cerulean blues


The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

平和 (★´3`)ノ.☆.・∴.・☆:*・∵.:*・☆.。.:*, :*・∵.:☆.。

Jdorama Inspiration: Hotaru no Haka

The live action version of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) was a tanpatsu (movie made for TV) that was shown on November 1, 2005 on NTV.  Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, Hotaru no Haku was first made into a critically acclaimed animated movie in 1988. The story, set in World War II, is a heart-breaking tale of a brother and sister who were orphaned and taken under the care of a distant aunt.  The harsh realities and hopelessness caused by the cruelties of war inevitably affected everyone and thus, led the the two siblings to go and fend for themselves which ultimately brought about tragic and unfortunate consequences.

It would be better to see the 1988 movie before you watch the jdorama version.  A lot of people liked the original much better than the newer version – mainly because they disliked the auntie (played by Matsushima Nanako in the live action version) so much they prefer not to see her side of the story (which wasn’t implied in the animated movie).  The 2005 version tried to point out that it is understandable if people do make cruel, apathetic decisions and acts just to protect those who are precious to them in times of war. Both versions still showed a clear message though: war may bring out the best as well as the worst in us, and let’s hope and pray that something like this will never ever happen again.

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” ~Bertrand Russell: Seita (Ishida Hoshi) and Setsuko (Sasaki Mao) try to stay alive during the war (above left); At right are their animated counterparts from the 1988 movie.

Jdorama Food: Sekihan

Sekihan or red bean rice is a traditional Japanese dish that is made of steamed glutinous rice and azuki beans.  The rice gets its red color from the water used from boiling the beans.  Red is a color associated with ‘happiness’ or driving away evil vibes in Japan; that is why, sekihan is served during celebrations like birthdays and holidays.

The FooDorama Connection: At the start of the TV movie, the husband of the auntie was called to serve in the war and will be leaving on that day. For his going-away party, the aunt cooks a big batch of sekihan which excited her two daughters for they hadn’t eaten anything as luxurious as sekihan since the war started.  Above shows the elder daughter Natsu (played by Inoue Mao) scolding her sisters, reminding them that their father’s departure is not something to rejoice about.

The sekihan in the TV movie being cooked in a wooden steamer.

Another jdorama that featured sekihan:

Smile (TBS, 2009): In episode 2, Hayakawa Bito (Matsumoto Jun), helps make and deliver sekihan to an elementary school.  Unaware that the rice in the sekihan was tainted with pesticide, Bito later finds out about the mass poisoning of the students through the TV news (above right).

The FooDorama Challenge: Sekihan for My Dad’s Birthday!

We Pinoys are no strangers when it comes to glutinous rice cakes (like biko and bibingka) which we also serve during special occasions, and occasionally as an afternoon snack.  However, ours have coconut milk and sugar so they’re sweeter and goes well with strong coffee.  So when I read the ingredients for sekihan – I naturally went: What? No sugar? WTH will it taste like?

Having doubts about it, I still went ahead with this recipe for my dad’s birthday, using whatever that was left from the expensive azuki beans that I used for shiruko (FDC#3).

To make Sekihan: I used half a cup of the beans and soaked them overnight in water.  Then, I boiled them with two cups of water for less than an hour, making sure they weren’t totally cooked yet.

Then, I placed the washed uncooked rice in the rice cooker, along with three cups of water (a portion of which came from the reddish water used for boiling the beans).  I also placed the semi-cooked beans in it and some salt and let it sit for an hour. Lastly, I turned on the rice cooker until the sekihan was ready.

onigiri sekihan

Sekihan for FDC#9 is done! You can mold the sekihan into round or triangular shapes (onigiri) if you like. 🙂

What did this biko-loyalist, Pinay amateur cook think of the taste? Hmm, as I said, I had my doubts but I decided to give it a chance.  I tried it with sesame seeds and salt (as stated in the recipe) but I wasn’t satisfied with it, and was only able to eat a few amount. I even tried store bought furikake (condiment used for rice) with it but I still found it lacking. The rice and beans tasted well together but I just blame my stubborn taste buds which is too used to eating rice cakes the way we usually make them… hence, I found my hand reaching up into the shelf to get the sugar jar….

sekihan with sugar

Topped with brown sugar and sesame seeds, this sekihan is much better and more satisfying for me.  And I did find out that in some parts of Japan (like in Tsugare and Iwate), they do use sugar to sweeten their sekihan. ^_^ V

sekihan for dad

This sugar-topped sekihan is for my dad who celebrated his birthday today! Happy, happy birthday to my dear old Dad!

