Attempt at Creative Cooking

    I never really learned how to cook. At 9 years old, after my fat little fingers got curious about certain recipes I read in books and online, I finally switched on my cooking abilities. I guess cooking runs in the family as my mom is a good chef and my dad can also muster some great dinner courses at times. But what really got me started was my urge to create something I can eat. (A double-edged sword to my diet.) When asked what my specialty is, I always answer with, ” Anything.” I believe when I have the recipe, it’s just a one way street from getting the ingredients and making/cooking the dish. I’m not saying everything I make is super-awesome. Cooking is a skill and skills need practice. I haven’t totally honed mine, but I’m bent on trying!

Last Monday, it was Renz’s birthday. I got the idea to surprise him with a special bento box when I realized I can’t give him something I want him to have. I need to give him something I’m sure HE wants. Think like Renz, I told myself. And…

 Voila, food!

When Renz visited my house last February and I made him some tacos and burgers, I remember him raving about how good they were. With that in mind, I knew he would love what I was about to give him. Not just any dish, but dishes I’ve toiled and slaved for hours. He would really appreciate the effort. So the Sunday before, I went grocery shopping for his birthday surprise, finally, I’ve concocted these dishes.

Let’s start with the appetizer, this is called a spamu.

Got the idea from people selling this at the school canteen.

Got the idea from people selling this at the school canteen.

Its made from a sliced spam cut with spicy, oyster sauce rub, it sits on japanese rice formed in a spam shaped cylinder. In the middle, the filling (and the reason they stick together) is made of egg bits on some sweet sauce spread. Covered with a thick sheet of nori.

My first bento box out of four.

My first try on making a bento box EVER! 🙂

Initially, I wanted to make it say, ‘Happy Birthday, Renz!’ But cutting nori is no easy task! They get soggy too easily and don’t maintain their crispness once aired out. Ingredients include, from top left to bottom left: lettuce leaves, ham bits, sticky japanese rice, nori lettering. From top right to bottom right: Sautéed onions, egg rolls with stuffed parsley and cream cheese, sausage sushi, octodog (hotdog made to look like small octopi) and heart-shaped dyed egg (coloring is slightly pink).

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I had to put ‘I ❤ U!’ somewhere, right?

The reason I placed a lot of my egg rolls is because they are…totally delicious! I can really vouched for this. The tamago I made partnered with the stuffed creamed parsley makes the rolls burst with flavor with every bite. I made 2 rolls of these, but I only included one because I couldn’t help eating them as I make more! Try them, tamago with stuffed creamed parsley. I just melted off some cream cheese and mashed the parsley with it. Rolled in nori sheets afterwards.

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Some healthy desserts for the birthday boy.

Seedless grapes and mandarin oranges for desserts! He really wants to be more healthy and physically oriented nowadays. Gym much? 🙂

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Some of his favorite treats when we were secretly eating in class (tao-chia) back in 4th yr HS, 2009-2010.

From top left to bottom: Hershey’s cookies and cream chocolate bar, Chips Ahoy mini bites, and Pillows. Strewn with Nagaraya nuts for that sweet and salty taste.

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These are my special tacos ❤

They are not hard to make actually. I started doing this when I was about 12 or 13. I liked the idea of introducing different cuisines into our household. I made a batch of these for his family. I figure I couldn’t just come up on their front steps empty-handed for his relatives. {As of this post, I heard that they loved it. SUCCESS!}

The tacos were made in the wee hours of the morning of his birthday because the taco shells tend to be soggy after being exposed to the heat of the newly cooked ingredients. Of course, they had to be consumed immediately. With this excuse, I made the special delivery and stepped into his house for the first time! But that’s another story, this post is getting too long. 🙂

So this comprises my surprise gift to Renz on his 20th birthday, its gonna be hard to top this one again next year! I only wish I could attempt another creative something by that time. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,

Patricia :*