Sunday is really my favorite day. Sleep late, easy day and spend the whole day gorging yourself, playing with the kids that sort of thing.
This Sunday was such a day. The family converged again in LP. We had a pretty delicious spread, it was like a fiesta. It's been a few weeks since we've had our Sunday reunions and that's probably why there's more food on the table.
The Philippines has the best crabs in the world. (And yes, I'm being objective) The meat is just so juicy, succulent and sweet. My mom got the a combination of bakla (or gay crabs-meaty with a little fat), male crabs (which is all meat, no fat) and the female crabs, rich in aligue or crab fat. Ah, heaven!
The crabs were purchased alive and cooked in two ways, steamed and cooked in coconut cream with sitaw (pole beans) and squash. Both were equally yummy.
Here's the recipe for the crabs cooked in coconut cream:
4 mature coconuts (niyog), grated
1 thumb-sized ginger, smashed or cut in small strips
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cups hot water
4 large Philippine crabs (alimango)
1 bunch sitaw (pole beans), cut in 2-inch lengths
1 1/2 cups squash, peeled and cubed
Salt to taste
1. With a cheese cloth (or with your fists), squeeze out the cream from the mature coconut (you can ask your vendor to do this for you). The cream will be the first gata (coconut cream). Set aside the cream. Do not throw away the niyog.
2. Add hot water to the shredded niyog, and squeeze out the second time. This is your second gata (coconut milk). Set aside.
3. In a big heavy bottom pan, pour the second gata (coconut milk), ginger, garlic and onions. Bring to a quick boil. Drop the crabs immediately to the boiling liquid. Season with salt. Cook crabs until almost done.
4. Add in the squash. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the sitaw and the first gata.
5. Turn off the heat as soon as it boils.
You can use the canned coconut cream and coconut milk for this if you can't find fresh niyog in your area. However, my mom is pretty insistent that fresh is better.
For the carnivores (that means every single one of us), my mom made her Pork with Cadios beans, very reminiscent of our childhood Sunday luncheons when my lola was still alive. A true definition of comfort food. A family favorite. The meat is so tender and the fat from the pork simply melts in your mouth. Now, this is not the healthiest meal but boy, it sure is delicious. The recipe is idiot proof, if you can't make this, you're hopeless :)
Pork with Cadios Beans
1 kilo fresh pork cubes, preferably with a thick layer of fat :-)
1 pack Cadios beans
2-3 tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large onion, sliced in half
1. Place all ingredients in a huge stock pot, add water to completely immerse all the ingredients. The water should be 2-3 inches above all the ingredients so that it doesn't dry up and burn.
2. Simmer for 2 hours or until the pork fat is slightly "melted".
We also had some fried white pampano. Which is very nice and crispy.
And of course, my contribution, The Bomb! Chocolate cupcakes with ultimate chocolate ice cream inside and chocolate ganache topping. Are you salivating yet?
Ashley can't seem to get enough of the cupcakes.
For merienda, we had turon, plantain bananas sprinkled with sugar, wrapped in lumpia wrapper and quickly friend. Typical pinoy merienda that never disappoints.
After our heavy and satisfying meal, the whole family spent hours glued to the telly, watching local tsismis.