“Mabuhay! The Filipina Women’s Networkis thrilled to announce that you have been selected to receive the ‘100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award (FWN Global 100),” read the email. The word ‘award’ jumped from the page. It was close to midnight and I was shutting down my Mac. But before I could, the news gripped me with joy. After that, I woke up everyone in the household.
The impact of this award was overwhelming.
The Filipina Women’s Network is a nonprofit organization of women leaders based in San Francisco, CA. These awards have recognized “women of Philippine ancestry who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace.”
Their message said “we honor you with the ‘Behind the Scenes Leader’ award category…as a driving force behind the success of her community…someone who has gone beyond the call to devote time, energy and resources…”
I’d like to think my work as a food writer and journalist to tell my readers around the world about Filipino and Asian home cooking has made a difference. I sincerely hope this award answers all the questions I am often asked. Not everyone knows what a blogger does. Some people cannot believe I can write feature articles for newspapers, magazines or online media broadcast publications. Even worse, there are people who hear my heavy accent and cannot fathom how I can write in English.
Often these are questions I am asked by non-believers:
What exactly do I do?
Do I get paid for blogging? Or the inevitable ‘what is a blog’?
Do I get paid for writing and if so how much?
Why do I waste so much time on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and all major forms of social media?
These are just some questions I’ve been asked by skeptics and those who do not comprehend what exactly I do.
And because of the frequency of food photos I post daily on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and every social media platform there ever was invented, I have been mistaken for a chef and I have been asked the following :
Are you a chef?
Can you cater our next party?
Where did you go for culinary school?
I wish there was a way I could explain to folks, that I am not a chef.
I am a writer. I have had a long career as a writer, first as an ad agency copywriter, trained by icons in the advertising industry. I have worked as a college professor teaching writing. Today, I am a freelance journalist, food writer and blogger. I travel between the USA and the Philippines to do research in both continents. I relish writing about my travels, our culture and cuisine.
I have also been cooking since I was tall enough to reach the kitchen counter, thus I have enough recipes in my cache of home cooking files to share with everyone.
Why do I share recipes I have?
Nothing makes me happier than to share what I have. And the knowledge I have has been honed from years of listening to my mother teach me, from years of raising sons on Filipino home cooking in a culture and country I was not accustomed to, from my sheer desire to preserve all these culinary information for my sons and generations after them.
Inspired and grateful, I am preparing to attend the FWN Global Summit. I look forward to meeting the other 99 “influential Filipinas”. It will be a rich 3- day event of learning and celebrating with fellow awardees. A Japanese quote captures what will happen “ichi go Ichi e” (One moment, one meeting). I plan to return with more lessons learned, possibly some recipes exchanged, and share everything with my readers.
As I pack my bags to go receive this award, I am grateful for what has empowered and inspired me all my life. It is the strength of my mother and the lessons she taught me. Over 20 years ago, when I moved to this country, I brought mom’s cookbooks, recipes and life lessons. My parents taught me to make a difference in anything I did. Who knew that by being myself, cooking, writing and sharing with you my readers was what would make a difference.
With grateful thanks, I share this honor and award with all of you, my faithful friends. Thanks to your continued visits to this blog, loyal readership of my articles in different media publications, you keep giving me a reason to go back to the kitchen and do what I do. Allow me to continue to pay it forward by sharing more of my recipes in the years to come.
Maraming salamat po! Thank you very much.
Pork Wontons in Lo Mein Noodle Soup
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 pound fresh large shrimps peeled, deveined, chopped fine; about 8 pieces
- 3/4 cup water chestnuts canned; drained and chopped
- 1 whole medium-sized carrot peeled, chopped fine, about 3/4 cup
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon xiao xing rice wine
- 2 stalks scallion whites chopped fine
- 2 whole eggs divided, 1 for ground pork mix, 1 beaten with a tablespoon water for egg wash to seal wontons
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 2 stalks scallion greens chopped for garnish
- 18 to 20 pieces wonton wrapper skins square shaped (from Asian markets or major supermarkets, by freezer aisle)
- 1/2 pound chicken breast, bone-in, skin-on for chicken broth
- 8 to 10 cups water for boiling chicken
- 1 whole medium-sized onion sliced, divided, use half for boiling broth, half for saute
- 1 cup chopped celery divided, half for boiling chicken stock, rest for saute
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 ounces fresh Chinese lo mein noodles pre-boiled; from Asian markets
- 1/4 cup soy sauce for dipping sauce on the side
- 2 teaspoons calamansi or lemon juice for dipping sauce
- To make the pork dumplings: In a large bowl, place all the ingredients together – the ground pork, water chestnuts, carrot, scallions
- Mix all the ingredients well. Add the eggs, cornstarch, salt, black pepper powder, rice wine, soy sauce and drops of sesame oil. Cover ground pork mixture with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes for easier handling.
- To wrap the wonton pork dumplings: Prepare the wonton wrappers by thawing and separating the wrappers. Place them on a clean, dry, surface. On the center of each wonton wrapper, place half a teaspoon of the ground pork mixture. Brush the sides of the wonton with egg wash. Fold the wonton wrapper into a triangle, sealing the edges with your finger. Hold the right corner of the folded wonton and place it over the left tip. Seal with egg wash and press firmly with your finger. The wonton wrapper should look like the bottom folded part of a letter envelope or as mom used to call it “folded like a diaper”.
- To make the chicken stock: In a large stockpot, fill with 8 to 10 cups water, boil the chicken breast with sliced onions, celery, salt and pepper. For a half pound chicken breast with bone, boil and then cook over low simmer for 45-55 minutes or till chicken is fork tender. Set aside the chicken broth for when you’re ready to throw in the pork-filled wontons.
- To assemble the soup : In a separate medium stock pot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. After 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic, half onion, celery till soft. Add the chicken stock or broth. When the broth boils after about 5 to 6 minutes, add the pre-boiled Chinese lo mein egg noodles. These will expand and cook quickly in about 5 to 6 minutes. Lower the heat from boiling to medium simmer. Add the pork wontons (about 18 to 20 pieces) and boil till cooked in about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped green scallions. Serve the soup dish with a dipping sauce on the side : soy sauce combined with the lemon juice.
- Recipe notes: The fresh Chinese egg noodles I used contained wheat and eggs. You can substitute other types of noodles or pastas preferred. If desired, shred the boiled chicken used for making the stock and add thin strips to the top of the soup dish.