Our high school batch 1978 of Philippine Science High School (PSHS or Pisay) is pretty tight. At every opportunity, we’d have get-togethers and reunions. Unfortunately, during the lockdown, we had to content ourselves with Viber or Messenger chats and a few Zoom meets. It was definitely not possible to have our usual Christmas party last year, but we managed to bond over a project: a cookbook!
Thus, our batch’s recipe compilation, “From Lab Gowns to Aprons” (“FLG2A”), came to be. The title sprung from our chemistry experiments in high school (where we donned blue laboratory gowns) to what have become our culinary experiments as home cooks (now wearing our aprons).
“FLG2A,” in soft copy, initially came out a few days before Christmas 2020, “launched” via a Zoom meet where batchmates shared cooking tips and experiences.
There are 168 recipes, from 80 batchmate-contributors. Due to the big number of recipes shared, we split the compilation into four volumes.
Volume 1 had recipes for “Breakfast, Rice, Soups, Starters & Side Dishes.” Volume 2 covered “Poultry and Meat.” Volume 3 offered recipes for “Seafood, Noodles & Vegetables.” Volume 4 was thickest, with recipes for “Breads, Other Baked Goodies, Desserts and Snacks.”
The fun part came after. Batchmates would try each other’s recipes and post pictures of the sumptuous dishes in our chat groups. It was bonding at its best.
More recipe contributions came after the launch: We had an additional 50 recipes! Thus, the Easter 2021 edition of “FLG2A” was born. Quite fittingly, we included a section on “Eggs” in Volume 1. Volume 4 also showed off a new section for “Cocktails”!
One of the outstanding contributions to “FLG2A” is this recipe by Susan Warren-
Mercado, her ambrosial take on our everyday adobo.
Pork Liempo Adobo Ilustrado
2 kg whole liempo½ c Kikkoman soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp peppercorns
Pomace olive oil
1 c water
1 c chopped onions
3-5 pc bay leaves
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c balsamic vinegar
Salt, if needed
Pepper, if needed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jar crab aligueRosemary or thyme sprigs
6-10 pc whole garlic heads
Cut each whole liempo strip in two (to yield approximately 4”x2” pieces). Marinate in Kikkoman soy sauce, garlic and peppercorns for at least one hour. Remove pork; set aside the marinade.
In a hot frying pan, saute each piece of pork in pomace olive oil (to brown only or sangkutsa and not to fry).
In a deep saucepan, add the reserved marinade, water, chopped onions, bay leaves, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar; boil uncovered without stirring, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the browned liempo pieces to the saucepan and increase heat to high, cover. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer till done to almost fork-tender. Adjust taste at this point, with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, if necessary.
Transfer everything carefully to a Pyrex or porcelain baking dish which may double as the serving dish, too. Drizzle pork with extra-virgin olive oil. Top with spoonfuls of crab aligue (you can use up an entire small jar). Whole sprigs of rosemary or thyme may also be added on top at this point. Cover the dish lightly with foil.
In a preheated oven at 200ºC, place on the bottom rack a wide ovenproof dish with about an inch of water. On the middle rack, put the dish of pork liempo to braise for 15 minutes. Remove foil cover and bake for another 5 minutes for a nicely cooked top.
Before serving, remove herb sprigs; garnish with parsley florets. Serve with roasted garlic (recipe follows) on the side.
Roasted garlic: In a small baking dish, put whole garlic heads, with tops cut cleanly across to expose the cloves.
Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in an oven for 15-20 minutes.
The author, a member of PSHS Batch ’78, worked for 36 years in the banking industry. She is now retired, and happy to be a “domestic goddess.” Are you also a passionate home cook and want to be featured? Share with us your story and recipes, along with mouthwatering photos. Send them to [email protected]