Friday, September 30, 2011

Crepes with Nutella and Pears

Woke up really early (730 am) this morning though it isn't much of a surprise since I went to bed rather eraly last night. NOw, that is shocking considering I don't normally go to bed until the wee hours of the morning..hahaha! Anyways, I woke this morning craving for some crepes so I whipped up a batch. I filled it with both sweet and savory (will post recipe next time)fillings. I swear, I am weird sometimes.

Basic crepes are actually easy to make and just requires a few ingredients which are found in most household's pantry. To make, all you need is flour, egg, water, salt, and butter. There is really no special equipment needed although having a crepe pan certainly helps but if you don't have any (most household don't own one, I am sure), you can just use the small frying pan. Preferably lightweight and non-stick so it is easier to lift and swirl the batter around as well as prevent it from sticking to the pan. Since I do not normally use a non-stick frying pan since I use my trusty calphalon cast iron pan for frying, I had to search for the blasted frying pan amidst all the kitchen gadgets, pots, and pans in the cupboard. I was actually mildly surprised to find a crepe pan hidden underneath the mountain of kitchen gadgetry. Ha! that is so like me to forget that I have these things. Gosh I do not even remember when the last time I used this thing...hahaha. Well, that was much better than the frying pan I was thinking of using.

When cooking the crepe, make sure that the pan is hot and lightly oiled. Do not placetoo much oil because it will make the crepes soggy or oily and not light. I use a little bit of Pam spray instead of oil as it works for me better. I also use about quarter of a cup of the batter and spread (swirl) it as thin as possible. It does not take a long time to make crepes, about 1-2 minutes. You will know that it is ready because the edges starts to come off the pan. Read on for the complete recipe.


Chocolate sauce:

1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet
3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Using a double boiler or heat proof bowl over a pan with water, place the crean on the bowl and heat gently until warm.
2. Add chocolate chips and stir until mixture is smooth and glossy.
3. Remove from heat and cool while you cook your crepes.


Nutella spread
1 ripe pear- cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp sugar

1. Mix sliced pear and sugar making sure that all the pieces is coated with sugar.
2. Let is stand for 15-20 minutes while you make your crepes.

Basic crepes

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp butter, melted
a pinch of salt
Pam spray

1. Place slightly beaten eggs in a large bowl. Add flour and mix until slightly incorporated (Batter, at this point will be very thick)
2. Mix milk and water in a separate container.
3. Drizzle milk mixture slowly into the flour mixture while whisking it. Mix until incorporated. (notice that the batter will be thin at this point)
4. Add salt and butter and mix well.
5. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture to remove solid or undissolved ingredients. (This step is important so the batter will be smooth and free from lumps)
6. Heat crepe or frying pan over medium heat.
7. Lightly spray pan with Pam spray or lightly oil it.
8. Take 1/4 cup of the batter and place it on the pan. Spread it around using a swirling motion. Make sure to spread it as thin as possible.
8. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until the edges starts to come off the pan and slightly golden in color.
9. Repeat until all of the batter has been used up.

To assemble:

1. Take one crepe, spread nutella in the middle area.
2. Assemble pear slices on top of nutella spread.
3. Take one side and fold over the nutella-pear mixture. Do the same with the other side.
4. Top with chocolate sauce and serve.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Char Siu (Chinese Pork BBQ)

I love char siu, also known as Chinese pork barbeque, but the problem is I can't seem to find good Chinese resto that sells a good one nearby. Most of the ones that are sold at the restaurants are either too dry or taste like cardboard, not good at all. Most of the time, I have to drive all the way to Chitown in order to get good ones but that is usally a major trip for me as I always get lost coming back from there so I try to avoid going to that place if I am driving by myself. Speaking of which, I once went there and had the hardest time trying to get out. It took me around 45 minutes or more to finally find my way out. Hahaha! I have been know to get confused with direction but 45 minutes is a little extreme even for me since LA Chitown isn't that big.

Anyways, I stumbled upon Bee's (of Rasa Malaysia) blog one day and found a char siu recipe. The recipe seem simple enough so I searched for similar recipes and was surprised that there was a bunch of them out there on the web. In one of those searches, I stumbled into another blog that has an interesting way of cooking char siu. The blog belongs to Jessica (of Su Good Eats). She hanged the meat inside the oven and cooked it that way. She called it ghetto Chinatown style which really cracked me up. I adapted my recipe from both Jaden's and Jessica's but adjusted it to my own liking. I have made this twice in two weeks already. This last one turned out better than the first one because I added less red food coloring. The first one, although it tasted really good, looked atrocious because of the all-too red appearance. Hahaha.

