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About Me

My header speaks it all...but to give you more 411's then here i go. Well, I'm a newbie on American living who finds refuge on my kitchen which makes me the "Rookie Cook". Simply because rule of life here is..."do it yourself" and not to mention my cravings of foods back home lead me to learn the art of cooking. I'm no pro on this but i think it's worth sharing, especially to those people out there who's missing a lot of least I can help ease a part of that loneliness through cooking our comfort foods. Enjoy reading my blog and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pan de sal

I got the basic recipe from a HS friend (thanks to her) and tweaked it out a bit. Through a couple of trial and error in baking yeast breads and research once in awhile (may it be on the net or in cookbooks) I've come to discover better dough combination. This is one recipe that I'd like to share because this brings a lot of memories of home...Hubby was my photographer, thanks to his artistic presentation =D ( he included a brown bag on purpose just the way it is bought in pinoy bakeries)

Pan de sal secret recipe (now it's not =D)

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • In a mixing bowl ( non metal preferably), dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar and salt.
  • Let it rest until it gets foamy (about15 minutes)
  • Mix in powdered milk and vegetable oil
  • Slowly add in flour, stirring in between additions.
  • When thoroughly mixed up, roll dough into a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead until smooth, form into a ball and put it in a bowl
  • Cover with cling wrap and let it rise until doubled in a slightly warm area ( about 1-2 hours)
  • When doubled in size, punch to deflate the air and knead again for couple of minutes
  • Roll out into a log
  • In cookie pan lay out a wax paper and sprinkle cornmeal
  • Cut the "log rolled" dough into pieces depending on what size you want it to be (I usually cut it into 10-12 pieces) Note: cut it one at a time, place dough immediately into pan as soon as you cut it...this would prevent it from sticking into each other if you cut it all at the same time before transferring into pan
  • When all is laid into the pan, sprinkle a little cornmeal on top...cover with a baking towel or slightly greased cling wrap and let it rise again for probably 15-30 minutes ( just take note if it has risen)
  • Meanwhile,while waiting for the dough to rise preheat oven 375 F
  • When all set and ready, bake dough for 20 minutes (be sure to check the process 5-10 minutes before time for any oven may work differently, just to make sure you don't get a burnt pan de sal)
  • When done, let it cool a bit on a wire rack and serve...
  • Note: you can store this for 1-2 weeks the most in a refrigerator and it'll taste as good as freshly baked pan de sal, just heat it up in a microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute...Enjoy eating with my secret recipe =) from my kitchen to yours...

Mango Tart (Goldilocks copycat)

This is supposed to be formed as a boat tart (if i say it's a Goldilocks "copycat" right?) "wink"! However, I haven't found any boat tart molder yet (i still got to have a second look in some Asian store) so I ended up with just the regular tart form. Taste wise, I'd say it's closer to Goldilocks boat tarts ( minus the mango scent that they usually have). If only Philippine mangoes are available here, then Eureka! this gotta be the lost secret of the G's mango boat tarts! If you happen to try this, feel free to experiment and you can share it here perhaps. Anyway, without further ado's the recipe.

Mango Tart Recipe

For the crust:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese or 3/4 block (boxed cream cheese)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 300 ml can condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • In sturdy mixing bowl, soften cream cheese with an electric mixer
  • Add the butter, beat again until mixed well.
  • With a spatula slowly add the all purpose flour and form into a ball
  • Wrap it with a cling wrap and chill for about 30 minutes
  • In a food processor or perhaps a blender, process the mango pulps until pureed, set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, combine condensed milk, egg yolks and flour. Heat under low fire, stirring constantly until a little bit thick.
  • Remove from heat and add butter.
  • Preheat oven 350 F
  • Take the crust dough out from fridge, and equally form into small balls
  • Flatten each dough ball and place into tart molders
  • Do the same thing with remaining dough balls
  • Distribute filling into each tart shells
  • Bake for at least 15 minutes or until set.
  • Let cool
  • Best eaten when cold

