December 16, 2014

Honey Cake (Lekakh)

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The ingredients in this Jewish spiced honey cake (lekakh in Yiddish) remind me of fruitcake but without molasses. Honey cake is usually served during Rosh Hashanah. Joan Nathan (I adapted her recipe) says "it's also served at the birth of a son, weddings, and generally all happy occasions".

December 3, 2014

Napa Cabbage And Radish Kimchi

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I always have cabbage kimchi in the fridge. I love it in fried rice and with roasted Korean sweet potatoes. I have never made it though because it's always available from the Korean grocery store. The other day, I ran out of Kimchi and the store surprisingly also didn't have any and I was in the mood to snack on the pan-roasted sweet potato I have. I binged (yeah, I don't google anymore) the recipe right there at the store and decided I'll make for the very first time. I already have the seasoning ingredients in my cupboard; all I had to get was a piece of Napa cabbage and 2 pieces of very tiny baby Korean radish. It is an easy recipe to make in a day. The recipe I chose doesn't have fish sauce. I can definitely say the flavor is exactly like the store-bought which doesn't have fish sauce either.

November 7, 2014

Goldilocks™-Style Ensaymada

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I've loved ensaymada (the Filipino version of the Spanish ensaïmada) since I was a small child but I have rarely eaten the fluffy cake-like Goldilocks™ version. To me it's not ensaymada; it's more like a variety of sweet bread and the only thing it has in common with the Spanish ensaïmada is the procedure of rolling the small pieces of dough, brushing with butter, and shaping into a coil. The coil serves no purpose because the bread becomes one fluffy thing, no visible layers in the crumb. Filipinos often call it Philippine brioche but I again disagree. I've made brioche many many times and they are not the same; not even close.

October 10, 2014

Kefir Cheese Ranch Dip

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I eat kefir milk and cheese as often as I can because of the healthy benefits I get. I make kefir cheese dip regularly for dipping potato crisps as well as fried greens and raw vegetables. Mildly tart kefir cheese tastes better IMHO than sour cream and goes well with Ranch dressing powder.

October 1, 2014

Turrón Ice Cream

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It's the first day of October and the temperatures are falling but it doesn't mean I have to stop making ice cream. Yes, I make ice cream all year round. 

September 24, 2014

Milky Way Candy Bar Sauce


I've always wanted to try making candy bar dessert sauce and when I saw Mars bars sauce and pancakes briefly mentioned in David Mitchell's new novel, THE BONE CLOCKS, I just had to make. I wasn't sure if Mars bars are sold here in the US so I used Milky Way Midnight instead. 

September 11, 2014

Ice Cream Cones

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I bought a used stovetop pizzelle iron from eBay mainly to make ice cream cones and thin cannoli shells. The iron is I think cast aluminum, not cast iron. I experimented combining ice cream cone and pizzelle recipes. I had to adjust the amount of oil so the cones don't stick to the cooker or get burned. The iron makes 5-inch cookies. The designs are shallow and don't make very pronounced cookie impressions which is fine by me. They are crispy and the thin cannoli shell shapes are great filled with softened ice cream then stored in the freezer before serving. It's a lot of work to make but worth the time and effort.

September 3, 2014

Korean Steamed Eggs

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We had lunch at a Korean restaurant last weekend and although the food wasn't that great to write home about, there's one dish I liked, the steamed eggs. Not only was it a good dish but it was on the house too. They probably knew it was our first time in their place or everybody gets a free steamed egg dish.

The egg dish is simply flavored with probably chicken broth and had a very light texture like a custard. It had on top sliced scallions, bits of carrots, and red pepper flakes. I liked it enough to look for recipes online which are plentiful, and recreated it, adding a sprinkling of hot red pepper powder for a bit of bite. What a great side dish, or it can be a main dish served with a small bowl of steamed rice.

August 26, 2014

Aloe Vera

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The Asian grocery store stocks tons of Korean aloe vera drinks mixed with fruit juices and a few of my blogger friends have started promoting them for their supposed health benefits. There's a long list for possible cures but also a warning for negative effects to the body.
According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, aloe, which includes the plant's extracted juice, has been studied for potential effects on psoriasis and other skin issues, along with internal issues like constipation and diabetes. The center also notes studies indicating potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Other institutions such as the American College of Angiology report potential strides for heart conditions, while those studying dental and oral issues also cite potential benefits for treating and medicating oral diseases and conditions.

August 14, 2014

Chocolate Swirl Brioche

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I baked these chocolate swirl rolls 8 years ago when I was still a newbie at both baking and blogging. I used a recipe for sweet bread but couldn't recall the chocolate filling ingredients. They were good but not as pillowy soft and satisfying like these rolls I made following Peter Reinhart's Poor Man's Brioche recipe. Just perfect. Totally addicting.

August 8, 2014

Malaysian Style Sos Cili

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The Asian grocery stores in my area for some reason does not carry Malaysian sos cili (chili sauce) anymore for many years now, although they are still available from online stores. It's similar to ketchup but has a stronger chile flavor which I really like. It is not too hot, is sweet, and has the right amount of flavorings.
According to Wikipedia Malaysian Sos Cili has tomato puree, chili juice, sugar, salt and some other spices or seasonings to give the spicy, but not too hot, taste. There are sos cili that have no tomatoes though. Also, some countryside commercial varieties use bird's eye chile together with its seeds to raise the level of heat of the sauce.

