Featured Post

Filipino chicken adobo

howdy! this is my adobo recipe. I like to make it with bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, but you could sub any other firm protein...

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

homemade flour tortillas

note: this recipe is very slightly adapted from the brilliant Simply Mama -- please check out her video to watch her make perfect tortillas!

you can use pretty much any fat you want when making flour tortillas -- even oil! I prefer lard or butter, but honestly, almost any kind of homemade tortilla is delicious.

if you have a kitchen scale, it's very easy to do this recipe using the weight measurements. if you zero out the scale after adding each ingredient, you won't dirty a bunch of measuring spoons and cups! plus your tortillas will be much more consistent from batch to batch.


  • 410 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) room temperature butter, lard or shortening (if using oil, use 60 ml)
  • 6 grams (1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons, depending on the type of salt you use) salt (I prefer kosher salt)
  • 237 ml (8 ounces) hot water
combine flour, baking powder, butter and salt in a large mixing bowl. add the hot water and work it into a dough, using a wooden spoon or your hands. once it's come together (the sides of the bowl should be mostly clean), take the dough and place it on a smooth, clean surface to knead (I use a marble pastry board, but a clean countertop is fine, too -- it just might be a bit stickier to work with). the dough will definitely be sticky at first, but keep kneading it for 5-6 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water and to develop a bit of gluten. if it's still much too sticky after kneading, you can dust a tiny bit of flour on and work it in a bit at a time, but use as little as possible -- too much flour makes for tough, dry tortillas. it's definitely better to keep the dough a bit sticky rather than put too much flour in it.

once you have a fairly smooth dough, divide it into 12 portions and form it into balls. put the dough balls back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. after it's rested, heat up a griddle or comal over medium heat. dust the surface of the pastry board or countertop lightly with a tiny bit of flour (again, you don't want to work too much flour into the dough), take out a ball (leaving the rest covered while you work) and roll it out into a thin circle, making sure to pick the tortilla up to flip and rotate it as you roll it out -- that will help it keep its shape better and will also prevent it from sticking to the board. roll out a couple, then start cooking the first one. the griddle should be hot enough to make the dough bubble up well within about 30 seconds without burning the tortilla. flip it to cook the other side, adjusting the heat as needed. while you're cooking one tortilla, always have one ready to go on the griddle as soon as the one you're cooking is done (this keeps the griddle from getting too hot and scorching the tortillas). you'll find a rhythm as you work. as the tortillas are finished, place them on a plate lined with a clean kitchen towel. when they're all done, wrap them up in the towel and enjoy! if you need to keep them for longer, you can put them in a ziploc bag when they're completely cool.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Filipino chicken adobo

howdy! this is my adobo recipe. I like to make it with bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, but you could sub any other firm protein: pork shoulder, pressed tofu, sliced tempeh -- whatever; it will be delicious. I make it in a Crock Pot so it will be very hands-off (and thus easy), plus it won't heat up my kitchen in the summer (!), but you can do it entirely on the stovetop in a heavy dutch-oven-ish pot, if you prefer. another option is to stick it in the oven to at 225 F rather than simmering on the stovetop and cook until desired tenderness. it's very versatile.

  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large white or yellow onion, sliced medium from root to tip (maybe 1/8 - 1/4" strips)
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, roughly chopped or pressed (per your preference)
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (ideally Filipino)
  • 2/3 cup Filipino cane vinegar (or a mild cider vinegar; but use maybe a tiny bit less)
  • 2/3 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 3 bay leaves
  • chopped green onions or cilantro for garnish
  • basmati &/or jasmine or other variety of rice for serving

