What’s in the Pantry…


Actually, it’s what’s in the refrigerator… Things have been quiet on the blog for a while, except for spurts of posts, but that doesn’t mean aren’t busy bees at home. It probably just means I have already written about something that we made, and I am not always on the lookout for something new, untried, untested, novel. So while crafting a slight twist on a sigadilyas/sigarilyas salad that I threw together yesterday, a side glance into the fridge showed this line up of things from recent kitchen activity…

On the top shelf starting at the left, a medium sized bottle filled with papaya acharra. I love acharra, and it goes back to childhood (along with tomato ketchup) and we always try to have a relatively fresh bottle of homemade acharra on hand. This one is colored with kasubha, or safflower (not saffron with which it is often interchanged, inaccurately) that is increasingly difficult to find. The last time I bought it (mostly for the restaurants) I finished off some 6 kilos worth at a place that just put them out on display, and I asked the stockman to bring everything out of the back of the store so I could hoard it. Believe me, 6 kilos is enough for TONNES of acharra, but we are about to run out soon. So any clues for bulk sources of kasubha or provincial sources where it’s grown would be greatly appreciated. We have the acharra with pork or fish that’s been grilled, with fried bangus, with fried dried fish or even casajos with egg and rice at breakfast.

Next in line is a bottle of freshly made japanese ginger pickles, made from these young ginger tubers I found at the market a while back and posted a photo of on my instagram account. We have these pickles with tuna or salmon sashimi at home, but also with this cold soba noodle salad and more unusually, added to our house version of kinilaw with a twist, here.

In the small bottle is some leftover dulong in olive oil, recipe here, that is wonderful on toasted bread as a briny, flavorful pica-pica while having drinks. And the abundance of limes in markets JUST NOW at reasonable prices means these mojitos are a breeze to make and enjoy with friends at home…

The next bottle contains my experimental preserved limes in salt/brine. OMG, they are SO INCREDIBLY GOOD it’s not funny. A result of excess limes from our trees in the yard in Cebu, I just washed these organic unsprayed fruit and sliced into them and placed them in a very salty solution/brine for months in the back of the fridge. I remembered we had them just before this photo so I used them in the sigarilyas salad to wonderful results, recipe or guide to that up next. If you happen to have extra limes, do not hesitate to try preserving them. Let them sit in the brine for at least two months before you use them. Wow!

The bottle to the right of the limes has some preserved langka that I made the other day, after a trip to the market yielded some peeled langka. We will use this in home assembled halo-halo bars or in banana turon. I’ve made them before, here.

And finally, on the lower shelf, is a glimpse of a few remaining bottles of homemade macapuno preserves, done the way we like them, a bit less sweet than usual, but it means we have to use them up fairly quickly. I tried to make a batch for Zubuchon, but didn’t have enough macapuno to work with.

So you see, we keep busy, even if the blog doesn’t seem to reflect that… And now that it’s just about to turn into September (I make it a sport now to spot when I will hear the first Christmas carol on the car radio or in a mall and last year it was September 6th) I feel like the holiday season is just around the corner and momentum is going to speed up. I need to take a day or so to get organized with recipes we would like to do for the holidays, pickles and condiments we need to have at the ready, hams and nuts that have to be pre-ordered, food items I can cook ahead and freeze without much deterioration in quality, etc.


14 Responses

  1. I thought this post’s title is a sort of a food enthusiast’s Proust Questionnaire. https://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2000/01/proust-questionnaire

    My fridge is also ‘jam packed’ with unlabelled jars of successful and failed attempts at pickling and food conservation making it well-nigh impossible to dry cure beef which they keep touting as not at all impossible to do at home. The operative question is “are we going to throw this away now or one or two years later?”

  2. No rest for the weary, but carry on MM! YOU are always an inspiration. Now to check on what I have in my fridge and take inventory:) I think my dulong has been sitting in that jar for a good while!

  3. When there’s a lull on posts, I always say, ” The restaurants are really keeping MM busy. ” So I review the archives.

  4. This reminds me to make some pickles, but what I have are only Ampalaya n Okra. Ummm, these will do.

  5. i have ampalaya and radish pickles on standby all the time in the fridge, for whenever we have fried fish or meat. but EbbaBlue, I’ve never had pickled okra. must try making them. and yes, MM, there seems to be a dearth of fresh macapuno in the markets these days.

  6. EbbaBlue and millet, would you mind sharing your pickled ampalaya recipes? I’ve tasted it before in NJ made by my sister’s then-housemate.

  7. MM, kasubha is readily available (by the kilo!) in Divvy on the corner of a short street just east of Sto Cristo across the north side of the new Divisoria Mall. Hope this helps.

  8. OB Kwin, thanks, that was my last resort. I knew there were spice dealers in Divi, just hadn’t gotten desperate enough to make a trip just to get kasubha. Will do that soon… since we could use a few kilos more…

  9. Great timing to shop for some pasalubongs. Would appreciate some tips on where to go for some quality, artisan native crafts when we visit late Oct./early Nov. I thought MM had an article about a good bazaar during the Christmas season. Thanks.

  10. I saw a crew putting up Christmas lights and ribbons outside of Landmark Makati last week. A jarring way to remind us that Ber months are upon us.

    The shortage of macapuno might be attributed to cocolisap (or coconut scale insects). Our relatives used to come to us for macapuno but sadly most of our trees have died due to a different pest, the coconut rhinoceros beetle. :(

  11. Would you care to share your formula for the salt brine for your limes? I have about a dozen that are slowly turning yellow. Thanks in advance.

  12. EJBuen, I have two old posts on preserved lemons or brined meyer lemons that can be converted to limes, but don’t add other seasonings like chili, etc. Just leave it salt, water and limes.



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