Monday, December 28, 2015

Leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving day: " Southwest Turkey Corn Chowder ".

If you get tired of Christmas Tamales-which is a dry dish-chances are, you're going to think of soup for lunch or dinner the next day. Since I freezed (not sure of that word!) the leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat then it was time to take it out and use it for this soup. Turkey sandwich or some turkey casserole were out of the question.

This actually turned out sooo good!

Ingredients for 4 people:

2 compact cups of shredded cooked turkey breast (or store bought chicken)
3 tablespoons cooking oil of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour 
4-6 cups water (depends how soup-y you want it.)
1/2 cup real bacon bits, divided.
3 large potatoes, peeld and cubed
1 3/4 c frozen corn
3/4 c heavy cream 
Salt and black pepper to taste

To add flavor and texture:

1/3 cup chopped Cilantro/coriander
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large Jalapeno pepper sliced crosswise into strips 
Avocado, cubed
Lime juice


1. Read recipe from beginning to end.
2. Prepare your ingredients.
3. Preheat a large pot (Do NOT use non-stick please.) on medium-high for 3 minutes.
4. Preheat the oil, 1 minute
5. Saute the chopped onion until glassy
6. Add the turkey meat and cook until steamy; do not overcook or brown the meat.
7. Add the flour and 1/4 of the real bacon bits; incorporate onto the onion/turkey until pasty and smelling like baked pie crust.
8. Add the water, potato and corn; turn up the heat to high and let boil. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
9. Lower the heat to simmer-cooking the potato and corn until tender. 
10. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste, optional. 

Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish each with chopped cilantro, chopped tomato, sliced jalapeno, bacon bits, cubed avocado and squeeze with a wedge of lime juice.

Hits that cold spot this winter! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Since December 1...

Harvested some sweet peppers and eggplants from the "Running Rooster" mini-greenhouse farm.

Made a traditional Spanish/Latin American/Filipino dish into meatballs: "Picadillo" meatballs for lunch or dinner.

 Baked some cookies! Cocoa Crackles and... 

3 Chocolate Chips and nut cookies

Pad Thai with baked and grilled chicken thighs

Some Mourning Dove perched outside the front window...

Christmas goodies ready for packaging! Easy Banana muffins; from the center-left to right: coconut balls, cocoa crackles, and Bourbon balls.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Coconut Macaroon Balls. Congolaise Couilles.

I used to sell this under the table when I was in 5th grade (lol) in my all-girls, Alma mater run by navy blue nuns. Sounds embarrassing for people who knows me but I'm not. 

So much memories-good and bad-attached to this confection so I chose not to reveal the recipe. My Ma does not even recall the recipe for this (She's now in her 80's.) but I do. How can you forget when you learned to make this at 11 years old?

There are other recipes for this confection in the Philippines. Most of them made from 'macapuno' (mah-kah-pooh-nooh) or young coconut meat and a few other ingredients (sugar, cornstarch). And you can literally find these in any corner barrio (village) store or at the supermarket. This one is made from desiccated coconut (coconut meat that has been dried and that it now contains much less moisture than the initial fruit.). That's one secret revealed! But there are other ingredients in this macaroon not in the macapuno balls. 

Hoping you don't mind that these are just photos.  

Note: these are hand-made; not baked.

Wish list 2016: another room for mini-library/home office

Planning on adding an extension as a mini-library/reading area: 2016!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Simple recipe for whole Tilapia: savory, sour (spicy, optional) and sweet too!

If you're raised somewhere else other than the United States or Europe, chances are-you will eat this with your bare CLEAN hands. Otherwise, the same kind of people are also expert in using tableware to eat and clean out cooked fish, served whole. If you can't handle the fish head, eyes and skin-this is not for you (smile).  Recipe way down below please.


  •  Large pot or large Sautoir pan (pron. as "saw-twah"; with straight sides). Photo courtesy to Falk Culinair. It doesn't have to be copper.
  • kitchen spatula for cooking (wood or stainless steel)  

Ingredients for 2-4 people:

2 large whole Tilapia. 

