Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

When someone else (hubby) carves your Thanksgiving turkey, chances are you will have to borrow a roasted turkey pic from Saveur.

Friday, November 13, 2015

My version of the Chocolate Whiskey Cake

I made this as a birthday cake for a special someone. This is a very simple cake to bake and I mean it was easy! But hands down this was a glorious and elegant tasting cake.  

Original recipe is from New York Times Cooking
but I tweaked it a bit using canola oil and sour cream as the fat component of the cake instead of 12 tablespoons butter. Just follow the recipe from the NYT and substitute 7 T of canola oil and 5 T of sour cream. Please note: if you are going to use rum or tequila then you have to name your cake after the liquor you use hence it will not be Chocolate Whiskey Cake anymore :D If you do not have a spring-form pan, use any type of bake ware you have in any shape or form including muffin or cupcake pans. Just make sure it is properly oiled and floured; using parchment paper is also a good idea to prevent your cake from sticking onto the pan.


  •   tablespoons cooking oil, more for pan
  •  5 T sour cream 
  •   cocoa powder, about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  •   1 ½ cups brewed coffee 
  •  2 T of instant coffee
  •   ½ cup Irish whiskey (OR silver/white rum)
  •   sugar, about 1 cup
  •   light brown sugar, about 1 cup
  •   all-purpose flour, about 2 cups
  •   baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  •   fine sea salt, 3/4 teaspoon
  •   ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  •   teaspoon ground cloves OR cinnamon powder
  •   3 large eggs
  •   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •   1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  •   Powdered sugar, for serving (optional) 
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or oil a 10-inch spring form pan. Dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Tap off excess cocoa on the sink or garbage bin.
  2. In a medium saucepan over LOW heat, warm coffee, Irish whiskey, 12 fats (oil and sour cream)  and remaining cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until everything is dissolved and in liquid form. Whisk in sugars until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves (or cinnamon powder). In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if you like.

Original photo of the original recipe from The New York Times, Cooking department.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Product Review: Tillamook®'s Mountain Huckleberry Ice Cream

I have to try this flavor. It was on sale. Too good of a brand to let it pass!

The first palate you can taste are SOMEWHAT notes of 'lemon-parsley' (but of course there's no lemon or parsley in it-I'm sure!); it's definitely a quick, citrusy taste. Then a faint waft of woodsy, rustic notes at the back of your tongue reaches your nose-like juniper berries.  No, I'm not going to end this review into a gin (alcohol).

By the time it reaches your throat-you can admit it is like a combination of Blackberry-Blueberry but definitely that 'woodsy. juniper' after-taste is there but just being masked by the oh, so creamy rich Tillamook® vanilla ice cream. 

I love it! Hoping they won't get rid of this flavor. 

Disclaimer: the personal opinion I may have expressed of this product is mine and mine alone. I am in no way connected to Tillamook Dairy Co-op or to any members and employees of the said organization/business establishment. I just so happen to like their products hence the shout out. This might not also be the last of unsolicited reviews about Tillamook products. If I may have misrepresented the co-op and it's members/employees due to this article, please let me know and I will take this down as soon as I can. Thanks!

Beef Lumpia

Filipino Lumpia (pronounced as 'loom-pya') is the egg-roll of the Philippines. Traditional Filipino lumpia is time consuming since you have to cook the filling then let cool and drain before wrapping it in the lumpia wrapper to deep fry them! 

Being traditional can be a hassle-at least that is my OWN opinion. Aside from being time consuming, it's also 'restraining' and there are already ingredients you can find in the grocery stores as a substitute but the finish product is amazingly delicious! Plus you get to say: "I invented this recipe!" or at least you did-until you found out there are already hundreds, if not thousands, of other variations of your work on the internet. 

I may have a few or some 'traditional' recipe posts here but that's because there is no other option but to go old-fashioned.

This beef lumpia recipe is not your traditional Filipino lumpia. It's made from ground beef instead of ground pork (Purist and old folks say it's the "only meat to use for lumpia!") and this is cooked all the way raw instead of being pre-cooked. 

The secret is: a very hot pan and cooking oil.

