Griddle cakes

Pancakes... Flapjacks... Flap cakes... Breakfast cakes... Hot cakes... Johnny cakes... Fried bread...
And the list just goes on for what you call griddle cakes. It just depends on which part of the world you are from. Here, they are called hot cakes or pancakes. Normally they are served for breakfast with a dob of butter, tablespoon or spoons of preserves and lots of maple syrup. For some they accompany it with sausages and eggs too.

Last Christmas, I was up early and prepared breakfast for everyone. I remembered my mom buying a box of pancake mix. So to please her, I though of making her a batch. However, the mix couldn't be found. It made me think where it could have went since I never saw or hear anyone at home make some in the past weeks.

Instead of wondering more and trying to figure out the mystery, I threw in a couple of available ingredients and viola, home-made pancakes from scratch. At least, I don't have to have hungry angry household members. Probably I will be making a batch again soon....

Griddle cakes

The Ingredients:
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Cooking Procedure:
Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Beat egg. Add milk and butter until all mixed well. Pour into dry ingredients; beat until combined making the batter still lumpy. Heat a skillet or griddle. To test if it is hot enough, drop a little water and it should roll off in drops. Use about 1/4 cup batter for each griddle cake. Cook until bubbles for on surface and edges become dry. Turn; cook 2 minutes longer, or until nicely browned on the underside. Serve with butter, maple syrup, jams and or preserves.

Aligue Fried Rice

Everyone at home loves seafood and crab is one of the most after crustacean, most specially the ones that are rich with eggs or roe or what we call aligue. Others call aligue as "mustard" or "crab fat" because of it's yellowish color and the terribly rich in cholesterol. There are local grocers and food markets that sells jars or cans of this succulent treat and is readily available all year round. There are a couple of recipes that call for aligue, such as aligue pasta or aligue sauce to be paired off with slices of meat. So incase, there is a craving for aligue, one can easily grab one from the stores.
Having a couple of left over crabs, it was not enough for crab cakes. So I removed the excess roe and crab meat and threw in day old rice and mixed vegetables. So everyone had a chance at home to have a share (specially in the cholesterol). :D
The Ingredients:
2/3 cup cooked aligue and crab meat
4 cups day-old rice
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsps. minced garlic
3 tbsps. minced white onion plus 1 tbsp. minced white onion
1/2 cup mixed vegetables (corn, carrots and peas; may be replaced with just corn and carrots or with other available combinations)
2 tbsps. oyster sauce mixed with 1-2 tbsps. water
1 scrambled egg, sliced into strips
ground pepper to taste
Cooking Procedure:
In a bowl, flake aligue and crab meat. Set this aside.
In a separate bowl, loosen the day-old rice from clumps. This would allow even distribution of the oyster sauce and other ingredients.
In a wok, dry fry the 1 tbsp. onions until it becomes dark in color and toasted. Set this aside. Pour in the oil and saute garlic and onions. Do not over cook the garlic else ti may become bitter. Add in the crab and saute until heated through. Try not to over heat because the meat may become too dry and tough. Add the rice and mix well.
Pour in the oyster sauce evenly over the rice. Season with ground pepper. Mix well to distribute the sauce evenly. Add in the vegetables and continue to stir until the vegetables are heated through and oyster sauce is evenly distributed.
Once done, transfer in a container and top with the scrambled eggs and toasted onions.
My Notes:
When ever my mom used to make fried rice, she would mix the day old rice with soy sauce or left over adobo sauce.


Free Rice

I know that this blog is a collection of treasures in my kitchen but I couldn't miss this opportunity to share this with you.

I stumbled upon Free Rice, a site that not only donates free rice but also helps one's vocabulary by playing the online game. The player receives a word and s/he tries to choose the correct word that best describes the word in question. For each correct answer, 20 grains of rice is donated by the advertiser on the bottom of the page. If you get 10 correct answers, you have contributed 200 grains of rice. The UN World Food Program distributes this to deserving families all over the worlds.

The site does not earn anything from this generous gesture.

Why not give it a chance to not only donate rice but also be able improve your vocabulary.


Present from Tita Pretty

I was looking for a different kind of ensaymada to munch on and came across Mary Grace. I have seen kiosks around Power Plant Mall and Glorietta 4 and cafes in Robinson's Midtown, Trinoma Mall and Serendra but never bothered to get a box until just last September of last year. I never had the chance to post because I got caught up with taking photos and eating delightfully different ensaymada. Normally, we would come across the sweet fluffy cake-y type. This one is rather on the salty side because of the grated queso de bola and the bread is a soft roll that has the right amount of sweetness to complement with the cheese.

I sound like a broken record... Looks like I need to get another one.... I am hooked.

Tita Pretty gave us a box of these yummy queso de bola topped ensaymadas for the New Year. Truly a treasure in one's kitchen for its taste and texture. Soft and moist bread topped with salty grated queso de bola and hint of sweetness too. Thank you Tita Pretty.


Eating shrimp without getting your hands dirty

Growing up, my dad would teach us how to eat properly and one of this is how to peel shrimp without using your hands. Normally, as kids, we would just take off the head with our bare hands, peel off the shell and tail then pop it into our mouths after dipping it in some lemon butter or butter garlic sauce. (Yum.)

