November 24, 2016

Pumpkin Macarons

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For Thanksgiving this year, I cooked a non-traditional meal. I baked a small chicken Filipino-style with a layer each of bacon, sliced onions, and sliced tomatoes in the bottom of a Dutch oven. The chicken is seasoned with soy sauce, lemon juice, and sea salt. Dessert was pumpkin flavored macarons instead of pie and because we are limiting our sweets intake, the small size of the macarons are just perfect.

November 8, 2016

Yema and Kabocha Pastel

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Filipinos have a wide variety of sweet breads. One of the most popular rolls I see on blogs and bake books is Pastel. It's a sweet bread typically filled with yema paste (egg yolk, sugar, and milk cooked to a paste). Pastel in the Philippines could be savory, as in meat or chicken pie, and also sweet empanada/pie and bread rolls.

October 25, 2016

Coconut Milk And Sweet Corn Ice Cream

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Guinatan mais, sweet corn stewed in coconut milk, is a favorite Filipino dessert or snack. It's usually served warm but this time I made it into ice cream. It's sooo yummy. Really yummy.

October 13, 2016

Melon Pan

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I've always wanted to make Japanese melon pan but the cookie topping doesn't really appeal to me. Melon pan actually doesn't have melon although recently I've seen recipes with different flavorings like strawberries and musk melon.

This bread is a variation of the Mexican concha rolls which I made once before, the topping was chocolate cinnamon cookie. There is a Malaysian coffee buns too with coffee cream filling and coffee flavored cookie topping. I wasn't wowed by both. Too sweet for me.

October 12, 2016

Pork Belly Binagoongan

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Pork binagoongan which means pork stewed in fermented micro shrimp paste called Bagoong, is one of my favorite dishes growing up but I've not made it often because I don't like the house smelling of fermented shrimps for days and days.

October 4, 2016

Spaghetti With Mushrooms

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I love mushrooms and the Asian grocery stores have lots of variety these days. I bought fresh shiitake, pearl oysters, something called bunapi, and white button. They are very good simply steamed in a banana leaf pocket and served with a sprinkle of sea salt and squirt of lemon, or sauteed in olive oil and served with steaks or baked chicken. I found a simple pasta recipe featuring mixed mushrooms. The only additional flavoring to the pasta dish is crispy fried prosciutto and chicken broth which I substituted with vegetable broth. I want the mushrooms to shine and I thought the chicken broth might overpower it. I love this simple yet packed with flavor pasta dish. 

September 26, 2016

Sweet Pickled Eggs

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I don't know why I never had pickled eggs before. I have an 18-piece package of quail eggs that were meant for making the Filipino deep fried bright orange battered egg snack called kwek kwek but changed my mind and pickled them instead. It's easy to prepare if you use sweet pickle liquid.

August 9, 2016

Challah Bread Pudding

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Last week I bought a loaf of challah at Trader's Joe although the crust is very pale unlike my homebaked. Although I already lowered my expectations, I was still disappointed for its lack of flavor. It also got moldy after 3 days. What a waste. I baked one loaf flavored with a little orange and lemon zests and vanilla extract. I cubed 4 thick slices and made bread pudding with golden raisins (sultanas). Drizzled with Hershey-style chocolate syrup or limoncello glaze, the pudding is delicious.

August 2, 2016

Japanese-Style Omelette Burger

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I've read about but not made nor eaten an American hamburger omelette. However, when the dish appears in a currently airing Japanese drama (dorama), A Girl and Three Sweethearts, I noticed that it is not served with bread but in a shallow pool of demi-glace. That's interesting.

Japanese-style hamburgers [and other Asian burgers] are a bit different because the meat is seasoned with a little onion and sake and softer like meatloaf with the addition of bread crumbs, milk, and egg. The Japanese burger steaks are usually served with a sauce made with a combination of ketchup and wooster sauce.

July 12, 2016

Homemade Maple Sugar Granules

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Every day I have steamed white rice and breads but I eat high carb food in moderation and haven't had bottled sodas for many many years now. Recently, I started incorporating stevia and xylitol together with regular white or raw sugar into desserts and baked goods. The xylitol I use is made from birch bark and manufactured here in the USA. Most xylitol brands in the USA are made with corn and they are imported from China which is a no no for me. I found out recently that ALL stevia products in the USA come from semi-processed and already whitened material from CHINA! That's absolutely unacceptable and they are most likely more harmful than white cane sugar to every person who tries to avoid processed sugar cane. Any food item made in China will always be suspect regardless of the manufacturers' assurances that their processing are the best. Are they kidding me? The words best and China shouldn't be in the same sentence...EVER!! Remember the tainted toothpaste, dog food, and powdered milk that killed people and dogs around the world, and their own babies, for crying out loud!

