Honey Cheese Toast

We miss going to Sunmerry, our local favorite Asian Bakery Cafe. We come here at least twice a week. My husband’s favorite thing here is their Honey Cheese Toast. He usually gets this with a cup of coffee. I have tried a couple of times to recreate it but I can’t seem to get the texture and taste I was looking for. Until I finally nailed it today.

So to begin you will need some thick sliced bread or Skokupan. I don’t have this right now so I just used some whole wheat bread slices. Toast this for a bit but don’t let it get brown. Set aside.

To make your topping, place in a double boiler, 1/4 cup milk, 3 slices American cheese (cut up) and about 1 Tbsp butter. Let this melt and cook until somewhat thickened. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Then add around 1-2 Tbsp. honey and 1/2 tsp. sugar. Stir until sugar has melted.

Get your bread slices and carefully cover the entire surface with the cheese mixture. Place in your oven toaster and cook until brown on top. This doesn’t take long so make sure not to leave it unattended. Let it cool for bit before serving so your topping has time to set a bit. It pairs well with coffee or tea.

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The Elvis Sandwich

I love peanut butter sandwiches. I am known by my family for having this for dessert when I was a teen and well into adulthood. My girls on the other hand love the peanut butter and honey combo. This was in a regular rotation in their lunch box in grade school.

I wanted to make something exciting for lunch the other day that won’t take much time to make. This sandwich seems to be the perfect choice.

To make, I cooked my bacon in a 425F oven until brown and crisped. Just place several pieces on a foil lined tray and bake for around 20 minutes. I learned this is the easiest and fastest way to cook bacon.

Toast some sliced bread, I used whole wheat but you can use whatever you want. Then generously spread some peanut butter on the two slices of bread. Place some sliced bananas on one of the slices, then drizzle some honey on the bananas. Arrange a couple of bacon slices then carefully lay the other slice of bread on top.

Cut in half and serve.

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Calamansi Muffins

I was missing the lemon loaf from Starbucks. It’s the one thing we usually get to have with our flat white with soy milk. I actually thought of making some lemon blueberry muffins first since I have made that before. My girls however insisted I make these instead when I gave them the option to chose between the two. Calamansi is known as Philippine lime or Calamondin. It has a somewhat sweet and tart flavor and is refreshingly fragrant.

This recipe was adapted from this website, the only changes I made was substituting the yogurt for the sour cream and decreasing the amount of sugar used for the glaze.

To make, prepare the crumb topping first by combining in a bowl 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup melted butter. Pinch the mixture with your hands until crumbly.

In another bowl, beat 2 eggs with a handheld mixer or whisk until frothy. Then add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup vegetable oil, beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 cup yogurt, 2 Tbsp. calamansi juice (I used the frozen packet ones since I don’t have the fresh fruit). Note: do not use calamansi concentrate used to make juice drinks since it’s loaded with sugar. If using fresh calamansi add a Tbsp of calamansi zest. Mix until well combined.

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Then sift 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt and add to your batter. Lightly mix everything together. Mixture will be lumpy and do not overmix to ensure a light and fluffy muffin.

Using a scoop, fill your lined muffin pan 3/4 full and generously sprinkle with your crumb topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes at a 375F preheated oven.

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When done, drizzle with Calamansi glaze by combining 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. calamansi juice and a pinch of salt.

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Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona coffee is the latest food trend that is blowing up the internet the past months.  You must be living under a rock if you still haven’t heard about it. This originated from South Korea and started appearing on social media during the start of the lock down in that part of the world.  It is named after the Korean sponge candy Dalgona, which is toffee colored and made up of brown sugar. Most videos uploaded on the web gives you a tutorial on how to make it. This recipe only requires three ingredients: instant coffee, sugar and hot water.  Note:  it needs to be instant and not ground coffee used in coffee machines nor the 3 in 1 packets with creamer and sugar. We have made this several times since we too have been locked down almost three weeks ago.

To make,  place equal parts of instant coffee, sugar and hot water in a small bowl.  Then whip it using a wire whisk if you want to do it manually or a hand held mixer like what I used using only one of the attachment.  Whip until it becomes pale in color and is creamy almost like frosting.

Get a glass and pour up to ¾ full with your choice of milk. Then carefully pour or spoon your whipped cofffe mixture on top.

To serve, mix the layers before drinking .


Filipino Sweet Mung Bean Soup

I was surprised to learn when we moved here to the Northeast that this is a typical Chinese dessert. Usually served at the end of the meal in most Chinese restaurants here. You see we also have this dish back home and we call it “Nilagang Monggo” literally translated as boiled mung beans. I remember having this for snack many times either hot or cold and usually doused with evaporated milk. Fresh milk was not something you would normally have at home back in the 70’s.

When my mom or aunt would make mung bean stew, they would routinely set aside some boiled beans which we would then have for snack the following day. I love to eat this cold, hence it’s served the day after it’s cooked.

