December 28, 2012

Champagne Mini Cakes

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Here's a nice idea for New Year's Eve celebration: cute mini cakes baked with champagne or non-alcoholic sparkling wine. I got the idea from here but used a different recipe for the cakes, frosting, fruit, and chocolate garnish.

December 13, 2012

Bimuelos for Hanukkah

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Happy Hanukkah to all my readers!

Searching for fried food to make for the Jewish festival of lights holiday, Hanukkah, which began December 8 and will end on the 16th, I was surprised to find that the sweet snack called bimuelos which are very similar to the Filipino buñuelos are actually related. Although the recipes are different, they are both deep fried and served with syrup or honey or simply dusted with sugar. The tiny snacks are really really delicious drizzled with honey. It's also good with caramelized condensed milk but I prefer them with honey. I had for lunch all the bimuelos in the picture after photographing them. I couldn't resist the crispy crust and light as feather puffy honeycombed crumb.

these bimuelos have a light puffy 
honey-combed crumb and crispy crust

December 6, 2012

Red Velvet Doughnuts

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I'm seeing red food items everywhere, it's the season after all. One of the baked items I wanted to make since I saw them in one of the blogs I visit are those cute red velvet cake donuts. I never liked cake donuts so baked them with yeast and topped with slightly sweet maple flavored whipped cream. You can also dip them in cream cheese glaze, if preferred. Yummy with either topping.  

November 29, 2012

Butter Babycakes

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The recipe for these cakes had been in draft for many months already but I couldn't find the time to bake them. These are supposed to be Filipino style butter cake made with Danish butter. The photo of the individual mamon-like cake that inspired me to look for a recipe was on one of my facebook friends' weekend breakfast table.

November 23, 2012

Chicken Confit

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For Thanksgiving I made chicken drumstick confit in place of the usual turkey. Duck is my favorite fowl to confit but I wanted to try if chicken is worth the trouble, and they are. These are the most delicious chicken dish I had in a while. It takes 2 days to marinate and slow cook in the oven but the result is very tasty and moist chicken. 

November 17, 2012

Squid Sisig

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The dish inspiration for November 2012 Kulinarya Cooking Club is Sisig. This appetizer has become so popular it has spawned numerous variations and fusion including sisig pizza. Thank you Iska, Erwin, and Jenn for choosing one of my favorites.

November 15, 2012

Sicilian Pork Skin Roll-ups

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pork skin roll-up with tomato sauce, crusty Italian bread
 and Parmesan cheese "lacy cookie"

Ah yes, pork skin is still a favorite of mine. It is cheap and protein rich, can be prepared barbecue Korean or Filipino-style, and a great addition to Cassoulet and Italian Sunday Gravy. I adapted a simple recipe for Sicilian pork skin roll-up and simmered the roll-ups in Sunday Gravy tomato sauce. You may use your favorite Italian tomato sauce. For decoration and to add crunch and more cheese flavor, I made Parmesan cheese "lacy cookies". The dish is good...really really good.

November 8, 2012

Fresh Pineapple Pie

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I was on the phone the other day with a friend and she mentioned Philippine-style pineapple pie is becoming almost as popular as buco (young coconut) pie. Some have layers of both pineapple and buco. Because I haven't been introduced to this pie, I just have to bake.

November 2, 2012

Pumpkin Waffles

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I've expanded my use of pumpkin and squash this season. I already made [and demolished] pumpkin pastillas de leche (milk candies) and also added mashed cooked pumpkin to yeast waffles. These waffles are really delicious specially with heavy cream sweetened with maple syrup and sprinkled with pumpkin seed brittle. I love pumpkins!

Pumpkin Yeast Waffles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups mashed pumpkin
½ tablespoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup water
6 tablespoons light olive or grapeseed oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the rest of ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Preheat waffle maker and bake according to manufacturer's directions.
Maple Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • Beat together syrup and cream until thick but still pourable. Transfer into a squirt bottle if desired.
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
¼ cup sugar
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Cook sugar over medium heat in a skillet until caramelized and golden in color. Quickly stir in toasted seeds and transfer in one layer into a buttered piece of aluminum foil. Let cool completely; break into small pieces.

