Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lasang Pinoy 8: Tuna Spread

I learned my basic knowledge on cooking from my mother. She started to take me to the wet market to buy ingredients for our meals when I was around 10 years old. She taught me how to choose fresh meat or fish and even fruits and vegetables. My mom is not the type who haggles for merchandise, what’s important for her is the freshness and the quality of the things we buy. I am not good in buying goods from Divisoria or tiangge because of my mom's influence, instead of getting the merchandise cheaper, I usually end up paying more.

If I'm not busy with my studies she would asked me to help her in the kitchen. She first taught me to prepare ingredients; slicing and paring vegetables. She patiently explained to me that one of the secrets of delicious cooking is in the sautéing; many of the viands we cooked (that’s the tagalog way) start from sautéing. “Always make the garlic a little brown (do not roast it unless you’re using it as topping for congee or other soups); when the onion is translucent in color, that’s the time you should add the tomatoes; cook the tomatoes thoroughly until you squeeze all the juices; put the ginger first in sautéing before the garlic (when the ingredients has ginger on it).” That’s some of her tips in sautéing.

I started to teach my son, Aldrin, to cook when he was 11 years old. Even though he is a boy, he should still learn to cook or prepare meals. I told him that time will come that he will live away from us or he will have his own family, and he will definitely use this cooking knowledge. I explained to him that helping his wife (when he’s married already), will not lessen his masculinity. I didn’t get a hard time teaching him because he is a great fan of “Iron Chef” and one of his dreams is to become a chef. I also know that he got his inspiration from me because he always sees me enjoying my cooking and baking.

Since he is a little busy nowadays because of his graduation practices, I instructed him to make this easy sandwich spread. It’s a no-cooking recipe. He loves tuna spread very much that’s why I chose this as my entry to our LP8 which is hosted by pretty Iska of Edible Experiments.

Tuna Spread
1 pack mayonnaise or mayo magic
1 small can tuna flakes in oil
salt to taste


Drain the tuna, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I mentioned himbabao in my previous blog. I included this vegetable in my pinakbet recipe which I learned from a panggalatok vegetable vendor. Many of my fellow bloggers requested me to show a picture of this vegetable. I described it as caterpillar-like veggies. Since himbabao is only available every summer (because I don’t see himbabao in the market when summer is over), I can now post it in my blog.

Himbabao (Broussonetia luzonica (Blanco) Bur. var. luzonica family Moraceae) or alucon (tagalog version according to the veggie vendor) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a height of 15 meters and a diameter of 30 cm. The leaves are alternate with pointed apex and rounded base. The lower surface is hairy. The flowers are very small and are borne on very long, slender, spike-like flowering branches.

This species is distributed in the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao. It is commonly found in thickets and second-growth forests at low and medium altitudes.

The young leaves and flowers are cooked and eaten as vegetables. They could be cooked solely, or in mixture with other vegetables just like what I’m doing with my pinakbet. The flowers can also be made into a delicious salad. Actually, the caterpillar-like part of the vegetable is the flower.

Just like other plants, himbabao can be propagated by seeds, or by cutting from matured branches. Alucon is considered as wildfood plants.