Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet Bread French Toast with Candied Walnuts

The secret to good french toast is Portuguese sweet bread that is more than a day old. Splurge on a sprinkling of powdered sugar for the extra sweetness and what puts this breakfast treat over the top are the candied walnuts. Walnuts are not only delcious but good for you. The omega-3s found in these nuts help fight against skin ailments like posoriasis and eczema. Something that tastes good and be good for you-better yet!

Portuguese Bean Soup

I know everything is good when I enter my parents' house in Kalihi and get a wift of my dad's portuguese bean soup. This is the soup that I ate in gallons when I was breastfeeding Anna. According to Filipino custom, soup helps to increase milk production. I have tried recipes where you throw everything into the pot but my dad's recipe is a little more complicated.
I felt icky touching the ham hocks because they were not pleasant to look nor touch. Ham hocks are pig's feet! Yuck! Placed them in a large pot, seasoned with salt and pepper, filled to cover with water, and boiled over medium high heat for an hour. Took hocks out of pot and chopped meat off bone. Sauteed diced portuguese sausage, celery, carrots, onions and garlic in a pan and added it to the pot with a can of tomato sauce and kidney beans. Boiled for another 10 minutes and added cup of macaroni. Soup is done when macaroni is done.
My favorite soup that is more like a meal-hearty, chunky, and a little bit spicey!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Egg Farm

Tucked all the way up Wahiawa heights on my favorite Dole Street is the farm where you find fresh eggs and friendly service. You can actually see the clucking chickens in the warehouse laying their eggs and know where your food comes from.

Penne with Arrabbiata Sauce

I have a shelf in my pantry devoted to spices. Each is labeled with the date that I opened it, and after six months I usually throw it away and buy a new one. The potency diminishes and I like to be sure my spices are very flavorful. This habit rings true with crushed red pepper flakes which are significant to good arrabbiata sauce. Giada's recipe calls for 2 t. but my family can only handle a scant 1/4 t. Arrabbiata is just marinara with pancetta which I substitute with bacon and red pepper flakes.
I'm a purist and use Giada's marinara sauce which takes a bit of time to make but so versatile.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ong Choi

The master in action. I observe, take notes, and help to prepare the ingredients but my ong choi never tastes as good as my dad's. Could it be the one block of butter he melts before adding the ingredients as opposed to my 1/4 of a stick? Ong choi, butter, black bean garlic sauce, oyster sauce, and MSG all combined to make a delicious, nutritious dish. So ono!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


In Italy, a crostata is more of a breakfast item or an afternoon snack to serve with coffee but this is a perfect pantry dessert. The recipe calls for apricot preserves but you actually use any kind of jam or preserves you happen to have on hand.
This gave Anna an opportunity to use her birthday gifts of a rolling pin and silicone pastry mat-very easy to use and pleasing to the eye.
The crust was delicious! I loved the bits of lemon zest. This is probably the best crust I've ever tasted.
Recipe calls for only 3/4 C of preserves but I would increase it to 1 C for a more sweet, tart taste. A sprinkle of almonds and a dust of confectioners' sugar were the perfect toppings.

Reine De Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake)

After being placed on the waiting list for several months, it was finally my turn to borrow Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking from the public library. I went straight to the dessert section and remembered seeing this cake made by Julia Powell in the Julie Julia movie and it being described as "really good."
Surprisingly simple to prepare and very good. Having all the ingredients already in my pantry made it even better. The only thing I omitted was the 1/3 C of pulverized almonds that was to be stirred into the batter. I sprinkled a few on individual servings.
This cake is baked for only 25 minutes which explains the slightly underdone center. The chocolate butter icing creates a fudgelike quality. Not a typical chocolate cake but still delicious and even better the next day.