Maple Apple Loaf

I was doing a bit of (ehem) light spring cleaning in the kitchen when I found a small bottle of maple syrup in one of the back cabinets… it must be years old, but it was still sealed.  I took a chance that it was still ok and it looked, smelled and tasted fine.  So I figured I was going to bake a loaf with it!  (I was a bit envious of brother E’s Maple and Walnut Loaf)

But I couldn’t find my walnuts!  (The fridge and freezer got reorganized and crazy me, I forgot to put labels!)  What I did find was a lonely apple in the fridge.  Goodness knows how long it’s been there but it was still firm and crunchy soooo….

Hello Maple and Apple Loaf!!!

Of course I had to do a bit of adjusting… for instance I added apple pie spice to the dry ingredients… reduced the sugar a bit more (from 1/3 cup to 3 tablespoons, keeping in mind that there’s still maple syrup to sweeten it, as well as the apple) and grating the apple (kinda like grating carrots of carrot cake… the apple yielded about a 1/2 lightly packed shredded apples.  Oh, I also omitted the heavy cream, because I thought, the shredded apples would take its place.

The house smelled absolutely heavenly while the loaf was baking.  The little girl even ran from her room to the kitchen exclaiming what yummy smell is that??!?!

The loaf baked nicely with a texture that’s much softer than the other variants.  But it was definitely delicious!!!!

The adjusted recipe (but still based on the “master loaf” recipe)

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
3 tablespoons sugar (reduced from the original 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup

1 apple, peeled, cored, and shredded

Mix together the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Don’t over-mix. Fold in shredded apples.

Place batter in a greased and lined medium-sized loaf pan (our standard size locally is 7×3 inches but the batter reaches almost to the rim edge)

Bake in a preheated 325*F oven, about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely before slicing.


Peanut Butter Banana Choco Chip Loaf

I was already a young adult when I discovered the fantastic combination of peanut butter-banana-chocolate… and I was skeptical at first, but WOW!

So it was a no brainer that I would add peanut butter to our regular banana choco-chip loaf (the master loaf recipe variant).  In theory it was easy to say just add, say, half a cup of peanut butter to the recipe but as brother E discovered, it was easier said than done.  His first try at the combination was not as expected.

The good thing about his experience was that I could learn from it and adjust the recipe… it seems that the batter had a bit too much fat, especially since local peanut butter was used.  (The local peanut butter is a “natural” type, with a layer of oil sitting on top of the peanut butter.)

In my case, I also used a local peanut butter, a homemade one by one of hubby’s associates.  I have to admit I am not used to (or fond of) the local peanut butter, since I am quite turned off at the copious amount of oil that I see, but who am I to turn away a gift?  I just poured the oil out and tasted it.  Truth is, the peanut butter is delicious (now I want to know where I can buy the stuff!!!!!)

Anyway, to make a long experiment story short, I adjust the recipe by reducing the butter to 1/4 cup, adding 1/2 cup peanut butter and 2 mashed bananas.  The batter was so thick that I added 2 tablespoons water.  The batter was still thick but I didn’t want to mess up the proportions further (besides if this experiment was a failure I could try again!)  For the procedure, I mixed the wet ingredients together, added the mashed bananas before stirring in the dry ingredients.  The chocolate chips (semi-sweet chips and mini dark chips) were folded in last.

The resulting loaf was good.  It wasn’t oily, and the texture was ok.  The top was quite brown though but it did not burn…  As for the flavor, both peanut butter and banana were there.  As for the aroma… the kitchen smelled heavenly!!!

Mix together 1/4 cup soft butter (reduced from 1/2 cup originally), 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Add 2 mashed bananas and 2 tablespoons water.  Stir in 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar (reduced also), 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into a 7×3-inch loaf (our local “standard”) pan has been greased, lined, and re-greased.  Bake in a preheated 300*F oven for about 40 to 45 minutes.  Ten with foil if the top gets too browned.

It is wonderful when enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee!!!!


Super Easy Lobster Rice

Truth be told, this is a super cheat recipe…


Well, first of all, I couldn’t afford lobster!!!!  So the cheat part of the recipe is that I used the “doggy bag” that hubby brought home the other day (he had a business dinner at a [very very] posh restaurant).  One of the guests requested lobster and there were leftovers…

The super easy part is using the rice cooker!  Place 2 (rice cooker) cups, rinsed clear beforehad, in the rice cooker.  Mix the leftover lobster dish (which was cooked in garlic) with the appropriate amount of water and pour into the rice cooker, then switch on the rice cooker.

