Friday, October 14, 2011

Ham, Cheese and Chili Crepe

Changes, changes... as they say, there is nothing constant in this world except change.

When change comes, I press the panic button before trying to step back a little to understand what is going on and think things through. When I panic, I usually make mistakes. tsk tsk.. Though sometimes, I am happy to say it's the other way around. Yes, just sometimes.

At least! :)

I wish changes, in all forms, is just as easy as changing your weekend food. I didn't go full circle, but I just tried to have something we don't usually have. Crepes. Oh yes, it's refreshing and rewarding after the changes, panic and the boo-boos... my boo-boos! :S

This is a savory crepe inspired by Café Breton's Vesuve. Sheila had me try this back in December and I instantly loved it.

For the ham filling, you'll need:

vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
about 6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
8 slices of cooked ham (not sweet), diced
Chili pepper flakes (start with half a teaspoon for a mild spicy kick)
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 bar of quick melting cheese (this is about 100 grams, you can grate a little extra of you want)

Prepare the filling - heat the oil and sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic, then tomatoes. When tender, add the ham, then sprinkle the pepper flakes, add just a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the basic crepe recipe, I got it from the book Joy of Cooking. I just made a little changes below:

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt

1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
4 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
extra 6 teaspoons of butter (for the pan)

mix dry ingredients (flour, salt or sugar) and set aside. melt butter, set aside
in a large bowl, mix the milk, water, eggs and add melted butter. Mix well
slowly add the dry ingredients by sifting it through the bowl, then mix thoroughly until there are no lumps anymore. I like my milk and water warm as it dissolves the dry ingredients faster.

Note: This makes about 6 crepes. I am using a 9-inch non-stick pan. You can prepare the crepe batter ahead of time and store it in airtight container in the fridge.

To prepare the crepe, heat your pan, melt a teaspoon of butter and pour a ladle of the crepe batter (I pour about 1/2 cup) and tilt the pan in circular motion until you achieve the round form of the crepe. Cook until the bottom is ok, about 2 minutes on low to medium heat, like if you see a little toasted color under, then that's good.

Then in the center of the crepe, put about 2 tablespoons of the ham filling and a tablespoon or more of grated quick melting cheese, then fold the crepe. Careful on folding as the crepe tends to tear. I suggest you use two cooking spatulas/turners when you fold the crepe. If you want to cook/prepare all the crepes first, go ahead :)

The crepe batter is also good for sweet/dessert crepes. Just omit the salt and add 4 to 5 tablespoons of sugar (will post our dessert crepe soon!)

I am in the process of learning to accept the other side of change. That: it's not always bad, that it's not something to be scared about. I should think that change is also a step towards improvement. So here I am, resting on this well deserved weekend, preparing myself to embrace the changes that will come.

Happy weekend! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cake Pops and a mini baby shower surprise

Nope, not me. My good friend Ross will be bringing her second little princess out in a few weeks . Ross was born with a sweet tooth but was under strict "sweets diet" in her childhood days because her mom was super taking care of her teeth (She really has nice teeth by the way so good job Tita Lita!)

Anyways, she likes cake pops, so these cute, pretty, pink cake pops were made as souvenirs for the mini baby shower my colleagues, bosses and I had for her this morning :) Thanks and good job to us all! As we have seen this morning, the surprise brought her to tears! (Awwww!)

Lolli-cakes, cake pops, cake balls, cake truffles or whatever you want to call it, is starting a craze. I've been really curious and eager to make them since I came across Bakerella and features from Cupcakes Take The Cake , only to find out that my cousins in the US have been making cake pops for quite sometime now. Way to go Kuya Aljan and Ate Eileen!

I am in no way able to give a history of it but I can tell you that my first few attempts failed. I thought it was so easy to make, but it wasn't. Talk about Disaster and Drama. My cousin said to just keep practicing. so I did.

I have used as guide the basic recipes from Bakerella, The Kitchn and sought help from the super detailed photos, troubleshooting, plus a video tutorial on how to dip cake pops from Veronica's Cornucopia. I was able to surpass the cake pop dilemma because of them. Thank you!

To make about 3 to 4 dozens, you need a cake baked in a 13 X 9 pan or two 8" round pans. If you have all the time in the world, you can bake from scratch. Bless your heart.

You can definitely use store-bought box mix, or grab a ready made cake.

