Super Fudgy 5 Chocolate Red Wine Brownies

I am discovering that I like red wine.  It started with a gift of Sangria (a particular brand which I will not mention for now) earlier this year.  I know friend T says bottled sangria is an abomination (her homemade one is simply fantastic) but not knowing how to make sangria (and not wishing to start anyway), this specific bottled one is good enough for me.

Anyway, hubby and I recently discovered moscato red wine!  How we got a taste of it?  Well, someone gave us a Christmas gift of moscato red wine… it was actually a regift (we know because the giver neglected to check the wine bottle and there was an inscription that was addressed to – NOT US! hahahaha)

Anyway, I was still experimenting with brownie recipes… and I figured, why not go for broke?  Use whatever chocolate I have ( 1-unsweetened baking chocolate, 2-bittersweet chocolate, 3-cocoa, 4-dark choco chips, and 5-semisweet choco chips) and why not the red wine too?

So here they are!  They are the fudgiest, most chocolatiest brownies I have ever made!  That it had a crinkly, cracked top was a delicious bonus!

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Fruit Salad ala Tita Linda

The fruit salad recipe that we are used to is the one with cream and fruit cocktail, or maybe even buko (coconut) and condensed milk.  Some years ago, however, I discovered one that was perfect for hubby, who loves fresh fruits!

A very special lady, Tita Linda, shared her recipe with me several Christmases ago.  It was quite easy – just cube fresh fruits of your choice and toss them in a fruit salad bowl.  Squeeze lemon or calamansi juice and sprinkle some sugar (or sugar substitute) to taste and toss until mixed.  Serve chilled.  Viola!  Great dessert.

Last night, we had our “traditional” Noche Buena… crab sotanghon, Mutsarap chicken, chopsuey… and dessert – Fruit Salad ala Tita Linda.

For this salad, I used 2 apples, 1/2 of a cantaloupe, 1/2 a papaya, a bunch of black grapes (seedless type), 1/4 of a watermelon, kiwis, 1 large Sunkist orange, 1/2 a (sourish) pineapple, and 2 bananas.  I mixed orange juice and calamansi for the “dressing”.

Sadly, Tita Linda passed away last year.  We miss her so and remember her this Christmas through her fruit salad.

 

Lemon Cream Muffin

On a whim, and because our lemon plant has been busy, I thought of baking some lemon muffins.  But I knew the little girl would not want a “plain” muffin, I thought of adding her favorite (of the moment) blueberry jam to top the muffins.

The recipe:

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soft cream cheese
1/2 cup 70$ blueberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 12 muffin cups with baking paper cups.

Mix wet ingredients together; set aside.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Stir until just about mixed.

Divide the batter and spoon into the baking cups.  Spoon a scant tablespoon of cream cheese on the center of the muffin batter, followed by a scant tablespoon of jam.  If desired, sprinkle a pinch of turbinado sugar on top for some crunch

Bake about 12 minutes or so until a tester comes out clean.

The muffins were a hit with the little girl, but not so much her 2 playmates.  The playmates’ parents, however, were quite impressed!!!

 

Tuyo Fried Rice

I made the mistake of buying spicy tuyo instead of spicy bangus… and while I enjoy eating tuyo, I rather hate the smell it gave out as it is being cooked. I realized, however, that the bottled variety offered the solution – it was good straight out of the bottle!

My other problem though, is how to finish the whole bottle, since it appears that I am the only one in our household who like tuyo!

This morning i found out that it it a good addition to flavor garlic fried rice.

The way I make garlic fried rice has no specific recipe. I just use several cloves of fresh garlic, whatever leftover rice still sits in the rice cooker, and salt! For tuyo fried rice, just add the tuyo, mash it a bit and use less salt, that’s it.