There are two ways which I was able to avoid meat from drying out, namely: Adding water "bath" at the bottom of the oven and basting half way through the roasting process. While it seems like an additional work but it will help keep your meat moist. If you have leftovers, you can wrap it in foil and place in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat it, you can slice them and microwave for a minute or until warm. The meat stayed moist for me which was really great. You have to keep in mind though that the kind of meat that you use will also determine whether it will dry out once cooked. I try to buy meat that has a little bit of fat which is another great way to prevent the dish from drying out. If you choose a meat that's very lean, there is a great tendency that it will dry out while being roasted even if you baste and add the water "bath". One more thing, make sure that the end of the meat does not touch the water bath.

2 Lbs pork butt (cut into 2 inch diameter X 4 inch length)

4 Tbsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sherry
1/4 tsp white pepper
few drops of red food coloring (optional)
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

To marinate:

1. Place pork in a non-metal container with lid.
2. Combine all ingredients for marinade and mix well to make sure that everything is incorporated.
3. Pour mixture over pork and make sure that all pieces are coated well.
4. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 5 or more hours turning meat half way through the marinating process.

To cook:

1. Place oven racks on the top most level.
2. Line bottom of the oven with aluminum foil. NOTE: this is such a lifesaver because it will catch any drippings that goes outside of the baking pan.
3. Line a large sheet pan with several layers of aluminum foil and place at the bottom of the oven. NOTE: lining it with several layers of aluminum foil will save you the hassle of having to scrub you sheet baking pans later.
4. Add about 2 to 3 cups of water to the sheet pan then preheat oven to 350F.
5. Meanwhile, make a hole on one end of each of the pork slices and attach either a drapery hook or meat hook to the end.
6. Once oven has reached the desired temperature, attach the hooks to the racks and roast meat by hanging it over the sheet pan. Reserve the marinade for basting. Roast for about 30 minutes.

7. Remove meat slices and baste with reserve marinade.
8. Return meat slices to oven and roast for another 30 minutes.
9. At the end of the second 30 minutes, remove from oven and brush each pieves with honey.
10. Return to oven and cook for another 5 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and let it cool a little bit before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin

Autumn, where art thou? I really wish autumn would come soon because like i've said in my earlier post, I am so sick and tired of this almost year-round warm weather. Makes me think sometimes whether I should move somewhere cooler. Nah! won't happen because that would mean giving up the convenience that LA has to offer - easy access to ethnic resto and stores...hehehe.

Since I was really hoping for autumn to come, I made something that reminds me of the season - stuffed pumpkin! Pumpkin is just so autumn, isn't it? It also reminds me that the holidays are coming up - Halloween, thanksgiving, and yes, christmas. Oh, no! Soon it will be the end of the year but I am not going to think about that just yet and just wish for autumn to come :)

I made baked stuffed pumpkin for lunch today. I saw two small pumpkins when I went to the Korean store last time so I snagged both of them and had planned on making this dish sometime this week. It is quite easy to make actually since the stuffing is cooked separately from the pumpkin and they just come together towards the end. The reason I cooked the stuffing all the way through s because I always get scared that the rice won't be cooked correctly if I just use raw. Otherwise, If I use a different stuffing, I will just cook both the pumpkin and the stuffing together. The whole process took me about an hour which already includes cooking and preparation.

To carve the top out, you need to use a sharp knife with pointed end so you need to be very careful. I used a steak knife when I did it and angled it downward. While cutting the top, you need to cut all the way through so it comes off easily. I used a teaspoon to scrape all of the seeds and fibers inside the pumpkin then discard them. When cooking the stuffing, I cooked the rice in the rice cooker first before Imixed it with the rest of the ingredients. A long time ago, I learned a simple trick to ensure that the rice is well seasoned by using chicken stock instead of plain water. This eliminates the hassle of having to mix the rice well to make sure that it is evenly seasoned with salt. Read on for the entire recipe and direction.


2 small pumpkins (approxinately 2-3 lbs each)
1 tsp salt


1 1/2 cups sweet rice (also known as sticky or glutinous rice)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 lb. spicy longganisa (philippine sausage) or any of your sausage preference- casing removed and broken into small pieces.
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup raisins
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove tops of the pumpkins then scrape seeds and fiber.
3. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt all over both pumpkins.
4. Take about 1 Tbsp oil and paint pumpkin with it. Place tops back on the pumpkins.
5. Transfer to aluminum foil lined baking pan.
6. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender.


