Tinapa, Tomato and Truffle Linguine

I know, I know, sue me for fading into relative obscurity every now and then. It hasn’t been easy, you know, lounging and purging myself of all worldly pleasures before I dive into my internship. Yes, that was the plan – give myself a month to addle around, before all focus shifts to making sure that I survive this career. (Which reminds me! A year ago today, I wrote this, and it has made all the difference. I’m amazed)

But apparently the universe has its own time-table, and a string of events made my vacation drag on a longer than I intended it to be. Jad happened, among other things. You might be wondering how I’m holding up. It’s been more than a month now. It still hurts, my friends and I are still reeling from what happened. But we find ways to move along, which, I think, is vastly different from moving on. Life waits for no one.

So, I’m in a celebratory mood right now. For almost a year now I’ve been religiously going to the gym, and it has paid off. When I started I was at 21% body fat, a little over the normal for me. Then it went down to 17%, and just this morning after a session with my trainer I’m at 14%!

I’ve always struggled with my weight. I didn’t feel good and I didn’t like how I looked. Things got better in college, but it was still a battle of fluctuations.

It was only last year that I decided to hit the gym and keep the weight off. That was the initial goal, but it eventually evolved from a mission of pure vanity to simply self-improvement. It’s about feeling good by feeling strong, surpassing old goals and creating new ones and always challenging yourself. That mindset isn’t too farfetched, and is actually pretty helpful considering the industry I want to dive right into.

And I choose to celebrate this little victory by making really good pasta. Yes. Yes. Yes.
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It has all the good stuff: linguine, shiitake and button mushrooms, olive oil, garlic and onions, dried tomatoes, a little bit of pesto, smoked tinapa/milkfish. For absolutely good measure, a nice little glug of truffle oil.

I had that for lunch and it was a tasty little thing. What you have before you is not much, and that’s because I ate most of it already. I was too eager to dig right in.
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Tinapa, Tomato and Truffle Linguine

serves 2

  • 80 – 90 grams linguine
  • 1 piece smoked fish/tinapa, flaked
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes (sold in a jar with oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil from the bottled sundried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon pesto
  • half a garlic bulb, peeled and minced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • olive oil, as needed

In a medium sized pot, boil pasta in salty water according to package instructions, reserve around 1/8 cup of the starchy water.

In the same pot, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot. Add the oil from the tomatoes. When it’s hot enough, add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant. Add the tinapa, tomatoes and pesto. Season according to taste. Mix well and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Add the pasta water and the pasta. Mix everything together and transfer to a plate. Drizzle with parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Serve and enjoy!

Mushroom and Ricotta Breakfast Slider

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Yesterday, I did something out of character: I actually did hardcore grocery shopping. By hardcore I mean I had a list of things to buy, an even longer imaginary list of things to cook, and the palpable desire to just cook at home.

The sad, peculiar truth of my 2012 was that most of the time I only cooked when I was in school, and then resorted to various fast food takeaway when I got home. At the back of my head I thought about convenience, and….yeah, that’s about it.

Over the holidays I developed a few cravings that haven’t been curbed yet. I’d consider that a good thing because now I can say that I have the gumption to cook. I feel inspired not to resort to Chowking delivery, my default go-to website when the hunger creeps in. (Don’t worry Chowking I still love y’all)

Essentially one of my favorite meals as of the moment is the sandwich. My dad loves sandwiches more than he loves rice. When I was home for the holidays, he would toast a few slices of loaf bread, cook scrambled eggs and sear the ham I made and eat everything for dinner. When I got back from vacation, more than once I found myself thinking of eating a sandwich for dinner. I thought about what I would put together, what flavor combinations would work, and if a splash of maple syrup would make any multi-decker even better.

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Warm bread that’s crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, crisp salad greens, sautéed fresh mushrooms and ricotta cheese. This combination has been rolling in the fields of my imagination for a few days now. This was the first of many excuses I told myself why I desperately needed to go to the grocery. I just had to have it for breakfast today and I did. I can’t believe breakfast got me this excited to wake up. It’s uncanny because it’s really not me. Brunch is usually the first meal of my day for as long as I can remember.

Maybe that’s a good thing – how I’m developing new habits. I don’t know how long I can sustain this feeling but if it would get me back on a revitalized track to eating healthier, blogging and cooking more…then by all means, lez do thiz.

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Mushroom and Ricotta Sliders (serves 1 – 2)

  • 2 – 3 small pieces pan de sal, sliced in half
  • salad greens, washed, enough to fit in one layer on the bread
  • 3 – 4 pieces mushrooms (I used fresh button and shiitake), sliced
  • ricotta cheese, as needed

In a pan, add 1 tablespoon canola oil over high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the sliced mushrooms and saute for around 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble: place the salad greens on top of the sliced bread, then the mushrooms and top with the ricotta. Top with the other half of the bread to make 2 – 3 sandwiches or make open faced sliders so you can have 4 – 6 pieces.