Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Prize-Winning Fluffiest Pancake Recipe

UPDATE: Nov. 9, '09 (Tuesday 10th, New Zealand time)

Subject: Congratulations
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 11:16:21 +1300

Congratulations you're a winner in The Search for New Zealand’s Favourite recipe with FreshChoice and SuperValue Supermarkets. We hope you enjoyed the competition as much as we did.
You've won a prize of $1,000 cash. We will direct credit this into your bank account early December, just in time for Christmas.
Please email back your full name, bank account details and also your postal address.
Media may want to contact you with a few questions. If you are happy to be contacted please email back your contact phone details.
Once again congratulations on your win.

The contest has ended with these winners below. Thank you very much to all of you who voted for Melita's entry. She appreciates all your support!!!!

Overall Winner
The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie ... With Raspberries If You're Feeling Extra Flashy - 2145 votes

Category Winners
Snacks & Light Meals - John's Ultimate Protein Post Workout Shake - 691 votes
Main Meals - Chicken Italiano - 408 votes
Starters & Extras - The Fluffiest Pancake Ever - 333 votes

Deadline to vote is Nov. 8th! Please go to the link below to vote for her recipe.
Be aware though, that after you voted you'll receive an e-mail from the organizers asking you to confirm your vote. Hope you don't mind doing that. Thank you so much!!!

The Fluffiest Pancakes Ever!

This is my sister, Melita's entry to a recipe contest in New Zealand. With less than 2 weeks left before the contest deadline, she has 295 votes and 9th place overall and 1st place in her category. It is a popularity contest, so anyone with an e-mail address can vote.

May I invite you, beloved readers of this blog to vote for her recipe. It will mean a lot to her.

Please click here to cast your vote and to see the don't need to try and cook it!

Your vote will surely make a difference.
Thank you very MUCH

Another update:Nov. 2, '09

Melita received this e-mail today!

Subject: Media
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 11:41:26 +1300

Thanks for entering your recipe for The Search for New Zealand's Favourite Recipe.
Your recipe has been selected to promote to the media.
Can you please provide your contact phone number(s) for one of the Ogilvy PR team to discuss this with you.
You may or may not be interviewed in the media. Please let us know that you are comfortable with this.

#193_Roast Turkey/Gravy

I was going to post this entry last year but things got so crazy and hectic and chaotic that I never got to doing it. November this year for me looks like it is going to be more hectic than last year as my calendar is already getting filled up with different events. Aside from Thanksgiving Day, there's baby shower, farewell, birthdays, baptism, bake sale for fund raising. So I better get this in before it will be buried once again.

What I'm going to share is not really a recipe but rather a method of roasting turkey that I picked up from Martha Stewart many years ago. Aside from stuffing the cavity of the turkey with seasoned veggies, she placed some of the vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan before putting the turkey in the oven.

When the turkey is done, put these veggies in a blender or food processor then mix it in with the drippings to make gravy.

Here's a link to making basic gravy:

Hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving Day!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

#192_Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Classic Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Baked in a 9x13 baking pan

This was inspired by a bread (pan de sal) they make in the Philippines where they incorporate squash in the ingredients. So I thought I'd make some using pumpkin since pumpkins here are pretty inexpensive and are always available. In the Fall season, the fresh ones are found every where even in backyards, while canned pumpkins are always available in grocery stores.
Of course, if I were in the Philippines, I would use squash or kalabasa instead.

Look at the texture! a good sign of soft and fluffy roll.

I only used 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to the recipe and it made the texture of the rolls so incredibly soft and the color is fabulous, but I was a bit disappointed because the taste of pumpkin is not there. Maybe I should add more pumpkin puree next time I make it.

Arrange dough close together to get a classic roll look.
You can make 48 rolls with this recipe

The recipe is pretty much like the Basic Sweet Dough,
recipe #178, with a few modifications.

Here's the recipe:

1-3/4 cups milk, warm
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin ( I used canned)
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
6 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. SAF instant yeast
1 tsp. dough enhancer
1 tsp. vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Put all the ingredients in the bread machine pan starting with the milk and set the the machine on "dough" cycle. Let the bread machine do the mixing and kneading. When cycle is finished, let the dough rise in the bread machine pan until doubled in size. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and cut it in half, then cut each half into 24 pieces. Form each piece into balls and arrange them in 2- 9x13 baking pans lined with parchment papers. Let them rise until doubled in size. Brush top of dough with egg wash then bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

If you want to use more pumpkin in the recipe, you need to adjust either the liquid or the flour...less liquid or more flour.
If using 1-cup Pumpkin Puree, decrease amount of milk to 1-1/2 cups, same amount of flour.

