I don’t know where I’m trying to do with the title. Anyway, here I am once again. I missed doing this- working in the kitchen, and making more mess trying to “food style” recipes and then working even harder at coming up with a remotely coherent content.

I’m not happy about my absence in the blogging world but I’ve been caught up with a number of things lately. Between trying to go back to school and doing burpees without fainting, not to mention wonder girl, I barely have time to explore new culinary feats.

But I’m glad that I’m here to share this recipe with you. This has been inspired by our recent trip to Pittsburgh. I LOVE Pitt! But that’s another post altogether. On our last day, we brunched at this small, underground, nondescript creperie located in a small street off Walnut St. It was so good and I thought, “I must, MUST learn to make crepes!” I really did! Seriously. Now, crepes might be common to most of you kitchen prodigies and er…French peeps but I’ve always found it daunting to make these paper thin French brunch item. But after making these, I was surprised by how easy it is which led me to think what other things I missed out on because I was too intimidated to try. Wow, all these from crepe making. Hmmm….

So of course, after realizing that crepes don’t bite, I decided to make chocolate ganache for the filling because I feel like I needed another challenge. I could’ve easily used chocolate syrup but I feel like crepes deserve something more than something that comes out of squeeze bottles. I mean, if you want to use some (I highly recommend it) by all means, go ahead. I’m not judging. I only wanted to make this fancier than it really is to make this post worthwhile.

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Crepes with Mango and Chocolate Ganache Filling

For the crepes: (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • Some butter to grease pan

Here’s how:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. (I used food processor) Puree until foam/bubbles form on top.
  2. Let batter sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. Place non-stick pan over medium low heat. Add butter and smear on surface.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter in the center of the pan and swirl pan to make it bigger and thinner.
  5. Cook for about a minute before flipping crepe. Use a spatula or a fork or butterknife to pick the edges and slide a spatula under to flip. Then cook for another 10 seconds. Done!

Note:

  • In all recipes I found, it is very important that you let the batter sit to avoid tearing. You can store batter in an airtight container for up to 48 hours in the fridge.
  • I used the back of a large wooden spoon to flip the crepe so it doesn’t tear. The spatula punched through the crepe as I was flipping so I found the spoon technique better.
  • Original recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. whole milk and 1 cup all-purpose flour but I’ve been trying to keep everything low cal.

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup mangoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp. Chocolate Ganache
  • Non-fat plain yogurt

Chocolate Ganache:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp. butter, softened

Here’s how:

  1. In a saucepan, boil half and half.
  2. Add chopped chocolate and turn down heat to low. Stir until mixed together. Turn off heat once chocolate mixture thickens.
  3. Whisk in butter and turn off heat.

Now you can put all components together the way you want to. Personally, I prefer sweet over savory crepes. But you can definitely use mixed veggies, smoked salmon, ham, eggs. Your options are limitless. I love using mangoes. I love fruits in my crepes and mangoes are in season. And this is really famous back home in the Philippines that when I talk about it here, people are surprised by the combination of chocolate and mangoes. But I hope you guys try it.

Other ideas: Strawberries and nutella, Bananas and nutella, nutella and nutella, butter and sugar, honey and yogurt, walnuts and honey, marshmallows and chocolate syrup sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs…. you guys get the point, you can be as creative as you wish.

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Pancakes with a Twist

Hello, everyone! The weather’s been brutal lately. And as if things can’t get uglier, our heating system decided to act up. Anyways, here I am to bring you guys something to get giddy and excited about. At least I hope it does as it did me. For a while, I haven’t really been in the mood to make or try anything for a number of reasons which I choose not to bore you with. But here I am with a brand new recipe and I can’t be excited to share it with you. I am really happy about this number because first, I finally learned how to make pancakes from scratch. The first time I tried? It was a huge flop! Yes, there is a difference between baking soda and powder. I won’t delve into that. The pro-bakers can probably enlighten you on that matter better than I do. But, I hope you would take my word for it for those who are still wondering what really is that fine line between baking soda and powder.  And secondly, I finally reached that point where I’m comfortable to tweak some details here and there and make it my own.

I got the basic pancake recipe from marthastewart.com. I remained consistent with hers because I don’t want to mess up our breakfast. I only added a few drops of vanilla extract. That’s it.  It was fluffy and light but a little too spongy for my liking. The following week I decided to add 1 yolk plus about 1/8 cup of milk to make it a little more dense but not to sacrifice its cloudy fluffiness. It was a success. And tired of my usual vanilla, I added some lemon flavor and here I am.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/4 c. All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 & 1/8 c. Milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon zest
  • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter to grease the pan
  • Honey or maple syrup

Here’s How:

  1. Place non-stick pan or griddle on low heat. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, pour in milk, eggs, lemon juice, zest and melted butter. Whisk together until homogenous. Then add in dry ingredients. Whisk until well mixed. It’s tempting to overmix but a few lumps is ok.
  4. Smear extra butter in the pan and pour pancake batter. Adjust heat accordingly.
  5. Enjoy!

It tasted so good. The lemon flavor bursts in your mouth. The amount of lemon you put in depends on the tartness you desire. I don’t think it will affect the fluffiness of the pancake unless you decide to throw a whole lemon in there. I used honey because what else goes perfectly with something citrussy and bright as lemon? You can be as creative with the toppings as you wish.

