Oatmeal with Latik (Coco Jam)

Serving a healthy breakfast need not be boring. You can jazz up your oatmeal by adding coco jam or latik as sweetener. While shopping at H-Mart I happen to see a few bottles of Coconut Jam on display in the Filipino sweets section. What first caught my eye was it’s beautiful packaging, I can still see in my eyes the latik of my childhood encased in a ghastly plastic container. I don’t remember the brand though but we seem to always have a jar at home.

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To make, prepare your coconut jam by melting it over a double boiler for best results. Do not attempt to heat it in a microwave, I learned that the hard way. I also added about a teaspoon of milk to the 3 Tbsp. of coconut jam I used. I find that adding milk gave it a smoother texture. Set aside.

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Cook your oatmeal per package directions. You can choose whatever kind you like, I prefer the quick cooking Irish rolled oats. I also used half water and half milk as cooking liquid. When done, spoon your oatmeal onto bowls. Garnish with banana slices. I added some unsweetened toasted coconut for an added crunch before drizzling the latik on top. The coconut not only goes well with it but gives it a tropical flavor. I find that you don’t need a lot to sweeten your oatmeal, a little goes a long way. It also gave such a depth of flavor and surely tastes better than brown sugar or honey.

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Souffle Pancake

I just love Asian desserts, they don’t only taste great but are so instagram worthy as well. SoufflĂ© pancake is just one example. This craze started in Japan and has quickly spread to the west. They are thick pancakes but light and fluffy on the inside. They are different from regular pancakes because of how they are prepared, instead whisking all ingredients together, the eggs are separated and the whites are whipped and folded into the batter. This makes the pancake puff up and at the same time wobbly, the way it’s supposed to be.

The batter is easy to prepare, it’s cooking it that is a bit tricky.

This recipe is for one serving.

You will need two eggs, separate the egg yolks from the white. In a bowl, place the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Add 1/4 cup milk and sift 1/4 cup cake flour and 1/2 tsp. baking powder on to it. Whisk again until well blended.

In another bowl, whip the eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the 2 Tbsp. sugar while whipping your whites.

Take half of the egg whites and mix it in the eggyolk batter, you don’t need to be careful when doing this. Mix until no streaks are visible. Then place the remaining half of the egg whites and carefully fold it into the batter.

Take a deep enough non-stick pan and place it on stove over low heat. Add a pat of butter and let it melt. Wipe excess butter with paper towel making sure grease just coats bottom of pan. Using a small ladle, pour batter into three mounds. Then add another layer on top of the mounds you created until you have added three scoops per pancake. Cover the pan with a fitted lid and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and carefully flip over each pancake, cover and continue cooking again for another 5 minutes. Make sure that your heat is set at a very low temperature.

When done, place pancakes on a platter. Serve with fruits, whipped cream and some powdered sugar.

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Malunggay Pesto Pasta with Longganisa

Malunggay a common backyard plant is now getting international attention and is acclaimed to be the next superfood. Aside from having high nutritive value studies show it has a lot of healing properties.

Malunggay is widely used in cooking not only in South East Asia but in South Asia and the Caribbean as well. Fresh malunggay leaves is hard to come by here in the Northeast, though I know that you can get these in most Asian grocers in California.

I chanced upon a bottle of Malunggay Pesto at Legaspi Sunday Market on our trip to Manila last year. The vendor gave a lot of suggestions on ways to use this pesto.

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For this recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. Your bottled pesto, spaghetti noodles, parmesan cheese, and longganisa.

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Remove 4 sausage (Longganisa) meat from casings, crumble and pan fry in a non-stick pan until brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Sausage meat will render fat so it’s not necessary to add any type of oil during cooking.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions (I only cooked 2 serving portions). Remember to salt your water. Once cooked save a cup of pasta water then drain your spaghetti. Place pasta in a ceramic bowl, add desired amount of malunggay pesto and a handful of grated parmesan cheese and about 1/2 cup pasta water to begin with. Toss everything together until well combined. You will notice that the water helps the sauce to emulsify and become creamy. This is the secret to making creamy pesto pasta without the added grease.

Place your pesto pasta in a deep bowl. Top with more parmesan cheese and a generous portion of your pan fried crumbled longganisa. You can add a handful of baby spinach when tossing your pasta with the sauce for added texture.

