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Food for thought: Whole Wheat Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread is my last on my Bread Bucket List. I began my baking journey last year, April, 2020 just right after when lockdown started. I had to come back two weeks earlier from my trip to Philippines, New Zealand and Australia. After two weeks on lockdown, I had to find something to do to keep myself busy during lockdown and here I am, so proud to bake like a big time professional baker!

Artisan Bread is definitely a fruit of the baker’s labor of love, patience, dedication, commitment and time to make such kind of bread. It uses traditional methods of baking and only uses natural ingredients which are bread flour, yeast, salt and water. It takes a few hours to make it, from 4 to 24 hours or more depending on how you would like your bread to taste or how much time do you have? The longer time spent for proofing, the better and tastier it becomes. Basically, longer proofing delays its fermentation and would result to better taste

I love Artisan Bread and definitely, I don’t mind taking my time to make it. I normally make dough which is good for two breads. I leave the dough overnight or 24 hours or even longer in the fridge before baking. The dough can stay in the fridge for a week and the longer it stays, the better. Believe me, it pays off…

When the dough has risen, this is the time you put your dough in the fridge. And when you’re ready to bake, just take out the dough at least 3 hours ahead of time and let it set first.

By the way, if you don’t have dutch oven, you can still bake it using the back of your cookies baking sheet or pan uncovered or simply cover it with a stainless and heat resistant bowl or you can use a pot with cover just make sure it can hold heat up to 450F. You can also use pizza slate or stone.

One last tip, you can use whole wheat bread or rye bread or half and half with white flour. I normally use half whole wheat and half white bread or all purpose flour and 100 grams of sourdough starter instead of instant yeast.

INGREDIENTS: 1 bread

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (bread flour or all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm filtered water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

PREPARATIONS:

  • Mix flour and instant yeast
  • Add water and mix well until the dough becomes sticky
  • Cover with cloth and let it rise for 3, until double and bubbly
  • On a floured surface, scrape dough slowly and sprinkle dough with some flour
  • Using a scraper, fold each side to center and form into round carefully
  • Transfer to a bowl lined with parchment paper for easy transfer to the dutch oven
  • Let it set for 45 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 450F with dutch oven inside
  • Transfer your dough to dutch oven
  • Bake for 30 minutes with lid
  • Remove lid and bake for another 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing
  • Serve warm with butter

Enjoy!

Featured

Food for thought: Sourdough Bread

My sourdough starter paid off! Cruella…

Finally, here’s my very first official Sourdough Bread and of course a product of my own sourdough starter.

I am very excited with baking sourdough bread and of course I am still feeding “Cruella” everyday. My children are telling me that I am addicted to baking already and getting crazy with my new found sourdough starter pet! I am loving the sourdough bread and so with my family.

Two things that I would like to recommend is getting a food scale and if possible a cast iron dutch oven, too. It is worth to have a food scale since some recipes are using metric system instead of imperial. To be accurate with your ingredients without the hassles of converting to imperial system, definitely it is wise to invest on a good food scale.

Second is owning a cast iron dutch oven (5-7 quarts) is definitely another good investment in your kitchen especially for baking. Sure, you can always use your cast iron dutch oven for cooking daily meals. Although it is not mandatory to baking sourdough bread but it does make a big difference when it comes to the texture of you sourdough bread. Either of the two will do, the enamel coated or the regular pre-seasoned one would be just perfect!

Benneton Proofing Basket

Above is the Benneton Proofing Basket, it’s good to have one but it’s not necessary. You can always use a glass or stainless bowl or a pot or whatever you have in your kitchen, just line it with parchment paper when proofing, that way it is easier to transfer to your cast iron dutch oven to bake. However, if you plan to get a proofing basket, better to get the 10 inch or bigger. What I have at home is the 9 inch and I found it too small for my sourdough bread. The dough overflowed and instead I just used a deep pot or bowl.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400g bread flour
  • 200 whole wheat flour
  • 460g filtered water lukewarm
  • 100g sourdough starter (from your mother sourdough starter)
  • 1 tsp salt

PREPARATIONS:

I suggest to beginner bakers to watch video on youtube of sourdough bread baking. I will also post a link for video on sourdough bread baking. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, please check out my previous post about Sourdough Starter in which I shared also a few videos on how to make your sourdough starter. Believe me, it’s worth your while.

  • Make sure your sourdough starter is healthy, newly fed, set and risen
  • In a large bowl, mix well the sourdough starter and water until dissolved
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well and let it set for an hour.
  • On a wet surface, fold the dough by grabbing opposite sides and repeat about 4-6 times and let it set for another hour
  • Repeat above process and set for another hour
  • On a floured surface, carefully transfer the dough g ently
  • Sprinkle dough with flour generously
  • Grab two opposite sides of the dough together and seal and do it again on the other two opposite sides
  • Turn over the dough and form into a ball
  • Sprinkle the dough with flour
  • Transfer the dough to a floured benneton proofing basket or into a bowl or pot lined with parchment paper for easy transfer to your cast iron dutch oven to bake and cover with cloth
  • Let it set and rise for 6-8 hours
  • Preheat oven to 450F and at the same time put your dutch oven in the oven
  • When ready, with the parchment paper, transfer the dough into your dutch oven
  • With lid on, bake for 25 minutes
  • Remove lid and bake for another 5 min
  • Remove the bread from dutch oven and bake for another 5 minutes
  • Let it cool for at least two hours or overnight before slicing
  • Serve warm or toasted with butter

Bonne Appetit…

Above is a link for sourdough bread video by John Kirkwood. He’s one of my favorite professional bakers. Thanks! #johnkirkwood

Baker’s Corner: Understanding Sourdough Starter. Introducing my new pet “Cruella”

For the past two weeks, I have been learning the basics of baking Sourdough and Artisan Bread. Again, just like most of you, I am not a professional baker. I still have so much to learn and I really enjoy my journey… This past week, I attempted to make sourdough starter which is one ofContinue reading “Baker’s Corner: Understanding Sourdough Starter. Introducing my new pet “Cruella””

Food for thought: Tamagoyaki (Japanese Egg Omelet) or Gyeran Mari in Korean

Bringing your egg omelet to the next level! What do you think? My family really enjoy this rolled egg omelet for breakfast. Believe me, everyone would love this for breakfast or brunch! I used to make them in half moon or a full round or rectangle and slice them and serve just like everyone. ButContinue reading “Food for thought: Tamagoyaki (Japanese Egg Omelet) or Gyeran Mari in Korean”

