Monday, July 18, 2016

Mini Stromboli

Well, it really is faux stromboli because this turnover is not made with an Italian bread dough.  Instead, my favorite shortcut - puff pasty - is used to cover a variety of cold cuts/deli meats and cheese!

The recipe, as you may guess it as simple as that - enclose your deisred deli meat and cheese combo in puff pastry, seal the pastry and brush with egg wash, then bake!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Feta Tomato and Cucumber Salad

One of my most favorite salads!!!  Bonus that it is a cinch to make too!

There is no secret to this recipe - the vinaigrette can be homemade or store-bought, what makes the salad utterly delicious is the generous amount of feta!

I basically followed this recipe, except that I did not add olives.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mushrooms and Cream Cheese Omelette

This dish doesn't look particularly good or appetizing but looks can be deceiving!  The combination of fresh oyster mushrooms and cream cheese with the egg is fantastic!

The first thing is to saute a handful of fresh mushroom oysters in a little butter.  Meanwhile, scramble 2 eggs (season with salt and pepper as you like), when the bottom of the eggs are set, arrange the sauteed mushrooms on the eggs and smear about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese on top of the mushrooms then fold the omelette into thirds or half.  (mine got a little crumpled and hole-y but that has nothing to do with its taste!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lunch at His Grandfather's Table

No recipe today.  Just a beautiful photo...

(Goco Ancestral House)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Steamed Eggs with Curacha

Looks impressive, right?  But it is an easy recipe.  Just plop the curachas (or crabs or even lobsters) on or in a basic steamed egg recipe and steam away!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

I tried my hand at making my own buttermilk and quickly realized that I had more buttermilk in the fridge than I could use!  So, hello buttermilk panna cotta!

And used whatever fancy cups I could find,,,

...which was really and assortment!

It was yummmmmyyyy!!!

I followed the recipe from this book

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Philippine Tenors singing Isang Dugo, Isang Lahi, Isang Musika

The Philippine Tenors -

and their rendition of the patriotic song "Isang Dugo, Isang Lahi, Isang Musika" -

Just in time for Independence Day!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Cocomia Cookies

The original recipe was for the Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens.  I changed it slightly (as well as halved it) because what I had were chocolate covered macadamias and desiccated coconut!

To be honest, I liked this version better than the regular chocolate chip cookies!

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 box 7 oz. Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate Alohamacs, coarsely chopped

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat well.

Stir in flour mixture.  Fold in coconut and chopped chocolate-covered macadamias.

(Chill for about 20 minutes, if desired.)

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto paper-lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cookie edges are lightly browned.

Makes about 2 to 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Apple Tartlets

They don't look very nice but they are delicious.  Even better - they are a snap to make!

The shells are puff pastry (looks messy because I did not cut the pastry into rounds! too lazy I guess) placed in muffin tins.  Chopped apples are added to the shells and a tablespoon of cream in spooned over the apples.  Cinnamon-sugar was sprinkled on top and off it went into the oven!  Bake at 350F about 20 to 25 minutes or until the pasty is browned.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sandwich Cake

For hubby's friend John... Happy Birthday!!!

But the cake is actually a huge 9-inch round sandwich.

I found a pack of dinner rolls baked as a round.  I sliced the bread in the middle (horizontally) and placed kani, cucumber and celery salad dressing in the middle, with lettuce leaves.  For the "icing" on top, I spread mayonnaise over then piped mayonnaise rosettes at the edge of the round as well as in the middle.  Lastly, I garnished the middle with kani and the other rosettes with finely minced celery!

It was a huge hit!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Homemade Banana Yogurt

I wanted to make flavored yogurt... to add the flavor before fermentation... but almost everyone told me that it would not work.  And indeed, my first attempt (with banana) was a sorry one!  But I decided to try again, after being told by someone in particular who suggested that I simply dice or cube the banana, not crush or mash it.  And, add a splash of vanilla while I was at it.

Well... this time I was successful!

When I opened the container, the cubed bananas had risen to the top.

I drained it overnight (we prefer the thick Greek-style yogurt) and the next day is was thick and creamy... and utterly delicious!  There was a slight tang but the banana flavor was quite pronounced.  The stirring and draining mashed the bananas a bit.  Yummmmy!

The recipe is simple!!!

