14 Jun2009


We’ve been away for the Independence Day holiday, hence the lack of posts since Thursday. But it was a wonderful long weekend, with several kitchen experiments that turned out really well. So we are relaxed, have absorbed enough vitamin D for weeks (sunburn), and on the way home this afternoon managed to do one of my favorite food related activities… foraging at roadside stands on the way back from Nasugbu to Manila. We did particularly well today…


At our first stop, a very congenial vendor sold and prepped for us 15 fresh coconuts, and at PHP7 each, they were a bargain, labor for chopping off the shells included. We also got 8 kilos of avocados, from small to large, ripe to 3-days away from ripe. At PHP25 a kilo, another bargain. At the same vendor, we also scored a medium sized jackfruit or langka, bargained down to PHP200, a bit pricey given our access to them from a highly prolific tree at our office in Cebu… but this was a particularly attractive langka, obviously ripened on the tree, due to its skin coloration, and yet still a day or two from bursting open with a car sickening pungency.


From one of my favorite sources, the Toscana Farm stand at the Caltex station between the Tagaytay rotunda and Sta. Rosa, we got several sizes of tomatoes, some 6 kilos in all, several gorgeous yellow peppers (a day or two shy of being fully ripe), some small western style eggplants and a MYSTERY SPECTACULAR ONCE IN A LIFETIME SO FAR find at the back of these photos above. I will do a separate post on this “shocking” discovery at a local farm stand…


Further down the road we loaded up on freshly harvested pineapples at PHP200 for 12 pieces, and 36 ears of sweet corn at PHP9 each. Back at home, much of the produce was sent off to neighbors and friends, and all of our crew with families took a little of everything home with them as well. Oh, and I forgot, some 10 kilos of fish purchased the day before at the market… So stay tuned for a brief hiatus to the Parisian posts, (but don’t worry, I only covered the FIRST day of our Paris trip so far), and I hope to have a few posts from the last weekend up in the next few days. The blog has been quiet, but I was cooking, observing, photographing and writing… Enjoy the still life photographs above and return soon for some interesting recipes, ingredients and miscellaneous posts on the birds and the bees… :)



  1. Nomadic Pinoy says:

    Your neighbors and friends must be a lucky bunch to get pasalubong so carefully picked by your discerning eyes.

    Jun 14, 2009 | 7:15 pm


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  3. Apicio says:


    Jun 14, 2009 | 7:31 pm

  4. GayeN says:

    looks like citron to me too…

    it also looks like the ‘bumpy’ lemons from my mom’s backyard :)

    Jun 14, 2009 | 7:54 pm

  5. artisan chocolatier says:

    Miss those western style eggplants….is that a winter squash?

    Jun 14, 2009 | 7:58 pm

  6. k. ramos says:

    The bell peppers are gorgeous! I imagine them roasted, stuffed with rice and beans, topped with cheese and broiled till the cheese melts. YUM!

    Jun 14, 2009 | 8:01 pm

  7. Susie says:

    Looks like citron…I have a tree in my back garden. HUGE fruit.

    Jun 14, 2009 | 8:43 pm

  8. jade186 says:

    Looks a bit like the Italian cedro, but could also be the citrus bergamot?

    Jun 14, 2009 | 9:54 pm

  9. Marketfan says:

    at first I thought that was a guava, although it looks a bit too long and too yellow…what is it? love the photo of the avocados

    Jun 14, 2009 | 10:08 pm

  10. sister says:

    You started foraging with brother-in-law out on the North Shore of Long Island.

    Jun 14, 2009 | 10:45 pm

  11. Connie C says:

    I can see an avocado or two, sliced and lightly heated in butter, some cream then poured over (butter) fried grouper fillets; some salt and ground pepper to taste, and a squeeze of lemon if you wish. Dalishously rich!!!

    Jun 14, 2009 | 10:45 pm

  12. Zerho says:

    Looks like a good haul of fruits and vegetables! IS that cacoa fruit?

