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February 28, 2007

Rice Pudding

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Rice Pudding

We love rice and we eat it at least twice a day, if not 4 times, including breakfast and for snacks. This rice pudding recipe appealed to me instantly when I read it because of the combination of flavors that I really love. It is similar to our guinatang mais (glutinous rice and sweet corn cooked in coconut milk) with a hint of cardamom, cloves, and lemon. One spoonful and I was in rice pudding heaven, yuuummmy. Wow!

Adapted from Food Section The Washington Post 2/28/2007 by Bonny Wolf

'International' Rice Pudding
2½ cups milk
1 ¾ cups coconut milk
5 cardamom pods, crushed
5 whole cloves
finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups cooked arborio rice (I used Japanese short grain rice)
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pistachios, for garnish (optional)
  • Combine the milks, cardamon, cloves, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil, then transfer the mixture to a container, let cool for 40 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • Strain the milk mixture into a medium saucepan,discarding the solids. Add the sugar, salt and rice, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, turn to low and cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often, until thick. Add the raisins after 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with pistachios, if desired.

February 26, 2007

Chicken With Cashews & Steamed Yardlong Beans

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Chicken with Cashews
Chicken with Cashews

This dish, Chicken With Cashews was featured last week in the Food section of the Washington Post. The Chinese-Australian who wrote the article said this dish is a "new" soy sauce free version of the usual Chinese chicken. But I have been preparing and have eaten this dish many many times in restaurants in Binondo in the Philippines. This dish is also in 3 of my Chinese cookbooks, one of which is 25 years old.

Chicken With Cashews
1 pound boneless, skinless dark or white chicken meat, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 tablespoon light olive oil
3 spring onions, sliced into ½ inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 cup roasted cashews (or walnuts, or petite green peas)
2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • Mix first 4 ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes. Mix in egg white. Stir fry in hot oil for 3 minutes, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the spring onions, cook for 2 minutes, then add salt, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cashews, stir fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, cook for 1 minute. Serve with rice and steamed and salted, or sauteed yardlong beans.

Hazelnut Crust Apple Tart

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Hazelnut Crust Apple Pie
Hazelnut Crust Apple Tart

I love apple pie/tart/pizza with Nutella and am always looking for recipes that use both. I have a pound of ground hazelnuts in my pantry waiting to be made into something yummy. I pressed half a cup of ground hazelnuts onto one unbaked 10-inch pie shell, sprinkled 2 tablespoons sugar then layered thin apple slices, poured ¼ cup of melted butter all over, sprinkled 3 more tablespoons of sugar and baked the tart for 40 minutes. The best part is the slightly burnt caramelized pieces, and with a drizzle of Nutella, it is just divine.

A variation of this tart is using ground almonds in place of hazelnuts on the tart shell and adding a layer of almond meringue before layering the apple slices, then brushing the top with warmed apple jelly after baking, instead of drizzling Nutella.


February 25, 2007

Winter Zen

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Winter Zen
the view from inside my front door

Winter Zen
and from the rear of the house

There's only 4 inches of snow on the ground but it is still snowing steadily which looks like we'll get a foot or not....Thankfully it's a Sunday and people are sleeping in or maybe like me catching up on my movie and book lists (just finished the mediocre and adjective heavy THE DOUBLE BIND by Christ Bohjalian - not recommended). Hmm, this weather is urging me to bake an apple tart or fry some churros.


February 23, 2007

Sauteed Ground Beef and Fried Egg

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Arroz a la Cubana

This is a Filipino dish called arroz a la Cubana, I guess because it is eaten with fried ripe saba banana which is a little bit similar to plantains. I can't find any similar dish in my Cuban cookbook but there is a note that says fried ripe plantains are usually eaten as a side dish to beef or chicken dishes.

Philippine Arroz a la Cubana
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt & ground black pepper to taste
hot steamed rice
fried ripe plantain or saba if available
fried eggs
  • In a wok or pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add beef and saute for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then add soy sauce and pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes, adding a little water if it appears dry. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with steamed rice, fried eggs, fried plantains and tomato or banana ketchup.
Sunny Side Up
  • I prefer my sunny side up fried eggs with runny yolks like this one. Cook on a medium-low heat, covered, for exactly 3 minutes. For fully cooked but not hard yolks, cook for a further 1½ minutes.