So basically i smashed about 4 cloves of garlic and chopped them roughly. The garlic gets thrown into a hot wok followed by 2 to 3 pieces of tuyo (herring in English). Mash the tuyo ad break into pieces. Then, before the whole house permeates with its smell, the day old rice is thrown in (if I had to be specific, I’d say about 3 cups or so). Cook until the rice is heated through. Season with sea salt, as desired. I go by instinct and throw in a large pinch each time and taste it until It tastes okay to me. Cook a little more until any solid pieces or flakes “melt” into the rice. Err on the side of caution since the tuyo is rather salty already.

Serve hot!

In my case I had it for breakfast with a fried egg and some ham. Yummmm!

In Someone Else’s Kitchen, 4 of 4

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, that is.

This is a crowd pleaser, which is to say that I have never met anyone who did not like it!  But the best thing about this recipe is how forgiving it is.  I have made it with broth, milk, half-and-half, cream… heck, I have even used water!

In this particular case, it was the perfect dish to make – even without basic tools, you can wing it. Really!  (Since I was in someone else’s kitchen and I was too shy to ask where the measuring cups and spoons were, I really did wing it!)

8 to 9 medium potatoes, sliced very thinly (you can peel them, or not, just make sure they’re scrubbed clean!)
a couple of fistfuls of shredded mixed cheese (I just bought a pack of pizza cheese and did not really measure)
butter
200 ml pack of half-and-half
a splash of milk (I just “stole” some from the fridge)
salt and pepper, to taste (or a couple of large pinches of rotisserie chicken spice)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Butter a baking dish (for this project, an aluminum disposable panmine is about 6 by 8 inches.  Arrange half the sliced potatoes in the pan, sprinkle the shredded cheese all over.  Top with the remaining half of potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper or spice.  Top with more cheese.  Pour the half-n-half and milk over the dish.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are done.  Cover with foil if the top gets too browned.  Serve while hot.

In Someone Else’s Kitchen, 3 of 4

Mixed Mushrooms, Watercress, and Pine Nuts was the vegetable dish for the night.

The original recipe had cashews instead of pine nuts.  But I knew our host had a history of gout and I knew that nuts were on the no-eat list due to its effect of heightening uric acid so I substituted pine nuts.

Except that (I didn’t know) mushrooms were high in uric acid too.  Sigh…

About 500 grams mixed fresh mushrooms (shitake, button, and oyster)
about 300 grams fresh watercress
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
crushed garlic
soy sauce

Clean the mushrooms, cut into more manageable pieces if needed.  Toss in about a tablespoon of soy sauce; marinate for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile crush about 10 cloves of garlic in a mortar with a pestle.  (The beauty of someone else’s kitchen is that I get to use stuff I don’t have in my kitchen.  And learn something new!  Like how pounding garlic in a mortar with a pestle is so much more satisfying that a knife and a chopping board!)

Then, trim the watercress of tough stems and ends.  Rinse and pat dry.

Heat some oil in a pan.  Sauté the crushed garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the mushrooms; stir fry several seconds.  Add the watercress and a splash of soy sauce (add as desired but be mindful not to make the dish too salty).

Cook until the vegetables are soft but still crunchy.  There will be a lot of liquid.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the watercress and mushrooms to a serving dish (my watercress shrunk and got hidden under all the mushrooms), then scatter pine nuts over the top.

(Our gracious host enjoyed this dish the most, he said.  Even with my faux pas, and his rising levels of uric acid.)

 

 

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

There are many recipes for homemade vanilla extract.  Basically, there are 3 ingredients – vanilla beans, vodka (or brandy, rum, bourbon, as long as it is at least 80 proof), and TIME.

The most important ingredient in the recipe is – TIME.

How I made mine?

I started in 2014.  December.

With 1 liter of vodka and 14 Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans.

I split the beans and scraped the seeds out.  I placed all the seeds and pods into the bottle of vodka, capped the bottle, and then wrapped the bottle in brown paper.  The bottle got named and tagged then into a cool cupboard it went… where it stayed for 3 years.

I opened it today and took a whiff.

Heavenly.

Mmmmmm….