Monthly Archives: June 2008

pork chops in mustard sauce

i was looking for something new. again.
the kids are on what husband calls a “short rotation menu” wherein they have a few favorite dishes, and of course we tend to cook for them those that they will ALL eat.

but i need new recipes like i need fresh air.

this one is a very tasty and outrageously easy recipe, yet it looks like you spent all day preparing it.
thick pork chops browned and then braised in a creamy mustardy sauce and sprinkled with crispy bacon bits and parsley…
anyone want the recipe?
pork chops in mustard sauce

recipe from Anne Willan, Perfect French Country Cooking, DK Publishing, Inc. here it is…. Continue reading

clams in black bean sauce

husband to the rescue once again. lucky me yeah?

this is one of the dishes husband whipped up recently when i waved the white flag and surrendered to lack of energy/appetite/drive: clams in black bean sauce, a very fine entree that needs white rice for soaking up the juices. (from Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing by Grace Young.
clams in black bean sauce

2 dozen littleneck or cherrystone clams (or big fat mussels too)
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. finely shredded ginger
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. rice cooking wine (Shao Hsing brand preferred)
2 tbsp. Chinese dried black beans, well rinsed
1 scallion, finely shredded

thoroughly wash the clams in several changes of cold water, discarding any open clams. scrub the shells with a vegetable brush to remove grit and rinse well. Drain the clams in a colander.

heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry 30 seconds, or until fragrant. add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, black beans and clams, and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shells just begin to open.

add the broth and rice wine and cover 2 to 3 minutes, or until some of the shells have opened. transfer the opened clams to a platter and continue stirring uncovered, on high heat until all the clams have opened and the broth is reduced slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. stir in the Chinese black beans. discard any unopened clams. garnish with the scallion.

serve immediately. serve with rice to 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal.

French toast brioche

French toast (eggy bread, pain perdu, pain dore) was invented as a way to recycle old bread.
any old stale dried up loaf will do. but for me brioche is IT.

French toast Brioche

so it is logical and understandable that an obsessive compulsive foodie will bake brioche just specifically to make it stale and old in order to make French toast.

except my last brioche loaf did not make it past its prime, nay! it didn’t last the evening it was baked. i have to make another one pronto. and then hide it. :stirthepot

here’s the recipe for bread machine brioche. …and take my word for it. French toast must be brioche-d. Brioche must be French toast’d.

the order of placement depends upon your machine.

1 & 1/2 tsps. active dry yeast
2 tbsps. sugar
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup lukewarm whole milk (80F)
3 tbsps. lukewarm water

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

set machine menu to “sweet bread” setting, crust setting should be light.
put everything in the bread pan except for the butter. press start then let machine mix the dough for about 5 minutes then add the butter in portions, letting the machine work before adding the next bit.


for the French toast: eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom to taste. soak brioche and then cook in a shallow pan with melted butter. brown both sides.

the remains of the cake

the first day of summer… or is it?
it sure doesn’t feel like it. we still haven’t packed away our down comforters, nor switched from flannel sheets to cotton.
but school’s out! and at least the flowers–peonies, rhododendrons, roses!!!, my honeysuckles– are blooming…and there is the occasional sunlight peeping out from between the thick dark clouds.

we just went to see Kung Fu Panda. wow. all i can say is, check out the “moonlight on panda fur.” and the battle for the dumplings! :fryingpan i would love to see that movie again and again just for my eyes to linger on the artistry of its animation and illustrations.

on the down side, our hot water tank broke, is dripping all over the dungeon, and i have to teach my children Pinoy style of dip and pour “showers”.

on the up side, my oven’s fixed! yippeee! as the first thing for me to bake, my kids were of the same mind: banana something with chocolate.