1. While pumpkin is baking in the oven, prepare stuffing.
2. Place sweet rice in rice cooker. Add turmeric and water. Cook according to direction.
3. Once the water boils, mix once or twice to ensure that turmeric is dissolved. NOTE: Turmetic will give the rice a yellow color.
4. while rice is cooking, heat pan tomedium.
5. when pan is hot, add the remaining oil then saute garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant.
6. Add longganisa or sausage of choice and saute until almost done. NOTE: preferably skinless but if it has casings, just remove it before sauteeing.
7. Add raisinsand about 1/4 of cup of water. Let it simmer to rehydrate raisins.
8. When water has been absorbed, add green bell pepper and cooked rice with turmeric.
9. Mix well until all ingredients is incorporated. You may add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup water if the mixture is too dry. Let cook until almost all of the fluids has been absorbed.
10. One the pumpkin is done cooking, remove it from the oven.
11. Scoop stuffing into the pumpkin cavity then return to the oven uncovered.
12. Turn the oven temperature up to 400F and cook for another 8-10 minutes then remove .
13. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.

Refreshing Cantaloupe Smoothie

Ah the summer that refuse to end...October is just around the corner yet the weather here in Sunny LA is stillas warm as it was in the summer. Why??? I really long for the weather to cool down a little bit, not much, just enough to allow me to turn off the air conditioner even at night. Yesterday, I turned the AC off at around 1030 in themorning which was okay since the house was still cool. I fell asleep on the couch at around 130 pm and woke up drench in sweat about 3 hours later. WhenI checked the thermostat, it registered a whooping 84 degrees..yikes! I cannot live in that kind of temperature which is really surprising since I came from a tropical country where it is perpetually summer all year long except of a couple of months of rainy season and occassional storms. But it has beena long time ago since I left Pinas...

I woke up this morning starving because I did not eat dinner last night as I was finishing yet another school paper. Graduate school is really no fun since we have so many homeworks and papers to write :( I would be so glad when this is over...might take a few months to a year break before I embark on tackling the doctorate degree. Hmmm, but then again, I might just stop when I finish grad school... hehehe... Anyways, I had some cantaloupe slices which were leftover from last night and has been chilling in the fridge so I thought of making a refreshing drink to fill me up before I start cooking lunch. This is quite easy to make. All you need is about half a cup of cantaloupe puree, sugar, ice cubes, and lemon juice ...blend them all together and presto! Instant breakfast/refreshment.


1 Cantaloupe - peeled,chopped, and seeded
sugar according to taste
1 cup ice
15 ml water
1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Chop cantaloupe coarsely and place in a bkender. Add water and blend until pureed. Transfer to a clean container.
2. Measure about a cup of cantaloupe puree and return to blender.
3. Add sugar and lemon juice. Blend until sugar is dissolved.
4. Add ice and blend some more until smooth.
5. Transfer to a tall glass and serve immediately

Monday, September 26, 2011

Green Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky (Goi Du Du Bo Kho)

I remember eating a Vietnamese salad a while back and it tasted really good so I wanted to recreate it at home. I adapted this recipe from Viet World Kitchen but I modified it a little bit.

Papaya trees are abundant in the Philippines and usually used in several dishes such as atchara (pickles) or in a chicken stew. It can also be eaten raw both in its unripe or ripen stages. Unripe or underripe papaya can just be sliced and eaten with salt and vinegar while ripe papaya can be eaten by itself or grated then mixed with sugar and milk. Anyway you want to eat your papaya is fine as long as you add something to it. Eating papaya by itself can be a little bland unless it really ripe. There are varieties in the Philippines that are sweet when ripe and others that remains bland even when they are fully ripe. To me, the here is nothing compared to those foundin the Philippines but it could just be me and my preference :)

Anyways, this Vietnamese papaya salad is quite tasty thanks to the dressing which is a combination of sweet and spicy. I do think it is better to serve the dressing on the side so that each person can adjust it according to preference rather than dumping all the dressing on the entire salad. Plus, it makes it looks nicer too to serve the dressing and salad separately. I am not really a huge fan of the color of the dark soy because it looks too dark (to me) and makes the salad look unappetizing.

3 tablespoons regular (light) soy sauce
1 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 Thai chillies, finely chopped (you can remove the seed if you prefer it less spicy)

Combine all ingredients and mix until sugar is dissolve. Set aside.