May 28, 2016

Mangoes And Cream

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I've made this mangoes and cream before, using Graham crackers. I called the Filipino dessert Mangoes On A Cloud [of sweetened cream]. This time I used chocolate wafers instead of Graham crackers and layered the wafers, sweetened cream, and mangoes in individual glasses (verrines). The chocolate wafers are also good with the mangoes and cream combination.

May 26, 2016

Braised Chicken Feet With Salted Black (Soy) Beans

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The first time I had chicken feet was in a Thai restaurant in Hong Kong in the early 90s. The dish was a salad, I think. I never had it again and only started buying them a few years ago to make into healthy soup. We never ate it at home or in restaurants.

May 17, 2016


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Espasol is a cigar-shaped Filipino rice cake made with either all glutinous rice or a combination of regular long and glutinous rice. I opted for the former and added shredded young coconut because that's what I remember eating back in the Philippines. 

May 11, 2016


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Today, I had for lunch 2 things I don't normally eat - hot dog with ketchup and almost anything with Indian curry seasoning. Currywurst apparently has long been a favorite street food in Germany. It's fried whole or sliced beef and pork knockwurst smothered in tomato sauce flavored with Indian curry and served with fries.

May 3, 2016

Siamese Chicken In Coconut Cream

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I've made this recipe from my old Thai cookbook, The Love Of Thai Cooking, many times and I haven't gotten tired of it. It is just that yummy! I purchased the hardbound cookbook in late 1988; it was originally published in 1978 and currently out of circulation.

May 1, 2016

Taco Seasoning and Dip

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I used to buy occasionally the 7 layer taco dip from the stores but the flavor of untoasted cumin seeds always made me gag so I stopped buying. After several years of not eating anything Tex Mex [except chili], I suddenly had the munchies for taco dip. First I had to make taco seasoning then cooked a small bag of beans for the refried beans layer; recipe for both are below. It's a tedious process but well worth it. The toasted cumin seeds make the difference in the flavor of any dish you use it in.

April 19, 2016

Flourless Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

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I have been using xylitol sugar substitute for DIY toothpaste and mouthwash but have never used it for cooking mainly because I don't want to ingest anything made in China and also I don't eat a lot of food with high sugar content.

I came across this sugar substitute when I test baked several years ago for Peter Reinhart's low carbs, gluten free, and sugar free book but never used it for cooking nor for my drinks.  I recently got a large bag USA-produced xylitol made from birch bark. The reviews are mixed, with a few users complaining of upset stomach. It's time to test for myself if it has an unpleasant flavor and if it will give me stomach cramps.

March 16, 2016

Calamansi Preserve

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My calamansi tree has been generous this year and to my delight yielded lots of fruits all throughout the winter season indoors. Just like any citrus fruits I use all parts of this tiny citrus fruit. I never throw out the rinds and seeds.

March 7, 2016

Homemade White Chocolate Chips

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Most of the white chocolate available to buy are too cloying and taste unnatural, probably the vanilla flavor, I'm not sure. It doesn't really matter to me as I hardly eat white chocolate but sometimes a recipe I want to prepare has white chocolate among the ingredients. Cacao butter to the rescue! I already have a pound of  food grade raw cacao butter that I mostly use for cosmetics. I pre-shred and keep them in 2-ounce portions.

March 3, 2016

Goldilocks™ Mamon

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The other day I had a Goldilocks™ Mocha Mamon. I can't remember if I had this before and I was surprised that I loved it. I didn't care much for their other baked goods but their mamon is sure yummy, soft, fluffy, and most important, not cloyingly sweet.

February 25, 2016

Sweet Potato Pancakes

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I didn't know date syrup is now used as an alternate sweetener. One of the recipes on the cookbook, NOPI, by Yotam Ottolenghi is Sweet Potato Pancakes Topped With Yogurt and Date Syrup. Sounds really yummy.

The date syrup in the book's photo is smooth, dark, and thick. I didn't have date syrup so I made a little by cooking California dried dates with water until pulpy. I strained it but the syrup although thick is not smooth and not sweet enough. I also tried making raw syrup by chopping dates and soaking in water but the result also lacks adequate sweetness and even coarser than the cooked syrup. Maybe it's really not that sweet like sugarcane. I'll have to get the ones that come from Israel just to try.

February 23, 2016

Lemon Curd Cream Tartlet

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This treat is inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club, a 60-page book composed of 3 related short stories. The first story involves a young man peddling cream tartlets. He immediately eats the ones that are not accepted. He has eaten 27 tartlets which I presumed are filled with pastry cream. I searched my cookbooks and the webs for recipes and could only find custard tarts and pies.

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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