July 27, 2007

Green Tea With Kinako Ice Cream, Gianduja-Stracciatella Gelato & Malted Milk Ice Cream

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green tea with kinako

I couldn't decide which one is my latest favorite ice cream flavor from THE PERFECT SCOOP by David Lebovitz, they all are yummylicious! I have made both the Malted Milk ice cream and the oh so creamy Gianduja-Stracciatella gelato twice already but the Green Tea Topped With Kinako (roasted soy bean powder) is also becoming a real favorite. I'm thinking of making mochi and filling them with the green tea ice cream, then coat the mochi with kinako.

Green Tea Ice Cream Topped With Kinako1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 teaspoons matcha (green tea powder)
6 large egg yolks
  • Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk in the green tea powder. Set a mesh strainer on top.In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  • Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream, then whisk it vigorously until the custard is frothy to dissolve the green tea powder. Stir and cool over an ice bath.
  • Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Pre-freeze scoops of ice cream and sprinkle them with kinako, available in Asian stores. This flavor is also excellent with sweet azuki beans, really delicious.
Gianduja-Stracciatella Gelato

1½ cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Rub the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to remove as much of the papery skins as possible, then finely chop them in a food processor or blender.
  • Warm the milk with 1 cup of the cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Once warm, remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Put the chocolate milk pieces in a large bowl. Heat the remaining cup of cream in a medium saucepan until it begins to boil. Pour it over the milk chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
  • Pour the hazelnut-infused milk through a strainer into a medium saucepan, squeezing the nuts firmly with your hands to extract as much of the flavorful liquid as possible. Discard the hazelnuts.
  • Re-warm the hazelnut-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  • Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the milk chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla and stir over an ice bath.
  • Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips)
  • In a clean dry bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until it's completely smooth. Drizzle a very thin stream of the warm chocolate into the ice cream during the last possible moments of churning, or by hand while you layer it into the storage container. (I used one of those plastic sauce bottles for really thin drizzles.)

Malted Milk Ice Cream

1 cup half-and-half
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup malt powder
6 large egg yolks
2 cups malted milk balls, coarsely chopped
  • Warm the half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla, and malt powder and set a mesh strainer on top.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  • Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and whisk it into the malted milk mixture. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  • Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. As you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped malted milk balls.

July 26, 2007

Tod Mun Pla

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These Thai fish cakes have been one of my favorite dishes since I first tasted them over 20 years ago at Flavours & Spices in Makati (which I learned from a friend had already ceased operation for several years now). When we try new Thai restaurants here and when we were living in Hong Kong, I check them out the moment the menu card is handed to us. If they're not on the menu, or if the server has never heard of them, then I consider the restaurant NOT authentic Thai. When we first came here in the US 15 years ago there were very few Thai restaurants, most of them didn't serve tod mun pla. We later learned almost all the Thai restaurants here in the Washington D. C. area at the time were owned by Chinese and their cooks were Chinese. There are several new Thai restaurants now that are owned by Thai people and some have these in their menu. I guess they are not popular with Americans because of their chewy texture which is precisely why I love them. The cakes are served as appetizer but I have them as main course, eaten with steamed rice and cucumbers with sweet and sour chili sauce.

Tod Mun Pla
1 pound fish paste
1 tablespoon Thai red chili paste
1 tablespoon fish extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sliced green beans
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, sliced thin (optional)
½ cup oil for frying
  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor for 1 minute, add egg and process for another minute. Add green beans and lime leaves, pulse 5 times or until just combined.
  • Heat oil in a skillet, fry about 2 tablespoons of fish mixture, flatten with spatula while frying. Flip and fry on other side until golden brown.

Cucumber Salad

2 mini cucumbers, sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 red chili, finely minced
½ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Combine vinegar, sugar and chili. Mix in the sliced cucumbers. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle peanuts on top.

July 24, 2007

Potato, Chorizo, and Vegetable Omelet (Spanish Tortilla)

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I didn't know what to do with the 6 egg whites leftover from the zabaglione gelato I made. I was not in the mood to bake angel cake, besides I'm not into angel cakes, they're tasteless. After consulting my personal adviser, the internet, I found a site devoted entirely to leftover egg whites and egg yolks, isn't that wonderful? I chose to make fritatta/tortilla/omelet.
This omelet or tortilla is from my cookbook TAPAS: THE LITTLE DISHES OF SPAIN by Penelope Casas. The dish is very flexible because you can add any vegetables you like and children who don't like vegetables such as lima beans won't notice they're eating them. Her vegetable suggestions (all pre-cooked): mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, and green pepper. I added 2 whole eggs to the 6 egg whites with one chopped tomato and pimiento for a somewhat healthy dinner fare.

