Philippine-Style Potato Salad



The Potato Salads I’ve had in the US are just plain potatoes with mayo, mustard, onions and dill pickles….pretty boring I thought. Filipinos do potato salad a bit differently.

I only realized this when I brought a huge bowl to an outdoor, going-away barbecue for my husband’s former officemate. Everyone looked at my salad and said, “Oh this is different, I have to try this.”  Sitting close to my salad was another bowl of the plain potato salad.  Right there and then, my eyes were opened to the Filipino flair for drama and color…even in our potato salad.

Continue reading “Philippine-Style Potato Salad”

Easy, Everyday Salad



Here’s an interesting alternative to your everyday garden salad with bottled ranch dressing.  It’s easy to prepare, but not quite as simple as opening that bottled dressing. Like most things in the kitchen, a little bit of effort will be well worth it…which you’ll only realize in the eating.

With the kalamata olives and feta cheese, it’s Greek-inspired you could say.  Truthfully, it’s just something I threw together which I hoped would go with some grilled lamb sausages from Wild Oats Natural Market.  What a lovely combination the two made. Continue reading “Easy, Everyday Salad”

Eat Your Vegetables!

Do you like eating raw vegetables that’s not lettuce or tomatoes?  Just the thought of it used to send shivers up my spine.

But then, I was put to shame by my pseudo-grandkids a few years ago.  Their mom likes serving crudites with dips on occasion and it would’ve been embarrassing if I didn’t at least take a bite or two, while the kids chomped away unperturbed.  This went on, occasion after occasion, until I finally started enjoying raw crudites.

Then last Christmas, I have to admit, I actually prepared a tray for Stepson and his friend.  Yes, that was me who prepared and served it!

This entry is not about crudites though. It’s about another way to get  anyone like me to eat raw vegetables. Continue reading “Eat Your Vegetables!”

Salad Nicoise

If you’re a carnivore like I’ve always been, you’ll understand why I say, a salad for lunch is like undeserved punishment.  It’s only after I got married a few years ago, that I started thinking of a more balanced diet and included salads in my regular fare.  But this particular one is so substantial and good, even I crave it once in a while.  It’s called Salad Nicoise.

This is a classic from the Nice region in France.The basic ingredients for a classic Nicoise will include anchovies, black olives, tuna, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes.  Everything else, so I’ve been told, is incidental or the ccook’s own choice.

You can use a bottled dressing but making your own from scratch will really only take a few minutes.  It’s nothing at all like commercial preparations.

In the early days of my attempts at homemade dressings, I would put everything in a bottle, close the lid tight and shake it all up till it came together.  I always worried about the dressing separating on me, mainly because it had – more times than I care to remember, actually.

Eventually, I realized if I make the dressing just before I serve, it won’t have time to separate – so there went all my fears….

This recipe is from Nora Daza’s “A Culinary Life” written with Michaela Fenix.  It’s the best recipe for Nicoise I’ve tried. Continue reading “Salad Nicoise”

Hail Caesar!

My very first job was for a five-star restaurant group with its head office located in Bistro Burgos in Makati. 

Bistro Burgos was the first bistro in the Philippines by the way.  Everyday, the restaurant manager, Mang Johnny, would supervise the making of the day’s Caesar Salad Dressing just before the restaurant opened for lunch.  It was either the Maitre’d or the Captain Waiter who would have the honor of whipping up this very popular dressing.

I loved watching these guys mashing the anchovy and garlic in the big, wooden bowl on a stand.   I loved watching the dressing come together as the oil was slowly drizzled in.  Since my boss was out of the country for the few months I worked for him, I had time to spend in the restaurant listening to Mang Johnny with his many stories of those days when he was a restaurant manager, captain waiter and maitre’d at the finest establishments in Manila.  The man must’ve been in his late 70’s when I first met him, so he had a lot of stories to tell.  Ohhh, yes….interesting stories of politicians, and entertainers, international personalities, wives, mistresses and egos – big and small.

Anyway, I thought I didn’t have the wrists to make a success of this dressing.  All I did for years was shake dressing ingredients in a bottle and never attempted a Caesar’s salad dressing.

I tried it the other day though and the results surprised me.  It was delicious and better than any bottled dressing I’ve ever bought, gourmet or not.  I’ll never be intimidated by any salad dressing after I’ve made a success of my first Caesar’s salad dressing.

Try it one time, and don’t feel intimidated.  Just prepare all ingredients beforehand and have it ready before you start whipping. Continue reading “Hail Caesar!”

Green Bean Salad

Can you tell the weather is getting better here?  It shows in my cooking and in this blog….finally moving away from the heavy stews and soups.

This is another recipe from The Sopranos Family Cookbook.  It was simple and easy to make. I love that it’s also light and healthy.  Served with a crusty roll, or a French baguette and you’ve got a complete meal.

You might also want to try the tuna mix as a topping for bruschetta in case you have leftovers.  It’s good, believe me.  I didn’t have enough leftovers but I’m sure the tuna will also make a great Grilled Tuna and Cheese Sandwich. Continue reading “Green Bean Salad”