Sunday, December 30, 2007

Total Caloric Requirement and Food Intake

During my early months of blogging, I made a very loooooong post on calculating Total Caloric Requirement and "promised" to tackle its application to actual food intake on the next "nutrition" post, but I totally forgot about that supposed next post...

well, it would have been another looooong post including food exchanges and choosing foods to include in your menu so you will have your targeted caloric intake.

But while I was working as an MT, I have stumbled upon a lot of medical-related websites from fitness to neurology.

I have found out the quickest way to do those without you really doing the calculating...

Calculating your BMR the long and painful way is to go to my blogpost here. Calculating it the easy way is by using a free web-based TCR calculator. While my post calculated my TCR as 1800 cal, the calculator is pretty close at 1746.62 cal per day based on my acitvity level. My results were as follows:
1343.55 calories per day is your Basal Caloric Rate. This is:
no more then 44.78 grams of fat (30%) for your Basal Caloric Rate
50.38 grams of protein (15%) for your Basal Caloric Rate
184.74 grams of carbohydrate (55%) for your Basal Caloric Rate

1746.62 calories per day recommended for your Active Caloric Rate. This is:
no more then 58.22 grams of fat (30%) for your Active Caloric Rate
65.50 grams of protein (15%) for your Active Caloric Rate
240.16 grams of carbohydrate (55%) for your Active Caloric Rate

No less then 1200 calories per day recommended for safe consistent Weight Loss. This is:
no more then 40.00 grams of fat (30%) for your Weight Loss Caloric Rate
45.00 grams of protein (15%) for your Weight Loss Caloric Rate
165.00 grams of carbohydrate (55%) for your Weight Loss Caloric Rate

At this safe consistent Weight Loss Caloric Rate,
you will lose 1 pound every 24.38 Days

As it shows, it gives you a target caloric intake per day for consistent and safe weight loss.

Someone recently asked me how this relates to food intake, and that query prompted this post.

Okay, to translate that TCR to food intake, we are to convert it to protein, fats, and carbohydrate mainly (other nutrients do not have calories; they only serve as minerals and vitamins). As you will note, the conversion is ideally 30% fat, 15% protein, and 55% carbohydrate. (During my medical school days, it used to be 15% fat, 30% protein, but probably that was changed because it is really hard to stick to 15% fat, even with the leanest meat you will find. In other words, unrealistic goal???)

The conversion is that 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories; 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate equals 4 cals. So you will have to take into consideration the amount of protein or carbohydrate or fat you are eating in a day...but to plan that, you have to start with a certain food item you eat, let's say, a cup of milk, and consider how much fat and protein and carb is in that cup of milk, calculate the calories in it then subtract that from your TCR, then do the same with other food items you have eaten, during breakfast, for example, then using the food exchange guide, plan the rest of your meals for the day without exceeding the TCR (if you want to maintain or lose weight). BUT THAT PROCESS IS TEDIOUS, and might possibly be confusing. Maybe that was the reason I decided not to post it...and presenting it logically in a manner comprehensible enough to the ordinary blog reader would be quite challenging.

Anyway, I have discovered (since my MT days) an easier way to do just that without you having to flip through pages and pages of food exchange list and holding a calculator and a table of your actual food intake and their caloric contents. The goal anyway is to check your present diet against your caloric requirement, then planning your menu so you will stick to that caloric limit, right?

The NHLBI (National HeartLung and Blood Institute) Menu Planner gives us an easy way to do just that. It is a public service from the government to have this handy web-based menu planner.

How it works:
You select first your meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. That is, after entering your calorie target for the day. If you take note of my BMR results up here, I have to eat no less than 1200 cal for safe weight loss. It is a coincidence that the Menu Planner has that as default.
After selecting your meal, you go to the Meal Menu on the left and select food items, enter the servings that you are gonna eat. Everytime a food item and # of servings is entered, it will update, so as to show you how many calories are already taken into consideration. If you enter a food item and makes you exceed your TCR, a notice pops up.

One drawback is that it does not have a wide range of food items. If you ate mousse or a chocolate bar, you would not be able to take that into consideration. You will be pretty much limited to what they have on the list. Another is, you will not be able to put in the exact amount of food you take and they should be 0.5 oz at the least.

So if you will still be interested to do it the painstaking way, here's how to approach it.

Convert your TCR in terms of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

Using mine, with the above results, for example, with the target of 1200 cal to lose weight safely, I am to eat no more than 40 g of fat, 45 g of protein, and 165 g of carb in a day.