    Jun 14, 2009 | 10:58 pm

  13. kurzhaar says:

    Marketman, what kind of avocado is that? I like the Hass best of all, though I have had good Bacon and Fuerte avocados. I can never get over the high prices of Hass avocados on the East coast, when I was used to buying a ten-pound sack of ripe Hass avocados for 4 dollars, straight from the grove.

    Did the Mexican use of avocados migrate with the fruit? I love a good guacamole (diced avocado, NOT mashed) with a bit of sharp Mexican onion, a touch of garlic, piles of cilantro, and plenty of lime…coarsely diced tomato (seeded and drained) optional and not overdone. This is the way a friend in Guadalajara taught me how to make guacamole, and it is much nicer than the mashed version.

    Jun 14, 2009 | 11:26 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, not sure what variety of avocados these are, but they aren’t the knobbly haas variety they have in California… these were definitely brought over during the spanish times, but no, I don’t think we took on the guacamole type of dish. Instead, Filipinos have gone OTT sweet. A favorite way to enjoy these is as a snack or dessert… ripe avocados scooped into a bowl, some milk and lots of sugar added and eaten mashed up. Some put it in the freezer to chill it up a bit. Others make them into sweet avocado popsicles or ice cream. Personally, I love them in salads. Zerho, not cacao, but I can see why you would think that… Marketfan, post on it coming up soon. Artisan, nope, not squash… :)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:06 am

  15. Lorraine C says:

    I think the yellow citron looking veggie is a papaya. Is it MM?

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:32 am

  16. pegi says:

    MM, that yellow fruit looks like my Meyer lemons in my backyard.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 1:57 am

  17. fried-neurons says:

    Darn it. I was gonna say cacao also.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 2:26 am

  18. betty q. says:

    That eggplant, MM is what my Romanian friend uses to make her roasted eggplant dish the name of which I cannot recall at the moment. Every summer, I buy a whole case of that eggplant and it is canning time as well…it is very delicious. You have to try it if you have alot of those eggplants. I do not have exact measurements because I taste it as I go along …all it is …roast the eggplants in the oven until charred. Then peel and dice the pulp. Then roast sweet red peppers as well uintil charred and remove the skin. dice them too. Chop a lot of onions and garlic. Saute those in olive oil until soft and caramelized. Then add the eggplant and peppers and as Marc would say..”SANGKOTCHA” those. Season with salt/pepper. Then add some prepared tomato sauce. Now don’t let it swim in tomato sauce. Simmer until soft but not too mushy. Then put in sterilized jars and process. I eat it straight from the jar often but it is a good topping over toasted baguette slices much like bruschetta. …also on pasta.

    Another eggplant thing I learned from my Italian friend Rosa is like a pickled eggplant, I used to buy it at an upscale Italian deli in Vancouver but not any more! It is a long process ..takes at least 3 days but well worth it! I peel the eggplant and cut thenm into strips like french fries cut. Then layer salt and eggplant in a clean plastic or glass container. Set aside 1 day. Next day, rinse thoroughly and squeeze the water out of the eggplant. Now, boil vinegar and let cool. Pour over the eggplant and let it sit for 1 more day. Next day…drain and squeeze. Slice a lot of garlic, add prep some dried chili peppers if you want zip. I do so I add them…prepare also some dried or fresh oregano sprigs. Now, pack the eggplant in clean jars, add garlic, chili ppeppers, oregano and whole peppercorn. Pour olive oil over it and let it age in a cool dry place. …EXCELLENT ANTIPASTO!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 5:06 am

  19. kurzhaar says:

    Hmm…avocado + milk + sugar. That sounds odd at first but then I vaguely recall having tried avocado ice cream in the distant past. Obviously it did not make that much of an impact on me, but then again I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Avocados in salads are delicious (guacamole being one end of the spectrum, I guess). Mashed avocado in lieu of mayonnaise is great with bacon sandwiches. We used to make a sandwich that is forever associated with California summers in my mind: ripe Hass avocado slices, good sharp jack cheese (not the supermarket junk), alfalfa sprouts, on top of a good whole-grain bread.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:24 am