In my case, I combined my left over cupcakes. I have been inspired by Chichajo's mission to resurrect left overs in any way possible, give them justice and honor in their new form. I've been trying to do so in left over dishes and now I have applied her wisdom to left over cakes and cupcakes by making these cake pops. You see, sometimes I crave for cakes or cupcakes, bake dozens of 'em (for cupcakes), eat them everyday for consecutive days and realize that I and my fellows here can't finish them off anymore. The little boy has his own share of eating them but me thinks he can't have sweets overdose!

So I had 15 pieces leftover chocolate cupcakes (9) and red velvet cupcakes (6)

- crumble them in a stainless steel bowl and set aside. My left overs amounted to just about half of the original basic recipe.

For the chocolate melt, I found chocolate bars easier to use so i used approx 500 grams of white chocolate bar, chopped and melted (double boiler) and I added about 1/4 teaspoon of red food color to make it pink. Pretty sprinkles c/o the ever reliable Manna Ingredients and the Cocoa Pantry.

When I saw the results of this latest attempt, I had a feeling of triumph as it's giving better texture, the chocolate hardens and there was no "falling off" happening. Cheers to that! :)

Here are some things I learned from blogs, watching tutorials on cake pops and my own disasters:

To make presentable cake pops, one must have patience and energy to go back and forth the fridge and working table. Prayer is very powerful.

If helper is available. By all means, let them help. Thank you Gemma and Abi. They designed their own cake pops but I have no permission to post it here :P

Best to use bars and melt them in a double boiler. I have tried to melt it in low heat in the microwave but it doesn't work well for me.

Whisk the melted chocolate a few times to release heat before dipping your cake balls.

Take out 2 or 3 pops at a time because in our kind of weather, the cake balls tend to soften fast, ergo the chocolate will not harden and the ball will fall off the lollipop stick (I am speaking from experience)

You need fast working hands when putting sprinkles as the chocolate melt dries fast because of cold cake ball.

Now with all these in place, I am looking forward to make another batch. The little boy is turning 4 next week and maybe I can give it a go if time permits! :)

Happy weekend everyone! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I was introduced to Japanese food about 20 years ago when my Papa took me for dinner in a small (and slightly hidden) Japanese resto in Cartimar market. There, I got my first taste of tempura. Later, we discovered other restos, tried out new dishes (and realized I can somehow eat sashimi, as well as realized that it's not all about tempura *lol*)

Despite my love for cooking, I never thought of cooking Japanese - until recently. Archie and I like to dine at Omakase and savor each and every dish we order. Tonkatsu is one of our favorites.
As we know, Japanese food has special ingredients, and somehow can't be really substituted by a regular pantry staple. Thank God again for asian condiments at the supermarket! Last week, while doing my grocery I paid a visit again to the imported section lane. I felt like I was dumbfounded looking at all the stuff there. As usual, after having my second, third and fourth thoughts, my own free will let my hands take hold of a bottle of each: Rice Wine, Mirin and an all-around stir fry sauce. Pricey indeed, but then again they will be so useful anyway! Since husband likes Tonkatsu, I say why not give it a try? First, I searched for recipes online to get inspiration. So my friends, here's my first attempt on Tonkatsu:

Breaded Pork

500 grams pork tenderloin
salt and pepper
2 small eggs
2 tablespoons milk
japanese bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Tonkatsu sauce

1/4 cup ketchup
4 teaspoons mirin
4 teaspoons rice wine
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat Oil in a medium to low heat (giving you just enough time for it to be deep-fry ready, while you are coating all the pork)

For the pork, beat eggs and milk in a bowl, set aside. Place flour and japanese bread crumbs on separate plates.

Season the flour with salt and pepper.

Dredge pork first into flour, dip in egg mixture, and lastly, bread crumbs. Repeat process until all pork pieces have been coated. I learned from cooking shows to use one hand for the dry ingredients, and one for the wet. It works :D

Fry pieces until golden brown, drain-drain-drain on paper towels, cut in serving pieces.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients together until you achieve a smooth consistency. You can serve it on a smaller sauce plate or drizzle on top of the pork. Serve on top of steamed rice (preferable Japanese, of course!) and steamed veggies or shredded cabbage
on the side!

For my next project, I shall search for dashi stock for my first attempt on Katsudon! Wish me luck! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baked Salmon a la Conti's

I am definitely not one of the most updated people when it comes to the newest things in the universe: gadgets, movies, restos and famous resto foods. Name it.

