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Archive for the ‘food’ Category


I am excited.

Over a month a go, I blogged about mushroom growing when Nissa brought me an oyster mushroom fruiting bag which was a gift from a relative in Amadeo, Cavite. I waited about two weeks before finally opening the bag and religiously followed the instructions attached there – spraying water three times a day, putting it in a place that has moisture so it won’t dry out and waiting for the pins to come out. She said that they harvested theirs in two weeks while I got so frustrated when three weeks passed and it  won’t bear those nice oyster mushrooms that I’ve been waiting for.

Finally.

I was about to spray it again early this morning when I noticed these small grayish growth at the sides of the bag. Kevin was so specific in his instructions that I stop watering when I see those pins because in two days, they would have grown big enough for harvest. Since I was just excited to see them grow, I looked at the bag again a few minutes ago. Gosh, I was smiling like crazy when I saw these and they are just in one portion of the fruiting bag, there are more small ones at the center and at the other side.

IMG_6733

a closer look....

a closer look….

Maybe, I could harvest these over the weekend. Now, my big problem is, how to cook them  while still fresh aside of course from experimenting on the mushroom burger which we often order at the Mushroom Burger House In Tagaytay City every time we go there.

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It was a busy weekend but days before that I was so lazy even to go out because of the summer heat. I finished three books in one week.

Fancy an early morning breathing  in the heavenly fragrance of Gardenia and Amazon Lily flowers mixed with the lemony scent of Calamansi (Philippine lime) flower buds.  It’s a perfect excuse to stay in the garden for a while. My Gardenia shrub is flowering again, a bit early for the month of May when it shows its blooms almost in every tip of the branches. I didn’t know that Gardenia symbolizes love, harmony and grace and it was named after Dr. Alexander Garden, an American botanist, until now. I just love Gardenia and when it is in bloom , I always take shots of the lovely white flowers.  Our two Calamansi trees are on their flowering stage too but the fruits are there all year-long.

Finally, one of our jackfruits was ready for harvest. I was as excited as Josef when we finally harvested it the other day and this morning, I sliced  it with a sharp knife and  separated the pulp from the rind. Josef just wants  it  fresh and cold from the ref.  One can cook it as “langka preserve” or marmalade, the way you cook other fruits in season.

Jackfruit, anyone?

Jackfruit, anyone?

The young green one is cooked as a yummy vegetable dish, either sautéed in pork or cooked in coconut cream with lots of chilis. Try it, it is best served a little hot and spicy.

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Some friends are coming over tomorrow, friends I’ve met at my online Apostolate when I was just starting as an admin there. Time flies, it is almost five years now since I met them.  They are definitely younger than I am, some call me Mommy, a lot of them call me tita (an adopted auntie) and I consider them my extended family. They help me grow and in the process, I am learning a lot too. There is no dull moment when they are around because we could talk about anything under the sun, we could share some serious stuff about their lives and their families. Sometimes, I wonder how we have bonded this close considering we don’t see each other often, they are just a text away though. Two of them are celebrating their birthdays this month so we decided to hold an informal gathering here at home. They told me not to stress myself preparing the food as they will just bring it over so I will just probably bake marble potatoes and boil a kilo of fresh peanuts  which I bought from the market this morning. I already prepared a laing dish, a personal favorite. Laing  are dried and shredded taro leaves cooked in coconut cream, diced pork  or shrimp and chili. It need not always be spicy, but  the chili goes well with the coconut cream and that is applicable for some dishes that use the latter.

We chanced upon this fresh alupihang dagat in the wet market today and my son told me that he hasn’t tasted it for more than a decade so we bought a kilo. I have to make research on what it is called in English, it’s mantis shrimps. The only downside is, it is hard to get the meat because of its pointed shell but I think it taste better than shrimps. It was a yummy lunch paired with sautéed ampalaya with eggs.

Bear with me, I am just excited meeting old friends again. Never mind the gargantuan task of preparing and  washing drinking glasses, plates, utensils for us to use tomorrow because I a not a fan of disposable plates and such.

When friends meet, hearts warm. I just love this Scottish proverb. It always holds true.

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I am listening to some afternoon 70’s and 80’s music as I write this. When you’re used to blogging and posting something every day, you miss the hustle and bustle of the blogging world. I’ve been busy for a while though, catching up on gardening (finally finished replanting Crossandra  that just sprouted in all corners of the garden, regrouped them together in one line) and reading e-books, Christmas stories that warm the hearts and lift the spirits.  When it’s Josef’s days off, we work together to finish pending household chores that need his help. We found fresh zucchini and honeydew melons on our trip to the wet market last Saturday morning. Honeydew is juicier  than your regular melon found in the market. Low in calorie, rich in vitamin C and rich in fiber too. I don’t know if zucchini are in season now but  they are cheaper than a few months ago. It’s time to experiment on some recipes using zucchini. I normally use them for pasta dishes and crispy fries. I found out to my delight that there are about a hundred ways to cook zucchini. Here’s one simple dessert that I just baked a few minutes ago. The recipe is for muffins but I tweaked it a bit and came up with this yummy loaf.

