Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tuna Fish Surprise


The last time I made Tuna Fish Surprise was in home economics class in seventh grade, which was...hmmmm....over 50 years ago. That was the first time I ever made the dish—a can of tuna fish, a can of cream of mushroom soup, crumbled potato chips, and, I don't know what else. I have a vague feeling we baked the tuna fish on sliced bread. It was after all public school, the 1960s, and the objective to teach us, girls, how to prepare delicious fare cheaply and quickly within 30 minutes or less.

The home ec teacher let us give our dish away to other teachers, which meant being able to roam the hallways during class hours. So, yeah, you bet I went that way. I chose Mr. Anthony, the gruff old science teacher. Why should all the favorite teachers get all the good stuff?

Yesterday was the second time I made a version of the dish. After consulting the cookbooks and the Internet, I figured anything could be put together for this dish. Thus, it's name. Uh-huh. Got it.

To two cans of sustainable tuna fish, I added leftover brown rice, leftover homemade mushroom soup, one rye crisp, a cup of frozen green peas, two stalks of green garlic, and about a cup or so of crumbled potato chips. I also mixed in creamed horseradish and juice from one lemon. The mixture was dumped into a buttered casserole dish, then topped with a thin layer of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Result: The Husband thought it was tasty. Me, okay. Molly the Cat sniffed it and turned away.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Roast Beef Sandwich for Breakfast


I've heard the Husband say at least twice how much he enjoyed his roast beef sandwich for breakfast this morning.

I generally figure every morning that I'll be having a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. Easy-peasy, you know. Some mornings I surprise the Husband and me by making a hot breakfast. I hadn't planned on it today but I started flipping through a cookbook  because I decided to weed out the cookbook collection. After all how many cookbooks do I need when I'm not one to follow a recipe the way it's written?

I didn't know I had a Costco cookbook (I wonder if I got it for free). It has lots of cool photos illustrating short and delicious-sounding recipes from big-time chefs such as Mary Esposito and Jamie Oliver. I found a recipe towards the end of the cookbook that inspired today's breakfast. Coincidentally, the Husband walked into the kitchen as the oven light bulb lit over my head.

The poor Husband. I often, if not nearly almost, don't consider that the Husband is still waking up when I ask him hard questions, like this morning:  "Doesn't horseradish mayonnaise sound good? Would you like a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayonnaise for breakfast?"

"Roast beef sandwich for breakfast," he repeated. He's thinking it's not a breakfast food. He'd like the sandwich. He knows he would. 

"We have horseradish mayonnaise?" he asked. I tell you, I literally saw a question mark over his head.

"No, but I can easily make it. We have horseradish and we have mayonnaise. What do you think? A roast beef sandwich for breakfast. I can add an avocado to it."

"Mmm. We have roast beef?"

"It's in the freezer."

"Meat takes a long time." He kind of looked disappointed.

"It's cooked already. I saw the container of roast beef in the freezer the other day. A few pieces left. I pop them into the toaster oven to defrost. What do you say?"

"Sure, I'll have a roast beef sandwich for breakfast."

The result was a roast beef-farmer's cheese sandwich on sliced sourdough bread, on which I spread a horseradish, avocado, and minced red onion mayonnaise mixture. Next time I'll skip the mayonnaise. I also added an overflowing handful of baby lettuces for good measure. Yummmm.

I ask you: When was the last time you had a roast beef sandwich for breakfast?


Monday, February 5, 2018

A Kitchen Game: Leftovers


How many dishes can you make out of leftovers? Not separate dishes. More like turning leftovers into something left over for more leftovers.

It was either Monday or Tuesday last week that I made pork ribs by first simmering them with fresh garlic and Cajun spices, then broiling them in a toaster oven. For the BBQ sauce, I mixed leftover homemade pizza sauce, made a few days earlier, with horseradish. Sounds horrible, but it tasted mighty good, so the Husband said.

Even though it was a small slab of ribs, we had leftovers. Not enough for two people though. A couple days later, I added the meat to a concoction of garbanzo beans, peas, linguisa, and leftover sauteed onions and mushrooms. I also threw in a couple of frozen tomatoes. That delectable dish was served with Jasmine rice.

