All posts filed under: Cook

Mango Green Smoothie

One of my favorite things to do in the morning is make a smoothie. In fact, it is also one of my must-have breakfast items! Usually, I’d make a fruit smoothie consisting of some frozen fruits, yogurt, and honey. But since I am sure I don’t consume enough veggies, I decided to infuse my smoothie with some so I know I am at least consuming some greens in a day. For this recipe, I’m using Popeye’s favorite: green spinach. I came up with this recipe one morning when I was out of bread, out of cereal, and out of eggs. What I had on hand was some leftover baby spinach and frozen mangoes and bananas. So I decided to whip them up together. What resulted was a sweet, creamy, and of course healthy drink to fill me up! The great part about it? No precise measuring or fancy technique required! All you’re going to need are some spinach, frozen fruits (here I use a combination of banana dan mango), plain yogurt, iced water, and a dash of …

Homemade Chocolate Almond Butter Recipe

Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Well, I guess some people don’t. Well, guess what? That’s just wrong! What did peanut butter ever do to you that you could not like it? Peanut butter is seriously one of THE best foods in the world (for me, at least). It is literally a lifesaver. Have you seen the news where the one main thing people store in case of emergency or disaster is peanut butter? I’m serious. That’s because it’s full of protein and fat, so it fills you up. It’s also versatile – great on bread, with jelly, with apples and bananas, shakes, as a sauce, and even as is (as is meaning take your biggest spoon that’ll fit into a peanut butter jar, scoop, and eat). Although peanut butter is a delish tank-filler, I don’t know that the household blue-capped Skippy kind is actually healthy. It’s probably not. So I decided to try to make my own. But with almonds instead. And chocolate. Dark chocolate. I figured without all the other “extras” they put into …

Cooking Lao Food

Good morning! Our last full day in Vientiane and I was keyed up to get my hands dirty (well, not exactly dirty dirty, but working)! Since today was our last opportunity to be tourists in a foreign land, we thought we’d immerse ourselves in what makes a significant part of the Lao culture: its food (what else?). We spotted Vietnamese Australian chef Luke Nguyen on a billboard for a cooking class with Lao Experiences. In my head, I was thinking this may be our only chance to meet a celebrity on this trip… So here we were, arriving on a tuk-tuk at an idyllic hut, with Nouk, our charming and facetious cooking instructor, greeting us at the door. PACKAGES Fresh Market Tour & Tasting ($25 USD) Cooking and Cultural Experience ($35 USD) Both Experiences ($55 USD) All packages included transportation to and from the Full Moon Café, all fresh ingredients, cooking instructor, lunch in a garden setting, and a little Lao Recipe Booklet. The fresh market tour started earlier in the day and since we didn’t think we were that early …

Cucina in Italia: Making Gnocchi al Pomodoro, The Sure Italian Nonna Way

Just so we are clear on how much I love pasta, besides loving it with the red, white, black, pink, green, and all the medley of sauces out there, I enjoy it as is too. And I mean, no sauce. Plain pasta appeals to me. Believe it or not. Believe it. In fact, when I cook pasta, I usually make way too much pasta (read my tips on Cooking The Perfect Pasta) and end up with no sauce to pair. But it never goes to waste. And it never will. So when I heard the words “gnocchi,” “Italian granny,” and “come,” I didn’t need to hear the rest of the sentence. I came. Today’s Cucina in Italia session was hosted by the IIC (Istituto Italiano di Cultura) Jakarta, jointly led by the talented and spirited Cecilia and Alessandro, and get this: Cecilia’s nonna (granny) and zia (auntie) all the way in Italy via the unflagging support of our good friend Skype. And by the way, Nonna and Zia were as excited as we were about gnocchi, although with regards to …

Orange Almond Chocolate Chip Cake

There are few things I love more than a good banana bread. Actually, there are many, but let’s just say banana bread fits somewhere at the top of the list. Today, banana bread was on my mind so I headed for the kitchen. No bananas in sight. As I was about to give up and leave, there sat 5 beautiful oranges, just hanging out. And I thought, okay oranges, let’s turn you into a cake! I love a good taste, but I also love a good crunch. So I decided to throw in a bunch of almonds (a whole lot of them, actually). Here’s to give you an idea of how much almond was involved. I’ve never used so much in my life before. And then some chocolate chips. My excuse? I got one. They were, too, just hanging around. And you know how I feel about moping.  So here’s the ingredients list, and keep reading for a step-by-step guide: Wet ingredients: 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick) 2 tbsp grated orange zest 1/2 cup white sugar (I used …

The Ultimate Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

COOKIES! And chocolate chips. None of those raisin or fruit nonsense (sorry, I don’t actually mind raisins or fruits in general; I just do now). Here’s a step-by-step recipe on how to make the simplest most decadent chocolate chip cookies WITHOUT the use of a mixer. May I repeat: you do not need an electric mixer to make these cookies. Yay! That means no extra mess and fewer dishes to wash. All you need are your handy hands and a few simple tools. Here goes! INGREDIENTS: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 large egg 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips Note: the amounts of chocolate chips can be doubled for extra decadent cookies! Preheat the oven to 170C. Start with very soft butter in a bowl. Use a spatula to soften the butter. Add the white sugar and brown sugar to the butter. Blend thoroughly. Blend for about …

8 Kitchen Tricks Every Cook Should Know

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, although I don’t do it as much as I’d like to. Hence, it’s often (meaning all the time) a mystery to me. I’m not even talking about complex techniques that require special skills and practice over time. I find myself in awe time and again, how I manage to precisely follow a simple recipe and successfully ruin it. But for those occasional times I do whip up something triumphant, I thank these tips. Any cooking tips you find helpful? Share them below–I could always use more. 1. How to Remove Broken Egg Shell Bits Dropped into Eggs Wet your finger with water before attempting to fish it out. You’ll be surprised at how easily it can be grabbed and removed. 2. How to Break Open Stubborn Pistachio Nuts Many pistachios arrive in shells with little to no opening. Solution: take one half of a shell, stick it into even the littlest opening of an unopened pistachio, and turn the shell half like a key. The pistachio will …

Cooking the Perfect Pasta

Pasta is probably one of the single most popular and cooked dishes of all time, even though most still consider its cooking techniques a mystery. It’s simple yet complex, and can be prepared as an everyday dish as well as special occasions–birthdays, potlucks, holidays. Growing up, my Dad would often make pasta dishes (my favorite is his classic spaghetti bolognese), so I grew up consuming a lot of pasta and loving it. It’s one of those foods I can have everyday and not get sick of. Inspired by my old man, I started learning to cook pasta when I left for college. At first I’d play it safe by using readily available pre-packaged pasta sauces. But then I’d read about how sauces that are made from scratch taste better and are better for you, so I started buying whole tomatoes and making my own. Sad to say that pre-packaged sauces tasted better. But that’s okay, it just means I’ll have to give it more tries. Over the years, I’ve been taught and self-taught on the …