MARCH seems to be a good month to start eating more vegetables. Do you agree, my fellow Khokies?
Eating more vegetables means purchasing more raw materials. I prefer buying local produce to support local farmers. I know the prices in commodities have risen higher than 120/80 blood pressure (that is the borderline blood pressure, according to a cardiology website).
Let us not allow the dearness of vegetables discourage us from loving them. Let us add more vegetables to our favorite meat dishes.
There are many ways to trick non-green eaters into devouring dishes that usually feature meat as the center of attraction. Try the following and please feel free to add your own twist.
TOKWA STEW. Ingredients: two blocks tokwa; two medium ripe saba bananas, sliced; one medium carrot, sliced; four tablespoons dark soy sauce; one tablespoon oyster sauce; four tablespoons pineapple vinegar; ¼ cup granulated sugar or to taste; one teaspoon black pepper; eight cloves garlic, peeled and crushed; one cup water or meat broth.
Procedure: Marinate tokwa blocks in a solution consisting of black pepper, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Steep for two hours. Remove from marinade and deep-fry tokwa. Slice into large cubes, about four or six per block. Reserve the marinade.
In a heated pan, add two tablespoons olive oil. Fry carrots, tossing constantly, to pre-cook them (about one minute). In the same oil, fry the bananas until they are slightly browned. In the same pan, add oil as needed. Add the tokwa, tossing them for one minute. Add the garlic to brown them a little, then add the reserved marinade. When the sauce is reduced, add the water or broth if using. Allow to boil, then add granulated sugar (locally called “central”) and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot and banana slices, tossing to coat. The sauce should be thick at this point. Turn off the heat and serve.
EGGPLANT SAUCE. Ingredients: Four pieces large Chinese eggplants; one cup chopped white onion; ¾ cup rehydrated shiitake mushrooms (squeeze out the liquid), chopped; three large garlic cloves minced; one tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (½ tablespoon if dry); 1/3 cup dry red wine; one can crushed tomatoes; one can pouch basil flavor tomato sauce; one small pack pasta of choice; ¼ cup heavy cream; salt to taste; grated Parmesan cheese.
Procedure: Shred eggplants. Squeeze out the liquid. Heat two tablespoons oil in a deep pan. Add the onion until translucent, then the garlic. Stir and allow the garlic to change color. Add the mushrooms and allow it to wilt, around four minutes. Add the eggplant, stirring for six minutes. Add the oregano and cook until its fragrance is released. You can add more at this point if you want. After two minutes, add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Reduce heat to low and allow the sauce to reduce in volume and eggplant very soft. Check for consistency, then add the cream and mix. For a saltier taste, sprinkle sauce with Parmesan cheese. To serve, mix pasta with the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese.