Monthly Archives: May 2009

brioche tart with secret white sauce

Nancy Silverton’s, from Baking with Julia, edited by Dorie Greenspan.
this, from my obsessions file: something i’ve been plotting to make, because just by reading the recipe you could tell it would be dreamy.
brioche tart with fruits and "secret" sauce
a pastry tart made with brioche dough, topped with a creme fraiche custard, baked, then drizzled with summer berries in wine syrup and zabaglione. it took a whole lot of planning: the day before, make brioche dough; make creme fraiche, chill. the day itself, make secret sauce, stew the fruits, while whipping the cream, bake the tart.
brioche tart
10-inch brioche tart
summer berries in wine syrup
strawberries and blackberries in wine syrup
the end result is just exactly how i’d imagined it would taste: not too sweet but creamy and custardy and dreamy and dastardly…to burn off all that butter and cream will require ten extra laps in the pool tomorrow, for sure. just please God don’t make me share the lap lane with the (pink-and-black-zebra-striped) bikini guy

brioche tart with creme fraiche custard
an unadorned slice

plus ten more laps for a slice of this…
my swimming pool ice cream bday cake

the NUMB3Rs

what’s on my mind? the NUMB3RS are on my mind.
my mommy will be 77 and my daddy, 74 this year.
my lola would have been 107, and my lolo 112.
my kuya (older bro), 53, ate (big sis)51, baby bro 45.
my husband, 49. almost 50.
my best friend of all time would have been 48. instead she is forever 29.
my kids 20, 15, 10.
married 21 years.
the NUMB3RS are just that. NUMB3Rs. they say nothing and yet they say everything about this life.

my lullabye, according to the people who took care of me when i was a baby

85th birthday cake

no, not mine! Julia Child’s, that is. i now declare myself officially “forever 25” years old. :grandma:
she would have been 97 years old this year, and her birthday is on August 15, but one bite of this cake and you’ll see why i had to make it.
this was concocted by Marcel Desaulniers–serious foodies will remember him, he’s one of the real chefs who truly deserved a cooking show, *sniff.
the description of the cake alone will convince you to try and make this cake. the combination of flavors truly honored the very essence of the woman to whom it was dedicated: butter. almonds. liqueurs. raspberries. chocolates. cream.
it took me two days to put it all together–due to time constraints, much to my children’s chagrin. i finally assembled the 4 9-inch cake layers with the mousse and ganache and served it to my favorite kids.
it only comes once a year (thank goodness) and though it’s alarming how aged we feel now, the joy of birthdays that the kids feel is quite contagious. the thrill of waiting for their birthdays makes my kids so ecstatically happy that it somehow makes up for the glaringly real ageing process their parents must go through now.
i’ll be the first to admit that it looks nothing like the photograph in the book–i think it suffered quite a lot from the very warm 90 degree days, so anomalous for spring, as much as from my amateurish baking skills, but here it is….mommy’s birthday cake, dedicated to the children i birthed.
Julia Child's 85th bday cake
4 layers of chocolate almond cake, filled with chocolate red raspberry mousse, and smothered with a combination of 12 ounces of dark chocolate and 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate ganache.
you want to make?
let me know and i’ll type in the recipe.
recipe follows: Continue reading

mocha chunk cookies, and Van Morrison for the weekend

mocha chunk cookies
this is to prove to myself that i still can bake, i still know how to make cookies. Tuesday i made the kids some of my favorite (not theirs, they complain “why always this, ha mom? ha mom?”) oatmeal chocolate chip–the oatmeal makes me feel like i’m a good mommy, serving fiber to the children heehee–
but they turned out disastrous by my standards: flat, thin, and had to be cut with a cookie cutter. :melodramatic:
embarrassing! the three were quick to finish them off though, since my three favorite “customers” are always looking for snacks, and they said it was still delicious.
this one’s got a hint of coffee, not much, and it’s very chocolatey chewy. from “Mrs. Fields Cookie Book.” the aroma brought the kids to the kitchen like zombies in a trance: “must eat cookies must eat cookies” and they ate them hot off the sheets. behind my back. *tsk tsk tsk*

(recipe to follow later…after Angels and Demons! yippeeee!)
nail-biter, heart -thumper thriller
recipe after Rob Pattinson…


dedicated to my favorite Knitting Mommy….

