Wednesday, October 29, 2008

#27_ Chicken a la Jambalaya on Pasta

The photo above is Jambalaya Pasta from a restaurant. It is so good that I had ordered it several times when we went there, but it is a bit pricey for me, about 12 dollars with no side dish, not even a piece of toast. I thought to myself, "I can make this." So the last time we went there I took this picture so I can dissect it and maybe replicate it. Included on the description on their menu is a list of the main ingredients which includes chicken breast, shrimp, cajun sausage, pork loin and creole tomato sauce.

I went to several stores looking for the cajun sausage and creole tomato sauce. I don't know, but the restaurant probably special order these items from a specialty stores, even the butcher said he hadn't heard of such a sausage. He suggested that I should just get some ground pork and season it with cajun seasoning. As soon as he said that I had a "light bulb moment." I went to the spice shelves and bought a bottle of cajun seasoning and decided not to use sausage.

This is my modified version of the dish. Since this is just an experiment, I didn't bother to add pork or shrimps in it. Without pork, shrimps or the sausage its not appropriate to call this dish jambalaya. So I call it Chicken a la Jambalaya on Pasta.
I had a couple of chicken breasts saved in the freezer from making the chicken adobo a few weeks ago. It is a rotisserie chicken, so cooking the dish was a breeze. After thawing the chicken breast in the microwave, I cut them up in large chunks. I sauteed some chopped onions in a little bit of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the onions were wilted I added the chunks of chicken and continued to saute it for a few minutes, adding some thyme and oregano and some celery salt as I was sauteing it. Then I poured in 2 pints of tomato salsa which I made a couple of months ago. Right after I poured in the second bottle of salsa, I thought I made a disaster because it dawned on me that the salsa has some vinegar in it. Well, I continued to simmer it anyway, thinking that it is just an experiment..scientists make mistakes too and who am I, but an old lady in the kitchen! Needless to say, I continued. I added 1 tablespoon of the cajun seasoning, chunk slices of green bell pepper and some, sliced red bell pepper.
While the sauce was simmering, I boiled some Mostaccioli pasta. ( for boiling pasta, refer to entry#4). Then poured the jambalaya sauce over the pasta.

To my amazement, it tasted good! Except my version is slightly drier because I didn't use tomato sauce, and I could taste a little touch of vinegar. Other than that it came out good. Next time I'll get some sausage and use tomato sauce instead of tomato salsa. I will do some more experimentations on this recipe, until and enjoy life! Bon Appetit!!
When my husband came home, I asked him if he wanted to try my pasta. He said sure! Before I served it to him, I heated up some plain tomato sauce and added about 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning and mixed it up with the dish. It made a difference! He didn't only said "GOOD!", "REALLY GOOD" but also had two big servings of it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

#26_Ampalaya with Shrimps

Shrimps with Ampalaya

Steamed Shrimps
Almost-paper-thin slices of Ampalaya

Sliced Ampalaya soaking in water and salt
A few weeks ago, my friend, Aida, was reminiscing about the time when my parents lived here with me. She said that she missed my mother's Shrimp with Ampalaya. I told her that I would try to make some for her. I made some last week but, I don't think it's as good as my mother's....hers is always the best. On a scale of 1-10, I think I'll give mine an 8.5! Not too bad.
My mother was also good at stretching menus and at the same time maintaining the nutritional values in her dishes that she fixed for her family. This dish is so easy to cook and so simple that it only has the shrimps and ampalaya as the basic ingredients, and yet it is so full of flavor and so nutritious.


Start with the ampalaya by cutting them crosswise about 2 inches long and cutting each piece into halves. Then take out the seeds and the white membrane with a knife. To achieve thin slices of the ampalaya, use a vegetable peeler. Then soak the sliced ampalaya in water and salt. Lots of salt! because the salt sucks out the bitterness of the vegetable. After an hour or so, rinse it with water.

