January 2010

The FooDorama Challenge!: I watch it, I try it.

Mmm, Tasty: I heart Abe-san & jdorama food! (left)

Since many Japanese dramas (jdoramas) also feature food in their scenes, I’ve decided to mesh together my addiction for jdoramas and interest in Japanese food with a project called The FooDorama Challenge! (or FDC).

I’ve noticed that the Japanese would make it a point to mention or show a Japanese dish in a scene or two in their drama shows regardless whether it has a connection with the story or not (most of the time – not).  They obviously take pride in their dishes, and it maybe a strategy to sucker us in and make us WANT to go crazy and scream: “That’s enough! I wanna have that, too!

And yes, I got sucked in. However, I also see it as… well… educational. Through watching jdoramas, I get to know about their customs and traditional dishes a lot more than before. Pinoy tv dramas could learn a thing or two about this, as well.

What is The FooDorama Challenge? As a way of explaining, here are the rules and expectations for this project:

  • I watch a jdorama show.
  • If I find it interesting, I will try a dish mentioned in the show (or shows).
  • If the recipe is feasible (ingredients, time, budget, or equipment –wise) then I will prepare it myself.
  • If it is not possible for me to make it – then, I will look for it in a resto and order it.
  • Or I could do both – make it AND order it (it’s for additional research, you see :))
  • My entries for FooDorama Challenge can be integrated with my other food project, The Sunday Lunch Project.
  • Again, this is not a Food Blog or a jdorama blog – it is and always will be a personal blog.
  • Lastly, since this may be too limiting, it doesn’t have to be strictly a jdorama or exclusively about Japanese recipes. It could be any dish or  show or movie. But majority of my posts for the FooDorama Challenge will be inspired by jdoramas.

And to start the ball rolling, my first entry for FDC is also my Sunday Lunch Project#2:

Next: FooDorama Challenge #1 – It’s a Yakiniku Party! (Jdorama inspiration: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko)


My Sunday Lunch Project officially starts today. Yup. You guessed it. If you think that this is another non-cook’s corny attempt to become a chef-wannabe… you’re absolutely right! Haha! Man, don’t hate me for trying… (^_^) v

It is not like I have a lot of time in my hands. And I am no domestic diva. But having a project and learning to do new things like cooking are ways to exercise creativity and big picture skills (planning, foresight, time management, etc.). Putting oneself to personal challenges can also be beneficial to one’s emotional and mental health.  But it would be best if a project like this doesn’t take over your life and become an overwhelming obsession.

Therefore, in this food project, it is important to set rules and expectations for myself to prevent things from getting out of hand, and these are:

  • I will TRY to cook a strange, new recipe (since I am a non-cook, every recipe sounds strange to me) for Sunday lunch.
  • Every Sunday Lunch Project may be a simple salad or a full blown meal (it all depends on the budget).
  • I will NOT attempt to follow a deadline (I have enough other pressures to worry about and I don’t need another one).
  • Even if I call it a Sunday Lunch, it doesn’t mean I am obligated to cook EVERY Sunday (again, no pressure for me).
  • I will NOT make this into a Food Blog or come up with a separate Food Blog (this is all personal – a personal mission in a personal blog).
  • Entries for The Sunday Lunch Project can be integrated with my other food project, The FooDorama Challenge.
  • I would like to point out that I am not alone in the kitchen and that it doesn’t hurt to receive a little assistance from another person (like in cutting onions, for example).
  • Lastly, I MUST have fun (if it’s not fun anymore, then I will stop).

So. Here we go…

My first ever Sunday Lunch Project #1: Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken

My first Sunday Lunch Project, I admit, was off to a shaky start.

I attempted to cook using leftover ingredients from our New Year dinner – lemons and thyme. Googling these words up in search of a recipe and among the choices that came up, I opted for this one: Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken (recipe here).

I was not fully satisfied with my first SLP. It tasted kind of bland. It may be that I did not put too much salt or lemon juice or thyme. Or maybe the produce I bought was of inferior quality. Or maybe it was because of my non-existent taste buds.

SLP#1: My feeble attempt to cook Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken (left). Hmm. Should it be on its back or stomach?

Good thing I did not have any guests for lunch on this day. lol! Nevertheless, I wasn’t disheartened. I can’t expect it to be an over-night success.  I could see that this was going to be a long learning experience, and would take a lot of hits-and-misses.

Looking at the picture of the chicken dish with its neck sticking out like that… Dang, I am SUCH a novice. lol! I think I may also have to start practicing the rudiments of food photography. I also should get new attractive plates to put my dishes in. And probably new place mats as well. And a new apron. And maybe even a new dslr camera…

Oh, no… What did I get myself into?

So, for my Lemon – Thyme Roasted Chicken. Was it a Hit or Miss?