When the cooking is done, fluff up the rice with lobster pieces and serve!

How easy is that?????

Best part is how yummy it was!  The rice was infused with lobster goodness!


Mommy’s Marinara

My mother is a recipe hoarder.  Me?  I definitely got it from her… I also hoard recipes, cookbooks, etc. etc.  These days my cooking/baking list grows even longer since I’ve added her recipes to mine!

There is one recipe, however, that is NOT written anywhere.

A long time ago (when I was just past my teenage years, in fact), I went through a stage where I abhorred meat sauce for pasta.  I was lamenting about it that particular day when she said (paraphrasing here) “what’s your problem? it is so easy to make simple spaghetti sauce!”

She then goes on and dictates “the recipe” (again, paraphrasing here)-

Sauté 4 cloves garlic (smashed) and 1 small onion (minced).  Add a pinch of chili flakes, then pour a (big) can of stewed whole tomatoes in the pot.  Add a fistful of Italian seasoning and season to taste (large pinches of sugar, salt and pepper).  Lightly crush the tomatoes.  Simmer 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Use the time to cook the pasta, 1 medium pack (which later I found out to be 500grams spaghetti, more or less).  In the last few minutes of simmering the sauce, throw a fistful of grated parmesan in the pot.  Mix.  Done.

Then she continues to say that it is easy to vary and add flavor – add whatever it is before the tomatoes…

for meat sauce, stir fry ground meat (anywhere from 250 grams to 500 grams), add the tomatoes when the meat is browned

for veggie sauce, add diced peppers or pimientos, sliced mushrooms, diced zucchini, carrots, asparagus, eggplant, etc.  (if you want the veggies to stay crunchy, add in the last 10 minutes of simmering)

for seafood, add 1 small of anchovies and seafood as desired (just don’t over-do it!)

Later on, someone told me that this was basic marinara sauce.

I’ve used this formula for years!  And hubby loves it!  Any which way I make it! And I’ve made it with shrimps, meat, veggies, clams, mussels, crab, even with canned sardines!!!

But my absolute favorite is this mixed seafood!


Lemon Kiwi Loaf

It was raining like mad, and the flood waters outside the gate have been steadily rising.  When I looked a few minutes ago, I saw some men wading in the flood waters.  The water was almost knee level.

Some of the neighbors, the ones on lower ground, had already left their houses and were huddled under the roof of the sari sari store.  I actually asked hubby if they would like to seek shelter inside our house.  A-te J gave them some shirts because they were soaked.

I am still nervous about flooding, but somehow less now than before.  Still, I always try to distract myself.

Enter this Lemon Kiwi Loaf!!!

Still a variation of the master loaf recipe that I shared with brother E… but with something special…

Kiwis are readily available now in the supermarkets and I had some stuck in the fridge for a while.  So I decided to make kiwi filling and then thought that I could make a loaf out of it…

to make the kiwi filling –

1 cup diced kiwis (about 4 to 5 kiwis, depending on the size)
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (I actually used 3 because the kiwis were quite tart)
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (keep the zest for the loaf!)
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place the diced kiwis, sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan; heat over low heat until sugar melts (stir gently). Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 2 tablespoons water.

Using a slotted spoon, take out half of the diced kiwis and leave as much liquid as possible in the saucepan. Using an immersion blender, whiz the kiwi mixture in the sauce pan until smooth. Return the removed diced kiwis back in the pan and continue heating until softly boiling. Give the cornstarch water a quick stir then pour into the kiwi mixture. Stir gently until thick. Remove from heat and cool.

I reserved half cup of the homemade filling for the loaf.  I set aside the excess to make kiwi glaze/syrup to garnish the loaf.

To make the loaf, I used the master loaf, adding the lemon zest to the dry ingredients and reducing the sugar by a third (because the filling already has sugar).  When I mixed everything together, however, I felt that the batter was more like dough so I added 1/4 cup of milk, until I felt the consistency was better…

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup homemade kiwi filling

Stir the dry ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in the kiwi filling.

