Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate



What happened to my 90°F weather???
It's been warm and perfect the last few weeks. Kids enjoying the pool everyday.
Today we woke up cold, and in need of sweaters.
Blah!!!!!!





Cold days or nights ... calls for a warm drink. 
A decadent steamy spiced chocolate drink, will do.
Not a cup of chocolate drink made from Hershey cocoa, but a hot chocolate drink from a good mexican chocolate made from roasted and ground cacao nibs, with cinnamon and sugar.
This drink will surely brighten any cloudy day!!!






Like any chocolate lover, I love a rich and creamy steamy cup of hot chocolate drink, so in this recipe I added a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder and heavy cream. And added whipped topping for extra, extra creaminess.



Serves: 4
Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp - 1/4 tsp of chili  powder or cayenne (adjust to your liking)
pinch of salt
1 disk of Mexican sweet chocolate, chopped


Directions:
  • Pour milk in a medium saucepan, add the cocoa powder and salt, whisk constantly until it comes to a full boil.
  • Add the heavy cream and the chopped Mexican chocolate, whisk gently until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a cup. Add whipped topping before serving. And garnish with chocolate shavings.



Notes:
  • I like my hot chocolate creamy so I made this with heavy cream and milk, you can omit the heavy cream if so desired.
  • For a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender or simply place the strainer over a large bowl, line with cheese cloth and pour hot chocolate, strain the lumps out through cheese cloth to ensure a smooth hot chocolate drink.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day




As we all prepare for our get togethers today, getting the grill ready, the food and the table.
Or going on a picnic at the beach, fishing, boating on the lake,
let us remember the true reason why we have this day off
to celebrate this Memorial Day.



This is the day to remember and honor the fallen.
Let us not forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the global war on terrorism.
Fighting for our country, as well as helping other countries
get there freedom and peace.



Fresh Fruit Salad


Ingredients:

1 whole watermelon
1/2 of a cantaloupe
3 large mangoes

Tools:

Fillet knife
Melon baller
Spoon
Marker or pen or pencil

Directions:

  • Draw lines with your marker, pen or pencil for the placement of the basket opening and handle. The handle shoul be about 2 inch wide. You can draw a straight line, curve or zigzag, or whichever pattern you wish for the handle and opening of the basket. Be creative!
  • With your knife cut the handle first, then the opening, avoiding cutting through the base of your handle. Remove sections carefully.
  • With your melon baller, scoop out flesh as much melon balls as you can.
  • And set aside in a separate bowl. Scoop out remaining flesh with spoon.
  • Fill back in with the watermelon balls you scooped out, cantaloupe and mango balls. You can add honeyballs if so desired. 




Friday, May 25, 2012

Food for the Gods (dates & walnuts bar)





I was remembering one of my childhood bestfriends today.
Her parents owned a pastry business in our city,
and they make the best brownies and Food for the Gods in the island.
We would come to her house and play, and the house always smells like pastry heaven.
Of course, we always get the treats we want.

Why is it called Food for the Gods?
I just assume because of its rich flavor, its fitting to be served to the Greek Gods.

So off to the pantry, took out all the ingredients needed for this delicious bar.
Best paired with my Earl Grey Tea from Fortnum & Mason.

My sister who lives in London recently visited.
Before coming here,
she asked what I would like for her to bring from London.
there's only one thing I really want,
 the ONLY Best Tasting Earl Grey Tea in the world from FORTNUM & MASON.
This refreshing delicate tea is flavored with aromatic and stimulating oil of bergamot.
This company is the only place that supplies tea for the Royal Houses for the past 300 years.
That says it all.  




 
If you want good tasting tea, brew tea leaves,
not the tea dust in tea bags you buy from the supermarket.







Most recipes for Food for the Gods call for a lot of butter and sugar,
I find it too sweet, greasy and unhealthy.
In this recipe I use a third of the butter it calls for.
I usually double up this recipe,
 and bake it on a baking sheet instead of a square or rectangular baking pan.