Answer: Definitely a Miss. But no worries… there are still many Sundays to come. 🙂

Next for Sunday Lunch Project:  SLP# 2 – Yakiniku!

I’ve been slacking off! Yes, I admit it.

I didn’t write for three months because I became addicted to Jdoramas (I mean, more so than before) that starred this actor below:

Those eyes… Got. To. Turn. Away…

Hiroshi Abe has bewitched me into watching unending marathons of his drama shows day after day.  And i still can’t get enough.. Oh, what have i become? *facepalm*

Now, I am ok. No need for an intervention. I have sworn off jdoramas for the meantime.  I have to get my act together.  I know that now.

Yes, I am updating my blog as of now.  Articles may be posted from October to Dec. but actually they’re quite late already – written in January 2010.  Oh, well, that’s just between you and me, k? 😉

Who is Abe-chan? Click this and find out!

“Because I have to.”

Sometimes, those 4 words are all you need to start kickin’ yourself in the butt to get going…

Just like last year, I started the New Year of 2009 with reflections and a lot of mulling over my plans.  After looking back and rereading that post, I am ashamed to admit that all 3 things I mentioned there did NOT come into fruition. It is soooo embarrassing.

That is why I don’t like mentioning my resolutions or checklists.  You start hating yourself if you can’t follow through. But if I do have to start something, I prefer that no one needs to know about it. Rather than talk about it, I just do it whether it be in a checklist or not. But to publish it here for everyone to see, and not accomplishing any of it in the end? Yikes.

So. Despite my vehemence in coming up with NYRs, I will still do it. Why? Say it with me- It’s because… I have to:

One Step Forward into the New Year: Started my walking program (right pic) to lose these stubborn pounds as part of my NY’s Resolution… again.

1. Losing weight. One of my resolutions last year was to lose weight. Honestly? I really started on an exercise program early last year but had to give it up because I wasn’t losing any pounds. Nevertheless, I jump- started my walking and work-out routine late last year. And I am THRILLED to report that this time it is actually WORKING!  Yay for me!  How many pounds I lost is a topic worth posting some other time.

2. Clean Up! Another NYR from last year was to clean and organize my room, the house, my LIFE! And yes, I wasn’t able to accomplish it. But this time, I FIRMLY resolve to do this once and for all.

3. The Muse is calling! I will go back to drawing and painting. I do plan on going back to the arts someday; I might as well start little by little. Be showing my works here soon. That’s a promise!

4. What else is cooking? I mentioned in my previous post that I will start cooking more this year.  I am no expert in the kitchen but I am so tired of drooling over those dishes I see being prepared at the Asian Food Channel, Travel and Living, etc.  My culinary plans are already underway so I’m not worried about this. Actually, I’m already having fun!

Post Script: Anything related to my studies, I will not mention anymore. If it comes, it comes. It may happen this year or the next, I cannot tell but definitely I will finish my master’s degree... Because I have to.

Part of my New Year Resolutions was to start learning to cook new dishes.  That is why I will come up with culinary projects (Western and Asian) that I will feature here in my blog. I already started with our New Year’s Eve dinner…

I made pepper-encrusted steak (recipe here) with roasted broccoli and potatoes (recipe here), and sweet yellow corn with cayenne butter:

I am infatuated with black pepper right now – I sprinkle everything I eat with freshly-ground pepper! It was my first time to cook a steak. I admit I still have a long way to go in choosing the right meats and in preparing it the way the experts do. But this was a great start. Yup! Yup!

New Year, New Hang-out: What’s a good way to start the year than with a night out and lotsa beer? (Grub Bar and Grill, BF Paranaque – Jan. 2010).

In last year’s NY post, I followed some feng shui tips to welcome the New Year as an experiment to see if 2009 will be my lucky year. Did it work? Well, let’s just say I didn’t win the Lotto. Haha! Oh, well…seemed pointless but it was fun. So to usher in 2010, I still prepared a basket of round fruits, placing money in uncooked rice and under my pillow, ate grapes, and opened the windows and doors. Lady Luck, come on in!

Tiger Reigns Supreme: 2010 is Grumba’s year!!!

And for my New Year header pic, it shows me and my pet tiger. How i wish! Haha! I am using one of the pictures showing my hand carefully patting this beautiful white tiger on its back (from my Indonesia tour)… Considering that 2010 is another turning point and a transition year for me, this pic symbolizes bravery, confidence and hope to be able to “tame” this Tiger Year; and make it work to my advantage. Fight? Fight! Rawwwwrrr!

As I said, I may not have won the Lotto in 2009 but everyone I love was safe and still doing great even when unusually strong typhoons came and went.  Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings!

Wishing you all…

a Happy and

Safe New Year!!!

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