Then get a food exchange list, and get crazy taking into consideration the weight in each serving, and then create your menu as dictated by the limitations given by the above calculator. You have to keep in mind that even in bread slices, there is some protein and maybe some fat. If you are willing to get away from sweets and most fats, the online exchange lists will suffice, as they contain the healthier food items.

Some gave good reviews in about the FitDay PC Diet and Nutrition Software.
You might want to check it out.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sauteed Mussells

 It was only recently that I tried to cook these mussells. I was hesitant at first because the ones available at the Hannaford here in my area have very black and thicker shells that those I was accustomed to back in PI. After trying them, I now want them regularly on our dining table. My kids, as usual, love them. They are being sold by bags worth about $3-$4, weighing around 2 lbs, enough for the boys and I. Satifies my craving, as always.
My father used to cook this frequently because it was relatively cheap in PI, and he always told us not to put additional water, since the soup that comes out of steaming the mussells is loaded with flavor, and he did not want to dilute that. This was in contrast with my late ex-father-in-law, who was so fond of sipping a cup of the soup so he wanted to literally drown the mussells.
Based on some recipes I have seen in other's foodblogs, I added some sherry. And while my father used to add pepper leaves (dahon ng sili), I used baby spinach.

1 bag mussells, washed and drained well with cold water
2 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
thumb-size ginger, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 cup sherry
ground pepper to taste
salt to taste (if at all needed)
some dash of chopped dried basil
2 cups of baby spinach

1. Heat oil in medium high.
2. Sautee garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, followed by onions. Sautee until onions are translucent.
3. Add the mussells and stir.
4. Pour the sherry. Cover and lower the heat to #4. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add pepper, basil and salt (if needed) to taste. (Optional: Add 1/2 cup water if you want to have more soup, and return to boil.)
6. Add spinach. Turn off heat and stir until spinach wilts. Serve right away with plain rice.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!

Here's an early Christmas offering...
PinoySingSnappers AllStars Project02.A

We dedicate this song to those who are away from their family this Christmas. We know how hard it is not to see your family sit around the tree opening gifts, or having dinner together. We sympathize. We hope you try to get the most of what you have, who you're with and where you are. We wish you all the happiness in the world. Most of all.... We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Performed by:

elapot, Hazelcute, Ylla, Pinay, Manang, Lilnanz, ana_f_ever, grjdemuynck, Mai725, vgnia, iwunder, jemima, Nisrine, Angelene, --ja--, junix, kitz, Beambam, Bluepepper, mamaberry

Special Thanks To:

Garci (Founder of the PSS Allstars)
Mamaberry (venue sponsor)
Reynaldo (video editing)
Aubzie (audio mixing)
Pinay (banner)
Neutrongirl (upload)
Lark (Coordinator)

Pls. support our upcoming projects as well. Our aim is not to separate ourselves from the rest of the SS Community but to touch hearts and encourage people to share to one another our gift of music. Thanks to all who care and most of all to Singsnap for giving us this opportunity to reach out to the whole world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Paris Brest

No misspelling here.

According to Wikipedia:

Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) was originally a 1200km long bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris. It is the oldest bicycling event that is still regularly run.

But I am talking about this wonderful dessert that I always look forward to annually from my sister-in-law. Paris Brest is "classic French creation — a large ring of airy choux pastry filled with the richest praline pastry cream —" (from I fell in love with it the first time I tasted it. I did not bother to try to make it myself, because I love looking forward to having it during holidays. And of course, I love wolfing it down without having to sweat a drop to make it.

But I asked my SIL for the recipe and instructions to share with those of you who might want to try serving this to your relatives (and I am sure you will impress them!) She warned me not to try making it, and I gladly said, "That's your specialty, so I am not even gonna try."

So here it is:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. (IMPT)
Boil the butter and water then cook on low. Add the flour and salt, and cook for about a minute stirring constantly until it leaves the sides of the pan.
SET 5 MINUTES on the countertop. (This is critical).
Break an egg and drip into the mixture, beat by hand with a woden spoon. Repeat 3 times more (so that makes it a total of 4 eggs added).
Using a pastry bag (or whatever you can use as substitute. I usually use ziploc bag with a corner cut), pipe and form into a circle with 7-inch diameter on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 deg F for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350 and keep baking for 30-40 minutes more until top becomes dark brown.
Let cool.

1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 pint whipping cream

Whip cream then let sit in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
Cook sugar and almonds in a small saucepan over low heat and keep shaking (do not stir) until sugar is all melted.
Pour onto buttered tin foil. Let cool and solidify.
Break into pieces then use a FOOD PROCESSOR (not chopper) to break further into powdery form.
Fold the praline into the whipped cream.

