25 Nov2013


All this food aid distribution can make one hungry… While we mostly kept going on sandwiches brought up from Cebu City, we weren’t that hungry while on the road in Northern Cebu. But back in Manila for the weekend for previous appointments, I started to feel not only exhausted, but famished as heck. We invited some foreign friends and their visiting guests to dinner one Sunday evening, and I promised to cook a pinoy meal. Nothing calms and rejuvenates me like hitting the market at the crack of dawn and planning out a meal for later in the day. This is what we had that evening. Up top, a cold salad of kamote tops, red katuray flowers (which turned a beautiful purple once cooked), kangkong and tomatoes, dressed with kalamansi/dayap, patis… see similar recipe, here.


There were only 8 people dining that evening, but we enjoyed the leftovers for two further meals the next day. We had a large dish of vegetarian sotanghon, as well as a meatless and seafoodless ginataang kalabasa and long bean dish and one end of the table. Guests had dietary restrictions and I managed a meal totally devoid of pork. Amazing, I know. :)


Vegtarian sotanghon was one of my favorites that evening, recipe here.


The veggies were a bit watery, and we should have added or cooked down the coconut cream some more, but I find fresh coconut milk curdles under high heat. If faced with the same problem, mash some of the squash and mix it into the sauce. The squash we bought was also under-ripe, to exacerbate matters. Similar recipe for this, here, or here.


On either side of the dining table we had a large platter of steamed alimasag, served chilled as this enhances its natural flavor and makes picking the meat out of the shells a little easier. The crab was served with a classic dipping sauce of native vinegar with smashed garlic, and a chili crab sauce specially made for a couple of the guests. This latter move was inspired, and I would do it again. Just make big batches of chili crab sauce and freeze it, and have it ready when you have fresh crab to serve alongside… We also had a platter of chicken inasal (not in any of the photos) for folks who wanted some meat.


Finally, a large dish of kinilaw na tuna or ceviche, with coconut milk and pickled ginger, Marketman household touch that works really nicely, similar recipe here and here. For dessert, guests brought a FANTASTIC homemade carrot cake that I consider to be the best I have ever eaten. Now to wangle a recipe out of the guests… :) At the end of dinner, totally unprovoked, each guest quietly handed me an envelope with funds for relief goods for Northern Cebu. Collected from their friends, office mates, guests, and just dozens of locals and foreigners moved to help, the collective amount I unexpectedly received that night would pay for say another 15-20 sacks of rice… Amazing indeed. :)



  1. pixienixie says:

    In my neck of the woods we actually let the coconut milk curdle, whether we’re cooking ginataang alimango, sugpo, or kalabasa. :D Makes the dish all the more sinful in my opinion. :)

    Nov 25, 2013 | 5:46 pm


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  3. Dragon says:

    MM, you mean “wrangle”…

    Nov 25, 2013 | 6:39 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Dragon, thanks for catching that. :)

    Nov 25, 2013 | 7:02 pm

  5. Natie says:

    I could go for some fresh kamote tops salad right now… That is as beautiful as it gets! A feast well- rewarded!

    Nov 26, 2013 | 7:11 am

  6. Nancy says:

    MM we put malunggay to this ginataan kalabasa and sitaw dish. And to make it more sinful add some fat shrimps too and a bit of ginamos (iloilo) to flavor. Yummm

    Nov 26, 2013 | 8:30 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Nancy, yes, some bagoong, shrimps or crab or even dried fish make great additions to the ginataang kalabasa.

    Nov 26, 2013 | 8:48 am

  8. ami says:

    Nice red, orange and yellow theme you have on your table. From the food, plates, mats, and the decor. Cute gourds and assorted miniature pumpkins.

    Nov 26, 2013 | 9:21 am

  9. Khew says:

    Where do you find the energy!

    Nov 26, 2013 | 5:48 pm

  10. EJ says:

    Ditto, Khew :-)

    Nov 26, 2013 | 10:33 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Khew, the answer is simple… reliable, loyal, competent and long-term crew… :) From food to flowers, marketing and setting up for dinners… I couldn’t do a fraction of what is featured on this blog without them. We take good care of them, and they take good care of us. And they accept I am a bit looney sometimes… :)

    Nov 26, 2013 | 10:50 pm

  12. izang says:

    You really are an inspiration…

    Btw, may i ask where did you get your water glasses? Seems bigger than regular ones. Thanks.

    Nov 26, 2013 | 10:53 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    izang, I purchased them at Pottery Barn in NY several years ago. Large (24oz I think) and very thin glass. Polish made, and surprisingly, just about $2 a piece. They look fragile, but in say 6-7 years of nearly daily use, we have only broken a few out of two dozen or so we shipped home in a balikbayan box. Totally worth the money paid. Not to worry if you aren’t traveling soon, I hear pottery barn/williams sonoma is opening in Makati/Taguig soon. :) Alternatively, in Quiapo and Sin Kian Heng, they have large water glasses for about 40-60pesos each.

    Nov 26, 2013 | 11:01 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Dragon, I have changed the word back to “wangle” defined by googling as:

    “an act or an instance of obtaining something by persuasion or manipulation”

    and not “wrangle” defined by googling as:

    “have a long and complicated dispute”

    I had it right the first time. :)

    Nov 26, 2013 | 11:05 pm

  15. NidaFe O says:

    I left the Philippines when I was young and have treasured the many fond memories of growing up there. I would be lying if I told you that the Pinoyness of your blog is what has gotten me hooked for that would not be entirely true. Your posts are intelligent but not snobbish, you express strong opinions without being preachy, and of course, your food posts are the best!! You admit to experimenting with dishes and openly share the results…best of all, your political views, expressed with just the right amount of exasperation and mild sarcasm and sometimes dark humor, reads better than most Filipino op-ed pieces I’ve encountered. More power to you!!!

    Nov 27, 2013 | 11:03 am

  16. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    One of the (tired) reasons of why Filipino food doesn’t have a higher profile in the west is because it doesn’t present well. Your thoughtful presentation dispells that myth. That’s pretty genius to have a tablescape of gourds and serve ginataang kalabasa. Which reminds me…its dungenous crab season on the west coast. A sumptious pairing.

    Nov 28, 2013 | 11:02 am

  17. Beth Woods says:

    I always have the ginataang kalabasa and Adobo whenever foreign guests are around, while kinilaw is for when I have the extra energy. Anything with coconut milk is always an instant hit.

    When my husband and I were first dating, I cooked Pinoy food for him using only the best ingredients, and he was blown away because he didn’t know how good Pinoy food can be, without all the crap (no Maggi, no hotdogs, no ketchup). More recently, he was given ginataang/adobong pusit which now belongs in his top favorites :)

    Jan 14, 2014 | 4:56 pm


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