Sunday, April 30, 2006

IMBB #25 - Stale Bread and Smoked Sardines

Derrick, of AnObsessionwithFood, is host of the current Is My blog Burning event.

The IMBB#25 theme - Use of Stale Bread.

When faced with a meal when one has to dine alone, I usually prepare myself a quick sandwich. As a purist, I must have fresh bread as the base of my foundation. I’m known for my sandwiches. Simple as they may be, they are a compilation of several layers of flavors. They are, if you will, dimensions of delight.

My darling hubby is away on a visit to his mother. He is a good son, after all. He phones his Mom at least once a week to share what new adventures he encounters in the countryside and the world of art. Every few weeks or so, he’ll take the 2 hour trek south to her home near Stanford. It was after one of his visits with my MIL that he brought home a delectable delicacy - Portuguese Smoked Sardines in olive oil.

Since it’s only me at home, I made dinner with a swift streak of brilliance. Use up the rest of the rustic walnut loaf left over from my last meal with Darling Hubby. I perused our well stocked pantry, spotted a can of white beans and pulled out a can of the Portuguese Smoked Sardines. I peeked into the fridge to see what I had as “fillers”. I spied a few stalks of celery, a bunch of flat-leaf parsley. a couple of tomatoes and a bright, yellow, Meyer lemon. My counter basket cradled a few shallots and several bulbs of garlic we grew last season. Keeping with the Mediterranean theme, I selected a sublime Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil. My palette was ready. I took slices of the rustic loaf and placed them in the toaster oven.

The recipe is nothing new, just a version of another. A few of you may identify the ingredients with a familiar Italian, more precisely, Sicilian Tonno Bean salad. The short meal was also reminiscent of bruschetta or crostini. What’s the difference between a bruschetta and a crostini? It’s the size, my friends. The former being the largest of the two. Bruschetta, pronounced “broosh-ketta”, is more fitting as an appetizer or tapa-type dish. Crostini are teenie-weenie slices that are more suitable for easy hand-held hors d’oeuvres. Bruschetta is usually toasted, then rubbed with garlic and anointed with olive oil. Crostini are brushed with olive oil, then toasted.

What I liked most about this dish was it did not need any further chill time. It was good to go with the last flick of folding all the ingredients into a nice mélange of mouth-watering mainstay of a meal.

White Bean Sardine Salad


1 – 4 oz. can of Portuguese Smoked Sardine in olive oil
1 – 15 oz. can of white beans, rinse and drain well
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery heart, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon
2 -3 Tbl. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or (can be combined with olive oil from sardines)
Coarse Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Slices of toasted rustic bread – bruschetta or crostini


Remove Portuguese Smoked Sardines from can and set on dish. Combine all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over ingredients. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and/or olive oil from sardine can. Fold over and mix ingredients until blended well. Add coarse salt and cracked pepper to taste.

On prepared bruschetta or crostini, place enough white bean salad to cover surface. Lay Portuguese Smoked Sardine on top of heap.

Okay. So, I admit, as a purist, this is not much of a sandwich as a traditionalist may define it as such. However, I would consider this bruschetta or crostini as an open-faced sandwich.

How’s that for a good use of stale bread?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh Say, Can You See. . .Let Old Glory Be

Hand in hand, the National Anthem and our Stars and Stripes are symbols of "freedom".

There are over 300 versions of the National anthem. We've heard the anthem sung in many different renditions. Rosanne was vilified, Whitney was praised, Mariah hit the top notes. Many have butchered the song, whether forgetting the words and making them up or even falling astray from the melody. You can call the cats and dogs home with what we've been exposed to.

But today, takes the cake. At 4:00PM PST, many Spanish-language radio stations debuted the song "Nuestro Himno" (Our Anthem) across the waves. The intent of the Spanish version is admirable. It is meant to encourage immigrants to have a better understanding of the English language and to embrace the American culture.

I believe, creator of "Nuestro Himno", Adam Kidron, took "creative license" to the limit. The new version have lyrics that follow the original score, and may carry the jist of what Francis Scott Key envisioned that night of "bombs bursting in air". However, it is not a true translation. It is an interpretation of an individual (and his co-parties) that has used this as a forum to emphasise their position concerning immigration reform. A boycott from work and school by the Latino community is scheduled for Monday as a show of solidarity.

This is most likely the only time, ever, that I will agree with Dubya. To be specific, the National Anthem should, MUST, if you will, be sung in the only language it was meant to be presented, in English. Pres. Bush's push for Congress to accept the "guest worker program" is influenced by the fact that the wife of his younger brother, Jeb Bush, is a "legal immigrant" from Mexico. There is an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Folks, this is a no brainer. Illegal is Illegal. There have been several illegal immigrants from my native Philippines that were deported after many years of hard work and building a life in this "land of opportunity". They were never offered any type of reform or amnesty program.

I am a Naturalized American Citizen via my parents. Although my parents already spoke English before coming to this country, they adopted English as their primary language in order to "prove" themselves worthy of becoming a United States Citizen. My parents studied the American history of how it faught for its freedom. My parents sang the National Anthem, in English. My parents took their oath as a Naturalized American Citizen, in English. My parents experienced the prejudice and biases demonstrated to them by "Americans" as new immigrants to this country. In 1968, shortly after becoming an American Citizen, my father endured the humiliation of a young child asking him where his "tail" was as he was riding on a public bus in Memphis. The parent did not discipline the child. My father chalked it up to ignorance by both parent and child. In this case of ignorance, bliss was not part of the equation. I, myself, have experienced blatant discrimination.

My parents did not learn to work the system. They did not send $$$$$$ of earned monies to their native country. My father proudly served this country in the military for 30 years. My father worked three (3) jobs supporting a wife and 3 young tots when they first immigrated to this country. My parents had a dream to fulfill. I am humbled to share that they were able to achieve all their dreams. They owned a home. They educated 5 children at top universities. They owned a successful business. They travelled the globe. They voted and paid taxes. My father has passed away for several years now, but his patriotism and love for this country was strongly instilled in me and each of my siblings. His philosophy, "When in Rome...", therefore, English was only spoken in our home during our childhood. The American Way was our way of life. We are proud to be Americans. It was only in our adult lives did we include the very nature of our native Filipino culture, the foods, music, customs and traditions. It is part of who we are. Nothing can take that away. That is our heritage.

So, what's all the fuss about? Will this song hit Billboard Chart of top 100? Doubt it. Whatever the agenda for immigration reform, it's out there.

Let's get our priorities straight, shall we? Where are the passioned rallies against the War in Iraq? Send our troops home! What is the progress with Katrina victims? What about protesting or boycotting the outrageous increase in gas prices? What is being done about Congressional and the Bush Administration corruption?

How long are we going to bend over and just take this bureaucratic bull?

I'm done with my ranting. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. Thanks for 1st Amendment.

GOD Bless America . . .Pancit and Lumpia are on the house...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

You Lookin' At Me?

Have a Happy Easter!!!