August 31, 2012


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For Food Friday this weekend, there is no cooking involved which is just perfect to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Have you tried frozen seedless grapes? These tiny champagne grapecicles are a great frozen treat without much work to be done except washing them, then freezing for 2 hours.

champagne or Corinth grapes are cute and tiny

August 23, 2012

White Peaches and Ginger Beer

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white peach puree and ginger beer drink

This is my non-alcoholic version of Bellini, a refreshing drink made with white peach juice and Prosecco. I pureed the fruit with a little sugar and added crushed ice, seltzer water, and ginger beer. I also mixed some of the puree with just seltzer water for a stronger peach flavor but I like the one with ginger beer more. You may substitute frozen puree or bottled juice for the fresh fruit puree.

white and yellow peaches

White Peach and Ginger Beer

  • 2 ripe white peaches, well chilled
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup seltzer or sparkling water, well chilled
  • 1 cup ginger beer, well chilled
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel peaches, remove stones and discard; dice peaches and puree with the sugar.
  2. Divide puree between 2 tall glasses. Stir in ½ cup ice into puree. Pour ½ cup each seltzer water and ginger beer. Stir gently with a metal stirrer.
  3. Serve immediately.
also good with just seltzer water

Food Friday

August 20, 2012

Cream-style Corn

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The vendor at the farmer's market was so generous, he gave me 3 extra white corn cobs; 15 in all for $3.00. I already boiled and ate more than my share of corn and decided to make cream-style with 5 pieces. These white corn are super sweet, starchier too, and sticky just the way I like it. 

I couldn't help myself and took one bite 
out of the uncooked super sweet corn

August 16, 2012

Toblerone Buns

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Chocolate-filled croissants and toast with chocolate spread are my favorites for breakfast and thought for a change why not fill sweet dough with chocolate candy. I thought dark Toblerone would be great to fill the sweet buns. They came out so soft, not too sweet, and are perfect with the slightly bittersweet chocolate. I made the buns a little thicker because I want more bread than chocolate. I can have these every day for breakfast with my milky espresso.

Toblerone-filled Buns

  • 5 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup hot water (120° F)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 bars milk or dark Toblerone
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash
Cooking Directions
  1. In the mixing bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, yeast, dry milk, and sugar. Add hot water and with dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to low-medium, add eggs one at a time, then the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add salt and beat for 1 minute more.
  2. Increase speed to medium high and continue mixing, adding butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until each butter addition is absorbed. Dough will be soft and sticky. Knead until dough is elastic, shiny, and comes off the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough into a container, cover with plastic wrap and leave on the kitchen counter until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours until well-chilled.
  3. Divide bars into sections; set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 3 portions. Refrigerate 2 portions while shaping the first one. Flatten dougn into a 24 inch x 5 inch rectangle. Place 12 Toblerone triangles 1¼ inches apart along the lower half of the dough rectangle. Fold the other half over the chocolate and pinch the dough edges on 3 sides. Gently press in between chocolate triangles and cut at an angle with a sharp knife. Place pieces 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  5. Brush tops of buns with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes until buns are golden.
made for each other: sweet soft bread and bittersweet chocolate

August 14, 2012

Baked Pork and Black Beans

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Do you like canned pork and beans? I do. I love the tender beans and the salty sweet sauce with toast for breakfast or lunch. I cooked pork and beans once before using the slow-baked Boston Beans method. It takes long to cook but it's all worth the wait. This time I used black beans, chunks of salt pork, and a little maple syrup. I love it!

Baked Pork and Black Beans

  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 1 cup salt pork, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 6 cups water
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil dried beans in 3 cups water in a Dutch oven. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 2 hours.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, cover, and bake in a 275 degree F oven for 6 hours or until beans are very tender. During baking, check if additional water is needed. Serve hot with toast or crusty bread.

August 10, 2012

Meatless Paella

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One of my favorite paella recipes is Jose Andres's Vegetable Paella which I make regularly. Here's my latest version with random vegetables from my garden: long beans (sitaw), edamame, rainbow Swiss chard, baby zucchini and blossoms, and tomatoes. It's delicious!

Vegetable Paella
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ cup chopped onion
    1 garlic, minced
    1 cup half-inch long sitaw (long beans)
    1 cup fresh edamame
    ½ cup chopped tomatoes
    2 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
    1 cup diced baby zucchini
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
    1 cup Japanese or Spanish medium grain rice
    ¼ cup sofrito
    2 cups vegetable broth
    a small pinch of saffron
  • Make the sofrito.
  • Heat oil in a medium paellera or cast iron skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add the vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add salt and rice; saute for 2 minutes then add sofrito. Stir cook for 1 more minute. Add broth and saffron. Let come to a boil, lower heat and let cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve hot with boiled eggs and sliced lemons, if desired.
    10 ripe plum tomatoes
    1½ cups Spanish extra virgin olive oil
    4 small Spanish onions, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
    3 bay leaves

  • Slice the tomatoes in half. Place a grater over a mixing bowl. Rub the cut surface of the tomatoes over the grater until all the flesh is grated. Discard the skins. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. You want the onions to caramelize, if they get too dark, add ½ teaspoon of water to keep them from burning. Stir in the tomato puree, the pimenton, and the bay leaves and cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat. You'll know the sofrito is ready when the tomato has broken down and deepened in color and the oil has separated from the sauce. Discard the bay leaves. Makes 3 cups of sauce.

