Monday, May 31, 2010

Healthy Eating? Day one .....

Breakfast: Oatmeal and a glass of soymilk

Lunch: Tuna and brown rice


1:00 p.m ..... SOMEBODY PLEASE GIVE ME SOME BACON!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Cupcake Experiments

I'm on a roll. I've been in such a good mood last weekend that I baked two kinds of cupcakes. All from recipes that I've never used before.

White Cupcake+Brownies+Peanut Butter Frosting

I saw this recipe from All recipes again. It had such great reviews! But the recipe called for instant mixes. So, being such a glutton for punishment, I baked mine ALL from scratch.

For the brownie base, I used Alton Brown's recipe, which has never failed me (as long as I don't forget it in the oven!).

For the white cake base, I used a recipe from All Recipes.

For the Peanut Butter frosting, I used Wilton's recipe, will a lot less sugar. That's why the frosting's not as fluffy and pretty.

No one will eat them if I used all four cups of sugar!

The cupcakes turned out ok, the white cake baked differently though when I used a foil cupcake liner as opposed to a paper liner. They browned a bit more with the foil liners and there is a "sad streak" or some underbaked portion in the middle top part of the cake. Which usually is found on old fashioned pound cakes.

I have a few ideas to improve this recipe as well. Will keep you posted!



For my Devil's Food Cupcake, I used Martha Stewart's recipe. Which was great and super moist. I've never baked with sour cream before since I have a few trepidations, but this recipe put my fears at ease. I may never use another Devil's Food recipe ever again :-)

Wilton's Chocolate Buttercream recipe is the bomb! Be sure to use Dutch process Cocoa though, for that ultimate chocolatey smell and taste. As usual, I cut the powdered sugar WAY down, to reduce the sweetness. I can't pipe roses by doing that but, the icing will have the less "sawa" factor.

Do you hear that? ......

That's my jeans popping open.....

Back to Regular Programming

Back to regular programming.....

I've been baking up a storm these past two week ends. I got derailed in posting them with my little video stories, which I had so much fun making.

Anyway, I came across some interesting cupcake recipes on the net that caught my attention. I've been wanting to try out new ways to make cupcakes.

The first recipe that I tried, in time for Mother's Day, was the Chocolate Chip Cookie+Yellow Cake cupcake. I made a few changes and combined three recipes to come up with one unusual cupcake.

The original recipe came from All Recipes, as well as the chocolate chip cookie dough in the middle. For the yellow cake, instead of using a mix, I baked it from scratch, what else? I used the recipe from All Recipes also.

For the chocolate frosting, Wilton's Chocolate Buttercream was just perfect.

This cupcake is a bit time-consuming to make, with three kinds of recipes to combine and some freezing time for the cookie dough. However, it was easy enough to do.



I am ashamed to admit it, but the yellow cake recipe that I used came out a bit bland, and a bit dense, despite sifting the flour mixture three times. I would improve on this by using a vanilla cupcake recipe instead. I've had great success using Amy Sedaris' recipe and would use that next time.

Having a chocolate chip cookie dough in the middle was sheer genius though. Very unusual and such a novelty.Mycupcake came from the fridge that's why it looks so rigid here in the photo.



In my opinion, cupcakes are best eaten at room tempreture. Except for those with a whip cream topping.

I had a few cookie dough left over and decided to bake them separately, as is. I know, such cuties, right?



I vow to perfect this Chocolate Chip Cookie+Yellow Cupcake soon :-)

In the meantime, feast your eyes on some oatmeal cookies that I also baked from scratch.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pasasalamat

Thank you for watching the video series :-)


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Ang Pagpapatuloy

The adventure continues ....

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Laro ng Tadhana

Why is it that when you are at your happiest, life throws you a curveball?

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Ang Regalo

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it all .....

Coming Home by Chris Daughtry

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Prayer

This is part three of my quest to find the right one... When all else fails, we all turn to prayer to ask for the fulfillment of our heart's greatest desire.



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The Substitute

This is one of the greatest regrets of my life, which I learned a great lesson from. I am not proud of it and would often cringe at the memory. I didn't realize that I would be so emotional when I made this video last night.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Perslab

Our first love often leaves bittersweet memories that we can't seem to forget. After almost seventeen years, I am sharing mine.


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There's more to come and I hope you can join me in this journey of re-discovering the culmination of the greatest love story of my life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Vote Has Been Cast

This is the line INSIDE the BF Multipurpose Hall at 8:00 a.m.



Hubby voting.



Did you vote?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Black Forest Trifle

I've had some inquiries about my Black Forest Trifle after I posted here on my blog. The BFF wanted to get the recipe as well. This is a very simple recipe to make.



Simple Black Forest Trifle

3 cups all purpose cream, chilled
1 can condensed milk, chilled
10 chocolate cupcakes, broken up
1 jar cherries in syrup, drained and sliced (reserve syrup)
Chocolate shavings (optional)

1. In a chilled bowl and using a chilled beater, whip together cream and condensed milk until double in volume. Everything must be chilled for the cream to be properly whipped.
2. In a separate bowl, layer chocolate cupcakes, Brush with the syrup from the cherries. Sprinkle some of the sliced cherries. Top with the whipped cream.
3. Repeat the process, ending with cream. Top with cherries and shaved chocolate (optional).