Featured

Food for thought: Honey Garlic Chicken

Yes! It is the famous Honey Garlic Chicken and most children’s favorite food everywhere especially at any mall food court. So, I am sharing this today with you all. Definitely, it is easy to make and delicious. The trick to have crispy fried chicken is to fry them twice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil to deep fry
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup potato or corn starch
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 stalk green onions chopped for garnish

PREPARATIONS:

  • Add salt and pepper to cubed chicken and marinate for at least 30 mins to an hour.
  • On a deep frying pan, heat up oil on high medium
  • Mix flour and starch and coat the chicken cubes
  • When oil is hot and ready, drop chicken cubes and fry until golden brown
  • Drain excess oil and let it set for about 5 minutes
  • Reheat the oil and deep fry again the chicken for about 3-5 minutes or until brown and crispy
  • Drain excess oil
  • Mix ketchup, honey and soy sauce
  • On a non stick pan, add the sesame oil and garlic, saute on high medium, stir constantly to avoid burning, until garlic is golden brown
  • Add mixture and stir for about 2-3 minutes until boiling
  • Add chicken and mix well
  • Transfer to a serving dish
  • Garnish with chopped onions
  • Serve warm with steam rice

Enjoy…

Featured

Food for thought: Sourdough Ciabatta Bread

Hello Everyone,

As promised, I just want to share with you all my first sourdough bread which is the fruit of my patience and labor. What I really meant, on this recipe, I used the Sourdough Starter that I made last week.

I am very happy of the outcome of the Sourdough Ciabatta Bread. The outside is crusty and crispy while the inside is soft and a little chewy. It is tasty especially when eaten warm or toasted with a pat of butter. I used the regular Chiabatta recipe on this which I have posted on my previous blog. I substituted the instant yeast on the original recipe with sourdough starter. I never thought of the amazing result since I was only testing my sourdough starter. Here it is… look at the beautiful texture!

I am very excited to make more sourdough bread using the sourdough starter I made last week and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Making the Sourdough Starter is definitely worth the time. Now, I can bake endless sourdough bread with it.

Enjoy!

Winter in Spring…

What a wonderful day! I do remember sometimes in 1993, around May when it was snowing and we had lots lots of snow. Today is just another beautiful day here in Toronto. See beautiful trees with snow on. Cherry Blossoms are definitely gorgeous! Priceless… So, why not embrace our beautiful crazy weather in Toronto? Let’sContinue reading “Winter in Spring…”

Food for thought: Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas served with tortillas and garden salad. Simple and easy. For Chicken Enchiladas recipe, please check Recipes section. I have posted this recipe before.

A Passion for Baking

Hello Everyone, I know that it has been awhile since I last posted baking recipes on my blog and I should have. Once you’ve learned the basics of baking bread, you can bake any type of bread with a little twist of one specific recipe. That’s what happened to me for the last months andContinue reading “A Passion for Baking”

Welcome 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I wish you all the very best of 2021. I hope that this year will bring us all good health, peace and joy and a much better year… The year 2020 was a bumpy ride for all for us and yet, I am still grateful that we all survived 2020 inspiteContinue reading “Welcome 2021”

Food for thought: Halo-halo

Happy Thanksgiving Canada! Hi Everyone, I hope and wish you all in Canada a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! Today, I will talk about Halo-halo which is the famous Filipino all year round treat. Halo-halo means “mixed” in Philippines. Basically, it’s all mixed fruits, sweetened treats like leche flan, ube halaya, sweetened bananas, sweet corn, pinipigContinue reading “Food for thought: Halo-halo”

Destination: Hong Kong

Today, I would like to take you all to see a glimpse of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong in particular. Probably most of you have visited the beautiful Hong Kong already. Again, just before we start our virtual trip, a friendly reminder folks about safety awareness as the world is still battling against Covid19 and there’sContinue reading “Destination: Hong Kong”

Food for thought: Pandesal

What is Pandesal? Pandesal is a Filipino famous bread. Although these days, there are different flavors available like ube cheese, pandan, cheese and the original plain pandesal. Whatever is the flavor, I guarantee you’ll love it. What I am going to share is the original plain recipe. Pandesal is commonly eaten with pat of butterContinue reading “Food for thought: Pandesal”

Food for thought: Chewy Oatmeal Raisins/ Chocolate Chips Cookies

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed the beautiful hot summer weather so far…. Today, I am sharing the Chewy Oatmeal Raisins and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chips Cookies. What I normally do I make half raisins and half chocolate chips from the mixture. At home, we have different favorites whenContinue reading “Food for thought: Chewy Oatmeal Raisins/ Chocolate Chips Cookies”

Food for thought: Rib Eye Steak served with Buttered Corn and Steamed Broccoli

Hello Everyone! Summer is definitely here. It’s time for barbecue or grill and enjoy the company of family and friends. Wherever you are, be at your own backyard or at someone’s home or at some restaurants’ patios, please stay safe and enjoy. This week, I’d like to surprise you all with my easy yummy versionContinue reading “Food for thought: Rib Eye Steak served with Buttered Corn and Steamed Broccoli”

Summer Special for kids: Butter Pecan Muffins using Betty Crocker Cake Mix

Today, I am sharing a quick way of baking muffins using ready cake mix. It’s more for busy mommies or beginners or even kids. Believe me, anyone can do this. For sure, it’s great especially at this time when kids are at home. When using ready cake mix, I always improvise the additional ingredients insteadContinue reading “Summer Special for kids: Butter Pecan Muffins using Betty Crocker Cake Mix”

Food for thought…

Hello everyone, in a week or two, I’ll be posting some simple food recipes for easy lunch prep or quick prep home meal recipes. Most of us are working individuals who have very limited time to prepare for lunches or dinners and even for take work lunches. Easy food for work lunches prep are pastaContinue reading “Food for thought…”

Choco Chips Banana Bread

Good morning everyone! Today, I am sharing my family’s recipe for Chocolate Chips Banana Bread or simply plain Banana Bread. I bake banana bread once a week. Why? It’s the easiest and fastest type of bread to make. Unlike regular bread, it takes longer time to make due to longer preparation time needed since youContinue reading “Choco Chips Banana Bread”

Food for thought…

Happy Monday everyone! To most of us, who are still on continuous lockdown, I thought of adding another page on my travel blog. Aside from just posting travel photos on my blog, today I will be adding another page which I intend to publish my basic cooking and baking ideas. I am simply a momContinue reading “Food for thought…”

Destination: Hawaii

Happy Thursday everyone! Our destination today is Hawaii. There are a few islands in Hawaii however, I will be taking you all to Oahu and Maui. Oahu is the third largest among the Hawaiian islands and my top favorite one . Oahu is sometimes called the “Gathering Place” or the “Heart of Hawaii”. It’s theContinue reading “Destination: Hawaii”

Destination: Caraga Region, Philippines

Surigao del Norte is where the famous surfing destination in the Philippines located, the Siargao Island. Siargao is known for its unique excellent surfing, beautiful deserted beaches, caves, warm water and sea foods. Aside from surfing, another famous activity is island hopping and explore the beautiful caves and sandy islets. While Surigao del Sur isContinue reading “Destination: Caraga Region, Philippines”

Boracay, Philippines

On our journey to Philippines, I pick Boracay Island as our first stop. Why? It is an amazing destination in the Philippines and a popular one. Philippines is made up of more than 7000 islands and it is divided in to three main islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Boracay is in Visayas, a beautiful islandContinue reading “Boracay, Philippines”

Good morning!