Zucchini loaf

Zucchini loaf

Last week, I made a variation of Puto (steamed buns) by adding Pandan flavoring. Just love it. I always reduce the sugar in the recipe, although I like to bake, I am not fond of too much sweets but my son is.

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Puto pandan with cheese toppings

Josef gifted me with a three-tier Camel food steamer. It’s a late birthday gift, another gadget in the kitchen that I love. I have the bigger aluminum steamer which I use for embutido (our local sausage) and siomai (pork dumplings) but this one is easier to use and you can steam several kinds of veggies and meat in one cooking.  Healthy eats with no messy oil to think of. I tried it last night with carrots, sweet corn and deboned chicken breast with lemon.  Yummy! How was your week?

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This afternoon, I got really, really bored  so I started to update my journal, transferring some recipes I culled from the net for future kitchen experiments. I have to check our pantry if there are available ingredients for what I am planning to cook. Then I saw a pack of dates (my last one actually…huhuhu) which I am saving for my no-bake fruit cake. I don’t know where I could buy dried dates here (aside from the fact that they are expensive locally) but I was craving for something sweet. I’ve baked dates  bars before but I recently found a simple recipe sans vanilla extract and cinnamon powder.  Baking saved the boring afternoon. I love the smell of something cooking in my oven, the calming moments while waiting for it to bake, the oh-so-yummy look of it when it’s done.

Date Squares...oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy Date Squares!

If you want to try this, here’s the link.  I reduced the sugar because the dates are naturally sweet and used calamansi instead of lemon. Happy baking.

 

 

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I need to practice on my macro shots again (on food, that is) and this morning with nothing much to do, I decided to cook  the squid Josef and I bought at the wet market a few days ago. I have to remove the heads and clean everything from the thin-film on the outer skin down to the belly before freezing it. A kilo of regular-sized squid is good enough for two meals.  As I don’t want to labor much in the kitchen by grilling it, I made the stuffing out of about one-fourth kilo of ground pork sautéed in garlic, onions, one egg, a spoonful of cornstarch, carrots and green bell pepper. You have to make sure that the ground pork is properly cooked since you only need to fry the squid to make  it a little crispy on the outside.  I marinated the squid in calamansi juice (Philippine lime), ground pepper, salt and granulated garlic for about thirty minutes before putting it in the frying pan. It was an experiment and partnered with mixed veggie salad, it tasted surprisingly good. Josef said, “success”. Yeay!

Fried Stuffed Squid

Fried Stuffed Squid

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen, another favorite writer has exactly describe what a real friendship is – those moments when just being there for a friend would be enough, those moments when just holding their hands is a comfort in itself.

I meet lots of people at the Catholic page I manage with a priest friend and a lay minister, most of them OFW workers from different parts of the globe. Through the years that I help manage the site (it’s been four years now), I have met a few who have become close to me where we manage to see each other once in a while. When we do,  the day is not enough to catch on with each  other’s news. We share on how life has been but often we  talk about our beliefs and our joy in our journey with God.  Last Saturday is one such day I will treasure in my heart. Visiting Padre Pio Chapel always gives me a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness and it was even more magnified spending it with a few close friends that I treasure.  They call me Ate, Tita, Mommy and Ms. A. I don’t mind really because they are affectionate ways  of telling me I am loved. It’s more  of  sharing and laughter, sometimes we cry at those moments of weakness remembering what we’ve been through, sometimes we laugh our hearts out telling simple stories. We cry, we laugh and embrace each other in a show of faith  and love.

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese food. We tried their Pomelo Shrimp Salad (the best there is) with a simple dressing, fresh spring rolls, grilled chicken and grilled pork with fried spring rolls, noodles, mango crepe with ice cream, buko pandan salad.  I love the banana fritters with caramel.  As if the fulfilling lunch was not enough, we had a quick snack at Yellow Cab Pizza. We laughed at some remembered moments during our first two gatherings at Sto. Domingo Church, we talked of catechism 101 (seriously).

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Moments of bliss. And when friends meet, hearts warm.

BTW, this is my 1490th blog per WordPress count. Happy Tuesday to all :)

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