foodgeek's diary


Kulinarya Challenge - Buko Salad

Posted by foodgeek on September 27, 2011 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (9)

Sooo...remember me? It's been a while!


Kulinarya Cooking Club is now reinforcing strict posting rules, one of which is that members must submit a post once every quarter. So I better get my you know what in gear!


Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. As a Spanish Filipina, born in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines and raised for the most part in the Philippines, I have a vested interest in Filipino food, so I was thrilled to have found this group and did not hesitate to join.


Within the Kulinarya Cooking Club I have found the most fabulous people (both professional and home chefs) who have come up with amazingly creative Filipino dishes. Each month each KCC member will showcase a new dish along with their recipes. We share these recipes through our food blogs with other KCC members of our Yahoo group site as well as the rest of the world. Each dish is based on a creative theme thought up by members on the roster. All monthly themes must trace back to Filipino cuisine.


If you’re interested in joining KCC or just looking for a good resource of Filipino food recipes, please go to the Kulinarya Cooking Club website.


The theme for the months of August/September was thought up by KCC members Ray of Wok with Ray, Oggi of I Can Do That, Chef Theodore Salonga of Chef By Day, and Boyet of Reel and Grill. The theme is based on two major Filipno festivities on these months which are National Heroes Day and Ninoy Aquino's death anniversary. Since both events are national, patriotic events, so Ray, Oggi, Chef Theodore and Boyet came up with the challenge to use all four colors of our beloved Filipino flag. These colors are RED, WHITE, BLUE and YELLOW.


So the rules/challenge for the month is to use the colors red, white, blue and yellow in our dishes. No food coloring allowed, but ok to include a color with a garnish or use one color on ONE non food item, such as a plate, a bowl. etc.


Phew! Now that's a challenge! So stop the gabbing already, foodgeek, and get on with your post!


After going through pages of Filipino recipes in my cookbooks and looking online, I decided to go with Buko ("Coconut") Salad. At first it seemed like a lame idea, too easy, but looking for something blue, preferably edible, to add to the mix proved to be the challenge! I started off with this -



I've got red, I've got white, I've got yellow (yes, there's yellow in there), but where's the blue? Hmmm...what to do, what to do.



At this point, I decided to keep the fruit salad in the fridge overnight while I figure out what to add that's blue.


Tic-toc, time is ticking. I'm already late for my post!


The only thing I could think of to add to this that is blue were blueberries. Not exactly Filipino, and the tartness may clash with the rest of the dish, but I figured, heck, why not. Of course, I could not find anything blue in my house to plate the salad on either, so I might just get desperate enough to go buy a blue bowl!


The next morning, after dropping Grace off at pre-school, I made a quick stop at Fresh and Easy on the way to work to look for blueberries. Of course, no blueberries. BUT!...there they were, shining on the shelf in the refrigerated section, like the holy grail - blue concorde grapes! Woo-hoo! Grab some quick! Oh, and maybe some strawberries to go with lunch. And, oh look, kale chips! Gotta try those. Ended up with a $30 grocery bill before I finally exited the store.


Ok, I know. Grapes aren't exactly Filipino either, but come on now, give me a break! They're blue and I'm stickin' with 'em!


Tic-toc, pretend hours have gone by and I have finally gotten home from picking Grace up from school after work. I've washed the grapes and added them to the mix. So here it is with the grapes...TADA!





That is more like it!


Simple, but delish - that's what it's all about. Here's the recipe.



1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup maraschino cherries - red

2 cups young coconut strips (You can find this at the frozen section in Asian markets, usually packed in water. Defrost and drain.). - white

1 jar sugar palm fruit (kaong), drained (These are usually found in the canned fruit aisle in Asian markets.) - white

1 1/2 cups blue concorde grapes - blue

1 cup peaches (canned or fresh) diced - yellow

1 14 oz. can tropical fruit cocktail, drained

You can add any other fruit you like - chopped apples, pineapple cubes, jack fruit, etc.



Whisk the whipping cream, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.

Add all the fruit to the dressing and mix to evenly coat.

Refrigerate or serve immediately.


For additional KCC member postings on this theme, go to the Kulinarya Cooking Club blog "August-September Challenge: Colors of the Philippine Flag".


Thank you Ray, Oggi, Chef Theodore and Boyet for this fun but challenging KCC theme. Well done!

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Posted by foodgeek on July 5, 2010 at 3:21 PM Comments comments (1)

Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do! Amazing how life gets so hectic, time flies and before you know it, certain "low priority" things get shelved for months! So I thought I'd make a quick blog before anyone following me loses further interest.


Recently, as I was going through and sorting stacks of saved, untried recipes printed from the internet, from old magazines, I stumbled upon this "Easy Chocolate Ice Cream" recipe from a trial Cooks County magazine that I got in the mail months ago, possibly even years ago! It caught my eye because it mentioned that it was made without an ice cream machine. I've been tempted to buy an ice cream machine in the past, but due to my smallish kitchen, I've held off. I really can't afford to have yet another small appliance in my kitchen due to space constraints, and if I store it in the garage, I'm afraid there it will stay indefinitely, forgotten.


As the article in Cook's Country indicated, this recipe is based on semifreddo (an Italian dessert) where whipped egg whites or whipped cream is folded into an egg yolk base. The twist to this particular recipe is the addition of condensed milk which provided its velvery texture, and coffee granules which heightened the chocolate flavor. The result, the best chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted. Dear husband John can attest to that himself as he continually made the "mmmmm...." sounds as he ate a bowl of it. This will definitely be a repeat recipe, especially with hot Summer months coming up!




Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

(makes 1 quart)


1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder

1 tbsp. hot water

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp. vanila extract

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream


Before the following steps, I put the mixing bowl in which I will make the whipped cream in and even the wire whisk attachment in the freezer and kept them there for a few minutes until time to use. I also keep the heavy cream in the fridge until it's time to whip it up. It seems to whip up faster when the cream is kept cold.


Proceed to make the chocolate base:


Combine the coffee (or espresso) powder and hot water in a small bowl. Let it stand until the coffee dissolves - about 5 minutes.


Skip the double boiler and simply microwave the chocolate, condensed milk and coffee mixture in a bowl, stirring every 10 seconds, until the chocolate is melted, about 1 minute.


Stir in the vanilla and salt. Let it cool.


Skip the ice cream machine and simply mix and freeze:


Take the mixing bowl, whisk attachment out of the freezer and start making the whipped cream. On medium high speed, whip the cream to soft peaks (about 2 minutes).


Whisk 1/3 of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest until incorporated.




Pour the mixture into an air tight container and freeze for at lesat 6 hours.


That's it! Voila! So easy!



Perhaps in the future I would add, nuts, maybe some mini marshmallows, or raspberries, top it off with some chocolate syrup. Possibilities are endless.


Tip: If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface before freezing. This will prevent ice particles to form while in the freezer.



No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes

Posted by foodgeek on December 26, 2009 at 12:57 AM Comments comments (1)

Another recipe out of my idol, Sherry Yard's "Desserts By The Yard" book. So easy, yet so good. A big hit at potlucks. Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.

12 vanilla wafer cookies

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

12 ripe strawberries, hulled, and halved or quartered


Pulse the cookies in a food processor until you have crumbs. Line the cups of two mini muffin pans with paper liners (or use small remekins with or without the liners) and spoon a layer of cookie crumbs into the bottom of each.


In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. On low speed, beat in the sour cream and lemon juice until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


Spoon or pipe the filling into the cups. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, until set.

Before serving, top each cheesecake with a strawberry piece or two.