I scream for Steamed Vegetables

This recipe is also interchangeable and the same as the recipe I have posted regarding grilled vegetables. Like what I mentioned in that post, there are also no rules as long as you don’t overcook them.  There are endless options how you want to eat them. I normally eat them in replacement of rice.  The okra, I eat as snack sometimes. This way, I can eat more with lesser carbs and calories. So instead of eating 1 cup of rice, I would eat most of the veggies and have only a quarter cup of rice. I know, I know….it’s  so easy to say than done. For some of you guys, you probably are already starting to either raise one of your eyebrows and/or start squirming…..I totally understand (wink, wink)

steamed okra, bittermelon, eggplant, and young sweet potato leaves. Chopped onion and chopped tomatoes with mango and cilantro. all can be dipped or mixed into the shrimp paste like a salad.

Sometimes, I don’t mind eating steamed food like fish or vegetables as it is more simple and easier in our digestive system. Pairing it with just the right herbs, seasoning or condiments make it so perfect to eat, just like what some Filipinos normally do especially if they are trying to be more health conscious. Now, it’s a different story if you will soak your food with a lot of salt, soy sauce or worst fish sauce, that’s a big no-no! Just like some people I know, who would eat a green salad but slather them with dressing! It just defeats the purpose. Just keep in mind that as long as you can taste the flavor, it doesn’t have to be salty or too rich for you to enjoy them. Moderation is the key.

boiled okra w anchovy sauce and lemon
steamed okra with olive oil, lemon, salt and ground pepper…yummoh

Prep Time: 7-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 Eggplant

1 small bittermelon

4-6 stalks of long beans

8-10 pcs okra

1 cup young tender leaves of sweet potato (talbos ng kamote)

**Seasoning/Condiment #1: (Italian style)

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of lemon

1/2 tsp pink salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp of parmesan cheese

1 tsp pink salt

pinch of pepper flakes(optional)

 

**Seasoning/Condiment #2:(Filipino style)

1 tbsp of lemon or kalamansi(Philippine lime)

1 tbsp of anchovy sauce(bagoong balayan) OR

1 tbsp. of shirmp paste (bagoong alamang)

1/2 of chili pepper(optional)

Directions:

  • Boil water.  Put salt
  • Boil eggplant first for like 5-7 minutes. Then set aside eggplant
  • Boil long beans for 5-7 minutes. Then set aside
  • Boil the sweet potato leaves for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside
  • Boil okra for 2-3 minutes. Set aside. Change water
  • Boil bittermelon for 7-8 minutes
  • Serve in platter
  • Mix your preferred seasoning in a small bowl
  • Eat with or without rice

Tips:

1. Okra doesn’t need to be fully cooked, the longer you cook them, the more slippery it gets. For boiled okra, I like them a little crunchy so I can snack on them even with just  a sprinkle of olive oil, lemon juice, ground pepper and a pinch of salt.

2. This can be made as a salad as well if you want to. However, only few salad dressing that can compliment with these type of vegetables like oriental, or the ginger dressing.

3. Other vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli or even cabbage  also be boiled and add some seasoning like the Italian.  Shredded cheddar cheese on top would be perfect also. Or even just the Tarjin, Furikake or Sriracha would be good!

4. Anything fried or grilled is perfect to be paired them with.

Enjoy!

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an Art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements”. – Xavier Marcel Boulestin (French Chef)

Grilled Veggies as easy as 1-2-3

This recipe is inter-changeable depending on what vegetables or marinate you want to use. Most of the time, the ingredients for the seasoning is already either in your pantry or in your fridge. There are a thousand and endless ways to make your grilled vegetables so don’t be afraid to experiment according to your liking. The only rule is: Just be careful on overseasoning and overcooking them. The simple flavor of seasoning with the addition of the smoky taste in it is already more than enough. For me. At least for my palate.  That’s how I want to enjoy my vegetables, but of course feel free to make them the way you want to. If that’s the only way I can convince you to eat your veggies (wink, wink)

You can make this recipe and have some extra to set aside to add to your salad as toppings as well. They are good for 3-4 days and you can eat it cold. Yummm!

 

grilled veggies – carrots, eggplant, celery, red bell pepper, sweet Anaheim peppers

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Servings: 3-4

Vegetables you can use:

  • 1 zucchini (sliced vertically or small cubes is fine)
  • 1 carrot (sliced vertically or small cubes is fine)
  • 1 cup cut cauliflower
  • 1 cup cut brocolli
  • 1 eggplant (sliced vertically or small cubes is fine)
  • 1 stalk of asparagus (cut off the tough end about 1 inch long)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 sweet Anaheim peppers
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato

Dressing or Seasoning you can use:

  • Oriental dressing
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Italian Dressing
  • Olive oil/salt/pepper/lemon juice for a tangy flavor
  • Olive oil/salt/pepper/lemon juice and honey for a sweeter flavor
grilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes

Directions:

1. Preheat griddle for 3-4 minutes. Set to medium high fire.

2. Line up the vegetables in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes each side.  Cover so that heat are evenly distributed and for faster cooking. If you want it crunchy, make sure  don’t overcook.