Add 1/4 cup of yogurt (with live cultures) to about 800 ml of milk.  Stir in (gently!) cubed bananas from 1 to 2 medium sized bananas and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Incubate as usual.  Mine was done in about an hour less than my usual (6 hours, thereabouts).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Taro, Tofu and Mushroom Stir-fry

This is one of the easiest dishes I have ever prepared... and with only 4 major ingredients, too!

The secret to the dish is a good XO sauce!

Basically saute onions, garlic and ginger.  Add a tablespoon of XO sauce and let the sauce cook for several seconds.  Add the taro (sliced into thick strips) and stir fry until almost done.  Throw in cubed tofu (1 big block of tofu) and mushrooms (any kind you prefer is fine) and stir fry some more.  Adjust seasonings and then you're done!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Banana Bread Cupcakes

Lolo Poldo grows a lot of fruits and vegetables in his backyard.  We have gotten all sorts - mangoes, malunggay (a whole plant!), duhat, kamias, ampalaya, kondol... and bananas!  And I don't mean the regular bananas from the palengke... his bananas (he says) are special bananas!

So what do I do with a bumper crop of bananas?  Banana cupcakes, of course!  But this batch is no ordinary banana cupcake...  it is made special with a built-in topping!  Cream cheese-Greek yogurt topping!

A cupcake that even my chocolate-loving girl will eat... with gusto!

The recipe is one I saw online... alleging to be the best banana bread recipe!  Of course I made a few adjustments... the first was baking them into cupcakes instead of a loaf.  Then I used chocolate chips instead of chopped pecans.  I also have to admit that I forgot the cinnamon!

The best adjustment I made was to do away with the frosting and instead add a cream cheese filling that was baked in.  It was no ordinary cream cheese filling either, it is a cream cheese-Greek yogurt filling!  Mix together 3/4 cup softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 medium egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Spoon a heaping teaspoon on top of the batter in the cavities of the cupcake pan.  Bake the cupcakes about 20 to 25 minutes 

Truth is, the addition of the Greek yogurt was a way to use the last bits of Greek yogurt that I had!  Still... it was a great idea!

The cupcake was divinely delicious!  Is it because of the type of banana?  Maybe,  since Lolo's bananas has a sightly different flavor profile.  Then again we all agree - Lolo's homegrown, special bananas are better, way better than the bananas we usually find in the local market!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Not a Cake!

Apparently, it was a trend a loooonnng time ago to make sandwiches (or other appetizers) look like desserts... so this is my contribution...

Looks like a cake but it is really a sandwich!

3 layers of bread (cut into a round using a cookie cutter), with chicken spread on the bottom layer and a slice each of ham and cheese on to upper layer.  The "frosting" is a thin layer of softened cream cheese and the garnish is diced red bell pepper!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

(Faux) Corndogs

The little girl loves corndogs.  She likes the one at the weekend market most of all.  She also thinks (for now anyway) that I am the world's greatest and ablest cook, and as such, can do pretty much anything and everything in the kitchen.  So (obviously) she thought I could make better better corndogs!

Hmmm, well, I told her (truthfully) that I don't know if I could make better ones, but we (and I do mean the little girl and I) could try!

My biggest issue was the cornmeal... I found some in our favorite supermarket but... it was so darned expensive!  And I only needed a cup!!!  So, never mind... I had to figure out what else I could use.  It was the little girl who gave me the idea when she said that the corndog was her favorite because it combined the hotdog and the pancake!  Hmmm, so then I decided to use a pancake recipe for the batter covering the hotdog!

My next concern was the amount of oil it would need!  I decided to go the same way as the mini doughnut last week and use the mini hotdogs and the smallest saucepan I could find.

My last question was the recipe for the pancake... I couldn't use my regular recipe because it's a thin batter.  I did remember that there was another recipe that I tried and it was a thick one...

Mix together:

2-1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

It worked like a charm, although I had to double dip and fry the corndogs since the little girl complained about the first batch being too thin ("Mommy, why is this not taba (fat)?")

For this project though, the little girl mixed the batter and dipped the hotdogs but refused to go near the hot oil (she saw the oil sizzling and was afraid it would burn her...)

In any case, the project was a huge success, with the little girl and her playmate M declaring:  I want some more please!  And that was after each of them ate 3 pieces already!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tropical Fruits Lassi

One of my favorite hangouts is the bookstore, and one the bookstores that I frequent is a secondhand books store named... Booksale!!!  I find many treasures there - cookbooks, magazines, kids' books.  Last week, a found a pristine copy of AWW Kids Cooking for Health.  I got it for the little girl.  She has a few cookbooks of her own, from which she chooses recipes to make.  I knew that she would like this "new" cookbook!