Today, I will be posting beautiful photos taken during my travels to Philippines. I am sure you will enjoy discovering Philippines and maybe you can add it to your bucketlist. Stay tune!

Destination: Philippines

Our first destination would be Philippines. I chose Philippines because I was born and raised there. Philippines is a beautiful country it’s not because I am from there but it’s the real thing. Aside from beautiful beaches, places and rich history, the people are indeed beautiful inside out. Filipinos are amazing hosts, very kind andContinue reading “Destination: Philippines”

looking forward…

As we continue to fight the Covid19 pandemic and continue to stay home to be safe, I will be posting photos from my previous travels. I would love to share them all with very shortly. So, stay tune folks…

First day…

Hi everyone, Welcome to my travel blog! My name is Grace and I am very excited to share with you my travels. I just retired and I am determined to live my life to love, laugh and travel. I love to travel to see the world, experience different food and cultures. I mostly travel withContinue reading “First day…”

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Baker’s Corner: Understanding Sourdough Starter. Introducing my new pet “Cruella”

For the past two weeks, I have been learning the basics of baking Sourdough and Artisan Bread. Again, just like most of you, I am not a professional baker. I still have so much to learn and I really enjoy my journey…

This past week, I attempted to make sourdough starter which is one of the important ingredients of sourdough bread aside from flour and water of course. I admit that it was quiet a challenge to me but I did it!

Now, let’s talk about Sourdough Starter. Sourdough Starter is made from flour and water which is used to make sourdough bread to rise instead of using the commercial yeast. It is also called Levain which is a fermented dough filled with bacteria and natural wild yeast. The process of making Sourdough Starter could take 3 to 7 days or even longer. High temperature or humidity greatly affects its process. So, try to store your sourdough starter at the warmest place in your home.

Yes, you can use the commercial yeast instead of Sourdough Starter to make sourdough bread but it is the sourdough starter that gives the sour taste and the unique texture of sourdough bread.

There are a few ways to make sourdough starter and I’ve watched a few videos on how to make it in Youtube. If you love sourdough bread and would like to make one, I’d recommend watching a few videos on Youtube before attempting to make the Sourdough Starter. Believe me, it helps!

This is my Sourdough Starter and I named it “Cruella“. This is my new pet, I take care and feed it everyday with all my heart…

Sourdough Starter requires your dedication and 2 minutes of your time everyday for feeding. However, if you’re not a regular baker, you can always store it in the fridge and maybe need to feed only once a week.

As I have mentioned earlier, there are a few ways to make sourdough starter. There is one that involves discarding of mature starter and feed everyday and there is one that you just keep on feeding everyday until the sourdough starter becomes active. When your sourdough starter is ready and alive, it normally doubles or triples in quantity. bubbly and it has that sour smell. Just like mine on the above photo, it actually tripled. Also, when you’re discarding the mature starter, don’t throw them but instead save them for pancakes or breads.

For my Sourdough Starter, it took 8 days before it became alive. Yes, I was a bit frustrated during the process and that’s why I came up with its name “Cruella” since I found the process frustrating and cruel. My children were telling me to be patient because I kept telling them that I failed! I actually threw the Sourdough Starter on Day 7 because I thought it was dead. But when I was about to discard it on my sink and ran some water in the jar, I noticed that it has lots of bubbly stuff on it, so I tried to save a third of the mixture and instead feed it. The next day which is Day 8, it tripled and finally alive and active. Voila! Patience is definitely what I need and the key to it. I started another Sourdough Starter using white flour and the other one using whole wheat. By the way, I used rye flour on my Sourdough Starter.

Now, I am very excited to make Sourdough Breads. For sure, I will let you know how it goes with my sourdough bread. Below, I am sharing with you some links for sourdough starter recipe. Please watch them all to give some more insights. These are the three pf my favorite videos that really helped me understand the process of making Sourdough Starter. Thanks to @johuaweissman.com @ourgabledhome.com @chefstudio

#sourdoughstarter #joshuaweissman #ourgabledhome #chefstudio #bakingforbeginners

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Food for thought: Tamagoyaki (Japanese Egg Omelet) or Gyeran Mari in Korean

Bringing your egg omelet to the next level! What do you think?

My family really enjoy this rolled egg omelet for breakfast. Believe me, everyone would love this for breakfast or brunch! I used to make them in half moon or a full round or rectangle and slice them and serve just like everyone. But I find this rolled one more appealing and tastier especially to children.

It’s simple and easy recipe. You can use any vegetables for your omelet like bell peppers, mushroom, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes or onions and garnish them with bacon or grated cheese. On this recipe, I only used chopped carrots and green onions and added some black pepper, salt and chili flakes. By the way, I suggest to use two vegetables only on your omelet recipe to make it easier to roll.

This type of pan is used specific to rolled omelet in Japanese or Korean household and so as the flat spatula. However, you can always use the normal non stick round pan or skillet. It maybe hard to roll the omelet for the first time but I am sure you’ll get the hang of it the second time. I normally use two regular spatulas to maneuver and it’s really easy.

Depending on how many servings you’re making and how thick the slices you would want your omelet, that’s the number of eggs you’d need. Say, 2 eggs per person, then you’d need 6 eggs on your omelet for family of three. On this recipe, I used 8 eggs and made 9 decent slices unintentionally or I should have sliced them into 8 for 4 servings. Oh well, I got the extra slice!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 stalk green onions chopped
  • 1 small carrots chopped
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For garnish: Bacon or grated cheese (Optional)

*** You may add mushrooms or bell peppers on your omelet.***

PREPARATIONS: 3-4 Servings

  • Prepare your skillet at medium high, add 1 tsp of olive oil and spread evenly by using brush or spatula.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and add green onions, carrots, salt, black pepper or spices and mix well.
  • Pour the egg mixture enough to cover the skillet.
  • When the egg mixture is almost cooked, start rolling from top edge towards you and leave about 2 inches and slide it to the top and pour some egg mixture again.
  • Do this again until you finish the egg mixture.
  • When done, slice the rolled omelet and transfer onto a serving plate and serve warm.