Cut the top off the dough ring and scoop inside. Fill with praline in the middle. Return the top portion then sprinkle with sugar.

Serve as fresh as you could.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Karaoke Addict Again! Plugging...

Lalo tuloy dumalang and posting ko rine...

Need proof? Visit my Online Karaoke Blog.

And I am not alone (oh no, no no no no!). There are a lot others hooked to, including people from all over and from all walks of life. Needless to say, hindi pahuhuli ang mga Pinoy. PinoySingSnappers came up with a project in time for the Christmas Season. Check it out. You may wanna send it to your relatives and friends.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Egg (Custard) Pie

I first came across the recipe of CeliaK (God bless her!) that looks like the traditional egg pie back in PI -- custard with dark brown topping. So, getting the ideas from her recipe, I tried mine with some variations to save time (using graham crust instead of making my own pie crust; I rarely have the time nowadays because of work) and use up some of the ingredients in my pantry given by relatives (i.e., honey). If you are interested in making your own graham cracker pie crust, I have copied and pasted a recipe down below.

My first attempt created that dark brown but too spongy topping, and I wanted the top thinner, and I wanted the custard sweeter (guilty of having a sweet tooth!). But in wanting to see how my in-laws would receive it (my husband is hopeless), I did not make the top dark, but golden brown. Now, my SIL is a very opinionated person who cares not a bit if you will like what she is gonna say or not, but when she got her first bite of this egg pie, her comment was: "Oh my God, this is to die for!!!" and helped herself to a second serving.

My MIL raises chicken layers so we could get the freshest eggs, and right now she gets 18 eggs a day! What to do? Give us some, and sell the rest. In return, I try to make this egg pie or leche flan, which she and FIL both love (makes me wonder why my hubby does not).

Here is my final recipe (my kids like the leche flan better, though):

Ingredients (good for one pie)

Keebler's Graham Crust (with 2 extra servings - see slide show below)
2&1/3 cup milk
1 beaten egg for brushing the crust (the excess goes into the mixture)
3 eggs Plus 1 yolk
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1&1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
2. Place the crust onto a baking pan/cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg. and bake for 5 minutes. (This procedure is actually found under the label.)
3. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients (except the 1 egg white) in a blender using pulse setting.
4. Pour the excess beaten egg (from step 2) into the mixture that you are gonna prepare.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until it forms soft peaks.
6. Using a wire whisk, cut the egg white into the mixture by gentle mixing until just a thin layer of egg white floats.
7. Increase the oven temp setting to 400 deg F and immediately take out the crust and pour the custard mixture into it and fill to capacity.
8. Bake immediately for 15 minutes then lower the temp to 290 deg F and bake for 30-60 minutes more (depending on how many pies you are making; you kind have to keep watching). When the middle part is a bit wiggly like soft jelly, take the pie out (don't when it seems liquidy still). [If you do not bake right away after pouring the custard onto the crust, the custard starts disintegrating the crust and you will see the custard impregnated with graham cracker. I have done that!]
(EDITED- removed the confusing extra lines - thanks to Teresa for her query!
EDITED again12/06/07 because I noticed my step-by-step instructions were not too clear, thanks to Dona's query. I think was busy SingSnapping while making this!)

This is a great Christmas give-away idea for your Filipino friends!

Graham Cracker Pie Crust recipe from Southernfood.
This crust is simple to make, and may be used for a 9-inch pie or cheesecake.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 minutes
Here's How:

1. In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of butter.
2. Place about 24 graham crackers in a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. This may be done in small batches.
3. Measure 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs into a medium bowl.
4. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the graham crackers.
5. Add the melted butter.
6. Stir or blend together with your hands.
7. Press into the pie plate or other pan.
8. To pre-bake the pie crust, bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bunuelos (fried dough or doughnuts)

This is one of our favorite snacks. I got it from a Chinese cookbook, and while the photos in the cookbook reminded me of buchi-buchi (?), the taste is very much like fried dough. Here in Maine, fried dough is a very popular item sold by food vendors in carnivals/fairs. But I made mine pretty much like doughnuts, and shared some with my in-laws. They called it fried doughnuts. It easily became a favorite snack/dessert item in our house, and you can serve it to American visitors as well, guaranteed to be a big hit, especially when they dread/expect you to come up with "exotic" Filipino dishes.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
oil for frying
cinnamon-sugar for dusting (you can combine 1/4 cup sugar + 2 tbsp ground cinnamon)

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, whisk the egg and the milk well together. Gradually stir in the dry mixture, then beat in the melted buter to make a soft dough.

