Sirens, not of the Greek mythology kind, but rather the kind that produced loud wailing sounds, greeted me as soon as I got out of the crowded airport and onto the busy city streets. During the drive back to my friend's house, I contemplated going back to the airport and hopping on the first plane back to the city up north.
I would be the first to admit that I was never enamored by the City of Angels. I am, however, smitten by the City by the Bay. You know, the place where one leaves his or her heart (or so I heard)? But I digress.
LA has been my home for quite some time now. Living here taught me how to be independent and has been a humbling experience for me. Although I've adjusted to life here in LA, being away from the comforts of home and family makes me homesick.
SJP's said, " The most important thing in life is family. There are days you love them, and others you don't. But in the end, they're the people you always come home to. Sometimes it's the family you're born into and sometimes it's the one you make for yourself." I am just grateful to my friend, as well as to my dad's friends, for taking me in and treating me like family. I've met and made new friends because of them. I've gone on road trips and shopping sprees and food adventures with them. I look forward to their family gatherings. Good company and a sampling of Tito Alex' kare kare or Manong Jake's tinola or Carol's beef caldereta or Tita Lurlina's pancit makes me a happy camper.
Oh I made pastel de lengua the other day. Meltingly tender ox tongue was cooked with mixed vegetables and cheese, topped with a golden pastry crust. It was a bit time consuming because I had to pressure cook the ox tongue until tender. Then I had to peel the outer white covering of the ox tongue once it got cool enough to handle. Then I had to do some sauteing and then baking. To do away with extra prepping of veggies, I went ahead and used frozen mixed vegetables. I also used a prepared pastry crust because I didn't have time to make one from scratch. This is a dish that's meant to be shared and eaten family style, although presentation-wise, I like serving it in white ramekins.
The sirens? They don't bother me anymore. In fact, they lull me to sleep. I've come to like L.A. but SF still has my heart.
Pastel de Lengua
1 ox tongue
2 onions , sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In a pressure cooker , combine all ingredients and pressure cook until ox tongue is tender. Reserve broth and set aside. Let tongue cool. Peel the outer white covering of the ox tongue and slice diagonally , about 1/2 " thick. Set aside.
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1 can button mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
2 cups ox tongue broth
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper to taste
ready made pie crust or frozen puff pastry
2 tbsp milk
In a pan, heat butter and saute onions over low fire until onions are transparent. Add ox tongue and continue cooking for 5 mins. Add mushroom and flour. Stir quickly. Pour in broth, stirring to prevent sauce from getting lumpy. Add the vegetables, milk and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a baking dish and top with prepared pastry crust.
Combine egg and milk in a bowl and use to brush top of the pastry crust.
Bake in a 350F oven for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.