——————

Postscript (★´3`): Btw, my sekihan turned out too dark (it was more like brown, not red) so my advice is to lessen the amount of the “red” water and use more clear water for the one you’ll use to cook rice with – that is, if you want a lighter red or pinkish colored rice.  (★´3`) Also, if you are a beginner, it is better to experiment with smaller amounts first (like 2 cups of rice and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of beans) and see if you like it.  If you do, you can make more next time. (★´3`) And lastly, of course, I don’t discount the traditional way of putting salt – but if you are watching your health and on a low-salt diet, I think brown or muscuvado sugar could be a tasty and healthier alternative.

^*・’゚☆。.:*:・’☆’・:*:.。 ~piisu~fireflies!~ v (゚▽゚)ノ.:*:・’゚:*:・’゚☆

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: Jin)
FDC#8: Kareh Raisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)
FDC#7: Zaru Soba (Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please)

———————————- fodocha

Sekihan info source: wikipedia (English), wikipedia (Japan)
Recipe sources: japanesefood.about, recipezaar
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: NTV, TBS
Anime photo source: News-Anime
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One of the best jdoramas I enjoyed watching was Attention Please (2006, FujiTV).  It stars the talented Ueto Aya, as Misaki Yoko, a tomboyish happy go lucky girl who at first did not know what to really do with her life.  Out on a whim, she decided to become a cabin attendant.  And much to her (and everyone else’s) surprise, she was accepted.  Yoko later finds out that being a cabin attendant is more than just traveling, serving food, and pointing for passengers where the emergency doors are; she learns valuable life lessons along the way that ultimately changes her flighty ways (pun intended), giving her a new and better outlook on life.

From turbulence to stable skies: Ueto Aya as Yoko whose training as a flight attendant changes her from a flighty, head-in-the-clouds punk girl to a happier and level-headed young woman

Working for the service and comfort of other people can be fulfilling and taxing at the same time. Somehow, it can feel like a thankless job, and so we lose passion for it and get burned out. Shows like Attention Please can help remind you the value of hard work, of what you’re supposed to do, and get you back on track. Here are some of my favorite “work quotes” from the show:

On guaranteeing quality for the service you offer: “Sending someone who is not fully qualified in the sky is the cruelest thing one can do to a person.”

On doing your part for the sake of the team: “Please don’t take flying lightly. If you can’t control the cabin, we can’t sit in the cockpit and be at ease.  We all help to fly the plane.”

On learning from your mistakes: “There are a lot of different problems waiting for us which the textbook doesn’t address.  The key to solving these problems is always in front of us.”

And on this note, I would like to say that I chose Attention Please as my next jdorama inspiration for my FooDorama Challenge #7… click here.

Btw, Attention Please is also close to my heart because my niece Pch is also a Flight Attendant.

She had worked for the same airline company as Yoko’s (so i do have confirmation that all those sempai-sempai stuff in the drama? They’re all true!).  I talked about her days as an FA trainee in an earlier post.  She has learned a lot since then, and enjoyed the times she had spent as an FA for one year. That chapter of her life has somewhat prematurely closed but now… another new chapter is about to begin.

My pretty Flight Attendant niece, Pch: the working girl at work (Left)

This post is dedicated to Pch, who will be soaring the skies again soon.  Since she doesn’t have a blog, I will just post pix from some of her memorable Asian trips and travels made possible by her adventures as a glamorous FA, proving that just like what Yoko had experienced, hard work and dedication do pay off…:

Wherever you are, Pch, always soar high, live life to the fullest and keep your feet on the ground… Ganbare and Godspeed. ~~Love from Tita S.

For my 8th Sunday Lunch Project, I chose to prepare a special meal which we call Boodle Fight.

What is a Boodle Fight? The Philippine Military coined this term, calling their traditional way of eating with their bare hands while the freshly-cooked food is served on a long table, piled on top of a tray or banana leaves.  It signifies brotherhood and fraternity.  “Boodle” by the way, is an American slang word that means a pack or a small crowd.  And boodle fight is in a way considered a “fight” since eating with a bunch of hungry army men means the food is consumed in an instant so one has to grab whatever he can get and eat fast, too. And when one is in a hurry, it would be better to do this standing up.

Well, not only are they the ones who do this. Pinoys and a lot of our South East Asian brothers are familiar with this type of communal meal, and eating with our hands. We usually do this outdoors when we go to the beach, especially in the summer and fiestas (summer festivals).  We would gather around a long table in a beach hut without using plates, serving dishes and utensils.  It may look uncivilized to some but it is actually practical and convenient.  And not to mention, FUN!