Of course I was right!  The minute she got her hands on it, she flipped through the pages (looking at the pictures mostly) and decided immediately that she wanted to make 2 of the recipes.  The first was the egg-in-a-basket sandwich (which we modified by adding ham) and this...

For this project, the little girl learned about how to weigh ingredients using the digital scale!

Here is the recipe:

Blend together:

1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup  water
100 grams each rockmelon (cantaloupe), mango, pineapple and strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar (honey in our case)
6 ice cubes

(actually the recipe specifies 1 small mango.  Our mango yielded about 98 grams of flesh.)

The little girl poured the lassi into glasses (each person got about half a cup to drink) and we all agreed... yummilicious!  Just perfect for the summer heat!!!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thai-Inspired Roast Chicken

Actually, this is a tale of 2 chickens, both inspired by Thai cuisine...

I bought 2 spring chickens from the weekend market... I was thinking of grilled or roast chicken for dinner... both Thai-inspired.

The first one was a chili-lime chicken, for hubby who loves spicy dishes!

The second one was this...

1 spring chicken, about 1 to 1.1 kilo (clean and rinse), cut in half lengthwise

8 to 10 cloves of garlic
3 to 4 stems of wansoy (coriander)
1 teaspoon black and white peppercorns
3 pieces 3-in tanglad (lemongrass, white part only)
2 tablespoons each fish sauce, dark soy sauce, honey
1 to 2 chilis, optional

Place everything in a (small) food processor or pound (mortar and pestle).

Marinate the chicken halves overnight.

Roast at 400F for about 30 to 40 minutes.  Cover with foil if the skin gets too burned.  (I placed each half in its own little roasting pan.)

Rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Everyone agreed that this was the better of the 2 chickens... and even better than the local Andoks!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chocolate Ice Cream, in a bag...

It's summer break from school!  The little is happy... but bored!  So we try to find activities for her to do... one of which is making ice cream in a plastic bag.

Of course she wanted chocolate ice cream!

Our deal was for her to do everything... well almost everything... which she did.

1. She measured and placed into a 2-cup capacity Pyrex liquid measuring cup, 1/4 cup of each:  cocoa (then sifted), chocolate milk, and condensed milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  And she mixed everything until the cocoa was fully dissolved. (first pic, top left)

2. She measured 3/4 cup of whipping cream and added it to the chocolate mixture (second pic, top right)

3. She mixed until the mixture was well combined. (second row, left)

4. Then she poured the mixture in a small zip-lock bag (we used Reynolds secure seal) [second row, right).  We placed the zip bag in the freezer while we prepared the bag of ice - mix 1/3 cup rock salt and 3 trays of ice cubes in a bigger zip lock bag.  Then place the small bag containing the chocolate milk into the big bag of ice cubes and salt.

5. Shake, shake, shake... or massage the bags... We used gloves because the plastic bag was really, really cold!  (third row, left)  The bags were to be shaken or massaged for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the the consistency was that of soft serve ice cream.

6. Of course, the little girl got tired in about 4 minutes!  So I had to take over the shaking of the bags. Meanwhile, she decided that she wanted her ice cream stuffed with chocolate chip cookies, so she "chopped" some Mini Chips Ahoy while I was busy shaking and massaging the super-cold bags!  (third row, right)

7. The finished product!  (bottom row, left)  After about 15 minutes, the mixture had thickened.  We place the bags in the freezer for about 15 minutes while I looked for a container!  To transfer to the container, remove the inner bag from the out bag.  Wipe the inner bag well.  Snip a corner and squeeze the ice cream out (soft serve consistency) into the container.  Add the chocolate chip cookie pieces and fold.  At this point the little girl took a couple of spoonfuls.

Then she decided to save the rest for dessert after dinner (to share with Daddy, as well!)  So we stored the ice cream in the freezer.

8.  After dinner, the little ater with gusto and proclaimed:  Best choco ice cream ever, Mommy!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mushroom, Pepper and Cheese Omelette on English Muffin

English Muffin Breakfasts, Again!  Yes!

This time, it's a thick single-egg omelette with a lot of mix-ins - a large pinch each of thyme and salt, 3 tablespoons cream cheese, 1 red chili pepper (sliced) and a handful of sliced mushrooms.