  20. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, that sandwich sounds terrific. And I like the mashed avocadeo in lieu of mayonnaise. Still rich but less bad for you, I guess. :) bettyq, thanks for those suggested uses the eggplant with tomatoes sounds a bit like a melanzane sauce for pasta… yes, I do love the combination of slowly sweated mediterranean veggies together… think caponata or ratatouille… yum!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:29 am

  21. myra_p says:

    kurzhaar, just had avocado ice cream last night, one of my favorites, and that sandwich sounds delish. Looks like a wild lemon to me, MM.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:24 am

  22. sanojmd says:

    i have no idea what that is.. i’ll just wait for you to reveal it on one of your posts…

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:53 am

  23. dragon says:

    Like most Filipinos, sweet avocado comes to mind first: avocado ice cream, avocado dessert as MM described. So it was quite disconcerting for me (still is) that here in Melbourne (and probably all of Australia), avocado is a sub for mayo and even to a certain extent, butter. Most will use it as a spread for sandwich (no butter, no mayo) or as part of sandwich or salad.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:57 am

  24. bernadette says:

    gosh! thanks MM…you just reminded me that avocados are in season—have to look and harvest! Great ideas, folks!

    From your narrative, you car/van may have looked like a regular and colorful vegetable/fruit delivery truck! :-D

    Can’t wait what you have in store–next postings!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:33 am

  25. bluegirl says:

    Hi Betty Q, I made a small batch of the sour cherry jam and it is delish. Not too sour, not too sweet. I now understand what you mean by wearing a red shirt. I was mashing the fruit by hand at first and in a short while, I had red fingers. Luckily I saw the cutter I use to make pie crust and used that for mashing the rest of the cherries. Thank you for the recipe!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:33 am

  26. millet says:

    looks like a meyer lemon, but that looks more like a cacao, for sure. they make nice table centerpieces, with their reds, greens, yellows and browns, and their glossy leaves.

    but that could be a meyer lemon, too…six years ago, somebody gifted me ago with a small meyer lemon tree with two lemons hanging on it. that was the last we saw of the fruit..the tree has been bright abd beautiful and fruitless since then. :-(

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:36 am

  27. coriander says:

    We bought a plant at the Lung Centre Sunday market that the vendor called Amercian lemon which had a humongous fruit like that. Also saw those at a market stall off Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal. Very odd, the fruit stayed hard and we never really knew when it was going to be ready for harvest.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:42 am

  28. lyna says:

    that’s a lemon right?? Wow avocados are so cheap there, here it’s B$5 per kilo which is about PHP155 per kilo and it’s from Indonesia

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:18 am

  29. Lenlen S. says:

    cacao fruit?

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:35 am

  30. hill roberts says:

    HI, MM. Buenos dias.
    Those are now considered superfoods, i.e., peppers, tomatoes, avocado, pineapple, eggplant. How nice you’ve featured them as well. Here in Spain, roasted peppers are commonly found in bars and restaurants served as tapas and very good with crusty bread. These roasted peppers are sliced thinly and onions and garlic are added for flavour. Then they toss the usual olive oil and vinegar. AS for eggplants, here they are sliced and fried in batter. As for avocados, they are either presented with king prawns , thinly sliced lettuce and pink sauce. Do you know that one can also enjoy string beans in olive oil and vinegar and the usual garlic? The superfoods are simple to do but so nutritious and easy on the pocket. The ubiquitous crusty bread or baguette completes the picture. MM, yes, I just read the Churros blog. You’re right on that one! You know that I’m new here so forgive my ignorance on previous blogs. However, I am of course enjoying reading the most recent blogs and will try to find the time to read them all in my spare time. Meantime, keep those blogs coming! By the way, did you really give all those fruits and vegetables for pasalubong? Lucky them.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 4:20 pm

