Sunday, July 20, 2014

Palitaw


Two weeks ago I had my graduation and 23rd birthday party!! After many recipes that were tested to go on the dessert portion of the buffet table, this recipe made the cut. It's called Palitaw. I know what you're thinking, "Finally!! A Filipino dessert!!" and yes, you are right!


So what is Palitaw? Well, it's a rice cake that is cooked by boiling, drained and dipped into grated coconut that you can find in the freezer section of most asian grocery stores. From there, you dip the coconut covered rice cakes in a sesame seed and white sugar mixture. Some people dip the rice cakes immediately and place them on the party platter but for my party, we served the sesame seed and sugar mixture on the side.


Palitaw is chewy and soft, has great texture from the coconut and is given a slightly nutty and sweet flavor from the sugar mixture. These are one of my favorite filipino desserts and can become very addicting!


Palitaw
Recipe by Panlasang Pinoy

Ingredients
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup sesame seeds, roasted
1 cup grated coconut

Directions
Combine glutinous rice flour with water and mix until a dough is formed. If the dough is still dry, add more water. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough then mold it into a ball-shaped figure. Flatten the ball-shaped dough using the palm of your hands.

Boil water in a cooking pot then put-in the flattened dough. When the flattened dough starts to float, remove them from the pot and set it aside allowing water to drip. Combine sugar and roasted sesame seeds then mix well. Dunk the rice cake in grated coconut and arrange on platter. Serve with a bowl of the sugar-sesame seed mixture to dip in on the side.

-Aaron John

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raspberry Crumble Bars


Well, well, well, it looks like I'M BACK! After five years of homework, studying, projects, essays, labs, quizzes, midterms and finals, I am officially a graduate of the University of Washington with a double degree in Biochemistry & Chemistry and a minor in Diversity. It has been a long road full of triumphs and failures, but I did it! Now the question is, what's next?



When I started my journey at UW-Seattle, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I jumped from different ideas, from pharmacy, to business, to just wanting to drop out and go to culinary school. People always say, "Do what you love", even my friends say that. But growing up, when you have to work for everything you've ever owned, where nothing is handed on a silver platter, where every time that tuition statement comes out, you hate to tell your parents about how much tuition was raised, doing what you love didn't really seem like an option. If I wanted to live out my dream whether that be a bakery, cafe or some show on the Food Network or Cooking Channel, I needed a backup plan and that was my two degrees.


After all is said and done, I still don't know what I want to do with my life. What I do know is that I'm going to take a year off of school, apply to pharmacy schools in the fall and look for jobs in the meantime. If I find a job god enough, maybe pharmacy school isn't necessary. But, that's what this next year is all about, figuring out my next step in life.


Until then, there is one last thing to do before I figure out my life, and that is my joint graduation and 23rd birthday party! Can I just say, I haven't had a party like this since grade school so this is kind of a big deal. This past week, I've been testing out recipes on what desserts I need to make and this was one recipe I tried out. These raspberry crumble bars were fantastic. My only criticism would be to bake the bottom layer for about 20 min or until lightly golden brown before adding the raspberry preserves. I found the bottom layer to be a bit soft and failed to hold together if that's not done. Other than that, this may be an option for the party!


Raspberry Crumble Bars
Recipe by Anne Thornton

Ingredients
2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Raspberry Preserves, recipe follows

Raspberry Preserves
1 quart raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 3/4 cup sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Add the flour, both sugars, oats and salt to a bowl in your stand mixer. Add in the butter and egg and beat at low speed. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl down a couple of times. Keep processing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Keep 2 cups crumb mixture aside.

Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the Raspberry Preserves over top, leaving 1/2-inch border. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the preserves.

Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Raspberry Preserves:
Put your raspberries and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's at a simmer, partially cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Pass the berry mixture through a food mill and measure the liquid that remains. You need 3 1/2 cups. Add more water if there isn't enough.

Put the berry liquid into a new saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer again. Once it simmers, start adding your sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Give it a stir to incorporate and bring it back to a simmer before adding of the next 1/2 cup sugar. Once the last 1/2 cup is added, bring the liquid to 216 to 218 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir constantly. Let this cool to room temperature prior to using. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to 1 week

-Aaron John

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ariadne Pure: Raw Honey with Hazelnuts Review


About a month ago, I was contacted by Tasos of Ariadne Pure asking me to review one of their newer products, a raw honey with hazelnuts spread. A quick look at their website www.ariadnepure.com allowed me to learn a little more about Ariadne Pure. Ariadne Pure specializes in Greek centered products whether it be Extra Virgin Olive oil, wines or organic raw honeys. So, when asked if I would be willing to review their raw honey with hazelnuts, I happily obliged. Not to mention, it's also organic.


