Originally meant as a repository of sort for published manuscripts and articles, but reading amazing food blogs lately, I was encouraged to include topics on food and gardening and share other topics of interests to other women like me, who love to garden, fine foods and good cooking.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spring Flowers

Isn't it amazing how the sight of flowers can lighten up our day?

It's been raining for days and so, what I thought would be gloriously sunny days tending to the garden turned out to be wet, cold and shiverry.

Anyway, we woke up to gloomy skies again this morning. Apparently, it rained the whole night, so everything in the garden looked drenched and wet. I ventured out into the garden to at least check for our newly-planted pechay baguio as I was worried that snails were having a feast on them during the dark cold nights. However, on my way to that little corner of our garden, I was greeted by these lovely apple blossoms seemingly enjoying the drench. Even the tulips that were dripping wet seemed to rejoice in the early morning drizzle. How beautiful they were, with the raindrops still dripping all over them. That lifted me up big time! A smile crossed my lips and forgot about my disappointment over the wet and overcast day. I ran back up and inside the house to get the camera and take photos! I hope these photos would bring smiles on your faces too!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

After three days my mung bean sprouts were ready for the harvest and for the wok. I don't know why but even after years of making this lumpiang prito, there would always be excitement and a feeling of satisfaction as I look at the pile of just-rolled lumpia on my kitchen table ready for frying and freezing. Moreso, if they were rolled properly and they are in uniform sizes.

Here's how I did them:

Lumpiang Prito
(Vegetable Spring Rolls)

250 gms ground pork
500 gms mung beans sprouts
1 medium size carrot (grated)
1 good size sweet potato (grated)
1/2 small cabbage (shredded)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch (for sealing)
soy sauce to taste
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Vegetable oil for frying

Heat oil in a big enough wok, saute garlic and onion till fragrant. Add ground pork and cook until pork loses its raw color. Add the chicken stock and boil for five minutes. Add the grated sweet potato, carrot and shredded cabbage, Cook till veggies wilt then add the mungbean sprouts. Cook for five minutes more, turning the veggies to make sure they don't go soggy.
Remove from heat when veggies are cooked. Transfer into a colander to cool and drain.

Dissolve cornstarch with a little water, bring to the stovetop and heat, stirring until it thickens. This can be used instead of a beaten egg to seal the spring rolls.

Separate the spring rolls skin and cover with a damp cloth to prevent from drying. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the skin about two inches from the bottom corner, then fold it over the filling and roll upwards encasing the filling. Fold in the corners and press down firmly to seal, creating an envelope. Moisten the left and right corners of the skin with the cooked cornstarch and seal. Repeat with the remaining filling and skins.

Using a deep fryer or a deep work, heat the oil until almost smoking and begin frying your lumpiang prito until they turn golden brown.

Drain with paper towel.

Vinegar Dip:

In a small bowl, combine half a cup white vinegar, 4 cloves or more garlic (crushed), half a teaspon ground black pepper and salt to taste.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mung Beans Sprouts

David loves crispy vegetable spring rolls (lumpiang prito) dipped in ketchup. Sometimes, he prefers Mang Tomas Sarsa ng Litson, while I am a vinegar dip (made with white vinegar, lots of crushed garlic, a little salt and black pepper) fanatic. I make lots of these and freeze them in packets of 10 pieces, ready for when he wants something crispy for lunch.

I am quite choosy with the mung bean sprouts I put into my vegetable spring rolls, though. I prefer them when they are just two or three days old--when the beans are still in their 'button' stage and the 'tail' is just about a centimeter long. At this stage, the sprouts have a nutty texture and are more preferable than the fibrous texture of long "tailed' sprouts. So I grow my own to make sure they are in the right stage of growth when I need them.

Mung beans are definitely one of our comfort foods when we long for the warmth of home. Unfortunately, they are high in uric acid and at a certain stage in our lives, we just have to accept that we could no longer indulge in 'ginisang munggo' every Friday. Not to worry though, we can still have 'lumpiang prito' since there other ingredients to it other than mung beans sprouts. With all that uric acid talk, mung beans are still a good source of Vitamins A, B, C and E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Amino Acids.

If you want to start sprouting your own, here is how to do it:

First you have to have a bean sprouter. Mine is made of plastic--round, three layered. The first and second layers are transparent and there are small openings on the side where water drains so the beans are not swimming in water. The third layer catches the water that drips from the first two layers.

If you are like me who prefer more beans than roots: Rinse the beans and drain them every 8 to 12 hours for two to three days.

For long roots: rinsing and draining should be done in 4 to 5 days.