I made the chocolate cupcakes from scratch using Martha Stewart's Hershey's Chocolate Cupcake recipe.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons Hershey's Cocoa powder (I used Bensdorp Dutch process Cocoa instead)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Directions

Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 12 paper liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Using a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, beat for two minutes. Add boiling water and beat to combine (batter will be thin). Divide batter evenly between cupcake liners.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes (mine baked for 18 minutes). Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you are pressed for time to make this trifle, store bought chocolate cupcakes will cut the preparation time drastically. He he he.

Cupcakes baked from boxed chocolate cake mixes work well too. it will be our little secret. Ssshhh.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Get Together with High School Friends Part Deux

Once in a while, I like to invite friends over for lunch and I've renewed old ties with some high school friends, thanks to Facebook. I hosted a small lunch get-together yesterday. Since it's a long weekend, only a small group were able to come. I had a blast despite having just a few people over. I actually prefer hosting a small group, it's more intimate and the conversations tend to be wackier and longer.

What I like about "parties between friends" is that the conversation takes centerstage, rather than try to impress them with my culinary expertise. I prepared simple dishes to my party with one "usual" kicker, the Sinigang sa Pakwan. A traditional sour soup with a twist. Here's the recipe:



Beef Sinigang sa Pakwan

1 kilo beef brisket (or ribs)
2 tomatoes, sliced in half
2 White onions, sliced in half
1/2 medium sized watermelon, cubed, ALL seeds removed
Salt
1 radish, sliced diagonally
2 Packs of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampaloc
2 to 3 Finger peppers
Pole Beans
Okra
Kang-kong (water cabbage)

1. In a stock pot, combine beef, tomatoes, onions, watermelon and enough water to fully immerse all the ingredients. Add some salt. Boil for two hours or cook in a pressure cooker for one hour.
2. Remove the lid, get some of the broth and place in a different bowl. Mix in the two sinigang mixes until fully dissolved.
3. Pour the sinigang mixture and the radish to the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes or so.
4. Blanch the vegetables in the broth and set aside.
5. To the simmering broth, add the finger peppers, Let simmer for a minute and turn off the heat.
6. Serve piping hot.

I decided to serve the vegetable separately because they wilt so quickly and turn brown once you add them to the broth.

There is also a dish that I prepared (ok, the housekeeper fried) that's a different take on the usual, Lechon Kawali. I saw some Bacon Cut Pork Belly at S&R and fried those up with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper until they are crispy. This is sure to please any pork-loving, chicharon addicted individual. Serve with a dipping sauce of vinegar and minced garlic. For the love of anything holy, eat sparingly!

Crispy Bacon Liempo



I also served Salad with Mangoes and Jackfruit with a salad dressing that we purchased from Sonya's Garden the day before, Rellenong Bangus and Chicken Barbecue and Pancit Malabon for merienda.





For dessert, hubby requested Black Forest trifle. I also made some chocolate chip cookies.



It was a fun gathering, despite having only a few people over. Until next time!

Crab Torta/Relleno in Their Shell

This is a very simple yet indulgent dish to make. I purchased some blue crabs from the market last Saturday and I've been wanting to make this for quite a while. Hubby usually prefers his crabs steamed but I wanted to try something new(ish). Of course, I've had this so many times before in my youth when my mom and my grandmother were making them. I didn't consult my mom on her recipe this time, but used a variation of a recipe that I saw somewhere.

Crab Torta/Relleno



4 Blue Crabs (male, because they have more meat)
1 small potato, cubed very small, blanched
Cooking oil (I used Rice Bran oil)
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Tomato paste
Egg, slightly beaten

1. Steam crabs and remove all the meat. Set aside the "caps".
2. In a wok, saute tomatoes, onion and garlic until soft, but not brown.
3. Add in the crab meat, blanched potatoes and tomato paste. Season and mix to combine.
4. Stuff mixture inside the crab "caps". Brush with beaten egg and fry.

Hubby liked this recipe but I think I have a few more ideas to improve this, I just didn't have the time. I was such in a rush due to the traffic that we encountered from Tagaytay, that I just made the simplest recipe that I could. After all, I had to feed a hungry husband quickly, he he he. Will let you know how it goes next time......

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Antonio's Tagaytay

We've been invited by the CEO of hubby's Alabang office for a lovely lunch at Antonio's yesterday. They were showing the sights to one of the executives from their New York office. Antonio's is regarded as one of the country's best restaurants, and I think it's a must-stop for any balikbayan, tourist and locals to try not just for the outstanding food, but for the experience of being in the mountains with a lovely upscale homey setting. Antonio's is currently having some renovation and expansion works done at the back portion of the property. So, the view isn't that great...yet.

The food was excellent as usual. I am totally stealing the Scallops Tempura in Mango Sauce idea for one of my parties, even the presentation was great.



Our group also tried a variety of dishes that hubby and I never ordered before:

Scallops with Watermelon


Beef Fillet


Porterhouse Steak that's good enough for three! (or four skinny ladies)


Tomato Risotto as a side dish for the Porterhouse


Chocomint Parfait (not really sure why this is called a partfait...hmmm)


Flourless Chocolate Cake


Profiteroles


Watermelon Calamansi Sherbet


Are you salivating yet? :-)