Bircher Muesli

I’ve had my very first taste of muesli in ’91 when our dad took us to The Peninsula Manila for breakfast. I spotted it on the menu and was intrigued by the description so I decided to get it. I immediately fell in love with the taste. It was like oatmeal and cereal combined but with a distinct flavor that I could not put my finger on. I love that it wasn’t overly sweet and is not too mushy like oatmeal.

Muesli is not something that you can just pick at the grocery store in Manila back then. You are lucky if you happen to get your hands on one at hotel boutiques or speciality food stores which is a rarity then. I can only get my muesli fix back then when we would have breakfast at The Pen as we would call it or stay overnight.

I was happy to be able to indulge on this again when we moved to the Northeast in ’99. I went through different brands looking for taste of the very first muesli I had at the Peninsula. The closest I can get was the Finax muesli sold by Ikea. Sadly they stopped selling this in 2016. Then I discovered Bob’s Red Mill Old country style muesli. It contains generous amount of oats, seeds, raisins and almonds and is not sweet at all.

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When I went back home for a visit last year, I was the one who took my dad this time to the Peninsula for breakfast. To my delight and surprise they are still serving muesli, this time as part of the buffet spread. I am so happy that it still taste exactly as I remember the first time I had it. Photo below is the muesli I had at The Pen.

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I promised myself to make this at home and look for the recipe to recreate the taste I was looking for. After going through several recipes I finally discovered the elusive ingredient that gives the distinct flavor of muesli – apples ! Grated apples is added to the muesli together with milk.

To make, place 1 cup of muesli in a container, add 1 cup of milk and 1 grated apple. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the muesli to soften and the flavors to meld.

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To serve, place your muesli in a small bowl, the add a splash of milk if you find it too dry. Then top with some thinly sliced apples or your choice of fruit. Serve cold.

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One Pan Egg Toast

I am always on the look out for new and exciting breakfast options. This recipe is an upgraded version of your typical eggs and toast combo. I discovered this while watching food vlogs on Youtube. This apparently also went viral and several food vloggers have featured this on their site with step by step instructions.

What’s neat about this is you only need a pan to make this breakfast, hence the name of the dish.

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To make start by beating two eggs in a bowl. Then dip a slice of sandwich bread that is cut in half on the eggs and set this aside. Take a pan and place it on medium heat, add a about 2 tablespoons butter and pour your beaten eggs on it. Then before it’s set place your sliced piece of bread (with the side dipped on egg facing up) on top of the egg making sure that there is about a centimeter gap in between the slices. Once the egg is fully set carefully flip your eggs over. Fold the eggs hanging on the all sides towards the center creating a neat package. Then lay a couple of ham slices on one side and cheese on the other. Fold the two pieces of bread together creating a sandwich. Continue frying until bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides. You may need to add more butter for this step.

Remove from pan and serve immediately. It’s best eaten piping hot.

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Corned Beef Pandesal

I had my first corned beef pandesal from Le Coeur de France, a bakery chain in Manila in the early 90’s. This is pandesal with the corned beef filling baked inside and not just sandwiched in between. This bakeshop was French inspired but had the Filipino taste and flavor in mind; they sell corned beef pandesal, kesong puti panini, croissants, fruit tarts and other bakery treats. My dad would always get corned beef pandesal to take home for us. Le Coeur de France was also a favorite hang out for me and my husband when we were still dating. They have a location in Alabang Town Center, which is a stone’s throw away from where we live. Unfortunately, they permanently closed their doors in February 2016.

Fast forward to 2018, during a visit to Manila we fell in love with the corned beef pandesal from Starbucks. They offer this from their bakery menu together with spicy tuna pandesal, ensaymada among others.

Ever since I made pandesal at the beginning of this lock down, I told myself I will make my own corned beef pandesal. It’s just that for the past few month’s I haven’t been able to get my hands on my preferred corned beef brand. Fortunately, on a recent trip to a Filipino restaurant to pick up food, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they are carrying a few grocery items. My husband was able to pick up a couple of cans of Purefoods corned beef.

I just followed my recipe for pandesal. While my dough was proofing, I prepared the filling by sautéing 2-3 cloves garlic minced and half a medium sized onion chopped in olive oil before adding the can of corned beef. Cook until just heated through and I just added a bit of ground black pepper to season. Do not add any liquid since you do not want a watery filling. Set aside to cool.