Enjoy!!!

#tamagoyaki #gyeranmari #eggomelet #omelette #breakfast

Featured

Food for thought: Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta is an Italian bread which main ingredients are flour, yeast and water. Ciabatta word means slipper. The bread is good for sandwiches or can be eaten with olive oil or butter.

Today, I am sharing the recipe for Ciabatta bread. Again, when you are passed the beginner stage of baking, you can make all types of bread. I myself is not a professional baker but I just passed the beginner stage which I am very proud about it. I have learned so much baking techniques during Covid19 days than during my whole lifetime. I used to bake when I was younger in my twenties but I stopped baking after I have my children in my mid thirties. Now, I am retired and found baking as one of my daily activities and I really enjoy it. I haven’t bought bread for two years now and still learning and continue to bake…

At this time, I am busy learning how to bake Artisan Breads. Anyways, I would love to share with you this Ciabatta bread recipe. Ciabatta is one of no knead breads kind.

When making Ciabatta, you would need to prepare the first part of the ingredients which is the Poolish a day ahead.

Ingredients for Poolish or Sponge mixture:

  • 1.5 cups of bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water

In a medium bowl, mix all the above ingredients, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 20 hours.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2.5 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

First proofing: Using the paddle, mix the three ingredients in your mixer for about 10 minutes. On the unfloured surface, form the dough into a ball and let it rise in an oiled bowl for an hour or doubled.

Second proofing: On a floured surface, put the dough and grab two sides of the dough and fold and do this three times. Form into a ball and put back into the bowl, cover with saran wrap and set aside for another 45 minutes.

Third Proofing: Divide the dough into two. Form each dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle with flour, cover with cloth and let is set for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450F. Put some water on a pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy! #ciabatta #baking #italianbread #bread

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Food for thought: Japanese Ramen Noodles

Ramen Noodles is easy to make and delicious. I love my noodles medium soft and chewy. I normally make the broth or soup a day early since I cook the broth for hours. It is tastier and more flavorful that way. I either use chicken broth or pork. I make 2-3 big jars of broth and keep then in the fridge for future use. It can store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

I use chicken thighs or pork neckbones for the the broth. Three things that are very important and good practice when preparing the meat for soup:

  1. Wash and soak the meat in cold water for an hour to remove blood and fats.
  2. Pre-boil for about 5 minutes to remove all those excess fats and unwanted floaters.
  3. Throw away the water and wash the meat again with cold water.

Now, you’re ready to make your broth. For chicken, boil for 2 hours and the pork, for 3-4 hours. Aside from the bone meat, you may add some chicken breasts or pork shoulder meat if you want to add meat on your ramen. Just boil them for and hour and set aside. After boiling, strain the broth and keep them on glass jars.

For the noodles, in a pot bring water to a boil and cook noodles for about 5-6 minutes, strain and run cold water on noodles to avoid over cooking. Set aside. By the way, I prepare the noodles fresh.

Ingredients for the broth:

  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of sliced ginger
  • 3 stalks of green onion
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegetable stock or meat stock
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground blackpepper
  • 8-10 cups of water

For your noodles, you can use dry or fresh ramen noodles. Most of Asian stores have variety of noodles. I normally buy Korean or Japanese dry ramen noodles so I can stock them at home. With fresh noodles, you would need to cook them within a certain period of time, normally a week or two. With dry noodles, just like any instant noodles, you can cook them after a few weeks or when you feel like.

Ingredients for Ramen Noodles: Per serving

  • 1 serving of noodles
  • 1-2 Medium boiled eggs
  • 4 slices of meat (optional)
  • 1 cup blanched bokchoy or cabbage
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp hot chili garlic oil (optional)

In a big bowl, lay the cooked noodles nicely. Add meat, boiled eggs and vegetables. Garnish with green onions and garlic. Add the broth and whatever spices your heart desires like chili flakes or powder, ground pepper, hot chili garlic oil etc.

Enjoy! #ramennoodles #japanesecuisine #noodles

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Food for thought: Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tart)

Hello Everyone, I have been baking the Pasteis de Nata for about two weeks now and every time I do it, it’s getting better and easier. The dough preparation is quite a challenge but it’s worth the while.

Pasteis de Nata is the famous Portuguese Custard Tart. What I love about is the crunchy crust! I have never experienced before the real crunchiness of the crust not until I made my own Pasteis de Nata. Of course the one that you can buy from any Portuguese bakeries or groceries are already good and tasty. But if you make them yourself, you would appreciate more the goodness of Pasteis de Nata especially the very crunchy crusts.

When it’s warm and fresh from the oven, holy! It’s really tasty and crunchy. If you’re eating the next day from your fridge, I would recommend for you to warm them using your oven toaster and you can still get that crunchiness!

Anyways, I got the recipe from online by #Leitesculinaria @leitesculinaria.com. Thanks! I will provide you the link of the recipe and video.

Pastéis de Nata | Portuguese Custard Tarts

BY: @leitesculinaria.com #leitesculinaria

  • Quick Glance
  •  1 H
  •  2 H, 30 M
  • Makes 40 pastries

Special Equipment: Mini-muffin tin with 2-by-5/8-inch (50-by-15-mm) wells; If you prefer the classic larger tins from Portugal, you can purchase them at Portugalia Marketplace.

INGREDIENTS: USMETRIC

  • For the pasteis de nata dough
  •  2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  •  1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  •  3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
  •  2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature, stirred until smooth
  • For the custard
  •  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •  1 1/4 cups milk, divided
  •  1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  2/3 cup water
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  6 large egg yolks, whisked
  • For the garnish
  •  Confectioners’ sugar
  •  Cinnamon

GET INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Make the pastéis de nata dough

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft, pillowy dough forms that pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 30 seconds.

Generously flour a work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch (15-cm) square using a pastry scraper. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough into an 18-inch (46-cm) square. As you work, use the scraper to lift the dough to make sure the underside isn’t sticking to your work surface.

Brush the excess flour off the top of the dough, trim any uneven edges, and, using a small offset spatula, dot and then spread the left 2/3 portion of the dough with a little less than 1/3 of the butter being careful to leave a 1 inch (25 mm) plain border around the edge of the dough.

