Pork & Peapods Saute in Italian Herbs

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Never thought that I would be like some kind of a superwoman – a full-time mom & working at the same time. For some reasons, my son’s nanny won’t be joining us any sooner than expected so I continue to be his ‘school bus’, as well as the cook for months to come. With few projects that need to be checked from time to time, there would be plenty of occasions when I have to cook something that is easy to prepare as well as satisfy my small family’s appetite for food. An example is what I will share here – ‘fast food’ that’s ready in about 10 minutes.

My pork & peapods saute is actually similar to any stir-fry vegetable recipe except that the Italian herbs add a special flavor that doesn’t make the dish taste oriental. A trick I learned from a colleague who tried adding the same herbs to the simple ginisang sitaw or stir-fry string beans.

1/4 kilo of ground pork
A handful of sitsaro or peapods
1 big tomato
1 medium-size onion
2 tbsp of minced garlic
salt & pepper
soy sauce
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
Italian herbs (a combination of basil, capsicum, oregano, parsley, rosemary, garlic, etc. w/c u can buy in a small bottle from the grocery)

Fry garlic in a skillet over medium to high heat while stirring constantly. Once golden brown, add the ground pork & cook until a little bit brownish but still juicy. Add the tomatoes, onions & a dash of Italian herbs & saute until the tomatoes are crushed. Add about 2 cups of water & bring to boil. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce & oyster sauce plus the peapods and continue cooking until the vegetable is done. Remember that the final texture of the peapods is desired to be crisp or al dente, similar to the way pasta is prepared. Pour the dish in a platter & sprinkle w/ more Italian herbs.

‘My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.’ – Jerry Hall (American Model and Actress. b.1956)

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

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