While the ampalaya is soaking in salt and water, steam the shrimps.
First, clean the shrimps by cutting off their whiskers and the thorns (for lack of scientific terms) and rinse them with water and while they are still dripping, put them right in a pot. The drips from the shrimps is all the water needed to steam the shrimps. Put the lid on and cook them over medium high heat. After about 2 minutes, and with the lid on, gently shake or toss the shrimps. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Take the lid off and put some salt and some butter on the shrimps. Give the shrimps a little more shaking and tossing and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, uncovered. At this point, add some rice water, ( for a pound of shrimps, use about 3-4 cups of water or rice water) and bring to a boil. Add some patis or salt, whichever you prefer, and simmer for few minutes. Finally, add the rinsed ampalaya, but do not put the lid on. Bring it back to a boil, without stirring, until the ampalaya is tender and cooked. 

Notes from Mamely:
1)Fried fish can be substituted for the shrimps. 
2) Update: I learned that the bitterness in the ampalaya is good in lowering blood sugar, so now I don't soak them in salt and water anymore.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

#25_ The Miracle of Ampalaya

Ampalaya, Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon

A year-round kind of vegetable, it is famous for its bitter-tasting characteristic. Both the leaves and its fruits are used as a vegetable, and it has many medicinal uses as well. It is an excellent source of vitamin B, iron, calcium and phosphorus. It is known to stimulate digestion. In Pangasinan, a pinakbet dish is not pinakbet without ampalaya.

One of the many medicinal uses of ampalaya that my sister Mila had found out is to cure pimples. Yup, in her youth, Mila's face was blemished by ugly pimples and she jumped at anything she heard of that would treat her pretty face. She was soooo delighted when somebody told her that if she ate ampalaya everyday for awhile her pimples would go away. So, she became a culinary expert using ampalaya as the main ingredient: Ampalaya omellete in the mornings, ampalaya guisado for lunches, boiled ampalaya for dinners and who knows what else she concocted using ampalaya. Eventually, after many weeks of eating this bitter-tasting main ingredient, I think her pimples got tired of the ampalaya, they went to someone else's face!
Itutuloy! (to be continued!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

#24_ Caramel Popcorn Snack Mix

WARNING: Eat at your own risk. This is an addiction-forming snack!!

I didn't use to like pretzels, either the soft kind or the hard kind, until my husband's cousin, Ione, served this snack at a get-together. I tried it and I was hooked to it! Believe me, you can't stop at just a handful! I'm glad she was kind enough to share with me the recipe.

Dry Mixture:
6 cups popcorn
6 cups Rice Chex cereal
2 cups mini pretzels
1 cup or more pecans

1 cup brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking Spray.
2. Spread all of the MIX on the foil. Set aside and make the caramel sauce

To make the Caramel sauce:
In a saucepan, add brown sugar, butter, corn syrup. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. After it boils, continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and maintaining the boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Pour over the dry mixture and bake in a pre-heated 300 degrees oven for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and stir. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper to dry. When dry and cooled, pour into a bowl and break them up.


#23_ Monkey Bread


Have you seen a monkey eat bread? I haven't! I don't even know that monkeys eat bread. So, why is this bread called MONKEY BREAD? Your guess is as good as mine.

Another name for this bread is PULL APART. That's because this bread is already buttered, and you don't need to do anything to it. You just go ahead and pull it apart and nibble like monkeys!

Use dough recipe for the Sticky Buns (entry #21).
Update: you can also use the Basic Sweet dough recipe, click here.

1) After the dough cycle is finished, take it out and divide into half.
2) Take one half portion of the dough and divide it into 20-24 pieces.
3) Shape into balls and dip each piece in melted butter then arrange them in a non- stick bundt pan. Do the same with the other half portion of the dough in another bundt pan.
4) Let rise for an hour or until double in bulk.
5) Put in a 350 degrees pre- heated oven and bake for 35 minutes.
This recipe makes 2 bundt pans of monkey breads.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack or onto a serving platter.

For variation, after dipping the dough pieces in the melted butter, you can toss each piece in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and arrange them in the bundt pan

Thursday, October 16, 2008

#22_ Cinnamon Rolls

Heart-shaped Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mmmmmm!! Cinnamon Rolls

You can make these rolls the same way as the Sticky Buns, entry #21, omitting the caramel sauce. After sprinkling cinnamon/brown sugar mixture on the dough, you can add some chopped walnuts and raisins, then roll out the dough jelly-roll fashion and cut into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inches thick and arrange on greased pans. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes.
Let cool and drizzle icing on top. Icing or Frosting recipes below:

Egg-less Butter Cream Frosting :
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 stick butter, very soft but not melted
2 Tbsp. warm milk or orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together butter and powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla.
Mix well and drizzle on top of rolls while they are still warm.
If frosting is too thick gradually add a little bit more liquid, (a little drop at a time) making sure the frosting is not too thin or it will be too runny to spread on the rolls.
(The original recipe for this calls for 1 egg, but because of salmonella and other bacteria issues caused by uncooked eggs, I omitted the egg and made some adjustment with the other ingredients).

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) very soft but not melted
4 cups powdered sugar
4 to 5 tbsp. warm milk or orange juice

Cream together butter and
cream cheese.
Add in powdered sugar and milk (or OJ)

Mix well and drizzle on the rolls while they are still hot.

Tips fom MaMely:
Before spreading the raisins on the dough, plump them up in warm water or juice for about 10 minutes. Dry them in paper towels.

Here is another dough recipe you can use to make a good cinnamon roll: click here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

#21_ Sticky Buns with Pecans

Sticky Buns
A variant of cinnamon rolls

Finger Licking Sticky Bun

You can make different varieties of rolls using the pan de sal dough (recipe #20) with just a couple of changes.

For Sticky Buns: You need to increase the amount of flour as this requires 2 eggs. Eggs in the ingredients is considered a liquid.

Here's the recipe for the dough:

2 cups warm milk

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup white sugar

5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp saf instant yeast

1 tsp vital wheat gluten

1 tsp dough enhancer

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Follow procedure for making dough for pan de sal. After dough cycle is finished, take dough out and divide it in half.

On a floured surface, roll out one of the half portion of the dough into a rectangle and brush 1/2 cup softened butter( not melted or it will ooze out when cutting) on the dough.

Sprinkle a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tbs ground cinnamon on top.

Roll out dough as for jelly roll or into a long log, tightly. Seal seams securely.

Do the same thing with the remaining half of the dough or make other kinds of rolls.

Combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tbs Karo syrup. this is the caramel..

Spread this mixture evenly into bottom of 5 round pans.

Using a dough cutter, cut logs about 1 1/2" to 2" thick and arrange the pieces on the prepared pans.

Let rise for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bake in a pre heated 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes

Let the bread cool before inverting onto a plate.


1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsps ground cinnamon

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tbps corn syrup

pecan halves, optional

Here's another good dough recipe that can be used to make Cinnamon Rolls, it is called
Sweet Dough. Click here for the recipe.

Monday, October 13, 2008

#20_ Pan de Sal ( Philippine Dinner Rolls)


Growing up, these ubiquitous dinner rolls were a very popular breakfast item among Filipinos for their versatility and convenience. We used to fill them with scrambled eggs, sardines, mackerel omeletes, corned beef, you name it, the list can go on and on. I remember every bakery in the city was opened as early as 4:00 in the morning and if you came in a little past 7:00 a.m. you were lucky if there was some left for you.
Pan De Sal was one of the first Filipino food that I missed when I left home. I'm so lucky that a family friend, Bayani Parayno, who had a bakery back in his hometown, showed me how to form the pandesal using dough made in the bread machine.

About 22 years ago my husband gave me a bread maker for Mother's Day and it probably idled for a couple of years after I used it once, because the loaf of bread I made didn't turn out very well. I said, "The heck! I can't make's cheaper to buy it". Not long after that, I gave it another try, studied the manual instructions, and experimented with different recipes. After that I was hooked and spoiled too, because I can't make breads without this machine.

This recipe is from my sister, Melita, which was given to her by a friend, but I had made some alterations to suit my bread machine. The beauty of this recipe is that it only requires one rising, and no need of proofing the yeast which means you don't need to activate the yeast in warm water first before mixing it with the other ingredients.

