Monday, October 06, 2008

Birthday Bounty

title
I am a big believer in finding happiness in the small stuff. I like looking for reasons to celebrate even when it may seem like there are none, and try my best to be grateful for even the littlest things that go my way. It doesn’t take much to entertain me either. And although I may not be the most sophisticated person you’ll meet, I’m hardly ever bored ;)

A birthday though is justifiable grounds for celebrating, and being happy, and being grateful. No small thing, birthdays! And just last Friday I celebrated my 34th :) This year, I opted for the quiet route...a regular day at work and dinner with my team-mate-for-life at our favourite sushi place. No rah-rah this year...but still grateful for many, many things.

Now, I would love to yammer on about everything I’m thankful for, but I still have extra work to finish, dinner to put on the table (adobo!), and another food shoot to plan***. So I’ll leave you with just one thing. A wonderful basket of organic produce delivered right on my birthday (a nice coincidence!)!

This vegetable bounty came from farm in Bulacan that practices sustainable organic farming. They deliver a weekly basket of whatever is ready for harvest. They also have native chickens (and their eggs), ducks, and geese. They have fruits trees as well, and you can order fruit when in season. And they have organic rice twice a year during rice harvest season. So far I’ve only tried their veggies but will be ordering their eggs as soon as they have some!

These vegetables were a delight, and a fanstastic “birthday gift” from nature. Bright green and crisp, they felt almost alive in my hands as I transferred them carefully out of their basket. My birthday bounty: a big bunch of lettuce, kang kong (water spinach), small talong (eggplant), okra, sitaw (long beans), ampalaya (bitter melon), a small bunch of pechay (pak choi...a kind of cabbage), mustasa (mustard greens), green cucumber, white cucumber, green chilis, half a squash, 2 small leeks, and 1 tiny green pepper that snuck in!

We’ve already eaten some of the lettuce, which had that snappy taste only very fresh lettuce has. I’ve also used a bit of the chilli. The green cucumber was super crunchy in our salad and I’ll use the rest of it for cucumber raita. The white cucumber is new to me and I’ll probably make another salad out of that – with vinegar and sugar and lots of black pepper. The challenge is the two veggies that I don’t eat very often – ampalaya (bitter melon) and okra...but because of them I now have a chance to try my hand at pinakbet for the first time!

Lovely organic produce delivered to my doorstep looking cheerful and perky in their little basket...the possibility of organic eggs from the same farm...the suspense of seeing what goodies the basket will hold...the fun of thinking up ways to prepare them...a perfect birthday gift in my book! :)

***If you missed my dishes published in Yummy Magazine in September, I’ll have more coming up soon! Will let you all know when :) Meanwhile, you can check out the breakfast dishes I’ve prepared in the Marie Claire October issue which also features (blush!!!) our little flat!

49 comments:

Suzana said...

Dear Joey! I'm exactly one month older than you. Happy belated birthday! Nice to hear you had a lovely day, and a beautiful bouquet for your birthday! I'd go for veggies instead of flowers anytime!! ;)

Giff said...

well happy belated birthday :)

veron said...

Happy birthday, Joey! Quite a bounty indeed!

chunky said...

let me greet you a blessed and happy birthday joey!

chunky said...

let me greet you a blessed and happy birthday joey!

Barbara said...

Well Happy Birthday Joey.

Lori said...

Happy Birthday! Mine is coming up next week. I love October because it is always fun to celebrate with comfort food. Even in Brazil I still whip out the fall recipes. What a wonderful spread of beautiful produce!

Bea said...

Belated happy birthday meng :)

Lori said...

Hi Joey,
Belated Happy Birthday! It's wonderful seeing your progression as a cook and occasional meanderings into recipe development. I saw the sandwiches you did for Yummy and I've already bookmarked them to try. Eager to see the one you did for Marie Claire. :)

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Everyone for the birthday greetings!!! :)

Suzana...how cool! We are practically the same age :) I prefer veggies to flowers too...I used them as centerpieces in my wedding to replace the a lot of the flowers!

