Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat

Definitely a treat for me. Bernard and Ann, Christina, Samantha, and our chihuahua dog, Marley, all worked hard to make our Halloween night special and memorable. There was so much food. And, I didn't do a single thing.

My children planned a small get-together with their friends on Halloween night. They planned the menu, shopped for food and decorations, and cooked all day long, while I napped the whole afternoon. Their menu was planned with the consideration for both who were non-meat eaters and meat eaters alike, vegetarians, and some who needed more Lycopene (from tomatoes) in their bodies.

After my nap, I was surprised to see that the furniture were moved around, the house was tastefully decorated, and most of the food were done, nicely arranged on serving plates. They carved the pumpkins. Christina worked on the cupcakes which were neatly displayed on a three-tiered silver round cake trays. They baked a lot of cookies, brownies, and there were a lot of candies to give to the children. 

Bernard made the Barbecued Short Ribs and the Veggie Rottini, while Ann made the deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and she also prepared the sausages on sticks.

I have to give credit to my daughter, Christina for her creativity in decorating the porch, the walls, the doors outside and inside the house, and for making an attractive centerpiece for the living room coffee table.

At 6:00 pm, we started to eat dinner with some friends. Soon the treat or trickers were ringing the door bell in their nice little outfits. My granddaughter, Samantha, had fun giving out candies, but she could not go treat or tricking because she just had the flu. It was quite cold outside and I was under the weather myself.

The photos above were randomly chosen. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick and Easy Impromptu Dinner

What would you do when you run short of time to cook a comforting meal for a friend who's arriving in two hours, got bumped off from her flight, and most likely is so hungry and tired waiting at the airport for her next flight? You would probably panic and just order food from take out. I went to Costco and bought some steaks, asparagus, baby greens, dinner rolls, and crab chowder. I also opened a good wine which I have been keeping for quite sometime.

Here's the dinner menu for 6 people, an impromptu dinner that was quick and very easy to do:

Grilled New York Cut Steaks
Grilled Asparagus
Baby greens with Campari Tomatoes
Dinner Rolls
Red Wine: 2005 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon

As soon as I got home, I set the oven to 400 Degrees F and heated the square steak grill to high, seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper and sliced about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and put one on top of each steak. When the grill was hot enough, I started cooking the steaks. Because it was a 1" steak, I cooked it 1 minute on each side and then 3 minutes on medium heat on each side.

While the steaks were cooking, I washed the asparagus, snapped the ends with my fingers, put them on a baking tray, put salt & pepper, and drizzled olive oil on top generously. After this, I popped them in the oven to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.

I then worked on the baby greens and Campari tomatoes which I just quartered and garnished on top of the greens. For the dressing, I used ranch.

My daughter set the table and as soon as I heard the door bell ring, I poured the soup on their individual bowls, plated the food, and asked everyone else to sit down. As usual, I told them to enjoy the food.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Langkawi Malaysian Restaurant

In my desire to learn more about other Southeast Asian food, I have researched online about the dishes in Singapore, Malaysia,Thailand, and Indonesia. These countries have their own variations of cooking certain dishes. I also researched on Malaysian restaurants in our area and we have started dining in some of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pork Sinigang (Pork Sour Soup)

Serves 8


2  1/2 pounds pork ribs, cut to pieces
1 cup tamarind juice or 1 packet of tamarind soup base
1 big whole tomato
1 medium-sized radish, peeled and  cut into 1/4" slices
10  small whole taro roots, peeled
3 cups string beans, cut into 3"
4 cups Kangkong leaves, cut into 3"
4 medium-sized green finger or Jalapeno pepper


Boil the pork together with tomatoes  in six cups water on high heat for 5 minutes, then lower heat to medium and cook for 35 minutes to one hour or until tender. 

Add the taro roots and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the radish and cook for 5 minutes. 

Add the tamarind juice or the tamarind soup base. 

Add the string beans, and the jalapeno or any finger green Chili pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add the Kangkong leaves and push leaves with a cooking spoon to submerge in liquid but not to overcook. Turn heat off.

*  Serve with fish sauce on the side

* Serve with steamed rice

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nasi Lemak

Lately, I've been craving Malaysian food. Malaysian's national dish, Nasi Lemak, to be specific.

There is something about this dish that made me fall in love with it. I really can't tell what, but just the aroma of the steaming hot rice cooked in coconut milk, plus the exciting flavors of the fried fish mixed with a hot and spicy sauce triggered my appetite until I could take no longer. This occurred to me when I had lunch with my daughter at the Banana Island restaurant, a Malaysian restaurant in Daly City, California, last Tuesday. They also have Singaporean and Thai dishes in their menu.

Nasi Lemak is a legendary dish. Traditionally, it is served on a banana leaf, with the newly cooked rice in coconut milk, served with slices of crunchy refreshing cucumber, topped with fried small anchovy fish cooked with hot and spicy sauce called 'Sambal Ikan Bilis'. It is also served with sliced boiled egg and sometimes with green beans and ground roasted peanuts.

My friend Kristy, from My Little Space, posted the recipe on her blog. Her version was done with style. She added boneless chicken legs marinated in different special sauces overnight and then fried in just enough oil on medium-low heat until golden brown. What a masterpiece!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scrambled Eggs with Feta Cheese and Canadian Ham

I taught my daughter how to cook scrambled eggs last Sunday for a late breakfast. She did pretty well. I was surprised that this time, she genuinely wanted to learn how to cook.

After checking what we had, we came up with making scrambled eggs with bits of canadian ham, baby spinach, chopped onion, and feta cheese. Check out her blogsite at


4 beaten eggs
2 slices chopped Canadian ham
1/2 cup baby spinach
2 tablespoons feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1/8 cup milk
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter

Brown chopped onion in butter and canola oil until transparent. Add the Canadian ham and spinach. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread mixture in the pan and then add the eggs. Move eggs with a spatula and then add the milk. Continue mixing on medium heat and slide rubber spatula around the pan to loosen eggs. Add the feta cheese and remove from pan. Transfer to a serving plate.
*Toast some bread and put the scrambled eggs on top.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cucumber Tomato Mint Salad

1 English cucumber - cut into chunks
2 Roma tomatoes - cut into chunks
1 sprig of spearmint - for garnishing
1/4 cup Nakano Original Seasoned Rice Vinegar
3 tablespoons mint jelly
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put cut cucumbers and tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the rice vinegar, mint jelly, and the vegetable oil in another bowl and mix well. Pour into the cucumber and tomato and toss lightly. Top with a sprig of the spearmint for garnishing or if you like it more minty, chiffonade the mint leaves and spread all over the salad.

Simple Roast Chicken

On a busy day like today, I like cooking meals as simple, yet flavorful as possible, utilizing ingredients that we already have, with  spices and herbs we can just snip from our herb garden.

It was quite a surprise that my daughter is showing interest in cooking. Yesterday, I showed her how to cook herself scrambled eggs for breakfast with ingredients we already have at home. The scrambled eggs were so tasteful. She herself was surprised that she was capable of concocting such a simple but delectable meal.

Inspired by her success in making the scrambled eggs, today she was inspired to cook tonight's dinner ~ a simple roast chicken:

3 pounds whole chicken  (room temperature)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped coarsely
2 granny smith apples - sliced 1/3" horizontally
2 tablespoons honey for drizzling
olive oil to grease the baking pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rub the inside and outside skin of chicken with salt to remove grime. Wash the chicken well. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with chopped onions and sprigs of fresh rosemary. Rub olive oil all over the skin of the chicken. Grease with butter the baking pan then line with sliced granny smith apples and drizzle with honey. Lay the chicken on top. Bake inside the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or more until golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Out of the chicken drippings, my daughter made gravy by browning 4 tablespoons of chopped yellow onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Then she added 4 tablespoons of flour to brown, deglazed it with 1/4 cup Marsala wine, and seasoned with salt and pepper. She added 1 1/2  cups chicken stock to thin the consistency and reduced it to a gravy. The gravy was then strained to remove lumps. She came up with a creamy buttery chicken gravy.

*The Rosemary Roast Chicken was served with Cucumber Tomato Mint Salad and a piece of sweet white corn in a cob. The recipe of the salad will be on a separate post.

*Edited by author 01/28/2011

*Kitchen tested 01/28/2011
*Approved for Publication by the Author

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pancit Malabon

So what is Pancit Malabon? For those of you who have never heard of this dish, it is a delicacy from Malabon, Rizal in the Philippines. It is similar to another delicacy called Pancit Luglug from Pampanga, or the Pancit Palabok.

What's the difference between Pancit Malabon and Pancit Palabok? And what is Pancit Luglug? All these dishes look similar, in the sense that, they are all rice noodles topped or mixed with a red sauce with different garnishing. Only rice noodle and not the egg noodle is used in this dish. For the Pancit Malabon, I used the Poolee Rice Noodle that's made in Taiwan. They have the thin version and the regular version. It's written on the cellophane packaging that the thin version is for the Luglug. I tried both for making Pancit Malabon and they both turned out okay.