  1. heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat -- cover the bottom of the pan with it generously. add the onion when the oil is hot (it looks thin and sort of shimmery, but isn't smoking) (it's okay to add them early, too). start them cooking, and add a pinch of kosher salt, if you have it -- it makes them brown nicely much more quickly. regular salt will work too, just use half a pinch. :-) as they start to brown, turn the heat down to medium-high, and let them cook for maybe 5-8 minutes. they don't need to be soft/translucent all the way through, but they should definitely have taken on some nice color -- even deep brown in spots. turn off the heat and add the garlic & bay leaf.
  2. place the cooked onions mixture into your slow cooker. add the chicken thighs on top, and then add the sauce. make sure the chicken thighs are pressed down into the liquid as much as possible (the chicken and onions will release more liquid as it cooks). turn the Crock Pot on high and let it cook for 3-4 hours; until the chicken is done -- you want to cook the chicken until it's extremely tender. stick a fork in the chicken thighs & seeing if the meat falls right off the bones -- if so, it's done. after it cools, the bones will just slide right out and every other part of the chicken thigh will be delicious and edible.

this delivers big, well-balanced flavor for such a deceptively simple recipe. as mentioned, I like to serve it with basmati rice (or a mix of basmati and jasmine rice), garnished with cilantro. a simply prepared green veggie (like stir-fried baby bok choy with thinly sliced garlic, salt & red chili oil, or a nice salad) is a perfect accompaniment. sometimes, I make a sort of pico de gallo/salsa with chopped tomatoes & green onions, finely minced green chiles (serranos or jalapenos), finely diced dried mango (it rehydrates in the sauce and gives it great, balanced flavor by adding some fruity sweetness -- fresh mango would be wonderful, too), finely diced hothouse cucumber, chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt. that pico/salsa complements the dish well, and if you top it all with some chunks of fresh avocado, well... it's one of the best meals you'll ever eat, especially for so little effort. enjoy!

Monday, August 06, 2018

bulgogi (불고기) marinade

bulgogi (불고기) marinade

for 1# of thinly sliced sirloin or ribeye (or chunks of chicken thighs/breast or halved button mushrooms)

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey (to taste)
  • 1/4 peeled Korean pear, grated OR 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine) or white wine, if you have it
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • a few good grinds of freshly ground black pepper (or 1/8 teaspoon pre-ground black pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
combine in a container and marinate meat or mushrooms for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

to cook meat: remove meat from marinade and either grill or saute in a skillet in a bit of hot oil until cooked (it will cook very quickly).

to cook mushrooms (or other vegetables): strain out marinade (but save it), toss the mushrooms (plus sliced onions and chiles, if you'd like) in a skillet with hot oil for a 5-8  minutes to sear, then pour in marinade and bring to a boil. cook until marinade thickens and mushrooms are tender.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, separated (1/4 cup flour set aside)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (if you have sweetened applesauce, just reduce the brown sugar slightly)
  • powdered sugar to decorate

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter and flour two loaf pans.

in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, stop mixer and scrape down sides, and beat a bit longer until completely mixed.

toss raisins in 1/4 cup flour in a small mixing bowl and set aside. add 1 cup flour to mixture in mixer, then 1 cup applesauce, and repeat. stop mixer, scrape down sides, start again and continue to mix for another minute, then add flour-coated raisins and mix just until evenly distributed. stop mixer, and divide batter between loaf pans. place in middle of oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until done (a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). cool in pans on wire racks until completely cooled, then turn out onto plates and dust with powdered sugar to decorate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

no-knead bread by ingredient weight

I did a cursory google search for "no knead bread ingredients by weight," but didn't find a good reference for the standard (3.5 cups/flour) loaf I usually make, so I weighed it out as I measured it tonight. in case anyone else here also prefers to bake by ingredient weight, here's what I came up with:

  • flour (bread flour or all-purpose): 15-3/4 oz or 450 grams
  • water: 1 oz 1-1/4or 320 grams
  • kosher salt (I use Diamond Kosher salt, which measures a bit differently than Morton's): 1/8 oz or 7 grams
  • active dry yeast (I use Red Star): 1/4 teaspoon (don't bother trying to weigh that; it won't register) 

it's so much simpler to just put the bowl on my scale, zero it out, put in the flour, zero it out, put in the water, zero it out, etc., plus I don't have to wash measuring cups that way. so laziness is my main motivator.