First of all, when I opened the package and pulled out the jar, I was impressed with just how it looked. It was simple, yet elegant at the same time. There's just something about putting a simple piece of decorative paper with twine, a long with a label, that just makes things look as if they took the time and effort just to make sure everything looks as good as their product tastes. Simply, it just shows that they believe in their product completely.


Now for the taste. Before I even opened the jar, I had preconceived notions of what it was going to taste like. Think Nutella without the chocolate, and replace that with the floral sweetness of honey. I also thought it would be chunky from the hazelnuts, giving it a crunchy textural aspect.

What did it actually taste like? It was sweet with those hints of floral notes from the honey and the flavor of the hazelnuts came right through. However, unlike what I thought about the texture before, this raw honey with hazelnut spread was completely smooth which surprised me. It was legitimately like Nutella, without the chocolate, and really allowed the honey to shine with hints of hazelnut flavor. Cool right? But, be careful with this product, a little goes a long way. Remember, this is honey! It would be a no-no to take a spoon and eat it straight out of the jar like Nutella. But hey, who am I to judge?

I would love to try this product on biscuits, bake it into corn muffins, or make cakes out of it! Given that the texture is smooth, this can be used directly in recipes that call for honey. This honey will give added flavor from the hazelnuts, which will add more dimension to recipes. Not into hazelnuts? Well, head on over to www.ariadnepure.com and check out their other honey spreads with almonds, peanuts and so much more!


I want to thank Ariadne Pure for allowing me to review their product. This is the thing I love about being a food blogger. It has allowed me to venture out and try products that I wouldn't normally go out and try, because I don't have knowledge of every single company out there. Before being contacted by Ariadne Pure, I had no clue it existed! Now that I know about them, so can you all!! So, get out there and try their product and let me and them know what you think of their stuff!

-Aaron John

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)


Sinangag or how I like to say it, Sina-na-na-nag. Growing up in a Filipino household, it was rare to have a "Diner-type" U.S. breakfast. You know, the kind with eggs, bacon, hash browns and pancakes? That kind of a meal was a special occasion kind of thing. Most of the time we had this, Sinangag or garlic fried rice. 


You see, Sinangag is the main component of the typical Filipino breakfast. Spam and Sinangag. Longaniza sausage and Sinangag. Daing (Milk Fish) and Sinangag. Toyo (dried fish) and Sinangag. If it's breakfast, you best believe Sinangag is going to make an appearance.


When you make Sinangag just right, you can eat it all by itself. Sometimes I get seconds of just rice. No joke. There's something about the garlic rice that's delicious and with just the right amount of salt, it makes it so good! So, take a stab at the filipino breakfast and start with this simple Sinangag!


Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)
Recipe by Me

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, cooked
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
In a wok or medium sized skillet, add the oil and heat it on the stove on medium high heat. Once hot, add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Don't brown the garlic! Crack in the egg and puncture the egg yolk. Allow it to cook for about 1 minute before disturbing. Once somewhat cooked, begin to break up the egg and mix with the oil and minced garlic. Once the egg is fully cooked, add in the rice and mix to even disperse the egg, garlic and oil. Season with salt and cook for another 3-5 minutes until any residual moisture from the rice has evaporated.

-Aaron John

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies


After receiving loose leaf teas from "The Tea Company", the search was on for what to do with them. A post on instagram got my friend J to suggest I make Tea Cookies. Honestly, I've never heard of them before. I mean, Tea Cookies...with actual tea leaves in them. Really?


A bunch of questions ran through my head and the primary question was "Can you eat tea leaves?" I mean, it's not like I think tea is poisonous, we can drink it after all. But, can we digest them? You know how you can use bay leaves in things like beef stew and such, well, you don't eat the bay leaf now do ya'. Well, "Can you eat tea leaves?"


But, if a recipe says to put Earl Grey Tea leaves into the cookie, I assume tea is edible. If not, Claire Robinson would be arrested. But look, I'm still alive! 

I used "The Tea Company" Earl Grey Creme which gave the cookies a slight anise flavor. This recipe used powdered sugar which gave the cookies this crackly outer cookie which was unique. So, who knew you can eat tea leaves? I sure didn't.

AJ's Secrets
-Instead of pulsing the flour, salt and tea together, I pulsed the tea in the food processor first before I added the flour and salt. This just ensured there weren't too many large pieces of tea leaves.


Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
Recipe by Claire Robinson

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Directions
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart (2 probably needed depending on size of sheets). Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.

-Aaron John

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