My Grandparents Farm and My Mother’s Steamed Clams

MY MOTHER’S STEAMED CLAMS

One of my childhood favorites.

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Growing up I, was surrounded by rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, sugar cane fields, coconut trees, and tropical fruits.  The best environment for a child to grow up in.  My grandparents farm was mainly my playground growing up. During the last weekend of the month, I would always get excited because my mother would take us to visit my grandparents farm.  She either took me or my sister with her.   On the way to the farm, my mother and I would stop by the market to buy some fish and pastries.  It became a family tradition.

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My sister-in-law accompanied me to purchase some pastries to bring to the farm when I last visited. I love how they sell bread and pastries where you could just pick your own and buy as few or as many as you want.

Our cousins always made us feel welcome when we visited.  They would run out from their homes to meet us.  They made us feel like celebrities. They acted like they haven’t seen us in ages.  My grandparents would then catch a free-range chicken for lunch.  Everyone would gather around the table and enjoy the Tinolang Manok (Chicken soup with green papaya, moringa leaves, and ginger, which I will be sharing the recipe with you in the future) as well as my Grandpa’s grilled fish soup.  Sometimes, I would ask my mother if I could stay behind.  Reminiscing, I can’t help but miss my grandparents.

Below are pictures I took when I last visited my grandparents farm four years ago (2010).

When I went back to visit four years ago, I could’t stay long. I was there to primarily attend a high school reunion. However, I did get a chance to visit my old neighborhood. I wasn’t able to take as many photos as I would have liked.  I regret not being able to explore my grandparents  farm to see how much it changed.  I wish you could have seen how it looked 40 years ago when the river flowed endlessly from the mountain and how it deposited mini clams, and edible snails.  My cousins and I would go to the river for a swim and we would pick sugar cane on the way back then collect clams, snails, and vegetables to take back home. We would gather them using our skirt as a basket. It was a lot of fun.  My mother would then cooked the clams and snails we brought back.

In the summer time, my mother would drop us off to the farm for a short vacation. We would stay there for about a week or two or even a month at times.  We would play hide-and-seek at night during the full moon.  Sometimes we would help out harvesting coconuts or feeding carabaos or water buffalos.  The fun part was when it was time to harvest the rice crop.  They would let us take whatever was left in the field.  We would separate the rice from the stalk by using a bilao (pronounced bee-lah-o).  We would grab a handful of rice crop and placed them in the bilao then  shook and tossed them.  We would place the rice in a sack and would take it to town and sell it.  That was how we earned extra cash back then.  What a fun time!

I recall having to walk for miles just to get to the nearest town to catch a ride to the market.  Sometimes, we would catch a ride with a farmer or a passerby with a cart in tow being pulled by a water buffalo.  However, much has changed since the area has become much more developed.  It’s not as pretty as before.   The rice production these days is not as abundant back then because of irrigation issue.  The corn crop is more common now than before because it doesn’t require as much water as to growing rice crop.  How I miss the good old days! *Sigh*

Anyway, let’s start making my mother’s clam recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 5.17 lbs.  Manila clams
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • whole thumb size ginger, peeled, cut in half and slightly pounded with mallet
  • 15 tricolor cherry tomatoes or any color of your choice, halves
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley* or 4 stalks of green onions, cut about half inch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon (powdered form)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Immediately immerse the clams in cold (not warm) water for about 5 hours to let them open up and expel whatever stuff they have in their shells the minute you come home from the market.  Then use a sponge or a brush to clean the shell.  Then rinse them.  They are ready to be cooked. I did this step and there was no sand in any of the clams.
  2. Saute the garlic, onions, and ginger with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat until translucent.
  3. Then add the tomatoes and chicken bouillon and the green onions ( *I used parsley because I didn’t have any green onions).  Stir again before adding the clams and water. Add the clams and water.  Cover and bring the water to a boil about 7 to 10 minutes or until the clams start opening up depending on the heat of your stove.  Don’t forget to lightly season with black pepper and salt.  Then turned off the heat.
  4. Garnish with more green onions or parsley.  Serve immediately and slurp the flavorful sauce and eat the clams right from the shell.

My siblings and I would sometimes eat these clams with a piece of bread and dip it on the sauce.  Don’t ask, just do it.  You will find out why. 🙂  Mr. M loved it and asked for more while little J & A were very disappointed they couldn’t have any (they’re allergic to seafood).  No worries, they had their favorite food as well.

Below are random pictures I took while vacationing in the Philippines when we went to the market to buy seafood.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the squash or Kabucha pumpkins.  They were humungous! 🙂

And these photos when we went to the beach for a swim.

That is all for now.  If you like this post, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes.  Thank you for stopping by.  Until next time.  Have a great day!

~Anna B.

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013-2014)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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13 thoughts on “My Grandparents Farm and My Mother’s Steamed Clams

  1. Pingback: Turmeric Ginger Chicken | Anna's Cuisine

  2. Anna, WOW. What amazing memories you have of your grandparents’ farm in the Philippines. I was transported through your beautiful prose. Your mother’s clam recipe looks so flavorful – the garlic, ginger, parsley and tomatoes are calling my name. I will definitely dip my bread in the flavorful sauce – what else is there to do!? Also, great photos! My favorite is of the Kabucha Squash (MMM!!!).

    • Hello, Shanna, my PRCCSS!:) You always make my day. You are always generous of your time and thoughtful in your words. Thank you kindly. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my story and the photos. I have been tapping into my childhood favorite comfort foods. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite childhood snacks that I transformed into a refreshing, delicious drink or desserts soon. Fortunately, the ingredients are widely available. It’s always a pleasure you stopping by. Have a blissful weekend. *Hugs* 🙂

    • Hello, Silva! It’s always a pleasure to see you stopped by. Thank you. I love this recipe too. It’s one of my comfort foods. I will always like my clams prepared this way. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Have a great day, Silva. 🙂

  3. A wonderful post, Anna. How fortunate to be able to visit your Grandparents like that each year. And they lived on a farm!!! Oh, boy! Thanks you for sharing this part of your youth with us. Thanks, too, for sharing your Mom’s clams recipe. I’ve never used ginger with clams and will definitely give it a try. 🙂

    • Hello, John! Thank you. It’s my pleasure. My grandparents lived on a farm their entire lives. It was such a blessing and a treasure to experience such a wonderful environment.
      Most of my mother’s recipes call for fresh ginger. It was an everyday ingredient in her cooking. It must be the Ilocano way (upbringing). I noticed my maternal side of the family do like the freshness and spiciness of ginger. This recipe was flavorful and I am 100% confident that you will like this recipe. I hope you give it a try. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment, John. Thank you. Have a great day! 🙂

  4. Such a vivid, captivating story! I could almost feel the warm blanket of humidity as if I were there. And beautiful recipe- this is just lovely.

    • Hello, Gina! Thanks for reading the story behind my mother’s steamed clams. I appreciate it. There are so many steamed clams recipes out there, but I wanted to share my mother’s recipe and how easy and flavorful she made it. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day! 🙂

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