I also remember my days living in Cebu – we would eat this way in my uncle’s house during the heat of the summer.  And during my years as a fine arts student, I and my comrades would gather in the college basement, and partake of a meal of canned tuna or sardines on bed of hot rice.  This SLP post on Boodle Fighting is my tribute for those good times! 🙂

There are theme restaurants that offer this kind of meal but why go out when you can do it at home? So for today’s Easter celebration (and after going thru a no-meat diet for a week) I decided to have an indoor Boodle Fight. (Note: thanx to Pch for some of the pix here)…

Risa, my kitchen assistant, helps me gather banana leaves from a tree in a nearby vacant lot.  Paalam muna shempre…lol When getting the leaves, make sure you keep them away from yourself since the juice from the cut stalks can stain your clothes and shoes (which I found out rather too late). And better get the ones that are not torn as much as possible.

In the meantime, tilapia fish and eggplants were grilling away. Food grilled over hot charcoal is the usual fare for a boodle fight.

The banana leaves were wiped with a clean rag, and laid out (shiny side up) on the table, seeing to it that I have enough leaves to cover all the surface space of the table.  No one wants the food to spill out on the bare table but I nevertheless made sure to clean and disinfect the table beforehand.

Grilled pork liempo (belly meat marinated in soy sauce and calamansi), tilapia, peeled eggplants and salted eggs are placed and arranged on the banana leaves.

This meal is ideally served along with the classic Pinoy salad of chopped green mango, tomatoes, and onions with shrimp paste. I also made a condiment of chopped onions and tomatoes with soy sauce and calamansi to be mixed with the grilled pork and fish when eating.

We also had another condiment, fermented mudfish (burong dalag) that has a strong smell. You can mix it with your food, making it taste better and can make you want to eat more!

At last, my usual bunch of Sunday lunch guests (Sis et al) arrived in time just as I was done laying out the food and hot rice.

Let the Boodle Fight begin! No need to hurry here… just take your time. But don’t forget to wash your hands first! 🙂

And a perfect way to end this summer meal is with a cold dessert of Pinoy sherbet made of lychee and coconut from Arce Dairy (courtesy of Sis and Doc)!

Happy Meal!: Boodle Fight is not just an exotic form of eating but it’s an informal and relaxed way of celebrating Pinoy family ties, strengthening camaraderie and making more happy memories together.

And on this note, OMP wishes the whole Christendom…

_____()”””()______
_____( .’o’.)______
===(,,)(✿)(,,)===
═╬╬═♥╬╬♥═╬╬═

.•*”˜˜”*°•. ˜”*°•♥•°*”˜ .•°*”˜˜”*°•.
**♥** HAPPY EASTER!!!! **♥**
.•°*”˜.•°*”˜.•°*”˜♥ ˜”*°•.˜”*°•.˜”*°•.

My Sunday Lunch Project Links:
SLP#7: Samgyeopsal
SLP#6: Goi Buoi (Vietnamese Pomelo Salad)
SLP#5: Hainanese Chicken Rice

——————————— sunlupro

Reference links: 
dictionary.reference
answers.yahoo
Note: This is a continuation of Part 1:

Even if I was born in Quezon City this was my first time to visit the the city’s Memorial Circle

The Circle also has a rappelling wall for the adventurous types.  It is located near the covered court.

Food Tripping at the Circle: The Circle has stores and several small restaurant and cafes.  The newly built facility (above) leads to a courtyard that features established restaurants for the finicky eaters.

Fresh buko (coconut) – pandan juice to help squelch the heat for only Php10.

Lunch at Sunglasses Café: Teriyaki Pork Rice at Php 88 with bottomless melon juice at Php20. Rating: (+_-)

Dessert at Coconut House: ube-banana turon (fritters) in coconut-caramel sauce, topped with nangka at Php55 and hot cocoa-nut drink (chocolate with a bit of coconut milk) also at Php55. Rating: (-_^) d

And the reason why I came to the Circle in the first place was to watch Lev (in blue armor) win his taekwondo matches – 3 in a row! Woo-hoo! Congratulations, Lev!

Lev and his gold medal (right). Way to go, buddy!

Parting Shot: All in all, the park seemed a good alternative place for families and barkadas to hang out in than the usual malls.  I hope they plant more trees for there seems to be a lack of shade for them to seek shelter from the heat of the sun. I suggest the QC government (if they could still possibly guard them) put up more public sculptures that could be modern and functional (for example, decorative artistic benches, gazebos, and slides). People get a big kick out of that and would usually pose and take souvenir pictures.  Still, kudos for its upkeep – for the people of QC, you should be proud and continue to take care of it for not all of us have city parks (mine included) that is even a tiny fraction of what you have.

QC Circle info source: wikipedia

His Royal Stripeness, Grumba wishes everyone…

…Kung Hei Fat Choi or Happy New Tiger Year !

…Happy Teacher’s Day to all teachers!!