August 5, 2014

Baked Chicken Marinated in Soy Sauce

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Filipino cuisine is in my opinion a tad unique. It's a fusion of Chinese, Filipino, Spanish, and American flavors. Perfect example of Filipino Chinese Spanish is Chicken Arroz Caldo.

This dark brown baked chicken is an attempted copycat of the delicious baked chicken by a Filipino Chinese restaurant in the Philippines called SAVORY. This is where these different influences come in. The restaurant, although in English has the Spanish pronunciation of SABOR (flavor, taste) with a short a, and b is between B and V. If you are in the Philippines, don't make the mistake of pronouncing it as sv-r; otherwise people won't know which restaurant you are looking for. 

July 26, 2014

Calamansi Muffins

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Filipino food blogs don't seem to get enough of calamansi muffins because I keep reading about them. I tried to bake following the recipes available on several websites but I was not happy with the cakes. The dry-ish muffins lacked flavor and they were too sweet for my taste. I also didn't like that it's almost like chiffon cake. There's nothing wrong with soft fluffy cakes but I prefer moist and dense muffins. 

July 18, 2014

Pork Belly Lechon Roll

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I will never be a vegetarian as long as there is fatty pork belly calling my name at the grocery store. Pork belly with its skin on is my favorite part of the hog. There is no shortage of ways to cook it. This time I made a small slab into a roll seasoned in the style of Philippine roasted pig and slow-baked it in the oven. It takes 2 days to prepare and roast. The roll is flavorful enough, no sauce is necessary.

July 15, 2014

Genmaicha Rice

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I love Japanese green tea leaves with roasted rice, hot or cold. The tea is called genmaicha (pronounced with a hard g+enmycha). I recently flavored my kefir water with the tea together with grated apples and fresh mint leaves. It's the best refreshing healthy summer drink. 

July 9, 2014

Apricot Filo Rolls

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It's California apricots appreciation week or maybe month if they are available all month long. They are very juicy and sweet and best eaten on their own like an apple or a pear as a snack, and also great added to vegetable salad.

June 24, 2014

No-Bake Peach Kefir Cheesecake

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I'm going nuts over kefir milk lately. I love to drink it flavored with fresh mint leaves and salt but I want to use it for snacks and desserts too so I started draining out the whey to make it thicker similar to yogurt cheese. Et voilà! Light and yummy no-bake cheesecake in small glass containers. 

June 17, 2014

Bulgogi Burgers

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I was going to make hamburger sliders and thought why not season the beef mince with bulgogi seasoning. This way they won't need ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard which make eating regular hamburgers very messy.

I served the hamburgers in mini pita halves together with red and green lettuce. I also had one of my favorite Korean side combination: pan-roasted Korean sweet potato and kimchi. I had a really great lunch today.

June 9, 2014

Puto Maya

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Reading always makes me hungry. Once again I cooked something after reading a novel; this time it's FALLING TOGETHER by Marisa de los Santos. The last third of the novel is set in Cebu, Philippines and she mentioned some of the delicacies of that region. One of the yummies is puto maya, glutinous rice mixed with a little regular rice, cooked/steamed in coconut milk, sugar, salt, and a little ginger.

May 21, 2014

Buco Tartlets

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Creamy buco (young coconut) baked in a a buttery crust is always a great treat; truly delicious and addicting. For this batch of tartlets I used a combination of frozen shredded and dried [available from Costco]. I boiled the dried buco pieces in water before cutting them into strips. I also made a few rectangular shaped pies.  

For the most tender crust, I use White Lily® all-purpose flour. It's also good to add salted butter for better flavor. I also add a little salt to the filling.

Buco Tartlet
homemade or store-bought flaky crust
2 cups shredded buco
½ cup buco water
½ cup half and half
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg white for egg wash
  • Cut crust according to size and shape of pan/s. Refrigerate while preparing the filling. 
  • In a medium saucepan, mix the rest of ingredients except egg white. Cook over medium heat, while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened and cornstarch is fully cooked. Mixture should be smooth and not grainy. Transfer into a shallow container and chill for 30 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. 
  • Roll crust shells, leaving a 1-inch overhang if desired. Ease into tart molds. Spoon generous amount of filling and cover edges with crust overhang. Brush with lightly beaten egg white. 
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.

May 16, 2014

Paella Negra

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Black Paella never appealed to me because it looks dirty, not to mention it will make your mouth and teeth black during and after eating. I made a very small recipe after watching the Spanish chef José Andrés prepare and it sounded yummy. I was finally swayed. That's the power of television and YouTube. 

May 9, 2014

Deviled Ham Spread

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I love Underwood meat spreads specially deviled ham but the container is so small, 2 or 3 cans are needed to make a decent-sized sandwich. Well, actually, the pate is for small crackers or canape, not for a huge sandwich. I decided to make a copycat deviled ham spread adapted from several recipes I found online. The spread is delicious.

