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?

Food: Scallops & Citrus Salad

 

Around this time last year, I was already busy planning Thanksgiving dinner. But it’s a little different here in New Jersey. I don’t think it’s ready for fall. I went to the local farmer’s market to grab me a bag of brown rice. But you know how it is. My eyes started wandering around and I saw nice and plump cherry tomatoes and on the opposite side were the freshest baby arugulas. I immediately grabbed both and got the most summer-y menu in my head cooking up. As soon as I saw those crisp arugula babies, I immediately knew what I was going to make. So I grabbed the nicest grapefruit there was and stepped to the fish market next door and grabbed me a pound of scallops. I was a happy girl. I got all I need and I headed home.

Inspired by one of my favorite chefs, Anne Burrell, here’s a party served in a plate. I must say that this recipe didn’t disappoint. I don’t know how anyone could possibly not like this. Unless you are legitimately allergic to shellfish and if you are, I already feel bad for you.

This dish is super easy. I was surprised by how quick I finished “Supreme-ing” the citrus. I used to be so intimidated by how tedious it seemed. A sharp knife should do the trick. The only problem I had was browning the scallops. It wasn’t the best sear. As a matter of fact, I think I am the first to ever steam scallops in oil. I blame on the stove. hehe… Anyway, it all still worked out. I hope everyone tries this. Chef Anne was right. You don’t have to be a professional chef to cook like one.

Scallops with Citrus Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 LB. Sea Scallops
  • 2 C. Baby Arugula
  • 1 Grapefruit, supremed
  • 2 Medium-size Oranges, supremed
  • 1 Small Red Onion (or about 1/4 Large Red Onion), julienned
  • 1/4-1/2 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP. Honey
  • S&P to taste
  • Pepper flakes to taste

Here’s how:

  1. Season scallops with salt and pepper on either side and brown on both sides.
  2. Meanwhile, supreme your fruits and place in a bowl.
  3. Squeeze out juice from the pith into a separate bowl. Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream. Add honey and salt and pepper flakes. This is your dressing.
  4. Place arugula in a huge bowl and drizzle with dressing. Gently hand toss. Add onions and fruits.
  5. Plate salad and top with scallops. Drizzle more olive oil.
  6. ENJOY!

Look at all those colors. Doesn’t it remind you of summer? I love fall but I’ll find every excuse to make this salad. Now I know why Chef Anne’s such “a happy girl.” Isn’t that here line? I really love her- spikey hair and all her quirky abbreviations.

Anyway, I hope you guys try this. If it’s not too fall-y yet. Try it. I know this is an appetizer but this could be a meal in itself. Yummy!!! The bottle and stemware were props. I had to go to church. But after the service, I enjoyed it with reckless abandon. 😉 What? Oh it’s Monday tomorrow. Oh well.

 

Quick Post: Scallion-Parm Drop Biscuits

I really had no intentions on posting this. I didn’t even plan on making this at all. I braved the elements and walked a mile (car’s out of commish) to the farmer’s market and Pathmark (cringe) to get some items so the Unabean and I can make something together for a Friday afternoon of fun. I bought baking ingredients so we can try the 2-minute mug brownie. It was a disaster and totally not worth it. And I wasn’t about to let a bad pin ruin my streak of culinary success this week.(No photos but amazing braised short ribs, cranberry glazed roasted pork chops, citrus-chili beans). So I remembered this recipe from Melissa D’Arabian from Ten Dollar Meals. And I have always wanted to try it. And I did and I’m sharing this with you because it was successful. And it was also green in the inside. hehe

I’m really not a baker and it’s nothing short of a miracle that I nailed this. And I almost wasn’t able to make this recipe because I didn’t have baking powder. I do howver have baking soda. I have always wondered what the difference is between baking soda and powder. Apparently there is quite a difference. I’m not going to go all nerdy right now but according to some site I googled, you can substitute baking soda with baking powder but you cannot use baking soda in place of baking powder. Catastrophe! I only had baking soda. They said it can be remedied by mixing cream of tartar and that should do it. Well, guess what? I don’t feel like taking another mile walk in the rain to get to the store  just to get cream of tartar. So I read up some more. And it said that baking soda can work if you have some acidic ingredient you can counteract the baking soda with. So, I put some greek yogurt. And it worked. So I may not be much of a baker but a little chemistry helped. (All that high school chem finally starting to sink in)

I swear I’m not trying to scare you.