I like using a very small non-stick pan.  The pan is really an egg pan, it even came with a spatula in the form of a fried egg! The diameter of the pan is about 4.5 inches!

screenshot from Google images

And it is the perfect size for a dish to put on top of an English muffin.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Choco Mallow Cupcakes

Sometime ago, I bought these humongous marshmallows...  the first thing I did with them was to make S'mores Cupcakes.  For the last remaining marshmallows, I made the simpler cousin - Choco Mallow Cupcakes.

The cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes, topped with half a marshmallow that is melted onto the cupcakes itself, then topped with chocolate ganache!

(Don't tell anyone but I liked these better than the S'mores Cupcakes!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Baked Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

I am not that much of a big fan of bacon.  It was banned in my mother's house.  The first I ever heard or saw of bacon was at a breakfast buffet at the Manila Hotel.  I remember it clearly, like it was yesterday.  I was 9 or 10, it was during summer break, and my father said it would be fun.  It would have been fun, except that my parents argued.  About what you may wonder?  Well, the buffet then was basic with pancakes, garlic rice, hash brown, bread and various deli meats (hotdogs, ham, that sort of thing), and bacon, which I wanted to try.  My parents disagreed - in the end my mom won and no bacon for me.

Fast forward to college and someone asked me to the Saisaki Eat-All-You-Can Tempura.  My companion, in addition to the tempura, ordered the bacon-wrapped kani (Kani Bacon Maki, if I remember correctly).  That was my first taste of bacon, and I liked it!

Still I did not eat much of it because I did not like the fatty part (yes, thanks to my mom, I do not like the fat part of pork!) but when I could find lean bacon, I indulged.

Well, recently hubby brought back a lot of bacon after his gig in the province.  At first I was excited, until I saw that there was little meat and a whole lot of fat!  That put me off, but I trimmed most of the fat away and ended up with just enough to wrap some chicken livers...

12 pieces of chicken livers (cleaned, trimmed, patted dry)
6 pieces bacon, sliced in half

Wrap the liver in bacon and secure with toothpicks.  Arrange on a Pyrex dish and bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of the livers), until a tester comes out clean and no blood comes out of the liver.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

This is a dish I often order at restaurants.  I like chicken, ham and cheese... and because we have a lot of ham I decided to try make Chicken Cordon Bleu at home.  Except that I did not like the idea of frying the whole thing.

So I ended up baking them...

7 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (half breasts)
1/4 cup butter, diced into 12 small pieces
7 to 8 thin slices pina ham
7 to 8 pieces quick melt sandwich cheese
1 cup flour, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon each salt, black pepper and Italian spice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups bread crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon Italian spice

Rinse the chicken breasts and then pat dry.  Pound between plastic sheets until thin.  Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on the chicken breasts and fold over; secure with toothpicks.  (Personally I pound the chicken not too thin and slice/make a pocket and stuff the ham and cheese inside; then secure with toothpicks).

Roll in the flour mix, dip in beaten egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.  Re-dip in beaten egg and then roll again in breadcrumbs.

Lightly grease a large Pyrex baking dish.  Scatter half the butter in the dish then arrange the chicken in the pan.  Dot the tops with the remaining butter.  Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes.

Don't forget to take out the toothpicks before eating!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Yummy Banana Cake

At a recent get-together with my college buds, they asked me if I had a banana cake recipe - cake, not bread...

Of course I do!!!  And here it is...

Mix together ½ teaspoon apple pie spice, 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ tablespoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.  Set aside.

Beat ¾ to 1 cup muscovado sugar and ½ cup softened butter.  (I usually use about 2/3 cup of sugar especially when I know my bananas are really sweet.)  Add 3 jumbo (XXL) eggs and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Mix well. Stir in ½ cup yogurt and 1¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas; the mixture will look curdled.  Stir in flour mixture into the wet batter.

Fold in ½ to 1 cup chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts, or a mix of mix-ins. (I usually use ½ cup chocolate chips.  If using raisins, soak in about ¼ cup rum for 15 minutes then micro 3 times in 25-second bursts.  Drain excess liquid.  Cool to room temperature.)

Spoon the batter into greased and lined baking pan/s.  If you have extra bananas, slice them into rounds and arrange on top of the cake.  (I have been known to top the cake with chopped Reese cups, as well as chocolate chip cookie crumbs!)