Continue reading

traditional beef stew with Guinness and dumplings

alias British mechado, according to my cheeky children. although it’s really Irish, i think.
Guinness-beef stew with dumplings
well anyway.
it’s the merry month of May, but we still have cold spells here and there. i like having the screens on and windows open, to vent the house and let in a refreshing burst of air and the whiff of hope that warmer days are here.
but it still gets quite cold. i’ve had to un-bury the woolies and sweat pants…husband’s even turned on the heat again at one point.
this stew and dumpling combination surely warmed us up. i had to get a six pack of Guinness for this! it adds such a depth of flavor to the stew. too bad my bad eyesight got the better of me: i mistakenly turned the oven up to 350 F instead of 325 so the sauce got thick too quickly. still, with the dumplings…something i’ve been meaning to make for the longest time! i disobeyed the recipe and used butter instead of vegetable shortening. i balked at the thought of using anything not quite natural for this down-to-earth and hefty stew. my kids, especially the boys, loved the dumplings so much.
recipe based on one from “Farmhouse Cooking,” edited by Liz Trigg, JGPress 2008.

preheat the oven to 325F. season 1 tbsp. flour w/ salt and pepper and sprinkle over cubed stewing beef (2 & 1/2 lbs.; i used bottom round rump roast), tossing to coat.
heat 2 tbsps. olive oil in a large casserole and lightly saute 2 large onions, sliced, and 1 lb, carrots, sliced. remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
using the same casserole, brown the meat well in batches. return the vegetables and add any leftover seasoned flour. add the 1/2 pint or 1 & 1/4 cups Guinness or dark beer, 3 bay leaves, 2 tsps. brown sugar, 3 fresh thyme sprigs, bring the liquid up to a boil, and then transfer to the heated oven.

after the meat has been cooking for 1 hour and 40 minutes, make the dumplings:
mix 1/2 cup chilled butter (Crisco in the original recipe) and 2 cups self-rising flour and cut with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine cornmeal. add 2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, sage, etc.–i used fresh chives from the garden) and enough water(about 2/3 cup) to make a soft, sticky dough. form the dough into small balls with floured hands. add 1 tsp. cider vinegar to the meat and spoon the dumplings on top. cook for a further 20 minutes, until the dumplings have cooked through and serve hot.

Litratong Pinoy #57: when it was over…nang matapos na…

this week’s theme for Litratong Pinoy is the ending. at the risk of being makulit (repetitively annoyingly redundant?) i’ve decided to spotlight the one post that seems to bring the most number of accidental visitors to baby rambutan…the mango mousse cake i baked when we were done watching the Korean telenovela, My Name is Kim Sam Soon.
this is the delicious multilayered cake that got her hired by the hotel owner Jin Hoon, by her very unorthodox audition of throwing it into his face.
my two younger kids and i were regretful when the somewhat wacky series ended, so the cake was a sweet reminder.
mango mousse cake redux

bilang pagbibigay ng parangal sa isang pahina ng blog na ito, na siyang dahilan nang karamihan ng mambabasa ay napapadpad o natatapilok papunta rito, kaya ko naisipang itampok na muli ang cake na ito…
ang katapusan, paksang #57 ng linggong ito ng litratong pinoy, ng isang katawa-tawa at katuwa-tuwang palabas ng yumaong Asian TV channel (wala na kaming paraang mapanood ang channel na ito eh) ang My Name is Kim Sam Soon kaya ako’y naudyok na magluto ng mango mousse cake ng mala-Bridget Jones na babaeng chef na ginampanan ni Kim Sun Ah. ito yung ipinalpal niya sa mukha ni Jin Hoon.
nabitin kami nung natapos ang teleserye, kaya parang nagbigay ng ginhawa ang paggawa ng cake na ito.