Thanks Giff!

Thank you Veron :) It really was!

Hi Chunky! Thanks!

Thank you Barbara! :)

Hi Lori! Wow! We're so close in birthdays :) I have a lot of friends with birthdays in October...we have quite a popular month :)

Thanks Bea!

Hi Lori! Thanks! :) The stuff I make are pretty simple...hope you like them!

Jen Tan said...

wow!!!! what a nice wholesome birthday bounty!!! Happy Birthday dear joey =) hope you had a great one!

katrina said...

Now I see why you said you were "dying of cuteness!" I'm no fan of most of those veggies, but they sure are adorable-looking!

Anh said...

Belated birthday to you my dear friend! :) And wow, I love the greeness of that photo!

Ling said...

Happy belated b-day, Joey! What a lovely, lovely gift - hope you enjoy every single bit of it!

Eileen said...

Sounds like you had a lovely birthday!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, gorgeous!! Happy birthday, darling!!

xoxo

Erin said...

Happy Birthday Joey! It sounds like you have a very contented exsistance. that is more important than anything.

domokun said...

those veggies look good! can i have the contact details please"

Freya said...

More stunning pictures Joey!! I'm way behind on your blog so need to spend some time catching up on it!! You're actually in Marie Claire??!!!

Marvin said...

Happy Belated Birthday, joey!

I wish I could see your recipes in Yummy and in Marie Claire, don't they have websites?!!

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

If I can make a suggestion for the bitter melon ... And it could be a breakfast thing too!

Bitter melon is hard to get down - but I had a really great dish recently. It was bitter melon with scrambled eggs and lots of crumbled bacon. The richness of the fatty bacon and the eggs cut nicely through the bitter melon. It was a fantastic contrast. Just remember to use lots of bacon (2 parts bacon, 2 parts egg, 1 part bitter melon). I'm not sure if the melon was simply sauteed fresh, or if maybe they steamed it first? And I wonder if blanching it will take away some of the bitter?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

A very excellent plan to enjoy the small things in life, everyday should have a moment of beauty and happy.
But a birthday . . .
Wishing you a very Happy Birthday Year!

Midge said...

Happy birthday, Joey! Here's to many more years of great eats and experiences!

Maris said...

How exciting about Marie Claire!

Happy Birthday! (Belated)

Rico said...

Huli man daw, huli pa rin! :)
Happy Birthday! I know you had fun!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jen! Thanks fellow Libra :)

Hi Katrina! Heehee :) See! I love cute food!

Hi Anh! Thank you...hope you are enjoying the nest :) This photo doesn’t even capture how green and sparkly everything was!

Hi Ling! Thanks much! :) We are doing just that :) Right now I am having the mustard greens in pasta for lunch (with a raw organic egg cracked on it while hot!)...sounds strange but it’s really good!

Hi Eileen! I did :)

Thanks Pat! Big hug! :)

Hi Erin! Life’s never perfect but I try to be content with what I’ve got and that’s makes it a lot easier :) I agree, that’s most important! And there are always nice moments hanging around waiting to be noticed...the trick is in the noticing! :)

Hi Domokun! Please email me (addy on the sidebar) for the details :)

Freya!!! So nice to see you!!! Thank you! Our local edition of Marie Claire...the Philippines has a local franchise of the magazine :)

Thanks Marvin! Although their publishing house has a website, the magazines themselves don’t...will have to show you next time you visit! :)

Hello Soup of the Day! Thanks for the suggestion! The first time I tried cooking bitter melon I did it with egg...but no bacon...that’s a fantastic idea! I scrub the bitter melon slices with salt, let it stand in a colander, then rinse, then squeeze the living daylights out of them...and then they are pretty much “de-fanged” ;)

Hi Tanna! Thank you! Yes, so much to enjoy if only people would take the time :)

Hi Midge! Thank you thank you!

