One of my resolutions for the New Year is to learn how to cook.  Not that I don’t know how to, really.  When I was in high school, I would bake a lot of cookies and banana cake (there were A LOT of banana trees in our backyard!) because we had an electric oven at home and we didn’t pay for electricity since we lived in a sugar central.  Over the years, though, I didn’t learn how to cook ulam (or sud-an in Ilonggo).  Most of my attempts were either too salty or really bland.  And in my family, I’m the only who can’t cook well.  My mom was a Home-Ec teacher, my dad makes the best leche flan and spicy bangus sardines, my sis is a Food Tech grad who makes the best carbonara, and my bro is a better cook than I am.  I’m just lucky I married someone who knows how to cook and I would usually let him do the cooking.  But this year, I wanted to try (I was inspired by my friend, Jenn, actually :)) to cook real meals and not just bake cookies.

And so I thought Dean’s bday would be a good day to try out my cooking skills.  I bought this recipe book in NBS (Mix and Match Meals from The Maya Kitchen) and I also got the latest edition of Food Magazine.  I found two recipes which looked easy enough for a beginner.

I bought the ingredients Friday night, but I wasn’t able to complete my shopping list so I had to go out again Saturday morning.  I wanted to cook both dishes for lunch, but we got home late from the grocery and I didn’t have enough time to cook them both.  Instead, I settled for one dish for lunch and another for dinner.

For lunch, I cooked Oriental Pork in Lettuce Cups.  The recipe called for sesame oil and peanut oil but I couldn’t find these in the supermarket so I used soya oil and olive oil, instead, since we already have these at home.  I also didn’t find Chinese mushrooms so I just used button mushrooms.  I wasn’t able to buy sherry but I used red wine, instead. Dean was telling me that I was taking my cooking so seriously because I even timed how long I sauteed the onions, garlic, and ginger. Hehe… Told him cooking is a science! 

My dish turned out really well and I know my hubby liked it because he had three (or was it four?) servings.  Hehe…so much for trying to lose weight.  Too bad my camera’s still busted. I don’t have a photo of my creation. 😦

In the evening, I cooked the other dish – Roast Chicken with Mango-Kiwi Salsa.  I already marinated the chicken way ahead (before lunch) although the recipe called for an hour of marinating only.  Instead of roasting the chicken directly,  I took Tatay’s advice and cooked it in water in a frying pan, just to make sure that the chicken would be cooked properly and to cut down on roasting time (and save gas in the process).  For the salsa, I didn’t put wansuy leaves anymore because I couldn’t find it in the supermarket.  My sis told me I could use celery instead but I didn’t want to buy a whole bunch and use only a few leaves.  I also couldn’t find rice vinegar so I used Del Monte red cane vinegar instead.  Nonetheless, the salsa tasted great!  The flavors of the mango, kiwi, vinegar, and ginger contrasted with each other and it tasted sweet and tangy at the same time.  The moment of truth came when hubby had his first taste.  Again, it was a success! 🙂 I’m so happy that Dean liked it.  I prepared six servings and he had two! 

Now I’m inspired to hone my cooking skills.  Oooh, this is fun! 😀