i decided to make “banana nut cake” from my old Betty Crocker cookbook. it was a huge pan, 13″ by 9″, but i was too slow with the camera, and my children too quick to devour:

this was all that’s left when i finally remembered:
what's left of the banana cake

i heart coffee forever

klik mo mukka ko
i call this my motivator. nothing like a new coffee toy to bounce out of bed for! i wanted to buy this when the coffee maker broke a couple of years ago but it was way too pricey for a little capuccino maker. so when i found one hugely discounted (with a slight smudge on tweety’s forehead) at Marshall’s, bearing TweetyBird’s face no less!, in such bright Swedish-flag colors…i ran away with it.
the original cowprint is very cute too.
it’s a marvel of Italian ingenuity. you fill up the bottom chamber with water, espresso coffee goes on the filter basket, then milk on the yellow bird body, then set on the stove. in about 4 minutes, it’s done.
accuracy in measuring is essential.
mukka in action

it took a while to get the hang of it but now i have, it’s been quite a pleasant thought to get up from under the down comforter (yes, it is cold here. again.summer officially starts tomorrow??) for a hot creamy steamy capuccino or cafe latte/cafe au lait.
pasaway mermaid
i must be the last coffee girl in the world to say, i have never bought one from starbucks.
it’s just so against my coffeephilosophy.
but when i heard that the extreme conservative types wanted this pretty little mermaid banned… why,
i just had to have one. i almost bought it from eBay, but then i got lucky and found one hidden away at a supermarket starbucks stand. since then i’ve discovered that the coffee megachain has revived the logo, albeit the mermaid is slightly more demure, as part of a marketing ploy to pump up slumping sales and over-expansion.
heehee. gotcha. or got-me? :capuccino
capuccino at home

blink, and they’re gone!

this time of year, for a very short time only, these bad girls make a dramatic entrance to the grocery stores. this is the first time i’ve bought them ALIVE! imagine making do with it…otherwise?

the first time i ate them, at a seafood joint in Virginia Beach, i broke out into hives…quite hellish it was, because i was also carrying our first child and therefore could not take antihistamines. good thing my Auntie-Doctora was nearby and monitored everything. she thought that the crabs were probably not cooked well enough.

battered and deep fried soft shell crabs (“luno”) simply served on a bed of greens with a butter-lemon wine reduction. wasabi and soy sauce would be a nice dip too! or Nobu’s tempura sauce…i always make sure i cook them well , and definitely first check that i have a supply of Benadryl at hand.

50 things tag from “fat girl”

one of my favorite bloggers whom i miss visiting, has this as her latest post. tag, you’re next!

1. How tall are you barefoot?
>> 5’3″ apple shaped

2. Have you ever smoked?
>> once upon a time in my foolish 20’s

3. Do you own a gun?
>>The Smoking Gun

4. Do you hate someone right now?
>>that Fool on the Hill

5. Do you get nervous?
>> it’s in my DNA

6. What do you think of hotdogs?
>>Chicago style please

7. What’s your favorite Christmas song?
>>children’s chorus version of “Must Be Santa”

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
>>cafe au lait

9. Can you do push ups?
>>what the…. are push ups 😆

11.What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
>>my Lola’s antique gold ring

12. Do you like painkillers?
>> Yes, you name it i’ve tried it

13. What is your secret weapon to lure the opposite sex?
>>my “powers” :wizard:

14. Do you own a knife?
>> i own a set of very sharp knives

15. Do you have H.I.V?
>> no

16. Name?
>> stella may

17. Name 3 things u wanna do at this exact moment?
>> climb back to bed, eat a (forbidden!)Pinoy breakfast , have another cafe au lait

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought lately:
>> my blouse for kid’s graduation, mussels, DVD of “Da Vinci Code”

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
>> beer, beer, and beer :drunk:

20. What time did you wake up today?
>> 6 a.m. :faint:

22. Current worry?
>> my Dad’s health (he’s fine now!) money for heating oil, even though it’s not even officially summer

23 Current hate?
>>extremists e.g. Michelle Malkin

24. Favorite place to be?
>> white sand tropical beach

25. Least favorite place to be?
>> being put “on the spot” and “in my place”

26. Where would you like to go?
>> white-sand tropical beach in the Philippines; London, Paris

27. Do you own slippers?
>> several kinds

28. What shirt are you wearing?
>> C. Middle School sweatshirt

30. Favorite color?
>> Black.

31.Would you like to be a pirate?
>> perhaps in a Broadway musical?

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink?
>> er ahem last night

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
>> Diva songs

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
>> Dracula; and the Floating Hand that choked kids who didn’t sleep (according to one mean yaya/nanny)

35.What’s in your pocket/s right now?
>> hankie and a shopping list

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
>>my #2son talking while playing harmonica (robotic speech daw) and my fez with the fake plastic sunglasses

37. Last thing that made you cry?
>>Arnel Pineda’s story on youtube

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
>>natural childbirth complications, daughter was tough!

