The Newbie Cook
- 18,638 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
When I was a kid, I thought that “adding more color to your diet” meant buying a bag of skittles or m&m’s. Now I know that this is what it really means:
Ginataang kalabasa is a Filipino dish that has always been a favorite since childhood. There are different variations — my mom made it with yardlong beans and shrimp. For this recipe, I’m using 96% extra lean ground beef. Hubby is not a fan of lean ground beef because he said it lacked flavor. He likes the regular everyday 80% lean. Personally, the fat content scares me and I’m tired of draining the beef while cooking. With extra lean, I don’t have to drain it.
Since this dish is very flavorful, I don’t think my husband would be complaining about blandness.
There is one must-have ingredient in this dish: the glorious bagoong alamang. My mom’s province, Pangasinan, is famous for having some of the best tasting alamang on earth. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to that goodness so I resorted to second best: jarred bagoong. There are no close Asian stores with this so I bought it online from Amazon. The jarred version isn’t as pungent either, which is a good thing since I live with an American husband who was completely traumatized with the smell of danggit.
(Ugh, super dry skin. That’s what happens when I wash my hands every single step while cooking.)
Filipinos also love coconut milk aka gata in Tagalog. We have tons of food that start with “ginataang,” which means that whatever it is has been stewed in coconut milk. Like our lovely Jersey butternut squash.
Luckily for me, my husband likes Filipino food so I don’t have to argue about having variety in our daily menu.
I served this with white rice and sautéed spinach and garlic. See recipe after the jump.
I came up with this when I was thinking of recipes for our company’s Health Food Cookbook. Chocolate lava cake doesn’t exactly strike one as being healthy but what is a cookbook without at least one chocolate recipe?
I did try to make this as low calorie as possible. Also, even if its calorie content is about the same as regular vegetable oil, canola oil is low in saturated fat and has high-level cholesterol-lowering fats.
This is husband approved and is a nice not-so-guilty snack for me.
This is based on a brilliant recipe I found on Chocolate Covered Katie.
This is not a new recipe but it’s a combination of two posts. I was looking back at my posts when I realized that the cake and the frosting had separate entries when my family almost always serves them as one. There are gazillions of chocolate moist cake and frosting recipes around but I guarantee that this is the BEST chocolate moist cake that you will EVER have in your whole life. *insert Rocky theme*
The best part about this cake is that the frosting is cooked and will never melt. You can just keep it on the table the whole day without worrying about the the room’s temperature compromising its shape so you can entertain your guests and have a couple of drinks.
I made this for my husband’s 38th birthday. I halved the recipe since we didn’t have guests and two people can only eat so much. He loved it. 🙂
On another non-food related note, Chris looks a lot younger than 38. Isn’t my hubby cute?
This was inspired by Subway’s flatizza. Besides, someone has to use the pita bread that we have sitting in the fridge after I got over my fish taco phase.
My husband loves this dish. He asks me to make it often and I’m happy to oblige because it’s (1) easy, (2) quick, and (3) quite healthy even with the cheese. I do try to cut down on the cheese by putting much less on “my half” of the pizza. This has almost all of my favorite vegetables, which makes me very happy. 🙂
You can modify this recipe according to your preference — change the vegetables or add some meats like ham, pepperoni or crispy bacon bits.
I do need to mention the pizza stone. I bought this for baking bread but I also noticed that this pita pizza is a lot crispier and better if I use the stone over a regular pan. But the stone is not a must have, a regular pan is fine.
Now this one is special. I got this brilliant recipe from The Beeroness. I made this on my 30th birthday last November 2013 and invited a handful of people to have dinner in our tiny little home.
The dripping lemon curd just looks soooo yummy. My husband also loves IPA (Indian pale ale) so we almost always have that type of beer at home.
I followed the recipe exactly except for the top frosting. I used regular buttercream for that instead.
I like the idea of tomboy cakes. The contrasting color of the cake and frosting is visible since only the tops of the layered cakes are frosted. It looks pretty and easygoing. Like a cake dressed for casual Friday.
For my 29th birthday in 2012, I chose to make a lime green jell-o cake based on a recipe I found in The Kitchn. Instead of red/pink raspberry, I chose lime green because, well… green is a nice, calming color. And I don’t remember ever making a green cake.
For this cake, I used a light-colored cream cheese frosting similar to what I used for my applesauce cake.
It’s fruit and vegetable season here in South Jersey. Juicy blueberries, succulent strawberries and ripe, red tomatoes are everywhere. Last weekend, I went to a local farmer’s market with my friends Tracy, Robin and Wayne. I stocked up on veggies that I didn’t grow in my garden.
There was so much good stuff everywhere and I was tempted to buy a little bit of everything. But, alas! There are only two people in my household and we can only eat so much. Although I did buy a dozen corn, which I shared with my in-laws.
One of the must-buys on my list were Jersey tomatoes. My husband grew up in an Italian household with a traditional Noni that made sauce from scratch. Every summer, she would buy large baskets of tomatoes, peel them, and cook gallons of spaghetti sauce. From dawn to dusk almost everyday, the sauce would be simmering on the stove. I can only imagine how good their house smelled like.
Unfortunately, Noni is no longer alive and Chris is not in possession of the family recipe because it was only passed to the girls. Therefore, I had to be creative and make my sauce recipes myself. Some of them are based on others’ recipes while some are made up by yours truly — like the one below.
This particular sauce is fresh, chunky, and light. It only takes around 4 hours to cook this. After all, I work all day and go to school so I don’t have the time Noni had.
You know, I feel sad whenever I think about this blog. My poor, neglected cooking blog. Especially when I make something new. I’m always busy and on the go so cooking has not been a relaxing activity for the past couple of years. There was no time to take pictures, no time to appreciate the little details. It’s more like an omfg-I-only-have-half-an-hour-to-cook-and-eat-gadammit task.
But my husband will still swear to the Bible, Torah, Quran and his Noni Angelina’s grave (God bless her disgruntled soul) that 99%of what I make is yummy. He could be biased but Chris is fussy about food so he might be telling the truth. 😉
I made this dish because I needed to try out a recipe before our Wellness group at work distributes it to the masses. I personally love it especially on simple toasted bread. It’s also a great substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches. Check out this pesto recipe after the jump.
Sorry for the lack of dialogue. It’s 2:45 am, I’m feeling guilty for not posting a lot, and I’m tired from work and school. I also have my 8 am gym workout to look forward too. Ugh.
At least I have meatballs that cheer me up. 🙂