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ImagePancakes are L.O.V.E. Don’t you agree?Image

This stick of butter reminds me of this movie I saw last night, “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” It was a film adaptation of the play Neil Simon wrote. And there was this one part where Eugene’s mother, Kate asked him to get a 1/4 lb. of butter. And Eugene argued that he just went for a 1/4 lb. the same morning, why didn’t she just ask him to buy a 1/2 lb. butter. To that she replied, “Suppose this house sets on fire, what am I to do with a 1/4 lb. butter!” Lol. I’m such a weirdo.

Oh, and I asked Wonder girl to help me with the honey. It wasn’t much of a success, her tiny arms got easily tired holding up the spoon. And she couldn’t wait to lick the honey off of it.

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So there you go. I hope you guys try this recipe and let me know what you think. How about you, do you have a favorite pancake recipe you would like to share?

2012 in review

Thanks to everyone who took their time to take a peek at my little slice of life. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Red Kitchen

Wow! December! Only 10 days to see whether the Mayans knew what they were talking about or not. But then again, Marty McFly visited the year 2015. So I don’t know Mayan guys.  I guess we’ll see. Meanwhile, I thought I’d stop by and say Hello to everyone. How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I can still talk about thanksgiving, right? After all, it’s only been what? Two weeks? Ok, but I thought it is still apropos to share the many things I have been very blessed to receive- the many miracles happening in my family’s lives, joy, healthy body, sound mind, strong spirit. And recently, I just added lunch lady/delivery girl extraordinaire to my extensive resume. Yes, I opened The Red Kitchen.

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If you know me well or if not, just take a look around my blog and you’ll see how much I love cooking. I love the momentary departure from the real world the kitchen gives me. You know, when I’m cooking- whisking my worries away and… ok..not really good with euphemisms but you get the point. And recently, I have decided (with divine intervention) to extend my kitchen to other food lovers out there and I couldn’t be more ecstatic how well they received it. Thank God. You couldn’t imagine the emotions I was going through that day I delivered the food to my friend’s company. The anticipation and second guessing and everything in between. After all, I have never received unbiased opinion about my culinary abilities. The feedbacks I get from anyone not related to me by affinity? Also questionable because they get their food for free. So back to that week I delivered food, a few minutes later from dropping off the goods, I received a text from my friend (my inside guy/divine connection/marketing executive). I remember tearing up. “Ate (big sister), this is really good, everybody liked it.” It was the herbed chicken on citrus infused rice with roasted carrots and a bowl of grapefruit-arugula salad with homemade dressing. I felt like the happiest person right at that moment. If anyone had seen me while I was driving that afternoon, they might think I needed psychiatric attention or at least some zanax. Anyway, it wasn’t a tall order. Initially, only 6 people ordered from her office. But You can’t buy chicken for only 6 people. So I made the entire inventory and it came up to 9 plates. All sold out with excellent reviews. I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that people are willing to pay for my food. I’m not raking in huge amounts of money. At least not yet. But I never thought it’s possible. (I even got tips).

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I don’t think I have ever been so passionate about something. I thought it was photography but that was just a phase. I still love it. But when I cook, it’s different. Everything else turns into a blur. I pour all my heart out (and then some)when I prepare food. I am so thankful to finally find something I care about so much. It took a while. And I am thankful that I came around. I am also grateful for guidance. I don’t think it would’ve turned out the awesome way it did if not for God. You see, when you constantly seek divine will, God will show it to you. I guess that’s another post altogether. But it’s perfect. And yes, it’s been 3 weeks since the first order I received but I am still as excited as I was that day I received that text. Am I expecting more? Yes! And I am also thankful that I am confident I can expect more. Just last week, my order from that same place increased to 12 and have expanded my market when I decided to walk in to a car shop and sell 3 extra plates. It was pulled pork on sweet potatoes. Everyone loved it. One lady even said that she doesn’t need to be asked if she was ordering or not. If I’m cooking, she’s an automatic count. Wow! Whenever my friend comes home from work, she tells me h0w her co-workers loved the food and they notice all the love I put in- how I pack the food, etc.

Well, to quote a friend who quoted some cliche that day I told him about this gig, “when you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life!” And he couldn’t be any more spot on.

And to end this, let me leave you with some pictures of my grateful family during Tahnksgiving. God bless, everyone! Let’s all expect great things from our great God.

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Food: Avocado, Grapefruit & Shrimp Salad

Hello! How’s everyone? I hope everyone is recovering okay from Sandy and  roughing out Athena pretty well. And if you’re not quite happy about the 2012 election result, I pray you’re getting over that pretty fine as well. On my part, I don’t know where to begin telling you what’s been going on  because I have been doing a whole bunch of stuff but not really. Errr…. Well, you see, there’s so much going on in my head right now. Some ideas were lucky enough to materialize and some.. well, they made it to Instagram. :/ There’s so many projects I want to take on but I’m either short on time, resources or time AND resources. And whenever I make something happen, the camera’s to no avail. No, lying! I don’t feel like using it. So I Instagram and I don’t know why I feel so guilty about it. 

So let me just start with this. A nice plate of green and orange to clear up the confusion I might have caused you. This is my happy medium right now. And I noticed I have been eating quite a few avocados lately. And this got me even more excited because avocado got me to eat grapefruit. I don’t know, it just works for me. And maybe you should try it, too.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 grapefruit, supremed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Shrimp cocktail 
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Here’s how:

  1. Place segmented grapefruit in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
  2. Add avocados and shrimp. You can use as many shrimp as you want. If you’re using fresh shrimp,  cook shrimp and chill.

I know. It may not be too fall-y. But give it a try anyway. You can never go wrong eating healthy, no matter what season it is.