Dec 28, 2010

Homemade Cheesecake Ice Cream

We had homemade cheesecake flavored ice cream for Noche Buena this year's Christmas. And this is the first recipe I posted from our Christmas dinner since this is the one I have been closely watching and actively taking part of, considering that the ice cream maker was the gift I got from my mom this Christmas.

It was as creamy as I can remember, just like the gelato (custard-based, over-priced ice creams that are said to be Italian), and tastes like the cheesecake from Chocolate Kiss in UP Diliman. And all the other cheesecakes I devoured in my life, except for the disgusting one I tasted from McDonald's Cafe. Worst excuse for a cheesecake ever.

Anyway, here's how we made it:

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
2 cups all-purposecream, chilled well
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup cream cheese
2/3 cup refined sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract, or maple extract
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pastry crumbs
blueberry preserve

Procedure:


  1.  Mix the egg yolks with sugar, but do not overbeat.
  2. Heat the milk in a thick saucepan for a minute.
  3. Pour half of the milk onto the egg yolks, beat for a minute, then pour back into saucepan with remaining milk.
  4. Lower the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is thick like maple syrup in consistency.
  5. Cool to room temperature then transfer to the freezer and chill for 2 hours.
  6. Once cool, mix together with chilled all-purpose cream, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  7. Pour into the ice cream maker and let process until the consistency is like soft-serve (think Mcdonald's vanilla sundae).
  8. Drop pastry crumbs during this stage (make your own by mixing melted butter with crushed graham crackers and sugar, bake, chill, and crumble).
  9. Transfer to the freezer for a firmer and creamier texture.
  10. Top with blueberry preserve.
Dec 26, 2010

Our Simple Christmas Dinner


*Recipes coming soon!*


I love the holidays, when everything is just about food. And this time, I just sat and relaxed while my older sister cooks our Christmas meals while I get to taste and eat while she's cooking. I managed to eat a buffet already by the time she forced me to help in preparing the food. So the recipes I will have to verify with both my memory and my sister's memory as well.

What's even better is that after all the heat in the kitchen, we made a special dessert, using my mom's gift for me: a Cuisinart Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker. Don't you just love how the holidays cast their magic when you plead for something?

Anyway, we had Baked Penne in Marinara Sauce, Barbecue Ribs, Ate's Healthier Pork Sisig, Prawn and Veggies Tempura, Homemade Sushi, and Homemade Cheesecake Ice Cream topped with Blueberry Preserve. No hamon de bola, sadly, but those dishes are quite a lot already, and they won't let me oven-broil the ham.

The photos were taken by both my sister and me, but I placed the watermark in my name for this blog's use. :p
Baked Penne in Rich Marinara Sauce. 
The grated parmesan made it look dry, but it was really saucy.

Ate's Healthier Sisig, with liver and crunchy roasted pork belly skin. 
It was cooked with less fat!

Prawn and Veggies Tempura.
Veggies include carrots and eggplants. Oh, and there's kani tempura too. :)


Fall-off the bone tender babecue ribs. Wayyy better than Rack's.

Homemade Sushi. My sister's first shot at it.
The rice wine's tartness was just right. :)

Homemade Cheesecake Ice Cream.
Made from cream cheese, baked crumbs, a lot of cream, and topped with blueberry preserve. :)

Those were the only dishes, but they were  cooked with a lot of love, and were devoured with a lot more love as well. Happy holidays everyone! Can't wait for New Year!
Dec 25, 2010

Touching a Stranger's Life


Let's face it, you can let the year end without contemplating what has happened, why things happened that way, and what you have been most thankful for. Just minutes ago I was talking to my inner self about how far I have gone from the absolutely childish girl I knew years ago, before I stepped into college.

Months from graduating and I am here, thrilled that somehow, for this wonderful year that's nearing its glorious end, I have given someone an irreplaceable gift that I never thought I could have given. And this is not one of the people I hold dear in my heart, that person is a complete stranger until last night.

A few hours before Christmas Eve and I am scanning all the greetings and messages in my mail, when I saw a strange name, someone I didn't remember at all. Could I have forgotten an important acquaintance from my freelance job? Or possibly a newly introduced friend? No. I decided to open the message with the subject, "A big thanks for the gift, Sassy Chef."