Black Sambo

Black Sambo Recipe

Milk Layer:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sachet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 big can condensed milk
  • 1 big can all purpose cream or 2 small cans all purpose cream
Chocolate layer:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sachet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 big evaporated milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips + 2 tbsp extra dark hershey cocoa powder ( or 1 cup hershey cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
Milk layer:
  • In a saucepan, mix all ingredients and cook over low fire. Stir constantly to avoid clumps and burns. When smooth and thick enough (about 15 minutes), pour into a mold. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and set in the freezer for faster results (4-5 hours or until set) (note: don't leave it in the freezer for so long or else you'll end up with an icy jello)
Chocolate layer:
  • Mix all ingredients and cook in low fire. Stir constantly until smooth and not too runny.
  • Check if milk layer is solid and has set enough ( I usually prepare the 2nd layer an hour before the 1st layer's estimated time to set)
  • When it's ready, pour in the chocolate layer over the milk layer.
  • Let cool for another 20-30 minutes, place inside freezer for 2-3 hours or til set.
  • When all is ready, invert the mold into a serving plate ( I didn't get to serve it this way (as seen on my pic) since i didn't have the right molder on hand at that time)
Note: it's best to use a silicone jelly molder when available, but any will do for as long as it's deep enough for the layers to fit in

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rellenong Talong (Stuffed Eggplant with ground pork)

Rellenong talong is one of the many ways on how to prepare an eggplant dish. My great uncle taught me how to do this (thanks to Lolo Gambe), and since then it became the most requested food on the table. So now i wanna pass this on from my kitchen to yours...EnjoY!

Rellenong Talong
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork loin
  • 1 aubergine eggplant (the large kind)
  • 1/2 onion bulb, minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper (any color will do) miced
  • 3-4 pcs thai chili pepper, minced
  • 3 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 thin slice of lemon
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Marinate ground pork with soy sauce and lemon for 15 minutes, set aside
  • Preheat oven to 400F, broil mode.
  • Cut the aubergine eggplant into half and cover skin with foil but exposing the insides
  • Place eggplant on a baking pan, cut side up and broil for about 15-30 minutes or until eggplant meat turns soft
  • Bring it out from the oven and scrape the meat out carefully not to tear up the skin, set aside
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil then saute garlic til it sizzles, then add the onions
  • Wait until it releases its aroma and a little bit translucent, stir ocassionally so not to burn it
  • Add the pork, cook until brown and no traces of pink shows
  • Pour a little bit of water, let it sit until meat is tender
  • Season with garlic powder
  • Dunk in the eggplant, mix thoroughly
  • Add the bell pepper and the thai chilies
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes
  • If opted, place cooked eggplant on previously removed skin
  • Serve
Note: For faster way of cooking, just broil one whole eggplant til it appears wrinkled and soft.
Peel the skin out using a fork.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

hot chocolate drink ( sikwate)

Sikwate, as we call it in our hometown... the native version of American "hot chocolate" drink yet tastes as good or some would find it way better. This is made of "tablea" which is from dried cacao beans, roasted, and ground then formed into tablets.
We used to have some cacao trees before and as a kid I enjoyed knocking on the fruit to know if its ready for harvest. Then our dear Manang Encar would take the beans out from the shell, place it on a "nigo" then let it sun dry. When all has dried up, she roasted it then finally process it in a grinder. It will come out pasty and enticingly aromatic with a chocolatey goodness. This is then formed into balls and flattened out a bit to make a tablet, then air dry til it hardens and whaaaalaaa! you now have a "tablea". With this incredible tablet you can create a hot chocolatey drink that is out of the ordinary, it's good to pair this up with puto maya, suman, even pan de sal and to my likes? panettone is a good choice as well.=)

Hot Chocolate Drink (sikwate)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablea tablet
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • In a saucepan, boil 1/2 cup water ( this is good for 1 serving)
  • When water boils, add the tablea and stir it constantly until it melts and smooths out
  • Turn off heat, then add 2 tbsp brown sugar ( adjust sweetness according to taste)
  • Serve hot

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tender Juicy Baked Chicken the Sweet Way