If it's frozen, you will have to remove the gills yourself at home. Otherwise, if it's thawed thoroughly, have the meat department people remove them for you. If you're from other parts of the world, chances are you also have to remove the scales and innards yourself. Trim or have it trimmed off of the fins and tail. Salt liberally (about 1 tablespoon each fish) and set aside.

1/4 cup of cooking oil (light olive oil, soy, canola)

6 to 8 medium tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into 4

1 medium onion, sliced crosswise

7 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

2 thumb-size of ginger; peeled, smashed and minced

1/2 cup or more of clear cooking vinegar (white wine is good; also coconut, rice, palm; gold apple cider)

1/2 cup of water or more to cover the fish

salt and black pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional)


Part 1: 

Read above until the end before preparing your ingredients; set aside. 

Rinse the salted fish and pat dry; set aside on a plate. 

Part 2:

Preheat the pot or pan on medium high heat or 375°F or 190°C. If your stove knobs only indicates numbers 0-10, set the knob to 7. That would be about 3 minutes.

*** No kids or pet/s in the kitchen by about this time please! ***

Pour the oil on the pot or pan and wait a bit more until you see smoke coming out of the pot/pan.

Carefully, lay the fish and pan fry it. Around this time, you can add oil; just remove most of it when you are ready for Part 3 below. 5 minutes each side.

Remove and set aside on a plate.

Part 3:

If you added oil from Part 2, this is the time to remove most of it. Use a heat-proof container (metal or otherwise); NOT plastic-for that hot oil!   

Set the stove knob to 8 or 400°-450°F.

Add the the garlic on same pot and saute. When almost brown, add the ginger and onions. 

Salt and pepper to taste; saute quickly, 1 minute.

Lay the fish on top of the sauteed garlic, onions and ginger. Cover with the vinegar ingredient, water and tomatoes. Let it boil for 1 minute then drop the heat to medium or #5 to simmer. 

REFRAIN from poking or digging onto the ingredients. You don't want that fish or tomatoes broken into pieces! 


By about this time, you should be able to identify how you (or your family) want this dish to taste. For me, I wanted it savory and sour so I added a bit more salt & vinegar/white wine plus black pepper. I also added a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes to give it a kick! 

Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Refrain from uncovering until your other accouterments (toasted piece of bread maybe? etc...). This can be eaten alone. 

I enjoyed it with boiled, cooked rice. The tomatoes gave this dish color and also both tart and sweetness.... BURP!

Unsweetened, sugar-free Cranberry Orange Muffins

These muffins are the cause of an accident: I totally forgot to add sugar in it. Still, it turned out incredible! Dense but moist and tender, the cranberries and orange juice helped to sweeten them. 

They should be good the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas or on any day at all! Great for breakfast or snacking with coffee or tea.  This recipe is the original of Sussana Tee from her muffin book 1 Mix, 100 Muffins. Scroll down for the recipe please.

Ingredients to make 6 large muffins or 12 cupcake size: 

1½ cups dried cranberries
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Oil or melted butter for greasing
(if not using muffin liners)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons cooking oil or melted, cooled butter
finely grated zest of 1 orange.


1. Put the cranberries in a bowl, add the orange juice, and let soak for 1 hour. Grease a 6-cup (or 12 cupcake size pan) muffin pan or line with 12 muffin paper liners.

2. Preheat the oven to 400° F/200°C. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar (As I've said the pictures above does not have sugar or any kind of sweetener.)

3.  Lightly beat the eggs in a large pitcher or bowl, then beat in the milk, oil, and orange rind. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the beaten liquid ingredients, and add the soaked cranberries. Stir gently until just combined; do not over-mix.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.

5. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Filipino Peanut Butter

Sorry-this is just a collection of still life photos of the peanut butter in a jar and a piece of bread smothered with the peanut butter.

This actually came from the Philippines. Someone from my hometown of Camaligan (pronounced as "kah-mah-lee-gun") is into "cottage industry" making this old-time favorite. My nephew who visited a year ago came back and shipped me a jar thru has sugar and toasted unbleached flour but it's the most wonderful and tastiest peanut butter you can shove in your mouth-on a piece of any toasted bread or just by itself. 

It's real food so to all allergic to peanuts, gluten and real sugar-this one's NOT for you. I am sure you will not mind not to have it-at all (smile).