19 February 2012

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Fate and Faith

Faith, as in "I have faith that God will provide" is something that is definitely ingrained in my Roman Catholic upbringing - but this does not come into play into my beliefs until fate, as in destiny has taken its initial course.

See the photo above? That's fate. I met my husband in that same park bench before we got married. Scratch that, it's not even in a park. It's on a cobblestoned street in Tribeca in New York City. Click this and scroll to the bottom. That's my "Only in NYC" story. Truth is, if we didn't have faith in each other, this love story wouldn't have a happy ending.

In the course of my crazy life, I have come to the conclusion that fate is the gateway to opportunity - only if you see it as one and grab it once it is there. I even think that the bad things that come to me are fateful until the better stuff comes along - its like job application rejections. You get rejected for the "best jobs ever" until you get a gig that is actually SO MUCH better than the one you initially thought was "the one".

Fate and Faith, in my head is an intertwined complex. I can't believe in one without the other. I take the fate and have the faith to believe that everything will work out fine.

Steve Jobs said it best at his commencement address at Stanford University:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only. 
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

05 February 2012

Chicken and Rice Porridge: How to Make Arroz Caldo in Pictures

Arroz caldo is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronised Chinese restaurants in the Philippines.

Funny enough, I had to check out Wikipedia how this dish comes about. In its plain basic form, Lugaw - it is just a rice porridge with no meat. There are other versions: tripe topping (Goto), Tofu and Pork Ears on the side (Tokwa't Baboy) topping or with a Hard Boiled Egg. This is all about the version with chicken in it - Arroz Caldo.


2 pieces of shallots, Ginger (about 2 segments) and One Whole Garlic
5-6 pieces of Chicken Thighs
2 cups of Uncooked Long Grain White Rice
Salt and pepper to taste (not in photo.)

Chop ginger into strips - so you can easily take it out while eating.
Mince Garlic and Shallots

In a pan on medium high heat,
fry all your minced garlic until it is golden brown.

Drain and Set Aside

In the same pan,  render out the chicken fat.
When you get a good amount of rendered fat and the chicken starts bleeding,
turn off stove and take chicken out of the pan.

Drain out all the chicken fat and throw it away. Trust me, there will be more.

Peel off the chicken skin with tongs.

Put the skinless thighs back in the pan to render out more fat.

As the thighs cook, lay out the skins on a tray with a pan at the bottom.

Toast the chicken skin to a crisp!

You know it's done when it turns into this lovely golden brown color.

Take your chicken out again,  check how much rendered fat
is at the bottom of the pan. If there is too much, take some out.
There should be enough because you already took out a lot of it earlier.

Add shallots and ginger at the same time.

Keep Stirring until the shallots turn transparent.

Add your chicken and rice. Don't worry if it still a little bloody and raw. It will all cook off.

Add water and a bit of salt. Keep Stirring. Dont Let it Dry up.

Add Water, LOTS OF WATER. Rice absorbs water as it cooks.
Your goal is to make it absorb more water than it can take so it splits up.

This is what you are aiming for.

After the rice splits up, add all the fried garlic in the pot.
Season with a bit of Salt and Pepper to taste. 

Put in a bowl and serve with the chicken skin, some soy sauce and lemon.

This is one of my favorite winter blues cures. The dish is relatively simple and familiar. Ingredients are relatively available in American supermarkets. 

If you made this dish, send me a photo!