Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just rambling along

My so called art has gone that away; it's been there for quite a while now though. I am peeling my skin to something else, and I am now a rambling soul. Like a nut case, I would be rambling about nothing; talking to myself; and to the freeway. I would at times include some rough sketches here to go with my subject. My header, a painting from an old black and white photo of my old house where I lived from age 4 till I left the country, would be replaced by something else. At this point, I don't know what it would be.

The past few days nothing has happened, nothing exciting; mostly mundane, day to day routine. However, what's exciting to me might not be to other folks. Like for instance the seeds of some of my vegetable plants have started breaking out from the ground and that has gotten me excited. My husband has urged me to plant veggies in the backyard, and I did. He said that it would help control the weeds. Probably just his excuse, so he won't have to deal with them.

I have planted vegetables years before, but have not done it for quite sometime now. My bones have been attacked by lazinitis (my word for indolence). Indolence sounds too harsh for me. :-D Too harsh, or I'm in denial.

The economy is still in bad shape and I need all the help I can get. With a little tender loving care from me, I'll be able to supplement what little I have from my backyard. It is still days before I can harvest the fruits of my labor, but at this point I'm happy to see my plants get bigger and stronger.

Long beans, or sitaw in Tagalog.

Green beans. This is known in the Philippines as Baguio beans.

Lemon grass. A friend gave me this. I haven't used this in any of my cooking, but I'll try it this time.

Jalapeno pepper. This one took a long time to germinate. I thought it would never come out.
It's so tiny the weeds are bigger than it.

Kabocha squash.



Sweet potatoes


Whoaaa! Lotus. Not mine. Nope...nope...nope. Would I be planting veggies if I own one of these? Nuts! I'd be driving this all over town the whole day. I saw it along one of our streets, and it happened to stop by our car and I took a shot at it. I rarely see one like this. If I'm not mistaken one of these would cost about $150,000? Aaacckkk! I'd owe my soul to the devil if I buy one like this.

In any event, my eggplants haven't germinated yet. And...and...mumble... ...mumble. I'd better go to bed, it's past 1 AM. I'm bored already.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cactus Salad Anyone?

I always see cactus leaves at Mexican grocery stores and at the Farmers' Market, and have wondered how it tastes. Some of these are sold with their tiny spines and nubs still on; some have been removed, and some have been diced already. And there are some prepared salads sold in small plastic containers.

The cactus or nopales at a grocery store.

On my visit to the Farmers' Market 2 weeks ago, I asked the Hispanic woman, who always sells oriental vegetables, about preparing cactus. She explained to me on how it is prepared, but did not give me details or recipe.

Cactus with the spines and nubs removed.

I thought I would give it a try and bought from her a dollar's worth which was 3 pieces and took it home. I found a recipe in the internet, which was simple and easy to make.

As per the woman's instruction I diced the cactus (I used one for now) after washing it, and boiled it for 10 minutes. Then I drained it. I chopped a medium sized tomato, some onions, a Jalapeno pepper and mixed all of them with the boiled cactus. I had it for dinner along with some rice, fried fish, and...I forgot the other dish. ( senior moment.) It did not turn out the way I expected. It was blah...bland.

We have 2 Farmers' Market here: One on Sunday mornings at the college campus; and on Thursday afternoons at the Market Street on Old Town Newhall. I stopped by at the Market Street and found this Hispanic man selling some cactus. He told me that instead of boiling, he grills them. That way, he said, it doesn't lose the flavor and the food value of the vegetable. He makes sense.

Cactus salad

So that's what I did. Well, not exactly. Rather than fire-up my grill, I popped the 2 remaining cactus in my toaster-oven and broiled them. When done, I diced them. And this time, I chopped some cilantro (coriander), tossed it in with the chopped jalapeno pepper, tomatoes and onions; and I squeezed a bit of Mexican key lime. This time the cactus was crunchy, and the lime added flavor to it. It was uhm uhm good.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Manny Pacquiao...

Manny Pacquiao one of THE TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, in its May 11, 2009 issue. These include Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Saudi Minister Norah al-Faiz, French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy, Ted Turner, Philanthropist, Actor-Philanthropist Brad Pitt, Musician John Legend, Capt. Richard Phillips, Physician and Sociologist Nicholas Christakis, and many more shakers and movers; scientists and thinkers; artists and entertainers; and heroes and icons.

Boxing is not the sport I watch, so I have no way of knowing his prowess in the ring. All I know is that Manny Pacquiao's name reverberates in the sports world. Now I leave it to the pros and quote here from Time Magazine.

Manny Pacquiao
By Lennox Lewis

Pound for pound, Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world. But even more important than holding that distinction, Manny has connected with the people of his home country, the Philippines, to the point where he's almost like a god. The people have rallied behind him and feel like they're a part of him, because they can see his talent, his dedication, his grace and his class. The grip he holds over the Philippines is similar to Nelson Mandela's influence in South Africa. I can surely see Manny becoming the Philippine President one day.

In fact, he already ran for Congress in the Philippines but lost, in part because voters thought he could do more for the country as an inspirational champion boxer. I agree with the Filipino people. Manny, 30, already has a true global reach, and his influence will only expand as he gets better. Manny is from the Muhammad Ali school. He's a boxer, a puncher and a mover — a champion in four weight divisions. He doesn't stand there and take shots. He throws that wicked jab and is so quick to dodge trouble.

Boxing needs a guy like Manny. Too often, when something positive develops, the sport takes two steps backward; you never know where the black eye is going to come from. With Manny, you don't have to worry about that. He just loves the sport and knows he's carrying the hopes of his country in the ring.

Lewis, the former world heavyweight champion, is a boxing commentator for HBO Sports

Fast Fact:
Pacquiao is the first athlete the Philippine Postal Corp. has honored with his own stamp.