Heat wok. Pour oil about 1 inch deep and let heat at #6 setting for about 1 minute. (You may use a deep-fryer).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Shape to make a log then pinch off golf-ball sizes, flatten with your hands into disks. Poke a hole through the center of each disk using floured handle of wooden spoon (make the hole wider by swirling the dough around the handle).

Fry in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, until they are puffy and golden brown on both sides. Lift out with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

I like pouring melted butter, and sprinkling confectioner's sugar or cinnamon-sugar, then I pour maple syrup. Honeyko likes only cinnamon-sugar on them.

Instead of the syrup recipe included in the cookbook, I just use maple syrup and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar onto these treats.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spanish Bread

I managed to take photos the last time I made spanish bread, so here goes the step-by-step how-to's. For some reason, my computers (both PC with Windows XP and laptop with Linux) do not currently work well with I have not had the gumption to make a new account with Flickr to attempt making slide shows, so I resorted to posting a series of photos here instead.

This is another kid-favorite rolls, they like these more than they do ensaymada, although I made both using the same dough (see my posts on Ensaymada).

RECIPE: Please see the BM ensaymada recipe here for the ingredients list and to prepare the dough on the bread machine. The following is the step-by-step guide on how to actually make the rolls.

For the butter-sugar mixture: 1 stick of softened butter (1/2 lb) + 1 cup white sugar.


Prepare the dough. Divide into portions the size of a golf ball. Mix sugar (your choice: brown or white. I prefer white.) and softened butter/margarine (I can't specify the proportions because I approximated. I just kept adding sugar and mixing until I got a consistency that was gritty yet spreadable.)

Flatten each piece with a rolling pin as shown. Go ahead, don't be afraid...Start from the middle outward up and down, especially adding pressure at the ends so they stick to the table. That way, they don't roll back or spring up.

Spread a good layer of sugar-butter mixture. Avoid the ends so you can seal properly.

Roll tightly. Make sure end seals.

Coat with breadcrumbs.

Place on baking pans with seam side down. Cover with plastic. Let rise for 15-30 minutes (depending on what yeast you used and the humidity/temperature of environment). Bake at 350 deg F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. (If you have too much for one-time serving and want to reheat these in the future, bake only for about 10 minutes initially, so when you reheat they won't look burnt. I reheat 2-3 pieces for merienda in an oven toaster at 350 deg F for about 3 minutes or so.). Transfer to cooling wire rack right away.

STORING: When you cannot eat all freshly baked spanish bread, after cooling in the wire rack for about 30 minutes, they should be warm (not hot) or almost room temp. That is the perfect timing to place them in ziploc bags and close. Observe after several minutes if they sweat. If they do, open the bag and let the excess moisture evaporate some more, wipe the sweat inside the bag with paper towel. Whey they do not sweat anymore, close bag tightly. When done at the right timing, your spanish bread will remain soft for 3 days without having to reheat them. But then, I myself prefer heating them up in oven toaster for about 3 minutes. And these do not last more than 3 days (or even a day!) for my family.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Face Behind the Blog

This (rather too late post) is in response to babyrambutan's tag (see her post here). She was originally tagged by thess.

Me as a singer-wannabe, used to be a videoke addict (with some withdrawal symptoms up to now; well-controlled). See how I was holding the mic. I had it for essentially the whole night that time...singing and dancing, hindi naman ako lashing...hik!

Used to work as a general medical practitioner back in PI. Nagpapaka-nars ngayon, and quite happy about my choice (less headaches, more time with family). Favorite thing to do back then was to deliver babies (via NSDs). Had some inaanak because of patients-turned-friends. I would have wanted to be an OB-Gyn (though some friends told me I could have been a good internist, and some patients suggested I become a psychologist -- bleh!!). Things turned out differently mainly because I had no connections in DOH when residency matching was implemented. Mahirap talaga maging mahirap.

Nature-lover (Philippines-type of nature, though. I still have some aversion with the cold winter and would rather stay home. I also have not had enough courage to engage in winter activities). Notice my short hair here? I used to wear my hair short, until I discovered that I look much better and younger with long hair when straightened and cellophane treated at Freshair (naks, me plugging pa!). Noon yun. Now I don't have enough dough for that type of luxury here in the US. I just use the electric hair straightener coupled with virgin coconut oil treatment once in a while. Still the envy of many Ams here because of my hair.