My very first home baked chicken with touch of sweetness and spice! Thanksgiving dinner??? yeah I know, it's not turkey!!! but I'm so happy with the results, satisfied? super! The process of cooking needs time and of course effort but you'll never regret trying this out. Well, half of the recipe comes from my followed blog "Kusina ni Manang" (she's got lots of good recipes that is fool proof, thanks to you manang=D) and half from my instinct, taste buds, and sense of smell...can you imagine that? Come on! unleash your daring side in cooking.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 can pineapple chunks
  • 1 can pineapple juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-2 stalks of lemon grass
  • 2 whole garlic
  • 1Tb rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • butter
  • garlic salt
  • 1 onion
  • carrots, diced
  • celery, cut about 1 inch
  • potatoes, diced
Preparation for chicken:
  • In a deep pot, half-fill with cold water, add 3 tablespoon of salt, 1/4 slice of lemon juice
  • Soak the chicken for 30 minutes ( according to some chef : when using acidic ingredients, soak meat with no more than 30 minutes to end up not breaking the protein in meat)
  • After 30 minutes, rinse chicken with running water and pat dry with paper towel
  • Soak chicken with pineapple juice for 10-15 minutes, turn sides to coat well
Preparation for the Rub:
  • In small baking pan, place 1 whole garlic and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil
  • Roast it in the oven (400F) about 15 minutes or til it gets brownish in color and fragrant
  • Take it out from the oven, remove the peel and mash it down with mortar and pestle til it appears to be pasty
  • Cut out white part of lemongrass and pound it out to release aroma and flavor
  • Combine garlic paste, lemongrass and add a tablespoon of dried rosemary plus 1/2 tsp salt and some freshly ground pepper
  • When thoroughly combined, rub the paste to the chicken inside and out, don't forget to include inside of skin ( be careful not to break skin, mine was broken and it appeared a little bit skinless)
Stuffing the Chicken:
  • Stuff inside of chicken with remaining bunch of lemongrass, crushed garlic, dice onions
  • Place chicken on wire rack on top of roasting pan
  • Let it air dry while preparing for the glaze
Chicken Glaze:
  • In a medium bowl, combine remaining lemon juice, 1 cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup honey
  • Stir til completely combined
  • Glaze chicken completely
  • Pour remaining liquids in the roasting pan, add 1 cup water
  • Add the veggies: carrots, celery, potatoes and the fruit (pineapple chunks)
Baking Process:
  • Preheat oven 400F
  • Cover chicken with aluminum foil
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, uncover chicken and brush with melted butter plus garlic salt and pepper
  • Reduce heat to 350F
  • Bake uncovered for 1 hour, brushing with butter mixture every 30 min.
  • Turn chicken to other side, brush with butter mixture and bake for another 1 hour.
  • When done, take chicken out and let it cool down for 5 min.
  • Cut and serve.....

Chinese Lumpia ( fresh lumpia chinese-style)

My hubby and I got to have a short vacation in Pinas last month and of course we had fun pigging out our most craved foodie goodies that we missed a lot here. We only not had fun but I also get to have some crash course in cooking courtesy of my mother-in-law, thanks to Ma! This is one of my hub's most requested food cause according to him, "it reminds me of home" ...So for all you nostalgic couples out there, try to learn each of your home cooking back to mom's kitchen and go make it.
This recipe is a Chinese version of fresh lumpia made with several veggies, tofu (bean curd), a little bit of ground pork, popped mung bean thread, scrambled eggs and peanuts or to make it short, this is a healthier way of having lumpia in our plates. Enjoy!

Chinese Lumpia

  • 1/4-1/2 lb. of ground pork
  • handful of raw shrimps, shelled and minced
  • 1 block of tofu, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 onions, minced
  • 1 whole garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • handful of green beans, minced
  • 1-2 regular size carrots, shredded
  • 2-3 cabbage leaf, shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 small bag bean sprouts, cleaned
  • handful of mung bean thread (raw sotanghon)
  • seaweed for mung bean thread flavoring (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ground peanuts
  • 1 cube knorr chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for deep frying mung bean thread
  • olive oil for sauteing
  • 3 lettuce leaves cut lengthwise

  • Heat olive oil in a wok or big pan about 350F
  • Saute garlic, when it starts to sizzle add the onions and let it sit til fragrant and a little bit translucent
  • Add the ground pork, let it brown then add a bit of water then cover pan
  • Uncover and let the liquids evaporate
  • Add the cubed broth and tofu
  • Throw in the veggies, the harder ones and has less color first, saute for 3-5 minutes
  • season with salt and pepper according to taste
Popped mung bean thread:
  • Preheat oil in deep pan about 350F
  • Place mung bean thread on a skimmer and dip quickly into hot oil til it appears popped
  • Transfer popped bean thread into sauteing pan and break into smaller pieces
  • Add the seaweed for flavor ( yet to find the name of this..can't read Chinese, eh! wink)
For the wrap:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Mix all three till smooth and no lumps visible
  • In a crepe maker or just in a regular skillet spread out batter using a spoon, cook approximately 1 minute each side.
  • yields about 6 wraps
  • Lay wrap on a plate
  • Put the cut lettuce on top of wrap
  • Add the filling
  • Add some sliced scrambled egg
  • Then sprinkle with thinly sliced garlic (optional)
  • Spread the popped mung bean thread over
  • Put ground peanuts (optional)
  • Roll wrap and go ahead and take a big bite!
  • Serve with sweet chili sauce

