Banana-Choco Chip Muffins

I don’t get to bake often these days and when I do, I just use the small electric oven. The big gas oven seems overkill when all I want is half a dozen of muffins!

So anyway, I have been craving muffins for a while now. And finally, finally, I have some spare time! I dusted off my handy dandy mixer and scrounged up my measuring cups and spoons, and mixing bowl and spatula…

To begin, preheat the oven to 375*F. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper cups.

Mix together:

1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients:

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons muscovado sugar **
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix until just incorporated.

Stir in mashed bananas (2 large pieces very ripe bananas). Portion the batter into the 6 muffin cups. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of mini chocolate chips in each muffin cup. Use a toothpick to stir and distribute the chips in the batter.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Muffins in an hour! Yum!

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Paksiw na Pata

Paksiw is basically a stew with vinegar as the main “spice” or seasoning. Pata is pork leg. So Paksiw na Pata is pork leg braised in a vinegar stewing liquid.

I have a go-to Paksiw na Baboy (Chinese-style) recipe that was my late father’s second favorite dish (after adobo, or so I have been told) but after a friend extolled her super-easy paksiw na pata recipe, I decided to try it. She had me at “It’s a dump-everything-recipe!”.

The secret, she says, is to find, not pork leg per se, but pork leg slices that are about 1 -inch thick, and that have been already trimmed of most of its fat and yes, virtually no skin on them. She even recommended to me her favorite meat shop that prepares such pork leg slices! There is even no need to cut the pork leg into serving pieces because, as she says, the pressure cooker does it for you! And no need to parboil too!

She graciously gave me permission to print her recipe.

3 large pieces pork leg slices, already trimmed and cleaned
(about 1 kilo total)

3/4 cup sukang sasa (native vinegar)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
a large pinch of sea salt (may be omitted, if desired)
3 pieces bay leaves
about 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon smashed peppercorns (not ground pepper)
1 whole bulb of garlic, smashed
about 3/4 to 1 cup water
a handful of banana blossoms, knotted (softened in water if necessary)

And just as she says, simply rinse the pork leg pieces and place them in the pressure cooker (I have a small one that’s just perfect for a kilo or so of meat).

Dump the sukang sasa, soy sauces, brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, oregano, peppercorns, and garlic into the pot. Add just enough of the water to barely cover the pork.

Pressure cook about 30 to 40 minutes (start the timer after the cooker starts “whistling”). I cooked mine for 40 minutes because we like really soft meat. Wait for the pressure to be released before opening the pot. Add the banana blossoms and simmer uncovered another 5 to 10 minutes (the sauce should thicken slightly)

Adjust the seasonings as desired.

(Easy peasy yummy!)

Oh, a note about the vinegar – sukang sasa is a local Filipino vinegar fermented  from nipa palm, also known as sukang paombong.  If unavailable, regular cane vinegar may be used but reduce the amount by half or a third, because it may be too strong.  Use your personal judgment to adjust the sourness of the dish.

 

Salad with Dayap-Muscovado Vinaigrette

My dayap plants have been busy… but what to do with a lot of limes?

Well, I got the zest and froze them so that I could have some to use in the future…

But as for the juice?  Well, one can only take so much lime juice (or its variations) so I used some to make Dayap-Muscovado Vinaigrette!

In a shaker, mix 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 to 2 limes, 1- 2 tablespoons muscovado, freshly ground black and white peppercorns, and 1 to 2 large pinches of pink sea salt (vary the proportion according to your individual taste).  Seal the container and shake, shake, shake!

Pour over salad greens and enjoy!

 

Trail Mix for Hubby

Personally I am not a fan of trail mix.  I much prefer a snack of simply nuts, or maybe a mixture of nuts, but hubby likes dried fruit and seeds, and maybe just a bit of nuts, especially cashews that good friend H gave us.

I usually make trail mix with as many kinds of dried fruit as I can find, then add sunflower seeds and pine nuts.  If I am eating some, then I add roasted peanuts and cashews, otherwise, it’s toasted cashews and chocolate chips.

The dried fruit in this one – banana chips, raisins, sultanas, dried papaya, dried pineapple, coconut chips, apricots, and prunes.  For the seeds and nuts I used honey-roasted sunflower seeds, toasted pine nuts, roasted cashews and toasted cashews.  I skipped the chocolate chips because I felt like the trail mix was rich enough.

Hubby declared this a winner!