Oxtail Adobo

Beef Oxtail Filipino Adobo Rice

Any mention of oxtails in Filipino food probably involves kare-kare, a rich peanut-based vegetable stew. Beef shanks, tripe, pork hocks, and other tough parts tenderized through long simmering may also be added, but it has to have the oxtails. Leaving the bony segments out is unacceptable. Hindi maaari (no frickin’ way).

I didn’t have the other dozen ingredients for kare-kare so I made adobo for dinner instead. Adobo is an indigenous Filipino method of simmering in vinegar, akin to pickling. Food spoils rather quickly in oppressive tropical heat so this is our way of dealing with that little dilemma. We take the vinegared stuff seriously regardless of the weather forecast, though.

The sourness also supposedly stimulates your appetite during hot and humid weather, not that I’ve had any such craving-related problems lately.

The following recipe makes a light broth meant to be served like a soup, in contrast to versions enriched with coconut milk. Before serving, grill or broil the oxtails to crisp up the fatty bits. Silky and tender is great, but that additional hint of smoke can only make it better.

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Radish Herb Butter

Radish Herb Butter Recipe on Bread

The classic French preparation involves nothing more than radishes, butter, and salt. Fearful of not quite “getting” it, I tried out this minted radish butter recipe from Green City Market instead.

You don’t need to be French to appreciate these crunchy clusters of red, pink, and green. The radishes, herbs, and spritzes of lemon lightened the fattiness so much that I almost forgot I was eating butter. My preference is serving the butter generously salted and peppered as a spread for bread, crackers, or other raw vegetables.

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Vanilla-Rhubarb Soup with Strawberries

Vanilla-Rhubarb Soup and Strawberries

It’s easy to get carried away at Farmer’s Markets, where the compulsion to grab random things you’ve never used takes over. Letting fresh ingredients sit on the counter for too long defeats the purpose of going to such markets, so I always look for recipes that make the most of seasonal produce.

If you happen to find rhubarb and strawberry in your reusable grocery totes or CSA box, try this Scandinavian-inspired dessert soup. The sweet and sour vanilla-rhubarb base (rabarbersoppa) is done in about 20 minutes, giving you a headstart in figuring out what to do with the rest of your haul.

I prefer to serve rhubarb soup chilled with sweetened cream and sliced strawberries, but ice cream also sounds great with this, doesn’t it?

Now what should I do with radish and still-poopy duck eggs?

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Sourdough Flaxseed Rye Bread – Leinsamenbrot

Sourdough Flaxseed Bread Recipe

Each movement of the serrated knife shoots sesame seeds in all directions, but it’s a minor annoyance that is easily justified. Baking releases the fragrance of the sesame seeds onto the crust and makes a noticeable difference. I should’ve done the same thing with the second loaf.

Inside, the flaxseed aroma is more subtle but thoroughly permeates the sour boule. Lightly toasting a slice wakes up the flaxseeds in the same way your oven does the sesame seeds on the outside.

I used dark rye flour instead of medium rye so these came out denser and more deeply browned than intended in the original recipe. I’ll stick with the dark rye when (not if) I make another batch.

View Sourdough Flaxseed Rye Bread Recipe - Leinsamenbrot »

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Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk

Filipino Ginataang Monggo Recipe

Let’s say you’re browsing a cookbook that represents the recipes of your childhood (in my case, it would probably be this one). You find that one forgotten recipe that gives you pause and makes you wonder why you haven’t made it all these years. Reading through the recipe causes sudden cravings and you know, almost by instinct, exactly how it’s supposed to taste.

Ginataang monggo is one such recipe for me. Enriched with coconut milk, an ingredient used in many Filipino desserts, its distinctive flavor comes from toasted mung beans. It’s a sweet rice-based porridge usually enjoyed around late afternoon to tide you over as dinner is prepared.

This dish reminds me of a Filipino phrase, “nalipasan ng gutom,” meaning, “the hunger has passed.” It describes someone who has gotten used to the pangs of hunger because of going without food for so long, much like getting accustomed to the body odor of an airplane seatmate with questionable hygiene.

Any Filipino mom will tell you that having hunger pass you by is an undesirable state to be in. It leads to crankiness and irrational behavior. Ginataang monggo is one of many treats that keep you sane during that long wait between lunch and dinner.

View Ginataang Monggo Recipe - Mung Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk »

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