Archive for March, 2008

Olive oil almond cookies, kinda healthy


I was making these for my dad and I wanted to make them as healthy as possible. They taste similar to almond cookies you’d find at Chinese bakeries but better. Olive oil made the cookies crunchy and added another level of nuttiness. Best part, how quick and simple it is to throw together.

Olive oil almond cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • slivered almonds to garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 355º. Mix everything (except slivered almonds) together in a bowl till completely incorporated. Take about 2 1/2 tablespoons of dough, rolled in your hands (small ping pong ball sized) and flatten out to patties; place on parchment lined cookie sheet, press slivered almonds on top. Makes about 18 cookies. Space them out, they will expand. Bake for 20 minutes, should be lightly golden all around.


Thinking back on it, I could’ve used whole wheat pastry flour or graham flour. There’s always a next time.

lina-sm.gif – L


March 30, 2008 at 5:59 am 10 comments

Rice porridge for what ails you


Right now, I fear I will catch what the hubby has (fever, aches, and coughs). He never gets this sick usually. I’m keeping him hydrated, and made rice porridge (not the one pictured, that was from weeks ago). By the time he’s better, my immune system will probably give in. And this will be his instructions. I don’t expect him to be able to make anything more than just the rice porridge part.

Rice porridge

  • Dashi:
  • 2 quarts water
  • 5x8inch piece of kombu
  • 1/2 cup bonito flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice (long or short grain)

teadashibag.jpg small cooked piece of kombu, used bonito tea bag, pack of tea bags

Put water, kombu and bonito flakes (in tea bag/dashi bag/or tied up cheese cloth) in pot. Cover, bring to a boil on medium, let simmer for a minute or two, then turn off heat, and remove the kombu and bonito package. Kombu will expand when cooked. For a vegan dashi; use kombu and one dried shitake mushroom. Or simply make it with only water.

Rinse rice with cold water and add to dashi. If using a regular pot on stovetop, bring to boil and let simmer on low for 90mins to 2hrs. When using a rice cooker you can just put it in and let it run on porridge mode, but make sure you know what the maximum capacity for porridge is. If using a pressure cooker (making sure you are well with in the max fill line) secure the lid, and bring to a boil, locking in the lid. On medium low, let it cook for 20-25mins. After turning off the heat and letting the pressure dissipate, take the lid off, stir (add more water if it seems to be too thick) and simmer for another 5-10mins.


Kombu enoki relish

  • Kombu leftover from dashi
  • 1 large package of enoki (about 1 3/4 cup worth when chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of mirin

Cut kombu into small 1/2 -3/4 inch pieces. Cut enoki into 3/4 -1 inch long segments. Combine kombu, enoki with water, soy, mirin in small pot and bring to a boil, simmer on medium till the liquid is mostly gone and you are left with a syrupy sauce. Sprinkle on sansho pepper at the end.

Nori sauce

  • 4 sheets of nori, torn into small pieces
  • 2 shitake mushrooms sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sake (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Combine nori, mushrooms, soy, mirin, sake, and water in small pot and bring to a boil, simmer on medium till the liquid is mostly gone and you are left with a syrupy sauce. Sprinkle on sesame seeds at the end.

Spinach with sesame

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat skillet on medium high, add oil, garlic and sesame seeds, then add in the spinach. Stir and cook till spinach just wilts, turn off heat, add in salt and sesame oil, toss and mix well.

Addition sides

  • ume (umeboshi)
  • fish (hot smoked mackerel or salmon, fish cake)
  • egg (hard/soft boiled)
  • edamame

Wish spring was here already.lina-sm.gif

March 27, 2008 at 5:41 am 1 comment

Nirvana Café, Sri Lankan food in Manhattan


I would describe Sri Lankan food as spicy and pungent (which may scare off people more than the spice part). These were from a visit earlier this month but I was sidetracked by other stuff, so finally here are the pictures from the Nirvana Café 218 3rd Ave New York, NY 10010. (Menu)

We missed the lunch buffet but there is the dinner special. Get one entrée and the second one is half off.


Passion fruit cordial and Faluda (mixture of milk, rose syrup, and jelly). The sweet drinks really helped to curb the spice load.


We had the Appetizer Assortment (platter of three cutlets, spring rolls and vadais/lentil cake). The cutlet is like a knish with tuna, I really liked it. The spring rolls were good with the spicy dipping sauces. The lentil cakes were hard and I didn’t really care for them.


We really filled up too much on the appetizers. So the Eggplant Moju side was really unnecessary. It’s a deeply caramelized dish of onions and eggplant, its okay, would’ve been better paired with plain rice.



For entrées; I had the String Hopper Kottu: shredded, steamed rice noodles sautéed with vegetables and egg served with fish curry sauce (had to contend with some small bones, not too many). Evan had the Lamprai: dutch-style savory rice accompanied with a curry, sweet-spicy onion relish (seeni sambol) fish cutlet, ash plantain and shrimp blachan (malay shrimp paste) wrapped altogether in a banana leaf. The shrimp paste gave it a really strong smell but the taste wasn’t as strong. It was a lot of food, we end up taking home half our plates and most of the eggplant. I had the Curd and Treacle (forgot to take pic) for dessert, it’s a tart yogurt drizzled with honey (good for digestion). Next time I want to try more desserts and maybe cut back on the appetizers.

lina-sm.gif – Lina

March 24, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments

Dulce de coco bread


Dulce de coco bread (¿pan de dulce de coco?)***

  • 3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour *
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or melted butter/organic shortening)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup** dulce de coco (or any caramel sauce/dulce de leche)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup** chopped pecans (or any nut)

*I always add a tablespoon or two of semolina flour to regular flour when making bread instead of using special bread flour for extra gluten. I ran out of regular flour when I was making this and ended up using a half cup of semolina, resulting in a more elastic and yellow dough. It’s a good ingredient to have around for bread making and polenta (mixed in for a smoother texture).