There were leftovers.

On Saturday, we happened to be standing in front of a Mexican restaurant. Its doors were wide open so we could enjoy yummy smells. Although mouthwatering, we weren't hungry enough to eat. When we did our food shopping, we bought chips, locally made salsa, and cheddar cheese for nachos. My version involved layering the chips, the leftover pork and garbanzo mixture, some salsa, and shredded cheese. The nachos went well with an oat-based beer.

Leftovers? Yup, about a portion's worth.

I stuck the nachos in the fridge, but being that it's two days later, the leftovers will go into the trash can instead of our tummies.  After all, we have leftovers from yesterday's dinner.




Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Mug of Chocolate Cake

 

Delicious baked sweets are my downfall. Nothing like the right combination of butter, sugar, and flour. Throw in chocolate, oooh-la-la! Call the concoction a doughnut, faaaaan-tas-tic!

It's a good thing a doughnut costs 75 cents or more in this town and nobody makes a good one enough for me to want to buy one anymore. If I want the taste of a delicious doughnut, I'll drive about 10 miles to the next town and pay the extravagant cost of 50 cents for a raised sugar doughnut hole or 75 cents for a cinnamon doughnut hole, a chocolate dipped doughnut hole, an apple fritter doughnut hole, or a cream-filled doughnut hole.

I digress. Back to my topic. You've no doubt come across recipes for microwaving a cake recipe in a cup. Maybe you've even tried one. If you haven't, a microwaved "cup cake" does the trick when you want a sweet taste of something "baked" and don't want the hassle of making it or going to the store. I like that my recipe is quick, easy, and very adaptable. I use a mug instead of a cup because mugs are what we have.

Here's my basic recipe (I use a regular spoon that's about equivalent to a tablespoon measurement):
Mix 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and a quarter teaspoon of baking powder in a mug. Then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of milk. Combine well. Optional: Add a few chocolate chips. Microwave for one minute. If it doesn't look done, microwave for 10 more seconds. The finished product fills about half of the mug.

Last night, I modified my recipe by stirring in 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut to the dry mixture. I didn't have milk so I substituted 1 tablespoon of my homemade limoncello and 1 tablespoon of water. I topped the batter with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese before putting the mug in the microwave.  Yummmm.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Playing in the Kitchen


I made some yumminess for breakfast this morning—cinnamon blueberry biscuits and apple-persimmon compote. Both were made with what was on hand and because I didn't measure precise amounts, we shall not ever taste this exact delightfulness again.

The biscuits were made by crumbling three tablespoons butter in three big spoonfuls of unbleached white flour, a good enough shake from the baking powder tin, and a nice dose of cinnamon. To that, I added honey yogurt (almost two weeks beyond the purchase date) and probably half-a-cup of dried blueberries. I squirted icy water from the dispenser on the fridge door to get the dough to combine, which yielded seven big drop biscuits. They baked for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

The compote may not really be a compote because I didn't make it with some kind of syrup. If I wanted to make a pie, which I might, the concoction would be a delicious filling. Five small somewhat shriveled apples and six small slightly mushy persimmons got chopped into a pot, to which I added a pat of butter, juice from half a lemon, and what was left in the bottle of pear juice, maybe two to three ounces. Everything got cooked for about as long as it took me to go outside and harvest a few lemons, a couple of avocados, and the last of the cherry tomatoes. Also to bring in Molly who was just starting to snooze on her favorite pillow on the bench. She didn't like me doing that. Altogether, about 20 minutes for the compote that may not be a compote.

There are leftovers for another breakfast or maybe a dessert treat later this week. Hurrah!



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Suman


Suman is my all-time favorite Filipino dessert that the Mama made during the Christmas season when I was a kid. It is a decadent sweet rice concoction made from sticky rice (aka glutinous rice and sweet rice), brown sugar, and coconut milk.

The delightfulness about suman is the memory of it being made, usually on a cold, rainy day. I'm anywhere from age four to seven. The Daddy cracks open two or three coconuts, pouring the juice into a waiting glass. I have yet to taste coconut water as good as what I drank way back when.

