Thursday, June 28, 2007

Purple Yam Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am going nuts with color!

This time, I jazzed up my cookie dough with a couple of drops of purple coloring. The purple yam-looking dough yielded got pretty little chocolate chip cookies with a hint of lavender. I added a more chocolate chips in the dough and omitted the nuts. They still tasted like normal chocolate chip cookies but they look really quirky and fun to eat.

Although I like the little hint of purple in this cookie, I will add a bit more purple coloring the next time. That would be really interesting. Who says chocolate chip cookies always have to look beige or brown, right, kids?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Green Cookiedough

This is attempt number 1 at a new cookie variety I am working on. I wasn't planning on blogging about this because I didn't quite get what I was shooting for (I will add more green food coloring next time). But I love the pictures of the green cookie dough so I thought of posting it here.

The the cookie dough looks like pistachio (or mint) chocolate chip ice cream.

I am using pistachios instead of walnuts so I thought it was a nice touch to add a bit of green coloring in the dough. Of course the flavor is the same, still the same chocolate chip cookie, the change is mostly aesthetic.

Krispy Kreme drive-thru

One of my "bosses" always kids me about Krispy Kreme after I giddily announced the opening of the first Krispy Kreme store in the Philippines. He was the first to tell me that a new Krispy Kreme shop is opening in Greenhills shopping center. And yesterday, he told me that the shop is almost finished. Oh, joy! I've read in one blog (thanks for the info!) that this shop will be the first ever Krispy Kreme shop in Asia to have a drive a drive-thru window and it will open on June 28, 2007.

I wonder if this will compel my boss, who lives near the San Juan area, to bring donuts to the office everyday...

Note: The Krispy Kreme Doughnut varieties are- Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled, Glazed Sour Cream Cake, Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles, Glazed Cruller, Glazed Raspberry Filled, New York Cheesecake, Sugar, Chocolate Iced Custard Filled, Powdered Strawberry Filled, Chocolate Iced Glazed, Glazed Lemon Filled, Caramel Kreme Crunch, Glazed Chocolate Cake, Traditional Cake, and Original Glazed.

The original glazed doughnuts sell for Php30 each and Php265 for a dozen. The assorted doughnuts sell for Php38 each while a dozen pre-assorted varieties is Php335. If you buy 2 dozens of original glazed doughnuts, you pay only Php500. And if you buy a dozen original glazed with a dozen pre-assorted varieties, it will cost only Php550.

The more the merrier!

Paris Hilton Cupcakes by The City Bakery

Somebody created a cupcake to commemorate Paris Hilton's stint as a jailbird. I am not kidding. Read the story here.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, June 18, 2007

Spare Ribs Barbecue from Grace, Sister of Rose

Spare Ribs Barbecue (what's left of it...)

Speaking of barbecues, I can't help but remember the Spare Ribs Barbecue at Grace, Sister of Rose Restaurant (Seafoods & Bulalo). It looks like any ordinary pork barbecue skewer. This one though is spare ribs. I just love the sauce that they slather this barbecue with, which they do rather generously, making it extra tasty. Bad news for those on a "no rice" diet because you will be forced to eat a lot of rice with this dish.

Grace Sister of Rose Restaurant is located in Brgy. Tulo, Calamba, Laguna

Each time I go to Laguna, I always make it a point to have lunch at this restaurant and order their Spare Ribs Barbecue. It always makes a long and tiring trip a lot bearable. Their menu consists of classic Filipino cuisine, rather ordinary, actually, but the taste is so topnotch that you will keep coming back for more. Their specialty is the Nilagang Bulalo, but if you don't feel like hot soup especially on hot summer days, you can always choose from an eye-popping selection of equally great tasting home-cooked meals.

Choosing your meal will be very difficult because every single one in their menu is good.

Some pasalubong to bring home to your loved ones.

Extraordinarily sweet Philippine Mangoes. Nothing like it in the world.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spitfire barbecued chicken

I had so much fun grilling this so I thought that's reason enough to share the recipe. My mom had this bunch of chicken legs marinated and pre-cooked meant for frying to serve to my friends at last Saturday's lunch. But in the spirit of "happy cooking", I decided to barbecue the chicken over coconut husks and charcoal. As we do not have barbecue sauce in the pantry, I made some myself (why not, right?). We had, after all, sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, and other condiments in the shelf just waiting to be picked up. I tried my best to recreate the measurements of the ingredients in the recipe below. But feel free to adjust the amounts according to your taste.

