Monthly Archives: November 2005

SHF/IMBB Cookie Swap

i’m bringing these to a cookie swap, the cookies i make every year–the ones that make our holiday festivities feel complete.

this month the founders of the fun blogging event Sugar High Fridays and Is my blog burning? have joined together to invite us to a major cookie swap, with a prize cookbook too! well…it’s an “for adults only” cookbook (go check it out). i was hoping to add two new Christmassy cookies to this stash but unfortunately my supplies are running low and i had no chance to restock at my bargain nuts and chocolates place….i will add them on i hope sometime this week.
do i still qualify for the Cookie Sutra cookbook???

from the back of the “Land O’ Lakes” butter box…
gingerbread babies (originally twinkling ginger stars)
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 egg
* 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup or molasses
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* Powdered sugar


Combine sugar and butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add egg, corn syrup and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients except powdered sugar. Beat until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes).

Divide dough into thirds. Shape each third into round ball; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (1 to 2 hours) or up to 3 days.

Heat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-third at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2 to 3-inch star cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until set. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over cooled cookies.

TIP: Store cookies in a loosely covered container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months in an airtight container.

TIP: If dough is too firm for rolling, let stand at room temperature until just soft enough to roll.

the cookies that say merry christmas for you…spumoni cookies
(from “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook“, 1986)
1 cup butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts (or toasted almonds)
6 drops green food color
1 sq. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled, or 3 tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa + 1 tbsp. melted cooled butter
2 tbsps. chopped drained maraschino cherries (chop and then squeeze dry with a paper towel over a strainer)

cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, add sugar, vanilla and egg. stir in flour and salt. divide dough into 3 equal parts. Mix pistachio nuts and food color into 1 part, chocolate into second, andmix cherries into remaining part. Chill dough slightly. Line bottom and ends of loaf pan with aluminum foil, allowing ends to extend over edges to half way top of pan (for easier lifting out and slicing).
Press nut dough evenly in bottom of pan. Press chocolate dough over nut dough, cherry dough over chocolate. Cover dough with extended ends of foil. Refrigerate at least 2 hours but not longer than 6 weeks.
Heat oven to 375F. Remove foil and dough from pan. Cut dough crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, cut each slice cross wise into halves. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake cookies until set, about 10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet using thin spatula and let cool in racks.

Cashew Petites? based on a recipe from Gourmet magazine, Dec. 1993, Walnut Petites

1 stick (1/2 cup)unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ozs. cream cheese, room temp.
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp. melted & cooled butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped cashews, roasted unsalted

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream 1 stick of butter with the cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the flour and the salt, and beat the mixture until it forms a dough. Form the dough into 2 logs and chill it, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Slice into disks and press into 36 1/8 cup muffin tins and work the dough evenly onto the bottoms and up the sides of the tins to form 1/8-in. shells.
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla until the mixture is combined well. Divide the filling among the shells, sprinkle it with the cashews, and bake the cashew cups in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crusts are golden. Let the cookies cool in the tins on racks for 10 minutes, remove them from the tins carefully (using the sharp tip of a knife), and let them cool completely in the racks. The cashew cups may be made 2 months in advance and kept frozen in airtight containers.
Makes 36 cookies. Easily doubled.

pot lucky Thanksgiving

i’m going to be posting these up as i go along…last night i made a pumpkin roll and cassava bibingka, today i have a few more to contribute to husband’s family’s get together. they are having it catered by a local grocery store (Thanksgiving in a huge box) so anything we bring is extra, bonus, table-groaner stuff…wish me luck. hope i finish the soup and the bread. if not, they’ll be all ours. uh-oh.

pumpkin roll unfurling…

can you spot the error? i rolled it up the wrong way, pecan side out…the UPS guy dingdonged and i got so unnerved hahaha.

i’m very frightened of baking bread…like when i proofed the yeast –2 cups warm 115F water, 3 packages yeast, 1 tbsp. sugar…it came alive and foamed up and spilled over the measuring cup. suspenseful moments! i hope this doesn’t turn out to be a brick loaf.

jalepeño cheese bread…another manifestation of my obsessive trait, as blogged about by purplegirl–a secret recipe which i hoped to crack. this one is from paul prudhomme

surprisingly not at all spicy, deep cheddar flavor, light crumb. yoohoo tita purplegirl, is this it???

always welcome, bibingkang kamoteng kahoy. a baby and a mommy portion again, daughter wants to keep the big pan.

a vat of fish chowder

sister-in-law’s spread
happy thanksgiving day to everyone….
*for more recipes, click here for last year’s Turkey Day. i skipped hosting this year but just found out we are “IT” for the Christmas family party. uh-oh…

Lasang Pinoy 4: Pinoy “Soul Food”

Minette is kindly hosting this 4th edition of Lasang Pinoy. (wow, this is the 4th already?)