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When your dough has sufficiently risen. Punch it down and divide in two. Roll the dough into logs and cut each log into seven pieces. Flatten each piece into circles and place a tablespoon of corned beef in the middle. Gather the dough around and up and seal the edges by pinching. Roll in breadcrumbs and place in a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for all remaining dough. Cover the filled dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. Bake in a 375 F pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Best eaten straight out of the oven.

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Longganisa Breakfast Muffin

Breakfast sandwiches are sold by most fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to name a few. These are only available during breakfast hours, but some do serve these all day. Here in New Jersey, the most popular breakfast sandwich is Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll or bagel. For most New Yorkers, it’s bagel with cream cheese and lox or any flavored cream cheese for that matter. In Korea they have what you call grandma toast.

I wanted to make a breakfast sandwich with a Pinoy twist. Longganisa was the perfect choice for me to make it truly Filipino. This Philippine style sausage has proven to be versatile since modern Filipino restaurants have adapted these to their menus and even created burgers which incorporates these to their ground beef.

First, you need to prepare your longganisa patty. I used my recipe for skinless longganisa which can be found here. You need to shape it into patties instead of the usual logs. Then fry it until cooked and brown on both sides, set aside and keep warm.

Prepare your scrambled eggs by beating in a small bowl 1 egg and seasoning it with a bit of salt and pepper. I then place this in my microwave egg poacher. (Note: you may also use a ceramic or glass small bowl) . Then microwave on high for 1 to 1.5 minutes or just until set.

To assemble, split an English muffin and lightly toast it. Place some greens on one of the slices, followed by some smashed avocado that has been seasoned with lemon juice and salt. Then carefully place your egg and longganisa patty before topping with the other piece of muffin. Serve immediately.

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Corned Beef Hash Pandesal

I really wanted to make the corned beef pandesal we had at Starbucks in Manila. It’s something that we regularly get, when we were there for a visit two years ago. But I unfortunately don’t have any canned corned beef which is what most Filipinos use. All I had was a can of corned beef hash, so this would have to make do.

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It did turn out pretty well since the filling is drier compared to sautéed corned beef. I just scooped it out straight out of the can, no need to reheat or cook since it will bake with the dough anyway.

To make, prepare the dough using this pandesal recipe I posted before. Then divide and cut the rolled dough into 14 pieces (I was able to make 15 rolls with this recipe, it’s better to divide the dough into 14 for a nice even number). Roll to flatten into rounds and place a tablespoon of corned beef hash in the middle, gather the edges and crimp to close. Shape into a roll and dust with bread crumbs. Place in a parchment lined baking tray seam side down. Once all the dough is filled. Cover tray with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 375 F.

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When the dough has been rested, place the tray in oven and bake for about 20 minutes until it’s nice and brown. Serve hot.

We love having it for breakfast.

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Korean Grandma Toast

We were planning to bring our girls to Korea after their college graduation. But with this pandemic that’s happening around the world, I don’t think we will be traveling anytime in the foreseeable future. So to make the most of our current situation, I thought to bring a little bit of Korea to our home instead. Grandma toast is a very popular street food item in Korea. Locals have said that they usually grab this as breakfast on the go. It can come in different varieties or what you put as add ons.

To make, you will need the following: a quarter of a cabbage thinly shredded, a small carrot jullienned (cut into matchstick pieces), 2 eggs, butter, 2 pieces ham slices, 2 pieces American cheddar cheese and 4 sliced white bread. This recipe makes two sandwiches. Note: save about 1/2 cup of shredded cabbage and carrots to be used later once you assemble your sandwich. Also it’s important that you shred your cabbage really thin, use a mandolin if you have one.

First, prepare your toast by melting a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan. Then place your bread and cook until golden brown on both sides. You need to add another tablespoon of butter once you flip it to cook the other side. Continue cooking it this way until you have used up all 4 bread slices. Set aside and keep warm.

Place your shredded cabbage, jullienned carrots and 2 beaten eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Get a non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl around your pan. Pour half of your vegetable mixture and cook for a couple of minutes or until the bottom is set. Then flip and cook the other side until browned and eggs are not runny. You may need to add more butter as you are cooking it. It may also take longer to cook if your omelet is thick. So make sure to lower your heat to avoid burning it. When your omelet is done sprinkle some sugar (I use a scant teaspoon), then top with a sliced cheese and a piece of ham.

