Cocomia Cookies

The original recipe was for the Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens.  I changed it slightly (as well as halved it) because what I had were chocolate covered macadamias and desiccated coconut!

To be honest, I liked this version better than the regular chocolate chip cookies!

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 box 7 oz. Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate Alohamacs, coarsely chopped

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat well.

Stir in flour mixture.  Fold in coconut and chopped chocolate-covered macadamias.

(Chill for about 20 minutes, if desired.)

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto paper-lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cookie edges are lightly browned

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Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake

The short version of this cake is easy – buy a pound cake mix, follow the instructions on the box and place half of the batter in a buttered and floured bundt pan.  Spoon store-bought ube halaya in the middle to form the tunnel, then put in the rest of the batter!  Bake then eat!

Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake
Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake

The way I did mine though… was not the easy way…

It was a case of killing a few birds with one stone!

The main goal was to come up with a cake for a celebration – a cake that had no icing (many were watching their sugar level) but still delicious and beautiful to stand on its own… AND, it had incorporate the celebrants’ favorite flavor – UBE!

A cake that was pretty enough and impressive enough to stand on its own, without icing, obviously meant a bundt cake!  Incorporating the ube, however, presented a bit of problem…

Thing is, while there’s lemon, orange, chocolate, butter, cream cheese pound cake recipes, I hadn’t heard of an ube pound cake before and I really didn’t have time to experiment.  Plus, I had been wanting to try out a cream cheese pound cake recipe so I thought this would be a good time to try it… so I concluded that I had to add the ube flavor in a different way.

The solution came by way of a picture I saw in a cookbook – a chiffon cake that had a “ribbon” of chocolate running through the middle.  So I thought, why not place the ube in the middle of the pound cake?  Like a tunnel instead of a ribbon… and boom!

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So that’s what happened.  I used the Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe from joyofbaking.com.  Then put in the tunnel of ube (my favorite homemade one!) and baked it!  As a final touch, I spooned macapuno (sweetened coconut sport) in the middle.

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday!

It was a great hit!  Their only complaint?  They wanted more macapuno!

 

 

Chili Tahong Scrambled Eggs

Leftovers are inevitable.  Most of the time we just eat it the next meal. Once in a while though, a remake is a good idea!  The easiest, and fastest, by far is an omelette (or scrambled eggs).  Besides, it is hubby’s favorite for breakfast!

Tahong Omelette 2

The recipe –

2 eggs
2 tablespoons mussel broth
salt and pepper, to taste
chili flakes and/chili oil
12 to 18 pieces of mussel meat

Mix together eggs and broth (or plain water) until combined.  Season with salt and pepper, as preferred.

Heat oil in a small, non-stick pan.  Sauté the chili flakes (or oil) the pour in the egg mixture.  Push cooked edges of the egg into the center, letting the uncooked center slide out to the sides.  Keep pushing the cooked portions into the center until almost cooked (still wet though).

Add the mussel meat and swirl lightly.  Serve immediately.

 

 

Halabos na Tahong

To be honest, I am not fully certain what halabos is as a cooking technique.  But what I’ve been taught by our kusinera (home cook) a good 25 to 30 years ago is that it is a “cross” between steaming and boiling.  How is this so?  Well, a very small amount of water or stock is used to cook the dish (usually seafood, especially shrimps).  The dish would be cooked largely by the steam generated by the water or stock.  (I hope that made sense because I don’t really know how to explain it…)

But to demonstrate it, here is halabos na tahong (mussels).

The recipe –

1 kilo tahong (mussels)
4 to 5 thin slices of ginger
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small onion, sliced
1 medium tomato, sliced thinly
1 to 2 cups water
salt to taste
1 to 2 pieces finger chili
handful of dahon ng sili (pepper leaves)

Wash the tahong well and remove any dirt and “hair”.  Drain.

Sauté the ginger, garlic and onions.  Add the tomatoes.  Stir fry a couple of minutes then add in the mussels.  Pour in the water and cover the pan.  When the water starts to boil, throw in the finger chili and sili leaves.  Season with salt, to taste.  Stir occasionally.  When the mussels open, turn off the flame.  Do not over-cook.  If the water fully evaporates, add hot water in half cup increments.

The broth (what little of it is left, that is) is very tasty and I always exercise (what I call) cook’s privilege which means no one else gets the broth but me!  (hwa-hwa-hwa.)

*I like using a wok for this dish.  I find it easier to stir the mussels around so that they cook evenly.