Scallion-Parmesan Drop Biscuit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cold
  • 1/3 c scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 c parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp. plain 2% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c whole milk

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. In a food processor bowl, place flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse until well blended.
  3. Add butter and pulse until coarse and crumbly.
  4. Add scallions and parmesan cheese. Process until mixed well.
  5. Add greek yogurt and pulse a couple of times.
  6. Pour in milk and process until all ingredients come together. It is supposed to be a coarse, think batter. It is tempting to process this mixture longer but try to resist.
  7. Take a spoonful of batter and place it on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and it passes the clean fork/knife/toothpick test.

Easy peasy, right? This came out perfect. I burned the bottom but I’ll just adjust the temperature next time. The biscuits were crumbly the way they were supposed to be and yet moist. I am a firm believer of doing things from scratch as much as you can. And this is really easy and you can make it your own. You can substitute scallions and parm for something else. Go ahead and be creative. It can be sweet as much as it can be savory.

**Cut the butter into cubes and place it back in the fridge or freezer until you’re just about ready to put it in the food processor.

 

Happy bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: Chicken Sisig

I couldn’t think of anything else as Pinoy as Sisig. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. To me, Sisig is a Pinoy food royalty. It was probably because it was never served at my home when I was growing up. I haven’t even heard of it until a neighbor who moved from Pampanga said her mom made Sisig. I was like “What?” She explained and I forgot about everything she said two seconds later.

Then I grew older and learned to drink beer. Then my beer drinking led to drinking out with friends in bars. Yes, bars in the Philippines serve actual food in case some of you are wondering. Then some friends ordered sisig. I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t even remember how I started liking it. All I know is that now, I love it and I have been craving for it and that whenever there’s a Pinoy gathering here, it’s the first thing I put on my plate.

So last Friday, I was thinking of what to do with the ground chicken that’s been sitting in the fridge for about a week now. I’m trying to think of something that wouldn’t require a trip to the store. So basically, everything that’s already in my pantry. Then, I don’t know what it was that made me look for a Sisig recipe. I was shocked. SHOCKED by the simplicity of the ingredients. I mean you know, after the pig ears, jowls and brain. But ingredients that you wouldn’t suspect that would be in such a delectable dish as this. Vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi and onions. That’s it. I was like is this for real? Well there’s only one way to find out. If it turns out to be anything but the sisig I so loved, then I’ll just charge it to experience and the chicken that sacrificed its life for a silly experiment.

To my suprise, it was sisig indeed. I mean not the traditional Sisig but it sure tasted like the Sisig I remember and that works for me.

This recipe is adapted from Panlasang Pinoy.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • Chili
  • S&P to taste
  • cooking oil

Here’s how:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, pour some oil and allow to warm up. Place ground chicken and allow to cook. Discard broth if there’s any.
  2. Once chicken is cooked all the way through, add vinegar, soy sauce and lemon juice in increments until you reach desired flavor.
  3. Throw in chopped onions and chili. Cook until the onions are just about translucent.
  4. Serve with piping hot steamed white rice or ice cold beer.

There’s a variety of how this is served. The most famous is on a sizzling cast-iron plate. Some people cook it in or top it with mayo. Some put chicharon. I like this option. Personally, i like mine with lots of onions and citrus because it cuts the grease.

This is what sisig looks like and I wasn’t kidding about the pig’s ears, jowls and brain. That’s what traditional sisig is. They boil the face to remove the hair then they grill it. Then they chop it up and fry it in oil before they add vinegar, soy sauce and onion. It may sound gross, but it tastes really amazing.