Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 March 2009 5 comments


I had been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for a long time now. I've had a lot of flops and mediocre cookies, the recipes of which I got from the internet. There was a time when the cookie was as flat as a lace cookie. The dough just melted when it was baking. What a disaster! All I wanted was a chocolate chip cookie that is not dry and one that doesn't crumble into pieces when you bite into it. I wanted a cookie that is chewy and moist. I wasn't planning on using this recipe, I had another recipe I wanted to try. I actually found this recipe by accident. It was printed inside the box of Land O Lakes butter. This recipe yields about 26 jumbo cookies. That's right, it is huge. Of course, you can make it into whatever size you prefer, just adjust the baking time. After tasting this chocolate chip cookie, I knew that my search is over for the perfect recipe.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12-oz bag)

- Heat oven to 375F. Combine flour, baking power and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine softened butter, sugar and brown sugar in a bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not overbake. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.


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Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork

24 March 2009 3 comments

Sweet and Sour Pork

I tried a lot of recipes for the batter to use for the dish Sweet and Sour and let me tell you, there are a lot of recipes that doesn't hold up to the sauce. What you'll usually end up with is a soggy mess with the batter falling off the viand. The good news is, I found a batter recipe that stays put. It is a lot of work so if you don't like a recipe with a lot of steps, my advice is to order out from the Chinese restaurant down the road. The batter is deep fried twice for extra crispiness. (I know, some of you will cringe but hey, you're only supposed to have this dish once in a while, not every week.) In lieu of pork, you can substitute chicken, shrimps or fish. If you are diabetic, you can substitute splenda (just add it at the end of the cooking steps for the sauce.)

Sweet and Sour Shrimps SWEET AND SOUR SHRIMPS

Serves 4-6
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 small bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 cup all prupose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp beaten egg mixed with enough water to make 1/2 cup
1 tsp cooking oil
1/2 lb pork, cut into 1-inch or smaller cubes
1 tsp dry sherry or cooking wine
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup catsup
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 cup water
cooking oil for deep frying

- Parboil carrots in boiling water for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers. When it comes back to boil, drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking.

- Add the pineapple to the veggies and set aside.
- Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, egg mixture and oil in a bowl. Mix until well-blended. The batter will be like a thick paste. Set aside.

- Mix the pork, sherry, salt and pepper. Set aside.

- In a deep pan, heat oil to a temperature of 375F to 400F. This is very important so the batter will not soak up too much oil.

- Dip the marinated pork into the batter and coat completely.
- Carefully drop the battered pork into the oil, a piece at a time.

- Fry until golden brown.
- Remove the browned pork and dry on paper towels and let cool.

- Mix the sugar, catsup, soysauce, salt and water in a saucepan.

- Bring to a boil and add the vinegar. Do not stir. Let boil for 10 minutes.

- Stir in the cornstarch/water solution. Cook until the sauce thickens.

- Add the vegetables and pineapples to the sauce. Add 1 tsp. of hot oil from the deep-fry pan to give the sauce a shine.

- While preparing the sauce, reheat the oil to 400F for the second frying.

- Add the cooked pork and fry until the pieces are heated and crisped.

- Drain on paper towels.
- Serve with the sweet and sour sauce poured on top.

- You can make the pork in advance. After the first frying, you can keep in the refrigerator or in the freezer for a few days. Thaw first before frying for the second time.

- The oil can be re-used if kept in the refrigerator.


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Pork Medallions with Apricot-Orange Sauce

17 March 2009 5 comments


One of the leanest part of the pork is the tenderloin that is why it is my husband's favorite. This recipe calls for sliced pork tenderloins but I prefer whole tenderloins since this keeps it moist. I brown the sides of the whole tenderloin on the stove top and finish cooking it in the oven at 350F. The roasting time depends on the size of the pork tenderloin. I use a meat thermometer and cook the tenderloin until the internal temperature reaches 165F. I usually serve roast pork with homemade applesauce or apple compote. I saw this recipe from Cooking Light magazine and decided to try it. Each serving (2 slices) has 236 calories. If you don't have dried apricot, you can substitute fresh apricots, peaches or nectarines. The sauce was a little tart for my family's taste so I added a teaspoon or so of sugar.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tsbsp orange juice
2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

-Heat 2 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Fry pork and cook for 3 min. or until browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.

- Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in pan. Add the onions, saute until tender. Stir in apricots, chicken broth, orange juice and garlic; bring to boil. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

- Serve sauce over pork.


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Sans Rival - Oh My Goodness!

02 March 2009 13 comments


What do you get when you mix meringue, buttercream and almonds? Sans Rival, what else? The photo and title says it all, what more can I add to it? Delicious, rich, mouth-watering, diet buster, calorie laden dessert. Ah, one shouldn't think of diets when enjoying this dessert. This is one of those rare times that eating it is worth sacrificing 1 day off your healthy lifestyle. That's why you don't eat Sans Rival every week, you're only allowed to have this dessert uhm once every year? Ok, maybe once every six months.

The name Sans Rival is French, meaning 'without rival'. Nobody knows where this dessert originated but it sure has some European characteristics. It's like Napoleons. It's an Almond torte and consists of layered crispy meringue with almonds and buttercream. There is also another dessert that is similar to this called Sylvannas, the only difference being the Sylvannas is shaped like a huge egg but it tastes the same.

I grew up eating Sans Rival from Goldilocks. This is one of my favorite desserts from that popular Filipino bakery along with Mocha and Ube rolls. When I moved to Northern California 20 years ago, I was ecstatic when I learned that Goldilocks is just a drive away. I got a sticker shock though, a small square of Sansrival costs $25 (back then). No wonder it's expensive, it's a little complicated to make this. There aren't a lot of ingredients but it takes a lot of work to assemble the whole thing. After many years of wanting to try to make this dessert, I finally did it two weeks ago. I was thinking of what dish to bring to a party when I decided to make dessert. It turned out quite good, very good, in fact. Would I make it again? Hmm, yes I will (if somebody pays me to do it LOL). I used almonds instead of cashew nuts just because. If you are a novice baker, then I would suggest you buy it instead of trying to make it. :o) For an expert baker, this is quite easy to make. All you need is a lot of patience and Reynolds Release non-stick aluminum foil. If you don't have this special aluminum foil, use baking paper or parchment paper.

for the wafers:
10 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
2 cups finely chopped almonds
for the filling and frosting:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks butter at room temperature (1/2 lb)
for the topping:
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
- Beat egg yolks until it turns light yellow.
- Heat corn syrup, sugar and water over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes after it boils.
- Pour the syrup into the egg yolk slowly while beating on medium speed. Set aside to cool down.Cream softened butter and gradually beat in cooled yolk mixture.Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line three cookie sheets or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Generously grease and flour the parchment paper (very important so the meringue will not stick; if you use the Reynolds Release foil, then you don't have to grease and flour)
- Beat egg whites and of tartar until soft peaks form. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until stiff.
- Fold in ground almonds.
- Spread evenly on the cookie sheets about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cut the wafer into desired size while still warm. Peel off the paper or foil. If the parchment paper is sticking, cover with damp towel for a minute or so.
- Spread the frosting thinly on top of each meringue and stack another meringue, repeat with the layering . Don't put too much frosting in each layer or you wouldn't have enough to frost the outside of the Sans Rival.
- Sprinkle chopped almonds on the top and sides. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.


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