Times of refreshing

Sira-sira store

IT RAINED the morning I started writing this column.

Although I admit I prefer sunny days over rainy ones, I welcomed the morning drizzle. It refreshed the land and gave waterways hope of surviving the El Niño.

Speaking of refreshing, next week the country will enter the Lenten Season. It is a time to refresh the spirit and the body. Other people take this as a cue to take a vacation, or go to the beach, or visit relatives living in other parts of the country.

A good thing about this yearly break from the humdrum of daily living is the chance to refresh family togetherness. This year, we have decided to stay home to watch movies, TV series and shows on Netflix.

So next week, you can expect all of us to be in the family room watching what’s on Netflix as well as on local television stations. I am sure “The Ten Commandments” will be on once again.

Our TV munchies will be a family affair. My cousin, Dona, will make pizza using French bread. Her husband, Peetong, will make a drink using the juices of guava, pineapple and mango. My nieces, Ellen and Krystalle, will prepare baba ganoush to pair with pita, tortilla and soft taco.

Another good thing about next week is the chance to refresh the spirit. My Aunt, Tita Blitte, is a religious woman. She expects us to remember why the country is commemorating the death of Christ.

She has has plotted out a Visita Iglesia route. She is adamant that we all go with her. I like road trips and the food we will eat along the way, so I do not mind my favorite aunt’s command. Every city and town church on her list has at least two or three nearby dining places we can go to for meals.

A third good thing about next week is meatless food. My uncle said he would make vegetable sandwiches. He piles wheat bread with mayo, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sliced eggs, lettuce and mayo.

My aunt serves tossed veggies: Thinly slice into sticks carrots, singkamas and sweet potatoes. Thinly shred cabbage. Saute garlic and onions, then add the veggies. Season lightly since you will serve it with dressing. Do not overcook. Drain veggies on a colander and reserve the liquid.

Sauce: One and a half tablespoon soy sauce, one tablespoon oyster sauce, half cup brown sugar, minced garlic according to taste, one and a half cups water (including the veggie liquid), two tablespoons cornstarch and four tablespoons plain water (to make light slurry).

Boil the water mixed with veggie liquid, then add the soy and oyster sauces, sugar and garlic. The dressing should have a sweet-salty, garlicky taste. Add the slurry and stir until mixture is translucent.

Toppings: crushed peanuts and deep-fried tofu cubes. To serve, place veggies on a serving dish, add dressing, and top with peanuts and tofu.


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