Now, for the Pancit Luglug and the Pancit Palabok, I will use the thinner kind of rice noodle or the "Bihon" noodle. The sauce is not mix with the noodle, but just poured on top.You also do not have to cut the noodles before you pour the sauce.

My advise is, when you use the Poolee noodle for the Pancit Malabon, you have to soak and rinse the noodles more than two or three minutes in boiling water, as what's written on the packaging. In my experience, some of the noodles were not cooked, after soaking them in boiling water for 3 minutes. I did mine for about 8 to 10 minutes. Also, one tip I can give you is to cut the noodles sparingly before you mix the red sauce with the noodle.

The red sauce is made out of the juice of Annatto seeds thicken with cornstarch. I prefer using the Annatto seeds against using instant mixes because I get the color and flavor I am looking for. Plus, there's no MSG.

Prepare the garnishing first
Before I started cooking the sauce, I prepared the garnishing s in advance, because you need the shrimp water to use for the sauce. The garnishing are what you put on top of the noodle after mixing with the red sauce. Here are the ingredients for the garnishing according to my layering: ground Chicharon (pork cracklings), toasted flaked Tinapa (smoked fish), blanched sliced Pechay Baguio (Chinese cabbage), boiled mussels without shell, sliced Adobong Pusit (Squid Adobo), cooked oysters, chopped green onion, quartered hard-boiled duck eggs (chicken eggs will do).

How to cook the sauce
Saute the garlic and onions until transparent. Then add the ground pork and saute until cooked or for 5 minutes, followed by the diced firm tofu. Season with fish sauce. Add Annatto water and the shrimp water. Add the cornstarch mixed with water. If it's too thick, add water. 

To extract red coloring from Annatto seeds
Toasted the seeds in a saucepan over medium heat in oil. Put a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil and move them around with a wooden spatula (I keep one just for mixing Annatto seeds) until color is released from the seeds. You will notice the seeds will turn dark when the color is released. Add 1/2 cup water (or more) and boil for 3 or more minutes. Strain.

2 pounds ground pork
4 to 6 cups firm tofu - cut into 1/3" cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 cups yellow onions, chopped
3 ounces Annatto seeds, toasted and boiled until color is released, then add 1 or two canola or vegetable oil, add water and boil until color mixes with water
3/4 cup or more cornstarch, dissolved in water before adding to make thick sauce
4 to 6 cups shrimp water, pound shrimp heads, add water, squeeze and strain juice out
Extra water if needed, when you have mixed the sauce with the noodles, the liquid evaporates or the noodles soaks it all up. Add more water. You do not want your noodles dry. There must be just a little sauce oozing out when you plate them.
1/2 cup or more pork fat or lard to saute  the sauce
9 or more tablespoons Patis or fish sauce - this is if you are cooking the 20 ounces Poolee Rice Noodles. If you are not, lessen the fish sauce, or adjust to your taste

2 pounds boiled mussels
1 pound medium-sized shrimps - remove head and set aside to pound well for the juice before boiling; slit the shells in the back to devein, then boil ; remove shell and slice each shrimp into two lengthwise after boiling (for garnishing)
1 pound squid - separate the head from the body; remove tough round part on mouth; remove long cellophane-like inside the body and the sac where food eaten was stored; leave black coloring or squid's ink inside; sliced into 1/2" and make into Adobo (for garnishing)
4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs - quartered (for garnishing)
2 cups Mung bean sprouts - (optional for garnishing)
1/2 head blanched Chinese cabbage or Pechay Baguio, sliced into 1/3" (for garnishing)
2 cups fish Tinapa, flaked and toasted in pan (for garnishing)
3 cups pounded pork Chicharon (for garnishing)
1 cup green onion, chopped
lemons or Calamansi, for garnishing and seasoning
dashes of ground pepper

* This recipe was shared by China de la Pena and her dad, the relatives of my step-daughter's husband, who were originally from Malabon, Rizal, Philippines. My research led to my modifying the recipe by adding more garnishing on top of the noodles.

Crabs and Lobsters

6 Dungeness crabs - about 2 1/2 pounds each
3 Maine lobsters - about 3 1/2 pounds each
4 lemons
1 cup butter
dash of salt & pepper
1 tablespoon grated garlic


In a metal steamer, fill the bottom part with 6 cups of water and bring to a rapid boil.
On the top part with big holes, put about 2 or 3 crabs depending on how big your steamer is. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until shell becomes red and cooked. Do the same thing with the rest including the lobsters. 