Inihaw is the Filipino-Tagalog term for "grilled" and this normally means grilling food over fire and dry wood as opposed to gas powered grills. We have several coconut trees growing in our backyard so coconut wood is the natural choice for our own grill. Coconut husks are particularly notorious for creating enormous amounts of smoke when thrown into the fire. But this usually goes away after the husk gets charred. The husks, however generate occasional spit-fires in the course of their combustion. This may cause mild charring to your food but can likewise easily turn your food into charcoal if you are not careful.


2 whole chicken, quartered
1/4 cup soy sauce

Juice of 4 kalamansi (Philippine lemon)
4 garlic cloves, crushed

Basting sauce:
Half a bottle of del monte sweet and sour sauce or sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp kikoman soy sauce
1 tbsp del monte cane vinegar
2 tbsp refined sugar
1 tsp spanish paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
hot sauce, to taste (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil

In a bowl, season chicken with crushed garlic, kalamansi juice, salt, pepper, and paprika. Make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed in the chicken. Put seasoned chicken pieces in a casserole and add water up to half an inch above the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and simmer for thirty minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces from the casserole and let it cool down to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare the basting sauce.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients of the basting sauce. Whisk together until the sugar is dissolved.

Prepare the grill. (We use a combination of coal and coconut husks or coconut wood, to ensure occasional little spit fires in the grill.) If the flame gets too strong, be ready to spray it with water just enough to tame it but not kill it completely.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil all over the chicken pieces to prevent sticking. Grill one side of the chicken over medium hot flame for five minutes. Turn the chicken over and with a barbecue sauce brush, baste the grilled side with sauce. After five minutes, turn the chicken over again, basted side down, and baste the other side.

Grill each basted side of the chicken for another three minutes. The basting sauce has sugar in it so be extra extra vigilant in making sure the chicken does not get too charred.

Note: I know it may not be very healthy but I think the charring is part of the appeal of this dish. Of course the charring is optional. Just be very quick with the flipping until the desired brownness is achieved. The chicken is already cooked after all so you do not have to to worry about it being undercooked.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Puto Bumbong

Happy Independence Day!

Today, June 12, we commemorate Philippine Independence Day. While June 12 is officially a non-working holiday, our president declared yesterday the holiday and declared today a work day, supposedly to save Filipinos the trouble of going to work on a Monday (yesterday) after the usual no work week-end (Sunday and Saturday, that is) only to not work again on a Tuesday (today). That's rather acceptable. Only trouble is, the commemoration rites is still celebrated today (when people are supposedly at work) which meant closing down some parts of the otherwise busy Roxas Boulevard (causing horrendous traffic much to the consternation of the working public that has to ply that route).

Anyway, let's leave the politics to the other blogs and celebrate this "working" holiday with another Filipino delicacy- the Puto Bumbong.

This violet-colored native delicacy is made from glutinous rice (malagkit) and served with butter or margarine, shredded mature coconut (niyog), and muscovado sugar. Puto bumbong reaches its height of popularity during Christmas season especially during Simbang Gabi (evening mass) where you can find vendors selling freshly made Puto Bumbong along with Bibingka around church areas.

The beauty of working in a "semi-rural" area is that I get to have native delicacies including puto bumbong for merienda (afternoon snack) all year round (Puto Bumbong goes wonderfully with my black Barako brewed coffee). If you are not as fortunate as I am, you can always make your own. Just follow the recipe of Puto Bumbong from Filipino Vegetarian

Monday, June 11, 2007

Meatballs with Pasta

Meatballs in Pasta Sauce
Back in college, I stayed in a cozy little condo unit in Katipunan, Quezon City. Naturally, my favorite place in the condo was the kitchen, which came equipped with an electric oven and stove. I cooked and baked a lot during my stay there and frequently invited some classmates over for dinner to share my cooking. The Meatballs with Pasta was a certified favorite, along with my chocolate chip cookies of course.

It's been a couple of years already since I left the condo, and my classmates and I have since parted ways. All of us being very busy with our own jobs and lives, in general. So when last week, I got a call from Mich telling me she missed our meatballs and cookies sessions, we rang our other barkada and got together for lunch. At the center of our meal is, of course, meatballs with pasta, and for dessert, chocolate chip cookies.

