Calbee Granola

We love granola, but the thing is most American brands are too hard or tough. I have almost broken a tooth more than once eating those. When I saw these granola at our favorite Asian grocer, I immediately bought one to try. Calbee is a Japanese brand and these apparently is the best selling cereal in Japan. For me it’s the best tasting granola in the market. My family like to have this with milk preferably soy. I also add it to Greek yogurt with some fruit for a quick breakfast.

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They have also have the Match Green Tea flavor which was just recently introduced to our stores here in the East Coast. This one has become a favorite of one of my girls. I try to buy more than one specially when it’s on sale.

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Burong Mangga (Pickled Green Mangoes)

Burong Mangga reminds me of my childhood Summer days. This is the time when my Ninang Aveling would make it since it’s the peak season for mangoes. I believe back then they started pickling mango so they can have it all year round they way people here in the US Can seasonal fruits and vegetables during Summer.

We would always eat burong mangga with grilled meats or fish and also with steamed crabs and shrimps. This is also a staple every time we would pack food for an out of town Summer get away or vacation.

I must confess that I haven’t had this since we moved to the Northeast 20 years ago, green mangoes are really hard to come by in our area. I was so elated when my sister brought me some of her homemade ones when I visited home 2017.

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When I was able to find green mangoes at the newly opened Lotte Market in our area, first thing came to mind is to make burro.

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This is not the burro that Filipinos are used to that only uses a salt and water solution. My sister gave me her recipe which she adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku Vinegar Pickles.

First, wash and peel your green mangoes. Then slice into thick strips and set aside.

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Prepare your brine by pouring the following in a bowl: 1 cup very hot water (I used fresh boiled water), 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1Tbsp. sugar, 2 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt. Stir until everything is dissolved and allow to cool to room temperature.

Pack your sliced green mangoes into a clean and dry glass jar or container. Pour your brine solution on it until it’s completely covered, seal and refrigerate. This will be ready in 3-4 days. Consume within a month.

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Green Tea Almond Milk Spread and Green Tea Milk Spread

I wasn’t aware when I saw bottles of these spreads at H-Mart last Spring how popular and sought after they were. I contemplated getting the Green Tea Almond Milk Spread then but quickly changed my mind thinking it might taste overpowering.

Fast forward to Fall, after reading a review online and seeing tons of images in social media. I immediately went to H-Mart and was able to purchase the last remaining bottle of the Feliz Green Tea Almond Spread. The Osulloc brand was harder to find when even a trip to Koreatown in NYC proved unsuccessful. I was eventually able to purchase it from amazon. These are quite pricey given the size of the bottle. The Osulloc was $13.22 for a 200g bottle and the Feliz goes for less than $10.00 for 250 g.

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I opened the Green Tea Almond Spread first and placed a generous amount on toasted Korean Milk Bread. As expected it has ground almonds in it similar to crunchy peanut butter but less course in texture. It wasn’t overly sweet and the first impression I got was it tasted like melted green tea chocolate, very much like Royce Nama Chocolate Maccha. It was really good and you can literally eat it off from a spoon.

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The Osulloc brand was a lot sweeter but you can definitely taste the green tea flavor. I was expecting a much smoother and thicker mouthfeel like nutella, but it appears to have a grainy texture. I added it on top of waffle as a dessert. This will go well with ice cream, pancakes and toast as well. Between the two brands I prefer the Feliz because it’s less sweeter and and has better texture.

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The Search for Zucchini Blossoms at Union Square

I love going to Farm Markets, it’s exciting to see produce available for the season. Seeing all the fresh vegetables, fruits, bread and meat gives me such a high and enthusiasm to run back to my kitchen and just cook or create something.

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I always make it a point to visit the world famous Union Square Market everytime we visit the city. I was there for a weekend get away with the husband and being a Saturday I knew there would be more vendors and selections to choose from. That day, I was there on a mission to find the elusive zucchini blossoms I have been hunting for since the beginning of Summer. I made a quick round first to see what is on offer and the dizzying array and colors of what is in season just blew my mind.

The different colored carrots and beets and even radishes !!! Eggplants, tomatoes, squashes and more ….

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I wanted to buy everything in sight, but alas I can’t since I was there for a vacation and can’t store fresh produce in my hotel room and was not prepared to lug back pounds of produce to Penn Station.

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I almost gave up and missed the vendor selling the zucchini blossoms. I was already on my way out when I happen to glance at a cooler not really knowing what it was at first. But upon close inspection there they were, stacks of it neatly arranged on plastic containers. I was over joyed on my find and stopped myself from buying more than I need. In my excitement I forgot to take photos of it at the market.

Here is the package I got sitting at my kitchen awaiting my next adventure in the kitchen.

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Barley Tea

I was first introduced to Barley Tea 6 years ago, at a Korean restaurant that opened near our area. It was a complimentary drink given to all their customers. I didn’t know what it was that I had to ask our server. He told us it was barley tea and even explained how to prepare it. He said I can buy the grains used to make it at the Asian store just beside the restaurant. So I have been buying packs of barley and making tea out it using the grains. Until I discovered barley tea sachets. It is called Mugicha in Japan and Boricha in Korea. Just place 1-2 sachets to a pitcher and add water. Let steep for a couple of minutes (depending on how strong a taste you want it). Remove the bag and it’s ready to drink.

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Our family likes it cold in the Summer and I prepare it hot in the Winter. Aside from it being caffeine free, it has a lot of health benefits. It is said to have antioxidant properties, aides in digestion, improves blood circulation to name a few.

This is my beverage of choice to beat the heat this Summer.

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Visit to Daiso and Marukai

When we planned our trip to California this Summer, I made sure to include in our itinerary a visit to Daiso and Marukai. Daiso is like a Japanese dollar store. We don’t have this here in the East coast and I have always wanted to go and visit ever since I learned of the cool and inexpensive things you can get here. The main reason why I wanted to go was to source for bento accessories and containers. I was beyond excited when I saw the stuff that they have on display. I was able to get food tweezers, cutting knife, several bento food cups, bento box, small wooden spoons/utensils, egg mold and bento baran food dividers.

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What I wasn’t expecting to find are a variety of Japanese made bowls, dishes and serving platters you can imagine. I can’t believe that everything only cost $1.50 except for certain items that are priced as marked. No worries because the most expensive item I paid for is $3.00 . I went on a shopping spree since these items cost 2, 3 or even 5 times more here in the East. Most of their products are Japanese made but there are items that are made in China so make sure to check your purchases.

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Marukai which is a Japanese grocery store much like Mitsuwa even has wider array of Japanese wares on display. Most of their dishes are “Made in Japan” and I made sure to double check each piece I got. They have donburi and ramen bowls which I have been on a look out for a time now. The one’s I got (courtesy of my cousin) were on sale for only $2.50 each which is really a bargain. If I had enough space in my luggage I would have bought a lot more.

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