Monthly Archives: December 2005

10 favorite foods meme, tagged by cj

this was very hard to think through. it needed a lot of thought and concentration, meditation and focus. i was tagged by xtine long long time ago! but i had to think long and hard about this list. i wish it were top 50! i will add on the photos, or at least tryfancy that! i have most of the photos in the food blog!.

sour green piko mango (shown photo on left is mango au naturel, from; photo on right is the only way i can eat it now, pickled in sea salt, from Manila (poor me! heehee)
steamed or broiled lobster, shrimp, or crab
fried chicken–popeye’s or homemade, Southern buttermilk or Pinoy with garlic and lemon and soy, wings especially . photo shown is my chicken lollipops
oysters any which way–raw on the half shell, fried, roasted, ceviche, photo is Cantonese with ginger and scallion, etc.
peking duck-pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and scallion brushes
lechon in all its forms and derivations–lechong kawali, paksiw and sisig
rib roast of beef, rare!
larb-Thai/Lao fiery raw beef salad

runners up: anchovies in anything (e.g. Caesar’s salad, Johanssons temptation), taba ng talangka/aligue (crab fat), Burgundy snails in garlic butter.
favorite drink: fizzy! beer or champagne.

favorite snack: salty pika pika/pulutan (beer/cocktail nibbles) like chicharon or peanuts or melty-cheesey bites

aaah i’ve made myself hungry.
happy new year’s eve! ring in the new year noisily, make sure your refrigerator and pantry are loaded…and that when midnight strikes you’ve struck a pose that you want to keep for the whole new year ahead–smiling ear to ear, say? for those who are still growing, jump high to grow tall!
happy new year to you all.

the surprise flan

#1 son named it thus, for when he woke up first this morning he found the platter on the kitchen counter. he said, “you didn’t tell me you’re making flan!” (this is his favorite Filipino dessert, yes, but i didn’t know i had to announce it before hand??)

i usually have at least one kitchen mishap or even disaster when i am cooking for a bunch. limited counter space and copious chopping and mixing can do that. plus nerves on the edge.
so it was that the first batch of schwarzwalder torte, calling for 10 egg whites, had to be chucked down the drain and i had to crack 10 more eggs. the surfeit of egg yolks was begging to be cooked as leche flan, the classic caramel coated creamy dense custard dessert which we integrated into our cuisine from the Spaniards (occupiers of our islands for 333 years).

i had to search both blogs to double check that i haven’t posted my leche flan yet (i think i have really bad memory deficit). pumpkin flan is here but not the recipe which i coaxed out of my old friend J. who is from Puerto Rico.
everyone (and her mother!) has a recipe for flan, but i’ve stuck to this one for its sumptuous creamy texture. Continue reading

beef wellington and corn chive pudding

annual cookie gifts from good friends…these are so detailed and delicious(gingerbread cookies)!

i doubled the recipe for the kids’ beloved schwarzwalder torte, which i made with almonds again this time…this was meant to be a 4 layer torte but. i got too distracted and didn’t realize the lowest third rack was too near the bottom. result: burnt charred black disc. tossed. but i got an impromptu kiss from daughter when she saw the cake. :)
beef wellington is one of those dishes on my “to do wish list.” i had a bite of this fancy beef en croute and it was such an unforgettable taste that i knew i had to try and make it someday. i finally did it today from a recipe from, which i followed to the last tidbit.

trim a 3& 1/2 lb. beef tenderloin (or get one already trimmed…it’s going to cost a lot more though!), roll and truss to keep it shapely, then brown.

prepare duxelles (finely chopped mushrooms and shallots sauteed and then seasoned with salt and pepper, and heavy cream); drape with prepared crepes and wrap in puff pastry.

glaze with egg wash and decorate if you wish with cut out shapes from the left over pastry.

bake in preheated 400F oven for 35 minutes. (meat thermometer should register at least 140F for medium rare).

photography is yukky. i was in a tizzy by this time, the party was all abuzz around me and trying to sneak a photo was tricky. but the beef turned out tender and juicy, husband said no need for steak knives even–it was that tender.
the only thing i’d change for the next time (which will be soon because there is none left and daughter regrets she didn’t get to try–too busy hanging out with cousins!) is to dry the mushrooms more and i think i’ll do away with the crepes– they didn’t really enhance the dish and got a bit soggy.
i even forgot to take a photo of the corn chive pudding–a delectable side dish i made in place of potatoes (you see a portion of it to the right of the beef in photo above).

it was a warm and cozy celebration, with our annual family yankee swap which we left up to #2 son who scored a boxed set of cute reindeer mugs with a “lucky money” envelope inside.

thank you to all my sweet and kind blogger friends who left me messages and emails. it has been such a treat …i wish you all a peaceful new year and many more fond blogging adventures ahead…

cookies, concerts, car and charge card troubles…

we’re cranking ’em out now…the cookies i mean.

in between, the car broke down, the temperatures plunged to unbelievable painful cold, the bank called for “suspicious activity;” a kindergarten concert so sweet and funny, a middle school concert so sweet and polished.
oh well–you just have to remember the “spirit” of this season. and have a good laugh, or a good cry.
listening to the old carols, Aaliyah, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, and what #2son calls
knight music (classical) has been very soothing.
this is my favorite christmas carol which my dad played over and over on his frank sinatra LP (that’s a long playing vinyl record to you young uns). it transports me back to our house in Diliman where my ma baked countless bricks of fruitcake and the aroma just permeated the whole bungalow. no frost on the windowpanes, and munching on puto bumbong instead of gingerbread babies…

a christmas waltz, only the version of frankie allowed

frosted window panes
candles gleaming inside
painted candy canes on the tree
Santa’s on his way
he’s filled his sleigh with things
things for you and for me
it’s that time of year
when the world falls in love
every song you hear
seems to say
merry christmas
may your new year dreams come true
and this song of mine in three quarter time
wishes you and yours the same thing too
merry christmas!

