Buko-Macapuno Muffins

I have a basic, standard muffin recipe but I decided I was ready to try another recipe.  The one that caught my fancy was the “Anything but Basic Muffin Recipe” by Broma Bakery.  There’s many variants of the muffin but I wanted to make a variant with a local flair – hence this Buko (coconut) Macapuno (mutant coconut!) muffin.

Mix dry ingredients together –

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix wet ingredients together

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter-flavored Crisco (because I discovered too late that I ran out of butter!)
3/4 cup coconut milk (originally buttermilk)
1 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet; mixing only until just combined.

Fold in 2/3 cup coconut flakes (the moist, tender kind, not desiccated).

Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups (I got 6 large muffins and 8 mini-muffins).   Spoon macapuno (I used chunky sweetened macapuno that came in a bottle) on the top.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven (I did not follow the oven instructions!).  For the large muffins, bake about 25 minutes.  For the mini-muffins, bake about 15 minutes.

We shared the muffins with friends and the consensus is – IT’S GOOD!!!!

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Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with Ube Halaya Centers and Ube-Coconut Buttercream

Coconut is never my first choice when thinking of baking cupcakes.  But I had leftover coconut cream in the fridge, as well as coconut flakes… so for hubby friend’s birthday, coconut cupcakes it is.  And, since I had leftover ube halaya, the cupcakes got an ube halaya center and ube-coconut buttercream on top!

Of course I did not have a coconut cupcake recipe on hand!  Thank goodness there’s a number of them on the internet.  I picked one from Brown-eyed Baker.  As usual, I changed a few things…

my adaptation –

1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (well-stirred)
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place paper cups in cupcake tins.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and coconut flakes together (I did not process the coconut flakes); set aside.

Beat Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat to mix well.  Add vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the coconut cream and coconut rum.

Scoop mixture into the paper cups.  Place a small teaspoon of ube halaya in the center of the batter.  Bake for about 18-22 minutes; rotate pan midway.

When the cupcakes have cooled.  Frost as desired.  I used ube-coconut buttercream for mine.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube halaya
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream (well stirred)

For the frosting – Beat butter and halaya until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar (adjust according to personal taste). Add coconut cream by tablespoons, beating well after each addition.

 

 

Sukiyaki!

It is undeniable that sukiyaki is one of the most famous Japanese foods.  The usual is beef sukiyaki but since hubby doesn’t eat beef anymore, the one I made is with pork.

I keep thinking that sukiyaki is a complicated dish, because it looks that way when we order it at the Japanese restaurant.  It is definitely impressive, so when 2 of my best buds were coming over to have dinner, I wanted to impress!!!

Not that I haven’t tried to make sukiyaki before but it has not been 100% successful… but this time I think I’ve got the right mix.  I based my sukiyaki on the recipe in this book –

While I did follow the recipe to the letter, especially with regard to the ingredient list, I did think that the most important part of the recipe was the soup base – the sukiyaki sauce.

The difficulty I encountered with the previous recipes was that they all required dashi stock… from scratch.  While it is a good idea to make stuff from scratch, I really did not know where to get the ingredients!!!  What I looooove about this recipe is that it used “instant” dashi, which was available at the nearby Japanese specialty grocery!

As for the other ingredients, I used Chinese tofu, enoki, shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, fish cake slices, Baguio pechay, sotanghon (vermicelli), pork sliced in sukuyaki-style,

As for the sukiyaki sauce, my perfect proportion is 1 part mirin, 2 parts Japanese soy sauce, and 3 to 4 parts water, with sugar to taste (I was actually ok with skipping it) and a couple of pinches of instant dashi granules (although truthfully I’ve also make it without and it was still ok!)

Now, I wanted a prettier presentation but my guests came earlier than expected so I did not manage to arrange the ingredients in organized areas… in the end everything got mish-mashed together… but what counts is that it is delicious, right?

RIGHT!!!