(I'm going to update this Pan de Sal dough recipe and share with you some changes I had made. Due to the higher cost of Bread Flour nowadays, I had switched to All Purpose Flour in practically all of my bread recipes, and increased the amount of Vital Wheat Gluten....gotta have the Vital Wheat Gluten if using all purpose flour. I also made adjustments on some other ingredients for a better yield. This new recipe yields 32 pieces or more depending on how you roll and cut the dough. The old recipe only yield 24. The changes I made here are indicated by red asterisk).


2-1/4* cups milk, warm (or 1-1/4 cup milk + 1 cup water)

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 stick butter, very soft

6 cups* all purpose flour* (plus 1/4 cup if needed)

2-1/4* tsp Saf instant yeast

1 tsp dough enhancer, my secret ingredient, now revealed

1 Tbp* vital wheat gluten, another secret ingredient

1 tsp salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

Baking Procedure:

1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine pan in order given above starting with the warm milk.

2. Select "Basic Dough" or "Quick Dough" setting and let the machine do the mixing and kneading. Mine takes 30 minutes to do the cycle. Its a good idea to experiment with your bread makers first.

3. Take the dough out of the pan and divide it in half for easy handling, or use the other half for other kinds of bread like cinnamon rolls, or just plain dinner rolls. Cover it with greased plastic wrap.

4. On a floured surface, ( I prefer to use oil) roll out half of the dough into rectangle

5. Starting on the side closest to you, roll up the dough like you would jelly roll only tighter and longer like a stick. Make sure to seal the seams securely by pinching them using your thumb and forefinger. Do the same with the other half

6. Using a dough cutter, or a knife, slice the rolled-up dough into 1-1/2 to 2-inch thickness

7. Toss these slices of dough onto some bread crumbs, coating each cut side with the crumbs and gently form them into somewhat oval shapes

8. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until they are doubled in size,(that's all the rising they need). Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 18 to 23 minutes depending on your oven.

This is an authentic old fashion kind of Pan de Sal, soft but not fluffy. If you grew up in the 50's and 60's you know what I mean. You want your Pan de Sal to be hefty enough or strong enough to hold up to the fillings we Filipinos put in our rolls (palaman sa tinapay).

Now you can enjoy warm Pan de Sal anytime even if you're away from the Philippines.

Gramma enjoys her pandesal with hot cocoa while Grampa Gregg likes his with peanut butter and raspberry jam

grandson Conner

and grandaughter, Aurionna enjoy their rolls with just plain butter.

Notes from MaMely:

1. I also use this recipe for just plain dinner rolls. After the dough cycle is finished take the dough out and form into rolls about (more or less) 2 1/2 inches diameter. Arrange rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the temperature in your home. Bake same way as pandesal.

2. Another name for dough enhancer is dough conditioner. If you don't have dough enhancer, you can crush a vitamin C tablet, (500 mg or 1,000 mg). This will act as dough conditioner. I learned this from a book entitled " BREAD BAKING MADE EASY" by Dora Flack (1984). She also said that dough conditioner works as a yeast enhancer, helping it (the yeast) to achieve its maximum potential. It also strengthens the gluten and produces a lighter, more elastic bread.

3. Wheat Gluten, according to her, wheat gluten traps the gases given off by the yeast enabling the dough to rise higher. It gives better texture and helps retain moisture in breads and dough. It also prevent crumbling.

3. Put the egg on one side of the pan and the yeast on one side so they won't be touching each other. You don't want the egg in the warm water either as you might end up with a poached egg. This is just a precaution.

Important bread-making tips from KAF bakers

  • Don't bother heating the orange juice to lukewarm; you can use it straight out of the fridge. The orange juice won't add its own flavor to the bread, but will mellow any potential bitterness in the whole wheat.
  • If you're kneading bread by hand, it's tempting to keep adding flour till the dough is no longer sticky. Resist the temptation! The more flour you add while you're kneading, the heavier and drier your final loaf will be.
  • The amount of liquid you use to make the "perfect" dough will vary with the seasons. Flour is like a sponge; it absorbs water during the humid days of summer, and dries out during the winter. Your goal should be making the dough as it's described (e.g., cohesive, soft but not sticky), rather than sticking religiously to the amount of liquid.
  • When making yeast bread, let the dough rise to the point the recipe says it should, e.g., "Let the dough rise till it's doubled in bulk." Rising times are only a guide; there are so many variables in yeast baking (how you kneaded the dough; what kind of yeast you used) that it's impossible to say that bread dough will ALWAYS double in bulk in a specific amount of time.