….and oh, yeah, Happy Valentine’s Day, too!!!

It’s going to be an auspicious year. Anyway, after going through a nightmare such as Ondoy, there’s nowhere to go but up

God is always good to us…  Especially if we make it work (and be kind to others, as a great comedian once said)… Wonderful things will happen.

(^_^)d ~zutto tsuzukete!~

Welcome to my first ever FooDorama Challenge!

Jdorama Inspiration: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko

Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (The Man Who Can’t Get Married) is a 12 episode jdorama shown from July to September 2006 (btw, this should not be confused with the Korean version; Kekkon is the original one – and still the best!).  It stars Hiroshi Abe as Shinsuke Kuwano, an eccentric, talented architect.  As the title suggests, he can’t get married because he prefers to live an uncomplicated and quiet life, free from the trappings of social, marital, and familial obligations.  However, as the story unfolds, he realizes that shielding himself away from matters of the heart may be as equally complicated and troubling as well…

This dorama has a story I fell in love with since it was intelligently written and had a perfect ending which I think is the best among all the jdoramas I have seen so far. The main character reminds me bits of my own weird personality. The funny episode titles alone had made me smile since I, too, have asked the same questions (…well, sometimes): “So What If I like Being Alone?!” (Episode 1); So What If I Eat the Food I like to Eat?! (Episode 2); and “So What if I Don’t Like to Mix With the Relatives?!” (Episode 7). Hee-hee!

Jdorama Food: Yakiniku

For this challenge, I chose to prepare yakiniku.  Yakiniku is a Japanese-style grilling of bite-sized pieces of food particularly meats. The Japanese (who only began to eat beef in the late 19th century) is said to have adapted this style from Mongolian and Korean style of grilling meats. That is why a typical yakiniku meal also consists of Korean dishes such as kimchi and bibimpap.

The FooDorama Connection: In Episode 2, Kuwano-san stubbornly eats yakiniku in a theme restaurant even after he had been warned by his doctor (played by Natsukawa Yui) to watch his diet . He eats all alone since his work-mates declined to accompany him for reasons such as having a previous engagement or a downright refusal to deal with his acerbic wit and personality.

Kuwano-san’s yakiniku in the Episode 2 scene, sizzling on a gridiron over sumibi (dry distillation).

The Foodorama Challenge: Cooking Yakiniku at home

I have ordered yakiniku one time in a restaurant with my friends before but I have never tried to prepare it at home.

Since yakiniku is a “social food” (best served and eaten when you’re with friends and family), I deemed it best to have it when Sis and family arrived on this day for Sunday Lunch Project #2. Besides, Pchie, fresh from her flight from Japan, came with her pasalubong – a bottle of tare, a yakiniku sauce that can also be bought from any Japanese grocery store. If you prefer to make your own yakiniku sauce, the web is filled with many different recipes you can choose from.

Having a yakiniku party at home was an absolute fun! The food is cooked right on your table so you get to eat it while it’s hot. It would be best if you have a table-top electric griddle (at right) so you can fully enjoy this right at your own dining table.

There were no authentic slices of yakiniku beef in the supermarket so we settled for sukiyaki.  Since it needs to be cooked for a short amount of time, any thinly-sliced cuts of beef, preferably with some fat is suitable.

Other ingredients you may need aside from tare sauce: mushrooms, kimchi (left pic), bite-sized pieces of vegetables like bell pepper and cucumber.  It would also be best if served with real Japanese rice and miso soup. Rice bowls and chopsticks added more authenticity to this enjoyable Japanese-inspired lunch.

How to serve it: you will need to bring out your serving plates since the fresh ingredients and the sauce are served and spread out on the table so your family or guests can easily reach for them using thongs or chopsticks. They can dip the ingredients in the sauce before cooking it on the griddle topped with butter. When cooked, they can get it from the griddle and mix it with kimchi and rice on their plates or bowls (At right).

The only drawback from this was that it could turn out to be messy and painful from all that hot oil splatter. Be sure NOT to wear your favorite white shirt when having this kind of cook-it-yourself meal.

So. Was my Yakiniku Challenge a hit or a miss?

Answer: A Hit! Yay! Kuwano-san would have been proud of me… 🙂  My lunch guests were obviously satiated and happy. We’re definitely going to try this again soon. Only if Pchie can give me more of that tare, then we’ll set another yakiniku date, for sure!

My Next FooDorama Challenge:
Takoyaki! (Jdorama Inspiration: Gokusen & At Home Dad)
My Sunday Lunch Project links:
Previous post: Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken (SLP#1)
Next post: My Dad’s Karimbuaya Chicken (SLP#2)
Yakiniki info source: wikipedia.com
Jdorama info source: wiki.d-addicts.com

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