Tag Archives: Entree

How I Got My Garlic Back

At the start of my pregnancy, the one ingredient that I found repelling was garlic. Prior to the hormone invasion and the development of this new keen sense of smell, garlic and I had a pretty pleasant relationship. I wasn’t in love with it, but it also didn’t make me gag. However, after these last months of being pregnant, I thought garlic and I would need to go our separate ways.

My husband wasn’t allowed to cook with it. Oh my, the smell of garlic frying in the pan would trigger nausea and unattractive barfing motions. In fact, I even asked him to watch what he ate for lunch when at work. As soon as he entered our apartment, I could tell if garlic was in his meal or not. I couldn’t bear it. I was worse than a vampire.

Some of my girlfriends who passed the thresholds of pregnancy told me that many of the foods they had grown to dislike during that time, never reversed itself after wards. And so I wondered if that would happen with garlic. Was roasted garlic going to be out of my life forever? This all important ingredient that often appears in recipes to boost flavor? Would I be able to find a substitute?

Well, those hormones have calmed down and instead of being turned off by food, lately I am just tired and in need of sleep. I put myself to the test and tried to see if good ol’garlic and I still had a chance. Could this relationship be saved? Instead of omitting it from a recipe, with this one, I pushed myself to include it by first frying it in a pan. To my surprise, my olfactory nerve was able to tolerate it. That old familiar scent of garlic frying in oil didn’t cause a stir or send me away. Not only could I stand it, but after adding the rest of the recipe’s ingredients, I was able to sit down and enjoy eating it in my food again. Here’s a story with a happy ending: garlic and I are back together.



Shrimp with Garlic, Zucchini and Tomatoes

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 zucchini, diced
1 medium tomato or 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
200-300 grams of shrimp, unpeeled
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large frying pan.
Add the garlic and chili flakes.
Cook until slightly golden.
Then add the zucchini, tomatoes and dried oregano.
Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Then add the shrimp and basil.
Cook for another 2 minutes.
Season to taste.

Orzo

1 small onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
3-4 cups water or broth

Heat oil and butter in frying pan.
Add onion and cook until transparent.
Add orzo, stir and be sure pasta is evenly coated with oil.
Then add a cup of water to the pasta.
Let it come to a boil.
When the liquid begins to evaporate,
continue to add another cup of water.
Cook until al dente, about 15- 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.

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Filed under Flavors Abroad!

“And just boil it all together.”

“Hi Dad!”
“Hi, what’s up?” (Dad’s usual phone greeting)
“Um, I want to ask mom about mongo. Just wanted to double-check how to cook it.”
“Oh. You just need mongo, spinach, pork, if you like, tomato, shrimp, patis, garlic and onions. And just boil it all together.”
“Boil it all together?”
“Yes.”
“Are you sure? Doesn’t mom fry something up too?”
“No, just boil it all together.”
“Is mom there?”
“She’s still sleeping.”
“Ok, thanks. Tell mom to call me later. Love you.”

When I call home to ask my parents about some of the Filipino recipes I miss and crave, I always seem to get my dad on the line. Maybe it has to do with the European/ North American time difference. When I call from Prague, it is afternoon here and I am thinking about what to make for dinner. In NYC, when my dad picks up my call, he is still in his pj’s, just about to have breakfast and my mom, well she is still deep in a state of slumber. She has never been a morning person.

The usual suspects...

The funny thing is that although my dad is really good about remembering ingredients and is really helpful with directions, we didn’t grow up eating many meals cooked by my father’s hands. There were a few occasions when Mom had the night shift at the hospital and Dad would make dinner for me and my brothers. It didn’t happen very often and the surprising thing for me is that when I look back at those handful of memories I remember really enjoying my father’s cooking.

I am in need of a serious boost of iron. My third trimester blood tests detected a drop in this area. I returned from the doctor’s office with two packs of iron supplements, but I do believe the right foods can help you get back on track. I hardly eat meat, I do cook it for my husband, but I rarely eat it. Fish and seafood: yes. Beef, pork, chicken and other game: no. Yes, I am one of those.

...of the Filipino Sofrito

One way to get more iron into the system is through legumes and leafy greens. A bowl of mongo would be the perfect combination. My dad was right, I would have to boil all the ingredients together. However, that was only after I let the beans boil for an hour and sautéed a few of the other ingredients. I called my mother back later that same day and she laughed when I repeated the instructions given by my dad. We kept it our little secret and didn’t bother to correct him. Neither one of us wanted to spoil my father’s culinary confidence.

Mongo

1 cup green mung beans
5 cups water (plus 2 more cups)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 lb. shelled shrimps
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of baby spinach

Mung beans

Give the beans a very good rinse.
In a deep pot, combine the beans, water and season with some salt.
Let the water come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cook beans for an hour, or until soft or until doubled in size.

In a large pan, sauté the garlic in oil, until lightly browned.
Then add the onion, tomato and fish sauce.
Let it cook for a few minutes, until the onions and tomatoes soften.
Add this pot of mung beans.
If the liquid has dried up, add another cup or two of water.
Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Add the shrimp and spinach at the end and let it boil a few more minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with jasmine rice.

The Filipino way: Spoon & Fork!

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