Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight


Christmas Eve dinner was nothing extravagant. It never is in our house. I did take extra time and effort to make it more special than usual but, to be honest, the conversations and the bantering turned out to be more memorable than the food. Which is as it should be, I think. After all, the food is but a backdrop; the real celebration is having the family gathered together.

But this is a food blog so I’ll write about the dishes that I prepared for Christmas Eve dinner. »

Coconut pandan cake balls


Along with the nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls, I brought these very tropical morsels to a party with friends from the U.P. WILOCI. Why coconut and pandan? It's a classic combination in Southeast Asia, for one. But the more significant … »

Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls


Why didn't I realize before that cake balls make an ideal party dessert? Serve them on pretty paper cups (yes, the kind you line cupcake pans with) and there is no need to cut and serve. That's less work for any host and hostess, and that also means … »

Holiday beef stew


Aaahhh, the deep richness of stew that had been cooked in red wine. It's incomparable. So perfect for the chilly nights that go hand-in-glove with the holiday season. I used about three quarters of a bottle of Merlot for this beef stew, a generous … »

Birthday pancakes with lime glaze


Since the first time I came across a recipe for birthday pancakes, I've been dying to make my version. But the next birthday in the family won't be until January when Alex turns 20 and I don't think I can wait that long. So, I made birthday pancakes … »