Mom & Dad's Garden



The Backyard Garden


My dad used to grow vegetables in our backyard. I used to love running through the garden and playing in the dirt as a kid. I believe he must have loved to grow vegetables and fruit trees, something he must have picked up working as a farmhand in Hawaii and California He would grow bittermelon, string beans, eggplants, tomatoes, Tabungao and Upo squash, and other varieties every year. You see back then they didn't have all the Asian supermarkets around like they do now and so many of the vegetables for the Filipino dishes were not available. 

We ate a lot of meat and mixed vegetable dishes. I don't believe it was any type of Philippine dish but resembled the dish called Pinakbet. My mom and dad would just mix whatever meat be it pork, beef, or chicken with whatever vegetables were available. I recreated a similar dish to the middle right of this section. It's pretty simple, first fill a medium or large saucepan with water, soy sauce, vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar), add crushed garlic and ginger to taste. I add a tablespoon of chicken boullion as well. Sometimes I may add patis (fish sauce) but I don't like it too salty. Cook until boil then add the meat. Wash and cut up some meat into 1" chunks, add to the boiling mixture in the pot. Pork and beef cooks longer about 45 minutes or until water is half gone. Chicken cook about 30 minutes, Then add vegetables, I love eggplant and okra and use those vegetables most of the time. Sometimes I will add string beans, different types of potatoes and squashes as well. I usually add the potatoes and stringbeans to cook in the last 20 minutes; squashes cook in last 15 minutes; eggplant and okra only 5 minutes because I like them a little firm and not soggy.
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