The Prestige vs The Illusionist

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I watched THE PRESTIGE yesterday and THE ILLUSIONIST about 2 months ago. I declare The Prestige won by a mile. First, Jessica Biel is no match to Scarlett Johansson, heheh. Seriously, The Prestige is more thrilling, darker, more "magical", and the acting is a lot better and with David Bowie playing the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, how can The Illusionist top that? The Illusionist has Paul Giametti, who is a good actor, but failed in this movie because of his fake accent, Edward Norton was lifeless and one-dimensional, and Jessica Biel with her simian mouth does not look THAT desirable for the men to fight over her, no not believable at all.
Actually these movies don't have the same story line, they are very different and the only thing they have in common is the magicians and their magic tricks and nothing else. So I shouldn't compare the two, I just want to make fun of Jessica Biel.:D

THE PRESTIGE 5 stars
Two illusionists (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) who used to be friends and equal participants in performances when they were younger try to steal each other's secrets and outdo each other that it becomes an obssession for both of them. Christian Bale's character is more gifted and Hugh Jackman's is an excellent showman. When HJ's wife accidentally died during a performance, he partially blames CB and begrudges him for being successful and happy with a wife and daughter. Both of them tried to deceive and sabotage each other and you won't know who the real antagonist is until the very end. This is a very intelligent magic/sci-fi movie that is worth watching over and over again. One negative, Scarlett Johansson is out of place in this movie and should have played an American because her accent was plain awful. David Bowie just for being in the movie saves it from getting a four star from me. I will read the book that this movie is based on, THE PRESTIGE by Christopher Priest.

THE ILLUSIONIST 2 Stars
A gifted magician who performs in Vienna (why Vienna when all the actors are American and British, some low-class people had cockney accents, in Vienna?) reunites with his childhood love and tries to get her back from an evil aristrocrat by using his magic. ZZZZ. Boring. Bad accents from all performers, except Edward Norton who has no accent at all, baffling. Not recommended.


February 21, 2007

Gingerbread Cake With Candied Kumquats

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Gingerbread Cake With Candied Kumquats
Gingerbread Cake With Kumquats

I have been buying kumquats regularly and eating them like candies, but have not tried making them into marmalade. I was looking for recipes that have candied kumquat and found this gingerbread cake. The cake is so moist and not overly sweet, it tastes so Christmassy and I will definitely make this again next Christmas. For the candied kumquats I used ¼ C of white sugar, 2 T water and 1 pound of thick sliced kumquats, a dash of ground cinnamon and a piece of clove is optional. Cook for 5 minutes until thick. I left the cooked fruits in syrup and the orange color deepened overnight.

Kumquats in Syrup

Gingerbread Cake with Candied Kumquats
cake
1 cup unsulfured light molasses
¾ cup hot water
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 egg
2 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinammon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

caramel cream cheese frosting
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 8-oz bricks cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup butter, softened
  • Cake: Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl mix water and molasses, mix the rest of the ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. Divide batter equally and pour into the pans and bake for 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.
  • Frosting: In a small saucepan combine brown sugar and whipping cream, let boil once stirring constantly. Let cool. In a medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, beat in cooled caramel, continue beating for 3 minutes.
  • Assemble the cake: Reserve a plateful of candied kumquats to decorate the top of cake. Chop the rest and divide into 2 portions, set aside. Set one cake layer on a flat plate or cake board, spread half of the chopped kumquats, then frost. Repeat with the second cake layer. Frost the sides and the top layer. Arrange the sliced candied kumquats on top. Optional: decorate lower half of cake with chopped candied ginger. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight before slicing. Enjoy this super moist, spicy, rich cake enhanced with the sweetness and tang of kumquats with a cup of steaming hot unsweetened jasmine tea, sooo good.

February 20, 2007

Easy As Macapuno Pie

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Macapuno Pie
Macapuno Pie

With a little adjustment in my fat reduced pie crust recipe I was able to make a really easy, flaky, yummy macapuno pie using 2 jars of macapuno preserves. For this recipe the only brand that works is Kayumanggi. Other brands are too sweet and have buco instead of macapuno.

