Monthly Archives: January 2007

sweet? savory? sarap!

sweet onion cashews
i’ve been gorging oncraving nuts lately: macadamias, almonds, cashews, peanuts. i try to get dry-roasted (cooked in water not oil)… i discovered jalapeno flavored peanuts and from then on it’s been a fun ride looking for others, until i came upon this newfangled combination…

my kids have 5 doting goo goo‘s(paternal aunties) and one of them gifted us with a flavored nut sampler from this company above. butter rum, cranberry,chipotle, curry….they’re not available in any food stores around here–i searched!–so i ordered from….and no i am not being paid to endorse this, i wish wish wish! (i’d take free samples :glasses-slip:) they sent me a free mug too (although a beer stein is more appropriate for moi:rootbeer:drunk:).

sweet onion?! i was skeptical but i tore open the seals and it was love at first bite.

“The Best Brownies Ever”

this time from King Arthur Flour.

what to do, when your three kiddies request brownies over and over? bake the same recipe again and again? nah… (i hate monotony so!). i kept testing a different recipe each time, but now #2son has demanded that the King Arthur version be the keeper.

in fact he was quite upset when i misplaced the clipping from the flour bag and helped me shuffle through the print-outs and cut-outs in the burgeoning pile collecting in the folder.

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….needed some siopao, or char sui bao (roast pork buns).

i tried to explain this to husband while i was rolling out the dough, that while i can easily (and cheaply) buy the chicken and vegetable buns at the Asian Market, it is the pork asado (roast) that is my must-have for a quick snack. growing up it was such a treat to get a bag from Ongpin (in Manila Chinatown, near my dad’s office) until the Chinese restaurant on Matalino Street came along. the other variations, i remember like meatball with salted egg, are tasty too. but asado filling is my favorite.

i need to work on the dough some more, it just didn’t puff up and get fluffy the way i like, but the taste is pretty close to the real thing.

steaming siopao

the roast pork marinade is truly delicious, and i would use this for spareribs next time. if you’re pressed for time, just buy char siu from the Chinese deli, but i like to make it at home so i can use the marinade for the filling as well.

based on recipes from the food of China by  Deh-ta Hsiung and Nina Simonds.

siopao in the makingsiopao bun

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casserole: chicken divan

an old-fashioned belly-warming casserole from Saveur, December 2006.

i must confess this was too strange for me when i first encountered it in the S.U. dining halls and after a bite i could not bear to finish, and would end up just drinking a lot of skim milk….and end up going home to my grandmother’s for weekend bingeing.

i’ve since learned to like it if not love it, and make it for my husband and kids when they get the craving. this particular recipe doesn’t make use of canned creamed soup; instead it’s a mild cheese sauce that greatly complements the chicken and broccoli, with almonds for a healthy dose of crunch. it’s great for a cold winter’s night.

recipe follows…

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Danish braid with almond and fresh strawberry filling

the Holiday stuff is all up in the attic, the tree is out front awaiting recycling, and now it’s time to buckle down to winter. the Arctic air is slowly settling down on us–we were getting spoiled by the unseasonably balmy weather. good for me, not good for the earth i think, and no fun for my younger two kids who are wishing for snow days and snowballs. i’ve been cooking things in the oven to help warm up our old (111!) old house…
* Saveur Magazine’s December issue features Sinigang na Hipon in the tamarind story. it was a very nice surprise! it’s just so rare to have Pinoy food spotlighted in the major food mags…

sinigang in Saveur

* i no longer find myself tuning in to food network now, and generally looking for cooking programs on BBC America and Travel channel. i saw a few episodes of “Gordon Ramsay’s f word”–the turkey episode was fun, where “Nigella” and “Delia” turn out to be Nigel and Dennis (couldn’t they tell from the showy plumage and shiny wattle? they had to call in a turkey expert!) …and Anthony (for chef Worrall Thompson?) is a gender bender albino… (Mr. Ramsay and his kids were raising turkeys for their Christmas dinner). it seems odd that i feel like i have to watch Mr. Ramsay’s cooking shows without the kids, on the sly (hopefully the verbal lashings and humiliation are all staged and scripted, can someone please say it is?? ) i like watching the kitchen action…in a very masochistic way. i don’t like top chef but i loved Master Chef at Large for the same reason i can’t bear Iron Chef America and miss the original Iron Chef–pale comparisons and imposters to the throne come to mind. too much celebrity distracts me, i miss the real chefs.

*Anthony Bourdain’s back, and he’s been to Dublin, and Belfast and Ghana. it’s rare to find African cooking featured in a major tv show. he’s going to Oregon next!
* finally, the recipe:i haven’t seen Beatrice Ojakangas on the telly for the last few years (nor Madeline Kamman, come to think of it). i think her recipes are all quite tasty, and fun to test at home, and this one i will keep making. i learned that the oven temp is too high and will try to bake it at 375F next time–the bottom of the braid got overbrowned and even as i warned the kids, they were quite taken by it: the fresh strawberry filling is just so tartly-sweetly perfect with the homemade almond paste.
a slice of Danish almond strawberry braid

so my experiment has taken me almost a week to complete…the dough can easily be stored away in the refrigerator in between the multiple folding and turning, and shaping. Continue reading

the mad scientist has been experimenting on her lab subjects…er ahem! i mean the cook has been trying out new dishes for the family.

the one that got a standing ovation from the kids: the Original Toblerone fondue from Rick Rodgers’ Fondue! book.

The Toblerone fondue

four 3.5 ounce triangles of the honey nougat chocolate bar plus 2/3 cup of heavy cream and 1 tbsp. of Frangelico liqueur (or cognac) equals a fun-to-do fondue! interactive dessert, yes!

for dunking banana, apple, and white peach slices; well rinsed and dried blackberries and strawberries, cubes of pound cake.
then there were the buckwheat blinis, adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Rosie’s Celebrations. spread with creme fraiche, smoked salmon and caviar (from Iceland, via Trader Joe’s :penguin:).

plett pan for swedish pancakes
more on the plett pan with a recipe for Swedish pancakes

buckwheat blinis

…and finally a salade named for “slimming shopgirls,” at least according to the Patricia Bourne’s French Vegetable Cookbook.

salade midenette
salade midenette: sliced boiled beets (i added potatoes for more body and carbs) mounded on top of watercress leaves and topped with hardboiled eggs and anchovies, sprinkled with parsley, dressed with vinaigrette (3/4 cup olive oil plus 1/4 cup Jerez sherry wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a tiny plop of Dijon mustard)…

welcome 2007! please be nice to us, pretty please?