 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
  • Preheat oven at 350° F.
  • Grease your baking sheet or pan with butter and lightly dust flour so the batter does not stick when baked.
  • Sift all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add dates and walnuts. Coat dates and walnuts well with the dry mixture so it does not sink at the bottom of the baking pan. 
  • In a separate large bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry mixture to your wet mixture. Mix well.
 

  • Transfer batter to your baking sheet/pan.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes when using a baking sheet. If you're using an 8x8 baking pan baked it for 35-40 minutes.
  • Let it cool, slice and serve.


Relax and Enjoy this Delicious pastry fitting for the Gods!
My Little Helper and I will surely have some, with my tea fit for the Royals,
and milk fit for my growing little man.



Fortnum & Mason was honoured to welcome HM The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge to its Piccadilly store.





Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mango Sorbet


YAY!!!! MANGOES ARE IN SEASON!!!!

Besides the Pineapple and Sour Sop, Mango is one of my favorite fruits.
Growing up in the Tropics there are an array of sweet, tangy juicy fruits to choose from.
It's not just all coconuts in the islands.
Summer is almost here and nothing more refreshing in a lazy afternoon by the pool but a refreshing mango sorbet. You can spike it up if you want and add more vodka than what the recipe calls for.
I usually like Philippine Mangoes or Champagne mangoes, it has less fibers.
You can use the green mango if this is the only thing available in the market.
Like what I used here in this recipe.
I would avoid using Red mangoes since it has more fibers and not really great for a smooth sorbet.
No one likes eating a sorbet full of fibers.
I use mango juice, I have tried the recipes that calls for simple syrup and they always come out too sweet to my taste. I added a tablespoon of vodka to avoid crystalization.

Have fun making it and enjoy the summer heat!!!




Ingredients:

3-4 Large Mangoes, pitted and cut in chunks
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 cup Mango juice
1/4 cup of sugar (optional)
1 tbsp Vodka (optional)


Directions:
  • Pour Mango juice in blender or food processor, add sugar, vodka and mango chunks.
  • Puree until smooth. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Transfer mixture in an Ice Cream maker. Let it churn for 30 mins. until it thickens
  • Scoop out and transfer to a freezer safe airtight container. Freeze for 6 hrs. or overnight.
  • Scoop to a dessert glass or bowl and garnish with mint leaves.

Notes:
  • You can find Mango juice in the Asian or Latin Aisle of your grocery store or any health food stores.
  • I use Vodka to help avoid crystalization.
  • Adding 1/4 cup sugar helps avoid crystalization as well. If you feel the mango juice added to the mixture is sweet enough you do not have to add sugar.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fried VegGhie Spring Rolls

 
 
 
Every party you go to in the Philippines always have spring rolls called "Lumpia" served.
Although most of the Lumpia a.k.a. Spring Roll is made out of pork and vegetables,
here's a recipe I like making without any pork to it.
It's already deep fried, so might as well pretend to  make it a little healthier and just make it with veggies!
 
 

 

  
Ingredients:


  
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, matchsticks
1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1 pk 100 g Rice Vermicelli noodles (optional)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, chopped (optional)
12 spring roll wrap
 
Directions:
 
Vegetable Mixture
  • Heat wok over high heat, if you don't have one, a any frying pan will do.
  • Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion, garlic, carrots, and cabbage.
  • Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
  • Add soy sauce and white pepper.
  • Toss in sprouts. Stir fry to blend about a minute. 
  • Remove from heat.
  • Transfer vegetable mixture to a strainer set on top of a bowl to strain out any liquid.
  • Set aside to cool.
 

Noodles
 
  • Boil water and add noodles, cook according to the instructions in the package.
  • Strain, cut into 2 1/2 legthwise,  and set aside.
 
To Assemble
  • Place a spring roll wrapper on a clean working surface
  • Spoon 1 tbsp vegetable mixture, from into far end corner of wrapper
  • Add a few strands of noodles, and 1 tsp of chopped water chestnuts.
  • Spread the filling lengthwise along the spring roll wrapper nearer the end closest to you.
  • Lift up the wide end nearest you and tuck overtop. Fold the left and right sides of wrapper over filling. Roll to the other end.
  • Secure the roll by dipping your fingers in some water and wetting the end, "pasting" it shut.
 