Did I mention I was a videoke addict??? I am now out of it...pretty much...I do have the Magic Sing...but someday I would like to get the USB-type one. Di nga...not an addict anymore...I swear. Peks man!

Since I rarely blog nowadays, I am afraid I cannot think of other bloggers who could qualify, nor do I really have the time to notify them that I am tagging them, so please bear with me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

(Best?) Ensaymada Recipe #2 (Bread Machine)

UPDATE (11/16/08): Just for fun I googled ensaymada recipe and found a yahoo answers webpage that voted this particular recipe as best answer to the question pertaining to ensaymada. Two yahoo users posted a copy-paste of my recipe and how-to's below, although they did not provide reference to my kusina (which, I think, is a disservice for those whose question they answered, and was quite unfair to me not being credited, but it's okay. As long as it gives me the satisfaction that there are those who have tried this recipe and actually recommend it to others, even without letting me know, I still feel honored...
After getting tired of kneading using the first recipe I posted about earlier, I experimented twisting some other similar recipes for bread machine, and came up with this recipe. I now prefer this (less messy) method. It still gives me that familiar taste of ensaymada I used to eat from our cheap bakery when I was a kid (This ensaymada is NOT goldilocks or red ribbon-type, but it is the type I used to eat a lot when I was a kid. If you want the soft, fluffy, light-colored ensaymada that will remind you of Goldilocks or Red Ribbon, try the supersoft ensaymada). Everyday when it was being baked, I would eagerly wait for the first batch to come out, and would wait patiently until I could brush it with margarine without melting, then dip into a bowl of sugar. Yum-yum!

As a bonus, I am using part of the dough to make mini-Spanish bread, which my kids (including stepd) are crazy about, they're gone in minutes!

Ensaymada Recipe #2: Bread Machine Method using bread machine yeast

URGENT NOTE as of 07/21/07: I am making this recipe while editing this post. I should have included this note before any of you tries making this recipe. If your BM is like mine with tall bucket instead of horizontally long (loaf-shaped), this recipe might HAVE TO BE CUT IN HALF. (The ingredients here are for a total of 3-lb loaf, and my BM can only accommodate up to 2-lb loaf without problems for dough cycle.) If you do use the same proportions here,make sure you stay with your BM, initially put only 4 cups of bread flour, help mix the dough using silicone spatula, then add the rest of the flour when you already have the soft dough (takes about 15 minutes). Keep watching, as you might have to add more flour by the tbsp (I had to add 4-5 tbsp at this time) depending on the size of egg you used. You have to poke with your finger a bit to see if the dough will NOT stick to your finger to know you have enough. Do not add too much that the dough appears flaky, because then it becomes tougher and dry.

So if you want not to worry about guarding the BM while it does its job, cut the recipe in half (1-1/2 lb loaf), or use the alternate recipe below.

If your BM is horizontally long with 2 paddles, I do not think it will be a problem to prepare the 3-lb recipe.

Ingredients (3-lb dough):
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tsp salt
6-3/4 cups bread flour (plus some more; see note above)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp BM yeast

(2-lb dough) - [This yielded 9 ensaymadas and 12 pcs spanish bread]
2/3 c milk
1/2 c water
1 egg
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp butter
1-1/2 tsp salt
4-1/2 c bread flour
1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp BM yeast

Topping: softened butter, granulated sugar (or sugar-cinnamon, which hubby prefers), and optional grated cheese.
Add ingredients to bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer. Set in dough cycle.
Once done, punch dough, lay on the table and roll with a rolling pin to make it flat. (NOTE: To keep the surface of dough from drying up, cover with plastic while you work on the ropes.)
Using dough cutter, make long ropes (about a foot long) about 3/4 of an inch wide, and coil.
Apply melted butter on coils and let rise for 10-15 minutes (or up to 30 if you want them really fluffy) in a draft-free moist enough area (I like putting them in oven with a bowl of hot water).
You may apply egg glaze prior to baking (if you want it darker brown upon baking).
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven).
You may apply melted butter as soon as they get out of the oven. Helps keep them soft by preventing too much moisture loss. Then apply softened butter and roll in sugar when ready to consume. (Please see slideshow for step-by-step how-to's).
Bonus: I use the smaller sides of the flattened disk of dough to make mini-spanish bread. Just mix together softened butter and sugar (approximate - butter should have enough sugar to make it super gritty but still spreadable), and apply a not-so-thin layer leaving about 1/4 inch at the edges for sealing(if too generous, it becomes gooey caramelly when baking and overflows out of the buns and make the bread quite tough when they get colder. So when you do make them like so, eat right away while they are still soft and fresh from the oven.) Roll tightly as shown. Then coat with bread crumbs. Put on baking pans seam side down. Bake at 350 deg F for about 8-10 minutes.
Sorry no pics for the finished spanish bread. They were gone too quickly before I had a chance to take photos.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Whoopie Pies

These, in my opinion, are more like soft cookies, or small cakes, instead of pies.