Lemon butter sauce
In a saucepan, slowly melt 1 cup of unsalted butter that was cut into small pieces under medium low heat. Add the juice of one lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon. Put in a serving bowl and use as a dip.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dim Sum at HongKong Causeway Bay in San Mateo, California

Today is my daughter's birthday and as we were getting ready to go to a newly opened Cantonese restaurant in San Mateo, the "H. K. Causeway Bay", the doorbell rang. It was the UPS guy delivering the Spanish sausages, made in Spain, my other half and I ordered online from 'La Tienda', a Virginia based importer of Spanish food products, the night before.

Everyone got excited seeing the box of sausages and some Crema de Turron from Spain. My other half couldn't wait and he wanted to open the box. It was almost twelve noon, the set time for the birthday lunch. I told him I was driving ahead to the restaurant, if he wanted to stay behind. My daughter and my son were supposed to drive by themselves.

The restaurant was packed. I didn't realize they were serving dim sum for lunch, for we always went there for dinner. We were met by a lady Maitre D' who was delighted to see us as she walked us to our reserved table with some family and friends already seated waiting for us.

I called in the night before to reserve my favorite "Rose Chicken", as they call it, but it's actually Soy Sauce Chicken, cooked in such a way that it melts in your mouth. They only make about 10 "Rose Chicken" in one day.

I originally planned for a Lauriat-style dining, but all that changed, when I saw the little plates of Dim Sum being served to other diners. There was a quick switch in the plan, barely noticeable to family and friends, except maybe to my daughter, who knew about the previous plan.

I picked up the paper with the lists of Dim Sum, which you can just check and indicate how many orders you want. Then, I ordered the Rose Chicken, the Birthday Noodle, and the SF Dungeness Crab deep fried with egg batter, another favorite of mine. It's so different from the salt and pepper crabs or the crabs deep fried in garlic.

Some of the interesting Dim Sum we had were the numerous tiny little duck tongues with sweet white beans, solid squared chicken blood cooked with chives in a special sauce that went well with the chicken blood, chicken feet cooked in two different ways, stuffed eggplants, deep fried stuffed taro, pork buns, scallop dumplings, tender greens with oyster sauce, and Sharksfin siomai.

For desert, we had their delicious mango pudding. Then, we were given, on the house, Gelatin with Beans, which was color purple and an orange colored one with the red Goji berries in it. There were six blocks of these 2' X 1 1/2" gelatin sitting right next to each other with a cute little colorful yellow umbrella stuck to it.

My daughter's jubilant smile and mood was hard to miss. She enjoyed her birthday lunch with close family and friends.
As we walked to our car, she gave me a hug and a kiss, and thanked me for the dim sum birthday lunch in HongKong. Not quite, but the food was.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scrambled Eggs with Feta Cheese and Chinese Sausage

Some of you might raise an eyebrow in disgust. Some might say, "what is she doing?" or "yuck! ", but it was actually delicious.

This fusion or marriage of the Greek feta cheese with the Chinese sausage was not intentional. It could have been a fusion/marriage of the Italian sausage and the Greek feta cheese, but Italian sausage was used to make pizza the other night. Besides, we were using up all the ingredients in the fridge so we can clean it and put in fresh new ones.

That was our breakfast this morning with newly ground freshly-brewed coffee and a toast. It was so easy to make. I like my scrambles eggs a little moist but not raw.


4 eggs were beaten 
3 Chinese sausages were sliced thinly 
spinach leaves
Feta cheese

Heat a pan over medium high heat, then add the sausages. Brown for about 2 minutes. Then add the fresh baby spinach leaves and cook until lightly wilted or for 1 minute. Pour the eggs and wait for about 25 seconds before I stirring with a wooden spatula. 

Lastly, I sprinkled the feta cheese around, and I immediately served them on plates.

Photography by Chris Nyles

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shrimp Asparagus Fettuccini

It's just me and Ann, and Marley, our Chihuahua puppy. Bened and Ina, and Julie (my daughter's best friend since they were in grade 2) left for Las Vegas the other day to meet their Dad who was arriving from P.I. via Los Angeles. B and J received comp rooms at the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels and they're meeting some friends who were going there as well.