Hi Maris! Thanks! :) That’s the Philippine edition :)

Hi Rico! Thank you! :)

LyB said...

What a beautiful bunch of vegetables, so fresh! Happy belated birthday, it sounds like you had a great day. :)

P said...

Libras rock! :-) Funny, I also signed up for the same delivery service here in Toronto - organics delivered to your doorstep from nearby farms. The veggies were a JOY to behold. Sadly, as day 2 passed, I wondered how I would ever get through ALL of it while fresh. Pressure! So I bailed. Sigh.

canDIshhh said...

Belated Happy Birthday Joey! :)

Gattina said...

Jo, happy belated birthday! And congrats on having so many famous mag to publish your work! Many more!

Gourmet Traveller said...

Happy to see that Libras are cheerful people (hope our baby girl wil be like that). Love the organic veggies you got - would kill for some sitaw and squash in coconut milk right now ;)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lyb! Thank you I did :)

Hi P! So true!!! ;) Sigh...I know what you mean about the veggies! Even with this bunch I can’t use them fast enough!

Thanks Candishhh!

Hi Gattina! Thank you :) It’s the Philippine edition...but still a great magazine :) Thanks!

Hi GT! Yes we are! And we make fabulous daughters...just ask my mom ;) oooh! I love things in gata!

mtan said...

Happy Birthday Joey! Gorgeous bouquet of greens. And I'll definitely pick up MC!

Carina said...

Happy Birthday!!! Stay beautiful inside and out. Hooray for breakfasts! hhehe

Rachel said...

Oh what a beautiful birthday gift! Hope you had a great day!

ApplesH said...

Happy Birthday! Love your flat which is featured in MC. I love your living room furniture actually and wish I had the same. :) Cheers!

Irene said...

Happy belated birthday and congratulations with the appearances in magazines! Now I can say I know people in high places. :D

Manggy said...

Belated happy birthday Joey! I'll be looking forward to your new shoots! I love that the farm is basically taunting you to make a pinakbet with the selection they gave you, haha! :)

Anton said...

Belated Happy Birthday Joey :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You have such a healthy perspective on life, Joey. Happy 34th!

ChichaJo said...

Hi M! Thanks! :) It really was :) Nice seeing you yesterday!

Hi Carina! Thank you for such a sweet greeting! Yay for breakfasts I agree!!!

Hi Rachel! I did :) Thank you!

Hi Applesh! Thank you! We love our home too :) It’s smaller than it looks though, hehe! The living room furniture is a “loan” from my mom :)

Hi Irene! Aw shucks! Thanks! :)

Hi Manggy! Thanks!!! I love it too! I love the surprise of the veggie basket and thinking up of ways to use them :)

Thanks Anton!

Hi Susan! Thanks! In life we get as good as we give, so healthy outlook I hope equals healthy life! :) Especially since I don’t always eat healthy...heeheehee ;)

christine said...

You didn't tell me about the MC issue!!! I have to get myself a copy! :) Congrats!!

ChichaJo said...

Hey Nens! I can't believe I didn't mention MC! The apartment looks bigger than it actually is, hehe ;)

CaRmeL said...

so you turned 34 last october 3? that's my 34th bday too! :-) anyway, i found ur blog while googling for a place to eat in tagaytay. i've been there countless times but man, i haven't done any culinary adventure there, mostly breakfasts at jollibee and staring at the quiet taal lake and volcano hihihi...keep blogging! :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Carmel! Thanks for stopping by...what a coincidence! :) Tagaytay has tons of places to eat now :)

Tartelette said...

Happy belated birthday! What a bounty indeed!
Congrats on the M.C feature!!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Helene! :)

Marissa said...

Hi! How do i contact the organic farm in batangas? thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Marissa! Please email me (my email addy is on the sidebar) and I will send you all the details :)