So... new restos, food craze... I do have a wish list though ;)

It was just recently that I got to try Conti's baked salmon. Ok, I know you are just about to laugh or maybe you are now - hehehe that's ok! :)

I have been there waaaaay way back. I have heard of that baked salmon a couple of times from friends raving about how good and tasty it is and all that jazz. Fine. I just don't know why I didn't get to try it before.

so anyway, better late than never! Archie took me there for brunch just recently and finally, in my own taste buds, I'm already able to relate to my raving friends.

Sabi nga ni Kris Aquino once upon a time in a cooking segment in one of her talk shows--- ang sarrrrrrrrraaahhhhhhp!


At bilang nagustuhan ko siya, of course, I definitely had plans of re-creating it at home. Just to add a little personal touch, I put some breadcrumbs on top of the cheesy mixture.

Here goes the experiment:

1 salmon fillet
salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Cheese Garlic-Mayo topping

½ block cream cheese - softened
About 3 tbsp mayo
1 to 1 and a half tbsp garlic chopped finely (if you want it more garlicky, just add a bit more)
About 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for the cream mixture and 1/4 for the topping)
Salt and pepper to taste
Breadcrumbs (optional. I like it w/ breadcrumbs, but the one served at Conti's does not have this)

Garnish - Buttered Vegetables:

Mixed vegetables
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste


Rub salmon fillet with salt and pepper, then lemon juice for about 20 minutes

While salmon is marinating, mix thoroughly the cream cheese, mayo, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. set aside.

Pan fry salmon about 2 to 3 mins on both sides

Pre-heat toaster/turbo. Assemble the fried fish on baking tray, then top w/ cheese garlic mayo mixture, sprinkle w/ remaining parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, bake in toaster/turbo for about 10 to 15 mins at 175C

Microwave mixed vegetables w/ 2 tbsp butter for about 20 to 30 seconds until butter is melted, season with salt and pepper.

Put out the baking tray and surround the baked salmon with butter vegetables. You can actually use other veggies like brocolli, cauliflower, baguio beans, sayote, carrots strips if desired.

It came out pretty much ok, and tastes fairly the same, less the paella rice as it is served in the resto.

If Salmon isn't too expensive, this can be a regular on my monthly menu! You might also want to try it if you are a Salmon lover! Hope you like it! :)

Now back to my resto-wanna-go-wish-list. By the way, Happy second birthday, Happy Tummy bloggy! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all drop dead gorgeous fabulous rockin' super mommies out there and that means all of us moms and moms at heart (kapal? sinali ko talaga sarili ko?!)

As a tribute to my Mommy Tess, I would like to feature a meal I learned from her. Almondigas (some call it Albondigas) Actually, pina sosyal ko lang! We just call it Miswa at Meatballs. Hehehe!

Mommy prepares this at home back in my childhood days. Sometimes I volunteer to help when it's time to form the ground pork into balls. I remember I had so much fun getting messy with my hands while forming the meatballs! This is one of my comfort foods aside from Adobo. Whether it's summertime or the rainy season you can't go wrong with this. My mom's recipe even has chopped singkamas to add crunch in the meatballs (but I have no time to add them in my recipe anymore! :P )

the recipe here at home is easy to prepare, here goes:


1/2 kilo ground pork

1 small onion, chopped finely (you can use half the onion and just keep the other half in the fridge if you don't want a strong onion flavor)

1 small carrot grated (this adds color and a little bit of sweetness)

Salt and Pepper to taste

About 2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flour as binder (sometimes I don't use this anymore and they still hold together w/o it)

Vegetable Oil for frying

For the miswa soup:

about 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

2 small tomatoes, sliced

4 to 5 cups water

1 piece Chicken or Beef Bouillon Cube

about 100 g miswa noodles

Fish sauce to taste

Pepper to taste


a few pieces of spring onions, chopped

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins. From experience, it's actually easier to form them when they are chilled. After the chilling process, form the mixture into 1 inch balls (or bigger if you want) and fry until cooked well. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the miswa soup:

sauté onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add water and bouillon cube and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the miswa noodles and simmer until cooked. Season with fish sauce and pepper to taste.

I like to put in the meatballs in a bowl of miswa soup and garnish it with spring onions. I also like to put some toasted garlic if it's available at home. yummy itey! :)

Mommy Tess has always been my idol and to her I owe a lot of my cooking know-hows. But that's not all! She became my instant Mom when my Mama went to heaven (she’s my Mama’s eldest sister). My Papa was very busy working to be able to provide for me that he couldn't really take care of me 24/7, as much as he wanted to, so for the first years of my life, he entrusted me to Mommy Tess and she worked together with Daddy Ed (her husband), my Lola (Nanay Floring) and my Yaya (my Mama’s Yaya too!), My Ate R and Kuyas J and O tagged along in the process. Boy, it took so many of them to raise the little me!