The photos shown below were taken way back in 2004 (payat pa ako nun). One picture shows my niece when I was receiving the lesson from my MIL and we were in my SIL's house then. The rest of the photos were during my first try to bake them.

Whoopie Pies are a favorite of my in-laws, and my husband gave me a Kitchen Aid standing mixer on our first Christmas together that I may learn how to make them for him. "You can never buy them the same from any store around," he says. And I guess the reason is that we use fresh egg whites for the creamy filling. The commercial ones taste like plain lard mixed with confectioner's sugar and vanilla (yuck!).

Caution: If you do not trust the freshness of the eggs, I do not recommend that you try this recipe. If you can get fresh eggs from a neighboring farm, then by all means, make these! (that is, if you are not allergic to eggs nor is your tummy squeamish)

Filling -
2 1/4 cup shortening
6 cups confectioner's sugar
6 egg whites
3 tsp vanilla

Dough -
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 cups milk + 2 tbsp vinegar
8 heaping tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla

Filling -
1. Cream (beat together) the shortening and sugar well under moderate speed.
2. Add egg whites one at a time under slow setting, gradually increasing in speed until high.
3. When fluffy and forms soft peaks, turn speed to moderate then add vanilla and increase speed again until the right spreading consistency is achieved. Place in a ziploc bag then put inside the fridge until ready to use.

Dough -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.
2. Cream the shortening and sugar first. Beat well.
3. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Add eggs/egg yolks one at a time to the creamed sugar and shortening and beat on low going to medium until lemony creamy.
5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk-vinegar mixture under low setting into the cream. Scrape bowl with spatula from time to time.
6. Add vanilla.
7. Place in ziploc bag. Cut one corner of the bag and squeeze out about 1 tbsp of dough onto baking pan lined with aluminum foil (makes it easier to change pans if you make bigger batches), 2 inches apart.
8. Bake for 10 minutes.
9. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
10. Put the filling and sandwich between two cookies.
11. Refrigerate those which you will not consume right away. (Remember, there are raw egg whites there).

Ensaymada Recipe #1 (Manual)

Quite late, but here it is as promised.

As with the bread machine method, the ensaymada resulting from this recipe is like the ones I used to eat a lot when I was a kid, the kind of ensaymada you can get from the nearby bakery in the Philippines, not from goldilocks or red ribbon. This is only made more special by virtue of its very ingredients: more eggyolks and butter.

I have tried both manual and bread machine methods. I still prefer using the bread machine, but the manual was my first attempt, so here goes the recipe.

Recipe #1: Manual method using Rapid Rise Instant Yeast

6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour – (measure separately and put in 3 separate bowls 2 cups first then 1/2 cup then 4 cups to make a total of 6-1/2; reserve the last ½ cup for dusting while kneading)
3/4 cup sugar
2 envelopes FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast - If you do not have this, just look for anything equivalent to instant yeast (this is mixed with the flour before the hot liquid. 1 envelope = 2-1/4 tsp )
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk (You may want to experiment using buttermilk instead of milk)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 large egg
3 egg yolks (reserve 1 egg white for Egg Glaze – optional; if you are wondering what to do with egg whites, you can use it for meringue or just use for tortang talong and the likes)

about 1/2 cup melted butter for brushing prior to rising

Softened (not melted) butter or margarine
Granulated sugar
grated white cheese or any other cheese you fancy (optional)

Directions (See earlier post for slide presentation)
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat milk, water, and butter until very warm (120o to 130o F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (leave about ½ cup for dusting while kneading). Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. (If preparing one night ahead, you can refrigerate at this point, a method I prefer because it is then easier to manipulate the dough. Grease a big bowl with shortening, put the dough in it and turn it over so that the dough is covered with grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap then refrigerate. The plastic wrap will prevent the dough from drying up on the exposed surface.)