3. Turn over once only

4. Serve with rice, meat,  as side dish, snack, appetizer or as salad topping

5. This is also good for some fruits like pineapple, apple, plum, nectarine, and more. You’ll be surprised how good they are grilled! ;p

Bon Appetit!

Tips:

  • If you want your veggies softer, you can parboil them before grilling. This is only recommended for the hard ones i.e. carrots, sweet potato, potato, Do not overcook as they tend to either gets mushy or too soft. Seasoning them while boiling is perfect
  • Using Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle is so helpful esp if you don’t have an outdoor griller
  • If you have the small toaster/convectional oven, it’s great to use for broiling your veggies as well

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an Art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements”. – Xavier Marcel Boulestin (French Chef)

This oval pan cover is so perfect for grilling my veggies. Found it at one mom and pop Asian Novelty store by itself
Portobello mushroom and zucchini
grilled pineapple
grilled pineapple and the core itself. I like eating it too as they are crunchy

 

Okra Curry

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Cooking Time: 40-45 mins

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 small knob ginger root (grated)
  • 5 cloves garlic ( chopped)
  • 1 whole red chilli , deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 medium tomatoe (cubed and deseeded)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 400 ml canned coconut milk
  • Okra – cut up in 1 inch pcs.  2 cups or 1 pack(normally packed in Styrofoam packages)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Okra Curry

Directions:

1. Heat pan in low fire. Sautee onions, garlic and ginger in oil. Wait until soft and brown

2. Add in tomatoes. Stir for 5 minutes

3. Pour in all dried ingredients except the chili. Add the salt

4. Stir for another 5 minutes then pour coconut milk. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes in low fire

5. Add water, chili and fish sauce. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes until sauce thickens to medium consistency only. You don’t want it to be too thick

6. Take some extra sauce out from the pan and leave enough for the okra. Pour the extra sauce in a jar or Tupperware for later use

7. Add okra into the pan and stir. Simmer in low fire for no more than 10 minutes. I like my okra with a little crunch and over-boiling them makes it more slippery. But you can cook it longer if you want for softer texture.

Tips:

  • This recipe is good for about a couple batches of servings. The extra sauce can be saved and preserved in the freezer for 10-12 weeks. I always make extra and would divide them in 1 and/or 2 pint portions. That way, if I want to make any type of curry dish, it is just there ready to be used at a later date. They can also be used as dips for appetizers. You can buy either nan or pita bread to use.
  • You can use chicken, lamb, pork, beef or any seafood that you prefer. Just sautee the meat/seafood with little bit of onion and garlic, then add the sauce and around 1/4 cup of water, then simmer until it thickens. Voilah! You have great-tasting curry dish in few minutes!
  • Vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower, and potatoes also tastes great when cooked in curry sauce.
  • Having a spice blender to grind all your dry ingredients would help you faster, but if you have a mortar and pestle is fine.
  • If you haven’t tried, they are great as dips and salad dressings too. You can buy pita or nan bread and make as appetizers or as a snack.

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an Art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements”. – Xavier Marcel Boulestin (French Chef)

Night Market at the San Francisco Mint

I came and I saw.

I worked for a company who is dedicated and support volunteerism passionately. Our “ASIA” group signed up to participate as part of the volunteer group for this event. I was able to witness their first event which happened on August 18th. This is a non-profit organization festival  that showcases Filipino food, music, dance, culture, poets, and vendors every 3rd Friday of the month. It is located at the The San Francisco Mint.  Every Filipino or whoever is willing to experience should witness what this organization has to offer to the community.  It was a great turnout of people who came, although there are still a lot of room for improvement, the downside was that there were not enough spaces and/or rooms to cater to all these masses of people who came. That’s actually a good problem considering more people came and patronized than what were expected. What amazes me is that although there were people who got turned down for entry(due to maximum capacity was reached) had negative feedbacks, a lot of people were still very positive and understanding. They are still willing to go back, try and give it another chance. This is how you support your community! I’m sure they‘re taking steps towards improving the overall experience. My suggestion for their music collaboration is that they should also cater the older generation, i.e. , 70’s and 80’s music and play some popular Filipino songs.

Continue reading “Night Market at the San Francisco Mint”

Are we really what we are with what we eat and drink?

What we are with what we eat and what we drink?

