Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pandan Panna Cotta with Coconut-Pandan Sauce

Pandan is a widely used flavoring in Asian cooking particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It is used as a flavoring for cakes, ice scream, desserts, rice, and even chicken dishes. It has a distinct aroma which makes the dishes fragrant. Typically, one would boil the leaves to extract the flavor and aroma but since it is not readily available in the United States, pandan extract, which is sold in Asian markets, is the next best thing. I got mine from the Thai market nearby. Just one of the many advantages of living in a highly diversified metropolitan area- easy access to ethnic stores and ingredients...hehehe.

The flavor of pandan goes so well with the rich, creamy texture of panna cotta, and the aroma is heavenly. The recipe used in this dish is almost the same as the vanilla panna cotta (with macerated strawberries) except that I substituted vanilla with pandan flavoring. Oh, in case you're curious what that concentrated pandan flavoring taste like, don't attempt to taste it...hehehe...I did it already, tasted really bitter. Ah, my curiousity sometimes gets me into trouble...


Panna Cotta:

3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pandan extract
few drops of green food coloring

Coconut-Pandan Sauce:
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar (or less if you want it less sweet)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pandan extract
1-2 drops of green food coloring

1. Sprinkle gelatin over milk to soften. Let it stand for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Heat pan over low medium heat. Add Cream and sugar and simmer until sugar is melted. Stir occassionally.

3. Remove cream-sugar mixture from heat. Add gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

4. Strain mixture uing a fine mesh strainer. Add pandan extract and stir to mix well.

5. Add 2 drops of green food coloring. Mix to see if the color is right. If not, add 1 drop of food coloring at a time until you reached your desired color.

6. Pour into molds or container and let it cool before covering with plastic cover.

7. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight before serving.

Ginisang Mongo ( Sauteed Mung Beans)

This dish reminds me of home and memories from my not-so-distant past. It reminds me of my childhood spent in our house which was located in a sugar central compound where my dad works. I miss the village, the people, the simple life. Now, the place has changed so much to the point that it is beyond recognition. Gone are the uniformly-built and well-kept houses which added so much charm to the place. It has been replaced instead by sugarcane plantation. It is a sharp contrast from what it used to look like. To be honest, I have not been back since the village where I used to live was changed into a plantation. I do not think I can handle it,too sad. I would rather preverve my memory of what the place used to look like...a place that holds so many memories of my childhood and youth; of friendships that has endured the test of time; of loved ones who remains steadfast in their support and love for me; and of experiences that has helped shape me to become the person that I am today...


1 cup mung beans
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/4 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
salt to taste
bunch of spinach

1. Place mung bean in a pan and cover with water. Let it boil until beans softens and thick. Keep an eye to make sure that the water does not evaporate. Add mor water if needed until the desired consistency for mung beans is achieved then set aside.

2. Add water to a large bowl. Add spinach and rinse. Leave spinach in the bowl to allow dirt to settle to the bottom. Set aside while Preparing the rest of the ingredients.

3. Heat pan to medium heat. Add oil and then saute garlic and onions until translucent.

4. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Add shrimp and sautee until it turns pink.

5. Add mung bean mixture and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add water if needed but make sure to let it simmer until the soup slightly thickens.

6. Add spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, or until spinach is soft.

7. Season with salt according to taste. Remove form heat and serve.

Panna Cotta with Macerated Strawberries

I love panna cotta. They're rich, creamy and oh-so-yummy. I have forgotten about this dessert until yesterday when I opened my refrigerator and found a box of whipping cream. Hmmm, what to make,I thought to myself. I was thinking of making cathedral windows but that's too much work because I had to make several batches of gelatin squares using different colors. Then I thought of panna cotta which is easy enough to make but really delish...

Panna cotta is Italian in origin. This dessert is made by mixing sugar, cream, milk, and unflavored gelatin which is allowed to cool until it is set. It can be topped with berries and different sauces (chocolate, wines, fruits) or flavored with different flavorings such as vanilla and cinnamon. In my opinion, the possibility for panna cotta flavors is endless and one is only limited by one's imagination.


Panna Cottta:
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup thinly sliced strawberry
1 Tbssp sugar

1. Sprinkle gelatin over milk and let it soften for about 10 minutes
2. Heat a pan over medium low heat. Add cream and sugar. Simmer (do not boil) until sugar is dissolved, stirring occassionally.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and gelatin mixture. Mix until gelatin is dissolved completely.
4. Strain the panna cotta mixture and pour into ramekins. Let it cool before covering ramekins with plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
6. Topping: slice strawberries thinly and sprinkle sugar on top. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. To umold: place ramekins in warm water bath for about 30 secons to 1 minute. Remove from water bath and wipe the outside of ramekins dry. Invert into a serving dish. Top with macerated strawberries and serve.
NOTE: If you are having a hard time unmolding after placing ramekins in warm bath, run a thin knife on the insides of the ramekins to loosen panna cotta. You can also shake the ramekins a little bit while unmolding.