As for the meatballs recipe, well, I already forgot where I got the original recipe from but I have since customized it, adding my personal touch to this classic Italian favorite. Below is the recipe. I hope your friends and loved ones like this as much as mine do.

Meatballs with Pasta

1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
100ml milk
1/2 k ground sirloin
50g grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped sage
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1 big portabello mushroom, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

oil for frying
500grams pasta
prepared tomato based pasta sauce good for 500grams pasta
grated parmesan cheese
fresh parsley finely chopped

1. In a big bowl, Soak breadcrumbs with milk.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the sirloin, parmesan, sage, basil, onion, egg, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the beef mixture to the soaked breadcrumbs and mix well.

4. Form into into balls, about three inches in diameter. Fry meatballs in oil until golden brown.
5. Heat pasta sauce in a deep sauce pan (I suggest adding a bit of water, to prevent scorching during the simmering process) and add in the meatballs. Let the meatballs simmer in the pasta sauce over low heat for 20 minutes.

6. Serve meatballs with its sauce on top of cooked pasta (I prefer bowties). Garnish with parmesan cheese and parsely.

Note: You can omit the portabello mushroom without compromising the basic recipe if you cannot find any (like what happened to me when I hade meatballs for my friends last Saturday). If you prefer a cheesier meatball, like my brother, you can also add a cube of quickmelt cheese or mozzarella cheese in the center of each meatball.

The other food I served, thanks to my mom's help, consisted of--

Green Indian Mangoes with Bagoong
Spit Fire Barbecued Chicken
(recipe for another post)
Sweetened Macapuno
(the macapuno is harvested from our
very own coconut trees in the backyard)
Rellenong Alimasag
(recipe also for another post, once I get my mom to cooperate)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pancit Molo

Pancit Molo is one of the most popular Filipino soups that's a favorite in Philippine Fiestas. Yesterday, in addition to the food that I've prepared on the request of my friends, my mom prepared Pancit Molo (because, she says, all food gatherings must have soup). Other food I served yesterday will be featured in another blog article that I am still working on. In the meantime, hold off your hunger by making your own bowl of Pancit Molo. Here's the recipe from

By Agnes Cuenca Brought to you by Cook Magazine


Molo balls

1/2 K ground pork
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks green onions or leeks, chopped
1/4 K fresh shrimps, shelled and chopped
2 whole eggs
salt & pepper to taste

1/2 tsp vetsin
30 pc molo wrapper

Molo broth

1/4 cup cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 K shrimps, cooked, shelled and halved
1/4 K chicken meat, cooked and cubed
5-6 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp chives, coarsely chopped


1. To make molo balls, mix ground pork, garlic, green onions, shrimps, and eggs. Season with salt, pepper, and vetsin.
2. Place a teaspoonful of the mixture on the center of a molo wrapper. Fold wrapper diagonally. Roll the base of the triangle once towards the top. Pull the two ends together towards the center and fasten with a little water.
3. To make the molo broth, heat oil in a casserole. Saute garlic and onions. Add the shrimp and chicken meat and cook for 10 minutes. Add chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
4. Drop the molo balls and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the chives and remove from heat. Serve hot.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Last night, goaded by my sister's comments on the last batch of cookies I made, I decided to tweak the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. It's not that there is something wrong with the recipe. The fault, I must admit, is entirely mine. I tried out different brands of certain ingredients there because my favorite brands are out of stock in the stores. See, these things are not created equal. It may seem like a small thing but it really does make a world of difference. Anyway. Part of the tweaks I have made was brought about by certain deficiencies in my pantry. This particular batch actually got a thumb's up from my sister so I think it's worth blogging about.

First things first. I did not have butter-flavored shortening anymore. So I replaced that with 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup less 2 tablespoons margarine. Less 2 tablespoons margarine because I did not like the brand of vanilla that I used the last time (and I still can't find my favorite one) and I intended to use 2 tablespoons of pandan flavored virgin coconut oil instead.

I've used virgin coconut oil before in my cookies and found that it is a very good substitute for vanilla for some reason or another. It gives the cookie that peculiar but delightful taste and aroma, kind of what good vanilla does for your cookie, only different. Recently, I got hold of this pandan flavored version. I love the flavor and scent of pandan so I decided to give it a whirl. The flavor turned out wonderful. Imagine these favorite Filipino flavors in your cookie- coconut and pandan. Interesting isn't it? (The Filipinization of the Chocolate Chip Cookie?)