The easiest macapuno pie:
2 unbaked store bought or homemade pie crusts for 10-inch pie
2 jars Kayumanggi brand macapuno preserves
  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Roll 1 crust into a 12 inch round, ease onto the pie pan. Fill with macapuno. Roll the second pie crust and put on top of the macapuno. Pinch edges together. Brush with 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Bake for 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

February 16, 2007

Quinoa With Saffron

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Quinoa With Saffron

After reading about the many healthy qualities of quinoa I decided to serve it once or twice a week. I prepared it paella style with saffron, but meatless. I love its paella taste and with the added crunch of quinoa, it is super delicious. I did not even notice the absence of chicken, chorizo and prawns.

Quinoa with Saffron
1½ cups quinoa, washed and drained
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red or orange sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2½ cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
a pinch of saffron
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup frozen petite sweet peas
  • In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil, add garlic, onions, carrots, and bell pepper, saute for 3 minutes. Add the quinoa and saffron, cook for 2 minutes, stirring to mix. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, continue simmering for 5 minutes. Add frozen peas and simmer for another 5 minutes.

February 15, 2007

Nutella Pizzas

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Apple Nutella Pizza

I made a few dessert pizzas with fruits and Nutella. For the apples I used eastern (Philadelphia) empire apples which are perfect for pies because they are so tasty, sweet and tart and they retain their shape when cooked. I made the pizza dough and baked it the same day instead of chilling it overnight in the fridge. I used half of the dough and 5 apples, sliced into 16 pieces, then fried in 2 T butter and 2 T sugar until soft and caramelized. The other half of the dough I made into Nutella and dried blueberry pizza. Both are sooo good. Nutella is great with a lot of different fruits. We also love it on toast with sliced strawberries on top.

Apple Nutella Pizza
drizzle more Nutella on the apple pizza before serving

Blueberry Nutella Pizza
gust the blueberry pizza with powdered sugar, with a dollop of Nutella on the side

Pizza Dough
3 to 3½ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ cups very hot water
  • In a bowl, mix together 1½ cups flour, sugar and yeast. Stir in the hot water and beat for 2 minutes. Add the salt and oil, then gradually add more flour. Knead for 6 minutes. Transfer to a slightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, divide in half. Pat each half in 13 x 9 inch pans. Spread Nutella on both, thick or thin depending on how much you love Nutella. Arrange apple slices, slightly overlapping on top of Nutella. On the other dough, slightly press dried sweetened blueberries evenly on top (do not use fresh or frozen blueberries). Let rise for 30 - 40 minutes. Bake in a pre-heated 425°F oven for 25 minutes.

Beef Saute & Lentil Soup

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Salpicao

I won't call this dish beef salpicao, I don't know why Filipinos call it such. There isn't a Spanish dish called salpicao and salpicon is a beef salad. There is a Portuguese meaty sausage called salpicao, though. I'll just call this dish garlic beef saute.

1 pound New York strip steak, cut into 1½ x 1½ inch cubes
5 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for frying
crispy fried slivered garlic
  • Mix well first 6 ingredients, transfer into a Ziploc gallon bag and marinate overnight in the fridge. The next day, remove the meat, discard the garlic and reserve the marinade liquid. Pat the meat dry and fry in hot oil until brown or desired doneness. Transfer to a serving dish. Cook the reserved marinade in the same pan, let boil for 2 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle onto the cooked meat. Sprinkle with fried garlic.

Lentil Soup

Mung Bean Soup

8 ounces lentils, cleaned of foreign materials and rinsed
1 cup chopped smoked ham
1 carrot, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and let boil, turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

February 14, 2007

The Departed - Aaargh!

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Can someone tell me why this mediocre movie won many awards and why lots of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating? Can someone please explain to me because I just wasted 2 and a half hours of my life watching Leonardo DiCaprio's lousy acting. This remake of the superb Hong Kong movie INFERNAL AFFAIRS is just terrible. Everything about The Departed is contrived, it is not as taut, stylish, smart nor exciting as the original, and what is up with the stupid ending? The writer and the director certainly in my opinion did not get the original's whole concept and had to rewrite the ending to satisfy the American audience, but it does not make sense. And the overuse of the F-word is simply tiring, if not annoying, and did not work effectively in this movie as it did in the hilarious dark comedy MADE (which has the most number of times the F-word was uttered). I know majority of people will disagree with me but it is MY honest opinion: 1 star. No one deserves any awards in this stupid remake.
Now I have to watch any of the movies in our dvd library that has Tony Leung in it to erase this disappointing movie from my memory. Mm, let's see, HERO or DAYS OF BEING WILD? Oh, I know IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Happy Valentine's Day!:D