 

Tortang Alimango

This is a simple dish, IF the crab meat has already been removed from the crabs!!!!

BTW, as opposed to the English language where the term crab encompasses everything, in our local language there are specific terms for crab – alimasag for the salt water blue crab, alimango for mud crabs, talangka for salt water shore crabs, katang for fresh water crabs.  We also have coconut crabs (dunno the local term for this one), and recently I’ve come across what was labelled “ocean crabs” whose shells are thick, and whose flavor in dishes is very pronounced but the crab itself has very little meat!  (got a couple of dishes made of these in future posts)

Anyway, the recipe for Tortang Alimango or Crabmeat Omelette is one that was given to me through oral instruction.  Any crab meat may be used and I have, on occasion, bought canned crab meat and frozen flaked crab meat to use.  Traditionally though, we collect the meat found in the “legs” because those tend to be discarded at the dinner table and it seemed a waste!

For every 3 pieces of egg, use about 1/2 cup crab meat.  For a family of 6, we use 6 eggs, which meant we had to collect 1 cup of crab meat – which is definitely NOT easy so if we were short on the crab meat we augmented with diced potatoes.  These days though, I use kani, or Japanese crab sticks (cut into smaller pieces of course) to augment…

Back to the recipe – sauté diced onions and tomatoes (should be proportionate to the size of the omelette) and add the crab meat, stir fry for several seconds.  Remove from the pan and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in the slightly cooled sautéed crab meat.  Pour into a heated, non-stick pan.  Cook until done (both sides).

Serve hot with ketchup!

 

B’s Sandwich…

The kid has always been a picky eater!  When she was a toddler, she ate everything!  But one day, poof!  She suddenly refused to eat her favorite foods.  She only wanted plain white rice and nothing else!

OMG!

We had such a difficult time trying to figure out how to coax her into eating again.  But her pediatrician said not to force her to eat because she could be traumatized so we let her set the pace even as we tried to convince her to eat more.

The good news is things got better.  Years passed and little by little she ate more and more.  Still, the kid is not adventurous at all.  But at least she will try new foods and decide if she is okay with it – it used to be she decided first that she didn’t like it!

Anyway, one of the foods that she absolutely did not like is the EGG!  It didn’t matter what kind or how it was cooked, she refused to eat eggs.

That is, until I made a savory “french toast”…

First, beat an egg with a pinch of salt and pepper in a wide bowl.  Heat a non-stick frying pan (with a little butter).

Then butter a piece of bread and place 2 thin slices of farmers meatloaf, and pile on a piece of toast cheese.  Top with another slice of bread.  Flatten slightly.  Dip the sandwich in the beaten egg; make sure both sides have been dipped in the egg mixture.

Place the sandwich in the pan and cook about a minute on one side and another minute on the other side, until both sides are lightly browned.  (while the sandwich is in the pan, I use the spatula to flatten the sandwich a bit more).

Slice the sandwich into 2 triangles.  Enjoy while the sandwich is hot!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe for these cookies came from one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs – Dorie Greenspan!  My brother recently got me a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and of course I just had to try the peanut butter (that being my favorite cookie flavor and all…)

I followed the recipe faithfully, even using Skippy which was the recommended brand! But I swapped the chopped peanuts with chocolate chip cookies… (and halved the recipe while I was at it)

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup Skippy smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter and salt together until very smooth.  Add the sugars, continue beating.  Add the egg and beat some more.

Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough mounds onto parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes or so; or until the cookie edges are set.

We loved the cookies!!!!! And again, the kid praised me for being the best in the kitchen!

The original recipe can be found here.

Parmesan-crusted Sole

There were nice sole fillets in the market and I could not resist buying some. We usually just sauté fish fillets but I thought of using oven this particular time…

I don’t remember exactly which book I found the recipe from but it is definitely one of the ones in our library.  I copied it hurriedly in my small notebook but forgot to write the source…

about 500 grams sole fillets, cleaned and patted dry

1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1-3/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 tablespoons mayonnaise
fresh juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 375F.