Minette writes that for the month of November– when Filipinos, on the first day of the month, celebrate a day of remembrance by the graveside of our beloved relatives who have gone before us– we will remember “soul” food: food to soothe our soul, food to remember the dear departed, or food that we like to bring when we hang out by the tombs to keep them alive beyond the place called memory.

when we were children the only ones our parents visited were their grandparents. they would go the day before to clean up and cut the grass, have the bronze letterings polished, a big candle in a nice glass bottle with a bouquet of their favorite flowers firmly planted alongside.
then our paternal grandfather lolo A died, and this day took on a whole different meaning to us.
he was someone close. someone we spent a lot of time with. we used to visit with him at his brother’s grave at the National Heroes Cemetery.
my lolo A, a lifelong student of life, used to tease us granddaughters that he felt that he would die soon, but that he’d return and he’d read his books and that we were not to be afraid if we felt his presence in the library. the yearly ritual represents our culture’s view of death not as a finality but as passage to another realm, where the loved one will always be.
so his wife my lola, on his first death anniversary rented a tent and we brought some patio furniture and loads of supplies and books and games to play. we got to hang out with our cousins again. it was not somber but quite festive, yet not in a disrespectful way: it was a tender remembrance, of keeping him alive and keeping him company.

hanging out with lolo A. at Loyola Marikina, 5 yrs. after he passed away. notice the cars and tents all around..
marrying into a Chinese American family of course i now observe that we have a lot of traditions in common, perhaps by proximity and assimilation in the Philippines. we go to visit the graves depending on the lunar calendar sometime in the spring. it is much more solemn and quiet, and in an especially designated area in one of the cemeteries in Boston one will find families gathered together on that weekend bearing gifts of “money”, wine, food and incense.

so this post is about remembrance, of keeping my dear ones alive and in my soul.
here are two dishes from my maternal lola “Granma”.
a couple of years ago her 7th daughter(of 8) and 9th child (of 10), my Auntie N gifted me with photocopies of her recipes. staring at it i can recall her voice and her walk and her hair and her scent…i was one of 38 grandchildren and she died while i was away….
granma L and danlo J, 1925

lola E and lolo A, 1929

deviled chicken thighs over braised leeks

sometimes i just get obsessive. okay, often i get obsessive. i saw this recipe from the New York Times Dining Section, an interpretation by a famous chef (Suzanne Goin) as an expression of her admiration for another (Julia Child) and one that she remembers from childhood and her mother…a recipe for chicken that beckoned to me because it was different: breaded, baked not fried, smothered in a mustard mix and flavored fresh bread crumbs. this is really tasty but start early in the day…it takes a long time. bad idea on a busy school night (that’s a hint of what happened to us last night).
an unfamiliar vegetable, very fragrant and tasty

the recipe called for a total of 1 & 1/2 cups of finely cut shallots…i didn’t want to cry so i lit a candle, just like tita martha told me to….

recipe follows! they have already put the article away, for purchase! hmph. Continue reading

sweets for the sweets

the tweenie girls went out to see harry potter 4 straight out of school and into the cinema house (i made daddy drive them, 6 girls singing, squealing, cheering?!) and back to the house for pizza and petite pastries…

i picked out a dozen and a half sweet things from the famous bake shop, picked up our movie tickets then realized from the receipt they had overcharged me quite a bit, so i had to double back……*sigh* why does it always happen to me? while waiting i swear i got high…the pervasive chocolate aroma brought me to an altered state.
profuse apologies all around. i was hoping they’d offer me a complimentary little tart for all the trouble but no such luck. hmph.

the famous tarts alongside my homemade chocnut cups.

it was a squealy night.

busy baking

and weekend cat blogging?

