Monday, May 11, 2009

The Harvard Faculty Club Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's day was awesome this year. My mom, dad, son, hubby and I celebrated Mother's day at the famous members-only Harvard Faculty Club. The Faculty Club is famous for their opulent Easter and Mother's Day brunch. Overall, this has been one of the best brunch experiences of my life. The food and service is comparable to the Sunday brunch at the Four Season's Hotel and the Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Langham Hotel in Boston. The piano player singing popular tunes and the beautifully wrapped pastries for the mommies were a nice touch.
My favorite brunch items not featured in the pictures bellow included: the Pate Maison and foie gras Mousse, the pasta salad with lobster and English peas, and oh the cheese blintzes with wild Maine blueberry sauce. I'm sure every mom in the room appreciated the unlimited Mimosas! Sunday brunch is not Sunday brunch without an omelet station. For me, eggs are eggs and I'd rather eat something that I don't eat every morning so I skipped the made to order omelets. One thing that was missing though -- a crepe station! I love both sweet and savory crepes and I wish they had one. Here some pictures from last Sunday's Mother's Day Brunch.

Our two year old got all dressed up for Mother's Day.

The carving station was phenomenal. This station included fork-tender roasted sirloin with horseradish sauce and honey baked ham with mustard chutney. My favorite though is the Salmon Coulibiac en Brioche. I had three huge helpings of this salmon mousse wrapped in a delicate puffed pastry.

I do admit that I'm not a big fan of oysters but these were great. The jumbo shrimp cocktail and fresh Littleneck clams were also delicious. The seafood menu also included delicately smoked trout, bay scallops, mussels and salmon.

The assorted sushi was fresh and plentiful.

The pan seared five spiced tuna loin was so yummy. It was perfectly seasoned and seared. Heaven.

A very colorful rainbow cauliflower salad with herb Polonaise

Heirloom tomato slices with fresh basil and mozzarella

Round 3(I made it past round 2)!

Did I make room for dessert? Most definitely! The desserts included the following: Banana bread pudding, mouse cups, pecan tartlets, almond brittle, miniature creme brulee, chocolate macadamia tarts and one of the best vanilla bean ice creams I've ever had.

This is me relaxing/digesting after eating all that food.

The Harvard faculty club is conveniently located on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner with the Family

My parents and brother live several towns away from us and once in awhile we have a potluck. My mom and I are the go-to cooks in the family. I love family gatherings because both my mom and I cook. Our dinner parties are a mish mosh of lots of different dishes so we get a variety of things to eat. My family is pretty down to earth and with the addition of our toddler to the bunch, dinners with my parents are sweeter, sillier, and a lot more entertaining. Here are a couple of self explanatory pictures from a recent dinner party with my Godfather who was visiting us from London a couple of weeks ago.

Now for desserts.....

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Filipino Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Let's Eat. Kain na tayo.

Tapsilog is a condensed word from three separate words: Tapa= cured Filipino beef, sinangag = garlic fried rice and itlog = egg. My husband calls tapa beef bacon because it's just that good. Tapa is usually eaten during breakfast along with garlic fried rice and a fried egg but I've had it for dinner many times. My grandmother made her own tapa. My mom also makes her own tapa so I learned to do the same. I cure thinly sliced and well-marbled beef strips with sea salt, brown sugar black pepper. The marinated beef sits in a Ziplock bag in our refrigerator for a day. Then, the tapa goes back in the refrigerator for another day to be "air dried." The tapa is then pan-fried and served with steaming hot garlic fried rice and a perfectly cooked fried egg.

Lunch/ Tanghalian

Kare-kare is my absolute favorite Filipino food. This Filipino stew is typically made with oxtail or tripe but I used large chunks of stewing beef for this recipe. First, I seared beef chunks on all sides and then I braised them in a flavorful beef stock. After a few hours in the pot, the beef becomes fork-tender. A packet of Mama Sita's Kare-kare mix containing roasted ground rice, ground peanuts and atsuete or annato flavoring goes into the pot. My grandmother made the roasted ground rice from scratch by roasting native mountain grown rice in her big wok and then grinding them with her mortar and pestle. To make life easier, I use a packet of Mama Sita kare-kare mix. I added a list of where I buy my Filipino ingredients in the Boston area at the end of this blog entry. This stew included (but are never limited to) the following ingredients: organic peanut butter, sliced Japanese eggplants and green beans. I prefer long beans or snake beans but I didn't have them available when I was making this recipe. It's an excuse to go back to Chinatown soon. After the veggies are fully cooked, I garnished the kare-kare with finely chopped roasted peanuts. Kare-kare is typically eaten with fermented shrimp paste or alamang. Yum.

Dinner/ Hapunan

Like I said in a previous entry, adobo comes from the word "adobar", a Spanish infinitive which means "to marinate". This quintessential Filipino entree is truly magical in every way. Every Filipino cook I know has at least one great recipe for adobo. Pork is my meat of choice for many of my adobo recipes. I braised thick bone-in pork chops in Native Filipino sugar cane vinegar, lots of freshly chopped garlic, black peppercorns, a bay leaf and good quality soy sauce. Like Kare-kare, this is a braise it and forget it kinda meal. It's best eaten the next day when all the flavors have married.

Where do I buy my Filipino ingredients in Massachusetts?

Supper 88 Market, 118 Commercial St, Malden, MA 02148
See Sun Market, 25 Harrison Avenue (between Essex St & Hayward Pl) Boston, MA 02111
Sure Pinoy Oriental Food Mart, 145 Water St., Quincy, MA 02169
China Merchandise, 120 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA 01803

Where do get my "merienda" or Filipino snacks when I'm in Boston's Chinatown?

These Boston Chinatown bakeries have "dupes" of some of my favorite steamed and baked Filipino goodies:
BaoBao Bakery, 77 Harisson Ave. -- This Taiwanese bakery has good Chinese style siopao called "big bun" and wife cakes(lao po bing) or hopia.
Ho Yuen Bakery Inc., 54 Beach St. -- This bakery has pretty good moon cakes, coconut buns, spring rolls and puto!
Eldo cake house, 36 Harrison Ave. -- Their round cakes are somewhat comparable to Goldilocks' cakes. Goldilocks a very popular Filipino bakery in the Philippines.