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Hazelnut Tulipe

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Ice cream!

It’s got to be my husband and I’s favorite dessert. We are both so bad. We can possibly gorge down a whole container of ice cream in one sitting… if we don’t control ourselves. But I’m glad to say that it hasn’t happened yet, not so far anyways. Hahhaha.. Not that we are planning on doing it anytime soon, or ever. God forbid.

But I got to say, I’ve never had this much ice cream indulgement until I came to the US. In the Philippines, ice cream is more of an occassional treat for most families, so I’ve never really enjoyed a lot of it when I was growing up (except for the local ice-cream from the push-cart being sold in the street, which is more like a sherbet actually). But everything changed a bit when I started working. Ice cream became a familiar treat to my palate, as it was present on every birthday celebration there was in my office. That and cake. Couldn’t be badder (yeah, i know, wrong grammar), but couldn’ be better at the same time (now you know, I wanted my words to rhyme!). Ice cream and cake is the yin and yang of every birthday celebration, in my opinion. One is not the same withouth the other.

Anyways, back to my advent in the US. Imagine my delight in discoving the BUY ONE, TAKE ONE deals in the groceries for ice cream! Sweet!!! (Yeah, literally) My ice-cream starved pysche dictated that I should buy everytime there was a sale, so I began hoarding them in my fridge. Actually, I’m over exaggerating… but I was buying them more often than I should. But don’t worry. I’m over that stage now (though I admit buy-one-take-one ice cream is still pretty hard to resist sometimes).

Since summer is here, cool treats are in! And so, to celebrate my love for this frozen dessert, and to surprise Mr. J with something a little special, I made a tulipe – which is actually a hazelnut cookie curl.

I really do think that the addition of finely ground hazelnut made the cookie extra special. This was my first time to try doing this, so I was proceeding with caution. Yeah, some cookies did not come out successfully, but I did manage to get 4 good tulipes out of the 6 that I made. Pretty good for a first try, don’t you think?

Next time though, I’ll make it a point to follow the instructions to the T. I thought that the amount of the batter required for the cookie was too little that I doubled it. That was a major mistake. For the tulipe to be pliable, it has to be as thin as possible; mine came out a tiny bit thicker. Also, I chose to leave it a few minutes longer in the oven than called for, because I wanted crispier edges.. So as you can see, they are short of being burnt!

The ice cream is, of course, store bought. I have yet to try making a homemade one, when I get my ice cream maker that is. The recipe recommended vanilla ice cream, but I decided that Neapolitan is more exciting with its three different flavors.

Oh, the raspberry sauce is also homemade. Initially, I thought of doing a chocolate ganache for drizzling on top, but the dessert is already rich as it is, so I decided to go with the fruit puree instead.
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As you can see, the presentation came out elegant. The tulipe surrounds a mound of ice cream in a crunchy embrace while it rests on a pool of raspberry sauce. No wonder the hubby exclaimed, “OOOH!”.

That was music to my ears. :o)

Hazelnut Tulipe
Cookies
1/3 c shelled hazelnuts (filberts)
1/4 c butter or margarine
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp rum extract
1/3 c unsifted all-purpose flour

Raspberry Sauce
2 pkg (12 oz size) frozen, unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 pint fresh raspberries (for garnish)
Mint leaves, for garnish(optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a shallow pan, bake hazelnuts 10-15 mins or until skins crack. Remove from oven; wrap in towel. When cool enough to handle, roll nuts in towel to remove as much skin as possible. Let cool; finely chop cooled nuts in food processor or blender.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Grease and flour three large baking sheets. In a small saucepan, melt butter; cool. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar, the salt and rum extract until foamy. Whisk in melter butter, then flour. Add nuts.

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3. Use the rim of a glass to make two 5-in circles on prepared baking sheets. (I made the marks at the back of the parchment paper). Spoon 2 level tablespoons batter onto each circle. Spread evenly to fill circle. Bake 5 minutes or until edges are brown. Spray the bottoms of six 6-oz custard cups with non stick cooking spray.

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4. Using pancake turner, lift cookies from baking sheets; invert onto greased bottoms of custard cups. With fingers, gently mold around cup. If cookies are too brittle, reheat briefly in oven. Cool tulipes completely on wire rack; then lift tulipes off cups and place on wire racks.

5. Make raspberry sauce. Combine thawed raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar; let stand 20-30 mins. Using back of large spoon, press berries and any juice through a strainer set over a large deep bowl until only seeds remain; discard seeds. Cover raspberry puree and refrigerate until serving.