#2son would call this a mommytart and a babytart (big one for daddy’s Thanksgiving lunch party at work and the little one for us)

Calvados Tarte Tatin (recipe is
, i make this every year but this time couldn’t find any nips of Calvados or other French apple brandy…made do with Dekuyper’s apple schnapps)

peanut butter and snickers muffins–i saw these at midge’s sybaritic diversions..i just had to try. midge named them chocnut cups and i was obsessed. unfortunately there is not a single trace of Cadbury chocettes anywhere, around here …midge says Snickers is the way to go…delicious! my children are entranced!

objects of art

i got my invitation today. if you’re in the NYC area please attend the opening of my friends’ new art exhibit.

Erika K. Arroyo
Christina Quisumbing Ramilo
Arturo Veloira

November 21 to December 2, 2005

Opening Reception: November 21st
6:00 to 8:30 pm

Philippine Center Gallery
556 Fifth Avenue (between 45th and 46th Streets)
New York, NY 10036

(212) 575-4774

from the press release:
“Pottery paintings, lithographs, and wearable art, by three New York -based Filipino artists.
‘Objects of Art’ addresses the question of whether art is art even when it’s functional, and how the status of functional everyday items is elevated by making them the focus of a piece of art.

Erika K. Arroyo creates unique and whimsical shapes and utilizes glazes with a painterly style on stoneware clay to transform everyday objects into extraordinary and sculptural pieces. Christina Quisumbing Ramilo presents classically simple jewelry while she makes the humble ‘sando’ (sleeveless T-shirt) and glass jars into items that express emotions and encourage memory. Arturo Veloira’s wearable art is comprised of many Philippine materials and is elegant, artistic, and playful at one and the same time.”

New England Fish Chowder

soup still on my brain…this was supposed to be seafood chowder with crab and lobster meat aside from the fish…but i ran out of time in picking out the meat from the shells so i just used the very fresh scrod scored by husband. the recipe is based on one graciously shared by raquel’s box of chocolate, one she tested in September and one i’ve been dying to make, with some tiny modifications (used half clam juice and half water, and 1/2 cup heavy cream instead of 1 cup light).
your chowder is only as good as your seafood– bottom line– because the recipe itself is very easy and simple.
1 chopped onion, 2 ribs of celery finely chopped, 1/2 pound of salt pork, finely cubed, 1 &1/2 pounds of white potatoes, finely diced, 1 pound of cod, haddock or scrod (firm fleshed white fish),
4 cups of clam juice, 1/2 cup heavy cream , salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

render out fat from the salt pork by putting in a heavy casserole, unheated, over medium-low flame until pork exudes its fat. remove some according to how rich you want the chowder to be. brown the salt pork stirring occasionally.
add onions and celery and cook until softened. add potatoes and stir-fry vigorously over medium-high heat then add 4 cups of clam juice ( or 2 cups clam juice and 2 cups water) and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked, stirring every now and then. add the fish and simmer 3 minutes. right before serving stir in the cream and stir and bring up to boil once more then serve immediately.

husband wants to bring a vat of this to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner (i’m not hosting this year! yippee i am not such a control freak anymore…i hope).

*cook’s note: you can make your own clam juice and use the clams for the chowder. steam 3-4 lbs. of clams over a few inches of water until shells open, discarding those that don’t. strain the liquid from the bottom of the pan to separate any grit from the clams.


i got soup on the brain. give you one guess why.
yes it’s cold, and damp and grey.
batchoy was one of the standard soups we always had at home, and i never even thought about it until i started working and heard about la paz batchoy from my Ilongga dormmates, which became very popular at that time (the decade of shoulder pads and big hair). my lola’s family has no connection–blood or in-law wise–to the Visayan region (they hailed from Orani, Bataan), but they loved this soup, replete with ginger and pork heart and liver.

i dug out a recipe from Nora Daza’s Galing Galing and got all the necessary “parts”–i prepared a separate pot with just lean pork for my children and green bottle gourd (upo, not patola as i mistakenly called it) and a little pot with heart, kidney and liver and scallions on top.

belly-warming on a cold rainy day.
[corrected by husband, who says he is my Visayan connection. he says he had this soup in Cebu!] recipe, very easy, follows… Continue reading