Bake at 350F, until a tester comes out clean:

8 or 9-inch round pan, 8-inch square pan, or 11x7-in rectangle pan, approximately 40 to 50 minutes
8x4 loaf pan, approximately 45 to 55 minutes
20 to 24 cupcakes, approximately 18 to 22 minutes
14 to 18 muffins, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pho Ga

Pardon the color of my picture, I'm not sure what happened...

but this was my attempt to make pho...

I basically followed this recipe although I did not have shrimps so I used squid balls instead...

Hubby's comment was "Not bad".  Personally I think it needs more work!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"Benedict Muffinbach"

Friend T has christened this -

Benedict Muffinbach.  I suppose the inspiration came from it being similar to Eggs Benedict, but that it is radically not... combined with a wonderful play on the name of a favorite British actor playing the character of Sherlock Holmes.

But, yes, it is a variation on the same theme... something on top of an English muffin!

This time, I got inspiration from one of the breakfast items of my favorite coffee and tea cafe... Salmon Scramble... although their version is on a rosemary focaccia.

Toast an English muffin and spread lots of cream cheese over the top.  Layer on 2 to 3 pieces of smoked salmon (or as many as you like!) then top with scrambled eggs.  Drizzle dill sauce over and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.

Enjoy!  Hubby sure did!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Eggs Benedict... Not!

I had it all planned. I was going to make Eggs Benedict for breakfast. According to Wikipedia, Eggs Benedict "is an American brunch or breakfast dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin each of which is topped with Canadian bacon – or sometimes ham or bacon – a poached egg; and hollandaise sauce".  My first try to make poached egg was dismal... worse, I forgot to buy ham, I only had chicken ham.  Long story short, I gave up the original plan.  But I already had the muffins, the chicken ham and egg... I did the next best thing.  I made a look-alike...

I toasted the muffins and spread some cream cheese on them.  The chicken slices were next then a slice of sandwich cheese.  A fried egg with a runny yolk and another one over easy went over the cheese.  And a sprinkling of cayenne pepper on the eggs.

The dish looked naked and not quite a look-alike but I did not particularly want to make Hollandaise sauce!  In the end I mixed some mayonnaise with a little mustard, some lemon juice, a pinch of dried dill and some salt to make a sauce.  And for good measure, I added coleslaw too!  Here's what my look-alike looks like...


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Quick Brined Chicken

Roast (or turbo) chicken was never a favorite.  Mainly because they were mostly dry, tough and flavorless.  But once I learned the secret, it has become an easy meal!

The secret is brining!  And I followed Ruhlman's instructions.  I mainly do the quick brine method and I end up with moist, flavorful chicken!

Well, ok the process is not that fast (I did say easy, not fast) but the procedure is mainly waiting time... and the pay-off is really great!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oysters in Butter

This dish is inspired by the Butter Oysters at a famous seaside restaurant in the province of Pangasinan.  Of course my version is not as buttery (or as rich) as the original, but as I have a good source of big, fat, shucked oysters...

This is a rather easy dish to make, especially if the oysters are already shucked and cleaned!  Not only is it easy, it is also fast.  Less than 8 minutes on the stove, really.

Mince a lot of garlic and ginger.  Saute in about 1/4 cup butter.  Add about 350 to 400 grams of shucked, cleaned and drained oysters.  Cook gently until the oysters are just done (they exude some liquid, but don't overcook!).  Season with salt and pepper, as preferred.  Remove from the heat immediately and transfer to a serving plate.  The secret of this dish is the dash of fresh lemon juice sprinkled over the dish just before serving!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seaweed Tofu in (Homemade) XO Sauce

Last Christmas, a dear friend gave me a wonderful gift... homemade XO sauce.  She told me that it was the best ever and it was great even if used solely in any dish.

Well, of course I wanted to test it out. And this dish would showcase that claim well...

The verdict?  Yes, it is very, very good.  It is the best I've tasted!

The dish is so simple but you wouldn't know it from its taste using the XO sauce friend C gave!

Just slice 2 cubes of seaweed tofu into cubes or slices.  Marinate in a tablespoon or two of light soy sauce for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Then saute onions and garlic with a spoonful of the XO sauce.  Throw the tofu in and stir gently until the tofu is coated with XO sauce and heated through.