Wish I could tell you more about this part of my life but I don't want to take so much of your time! ;)

So anyway, this is for you, Mommy Tess! Thank you so much! I know you still cook miswa at meatballs there in California sometimes. I assume though you are now using ground chicken! ;)

To my Mama, thank you for your love and guidance, I know you are happy up there watching us. I know if WE had a choice, YOU are still here with us. Papa and I love you very much :)

Once again to all drop dead gorgeous fabulous rockin' super mommies… Happy Mother’s Day! ;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicken In Pandan Leaves

I think this is the most real time entry I have ever made in my almost 2 years of (inconsistent) blogging :)

We had this for lunch last Monday and the little boy liked it that he ate it again the following day (there were some leftovers hihi.)

I was introduced to Thai restos back in college. I used to eat with my dad in Dusit Thani and my cousins in SukoThai. My all time favorite in the menu of both restos are the chicken pandan and bagoong rice. I would very much like to make my bagoong rice soon as it is a great pair for the chicken!

Since the sesame sauce needs tamarind paste, I wasn't able to try it yet a few years ago. There were limited to no Asian ingredients available in groceries back then and they are only available in specialty stores. Now I am happy to say that both supermarkets of SM and Robinson's near our place already offer Asian ingredients (yey!) Sheila and I spotted the Tamarind paste while we were doing our grocery and of course we grabbed it right away. :)

This came from my ever reliable Yummy Mag from the May 2009 ish. It can also be found online. The original recipe used chicken breasts fillets, but I used thigh fillets instead since I like it that it absorbs more flavor than white meat. Maybe that's why the little boy liked it as it's so tasty! Of course, I liked it just as much! :)

For the chicken you will need:

1/2 kilo chicken thigh fillets cut into squares (2X2 inches)
Pandan leaves for wrapping chicken, washed and towel dried
vegetable oil for frying

For the marinade:

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

For the sesame sauce:

3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine ingredients for the marinade. Add chicken and marinate for at least 20 minutes or overnight. (I marinated it for about 2 hours and it was really tasty, maybe because of chicken thighs?)

While the chicken is marinating, I already prepared the sauce: In a small saucepan, pour warm water over tamarind paste and let it sit for 5 minutes and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve on the side.

After the marinating process, wrap the marinated chicken in pandan leaves. It's actually good to use long pandan leaves so you can tie both ends to lock it. Deep-fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.

I loved the smell of the kitchen while i was frying the chickies. The sweet smell of pandan really rocks!

Best served with hot rice... better yet, bagoong rice! :) Enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pork Cordon Bleu and Pesto Cream Cheese Dip

Happy New Year! :)

I guess my goal to write often will always be part of my wishlist *lol*

A lot of things get in the way here and there but I would still love to spare a little time sharing something here - like this super easy and cheesy dish! It's fun to make and it's not the same as what we're used to, which is chicken. It was our helper back in my highschool days who taught us how to make these. The mini "pork rolls" were sealed by toothpicks and fried in oil. This version has a little more to it - the bread crumbs, eggs and the works, plus pesto cream cheese as dip. Yum!!!

Pork Cordon Bleu

about 8 pieces pork tenderloin cut thinly (size is about 4 X 5) or thin pork chops w/o the fat and skin
salt and pepper to season
quick melting cheese, cut in sticks (size that fits in pork when you roll it, i was able to consume 1/2 of the cheese bar)
toothpicks (for sealing)

2 eggs
Japanese bread crumbs / Panko
Vegetable Oil for frying

Pesto Cream Cheese Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp ready made pesto
salt and pepper to taste

- season the pork w/ salt and pepper, place the cheese sticks in the middle, fold sides and ends over cheese and roll up; secure each with a toothpick. Dip roll-ups in flour, then egg mixture, then roll in crumbs and fry until golden. Drain well. Remove toothpicks carefully for presentation purposes!

*you can put garlic bits or bacon bits or what have you in the rolls ups together with the cheese!

- on low heat: melt butter in pan, add cream cheese and milk, simmer until cheese has melted, then add the pesto, salt and pepper to taste and serve w/ pork cordon bleu

Cheese is really overflowing in this recipe but it won't hurt our diet if this will be eaten occasionally! :) Serve with hot rice or can be served as pica-pica too! I know...the holidays are over and summer is definitely coming (beach! beach!). But this does not stop me from eating anything delicious! This is where the 3-day diet programs and tankinis come in! :P