Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12 Days of Polvoron: Small Batch Polvoron

To celebrate the Philippines this holiday season (and bring attention to the continued need for typhoon relief), I'm doing 12 days of polvoron.  

I thought I'd start with the basic recipe I will be using, a small batch version.   Most recipes for polvoron make large batches, which can be great for families and sharing, but what if you just want a few?

Easy!  Polvoron is simple to scale down into a small batch.  It makes about a dozen, which is good for a family snack, or just one person, if you can eat as much polvoron as I can in one sitting.  And it doesn't take very long - the longest part is toasting the flour, and that's like 5 minutes.

Small Batch Polvoron

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered milk (full fat is better than non fat, if you can find it)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

  1. Toast the flour on a dry skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. 
  2. Mix the flour with the powdered milk, sugar, and salt. 
  3. Pour in the melted butter a little at a time, mixing with a spoon until it starts to clump and resemble damp sand.   
  4. Pack it firmly in the polvoron mold.  Refrigerate to harden it a bit if you feel like it.  Wrap it up in tissue paper if you feel like it.  Or just eat it straight up.  

12 Days of Polvoron

It's #GivingTuesday!  Following the crazy consumerism of Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is an effort to bring everyone together for a national day of giving.  

This year, the cause I will be supporting is much more personal.  My parents were in the Philippines at the time of Typhoon Haiyan, and flew out of the typhoon danger zone to safety just before all flights were cancelled.  

Not so lucky were the many people in my family's hometown of Sigma, a small, rural community in the province of Capiz.  As in many parts of the Philippines, the typhoon caused significant damage and destruction there.  Especially hard hit was the local elementary school - Ponsaran Elementary, named for my grandfather.

Right before the typhoon, my parents were in Sigma to help build a fence around the Eleodoro J. Ponsaran Elementary School, which has 120 students.  But Typhoon Haiyan not only destroyed the fence - it also destroyed much of the school building itself, including the entire roof.  Because of the extensive damage, the government is considering closing the school, instead of repairing it.  This will require the children to walk 7 kilometers to another school, in an area that is rural and mountainous.

The teachers and parents want to reconstruct the school. Local residents have volunteered to provide the labor.  They just need the construction materials to repair the roof and rebuild the walls.

To help, my family has started a fundraiser to supply the people of Sigma with the tools and materials necessary to help them to rebuild their town.  The funds will be used to purchase locally-sourced lumber and construction materials to repair damage to the school.  It will also be used for tents for temporary shelter, and to repair or construct new homes. 

So for this Giving Tuesday, I hope you will consider a contribution to the Rebuilding Sigma Fund as well.

12 Days of Polvoron Challenge!

And, to continue celebrating the Philippines this holiday season, I'm going to do 12 days of polvoron over the next month.

Polvoron is a kind of shortbread treat, a butter-heavy, milk sweet that is popular in the Philippines, particularly around the holidays.  I've posted about it a couple times already, but this time, this month, I'm going to try to come up with 12 different variations.

I've really only stuck to the basic recipe before, so I'm not really sure what I'm going to come up, or how it's going to turn out.  Me experimenting in the kitchen has the potential for really epic failure.  I'm not, by any means, a polvoron pro.  So if you have suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It Has Been Decided in Your Favor!

For years and years, I have had an alert set up on ebay to let me know when a swami napkin dispenser is listed.  What's a swami napkin dispenser?  It's the best way I could think of describe this:

Yes, it's William Shatner!  With a mysterious fortune-telling napkin dispenser at a diner in Ohio, where his car has broken down!   Does the mystic seer really know all?   Is William Shatner crazy?    Will they ever leave?

The Twilight Zone episode is called "Nick of Time", and it's a wonderful episode.  Annd Twilight Zone Shatner is my very favorite Shatner.

So naturally I've always wanted a creepy, devil-headed napkin dispenser of my very own, so I can ask it fearfully every day if this is the day I leave Ohio.

Anyway, sometimes such an item appears on eBay, but they're always rusty and cost $200, so I am pretty excited that ThinkGeek now sells these color-changing glasses featuring the ominous mystic seer for $20:

I think I'll take my beer with a moral lesson about controlling one's destiny and giving away your power to make your own choices.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Olive OIl

This sale showed up in my email, and it took me a minute to wonder ... wait, is that just olive oil?

Why yes, it is.

The moisturizer is called olive virgin oil, I guess so you think it's something different from what you have been using to cook with, and which I'm presuming you are not paying $33 (on sale!) for 1 ounce.

That being said, olive oil does make a perfectly nice moisturizer, although if we're sticking strictly to the kitchen cabinet, I prefer coconut oil myself.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Salting Eggplant

Salting has become a non-negotiable step in my eggplant preparation.  A liberal dusting of salt and an hour in a strainer to let the bitterness ooze out and a rinse has made roasted eggplant a far more tolerable dish.