I was born into a family that loves good food. We are all very adventurous with food. When we travel, we eat mostly local, enjoying dishes of the countries we visit. The more unique the food is, the better. We go from street food, market food and fast food, to fine dining. I’ve eaten fried worms in the streets of Bangkok and kangaroo meat in Australia.
As much I love spending time with family and friends at a table full of savory treats, I also love spending time in the kitchen, trying out new recipes. In our family, we have staples that keep on growing. We cook different cuisines—Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, American, Italian, Filipino, Malaysian, Indian.
But because I was very busy with my jewelry business, I couldn’t cook as much as I wanted. This quarantine, however, gave me more time. My office and stores were closed, and so I made my way to the kitchen and cooked. It was fun, since my sons were also participating. It became a form of bonding for us. I took photos of the food and posted whatever I made, and my friends prodded me to make a business of it. I asked my mom for help because most are our family recipes that evolved through time (from great-grandma and grandma, to Mom and I). Saffron Mommas (@saffronmommas on Instagram) was born. Like what happened with designing jewelry, my passion for food eventually turned into a business. I am very thankful for the people around me. It makes work less tiring and more fulfilling!
The recipes I’m sharing are among my family’s favorites: Steak Fajitas, Grilled Cheesy Sweet Corn and Guacamole. I love how these recipes can brighten up a moment, whether a movie night at home, lunch, or even snack time.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions
3 bell peppers
¾ kg flank steak
Marinade:2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced1 tsp ground cumin
¼ c fresh cilantro, including stems
¾ tsp chili powder
⅛ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp onion powder
⅛ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
Marinate the steak. Mix all the marinade ingredients, then mix with the steak. Put in the refrigerator for one hour or longer. Before cooking the steak, sprinkle salt on the steak.
Sear the steak on both sides to desired doneness. Remove from the pan.
Cook the vegetables while the meat is resting.
Slice the steak into strips.
Serve with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa and warm flour tortillas. Serves 6.
Grilled Cheesy Sweet Corn
6 pc sweet corn
2 tsp paprika
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ c cottage cheese
Juice of 2 limes
¼ c freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Unhusk corn then grill. When grilled, rub corn with butter.
Serve, sprinkled with lime juice, cilantro, cottage cheese and paprika. Serves 6.
4½ pc avocados
1½ tsp salt
¾ c diced onion
1½ tsp minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
¼ c and 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 cherry tomatoes
1½ lime, juiced
Mash the avocados, salt and lime juice together in a bowl. Mix garlic, onion, cilantro and tomatoes. Stir in ground cayenne pepper. Best served after refrigerating for one hour, or serve immediately with chips. Serves 4. —CONTRIBUTED
The author is the designer-owner of Tim Tam Ong Jewelry.
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