10/18/08 – 10/24/08: If readers have seen a recurring theme of Filipino dishes, there’s a reason: both of my parents grew up in the Philippines (though ethnically American) and I was raised on a significant side dressing of Filipino food and culture. Many Asian cuisines appeal to vegetarians because of their broad embrace of diverse vegetable dishes without the reliance on meat that typifies most European cuisines. Filipino cuisine is a hybrid of traditional Asian food with Spanish and American influences grafted on, meaning there is a nice mix of meat-centered and vegetable-centered dishes. It fits well with our lifestyle’s emphasis on vegetables with occasional meat.
Filipino cuisine is also very versatile, and many ingredients can be swapped in and out as needed while preserving the core of the meal, making it excellent for diverse but seasonal menus such as ours. Thus, pancit (see Friday) was traditionally made with pork, chicken, and shrimp in my family, can be made vegetarian by leaving out the meat & broth while substituting more vegetables and flavors, and in our version relies on homemade chicken broth for a meaty base while remaining dominately vegetable. In this week’s version, turnips replace carrots as the sweet/crunchy vegetable with no ill effects.
A core Filipino flavor is adobo, a sauce composed of vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, and garlic. While it is often used to marinate and cook meat (chicken in my family), it’s quite versatile and can be used along as a flavoring for rice or vegetables. On Sunday I used it to add flavor to a basic side of steam green beans and lightly cooked tomatoes. We also use it as a glaze for baked nuts, which are an excellent snack or dinner side.
On to the meals, which are still based firmly in late summer/early fall (that’s about to change with a killing frost moving in as I write this).
Saturday: Potluck dinner at friends’ farm. We brought a fresh chunk salad.
Sunday: Lentil dal (our leeks, onions, garlic, tomatoes, mustard greens, tat soi, purchased lentils & spices). Side of green beans & tomatoes with homemade adobo sauce.
Monday: White beans & greens with vinegar and garlic. Side of fried green tomatoes. Our greens, garlic, and tomatoes.
Tuesday: Baked casserole of thinly sliced potatoes, tomatoes, leeks, and basil, with topping of cheese. All produce ours (potatoes from Joanna’s parents).
Wednesday: Kale-potato-sausage soup. Onions & garlic sauteed with our ground goat sausage, with kale, potatoes, and water. One of our favorite winter recipes.
Thursday: Pasta with fresh herbed tomato sauce (sauce all our produce).
Friday: Pancit, a broadly defined Filipino noodle dish. In this case, onions, garlic, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and celeriac sauteed then cooked in chicken broth with soy sauce, fish sauce, black peppers, and pancit noodles. All produce ours, chicken broth ours (frozen).