Disclaimer: Parts of this feature is from my The Royal Chef column on Edge Davao.
Happy Mom’s Day to my Mama – my foremost critique, chairman of the board of judges and reason for my very existence. Good health, lovelovelove and more vacay trips for you and Daddy. Loveyou, Ma.
Besides bags, my Mama and I share a love inside the kitchen and our pantry staples. Yes, we live in different zip codes but as a copycat, I tend to copy everything they have in the main house. And that includes staples inside the pantry.
Admittedly, theirs is much extravagant than mine. Not to mention, healthier compared to my on-the-go staples I’ve lived with for years. No, don’t get me wrong, my staples change as often as I change my bags – but there are just some things that remain constant… and consistent.
My pantry has a story of its own. I stockpile, yes, mostly of products that I have tried and tested over time. Just like Mama. Don’t get me wrong, I do explore the many aisles of supermarkets and explore on new brands but I still have my favourites.
Here’s some recipes of how I make use of my pile. Though I often cook a generic dish, I do not cook the same recipe twice – unless I’m told. I like to spice things up with what I have in my pantry.
Pasta noodles, Mushrooms and Oil
Pasta dishes are a great way to test your kitchen skills and palate. I don’t have a particular favourite but I want mine with seafood bits. Be it white, red or green, oil based or what have you, I love my pasta with some sea faves and mushroom. And some cheese too.
Pantry Staple 1 : Dona Elena Al Dente Fusili Pasta
How do I cook my noodles? The old fashion way. It’s just that I toss my dry noodles with some olive oil (or any oil available) before I dump them in boiling water. Why? I don’t like my noodles dry and the oil makes it shinier.
Pantry Staple 2: Jolly Mushrooms in can (Pieces and Stems Champignons)
Without a doubt, this vamps a simple dish any time of any day. I have cans of this in my pantry all the time. I love that they’re cut and easy to drain. Best thing? Very affordable.
Pantry Staple 3: Dona Elena Olive Oil Pure
My mom has been into oils for years now. I used to sneak some bottles when I’m coming home (to Davao) and use them here whenever I feel like playing in my kitchen. I use this to marinate my meats and toss my dry pasta with.
Here’s a no-fuss recipe.
1 Cook pasta according to package. Drain. Save some pasta water. Set aside.
2 In a pan, with oil and little knob of butter, sauté garlic until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until brown. Do not burn.
3 Sprinkle some dried basil, thyme and oregano. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss.
4 Add drained mushrooms and sauté. Add drained tuna in flakes and hot and spicy tuna. Toss everything. Make sure to evenly coat the mushrooms and tuna.
5Add pimiento. Sauté until evenly cooked.
Add cooked pasta and some pasta water. Toss. Sprinkle with cheese.
Mustard and Mayo
Of all the brands, I find the Jolly Real Mayonnaise to be thick and very creamy. Also, very flavourful – on its own or with added herbs and spices. I love making my own mustard-mayo dip. I just love how the mustard and mayo complements each other. You can also add some fresh black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
1 In a bowl, add 3 tablespoons of mayo and 3 teaspoons of mustard (use the coarse kind). Mix.
Keep in container inside the fridge.
I adore Jollycow Condensada. It’s thick, creamy and just the right sweetness. Normally, I use this for my maja blanca – I use only ¾ of the can and omit the sugar.
Corn Kernels (thick and whole)
As a novice baker, I experiment a lot with muffin and cupcake flavours. One moment I can go bare with vanilla or elevate the sourness with kalamansi. My go-to flavour? Corn. I adore how aromatic and flavourful a corn muffin can be. Be it with whole kernels or the cream style, what I get is muffin that can withstand the flavours of coffee or tea.
1 Follow your basic muffin recipe
2 after you’ve added your final ingredient, add corn kernels. Fold in your corns.
*Drain if using the whole; stir when using the cream style. Normally, I use a full can of corn kernels for a basic recipe. If using cream style, I use half.
3 bake for 15-18 minutes.
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