**Adjust it accordingly to your preferences.

*** I never took Spanish in high school, hence the question marks.


This is after the first rising.

Mix together flour, semolina (or just more flour if you don’t have it), salt, sugar, and yeast. Beat eggs, water and oil together and mix into the dry ingredients. Work the dough together for about 10-15mins (mixing or kneading); it may need extra flour if it’s too wet or water if it’s too dry. The dough will be become smoother but still a little sticky. Loosely cover and set aside somewhere warm till it has doubled it size.


If you haven’t made the dulce de coco beforehand this would be the time to do it. In whatever pan you want to bake in (make sure it’s somewhat deep, you’ll need room for it to rise), pour in the caramel and nuts.



After the dough has risen, break off pieces about the size of small baseballs; roll them in the caramel and arrange them in the pan. Set aside in a warm place till they doubled in size again. In a preheated oven at 375º, bake for 25mins. After a short cooling, you can flip them out easily.


They taste best when warm, pulls apart easily too.


lina-sm.gif – L

P.S. I added banners on the right for my links, check them out. 🙂

March 21, 2008 at 7:04 am 2 comments

Dulce de Coco


After seeing all the dulce de leche recipes on TasteSpotting lately I was really craving some badly. But I wanted a non dairy version to please the hubby and to save up my dairy points (for frozen treats later). I went with coconut milk and it turned out better than I expected. It reminded me of coconut caramel candies and has a really silky texture, totally addictive. It’s pretty easy to make but you need to keep your eyes on it the whole time. 

Dulce de Coco/ Coconut caramel sauce

  • 1 can (14oz) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat up the sugar and water on high. Open can of coconut milk and leave aside. Let the sugar boil, the bubbles should be going very rapidly and large when all the water boils away. Now you have to watch it intensely. The color will first turn light amber, with a long metal spoon you can stir and lift the sugar up, checking on the color. When it looks like a medium dark maple syrup, turn down the heat, pour in the coconut milk. Bring heat back up high; keep stirring till it’s all incorporated. Keep boiling till desired thickness.


It made about a jelly jar full, used half for a sticky bun recipe

lina-sm.gif -L

March 18, 2008 at 7:08 am 6 comments

Palappam, Indian rice pancake


According to wikipedia; appam’ is fermented bread usually prepared with finely powdered rice flour. Palappam has a crisp lacy edge from being cooked in curved pans like woks.

The first time I had tried them was at a Sri Lankan restaurant in Staten Island, they called them hoppers (not to be confused with string hoppers which I had done at another Sri Lankan restaurant).

An egg goes on every fourth one (optional?), and I tried to keep the yolk runny. I used the recipe from Salt and Pepper, a simple recipe with really helpful photos, using just rice flour, coconut milk, and yeast. From what is I saw of all the rest of the recipes online, you basically need some raw rice and cooked rice. I took 2 tablespoons of rice flour and cooked it with some water to form a paste, the “kurukku” part (to be mixed with raw rice flour, can of coconut milk, and yeast). It ferments overnight, so plan ahead. In the morning the batter was thick and needed to be thinned out. The first one stuck to the pan, but the rest worked out great. This broke in my newly seasoned wok. Overall, it was much easier than I had expected. Unfortunately I didn’t have a good Sri Lankan fish curry to go with it. You can also eat it with sweet accompaniments instead of savory. They have a slight tangy coconut flavor and fluffy texture.



March 16, 2008 at 5:10 am 3 comments

mini baked donuts


This recipe is courtesy of veganyumyum. I tweaked things as always, but my brother showed me this recipe the other day and asked if I would help him make it, and I said yes, of course. Here’s a story though. We went to two grocery stores and a target before we finally found some silicone bundt cake things. We almost gave up on this, but luckily we found some that we could use for the donut shape.

Mini Baked Donuts :

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 /2 c. soymilk (we used a vanilla light soymilk)
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. egg beaters (or any other egg substitute) or 1 egg, whichever you prefer
  • 4 tbs. butter (or earth balance, which is some organic butter substitute)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small sauce pan, place butter, milk, vinegar and vanilla and heat on low to med heat until butter is halfway melted. THEN, bring heat to low and add egg. I suggest adding the egg last. See, I had to throw away my first batch because I put the heat too high and the egg started to cook. It looked like scrambled eggs.  The mixture should be warm enough to touch, but not hot or else it’ll be too hot for the dough. Be sure to continously mix the wet ingredients while butter is melting. Once butter is melted, take wet mixture and slowly add to bowl of dry ingredients and mix together until you get a soft dough. I think our dough was a little softer and not as clumpy looking, but it still turned out well. Fill bundt pans about 1/2 way. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Use toothpick test to make sure they’re done.


Before glazing and adding all sorts of toppings, allow donuts to completely cool. To make chocolate glaze, get one bag of milk chocolate choco chips and melt in a double boiler. To make a sugar glaze, use 1/2 c. confectioners sugar and mix with 1.5 tsp. soymilk. Whisk together and you should have a nice glaze for your donuts. Add any toppings you like and enjoy.


We tried not to eat them all tonight, but failed miserably. They’re all gone now. Also, the other recipe says it yields 20 mini donuts, but we barely managed to get 10, so I’m thinking it all has to do with the pan used. See, I can make semi healthy things too! hahaha ^__^ Till next time!

P.S. These were REALLY good. I’m so not the healthy one on this blog, but the nutmeg and cinnamon add great flavor and the texture of the donut was just so melt in your mouth yums.

reina-sm.gif –Chelle

    March 15, 2008 at 5:17 am 8 comments

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