The Daddy scrapes the coconut meat from the shell carefully and precisely on a a flat, round serrated scraper that he attached to a thick chunk of wood that he straddled. "I want to do it," I say every so often, as I watch the coconut transform into tiny slips of whiteness as it falls from the scraper into a large white metal basin with red trim. Eventually the parents let me sit on the homemade coconut scraper and try for a short bit. It is not easy, and frustrating, as I scrape chunks rather than delicateness from the coconut.

The Mama takes the full basin of grated coconut and somehow turns it into coconut milk with a lot of water and repeated hand wringing of the grated coconut. Then the Mama puts a big pot of sticky rice to cook on the stove. Does it have coconut milk in it? I can't recall. I leave the kitchen after I sample the coconut milk, which is not as tasty as the coconut water. The next thing I know, the Mama sets pans of baked suman on the table.  The smell is heavenly. Mmmmmmm.

In my early 30s, I decided one Christmas to make suman for the first time. From memory. My suman was tooth-meltingly sweet but hard as brick, especially when it cooled. That was the last time I made suman.

Two weeks ago I came a across a bin of organic glutinous rice which triggered a desire for the Mama's suman so I purchased enough to cook in a small rice cooker. Instead of making the dessert from what I think the Mama did, I searched for an Ilocano recipe on Google.

Ha! suman does not have loads of butter in it, which was what made my heavy-as-a-brick concoction. Butter is used, but only for greasing the baking pans. Also, you make a sauce out of coconut milk and brown sugar, stir half of the sauce into the rice, then pour the rest over the sweet rice once it's in the baking pan.

My suman didn't taste as sweet or as awesome as the Mama's, but I am pleased with the result. I modified the recipe using far less brown sugar and adding about half-a-cup of Kahlua to the canned coconut milk.  I didn't use all of the sauce. If I remember today, I'll put the remainder in the freezer, just like what the Mama did with her leftover grated coconut and didn't ever use again.



Friday, December 22, 2017

Chicken Bittermelon Soup!


Hurrah! I finally had chicken bittermelon soup yesterday. Slurp, slurp. Mmmmmm.

The day before we stopped at a Filipino market in Watsonville and almost immediately saying hello to me was a display of bittermelon (parria to me) and bittermelon leaves. I've been craving bittermelon for the last several months. Unless I grow it, we have to travel far and almost wide to purchase the vegetable.

The Daddy and the Mama grew bittermelon in their vegetable garden every summer. When I was a kid the Mama made chicken bittermelon soup at least once a week. Slurp, slurp. It wasn't until the Mama was 90 or so that I finally paid attention to how she made it.

Wash and drain the chicken in the cooking pot, then steam the chicken (no additional water yet) with ginger and garlic (how much is your choice). At that magical moment (just before the chicken skin burns in the pot) pour water to cover the chicken and then-some. Put the lid on the pot and step away from the stove. Let the concoction simmer until you think you smell chicken in the air. Now is the time to add the chopped bittermelon if you have it. Let the soup simmer for about five minutes, then add the bittermelon leaves. Cook until the leaves are tender, perhaps another five minutes. 

The Husband doesn't like bittermelon. Much too bitter for him. More for me, I say.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Drying Persimmons


Once upon a time the Husband and the Mama each bought me a simple dehydrator for Christmas. The Mama let me choose my present from her, while the Husband said, "Surprise!" I'm spoiled rotten, I tell you.

Yes, I returned one dehydrator.

As for the kept dehydrator, I experimented with it once. The dehydrator was nothing more than five plastic trays sitting on top of a plastic base that has a heating element in it. Both the Mama and I agreed that it took a lot of hours to dry a handful of fruit. Not to say I had to interrupt whatever I was doing to rotate the trays every two hours. After that one time I cleaned the trays and put everything back into its box.

On Sunday, I decided that I wanted to dry some persimmons so I brought out the dehydrator. Instructions stated that it would take at least 24 hours to dry the fruit, which I figure would be about five or six persimmons. I didn't like the idea of the flimsy-looking machine being on while we slept. Besides I would need to get up to rotate the trays every two hours. What a baby of a machine!

Martha Stewart saved my day! Should I say night?

