The Little Things in Life
October 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
More often what brings a smile to my face are the little things in life.
Beautiful blooms, the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, the whiff of fresh bread, a brand new day… So many things to be thankful for and those little things that life seems to take for granted are what we need to zoom in on.
I was up in Baguio for work recently and the cool weather was just perfect for a planning session. Freshly baked blueberry muffins, especially that of Baguio Country Club brings sunshine to my day. And sunshine always makes me smile. I love rain too for without it there would never be rainbows, yes? I love the sound of raindrops – it soothes my senses and makes me want to cozy up in my little corner with some hot tea
and this addictive lemon pie that can perk even the gloomiest person at one bite.
Using graham cracker crust makes it so easy to make – no need to labor over a traditional crust.
The touch of sweetness in the graham is a wonderful balance to the tart, lemony filling.
When life hands you lemons, lots of them, make lemon pie.
What makes you happy?
Credits: Papers and elements from Scrap Matter’s Life Little Surprises kit. Alphas from Akiloune Designs
What you need:
- 10 graham crackers or 1 cup crushed
- 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Whipped cream for serving
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Break the graham crackers into large pieces and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times, until you have fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl. Alternatively, if you can find crushed graham crackers in your grocery store, use about 1 cup – it makes life so much simpler.
- Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped, then add them to the crumbs.
- Mix the butter with the crumb mixture until well blended, then press the mixture along the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
- Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, until it’s lightly browned. Set the crust aside.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Mix on medium until the yolks are pale yellow and slightly thickened, about two minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the condensed milk. Slowly add the lemon juice, then turn off the mixer and stir in the lemon zest.
- Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set but still moist.
- Allow the pie to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
An Adult Take on a Childhood Favorite
March 23, 2012 § 14 Comments
We used to live in a compound. It has four houses, the main house was my lola’s (grandmother’s), one was our house and the two others were my father’s siblings’. We lived there most of my life until we moved house after college. There were so many memories in that compound but summers (as a child) were especially memorable as the days were spent playing with cousins in that compound – patintero, touch-taya, Chinese garter… there even was a baseball phase. I remember catching tadpoles at the canal outside our house. Yeah those were carefree times. I can’t imagine any parent allowing their kids to play in a canal today. 😯 We’d climb and pick santol and indian mangoes from the tree in my lola’s garden, devouring it with salt or toyo (soysauce). I’d always look forward to my uncle’s treats to Sunshine Market, our neighborhood grocery. I’d go straight to the snack section and pick-up Carol-Ann’s potato chips. Oh how I love that greasy but crispy, thin chips seasoned only with salt. To this day, nothing beats Carol-Ann’s and you don’t find them anymore. I love Choco vim — I’d shake it till the chocolate at the bottom dissolves, such a thrill . And there was Magnolia’s Twin Popsies, I like both the chocolate and the orange variant. A perfect heat quencher. Childhood memories… always make me smile.
The Kulinarya Cooking Club is a club that showcases Filipino dishes by way of a monthly challenge among the members. And this is my first attempt on a fairly easy but so much fun challenge this month, thanks to Arnold of Inuyaki and Jun of Jun-blog.
The theme is “ice candy” or popsicle treats, which aptly signals the start of summer. In spite of the heat, summer is always a favorite time of the year. It means I get to soak up the sun in some remote island with some frozen delights on hand. I usually go for fresh shakes nowadays but ice candy brought back so many memories that I feel like having twin popsies right now.
My take on the theme is an adult version of a childhood favorite. I made 2 versions in honor of the 2 Magnolia Twin Popsies variants. One is a delightful orange and mango flavor with a hint of ginger while the other is a chocolate popsicle made of native cacao balls and since I love a hint of orange in my chocolate, I added some orange zest to give it a twist.
