Monday, July 31, 2006

RayRay I love ya sometimes

Miss Rachael Ray (well, Mrs. now, since she got married) had a special on the Central Coast of California going on Friday night. First was her episode of $40 A Day with her in my hometown of Monterey, California. Of course, everytime it comes on I watch it. And I can vouch for First Awakenings in Pacific Grove, their food is to die for, and there's almost always a long line to get in. If you ever get a chance to go, you must try their Blueberry Pancakes! I have never been to the other places she went to, although I have heard very good things about them.

The next show that came on was Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels, which was focused on the Central Coast, she drove down Highway 1 from Monterey down to San Luis Obispo. I've never driven that drive and refuse to. She has guts. All of those winds and cliffs make me ill. She focused more so on restaurants in Pacific Grove, and most of the places there seem real shi-shi (read: expensive), but I know there are good deals to be found. I guess I was just too ghetto to enjoy the culinary delights of finer dining. There's an excellent restaurant my father swears on in Pebble Beach. I believe it's called Roy's.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

This Lemon Meringue Pie recipe looks like it's something to DIE for!

First, you want to make the crust yourself, and it seems like a bit of work, but come on, look at that pie- you know you want to!


Note, this Shortcrust Pastry recipe will make 4 pie shells. Presumably, you won't be making 4 Lemon Meringue Pies at the same time, so you can either halve the quantities or wrap the pastry in waxed paper and chill until needed. Will last for a week in the refrigerator. DO NOT FREEZE.

500g cake flour (1 lb 1 ½ oz)
350g shortening (12 ½ oz) (butter, a combination of 50% butter and 50% lard, or margarine)
125ml iced water (½ cup)
40 g sugar (granulated) (1 ½ oz)
25 ml lemon juice. Preferably freshly squeezed. (2 tbsp)
5ml Salt (1 tsp)
1 Egg

Double sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar & salt) together into a mixing bowl.
Cut the shortening into the dry mixture and rub until the mixture takes on the appearance of coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle the water and lemon juice onto the crumb mixture and press together lightly to form a solid mass.

IMPORTANT: Do not knead the pastry and avoid over working.
Wrap in waxed paper and chill until required.

As an added taste I often add 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of lemon zest (the finely grated outside either yellow or green of a lemon) to the dry ingredients when I know that I am going to be using the pastry for Lemon Meringue Pies.

When ready for use, line pie tins with the pastry and bake at 190oC (375oF) for 15 minutes..


250g (sweetened condensed milk (9 oz)
65ml castor sugar (6 tbsp)
3 medium sized lemons
3 eggs.

Juice the lemons and using a rasp grate the outside of the lemons to obtain the zest. Be careful to only grate the outer colored skin of the lemons and not the white pith.
Separate the eggs.

In a mixing bowl beat together the egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Beat in the condensed milk and pour the resulting mixture into a baked pastry shell.

Using a clean bowl beat together the egg whites and castor sugar until the mixture forms stiff peaks, be careful not to beat so much that the meringue mixture becomes dry.
Spoon the meringue mixture over the lemon pie filling. Do not smooth the top.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180oC (350oF) for 25 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool.

Serve the Lemon Meringue Pie cold; some people prefer to chill Lemon Meringues in a refrigerator before serving.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sandra Lee

I am not that big of a fan, but I do enjoy watching her show and seeing how many shortcuts she makes. Today's episode focused on cooking with the kids, and on the show they made Fish sticks (actually made out of halibut and not frozen fish sticks- which surprises me, given Sandra Lee's penchant for convenience foods), Pillow Dogs, and other goods, including a cake with cupcakes layered on top of it. I liked the idea and think maybe I'll use those for my daughter's next birthday party.

It's too bad there is no picture of the layer cake, because it looked so pretty when it was done!

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's hot, it's late, time for a MeMe

As seen on my lovely friend's blog!

Movies I rented because the cool people liked them, but I never could finish:

1. Garden State (I did finish this, but I just didn't get it)
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (same as 1)
3. The Corporation (just too freakin' long!)
4. Lord of the Rings (I just could NOT get into it...sorry! I know I'm gonna get reamed for this one!)

Movies I watched with the cool people but secretly hated:
I don't have any because if I hate it, I just say it.

Movies I secretly like but might deny in front of the cool people:
1. Any J Lo movie. I'm a sucker for them.
2. The Blair Witch Project (everyone hated it, but I liked it)
3. Showgirls (because it's cheesy fun, minus the rape scene)
4. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (because of Jar Jar Binks)

Books I started because the cool people like them, but I could never finish:
1. Memoirs of a Geisha (I got to the second page but ran out of time to finish)
2. Les Miserables (I skimmed it in high school- the unabridged version. It was too long)
3. Cannery Row (BORING! no plot!)
4. My Friend Leonard (don't know if anyone likes it, but it was pretty unbelievable- worse than Frey's previous work, A Million Little Pieces, which I actually liked).

