Monthly Archives: February 2013

chicken delight

"chicken delight" from Asian Grandmothers cookbook
from The Asian Grandmothers’ Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja. (*what a happy surprise to find her blog!)
with a title like that? well you just have to purchase it, pronto. found in my favorite salvage shop, it lacked a dust jacket but i just couldn’t resist, and immediately i cooked “chicken delight” contributed by a Filipino lola (grandmother).

something about fried chicken that makes everyone happy, albeit it’s on the verboten side of my list now. my lola Ebeng used to make a simple but crunchy and tasty though sometimes dried up version of deep fried chicken, then she came up with an oven-fried chicken when she was living in upstate New York, and i was the only grandchild to cook for! heehee lucky me.

this version is truly delightful too, for crunchy and crispy on the outside and for juicy and moist inside, and for the flavorful punch of spices and for the loving memories of a jolly foodie lola.
the red hot sauce though is not lola-approved. 😉

i’ll share the recipe if anyone requests it! maybe later…

raspberry and amaretti crunch cake

raspberry and amaretti crunch cake

we are expecting another snowstorm beginning tonight into tomorrow. the good news is that the meteorologists have downgraded the snowfall into mere inches instead of the initial foot of the white stuff that they originally forecast.

so cold mornings=hard to get up out from under the warm comforter (made extra cozy by my new electric blanket).
to ease the initial shock of feet hitting the freezing cold floors, i look forward to the first hot mug of coffee. and to the breakfast treat that’s the perfect partner for good strong coffee.
no sugar, pour milk in first, then coffee. 😉

i love how the flavors all come together in this treat! i love how i have all the ingredients in the pantry!
i’ve been picking up amaretti cookies, the kind with real almonds in them, every chance i get–which is not too often in my little corner :p so i’ve been having fun trolling for recipes that call for them. however! they are also good dunkers for your morning cup of joe.
(recipe from BBC Good Food).
inner layer of raspberries and amarettipour half of the batter, then press the amaretti and raspberries on.

...in a little pool of cream

caramelized pork belly

Thai style pork belly
the urge to have this really rich and powerfully flavoured meat was so intense! (could it be the snowy freezy weather?) that i quick-thawed my reserve pork belly from the freezer by submerging it in cold water, making sure to replenish the water constantly. then i did a quick search for the recipe here at baby rambutan. guess what!
i couldn’t find it.
turns out i have never saved the recipe, and a quick look at one source revealed that the instructions there were so vague that i can’t remember how i ever cooked it. forgetfulness is such an awful curse! *not to mention foodsites that give very blurry directions. grrr.
so i thought, i’d better record it here, now, so that the next time the big craving hits, i have a ready recipe.

“Thai-style” caramelized pork belly, great with garlic-fried rice and pickled vegetables, perfect for snow-bound blustery blizzardy days:

caramelize 1/3 cup sugar then remove from the heat and pour in 1/2 cup fish sauce and 3 cups water. (careful! the sugar will seize up and sizzle and spatter.) return to medium heat then stir until dissolved. let cool until lukewarm.
preheat oven to 350°F.
place pork belly in baking dish. rub with freshly cracked black peppercorns, scatter sliced shallots and crushed cloves of garlic (the amount depends on your taste buds), and pour the fish-sauce syrup on top. cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for about 1 & 1/2 hours or depending on how big the pieces of pork are. check for doneness by pricking with a fork.

VD 2013: the Wellesley Fudge Cake

VDay red
well, you know, you always tell him, “i don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.” but you don’t really mean it.
it’s become a cheesy little greeting-card-holiday, and it’s made me think i should open a flower stall just on this day and make a big profit off of other people’s emotions. but that’s just the cynic in me, and there’s the romantic me that still appreciates the “surprise” bouquet each year.
Wellesley fudge cake
i baked a cheesy heart shaped cake. no cheese, just a bit cheesy.
Wellesley fudge cake w/ whipped cream
Wellesley Fudge cake from the “Blue Ribbon Desserts,” Cook’s Country, from the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.
the dark is from Dutch-processed cocoa, my absolute favorite. i also picked this recipe for the number of bowls required: just two. after all, baking is such fun! 😉 the washing up? not so much.
i didn’t make the accompanying fudge frosting because my kids don’t like buttercream-type icings. i just whipped up some cream and topped it with juicy red raspberries.

almond ring coffee cake

Danish almond braid, blizzard braid
this is the best sweet dough i’ve ever made, up to now! it is tender to the bite but easy to mix and its filling of almond paste, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar has just the right consistency and sweetness.
i started the dough on the night of the Super Blizzard “Nemo” before our power went kaput.
i thought that since it was freezing cold anyway it wouldn’t hurt to just let it rise, thinking that the blackout can’t last THAT long. well it did last 23 hours, but the mixing and the kneading of the dough really helped ease the stress of sitting out the storm. the result is this, and it’s a keeper. i just need to cut the dough deeper before twisting–i think that would make a huge difference in keeping the filling in instead of seeping out. i think i’ll also chill the formed dough in the refrigerator next time, instead of just out in the cold kitchen.
(recipe from Cook’s Country “Blue Ribbon Desserts”) or try sweet bread with with orange cream or honey-nut filling, or a fancy strawberry braid.