  31. Bubut says:

    tip in buying avocado : buy those with elongated end, not the round one as this has less fiber and more pulp. the round one has bigger seed.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:24 pm

  32. thelma says:

    bettyq, thanks for the eggplant recipes. i’ve been harvesting a lot of japanese eggplants from my garden. your recipes are such good ways of preserving them and enjoying them still for a longer period of time. i’ve used them for my ratatouille. i also like to grill my eggplants. when serving them, i remove the charred skin and drizzle the eggplants with soy sauce and bonito flakes.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:25 pm

  33. Diwata08 says:

    Those eggplants are best in a moussaka. Diced Avocado thrown in with diced Mango, milk, sugar and ice is best on a humid-about-to-rain scenario.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:27 pm

  34. acmr says:


    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:33 pm

  35. lyna says:

    betty q i do a pickled eggplant, same procedure of peeling, slicing, salting and setting aside but for about 30 min. only. Rinse eggplant well, pat dry and put in a bowl/bottle. mix malt vinegar with sugar, salt, pepper, pinch of chopped garlic, sliced onion leaves and dash of sesame oil. pour this mixture on the eggplant. store in the ref. tastes better the next day

    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:49 pm

  36. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: As usual thanks to your customary and graceful sharing of your recipes. Your eggplant pickled sounds wonderful.

    Silly Lolo: I know you have scandalous mind but do not get me wrong and I am not inviting anything here and simply want to express my eggplant liking. Eggplant crosses all cultures in the universe and each culture has its own distinct use of the eggplant. I love eggplant regardless where its provenance. The Japanese eggplant looks like our native talong but darker ones. The Mediterranean and Italian eggplant share the same look robust and chunky ones. I love them in pinakbet and the Ilocano dish poki poki like an eggplant omelette but they added tomatoes in it. For simply and value added flavor I love the grilled eggplant charred till dark amber and peeling off the skin and make an eggplant salad with tomatoes and spiked it up with sinamak vinegar and sauteed bagoong. Your lemony looking fruit looks like to me the matured fruit of kaffir limes. Yes, they turn yellow when they reached maturity and their distinct rippled skin.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 4:29 am

  37. betty q. says:

    Thank you ,Lyna , for sharing your pickled eggplant, too. I am going to make it. Our garage is looking more and ,more like a deli with all the jams and pickled things I have started to make. It is far better than going to Vancouver to shop for things for antipasto when unexpected kapitbahays drop by! Maybe they know I always have something to open and serve to them.

    MC…I was just waiting for Silly Lolo to say something. I am a big fan of eggplants. In fact, I plant them every year every imaginable size, shape and color! Hey MC…try this: I don’t think anyone thought of this yet… Someone gave my hubby a small jar of Pest Russo from Italy. I opened it and then I said to myself….hmmmm. why not! I roasted eggplants on the brbecue till they were charred and peeled them. Put in food processor, added some basil leaves, peeled garlic, roasted sweet peppers, pine nuts and some lemon juice and olive oil…much blitzed them like pesto. MASARAP!!!!!! But here is the clincher that is not good for the waistline but once in a while, I think you should indulge!…slice baguette and smear with the eggplant pesto and then make a dipping thing with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and some herbs! Then sit on your lawn chair with a glass of vino!!! Try this too Thelma and you will have your friends asking you for a jar of this!

    Jun 16, 2009 | 5:02 am

  38. Liz says:

    What a bargain! I get my pineapple here in SF for $2.99 at Costco and hass avocados are like a dollar each at supermarts. I love stopping at roadside vendors when Im vacationing in Manila, everything is fresh and “organic”!!!

    Jun 16, 2009 | 7:03 am

  39. thelma says:

    oh, bettyq, you made me hungry. i will surely make that eggplant pesto since i do have a lot of eggplants ready to be picked from my garden. i am sure that my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law would love it so i am making that this weekend to take with me to los angeles….