Music I tried to like because the cool people like it, but really it makes me want to puncture my own eardrums to escape the pain of the irritating, cat-mating howling:
1. Country. Anything country. I try to hang, but I just can't like that genre. I just CAN'T. It goes against every grain in my body.
2. Panic! At the Disco because the guy is kinda cute, reminds me a little bit of Hayden Christensen, but yuck!
3. Rob Zombie. It's boring. It all sounds the same. My husband likes his music, but again, I just can't hang.
4. Natasha Bedingfield, because if I hear "Unwritten" one more time, I will positively vomit.

Music I secretly sometimes like, but don't want the cool people to know:
1. New Kids on the Block- just for old memories sake.
2. Britney Spears/Pop music- I can't help it, I love "Toxic"!
3. Styx- they are great- but most of my friends are like, what???
4. Hilary Duff- my biggest weakness. LOL.

Foods I secretly like, even though the cool people sneer at them:
1. Cake (I absolutely adore cake with frosting. Forget Pie!)
2. Water Chestnuts (I could eat them all alone by themselves)
3. This Thai dessert I used to buy when I worked in Southern California, it was sticky sweet rice with a banana and black beans in the middle, wrapped in banana leaves. My co-workers were always too scared to try it, but the guy who owned the store knew I was Filipino and they always had some ready for me (I was 300 miles south of home and missing my Nana's filipino desserts!).
4. Iced Tea (my husband sneers at it!)

I am now tagging the following:

My good friend from the Yukon
Miss Beautiful Grin
And Vinegar Martinis

Friday, July 21, 2006

In honor of some wedding anniversaries

this weekend for my friend who found her way over the Rainbow and my friend who is hopefully enjoying gorgeous weather up in the Yukon, may your weekend be filled full of love and excitement like what it was the first time you met your DH's.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Get ready to clog your arteries...

with Best Food's Potato Salad (sooo delicious!)

2 lbs. potatoes (5 to 6 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup Hellmann's ® or Best Foods ® Real Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (optional)

1. In 4-quart saucepot, cover potatoes with water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and cool slightly.

2. In large bowl, combine Hellmann's ® or Best Foods ® Real Mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper. Add potatoes, celery, onion and eggs and toss gently. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Comfort food

Rachael Ray made this Quick Chicken Noodle Soup on one of her 30 Minute Meal shows and I love this recipe. I have made it numerous times, and not only is it easy, it's so delish if you don't feel like making soup all day long!

Quick Chick & Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
6 cups good quality chicken stock
1 pound (the average weight of 1 package) chicken breast tenders, diced
1/2 pound wide egg noodles
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
A handful fresh dill, chopped

Place a large pot over moderate heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Work close to the stove and add vegetables to the pot as you chop, in the order they are listed.
Add bay leaves and season vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Add stock to the pot and raise flame to bring liquid to a boil. Add diced chicken tenderloins, return soup to a boil, and reduce heat back to moderate. Cook chicken 2 minutes and add noodles. Cook soup an additional 6 minutes or until noodles are tender and remove soup from the heat.
Stir in parsley and dill, remove bay leaves and serve. This is a thick soup. Add up to 2 cups of water if you like chicken soup with lots of broth.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I so need to try to make this!

While watching an episode of Little Big Head Giada on Food Network, she made these Crab & Ricotta Cannellonis that looked SO delish. I'm not a big fish person, but even I would be willing to try this. (Not willing to try to cook crab on my own, so I may just try to substitute chicken for that!)

1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Bechamel Sauce, recipe follows
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg yolk, basil, crab, salt, and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered baking dish. Top the filled cannelloni with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Bechamel Sauce:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool and then cover and refrigerate.)

Yield: about 4 cups

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Your favorite spices

What do you do to jazz your food up? Do you prefer to use fresh spices and herbs? Which ones can be found in your fridge/cupboard on a regular basis?

I am a huge fan of garlic, so that's always in our house. I also like scallions (green Onions), onions, and bell peppers to season food, but produce always goes bad in our fridge for some reason, so we don't get the fresh stuff often. What do you suggest to do to keep herbs and produce fresh in your fridge (lasting more than 2 days at a time!)?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Chicken Soft Tacos

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet Low-Sodium McCormack Taco Seasoning
1 Lemon (drizzled to your delight, see my instructions below)
1 Onion, diced
Garlic if so desired
Salt if so desired
1/2 cup of water

1. What I did was took the chicken and chopped up every breast into quarters, then boiled them til they were cooked throughly but not overcooked. I drained them and let them cool off. Chop onions up, however you like it (I dice it as fine as possible, no food processor here).