Neatly fold the unbuttered right 1/3 of the dough (using the pastry scraper to loosen it if it sticks) over the rest of the dough. Brush off any excess flour, then fold over the left 1/3 of the dough. Starting from the top, pat down the dough with your hand to release any air bubbles, and then pinch the edges of the dough to seal. Brush off any excess flour.

Turn the dough 90° to the left so the fold is facing you. Lift the dough and flour the work surface. Once again roll it out to an 18-inch (46-cm) square, then dot the left 2/3 of the dough with 1/3 of the butter and smear it over the dough. Fold the dough as directed in steps 4 and 5.

For the last rolling, turn the dough 90° to the left and roll out the dough to an 18-by-21-inch (46-by-53-cm) rectangle, with the shorter side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface of the dough.

Using the spatula as an aid, lift the edge of dough closest to you and roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour from the underside as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or preferably overnight. (The pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months.)Make the custard

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1/4 cup milk (60 ml) until smooth.

Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 220°F (104°C). Do not stir.

Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, scald the remaining 1 cup milk (237 ml). Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.

Remove the cinnamon stick and then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. The custard will be thin; that is as it should be. (You can refrigerate the custard for up to 3 days.)Assemble and bake the pastries

Place an oven rack in the top third position and heat the oven to 550°F (290°C). Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch (25 mm) in diameter and 16 inches (41 cm) long. Cut it into scant 3/4-inch (18-mm) pieces. Place 1 piece pastry dough, cut side down, in each well of a nonstick 12-cup mini-muffin pan (2-by-5/8-inch [50-by-15-mm] size). If using classic tins, cut the dough into generous 1-inch (25-mm) pieces. Allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.

Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumbs in the water, then straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten it against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm), then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch (3 mm) above the pan. The pastry bottoms should be thinner than the tops.

Fill each cup 3/4 full with the cool custard. Bake the pastries until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes for the mini-muffin tins, 15 to 17 minutes for the classic tins.

Remove from the oven and allow the pasteis to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool until just warm. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with confectioners’ sugar, then cinnamon and serve. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard. These are best consumed the day they’re made.

https://leitesculinaria.com/7759/recipes-pasteis-de-nata.html

Thanks once again to @leitesculinaria.com for the recipe.

#leitesculinaria #pasteisdenata #portuguesecustard

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Food for thought: Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki is a famous Korean dish. It’s main ingredient is the rice cake. The dish is spicy and sweet and very filling. What I love about Tteokbokki, the taste is very enticing and of course it definitely increases your appetite.

The first time, my children ordered it at Korean restaurant, I thought it was like pasta while looking at the rice cake. To my surprise, it was totally different!

Most Tteokbokki recipe used anchovies and dried kelp for broth but since my family is not a big fan of anchovies, I used vegetable broth instead. On this recipe, I added grated cheese which is optional. You can serve it without cheese but somehow my children preferred to have cheese added.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 700 g rice cake
  • 15 pieces of fish cake
  • 4 hardboiled eggs
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp chili paste
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese to garnish (optional)

PREPARATIONS:

  • On a non-stick deep pan, add oil, garlic, ginger, onions and green onions
  • Sautee for about 5 minutes on medium high heat
  • Stir the chili paste, chili flakes and black pepper
  • Add the vegetable broth and potato flakes and stir
  • Add the fish cake and rice cake
  • Bring into boil and stir gradually until sauce is thick and shiny
  • Remove from pan into a serving dish
  • Garnish with cheese
  • Serve warm and enjoy…

***You can adjust the chili paste if you want not to spicy***

#tteokbokki #koreancuisine #koreanfood

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Destination: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Hola!

May is normally my travel month with my daughter as we celebrate our birthdays together. However, due to Covid19 this past 2020 and 2021 we sadly missed it. Since it’s May, all our travel memories are coming back everyday and I sometimes feel sad and at the same time happy as we are so blessed that my daughter and I were able to travel frequently and see other sides of the world.

Last May, 2018 we went to Mexico and explore the beautiful Playa Del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum. I did an article about Tulum, Mexico last year showing beautiful photos of the pyramids, the beaches and cenotes and a little part of Cancun, Mexico.

Cenotes are sinkholes or a natural pits resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposed the groundwater. The water is cold and very refreshing especially after swimming from the salt water or ocean or from hiking.

Playa Del Carmen is very like Cancun, meaning very touristy. Most tourists go there to enjoy the warm weather, the beautiful beaches and of course drinks, food, party which are part of the all inclusive hotels and resorts accommodations. But if you’re one of those explorers and history lovers, Tulum would be the best destination in Mexico. You may not find all inclusive hotel or resorts accommodations in Tulum, but there are a few beautiful hotels there too and most of the historic ruins and cenotes are there.

Anyways, when you’re visiting Mexico in the future, I am sure you’ll enjoy the history, warm weather, beautiful sun, amazing cenotes, beaches, food, tequila, rum cake and more. One thing that’s very important to know, it is very cheap there too which is great!

Here’s some photos of Playa Del Carmen… Enjoy!

And I can’t wait for the world to be back to normal and be able to travel again!

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For for thought: Japchae (Korean Dish)

Japchae is Glass Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables. Glass noodles are made from sweet potato starch. I made this Korean dish today and it’s really delicious. Everyone enjoyed it. It’s very easy to make and yet very filling.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300 g glass noodles
  • 200 g sirloin beef thinly sliced
  • 6 pcs white mushrooms cut
  • 6 pcs shitake mushrooms cut into strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 stalks green onions cut about 3 inches long
  • 1 pc carrot cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 ground black pepper

PREPARATIONS:

  • Marinate the beef 30 min to an hour before with 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp brown sugar, salt and black pepper
  • In a boiling water, boil the glass noodles for about 7 minutes, drain and wash with cold water to avoid getting overcooked and set aside
  • In a non stick pan, add 2 tbsp vegetable oil, minced garlic, minced ginger, beef and shitake mushroom, stir and cook for about 6 min or until beef is brown
  • Add carrots and cook for about 2 min
  • Add mushrooms, red pepper, green onions and spinach and cook for another 2 min
  • Add the remaining sesame oil, soy sauce and brown sugar and set aside
  • In a big serving dish combine the beef with vegetables and the glass noodles and top with roasted sesame seeds
  • Serve while warm and enjoy
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Food for thought: Easy Homemade Croissants

Hello Everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day to all mommies! I hope all is well for you all and you’re enjoying the beautiful weekend. For me, I spent my day at home with my children and #baking #croissants.