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (I do it by halves - cut in half first then cut each half into another half so that I have 4 big pieces. Then I cut each into half again, then cut into 3 to make 6 pieces for each of the 4 big pieces). Using both your hands, roll each piece to make ropes about 1 foot long or more, with the diameter about the same as your middle finger. Make a loose coil with each rope (parang katol; you can even give more allowance for rising), tuck the end under and lay flat on the greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Brush each piece right away with a generous amount of softened margarine or melted butter (so that the coil’s grooves are more pronounced. If you don’t, the dough sticks at the grooves and it appears as pyramid instead of a nice mound). Let rise until doubled. (I usually place them inside the oven, along with a bowl filled with hot water, then I heat the oven for 1 minute then turn it off and let the warm air speed up the rising process. Usually they are ready after 15-20 minutes, but you may extend some more if you want puffier buns. I then open the oven door carefully and gradually so as to avoid creating draft then take out the sheets carefully to avoid jarring them -- these might flatten the dough if you are not careful; what we term as "bumagsak.") Put the baking sheets on the countertop where there is no draft.
You might have to prolong the rising time to more than 40 minutes depending on the level of humidity and the temperature where you are (I was told by some that theirs did not rise too much so the buns turned out quite too solid). Keep eyeballing if the buns have doubled in size. You can now start heating the oven.
Brush with Egg Glaze (optional). Bake at 375o F for 12-15 minutes or until done and top is golden dark brown if with glaze or golden light brown if without. (I usually start checking periodically after 10 minutes for the individual rolls. Remove from baking sheets (this avoids sweating at the bottom part so it won’t turn soggy there); cool on wire racks until lukewarm just so that the softened butter or margarine will not melt when brushed. Dip in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat (or you can just sprinkle on top). If storing some pieces, it is better not to put butter/margarine and sugar yet. Cool them completely (about 10 minutes or so; keep touching them) then immediately store in an airtight Ziploc bag to avoid sweating (which will make them soggy and also will encourage faster mold growth). If you live in an area where humidity is too low, avoid exposing to air beyond the time for complete cooling, or the buns will dry out and will be hard. When reheating, place in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (depending on the microwave) to make it lukewarm before applying butter/margarine and sugar. As advised by, leftover breads are better left in room temp instead of inside the fridge. Refrigerating makes them stale faster.

Egg Glaze: Combine 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water; beat lightly until well blended. This will create a very dark golden brown top. (I like the contrast. For those who usually think a dark crust means overdone, it will be such a surprise to bite into the softness of the ensaymada, and that wonderful first bite will reveal a yellowish-whitish interior).

You may want to bake them braided or in rounded pans if you want to wrap them as gift (as I did for Christmas) to friends.

Tuwang-tuwa sila!

UPDATE as of 4/2/09: Vincent posted his own take of ensaymada on thefreshloaf, with changes involving omission of milk and adding an extra yolk. Hmmmm....yum!

Leche Flan (using Whole Eggs)

Whole Egg Leche Flan is very creamy!
I had a post about leche flan in my old kusina, but the how-to's were in a geocities page which is now not viewable. Since there have been those who requested, I am now re-posting it, with my fave recipe and my usual methods.

My MIL usually sneaks into the kitchen to get a slice of this when we get together even before dinner is served on some special occasions. "It kinda grows on you," she said. (Her initial acceptance was mild, now she's kinda addicted to it, so whenever I get lots of fresh eggs from them, I make one for them.)

Some think that egg whites prevent the leche flan from turning very creamy. This is still creamy, and the outcome has a lot to do with the technique in preparation. I do it slow and low (long, 1-hr baking in a water bath on low temp of 295 deg F). Some think using the strainer is the best way to make it smooth. I (the radical me) have made use of the pulse setting of a blender (short bursts only) to make a homogenous mixture with minimal waste (Have you tried using the strainer for this purpose? Then you know how hard it is to push the eggwhite through the mesh, and how hard it is to clean it up later). I like this reecipe not only because it tastes so good in my opinion (I got the recipe from Milkmaid label sometime when I was still in high school), but also it does not make me crazy trying to figure out what to do with the egg whites (like the recipe using egg yolks only). And more importantly, egg white is mainly protein, and egg yolk is mostly cholesterol. So, I really do not want to waste protein and make the egg flan cholesterol-laden, when I can have very rich-tasting leche flan this way (any of my friends who have tasted this can attest to that. In fact, whenever we get together and they see a leche flan on the table, they blurt out "Yehey! Pinagdasal ko yan na gumawa ka ng leche flan. Buti gumawa ka!" I have tasted the yolk-only flan, and to me, it is just too rich, like the cheesecake that my SIL makes and I am not crazy about (nor is my husband, so I am not too motivated to make one). Hence, I have been making this for >20 yrs (steamed when I was in PI on moderate heat for 30 minutes covered with foil, now baked in water bath for 1 hr or so at 295 F).