August 3, 2012


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fresh spring rolls filled with vegetables and tofu

Our August 2012 KCC hosts Kai and Isabel challenged us to prepare dishes that are healthy and nutritious, dishes for longevity, pampahaba ng buhay in Tagalog, or dishes that are believed to have restorative or curing power like tinola and cerveza negra specifically for nursing moms.

August 2, 2012

Olive Garden-style Breadsticks

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I can't remember the last time I was in Olive Garden; it was many many many years ago. Their breadsticks, I recently found out, are very popular and home bakers have been making their own Olive Garden-style breadsticks. All the recipes I found are of the typical soft white bread variety and I chose to adapt this one. The breadsticks flavored lightly with garlic are really soft and great with soup. I had them with baked pork and [black] beans. I love them.

July 26, 2012

Turon Pie

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I call this the lazy woman's turon. I was craving for saba turon but didn't want to fry in this heat. I just brushed light olive oil on both sides of 2 pieces of spring roll wrapper, placed them on a small pie plate, filled it with thinly sliced saba banana, brown sugar, and chopped langka (jackfruit). Then I baked it in my toaster oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. I was more than satisfied with my baked turon and I didn't have to heat up a liter of oil. I'll try this with apple too as it's healthier without all the butter in a regular apple pie crust and because I love the sweet crispy wrapper. 

July 19, 2012

Green Mango Ice Cream

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Several Filipino food blogs have been raving about the Filipino green mango ice cream topped with sweet bagoong sauce. I love green mango shake and sorbet and ice cold green mango slices topped with bagoong (salty fermented micro shrimps) has been my favorite since forever. But shrimp/fish flavor and ice cream? Thanks, but I think I'll pass.

July 12, 2012

Bucatini with Eggplant and Fresh Tomatoes

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I have so much fresh tomatoes from my backyard I've been snacking on them everyday. They are very sweet and yummy sprinkled with a little sea salt and of course they are excellent in pasta dishes. There is no comparison in flavor with the canned stuff. 

July 5, 2012

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

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I recently discovered from here that it's possible to make crispy sweet potato fries, either baked or deep fried. I like that their edges are crispy but tender inside. I also loved the savory sauce that was provided but having a sweet tooth, I prefer to have them with sweet coconut sauce (thin matamis na bao). I've eaten this combination before with purple sweet potato fries and I really loved them then. I still do.

July 3, 2012

Red White and Blue Cookie Sandwich

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  • Happy 4th of July!

June 28, 2012

Goat Milk Caramels

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I've always made caramels with heavy cream and milk and didn't know the candy can be prepared with just evaporated milk. The cooking method is slightly different and takes a little bit longer than with heavy cream. 

June 25, 2012

Taba ng Talangka

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Taba ng Talangka

The Republic of the Philippines, although tiny, has an endless variety of rich and unique food. One such delicacy is the taba ng talangka. Direct translation is fat of crab but the fat is actually crab roe from really tiny crabs called talangka. It's super delicious by itself with a squirt of lemon juice and extra yummy when added to fried rice or sauteed prawns.  

June 21, 2012

Homemade Spam

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A lot of people don't like Spam. Not I. I like it, the Lite variety because it doesn't have too much salt in it. I never thought of making it at home though because I can get it anytime at the stores. But when I saw a recipe at Pinterest, I had the urge to make. The meat loaf recipe doesn't have much ingredients, just pork, ham, garlic, and seasoning which has salt and sodium nitrite. The label on Spam has pork, ham, salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, some kind of starch, and water. I adapted the Pinterest recipe which is here, adding a little sugar and also ice water to help emulsify the meat mixture.

June 14, 2012

Garlic Scapes

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garlic scapes or stems, green garlic, French breakfast radish

June 7, 2012

Fresh Apricot and Rosemary Iced Tea

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It's California apricot season and one of the things you can make out of them is a summer tea drink. Most recipes I've seen have mint but I opted for rosemary instead. I love it! For the tea I used pu'er which is fast becoming a favorite specially paired with sweet rice cakes and desserts.

