Thursday, December 24, 2009


The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
It's my favorite time of the year! Christmas makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and everything feels right...except that 2009 has been extra challenging for me in more ways than one. But still, when Christmas comes it just makes things so much better.
And now, it's that time of the month when all Daring Bakers around the world come together to rise up to the challenge! It was a pleasant surprise for me to find out that it was a gingerbread house. This is the first time I made one and I kept checking the forums for tips. I was not disappointed--everyone was kind enough to offer tips and suggestions. I did the recipe of Y and didn't have any problems with it. I made mine very simple :)
The gingerbread after coming out of the oven and cutting
I used extra pieces to hold everything together

The finished product--I have to control myself from eating some of the candies left over from decorating!

Beside the Christmas tree!
Thank you Anna and Y for choosing gingerbread house which I wouldn't do on my own but now have done so!

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 2009 Daring Cooks' Challenge--SALMON EN CROUTE

The 2009 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon En Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetabe En Croute) from Good Food Online.
Oh wow, it's that time of the month again for the Daring Cooks' Challenge!! And this time, I finished mine early!! I chose to make Salmon En Croute even though we were given the option to make Beef Wellington or Vegetable En Croute. Things are a bit hectic here in my part of the world, Christmas starts early in the Philippines, as soon as the "ber" months hits the calendar, everyone is on holiday mode already. The supermarket was full when I arrived at 11 in the morning but thankfully, I still managed to get a slab of salmon fillet, which is not available in the supermarkets near my house. I also chose to use spinach and cream cheese for my sauce. I didn't want to deviate too much from the recipe because I wanted the salmon to be the center of the show. I also made my own shortcrust pastry and didnt have any problems with it. It was the right consistency and wasnt tough at all when baked. And the colors were wonderful...
Spinach and Creamcheese sauce

Salmon on the rolled out shortcrust pasty

Spinach sauce on top of the salmon on top of the shortcrust pastry :)

My Salmon En Croute egg-washed and ready for baking, notice I used the star cut-outs to hide the almost-open pastry :)

The finished product!!
I was happy with this challenge and I think I will be using this recipe for our Christmas dinner on the 24th. The most important thing I did was to choose the freshest salmon I could find because in the end, salmon was the star of this dish.
Thank you Simone for choosing this challenge. A very merry Christmas to everyone!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Crab Stick Open-faced Sandwich

It's always a ritual for me to eat a "snack" in the afternoon, when I take a break from working. Light almost always means a grilled cheese sandwich. But there are days when I just feel like eating something different, like this. I was supposed to put this as siding to one of my Sushi Daring Cooks' Challenge but I never got around to doing it. So I made it into an open-faced sandwich instead.
6 sticks crabstick, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon refined sugar
1 stalk celery, peeled and diced small
Mix shredded crabstick,mayonnaise, sugar until well combined. Add celery bits. Top on toasted sliced french bread. Top with parmesan cheese...Enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Braised Tofu and Mushrooms

I could say tofu is one of my favorite protein sources, there are days, I crave for it especially when I have back-to-back meat days...and this is one of my no-fail tofu recipes, full of taste and texture, I forget there's no meat in it.
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 block tofu, firm
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 piece onion, minced
2 pieces dried wood ear mushroom, rehydrated in hot water and sliced
1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 piece chili, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in
3 tablespoons water

Drain tofu, dice, dredge with flour and pan-fry until golden brown in preheated pan with oil. Drain excess oil, saute onions, garlic and chili. Combine soy sauce, and cornstarch dissolved in water. Add to pan. Cook until fragrant. Pour in mushrooms. Add back the tofu, and cook adding more water as necessary until sauce coats the tofu pieces. You may want to season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot rice.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I have always been fascinated with making my own bread, but it's not often that I have the luxury of time to do it. Today, I had no choice, I had to make time for it even if I was very busy. I made french bread, and sliced them into thin discs. It's part of a Christmas basket that I'm doing with friends. I usually follow the recipe for this in my Professional Baking book but I found this super simple fool-proof recipe online.


1 cup WATER, warm


1 1/2 teaspoons SALT

3 teaspoons YEAST

In a bowl, mix bread flour and yeast together. Dissolve salt in water. Add water a little at a time until dough comes together. You may not need to use all of the water--it's plus or minus. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead for 8-10 minutes until dough is elastic. Round out the dough and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise until double in volume about 1 hour. Punch dough to release gas, turn out onto floured surface, knead a little. Divide dough into 3 and form into logs. Make diagonal gashes with a knife. Place on greased and floured pans. Cover with towel and proof for 15 minutes. Before baking brush with a mixture of cornstarch and water. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool, slice into discs, brush with oil and bake for another 15 minutes. This can be used as base for bruschetta. There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread filling the kitchen...yum...