Avocado with Sweet Red Beans Shaved Ice

Shaved ice dessert is very popular in Asia. What makes it different from ices and snow cones in North America is the addition of fresh fruits, jellies, jams, sweetened beans or fruits, ice cream and condensed milk.

I have a bag of ripe Hass avocadoes sitting in my counter that I wanted to use before it gets bad. I was looking online for some ideas when inspiration struck. I saw a photo of green tea shaved ice with sweetened adzuki beans and that gave me an idea.

To make, peel and dice an avocado. Make crushed ice by using a blender or ice shaver and place in a bowl. Arrange the diced avocado on top of the shaved ice, add a couple of tablespoons of sweet red beans and drizzle some condensed milk on top of everything.
Note: you can buy pre-made sweet red beans in any Asian grocer.

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Chocolate Fondue

My girls invited their friends over for a Valentine’s day get together. Aside from the savory dishes I served, I made them Chocolate Fondue for dessert as a special treat.

For the dippers, I chose a combination of fruits and sweet snacks. My choices were strawberries, pineapple, bananas, strawberry and regular flavor marshmallow and wafer sticks. There are so many things you can try and use to make an awesome chocolate fondue. Some ideas would be kiwi, apples, melon and even dried fruits, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pretzels, cinnamon sticks, mini muffins, nuts, popcorn, potato chips etc.

For the chocolate fondue, place 3/4 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. vanilla extract in a thick bottomed saucepan and heat until it simmers. Remove from heat and add 1 bar of ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chopped into pieces and 1 bag of ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

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Arrange your fruits and sweets in platters and pour your chocolate sauce in your fondue pot.

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Croissant Ice Cream Sandwich

I got the idea for this dessert from the memories of food from my childhood. In certain parts of Asia, ice cream sandwich is literally served in between slices of bread. Did you know that ice cream carts in the Philippines serve this dairy treat sandwiched inside bread buns or pandesal ?! This is not uncommon in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s ice cream vendors scoop their ice cream on multi-colored pandan bread. Thailand, has their own version too as described in this site. The Vietnamese make theirs by scooping it onto soft bread and topping it with roasted nuts and condensed milk.

To make this, I decided to use croissants for a more decadent treat. Slice your croissant in half and drizzle some melted chocolate on top. I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips for these. You can use hershey spread or nutella as a substitute. Let the chocolate harden a bit so that your croissant will be easier to handle.

Slice some strawberries and place in onto the lower half of your croissant, then place a scoop of strawberry ice cream on top it. You can use different flavor ice cream like chocolate, vanilla, coffee etc. Serve it with extra slices of fruit or whipped cream on the side.

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Apple Crisp

We have an abundance of apples right now since we went apple picking over the weekend. During this time of the year I usually make apple crisp and not apple pie, for one it’s a lot easier to make and second it’s what my family loves.

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I did not make this myself this time since I am still recovering from a medical procedure I had early this Fall. My sister made this apple crisp and I just helped her out.

To make, start by peeling your apples. Then core and slice it into wedges. Sprinkle some lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon over the apples and mix everything to combine.

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Prepare your topping by mixing 1 cup oatmeal, 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown and white sugar, 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Use a mixer or a pastry blender to mix everything together until it is the size of peas.

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Place your apples in a buttered deep dish pan and cover it with your topping. Bake in a 350F oven for about an hour until it’s brown and bubbly.

Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream.

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Cassava Cake

Cassava cake is a popular snack in the Philippines. It is one of the many traditional sweets often sold in street stalls and markets. It’s main ingredient is “cassava” or what we call in Tagalog kamoteng kahoy. Cassava is made into various sweets and delicacies like suman, nilupak, minatamis to name a few.

The first time I made Cassava cake was way back in college. I wasn’t sure exactly what I did wrong but it was a disaster. That put me off making Filipino sweets and desserts.

I finally mustered the courage to make it again after I got tired of eating less than average tasting cassava cake bought from our local Filipino eatery. I have to search for the perfect recipe because what are usually posted online are either too sugar laden or too rich for me.

To make this recipe you will need two packs of grated cassava which are sold in any Asian Store.

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To this you will add, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 can of condensed milk, 3 beaten eggs, 1 cup milk (the original recipe called for evaporated milk but I did not have any on hand) and 2/3 cup sugar. It also called for a can of coconut cream but I can’t find any at our local Asian store so I omitted this. Stir everything until well combined. Pour in a well greased baking pan and bake in a 350F oven for about an hour or until set.

To make the topping, set aside 1/3 cup coconut milk. 1/3 cup condensed milk and 1/3 cup coconut cream from your original ingredient list before mixing your batter. Add 3 egg yolks to this mixture and pour on top of the cooked cassava cake. Return to oven and broil until topping is bubbly and golden brown.

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Green Tea Frappuccino

Our family loves anything Green Tea, be it ice cream, cakes, chocolates, drinks, sweets or just plain hot tea. I believe the first time I had a green tea frappuccinno was at starbucks several years back when they only offer it during the summer. Nowadays, it is something that they serve year round. I seldom get this drink from them because of the high calorie content of most of these blended drinks.

I recently found out that this is really easy to make and you can make a healthier version by using almond milk and limiting the amount of sweetener you add in it.