It was really sweet.<3

"Hi, I really, really want to express my gratitude for your blog. My fiancee's mom hates me, and has sworn never to let me into their lives. But Caloy told me that his mom is the master of all food lovers in the whole world, a connoisseur even. I saw your blog once from the Sulit community and I immediately fell in love with the fact that you learned to cook from scratch for a reason.  I tried three of your dishes, all without fail to gradually impressing my soon to be mother-in-law. At least, that's what my fiancee said. But on her birthday last December 15, 2010, I followed up your Talakitok steaks in homemade sauce, together with your lumpiang sili with sweet dip, and she finally told me herself that I would make a great wife. I'm not sure how the older generation feels about food, but they sure can change a mother's mind! I bet the blend of sweet and strong spicy flavors changed her mind. I meant to send you a simple message but I ended up telling you the story. It may seem simple and cliche to you, but it meant the world to me to be appreciated and loved.

Thank you for your gift to me, you have your biggest fan right here.

Love, Carmela"
I never thought I can actually give a really meaningful gift to a stranger this Christmas. I mean, the toys and clothes Alex and I donated were nothing compared to the love shared from Carmela's story. And to you Carmela, a big thank you as well, for giving me this tingly feeling one feels, from listening to a truly heartwarming story. Much love to you and your family! I hope I can touch more lives someday, and my wishes are for everyone to share the gift of giving and love even as the holidays have passed.

I wanted to share this on New Year's Eve, but I thought it would be perfect for Batang Yagit's Christmas Giveaway, with which the prize money I'll be sharing for a good cause. I think this has got to be the most significant bloggable event for the ending year of 2010, having touched another's life with the love I dedicate to this blog. Special thanks to the wonderful sponsor, Jehzeel Laurente, and of course Batang Yagit, for deciding to share the love to their fellow Filipinos this holiday season.

Win or not, I am very thankful for the blessings I got and those that I will receive in time.
Dec 11, 2010

A Trip To Orchard Road


As much as I would have loved going to Singapore to have a taste of the exquisite cuisine of Orchard Road, a student's budget like mine can't possibly afford any trips for now. Not that I can't ask my parents for money, but I would rather not lest they give me a long lecture and probation on who I am going with and whatsoever doubts they can come up with.

So after a long walk around SM Megamall after a grueling AM shift in Novaliches, Alex and I found ourselves hungry just in time to turn around and see a cook flipping noodles through the glass kitchen. We then decided to take a rest and see if the food served is close to the real thing.

We ordered Char Kway Teow, Malaysian Chicken Curry, and Black Pepper Pork with rice for a quick lunch. For those who can't stand "exotic" Asian tastes, I wouldn't recommend Char Kway Teow. It was delicious, but based on Alex's reaction, he didn't quite like it. It has lots of flat noodles and shrimp, and to tell you the truth, it didn't look as colorful and yummy as in their menu photo.



The Malaysian Chicken Curry is okay, it lacks a lot of that spicy punch to be anywhere near the Malaysian Curry I know. Try Superbowl's curry and you'll see. It was tasty, though, and I enjoyed eating it, but for the lovers of all things extremely spicy then this would be like water compared to a fruit smoothie. I just hope there would be more pieces of chicken in the big bowl by the next time I order it.


The Black Pepper Pork was really good, just like how I cook them at home. It's served with garlic fried rice and a sunny-side-up egg. It's like eating breakfast during lunch time. What's cool is that you can see how they handle your food through the glass kitchen. We didn't order dessert, but Alex was hinting on having Kachang the next time we pass by. I will be uploading their menu soon. I haven't finished scanning and resizing the other photos yet. :)
Dec 7, 2010

Homemade Almond Biscotti


I longed for biscotti from Starbucks, but with the extremely busy schedule I have at school, I barely have the time to relax and take a sip of coffee or latte. But as we have stocked up on nuts lately, specifically raw almonds and walnuts still inside their shells, enjoying nice and freshly baked biscotti is not to difficult anymore. But I can't find the nutcracker, and unless I want to manually hammer down on the walnuts, I have to use the almonds in the meantime. In case you were wondering, the walnuts were sent to us from Canada as I have bugged my mom about the joy of roasting walnuts in their shells, just like we do with chestnuts. I have no idea where to buy them from here.

The biscotti turned out crisp and biscuit-like, with a perfectly nutty-sweet yet not too strong taste that goes really well with hot coffee.




Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup flour for dusting and kneading
Procedure:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. 
  3. Beat in eggs into butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  4. Add vanilla extract.
  5. Combine all other dry ingredients except dusting flour and add to the mixture. 
  6. Stir in almonds and mix well. 
  7. Knead by hand for two minutes, adding flour as necessary.
  8. Divide dough into two, then roll into 12x3-inch logs with a raised center.
  9. Grease a foil-lined baking sheet and place logs. 
  10. Brush with milk. 
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. 
  12. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 300 F. 
  13. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. 
  14. Slice with a really sharp knife into 1-inch thick slices. 
  15. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8 to 10 minutes. 
  16. Turn and bake for 10 minutes more. 
  17. Serve with hot coffee or tea.