    Jun 16, 2009 | 4:33 pm

  40. hill roberts says:

    Hi, Thelma,
    Are you serious? Are you really taking cooked food to the USA? I thought they were very strict when it comes to food whether it’s processed, cooked, perishable, and the like. Just don’t do it in Australia. They simply dump them in huge bins, take you in custody, interview you for hours, pay a hefty fine, or banned from entering the country…If you travel within Europe, there’s not much of a problem though. Anyway, all good wishes and have a safe journey.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 6:13 pm

  41. betty q. says:

    hill roberts: I have sent jams to a few friends I have met through this blog via Canada Post and they also have sent me bottled goodies through the mail. I remember a comment sent by RobStar a while back …..he came back to the States with a few kilos of FISH BALLS!!!! …He was able to enjoy his fish balls for the next few months. Maybe if you are upfront about it from the very beginning, they will allow you.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 9:06 pm

  42. hill roberts says:

    Hi, bettyq.
    Thanks for the tip…I appreciate it. Somehow, when I request my own relatives to send me Omega pain killer, the post office there would refuse it outright. As for food, I jokingly told them to send me my favourite ube to no avail, again the post office there refused to send it. Haaaaay. My goodness, pinoy fishballs, I miss them, betty q! Send some to me then, hehehehe! Hasta luego…

    Jun 16, 2009 | 9:19 pm

  43. thelma says:

    hi hill roberts! it won’t be a problem for me since i just live in san diego and los angeles is only about two and half hours away from where my in-laws live. i make your favorite haleyang ube, too.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 9:52 pm

  44. betty q. says:

    Hill roberts and Thelma: I received a package last Christmas of Sauteed Alamang through the mail. Unfortunately, one of the bottles got broken! So, Canada Post, put it in a plastic bag when I received it. They apologized and said it was rather stinky and wondered why anyone would send me pasta! I told them it is a specialty …much like in Italy…the more pungent the anchovies are, the better they are and a little goes a long way!!!!. … :)

    Jun 17, 2009 | 4:09 am

  45. Benjing says:

    The “pickled” eggplant betty q wrote about is similar to “caponata”. Wonderful as a cold appetizer by itself or as a topping for bruschetta. Another way to enjoy the eggplant is “baba ghanoush”, a Middle Eastern dip (for pita bread) made with tahini and lots of garlic. My fav eggplant dish is just plain sauteed in oil and dressed with soy sauce and lemon juice (calamansi would be better but we can’t get them fresh here, only frozen juice in plastic pouches). Sometimes, I use oyster-flavored sauce instead of soy sauce.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 4:49 am

  46. hill roberts says:

    Hi, Thelma: How nice and sweet of you to offer to send me ube. Truth is, I thought you were flying from the Philippines to the USA, and taking with you the eggplant pesto. Aaaaaayayyyay! How’s California? Never been there yet…
    Hi Betty q.Now, now, you’re making my mouth watery, naughty you! My goodness, if there’s anything I miss in the Philippines it’s the bagoong, dried fish and its smell of course, as well as puto, bibingka, palabok, luglog, etcetera…what do I do, girls? Dream, dream, dream.Girls, come and check me out in Spain when you get the time! Cheers.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 6:07 am

  47. thelma says:

    hi bettyq! it was a good thing that you still received in the mail your sauteed alamang in spite of that condition. just like you, i love, love, love bagoong that i try not to run out of it. i just bought from the filipino store the pink one which i cook for binagoongan. i also have the sweet one which is bottled by fiesta products. my ilokano friend here also introduced me to the balayan bagoong which also is good with calamansi juice and paired with fried isda and grilled eggplants that i harvest from my garden. i also bought a block of shrimp paste that i really don’t know what to do with it. perhaps, you can enlighten me on what it is best used for.