super-blizzard comfort food

the wind has just picked up, right on schedule. we’ve been glued to the Weather News–all the local channels are covering the super snowstorm and we are just holed up at home, keeping warm and watching the snow pile up.
sandwich loaf
from a King Arthur’s Flour recipe which i made before in my trusty bread machine.
to ease my mounting anxious restlessness i made some bread to go along with the little baby bries we got from Trader Joe’s. really tender and mild, you can eat the rind too!
soft and tender brie bites

when it’s cold, it’s perfect for making pastries. this recipe i’ve bookmarked for the longest time, i finally got to attempt. i recommend it highly! a tasty little appetizer treat. my two boys loved them. (daughter’s stuck in the dorm at her university.)
i would make it with stronger cheese next time too, instead of the cheddar and cream cheese.

they were made in muffin cups, and the pastry had to be blind-baked first. i puzzled over it for a while, and came up with the idea of using some muffin cup liners, instead of cutting out parchment circles, then putting the pie weights on before popping them into the preheated oven:
dough-filled, butter-greased muffin cups
blind-baking the little tarts before filling
tomato and cheese tartlets
i imagine a hearty red wine would accompany it very well. keep warm and safe, and make pastries!

chilling out

so far so good. the site is still up, and is actually running! but i have to knock on wood. :)
i noticed that, in cleaning up after the terrible stress of moving from one webhost to another, and yet another, in the course of 2 years, there’s been the unfortunate side effect of broken links and missing photos. i have been trying to fix and upload and salvage and recycle. but i didn’t realize how very many posts there are! i’ll try to do my best.
there has also been the sad and sorry spamming tidal wave that i had to damn dam. i have had to close the comments sections of the old posts but if anyone has a question or a new comment or, er, just want to say hi??, please feel free to e-mail. i always enjoy hearing from everyone. anyone? 8)
i.want.a.squirrel.

could it be magic? magic egg pie?

i "accidentally" ate too much
yes it is my solemn duty to share this magic egg pie recipe. i’ve even made it twice in two days, just to make sure it was not just a random poof! out of a bewitched webpage.

the magic is in the thin crust that forms as it bakes. the magic is in the easy almost lackadaisical method of mixing. i mean, mix everything in a bowl. the magic is in my favorite kitchen tool, the stick blender.
well anyway, here it is! the magic of one bite, and being transported to a childhood day, waiting for my Lolo to ring the doorbell at home in Kamuning, from his weekly pilgrimage to a devotee’s mass in the heart of Manila, when he brought home a brown paper bag with a slice (sometimes even a box of a whole pie!) of sweet creamy custard with the dark honeyed coating on top. it was for Lola, but…well she always said i was her favorite.
magic egg pie
the first try, i made with the leftover egg yolks from The Cat’s 7th birthday cake. the second try, i used the de rigueur 4 whole eggs. and i must say, i prefer the one with mostly egg yolks.
magic crust

magic egg pie

1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
2 whole eggs + 4 egg yolks (or, 4 large whole eggs)
2 tsps. of vanilla

preheat the oven to 350°F. melt the butter in a deep-dish pie plate (i found that the size is perfect for the batter amount). i did this as the oven preheated–watch carefully so that the butter doesn’t brown. remove from the oven and swirl the melted butter and let cool. (this way you skip the step of greasing the pie plate.)
whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. add the milk, cooled melted butter, vanilla, and the eggs.
blend together until very well combined.
pour into buttered pie plate and bake for 45 minutes or until top is browned and pie is firm but still a bit jiggly. let cool completely to let it settle.

i have long been on a quest for this nostalgic egg pie

roasted pumpkin and pasta

something different, not sweets for my sweets, for a bit of a change.
roasted pumpkin and pasta and cheese
this dish earned the co-starring role to husband’s main dish of wiener schnitzel (or you can co-star it with my pork schnitzel). i love how the pumpkins and sage go together! my sturdy little sage bush in the little patch of herb garden outside–in the frozen arctic air!–still had some soft little baby leaves. must remember: pumpkins and sage, pumpkins and sage.
i think it’s a great winter belly-warmer. just make sure and use a firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash.

2 tbsps. olive oil
1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes)

4 ozs. burrata mozzarella
2 ozs. ricotta cheese
(or just the equivalent of 6 ozs. fresh mozzarella cheese)
4 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps. chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra whole leaves, to serve
grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
10 ozs. dried pasta, such us fusilli bucati or cavatappi, (i used penne) about 5 cups
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 400°F.
put the olive oil in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes, until hot.
add pumpkin/squash to the hot oil in the roasting pan. add salt and pepper and toss to coat. roast for 30 minutes, turning the pumpkin or squash from time to time until tender and golden.

put the mozzarella, ricotta, butter, garlic, sage, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. work into a coarse paste. transfer to a sheet of wax paper or cling film and roll into a cylinder. chill for at least 20 minutes or until firm enough to slice.
mozzarella butter

prepare pasta according to package directions, to al dente.
drain and return to the warm pan. add the roasted pumpkin or squash. slice or chop the mozzarella butter and add to the pasta.
toss, and top with sage leaves.
(based on a recipe from “easy vegetarian, simple recipes for brunch, lunch and dinner”, pub. Ryland, Peters & Small, ed. Sharon Ashman, 2003.)