To make, you will need 1 cup mung beans rinsed and about 8-10 cups waters. Place in a pot and let it come to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until beans are soft and tender. You will know when it’s done when the beans have split or burst and water has thickened considerably. Then add sugar to suit your taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with milk.

P.S. you can add more water is you want a thinner consistency.

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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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Pumpkin Leche Flan

As you know, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. So for the past couple of Thanksgiving I have been trying to create and serve something unique but still in keeping with the holiday. This year I decided to make Pumpkin Leche Flan. Leche flan is a classic Filipino dessert and similar to the Spanish or Latin American flan.

For this recipe, you first need to prepare the caramel sauce. Place 3/4 cup white sugar in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan and allow to melt and caramelize. Do not stir. It takes a bit of patience and time to make caramel. You need to wait until sugar turns into a golden color. Then immediately pour and equally divide into your ramekins and set aside.

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In another bowl, whisk together 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can condensed milk, 5 eggyolks, 2 whole eggs, 1 tsp. Vanilla. 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon. Strain two to three times to remove bubbles and for a smoother flan. Then evenly divide mixture onto your ramekins and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place ramekins in a roasting or deep enough pan and place inside oven. Carefully pour hot water until it reaches halfway side of your ramekin. Bake for one hour in a 350 F oven.

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When done let it cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for an hour or so.

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To serve, run a very thin knife around the edge of the flan and invert onto plate.

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Green Tea with Dried Blood Orange Slices

Sometimes you get inspiration from somewhere you least expect it. I got this idea while watching a K-drama, where they served tea in a bag that comes with a dried lemon slice. That got me hurrying into our local Whole Foods in the middle of Winter in search of lemons or any interesting citrus fruit I can find. Of course you can always use fresh lemons as I always do but dried citrus slices are convenient and handy when traveling.

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To make, wash and dry your lemons and blood oranges. Thinly slice it into about 1/8 inch thick. You can get approximately 6-8 slices per lemon depending on it’s size. Place your lemon and orange slices in a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 200F oven for 4 to 5 hours. To make sure that it dries evenly rotate your pan every hour or so. When it’s done, let cool and store in an airtight container.

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Get a tea bag of your choice and place this in a cup together with one slice of your dried lemon or orange. Pour enough hot water and let steep. You can sweeten it with honey or sugar syrup if you want.

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Turon (Fried Caramelized Banana Rolls)

Turon is “saba banana” that has been coated in sugar and rolled in lumpia (spring roll) wrapper before being fried. In the Navotas-Malabon area where my parents grew up, these are called Valencia. It’s actually wrapped in a more rectangular and sometimes squarish shape compared to the long thin ones that we commonly see peddled on the streets of Manila. What we consider Turon are those stuffed with mashed sweetened monggo (mung beans) instead of bananas.

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For a more authentic Turon, I made used of the Filipino lumpia wrapper that is circular in shape and much thinner than the spring roll wrapper you get at Asian stores in Northern America. It makes for a crisper and lighter end product.

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To make, you will need some ripe Saba bananas. You can use plantain or Thai bananas as substitute. Peel and slice your bananas lengthwise and coat with sugar. I used a combination of light and dark brown sugar. Either is fine it’s just a matter of preference. Take a lumpia wrapper and place a couple of slices of bananas on the lower center. Pull the wrapper that is facing you up and over and bananas. Then fold both sides up towards the middle. Roll it tightly from the bottom to the top. Make sure to moisten the tip with water to seal.

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Heat your oil in non-stick frying pan. Carefully drop in your bananas and cook until golden brown. This will only take a few minutes to cook so make sure to keep watch. Sprinkle some sugar on it while frying. As the sugar melts this will coat your Turon and give you a nice caramelization. Serve immediately.

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Peaches and Cream Fruit Parfait

Ever since I saw photos of fruit parfaits from Japanese fruit parlors, I have promised to make some for the family this Summer when a variety of fruits will surely be in season.

I was torn to either making the berry version or the peach kind. Peach won in the end since it’s the sweetest during the Summer months here in Jersey. You may also use melons, mangoes, or a combination of fruits.

There is really no cooking involved here just a matter of putting together your ingredients.

For the fruit sauce I used the peach syrup I have made previously for my summer cooler.

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I used two kinds of peaches here, white and yellow variety. Prepare your fruits by washing, peeling and cutting your peaches into segments. Set aside about half a cup that has been cut into small cubes, you will need this for layering.

Place 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a chilled bowl, add 2 tbsp. sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Get a parfait or decorative glass and layer a tablespoon of fruit syrup, a couple of tablespoon of diced peaches, then your whipped cream. Repeat once or twice until you get to the top. Arrange your peach segments decoratively on top, you may add a dollop of cream before topping it with additional fruit and a sprig of mint.

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