39. Who is your loudest friend?
>>someone in MNL hehehe :wave:

42.Who is your most silent friend?
>>the One who was taken away so young

43.Last movie watched?
>>“L’Auberge Espagnole,” on Independent Film Channel, again, because Audrey Tautou’s in it,

44. What is your favorite book?
>> currently, “Five Quarters of the Orange” by Joanne Harris

45.What is your favorite chocolate
>> anychocolate is my favorite chocolate

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
>> wish: “Ikaw” only if Regine will sing it

48. What were you doing 12 AM last night?

49. What was the First thing you did today?

>>pat the cat

50. What was the last thing you did the day before yesterday?
>>watched the late night news…

pretty boring ‘ba? :grandma:

belladonna, don’t na

today turned out to be a bit of a bizarre kind of day.
i went to get new glasses, something we’re entitled to, and something due last year which i skipped . i think i was in denial. the bifocals were too much, and they made me dizzy.
i had reverted back to an old pair of single sight lenses but it wasn’t comfortable either, even if they were fine for driving. i had to either lift them up or down to read food or medicine labels and even while working on the PC.
so off i went to have the eye exam. anyway, i’ve always liked picking out a new frame that hopefully makes me look more like an “after” than a before. (when will i ever be an after, i wonder….)

but the optical assistant or whatever she’s called, was hurrying me to decide from the bargain assortment that’s covered by the insurance.
and my eyes were stinging from the eye drops used to dilate my pupils for the diabetic eye exam–which would take effect after 20 minutes.
i ended up with a rush rush kind of choice, and nixing the elegant Calvin Klein frames that were double the price of the bargain ones.
and after all was said and done…..i looked like this.

the photo that could have launched a thousand car crashes from other drivers seeing my fez…
and that elicited the loudest guffaws from the kids and husby…
i drove home feeling super anxious and photophobic and wearing fake sunglasses to protect me from the white-hot glare of the sun and had to cancel all my plans for the afternoon. i even had to yelp help! to husband to pick up the kids….it just didn’t feel safe to drive. the belladonna effect* lasted for more than five hours. i couldn’t watch tv or bloghop. :faint:
and, even with the very positive outcome from my overly earnest optometrist (i have to stop myself giggling everytime i see him, he’s so darn eager! he reminds me of a Jim Carrey caricature or a Saturday Night Live spoof character)…
i just don’t know if i want to do “wide eyed dilated pupils” every year…. :fryingpan

*…and the name Belladonna is said to record an old superstition that at certain times it takes the form of an enchantress of exceeding loveliness, whom it is dangerous to look upon, though a more generally accepted view is that the name was bestowed on it because its juice was used by the Italian ladies to give their eyes greater brilliancy, the smallest quantity having the effect of dilating the pupils of the eye.

here’s another soothing Seawind song worth listening to for the goshdarn unexpected bumps on the road.

Lovin You – Seawind

how to “bake,” with a dead oven…

this girl’s gotta bake. that’s what i told husband, twenty years ago, very early in our marriage. as if he could return or exchange his new bride if he dared disagree!

it’s just something i have to do, the same way other people have to jog or run (yes you! you know who you are! :drunk: ), or weed gardens.
so what was i supposed to do with the oven dead and the errant part nowhere in sight?

i baked loaf after loaf of bread, with my “R2D2” dak bread machine. i hid away the leftover heels and tops of orange cream bread, french, brioche (the best for bread pudding), oatmeal honey, white. you name it, i baked it. er R2D2 baked it.

so i could make: bread pudding! after all, bread pudding is steamed ya?
Continue reading

cookbook raffle winners!

congratulations to Michelle of the Philippines,

you’ve won a book with lovely recipes for tapas, escabeche, bacalao, and other specialties from Spain

and neighbor ces…just in time for summer grilling: pizza grilled, outside or inside!

your cookbooks are on their way. enjoy and happy cooking :stirthepot

interested in more?
stay tuned for more upcoming raffles! check out DK USA they’ve got a wonderful selection for the discerning foodies….