Thanks, Friend C!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Baked Stuffed Potatoes

Sometimes I get wind of last minute guests... well, at the last minute...

It's a good thing that my mother taught me to keep the fridge (and the pantry) well stocked.

Well then, baked stuffed potatoes were what the guests had!

The recipe:

1-1/2 kilos large-sized potatoes (best if the potatoes are more or less the same sizes)

1 large onion, minced
250 to 300 grams thick-cut ham, cubed/diced

(all at room temp)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cooking cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese

Scrub the potatoes clean.  Steam until cooked.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and ham.  Cool.

When the potatoes are cooked and soft, cool slightly and rub with olive oil.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise.  Carefully scoop out the potato flesh, leaving a potato skin shell.

Mash the potato flesh with the butter, cream, milk, cream cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the onion and ham mixture.  Fold in shredded cheddar cheese.  Spoon into the potato skin shells.

Place stuffed potatoes in/on a buttered baking pan.  Top with shredded mozarella.  Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes to 25 minutes. or until the tops are lightly browned.

Monday, January 11, 2016


What is himugo?

When I first saw the finished product.  I thought it looked a lot like bucayo.  But bucayo is a delicacy from Central/Northern Luzon (Pangasinan).  It is made by cooking buko (coconut) strips with sugar.

Himugo, on the other hand (as Lola N says), is a sweet delicacy from Panay Island, Visayas, specifically Antique.  It is not cooked, but is made by pounding and mixing fresh (young) coconut strips, pinipig and muscovado sugar (and coconut water, if necessary).  The ingredients are pounded together until it becomes a sticky mess.  It is then shaped and placed on banana leaves.

In our case, the finished product was just placed in an ordinary bowl.  And we simply scoop it up with a spoon to eat!

What is the recipe you may ask?  (And yes, I did ask Lola N!)

Her reply - ay basta, haluin at dikdikin lang. tikman tapos kung anong kulang, idagdag!  (roughly translated - just mix and pound. taste, then add whatever seems lacking!)



This is definitely not an easy recipe!

My reply?

Ay basta!  Masarap!  (Oh well, it's delicious!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Suman sa Ibus

Lola went to her home province for a visit, and she just got back!  She brought with her a bunch of suman sa ibus!  Suman is a kind of rice cake.  There are many kinds of rice cakes, which are essentially "cakes" made from rice.  In the local language, the different kinds of rice cakes have their own names but in English, they are just lumped together as rice cake!  Suman sa ibus is a rice cake made of glutinous (sticky) rice and coconut milk, wrapped in buri leaves and cooked in boiling water.

Lola's suman is an "authentic" one.  Her family, from generations past, were largely farmers and fishermen.  The suman she brought back is a recipe passed down for generations, and her family makes their suman from the rice that her (extended) family planted and harvested. Her suman is the kind that has big, firm grains and not sweet from having sugar.  The rice, being fresh and organic has its own inherent sweetness. The rice is naturally sticky, and it is sooooo good.

It is really unlike the ones that are commonly found in the markets these days - the ones I no longer buy because their grains are either "durog" (crushed or broken) or "buhaghag" (loosely packed) and in all cases, almost always sweet from sugar being added! 

In any case, Lola says that it is easy to make the suman.  The difficult part is in making the buri wrappings!  The term "ibus" precisely refers to this buri wrapping but the suman can be wrapped in banana leaves instead, although it can no longer be called suman sa ibus.

The recipe (according to Lola) is not really a secret because everyone in their town (and I suppose elsewhere as well) knows how to make it.  Besides, the real secret is making it without measuring!  Still, she gives the recipe with (more or less) measurements by way of ratios (not by weight)!

Soak 3 parts glutinous rice to 2 parts coconut milk about half an hour to an hour.  For every 450 grams of sticky rice, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  

While the rice is soaking, the buri wrapping is prepared.  (Sorry but I don't really get how the wrapping is done... it appears that there are many ways to do it, as long as the filling does not escape the wrapping!) 

Fill the buri wraps about 3/4 full.  Arrange the suman in a large pot and cover with water.  Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for about an hour, depending on the size of the individual suman.  To be sure, test one for doneness.  

When done, remove from the pot and cool.  

The suman is traditionally served with muscovado sugar or ripe mangoes on the side.   
Personally, I like the suman lightly fried and with crisp edges.  Hubby recently discovered that it is divine when the lightly fried suman is eaten with homemade ube halaya!