FOOD | Spicy Breaded Eggplant

DSC_6606In an attempt to (i) live a healthier life, and (ii) save money, I am always in the hunt for new vegetable recipes. One of my vegetable obsession nowadays is eggplant. Eggplant is not my favorite vegetable — in fact, I almost hate it, especially when the fruit is too ripe and it has lots of seeds already. The only time I was able to love an eggplant dish was when my mother made tortang talong using small organic eggplants from our town’s TESDA garden. That dish was delicious, so now I am obsessed with eggplants.  Eggplants are quite versatile. In the Philippines, aside from tortang talong, they can be used as extenders for meat, in soups, and in salads. Eggplants are low fat but they also contain almost no nutritional value.

Anyhow, back to my search for new vegetable recipes… I love donburis, so I attempted to replicate one using eggplants. Continue reading “FOOD | Spicy Breaded Eggplant”

FOOD | Beans in Oyster Sauce

Happy hump day!

If you’re at a loss of what to prepare for lunch today, I’m sharing with you one of the easiest and delicious vegetable dish I know how to make (there are not many of them, by the way).

I find that one of the easiest way to add flavor to dishes, especially Southeast Asian style dishes, is adding oyster sauce (I used Mama Sita’s, where I got this recipe). I add this to almost all dishes, like pancit canton, chop suey, adobong squid. But my most favorite (quickest and easiest) dish using oyster sauce is stir-fry beans. Those who are purists though may cringe as oyster sauce is not a natural food seasoning. While oyster sauce was traditionally made from real oysters, bottled oyster sauce nowadays are commonly made using oyster extract, and seasoned with lots of sugar, salt, and MSG. Not very good, I must say — so use in moderation.

To make this dish healthier, omit the oyster sauce, and steam the vegetable

Ingredients:

garlic (loads if you like)

ginger (loads, to add flavor)

baguio beans, or add other vegetables if you like

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Saute the garlic and the ginger. I think the garlic-ginger combination is a winner. Saute the two until you can smell a fragrant aroma.

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Add the beans (or other vegetables of your liking). Make sure you cut or slice the vegetables thinly. This is a stir-fry dish, and the vegetables should still be crispy when they get out of the pan. Add the oyster sauce. IMG_2202

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Serve with freshly fried fish and a heap of steaming rice. 😀

TRAVEL | The Farmhouse in Aloguinsan

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This is my last post from our trip to Aloguinsan in early March (but of course, this does not mean my last trip to Aloguinsan). After enjoying the scrumptious lunch of humba (stewed pork), utang monggos (mung bean soup), and a bottle of cold Coke at Bojo River, we decided to check out The Farmhouse in Aloguinsan, a small farm practicing organic farming, located along the highway. I am always interested in organic farming so I want to see how other people are doing it. Unfortunately, we got there on lunch time, and the place was empty except for a man having his siesta. I had to disturb his sleep and ask him about the place. He was still groggy and all he said was “wala, Ma’am.” And I said, “okay,” and left. Maybe I’ll come back next time.

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This canopy of vegetables upon the entrance reminded me of Racso’s Park in Guimbal, Iloilo. You can book tours for Bojo River, The Farmhouse and other sites in Aloguinsan at EcotourAloguinsan.com

FOOD | Creamy Vegetarian Pasta

At the mention of the word “vegetarian,” many would think that all you can eat are steamed and raw vegetables. Many people would think you are not eating  enough or do not become full. There are many ways to prepare vegetables (the Internet, I’m sure, has many vegetarian recipes) in a delicious way. There are also many dishes that we already prepare at home that we can turn into vegetarian dishes. Of course, humba is not one of them.

Pasta, for example, can become a really delicious vegetarian meal. Mothers who have difficulty letting their kids eat vegetables can try to prepare one delicious vegetarian meal, and the kids won’t even notice they are not eating meat at all. Anyhow, I am not vegetarian, very far from it, but I cook vegetables a lot because of the non-availability of a refrigerating system in my place. Here’s one dish I made two months ago that will make you forget your usual hotdog-pasta combination.

I wish I could say the dish was easy to prepare, but to be honest, it took me more than 1 hour to finish everything. The slicing took some time. Here are the ingredients:

Ingredients:

spiral pasta (thanks to my aunt), cooked

Nestle Cream (maybe any cream would do)

mushrooms

carrots, chopped finely

tomatoes, chopped finely

onions, chopped finely

garlic, chopped finely

Clara Ole Chunky in Basil

butter

Parmesan cheese

McCormick dried basil

some pepper to taste (salt is not needed)

some brown sugar

Procedure:

1. For sauce, saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Add the carrots and mushrooms. Add the tomato sauce. I added a bit of brown sugar to temper the “sourness” of the tomato sauce. When sauce is simmering, add cooked pasta. Stir, stir. Transfer to a beautiful serving dish.

2. For the white sauce, use another pan. Melt a little bit of butter. Add the Nestle Cream. Add grated Parmesan cheese. Season with pepper. Stir, stir. Top pasta with white sauce.

And voila! 😀

To my cousin Vene, there’s my “secret” ingredient to the delicious pasta you ate. 😀

FOOD | Caldeo & Vegetables

green salad with roasted sesame dressing, vegetable & cheese sandwich, and miswa soup

It rained today. It also rained yesterday. And because it’s raining, I thought it might be good to share something that’s perfect for a rainy day. “Caldeo” is the Spanish word for “warming” or “heating” but caldeo also means hot soup made of leftover fish sauteed with spices, added with water and miswa, a kind of Chinese noodles that cooks easily. I’ve been eating caldeo the past weeks because I love miswa. The soup is easy to cook and can easily warm the stomach. While growing up, we usually pair our miswa with sardines and/or patola.

For this caldeo meal, I also ate wheat bread sandwich with cheddar cheese, greens and roasted sesame dressing, and organic greens salad.