February 13, 2007

S'mores Bars & Cheesesteak-wich

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S'mores Cookie Bars

I'm homebound today, no I'm not sick, I just don't have my car and it's snowing. So there's nothing else for me to do but bake.:)

S'mores Bars

S'mores Cookie Bars

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup each white and dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chunks or chips
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until fluffy, gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in by hand marshmallows and chocolate chips. Press into a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake in a pre-heated 375°F oven for 25 minutes. Cool before cutting into bars. Sooo gooey good with milky chai or cafe latte.

Cheesesteak-wich

Cheesesteakwich

3 to 3½ cups bread flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water (140°F)
1 tablespoon soft butter
12 ounces thinly sliced roast beef evenly sprinkled with 2 tablespoons Knorr seasoning or soy sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix in hot water and butter and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed, beat another 2 minutes at high speed. Gradually add enough flour to make soft dough. Knead for 6 minutes, transfer to an oiled container, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • While dough is rising, cook onion in olive oil till soft, add ½ teaspoon salt. Let cool.
  • Punch dough down, roll into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle on a silpat or a piece of foil. Layer roast beef, onion and cheese over center-third of dough. With sharp knife, make cuts from filling to dough edges at 1 inch interval along sides of filling. Alternating sides, fold strips at an angle across filling. Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 40 minutes.
Cheesesteak-wich


February 11, 2007

Pressed Sushi

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Pressed Sushi


We once had a Japanese couple for lunch many years ago. The wife brought homemade oshi-zushi or pressed sushi. It was in an ordinary glass container but I can still remember how the sushi looked so perfect and beautiful, with the prawn halves all straight and not curled like mine, I wonder how she did that. Her pressed sushi was so yummy, I try to make it at home as often as possible. I love it with lots of wasabi, soy sauce and preserved ginger slices.

Pressed Sushi
rice
3 cups Japanese rice
3½ cups water
1 5-inch kelp (kombu seaweed), optional
1/3 cup vinegar
1½ teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
  • Wash rice thoroughly, let drain for 1 hour in a sieve before cooking. Put the rice, water, and kelp in a non-stick pan or rice cooker. Remove the kelp once it starts boiling, simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Mix vinegar, salt and sugar and sprinkle evenly on the rice, fanning the rice to cool quickly (this gives the rice a glossy sheen).
  • To prepare: You can use any topping for the pressed sushi like smoked salmon or ham. I always top mine with omelet, steamed asparagus and prawns. Press half of the rice on a 13 x 9 x 2 inch dish, spread wasabi, then top with toasted nori, press the rest of the rice on top of nori. Arrange the topping, cut into 2 inch pieces. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.
Pressed Sushi

Psst.. check out this movie.


February 10, 2007

Caramel Wheat Puffs

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Ampaw

As a child I used to eat a lot of sweet caramel rice puff balls called ampaw/ampao. I also loved the Chinese kind called lohua which is longish, empty inside, very crispy and puffy. I found bags of unsweetened rice and wheat puffs at our grocery, made caramel and formed some into balls, the rest I left loose to eat as breakfast cereal. My daughter said to just buy honey Smacks, it's the same thing although much sweeter than home made.

Caramel Wheat Puffs
6 - 7 C unsweetened wheat, rice or corn puffs
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup dark or light corn syrup
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon salt
  • Heat all ingredients except puffs in a large pot or dutch oven until sugar melts and mixture is bubbling, stirring constantly. Add the puffs and stir to coat evenly, cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. With wet hands form into balls.

