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?

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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: 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.