In my halcyon prematernal days, I took a Philippine cooking class that went all out: http://flickr.com/photos/7588148@N08...7600029971101/
. If you're comfortable making multicourse dinners from cuisines that are notorious for their prep work (ie., Chinese), preparing a Filipino dinner isn't difficult. Otherwise, I'd recommend a newbie dinner of chicken adobo, lumpia, and a veggie like eggplant torta. And don't forget the white rice!
For lumpia: Ariel de Guzman's THE BUSH FAMILY COOKBOOK (yes, as in the former U.S. president) has an old-school lumpia recipe that reminds me of my dad's cooking. (BTW: This cookbook recommendation does not
constitute a political endorsement. Hella
no...) My tip: prepare & wrap the lumpia beforehand, pack into freezer bags, and freeze. Then shortly before dinner, just pull out of the freezer & fry 'em. Also, the de Guzman recipe calls for rather small quantities for meat; treat the "teaspoons" as heaping ones.
For chicken adobo: Of the dozen or so chicken adobo recipes published in U.S. venues that I've tried over the years, the following (which was featured in the (Walnut Creek, CA) CONTRA COSTA TIMES) remains my favorite:
1 cup white vinegar
1 head garlic, cloves peeled & crushed
1/2 teaspoon whole or ground peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 skinless chicken breast halves with bone (see note)
Cooked white rice
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine vinegar, garlic, pepper, bay leaves and soy sauce. Add the chicken; marinate for 20-30 minutes. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove meat from pan and boil cooking liquid until reduced by half. Serve over rice.
Note: Filipinos typically make this dish with a whole chicken, skin on. Using skinless chicken breasts reduces the fat without sacrificing flavor. Lean cuts of pork may be added or substituted.
elizp note: I prefer 2 lbs. bone-in thighs, which has a good skin:meat ratio for broiling afterwards. After braising, the cute, petite chicken thighs go under a broiler: 5 minutes skin-side up, then 3-5 minutes other side.
Best of luck with Fathers' Day. If all goes well and you wish to explore other Philippine dishes, I totally recommend MEMORIES OF PHILIPPINE KITCHENS by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan.