August 31, 2013

Buko Tart (Young Coconut Tart)

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. 
~Robert Brault

These are my little tarts. I still don't have tart moulds so I used my cupcake moulds to make it. My original plan is to make buko pie but I just thought that maybe it's better if it is bite size, so I made tart instead. 

These tarts are really good. I like the buko filling, it's creamy and not too sweet, and the tart shells are crispy, crumbly, and buttery. I like it to be served warm with hot tea, simply the best!

Pastry Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks), salted, cut into cubes *
10 Tbsp cold water or ice water
2 Tbsp sugar
extra flour for dusting

* If you're using unsalted butter, add 1 tsp of salt. Mix the salt with flour and sugar.

3 cups buko or young coconut meat, shredded
2 cups sugar (I used light brown)
1 1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, room temp
2 Tbsp butter, room temp
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pastry Dough:
1. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl. Using two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Add the cold water. Using your hand, knead the dough, making sure that the butter is fully incorporated into the dough. Wrap it in a cling wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry dough in a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out round pieces of dough using cookie cutter or any round wares that are slightly larger than the tart or muffin pan (I used our drinking glass). Gently press the round dough into each tart or muffin pan. Prick the bottom of the dough lightly with a fork. 

1. Combine all the ingredients in a pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes gluey in texture. Turn off the heat. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Fill each dough with the cooled buko filling. Bake the tart in a pre-heated oven (375 F or 190 C) for 30 minutes or until the dough becomes nicely brown.
2. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Share and enjoy!

1. You may put lattice or streusel on top for a more please-to-the-eye effect. 
2. Keep the leftovers refrigerated.
3. Try using other fillings like ube, macapuno, custard, mango, or pineapple.

Happy day always,


August 19, 2013

Sinigang na Buto Buto

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. Nature." 
~John Ruskin

Sinigang is a Filipino sour soup or stew made from meat or seafoods, vegetables, and tamarind. Traditionally, tamarind is used to make the soup sour, but we can also use other ingredients like ripe guava, calamansi, kamias, and green mango. I usually use buto-buto and liempo for my sinigang. 

Let's make some sinigang today. It's too comforting to sip a hot steaming soup in a cold rainy day. Enjoy!


800 grams buto buto (pork neck bones), chopped
2 pcs labanos (raddish), sliced 
2 pcs medium eggplant, sliced
8 pcs okra, halved
10 pcs sitaw (string beans), cut in 2-3 in. length
5 pcs medium tomatoes, quartered
3 pcs medium gabi (taro) - I used the purple gabi, chopped (2 in thick)
1-2 pcs of siling panigang (finger chili)
1 medium red onion, quartered
8 cups water
1 pc kinapal or sweet tamarind paste ball (usually found in local wet markets)
3 cups kangkong leaves and tender stems or talbos ng kamote (kamote tops)
patis (fish sauce) and salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil

1. Heat oil in a pot. Add onion and tomatoes.

2. Add the buto-buto and season with patis (about 1/8 cup). Stir. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.

3. Add water. Let it boil. Once boiling, remove scums (impurities) from the broth. Lower the heat (medium-low), simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

4. Add gabi and siling panigang. Cook for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, put the kinapal (sweet tamarind ball) in a bowl, add a cup of water. Squish it by hands or mash it. Then strain to remove the seeds.

6. Mash (using a fork) 3-5 pcs gabi to make the soup thicker.

7. Put the vegetables (except kangkong or talbos ng kamote) and kinapal extract in the pot. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Season with salt or patis. 

7. Add the kangkong. Stir and cover the pot. Turn off the heat.

8. Serve hot. Share and enjoy.

1. You may substitute other cuts of meats like liempo or kasim or use seafoods, beef, or chicken. 
2. If kinapal is not available in your area, you may use green mango, fresh tamarind, kamias, or other souring agent. OR if you want to make it simple and easy, just use sinigang mix or bouillon. But personally, I still prefer the natural one.
3. Crush the chili or cut it to make the soup a little spicy.
4. Make some chili-patis dip. Chop some bird's eye chili or siling labuyo and add patis (fish sauce).

Yield: 6-8 servings

Happy rainy day,


August 14, 2013

Ginisang Monggo sa Gata (Sauteed Mung Beans with Coconut Cream)

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." ~Albert Einstein

It's not yet Friday... but we celebrate Monggo Day today! 'm not sure why Filipino usually served monggo every Friday. But in our family, this dish can be served at any day of the week. It is super delicious, budget friendly, and healthy. Whoa! what can you ask for! 

1 1/2 cup monggo or green mung beans (I used the "labo" monggo or unpolished monggo)
5 cups water
2 cups coconut cream or milk
1 Tbsp alamang (shrimp paste)
1/3 cup tinapa flakes
1 big red onion, diced
3 big tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup malunggay leaves
8-10 pcs okra, halved
patis (fish salt) or salt to taste

1. Wash thoroughly the monggo beans. Put the monggo beans and water in a small saucepan. Let it boil. Once boiling, lower the heat. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the monggo absorbed most of the liquid and already cooked. Set aside.

2. Dry roast the tinapa flakes in a pan until golden brown in color. Put in a small bowl. Reserve some for the toppings.

3. In a skillet or pot, saute the onion and tomatoes in a little oil for a couple of minutes. Then add the garlic. Cook for a minute. Add the alamang and stir.

4. Put the monggo, coconut cream, and half of the tinapa flakes. Stir.

5. Add the okra and cook for 5 minutes or until the okra is tender but not overcooked. 

6. Season with patis or salt.

7. Turn off the heat. Put the malunggay leaves, then cover the skillet/pot.

8. Serve it with rice. Top it with tinapa flakes. Share and enjoy.

1. If you don't have tinapa flakes, substitute it with pork or dilis or shrimps (shelled or dried).
2. Pair it with crispy fried galunggong or any fried fish, crispy pata or lechon kawali. Hmmm drooling!
3. If you're a meat lover, top it with chicharon (slightly crushed pork rind).
4. If you don't like gata, just omit coconut cream. Add 1 1/2 cup water instead.
5. You may also substitute ampalaya leaves, talbos ng kamote, spinach, or kangkong for malunggay leaves.

Yield: 6 servings

Happy day always,


August 12, 2013

Homemade Pancake and Pancake Syrup

"He who goes to bed  hungry dreams of pancakes" ~Proverb

Ta~da!!! This is our breakfast today - Pancake made from scratch and homemade pancake syrup. Try it and you'll be delighted. Cheers! Happy Morning!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups fresh milk with 2 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil or any vegetable oil or melted butter

1. In a large bowl, sift or mix together the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt (dry ingredients).

2. In another bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and buttermilk (wet ingredients). Whisk it until well blended.

3. Put the dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir or whisk until combined. Do not over beat (over beating will make your pancake tough).

4. Let the mixture rest undisturbed for a couple of minutes, about 5-10 minutes. You'll see tiny bubbles forming into the batter.

5. Brush your skillet or pan with a little oil and heat it over medium-high. Drop 1/3 cup of batter on hot pan. Turn when bubbles form in the surface of the pancake and the sides are little dry. Cook the other side. Serve warm. Put butter and drizzle some syrup.

Homemade Syrup:
(adapted from Delish Megish)

1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 heaping cup light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat the water and sugar in a small, uncovered saucepan at medium-high heat, until it boils, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally. Once the mixture is smooth and the sugar is melted, turn off the heat. When the mixture starts to cool, stir in either the vanilla.

1. Top your pancakes with fresh fruits like banana or berries.
2. You may also put some chocolate chips or morsels in your pancake batter.
3. Spice up your pancake. Put a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg in the batter.
4. Serve warm. If you don't have syrup or no time to make some, you may put sugar on top of your pancake. This is what Filipino do to their pancakes or hotcakes!

Serving: 10 pancakes

Happy day always,


August 5, 2013

Pichi Pichi (Steamed Cassava with grated coconut/cheese)

... it was so rich and exotic I was seduced into taking one bite and then another as I tried to chase the flavors back to their source. ~Ruth Reichl

Are you craving for some Filipino comfort food? Why don't you try making pichi pichi (1). You can topped it with grated cheese or roll it over grated coconut. If you want something that is fresh, go with the coconut. But if you want to cut down the sweetness of the pichi pichi, go with cheese. It's your choice, but whatever your choice is... both are amazingly good!  

(1) Pichi pichi is a chewy-gelatinous famous Filipino dessert made of grated fresh cassava (or cassava flour), sugar, and water. It is usually steamed but can also be baked. Traditionally, pandan or screwpine leaves are used to flavor the pichi pichi but you may also try using vanilla if pandan is not available.  

2 cups grated cassava (finely grate to have smoother texture)
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cups pandan water OR 1 3/4 cups water + 1/2 tsp pandan extract
1 tsp lye water or lihiya
grated coconut (niyog na mura) OR grated cheese

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the grated cassava releases lots of liquid, just remove the liquid OR reduce the amount of water by 1/4 cup.

1. Mix all the ingredients except for the grated coconut and cheese.

2. Pour the mixture into cup moulders or small muffin/cupcake moulder  (I used small puto moulders). Steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Let the pichi pichi cool in the molders. Scoop out with a teaspoon and put in a plate or container. Roll each piece over grated coconut or topped it with grated cheese.