This is my OWN version of the hundreds and thousands of similar "beef lumpia" recipe found on the web.


Heavy-bottom pot or deep pan; NOT non-stick.
Tong (wood or metal)
Serving plate or coriander on a plate lined with paper towels
damp, clean dish cloths


1 package Asian style egg-roll wrap*, thawed. 

*This can only be found in the frozen section of some Asian stores. (It is NOT the Vietnamese dry rice wrap. Definitely NOT the one found in your regular grocery store that almost look like a flour tortilla when fried.)

1 lb ground beef (85-90% lean)
2 medium carrots, grated or shredded
1 small or half of a large onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
2 eggs
5 T potato flakes
handful of raisins, chopped
2 t iodized sea salt
1 t ground black pepper
2 T soy sauce
2 T granulated sugar 
2 to 3 cups cooking oil of choice*

*I suggest oils with high smoking point like light olive oil, corn oil, soy and sunflower oil.

Edible Paste to make your egg-roll stick together: because water alone just does not work for ME!

1 T flour
4 T water

In a microwave safe bowl, mix well the flour and water and microwave for 15 to 20 seconds-making sure it does not explode inside the microwave. Mix halfway then microwave for 10 more seconds or until you create a paste. I like mine more fluid than thick.


With your clean, bare hands-mix everything together in a large bowl preferably glass or metal but plastic is fine; just wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water for the garlic/onion/beef smell and grease. 

Make sure egg-roll wrap is thawed thoroughly but still cold. Always cover with damp clean dish cloth after removing a wrap.

Place 1 egg-roll wrapper flat on your clean work table. Depending how thick your lumpia will be, spoon a filling on the wrap and shape it like a cigar or 4" long. Fold each side towards the top of the filling then roll tight; seal with your homemade paste. Set aside, covered with damp dish cloth; repeat until all your filling is rolled and sealed!

Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Clean up your work table and clear the sink (lol).

At this time, you will be able to decide how many lumpia you are going to fry. Since there are only 2 of us in the house, I only cook 8 rolls of it then freeze them in a Ziploc. It keeps for 1 month unless we have stray guests and it becomes an emergency snack or meal (lol).

If you have left-over filling, shape into a patty or roll by itself, freeze until hard and (grill or) pan fry it; eat anyway you want it: in a burger bun or as a Filipino breakfast sausage (on rice)! 


Preheat your pot or pan on high for 3 minutes or until it reaches 320°. Pour the cooking oil in the hot pot or pan and preheat for another 3 to 4 minutes or until you see WISPS of smoke coming up the oil.

Slowly drop 3 to 4 raw lumpias on the hot oil; they should not stick together. Fry for 30 seconds each side or until wrap is also light brown inside the lumpia when you chop 1 of it in the middle; CAREFUL-VERY HOT! Filling inside should NOT be pink when done; they should be light brown and crispy outside when done. Repeat until all your lumpias are fried. 

Sweet-sour-spicy Dipping sauce:

1/2 c catsup
1/4 c coconut or palm or plain rice vinegar; apple cider vinegar is fine. 
1/2 t or more red pepper flakes to make medium spicy
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T sugar
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combine altogether until sugar is dissolved. Use immediately.

Crunch, crunch, crunch!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

garlic fried rice (si-nan-lag; si-na-ngag)


Simple Filipino fried rice you can eat. The coarse sea salt and roasted garlic make this tantalizing to eat alone as snack or as a side for pan fried, smoked fish, sunny side up eggs (itlog) and longganisa (longga-log) or tocino (toci-log).

Basically, this fried rice is for a Filipino breakfast but nowadays you can eat this whenever and whatever you want with it!

Good for 2 people.


3 cups cooked white rice, chilled
4 T coconut oil or any cooking oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t coarse sea salt
1/2 t cracked black pepper


Prepare your ingredients; loosen chilled rice with fingers. Set aside.

Preheat wok or medium frying pan. When hot, add cooking oil and garlic on the pan and saute until light brown.

Add chilled rice. Stir fry on high for 3 minutes. Season with salt and cracked, black pepper. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.