Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mean, Bad, Awful. And that's the good part.

This is horrible. It is bad enough we are in this mess. What a world we live in!


Well, crack the champagne, I think I have finally solved a near 3 year quest that has caused me great pain and discomfort. Yep, I finally figured out how to make “Adobo”…. This seemingly simple dish requires a steady hand, and attention to detail that I have found out through a number of poor examples can easily put this dish on an “Expert only” basis….

So, I will demystify the experience for all here on how I did it.

First, and most obviously, the 1 kilogram of adobo cut chicken. Yes, there is a cut named after the national dish of the Philippines, (though this probably only exists in the Philippines, anyway)

You take this chicken, and first rinse it well. And then start to notice something. This poor wretch of a bird has not undergone hormone therapy and been pumped full of “broth” to increase it’s bulk. Translation? The meat is almost “dry” for better lack of terminology. What this means to you and I is that a good quality Philippine chicken is delightfully susceptible to marination, because all the little porous tissues are empty, rather than full of “filler”… See more info on this here. That is why all the marinating in the world does little good to birds from the US or Canada (my experience with both, not knowing what goes on with Euro-Poultry)... However, I digress.....

SO, you take this wonderful "dry sponge" of a chicken, cut into approximately 20 pieces or so for the average 2lb bird, "adobo cut" (essentially, the whole chicken is cut up, leaving the bones in) and after the wash, put in 1/2 cup of cane vinegar and 1/4 cup of soy sauce, then about a dozen calamansi (or key limes) and put in the "ref" (refrigerator) for at least and hour. Then you take your caldereta (big pot) and add about 2-3 TBSP of oil, and go back to your chicken, and look at how it has absorbed most of the marinade. That is a good thing. Dump the excess out, and then put it into the pot, and get things going, hot and loud. Add 4-5 medium sized potatoes (patatas), two onions (sibuyas) and about 6 cloves of garlic (bawang). Get all that frying up nicely, stirring every couple of minutes. Some "juice" from the vegetables, marinade and cooking process should be starting to come out. After 15 minutes or so, it is time for the serious part, and seemingly benign. Add about an ounce more of soy, and an ounce of vinegar, a TBSP of brown sugar, and a half TSP of coarse ground/cracked black pepper, bay leaf and cup and a half of water. Bring this to a rapid boil, then turn it down to simmer for 45 minutes. When you come back to it, it should be darker in color than when you left. This is good. The sugar, and onions and process made it dark, and the taste should be a little tart, a little sweet, and kinda gravy-ish from the breakdown of the potatoes. You can add a bit more of whatever to balance, and it should be balanced. Serve with rice (duh), and fresh cut bananas, (as learned by "Aunty Lisa") ...

The dish, as far as I know, is known to be rich, if not a bit oily. A good accompanying dish would be the other bane, and as yet unconquered, sinagang. A tamarind based soup that would cut away any excess "grease" from the adobo. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Herps and Cat5 twisters

So, after a week of a shy, quiet, kinda grumpy looking turtle, he has gone through a metamorphosis, so to speak. He is finally eating, I bought him some turtle food, but he is eating the apples and other stuff, as long as it is "in the water". (a la Jesse's 6th grade report of the majestic sperm whale)

I was in the hardware store buying him a basking light, I came across some plastic paint roller containers. they are ramped on one end, and go to a depth of a 6" deep pool at the other end. I bought two, and put food in one, and keep the other clean. He went right in and started eating. He walks around in his "habitat" now like a king, "long neck" looking around at everything. I was real worried he wasn't gonna make it. It looks like he is fine now.

I talked with a pet store owner. They had about 30 of these for sale. They are endemic to this region, and are 50% aquatic. They have semi-webbed toes and like moderate to cooler climates. This one seems to be a potential sub-species of the one that YAVON, not Jesse, linked in the comment page from my last post. The elevation here is 1500 meters and a cool 75 degrees average temperature, whereas the one classified in the website is a lowland turtle, requiring tropical temperatures. Good for a pet owner, keeping anything above 75 degrees here is hard. It's getting cold, even for an adipose and "keratinized protein" covered person such as myself.

Oh yeah, there is another "super typhoon" headed towards the Philippines again. Looks like the bulk may go over top of us.

look about 2 inches to the left of the "Eye".. That's Baguio!

We have found a great way to save time and money here. We pay our friend's mother to do our food shopping for us. Here is our latest list of goods. total cost $20 a week, including her cut.

Shopping list

Product Quantity


¼ kilo

Cooked sausage (red)

¼ kilo

chicken (adobo cut)

1 kilo

Pork chops

½ kilo


1 x 250 ml tetra box

Eggs (red)

2 piece

Eggs (white)

6 piece

Bangus (in vinegar)

3 pieces


2 pack of 6

Gardenia whole wheat bread

½ loaf size

Century tuna in brine (or oil)

4 cans

Red/green tomatoes mixed

1 kilo

Large peppers (red/green)

1 kilo


1/8 kilo


1/8 kilo

Onion (red)

½ kilo

Onion (yellow)

½ kilo


¼ kilo

Seasonal fruit #1

e.g (apples or oranges)

Seasonal fruit #2

e.g. (longsones or chico or mango)

Seasonal fruit #3



1 kilo


1 bunch

Baguio Beans

¼ kilo


6 pieces

Coconut cream or powder

2 cans (or 2 packages)


½ kilo

Tang or Hi-C grape (dry)

Large size (500g)?