    hill roberts, it’s beautiful in this part of california. the climate is really nice all year round. let me know when you decide to come to california and we’ll cook up a storm. yes, haleyang ube is one of my favorite kakanin also. i also crave for tuyo once in awhile. have you tried the bottled tuyo soaked in olive oil? i bought a few bottles when i was in the philippines last april. i’m going to buy a few bottles more plus cans of tabang talangka when i go to philippines again this coming august. you will like the tuyo with olive oil in bottles because you don’t need to fry them anymore. let me know if you want a few bottles of those bottled tuyo and i will gladly mail them to you.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 8:40 am

  48. betty q. says:

    Thelma: your block of shrimp paste…I think that is belachan the Malaysian equivalent of our alamang. Apicio makes what he calls the “bakya” version of XO sauce using belachan.

    Thelma…bring back Dulong in Olive OIl too. I am sure you are going to like it!

    Jun 17, 2009 | 9:09 am

  49. thelma says:

    now i remember that you posted your xo recipe using shrimp paste. i forgot the rest of the ingredients. hmmm…dulong in olive oil? i didn’t see that in the supermarket when i was there, but i will surely look for that on my next visit. thanks, bettyq….

    Jun 17, 2009 | 7:22 pm

  50. betty q. says:

    Xo is usuaaly made with dried scallops, dried shrimp. ham, garlic, shallots, etc. Thelma. But Apicio makes it with shrimp paste (belachan) and olive oil, and I guess some other stuff too!

    Hey, I think you should also make XO and bring it to LA. I sent dried scallops to Apicio before and he made it and brought it to Brazil. I think his compadres liked the XO….which reminds me…have to call ONie to accompany her and go to Chinatown to buy dried scallops!

    Jun 17, 2009 | 10:03 pm

  51. thelma says:

    bettyq, i would like to try making your xo recipe but i don’t know where to buy those dried scallops. there’s a chinese restaurant where we go to and they serve the best malaysian shrimp fried rice with xo among the ingredients.bettyq, you’ve always been really helpful as always…

    apicio, do you think that you can share with me your xo recipe with shrimp paste (belachan)? i would really appreciate it…

    Jun 18, 2009 | 1:31 pm

  52. betty q. says:

    Thelma: do you have a large Chinese community in San Diego? If oyu do, is there a Chinatown there? Last time we went there in San Diego, we didn’t get to see much of San Diego. I think we there for only a couple of days. If you do have a Chinatown, try to find a Chinese herbal store wher ethey have bulk stuff. Do not be persuaded by the merchants to buy the fist grade scallops that cost an arm a leg. The tiny ones that look like dehydrated bay scallops will do. Once rehydrated, it will be good to use for XO. Besides, you are going to shred them anyway, so no one will know whether it is primera clase or not.

    next option: if you don’t have a CHinatown there….I think you know my e-mail addy. Send me youe mailing address and I will mail you 1 pound of those. …believe me when I say, you will end up with a whole wokful of XO once you have added the rest of the ingredients. For the ham, I only buy the prosciutto now at the grocery delis…much easier to use and I just buy the quantity I need.

    When are you leaving for LA? It takes at least 7 to 10 days before the dried scllops will reach you. So, the earlier you send me your address, the fster you will be able to make it!

    Jun 19, 2009 | 11:14 am

  53. thelma says:

    bettyq, i am so overwhelmed by your kindness. i can buy the rest of the ingredients for the xc except the dried scallops. i don’t know of any chinatown here in san diego where i night be able to get the dried scallops. if you are able to send me some, i will pay for it plus the shipping. m son, who loved the malaysian fried rice with xo would be so happy if we are able to cook it at home.

    we’ll be going to los angeles this weekend to celebrate father’s day with 87 years old father-in-law, but we do go there to visit every other weekend. once i an able to make the xo, i shall be taking some with me on our next visit to los angeles.

    i must have misplaced your email address so do you mind giving it to me again so i can send you my address? thanks, bettyq….

    Jun 19, 2009 | 3:11 pm


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