sana maulit muli na ipalabas ang teleseryeng ito, at sana makaluto ako ulit nito.
mango mousse cake revisited
ito ang larawan sa pangunahing post…
mango mousse cake 2
from the original post.

raspberry cheesecake cupcakes—

and in my cookspeak, that means,
happy mother’s day! to all you mommies and to your mommies.
we’re still digesting a 12-course banquet from another new place, Grand Chinatown ( 21A-25 Billings Road, Quincy, MA 02171, (617) 472-9928), and the unanimous verdict seems to be mostly thumbs up. (we only give it minus points for the smudges we found in the drinking glasses and somewhat sticky plates, and the frazzled service which we easily forgave, it being Mother’s day eve thereby being packed with happy noisy families…i highly recommend the salt and pepper squid, and the deep fried duck with taro paste, and the yang chow fried rice). they also serve dimsum!
it is a good moment to reflect on how grateful i am to have all my kids close to me this mother’s day. to see husband with his almost 81 years young mommy, and 85 year old baba…if only, if only, my own ma were not too far away.
raspberry cheesecake cupcakes
recipe? i found it here, and i’ve been daydreaming of biting into ever since, i think for weeks and weeks now. it is quite addictive, not too rich, not too sweet, but the soft tender crumb and creamy cheesy cakey texture is really beguiling. i found a quaint little cupcake tower, and then i decided, this is the perfect mother’s day gift i can give to my kiddies, to whom my every mother’s day should be dedicated, in my own honest opinion.

vegetable soup a la minestrone

yes, it’s soup weather again. forget the ice cream for now. i should have known, one 90degreeF. day does not a summer make…i foolishly put away my thick clothes and wooly sweaters–i can remember how elated i was that one day when i took out the cottons and shorts from storage.
i should have known.
in this part of the world, the temperatures can plunge 30, even 40 degrees from day to day.
so we turn to soup, slurpy soup.
vegetable and alphabet pasta soup
alphabet pasta and vegetable soup
i say minestrone style only because i don’t want to claim authenticity…according to my Italian Cooking Enclyclopedia, 1001 Authentic Recipes (Reader’s Digest, McRae Books 2001 ed.), the ingredients you include determines the origin of the minestrone. i followed the procedure for minestrone Lombardo, BUT, since my #2son doesn’t like beans i put alphabet pasta instead, and substituted thick cut bacon for the pancetta, and added some leftover shredded pork and ham and we also added leftover marinara sauce…see what i mean–hardly authentic, but perhaps it comes close?
it’s so easy and simple, it just involves a lot of dicing and tasting as you go because the soup is made with water and herbs, instead of stock.
we sprinkled parmesan cheese into our individual bowls and #2son really relished it, he called it “pizza soup” especially since he had it with toasted bread.
here’s what we used, all ingredients diced as uniformly as possible, and add on the vegetables in the order of which take longer to cook, with the potatoes and pasta added on last.
olive oil
bacon (rendered and drained of all fat)
onions
garlic
carrot
celery
zucchini
shredded ham/pork
potatoes
thawed frozen corn
thawed frozen peas
alphabet pasta
sage leaves
rosemary
fresh basil
boiling water
marinara sauce
parmesan cheese to serve