April 23, 2014

Pretzel Bites


with kosher salt

coated with cinnamon sugar

I love pretzels, the chewy kind, not the ones you get from the mall that are very light and soft. When I read about pretzel bites, I just had to make. I didn't follow the recipe I used to make the buns except for the poaching step because I didn't want to wait 2 days to sample these tiny treats. They are so good just with kosher salt and yellow mustard but also great dipped in milk caramel or coated with cinnamon sugar.

Pretzel Bites
adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe

1 cup bread flour
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces warm water

poaching liquid
3 cups hot water
4 tablespoons baking soda

kosher or pretzel salt
sesame seeds
melted butter
cinnamon sugar
  • Mix pretzel ingredients in a medium bowl. Knead by hand for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth but a little slack. Sprinkle a little flour on kneading surface and on top of dough. Cover with a plastic container and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. 
  • Divide dough into 6 pieces. Form each piece into 1-inch thick rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces. 
  • In a medium saucepan, let water boil, then add baking soda. Lower heat to simmer and poach pretzel bites in batches for 20 seconds. Use a skimmer to remove bites; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle half with coarse kosher or pretzel salt or sesame seeds. Leave the rest plain. Bake until dark brown, about 15 minutes. 
  • Transfer salted bites on wire racks to cool or dip a few in yellow mustard and eat right away. While still warm, dip plain bites in melted butter and immediately roll in cinnamon sugar. Or leave some plain and serve with milk caramel or Nutella.
chewy crumb

April 20, 2014

Hokkaido Mango Chiffon Cupcakes

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Hokkaido baked goods, from milky bread loaves to cakes, seem to be so popular in Asia. Many food blogs have been baking chiffon cupcakes for years now. I might as well join them.

April 11, 2014

Meatless Chili Bean Stew

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Sometimes, I crave for meatless dishes not just during Lent season when I try to give up excessive amount of meat every Friday. White chili bean stew topped with shredded sharp cheddar is one of my favorites because it's light, flavorful, and protein-rich.

April 8, 2014

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

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Listening to my Cajun music playlist made me want to have jambalaya. I didn't have andouille sausage and cajun seasoning. Fortunately, I have all the ingredients to make both seasoning and sausage. Just like Spanish paella, it is a simple dish to prepare and absolutely satisfying. Next time I make, I'll add duck meat instead of shrimps.

April 3, 2014

Limoncello Tiramisu

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I'm getting old and forget things more often nowadays. I bought a large bag of lemons forgetting I already got a smaller one a week earlier. That's too many lemons and so I thought I'd make lemon tiramisu. Well, I didn't. I made limoncello tiramisu instead with the limoncello I made in August 2013. At least I used up a few pieces of the lemons.

March 21, 2014

Stewed Fruits

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It's Spring! It's sunny and current temps are screaming for ice cream, and fruits. Spiced stewed fruits and vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

March 13, 2014

Oreo Thin Mints

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It's that time of the year again when young girls [accompanied by adults] come door to door to deliver preordered cookies. I bought cookies from them probably once many years ago. I think a 9-ounce box of tiny cookies @$4.00 is too expensive, IMHO. I admit I'm a cheapo and I can buy some of their exact same cookies from the grocery store under different names baked and sold by Keebler®. These cookies are no longer "homebaked" by girl scouts for many years now..

March 11, 2014

Water Kefir Drinks

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I bought water kefir (pronounced keh-FEER, not Kiefer as in Kiefer Sutherland) grains to make naturally carbonated soda pop because I prefer the drinks not just with unprocessed sugar but also with low sugar content. Initially I was hesitant to try because I was worried I might get candida/yeast infection and other skin ailments from drinking it but I read that the grains don't have the same candida yeast and may actually help in its cure for those who suffer from it.

March 6, 2014

Oven Cheese Fries

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I love French-fried potatoes; frying not so much. Toaster oven to the rescue: oven fries with cheese, crispy bacon, and pickled jalapeño. Sooo yummy!

March 2, 2014

Homemade Cola


I rarely drink colas and we rarely have them in the house, although once in a while I just have to have a bottle of ice cold Coke® whenever I'm eating Philippine noodles pancit guisado. I don't know why but for me pancit doesn't taste the same without it.

February 26, 2014

Green Tea Marble Kasutera

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I know I'm late for the Kasutera/Castella baking party. It seems every food blogger has baked this Japanese sponge cake. I finally gave in and baked one adding green tea powder to a third of the batter. The oil-free cake is surprisingly soft and moist, and not too sweet.

February 14, 2014

Australian Meat Pies

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I've bookmarked the recipe for these small Australian meat pies which I read about in a Filipino food blog, of all places, about 2 years ago. I'm not a meat pie enthusiast and never tried making them until a few days ago when I suddenly had the munchies for these meat pies. It must be the wintry weather. Haha!

February 12, 2014


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For the umpteenth time, I'm writing about ube,a variety of yam that's naturally colored purple. The root vegetable is used in the Philippines as an ingredient in sweet snacks and desserts. I have yet to see it added to savory dishes though.

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