Peanut Butter Cookies!!!

It’s laundry day.  Usually I am done in a couple of hours but today is the day we wash the sheets and blankets…

So… 7 hours later…

I am sitting in the kitchen, tired and hot, but feeling fidgety… like I want to do something but in the same breath, too lazy to do anything.

Enter these cookies… the recipe that I made when I was 10 years old.  The recipe that got me hooked on baking and after, cooking…

This recipe:

from The Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook, published in 1975.  The only cookbook in my library that survived Ondoy 9 years ago.  It survived simply because it was such a precious book for me that I kept it in my dresser drawer…

The recipe specifies that the dough is formed by way of a cookie press but I’ve always formed the dough into balls.

This time I decided to make variations… plain soft and chewy, crispy peanut butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate, choco chip peanut butter, and peanut butter kisses…

My favorite?  the plain soft and chewy peanut butter cookies, of course!

I took a bite and it was like I was 10 years old again,  I even managed a little dance of joy.  It was a great comfort, especially with a cup of good coffee… a nice bit of comfort after a long, lazy day.


Homage to Tita Linda

My mother and I don’t have much in common, but one thing we share is our cooking/baking hobby and our love for kitchen gadgets and recipes!

But aside from my mother, there is Tita Linda.  She’s the mom of my college bud T.  From her I learned to make Snickerdoodles, which was my second-favorite cookie after Peanut Butter.  She shared not only recipes but life lessons and practical advice on how to live.  Oh, we all had mother issues but from her I learned that a good mother-daughter relationship is possible.

Sadly, she passed away sometime ago.  We miss her.

Today I pay homage to her, with this Tomato Salsa, the recipe of which (and its secret!) she unselfishly shared with me.

For you Tita!

Flat Bread… and Shrimp Curry!

The little girl likes flat bread.

When she discovered that I had bread dough in the fridge, she (sort of) requested her favorite flat bread.

And I am happy to oblige!  But then I couldn’t leave it at that.  The bread had to have something to slop up.

The perfect dish?  Curry of course!

The flat bread is easy – grab a small piece,flatten it and then cook it in a hot, lightly oiled frying pan… what’s important is to keep the flat bread warm.

As for the shrimp curry, clean and devein 500 grams of shrimp or prawns.  Set aside.  Sauté some ginger and sliced onions.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder mix (I get mine from the local Indian store – they have a really nice chicken and seafood curry blend) and stir fry several seconds.  Add about 1-1/2 or up to 2 cups of coconut milk then add the shrimp.  When the shrimp is done, add sliced red bell peppers (I used a large red one that BFF gave me) and season to taste.  The dish is ok to serve at this point.  But I like to add about 1/2 cup coconut cream just to have extra creaminess.

So yummy!!!


Fried Bread

cheese. homemade bread. deep-fried.

what’s not to love!!!!

oh so yummy!

the bread is the same whey bread yesterday… as for the cheese, it is homemade and was given to hubby as a gift last Christmas (yes I know, it took a while to get through all the food gifts!)

deep frying the bread was a fantastic idea!  the resulting texture is different but yummy all the same!

I wonder what else I can do with the whey bread?


Bread, Again…

I am making bread again.  Yay!  I have some time again, these days…

My favorite bread is my No-Knead Whey Bread.  I usually have whey when I make yogurt and I have time to make yogurt these days too.

This time, though, I decided to skip the sugar and add more olive oil (and lessening some water)

I do love the texture and taste of this bread – the adding of the whey makes the resulting bread mimic a sour dough quality.  As for the texture, it is chewy but no hard.  Just perfect!

Szechuan-style Hot and Sour Soup

My mother made a decent hot and sour soup – and despite my not liking spicy food, it was an exception.  It is unfortunate that I cannot find her recipe, nor can she remember enough to pass it on to me.

The next best thing? experiment and approximate!  But so far that has not worked for me.  Sigh.

What to do then?  Scour the cookbook library!

And, this recipe is good!  (although, as usual and always, I “personalize” the recipe – )

1.5 liters chicken stock
100 grams chicken breast fillet, julienned
8 pieces fresh shitake
handful of fresh shimenji
cloud ears, reconstituted
1 pack (50 grams) enoki mushrooms
2 blocks tofu, drained, cubed

1/2 tablespoon salt
pinch of sugar, optional
1 tablespoon each light and dark soy sauce
3 to 4 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 t0 1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(chopped labuyo)

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

I like to simplify things (read as- I am lazy) so I boil the chicken stock and dump the chicken, mushrooms and tofu.  Season with salt and soy sauces (I skipped the sugar) and the rice vinegar and black pepper (I substituted part of it with chopped chili-labuyo).

Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup, stirring at the same time to break the eggs.  Garnish with wansoy.

(Adjust and modify as you like!)

Honey-Vanilla Yogurt

I wasn’t a fan of yogurt.  I’ve always felt that they were too sweet or too tart…

But I became a convert when I started making my own.  At first I started with plain yogurt, then I began straining it to make Greek-style… then I began experimenting culturing yogurt with fruits in it (as opposed to adding fruits after the yogurt cultured).  Mostly though (assuming I have the time) I make plain, Greek-style.

Lately I have not made yogurt, that is, until the other day.  I was inspired by the Creamiest Vanilla Bean Yogurt by Food52.

I loooooooooove it!!!!

I just love it!

So much so that I am trying an alternative breakfast menu – yogurt on alternate days.  Let’s see where this gets me!