Steamed Eggs with Shrimp

This is not the soft type of steamed eggs.

This is the type of steamed eggs – the firm type – that I grew up on!  My mother’s version had dried shitake mushrooms (rehydrated of course) and ground pork.  My take on it, this particular time, is with with shrimp.

It really is an easy dish, even if our guests were impressed by it!

5 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
salt and pepper, as desired or to taste
about 8 fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into strips
about 12 pieces of medium-sized shrimp, cleaned and trimmed
dash of sesame oil

Begin by readying a 9-inch pie plate and the steamer.  Bring the steamer pot to a gentle simmer.

Place the eggs in a bowl and add the water (or stock, if you prefer).  Stir gently (so that air will NOT be incorporated into the eggs).  Season to taste.

Place the mushroom slices on the bottom of the pie plate.  Pour the egg mixture in, through a sieve (this is the secret to a smooth, bubble-free dish).  Arrange the shrimp decoratively.

Steam for about 15 to 22 minutes.  Keep the heat low to low-medium. If a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it is done.

Right before serving, splash the steamed eggs with a little sesame oil (a little really goes a long way!)

Serve immediately.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Butter Buttercream

I made this some time ago, upon the request of a friend for his birthday.

Choco Cupcakes 2

He wanted chocolate cupcakes, but wanted cookie butter frosting, as it was the rage then.  And, he wanted “real” cookie butter cookies, so I sprinkle some crushed cookie “dust” on top.

I used my family’s secret recipe for the cupcake (and so far have no permission from my elders to share it) and found inspiration for the cookie butter buttercream in the little kitchen.

In my case, however, I used salted butter wholly and amped up the cookie butter to 1 cup.  I also lessened the sugar to almost half, which resulted in a softer buttercream (not stiff at all).  It was still pipe-able but it could not stand at room temp.

Still it was a big hit!

 

Mixed Berry-Vanilla-Boubon Jam

Low sugar, too!

All thanks to a good friend who gave me packets of pectin.  This is my first experiment!

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I used to make jam without pectin, simply because I didn’t know where to get pectin.  We certainly don’t have it in supermarkets!  The texture was not quite right and I could never make a large batch because I feared it wouldn’t last long (I didn’t know how to preserve it either).

But following the instructions on the packet (thanks for the translation, T!), it couldn’t be any easier!  Of course I gave it my own peculiar twist and added a couple more ingredients.

1 kilogram of mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
300 grams vanilla sugar
2 vanilla pods
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 packet pectin

Roughly chop the berries.  Add the bourbon and toss; set aside.  Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pods and mix into the sugar with the pectin.

Meanwhile, sterilize 6 180-ml jam jars.

Stir the berries and sugar together and place into a pot.  The berry-sugar mix should only half-fill the pot.

Bring the pot to a slow boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Spoon or pour the berry mixture into the sterilized jam jars and seal immediately.  Turn the jars upside down.  Cool at room temperature.

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We definitely could not finish all of the jam on our own so we gave 5 bottles away to family and friends!  And as I had some free time, I made labels for the jam!

 

Minced Pork and Mushrooms, My Way…

One of the most popular dishes that my mother had in her arsenal was/is this diced pork-mushroom-tofu dish in a thick, sweet-salty sauce. I have tried to recreate it time and again but I never came close. It hasn’t stopped me from trying, and I always opt for ground pork instead of diced (less work!) but…

In any case, I prefer fresh mushrooms to dried ones, and a like a variety too, but sometimes I use dried shitakes also, when the fresh ones are unavailable.

400 grams lean ground pork
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
4 to 5 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons shao xing wine
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sesame oil

300 grams assorted fresh mushrooms
or a handful of dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated

4 thin slices of ginger
1 small onion, minced finely
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced finely

fried shallots (or shallot sauce)
2 cups stock, part mushroom soaking liquid
(if using dried shitakes)
1 piece star anise
1 small piece cinnamon stick
1 small piece rock sugar, or to taste

Marinate the pork in oyster sauce, soy sauces, wine and sesame oil for at least half an hour.

Sauté the ginger, onions and garlic.

Add the pork.  Stir fry until pork is almost done.  Add the mushrooms. Stir briefly.

Add the shallots, stock and spices.

Simmer until almost all the liquid is gone.  Or, to make a real soft, mushy dish, put in a crockpot or thermal cooker.

Serve with boiled eggs, garnished with fried shallots.