May 31, 2012

Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich

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It seems that an Italian version of our beloved Filipino favorite ice cream sandwich on soft monay bun has become very popular here in the US and in Italy. Their ice cream sandwich has gelato on brioche bun which makes the sweet snack super rich.

May 24, 2012

Jap Chae

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Jap  Chae

My love for everything Korean hasn't diminished one bit specially food. One of my favorites is Jap Chae, a noodle dish made with sweet potato and cornstarch glass noodles, vegetables, and strips of beef steak simply seasoned with soy sauce, salt, sugar and roasted sesame seed oil. I have made this noodle dish many many times before and I haven't gotten tired of it. It's so delicious just like Korean dramas, movies, and music too. Smiley

May 23, 2012

Fish Ube Jam

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Ube Jam Fish

You must be wondering why the sweet haleyang ube (purple yam jam) is shaped like a fish. As a small child I used to wonder too as to why this favorite dessert is shaped as such but only during our town's annual festival celebration in honor of its patron saint. The haleya could have been shaped into a large gumamela or kalachuchi but no, year after year I saw a fish haleyang ube not just in our house but the neighbors' too. I'm guessing it has a religious meaning, that is, it's the symbol of Jesus Christ.

May 17, 2012

Cheese Corn Puffs

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I love cheesy corn snacks like Cheetos, Chiz Curls, and specially Pirate's Booty which I don't see very often in the grocery stores near my house. They are messy to eat and the cheese coating stick to fingers but I love to lick it anyway. Being a copycat, I bought  package of puffed corn, baked them on low heat for 10 minutes until crispy then mixed with melted butter and oil before sprinkling with cheddar cheese powder. I think I prefer these than the store-bought because they are not as salty.

May 15, 2012

Wilted Lettuce Salad

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wilted lettuce salad topped with crispy Spanish chorizo

After a few days of non-stop rain, there was an abundance of butter lettuce in my garden pots. I planted only 4 tiny plants and regularly clip the leaves for salad, never uprooting them and more leaves come out after cutting either from the outside or the whole bunch 2 inches from where the leaves come out. This is the first time I planted lettuce and I never knew they yield salad greens all season long. 

May 10, 2012

Strawberry Crepe Layer Cake

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This crepe layer cake is my lame attempt at making an ombré cake. I was itching to make something with different shades of the same color but was not in the mood to heat up the oven to bake a cake or cupcakes. I thought crepe layer cake would be a better choice and besides I really love crepes. I wasn't successful in making distinct color hues of dark pink to the lightest but the crepe cake is still so delicious. There's an added step of dividing the batter and custard filling into 4 equal portions then adding food dye but it wasn't that difficult nor time consuming. 

April 28, 2012

Embutido Sandwich

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Everybody loves delicious, hot, fast, and cheap eats, who doesn't? That's the reason food trucks are becoming more and more the favored lunch providers of office workers and students. Food trucks have been around here in the US since the 50s but only became extremely popular in recent years, even the superstar Spanish chef José Andrés who owns several high end restaurants in the Washington D.C. area and in Los Angeles has joined the food truck mania with his own Pepe Truck. Yeah, that's how hot food trucks are nowadays.

photo R. Lopez

April 26, 2012

Homemade Oat and Quinoa Cereal with Crispy Marshmallows

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Have you had Lucky Charms® cereal? I haven't and don't intend to try them but when I saw the recipe for the crispy marshmallows similar to the ones in Lucky Charms, I just had to make some to add to homemade cereal. The recipe says it takes 4 to 6 days to make [and it is a veeery involved process] but my inner ocd kicked in and after 6 days, voila! Crispy cereal marshmallows. I love them with homemade lightly sweetened preservatives-free oats and sprouted quinoa cereal. However, if I get lazy next time I crave for these crunchy treats, I'll just buy from here

April 20, 2012

No Rise Pizza Dough

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I was curious when I saw the no rise yeast for pizza dough and after baking one yesterday I can say it's not good at all. The dough doesn't have much flavor nor chewiness; it's just like ordinary bland white bread. I don't recommend it and I believe there is no instant pizza dough that you can mix, knead for 4 minutes, and ready to form, top, bake right away and have a great tasting pizza with the correct texture. Peter Reinhart's Neapolitan Pizza Dough is still the best in my honest opinion. Retarding the pizza dough in the refrigerator for at least one night makes the best tasting pizza dough.

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