Dinner is always impromptu. No plans. We just check on what we have in the freezer, the pantry, the veggies. Then we decide on what we want to cook. Today I found big shrimps, asparagus, and Fettuccini. Ann wanted to cook, so I gave her the floor.

Before that, I defrosted 18 pieces of the big shrimps, removed the heads, removed the shells except the segment near the tail, and then I deveined them. The asparagus was cut about 1" and the tough ends were discarded. I minced about 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped 1/2 of the yellow onion, and then Ann took over.

She browned the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until they became transparent, and then she added the minced garlic. Next she added the cut asparagus and cooked them a little bit before adding the shrimps. Shrimps were cooked about two minutes or until all shrimps were pink. Marinara sauce was added , turning all the shrimps to make sure they were cooked. A splash of white wine and it's done.


16 big shrimps - remove head, remove shell except the last segment near the tail, and devein
1 bundle asparagus - remove all tough end parts and cut 1"
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Parmegiano Reggiano - for sprinkling on top
chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnishing
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 laurel leaf
1 package Fettuccini - cook in boiling water for 8 minutes

Monday, July 20, 2009

What made me Start Blogging and Why about Food?

It all started in Spring Semester 2007 when my daughter would ask me what I thought about her articles in her Digital Journalism class at University of San Francisco. She was on her junior year and she was hoping to graduate with a major in media studies and a minor in journalism the next year.

We would stay up all night at my office, an old garage that I renovated and converted into an office at the back of our small Victorian-style cottage house. She with her laptop and I with my old, slow, almost obsolete computer.

Not a pin drop is allowed in this session. I was not allowed to make any noise, talk, or do anything that would distract my daughter's trend of thought and concentration when she was writing. Because I loved her, and because I wanted her to finish a good, well-thought article, I conceded.

That opened the door to my blogging. In exchange of my proofreading her work, she taught me the mechanics of digital journalism.

My first blog was a personal blog called "My Autobioblog", then I changed the name to "One Day at a Time", and now it has a new title, "it's a beautiful world".

I opened more blogs, and one of them is about my custom decorating/design business, another is a blog about my poems (which I temporary stopped publishing), and the other is about food and cooking, a journal of recipes I cook everyday for my family. The recipes were from my grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law (born in China), my sisters-in-law (Mary and Lechu Uy Kho), my own creations, and modified recipes of other cooks. Many of these recipes are not published in my blogs with hopes that someday, I will be able to compile them and author a recipe book.

My food blogs's title underwent several changes. The first title was "Cooking Enthusiast", but I found out later that there's someone who has that title. Apparently, she does not blog, but she maintains a store online. Next title was "Cooking with Chris". Unluckily, when I googled that name online, I was surprised to find out that there were more than two people who had that title. "Chris' Passion with Food" followed, and now I have finally concluded, "A Taste of Home Cooking" is more upright and fair to describe the kind of cooking I am into.

It's funny how people from different parts of the world, who have never met each other, are thinking of the same thing, doing the same stuff , and having the same names.

But again, what's my flavor? I have mentioned earlier in my posts that I love all flavors, and it's true. I have not tasted a cuisine from another country that I did not enjoy and appreciate.. Each culture has its' own uniqueness and ways of preparing and cooking their food. Some may have similarities, but what differs are the variations on how the ingredients were prepared, seasoned, cooked, and presented in their own peculiar way.

Take for example the south american "tamales". The Mexican version is different from the tamales from El Salvador. They are both wrapped in little bundles (made of corn husks or banana leaf), and made from the same cornmeal. But I have observed that, they differ in where the sauces and condiments were to be added. Mexican tamales have the sauces and other condiments on the side, and you could put the right amount in your tamale as you desire. On the other hand, the El Salvadoran tamales is made in such a way that the sauce is mixed with the filling (either pork, beef, or chicken), thus presenting a complete flavorful meal without any need to put additional sauce.

Same with the "Empanadas", the variations in the pastry dough I tested/tasted were different from different cultures. I had to adjust some of the ingredients to suit my family's taste to make the crust a little stronger to hold the filling inside which is a meal by itself and balance the pastry dough from becoming soft and mushy.

But again, what's my flavor? Is flavor determined by the country of one's origin? Or is it determined by what you have been accustomed to cook and taste in your more recent life? If it is based from the first, then I would have to go back to my country of origin, the Philippines, which I have left decades ago.

