Saturday, July 16, 2011

Banana Pancakes

I love waking up in the morning and the first thing I want to do is COOK! I'm always thinking what to eat for breakfast and what my family will enjoy. Weekend mornings are always the best days to prepare something special because I don't have to rush out to go to work and the kids are still in bed taking their time to get out of bed. I know that I should do that too but I always find myself waking up early so why not do what I enjoy.....COOKING!

As I walked in the kitchen, first item that caught my eyes were the over ripe bananas. I know that no one will eat those anymore because we all like firm bananas. I contemplated for a minute and thought.....banana pancakes or banana biscuits? or save them later for banana bread or cupcakes? I had to based my decision on what other ingredients I have in the pantry and fridge. Well, they all have the same ingredients so I decided on making the pancakes since it is breakfast time after all!


2 cups all purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups regular milk or 2% milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed


- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, butter, and egg. Add to the dry ingredients.
Add the mashed banana
- Heat up a large griddle or skillet on low heat
- Spray with pan or melt a little butter and pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake
- When the top side of the pancake is all bubbly, flip and cook for about a minute
- Enjoy with slices of bananas, confectioners sugar and your favorite syrup. You can also top it with whipped cream.
- Enjoy the left over pancakes in the afternoon with some ice cream!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lemon Basil Basmati Rice

I ran out of Jasmine rice so I took out my bag of Basmati rice (emergency stash) to cook for dinner tonight. I think that basmati rice is better when its cooked with herbs and spices. I do not like it plain unless I am eating it with a dish that has creamy gravy like Butter Chicken.

I decided to do my usual homework and searched online for a simple but good recipe. Most recipe I came across have nuts, raisins, bacon or lentils. I don't have any of those ingredients handy so I searched again until I found this recipe by Vittles and Bits. She mentioned her addiction to this rice and I think I will be addicted to making it all the time. It is really heavenly and in my own words...YUMMYLICIOUS! I did tweak it a little bit to make it my own recipe. I was so impressed with the result, I had to step away from the kitchen otherwise, dinner will be gone before it's served to my family!

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
3 cups of basmati rice (washed and drained)
1 can of coconut milk
1 stick of butter
2 medium size yellow onions (diced)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup fresh basil (minced)
1 whole fresh lemon juice
2 tbs lemon rinds
1 tbs ground cayenne pepper
4 cups of water
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the very well-drained rice in a 3 quarts baking dish or pan.
Heat the oil in a nonstick or heavy saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté over medium heat until they are medium brown but not burn.  Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes until they are soft. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the rice and basil and bring to a boil.
Stir the mixture into the rice, being sure to scrape up and include all the goodies. Seal tightly with foil or lid and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork before serving, then fold in the basil.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fried Banana Triangles

Ever had Filipino banana lumpias? They are the same as banana spring rolls or Kluay Kaek that they serve at Thai restaurants on their dessert menu and usually topped with Coconut Ice Cream. Filipinos call them "Turon".  They are also a popular dessert item on PF Chang's menu.

The bananas used for this fried dessert are the Saba. They have to be ripe and firm or mushy to enjoy their sweetness.  I found out that Vietnamese also makes the same dessert but they actually mash the bananas before rolling them in the wrapper and fry. My daughter and I had some at Eggroll King in San Jose. I decided to make them myself. I bought 3 big Saba and let them ripen for a week in the kitchen counter.

To make it my own recipe, I combined the three culture in the eggroll. I mashed the bananas, added brown sugar and cinnamon and served it with chocolate syrup and confectioners sugar.


3 large ripe Saba
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
10 pieces Lumpia wrapper or Spring Roll wrapper (cut in half)
Hershey Chocolate Syrup
Confectioners Sugar
1 Egg or 1 cup of warm water for sealing


Mash thoroughly the ripe bananas. Add the cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Heat up a large frying pan with oil in medium heat. Scoop a full tablespoon of the mashed bananas on one end of the wrapper. fold as a triangle and seal with warm water or egg wash.  Fry each side until golden brown and drain on a plate with paper towel to get rid of excess oil.  Serve warm and drizzle with chocolate syrup and confectioners sugar. Enjoy with ice cream!

Mango Bread

Mangoes are in season again and I cannot be more excited! I grew up in the Philippines and mangoes are one of my favorite island fruits. I can eat them very green or very ripe. When they started importing Manila mangoes here in the US, I was ecstatic and when they are in season, I buy at least 1 box and enjoy them with my kids. They enjoy them as much as I do. We also enjoy mango ice cream, mango pie, mango mango mango and anything M.A.N.G.O.