Click here to link to Malisa's blog where Malisa, the author, made this recipe with some few adjustments. Other than the few changes she made, she is happy with the result. (Read her nice comment in this post too).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

#19_Fake Chicken Adobo

Mamasita's Oyster Sauce and Yoshida's Sauce

I don't want to sound like I'm endorsing these brands. I'm not! Actually,I'm not into brands. Often times I buy the generic stuffs. But let me share my little discoveries with you. I've tried different brands of oyster sauce and found the Mamasitas brand to be the best, so far. The difference is that Mamasitas uses natural or real oysters, other brands say on their labels: flavored oyster sauce. But beware though, it has 82% sodium! that's awfully high!

Yoshida sauce has a sweet and savory taste with garlic and some spices not revealed on the label, of course, and has lower sodium content than the oyster sauce. I only find them at Costco. Again, I'm not trying to endorse Costco, (I'm not getting paid by these guys), but that's the only place I know who sells them aside from Sam's club.

The combination of these two sauces makes a lot of difference in this recipe. I've tried using one without the other and the result wasn't satisfactory for me. I guess in areas where the Yoshida is not available you can just use oyster sauce by itself. But because of the salt content you have to use just a little, about 3 tablespoons, and more liquid (soda), therefore, the color of the sauce will be a little pale. Oyster sauce is very excellent in stir fry dishes too.

Rotisserie Chicken from Costco

In my opinion, Costco has the best rotisserie chicken, unlike others, Costco's have mild seasonings which when use to make this recipe, blends really well with the sauces. Again, I've tried other chicken of the kind from other stores but they have too much dry rubs.

The Fake Chicken Adobo

I know you're wondering, is there such a thing?

When my 3 year old nephew first arrived here in the US, he was having a hard time with the food. I took him to McDonalds and he said "ba-aw, sabaw!" Ba-aw is Pangasinan for kanin (cooked white rice) and sabaw is sauce or gravy. He wanted to eat only rice and sauce! I asked his mother what kind of sauce? She explained to me that whenever they went to "MacDo" all he ate was rice with the adobo sauce. I didn't even know that McDonalds in the Philippines serves adobo and rice.

One time they came over, he asked me if I had some adobo sauce. I didn't want to go to the store to buy the chicken because the weather was bad. I scrounged around the freezer and all I found was some rotisserie chicken. I thawed out the chicken in the microwave and cooked it with some yoshida sauce, combined with some oyster sauce. He ate it with gusto! His mom said that I faked him out.

This recipe beats Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meal because you'll have adobo on your table for less than 25 minutes. No kidding! That's because the chicken is fully cooked and if cooked longer than needed they'll fall apart.

Okay, are you ready?


1 (3 lb.) rotisserie chicken, cut up to serving pieces

1 medium onion, sliced

4 TB canola oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup Yoshida sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar

3 TB oyster sauce

freshly cracked peppercorns

1 cup 7-up or sprite, not diet


1. In a large saute pan, heat oil and brown the garlic. Add the sliced onions. Saute until onions are limp and translucent.

2. Add in the cut up chicken pieces and continue to saute gently for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sauces, the vinegar and the peppercorns. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes

4. Pour in the soda and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

5. Adjust seasonings to your liking, if too salty add a little more soda and simmer for another 5 minutes, otherwise, its done!

6. This is optional: If you prefer thicker sauce, take out the chicken at this point and cook down the sauce until your desired consistency


For Lemongrass Pork Adobo recipe, click here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

#18_ Pumpkin Cake

I will be making this cake for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Actually, you can make this dessert anytime of the year. It is just that we always associate pumpkin with the fall season.

