Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Revisiting My Filipino Recipes

Since I research recipes and decide on the menu so early each month, I always like to go back and review them just to be sure I've included all the ingredients on my shopping list, and that I have a preparation plan clearly fixed in my head.

The recipes I use for each meal are derived from a variety of cookbooks, as well as from the Internet. Once I research the cuisine in general, along with dozens of specific recipes, I have a strong a sense of the way the ingredients are combined to produce the unique flavors of each culture. And as I prepare each dish, I improvise and personalize the recipe so that it becomes my own.

I'm kind of a 'kamikaze cook', in the sense that I dive headlong into a recipe, making things up as I go along, and therefore it is extremely rare for me to follow a recipe to the letter. There are also certain foods that I can't or won't eat, so I sometimes have to adjust a recipe accordingly, by either omitting or substituting certain ingredients.

The menu for this month's 'American Adobo' Filipino dinner features Lumpia & Empanada appetizers; Sinigang, a Tamarind Seafood Vegetable Soup; Kinilaw, a Spicy Fish Salad in Coconut Cream; the two-dish main course will be Chicken Adobo and Escabeche; with Fresh Tropical Fruits and Coconut Sorbet for dessert.