I found a Martha Stewart recipe for dehydrating persimmons in the oven. Place thinly sliced persimmons on a wire rack over a cookie pan. Bake for two to two-and-a-half hours at 250 degrees. I was able to fit five persimmons worth of slices on the rack. Ha!

Some slices came out slightly burnt, having the texture of potato chips. They tasted okay. Other slices came out orange and rubbery. They tasted even better. With more experimenting, I'll eventually find the right oven temperature, time in the oven, and slice thickness to get dehydrated persimmons that look like the ones you buy in the store.

That dehydrator? I might put it out in a yard sale or repurpose it into succulent planters.



Monday, November 27, 2017

Spaghetti Pizza


Ever had spaghetti pizza?

The other day I used leftover spaghetti, made with a friend's awesome marinara sauce, as the "sauce" for a pizza. The spaghetti had zucchini, red pepper, yellow onion,  two huge handfuls of spring salad mix, and brie. On top of the spaghetti went layers of red onion, pepperoni, green olives, pimento, and farmer cheese.

The marinara sauce was homemade by friend Gloria who grinds her own mixture of dried herbs and spices. The sauce had a light and mellow taste. Subtle and sophisticated. Wowza wow wow!

Gloria gave us two tubs of her sauce, one for the freezer.  There are so many possibilities for the second tub. I could use it as a base for a cioppino or make a pasta dish with Italian sausage, for example. Both the Husband and I agree that we could even slurp up the sauce straight as soup. Yummmmm.

Thank you, Gloria!



Friday, October 27, 2017

Sizzle, Sizzle. Sizzle.


Yesterday I fried chicken for the Husband's and my main meal, which some may consider a very late lunch or a rather early dinner. I've been wanting to taste fried chicken for the last several days.

Fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Nibble, nibble.

The best fried chicken I've ever eaten was cooked by the Daddy, perfectly crisp on the outside and moist inside. It has been over 35 years since I ate the Daddy's fried chicken.

Recently I decided it's not worth buying already-made fried chicken from any of the options in our town. It's too disappointing. Too greasy. Too dry. Too salty. And so forth and so on.

So, this Missus Lady (as Molly the Cat calls me) cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks; shook them in a bag of flour, paprika, turmeric, mustard power, garlic powder, black powder, and salt; and fried them in olive oil. Sizzle, sizzle. 

The result was quite tasty. Nibble, nibble.

The best part about eating fried chicken yesterday was remembering how I liked to watch the Daddy make fried chicken. Sizzle, sizzle.


Starting today, I'm posting daily for the next 365 days. I'm hoping to re-discover my voice. La, la, la, la. 



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Limoncello by Me!


Yup! I made limoncello.  Not just say I'm going to make it like I have the past 13 years.

It tastes pretty good, too. The Husband said, "Whoa!" on the first day of tasting. Potent. Today, the fourth day, he said, "It has mellowed." Yup. Still potent, but now the lemony taste is coming through.

I chose Giada de Laurentiis' limoncello recipe because it didn't require months of waiting for the solution to do it's thing in a closet before we can drink it. Yup. Instant gratification.

Of course I modified the recipe as I went along. I pared lemon peels from 15 lemons and added lemon juice to the sugar syrup. I waited six days to decant the liqueur because I didn't have any bottles and jars. The recipe says that it's good in the refrigerator for a month, but I think it can last longer. After all I used the Costco brand of vodka, which is 60 proof. Yeah, dragon fire. But, remember, it's a mellow fire. Giggle.

I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at JeshStG Artwork. Click here to check out the other participants. Thank you, Jesh.





Saturday, July 1, 2017

Taking a Break for Writing


Note: I wrote this post yesterday from the iPad, then sent it to my computer by email. Perhaps one day I'll learn to cope and paste on iPad. Anyway, by evening, I was too pooped to get on the computer and publish this post. In the end, does it really matter if I had? :-)

I'm taking a short writer's break from being a domestic goddess. Brief no doubt because I have been thinking about writing that first sentence for the last 10 minutes. Every so often that sentence repeated itself in my brain when I wasn't distracted by The Solid Gold Oldies music station on TV playing in the background and by the ambitious things I want to complete before dinner begging for mental attention.

Sigh.

I forgot. What was the intent of this post?

Probably to brag about the things I have finally got to and then some. Should that be one word: then some, thensome?

To my great surprise the Blenheim apricot tree gifted us—and the birdies—with many branches full of fruit. We can't eat the apricots faster than they ripen on the tree. For every apricot we pick, one smashes on the ground. Not a bad ratio, considering we thought the tree wasn't interested in producing anymore.

This afternoon I finally turned off the computer and took care of the apricots. I froze a bunch of fruit, baked an apricot pie, made apricot pouches with the leftover filling and pie crust, and created a spicy sesame apricot salsa. Olé!

Cleanup took longer. That's what I'm resting from, which is about to be over.

Next on my agenda is to pare lemon rind and soak them in vodka for my first ever attempt at making limoncello. I've been wanting to try that for the past 13 years. 

Until later.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Setting Around-the-House Goals


Some mornings I wake up with a mission in my mind. Today, for example, the goal for the Husband and me is to bring down another bookcase to the living room from upstairs.

Very easy, you say.

Certainly.

As long as I keep us on task, which means not getting distracted by something else. I have a not-so-committed goal to make something out of cabbage and ground turkey. Maybe make a non-stuffed cabbage casserole. Stuffing cabbage sounds too time-consuming. I know: What else do I have to do? Well, bring down the bookcase and all the books in that bookcase. I'd also like to go outside and prune the apricot tree while it's still cold. And, maybe one or two of the scraggly rose bushes.

It's nearly 11:35 a.m. See what I mean about getting distracted. No? Well, I just wrote this post.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cheers to a New Calendar Year!


"What got into you?" asked the Husband, looking across the table as I cracked walnuts.

"The bananas got browner just like you said would happen," I answered. We bought the bunch of organic bananas yesterday afternoon. I only wanted three bananas, but when I saw that the bananas were a bunch for a dollar, I couldn't bring myself to buy three bananas when I could purchase eight for the same price. Would you?

I don't remember if I fully answered the Husband's question. I recall that he went back to checking out Facebook so I must've said that I want the walnuts for making banana bread. Now I think I'll bake scones. Easier. Then I'll freeze the rest of the bananas. I found out I don't even need to peel, slice, or stick them in freezer bags. And when I want to use one or two for baking or smoothies, I simply microwave the bananas for a minute or two. Voila!

It's been a good new year so far. I've been very productive, too. Along with cracked walnuts, I've made a pot of New Years' beans and rice, wrote a couple of short pieces (I'm including this post), brought some books downstairs,  and envisioned a bit more about how the living room shall look. The Husband and I went down to the storage lockers and brought back a few boxes and things and looked in the attic to see what the Mama hid there. 

I know. What's gotten into me? The possibilities of the new year I suppose. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

May you all have peace, joy, and wonder in 2017!


To start the new year, I'm linking up with All Seasons, a joyful meme hosted by Jesh. Click here to check out the meme. Maybe you'd like to join in as well.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yummy Pumpkin Bibingka


"I'm going to make bibingka," I said on Christmas morning.

"Do you know how to make bibingka?" asked the Husband. 

The Husband forgot that I've baked this Filipino dessert a few times before. Of course it was easy for him to forget since the Mama liked to make this cake treat nearly every Christmas and for any day she deemed special.  I don't know if I'll carry on the Mama's annual holiday tradition. It simply felt good to have some kind of warm sweetness enveloping the house on Christmas morning.

The tradition I will carry on is the Mama's like to experiment with recipes. I read a recipe for pumpkin mochi which I thought would translate quite well into pumpkin bibingka. Both recipes use sweet rice flour rather than wheat flour. Instead of condensed milk, I used a combination of coconut milk and lactose-free whole milk. I'd give you the recipe but I modified it as I was going and you know how that goes.

The result turned out pretty yummy. Not too sweet since I cut the sugar by a third.  I was surprised that the pudding-texture of the cake came out almost like the Mama's, which means I may have approximated the secret ratio of liquid to dry ingredients that the Mama used. Nearly every Filipino woman has her own unique take on bibingka once she has mastered the basic recipe.

"It's like pumpkin pie without the crust," said the Husband.

I think the Mama would've liked it, too.


