For those of you who has never experienced the southern comfort of collard greens, you are definitely missing out on a staple dish!  I’ve cooked this in many different ways but never holding out on two factoring ingredients that make this so good–apple cider vinegar and hot sauce.  Oh, and need I mention the obligatory bacon/ and or ham-hock to boot?!

Friendship is based on so many aspects in life.  We meet friends through school, through work, through other friends, and naturally through family.  But what about through social networking?  I discovered Instagram from a childhood friend.  She takes great scenic pictures and post her pictorial journal on Instagram.  Not long after visiting her page daily, I became quite enthralled with this social ‘photo sharing’ phenomena.  Sharing ‘photos’ and making friends with complete strangers!  I thought to myself…hmm.  This could work for me.

In an effort to promote the livelihood of the Bayan Ni Juan community, this recipe is especially dedicated to ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.  They have a program called BayaniJuan, an organized community composed of former Estero De Paco dwellers and victims of Ondoy.  They help as much as they can for the community to earn a living.  One of their livelihood products are salted duck eggs.

I am such a fanatic when it comes to air/room fresheners and candles.  In my home alone, I have about twelve air fresheners plugged in, along with candles placed about in various rooms and a can of air fresheners stored in the linen closet, laundry room, loft/library, guest room, and lower-level family room aka the man cave.  In my car, I have two plug ins–the one that you clip onto the vents.  So you get the picture, right?  So what scent are they, you wonder?  Why, vanilla would be number one on my list, or course; then followed by anything that seem like I just baked something sweet in the oven.  I also like the smell of winter, spring and fall fragrances–depending on the season for them.  Now that we have that established, by now you should know what I am going to talk about next.  Room Fresheners… 

Coconut Pandesal
Ube Pandesal

Pándesal (Spanish: pan de sal, “salt bread”) is a bread roll made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt.

It has become a common food item in the Philippines.[1]  Its taste and texture closely resemble those of the Puerto Rican bread pan de agua and Mexican bolillos. These breads all use a lean type of dough and follow similar techniques learnt from Spaniards or Spanish-trained bakers early in their history.  Despite the Spanish origins of its name, pandesal was introduced in the Philippines in the 16th century.[2] Pandesal originally started out as a plain roll, traditionally served for breakfast and accompanied by butter, cheese, scrambled eggs or filled omelette, sausages, bacon, Spanish sardines, jams, jellies and marmalade, coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Pandesal can be made from any type of dough and still resemble pandesal as long as the dough is rolled in fine breadcrumbs before baking. The softness of the newer type of pandesal—which consumers unaware of the proper texture now find desirable—is due to a weak dough structure derived from inferior quality flour.

A couple of pandesal variety I made for you are Ube Pandesal and Coconut Pandesal.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad…

The Sound of Music Lyrics of My Favorite Things

Born and raised in the Philippines, until the age of 8, I was familiar with seeing unripe mango eaten with bagoong, fish sauce or with dash of salt.  It was also a staple for making juices, mango nectar, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbetes.  These are my experiences with mangoes.  Although not quite my choice of fruit to pick up at the market when in season, I may have found my niche with mangoes by making them into a refreshing salad.  This recipe happens to represent a menagerie of my favorite herbs and vegetables alongside it.  The versatility of this salad are endless–have it as is, serve it with grilled steak, fish, BBQ, chicken; use it as a salsa for tortilla chips, etc.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I adore A Country Cook’s Kitchen cookbook!  The author has done a tremendous job putting together timeless, rustic recipes from making artisanal breads, farm-house-style cheeses, preserving vegetables, curing meats, churning your own butter and soft cheese, baking cakes, pastries and biscuits…not too mention the page-turning arrays of heirloom, artisanal and organic food photography.  I am not a sponsor of this cookbook, nor any of the others I might have mentioned or will mention in the future–to make that clear, but my rule of thumb is, if I find something worth sharing…word of mouth is truly the key to do so.  Pay it forward, right?

Onward, one of the culinary skills I am trying to hone into is bread making, thus, whenever I post something on Instagram with regards to making bread, I immediately title it Bread-Making 101 because I am at the novice stage of baking.  You can only imagine the excitement I feel after peaking through the lit oven door and watching the development of the dough as it swells and rise before my eyes!  It was beyond exhilarating…

Hmm, where do I begin?  Beautiful Breads & Fabulous Fillings (The Best Sandwiches in America) by Margaux Sky. I don’t quite remember when and where I found this book but I love it!  An older recipe book written in 2006 and I purchased it about two years ago when we first began our cooking and baking frenzy at home.  There are a couple of bread recipes in this book I really like and one in particular that my older son has made in the past.

I, on the other hand, have only tried ‘baking’ a few months ago, when we moved into our new home.  Yesterday, I took out this cookbook that has remained untouched in the pantry for about the same duration as when we moved in!  Upon the revisit, I immediately opened it to the same bread recipe I have been wanting to bake for myself…Sweet French Loaf.

I know, I know for some you it’s not exactly the Kobe beef of choice…but if you have not tried beef tongue cooked the authentic French way, then you are truly missing out!  I give my hubby 100% credit for cooking the best beef tongue I’ve ever had.  It’s a must-try…at least once.

Making butter is quite easy: heavy cream needs to be shaken or beaten to a point where the buttermilk and butterfat separate. This can be done in an old-fashioned churn, by shaking the cream vigorously in a jam jar for about 30 minutes (See my last post about a butter kit I purchased), or by the easiest method–I am happy to share, a stand mixer. Just don’t leave it unattended as the separation of butterfat and buttermilk happens instantly within 20 minutes time.

I was really in a mood for cooking another authentic Filipino dish.  So for dinner the other day I made a combination of two of my favourite components (or dishes) and blended the two together making one scrumptious entrée.

So in the back of my mind I’ve had this pending goal that one day I will make pistachio ice cream from scratch.  Two weeks ago I got around to buying the pistachio nuts from the grocer and placing it at the usual spot in the pantry for later use.  But of course, my hubby and the ‘lil guy kept munching on them i.e., for a TV snack.  So much for THAT bag of nuts.

Again, this week, another attempt to buy a bag of pistachio nuts–this time I had the ‘lil guy with me, so I specifically told him that I would make some ice cream with those nuts–hint, hint.  In an effort to end my endless plea of please don’t eat the pistachios, I finally decided to make some yesterday!  Yesiree…Egg-less Pistachio Ice Cream, made especially for my hubby. It is his favorite after all.

Saturday late afternoon, hubby, my 9-year old and I were invited to a friend’s house to shoot the breeze–both metaphorically and literally!  George, our friend, who was also our realtor when we initially met, (We met George when we were house hunting summer of last year) invited us to come over, meet the girlfriend, meet the family and do some target shooting in their property.  So what does all this have to do with fruit tarts?