In my #11 entry I mentioned about the cookbook. Well, this cake is one of the recipes found there. The recipe was given to me by another co-worker years ago and I had made it several times for my family. The list of ingredients might be long, but it is really easy to do.

1 box yellow cake mix (reseve 1 cup)
1 egg
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
Mix together and press onto greased 10"x15"x 2" pan forming a crust. (do not bake at this point)


1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can evap milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 TB all pupose flour
1 TB cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together dry ingredients, set aside. Mix the wet ingredients together then combine with the dry ingrdients and pour over crust


Take the reserved 1 cup cake mix then add:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
Mix together until crumbly then sprinkle on top of FILLING
Bake in a pre- heated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35 more minutes.

Cool before slicing. Top each slice with whipped cream


#17_ Ginataang Mais

A drizzle of coconut cream makes this even more delish!

This is a merienda "on a budget"...a cup of rice will feed an army, and can be eaten warm or cold,(room temperature). Make sure to use coconut cream and not coconut milk as coconut milk is thinner than the coconut cream.

1 cup glutinous rice
10 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2 cans coconut cream, reserve 1/2 can for topping
3 ears of young corn

Remove kernels fron the corn if you're using fresh. I used frozen corn in this recipe as fresh corn were unreasonably expensive the day I made this. After thawing out a 15 oz bag of frozen corn in the microwave, I put them in the food processor and pulsed it about 5 times until the corn kernels are just broken up but not ground.

In a large pot rinse the malagkit and discard the water. Replace it with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil then simmer until the rice grains are halfway cooked, then add the sugar. Continue to simmer, about 10 minutes, then add the rest of the water and the corn. Let it simmer for another 20-25 minutes, stirring ocasionally. Add 1 1/2 cans of coconut cream about 5 minutes before you take it out from the stove stirring well.

The reason I added the coconut cream 5 minutes before taking it out of the stove was because cooking the coconut cream longer will cause it to render its oil. I personally don't like to see coconut oil on the surface of my ginataan.

Monday, October 6, 2008

#16_ Black Rice Bibingka (Pirurutong)

Black Rice Bibingka

This Bibingka has a a beautiful deep purple-ish black color
nutty flavor and is cooked like Biko.

I first tasted it about two years ago when a lady brought some to a gathering we had. I liked it so much that I followed her around for the recipe. She never gave it to me.

First attempt:

Thinking I have an idea in my mind how to cook it, went and bought the black rice and cooked it like I do biko. OOpppps! Rice was still raw and hard.

Second attempt:

Last week, I saw some of the black rice sitting on the shelf in the storage. So I decided to give it another try. Put more water than cooking normal malagkit. Another ooppps! Some of the grains were nice and tender but most of it were hard. Sayang!

Third attempt:

One more try.. soaked the rice over night, adjusted the water, etc. Again, it didn't turn out! another oopsy! I always feel bad wasting food but couldn't help but threw it away. So that was it! I quit!

I was feeling so disappointed and frustrated, I called my mother who lives in New Zealand. She didn't answer her phone. Then I called my sister, Melita, who lives next door to my mother, just to chit-chat with her, not intending to tell her about my black rice dilemma because I didn't think she can help me. Before I said goodbye, well I thought, I might as well tell her. Lo and behold!! to my surprise she knows how to cook it! She told me that the black rice, although it says on the package, and Thais call it, GLUTINOUS, is NOT glutinous at all. She told me the secret: you need to combine it with some white glutinous or sticky rice, then soak them overnight and when cooked, becomes sticky. In the process, the white sticky rice picks up the black color from the black rice. That's what I was doing wrong all the black rice by itself! Melits, the "genious", my saving grace!

How did I do on my fourth attempt? NOT BAD!!