2 cups unripe papaya, peeled then julienned
1 teaspoons salt
4 ounces Asian-style beef jerky, julienned
a handful of basil,sliced thinly

1. Peel papaya, remove and discard seeds then julienne using a mandoline slicer. NOTE: Be careful not to cut your fingers.

2. Place papaya in a bowl then add salt. Let it stand for 15 minutes then squeeze as much of the fluid out. You can either do it by hand or use a cheese cloth to wring the fluids out. Discard any liquid.

3. Transfer to a clean bowl then fluff to loosen.

4. Add beef jerky and basil and toss lightly. Serve with dressing on the side.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Linguine Fini in Creamy Arugula-Walnut Pesto Sauce with Crispy Prosciutto

I went grocery shopping yesterday, the second time for the week, and bought prosciutto di parma, arugula, walnuts and other basic ingredients. I could not wait to get home as I already have something in mind that I wanted to eat. Went home and started making arugula-walnut pesto which is a variation on the original pesto sauce with the substitution of arugula and walnuts in place of basil and pine nuts. It is a less pricey alternative to the expensive pine nuts and basil (darn, I need to grown my own as these babies are getting pricier each time I shop for them)and pine nuts but taste just as good. Arugula usually has a rich, peppery taste but surprisingly mellows when placed in combination with the other ingredients in pesto sauce.

After I finished making the pesto sauce, I proceeded to making a creamy pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto. Uhhmmm...yummy good. Nothing can beat a crispy piece of pork, right? Prosciutto di parma is a little bit pricey at $20+++ per pound but so worth it. I usually like to wrap it in around melon slices and eat as an appetizer...ahhh, that one taste heavenly...hehehe. Prosciuttio is Italian for ham. Some of the most famous places where prosciutto are made includes Parma and San Daniele. It makes one think what is up with these Italians and food, right? Hahaha, they must have been blessed by the food gods or something. Anyways, the creamy pesto is quite easy to make and didn't take me long to finish the dish.


Arugula Pesto Sauce:
2 cups fresh arugula leaves, stems removed
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place walnuts andarugula in food processor.
2. Process until it is grinded. Scrape the sides with spatula.
3. Add olive oil in steady stream while continuing to process using a food processor.
4. Add garlic and grated parmigiano reggiano. Blend until well incorporated.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Transfer to a container then set aside


1/2 lb linguine fini

1. Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add salt and oil before adding pasta.
2. Cook according to direction.
3. Save some of the pasta water before draining water from pasta using a colander.
4. Set aside.

Creamy Pesto Sauce with Crispy Prosciutto:

3-4 pieces of prosciutto
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup arugula walnut pesto sauce
2/3 cup heavy cream

1. Heat pan over medium low and add olive oil. Fry prosciutto until crispy then remove from heat and transfer to paper towel lined plate.
2. Discard all but 1 Tbsp of the oil from the same pan where you fried prosciutto.
3. Add pesto sauce and heat gently.
4. When pesto sauce has warmed thoroughly, add cream. Mix well to make sure that pesto is incorporated well into the cream.
5. Simmer for 2 minutes before tossing pasta in. Coat pasta with the sauce.
6. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.
7. Top with crispy prosciutto.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Firecracker Shrimp

I remember having these wonton wrapped shrimps years ago but cannot remember when and where exactly I had them. My memory seem to tell me that i saw someone cooked this in food channel and I tried to recreate it at home but that memory seem blurry that I am not even sure if I am remembering things correctly. Anyways, to make the long story short, I had some shrimps which I thawed in the refrigerator overnight and could not think of any dish to make. Then I saw some wonton wrappers which were leftover from when I cooked shrimp and squid mini lumpia rolls which gave me an idea on making some firecracker shrimps. For the life of me though, I cannot remember what the marinade for the shrimp was so I searched the net and landed in Jaden's (of steamy kitchen)blog with a recipe for firecracker shrimp. She has soe good pointers on how to make sure the shrimp doesn't curl up when fried which I used and viola! the shrimps stayed straight. I made made some revision on the marinade that I used though but the end result is still amazing. I also used sweet and sour mango sauce instead of sweet chili sauce.


15 shrimps, deveined and shelled with tail part left in
15 wonton (0r 8 eggrol wrappers cut into two triangles) wrappers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp lite soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, according to taste
2 Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped

1. Combine garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and add shrimp. Make sure that shrimps are coated with marinade well. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, drain marinade and pat shrimps dry to absorb excess marinade.
3. Make a few small incisions along the inner section of the shrimp ( see jaden's illustrations here)
4. Wrap 1 shrimp using 1 wonton wrapper and wrap shrimp with tail sticking out. Wet the end of the wrapper to fasten (make it stick) in place. Do this until all of the shrimps has been wrapped.

5. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and deep fry shrimps until golden brown. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan as that will bring the oil's temperature down.
6. DRain excess oil by placing fried shrimp in paper towel lined plate.
7. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with sweet and sour mango sauce (recipe here)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Che Dau Xanh (Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Dessert)

Chuseok is one of the biggest Korean holiday. It is equivalent to American thanksgiving where people go home to their hometown and tend to cook and eat too much. Of course, as an avid South Korean enthusiast, it has become part of my yearly celebration. This year, I fully intended to conquer the art of songpyeon making. Songpyeon is a Korean rice cake which is commonly served during chuseok. The day before chuseok, I woke up really early. How early? 630 in the morning. That is really significant for me because I rarely sleep before midnight therefore my waking hours is usually later than 9 am. Anyways, I woke up really early and went to the Korean market to buy things I need for songpyeon. Of course knowing me, I went and bought way too much which included ingredients for three different fillings. One of those fillings happen to be split mung beans. Well, I made several attempt at making songpyeon, all of which were deemed a failure. So here I am eleven days later with tons of leftover ingredients and don't really know what to do with them...hehehe

I began searching the internet last night and found a split mung bean desert recipe that looked easy enough. The recipe is a sweet Vietnamese street food which uses coconut milk, sugar, and split mung bean soup. I have all of those ingredients in my cupboard so it was convenient. The recipe calls for soaking the mung beans for three (3) hours and then boiling it in water until almost all of the fluid is absorbed then in a separate pan, you bring coconut milk and sugar to a slow simmer until sugar is dissolved then add the mung bean mixture. I topped the dessert with lightly toasted sweetened coconut which gives it another flavor dimention plus the aroma of the toasted coconut is just heavenly. The recipe is easy enough but takes a few steps to finish the dish. The outcome? it was awesome...Sweet, creamy, tasty. Perfect for an autumn afternoon snack or dessert. It reminds me of a Filipino sweetened mung bean snack only this one is creamy and rich. This is a keeper for me.

adapted from here


1 cup split mung beans
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar, adjust according to taste
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes.

1. Place mung beans in a strainer and rinse then place in a container. Add water to slightly above the level of the mung beans and let it soak for at least 3 hours.
2. After 3 hours, drain water, rinse mung beans and place in a sauce pan. Add about 500 ml of water and let it simmer until almost all of the fluid has been absorbed. NOTE: Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir occassionally to prevent burning mung beans especially at the bottom of the pan.
3. Place coconut flakes in a pan and lightly toast over medium low heat. Remove form fire and set aside to let it cool.
4. Remove from heat and let it cool before placing it in a food processor to puree.
5. Heat a clean pan over medium heat. Add coconut milk and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.
6. Add mung bean mixture and mix well. Cook until heated through.
7. Remove form heat and transfer to warm containers. Top with toasted coconut flakes and serve immediately.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mango-Cantaloupe Cooler

Last day of summer 2011! Whoa, time flew by so fast. It seems like it was only yesterday when 2011 started and now we are entering the fourth quarter of the year. I am so not ready to bid goodbye to this year because it would mean I will be turning a year older. Ah, I was just coming to terms with the fact that I entered a milestone,make that two milestones, this year and now what? I am turning another year older? Does that even make sense? I guess that's life. Although we cannot make it slow down, the least we can do is make the journey as enjoyable as possible right? Enjoy each passing moment because once it is gone, it is gone for second chances,no undoing, and yes, it it becomes part of a memory. Some memories are good for reminiscing, others are best left where they are... the best memories though are those that makes us feel happy and contented...

I made this refreshing drink as a way to send off summer and welcome autumn. Hopefully the weather cools down considerably so I can turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. I am getting tired of using the exhaust vent instead of opening the windows to get rid of the smell from the cooking that I have been doing these days. The weather outside though has been too warm, at least to me, to allow me to open the windows :( Actually, living in LA makes me long for cool autumn nights in Tennessee where the weather dips down slightly but not too low like other parts of the country. Funny how man is never really satisfied with what he has. I remember complaining about the cold weather when I lived in Tn but now longing for them since I live in LA where it is practically summer all year long...ha ha ha.


2 cups roughly chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped mango flesh
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
sugar, according to desired sweetness
30 ml water

1. Place cantaloupe, water, and mango in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add orange blossom water and sugar and blend some more until sugar is dissolved.
3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until well chilled then serve.