A tip from MaMely:
For Speed Rising...this is just for the second rising or proofing.
Turn the oven on for just 1 minute or until the temperature reaches 8o degrees and then turn it
off. (Make sure the temperature is not hotter than 80 degrees). Place the baking pan (with the formed dough) in the oven below the middle rack then shut the oven door. Let the dough rise until they are soft and springy to the touch, about 20-30 minutes.
Take the pan out. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 18 to 20 minutes.


Update: 11-18-11
Here's the link on How to make your own Dough Enhancer...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#191_Learning to Braid Bread

I was just fascinated by the way a FoodBuzz friend, Laura braids her breads. Her Braided breads are works of art, so I decided to give it a try. I used my Basic Sweet Dough recipe #178 to make this bread. Hers look a lot better, but I think mine is not that bad for a first-timer, (patting own back!) Click here to go to her site.

I hope to do a better job next time.

#190_ Crock Pot Roast Beef/Pot Roast

Traditionally roast beef is cooked in the oven, but there are times I need to use the crock pot to cook the beef in specially when I would be gone for a while. Crock pot cooking is very convenient specially for busy moms. It is a pretty good alternative to oven roasting and the huge benefit you'll get from cooking with crock pot is that you can let "time" in a sense do the cooking, but don't expect the outcome to be the same. The roast cooked in the oven has nice outer crust specially the fat part ( Mmm, love the crisp fat!). Although the meat cooked in a crock pot won't have the same crispy crusts, it still can be tasty and succulent and tender.

How to Cook Beef in Crock Pot?

First, turn the crock pot on to low. Rinse the meat with cold water then dry with paper towel. Rub meat with seasoned salt (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt) or you favorite rub.

Heat some oil in a heavy skillet and sear (or brown) the meat on all sides. This way the juice is sealed in and blood from the meat won't seep through. You don't want to cook the meat in its own blood. Place the browned meat in the crock pot, fat side up. Put lid on and let it cook for 6 to 8 hours depending on the size of meat.

If you want the meat to be fork tender, slice the meat up and place it in a baking dish with its juice then put it in a 325 degrees oven for an hour. Serve with baked potatoes and au jus sauce or thickened gravy.

Pot Roast
Crock pot cooking is also good for making pot roast ( a different cut of meat).
Put cut vegetables like potatoes, carrots, celery, onions on the bottom of the pot, then place meat on top of veggies. Thicken the meat juice with flour or cornstarch on top of stove for gravy.

#189_Cucumber Ribbon Salad

Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Pinoy Style Dressing

They resemble wire ribbons, these thin slices of cucumbers make a simple but elegant salad, cucumber salad, that is.

What is Pinoy style dressing?
It is a very simple dressing and consist of very basic ingredients:
It is a mixture of vinegar, sugar and salt, that's it! the dressing is then poured into the sliced cucumber. You don't need to bring out your measuring spoons and measuring cups to make this, just eyeball the ingredients. Tantya lang ang kailangan nito. Sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

This Cucumber Salad is a very good accompaniment to chicharon or fried fish and other Philippine viand such as bistek, pork paksiw, crispy pata, lechon, etc.

To make ribbon-like slices of cucumber:

First, rinse the cukes with cold water and dry with paper towel. Cut off both ends of the cucumber.

and to make that ribbon effect, use a veggie peeler as a slicer then pile them up in a bowl.

And voila!! "ribbon cukes"!

they are so pretty as they curl up

You can also add some sliced shallots, or sliced radish or grated carrots on the cukes and go Italian...make real vinaigrette instead of just vinegar, sugar and salt.

Suggested ingredients for vinaigrette:
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#188_No-Knead Dinner Rolls

Here's another no-need-to-knead method of making breads or rolls that I'd like to share with all of you. I got the recipe from the November issue of BH&G magazine. If you don't want to get your hands messy from kneading the dough or if you don't want to use your bread machine or mixer for some reason, this method is for you.
As for me, after making this recipe twice in a row, I think I'll stick to my bread machine method using the Basic Sweet Dough recipe, click here.

The picture above is the result of my second attempt at the recipe. There's nothing wrong with the rolls except they're not any better than my other bread recipes. In fact they taste too salty. I like the sweet bread better, but give it a try because you might like it.

Here's the recipe for the No-Knead Dinner Rolls:


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (room temperature)
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not unbleached)
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • Melted butter
  • Softened butter


1. Heat the milk to 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F; add the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add cooled milk, eggs, and sugar to dissolved yeast and stir to blend. With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups of the flour and the salt; stir until smooth. Add 2 cups of remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and only slightly sticky. (Only if needed, after 3 minutes of stirring and dough is overly wet, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time.