Recipe for Black Rice Bibingka:
This is 1/2 Recipe
baked in a 9"x13"x2' baking pan (updated)
1 cup black rice
2 cups white glutinous rice, soak in
3 cups water
1 can coconut cream or coconut milk
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1) Put the black rice and glutinous rice in the rice cooker pot and rinse it once. Discard the water and replace it with 3 cups of water, cover and let soak overnight.
2) The next day, plug in the rice cooker and cook the rice (this is the same process I make biko or nilatikan, click here). As soon as the rice cooker timer dings (or whatever signal your rice cooker gives you when the rice is through cooking) take the pot out and stir in 1 can coconut cream or coconut milk and brown sugar into the rice. Mix well.
4) Transfer the mixture into a greased 9"x13"x2' baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a 325 degrees oven for 45 minutes up to 1 hour in water bath.
6) Sprinkle with sweetened flake coconuts.(Optional)
This is an updated procedure.


Note from MaMely:
1) Water Bath: put your filled pan in a larger pan and pour in boiling water about halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.

2) This Bibingka will slice better when completely cooled. When still hot or warm, it will not slice, but you can use a spoon or a ladle to scoop it.
In other words, you might want to wait about 6-8 hours before slicing it. I don't know who can wait that long to dig into it though.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

#15_ Devils Food Cake Mix (Subs)

This is in response to a reader's query if there's a substitute or alternative for the boxed Devil's Food cake mix,(entry #13). She caught me off guard! I'm sure there is. But I have never used anything but my aunt Betty's mix, (you know, Betty Crocker). I've been so spoiled since these pre- mixes are so convenient and are so cheap, even nowadays when everything is so expensive I bought few of them the other day from W-mart for $.89 per box. Still cheap, considering I don't have to measure and sift the dry ingredients....Aunt Betty already done the dirty work for me.

Anyhoo, I searched around my kitchen and found BETTER HOMES & Garden cookbook and pulled out a recipe for a devils food cake. Since you're not making the cake itself, I'll just give you the list for the dry ingredients to use for the mudslide cookies.

Here they are:
2 1/4 cups all-pupose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup white sugar
Combine and sift all ingredients

According to the cookbook, the reaction of the cocoa powder and the baking soda gives the devil's food cake or cookies its characteristic reddish brown color. There you go, I learned something new today! Thank you for asking the question.
Just remember that I just pulled this recipe out from the book. I did not try it, so please let me know how you did. thanks a lot.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

#14_ Gulay

Halo-Halo(ng) gulay (mixed veggies)

Ohhh my gulay!

Everybody around here is harvesting their crops before the temperature drops. One of my friends harvested some of her immature squash the other day and gave me one, it was so young and tender that I didn't need to peel it. She grew the variety that is grown widely in the Philippines (our very own kalabasa). She also gave me some of the blossoms.

Gulay in Tagalog, pising in Pangasinan, dinengdeng in Ilocano. Its very versatile kind of viand as one can pretty much put everything in a pot...anything! Mix and match kind of thing. With the squash I added in what I had in my freezer: talong and string beans which were extra from making some kare-kare about 2 weeks ago. Then I also had some cooked pork spare ribs in the freezer. Back home, mother always used shrimps instead of meat for her sabong. (does anyone know the translation of sabong to Tagalog and English?) I thawed them out in the microwave. So I had some Gulay in no time.

How to make this dish:
Saute some chopped garlic and chopped onions in a little canola oil. ( of course heat up the oil first). Then add the cooked pork and saute for few minutes. (If you don't have pork ready, you need to saute the meat then simmer til its tender). With the pork, add the squash and string beans(sitaw) and continue to saute for few minutes. Pour in about 3-4 cups water (rice water is better). Let boil, then add some alamang bagoong. Add the eggplants and okra. Cover and let simmer until the veggies are tender. Add the squash blossoms last. Adjust seasoning, in this case, bagoong alamang. Mangan tayo la! (kain na!)

#13_ Mudslide Cookie Sandwich

Mudslide Cookie Sandwiches, Whoopie Pie or BFO (Big Fat Oreo)

Got an idea to make with the mudslide cookies? about cookie SANDWICHES!!
Ooey, gooey,cookies. Very simple to make:

Take 1/2 a brick of cream cheese. Soften in microwave for 20 seconds. Beat well. Add a jar of marshmallow creme. Mix together well. Put a dollop of this filling on the center of a cookie and top with another cookie, lightly pressing them together to spread out the filling. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. They keep well in the freezer too.

To make the Mudslide Cookies, click here.