Potato, Chorizo, and Vegetables Omelet
adapted from TAPAS by Penelope Casas
½ cup olive oil
2 medium potatoes, in small cubes
6 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
¼ pound chorizo, skinned and diced
¼ cup sliced cured ham
½ cup cooked peas
½ cup baby lima beans
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the potatoes slowly until they are tender- they should not color. Meanwhile beat the eggs lightly with salt. When the potatoes are done, drain, reserving about 4 T of the oil, add the potatoes to the eggs.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil in the skillet and sauté the onion until it is wilted. Add the chorizo and ham and cook for another couple of minutes, until the chorizo begins to give off its oil. Stir in the peas and limas and cook for 2 minutes more. Add this mixture to the eggs and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Heat another 2 tablespoons of reserved oil in a clean 10-inch non-stick skillet until very hot. Add the egg mixture, spreading it out with a pancake turner. Lower the heat to medium-high. When the eggs begin to brown underneath, invert a plate of the slightly larger size over the skillet and flip the omelet onto the plate. Add 1 more tablespoon of reserved oil to the skillet, then slide the omelet back into the skillet to brown on the other side.
  • Lower the heat to medium and flip the omelet two or or three more times (this gives the omelet a good shape while it continues to cook), cooking briefly on each side. It should be juicy within. Transfer to a platter and cool, then cut in thin wedges or into 1 - 1½ inch squares than can be picked up with toothpicks.

July 21, 2007

I Can't Believe It's Real Butter!


A lot of boggers have been writing about being able to churn butter in their own kitchen using a mixer. I read some of their recommended sites and thought the steps are simple and easy enough for anyone who knows how to operate a Kitchen Aid mixer. It was a success on my first try and the butter is sweet and I think tastes better than the store's, or I might just be biased, heheh. The procedure is here for anybody who would like to try. I used 4 cups of heavy cream which yielded 14.5 ounces of delicious butter. I filled a ramekin then halved the remainder which I put in individual bags and kept in the freezer. I also kept the 1 ½ cups buttermilk in a jar in the refrigerator for later use in baking. Next time I will culture the cream before churning for that Australian or French stronger butter flavor.

the butter and the buttermilk

the butter after the 4th washing

the lump weighing almost a pound at 14.5 ounces

Update July 24
I was very happy with the result of homemade butter and cultured another 4 cups of heavy cream by mixing in 1/3 cup of plain organic whole milk yogurt. I let the mixture, covered with plastic wrap, sit on the kitchen counter for 18 hours. I incorporated just a tiny bit of air and added salt to the finished butter. The yellow color is deeper and the taste is superb and comparable to French butter. Making butter at home is a very easy and fun project to do and children can join in the fun by helping knead the butter when washing out the buttermilk.
Total yield this time: 15 ounces butter and 16 fluid ounces buttermilk which by the way is equally delicious!

July 19, 2007

Zabaglione Gelato

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David Lebovitz' Zabaglione Gelato is super creamy and super delicious, I already had 2 servings today, mmmm. He suggests you spoon lots of sugared strawberries at the bottom of a wine goblet, then top with a scoop of the gelato. I didn't have any strawberries but I do have cherries in syrup and fresh blueberries which are also good with the gelato.

Zabaglione Gelato
from THE PERFECT SCOOP by David Lebovitz

1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
big pinch of salt
1 lemon
1½ cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
½ cup dry Marsala wine
  • Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Zest half of the lemon directly into the warm milk.
  • Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm lemon-infused milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  • Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the Marsala and stir until cool over an ice bath.
  • Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

July 18, 2007

Mini Cucumbers & Feta Salad

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These seedless mini cucumbers that have been appearing recently in groceries and Costco are so cute and they're easier to eat because they are tiny. I got the recipe for the dressing from the back of its package. The vinegar in the recipe is balsamic but I used white vinegar because I prefer the clean green and white color of the salad. This very simple yet refreshing minty crunchy salad is perfect during these hot hot summer days.

Mini Cucumbers & Feta Salad
3 tiny cucumbers, well scrubbed and sliced
1 tablespoon white coconut vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoons very good extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons crispy fried or fresh shallots
1 tablespoon torn fresh mint leaves
crumbled feta cheese
  • Combine cucumbers, vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Add shallots and mint leaves. Chill for 1 - 2 hours. Sprinkle feta cheese just before serving.

July 15, 2007


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I saw on the Food Network a chef, can't remember his name, making an unrecognizable tiramisu, this Italian dessert that has been around for over 20 years. Recently I sampled a similar awful tiramisu, they both had a very rich chocolate cake instead of lady fingers, chocolate ganache, and no mascarpone cheese. The one I tasted did not have a hint of coffee flavor.

