February 26, 2009

Chocolate Pudding

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creamy yummy chocolate pudding
People love to "Frenchify" everything to sound sophisticated, for example, haricots verts when they can simply say green beans. Recently the word cremeux has been popping up in restaurant menus and blogs. One recipe I saw was Chocolat Cremeux and when I read the recipe it is simply chocolate pudding and nothing else, extra creamy perhaps, but it is just good old pudding. Reading the recipe made me crave for chocolate crem...er..pudding.

The chocolate pudding I prepared does not have egg yolks and is sort of healthier because it has cactus honey powder which is supposed to have less calories and carbs, and low glycemic index, but I am not 100 percent sure about its healthy claim. This pudding also has plain soymilk which does not alter its deep chocolate flavor nor its creamy consistency. Preparing the pudding is very easy and the snack is ready to enjoy in less than 2 hours.

Chocolate Pudding
½ cup cactus honey powder (or raw sugar)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups plain soymilk
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
shaved or chopped bittersweet chocolate for garnish
  • In a medium saucepan, mix the cactus powder, cocoa powder, salt, and cornstarch with a wire whisk. Gradually add ½ cup of the milk, whisking constantly until smooth and lump-free. Add the rest of the milk and the soymilk and mix well.
  • Turn heat on to medium high, bring mixture to a boil while whisking. Lower heat to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heat-proof spatula. Turn heat off and stir in vanilla extract.
  • Divide pudding into 4 glass or clear plastic containers and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Garnish each with ½ teaspoon shaved chocolate before serving.

no one will ever guess these have soymilk

February 22, 2009

Alamid Coffee

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a most expensive coffee, AKA civet poop

One of the stuff I asked the husband to bring from his recent visit to the Philippines is coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted whole by civets called alamid. I have read about these coffee beans in many blogs and have wanted to try them.

The jar describes the brewed coffee:
  • Macchiato: smooth, sweet, and lingering dark chocolate flavor with a fruity aroma
  • Espresso: bold, rich, fully developed flavors swirling around your upper and lower tongue, no negative aftertaste.
I ground the coffee beans in a clean unused grinder and brewed it in my stovetop espresso maker, drank it black with no sugar. I agree to the sweet rich flavor and non-acidic clean aftertaste but can't really say it has chocolate flavor. I didn't add milk macchiato-style which might explain the non-chocolate taste. The whole bean itself has a very fragrant chocolate aroma. What I like is the lingering cool mouth feel around and under my tongue similar to the essence of mint but without the minty flavor, I'm sorry if I can't explain it very well, you'll just have to try it. It will cost you though as the coffee is expensive at $110 per pound (P1100 for a 100-gram jar) and if I were a billionaire and have lots of cash to burn I will drink this coffee everyday for the rest of my days.

I never thought that someday I'll be drinking coffee that a wild pesky animal has eaten and pooped out but now I have and I can assure you, this coffee doesn't taste like sh*t.:-)

Here is the Coffee Alamid website.

February 21, 2009


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I miss the voice of magtataho summoning kids and adults alike to his taho, the custard-like shaven silken tofu with brown sugar syrup and chewy sago pearls. In the Philippines taho is eaten as breakfast, snack, or dessert. I remember my son, armed with a large glass tumbler, used to wait for the lilting voice of the magtataho yelling tahooo, tahooo!

Here in the US we usually have taho as a dessert in Chinese dimsum restaurants where it is served with warm ginger flavored white syrup. Very yummy too.

It is easy to prepare taho at home. Get the softest silken tofu available, I prefer the ones in tubes from the Korean grocery. Cook large-size Philippine tapioca pearls (sago), then boil equal amounts of brown sugar and water for 10 minutes. Shave the tofu using a spoon into a tumbler, add sago, pour the still warm syrup and enjoy taho any time of the day.

To cook sago: In a medium saucepan, heat 4 cups of water, bring to a rapid boil. Add ½ cup uncooked sago pearls, lower heat to medium-high and boil uncovered until the middle portion of the sago is almost clear. Drain and transfer into a bowl with cool water. The sago will turn transparent all throughout in a few minutes, they will be chewy just the way I like them.

To cook ginger-flavored syrup: Boil uncovered for 15 minutes equal amounts of water and white sugar with a quarter-inch thick slice of peeled fresh ginger.

February 17, 2009

Anthony Bourdain And Kulinarya

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What did you think of Anthony Bourdain's drool worthy No Reservations last night? The fat crabs, the beer, giant prawns, spicy dishes with coconut milk, the beer, fiddle fern salad, sinigang, the beer. A few minutes into the show both the husband and daughter opened bottles of beer.:)

We thoroughly enjoyed watching him eat sisig, bone marrow, and goat head in Pampanga. He really seemed to love most of the food specially the crispy lechon and we appreciate his keen understanding of the diverse Filipino cuisine having only tried the food in Manila, Pampanga, and Cebu. I was also touched by his genuine concern for Augusto, the young man who convinced him take a look at the Philippines. I hope he goes back to try the specialties in the North.

I read in Claude Tayag's (his host in Pampanga) homepage that he gave Anthony a copy of KULINARYA: A Guidebook To Philippine Cuisine which Claude contributed to as the stylist and has a few of his recipes, one is the Fiddlehead Fern Salad with boiled quail eggs that Anthony had. Click here to read the full article he wrote for The Philippine Star on Anthony's visit to his home.

I like this guidebook very much. The photos are beautiful and the recipes are easy for a new cook or someone who has never cooked Filipino food before. The recipes are unpretentious in their simplicity, no fusion or anything fancy here, the Leche Flan has canned condensed and evaporated milks, NOT fresh milk, as majority of Filipinos cook leche flan using these. The book does not have all the recipes, it is just impossible to include everything because Filipino food, as Anthony has found out, is very much diverse and varied. There are few minor mistakes but I am glad that dishes that are unappetizing to look at like dinuguan (pork blood stew) are not included in the book. KULINARYA is a good start to introduce our food to the world.

Glenda Barretto writes in the Introduction:
The principal problem in branding and defining standards for Filipino cuisine is that Filipinos are by nature highly individualistic and diverse. Standards in our culture seem to exist not so much to be followed strictlty, as to serve as a basis of personalition. In fact, variation and diversity are the standard. The preparation and presentation of Filipino food is tremendously varied, even within the same province, town, or neighborhood, in the same way, for example, that villages separated by less than an hour's walk in the Cordillera mountains speak completely different languages and regard each other as foreigners.
Go get a copy and help KULINARYA's mission to inspire world-class preparation and presentation of Filipino food!:)

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