Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy Chocolate Cupcake

• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 cup butter
• 3/4 cup water
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 12 TBSP cocoa powder

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Combine all ingredients into large mixing bowl.  Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, and scrape bowl.  Mix at high speed for 3 minutes.
Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tortiglioni alla Puttanesca Ai "Dilis"

This is a pasta recipe I've been longing to do since time immemorial.  I am however compelled so, because of the one ingredient I'm not sure how to handle and don't know where I can buy one that's good - it is anchovy.
And if ever you are wondering what Tortiglioni is, it's only a variety of pasta, classified under tubes.  I, however used the bigger sized rigatoni, just make sure that is well-cooked, al dente typed rigatoni is not really that likable to munch on, so timing and patience are essential in dealing with this kind of pasta.
I've dealt with different types of pasta from the smallest (minestre) to the largest (tubi or lasagna).  And believe me there is a whole new world to discover in the pasta genre.  
Going back to the anchovy thingy, I found an alternative, and it is our humble Philippine dilis.  Rich in protien than a glass of milk has , is often bought only as a last resort by families who cannot afford the more popular and expensive protein sources: dairy products, meat and classy fish varieties.
In this recipe I used the dried ones, and those that are smaller in sizes and lighter in color.  So why dilis?
Weeks ago we were invited for lunch at Hyphy's at Robinson's Galleria.   It was at the Veranda alongside many other restos.   It was owned and operated by Chef Bruce Lim.   He was there that time and he offered us their best-seller, Calamansi Tuyo Spaghetti.    With that dish is a well-loved story by chef.   And let me tell you, how I was swept off by that pasta.   The salty blend of tuyo and the sourness of the calamansi juice complemented each other.   Needless did I know that it would work well as an accompaniment to spaghetti.   Do read my blog about his Hyphy's and Chef's Table restaurant at
I'm not sure if you do know what Puttanesca means.  It came from the Italian word "puttana" means whore and this is the pasta dish she would use to seduce her clients.   While I can not guarantee its success as an aphrodisiac, I can at least say that your partner will enjoy this, because mine did and so did my kids.
Here are what you need:
 For 500 g pasta.
100 ml, extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dilis
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups tinned tomatoes, coarsely chopped w/ their juice
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup capers, or 3 TBSP
salt and pepper
To do it:
1.  Cook pasta according to package direction.  Set aside, first.
2.  Heat olive oil in the pan, and saute garlic, then the dilis.
3.  Once dilis is cooked and tender but not head falling off, add the tomatoes and put stove in medium fire.  Let it simmer.
4.   Put the olives and capers.  Let it stand on heat for 5 more minutes, slowly mixing, then season with salt and pepper.
5.   If you are using a big saute or fry pan, that's good, so you can toss you pasta here.  Or you may want to transfer to a bigger pan to accomodate half a kilo of cooked pasta.
Option: You may put parmesan cheese, but in my case I didn't cause he dilis is salty already.   Also, be careful putting salt, taste the sauce first before seasoning it.  But you will find this to be a little tangy with the capers in it and very savoury.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chicken in Tamarind Soup or "Sinampalukang Manok"

   I've been kind of debating with my self whether I'd post this or not, this might explain why this post is late.    When I first read about the announcement for July's Kulinarya theme, I got excited.   Sinigang has always been a comfort food in our dining table.   My kids would hurry coming home, knowing that we will have Sinigang for lunch or dinner.   Okay I'll be honest, I don't cook Sinigang at home, we'll I had though for quite a number of times, but it is my husband who does my kids favorite Sinigang.   Pork Sinigang or Sinigang sa Miso, would definitely not be missed in our weekly menu.   According to my husband,  he got inspired when he saw my father cooked the dish about 15 years ago or so, even when he had tried it.   He never cooked then, and when I let him into our family's secret, we thought himself how to do his own thing in the kitchen.   The "secret," it was my Papa who cooked for us, from breakfast, lunch to dinner, even our packed lunch for school.   He would be the one to prepare the dishes that goes into to our stomach.   Even though we'd have help in the house, he still was the manager in the kitchen, and that is also the reason, why me and my husband cooks for our own children ourselves.
My kids grew up eating their Dad's Sinigang, and they know if it would be prepared by others, including me.   So this is quite a challenge for me.   So I thought of  something that is easy to do, a bit different form the ordinary and something I could share with friends who loves to fuss cooking like me.   My choice, "Sinampalukang Manok,"   The original recipe asks for tamarind leaves, but hard as may seem to find in Manila, I'm sure it would be more a hassle to other Kulinarya friends abroad.  May be harder to pronounce but way easier to prepare.

