Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Taste of the Tropics

Enjoy a Filipino Feast!

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at 

After a day of surfing or relaxing at the beach why not enjoy a Filipino feast?

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel often have Filipino food because Sunny’s family is from the Philippines and she knows lots of good recipes for delicious Filipino dishes. Her family and friends do, as well, so there’s always something good cooking on the stove.

The Philippines is a sovereign island nation in Southeast Asia made up of over 7,000 islands. 

So you can be sure that Filipino food has a tropical look and taste, making it perfect for a SoCal summer evening. “Filipino food is savory and spicy,” says Sunny. “And, it’s healthy, too, with seafood and loads of fresh vegetables.”

Since one in four Filipino Americans lives in Southern California – 1 million, in all – chances are you’ve tried Filipino food. If not, now’s the time to discover it for yourself!

One of Sunny’s favorite dishes is Pancit Canton, a traditional Filipino noodle dish that is a real party food.

“When Filipinos get together for a party someone always brings the pancit,” Sunny explains. “People often add their own touches so the recipe can vary from one family to another.”

The name pancit means “convenient food.” And, as you’ll see from Sunny’s recipe, pancit is indeed convenient and fun to make.

Sunny’s Pancit Canton


1 T of vegetable oil
1 T of sesame oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 (8 oz) package of mushrooms
2 – 3 carrots, thinly sliced
½ head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 C onion, diced
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 ½ C chicken broth
1/3 C hoisin sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 ½ tsp powdered ginger
3 T corn starch
1 (8 oz) package pancit canton noodles


In a large skillet heat the oils over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and onion and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the water chestnuts. In a small bowl combine the broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce with the ginger and corn starch.

Add this to chicken mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium to medium-low, and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Combine the pancit canton into the mixture...

and stir it in until the noodles are soft.

There, you have it!

To see the wide variety of Filipino dishes to choose from, take a look at these photos SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti took at a party hosted by Susan and Luis Soriano

Susan, who grew up in the Philippines, loves to cook and especially likes to see her guests enjoying the food. 

Family friend Eloisa Rodriquez was on hand, too, and explained some of the dishes and their significance.

Take noodles, for instance; “long ones signify long life.”

And round garnishes, like capers, “not only add taste, but mean good luck.”

One of SurfWriter Girl Patti’s favorite dishes is the ube (yam) dessert. As you can see, it’s an electric purple.

And the casaba root custard, flan and pecan bites are too good to pass up.

 Just ask Patti’s husband Greg, who believes in trying everything. 

Whether you do the cooking yourself or go over to someone else’s house, when Filipino food is on the menu you know you’re in for a good time. When Filipinos get together they like to talk well into the night and especially to eat. So, be ready to party, bring your appetite…and save room for dessert.

As they say in the Philippines,

Tayo’y Magsikain Kainan Na!

Let’s Eat!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Celebrate Mother Nature in April – Part II

Earth Day – April 22
Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at 

Earth Day, which was started in 1970, was created from flower power – when hippies turned their attention from protest movements and love-ins to focusing on Mother Nature.

Realizing that, if they didn’t do anything, the earth would be overtaken by toxic chemicals and pollution, people rallied together, channeling their energies into safeguarding the environment.   

Since then Earth Day has become an event with worldwide activities dedicated to promoting ways to protect the planet.

Local communities in Orange County will be holding events you can get involved in at schools, parks and beaches to collect trash, plant trees, and help with other beautification projects.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that the Earth Day Network (EDN), the non-profit conservation organization that oversees Earth Day, has many plans to protect the earth’s natural resources of water, energy, and wildlife.

Its Green Cities and Green Schools programs are helping to educate people about sustainable practices to reduce pollution and waste and to safeguard the environment.


Through EDN’s Acts of Green project you can get involved, too. There are lots of ways, like planting vegetables in your garden.

Sunny and Patti helped her husband Greg plant these tomatoes...and SurfWriter Cat Smokey helped, too.


You can also grow fresh herbs to liven up your meals.

SurfWriter Girls’ friend Ed Acosta’s garden…

has all the herbs in Simon & Garfunkel’s song Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.


EDN is also asking people to join in its Canopy Project to plant trees in our communities, providing shelter from the sun and filtering the air.

There are many other things you can do to help, as well – year round.

So, check out what your community has planned for Earth Day and see what you can do to lend a hand. 

Now that spring is here, it’s time “to open” the door…

to experiencing the spirit of ohana and to all the new “acts of green” that we can do to honor Mother Nature.  
  Happy Spring!

Happy Easter!

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