dramatic. Nevertheless, if you are like me (I am 100% insecure and self-critical about my cooking skills), you will understand why I am such a drama queen. Anyway, as I was saying, I had no choice but to cook again since my SIL is indisposed.

During the first couple of days, I forced my family to eat fried eggs, bacon, Spam, and fried rice. I know, I know. That was too unkind of me, but I was caught unawares by the goings-on in our household. When I finally got my bearings, I was able to plan better. Hold your horses, though. I didn’t go full Gordon Ramsay or Wolfgang Puck with my cooking. I simply went for the basics, just enough to ensure my family was getting properly nourished. In addition, I had to make do with the stuff we have in the freezer (there were shrimp, ground pork, ground beef, beef cubes, pork cutlets, spare ribs, pork chops, pork cubes, chicken cut-ups, and pork belly).

The first on the agenda was Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp in Sour Soup). It is nothing too fancy, but it was filling, especially since there were vegetables in it. I was actually missing an ingredient (radish), but the dish survived even without it.

Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp in Sour Soup)

Next up was Tortang Giniling na Baboy (Filipino-style Ground Pork Omelet). I had to consult with my sister before cooking this one because I wanted mine to taste just like my mommy used to make them. We even had a funny conversation on Viber because of this. I must say it was a big hit, especially with my 14-year-old nephew, who claimed it tasted “just like mommy’s” (he calls his paternal grandparents mommy and daddy), but not so with his seven-year-old brother. The little one is such a picky eater, and to make him eat the omelet, I told him it was a Filipino-style burger. After tasting it, though, he said, “You are trying to fool me! This is not a burger. It doesn’t even taste close!” I could only heave a deep sigh, but I am telling you it wasn’t of relief.

Tortang Giniling na Baboy (Ground Pork Omelet)

After that, it was Gising-Gising (Green Beans with Pork in Spicy Coconut Milk). I would go out on a limb here and claim it as my signature dish. Hahahaha! Seriously, though, I have cooked it a total of three times, I think. And each time, I do a great job. I used pork cut into small cubes this time around instead of the usual ground pork and green beans (or what we call here Baguio beans) instead of winged beans (as I said, I had to make do with what was in the fridge).

Gising-Gising (Green Beans with Pork in Spicy Coconut Milk)

What followed was Ginisang Repolyo (Sauteed Cabbage with Green Beans and Pork) and some fried chicken cut-ups. I had no choice but to cook this lest the cabbage in the fridge goes bad. I also wanted to “de-stash” the contents of the freezer and the fridge since I will be grocery shopping before month-end.

Ginisang Repolyo (Sauteed Cabbage with Green Beans and Pork)

I don’t know when my SIL would fully recover. However, just in case it takes a while longer, I already have several dishes in mind that I would like to try. Again, nothing too fancy. I have soft tacos on the list and chicken in oyster sauce. Let’s see how the next few days will pan out, and then I will come back for an update.

I am still debating if I should share the recipes here or not. It’s not like I cooked dishes that were out of the ordinary. We’ll see.