1. If fresh cassava is not available, you may replaced it with cassava flour. The amount of water is the same as the amount of flour.
2. Finely grate the cassava. Remove the rind.
3. If lye water is not available, you may still make pichi pichi but the texture will not be the same. Lye water makes the pichi pichi chewy (makunat).
4. If pandan is not available, use vanilla extract, about 1 tsp to 2 tsp.
5. If you don't have individual muffin moulds, you may also use your regular muffin/cupcake pan/tray. Bake it in baine-marie or hot water bath (175 C).
6. Don't roll the pichi pichi in grated coconut if you'll not yet consume it.
7. Put it inside the refrigerator to make it more chewy. Store it up to 3 days (without coconut).

Happy day always,


Pandan Water

“The investigation of nature is an infinite pasture-ground where all may graze, and where the more bite, the longer the grass grows, the sweeter is its flavor, and the more it nourishes.” ~Aldous Huxle

If ever you wanted to make buko pandan, pandan cake or pichi-pichi, I'm sure there's a pandan extract or pandan water in the recipe. But what if you don't have pandan extract in your home. Don't worry, you can make your own. It takes a little time and effort to make it but it's really worth trying. You'll see the difference between commercial pandan extract and homemade one - from it's flavor, fragrance, and color. This is better, I guarantee you!

8-10 pandan leaves, cut into small pieces
2 cups water

Things you need:

1. Put the water in a pot. Add the pandan leaves. Let it boil. Lower the heat once boiling. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the water becomes greenish in color. 

2. Turn off the heat. Remove the pandan leaves in the pot and transfer it in a blender or food processor. Add the water (let the water cool slightly for a couple of minutes). Whiz for a few minutes then squeeze and strain it through a fine sieve. Put the juice in a small bowl or container.

~ You may keep this in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Happy day always,


August 2, 2013

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Pizza is like the entire food pyramid! ~Madeline Oles

Have I told you that my hubby loves Italian food. Not just "love-love" but rather "head over heels" in love with Italian food! He requested to have pizza day last week (Saturday and Sunday). And because he likes thin crust, I googled the best thin crust pizza dough. I have to say that this pizza crust is by far the best.  It is so easy to make, crispy, and taste wonderful. Try it and you'll be amazed!

Makes two 10-inch pizzas, adapted from The Kitchn 
(I just tweaked the recipe a bit)

  3/4 cup (6oz) luke warm water
1 tsp active-dry or instant yeast
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T white sugar (optional)
*favorite sauce and toppings 

*Toppings and sauce for my pizza:
anchovies, mashed toasted garlic, baby arugula, alfalfa sprouts, salsa, tomato, mushroom, white onion, parsley, homemade ricotta cheese, blue cheese, quick melt cheese, olive oil

bacon, luncheon meat, pineapple, basil, tomato, white onion, parsley, homemade tomato sauce, quick melt cheese

1. Set the oven to 500°F or 260°C or as hot as it will go and let it heat for at least a half an hour before making the pizza. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower-middle part of the oven now.
2. Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast. The mixture should look like thin miso soup. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until you've formed a shaggy dough. 
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface along with any loose flour still in the bowl. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it is smooth.
4. If you have time at this point, you can let the dough rise until you need it or until doubled in bulk (about an hour and a half). After rising, you can use the dough or refrigerate it for up to three days.
5. Cover the dough with the upside-down mixing bowl or a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the pizza toppings.
6. When ready to make the pizza, tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Divide the dough in two with a bench scraper. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and lay it on the parchment paper.
7. Work from the middle of the dough outwards, using the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. For an extra-thin crust, roll it with a rolling pin. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes and then continue rolling.
8. The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out, and the pizza is baked while still on the parchment. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out midway through cooking.
9. Thoroughly prick the middle part of the dough using a fork. This is to help control blistering and bubble formation during baking.
10. Pre-cook the pizza dough for approximately 5 minutes before adding the toppings and sauce. If you see any large pockets, pop it with a fork. Let the crust cool before adding the toppings.
10. Spoon a few tablespoon of your favorite sauce and add toppings in your pizza dough. Bake for 8-13 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese looks toasty. 

1. If you do not have parchment paper, just grease generously the baking pan before putting the pizza dough.
2. If you prepare the dough in advance and plan to store it in the refrigerator, you have to punch down the dough (do this after step#4) to release some air and then form it into ball. Note that the dough will still rise during refrigeration, this is what you call cold rise. Don't worry, they say that cold fermentation can make your dough more flavorful.
3. You may also use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour.
4. Put some fresh herbs like parsley in your dough for added flavor.
5. If you're using fresh herbs like basil or veggies like alfalfa and arugula, I suggest to put it after baking or before serving.

Happy day always,

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