UPDATE as of March 2008: I brought this as my contribution to a fund-raising activity we had at work, and according to my co-workers, many were asking who made this rich cheesecake-like dessert, and they were raving about it. It was such a big hit!

1/2 cup white sugar
4 whole eggs
1 can condensed milk (14-oz)
1 can evaporated milk (15-oz)
1 tsp vanilla (alternative: few drops of McCormick lemon extract essence)
(optional: 1 8-oz cream cheese + 1 additional egg for cheesecake-like flan)


NOTE: I prefer to use the oven, using water bath method.

1. Caramelize the sugar in an 8-inch round aluminum pan over low heat (#3 on my stove setting). You may swirl the pan around (use tongs to hold) or stir with a spoon once it starts to melt. It can easily scorch and will be bitter if that happens, so keep an eye on that (takes about 20-30 mins before it start melting, and I prefer a bit of bitterness like that of coffee).
UPDATE (11-21-08): You may want to try caramelizing sugar in the microwave. Place 1 cup of sugar in microwave-safe cup (Pyrex is ok) and add enough water (about 2-3 tbsp) to wet all of the sugar.  Microwave for about 4-5 minutes, keep watching starting on the 4th minutes and wait until it turns into amber-colored liquid per your preference (if you want it lighter, stop earlier). Grab with gloves on (this is very hot!) and then pour into the pan that you are going to cook your flan in, whether small custard cups or 8-in round baking pan. (Make sure your pan sits on a towel or trivet to protect your tabletop/countertop. Quickly tilt to coat before it hardens. (Tip: You may want to let your pan sit on hot water so the caramel would not harden right away once it touches the pan.) See video below.

2. While still hot and fluid, swirl to distribute the caramel to the sides and bottom of the pan.
3. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool and let the caramel solidify.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer (alternatively, you may use the oven, heated to 295 degrees).
5. Mix the rest of the ingredients while heating the steamer (or oven) using the pulse setting in a blender (push the pulse button for about 3 seconds 3 times or until the mixture appears homogenous). Avoid prolonging the blending such that it creates lots of bubbles.
6. When steamer (or oven) is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
7. Cover with foil before placing in steamer (If using oven, place the pan uncovered into a larger pan with water such that water reaches about 1 inch up the sides of of the leche flan pan- aka water bath). Steam for 30 minutes on medium heat (or bake for about 1 hr at 295 deg F).
8. Check for doneness (I prefer wiggling it rather than using toothpick. If it wiggles at the center pretty much like jello, that is done for me. If it is too fluid, I steam/bake some more.).
9. Let cool before serving (I prefer it chilled for 3 days with foil cover before eating. My in-laws and husband prefer it fresh from the oven).
10. Run a knife around the edges of the flan. Invert onto a deep platter (or pan) to serve.

P.S. This and other recipes were featured in Hannaford fresh magazine (article on page 10) for the May-June 2007 issue, but they revised some of my recipes (probably because they deemed the revisions would cater better to their general readers).

UPDATE as of 4/2/09: Here's a comment from Anna of France (she made the comment under Custard Cake):
i tried your leche flan recipe,and its perfect recipe,leche flan using egg whites,napa wow talaga ako sa texture creamy, and you are right na super rich talga pag eggyolks lang..thank you atlast my recipe na ako sa leche flan na hindi ma waste ang whites.;
thank u so much for being so kind sharing recipes like this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ensaymada Recipe

UPDATE: 12-24-08 --
Please choose from the following recipes I have: supersoft and buttery, which are both cake-like or pastry-like, and many say are like Goldilock's or ensaymada, aside from the earlier bread machine and manual methods which are more like the traditional ensaymada you will typically find in a neighborhood bakery in the Philippines, which have more chewy and robust texture. You will also see tips and methods.

Merry Christmas!
To those who have emailed me for the ensaymada recipe, please bear with me. I have decided to post it online, hopefully over the weekend, since my sister does not seem to have the time to sell ensaymadas as a sideline anyway, and there have been quite a lot who have been emailing me...

As many of you know, I have embarked on a new career, and currently am orienting at a hospital. Quite busy nowadays to post...more so to answer emails or mail the recipe every time someone asks me for it. So I figure the best thing to do is to post it online, and if my sis makes an issue out of it, pasensya na lang sya.

I have been experimenting with different types of yeasts, so I will post different versions depending on what type of yeast I used.

So please be patient...I promise to take the time to post that this weekend.
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