While browsing online earlier today, I came across to a simplified version of Croissants recipe that would only take 5 hours of preparation time as compared to the traditional or classic Croissants recipe that would take 2-3 days. So, I am sharing the recipe with you and I am sure the you’ll love this recipe because it is the shorter and easier version of making Croissants. Sure, there’s a difference with the flakiness but I’m fine with it. The most important is homemade and I know what I’m putting on it.

Although the process or preparation time is significantly shortened, I am very happy with the results and so with my children. My daughter had been asking me forever to make Croissants and as always my excuse was the preparation time of 2-3 days. My children just told me today that I don’t have to make the traditional Croissants anymore but instead they’re happy and fine with the simplified or short cut easy homemade croissants. Yes! they’re delicious with cream cheese or on it’s own.

By the way, with some of the croissants, I added some semi-sweet baking chocolate chips fillings to make the famous French Croissants: “Pain au Chocolat” which happenned to be my favorite! Definitely, it’s delicious too. Although, the recipe says to yield 15 Croissants however, I would highly recommend to divide the dough to 10-12 portions only to make good size Croissants.

Also, I will highly recommend watching Youtube video on how to make Croissants first as the process of making croissants is somewhat tricky. Although I bake a lot and I don’t buy bread anymore, just like most of you, I am not a professional baker but I watched a lot of baking videos before attempting to make any baking recipe. Believe me, it helps a lot and I am able to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Thanks to @bakingamoment.com #bakingamoment. I’ll attach the link of the webpage at the end of my blog.

EASY HOMEMADE CROISSANTS by Baking a Moment

INGREDIENTS:

PREPARATIONS:

  1. Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together until combined. 
  2. Slice the butter into 1/8-inch thick slices and toss in the flour mixture to coat.
  3. Add the milk and stir together until a stiff dough forms. 
  4. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. 
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a long rectangle shape.  
  6. Fold it into thirds (like a letter), turn 90 degrees, and repeat 4 to 6 more times, or until the dough has large streaks of butter in it but it is smooth and flat. (If at any point the butter starts to feel soft, chill it in the refrigerator or freezer until stiff.) 
  7. Wrap tightly and chill for 1 more hour, then divide the dough in half and roll each portion out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch, in a long rectangle shape (approx. 10-inches wide by 22-inches long). 
  8. Cut the dough into long, skinny triangles (about 5-inches at the wide end). 
  9. Notch the wide end of each triangle with about a 1/2-inch cut, then roll from the wide end to the pointed end, tucking the point under the croissant. 
  10. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to proof until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours). 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and gently brush the croissants with egg wash.
  2. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed, golden brown, and flaky.  

https://bakingamoment.com/easy-homemade-croissant-recipe/

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Destination: Grand Cayman Islands

Just looking back my trip with my daughter to Grand Cayman Islands, in May 2017. I missed travelling and am sure you all too. Regardless where’s the destination, could be local or international, the fact that it is not safe to travel yet… that makes most of us sad.

Still, we don’t know until when this pandemic would lock us down? Some said, it could last 2024 or even longer. All we can do is hope and pray that this will be over soon!

Yes, there are a lot of virtual tours available and yet it’s never the same when travelling for real. I did join one virtual tour to Jerusalem, it was great experience but the feeling is different. So, for now all I can do is revisit my previous photos of my previous trips.

Anyways, just reminiscing our beautiful time in Grand Cayman Islands…

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Food for thought: Honeysoft Buns

I got the recipe from Savor Easy on Youtube. The buns are amazingly soft and tasty. The rising time is at least two hours, one hour each time after you knead the dough. I recommend for this to knead manually instead of using the mixer. First attempt, I used my stand mixer but the result was not as great as my second attempt. Today, as my second attempt, it was perfectly soft! Yes!!!

Definitely, watch the video on Youtube first before baking. It really helps and you’ll be able to pick up some techniques especially if you’re a beginner. I am sure you’ll love this recipe. All you need when serving is butter. Serve them while warm.

Thanks to Savor Easy.

Enjoy!

#Savoreasy #Sweetbuns #bread

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Food for thought: Japanese Cuisine

Today, for dinner I made some Vegetable Tempura, Fried Salmon Skin and Sushi. At home, I make sushi once a week. It’s actually one of my family’s favorite and of course everyone at home loves Salmon. Preparation is very simple and quick. On my previous posting “Sushi”, the ingredients were posted there.

For Vegetable Tempura, all you need are eggs, tempura flour and any vegetables that you like. You can use eggplants, broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and more. Today, I used sweet potatoes and zucchini. With the vegetables, you can season them with salt and pepper and if you want a little spicy, just add some chili flakes.

I made Fried Salmon Skin. It’s delicious and crunchy. I seasoned it with salt, black pepper and chili flakes.

Enjoy!

#sushi #tempura #japanesecuisine

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Food for thought: Sushi

Who love sushi?

One of my family’s favorite Japanese food are sushi and sashimi. Today, I am sharing with you all how to make sushi. It is very easy and simple. A pound of salmon fillet makes about 20-24 pieces. When making sushi, make sure that the salmon is fresh.

When serving sushi, you can either serve the sushi while rice is warm or cold. If you preferred cold, just refrigerate them for about 30 minutes before serving.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450 grams salmon fillet, cut into thin strips about 3 inches long
  • 4 cups cooked sushi rice
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar to mix with sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar to mix with salmon strips
  • 3 tbsp of Kikkoman soy sauce

PREPARATION:

  • In a bowl add 4 tbsp of rice vinegar to the sushi rice and mix well
  • Form rice into roll about 3 inches long
  • Add 1 tbsp of rice vinegar to the salmon strips and mix
  • Put salmon strips on the rolled rice
  • Serve with the Kikkoman sauce

Enjoy!

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Baker’s Corner: All About Bagels

Traditional Bagels VS Regular Baked Bagels

Traditional or Classic Bagels are more filling, tasty and chewy as they are boiled before baking. They are boiled between 30 to 60 seconds on each side. Otherwise, if you want your bagels chewier and thicker, boil it 2 minutes on each side. The longer you boil the dough, the thicker and chewier it becomes. The boiling process makes the starches in the flour of the dough gelatinize. Boiling makes the bagels set apart.

Basically, the main purpose of boiling the dough before baking is to make the outside crust sets. The amount of time of boiling the bagel dough definitely affects the bagel’s interior texture.