Litratong Pinoy#56: simula pa lamang (just the beginning)

this week’s theme for the weekly Pinoy photoblogging event is just the beginningtama ba ang translation ko mga katokayo?.
(another tough one, madam admin, you’re good at making us think!)
i chose this soup that husband and i had today at a new seafood restaurant serving food from the Fu Chou region of China. just starting out…
he and i are very wary of trying new restaurants. we just feel gypped each time that we try out a newly opened establishment, with no reviews to rely on, and then be presented with atrocious or measly servings.
yesterday he surprised me with a precious day off! we always try to sneak away to lunch if possible. pho? dimsum? cheeseburgers at that pub?
we settled, with some trepidation, on Ming’s Seafood Restaurant, Newport Avenue, corner Block Street, Quincy, right across from the Wollaston Station.
eel in ginger and wine broth
eel in red wine broth with ginger and wolfberries
right away we were struck when we read the first menu they gave us (there were three!). no English translation.
hmmm.
i asked for one, the server gave us two–one regular, one all seafood.
it was overwhelming. and much of the cuisine was unfamiliar to husband who is of Cantonese origin–he knows mostly Hong Kong-style cooking.
though we only sampled two dishes (fried rice noodles with seafood, and eel with red wine and ginger broth, both perfectly cooked and sauced and seasoned)–we are now determined to try out as many items on the menu as we can–razor clams, frogs’ legs, goose intestines, sea prawns, fried shrimps with tea leaves…they got us intrigued. that’s when we had a whiff of something great in store…we sensed the presence of a master chef on the premises.
simply the start of some grand adventures in eating.
you just have to open that door.

(maya maya na ang Tagalog po…)
tuwing may nagbubukas na bagong kainan di ba nakakaengganyong subukan at tikman, sabay nakaka-kaba rin, baka masayang ang pera at pagod nang pagdayo? ang ating oras at araw ay mahalaga, kaya nung ginulat ako ng aking kabiyak na siya’y hindi papasok nung Miyerkoles, nagpasya kaming kumain sa bagong gusaling malapit sa amin.
kami’y nahirapang mamili sa kanilang menu, para sa akin dahil walang Inggles, at para sa asawa kong pinanganak sa Kowloon, kung saan ang salita nila’y Toisanese at Cantonese (mula sa dating Canton at ngayo’y Guangdong) hindi niya kilala ang mga ulam na galing sa Fu Chou at, sa kanyang pandinig, ang salita ng mga maninilbi ay Fookien (hindi kami tiyak, pero ang alam namin ang nakararaming mga Chinoy sa Pilipinas ay katutubong Fookien din).
sa mga unang tikim ng mga hiniling naming dalawang putaheng pancit at sabaw kami’y namangha sa kagalingan ng tagaluto…malamang siya’y isang bihasang chef na natuto sa China, tunay na tunay: ang pancit ay hindi mamantika pero malutong at napakasarap ng mga lahok at salsa nito. ang sabaw ay tamang tama ang timpla, ang isda ay sapat sa pagkaluto. bukod tangi ang pagkain sa kakaibahan.
bukod sa mga pagkaing dagat–hipon, scallops, pusit, lobster,sea cucumbers, razor clams, tahong, talaba, iba’t ibang isda– meron ding palaka, bituka ng ganza, dila ng pato , atbp.

pihadong kami ay babalik balik sa lugar na ito upang tikman ang iba’t ibang ulam. ito ay tiyak na simula pa lamang ng mga bagong karanasan sa pagkain ng lutong Fu Chou. ka-akit-akit ang posibilidad na marami pang matututunan ukol sa lutong-Chino.

sweet seduction

i am very reluctant to shop at this behemoth chain-store, thinking about the way they run their business and treat their employees and how they’ve bulldozed and bullied away all the little mom-and-pop stores in the neighborhood. but the prices are low, so sometimes i just swallow my pride and sell out.
and i never thought i’d ever rave over anything food-related from this store until i found this…
i’d been getting alarmed at how the ice cream tubs and buckets at the supermarket are shrinking ever smaller. so when i found a nostalgically big tub at almost a gallon, for a very impressive price…
mouth wide open
just before i dove into it
i’ve been going back for more. me bad. me very bad.
not just pistachio! but pistachio-almond! shockingly gaudily neon green. but oh so creamy and nutty.
seduction, thy name is pistachio ice cream
forbidden!…temptation, thy name is blue bunny pistachio-almond ice cream.