dashing through the snow…

what to cook when you’re in a mad rush?
pasta! because my kiddies are cuckoo about anything pasta with sauce and cheese and garlic bread.
today is another rush rush day, with only daughter’s holiday concert at school (she plays flute for her middle school, this is her 3rd year). 7 p.m.
early dinner it is …i changed the routine for the kids and used gemelli (“twists”) and browned ground beef and sweet Italian sausage with a jar of fire roasted garlic tomato sauce, poured into a glass baking dish and topped with grated monterey jack cheese, mozzarella and romano. i undercooked the pasta by a minute so it wouldn’t turn mushy then baked it for 15 minutes in a preheated 350F oven. slather on some garlic infused olive oil and butter into Tuscan pane bread and coax the kids to try some fresh green salad.

i only hope my seat mate in the packed auditorium er media center didn’t smell my garlic-infused hair!

gingerbread house

another requisite ritual. it’s just not the same without making a…gingerbread house.

i used to make everything, baking the bread in an extra large cookie sheet then cutting the pieces.
then we’d use the stale candy, anything we had on hand to decorate (more like over decorate).
and maybe save a few teeth.

thank goodness for ikea–i got a “baked in sweden” box precut and in great shape. all i had to do was make the “cement” (caramel) and the “snow/glue” (icing).

it’s a great way to spend a winter afternoon.

sweet and sour chicken with mango

this was supposed to be made with duck breasts, but i didn’t have enough time (it seems to be running out extra quickly lately) to get some from the grocery next town…so chicken thighs it is, deboned and sliced thinly just like the recipe called for.
adapted from Asian Cooking, edited by Linda Doeser. i toned down the sesame oil and five spice powder: i didn’t want them to overpower the dish (and i’m not too fond of them).

5 large chicken thighs, deboned, sliced thinly, marinated at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, :
1 tbsp. rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp. black soy sauce (also known as double black)
1/2 tsp. five spice powder
1/2 tsp. roasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic, sliced
1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
1 1-inch knob of ginger, sliced into shreds
4 ozs. of snow pea pods
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1/4 of a sweet red pepper, cut into squares
2 small eggplant, cut into 3 inch lengths then halved lengthwise
1 semi ripe mango, peeled and cored, sliced

sauce (blend everything well in a small bowl):
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsps. black soy
3 tbsps. Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang)
1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
2 tsps. cornstarch

drain the chicken fr the marinade, and reserve the liquid for the sauce.
heat the wok and add 2 tbsps. of peanut oil and over high heat stir fry the chicken until brown and skin is crispy. drain excess oil, set on a plate and keep warm.

add more oil if necessary and fry the egg plant until golden. set aside. stir fry garlic, onion, ginger and carrots until fragrant. add snow pea pods and red pepper and mix well. add the duck and mango and sauce ingredients, mixing well to coat the vegetables completely (add water if the sauce boils away too quickly). add eggplant and stir well.

the sauce is delicately sweet and sour…i think fresh pineapple (not canned) would be a good substitute for the mango. happy is the mom whose children will all eat it.

if you cannot find the Chinese black vinegar i think balsamic or sherry wine vinegar would work out.

appenzeller biberli

almond paste (from scratch!) on a subtly spiced cookie dough

rolled into logs and cut with almost Swiss precision, measured and weighed :)

one recipe yielded 83 cookies (#2son counted them heehee).

i’ve been wanting to make these for years! first attempt as mentioned before i had to toss out the dough as it didn’t smell very appealing to me.
now i must hide the cookies somewhere safe from my 3 cookie monsters (they’re supposed to be stored for a few days in an airtight container to allow the flavors to develop).
or else…i have to make another batch for my cookie gift tins. Continue reading

not hibernating…

more like hyperventilating??

my inspiration stems from this issue. i hope i get a chance to make the third one from the top at least. oh yeah i already made the topmost one!

first attempt at the appenzeller biberli, i was devastated…oh okay not quite, just terribly disappointed: i threw away the dough because it was unpleasantly overwhelming in scent–almost metallic, somewhat like clorox. i don’t know if it was this

or the molasses. i have now sworn to myself, all due to this personal disaster, to avoid molasses! it reminded me of being pregnant and hating the smell of shrimp and black mushrooms…it was that awful. (i assure everyone i am not in that interesting state).
i don’t know if the chestnut honey was from a bad batch (this is the first time i’ve purchased and tasted it)…that would be sad if this is the natural taste because i had such high hopes for it, being so sold on chestnut creme and chestnut puree and well just about anything chestnut.

fingers toes and eyes crossed…
i will start baking again once i make my last triumphant trip to the post office.

apple cake

i stumbled upon this apple cake from nami-nami, and instantly knew i had to try it out. she has step by step instructions. it’s a lot easier than apple pie i think :) .
this is a small cake, 8-in round, easier if you use a springform or loose-bottomed tart pan but i used a souffle dish and it worked out very well–just grease it generously with butter.
it is being dispatched quickly even as i type….

Continue reading