Regular Baked Bagels are just like regular bread. It doesn’t have that thick and chewy texture or that unique characteristic of a traditional bagel. With the regular baked bagels, there’s no boiling involved although you can add different toppings just like the traditional ones but there’s still a big difference when it comes to taste and texture.

Most bagels that are sold in the groceries or supermarkets, bakeries and coffee shops are not boiled. You can easily tell the difference! However, I am sure that there are still a few bakeries that sell traditional bagels and of course a little costly.

At home, I usually make the traditional bagels. Once you’ve tried them, it becomes harder to switch to regular baked bagels. My children actually preferred the traditional or classic bagels.

Try making the traditional or classic bagels, I am sure you’ll enjoy them!

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Winter in Spring…

What a wonderful day! I do remember sometimes in 1993, around May when it was snowing and we had lots lots of snow. Today is just another beautiful day here in Toronto. See beautiful trees with snow on. Cherry Blossoms are definitely gorgeous! Priceless…

So, why not embrace our beautiful crazy weather in Toronto? Let’s think happy thoughts especially during our current situation as we are on the third wave lockdown. When travel is still a far cry for everyone, let’s continue to enjoy what we have locally like a stroll in the park at High Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Riverdale Park and more.

I myself, I love to travel and can’t wait to visit other countries again. I really missed travelling and I am sure you all do too. Yes, there are some who still travel and taking so much risks in spite of everything going on around the world. But let’s wait when the pandemic is over and it’s safe to travel. No one really knows until when we are tied with it? It may be another year or two but what is important is our safety. Travels can always wait…

I spotted a few beautiful shots of Toronto on Instagram and I would love to share them with you all. Thanks to Instagram, Blogto and the talented photographers.

#steelcat #torontoclx #instagram

By the way, during lockdown High Park is open for the locals only. Yes, we can still enjoy the beautiful Cherry Blossoms at High Park.

This is our handsome Prince Samuel Kobus who loves the snow so much! Today is an awesome-pawsome treat for him.

#Instagram #koeldas1 #torontoclx

#Instagram #toronto_papi_

#blogto #Instagram

I hope you enjoy this. Stay safe and well everyone! If you haven’t got your vaccine yet, what are you waiting for? Get it soon! All the best!

#toronto #instagram #blogto #winter #spring #snow #torontoclx #toronto_papi_ #steelcat #Highpark #Trinitybellwoodspark #koeldas1

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Stay Well and Safe. Protect yourselves. Get your Vaccine!

Hello Everyone,

Covid19 has been the world challenge for at least 16 months now and who knows until when we will be facing it? A few of us are still deciding whether to get it or not. Totally understandable! I spoke to some of my friends and they’re still undecided about getting the vaccines due to fear of side effects. Yes, there are news about some unfavorable side effects but think about the chance of getting it, one in millions. Be positive and think that these vaccines save millions of lives…

I just got my first shot of Pfizer vaccine a few days ago and I am totally fine. If you would asked me if I have hesitation at all before? Definitely none whatsoever! In fact, I have been very anxious and patiently waited for my turn to get it. Now it’s been two days since my first vaccine shot, I am doing great! What I am feeling was just like getting my annual flu shot, a little sore on my arm and that’s about it. A few of my family and friends got their vaccines already, two got Pfizer and the others got Moderna and AstraZeneca and they’re all fine.

As we all know, millions of people around the world got their shots months ahead of most of us and millions are still waiting to get it and who knows when they would get the vaccines?

What I am trying to say, for us who have access to the vaccines, I encourage you all to get it once your turns come. Consider ourselves lucky to have the privilege and access to the vaccines. Regardless if it’s Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca get yours soon!

As we are experiencing the third wave and new cases are mounting up, please do take care of yourselves and take extra precautions. Do your due diligence, protect yourself, family and friends.

Get your vaccine now!

Visit your local government websites.

For Toronto: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

For Ontario: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/

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Food for thought: Everyday Meals Ideas

Hi Everyone,

I just want to share with you all some lunch or dinner ideas. I’ve learned to be more creative with meal preparations during lockdown. My children are home all day and with our current challenges, I have refrained from ordering food for delivery or take out.

These meals are easy to prepare and yet delicious. I mostly steam the vegetables and have steamed rice or boiled sweet potatoes prepared ahead of time. With the meat, I usually season and marinate them a day or two days before.

I have an indoor grill which I used for grilling almost everyday and of course a steamer to steam vegetables or fish. These two are life savers!

These are homemade hamburgers. Beef patties can be prepared a few days early and stored in the freezer. The buns are freshly baked of course. What I loved with homemade burgers, I can season the meat with different spices I want. I normally add some onions, bell peppers and spices like black pepper, paprika, chili flakes and parsley. So, whatever your heart desires spice it up!

Enjoy!

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Food for thought: New York Style Cheesecake

Hello Everyone,

Do you love cheesecake? I am sure most of us love cheesecake. My favorite one is the New York Style Cheesecake. It is larger, thicker, richer, super creamy and of course more indulgent than the traditional or classic cheesecake. With the New York Style Cheesecake, it has more eggs and cheese. Regardless if it is the traditional or New York Style Cheesecake, I definitely love cheesecake!

This recipe of New York Style Cheesecake is from Once Upon a Chef (www.onceuponachef.com) Although the base, I used Oreo Cookies instead of Graham Crackers. Why? I just want to get the chocolatey flavor. Anyways, the preparation is very straight forward and simple especially for us beginners.

New York-Style Cheesecake

By Jennifer Segal

Servings: 8 to 10 Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes Total Time: 2 Hours 25 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 12 whole crackers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

FOR THE FILLING

  • 32 oz (four 8-oz blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Special equipment: 9- or 10-inch springform pan; 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Berry sauce, for serving (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE CRUST

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the lower middle position. Wrap a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with one large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, covering the underside and extending all the way to the top so there are no seams on the bottom or sides of the pan. Repeat with another sheet of foil for insurance. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined. Press the crumbs into an even layer on the the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Set a kettle of water to boil.
  4. Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour together on medium speed until just smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure the mixture is evenly combined. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt; beat on low speed until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary. Mix in the sour cream. Make sure the batter is uniform but do not over-mix.
  5. Check to make sure your oven has cooled to 325°F, then set the cheesecake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter on top of the crust. Pour the boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes (the cake should not look liquidy at all but will wobble just a bit when the pan is nudged; it will continue to cook as it cools). Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool the cheesecake in the water bath until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and discard the foil. If necessary, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools), then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. For serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve the cheesecake right from the base of the pan; or, to transfer it to a serving platter, run a long, thin spatula between the crust and the pan bottom, and then use two large spatulas to carefully transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish. Slice with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between slices. Serve with berry sauce, if you like.
  7. Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be made and stored in the springform pan in the fridge, tightly covered with plastic wrap, up to two days ahead of time.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place the cake in the freezer briefly, unwrapped, to firm it up. Then double-wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it.