Going back to my cookie tweaks, I figured, the cookie might turn out to be too oily if I added coconut oil on top of the original amount of shortening called for, hence the tweak. I ran out of brown sugar,too, and I must have added about 1/4 cup of white sugar to make up for the deficiency. I also replaced 1/2 tsp of the original amount of baking soda with baking powder following the suggestion posted by one of the readers of to add more height to the cookie.

The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt), instead of just dumping them all in after I have creamed together the wet ingredients with the sugar, I decided to whisk them all together in a separate bowl to make sure everything is evenly incorporated before I add them in as I do in the Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

The cookie dough turned out a lot less sticky than the earlier one so I felt the need to pat down the cookie dough mounds into 1/2 inch thickness on the cookie sheet or it might not spread as readily as the earlier dough. As for the baking time, I made sure I keep them in the oven for 13 minutes. They still come out chewy and not crunchy.

The result? A lighter-colored and fatter looking cookie that held its shape better than that from the earlier batch.

Note: I also was short on chocolate chips so this batch had only a cup of chocolate chips instead of the 2 cups called for in the recipe.

Another note: My sister says although she loved this particular batch, her friends say they liked the cookies from the earlier batch better.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Continuing the cookie quest

I baked another batch of cookies yesterday. Fortunately, unlike in my earlier batch, I was able to get a hold of walnuts this time. There is no substitute for walnuts in chocolate chip cookies, not even pecans, in my opinion. This recipe calls for shortening at room temperature rather than melted, making the dough a tad less shiny. The cookies also ended up looking more matte. I personally prefer the matte textured cookies. But really, it's all a matter of aesthetics, I do not detect any distinct difference in taste between melted and room temperature shortening/butter in terms of, um, cookies...

Anyway. It was a huge batch (about 4 dozens). I gave two dozens to my sister who brought it to their study group to share with 10 students. I gave another dozen to a friend of mine who I met up with that afternoon to help her with some documents. And I brought the last dozen to the office today. It was a hit. Oh, and imagine having this luscious chewy cookies with milk... Yummmy!

To make sure yours turn out well, too, I have decided to post step-by-step instructions on this, as well (check out my first foray into the step-by-step cookie making guide here). The recipe I tried out was from, called The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie and it is certainly worth a try:


  • 1 1/2 cups butter flavored shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


Cream sugar into shortening. Add milk and vanilla beat until fluffy. Blend in egg. Then add dry ingredients

and mix well.

Stir in chips

and nuts.

Drop by teaspoon onto greased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for

8-10 minutes for chewy cookies or

10-13 minutes for crispy cookies. ENJOY!!!

Note: this cookie dough works best as drop cookies. In other words, do not pat the cookie dough mounds once they hit the cookie sheet. This prevents the cookies from ending up too flat after baking and cooling.

Another note: My ever-discerning sister thought this cookie was too soft and flat for comfort. (Some batches I baked for 9 minutes, some I baked for 13, as the recipe called, just to see which level of chewyness appealed to me more. I think I gave my sister the 9-minute batch.) Flavor-wise, she said she liked the earlier cookies I've made a lot more than these past two batches and asked me what I did different. I've already tried out these recipes before and they normally passed my sister's test, so it is not just because I'd been trying out new recipes. So to answer her question, there are two major differences- one is that I used butter-flavored shortening/margarine. See, I always use unsalted butter for my cookies- even when the recipe calls for shortening or margarine. Second, I cannot find my favorite brand of vanilla in the supermarkets I go to lately. So I was forced to use this other brand that I did and still do not like to use because it gives my cookies this harshly artificial flavor. Vanilla and shortening, I think, are crucial ingredients of the cookie because they are the ones that essentially determine the flavor. Screw these ingredients up and you screw your cookie. So there. I will never experiment on my shortening and vanilla ever again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Puto at Kutsinta in the morning

I am recovering from a bad cough and cold that forced me into calling in sick yesterday. This morning, I am still debating about calling in sick again as I dragged myself out of bed to fix myself a cup of hot green tea. It was in this barely awake state that I heard the soliciting shouts and signature honking of the puto vendor. My tummy reacted right away. I had eaten dinner too early last night and I had no care for pan de sal this morning so puto at kutsinta seemed like the yummiest thing in the world. I called the puto vendor and asked for 50 pesos (about $1.00) worth of puto and kutsinta.