February 8, 2007

TV, Movies & A Book on CD

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I reserved a book, PUCCINI'S GHOSTS by Morag Joss, at the library and when I picked it up today I was given a book on CD (11 cds in all) instead of the book itself, I'm not sure how it happened. I have never tried "listening" to a book before but I took the CDs home anyway. I made another reservation for the book and will have to wait probably 3 more weeks for it. I listened to cd 1 in my car and I kinda liked it, it's not bad at all. I feel like a child having strangers tell me a bedtime story, and I will be able to continue "reading" while doing other stuff, like beading.:-)

TV shows: I haven't been watching a lot of tv lately, there aren't many interesting new sitcoms or dramas. The only shows I regularly watch are Heroes, Medium, and Law & Order SVU and the reality shows Project Runway and Top Chef. Top Chef had its finale last week and Bravo introduced another reality show, Top Design with Todd Oldham as host. There are 12 contestants, 6 men and 6 women, although I believe ALL the men are gay, including the married one with a 3 year old child. Even the tough guy who complained that he will be living with all these "girls", I think is also gay, he was eliminated on the second episode. The show is just okay, not as interesting as Project Runway, it also has some product placements but not as blatant as Top Chef. The judges seem to be uninterested and lifeless, I'll give it another week to see if something exciting happens.

Movies on DVD:
I just saw a very fascinating, funny, intelligent, entertaining, bizarre, and sad (in a way) movie, I love, love, love it: THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP by the same person who made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of my favorite movies. This is the kind of movie that you will either hate or love, there's no in between. If you don't get it you will hate it for sure. Five Brilliant Stars

HOLLYWOODLAND, a movie about the actor who played superman on TV, George Reeves. I borrowed this movie because Adrien Brody is in it. I absolutely love him (and his beak) in DUMMY and of course THE PIANIST. The movie is very good, Ben Affleck is surprisingly not bad. Four Stars

Stuffed Poblano Peppers and Sauteed Bitter Melon

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Stuffed Poblanos

I try to have an all-vegetable dinner once or twice a week to balance our diet a bit because of the fatty snacks and meaty dinners that I cook all week. The spicy stuffed poblano peppers are really good either with steamed rice or dinner rolls. The bitter melon is for me because no one else likes it.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
6 poblano peppers, charred and skins removed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups grated jalapeƱo pepper jack cheese
olive oil
2 ell beaten eggs
Japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • Make a slit on the sides of the peppers, remove seeds and stems. Set aside. In a skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Mix in cheese and stuff the peppers. Dip peppers in egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Fry on medium heat until golden brown.

Bitter Melon With Eggs

Sauted Bitter Melon
1 bitter melon
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 well beaten eggs
½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise, scoop out and scrape the soft innards, then slice. Boil 2 cups salted water and cook bitter melon for 1 minute. Drain, rinse, and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. In a wok or pan, saute garlic and onion for 2 minutes, add tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs and salt, cook until eggs are set but still moist. Drain the bitter melon and add to the mixture in the pan, stir to mix and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

February 6, 2007

Buns, Buns, Buns

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Chocolate Sticky Bun
chocolate, caramel, and walnuts in this weird shaped sticky bun

Yesterday I made 2 batches of sweet bread dough because I'm crazy that way.:-) My daughter wanted the chocolate sticky buns and I wanted these coffee buns and of course I must make them both! For the coffee buns I looked online for the same kind of bread and found Rotiboy which is Malaysian/Singaporean, a version of the Mexican concha (shell) rolls or buns, the recipe of which I have in one of my bread cookbooks. I will not post the recipe for the coffee buns because they were not satisfactory to me, the filling oozed out and they do not look pretty. I'll try again some other time.

Mexican Concha Bun & Roti Coffee Bun
cousins concha bun and rotiboy coffee bun

The chocolate sticky buns are adapted from THE BREAD BIBLE by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I used sweet bread dough instead of brioche dough because the filling and caramel are very rich already and my family might think I'm trying to kill them with too much eggs and butter.:)

Chocolate Sticky Buns
sweet bread dough
4½ to 5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 packets active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs

chocolate ganache filling
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 large egg white

topping
¼ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ cup coarsely broken untoasted walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Dough: In a large bowl, combine 1½ C flour, sugar, and yeast. Heat water, milk and butter to 120° to 130°F. Gradually add to dry ingredients, beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl ocassionally. Add salt, eggs and ½ C flour, beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 4 to 6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Chocolate ganache: In a small bowl place the chocolate and microware, stirring every 15 seconds until almost melted. Stir until melted then add heavy cream and syrup, stir in egg white. Set aside to firm up, it should be firm but spreadable.
  • Topping: In a small saucepan, off the heat, stir together butter, sugar and syrup, bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. simmer for 3 minute, then pour in the heavy cream and continue to simmer for 3 minutes. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle the walnuts evenly.
  • Shape the buns: Gently remove gas from dough down, shape or roll into a 14 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread ganache up to edges on all sides, sprinkle chips evenly. Roll from a long end, slice into 12 portions. Place in the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • Bake the buns: Preheat oven to 375°, bake for 10 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 3 minutes, invert onto a platter, scraping the topping left on the pan onto the buns.