2. I shredded the chicken using my hands (if you have a food processor that will save you a step) and put it all into a large skillet, took the lemon and chopped it in half, held the one half cupped so no seeds would fall into the mix, drizzled all over the chicken to my liking (I used a whole small lemon for this), then sprinkled the taco seasoning , onions and I only had garlic salt at the time so I sprinkled maybe 1/2 tsp of that over the stuff and mixed all ingredients. When it was mixed well enough I added about 1/2 cup of water and simmered it down, cooking approximately 15-30 minutes.

3. When all was done I took tortillas (we got the kind you have to cook) and put the filling inside. They were more so of a burrito but so damn tasty we didn't need cheese (which I forgot to pick up), but put some lettuce, tomatoes and a dab of sour cream on them (all optional of course!). Very good. I was just playing around.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A perfect grilling weekend

My father drove up from California and is visiting us right now. Last night and tonight we grilled as the weather was primo for grilling. Last night, my husband made us grilled chicken (breasts, thighs and legs) and we had corn on the cob, a fresh salad, and strawberries for dessert. Tonight we had grilled spareribs (beef) with salad. Very simple and easy. My husband is learning the art of grilling pretty quickly, everything tasted so delicious. With this gas grill we are taking advantage of grilling as much as we can. One of the perks of his work is he's able to fill our propane tank for free.

While we were at the table, I told my father that I finally got the cookbook I wanted, The Sopranos Family Cookbook, and he just laughed at me. He didn't quite understand why I needed a cookbook to cook anything, but I told him I like to collect recipes and cookbooks for the pure novelty of it. I guess that is what led me to starting a blog on it (as well as a take on something controversial/hilarious (to me) going on at the message board at the time). I'll share what I find, and welcome anyone who wishes to post their recipes as well.

It's kind of a hobby of mine, I guess. Too hard to explain to people who don't understand a love for recipes and cookbooks!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fried Apple Pies

Saw this on an episode of Paula Deen once on the Food Network and here's the recipe:

2 tablespoons butter
4 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (8-piece) container refrigerated flaky biscuit dough
For the filling: Add the butter to a large saute pan and melt. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the apples are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

When the filling is cool, roll the biscuits out on a lightly floured surface so that each biscuit forms a 7 to 8-inch circle. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling on 1/2 of each circle. Brush the edges of the circle with water. Fold the circle over the filling to make a half-moon shapes. Seal by pressing the edges with the tines of a fork.

Heat a deep fryer or a deep pot halfway filled with oil to 350 degrees F.

Carefully add the pies to the oil, 1 at a time, and fry until golden brown, turning the pies as necessary for even browning, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


This is DELICIOUS! I love this stuff, can never get enough. It's also known as Banana Lumpia.


  • ripe bananas, peeled and cut into half, lengthwise
  • brown sugar
  • 3 cups cooking oil
  • lumpia wrappers
  • 1/2 cup langka preserves (optional)


Roll banana in sugar. Wrap banana (and langka if you have) in lumpia wrapper just like you would a lumpia. Fry in hot oil until golden and crispy. Recipe from Manong Ken




  • Sweet rice flour - about a cup.
  • 3/4 cup water
  • coconut flakes
  • Lots of white sugar
  • Toasted linga (sesame seeds).


Mix rice flour with water to make dough. Make little balls then flatten. Boil water in a saucepan. Drop flattened dough balls into boiling water. The cakes are cooked when they float. Remove from water, let cool a little bit, roll in combined sugar and toasted sesame seeds and coconut flakes.

My Nana makes this all the time for us, except she doesn't use toasted seasame seeds. It's the easiest dessert to make.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Banana Cream Pie

This pie is to *DIE* for. It's easy to make and it's very delicious. A nice treat on a warm summer day or even as a dessert for a winter evening!

Servings: Makes one 9-inch pie
Serving Size: not available
Nutrition: not available
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium bananas
Lemon juice


In heavy saucepan, dissolve cornstarch and salt in water; stir in Eagle Brand® and egg yolks. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; add margarine and vanilla. Cool slightly.

Slice 2 bananas; dip in lemon juice and drain. Arrange on bottom of prepared pastry shell. Pour filling over bananas; cover. Chill 4 hours or until set. Spread top with whipped cream. Slice remaining bananas; dip in lemon juice, drain and garnish top of pie. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Strawberry Margarita Squares- from KRAFT

I love this's so easy and yummy, too!

Strawberry Margarita Squares

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 6 hr 15 min
Makes: 12 servings

1-1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pureed strawberries
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

MIX pretzel crumbs and butter in 13x9-inch pan; press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
MIX sweetened condened milk, strawberries and lime juice in large bowl until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Pour over crust.
FREEZE 6 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before cutting to serve. Garnish with sliced strawberries.


Make it Easy
For easy cutting of frozen desserts, run a sharp knife under hot water before use.