Not to bore you, Philippines, a small country in southeast Asia, is one of the most diverse country in the world. It was colonized by Spain for hundreds of years, a short time by the British, the Japanese, and the last were the Americans. Previous to that, traders came from China, Indonesia, India, and other countries. There were intermarriages among the locals and the foreigners and thus explain the mixed race. The Philippine cuisine is also so diverse that some dishes are from Chinese origin, Mediterranean (Spain) , and from other countries that traded or colonized the country.

My great great grandfathers and grandmothers from both my maternal and paternal sides were from Portugal and Spain. Some of my uncles and aunts spoke Spanish with their children at home. I also have a little Chinese and Malay in me, a mixture of Asian and European lineage.

They say one's early upbringing and breeding make a person. Does it count where one grew up and was schooled? I grew up in Manila, schooled in an all-girls boarding school in Baguio City, nestled on the Cordillera Mountains in Northern Luzon in the Philippines, which was then ran by the Belgian nuns.

But, what's my flavor? To me, my flavor is a mixed flavor. I cook any flavor, as long as it taste good to me and my family. I enjoy and I appreciate all cuisines and all cultures.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Today my children and my granddaughter made chocolate ice cream. They went to the store to buy the ingredients and they all help make this delicious, creamy, and rich chocolate ice cream. I asked them for the recipe which they followed from the instruction and recipe booklet that came with the ice cream maker. I adjusted the sugar to just 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup written on the recipe because it was too sweet.


1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (broken into pieces)
2 cups heavy whipping cream (well chilled)
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract


Scald the milk in a sauce pan on the stove (you can also microwave).n a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar with the chocolate until very fine. Add the hot milk and process until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Chill 30 minutes or more. Turn the ice cream maker on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl through the spout. Churn until thickened about 30 minutes. Cover the freezer bowl with a plastic and keep in the freezer with temperature of 0 degrees F for two hours. Transfer to a plastic ice cream container and freeze for longer hours. The longer the better.

*Make sure freezer bowl was kept in the freezer for at least one day before using.

*Edited by author 02/01/2011

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to Cook Crabs

I prefer cooking crabs by boiling them in a big pot halfway filled with water and with a few tablespoons of salt. My son prefers steaming them in a metal steamer with just enough water.

Before you put your crabs in the pot, your water should be boiling high. Dunk each live crab head first or where the mouth is, one by one, holding it with a tong, or with your hand covered with a thick kitchen glove. If I use the tong, I hold the crab in the middle portion of the crab, gripping as hard as I can, so it doesn't slip.

Sometimes the crab fights back, and that's when I get my thick glove and hold the crab in one of it's smallest claw, and I quickly dunk it into the boiling water. Cooking time should only be about 15 to 20 minutes. Crabs should be fully submerged in water when cooking. Crabs should all turn red when cooked.

When cooked, let rest for about 5 minutes. I always serve my crabs after cooking. So get one crab, lay it on a cutting board and remove the white covering underneath. Open the crab separating the red shell from the other white part that contains all the meat. Clean the shell by removing the part in between the eyes which is the intestine. Leave the red fat which is the best part of a crab. Chop or cut with a kitchen scissors the tips of all the legs. Next, cut the other white half part of the crab into two at the center. Crack the claws and the legs with a kitchen mallet or the back of a cleaver to make them easier to eat. To avoid splattering on my kitchen, I put my crab inside a big Ziploc and then I pound with a mallet. Then cut each of the two parts into three with their legs still connected. Do the same to all the crabs. Serve all cut parts on a big platter and top with the red shells. Serve with lemon-butter sauce, cocktail sauce, or vinegar & oil, or you can make your own. I like mine with coconut vinegar with chopped yellow onions, salt, and with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Dipped Fruits are one of the tricks I use to make my children eat fruits. So easy to make and so delicious to eat. You can either buy your chocolates raw (they sell them at Ghiraldelli Square in San Francisco), make them out of semi-sweet chocolate morsels, the ones that you use when you make chocolate chip cookies (melt in a double boiler), or buy the ready made ones that you can just microwave (sometimes available at Molly Stone's).

Whichever way you prefer to make it, your finished products will be a hit. Make sure you buy enough strawberries. You can also make them out of table bananas (cut into bite-sized pieces) and blueberries.

Simple tips: 
Use a toothpick. Insert halfway through the stem side for each strawberry and dip easily in melted chocolate. Let cool to harden for a few seconds holding it in your hands twirling the toothpick slowly so chocolate will stick to the fruit and not drip before laying down on a serving plate. Let cool until hardened. You can also keep them in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate. Do the same thing with 2" cut banana. I would patiently do the same with the blueberries.

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