Peanut butter (dark color, from wet market) in plastic container

1 jar (large)


1 kilo

Rice (jasmine long grain)

1 kilo

Vegetable oil


Benguet blend coffee

¼ kilo fine grind

Coffee mate

1 box

Black pepper

One packet

Curry spices

One packet

Cumin seed

One packet

Friday, August 10, 2007

A new addition to our home

Well, we were out the door for our exams this morning after a 3 day tropical storm, and we find this little guy in the driveway in a cold dirty puddle. So, we took him in and cleaned him up and now we have a 2lb liability on our hands. I have several urgent emails with pictures out to a) identify and b) get rid of him safely. A pet like this is a lifelong commitment, and if he is wild, I would like to return him to what is is supposed to be doing. here is my email going out....

Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2007 04:14:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Joaquin
Subject: Hello

I live in the Philippines as a student. I have come across a 2 lb turtle this morning after a large 3 day tropical storm and took him in. He was sitting in a busy cold wet driveway (air temperature was about 50-60 degrees overnight in a dirty pool of water.) He will stick his head out on occasion, and has moved around in the shower stall to seek shelter under the curtain. I put down newspaper, and some tomatoes and banana. I think he took a few nibbles of the banana. I need to know what kind of habitat I should prepare for him. If I had to guess, I would say he was not from here. Baguio City is a highly urbanized city with an elevation of about 3,000 feet, but of course, I don't really know for sure. He has a single yellow stripe on his/her head. I have looked at you gallery, but nothing seems to be an "aha!" type.

Any help would be appreciated. I have sent a few pics. He/she looks to have had some run ins with local dogs judging by his broken shell near his left rear leg, but maybe not recently, as he has no injury that I can see on his/her legs or whatnot.

Thanks so much,

Joaquin, Karen, and "Henry/Henrietta"

We need to quickly find out if he is terrestrial, aquatic or terrestrial/aquatic. We are praying for terrestrial, and local. If so, he will be on his way after a belly full of worms and bananas.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ron Paul- Americas Last Hope

A short Youtube video I like of Dr. Paul.

Let them sing it for you - your text sung by rock stars!

A neat little text-to-speech applet that converts any text into a sound file pieced together using clips from pop and rock songs. There's a pretty eclectic mix of source material in there, try to work out what song each word comes from. Click onto the "read more" to check it out.

read more

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Saw the movie

Well, we saw Harry Potter 4, 5 or 6.... Can't remember how many of these they are churning out, but from what I hear, the books are better than the movies. I can believe it. Not that it was terrible, just ho-hum. Maybe not my style. The actors are starting to get long in the tooth, IMO.

The CON activities and our full load at school are clipping away as usual. I am trying to come up with an online solution for the office. I might just go for a googlegroup page and call it good. Webpage design is way over my pay scale for now. I have some incredibly bland looking offerings from about 4 hours of hard work... It's good to know when to quit and admit you don't know what the heck you are doing, right?

Along, the way, I did find several "new to me" things that are working out WONDERFULLY. The first, is the google toolbar. The second, is the google desktop. Both can be found by.... googling them, of course. Really, It is amazing what this company is doing. It is hard to realize just how much that I do depends directly on google. By now, many know that google is trying to press the government to open up portions of wireless networks for general public consumption and free market, rather than the telecommunication "cartels". Good luck google, once you give it to them, they have a hard time giving it back. Still, a noble effort. I wish I could thank them personally in their private jets with cigars and single malt whiskey. (their treat, of course)

We might be going somewhere for a "team building" experience with my co-conspirators in the college of nursing student government. I am surprised at how well the group is conducting themselves. A nicer bunch of young people would be hard to find. All fairly dedicated and working well together, for the common good.

Our first tall order at the college student government was to pull off the annual juggernaut A.K.A., "Nursing Day"... It went off without a hitch. My "food voucher" scheme was a hit, and we managed to feed 3,000 nursing students whatever they wanted to a degree, for half the cost of last year's "Burger Fiasco". The much anticipated "Nursing Pageant Night" also went off well(without any input from yours truly of course), with the usual "controversy" of whomever's favorite candidates not doing as well as some other persons' favorite. I think the upcoming competition for Mr. and Miss UB will be a lock, considering the depth of our college's contestants.

Well, another round of skills labs under our belts just passed. We focused on two major groups of nursing care, namely OBGYN stuff like delivery room procedures, delivery, newborn care, and the REAL fun stuff of catheterizing, suctioning and oxygenation. We will be going to the hospitals next week for surgical rotations. We have our "1st grading" periodic exams starting tomorrow to close out the week.

Anyways, back to the grind...