2. Cover the surface of the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Cover the top of the bowl with a second piece of plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours)

3. Lightly butter 24 muffin cups. Gently press the dough to deflate. With lightly buttered hands pinch off generous 1-inch pieces of dough. Fold the dough over, turning and tucking the edges to form a ball. Pinch the seam together to seal. Dip in melted butter and arrange three dough balls in each muffin cup. Let rise until fully doubled (about 1 hour).

Tip from MaMely:

Instead of pinching off one inch of dough at a time, I divided the dough into 72 equal pieces

then arranged 3 pieces of doughs into the muffin pans.

4. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until well-browned. If needed, to prevent over browning, cover rolls with foil during last few minutes of baking. Remove from oven. Brush with softened butter. Return to oven for 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Remove rolls immediately from cups to a wire cooling rack. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 24 dinner rolls.

These were the first rolls baked in 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

I doubled the pans when I baked the rolls and they still turned out somewhat burned. I thought the temperature was too high.

So the second time I made them, I lowered the oven temperature to 350 and baked them for just 18 minutes. They came out alright.
I made two different kinds of rolls from the same dough.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fluffiest Pancakes Ever

The Fluffiest Pancakes Ever!

This is my sister, Melita's entry to a recipe contest in New Zealand. With less than 2 weeks left before the contest deadline, she has 295 votes and 9th place overall and 1st place in her category. It is a popularity contest, so anyone with an e-mail address can vote.

May I invite you, beloved readers of this blog to vote for her recipe. It will mean a lot to her.

Please click here to cast your vote and to see the recipe.

Your vote will surely make a difference.
Thank you very dearly

UPDATE 11-17-09
Here's the recipe:
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup light olive oil or melted butter
  • ½ cup plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten until soft peaks form
  • Topping:
  • Softly whipped cream
  • Strawberry jam, warmed
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoon toasted flaked almonds


  1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Then mix in the milk, vanilla, egg yolks and olive oil.
  3. Stir in the yogurt until just mixed.
  4. Fold in the beaten eggwhites.
  5. Heat and spray a non stick pan with cooking spray.
  6. Ladle ½ cup of mixture and when bubbles form on the top, turn to cook on the other side, about 2 minutes each side.
  7. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  8. Fold pancakes into quarters.
  9. Serve with whipped cream, jam and berries.
  10. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds.

10-12 30 minutes


Jennifer E


mely johnson

This is my kind of pancakes. I like my pancakes nice and fluffy! Gotta try this one for sure.

Lani Edwards

Very yummi and delicious :) One of my favourite dessert.......yum.....gotta go and cook some!


Man love anything you make....YUMMY!!!

Andre' the Giant

tried these with jam, ice cream, maple syrup & chocolate sauce. love it.

Bill Gammon

Wow! For an old guy who tries to feed a couple college guys, these are great for all of us!


I just whipped up a batch this afternoon & they are so light & soft I had to stop myself from eating too many! A winner with cream & jam - delicious!


Thanks we loved our breakfast because of this recipe so delicious, the grandchildren enjoyed every bite and wanted more.


Hey Melita, tried these out today for an indulgent lunch for my mum and I and.............. they are gorgeous! I did not have any yoghurt so I substituted with sour cream and they were lovely! Your getting a vote from me, so now I urge you to try out my recipe in this category "Fabulous Stuffed French Toast", If you like indulgent brekkies give it a go and let me know what you think of my recipe! Well done and good luck!


Hi Rebecca, thank you for your vote and comments.Buttermilk is another good substitute but is equally nice with just milk as long as the eggwhites is beaten.We love french toast so I will definitely check out your recipe.


My kids love their pancakes extra fluffy so I made some on Sunday and added more beaten eggwhites.
Check out the link for the photo:


I need to go and try this recipe out .... my children loves having pancakes for dessert and especially for breakfast.


I'm not a pancake person, but after trying your pancakes...well...I think I just might have to change my mind. They are simply awesome!!! And I'm not necessarily the best cook in the world, either. So, all of you "wanna -be" cooks, give 'em a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Dang if I wasn't (surprised).


Thank you Bobbi for trying the recipe. Watch out! you might be indulging on this every weekend.

Lucy Ezekiela

Scrumptious!!!!!! Its the best pancake ever


Just checked out your pic of the fluffiest pancakes on the link you have provided....hmmmm hmm, looks devine and mouth watering!!!
Cant wait to try this, thanks Melita


I love pancakes! Gotta try this one!


Very tasty & delicious - Thanks Melita


What a yummy pancake!!!