To assemble, place your omelet with the cheese and ham slices on one of the toasted bread. Then add some shredded cabbage and carrots that you have set side on top. Squeeze some ketchup before topping with the other bread slice. Serve immediately !

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Pandesal

It’s has really been awhile since I last made pandesal, 2009 to be exact. (photo below are the ones I made back then). I wasn’t motivated enough I guess, since it really takes time and effort to make yeast bread. But yesterday I was ready and raring to make a batch after watching bakers in Europe make artisan breads. I for one feel it’s more rewarding and magical to bake bread rather than cake. Plus, our supply of bread is dwindling fast so I really need to make some for our family. This lockdown also gives me more than enough time now to make our own pandesal.

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To make, place 1 1/3 cup lukewarm water in a mixing bowl, then add 1 packet active dry yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until bubbles form on top.

To it add 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or shortening, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup sugar. If using a stand mixer use your paddle attachment to combine everything together. Note: it will be runny like pancake batter.

Then switch into a dough hook and gradually add 2 cups all purpose flour. You may add up to about 1/2 cup more flour is it’s still too sticky. Knead for about 8-10 minutes until dough feels soft and smooth. Then form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with film wrap or kitchen towel. Place in a dark and warm area in your kitchen and proof for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until dough is double in size. The time will all depend on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen.

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Punch the dough and knead for a couple of minutes on a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough into two and form into logs. Using a pastry cutter, slice your dough at an angle about 2 inch thick. Then roll or dust with breadcrumbs and arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment or baking paper. Let it proof again for about 20 minutes. Bake in a 375F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until nice and brown.

Serve hot.

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Japanese (Morinaga) Hotcakes from a Mix

I have been tempted several times to get the Morinaga hotcakes mix whenever I am at HMart. I have heard good reviews about it and two weeks ago, I finally gave in and bought one packet home.

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Hotcakes not pancakes you say, yes there is a difference in Japan according to Japan today. Japanese hotcakes as explained by Morinaga who is the number one producer of this mix in Japan, uses more sugar and is cooked with milk. Thereby producing a fluffier and sweeter cake that is usually eaten as a treat or snack.

This mix has small four packets inside. Take one and empty it on a bowl. Add one egg and 1/2 cup of milk. Using a wire whisk beat the batter in one direction for about 30 seconds. It’s important not to over beat it.

Get a non-stick pan and place on medium heat. Lightly grease your pan with butter or vegetable oil. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto your pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top. Flip the pancakes and cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. You can lower the heat if you think the pan is getting too hot. This makes 4 pancakes.

Serve with a pat of butter and some maple or pancake syrup.

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Sixth Anniversary Longganisa Fried Rice

It has been six years since I made my very first post. This blog has evolved from just featuring bento lunch creations I made for my girls to documenting family recipes that I have learned from my Lola (grandmother), mom and aunts. This has not only accomplished my wish to record such recipes so I may pass it on to my girls. It has also led them learning and having the passion for cooking.

To celebrate, I made longganisa fried rice. I didn’t want to have a sweetish kind of fried rice so I opted to use Lucban longganisa. You may use whatever kind you want, it’s just a matter of preference.

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This recipe is just for one serving.

To make, remove the meat of two longganisa from it’s casing. Using your knife or fingers break up the meat.

Heat a non-stick pan and add your meat. Cook until browned and crisp to your liking. No need to add oil since your longganisa will release fat as you fry it. I removed excess grease by blotting my pan with paper towel as I was cooking or you can drain it. Place about 1 – 2 cups cooked white rice preferably cold, stir until everything is well combined and heated through. Add some chopped cilantro, toss and remove from heat. I didn’t add any more seasoning since the longganisa is salty enough for me. But you can season to suit your taste.

To serve, place in a bowl and top with a sunny side egg. You can also sprinkle some garlic crisp like what I did.

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Figs on Toast

I am always on the hunt for breakfast ideas. Specifically, what I can put on toast. I love bread and can eat it morning, noon and night. I am quite adventurous when it comes to bread fillings or toppings and love to create different flavor combinations.

This toast is an example, it’s sweet and salty at every bite. Making sure you have good quality bread ensures a good toast. I like hearty whole grain breads when making open face sandwiches or toast. It can hold up anything you put on it a lot better than white bread.

For this I used a rustic whole grain bread I got from Whole Foods. Slice and toast your bread. Spread some cream cheese then pile on several slices of figs. Then drizzle with honey and last you can spinkle a bit of sea salt.

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