Friday, July 29, 2016

Sugar-free, honey sweetened banana bread

These banana loaves were sweetened with honey instead of granulated sugar and using 3-4 very ripe bananas which added to the sweetness too.

The "print button" is on the right of each post. From there, you can un-select if you want to include the photos or not.

Let me know how it goes! Thanks for reading/trying the recipe.


2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t fine sea salt
3-4 very ripe bananas, slightly mashed
3/4 cup neutral cooking oil (vegetable, light olive, canola, coconut)
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (optional; use milk instead)
1 ½ c chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375° F

Brush your pan with oil and sprinkle with flour; tap out excess flour. Otherwise line with parchment paper.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, except the walnuts.
In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in it.
Combine but do not overmix; globs of unmixed batter is okay.

Add in the walnuts. Again, do not overmix

Pour in prepared loaf pans. Bake until golden brown and slightly cracked on top. To be sure, they are done when a barbecue stick or toothpick inserted towards the bottom of the thickest part of the loaf comes out dry-about 30-35 minutes, depending upon the loaf pan used (glass, light metal, dark metal, etc.).

Cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Best Ever Marinade for any chicken or beef tacos; meat enchilada, etc.

Catching up on some blogging.

I assure you: the title says it all. It really is the best Mexican marinade for your chicken or beef tacos or simply just a marinade for your lunch or dinner meats!

Marinated grilled doves.


2 lbs meat of your choice (pork, bird/fowl, beef, etc...) 
½ onion – chopped
½ bunch cilantro – chopped
4 cloves garlic – crushed and minced
1 lime zested and juiced
¼ cup vinegar
½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
1 T liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Throw everything (except the meat) in a medium glass or metal bowl/container. Mix thoroughly until well combined. Pour over meat resting in another large bowl. Marinate for 3 to 6 hours or more.

Turn on the left or right and center burner of your grill. Either way, make sure one side is not turned on. Let it preheat until it reaches 500° F. Place the marinated meats on the side NOT turned on. Cover your grill and cook your meats. Ready to eat when meat reaches 160-165° F.

Dove Tacos!

Original idea by Big Mama's Home Kitchen

South East Asian flavored loaf

Recipe here

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Katsu sauce for your Katsu

What makes a Japanese katsu meal (deep-fried, breaded meat: traditionally in Japan it's pork or chicken) a "katsu meal" is the sauce. If you don't have the sauce-you're just having an ordinary meal of deep-fried, breaded meat.

This is my version of the sauce. It is a compilation of the different kinds of katsu sauce I have tasted (homemade, bottled or restaurant style)-all in one. Call it a flavor memory.

If you have not had katsu sauce before, please do not blame me or this recipe. You might as well get used first going to all the Japanese restaurants you can find in your area and order a katsu meal until you are ready to make your own.

One thing for sure, the flavor profile should be: tomato, spices, savory, sour (vinegar) and sweet.

Makes at least 1 ½ cups.


1/2 cup ketchup
3 T hoisin sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T yellow mustard sauce
3 t rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 T low sodium soy sauce
1 t powdered cloves
1 T brown sugar or granulated sugar
pinch of garlic powder or 1/8 t garlic paste
pinch cracked black pepper

 Note: if you use dry (powdered) yellow mustard, please also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


Throw in all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Place saucepan on the stove and turn on medium heat. Mix and stir ingredients until just about simmering or just make the contents warm (115-120° F). It should be thick unless you want a runny katsu sauce which I actually frown upon but it is you who will use it so add rice vinegar and Worcestershire sauce-OR water. Remove from heat. Transfer in a small bowl or small dipping plates.

Use for your deep-fried, panko crusted chicken breast, pork, tofu or even white fish!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Red, white, blue NY cheesecake. 3-flavored cheesecake

I got suddenly asked by an out of town-er to make her a patriotic cheesecake. She saw my hash-tagged food photos on Facebook and messaged me if I can make her this specific request.
Actually I made 2 but the other one was for us and it was only a 6" cheesecake.

Below was a 9".

Truth be told: if you just want a plain cheesecake (I think because of the sour cream.)-this itself is so good, you don't even have to bother with the red and blue work unless you're celebrating a patriotic American holiday.

No wait! Isn't it there's like 29 other countries with red, white and blue colors flag?

Well-there you go! Mix and match and celebrate other colors too!

Note: the extracts and cayenne pepper are optional; you can use just vanilla to flavor your cheesecake. That means your red and blue cheesecake batter are also vanilla-flavored.

 My only photo, before delivery.


Serves: 12

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 t blueberry extract
1/2 t cherry, strawberry or raspberry extract
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 t clear mint extract
organic red food color
organic blue food color


Note: you might NOT want too much air in your batter by beating too long and fast; lightly stir (well) in extracts. This ensures your cheesecake will rise but not fall and crack when baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan). Mix crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and butter in small bowl. Press evenly into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate to set. 
  • Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Gently stir in sour cream. 
  • measure 3/4 cups of the cream cheese batter, set aside
  • measure another 3/4 cup cream cheese batter; set aside
  •  drop food color on each cheesecake batter, respectively until the desired red and blue is attained. Lightly stir without putting much air into the batter but making sure color is well incorporated. 
  • Stir in well but lightly the extracts: blueberry and mint in the blue batter; raspberry in the red.
  • Stir in well but lightly the cayenne pepper in the red batter
  • Lightly stir in well the vanilla extract in the plain cheesecake (white) batter
To assemble.