Corned Beef Rolls

I have been on the roll(ha ha ha...pun intended) with baking these past few days. This is all thanks to the No-Knead Dough which allows me to make freshly baked breads without all the hard work. This time I filled the dough with sauteed corned beef and then bake it. Ah, I love the smell that permeates the whole house when the bread was done.


No-Knead Dough (recipe here)
Egg Wash :
Egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tsp water

1 can corned beef
1 small onion, finely diced
oil for sauteeing

1. Take out the prepared dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes.

2. Heat pan to medium heat. Add Oil and then sauteed the onion until transluscent. Add corned beef and sautee for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from hear and let it cool.

3. To assemble, pinch a golf ball sized dough and flatten to about an inch thick oblong shape. Place about 1 Tbsp of filling and roll. Make sure you seal the sedges to prevent your filling from oozing out.

4. After you have finished filling the dough, cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest for an hour. By the end of 1 hour, the size should have doubled.

5. 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350F.

6. Brush the top of the crescents with egg wash prior to baking.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Remove and let it cool on the wire rack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thai-style Rare Beef and Mango Salad

I made this dish a few months ago but was too lazy to take pictures and post the recipe. Today I had another opportunity to make this wonderful dish again and it is as lovely as I remembered it. The sweetness of the mango goes well with the taste of the soysauce-olive oil marinade that was used for the beef. The only problem with this dish is that I made too much but could not stop eating...hehehe. This dish is based on a recipe in Jenny White's Three Ingredients Cookbook.


1 lb sirloin (I used t-bone since that is only one that I had)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 mangoes, pitted and sliced thinly
3 Tbsp extra virging olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

1.In a shallow dish, mix soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic. Add beef and coat both sides with marinade well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

NOTE: The recipe calls for garlic-infused olive oil which I did not have so I just used garlic and added it to the marinade

2. Heat griddle pan until very hot. Grill steak for 3-4 minutes on each side.
NOTE: I used my trusted Calphalon iron griddle pan

3. Remove steak from heat and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

4. Pour marinade into the pan and simmer for a few seconds. Remove from heat and strain to remove garlic pieces.

5. Slice steak thinly.

6. In a serving dish, arrange steak and mango and drizzle with pan juices.

Roasted Bananas with Greek Yogurt and Honey

I had some left over Greek yogurt when I made mango lassi last week which was is perfect for this quick but filling dessert/ snack. This dish is based on a recipe from Jenny White's Three Ingredients Cookbook. This desert is simple and easy to make but very delicious. I added honey to the yogurt which made it sweet but not too sweet.


2 bananas
500 ml Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp roasted pecans

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Wrap bananas in foil and bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool. Then peel and mash coarsely.
NOTE: The cookbook says peel banana and wrap in foil before baking.

3. In a bowl, mix honey and yogurt.
4. Fold in mashed bananas gently.
5. Transfer to serving dishes and top with pecans.
NOTE: The recipe calls for hazelnuts but I didn't have any so I used pecans instead.

Banana Milkshake

Summer is not one of my favorite seasons because it is just too hot especially here in California. Ughhh...can't even stand to go out for a few minutes. I think this is the reason why I have been mking a lot of frozen drinks and shakes lately...hahaha.

Bananas were on sale the other day when I went grocery shopping $0.59/lb... really cheap so I wan tempted again to buy some....okay, I bought 6 of them and they are Ha! I think I am getting my money worth on the blender lately...I think I have gotten more mileage on it the last few days than I did for the last three years combined...hehehe


1 banana, peeled and cut up into large chunks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp sugar
handful of ice cubes

1. In a blender, add banana, sugar, and about 1/2 a cup of milk. Blend.

2. Add the remaining milk and ice cubes. Blend well until smooth.

3. Tranfer to a glass and serve immediately

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sweet and Sour Tilapia

As the name suggests, this dish is a combination of two flavors. The fish that I used is tilapia but you can use other variety of fish, pork, or chicken. This is a Filipino-style sweet and sour dish. I have to admit, I cheated a little bit when I made this dish. I got the fish from the Filipino market and as a service to their customers, they clean and fry the fish in the store. Ha! a real time and energy saver because it takes frying out of the equation. This is good for me since I hate being splashed on with hot out while frying. I also had the butcher cut the fish in half which makes it easier to manuever while transfering in and out of the pan.


1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup tomato catsup
1/3 cup sugar, you may add more or less depending on your preference
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 small bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small can of pineapple chunks
1small carrot, julienned
2 inches ginger, julienned
1 Tbsp flour, dissolved in water
2 Thai chili pepper, sliced thinly annd diagonally
3 cloves garlic, minced finely

1. In a bowl, combine vinegar, sugar and catsup. Set aside
2. Heat sauce pan to medium heat. Place the catsup-vinegarr mixture,ginger, onions, and garlic. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add carrots, pinneapple, and bell pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes.

4. Add the dissolved flour a little bit at a time. Cook untile it thicken slightly.

5. You can either pour the sauce over the fish, or you can add the fish on the pan and coat with sauce well. Remove from heat and serve.