Last Wednesday the Washington Post Food section had a 3 pages long but entertaining article about the dessert and the Italian man who claims he invented it. You can read the article and his recipe here. I have always made tiramisu with brandy and after reading the article I added marsala and I like it very much. I have loved this dessert, either store bought or homemade, both the rich and the lighter recipes.

The recipe below is a lighter version of TIRAMISU, adapted from my cookbook THE ESSENTIAL DESSERT COOKBOOOK

3 tablespoons custard powder
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese (or crème fraîche and mascarpone)
2 egg whites (powdered)
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups strong espresso coffee, chilled
4 tablespoons Marsala wine
ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • Stir the custard powder in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the skim milk until dissolved. Add the remaining milk with 2 tablespoons sugar and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool at room temperature.
  • Beat together the cooled custard and mascarpone for 2 minutes. Cover and cool in the refrigerator while preparing the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat for 1 minute. Fold egg whites into the custard. Set aside.
  • Pour coffee into a dish, stir in the wine. Using half of the lady fingers, quickly dip each cookie in the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer on a serving dish.
  • Using half of the custard mixture, smooth it evenly over the cookies. Repeat layers of dipped ladyfingers and custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Lightly dust top of cake with cocoa powder before serving.

July 14, 2007

David Bowie - Life On Mars? video

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Watch the one and only David Bowie just standing there by himself, singing one of his best songs, looking very very pretty. Only he can pull it off:

July 12, 2007

Apple Wine Jellies

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I haven't been out of my house the last 6 days, it's too hot and I'm feeling lazy to drive anywhere, just walking from the car to the store makes me sweat. I prefer to stay cool inside the house where there's plenty of iced water and juice. But I didn't want to just sit and watch TV so I cleaned my pantry of unwanted food stuff, mainly ALL PRODUCTS FROM CHINA, yes, they're filled with poison!!!:D No, I'm not kidding, I don't trust those commies, specially if it's food stuff. And with increasing reports from all over the entire planet of people and pets dying or getting sick from tainted medicine, toothpaste, seafood, toys, etc. I am not taking any chances. My daughter thinks I'm paranoid and crazy. Well, yes I am!

Anyway, I discovered (again) that I have so much stuff. I know I need to stop going to the store until I put a dent in my food supply.

yummy gummy apple wine jelly

First project: these apple wine jellies I call candies for adults, made from a half bottle of leftover apple wine. The alcohol taste is faint after boiling and the candies are very good, gummy and chewy and not too sweet. The recipe for fruit jellies says to roll in sugar after cutting into shapes but the sugar just melted almost immediately, I do not recommend it. I used the non-melting powdered sugar which I bought from The Baker's Catalog. If I use a little bit more gelatin powder I could make them into gummy worms.

Fruit Jellies
8 tablespoons unflavored gelatin powder
8 tablespoons water or fruit juice
1 1/3 cups apple wine or fruit juice
12 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Wet a metal 8 x 8 inch square pan with a little water, set aside.
  • Sprinkle gelatin powder in the water or juice to soften, set aside.
  • In a medium pan, apple wine, sugar, and corn syrup until sugar is melted, bring to a boil. Add the gelatin mixture and stir constantly with a wire whisk until gelatin has melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let set.
  • Cut into shapes or squares and roll in non-melting powdered sugar, or serve plain. You can use other fruit juices like raspberry, strawberry or cranberry or any fruit flavored wine. Enjoy!

July 11, 2007

Mashed Potatoes

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I have been watching this season's Hell's Kitchen, and am truly amazed that very few cheftestants can actually cook. In the first episode, one of the girls didn't know how to fry eggs. Her team was rescued by the waffle house short order cook who knew how. For the past 4 episodes nobody among the boys can make Beef Wellington or risotto. And last Monday night was exceptionally bad. One guy was not able to prepare mashed potatoes properly. Mashed potatoes! Even a caveman can make mashed potatoes! His mashed potatoes was so runny it looked like soup. That made chef Ramsay, dubbed by one of the boy meanies Shar Pei, bark/cuss at them louder and more frequently that I'm thinking this show may be scripted. Anybody who has been in the cooking business should know how to make mashed potatoes and nobody should make the same mistake of ruining risotto and the dated Beef Wellington each and every time. (Beef Wellington, btw, in my opinion should be taken out of the menu, there are other more creative and delicious ways to prepare filet mignon)

Now, how to make this seemingly easy to prepare side dish. There isn't a perfect mashed potatoes recipe, as tastes differ, but one must not ruin it by adding too much liquid into it. Using the right kind of potato is also important. The all-purpose yukon gold is what I use for mashed potatoes because they are semi-waxy and have medium water content unlike the russet. Yukon golds don't fall apart when boiled, they have that rich buttery taste, and the yellow color makes the mashed potatoes look more appealing.

