One of the reasons why I am excited about Sundays is I get to do what I adore doing – cooking. It always wins over my writing work if you ask me. As I fulfill my yearning and craving tocook, I fulfill my family's hunger also. They are my audience, generous with their compliments if it’s good and honest with their comments too if they don’t like it. They just simply won’t eat it and that’s it. Some recipes here go through trial and error, as I am not really a trained chef, but I manage to pull off one kitchen success after another, from the simple to the grand ones. But I really prefer the simple ones, the “random” cooking ideas and experiments especially if my grandson gets to eat it too (he is kind of picky, and at a young age has a very selective palate). But I am proud that lately he begins to eat vegetables already. :)
Making pasta sauces, and trying on new ingredients to mix with my pasta is what I enjoy doing. Seafood is what I love making recently, as I need to be mindful of my diet and cholesterol level. I have started my Omega 3 fish oil supplement early this year and so far it helped lower my digits.
A few Sundays ago, I prepared Mussels in Ginger Broth or in Tagalog, Tinolang Tahong. It is one of the simple dishes I have learned to cook and consume since I hail from the seafood source of Manila - Bacoor, Cavite. At PH 50 pesos a kilo it is a favorite staple dish here at home. And personally, I find it is more safe to eat mussels during summer than in the monsoon season, (September to November) when the dreaded Red Tide surfaces. For a sweeter broth, I added a glass of clear soda. And to make it a complete meal, I added green papaya and Chili Leaves as vegetables.
Tips: do not overcook the mussels and do not cover when boiling, because it will not open up or shrink when overcooked. If the side of the shell has too much “white” barnacles on them discard that shell part and retain the one with the mussels on and rinse well in water. Take out the “ beards” too. Pick it with a knife and give it a quick firm pull. Last, do not add salt when cooking mussels, it’s already salty as it is, no need to add salt anymore.
Here is how I came up with my version of Tinolang Tahong.
1 kilo Fresh Mussels (clean it thoroughly and soak in tap water at least an hour before cooking)
1 piece ginger
5 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 piece tomato
1 glass of clear soda (7-up or Sprite)
1 medium sized green papaya (quartered)
2 bunches of Fresh Chili Leaves
Oil (for sautéing)
Sauté garlic, onion, and tomatoes in a little oil.
Add fresh mussels and give it a quick stir.Add the green papaya and clear soda.
Throw in the fresh chili leaves and a piece of green chili.Allow to simmer until the mussels open up.Give it one quick boil and it is done.
I paired my Tinolang Tahong with fried tofu steak, its one happy tummy Sunday again!