NOTE: I did not have rum extract, so I used coconut rum instead, and it worked! If you don’t have hazelnuts, you may use toasted almonds. In this case, Amarretto Liqueur might be good to use since it’s almond-flavored. Also, you can use strawberries for the sauce in place of raspberries. The puree can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. For a lighter alternative, you can fill tulipe with a low-fat frozen yoghurt. Or, you can fill the bowl with slices of fresh tropical fruit such as mango, kiwi, pineapple and papaya; top with vanilla yoghurt.

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The most rewarding part about cooking is seeing people enjoy your food. I’m sure anyone who cooks would agree with me on this, am I right? What I struggle most about it though, is putting a menu together. Well, if I went to culinary school this story would have been different but I didn’t. I just have to learn this area vicariously through restaurants, TVs and magazines while relying a lot on my (and Mr. J’s) tastes buds.

Personally, I am not picky and in the least bit particular about the pairing of my food. My philosophy is, it will all get mixed up in your stomach anyway. Thankfully, Mr. J is not picky as well. He’s game, he’ll try anything. I’m proud to tell you that he’s even tried eating “bulad” – the dried, salty fish in the Philippines, which a lot of foreigners find really repulsive (it has a strong fishy smell when being cooked). I still have to convince him to try our world famous “balut” delicacy though, or the fermented duck’s eggs with the embryo in it. Hahahah.. sorry if I gross you out, but the truth is, a lot of people in the Philippines enjoy this delicacy. (I don’t though, so that’s why I don’t have the right to push Mr. J to try it himself) Balut is supposed to have a lot of nutrients and is believed to be an aphrodisiac as well. Hmmmn..

Back to my food today. When you’re a career lady, the last thing you want is to spend a long time in the kitchen when you get home from work. I don’t know about you but I don’t. Much as I like to cook, when I ‘m from work I just want to relax. That’s why if you notice, majority of my recipes are simple and quick to do but without sacrificing the taste.

So here’s a simple side dish that is quick, flavorful and healthy. I served it with a blackened salmon steak cooked in a cast iron pan. Hope you like it.

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Zucchini And Squash With Basil and Feta
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups zucchini, sliced
2 cups of baby pattypan, halved
2 cups leeks, sliced (about 2)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into strips (chiffonade)

1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and butter to pan, swirling to coat.
2. Add squash/zucchini and leek to pan; saute for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
3. Stir in salt and pepper.
4. Transfer squash mixture to a serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Salmon
1. Sprinkle salmon steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
2. Heat your cast iron skillet to medium high. Add about a tablespoon of oil, just enough to coat the pan to make sure fish does not stick.
3. When skillet is hot, add the fish. Fry 4 mins on one side or until done. Do not overcook or salmon will get dry.
4. Serve with lemons, if preferred and the side dish above.

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Peanut-Ginger Rice

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This is the rice that I served with my Sesame-Crusted Tuna With Roasted Cipolline Onions. I normally prefer just plain, white rice because I don’t want the rice to compete with whatever I am eating it with. But in this case, the rice is the perfect accompaniment to the tuna dish. I might be biased though, because I love Thai food.

Anyway, you can use those boil-in-a bag long grain rice that you can buy in the grocery. But as for me, I prefer to cook the rice myself. As an Asian, it would be a shame for me to use those boil-in-a bag stuff. And even if I’m feeling lazy- I still got the hook-up — rice cooker, baby!

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Peanut-Ginger Rice
4 cups rice, cooked (I prefer Jasmin or Basmati)
1/4 cup sliced green onions, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
2 tbsp Thai peanut sauce*
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp salt
Roasted peanuts, for garnish

1. Cook rice according to direction, ommitting salt and fat.
2. Stir in onions, peanut sauce, ginger and salt.
3. Garnish with additional green onions and roasted peanuts. Serve warm.

*NOTE: You can increase amount of Thai peanut sauce according to your liking. If you don’t have the bottled peanut sauce, you may mix 2 tbsp of creamy peanut butter with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1 tsp lime juice. Mix thoroughly and add to rice.

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Foodie Blogroll

You may notice that I have this new little icon on my sidebar now… Yep, I just became a member of the Foodie Blogroll.I’m so excited to meet other foodies, amateurs and professionals alike. I am looking forward to learning from everyone in the foodblog world!!!

If you want to be a member, just click the link found under the icon and it will take you to the registration.

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Spice Of Life

Spice of life. These are the “ingredients” that make life interesting, fun, sometimes excruciating but nonetheless an exciting journey.

