SEN. Grace Poe is just like any mother who likes to cook and experiment in the kitchen with her daughters Hanna and Nika. She finds delight in what most of us also enjoy—simple fare and local flavors that not only satisfy but also bring back childhood memories.
Get to know Senator Grace through her food choices:
Adobo. There are a hundred different ways to make it and all of them are good. My favorite is the classic chicken-pork adobo with lots of garlic. It’s foolproof!
Salt or pepper?
Salt, especially the coarse Pangasinan sea salt.
Patis or suka?
Patis with a little calamansi added, because it really wakes up the flavor of my favorite dishes.
Sweet, spicy, salty, bitter?
Sweet. My weakness is dessert—I love chocolates!
Meat, seafood or vegetables?
Seafood; anything on the menu that includes seafood would be my first choice. I love crabs!
Bread or rice?
Rice; mahirap naman to eat adobo or crabs with bread.
Vienna sausage, bacon and fried rice.
Mango. Nothing beats Philippine mangoes!
Favorite dining destination?
Milky Way. I enjoy the casual atmosphere and it has all my comfort foods. Their guinumis is perfect on hot days.
Coke Zero or Coke Light.
Do you cook? What is your specialty?
Kare-kare, but it takes a long time so I only make that for special occasions or if I am craving it.
If you were an ingredient, what would you be?
I’d have to go back to salt; it’s needed for everything, even in cakes and ice cream. It balances out the other flavors.
At the end of a long day, what food do you long to go home to?
Adobo, crabs and bagoong!
When you think of food, is there one person you associate it with?
I think of my best friend, Malu (Gamboa), because she always asks me if I’ve eaten. She sends me the best Pinoy food frequently so I always have kakanin and snacks when I’m on the road, which is every day now.
What is the farthest you have traveled for food and for what dish?
I was recently in Zamboanga where I enjoyed some of the country’s best seafood, crabs in particular.
Does your spouse influence your eating habits?
Yes. When we go out for family meals, I make him decide where to eat because the kids and I can eat anything.
Where did your partner first wine and dine you?
Pizza Hut, but there was no wine involved! We were teens then, so simple joys lang kami.
If you were to host a state dinner, what one dish will you insist to be prepared and why?
I would love to serve crabs, but I realize that would be too messy for a state dinner. I think the Cebu lechon with tanglad would be the best dish to serve, because it is festive and becoming world-famous.
If you are to be president-elect, how will you celebrate your victory with your partner?
In our family room, while watching TV. In the event that I win, I want the kids, my husband and my mom to be beside me.
What recipe do you wish to share?
My dad’s favorite dish is gambas—it’s much easier and quicker to make than kare-kare.
I was (also) able to ask Chef J. Gamboa of Milky Way to share his family’s heirloom recipe for my favorite kare-kare.
(The senator shared the procedure. I took the liberty of adding the quantities as a guide to the recipe.)
Sauté 3-4 tbsp pounded garlic in 1/3 c olive oil or until slightly brown.
Add ½ k peeled and deveined shrimp.
Add a dash of Knorr or Maggi seasoning and simmer until shrimp is slightly pink. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients in a pressure cooker; make sure you only fill the pressure cooker to a maximum of ¾ capacity.
Cover and bring to high pressure over high heat.
Lower the heat to stabilize the pressure and cook for 50 minutes.
Remove from heat and place pressure cooker in a sink and run cold water over the top side of the pressure cooker until all the pressure has been released (the pressure valve does not make any more noise).
Remove oxtail from broth, let cool.
Remove tripe from broth, let cool. Cut into 1 x 1-inch diamonds.
Remove fat from broth, strain and set aside.
For the sauce:
2 tbsp corn oil
2 tbsp onion, medium size, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
6 c beef (oxtail) broth
1 c peanut butter
3 tbsp atchuete oil
4 pcs beef oxtail
250 g ox tripe (cooked), 1 x 1-in diamond cut
3 slices heart of banana, ½ in thick
1 c sitaw, cut into 3-in pieces
1 pc eggplant, medium size, split in half vertically, cut into 3-in pieces
1 tbsp salt
In a wok or saucepan, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blend in peanut butter until smooth. Add atchuete oil.
To the mixture, add the cooked oxtail, heart of banana, sitaw and eggplant. Simmer until vegetables are cooked. Adjust seasoning.
Serve with bagoong.
I am teaching how to make all sorts of burgers tomorrow. For inquiries and a copy of my new cooking class schedule, call 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346.