Over Summer

I wonder who reads me.  Sometimes I Google and check out my blogger buzz to find out.  I am flattered that some of my pictures are on top ten pictures sites.  
That is something! : )

One site described my blog as all about a “happy life in the Philippines”. Neat! We are, despite hard times and trying to keep our heads above water (at times literally). Several sites featured my posts in theirs or shared my link. Thank you very much! 
At any rate, mine is an online diary that hopefully ends with food for thought!  Someday I hope to graduate to great scenery, fancier cooking and travel posting.  Sooner than soon.
I did promise you an Easter post and here it is the end of summer.  There was a frenzy of celebrations at home since April, what with my mom’s birthday, Easter week, my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary and a few homecomings in between. 
All our family celebrations are small ones, just the core family and a few friends who bother to come all the way to our home.  We can’t afford big blowouts but friends who visit are always welcome and fed really well.  My mom is a great cook and I am a good kitchen putterer (also wordsmith? hahaha).  We are known for cooking on the fly; except I may not be able to cook the tirs-tirs (slang for tira-tira –Tagalog for scraps or leftover) the same way every time.  
Mom has time to do more cooking and experimenting.  Incidentally, may I just say that cooking shows should clarify what they mean about a dish costing just so much per person.  They should also be honest about how much one ingredient would cost because you don’t get to buy them in quantities weighed “per head” right? It’s not as if you'd charge guests and family! 

Everyday is “Sunday” it seems since mom retired.   When all of us were in school or at work, we get to eat grandly on Sundays and lives on reheat the rest of the week.  Now that mom stays home, I’d say she’s more than happy to do the “tedious” prep and slow cook.  She likes doing the marketing and searching for fresh food.  She likes to brag about her finds and show off her haggling skills.  She already limps from a knee injury but she insists on going it alone to the market.  Having my impatient brother along cramps her style I suppose.  She would suffer him though if there were a sackfull of oysters to lug home, scrub, steam and pry open.
When she gets home from the market, the dogs excitedly try to poke their noses in the bayong and greet my mom at the same time.  My chore is to keep the dogs away from the bag and unload everything.  My dad is always in the way to get first dibs at the kakanin.  Quite a commotion.

Here we have akay-akay – glutinous rice balls with mung beans inside and swimming in sticky sweet brown sugar and coconut caramel.
Another time we had espasol specially made – thick tubes of  sweet coconut rolled in flour-like powdered rice grains that were kind of roasted in a pan (like burning it a bit to get the "nutty" taste) and what my mom calls “alipi”, a suman or rice cake shaped like a triangle and stuffed with toasty, smoky scented coconut meat than the glutinous rice that binds it.  You dip it in latik as well.   

Here are tender sampaloc (tamarind) leaves to flavor the family favorite sour chicken soup or sinampalukang manok.
From the butcher, she bought pig cheeks and ears on sticks ready for grilling – cartilage crunch and chew heaven anyone? Pork hind for crispy pata too. 
Summers here always show off the best eats!  Fresh fruit, fresh produce, lots of shellfish -.everything that makes the daily table more of a feast and creates the feel of being in an extended Tropical vacation.  
Now that the rains are here, most of our summer eats will be harder to come by.  Rain would pound on soft, fleshed fruits and delicate leafy veggies; stunt growing things, churn fish beds; force premature harvesting, not to mention flood whatever can’t cope with more water than it can hold. This early, we’ve rolled up the carpeting and trudged good furniture upstairs because..
Here. We. Go. Again.

Btw, those aren't raindrops caught in a net or honeycomb - just a piece of fancy fabric.


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