Last week, the produce market stand near my house were selling a box of 14 mangoes for $5.99. What a steal! I bought 2 boxes and I realized afterwards that my husband is out of town and my daughter just moved out on her own. Now I have a ton left and they are getting too ripe. So I decided to make a Mango Bread with a hint of Jamaican Rum and make use of them.

- 4 medium size ripe mango (remove pulp from seed and finely chopped or chunky) about 2 cups
2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp Jamaican Rum or Vanilla extract
- ½ cup regular butter, melted
- ¼ cup oil

- Preheat oven to 350º
- Sift flour into a large bowl.  Add baking soda, sugar and cinnamon and stir the dry ingredients to combine.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs, add vanilla extract, melted butter and oil.  Combine the ingredients and add to dry ingredients. 
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Fold in the finely chopped mangoes. 
- Pour batter into a butter greased loaf pan and bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Or use 2 medium size loaf pan to make the slices smaller.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and cool. Dust with powder sugar before serving with a cup of tea or milk and enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Catfish with Basil and Jalapeno

A good friend who loves Asian food was visiting the bay area for business about a month ago and we had lunch at The Slanted Door by the Ferry Building. We ordered a few appetizer and one main dish in a clay pot - Caramelized Catfish. The fish was good but the gravy sauce was a bit too sweet. The chef may have put a little too much of the brown sugar. Both Leticia and I agreed on that and she suggested that I should try to cook it myself the next time she is in town.

About 2 weeks later, I bought a bag of frozen cattish nuggets and I decided to give it a try. Well, the past two weeks have been quite busy and I never got around to it until today! Now that I have fresh herbs growing in the backyard, I don't have to constantly run to the store and get what I need. The dish we had had cilantro and chillies. I substituted with basil and jalapeno. I don't own a clay pot so I used my wok. I used hoisin sauce instead of brown sugar. I used oyster sauce instead of fish sauce. Here is my own recipe!

Ingredients: (Servings for 2)

10 pieces of catfish nuggets (frozen or fresh)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 jalapeno pepper (sliced)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves


Heat up a large frying pan or a wok with the sesame oil. Add ginger and garlic. Toss and saute well until medium brown. Add jalapeno pepper and basil leaves and toss for about 1/2 minute. Turn the heat to medium and add the catfish nuggets and stir well in the wok, cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and water and stir well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes and until the sauce has thicken a bit. Enjoy with steamed rice!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nutella Banana Bread

In our house we always have fruits. Bananas are always on the grocery list and I usually just buy enough to last a week. Somehow, there's one week that we had a few left over and of course, they became brown and very ripe. I did not want to waste them so I decided to make a banana bread. I have never made this type of bread before so I thought I should find a simple recipe so that I don't disappoint myself. I also thought on making it different than the classic banana nut bread.

I found a few classic recipe online but since I wanted something different, I continued the search and found a recipe and just revised it a little bit. I started checking out what I had in my pantry and found raw peanuts, raw cashews and Nutella. I decided to omit the nuts and just used the Nutella jam. What came out of the oven were 3 loaves of very moist heavenly tasting melt in your mouth bread!! 


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (about 5 large)
3/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup greek style yogurt or regular plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla


This recipe actually makes about 3 loaves

- Heat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.  
- Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.
- Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed until very thick and pale, and the mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, yogurt, Nutella, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture
- Divide batter between loaf pans to about 2/3 full, spreading evenly, and bake in the lower third of the oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Start checking for doneness at about 45 minutes.
- Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.
- Sprinkle powder sugar on top and enjoy!

Classic Filipino Leche Flan

Leche Flan is one of my favorite Filipino dessert and I have always wanted to learn how to make it. When we visited my sister in Boise, one of her Filipino friends gave her a recipe for a classic Leche Flan. Since I was helping my sister prepare the food for her daughter's graduation party, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and make the flan myself. I couldn't believe how simple it was to make the flan and it turned out really good.

The recipe only has few ingredients and they were easy to remember. I decided to make the flan again for my daughter's graduation party. I made individual servings using ramekins and they came out beautiful and quite tasty!


10 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk (12 oz)
1 can evaporated milk (14 oz)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tablespoon of lemon rinds
1/4 cup water

Ramekins (7 oz)
1 large baking pan

Prepare the caramel sauce:

Put the sugar, lemon rinds and water in a small saucepan and caramelize them then pour about 2 tablespoon in each ramekin then set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk well until you no longer see solid egg yolks. Pour the mixture equally in each ramekin on top of the caramel sauce.

Cover each ramekin with foil and place in the large pan. Pour hot water in the large pan covering just almost half way up the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool then refrigerate.

To serve:  Run a thin knife around the edges of the mold to loosen the Leche Flan. Place a flatter on top of the mold and quickly turn upside down to position the golden brown caramel on top.