Wonderful recipe Melita!!
As all your recipes are great, Thanx Melita..will hihgly reccomend this recipe to others..Awesome!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#187_Zucchini "Noodles" Stirfry

Zucchini Noodles?
Yup, noodles made of real zucchini! not flour.
This is amazing and it is the easiest stir fry I ever made.

To make zucchini noodles:
Using a cantaloupe shredder, shred zucchinis into long strands,
like spaghetti. Stop when you get to the white seedy part.
Yes, it's that easy!
If using home-grown zucchinis, you don't need to peel them
as the peeling gives a beautiful green color to the stir fry,
besides being full of nutrients.
Don't use the very mature zucchinis...
save those for making bread.

To make the stir fry:
Saute minced garlic and sliced onions in oil then
add some shredded chicken.
(As usual, I used rotisserie chicken, so cooking was a breeze).
Saute it longer if using fresh chicken.
Next, add some oyster sauce and
then stir in the zucchini noodles and let it cook for just few minutes.

the zucchini noodles with chicken.

If you want a Chinese style stir fry, you can add some bean sprouts,
mushrooms, green beans or any veggies you like.

I used this kind of frozen veggies. It is a super time-saver!

#186_No-Knead Bread Dough

No-Knead Bread...
No kidding! Just let time do the kneading!

When I saw this bread recipe in NY Times a while back I was intrigued by the method used by Mr. Lahey, but I wondered how a bread would taste without any sugar in the ingredient?
There are only 4 ingredients used. Did the author forget to include oil and sugar? How can you make bread by using more salt than yeast? I didn't think I want to try the recipe, but I bookmarked it anyway.

Then out of curiosity, I finally gave it a try the other day when I saw it again in my Bookmark. In a way, if it fails I'll only waste 3 cups of flour, 1-1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. yeast and water. Yeah, big deal!
Well, it didn't turn out as rustic as it should be, (no regrets!) that's because I didn't follow Mr. Lahey's method of placing the dough in a hot heavy pot with lid on, ( because I don't own a heavy pot with a lid). Instead, I just brushed the top of bread with egg yolk.

The bread, turned out the way I like it...not a typical hard artisan bread which pulls my teeth out when bit into it. My husband even liked it too and he described the bread as the kind they serve at Cheese Cake Factory, only softer. I totally agree with him. There's just perfect crispiness (or crust) on the outside, both top and bottom of bread, and soft and a little chewy inside, but not hard at all! It is rather salty, though, just like the Philippine Pan de Sal of old. Next time I make this bread I might reduce the amount of salt. Now, a light bulb just popped up! Maybe this is how those Pan de Sal were really made before they were modified into sweet bread, hmm... another idea!

To get the recipe for this bread, click here, and for a technical explanation by Mark Bittman on how Mr. Lahey's method works, click here.

It is the easiest way to make bread.
Just combine everything in a bowl....

then stir to blend all the ingredients together...

Cover with plastic wrap.... then wait for about 12-18 hours

before 12 hours...dough looks like a starter.

I baked this in 375 degrees oven for 45 minutes.
(my modified version)

Serve with your favorite jam or with just butter

The taste is so incredible considering there are
only 4 ingredients and no sweetener.
You probably won't believe me if I say that this bread is full of flavor.
The long fermentation did that!

Really good!! you oughta try it!!

#185_Zucchini Loaf Bread and Muffins

Zucchini Muffins
topped with chopped walnuts

I adapted this Zucchini Bread recipe from the Lion House cook book.
Lion House is a famous high-end restaurant in Salt Lake City,
and is also famous for their melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls and other pastries.
I've only been there once for a wedding reception years ago,
it was magnificent and the food was awesome.
I'm sure it is still the same today, if not better.

Here's the recipe for the
Zucchini Muffins:

1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon (I use 1TB)
pinch of nutmeg (my version)
pinch of ground cloves (my version)
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 chopped nuts
1 cup Golden raisins (my version)

1) Cream together oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
2) Beat in eggs one at a time.
3) Blend in vanilla and zucchini.
4) Sift dry ingredients together then add to oil mixture and blend well without over mixing.
5) Add nuts and raisins.

Using a cookie scoop, fill muffin pans lined with muffin papers with batter up to 2/3 full. Bake muffins in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 18-20 minutes or til tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Makes 24 muffins.

Sprinkle chopped nuts on top before baking

or sprinkle turbinado sugar before baking.
Can also use orange sugar crystals for festive looks.

Zucchini Loaf Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

I double the recipe above to make 5-4"x 8" loaves.
Spray pans with cooking spray first then equally divide the batter into prepared pans.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 1 hour.

Here's one brand of Turbinado Sugar

Grated Zucchini

Tip from MaMely:
Do not grate zucchini in advance, otherwise it will become watery.
Grate it just before combining with the other ingredients.