Panettone (classic Italian Christmas bread)

panettone is a classic Italian Christmas bread, and if you're wondering...oh no! I'm no Italian... just someone who loves to cook, bake and experiment for the sake of my passion and of course not to mention my favorite hobby...which is eating!=D who doesn't love that? I've tried this recipe thrice already and this post was my latest (taken last night, my hubby and I ended up having some midnight snack! just can't resist the aroma and goodness of freshly home baked goodies)wink!!. It turn out well and deliciously perfect, more so you when you pair it up with a sip of hot coffee or the best drink i can think of that goes well with this is... hot dark chocolate drink! A comfy drink in my hometown made with roasted, ground cocoa beans...I'll be posting it here soon.=) My panettone this time assumed a dome shape (unlike my 1st and 2nd bake, found out our previous oven wasn't working well that's why). So, it really pays off not to give up on something, just try and try til you get it right, eh! This recipe will definitely be for keeps... Anyway, here's the recipe on how to do this. Enjoy!

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus more lukewarm milk as needed
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup mixed chopped (candied) peel or better use mixed dried fruits
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • rum, for flavoring (optional)
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips ( may it be unsweetened or semisweet, pick your choice)
  • melted butter and egg wash for brushing (1 egg,lightly beaten, 1 tsp sugar,1 tsp milk)
  • Using a double layer of baking parchment, line and butter a 15cm/6in deep cake tin (pan) or souffle dish. Finish the paper 7.5cm/3 in. above the top of the tin.
  • Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Cream the yeast with 4 tbsp of the milk, then mix in the remainder.

  • Pour the yeast mixture into the center of the flour, add the whole eggs. Add a tbsp of rum (if opted) and more warm milk little by little if you have to til dough comes together, not too dry neither too sticky. Leave to "sponge", in a warm place, for 30 minutes.

  • Add the egg yolks and sugar and mix to a soft dough. Work in the softened butter, then turn out to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise, in a slightly warm place, for 1 1/2-2 hour, or until doubled in bulk

  • Knock back the dough and turn out on to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead in the peels, dried fruits, raisins. Shape into a ball and place in the prepared tin. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for at least an hour, the longer time the better, til it reaches at the top of the parchment (assuming a dome shape).

  • Preheat oven 190C/375F. Brush surface with melted butter/egg wash and cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 20 minutes,then reduce oven temperature to 180C/350F . Brush the top again with butter and egg wash and bake for further 25-30 minutes, or til golden. Cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

ube siopao (steamed white bun with purple yam filling)

Living here in the Midwest is quite a challenge, especially when you haven't gotten over with your native sense of taste yet. I love to eat Filipino foods because it's what I'm used to and being in this side of city, there's not much Filipino foods offered, just one or two perhaps. So, i decided to cook it myself and that i can satisfy my craving no matter how. This is one of the many foodies I'm dying to eat...White steamed bun or shall we say "siopao". You can always pick out a variety of filling from pork asado, chicken adobo or purple yam "ube". Any of these blend well with the dough.

  • 3 packs yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm, evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 7-8 cups flour


  • dissolve the yeast in warm water, mix in warm milk, add the sugar, salt then 2 eggs.
  • Put mixture inside warm oven til it bubbles.
  • Add the flour alternately with 1/2 cup of oil.
  • knead til smooth.
  • Place it in a lightly oiled bowl covered with damp cloth. let it proof in a warm place for about an hour or til doubled
  • When dough proofs enough, punch it down.
  • Take a spoonful or two and form it into a circle, flatten it out and put the "ube" filling (recipe follows)
  • Seal edges together and let it sit in an individual square shape wax paper .
  • Let it rest for about 30 minutes to smooth out any wrinkles, don't forget to cover with lightly greased cling wrap or cloth. This protects the dough from drying.
  • Meanwhile, place steamer over boiling water... arrange buns in the steamer, place a damp cloth ( i prefer to use damp paper towel) over it before covering with its cover. Steam for 20 minutes.

  • 1 bag purple yam powder
  • 7 tbsp. white refined sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. butter/margarine
  • Add fresh whole milk and sugar to the ube powder and mix thoroughly. Then, stir continuously over low fire until texture is thick and smooth. Lastly, mix butter or margarine.