Arrange the fillets in a baking dish; set aside.  Mix together – breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasonings.  Lightly spread over arranged fillets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes then switch to broil; broil 3 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

 

Pork Sinigang sa Batwan

Sinigang is a popular sour soup made with pork, beef, fish or seafood (mostly shrimp).  The usual souring agent is sampalok (tamarind), but other souring agents, such as kamias (bilimbi?), calamansi, even green (unripe) mango, can be used.  I’ve even heard of sinigang using bayabas (guava).

But in my mom’s hometown province, they use batwan!  What is batwan???? Mmmm, there’s a few articles of it online – just type batwan or batuan in Google.

I got lucky when A-te J brought some with her when she came back.

Even luckier when she cooked sinigang with it!!!

How is it used as a souring agent in sinigang?  Well, according to A-te J, just throw 5 to 10 pieces of batwan into the pot with all the other ingredients (half kilo pork, water, tomatoes, etc.) and let it boil until the batwan is soft, then lightly mash the batwan to bring out even more sourness…

We usually start by sautéing ginger and tomatoes then stirfrying (cleaned, rinsed) pork rib pieces.  Broth or water is added, as well as the batwan and gabi (taro) if using.  Let the pot boil and add the veggies as desired (sitaw, kangkong, puso ng saging, labanos, etc.).  When the batwan is soft, mash lightly and stir.  The soup will thicken slightly.  Adjust seasonings as desired.  Serve hot!

Seafood Congee

I actually made this dish twice, this week!!!

The first time was on Monday.  Hubby announced, at around 5pm, that a couple of his friends were coming over IN AN HOUR (!) and asked me to prepare something…

But there was nothing!!! there were frozen meat in the freezer but it would not even thaw in time!!!

Long story short, I took out one of the two frozen ocean crabs in the freezer and made congee with it, adding squid balls and some frozen shrimp to the mix, as well as century eggs and hard boiled eggs!

It was a hit!

So much so that I made another batch and sent it to my mom and to my father-in-law!

The recipe (using my magic cooker) –

Rinse about 1/2 cup of rice then place it in the inner pot.  Add about 4 to 5 cups of broth or water.  Place 1 medium to large-sized crab (cleaned and chopped) inside, as well as ginger slices and a whole onion (peeled).  Boil for 15 minutes then put the pot in the magic cooker chamber.

After 90 minutes or so, take out the inner pot and bring to a soft boil on the stove.  Add shrimps, chopped squid/octopus or whatever seafood you like to add.  Season to taste.  Stir until all ingredients are cooked and congee is thick and creamy.  Garnish with chopped green onions or leeks.  Serve with hard-boiled eggs.

(The second batch of congee for my mom and F-I-L were made with crab, shrimps, octopus, squid balls and abalone mushrooms.)

 

 

Crab Sotanghon

The usual crab sotanghon (mung bean noodle) that I cook (and that hubby likes) is a creamy, saucy concoction. This time, however, circumstances forced me to stray from the usual. The culprit? The absence of a crucial ingredient.

The result? A different, but still delicious, dish!

The recipe:

300 to 400 grams sotanghon, softened
1 kilo crabs, cut up (cleaned)
4 to 5 thin slices of ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
350 grams ground pork
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 liter chicken stock
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt, pepper and chili flakes, to taste

Saute the ginger in hot oil.  Add onions and garlic.  Stir fry a few seconds and add the pork.  Stir fry until almost cooked.   Add the crabs and mix around a few seconds and season with oyster sauce and soy sauce.  Add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper (and chili flakes, if desired).  When the stock boils, add the sotanghon.  Swirl in the beaten egg whites.  Let simmer until the sauce is fully absorbed by the sotanghon. Toss with sesame oil (adjust seasonings, as needed). Serve hot.