How healthy can we really be by eating foods and drinking stuff we think is good for us? The reason so many people hit an energy wall every day has everything to do with what they’re putting into their bodies. I know that most of us think that eating healthy is a constant battle in our daily lives. Main reason is that everyone thinks it is more expensive than most of fast food and junk foods that we can easily buy.  It is a scientifically proven fact that our food choices affect our health! We all know that already, yet, still stubborn or just too complacent to act on it. However, sometimes, it’s either the habits, culture, lifestyle and financial restraint is one of the culprits that hinder us from eating healthier. The old saying, we are what we eat, is true. Every cell in our body was created from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. In addition to nourishing our bodies, food also affects the quality of our lives, our appearance, moods, weight, energy, the aging process and our overall health and well-being.

I make my own organic pickled onions, garlic and ginger with chili peppers that I bought from the Farmer’s Market. We use vinegar a lot as condiments when eating some Filipino dishes.

Are genetically modified foods good for us?

These days, people are getting more and more aware of GMO foods, (Genetically Modified Organisms.)  A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Scientists insert a gene from one organism into another to “improve” or change the organism. These GMO foods were found to have been sneaking into our diets since 1995. I read an article that tomatoes were the first foods to be modified. They are modified to have a longer shelf life and so they will not freeze during cold seasons. Also, strawberries and many other fruits are modified to grow year-long so they can be bought anytime of the year. Makes sense. In order to make crops have a longer life, they insert a special gene, called Bt- toxin so that crops are more resistant to pests. These were mostly used on corn and cotton plants. Now, we ask ourselves: Are they a big contributing factor to all the diseases that are so prevalent today? Does this really have something to do with what we eat and what we drink?

These are baked organic chicken wings, with organic carrots and celery from Farmer’s Market

 

I truly believe that most of the chronic diseases plaguing the world today can be drastically reduced with better choices in our food and drink intake. If you have been watching the news, documentary videos or read articles about on how some countries are also manipulating and trying to inject chemicals so that they will look fresh,  colorful and plump for exporting, you would not believe your eyes seeing it. In the Philippines, we always see on the news on how fake rice is being sold to a lot of consumers and get sick. It is real and happening. It. is. really. sickening.

Once a month treat: Dimsum – chicken feet, fried tofu, chicken and dried fish fried rice, steamed pork/shrimp dumpling, roast duck, shrimp ball, steamed pork ribs and fresh sea urchin

Some of the independent research that has been done on biotech crops has revealed troubling health implications. A 2009 International Journal of Biological Sciences study found that rats that consumed Roundup Ready corn (produced by Monsanto) for 90 days developed a deterioration of liver and kidney function. Another study found irregularities in the livers of rats, suggesting higher metabolic rates resulting from a Roundup Ready soybean diet.

So, being aware of what we feed our bodies and how that food is produced is of paramount importance. We should think with our bodies, because what goes on in the inside shows on the outside. Feeding your body nutritional foods possible heals your body better than any drugs! Food is not just for the taste buds, it is for nourishing every cell in your body. They say if you don’t want medicine to be your food, let food be your medicine now, before it’s too late. Sometimes, I am guilty myself  for eating junk foods couple of days a week but I am only human so I get tempted once in awhile especially on weekends. We all do. Of course, who wouldn’t want to enjoy their weekends? However, this keeps me back on track for the workweek after the weekend of binging. So I just offset and kick those junks out by detoxing and consuming mostly fish, fruits and vegetables. I believe that Food is healing and that when we connect our relationship with food deeper, we unleash it ‘s power. We should recognize that food and nutrition are critical components in living well so it can contribute to a more positive and confident outlook throughout our lives.

meal prepping helps a lot in making healthy options

I am not really at my best on healthy-eating. All I can say is just to keep it balanced and enjoy life!I know it is and will be a big leap for some of us to be more conscious on what food and drinks to buy. Keep checking every label on the shelf before we even decide to make that purchase. Some might say it would be really difficult not to be able to buy stuff without some of the products that has GMO, but at least eliminating some of them from our lists and/or diet will help. Motivation will get you started and habit will make you keep on going. Start buying and eating organic fruits and veggies from your local farmers. Somehow, it will give you a sense of accomplishment that you are contributing to the success of small businesses and contributing in keeping our environment pesticide free.

Organic cilantro, eggplant, cucumber and onions

Unfortunately, our food industry is dominated by a handful of powerful corporations that control nearly every aspect of how our food is produced. Monsanto, for example, now owns a staggering number of seed companies that are genetically modified. I don’t believe in supporting big companies that dictate what I put on the table and making decisions on what is best for us – the customers. It’s all about them making increasing their bottom line and what is best for their profits and not what is best for us. GMO foods are not going to solve nutrition problems or feed the world- they are all about corporate control and profit.

We all have to start somewhere.  It just all begins with Consciousness, which will lead to Awareness, that follows by each one’s interest with the result of Action by making a Decision.

Just remember, “A healthy outside starts from the inside”.

sautéed beet leaves in onions

– Robert Urich