Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Raw | Appreciating Bitter Taste

Bitter Melon & Guava Salad in Pineapple and two-basil vinaigrette

I know most of you loathe that notorious bitter taste in ampalaya, much more if it is prepared raw. I am blessed that my tongue appreciates that fifth basic taste. I was blessed I was trained in my childhood days to eat this vegetable. I still remember how me and my siblings ate with our bare hands roasted ampalaya with grilled green bell peppers, which from time to time tossed in that Kapampangan favorite “buro” or fermented rice, with some pickled onions on the side. Ahhh, simple yet sublime. I can even eat a lot of rice if this is served for breakfast (oh, I remember Cabalen in SM City Cebu, they are serving this “burong hipon” paired with boiled vegetables of amplaya, eggplant and string beans (sitaw or batong in local dialect). Thanks for my papsi who taught us how to eat this bitter vegetable. Ampalaya is also one of our crop, and this gives papsi a daily supply of his favorite talbos ng ampalaya, again eaten and enjoyed raw.

For this raw salad, we need the following:

1 medium size fresh green ampalaya, cored and sliced thinly. Chill in refrigerator before serving
1 medium size guava, seeds removed, and sliced thinly.
2 medium size green tomatoes, sliced

For the vinaigrette:

2 medium slices of fresh pineapples
3-4 leaves of fresh Thai basil
3-4 leaves of fresh Holy Basil
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
3 tbsp of wild honey
a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
a sprig of mint for garnish

How to prepare:

1.    For the vinaigrette, put all ingredients in food processor and liquefy it. If desired, add more honey, salt or vinegar according to taste
2.    Mix the trio of chilled ampalaya, guava and tomatoes, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
3.    If desired you can add roasted nuts, raisins and or other dried fruits.
4.    Serve immediately

Monday, June 25, 2012

PIPOL | Gary Granada, Adobo and his penchant for Sardinas

I admit I grew up when cassette tapes were the “in” thing and lucky enough to witness how compact disks came into existence. And while the rest of the boys my age collected E-heads, Rivermaya and Parokya ni Edgar, I was collecting then Joey Ayala, Popong Landero, Buklod and Gary Granada. I remember I bought my first “double” cassette album of Gary and it was sold not on the mainstream record bar. Still vivid was the red art cover, a portrait of Gary Granada sketched by BenCab, a national artist. A part of who am I today was inspired and stirred by the music of Gary Granada. While the rest were singing Backstreet Boys, Westlife and NSync, Joey Ayala’s Walang Hanggang Paalam was my national anthem. That was long time ago. And those cassette tapes are now my priced possessions, and I’m pretty sure will be one of the collector’s item if I will put my own museum someday.
What would you do if you meet somebody you looked up to, not to mention you idolized the the most? The meet-up with these two artists I considered legendary, Gary Granada and Noel Cabangon was unexpected. They performed in the convention I attended last June 21, 2012 in Radisson Blu Hotel during lunch time. And while everybody was eating their lunch, I felt I was alone cheering the two artists for reasons I cant understand.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Salvarro, Charming Bojo River and IBM Philippines | Going Beyond My Potted Garden

I took an unofficial day-off from my garden last June 16, 2012 and joined the IBM’s cause for a greener environment: to plant some trees in a garden much bigger than mine. Since this month marks my first year in blogosphere, there’s no bigger and better way to celebrate it than going beyond my backyard garden. This time it’s the mangroves, and a trip down mid-west of Cebu with some hundreds of IBM employees.

Poblacion Aloguinsan is some 2-3 hours of rough ride down south from Cebu City.  This fishing village is known for its scenic Bojo River, a more than kilometer stretch of mangrove ecosystem, rich both for its historical and ecological importance.
Mangroves play a vital role in our ecosystem. For one, they provide shelter and food to the early stages of most of the fishes and crustaceans. Protecting this ecosystem is ensuring our supply of seafoods that comes to our table. Consistent with Cook My Garden’s commitment of ensuring a clean food source, I readily jumped to the invitation of IBM Philippines to plant mangroves, a community-based initiative to preserve and nurture the environment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back on my best shape in 30 Days | 1St FitFil Cebu and Why it was a Hit to Cebuanos

Note: For this post, I will do away from giving you insights on cooking/gardening. Total wellness is one of the many reasons why I created this blog, and achieving wellness is 60% diet based on moderation, variety and balance of food intake, and that still boils down to choosing and  or cooking healthy dishes.

My weight in the initial weigh-in was 154 lbs, and my waistline was 36 inches. I was trying to argue about how the nutritionist measured my waist, but the proper way it is done is to wrap around the measuring tape not around your pant’s waist but along your navel. I admit I have this unsightly bulge and this is the reason why I enlisted myself for this camp. The nutritionist computed my body mass index, checked on my lifestyle and suggested what should be my daily calorie intake. I was four pounds overweight based on their assessment and gave me this goal to loose in the camp in one month. On my first day of the camp, I was one of those who hyperventilated and was rescued by ERUF. I can’t imagine myself lying at the center stage of the Terraces attended by some coaches and rescue personnel while the rest was pushing their bodily limits to this new physical activity. That was just Day One. Fast forward on Day 30, I was surprised I lose 7 pounds, regained my stamina back and can wear all those pants I set aside on my closet for many months already. In short, in thirty days, I was back in my best shape. Now I watched what I eat, and my lifestyle has changed for the better.

The FitFilipinos Movement, a brainchild of Coach Jim Saret aimed to make millions of Filipinos fit, slim and healthy kicked off first here in Cebu City last May 15 to June 16, 2012. It ended just a week ago and the Manila Camp is yet to start days from now. This camp is scheduled to go to most of the major cities of this country to push this advocacy and make Pinoys embrace a good lifestyle habit.

The Cebu leg started with more than 200 ambassadors enlisted for the camp. A week after the camp commenced, still more than a hundred wishes to join. And as the camp progresses, you can notice and hear positive responses from the participants. You hear true stories of weight loss that inspires you to take your fitness efforts seriously. And during the final day, the campers are shouting in unison for a repeat camp. So why such clamor? I listed here five reasons why I considered The FitFil movement was a blast and taken Cebuanos like a storm:

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