January 13, 2016

Homemade Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

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If health websites are to be believed, raw apple cider vinegar could remedy a lot of common ailments from asthma to colds and coughs and may help in losing weight. ACV is natural and cheap and there's really no harm in having it every day, I guess.

January 12, 2016

Pan De Manteca (Cuban Bread)

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I have a Cuban cookbook for more than a decade now but I seldom cook anything from it. I borrowed another Cuban cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, and compared the Cuban bread recipes. The bread and the sandwich have become very popular among food bloggers whether they are made at home or bought from restaurants. I haven't tried their sandwich nor have I been to a Cuban restaurant.

My Cuban cookbook uses olive oil and The Cuban Table cookbook has pork lard for the traditional bread, Pan de Manteca and omits it altogether for the Pan de Agua. The bread is okay, not great but it's good enough for a Cuban sandwich. Well, any sandwich with double the porky goodness is more than a-okay in my book. I will make the bread again but with a little sourdough or a preferment for a better flavor and texture.

The recipe has plantain leaf strips that are inserted in a slit on top of the bread. I really don't know why it's needed. There isn't any explanation and the instruction is rather vague. I used it because I always have frozen banana leaves but you can leave it out entirely.

January 6, 2016


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I've always wanted to make these Japanese street food I keep reading about - takoyaki - crispy fried octopus balls. When I saw a used cast iron takoyaki pan on eBay for a fraction of the cost to buy a Japanese-made one (no made in China for me...EVER!), I just had to buy it. It arrived rusted and dirty but without any scratches or cracks. It only took 3 seasonings (oiling and baking) for the pan to look brand new again. I tested the batter before proceeding with the recipe and it didn't stick at all. I love my new takoyaki pan!

January 4, 2016

Cracker Jack Peanuts

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Cracker Jack popcorn is not something I buy and eat regularly. The last time I had was probably 1000 years ago, in other words, once in a blue moon. The other day I saw on YouTube a group of adults open a large bag of Cracker Jack and started counting the number of peanuts because the package boasts NOW MORE PEANUTS!
I happen to have a candy cookbook called Southern Homemade Candy Collection by S. L. Watson [borrowed from Amazon Kindle lending program]. The first recipe that caught my eye is the Cracker Jack Peanuts.

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