Friday, January 02, 2015

Cooking Mama (Part 2)

It seems that it's only during Christmas season that I get to practice my cooking skills. (As proof, it was in Christmas also of 2012 that I was able to cook as much which I wrote about here.) I've cooked and learned to cook several dishes last month and I'm so proud that I was able to get the taste right. Here are the dishes/pastries that I was able to make:

1) Chicken Afritada
Chicken Afritada
 The chicken afritada I was able to cook a few days after Christmas when our cook and back-up cook (who also happens to be our driver), went on vacation. My mother-in-law asked me to make something for dinner and after scrounging around in the freezer, I found chicken and other ingredients for afritada.

I cheated a little by buying afritada mix and using that as the sauce base. With a little help from Google, I managed to come up with an edible and tasteful dinner. The potatoes and carrots were softened just right and the chicken was cooked to the bone. I think I added tomato sauce to the afritada mix. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce tasted the way I wanted afritada to taste.

2) Carbonara
The spread on the right is part of our Christmas Day lunch. It was potluck so different members of my hubby's family brought the rest of the food.

The one that I cooked was carbonara (refer to the red arrow). I also cheated here by using ready made carbonara sauce but I mixed in all purpose cream as well as cream of mushroom. I also added pasta cheese while it was bubbling away. Afterwards, I sprinkled bacon on top and it tasted really delicious. It was cheesy and creamy. It must've been really good because it was gone in less than an hour.

3) Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookies
Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookies
 The cookies on the left are actually my signature cookies. I've been baking them for as long as I can remember. I baked them again this Christmas so Basti can give them away as gifts to his classmates. I made the mistake of letting my son help and turning my back on him as the dough suddenly turned out to be really hard. I don't know if he put in more flour or if I overmeasured. I had no choice but to make another batch and that was enough for his 20+ classmates.

I changed the recipe this time around by substituting the one bag of choco chips (I use 2 12 oz bags in my recipe) with Reese peanut butter chips. It was a successful experiment as I love the additional taste of peanut butter in the cookies. Hopefully, I'll be able to replicate them again soon. I just love cooking for my son and this is one of his favorites.

4) Chocolate chip cupcakes
My top team gifted me with a Martha Stewart cupcake recipe book on my birthday. As I have never baked cupcakes before, I guess it's time that I learned how to do so and with the long break (which I wasted 3 days on bed because of my bum foot), I decided to test the recipes out.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
The chocolate chip cupcakes were my first attempt. The taste was spot on however, there were some flaws with the result. For one, the choco chips sank to the bottom. I checked the recipe again and it DID say to roll the chips first in flour before adding them in the batter. I skipped that part and just dumped them in mixture.

Next, the icing was too soft. I wanted to use my new piping tips but the mixture was too soft. I didn't dare add any more confectioner's sugar as it was too sweet already. I just slathered them on and they still tasted decadent. Next time, I plan to get the Ghirardelli's chocolate buttons for that really yummy Belgium chocolate taste.

Another flaw was that I mixed the vanilla with the flour. As such, the vanilla formed little flour balls which you can taste with the cupcake. I don't know if I misread the recipe but I'll definitely will not do so again in my next attempt. 

One thing about the cupcakes, I finally was able to melt the chocolate buttons the way they were supposed to be melted. I always see them in cooking shows and how the bakers melt the chocolate. It absolutely looked wonderful when I did that. Unfortunately, I was not able to take a picture.

5) Kalabasa with Sitaw
Kalabasa with Sitaw
 The picture on the left is Kalabasa with Sitaw. I originally wanted the one with coconut milk but I did not want to risk it as I have never cooked with gata before.

My mother-in-law asked me again this morning if I knew how to cook kalabasa (squash). Again, thanks to Google, I was able to find a very easy recipe.

One thing I like about the recipe was that it taught me how to render the fat from the pork. I initially let the pork boil in 1/2 cup of water until all the water evaporated. When the oil came out, I took out the pork and used the same pot to saute the garlic and onions. It smelled absolutely delicious!

I then added the shrimp and the pork that I cooked. After letting it saute a little bit, I added the kalabasa and sitaw. I then added water and let the squash soften. For additional taste, I threw in a shrimp cube and salt and pepper. I initially wanted to use the shrimp heads in lieu of the cube but the helper threw them away before I could give the instructions. The recipe also asked for patis but I forgot to buy and we do not have any in our pantry.

6) No-Bake Cheesecake
No-Bake Cheesecake

The picture on the right is my no-bake cheesecake. I got the recipe from my friend, Johanna, and asked her to teach me how to make it. There were no exact measurements on the recipe and the reason why I'm so proud of it was that I got the taste just right.

The sweetness was just enough as I used sugar on both the crust and the cream filling. So I made sure not to overdo the sugar. I made the mistake of not using enough Knox Gelatin but it still tasted divine. My son said that this is his new favorite dessert and has not stopped asking for it ever since I made it.

7) Red Velvet Cupcakes
My red velvet cupcakes are more successful than my chocolate chip cupcakes. In fact, it's easier to make! It took me less than an hour to make this while the choco chip was so labor intensive.

I also got the icing right in terms of consistency and taste. I want to put it everywhere! However, I need to get a bigger cupcake tray as I want them bigger. The molds that I got were so small.

Hopefully this new year, I'll have more chances of cooking again and have more opportunities to learn new dishes.

1 comment:

Allan Chua said...

Boggan mommy :)