Chocolate Sticky Buns


Kohlrabi

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Kohlrabi

Most recipes recommend simply cooking kohlrabi with carrots, sauteeing them in butter or making them into gratin as a side dish. I didn't want simple so I added them (in place of cabbage) with carrots and potatoes to boiled pre-seasoned corned beef beef brisket. Serve with lots of French dijon grainy mustard. The root vegetable is sweet and mild like turnip. It's the perfect substitute to the smelly and awful cabbage when making this dish. I noticed that they look and taste almost like the Philippine radish which looks like the Japanese daikon but spicier.

Corned Beef with Kohlrabi


February 5, 2007

Cold Enough For Ya?

Yeah, that's how cold it was today at 2 PM, that's about 7°F or -14°C, and with windchill it felt less than 0°F. Tonight it will be much colder, the thermometer a few minutes ago read 0°F (-18°C). Eh, this is nothing compared with the temps in the Midwest states where they can go 40 below, now that's cooold. Last Christmas I was lamenting that it didn't feel like Christmas because it was warm at 70°F. I can't complain now, can I? Actually I love this weather, when it's cold I get the urge to make hot chocolate and churros or chai and s'mores cookies. Tomorrow...maybe.:-D
I also have 2 batches of sweet bread dough chilling in the fridge to be baked tomorrow, one to be made into Rotiboy coffee buns and the other into chocolate sticky buns, yum.

February 4, 2007

Quinoa with Artichokes

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This is the first time I tried quinoa and I really like it. It's supposed to be very healthy too. I paired it with chicken pieces stewed in honey, a galic clove, a sprig of rosemary, a tablespoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Quinoa with Artichoke Hearts

Quinoa with Artichokes

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained (use a very fine sieve)
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped onion
½ pound frozen artichoke hearts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Saute onion in olive oil in a saucepan until soft, add broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and simmer for another 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in cheese.

February 2, 2007

Caldereta (Beef Stew)

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Caldereta

This is one Filipino dish I don't cook often, maybe once or twice a year at the most, I'm not sure why. Too meaty? too sour or too rich? Caldereta is of course Spanish in origin, from caldera which means cauldron. This recipe is adapted from my cookbook FAVORITE FILIPINO RECIPES by Pat Limjuco-Dayrit.

Caldereta
2 pounds beef stew meat
½ cup vinegar
6 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
¼ cup sherry
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
1½ teaspoons whole peppercorns
6 cloves garlic
1 hot green pepper
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
1 cup hot water
¼ cup grated edam or gouda cheese
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup green olives
  • Marinate meat overnight in refrigerator in mixture of vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper and salt.
  • Next day drain the meat and brown in batches in 2 tablespoons hot olive oil. Transfer browned pieces into a saucepan, add onions and sherry. Bring to a boil, then add the remaining olive oil and bay leaf.
  • In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, puree/crush parsley, peppercorns, 6 cloves garlic and hot green pepper. Add to the mixture in the pan and put in tomato sauce and the hot water. Simmer until beef is tender, about 1 - 1 ½ hours. Turn the heat off.
  • Stir in roasted red pepper and grated cheese. Add the sugar and adjust seasoning. Add olives and serve hot with steamed rice or French baguette to soak up the rich sauce, and steamed green beans.

Caldereta


February 1, 2007

A Really Large Pizza

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Really Large PizzaReally Large Pizza

I got lazy today and bought ready to bake frozen square pizza and did not notice it was huge. Only when I loaded the box into the car trunk did I realize its BIG size! It's almost as deep as my oven. This is a meat lover's pizza with lots and lots of bacon which overwhelmed everything else. See, I love bacon but this is much too much. (I think I still smell of bacon). About 3 inches of the pizza is hanging out of the largest baking sheet I could find in my kitchen. Why oh why did I buy this?:D


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