You first have to get really good quality matcha (green tea) powder to make this drink. I got mine at H-mart my go to Asian grocer. I’ve used this to make green tea cupcakes and it tastes really good and gives a vibrant green color.

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To make just place a cup of ice in your blender, add 1 – 1/2 cups almond milk depending on the consistency you want, 1 tablespoon of matcha powder or less depending on your taste and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and top with whipped cream (which is optional).

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I also made a variation of this drink which is the Green Tea + Red Bean Frappuccino. This is a starbucks creation which is exclusively sold in China and the Asia Pacific.

It is green tea frappuccino topped with sweetened red beans. Sweetened red beans or azuki beans is a very popular ingredient for making desserts and treats in Asia. Green tea and red beans go very well together.

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Halo-Halo (Filipino Shaved Ice Dessert)

Halo-Halo for me is the quintessential Filipino dessert. It is the perfect summer time treat, but given the tropical weather in the Philippines it is available all throughout the year. This is my all time favorite treat, but I still have to find a place in the Northeast that serves a really good one.

This shaved ice treat is not exclusive to the Philippines. Countries is Asia each have their own version. Japan has Kakigori, Korea calls it Patbingsu, Malaysia and Singapore serves Ais Kacang.

Halo-Halo literally means “to mix” in Tagalog. This sweet treat is a mixture of several boiled sweet beans such as kidney beans, garbanzo and azuki (red beans), macapuno or coconut sport, ube (purple yam) and nata de coco to name a few. It is then topped with shaved ice, ice cream and leche flan, to which milk is poured on top. There is no rhyme or reason in what you can or cannot add to it, what you put in your halo-halo really depends on your preference. This is what makes it fun to eat.

This is my take on this summer treat. To make this you need a really good ice shaver.

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For the sweets I bought the pre-made bottled ones at the Asian store and a container of Ube ice cream.

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Halo-Halo is traditionally served in a tall glass, but I decided to put mine in a deep bowl. I first added a mound of shaved ice into a bowl, then arranged the various sweets on to it. For the final touch I added a scoop of ube ice cream. Before serving pour milk on top and enjoy !

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S’mores

S’mores (coined from the words some more) are traditionally made over campfire, or a barbecue grill these days. It is a treat made up of toasted marshmallow and chocolate bar sandwiched between two graham crackers. I made ours using the toaster oven. It’s so easy and less messy to do.

You will need graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bar. I got the square marshmallows because it is easier to handle in the toaster oven plus you will get a nice and evenly balanced s’more in the end.

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Just place a marshmallow on top of a graham cracker and put inside the toaster till puffed and browned on top. It only takes a minute or less so be careful not to burn it.
Place piece of chocolate bar on top of the toasted marshmallow and top with the other graham cracker.

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Another way to enjoy this treat is by adding strawberries and bananas like these.

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Avocado Shake

Growing up, avocado is always served and eaten as a sweet. This is something that most people in Southeast Asia would agree to. I remember having chilled avocado as a snack or dessert just scooped and mashed, served with milk and sugar or sometimes condensed milk.

That is why it took me sometime to finally eat avocado in a savory form such as guacamole, a sandwich filling or an addition to salads. Making a shake out of avocado is nothing unusual in the part of the world where I grew up. Though this may not be the case for the unexposed. My kids having lived in North America most of their life were initially turned off by the thought eating sweetened avocado. After a little coaxing they did try and learn to love it.

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So this is how I make avocado shake. Take a ripe a avocado, cut in half and remove pit. Peel the skin and cut the avocado into cubes. Throw your avocado into a blender with a handful of ice, milk (amount depends on the consistency you want) sugar or condensed milk again how much depends on the level of sweetness you want. I wanted a thick consistency so I just put 2-3 splashes of miik and about 4 Tbsp of sugar. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

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If you have some leftover, you can make ice pops with it. This is how it turned out when I made some a while back.

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Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich

Haagen Dazs in Japan introduced a Crispy ice cream sandwich in three different flavors last June. The one that immediately caught my attention was the Green tea. I know that this would not be available here in the Northeast anytime soon. So, I thought of making my own version of it.

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Photo via Häagen-Dazs Japan Facebook page

Green tea ice cream is readily available in any grocery store since Haagen Dazs carries that flavor. I did have to put thought into the kind of cookie I will be using since I don’t want it to be too hard nor too soft. I also want a plain chocolate cookie and not chocolate chip. Last, the size or the diameter of the cookie should also be larger than the average cookie available in the market.

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I narrowed down my selections into these 3, Nabisco chocolate wafers, Pepperidge Farm Captiva Dark Chocolate brownie and Archway Dutch Cocoa. Nabisco was way too pricey and thin for my liking. The Pepperidge farm was a close contender, the only thing that I did not like about it was there were chips dotting the surface of the cookie. I wanted a plain chocolate cookie so Archway was it.

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First, soften your ice cream by letting it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes. It didn’t take me that long since it’s been so hot and humid lately. Transfer ice cream into a flat surface container lined with parchment paper and spread it smooth and evenly. Put in freezer until hardened. Use a cookie cutter or an inverted glass to cut out circles of ice cream.

Take 2 pieces of cookie and sandwich the ice cream circle in between. Press cookie together to make sure that the ice cream sticks. Chill in the freezer until firm.

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