In midst of the apple orchards and vineyards that surround our neighboring home amidst came wild grapes that settled in our garden.  Coincidentally, I also happen to LOVE dolmádes.  And so with grapes, comes grape leaves…thus, I seized the opportunity!

For lunch today I made two simple dishes…nachos for hubby, our little guy, and myself, as well as, a baked farm-raised trout for my mom.  I made both in less than an hour.  They are light to the tummy and easy on the budget with usage of items you probably already have in your fridge and/or pantry.

This is a rich, smooth, spreadable pâté, ideally using fresh, organic chicken livers.  Goes great with crunchy toasts!  Sealing the surface with a slick of clarified butter (see below), or with jellied stock helps to preserve the pâté’s pink tinge and basically stops it from graying.

Aside from the chicken liver pâté, I also experimented with making potted shrimp since I had a few cooked shrimp left over from making Pancit (rice noodles) just a few days ago.

Last year I tried to experiment with making homemade dolmades, but was unsuccessful with the rice bit.  It was not cooked all the way through…so, I have not given it another go ever since.  Having been exposed to dolmades at a young age, thanks to a handful of friends whose moms’ were experts in the making of, my palette simply fell in love with them.

Let’s face it, I just can’t resist the scent of fresh-baked bread in the oven.  However, seldom as it may, I do fall short on time because of reasons X, Y & Z; -or- our little guy just can’t wait for that dough to rise in two hours; only to wait yet another hour after kneading the bread, er, ummm…you know the drill. 

This is a simple drink that I grew up with in the Philippines.  There is really not much to making this drink but fruit, water, milk and sugar, yet it’s quite refreshing!  If you Google it, you will see that it’s made in many varieties, depending on everyone’s preference.  I never even realized that you can add milk to it as I have always had it without.  Regardless, below you will find my own, simple recipe for cantaloupe coolers and, perhaps you can put your own twist to this drink, as well 😉  Cheers!-gcc

Tres leches” is Spanish for “three milks.”  The cakes that bear this name are sponge cakes that are literally soaked in three types of milk: sweetened condensed, evaporated and half-and-half [for this recipe].  However, whole milk or heavy cream can also be used, depending on your preference.  These cakes are also topped simply with a homemade sweetened whipped cream and maraschino cherries.

Spring 2012, 10 am.  Hungry for a good, hardy meal.  My family and I recently moved to Placerville at the time and were anxious to experience the local eateries in town.  Whilst perusing through the menu at the Buttercup Pantry on Main Street, I couldn’t help but notice the ‘Hangout Fry’. So when the waitress came back around to take our order, I asked her what this omelet menagerie was all about.  Sure enough and without hesitation, our waitress was overjoyed to share her short-version story of the ‘Hangtown Fry‘…

It’s Superbowl Sunday today and the best excuse to cook up something good, easy and feed-a-lot friendly!  So what I have for you are homemade tortilla chips, with salsa fresca.  I also had some bean and cheese dip per request from our little guy (not homemade, except for the Serrano pepper I charred on the stove top.  Does this count?)

Ever since I spotted a tiny little kitchen gadget–doughnut cutter from Williams-Sonoma, I have had the inkling to make doughnuts at home! On a similar note, last week we ventured to a shopping center and luckily enough, I spotted a Williams-Sonoma store. Once in, one of the first things that came to mind, of course, was that inevitable doughnut cutter that has been lingering back and forth in my WS ‘shopping cart’ online. CONSIDERING that it is always best seeing, touching, and experiencing things ‘in-person’, I was beside myself when I finally purchase the doughnut cutter, along with a ‘few’ other little items, that will eventually join the gaggle of gadgets already situated in our kitchen drawer.

Looking for something fancy and fabulous to bake and gift for the holidays?   Well, with a little imagination and creativity take a few simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter and eggs and get ready to strut their stuff in the kitchen!

Now, do you remember those wonderful glasses with a pattern-etched stamp or glass?  I know I do, only I remember them being back at my parents home when I was about 8 years old.  Well, who would have thought that these wonderful glasses would add touch of elegance to cookies?

Beignet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beignet (pronounced /bɛnˈjeɪ/ in English, /bɛˈɲɛ/ in French; French, literally “bump“),[1] synonymous with the English “fritter”, is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux paste.[2] Beignets are commonly known in the U.S. as a dessert served with powdered sugar on top; however, they may be savory dishes as well and may contain meat, vegetables, or fruits.[2] They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot.

Good Afternoon! Last night I ended the evening with ‘50 Shades of Chicken‘, a cookbook parody on my Instagram portfolio… Although this recipe is adapted from a different cookbook: Memories of Philippine Kitchens, this morning I start the day early with my own ‘first shade’ parody of Chicken: RED. Hence, I bring to you a popular dish from the city of Bacolod, Philippines, ‘Chicken Inasal’. This dish uses different ingredients for its marinade and basting sauce that create a unique flavour. Cooking it calls for a constant basting of lemon butter sauce with annatto (a natural plant extract used as dye) which gives it a unique hue of red in colour.

In continuation of all-things natural, how about a refreshing natural drink? And what can be more refreshing and good for you, too? Water!  Simply water, with a touch of fruity goodness is sure to quench your thirst in a most satisfying and guilt-free way…

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…