To Cook
  • In a deep fryer or a large sauce pan, pour vegetable oil until 1/2 full.
  • Heat oil until a small piece of wrapper when dropped into oil, sizzles. 
  • Fry spring rolls in batches, about 3-4 pcs at a time,
  • and frying about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove and set on a plate lined with paper towel or to a wire rack over a baking tray.
 
 
Note:

  • For a Pei Wei like Veggie Spring Rolls, don't add rice noodles and water chestnuts.
  • I like using a Filipino Lumpia (Spring Roll) Wrapper, it is thin and not so starchy. It is as thin as crepe and when deep fried, it has a delicate crisp to it compared to the Vietnamese or Chinese wrapper.
  • To keep your Spring Rolls crispy until you serve, turn on oven in the lowest heat possible and keep rolls in there set on top of a wire rack over a baking tray.
  • Never cover your spring rolls, the steam will keep it from being crispy.
 
 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mimosa


Happy Mother's Day!



A Day of celebrating for Mothers.
A day were moms get pampered, lavished with presents and special attention from everyone they love. 

 Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms, and to the children ...enjoy the time you have with your Mother because you never know which moment will be the last.
Cheers!!!

 

MIMOSA


Ingredients:
4 oz orange juice
4 oz good champange
1/2 oz triple sec

Method:
  • Chill tall champagne flutes.
  • Pour orange juice in flutes.
  • Add champange and triple sec.
  • Garnish with orange slice and mint.
Note:
I like a frozen Mimosa so I freeze my orange juice. In a blender, I add frozen oj and the rest of the ingredients, and blend. 
Serves: 2

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GREEK PASTA SALAD



Getting my summer recipes ready.
Not quite summer yet but I thought ... Why not!
With Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken in the oven, this is a great light side for it.
Going light tonight!

You can never wrong with this pasta salad, with the summer heat, you don't want to use Mayo. Unless you don't like your guests. LOL! ;)
This salad is best prepared the night before.
This is best paired with anything that you grill or just a simple roasted chicken.
Great for picnics, bbq grillin' with friends or family, or just for a light lunch .
Best served chilled.





Ingriedents:


Pasta Salad

1 pound Rotini or Penne (Piccolini) pasta cooked according to package directions
1 pint grape tomatoes (substitute with any other tomatoes diced)
1 cup diced English/Hothouse cucumber
1/3 cup red onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 cup banana peppers (optional)
1-1/2 cups diced or crumbled feta cheese

 
Dressing

1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Italian dried seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional - add to taste)

 
Directions:
  • In a large bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, italian seasoning, and salt. Whisk to combine. If you have a salad shaker the better.
  • In a another large bowl, combine cooked pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, bell peppers, green onions, olives, feta cheese and banana peppers.
  • Divide dressing into 2, saving 1/2 in the refrigerator .
  • Toss the pasta salad with the rest of the dressing until fully coated.
  • Cover, and keep refrigerated overnight.
  • Before serving, toss the salad with the remaining dressing.


Serves: 4-6

Sunday, May 6, 2012

KOREAN BBQ



I don't know of a single person that does not like Korean Bbq after they have tasted it.
This thinly sliced meat has a smoky sweet flavor when broiled or cooked on the grill. 
It melts in your mouth!!!
I have tried a few recipes, experimented with it and it never tasted like the Korean Bbq I ate from an authentic Korean restaurant.

Taking different ideas from different recipes, put my red apron on, and started experimenting in the kitchen.
After a few tries, tasting bitterness, burning my tongue from accidentally pouring too much red pepper flakes, and burning the meat because of too much sugar and cooking in
medium-high heat, and just because I was yapping on the phone with a friend, here's  what I have come up with.

If you looked carefully ... in this recipe I have used ginger, apple puree and pear puree, not all recipes use this. I have found out that a Traditional Korean Bbq marinade contains pear puree.

An easy marinade that you can make ahead of time.
Korean Bbq is sliced thin that it only takes less than 5 minutes to grill.
Gives you more time to just sit and enjoy the company of your guests. 