And, to add crunch, I made some granola, stove-top style.  But I prefer my granola to be nutty, not fruity… so I used about 50 grams mixed roasted nuts and sunflower seeds, and just some diced dried apricots just for a bit of sweetness!

Love, love, love it!

(will try using real maple syrup instead of honey next time!)



Variations of the same theme – black chocolate cake, strawberry frosting…

It all began when I had a lot of strawberry frosting left over.  I forgot that my recipe was for a 2-layer, 9-inch cake, and I had made a really small one for the little girl…

I stored the leftover frosting in the fridge.

The next day, early evening, hubby suddenly announces that we’re going somewhere later that evening and it would be nice if I brought something like something I baked.

Problem?  I had an hour to make something!

Solution?  Something that would mix in a flash, bake in a hurry, and cool almost instantly… mini cupcakes.  And I didn’t have to worry about the frosting since I already had the strawberry frosting in the fridge!

The batter mixed in 5 minutes.  The mini cupcakes were done in another 10 minutes.  I shoved them in the fridge to cool them.

Meanwhile I started re-whipping the frosting.  Except that I ended up with a curdled mess.  Then I started panicking.

Of course I went to trusty ol’ google, and there were lots of suggestions but I had no time!  Then, I decided to get in touch with an old cooking/baking “buddy”, crossing my fingers that she was online.

She was and she had a solution.  But I had to be content  with transforming my strawberry frosting into strawberry buttercream…

She had me pour hot water into a bowl that could fit a plate of butter cubes about 75 grams.  Throw the hot water out and wipe the damp inside of the bowl – cover the plate of butter cubes.  Trick worked!  Butter was soft in less than a minute!

Beat the butter until light and fluffy and add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar.  Beat some more.  Then gradually add the broken frosting – a tablespoon at a time… Voila!  Strawberry Buttercream!  A tad sweet than I preferred but it still works so –

And I still had a little strawberry buttercream left over!

The day after, hubby told me that it was the birthday of a friend and he requested a small cake to celebrate.

I baked another small chocolate cake – frosted it with truffle frosting and garnished it with what was left of the strawberry buttercream..

Until next year, when the little girl will surely ask for her favorite cake!

My next baking experiment?  Prune Chiffon Cake Roll (half roll, I mean).

B’s Special Cake

When we ask the little girl what cake she wants, she always gives the same answer –


She is very particular too, she wants REAL strawberry frosting!

So, even if my right arm will hurt like *#&& the day after, I willingly suffer because it is what she wants on her special day.

The recipe for the black chocolate cake is a family secret – as it took me several months to get it just right!

The strawberry frosting is made with 450 grams of strawberries!!!  I experimented with the recipe for a long time, playing with the proportions until the little girl was satisfied.  She has a discriminating taste!

This year though I decided to make a few improvements…

Firstly, I made a smaller cake, a 7-inch, 3-layer round cake instead of the usual 9-inch, 2-layer round cake.  Then I added a special filling – dark choco-caramel filling.  Lastly, the finishing touch – the “My Little Pony” theme!

The finished cake was declared BEE-YOO-TEE-FOOOOL by the little girl.  And I am happy even if my arm is still and achy!

And the taste?  Whooooohooooo!  Everyone says it is sinfully delicious!

(happy, happy, happy me!)

Cashew Brittle Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hubby and I like the sentiment behind Valentine’s Day BUT we abhor the commercialism of it.  So we usually stay home – he gives me flowers and I make something special for dinner, or at the very least dessert.

So, I wanted to make something for my Valentine.  At the same time, I wanted to try and see if my little electric oven could bake a chiffon cake successfully.  Of course the cake could not be a big one, since the oven is small… and since I already knew that the top would have a tendency to “burn” I had to figure out what to do to prevent it.

First I had to choose a recipe.  All my recipes were for large tube pans and because the ratios were uneven it was very difficult to scale down even by half.  Not that I was any good in Math anyway!

So, I googled “small chiffon cake recipe” and the results were plenty… and a bit confusing… in any case I settled for this one, which I had to adapt and modify (just a little bit) because I didn’t want a coffee chiffon cake, I wanted a Dayap chiffon cake.  Dayap is the local lime.  It has a fantastic flavor and I had a difficult time finding it in the markets.  I finally found a couple of plants and after some time, managed to have reasonable harvests!!!

My modified recipe –

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh dayap juice
1/4 cup oil
7 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Prepare everything beforehand – preheat the oven to 325*F, line a 6×4-inch round pan with greaseproof paper (I did not have a small tube pan), separate the eggs and prepare all other ingredients.

Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until the mixture is full of bubbles.  Add sugar by tablespoon, and beat until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, mix the yolks, sugar, dayap juice, oil, flour and baking powder together until just mixed.  Fold into the egg white mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and “bang” the pan on the table once or twice to remove any big bubbles.  Bake…

Here is where it gets a bit tricky…

Within 10 minutes, my chiffon cake rose beautifully, but the top had cracked and was very very browned already.

So I switched the top heating off and moved the pan to the lower rack.  Another 20 to 25 minutes, the cake was done.  (The “black” lines correspond to the top heating element!)

Except that it got slightly deflated upon cooling…

But all is well that ends well, the cake was generally a success since hubby loved the texture!  It was a bit different from the usual chiffon cake that I make (an American recipe and a Filipino one),  Somehow it was a bit heftier but still soft and tender.

It might have been just a tad tart but with the sweet filling and caramel icing, as well as the cashew brittle garnishes, the tartness was somehow balanced.

I sliced the burnt top off, and halved the cake in the middle for the filling (to make it a 2 layer cake)

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie!