Feb 26, 2014

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


Even when I was in the Philippines, chocolate crinkles have been a huge favorite of mine. I was in college then and though I had often wished to learn how to bake these gorgeous cookies, I never dared to do it. I suppose it doesn't help when you don't really have a proper oven at home....lol :) Nonetheless, I knew that someday when I got married, I would have to learn to make these beauties. That day has arrived.

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Feb 24, 2014

Grilled Swordfish with Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes



Now, if you love to eat fish, you'll love this recipe. It is so truly wonderful and the proof - I almost never got the chance to photograph this dish as the only one left of it was the smallest piece of swordfish steak after hubby and I happily ate the bigger meatier pieces. Hence, what you are seeing is the last remaining piece. In fact, I had second thoughts about posting this recipe because I wasn't very happy with the photo as the swordfish steak was quite small but then when I recalled how delish it is - I said, I'll post it anyway as I didn't want any of you to miss this recipe nor let it be buried in my pile and then completely forgotten.
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Feb 22, 2014

Vegetarian Pansit


A few times I have been asked on our Facebook page if I have a vegetarian version of our country's famous noodle dish - Pansit. At that time, I actually have never tried it without meat. In the Philippines, we either use chicken or pork, sometimes shrimp and even Chinese sausage to add flavor to the Pancit. However, there is a first time for everything. Finally, I decided to make a vegetarian/meatless version of the Pansit for our friends who prefer that diet.
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Feb 20, 2014

Bagel and Creamy Egg Breakfast Sandwich


We have a bagel shop that does a Baker's dozen (13 pieces instead of 12) every Wednesday, so often we wait until Wednesday to buy our Bagels as they are on sale and so much cheaper. Normally, my kids are happy with just Bagel and Cream Cheese for breakfast, perhaps with a teaspoon or two of jam added for good measure. But sometimes,  I get tired of that same old, same old bagel and cream cheese combo so occasionally I will cook some eggs and have them with bagels instead. When I am feeling indulgent, I spread a little mayo or add a slice of cheese on a toasted and buttered bagel with this creamy egg. A few sprinkles of chopped chives perfectly round-up this delicious and filling breakfast sandwich. Enjoy!

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Feb 18, 2014

Boeuf a la Bourguignonne


The first challenge is to try to say the name of the dish correctly! J

I have been wanting to cook this traditional French beef stew for the longest time. For some reason, I always end up doing a steak casserole. I suppose because the casserole is easier to do and is pretty straightforward in terms of methodology. This dish, not only has  a pretty intimidating name, a real tongue-twister; I also often thought it was quite complicated. But I set my fears aside and decided, I will try it once and for all. And, am I glad I did! This is now my favorite beef stew recipe. Hands-down winner for me. It is so good, I promise, you'll want to lick your bowl clean. J
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Feb 15, 2014

Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup (Yummy Recipe to help cure the Flu)


So my dear hubby has the flu.....I feel so sorry for him. I don't like it when he is unwell as it not only makes me sad, I don't like to see him suffer and look sick. But this is one of the hazards of winter that cannot always be prevented.

Being the resourceful person that he is, hubby researched for a more natural remedy to help cure the flu or at least hasten his recovery. He showed me this cooking video from a nutritionist who suggested that this is a wonderful cure for flu. I was skeptical but indulged my honey and watched the video anyway. I was of course intrigued. I like that all the ingredients are natural and for me has the potential of something flavorful.   Sweet potato, ginger, chili pepper and mushrooms to name a few - this concoction must at least taste nice and if it helps cure the flu, even better!

Hubby says, he did feel better after having some. He felt boosted though he's not completely recovered yet. Well, it's only been day 1 so perhaps tomorrow and the next day and a few more cups of this yummy soup then he'll be back to his full healthy self. At any rate, I am sharing this because I actually loved this soup, yes, I had some already - quite a thick one, almost like a puree - it's so flavorful and I agree with the nutritionist, this is a perfect curry base! I will definitely use this recipe for a curry next time. Enjoy!





Ingredients

4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 inch-ginger, finely chopped*
1 red chili pepper, with seeds*
1 large red Onion, chopped
1 large Sweet Potato, chopped
Shiitake Mushrooms (fresh - 4 oz / dry 1 oz), chopped*
Vegetable Stock or broth (32 oz)

*If you don't want it too gingery, you can just use the 2-inch one. That's how I measure my ginger, by it's length and not by tablespoons.

*Hubby only got 1 hot cherry pepper so that's all that I used but feel free to use your favorite hot pepper and adjust the heat to your taste.

*If using the dried Shiitake mushrooms, make sure to rehydrate them first. Just add them towards the end of cooking.

Procedure

Please watch the short video for the full instruction on how to make this flavorful soup. Hope you all feel healthy this winter!

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Feb 12, 2014

Valentine Desserts


Wondering what to make for Valentine's Day? Look no more, here's a fantastic line-up of fabulous Valentine's desserts! Make any of these and you're sure to please your loved ones! Enjoy

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Feb 8, 2014

Heart Healthy Yummy Granola


I am not very keen on cold breakfast. If it was possible, I'll always have a hot cooked breakfast. I think it's because this is what I am used to. I grew up having a hot cooked breakfast ready and prepared when I woke up. That's just the way it was. My mom or our help would make it for me and my siblings and we were expected to eat and finish it all. Often it would be rice, naturally, with either eggs and some meat or fish dish. I really loved it and to this day, I wish I can have a daily Filipino breakfast.

However, the story changed after I got married. I don't have my Mom here and I certainly cannot afford a maid so while I often still make a hot breakfast, there are days when I am thankful for a box of cereals or granola that I can quickly grab and prepare instantly. Nonetheless, since I know that many of the store-bought cereals are pumped full of ingredients that are not always wholesome, not to mention sugar-loaded, I have decided to make my own homemade granola mix. With this, even though it's a cold breakfast, I can be assured I know what's in it and can take comfort that it is actually quite healthy and good for the heart because of its naturally nutrient rich ingredients.

This recipe was handed to me by a friend that we visited a few years ago in New Jersey. I am thankful to her for sharing this as my family truly loves this. I only made very minor tweaking to it. For those who have wheat sensitivity, just replace the wheat with ground flax seed. Enjoy.



Ingredients

8 cups old-fashioned rolled Oats
1/4 cup brown Sugar
1 cup shredded Coconut
1 cup Wheat Germ (or ground flax seed)
1 cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts/Almonds (or a mix)
2/3 cup Coconut Oil*
2/3 cup Honey
Dried fruits (optional)

*If you don't have or don't like Coconut Oil, you can replace it with a good quality neutral-tasting vegetable oil.

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 300F.

Mix the oats, sugar, coconut, wheat germ (or flax seed) and nuts. Set aside. Mix the oil and honey. Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread the mixture evenly in a lightly greased deep pan (like a 9x13 pan) and bake for 30 minutes.

Stir the mixture after baking and then let cool completely. Add some dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc. if you like. Store in an airtight container and enjoy with some fresh milk.

If you wish to print the recipe, there's a print-friendly icon at the end of the post. Click on the "remove images box" for easy and convenient printing.



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Feb 5, 2014

Coconut Rice


You already know by this time that we eat rice at least 3 times a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner though that would not necessarily stop us from having rice (cold rice even) as a snack and definitely as dessert, too. Yes, we do love rice. However, though we are surrounded by coconut  trees all over our country, I have never tried cooking rice with coconut milk except when it's cooked as dessert but not as a side dish. We often associate the coconut and rice combo with dessert and not so much as a side dish for a savory viand. Ha, I realized after cooking this dish that I have been missing a lot (I thought I had pretty much tried all types of rice dishes and realized I was wrong) so this week I corrected my mistake and made this delicious and flavorful Coconut Rice.

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Feb 1, 2014

Thai Ginger Chicken


I love stir-fries. They are  not only easy to make, they cook in minutes and the flavors are always awesome! Because it's done in a flash, the veggies tend not to be overcooked and so still retain their nutrients. So, if there is a style of cooking that also showcases fresh flavors from each ingredient, it has to be a stir-fry.

When I was growing up, we had a helper who almost always made us a stir-fry practically every night. It was really flavorful and she would always tell us that her secret ingredient in making it tasty is the fresh ginger. Of course, when I was young I didn't really care much for it. At that time, I still didn't know how to appreciate the importance of using spices such as ginger to liven up the flavor of a dish. I just wasn't much of a ginger fan then. But now that I have been cooking for more than 10 years, I am happy to add fresh ginger to a dish whenever suitable. It just lends a wonderful aroma, just enough pungency and zest to any dish, whether sweet or savory. That is what you will get from this Thai Ginger Chicken dish, a gingery flavor that adds complexity and depth to this yummy stir-fry without overpowering it. Of course, the flavorful sauce combo of fish or soy sauces plus oyster sauce makes this a truly delicious dish! Don't forget to serve with freshly cooked Jasmine rice.



Ingredients

1-2 Tablespoons Fish sauce or Soy Sauce, or to taste*
1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1/2-1 Tablespoon brown Sugar, or to taste
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 lb Chicken breast(s), cut into bite-size chunks
4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-inch size fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced thinly (you can also cut them up like matchsticks)
1/2 cup Mushrooms,* sliced
1 medium yellow Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips*
1-2 Thai Chili peppers, chopped (if you like it spicy though you can remove the seeds so it won't be too hot)
1/4 cup or a small bunch of Green Onions/Scallions, cut into 1-inch length
Some fresh Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Note: I used fresh Shiitake mushrooms as I had them at hand. If using this, use about 6-8 pieces, depending on their size.

I added yellow peppers because I had some but 1 red bell pepper is enough.

If you don't fancy fish sauce or cannot find it, you can replace it with soy sauce. Feel free to adjust the quantity to suit your taste.

Procedure

The key to making a successful stir-fry is to ensure that all the ingredients are prepared/measured beforehand, placed in individual bowls/plates and are within easy reach when cooking. The cooking itself would be so quick that there's no time to be looking for or measuring ingredients so make sure you have everything ready.

Combine the fish or soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar  in a bowl. I usually taste this and see if I like the flavor combo that comes out 'cause sometimes I don't measure when I cook so feel free to so use your taste buds, too. Set aside. Have the bowl nearby. 

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan on medium high. When hot add the chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Push the chicken pieces to the side and quickly add the ginger and garlic and let sizzle just until aromatic; this is just a matter of seconds. Add the chopped onion, mushrooms and bell pepper and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the veggies are tender. You can also add the Thai chili peppers, if using. Pour the sauce then stir to ensure everything is nicely glazed. Add the green onions then give it another quick stir. Remove from the heat, garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve with jasmine rice. 



If you wish to print the recipe, there's a print-friendly icon at the end of the post. Click on the "remove images box" for easy and convenient printing.





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