Valentine Brownies!

Truth be told, these brownies were plain old brownies… you could even make the boxed variety… as long as you have a heart-shaped cutter… VOILA!  Heart-shaped Valentine Brownies!

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I did discover that it is easier to cut the brownies without them crumbling if they are well chilled… even a bit frozen even.

These were such a hit with the hubby and the kid!

 

Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti is, literally, “white cheese”.  It is a cheese that is truly Filipino!

This kesong puti has got to be the easiest cheese ever!  The most difficult part of this recipe might be sourcing the carabao milk!  In my case, I found fresh carabao milk at the weekend market in Centris.  I have been told that certain supermarkets do sell pasteurized carabao’s milk.

Anyway, the recipe has only 4 ingredients… carabao milk, salt, vinegar and lemon juice.  That’s it!

Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in 500 ml of carabao milk.  Heat in a double boiler for 15 minutes.  I started counting when the water underneath reached boiling.

Remove from heat and immediately mix in 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons vinegar, in my case I used Datu Puti.  Curds should form almost immediately.  Leave to cool and set for an hour.

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Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined strainer.  I used an old birdseye cloth diaper, sterlized of course!  Gather the ends together and squeeze lightly.  If a soft creamy cheese is desired, then it is done at this point.

But in my case, since I wanted a drier, crumbly cheese, I squeezed more whey out.

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Whether soft and creamy, or dry and crumbly, wrap the kesong puti in a softened banana leaf and store in an airtight container.  Chill and enjoy!

Consume within 7 days.

The original recipe is from yummy.ph.  I halved the recipe and used a bit more salt.

A final note about salt – adjust it as you like.  We found the original recipe to be lacking and added a bit more.  When I make the recipe again, I may add a little bit more since hubby commented that it could use a tad more…

Whey Bread, No Knead!

I have my friend T to thank for introducing the no-knead bread to me.  While I had the book for some time already, I had not bothered to read it (it was a gift) and had been making bread by kneading.  But I was plagued with RSS which caused me much pain, so much so that my dough kneading (and yes, also my frosting piping) became greatly reduced.

But having tried the no-knead bread, I was hooked and went on to experiment a bit.  My experiments gave me my go-to recipe, a slightly modified version of the original…

I actually use half of the original formula, (it is a good idea to read/know the original formula/method first) because [1.] I cannot find a 6-liter capacity container!  not that it would fit in my fridge… and [2.], while we like bread, we are basically rice eaters, and half a recipe, which gives us a couple of (sometimes even 3) boules, actually last us a week.

What is my secret?  Whey!  I make 3 to 4 liters of yogurt every week, which I strain to make Greek-style yogurt.  I am left with (sometimes a lot of) whey.  While my younger brother drinks it (or uses it for shakes, etc.) I found that it makes bread a tad more flavorful…

My halved, adapted recipe:

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup whey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon fine salt
3-1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar, optional

The procedure is easy – just mix everything in a 3-liter capacity container (with a loose lid, do not use airtight containers).  Cover lightly and leave to dough to rest for 2 to 3 hours.  Then put the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, sprinkle a little flour on the dough.  Grab a third or half of the dough (use scissors to cut the dough) and quickly form into a boule (check out the video)

To bake, I don’t really use a dutch oven or baking stone.  After forming the boule, I let it rest on an oiled, floured piece of parchment or greaseproof paper for 45 to 60 minutes.  About 10 minutes before time is up, I preheat my small electric oven.  And I also heat my 6-inch cast iron pan (or a 7-inch one) and grease it with canola oil.  I plop my dough CAREFULLY in the heated cast iron pan and (using scissors) make cuts or slashes on top of the dough.  I also sprinkle some flour on top (as opposed to cornmeal) before placing it into the preheated 400*F oven.

The bread bakes 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 200*F.

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And it’s done!

Sometimes for variety, I would add a handful of raisins, or mixed dried fruit, or in this particular instance, a handful of sunflower seeds!

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It is absolutely great slathered with butter, jam, cream cheese, or a dried fruit-honey spread!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is nothing but a marketing gimmick.  But I admit to being somewhat of a sucker for it.  Why?  Because it is only on this day that hubby will give me flowers!

This year I got a bouquet with an “I miss you” sign… Uh… I asked him what that was about and he looked puzzled.  He didn’t realize that the sign said “I miss you”!

Hahahaha!

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In any case, we’ve learned the hard way that we should NEVER go out on Valentine’s Day.  Not that we don’t want to celebrate our love on Valentine’s Day, it’s just we do not want an overpriced dinner, and the horrendous traffic we have to go through just to get to that overpriced dinner!

It is more special that we spend it together, even if it is at home.  As for the dinner?  A special one cooked by his loving wife is more than enough!

So for breakfast, he had homemade sunflower-seed whey bread and frittata.  For dinner, a super delicious, albeit spicy, crab laksa with glass noodles.  And for dessert?  a heart shaped brownie to signify love!

Oh, by the way, ever since the little girl came into our lives, hubby (her daddy) also gives her flowers… usually a rose!

Cream Boule

The thing is, I promised my brother some bread every Sunday.  How we got to that arrangement I no longer remember with any clarity but so far, my brother is a good and effective guinea pig for my bread experiments!

Here’s another one using no knead method.  But it is definitely not lean!  Part of the liquid was replaced with whipping cream and about 5 to 8% of the flour reduced to maintain a wetter dough.

The resulting is texture is different… somehow soft yet still hefty.  And still absolutely delicious and tasty!

 

Soy Sauce Fried Eggs

Anyone for a fancy breakfast?

Hubby was.

His favorite breakfast item?  Eggs.

So that’s what he had… fancy eggs…

2 fresh eggs
1 piece century egg, cut up
1 tablespoon good quality light soya sauce
1 tablespoon water (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Fry the fresh eggs, sunny-side up.  Transfer to a serving dish (not a flat one!).  Top with the chopped century egg.

Add the soy sauce and water to the pan.  Heat until just boiling.  Add sesame oil.  Pour over the eggs.  Serve hot!  Fantastic with rice!