1/2 K Chicken in serving pieces
1 TBSP vegetable oil, just for sauteing
2 thumb-size ginger, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
medium shallot, minced or quartered
1 sachet of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok
a cup of sliced sitaw
a cup of Kangkong leaves
salt and pepper

Here is how to cook Sinampalukang Manok:
1.   Saute, ginger.   Once it darkens in color, and smelling the ginger, put the garlic, then the onions.
2    Once the onions are a bit transparent, without having the garlic and ginger being burned, put in the chicken and cook a bit.   Season with salt or patis (fish sauce).
3.   Put 3 cups of water and allow to simmer.    Put in the sinigang flavoring and pepper.
4.   Once the meat is cooked, put in the sitaw and cover in low fire.
5.  If the sitaw are cooked but still a bit hard, put the kangkong leaves and turn off the fire, and the cover put back on.
6.   Serve once the leaves are cooked, without having the veggies softened.

So is that easy or what?

Happy Kulinarya Cooking!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zesty Vanilla Cupcakes

Last Saturday I was supposed to attend a coffee workshop at Little Baguio, San Juan,  but I woke up late, and that would not make me in time for the workshop.   I have planned that after the workshop I will then go straight to our church center to have lunch with fellow housewives and also welcome our doctors/missionary from Vietnam.
So I decided why not prepare a nice dessert for the pot bless lunch.
My chocolate cupcakes have always been a hit where ever  I take them, but i thought of something else, something different.
I have a vanilla cupcake recipe which I got from The Joy of Baking website, never have I baked vanilla cakes before from scratch, my kids love baking with Pillsbury's Yellow cake mix, that's what I have been using if we want something that is not chocolate.
It always proved to be a very reliable dessert and snack for the whole family.
This is a very versatile dessert, you may opt to doing just a vanilla, by omitting the orange and lemon extract.   You can also infuse the batter with green tea and herbs for a more adventurous cake, i'll be doing that sometime.
So here is it, this is again rather easy.

Zesty Vanilla Cupcakes:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin) , optional
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 teaspoon each of orange and lemon pure extracts

Buttercream Frosting:

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, lemon extract and orange extract
2 Tablespoon of milk 
1 tint of orange food color

 To do it!

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, and the two pure extracts.
3.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5.  Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 -20 minutesor just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. 
(Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.)
6.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 
7.  Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. 

Here is how  I make my frosting...

1.  In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended.

2.   Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
3.  Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. 
4.  Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the gel food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores, however I purchased mine at Gourdo's ).

Makes about 20 cupcakes.

Sugar Cookies: Danielle's First Trial

As promised to my fellow "Food-trippers,"   I will be posting easy to do baking recipes so we can all practice our baking prowess...
Here is one that my kids love doing, however, this would involve rolling a cold hard though.   One good exercise for our mommy and kiddie muscles.
Sugar Cookies Ingredients:
3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Here is how to do it:
1. Prepare two large bowls.  In one bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. 
2.  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). 
3.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
4.  Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.
5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
6.  Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)  
7.  Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. 8.  Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.
Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar. 
9.  Bake cookies for about 8 -10 minutes(depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. 
10.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