The kids would argue with him that there is no fun in eating shrimp with utensils. He would counter that it is best to learn how most specially when the time comes it may come in handy. So with displeasure we had to learn the art. Honestly, it was difficult at first and tiresome. We weren't able to eat as much as we wanted and the process took more time that we lost our appetite.

But that was many years ago. Now that we have mastered the art everything is just a cinch. Thank you dad for taking the patience in teaching us.

How to Peel Shrimps Using a Fork and Knife:

1) With a fork, pierce the part of the body near the head for a firm hold. The shrimp is now lying on it's side. Using your butter knife or dinner knife, decap the shrimp's head (the carapace).

2) Place the tip of the knife right on the legs and try to scrap off the legs (or the swimmerets). This will leave an opening and would make it easier to peel off.

3) Now pierce the fork where the swimmerets used to be.

4) Insert the tip of the knife in between the shrimps body and the shell. Push back the shell away from the body to a point that the shells would detach away from the body. Continue this until the shell have been taken out. The tail may be sliced off or peeled off.

I would say that practice makes perfect but nothing beats eating shrimp using your hands.


Baba Ghanouj

I decided to change my approach to pot luck appetizers. I would normally bring a batch of pork spring rolls, salsa and chips plus dessert. When my HS girl friends decided to call a reunion, I thought of bringing something that would be slightly different from the average Filipino appetizer fare. Why not bring a batch of Baba Ghanouj?

Baba Ghanouj or Baba Ghanoush is commonly served as a starter or appetizer. It is a dip that is paired of with pita chips (but it may be paired with anything your heart desires :D ). The main ingredient is baked or grilled eggplant combined with a mixture of spices, tahini and oil. Tahini is ground sesame seeds with oil that was turned into paste. It is rich in protein, folic acid, B vitamins and iron. It helps with digestion too. However this dish should be taken in moderation for those with arthritis and gout because it may aggravate their condition.

The dish is easy to make and the ingredients are readily available in the market. I figured I would be able to try something new and play around in making my own home-made tahini too.

The Ingredients:
400-500 grams eggplant
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika or cumin

pita chips for dipping

Cooking Procedure:
Cook the eggplants by either baking or grilling. If you decide to bake them, pierce the skin with a fork for a few times; slice the eggplants into 2 length-wise. Lay them with the cut side down over a lightly greased cookie sheet and roast at 375F until they are soft and tender (about 30-60 minutes depending on their sizes). Cool and drain them them by laying them over a strainer. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl.

To grill, lay the eggplants over open flames and cook until the skins are dark and the meat is tender. Peel off the burned skin. Squeeze out the excess liquid and place the meat in a bowl.

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, except for the olive oil. Blend all the ingredients together until everything is blended. Add olive oil into the eggplant mixture one tablespoon at a time until you have reached the desired consistency. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and taste. Adjust the saltiness and tangy flavor by adding more salt or lemon juice. Transfer dip into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika or cumin. Serve with pita chips.

My Notes:
I prefer to grill the eggplants because the smoky flavor gave the dish more character.
Tahini may be found in super markets. Here is a copy of a homemade recipe.

Tahini - Sesame Paste

In my exploration of recipes, I have encountered the term Tahini a couple of times already without really knowing what it is. Until I met a friend, Ayman and mentioned that it was just sesame seeds turned into paste. Ahhhhh. It is similar to peanut butter except it uses sesame seeds instead of peanuts.

So, in the two years, I didn't even bother trying to find this product locally because no one would appreciate its use. Until recently, I decided to make baba ghanouj. I needed tahini and I had no clue which local grocery carries this. So searched the web and came across homemade tahini recipe by Emeril Lagasse . And boy, it sure made my life easier from ransacking all the grocers here in the metro. I just adjusted the amount since I wouldn't be needing a lot of this.

I just toasted 50 grams of sesame seeds for a few minutes until golden in color. Tried not to over cook and burn the seeds else I would end up with a bitter paste. Placed the toasted seeds in a blender and added 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Blend the ingredients together. Add another teaspoon of oil to make it more spread able. You may add more but try to add in small amounts else you would end up with an oily paste. Store blended paste in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator up to a few months.


The 2007 Christmas Gift Winner

After trying a couple of recipes for this year's Christmas 2007 treat search, finally it is over. And the winner is ....


I saw this online from find.myrecipes.com and since I became slightly obsessed with the idea of using locally available productS (pumpkins in particular) I had to give it a try.

Actually, this recipe is not for cupcakes but actually a marble cake recipe. But I wanted to mass-produce this for friends, so I baked it in muffin cups. I was able to make 4 dozen delicious babies with 1 recipe. I tried to repeat this and was able to make 3 large loaves with one recipe. It was moderately difficult for me at first since I never made marble cakes. But once you get the hang of it, everything was a piece of cake (no pun intended). I didn't add the frosting anymore because I found the cake just right and adding the frosting would make it too sweet. We liked it better refrigerated because it made it more dense-like but eating it in room-temperature is good too.

Maybe, I would be adding this as a regular gift treat and conduct another Christmas Project for 2008.


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