Mashed Potatoes
1½ pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy cream or half & half
2 tablespoons butter
sea salt to taste
  • Place potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover, add salt, cook for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and mash using a ricer. Warm the cream and butter then add to the mashed potatoes. Season with salt, then beat with a wooden spoon or hand beater for 1 minute until fluffy. Do not overbeat or it might turn gummy. There, an easy to make mashed potatoes!:)
BTW, my blog turned one year old today! Yay.

July 6, 2007


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I love figs and this is the third time I'm writing about them. My favorite is the Italian honey, which I was told earlier today by a produce employee at Wegmans, are the calimyrna variety. I don't think they are one and the same, but they do look alike. However, they are are not yet available this week, they will be in stores in late July or early August. The ones pictured here are the California mission figs. They are also good by themselves when fully ripe or well-chilled and drizzled with honey. I candied a few pieces, it takes 3 days including drying time, and they are fantastic! I do believe this is the fruit Eve defied God for, they're worth it.;D

perfect with the best honey

candied figs

July 5, 2007

Authentic Texas Border Chili

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This chili recipe is from my cookbook CHILI MADNESS A Passionate Cookbook by Jane Butel. She writes:
The creator of this gastronomic epic hails from Brownsville, Texas, and insists that you follow his recipe to the letter!
The cookbook has over 35 chili recipes and I have tried several, including the one from the Washington, D.C. restaurant Clyde's, but Authentic Texas Border Chili is my absolute favorite. It is super delicious specially for chili dogs. We also love it with saltines & grated cheese, steamed rice, or spaghetti.

Authentic Texas Border Chili
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored, and seeded
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 pounds beef shank, coarse chili grind
1 tablespoon butter or bacon drippings
24 pieces green onion, chopped
5 green bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
5 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound chorizo, sliced
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons ground hot chile
4 tablespoons ground mild chile
3 tablespoons prepared cumin seeds*
water or beer
  • Puree the first 4 ingredients and one of the garlic cloves in a blender. Scrape the mixture into a large heavy pot and add the beef.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions, bell peppers, serrano chiles, chorizo, and the garlic, and cook until onions are translucent and chorizo is browned. Stir the vegetables into the beef and tomato mixture. Add the salt, ground chile, cumin, and enough water or beer to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 6 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning.
*To prepare cumin seeds, place them in a 300°F oven for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove seeds from the oven and crush with a mallet.

July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

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layers of lady fingers, sweetened cream, blueberries and raspberries

July 2, 2007

Movies on DVD

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I watched about 25 movies on DVD the past three weeks but will review only the best and the worst.

One of the best movies I have seen so far this year. Beautiful story, excellent photography (by Filipino-American Matthew Libatique) and soundtrack. Hugh Jackman as Tom tries to find a cure for his dying wife's (Rachel Weisz) cancer, eventually understands and accepts death, helped by the unfinished book that she was writing. I watched it 3 times already and I wouldn't stop raving about it, that my daughter gave me the graphic novel it was based on (probably either to encourage me or to shut me up), both written by Darren Aronofosky (Pi & Requiem For A Dream). I also got the soundtrack CD which is as beautiful and haunting as the movie. Me, obssessed?, maybe...;D

I found this unopened DVD which was supposed to be my daughter's gag gift to one of her friends. She said it's one of the most awful movies she has seen and proceeded to recite (a la Keira Knightley): My name is Domino, domino, domino... Hahvy, hahvy, hahvy...I'm a bounchy huntchuh, huntchuh, huntchuh...then sneered. She forgot about it and told me to open it and see for myself how truly awful it is. She suggested that I take a shot of vodka or other hard liquor for every stupid/cheesy dialog or scene and I will surely get drunk at the end of the movie, but I'm not into drinking like most young adults so I ignored that. But I can say, the movie is awful. Keira Knightley is not a good actress and she keeps appearing in moan-inducing movies: Bend It Like Beckham, Pirates of the Carribean, and in Pride and Prejudice was the worst Elizabeth ever!!
Also, I viewed for the 5th (or is it 6th?) time a favorite movie of mine: Le pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf), one of the most awesome movies that came from France. This movie, set in the 18th century French countryside where a legendary beast had been killing villagers, has everything, and I mean everything: action, romance, mystery, beautiful martial arts sequences, mysticism, cultish Christian nuts, crazy gypsies, heaving bosoms, incest, gore, whores, and the most beautiful people on screen: Mark Dacascos (TV's The Crow) and his nice butt, Monica Belucci with her awesome weapon and her real life husband, Vincent Cassel as the incestuous brother. The movie is like a live action anime. Here's a teaser:

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