Puto connotes many different forms in the Philippines depending on what region you are from. But in this case, puto is a white, light and airy steamed rice cake, sort of like a chiffon cake. Kutsinta, on the other hand is brown, sticky, and glutinous. Both are made of rice flour and served with grated coconut.

Puto and kutsinta are traditional Filipino snacks and are often peddled my ambulant vendors that carry these delicious morsels in metal containers over their shoulder. They are also sold in wet markets and certain street corners all over the Philippines.

This plate of traditional Philippine delicacies cost only Php30
(Php2.50 for Kutsinta and Php5.00 for Puto)

Here are the recipes of Puto and Kutsinta by Reynaldo Alejandro's (The Food of the Philippines and The Philippine Cookbook) as can be found in


  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lye water (potassium carbonate solution sold in Asian food stores)
  • Freshly grated coconut

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour into muffin pans, until halfway full. Steam in a large pan with a cover; the water should be 2 inches deep. Cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Add more water if needed until cooking is done. Remove from the muffin pans and serve with freshly grated coconut. Serves 4.


  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup grated coconut (or coconut flakes)

Sift first four ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, add coconut milk to sifted ingredients and blend well to make a smooth mixture. Add anise seeds. Mix and blend thoroughly and fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Cook in a steamer for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Muffins are done when toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot topped with grated coconut, or butter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chicken Tinola

No Filipino kitchen is truly Filipino without having at least once prepared Chicken Tinola for lunch. This dish reminds me of Chicken Hainanese Rice, its main difference from the Singaporean dish being that Chicken Tinola's ingredients are all cooked together making a soup while with Chicken Hainanese, the whole dish is compartmentalized- the soup served in a separate bowl, the chicken in its own dish flanked with its accompanying vegetables, and the dipping sauce in another.

Here is the recipe of Chicken Tinola:

Chicken Tinola

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 ginger root, crushed and cut into strips
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
water (enough to cover chicken in carajay)
salt to taste
1 medium green papaya, (see illustrated instructions on how to cut green papaya for Tinola below)
5 stalks of chili (labuyo) leaves

In a carajay over medium heat, fry garlic in vegetable oil until golden brown. Add in onion and ginger root.

When the onion is translucent, add in the chicken pieces. Cook for 10 minutes or until all the juices of the chicken comes out. In the meantime, shred the chili leaves from the stalk. Rinse and set aside.

After ten minutes, pour in the water and season with salt. Let the chicken simmer for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the green papaya:

Cut off both ends of the papaya. Let the papaya stand on one end peel its skin with a knife.

Cut the peeled papaya in half (lengthwise) and scoop out its seeds.

Cut the papaya halves in two (lengthwise) then cut the quartered papaya horizontally approximately in 3/4in size thickness.

After 20 minutes, add the sliced papaya in the chicken. Let simmer until the papaya is tender (about 8 minutes). Add the chili leaves. And let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with fish sauce (patis). And as with most Filipino dishes, Chicken Tinola is best enjoyed with hot steamed rice.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies (step-by-step instructions)

I used to be a complete failure in baking cookies, my cookies often ending up in melted chocolate chip cookie-flavored sheets or dry and hardly edible baked oddities. Persistence paid off and soon, I was baking cookies like crazy.

This is one of the simplest chocolate chip cookie recipes I have in my chocolate chip cookie recipe database (yes, I have one. Don't ask me why.). I have about a hundred different recipes and I made it a personal quest to try every single one of them to find the best ones.

And to show you just how simple this is, especially to those who feel intimidated about baking chocolate chip cookies, I took step-by-step pictures of the whole process.

Get ready with the milk, kids!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (basic recipe)

2 cups and 2 tbsps. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup refined sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. Blend in the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla.

Stir in the flour mixture and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips.

Make sure the chips are distributed evenly in the dough.

Scoop about two tablespoons of the chocolate chip cookie dough on to the cookie sheets and pat down the mounds to half an inch thickness.

Make sure they are about two inches apart as they will spread when baking.

Bake for ten minutes. After baking, let the cookies cool in the baking sheets for about two minutes (they will shrink a bit).

Transfer the cooled cookies on wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozens of cookies. (I made 29 cookies with this particular batch.)

Notes: My sister found this recipe a bit too sweet. Next time I will try a recipe that calls for a little less sugar (I will blog about that, too, of course). My brother on the other hand found it too soft and a bit too pale. A couple more minutes in the oven should fix that though. What can I say? My siblings are my best, or worst (?), critics...
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