What you need:
- 3-4 pcs. Navel oranges
- 2-3 pcs. Ripe Philippine mangoes
- 3-4 slices of ginger
- ¼ cup sugar
- A dash of Cinnamon powder or stick
What you do:
- To make the ginger syrup: In a pot, dissolve sugar with ½ cup water. Add ginger slices and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile make into juice all the oranges and 1 mango*. Combine orange/mango juice and the ginger syrup in a pitcher (for ease in pouring).
- Slice the rest of the mangoes into bite-sized pieces distribute in popsicle molds**.
- Pour the juice mixture. Place popsicle sticks over the mold and freeze.
* You may use ready to drink juices too if desired. About 2 cups of orange juice to 1 cup of mango.
** The frozen mango makes a lot of different so fill it to the bream and then pour the juice.
Orange-flavored Choco Frozen Delight
What you need:
- 10 balls or more of native chocolate*
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp orange zest
- A dash of cinnamon powder or stick
What you do:
- Dissolve choco balls in water, adding more depending on desired thickness.**
- Add a dash of cinnamon or place the stick of cinnamon while cooking the chocolate.
- When chocolate is ready, add the zest before turning off heat.
- Strain into a pitcher and let cool.
- Pour into popsicle molds, place popsicle sticks and freeze.
* Native chocolates are made differently; it is best that you know what kind you’re using or follow instructions if it they have it.
** The thicker the chocolate, the richer the popsicle. If you make it thick enough, it is like biting into a frozen chocolate bar.
Both were delightfully refreshing. At the last-minute I decided to add the mango on the orange version and did a happy dance when I bit into the finish product. It really made a lot of difference biting into frozen mangoes. The ginger is a great twist to a familiar flavor. Makes sure though not to overdo the ginger or it will overpower the light fruity flavor.
The chocolate version, on the hand is less sweet and much richer than that of Magnolia’s. The orange zest added a fruity dimension to dark chocolate. I intentionally didn’t add milk or cream, as I wanted it dark. If milk chocolate is the preference, go ahead and add a bit of cream.
If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you may use disposable cups. To hold the sticks in place, tape over a plastic wrap and bore a hole in the middle where the stick will go. This will make the stick stay in the middle.
Stay cool everyone!
March 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Credits: Papers by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit and Crystal Wilkerson from the Room Collection kit; Elements by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit for the lace, Ezane from ScrapMatters’ Life’s Little Surprises kit for the journal.
It’s not just another Saturday – it’s the 3rd Saturday since I moved to my new place. It has been 2 weeks of unpacking, arranging and cleaning whenever I’m home.
Today I declared a cleaning and arranging time out. I just want to rest and appreciate my new home. To celebrate my moving in – so to speak, I invited some friends over for dessert and coffee after dinner. I’m not ready to invite them for the real deal. Kitchen still not ready for that, or should I say, I’m not ready for that… haha!
Anyhow, I made tiramisu, my 2nd attempt actually. The first one failed because I used our local broas – you know the one I used to make this. It went all watery on me. The broas was too light, it soaked up a lot of the espresso;
I went and bought this instead. It’s much denser and holds well when soaked in liquid.
What you need:
- 3 large Eggs, with yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 8 oz. Mascarpone
- 20 Lady Fingers
- 1 cup Espresso or Strong Coffee
- 2 tbsp. Cognac or Brandy
- 1 cup Cocoa
What you do:
1. Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon Espresso, sugar, and Cognac into the large mixing bowl.
2. Beat 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add Mascarpone and beat 3 to 5 minutes until consistency is smooth.
4. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
6. Pour rest of Espresso into a flat dish, dip one side of each Lady Finger, and layer on bottom of serving dish.
7. Spread 1/3 of the Mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa.
8. Continue layering and finish with a Mascarpone layer.
9. Sprinkle with cocoa and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
This is the way to dazzle, I must say. A no bake dessert that is impressive in flavors – it’s the Cognac. Simple enough allowing me lots of time before dinner to relax and enjoy the flat.