You can frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.)
Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May Kulinarya Theme: Flores De Mayo

   And so this is my post!...
   I got all caught up with so many activities last April, and I was so sorry I was not able to post something for the Decadence Theme.   So when I received the email concerning the new theme which was for May I got so excited.  Our family was not really drawn to fiestas and celebrating patrons and the likes, but we do celebrate God's goodness and wonders through His creations, mostly on those that are edible, hehehe.  One of the beauties that most cooks wonder if they could use it in the kitchen are the flowers.  There were a lot of  flowers who can be eaten.   I've tried decorating a simple chocolate cake with sugar-coated rose petals from my garden.   I've eaten Nama Bars topped with dried Lavander flowers.   Blossoms of katuray, squash and malunggay have been used in dishes in our province in Bohol.  They are just to name a few.
To be honest I had so many things in mind to start off my May theme.   I asked hubby if we could visit Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay from some inspiration, cause I've heard they have something on their menu which has fresh flowers in it but we were not able to.   Tried to look for recipes in the net, didn't had the luck.
Then I went to the market and saw these lovelies.
These are blossoms of male winter squash locally known  here in Manila as kalabasa.  These are typically used for veggie dishes such as Dining-ding and Pinakbet.   And I have never tried cooking with it.   It was not hard for me to think of a dish.  I'm used to experimenting in the kitchen and what the heck.
How can anyone go wrong with fried and crunched male winter squash flowers (bulaklak ng kalabasa).
My kids love anything fried.  To make the dish inviting I added shrimps to fill the center.
Here are the ingredients:
20 pcs large kalabasa blossoms or more (remove the stem)
1/2 K of shrimps, cooked and diced
2 eggs, 1 for the filling and one for the coating
1 med. onion, chopped
dried banana blossoms,chopped
salt, pepper and paprika
Here is how to do it:
For the filling, mix in a bowl the shrimps, onions, banana blossoms, egg, flour, and the seasonings.
Once mixed properly, fill each flower with a tablespoon of the mixture.  You don't have to close the top, as long as the mix is sticky enough and not runny.
Dip the flowers in beaten egg and dredge with flour and salt or with chicken coating mixture.
Deep fry each flower in canola or corn oil.
I know, it is that easy!
The glorious frittata!
   The experiment should I say was a success. My kids are always asking me when I will cook these again.   Even my eldest son who is a picky eater and don't like veggies, loved it.   He never have guessed it was a flower.   So I hope I contributed something to Kulinarya and may everyone have more fun in the kitchen as I've always been!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet Temptations CupCakes

It was my daughter's 13th birthday and so I gave in to her raving about a sort of "tea/baking party".   We did not plan anything for that day, because we bought her favorite pair of shoes days ago and she had invited a few of her classmates to go to Meidolls Cafe.  But no, I didn't want that day to be wasted.  So I whipped up a plan, headed to the grocery and grabbed quickly the stuff I need for a decent dinner, one that somehow my family would call special.
Also, I need to make some experiments on how we will do my Dana's birthday cupcakes on her party on May.   Good thing Baker's Depot has a branch at Waltermart Pasong Tamo.  So we were able to buy a few items I lack and will be needing for that preparation.

Here is the recipe for the Sweet Temptation Cupcakes

1 bar butter,softened                       1/2 tsp.  Baking soda
2 cups sugar                                    1/2 tsp iodized salt
1/2 cup whole eggs                          1 cup evap milk
1/4 tsp vanilla                                   1/2 cup light syrup
1 tsp. Baking powder                       3/4 cup cocoa
                                                        2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Mix cocoa and flour in a bowl, set aside.   Mix and beat all ingredients, adding cocoa-flour mixture last.   Pour on a cupcake lined pan.   Bake for 20-25 mins at 350*F.  Cool before frosting.

The last picture shows my daughter, Danielle (the celebrant) decorating the cupcakes.  One batch or recipe makes 22-25 cupcakes.