Papaya atchara (Green Papaya Pickle)


2 cups grated green papaya

1 inch ginger , slice thinly

1 bell pepper, slice thinly

1 onion, chopped finely

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1/2 carrot, sliced thinly

1/2 cup pineapple tidbits

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

salt to taste

1 small ampalaya (bitter melon), thinly sliced

NOTE: I used a mandolin slicer to grate the papaya

1. Place grated papaya in a bowl, add about 1-2 tsp of salt and let it stand for 15 mins.Squeeze dry either by hand or using a cheese cloth

2. mix vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, onion.put in stove and let it boil. a separate bowl, mix papaya, bell pepper, carrots, ampalaya, and pineapple.

4. pour vinegar mixture on papaya. let it cool and then put on jar and seal thightly.

5. chill, if desired.

Originally posted on 02/21/10 at 1031 pm

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kinilaw nga Rabanos ( Radish Salad)

Kinilaw nga Rabanos is a side dish that my mom used to make. This goes well with fish or grilled pork ribs. We used to have this a lot when I was growing up in the Philippines and one of the few veggies that I eat. I learned making this dish while watching my mom make it as I was growing up. I remember the process to be very tedious as it requires a lot of patience to slice the radish very thinly. I opted to julienne the radish though instead of slicing thinly using my mandolin slicer. The mandolin can also slice it thinly but it wasnt as thin as I'd like it to be.


1 radish, peeled and julienned or slice thinly
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 tomato, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup cane vinegar
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1. Place julienned radish in a bowl and sprinkle about 1 tsp of salt, mix well and set aside for about 15 minutes.
NOTE: The salt will draw the water out from the radish.

2. Using a cheesecloth, squeeze all of the water from the radish. Discard the liquid.

3. Addtomato, onions, garlic, pepper flakes, and vinegar to the radish and mix well.

4. Let it stand for about 30 minutes to marinate and then serve with meal.

Mango Lassi

Lassi is a traditional Indian drink made with yogurt and can either be sweet (with sugar added) or savory (flavored with spices). Mango Lassi is one of the more popularlassi drink and can be made with or without sugar addition depending on how sweet the mango used in the drinks are. Most people serve their lassi over ice but I think it dilutes the flavor. Personally, I like mine chilled before serving and usually use glasses that have been chilled in the refrigerator of freezer for a few minutes. Be careful though as it may cause the glass to shatter if left in the freezer for a long time.


1 cup cube ripe mango
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk
sugar, according to taste
ground cardamon or chopped pistachio for topping

1. In a blender, mix mango, sugar and about 1/4 cup mulk. Mix until it has been pureed.

2. Add yogurt and milk. Blend until well combined and smooth.

3. Taste and adjust according to desired sweetness.

4. Chill before serving.

5. Prior to serving, transfer to glasses and top with cardamon or chopped pistachio.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Calzone

Calzone is basically a pastry that is made out of pizza dough with the topping placed inside and shaped into half moons. They are really handy to take when you are eating on the go for convenience as well as they are filling and delicious. I got the idea of making this when I found the recipes for no knead pizza doung fron Steamy kitchen's blog. These babies are really easy to make and you can fill it with any of you favorite pizza topping and sauce.


1 baseball size No-Knead Pizza Dough (recipe here)
8 oz. canned diced tomatoes, drained
a handful of Italian parsley
goat cheese
olive oil for brushing on top of calzone

1. Pinch a baseball sized No-Knead Pizza Dough. In a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a ball and covere with plastic wrap. Let it come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.

2. 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven and baking pan to 400F.

3. After the dough has softened a little bit, divide it in half and roll out into approximately 8 inch circle.

3. On one side of the dough, arrange your filling: tomato, parsley, goat cheese.

4. fold the other half over and seal well. You may use water to moisten the edge and make it stick better. Or, you can use a fork to seal edges.

5. Place calzone on the hot baking pan. Paint top with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
NOTE: Be careful when taking the hot baking pan from the oven.

6. After it has finished cooking, take it out of the oven, paint with more olive oil and serve immediately.
WARNING: be careful not to burn your mouth as the filling will be very hot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Green Mango Juice

Ahhh...I think I bought too many green mangoes the other day ...the seemingly never ending supply of green mango which I have to either eat or turn into something else before they become ripe. In my opinion, mangoes that are sold in the regular store does not taste good when they ripen compared to the mangoes that grows in the Philippines. The ones here taste sweet and really delicious when they are green or semi-ripe but once they ripen they don't taste as good.

I did not want another green mangoe shake since I've had those several times last week already so I thought that maybe I will try and see what they taste like if I turn then into juise instead of a shake. I've had ripe mango juice in the past but but not green mango. I was surprised at how good the juice turned out. The result is a slightly thick juice consistency. It is a refreshing drink that will cool you down this summer.


1 large green mangoe, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp sugar ( add more if you like it sweeter)

1. In a blender, add diced mango and sugar.
2. Add about 1/2 a cup of water and blend until smooth.
3. Add another 2 cups of water and continue blending until they are mixed well and smooth.
4. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
5. To serve, fill a tall glass with ice. Pour mango juice. Garnish with mango slices and serve.