 
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Korean Kanjang soy sauce or any light soy sauce*
1/2 cup of apple puree*
1/2 cup of pear puree - Use Korean or Bosc pear    
1/8 cup sesame oil (optional)*
1/12 cup sugar
4 tbsp minced ginger
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp black pepper
12  lbs of Korean shortribs or 8 flank steak cut in thin strips

6 large Chinese green onions, thinly sliced,
divided for marinade/garnish
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds  for garnish (optional)

*if you don't want to make your own puree don't fuss you can buy purees at your local supermaket and if you are really feeling lazy,
substitute the  *first 4 ingredients 
with 3 1/2 cups Store bought Korean Bbq Marinade - any brand & add the rest of the ingredients.

 
Directions:
  • Place in a large aluminum deep baking dish or a large plastic zip bag (for easy disposal).
  • Combine all the ingredients together, blend well. 
  • Pour the mixture over the meat making sure the ribs are well coated.


  • Cover and Marinate for at least 4 hrs. turning the meat every 2 hrs. to make sure both sides are well marinated. 
  • Best if marinated overnight.
  • Heat grill to medium heat (Do not cook in medium-high heat, I have found out in a painful and bitter way will just burn you and the meat)
  • Place meat on grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until cooked to desired doneness.
  • Garnish with the rest of the Chinese green onions and toasted sesame seeds(optional). Most kids don't like it, so I suggest sprinkle only on the adults plate.

Note: If you use Flank steak, have the butcher slice it thin. And it is not traditional but it is best to skewer the thinly sliced steak in a bamboo skewer, so it does not curl when grilled and will prevent from falling apart .

Saturday, May 5, 2012

PERFECTLY PERFECT MARGARITA




HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO EVERYONE!!!!

Celebration calls for a great Margarita recipe. I have tried tons of recipes for a Perfect Margarita, but all those recipes are far from perfect. Here's one I have tried, and used.
And let me tell you ...  it is as Perfect as perfect can be!
A good Margarita requires only the best ingredients and only use the best Tequila such as Patron.
It's a bit expensive but it is worth the buy. In this recipe I have let go of my pauper's budget. Once in a while I do splurge for quality's sake!!!

Serves: 2
Ingredients:

3 oz  Tequila
1 oz  CitrĂ³nge Tequila
1/2 oz  orange juice
juice of 1 lime
4 oz sour mix
lime wheel for garnish

Salt(optional)*



Directions:

In a shaker full of ice, combine Tequila, CitrĂ³nge, orange juice, lime juice, and sour mix.
Shake well, strain, and serve in a margarita or martini glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel.


If you like Frozen Margarita, you can always blend all ingredients and crush 8 ice cubes in the blender.
Use 5 oz. of Tequila & 1 1/2 oz of Citronge.

*If like salt on your glass, place salt  in a shallow dish. Moisten the rim of a margarita or martini glass with a dampened paper towel, then dip in salt.

Please do not share this with anyone not of legal drinking age.






Thursday, May 3, 2012

HamTurk Tosta with Pesto

HamTurk Tosta with Pesto


What a beautiful sunny day today!!!
Spent most of the morning with my Little Taz out today. He has so much energy, and we have to release all that by running around and playing outside.
The poor family of geese got chased out of the pond.
Had a little picnic at the backyard, made myself and Taz a HamTurk Tosta with Pesto.
And some Pink Lemonade to quench our thirst.






Started planting my herbs and tomatoes in a tiny garden bed I made at the back of the house. 
Of course Taz helped ... helped me wreck my garden bed!!!
Now I need to go run and get more herbs at the nursery. I need to get cilantro, sage, lemon grass, chives, etc. I have my rosemary growing in a pot, I take it indoors on winter months and keep it next to the window.







Ingredients:




1 Torta Bread (La Brea Bakery)
2 thinly sliced Maple Glazed Ham (Boar's Head)
4 thinly sliced Oven Roasted Turkey (Boar's Head)
2 thinly sliced Provolone cheese
3 slices tomatoes
1 tbsp Pesto sauce
Butter or Green Leaf Lettuce



Note:


This sandwich is best when toasted in a panini maker. If you don't have it you can always use a stovetop grill pan. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread and grill toast.



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