  •  Set aside 3 clean tablespoons; a toothpick or barbecue stick. T for tablespoon.
  •  REFRAIN from spreading the batters.
Place the cooled graham cracker crust in front of you and also the cheesecake batters.

Using a tablespoon, drop 3 scoops of white batter in the center of the crust; do not spread.

Next, drop a T of the blue batter on top of the white. Drop again 3 T of white batter on top of the blue. Finally drop 1 T of red batter on top of the white; repeat the process until all batters had been used.

Using a wooden spoon or handle of your spatula, tap around the rims of the spring form until the batter has spread towards the edge. Otherwise, lift and lightly drop the spring form twice to spread the batter without touching it.

With just the TIP of a barbecue stick or toothpick, run it once time from top to bottom of the batter making sure it only touches the top of the batter. Repeat the process until you made lines on the whole surface.

Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Turn off oven. Leave cheesecake in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

25% inspired by this.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Meat (beef) Empanada. Stuffed, savory pastry.

It's been awhile since I made empanada. And it's actually really easy especially if you will be using ready-made, store-bought pie dough. Yes. The receptacle for the filling of an empanada is a pie crust recipe-anywhere you go, whatever part of the planet you live. Be it you're Filipino, Mexican, from the Caribbeans or South American. It only differs in the fat being used to make it flaky: butter or lard or both. I've heard some-duck fat?

The main ingredients most commonly used for the filling are meat (pork, beef, chicken, goat), potatoes, carrot, chayote/sayote. Additional ingredients and spices vary from country to country, region to region: garbanzos, green peas, raisins, cumin, coriander, etc.

This post is about the Filipino (Beef) Empanada. I think it is the most BASIC and simplest form of the empanada clan. Usually, pork is the popular meat used in the Philippines for this guys. But I used beef here though.

Nothing was wasted. I made the scraps into a ball, used a rolling pin to make more empanada dough out of it. 1 box of double pie crust makes 20 small empanada each filled with 1 T of the filling. No, it is bigger than a Chinese or Italian dumpling-if you're asking if it's that small. .

If you're using frozen green peas, thaw it first and drain the water off it. Drain canned, green peas too.

Makes 20 small empanada or for 2 people. Please double the recipe below if eating for more than 2. You can also make big empanadas and cut out 6" diameter dough instead of 4".


1 box store-bought double pie-crust
8 oz. beef sirloin steak, finely chopped or almost 2 cups lean ground beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled and small dice
1 large carrot, peeled and small dice
1/3 cup green peas
1/3 cup raisins
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Quarter of an onion, finely chopped
2 T soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T neutral cooking oil


Preheat a medium-sized pan (non-stick or not) to at least 375° or until the oil is shimmering or almost smokey.

Add oil and garlic; saute until light brown. Throw in the potatoes and carrots; saute for 5 minutes then add the onion and beef. Saute until light brown.

Throw in the soy sauce and mix well to the meat and veggies

Add the green peas and raisins. Cook until barely soft-about 3-5 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste, half teaspoon each.

Remove from heat; drain if it has juices.

Cool completely before using it as filling.

How to fill the empanada dough:

You will need,

pinch or two of flour OR parchment paper
rolling pin
clean paper OR coffee filter


Have a clean and dry work table ready. Otherwise, just pull out a large piece of parchment paper and work on it; either way works. Your work table still needs to be clean and dry.

Lightly flour and I mean very light sprinkling of flour your work table (if not using parchment paper).

Using the rolling pin, spread and flatten the pie dough on the floured or parchment-laden work table. Don't make it too thin; but you just don't want a too thick dough for your empanada.

Cut out several, round, 4" diameter of pie dough until only scraps remain. Separate each round dough with small pieces of parchment paper or coffee filter; small pieces of clean paper.

When all you have are scraps, form it into a ball, flatten and make more 4" round dough out of it. Repeat until you are able to make 20 pieces (more or less).

Take one round dough and place in front of you. Using a 1 tablespoon, dump filling in the center of the dough. Take the left side of the dough, lift and fold towards the right side until both edges are aligned. Make sure there is a half inch (or less) of dough that are filling-free because it serves to seal your empanada. Seal edges by pressing the point and tines of your fork on the dough. Seat aside on a cool dry place. Repeat procedure until all your small, round dough are filled. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Note: if you decide to bake your empanada, and you wanted your empanada with a sheen, crack an egg and beat with 1 T of milk. Set aside to brush both sides of the empanadas after taking it out of the refrigerator.

If deep-frying your empanada is your choice, there's no need for an egg wash glaze.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350°

Lightly brush/apply a cookie sheet with cooking oil or use parchment paper. Or use cooking spray.

When all the empanada has been brushed with egg wash, place all or some on the cookie/baking sheet-depending upon size of your pan; 2" apart.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or when it is light brown and shiny. Your kitchen should also smell like beef pot pie when it's ready to take out of the oven.

To deep-fry:

Preheat 2 inches of cooking oil using a large pot. When it is almost smoky or shimmering, CAREFULLY place 3 to 4 empanada. It is going to be quick-less than a minute and you are done with your first batch of fried empanada. Place on a paper-towel lined plate or colander. Repeat until all empanada are deep-fried.

You can either eat this by itself or smothered with banana ketchup (tomato ketchup is fine!). In both cases (baked or deep-fried), let it cool for 5-10 minutes before eating. Duh!

Whew! Freaking hard to write a recipe this detailed!#$%^&* Have a good 4-day weekend!

Happy Independence Day, America!