A special thanks to Once Upon A Chef for the recipe! #Onceuponachef #Newyorkstylecheesecake #cheesecake

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Food for thought: Bunuelos

Hi Everyone,

Today, I am sharing you the recipe for Bunuelos. It’s a Spanish delicacy which is very similar to our timbits or doughnut holes. They are also famous around the world. They are sweet donuts and famously served in Spain during special occasions like Christmas for instance.

Bunuelos can be made with fillings like chocolate, jam or marmalade. They are also famous in South America and Latin America.

I got the recipe from 196 Flavors @196flavors.com/spain-bunuelos

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour , sifted
  • 3 eggs , lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup milk or more (at 95 F / 35˚C)
  • 3 tablespoons anise liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Sweet olive oil or vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Sugar or icing sugar (for the decoration)

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar.
  • Dig a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs.
  • Add the lemon zest, anise, and cinnamon.
  • While kneading at medium speed, gradually incorporate the milk until obtaining a smooth and homogeneous dough.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes in a warm place, away from drafts.
  • Heat a large amount of oil to 350 F (170˚C), preferably sweet olive oil, in a deep pan.
  • Place the dough in a pastry bag and drop balls of dough into the hot oil.
  • It is also possible to form balls with two teaspoons.
  • When they swell and turn brown, remove the buñuelos with a skimmer and place them on a tray lined with paper towels.
  • Serve with a little sugar sprinkled over them.

Thanks to #196flavors for the recipe.

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Food for thought: Rye Bread

Rye bread is one of my family’s favorite. It’s healthy, light and tasty. The preparation is very simple and just under 1.5 hours. I normally bake two loaves at a time and save one for another week or two. It can stay in the freezer for a month or two and still good after. This recipe will give you a softer and tastier rye bread unlike the one from the supermarket and I am sure you’ll love it!

Recipe: 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp dry potato flakes
  • 4 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/2 pineapple or orange juice

Preparations:

  • Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or mixer
  • Add warm water and mix
  • While mixing add the olive oil and juice alternately
  • Continue to mix well
  • Knead for about 5-10 minutes
  • Let the dough rise until double
  • Punch the dough to remove air pockets
  • Knead for about 5 minutes
  • Divide dough into two parts and put into a greased bread pans
  • Set aside for about 15 minutes
  • Brush with butter
  • Bake at 360F for 30 minutes

Enjoy….

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Food for thought: Ube Pandesal

Ube Pandesal is one of the famous Filipino Breads and mostly eaten for breakfast or merienda. Pandesal can be plain or flavored like ube/taro or matcha or pandan flavor. You can also find Pandesal with fillings like Ube Cheese Pandesal. It is very soft and tasty with just a pat of butter and I recommend to eat it warm and fresh from oven. Otherwise a day old or more is still great, simply warm it in the microwave for about 10 to 12 seconds. Just like any other bread, it can be stored in a freezer for a month or two.

Recipe: 12 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ube/yam flavoring
  • 3 1/2 tsps instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 butter melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preparation:

  • Combine well flour, yeast and salt in a big bowl or mixer,
  • Add milk and butter to above mixture and mix well.
  • Add eggs and continue to mix.
  • Knead for about 5 minutes
  • Let the dough rise until double.
  • Knead for another 5 minutes.
  • Cut into 12 portions and form into round or oblong.
  • Roll onto the breadcrumbs.
  • Let it set for 10 minutes.
  • Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.
  • Serve warm with butter.

Voila! Enjoy…

Featured

A Passion for Baking

Hello Everyone,

I know that it has been awhile since I last posted baking recipes on my blog and I should have. Once you’ve learned the basics of baking bread, you can bake any type of bread with a little twist of one specific recipe. That’s what happened to me for the last months and was not sure if I should be posting all the recipes since they’re very similar.

Going forward, I will only post photos of breads and maybe some tips. You can always email me if you’d like a copy of recipe. I have been baking a lot at home and I thought it is one positive skill I have developed during the lockdown. Definitely, I am able to explore my passion for baking and loving it for sure!

Over time, I have learned to bake a few types of bread and realized that the recipes are not far different from each other. If you want a lighter bread, then use less flour, more yeast and add eggs. When you get your hands on the basics of baking, it will come easy to bake different types of bread with just slight variation of recipes.

Also, when making pizza, it’s better to use stones when baking. The crust is tastier and crispier, otherwise if you’re fine with soft crust, then bake it normally. You can buy different types of baking stones from Amazon. Stones can be round, square or rectangle in shapes and what I got are the smaller square versions where I can bake square or round pizza. I can also make small or personal size pizza or an extra large one for the whole family. What I liked about the small cut stones is the versatility, I can put them together and make small pizzas with different toppings like meat lovers, vegetarian or simply just cheese pizza or extra large pizza overload!

Anyways, that’s my tip when making homemade pizza!

Meat Lovers and Vegetarian Pizza
Garlic Bread

I hope this tip will help you make the best homemade pizza ever! Enjoy…

Featured

Looking forward to travel again…

Hello Everyone,

Hope all is well for you all. It’s been a year since my last travel to Australia, New Zealand and Philippines. I can’t wait to travel once again and I am sure most of you too. Having to look back those days before Covid19, all the awesome and wonderful travel memories, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to visit other places…

All I can do at the moment is imagine that I am out there enjoying the beautiful places especially the blue oceans. Feel the breeze and the sunshine on my face, priceless!

Now, it’s Spring very soon and we’re not back yet to our normal life. When? No one knows. However, let’s enjoy what we have and what we can. A stroll to the park is still a blessing for us all, don’t you think? Whatever you’re planning to do to enjoy the beautiful sunshine, stay well and safe everyone.

Since international travel is still not safe and most countries are not open for tourism, I would love to share with you some amazing photos from my previous trips to Mexico, USA (Hawaii & Arizona) Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Hongkong, Grand Cayman Islands, Canada.

Some places I have been when I was younger that I would like to revisit like France and Belgium and hopefully explore other part of Europe as well when it’s safe to travel, For now, let’s enjoy the beautiful travel memories,

Stay well and safe everyone….

Mexico

HAWAII, USA

HONGKONG

AUSTRALIA

PHILIPPINES

NEW ZEALAND