Bake at 325*F for about 40 minutes, taking care that the top does not brown too much (I got distracted and my loaf has an almost blackened top!)

To make glaze, I used the excess kiwi filling.  It went back into the pot with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3 to 4 tablespoons of water (use your best judgement when adding water to thin the filling, too much could ruin it).  Heat the mixture until the sugar melts, the filling should be less thick and more syrupy in texture.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum.  Brush the top and sides of the loaf.  If you still have extra, drizzle over slices before serving!





Chewy Cheddar Puffs

We recently had a new addition to our family – hubby gave me a new furbaby!  Coincidentally, he shares the same birthday as the kid, although of course, the kid is waaaayyy older…


Anyway, everyone knows I cook for my family and that includes our furbabies!  We regularly cook their main meals – a low fat, no salt dish made of ground chicken, liver, several kinds of vegetables, oatmeal and usually wheatgerm.  Occasionally I would make bake treats, depending on what the particular flavor the furbabies like at that specific moment.  For this one, I found this treat

As usual I varied the recipe a bit, mainly because (1) our weather is more humid, more so these days, and (2) the furbabies really, really love cheese, the more the happier they are!

And to make things easier for me (as in less stuff to wash), I just used 1/2 cup measure –

1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/2 cup water, at a maximum
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese

Mix the flours together, add egg.  Gradually add the water (it is possible that not all will be used, depending on the humidity levels.  Mix in the cheese.  The texture of the batter should be stiff, like cookie dough.

Drop half teaspoonfuls on a greased, lined, re-greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375*F, for about 14 to 18 minutes, until done but take care not to burn the treats.  Let cool completely.

I got about 40 pieces of treats.  But guess what?  It didn’t last long!!!

Oreo Brownies

The kid had invited a playmate for a playdate.  As usual, she asked me to make snacks.  This particular instance, she asked for brownies with Oreo cookies.  When I asked why, she replied that it was because she wanted brownies and her playmate wanted Oreo cookies.  Win-win, right?

Well, as may be seen from the picture, it turns out that I had underestimated the number of cookies that the pack contained!  I was sure that it was enough, I had even thought that there would be leftover cookies!

Anyway, it was easy to make – just pick your favorite brownie recipe (here is mine) and skip all the mix-ins.  After pouring the batter into the pan, press Oreo cookies on top of the brownie batter (just make sure you have enough cookies to  cover the whole top, I promise it will look waaaayyyy better than this one that I made)

As always, the best of cooking and baking for the kid, she always gushes that her “mommy makes the BEST stuff”!

(big, big grin!)

Chicken Chilindron

Aside from cookbooks, I also collect cooking magazines… but real books and magazines are bulky!  So sometime ago, I began subscribing to electronic versions…

It is in one of these electronic subscriptions that I saw this recipe by Jamie Oliver… I largely followed the recipe except for skipping the olives, using chicken drumsticks, substituting a couple of ingredients, as well as halving the recipe –

about 700g chicken drumsticks, cleaned, rinsed, pat dry
sea salt and pepper

2 pieces Italian garlic sausages, sliced

1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 medium tomatoes, skins removed, sliced into halves or quarters
1 small can sliced pimientos, drained
splash of rice wine
200 ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
a pinch of saffron, steeped in a little hot water
zest from half a lemon
2 anchovy fillets

Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and brown in hot oil for a few minutes.  Remove and transfer to a plate.

In the same, stir fry the sausage slices until cooked.  Remove and transfer to the same plate as the chicken.

In the same pan, on low-medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic, until fragrant and soft, taking care not to let them get burned.  Splash the pan with a bit of rice wine to deglaze then add the tomatoes and squish them (!), as well as the sliced pimientos (left them whole largely since they were not big pieces anyway).  Add the chicken stock and rosemary.

When the pan starts simmering/boiling, put back the chicken and sausages.  Cook on low-medium, uncovered, for about an hour, or until sauce is thickened.

After 30 to 40 minutes, add saffron and steeping liquid. Add the lemon zest and anchovies. Season with salt, if necessary (I added a large pinch of sea salt).

Serve hot, with rice!!!!

This stew is so delicious!  According to Jamie Oliver, this stew comes from Aragon in northeastern Spain, and it works with lamb, too.  But lamb is uncommon where I’m from but I think I will try it with pork!!!