Y is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that has been around for 10 years. Thank you, ABCW team!  Want to join or check out the participants? Then click here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Time Flies. . .


When you have much to do. Yup. Time flies. Fly, fly, time.

Within the next six hours, I plan to do this:

Finish the Husband's tunic. All I need to do is attach the sleeves and sides, then hem it up.

Make an appetizer.  The Husband and I are going to a party tonight. Fun. Maybe I'll make cheesy olive balls. They're easy to make, but that means going to the store for olives and cheddar cheese.

Put together a photo collage.  It's for a luncheon fundraiser tomorrow. I could probably do that after the party, if I print the photos beforehand. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Get this post done.  I threw this in so I can feel like I'll have accomplished something once its published.  Always look for the positive, I say.

Thank goodness, I finished reading my novel last night, otherwise I'd forget about doing these things I plan to do. Enchanted  August by Brenda Bowen.  Just like the title, the story was enchanting.

I could go for either a cup of coffee or a lovely cocktail.  That's not going to happen. So, I'll just pretend to smell the flowers.  See ya.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Domestic Diva Challenge -- One Down!


Ha! I completed  #4 on my list of seven things to do before the summer ends. 

A jar of lemon peels covered with vodka is now sitting in the cupboard with the glasses. In four to six weeks, it will become lemon extract. I hope, I hope. 

The first thing I plan to make with the stuff is lemon cookies. They were the first—and when I think of it, the only—cookies that the Mama baked when I was a small kid. They were perfectly round, golden, and yummily lemon flavored. I have yet to taste a lemon cookie that rivals my memory of the Mama's cookies. 

If you're curious, this was my recipe, which I adapted from Mommypotamus's.
  1. Zested 9 medium lemons. Don't get any of the white peel. 
  2. Place lemon strips in a jar and cover with about 1.5 cup of vodka. 
  3. Shake well, then put in a cupboard.
The rest of the instructions are from Mommypotamus:
  1. Shake the mixture every day for a week.  
  2. Shake every so often for 4 to 6 weeks, which I shall translate as once every 3 or 4 days. 
  3. Strain the lemon peels and pour lemon extract into clean jars. 
  4. Store in cabinet or refrigerator.

What will I do with those lemons I zested? (The zester is a very cool tool by the way.) Make lemonade!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Seven Things to Do Before Summer Ends


It's time for me to make a list of all domestic diva things I want to accomplish this summer. Otherwise, I will just vaguely think about doing them, which in my world means "I'll do it tomorrow." As we all know, tomorrow really never comes.

I shall ring Tilda-Hilda's ding-a-ling bell and...and...and...proclaim my list of things I shall complete before the first day of Autumn.


1. Sew the Husband another tunic.

2. Sew myself a tunic.

3. Sew the Christmas vest for the Husband, which I said I would do....uhm, two Christmases ago.


4. Make lemon extract.

5. Make limoncello.

6. Make candied ginger.

7. Bake energy bars. So, Tilda-Hilda and I can pedal farther and further down roads.

I can do these seven things. I can!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow


Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.


There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.
 

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.


Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for a Zip! Zing! Zee! Party


Congratulations to all of us bloggers of the Blogging from A-to-Z April Challenge! We did it. Zzzzzzzooo-hoooooo!

So, for you, today, I'm cooking up a virtual feast as my final entry for my food theme. Enjoy!

Appetizers
• Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls. Of course! I can't throw a party without lumpia)
• Potstickers
• Inari Sushi (Deep-fried bean curd skins stuffed with rice, peas, and salmon
• Assorted fresh vegetables with onion dip


Main and Side Dishes
Kalua pork
• Grilled salmon
Pancit  (Filipino noodle dish)
• Stir-fry vegetable medley (onions, garlic, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, tiny corn, and water chestnuts)
• Kim chee
• Bamboo relish (The Mama's awesome, delicious, pickled spicy bamboo. Double yum!)
• Brown rice


Desserts
• Apple Pie, Ollalieberry Pie, and Cherry Pie
• Suman (Coconut glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves)
• Fresh watermelon and pineapple

Drinks
• Local handcrafted beer
• Local wines
• Apple juice (locally produced, of course)
• Water

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.