It’s a blessed mess of green back there. I’ve been moving some of the twistier tomatoes to beside the chain link fence, to see if they’ll grow into it. 11 tomatoes still sit on the deck. Some of them even have fruits.

I had four boonies sprout, of which one died, one was cut off by some worm before it could get anywhere (still alive though), and the other two look pretty healthy. This photo is of the best of the new year’s boonie peppers. I don’t expect any crop until late fall.

I’ve been finding interesting links and mailing them to myself. They’ve been accumulating in an email inbox, useless to anyone. But to dig down into these links and pull out a few of note.

This  is a quote from the New York Times article on adobo, the Filipino chicken dish.

As a result, there is great fun to be had in asking Filipinos how to make adobo, particularly when they are in groups. Filipino cooking is an evolutionary masterpiece, a cuisine that includes Chinese, Spanish, American and indigenous island influences, all rolled into one. But where for one Filipino the most important aspect of the dish is Spanish, for another it is Chinese, or both, or neither. (The journalist and food historian Raymond Sokolov has made the point that the ingredients for adobo were present in the Philippines before Magellan — only the name, which comes from a Spanish word for sauce, came later. “Lexical imperialism,” he called this process.)

Husbands argue with wives about adobo. Friends shoot each other dirty looks about the necessity of including coconut milk or soy sauce in the recipe. There are disputations over the kind of vinegar to use, over the use of sugar, over the inclusion of garlic and how much of it. Some use chicken exclusively in the dish, others pork, some a combination of the two.

Adobo is commonly seen in fiestas (parties) in the Marianas, and my wife is half Micronesian. Of course I’m interested.

More Filipino goodness is this blog article on the Filipino New Years. Great pictures! And Hopeless Foodie (Filipino step mother) has an article on making lumpia.

For those interested in sushi and thus the fate of the bluefin tuna, widespread reports of quota cheating (see herehere and here) certainly dim the prospects of seeing bluefin stocks recovering. Since one of the comments Tony Bourdain makes in his last book is a lament, on why can’t smart chefs incorporate interesting but less popular fish, such as mackerel, into their menus, we then find that people are cheating when it comes to the mackerel catch too. So life goes on.

To note, the Monterey Bay aquarium keeps a list of sustainable fish, foods safe to eat.

I don’t know how many of you have seen the fake food ads on Amazon.com (not for the squeamish). Samples are here and here.

From this article, Marilyn Monroe could cook. It appears as if this recipe was inherited from the DiMaggio  family.

Roger Ebert, the well known movie critic, has lost his jaw and can no longer eat. But he still entertains and still cooks. This is an article about Ebert’s new cook book.

Northern Mississippi Commenter doesn’t often talk about food, but when he does, I listen. In this case he’s talking about what he considers to be good BBQ (or not) in Mississippi.

You know, the Japanese do not eat sushi or tempura routinely. Those dishes are reserved for special occasions.
Japanese guest, at my brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving party.

The Chamorros have a few dishes that are signatures, and as my family encountered them a number of times during the Thanksgiving holidays, I thought it appropriate to introduce these dishes in context. In almost all cases where we were served food, the centerpiece of the meal, the first thing on the table was a finadene sauce. I’ve spoken of finadene before. It’s a sauce based on soy sauce, lemon juice (or vinegar), scallions, and boonie peppers. Finadene is a ubiquitous flavoring component in the Marianas, found even in the local Kentucky Fried Chickens. In the absence of boonies, my wife has had good luck with Thai (bird) peppers. But Thais can be 50,000-100,000 Scoville units in heat, while Professor Marutani of the University of Guam has shown me quotes that place the heat of the boonies in roughly the same range as jalapeno peppers, or about 4000 Scoville units. To note, my wife usually freezes her Thai peppers first.

Home made Finadene sauce.

Kelaguen is a Micronesean version of ceviche. However, instead of being applied largely to fish, the most common forms of kelaguen are chicken kelaguen (recipes here and here) and beef kelaguen(recipes here and here). This is not a staple, but a side dish and used for special occasions.

Chicken kelaguen

Red rice is a staple Chamorro dish, and the rice is colored with the red pigment of the achiote bean. The blog Scent of Green Bananas has an excellent article on Chamorro red rice. The bean imparts a subtly different flavor to the rice, which I can only describe as “duskier” or “darker”. This kind of red rice is not the same as Japanese red rice, which is sweeter and more a dessert. Achiote (or achote) can usually be purchased at places with a strong Hispanic influence, such as Atlanta’s international markets.

Chamorro red rice.

A Micronesian cultural resource I’ve recently encountered is the Guampedia. They have placed online dozens of recipes. Among other things, more exotic forms of kelaguen (venison, yellowfin) are presented among the recipes.