Monday, July 11, 2016

top shelf oatmeal muffins

extra cinnamon + granola topped variation

there is a bakery in Austin that makes what I consider to be the perfect oatmeal muffin -- kind of plain, lightly sweet, a bit chewy with old-fashioned oats -- nothing fancy, but just right. I think I've come very close to cracking the recipes here. these are just as good, if not just a teeny bit better, in my humble opinion. super-easy to make. give 'em a try!

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
preheat oven to 400 degrees F. line muffin pan with paper liners (or butter and flour thoroughly if not using liners. add brown sugar and butter to the mixer, and start blending. add eggs one at a time, then add oats and buttermilk. add flour, kosher salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking powder, and finish mixing when just combined (don't overmix). divide mixture into muffin pan wells and bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown on top, and done inside (a clean toothpick emerges without batter or crumbs stuck to it). cool on a wire rack and consume in good health! I used to pay over $1 per muffin; this entire batch of 12 muffins cost around $3 total.

variations -- any one or two of these would work well, or even all at once! 
  • substitute yogurt thinned with water or milk to buttermilk consistency
  • use a full teaspoon of cinnamon and add 1/3 cup raisins (golden raisins are especially nice here)
  • add the zest of 1/2 an orange and add 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • before baking, top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon granola

Saturday, July 09, 2016

fully-loaded everyday granola

my favorite way to eat this delicious granola is in a bowl of Greek yogurt, with lots of chopped fresh fruit added, along with a drizzle of honey. it's also fantastic on ice cream.
  • 42 ounce* (large) canister old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
  • zest of 4 oranges (organic preferred)
  • 1 ½ cups extra virgin coconut oil (refined or unrefined; whatever you prefer)
  • 2 cups sweetener (any combination of maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, etc. -- I typically use 1 ½ cups brown sugar and ½ cup honey)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, tart cherries, blueberries, apples, etc., in any combination), chopped if they’re larger than cranberries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 ½ cup toasted nuts (slivered or flaked almonds, chopped pecans, etc., in any combination)
  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
preheat oven to 275 degrees F. line two half-sheet pans (or the equivalent of large baking pans) with parchment paper or foil. place oats and coconut in a large bowl and mix. in large (quart size or larger) glass bowl or measuring cup, combine coconut oil, orange zest, sweetener, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and microwave for about 3 minutes (alternatively, cook over medium-low heat in medium saucepan, stirring constantly, until all sweetener and oil are melted and warm -- do not boil). pour the oil/sweetener mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. spread out on parchment-lined or silpat-lined half-sheet pans in an even layer and place in oven for 60 minutes, stirring mixture every 20 minutes & rotating pans on shelves for even toasting. it will turn light golden brown near the end, but won’t crisp up until it starts to cool.

while granola is baking, toast each type of nut and/or seed used individually, in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil, until done to your taste -- do NOT allow them to burn! add them to the bowl that held the oat mixture, and add in the dried fruits and combine.
when oats are done, allow pans to cool on wire racks for a few minutes. tip oats into the bowl with dried fruits and nuts and allow to rest and cool for a few more minutes while you clean the baking sheets (if you let it sit in the baking sheets/pans, it really sticks to them and it's hard to get it all out). stir it all together, let cool completely, and then pack into two gallon-size ziplock bags. I always save an oat container from the previous time and pack the ziplocks in the oat containers to keep them intact.

*note: it’s fine to pull out 1-2 cups of oats to use in a recipe before making granola -- it will come out about the same. I usually take out around 1 ½ cups oats to make a batch of oatmeal muffins.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

cornmeal battered fried tofu for tofu tacos

  • 1 pound firm ("hard") tofu, cotton-type (not silken), cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 quart peanut oil, for frying
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (tapioca starch works here, too -- you may need a bit more to get the right batter consistency)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (or just use another 1/4 cup cornstarch; I like potato starch's lightness but it's not essential if you don't have it on hand)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
line a half-sheet pan (or any large, shallow baking dish) with paper towels or clean, lint-free kitchen towels. lay out the tofu cubes evenly, then cover with more paper towels or another clean kitchen towel. place another half-sheet pan (or similarly-sized large, flat dish) on top, then add a heavy bowl, books, or a few bricks to weight the tofu down. set that aside for about 30 minutes to press out excess water.

heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large wok or french oven. combine the water, cornmeal, corn starch, potato starch (if used), 1/4 cup of the flour, baking powder, salt, onion powder, paprika and ground cumin in a large bowl, and whisk thoroughly. the batter should be slightly thicker than heavy cream (or latex paint); add a bit more flour if needed. don't let it get as thick as muffin batter, though, or it will be too coat the tofu too thickly and won't cook up right. tip the tofu pieces into the batter and toss them gently with your fingers to coat thoroughly.

when oil is hot, add the battered tofu carefully, lifting out one piece at a time with your fingers (which will automatically let excess batter drip back into the bowl). don't over-crowd the pieces in the oil -- allow a bit of room between the pieces (in my large French oven, it takes about three batches to fry all the tofu). once you've added enough pieces, set a timer for 5 minutes, and occasionally stir through & break apart any pieces that stick together while frying. when done, scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a half-sheet pan (or other similar vessel) lined with clean, dry paper towels or kitchen towels.

tomatillo salsa verde

  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, washed and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3-6 seeded, diced hot fresh chiles (a mix of jalapenos, serranos, salsarific, or any other fresh, hot chiles would be welcome. habaneros and/or scotch bonnets would also be good, but be careful not to make it too hot), depending on heat level desired
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 juicy lime), to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste, if needed)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
in a medium saucepan, saute the scallions in the olive oil with a small pinch of salt, over medium-high heat, until scallions are lightly golden brown and a bit softened. add the tomatillo chunks and water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover. simmer for about 5 minutes; until tomatillos are dull green and a bit softened. remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (if desired, speed up cooling by setting saucepan in a large bowl of ice and water). pour the tomatillos into a blender and add the chiles, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and all of the cilantro; blend until smooth and flecked with dark green chiles and bright green bits of cilantro. taste and add lime juice and/or salt if needed. refrigerate.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

fluffy, ultra-light pancakes

this pancake batter relies heavily on the interaction between acidic buttermilk and alkaline baking soda for leavening, so it needs to be cooked right away. also, the batter will puff up a bit in the bowl, so be sure to leave a little room for that! they will come out light and tender, like clouds, with slightly crisp edges.

makes approximately 10 pancakes, depending on size

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk (stir, but don't shake before measuring! if you shake it, it gets bubbly and doesn't measure right)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if you're using fine salt -- try 1/2 teaspoon to start)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured by spooning the flour into the cup measure and leveling off with a knife -- how you measure the flour is very important! don't dip the measure into the flour and level off -- you'll get a lot more flour and the batter will be too thick)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

either pour the melted butter into a medium-large bowl for the batter, or microwave the butter in the bowl to melt it. whisk in the buttermilk, then the eggs, sugar and salt. pour in all the flour, baking powder, and baking soda at once, then whisk in. the batter will form bubbles and foam up a bit -- don't over-mix! you don't want to lose the bubbles. a few lumps are fine. do evaluate the batter to see if it's the right consistency -- add a bit more buttermilk or regular milk if you need to thin it.

to cook your pancakes, heat a griddle or skillet (I like to do two at a time; you do what works best for you!) over medium heat. quickly run the end of a stick of butter over the surface of the hot skillet -- you don't want a lot in there, just a bit. it should foam up immediately, but not burn (adjust the heat if needed). add a scoop of batter (1/2 cup to 2/3 cup per pancake is what I do) and let pancake cook until the edges are set, the bubbles near the edges are set and open at the top, and you can see bubbles throughout the whole pancake. flip with a spatula and check how brown the surface is -- adjust heat if needed. allow the second side to cook for around 1 minute -- to check for doneness, lightly press the edges and middle of the pancake to see if it springs back a bit. if it does, it's done. remove from skillet to a plate, butter the skillet again and continue cooking, stacking them up until you've finished the batter. relax and enjoy with a bit of maple syrup and fresh fruit.