Love is the most sought-after spice. Like salt, you just cannot be without it. It makes everything better. Then, there’s joy and laughter. They’re akin to black pepper. Combined with salt, it’s perfect. On it’s own, it doesn’t do much – at least to me. Sadness and tears – they’re a spice of life too. They’re like red pepper flakes that gives a little kick when added, highlighting the flavors in the food. In the same manner, tears and sadness are essential for us to go through once in while, so that we can have a better appreciation of the blessings that we do have in life.

My mother came from a region in our country where the best cooks come from. She loved to cook and was good at it too. I got from her my love for cooking. And then, I got married to a wonderful man who happens to have a passion for cooking. I cook most of the time at home, but when my husband has time, he does it… and I love it!

Neither of us has gone to culinary school but my husband has had a number of years of restaurant experience. That makes him more knowledgeable about food than me, huh? So for my lack, I make it up by watching Food Network , subscribing to food magazines and collecting cookbooks (preferrably with photos).

Thus, I thought of starting this blog because of our shared love for food and cooking. This blog will be about our adventures in the kitchen — about how the right “spices”, when combined together, can produce a flavorful food…and life for that matter.

Welcome to my blog.

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Creative moves

I’ve been hooked on watching this tv show “So You Think You Can Dance”. This is similar to American Idol, but the dance version. The techniques and versalitily required from the contestants of this show are very high. The creativity from the choreographers are awesome.

Being a dancer isn’t easy. Though I’m not a professional dancer like they are, but I am involved in the dance ministry. So I’ve had a little taste of how it is to memorize the steps, let alone perfect the execution of each movement. It requires physical stamina. It requires passion, dedication. It requires a whole lot of TIME.

It is sad to say though that in the church, we as dance ministers do not maintain the same standards that the world demands. Those that are dancing for the Lord are more often willing to settle for mediocrity — “because it is not a performance”. True, but we forget that we are “worshipping” the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He deserves our best. He deserves excellence from us. Therefore, we ought to strive for more, to continually practice our craft so that we can be better each time.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am well aware that a heart of worship is more important, but can you just imagine how “powerful” a dance ministry could be if a heart of worship is combined with excellent dance techniques (such as what you’ve seen in the video above) ignited with the Lord’s anointing? Wow. This is my desire as a dance-worshipper. This is my vision. That is why I am never satisfied with where I am today. He whom much is given, much will be required. And my goal is to learn everyday (in all aspects technically and spiritually), to use what I have and continue to practice, so that God can cause an increase in the areas where I lack – to the praise and glory of His name.
Above are two dance routines from that I like… Please watch them. Enjoy.

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It’s just another manic Monday… This day began just like any other Monday – blah! I felt like not getting up and going to work. But unlike the other Mondays, the Lord “woke” me up today.

I went out to walk the dog this morning as I usually do. I met our neighbor who is likewise walking her dog. She knows about my mother’s condition, and she asked about her. I replied, albeit very hesitant and said “not very good. Her cancer is spreading, etc…” When those words came out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit flashed a red light in my mind. God showed me the condition of my heart. Despite all my prayer declarations of healing and miracle over my mother, He knows that in the deepest place of my heart – I lack faith. And my physical state today is most likely a reflection of my spiritual weariness.

I am a child of GOD yet I have the defeatist attitude. This is hard to accept, but somehow it is true. Sometimes, we don’t really believe that we deserve the miracles of God in our lives, that’s why it is easier for us to adapt to the victim’s mentality. We are ready to settle for mediocrity, and in so doing, we limit God.

We often forget that GOD is good, just because it is His nature to be good. His love is unconditional. There is nothing that we have done, nor nothing that we did not do that can lessen the love that He has for His children! It is His good pleasure to give us good gifts. We are GOD’S favored children! And because we are walking with FAVOR from the Lord, we must stop being negative. Our confession must change. We must stop expecting the worse, but believe for the best. A friend once shared to me that “a heart of expectation creates an atmosphere of miracle”. This is exactly the kind of attitude I need to have.

And so as I continued to walk the dog, I reflected on these things. I had to repent for my doubt and once more I asked God to give me faith and strength to BELIEVE. It is not enough for me to receive the miracle, for receiving implies a passive action on my part. I got to CLAIM that healing as His word promises. It is mine, it’s mine, it’s mine! I claim it for my mother!

Lord, thank you for speaking this message to me today. Thank you for reminding me to change my attitude and reminding me that I am YOUR favored child. You have anointed my head with oil and my cup overflows. Surely GOODNESS AND GRACE will follow me ALL the days of my life. So be it Lord. In Jesus’ name.

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