The weather has been unforgiving, and I learned that the hard way. I woke up with my throat sore and head throbbing. The body malaise flushed any intention to make the day productive, down the drain. Flashbacks of moments where I let myself be bombarded by the weather without any form of defense kept nagging at me. Now I understand the beauty of a hoodie, or at least an umbrella. It’s strange how being sick lets you sink deep into a pit of self-pity – how I’m alone and I need to take care of my defenseless self. That’s just me being a (bleep) of course.
I went to the McCormick event probably still under the weather. I might as well be patient zero. Did me going home with free bread spread make me feel any better? Not really, but I did feel good after finally cooking something worth posting about. And yes Virginia, I used the garlic bread spread on something that isn’t bread!
There was a pack of longganisa sitting in the freezer, and I was raring to try it out. It wasn’t just any longganisa – the label says it’s ‘alaminos longganisa’ which means it’s hopefully a regional specialty of Pangasinan, one of the many provinces in the Philippines.
I was probably going in blind: I didn’t know what it tasted like, and what effect it will have on the rice. So after patiently mixing everything together, I was eager to finally taste the finished product and, well, it was delicious, delicious, delicious. And I’m not just saying that because of my affinity for unreasonably large servings of rice. It was delicious.
I call it longganisa and atsuete fried rice (sinangag in Filipino) because these two components are primarily responsible for imparting the delicious flavor and color to the rice. It’s a no-brainer and well, I’m not creative with names.
If ‘alaminos longganisa’ is too obscure for you, if you know of a variant that is more deliciously sour than sweet, then use that. And I’ve recently found out that atsuete or annatto can also be sold in powder form! No joke. Then that means it’ll be easier for you to make the atsuete oil by just heating the oil, adding the powder and let the color bleed out. You don’t have to remove the seeds anymore because there are none!
By all means, use the bread spread to add another dimension of flavor to the dish. I can vouch for the garlic variant by saying that it does wonders to fried rice. Sure, it might be counterintuitive with being an advocate of the slow food movement, but well, heck, I won’t apologize.
Longganisa and Atsuete Fried Rice (Serves 3 – 4)
- 4 ½ cups day old rice
- 6 – 8 pieces alaminos longganisa, casings removed and crumbled (if unavailable: just use regular longganisa and just sauté the rice in atsuete/annatto oil)
- 1 carrot, sliced into small cubes
- 4 pieces sitaw/string beans, stalk ends trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (or atsuete oil if using regular longganisa)
- 3 tablespoons McCormick Bread Spread (garlic flavor)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a pan/pot large enough to hold the rice, place the crumbled longganisa with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Cook over medium heat, until the water boils and has reduced. At this point, add the carrots and the string beans. Cook until beans are tender and water has evaporated.
- Add oil/atsuete oil to sauté everything together. Add the garlic Bread Spread and mix well.
- Add the rice, fry and mix well. When done, remove from pan and serve warm. Enjoy!
Yes, that’s my bed frame, and a few linens I bought at The Landmark (on sale, of course), and that blue thing on the side is my mattress that I had to remove. How’s that for going the extra mile?
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