Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight

christmas-eve-salsa

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 … [Read more...]

Roast duck with orange-lime-honey glaze

roast-duck-orange-honey-glaze

Yesterday, December 12, was our 22nd wedding anniversary. The plan was to spend the day in Chinatown just eating, walking, eating, food shopping... Visiting those quaint stores that sell ingredients that make Chinese food smell and taste really Chinese. Unfortunately, we overslept. So, I suggested buying a duck, roasting it and have a roast duck dinner at home. Just the … [Read more...]

Food gifts you can give this holiday season: Such Anghang Suka! by MISISPI

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Food is becoming more and more popular for holiday gift giving. I guess chocolates will remain number one (who doesn't love chocolates?) with cookies and pastries a close second, but artisanal food products are fast becoming the rage. This year, I received a bottle of spiced vinegar from a friend who, during the party where we had the "exchange gift", told us the vinegar … [Read more...]

Coconut pandan cake balls

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 reason...See, I was browsing Google images of "cake balls" for ideas and inspiration, and ninety percent of the images were of … [Read more...]

Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls

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 no dessert plates and forks to grapple with.These nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon balls were what I brought to an early … [Read more...]

Holiday beef stew

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 amount of herbs was added and the sauce was thickened with a mixture of flour and butter.It starts with mirepoix which … [Read more...]

Slow cooker Asian-style glazed beef ribs

slow-cooker-bbq-beef-ribs

Just multiply the amount of ingredients and you've got a party-perfect dish that can be prepared a day or two ahead. In fact, this braised beef dish with barbecue sauce-style glaze benefits from the early preparation as the beef gets more time to soak up all the goodness of everything in the sauce. So easy to make. Place the beef in the slow cooker. Mix your sauce. Pour … [Read more...]

Macaroni in cream sauce with bacon, mushrooms and asparagus

macaroni-bacon-mushrooms-asparagus

Noodles, collectively, is such a party favorite. In Asia, no birthday is ever complete without a long noodle dish which symbolizes wishes for a long life. For big gatherings, noodles serve a dual purpose. First, almost everyone loves them. Second, noodle dishes are relatively inexpensive to prepare.This pasta dish is not among the least expensive pasta dish there is. … [Read more...]

Oats and chocolate chips confetti muffins for a holiday brunch or for gift-giving

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Sometimes, we get so caught up preparing for that special holiday dinner that we forget we need to eat breakfast and lunch too. These festive-looking muffins with their burst of colors are perfect for that quick breakfast or brunch. They look so good that they amplify the holiday mood even more. And they are healthy, believe it or not. There is more rolled oats in them … [Read more...]

Birthday pancakes with lime glaze

birthday-pancakes

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 today even if it's no one's birthday. I'll just pretend it's mine.There are many versions of birthday pancakes on the … [Read more...]