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Fruit Sando – Japanese Fruit Dessert Sandwich

Fruit Sandwich is made out of white bread usually Shokupan (Japanese milk bread), some type of fresh fruit and whipped cream. In Japan, fruit sandwich are found everywhere; in cafes, vending machines and every convenience store around the corner. There are even high end fruit parlors or fruit stores who serve this but uses only high quality fruits which they source meticulously.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that our local Sunmerry bakery now serves fruit sandwich. It’s a limited time offer for their ongoing strawberry festival.

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To make fruit sando, you need to use the the thick cut Japanese milk bread since it can soak up the cream and fruit juices without turning your sandwich soggy. You can get this at most Asian bakeries like Paris Baguette, Tous Le Jour and Sunmerry. Take 2 slices of bread and remove crust with a serrated knife and set aside.

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Place a cup of chilled heavy cream, 2 Tbsp. sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until stiff peaks form about 2-3 minutes. Tip, I place my stainless steel bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 30 minutes before use. This is one way to whip cream faster and increase it’s volume.

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Place about 1/4 cup of cream on each slice of bread using a spatula or butter knife. Arrange your fruit or fruit slices on one of the bread slices, keeping in mind how you want the fruit presented when sandwich is sliced. Spread more cream on top of fruits covering the spaces in between before placing the other slice on top. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from fridge and slice diagonally. (It pays to mark or remember how you place or arranged your fruits before cutting because you won’t be able to see once it’s covered with cream)

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5th Anniversary

Can’t believe it’s been five years since I started this blog. The idea came came from the urging and encouragement of friends. They have seen the bento creations which I make for my girls and have been posting on facebook . It still took me a couple of years to muster the courage to eventually write my first blog post.

To date I have made 323 entries since I started March 2, 2014. This has evolved to just posting my bento creations to documenting and writing recipes that I have learned from my mom, grandma (Lola) and aunts. It has also allowed me to be more open and creative in making new dishes. This has also been very useful for my college girls who started to learn and love cooking. It has become their tool and resource when they want to make something that I cook for them at home. It also made the task of documenting our family recipes easier. This is something that I started to do way back 2010 using a journal. This blog has now become a lasting legacy I can leave my girls behind.

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To celebrate this 5th Anniversary, I made Green Tea Honey Toast !

Honey Toast is nothing new, it made it’s appearance around early 2000 and is a popular treat served in cafes or coffee shops in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. It is now very much present in other Asian countries as well. It’s a dessert made of thick cut toast, piled high with ice cream, fruits, cookies, candies and syrups. The combination of flavors and textures from the garnishes is what makes it fun to eat.

You don’t need an architectural degree to come up with your own towering creation. Be playful and imaginative coming up with your own flavor combinations. The more decadent the better !

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Homemade Tocino

This has unintentionally become a breakfast series. I first started with a beef tapa recipe. It’s a meat dish that has become a Filipino breakfast staple because of the popularity of Tapsilog a coined term for Tapa, Sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (fried egg). This then led to the many silog combinations such as Longsilog where long stands for longanisa (Filipino sausage); Tocilog – Toci is Tocino (a sweet savory cured meat usually made of pork); and spamsilog for spam the canned meat.

I made two versions of Tocino the first one only uses salt and sugar, while the other has pineapple juice as its sweetener.

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For the first recipe. I used about a pound of pork butt that has been sliced thinly. Then I seasoned both sides of the meat with a combination of 3 Tbsp. kosher salt and 4-6 Tbsp. sugar. The proportion is that there should be more sugar than salt. Place in sealed plastic container and refrigerate for up to three days to cure.

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The second recipe, I used about 1.2 lbs of thinly sliced pork butt. This is then marinated in the following: 2 Tbs kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 1 tsp pepper. You will note that I didn’t add any garlic as most recipes found online calls for. I find this unnecessary because typical tocino shouldn’t taste garlicky. Again place in a sealed plastic container and let cure in the fridge for around 3 days.

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Traditional tocino is reddish in color because of the addition of prague powder or curing salt. To add color to my tocino I used annatto oil to fry my meat. When frying make sure to use medium to low heat as the meat readily burns because of the sugar content of the marinade. Cook until browned and not burnt on both sides.

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