Mexican Taco, Wrapped in a Paradox of its Time

Who doesn’t like tacos? For many of us who do, taco Tuesday has become a regular date night for the family, friends, and co-workers or even for couples who like to enjoy a buffet of tacos in a taco bar.


Taco is usually consists of soft or crunchy folded tortilla filled with choice of seasoned meat and freshly cut vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions with toppings like shredded cheese or sour cream or both. This is a very versatile meal so other veggies can be added too like beans, avocado or guacamole, corn, green peppers, or sliced olives.

But do we know the tacos that we all know today are already the American version? They are tacos on American terms?


We love to eat tacos. We talk about how we love this food and created so many versions of the dish such as taco salad, taco burrito, taco casserole, breakfast taco, taco pasta salad, chicken taco, and others alike.

However, there is one side to the tacos that we seldom talk about or maybe don’t want to talk about – how about the heritage and the people who brought this food into the American tables? Seemingly, it’s not too “safe” to talk about them.
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Tilapia and Squash in Coconut Curry Sauce

Let’s talk about good protein. All food made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. However, not all proteins are created equal.

According to protein from animal sources are high in saturated fats which could raise cholesterol levels in the blood which could then lead to heart diseases if consumed “excessively;” and by excessively it means more than once a week. Some studies conducted by the American Cancer Society showed that red and processed meats have been linked to certain cancers and diabetes.

The good news is – there are good proteins! These are leaner cuts of meat, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, poultry without the skin, fish and other seafood, and plant-based sources such as  nuts, seeds, beans, soy products and whole grains.
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Jump-starting the New Year with RED KIDNEY BEAN CUPCAKES

It is not easy to eat healthy nowadays!

Every minute of the day we are bombarded by images of mouth-watering food in television, the internet and social media. These food and beverages are packed with either bad fats (saturated or trans fats); bad carbs (high calorie, high sugar); or bad proteins (meat with high saturated fats). Worst, some of these food contain genetically modified ingredients if not chemically-laced. We are well-aware of this reality. We just chose to give it a cold shoulder.


Do we have choices left? I certainly believe we do; however it needs serious work and smart decisions. Buying pre-packed, ready-to-heat, processed food is always easier and convenient than making meals from scratch. But always, home-made food are healthier especially if the ingredients are chosen appropriately (healthy).
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A Post-Thanksgiving Note

Happy (Late) Thanksgiving Everyone!

I always make a list of things I needed to buy or do prior to any holiday meal. I’ve been doing this for years. Often, I forget a thing or two. This holiday, I overlooked two staples of a traditional Thanksgiving meal – cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie 😦


Not that it really matters. I’m sure for many of us, there are more important things to look back to and be grateful for. I hope you all had a wonderful and memorable get-together dinner with your family, friends and loved ones this holiday. This is the true meaning of the holidays anyhow.


However, for the sake of learning from my mistakes, if I were to go back to my list I’ll probably find other things to improve on.


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Zucchini Parmesan Fries

What else can you do with Zucchini besides baked-roasting or grilling? That was precisely my thought when I saw a bunch of golden zucchini in the breakroom at work.


Zucchini is a summer squash that grows abundantly in a short period usually couple of months after planting. It should be harvested and eaten while the skin is still soft. To cook the zucchini, just wash, cut and leave the skin on. It is rich in Vitamin A and C, magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6. It is also high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.

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Potosi: A short bike ride in the crisp October air

​One afternoon in the middle of the week,​ ​my significant other and I were both home and off from work. We​ ​went for a short ride on the bike. Not knowing where we were heading, I dressed up for the ride: leather chaps, boots, jacket, and gloves. I also put my shades on, tightly wrapped my bandana around my head to keep my hair from blowing in my face and in my boyfriend’s face. Then I jumped at the back of the bike.

fall ride.JPG

I know I will not delight the feminists when I​ ​say I’m quite content just riding on the back of the bike with no intention of moving to the front seat. Bikers have specific word for rear rider which I cannot mention here. Just ask a biker and he/she will speak the word. Rear riders go with few other nicer names, the one I prefer is rear admiral which I will explain later.


There’s​ ​something​ ​wild and rebellious about​ ​riding​ ​a​ ​motorcycle.​ ​One of the obvious reasons is that you take off​ ​​the​ ​comfort, safety​ ​and​ ​convenience​ ​of cruising in an enclosed​ ​vehicle.​ ​There’s no​ ​seat​ ​belt,​ ​you are​ ​exposed​ ​to​ ​the changing​ ​weather​ ​as well as ​the​ ​elements​ ​on​ ​the​ ​road.​ ​And​ ​if you’re​ ​a​ ​rear rider, you relinquish total​ ​control​ ​of your​ ​own safety​ ​and​ ​fully entrust it ​to the​ ​person​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​you.​ ​Also, you let Mother Nature​ ​define​ ​the​ ​outcome​ ​of​ ​your​ ​day’s​ ​ride. It could be raining, too hot and humid or super cold and chilly, who knows?
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Bokchoy and Ham Stir-Fry

Stir-fried vegetable is always a staple side dish in any Asian meal. I don’t know about other Filipino household back then, but I grew up with my mother cooking lunch and supper with a triad of stir-fried vegetable, steamed rice, and meat or fish for the main dish. It’s like a holy trinity of Filipino daily meal.


Stir frying is very versatile and forgiving. You can never go wrong; there is no right or wrong combination. The more ingredients you add the better. If you have any leftover meat from previous meal, seafood or even deli meat you can add them in the stir-fry for added taste and texture.


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Tilapia Tempura

Contrary to popular belief, tempura didn’t originate in Japan. Tempura is a frying technique using a batter mixture consisting of flour, egg and liquid (milk, beer or water). This style of frying was introduced in Japan by Spanish and Portuguese Catholic missionaries and traders during the late 1500s, according to Portuguese online magazine Catavino.


The word Tempura came from the Latin word Tempora, which refers to “The Ember Days” when Catholics refrain from eating meat. It was accounted that tempura became the favorite dish of the first shogun of the Tokugawa/Edo era. Shogun was the commander-in-chief of Japan’s military government, at that time.

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Cajun Shrimp Stew

I first learned about Cajun flavor when I started eating and making Jambalaya rice. I usually buy it in a box and I would just add meat or seafood into the rice. Coming from a rice-bowl society in Southeast Asia, the concept and taste of Jambalaya rice is still new to me. Since my introduction to this flavor, it opened my eyes further to the diversity of the flavor traditions in Southern United States, specifically Louisiana.


You can say that Cajun flavor found an unexplored territory in my palate. That was my first encounter with Cajun cooking. Then I started making soup Gumbo, which is another Louisiana cuisine but in a Creole tradition. A first, it got me confused about its distinction with Cajun. So I started digging for facts and I found the simplest explanation there is on the web.


It says, the basic difference between Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisines is that the latter (creole) uses tomatoes either fresh, paste or sauce while the former (Cajun) does not.

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Salmon En Croute

I can’t get enough of Salmon! So today, I have another special salmon recipe. This time it’s en croute style, a French term for anything baked in pastry.


Baking salmon is quite challenging because it dries out easily. Yet, baking is a very common household cooking technique because it’s simple and easy. And it gives salmon a slightly firm flake instead of mushy texture. Baked salmon could turn too dry and hard though especially when overdone.


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