Monday, October 10, 2011

Tofu Pockets

I love tofu. There are days when I crave it. Of course, I buy them fresh from the local artisan tofu maker in town and I get fresh, steaming blocks of tofu. The problem with tofu is that a block of tofu is a LOT of tofu. I bought 2 blocks of tofu, thinking I needed two to make a dish of Mapo Tofu to bring to a potluck dinner. Turns out, I only needed one. So, what can I do with my extra tofu? Make Crispy Fried Tofu Pockets!

I modified this dish from a Chinese recipe that uses minced meat to stuff square tofu blocks and steamed. I make mine by crispy-frying it and then covering it with a savory sauce. First thing you need to do is to drain that block of tofu. Now cut it carefully into little blocks, say 2 inch by 2 inch pieces. make sure you have firm tofu, the soft ones will crumble on you. Then with a teaspoon, carefully dig out the center of the tofu square. Make sure you don't puncture the bottom.

Do this with all the tofu blocks. Save those tofu discards for later. They make for good tofu crumble to add to stews (as a thickener) or minced meat stir-fry (as an extender).

Now we need to season the minced meat. You'll need about a cup of minced pork. Make sure it has some fat in it, it'll add to the flavor. Add about a teaspoon of each:

> Light soy sauce
> Oyster sauce
> Rice wine or sherry
> minced garlic
> grated onion
> grated carrot

Also add 1 egg (to make everything combine together), 2 tablespoon of cornstarch plus a dash of salt and pepper. Mix everything well in a bowl and use about two teaspoons of meat to stuff the hollow centers of the blocks.

Now heat enough oil to deep-fry these stuff pockets. When the oil gets hot, lower the pockets into the oil with the stuffed side facing down on the pan. This is to help cooked the minced meat stuffing. Then after about 5-7 minutes, or when that side turns golden brown, turn it over to cook the other side.

When everything is golden brown all over, drain the tofu pockets on paper towels. Let them sit for a minute or two. These will be too hot to serve. Which gives you enough time to make your garlic-soy sauce dip.

In a little bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon minced raw garlic. Stir to combine. Now you can use this dip for your tofu pockets or as a sauce that you can pour over the entire dish.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

From old to new ~ Bread Pudding

If you have a family with finicky eaters like mine, you will end up with a lot of bread. I mean bread trimmings. My hubby and youngest son don't like the edges of sliced bread. So, they slice them off and just eat the white part of the bread. Well, me and Bottomless Pit (eldest son) don't care and eat the whole thing.

What I do with the bread trimmings is that I gather them in a resealable plastic bag and stuff them in my freezer. When I see that the bag has morphed into two bags of bread trimmings (along with old bread), I take all of the bread and dump it in a large mixing bowl. Let's say, it'll be about 10-12 cups of bread. Add some eggs, sugar, sliced fruit, milk, etc. and you'll find that old, unwanted bread becomes yummy, delicious snack/dessert called bread pudding.

Here's my own recipe: Bread Pudding


10-12 cups of bread (or two loaves of old bread)
1 liter of milk (or 2-3 cups of milk)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
2-3 cups of diced fruit (choose firm, crunchy fruit like pears, apples, or even pineapples)
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinammon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two cake pans and set them aside.

2. Take your old bread and dump into a big mixing bowl. Add milk and make sure all the bread gets soaked. Cover and leave in the fridge for about 1 hour.

3. When the bread is nice and soft, with clean hands mash the bread together until everything is mushy and well-mixed. Add the four eggs and mix with a spoon.

4. After mixing the eggs into the bread mixture, add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix very well.

5. Add the diced fruit. I make my diced fruit even better by pre-cooking the apples and pears in a pan with butter and sprinkling it 2-3 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon. This makes the fruit nice and tasty. The pineapple I just dice in small cubes and mix it without pre-cooking it.

6. Again, make sure all the diced fruit is thoroughly mixed in the bread mixture. Now divide the mixture between the two cake pans. Bake for about 45-50 minutes in the oven or until the tops of the pudding are golden brown and when pierced with a toothpick, the stick comes out clean.

7. Let cool and slice into squares before serving. Makes about 40 squares. This recipe can be halved for those who prefer to make a smaller batch.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baked Potato Skins

When the kids and the hubby go to our local Pizza Hut, we usually order assorted appetizers. One of our favorite appetizers is the Baked Potato Skins. Since we have a dearth of potatoes at the house at the moment, I decided to fix it for our afternoon snack.

What you need:

Whole Cooked Potatoes with their skins on them (Baked, Steamed or Boiled)
Mozzarella cheese
Oil (Bacon or vegetable oil)
Savory toppings such as Bacon, Sausage, Pepperoni, etc.

How to fix it:

1. Take a cooked potato, and cut it in half.

2. Hollow it out with a spoon. Make sure you leave about half a centimeter of potato flesh on the skin. Do that with the rest of the potatoes.

3. Take a baking tray and lightly grease with oil. I believe bacon grease is the best but that is just me.

4. Put the potatoes, cut side down, on the baking tray and baked it in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes until the skin gets crispy.

5. Turn it over and add your cheese first and then add your savory topping. Make sure the cheese covers the entire potato bottom.

6. Bake the loaded potatoes for about 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is golden. Take out the finished potatoes and wait for about 3-4 minutes before serving (the hot cheese would be molten and would burn eager tongues and lips).


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crispy Spam Rolls

There are those who hate this word with a passion - SPAM. No, I am not talking about that rubbish you get in your inbox. I'm talking about that pink luncheon meat in a can. Hey, I'm Filipino and we inherently love Spam (it saved us from hunger in the 2nd WW).

Now there are different ways to fix Spam and make it more tasty for those who can't stand it. One way, wrap in spring roll wrapper and deepfry. Dunk in a lemony-salty sauce and you've got yourself a winner. Now let me show you how it's done. (I first encountered this when I was in high school and in one of our dances, this was served).


This makes for great appetizers or party food for kids.


1 can of spam
the egg white of 1 egg (save the yolk for other uses)
any preferred cheese, the meltier the better (heck you can use Velveeta if you want)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
spring roll wrappers
oil for frying


Cut spam into think sticks, maybe McDonald's french fry thickness.
Do the same with the cheese.
Take your spring roll wrappers and cut it into half (either in triangles or long rectangles).

Place a Spam stick and a cheese stick at the edge of the spring roll and proceed to wrap tightly. Make sure everything is covered so that the cheese won't leak out.
Do the same for all the other spam/cheese and wrappers.

Heat up the oil in a deep dish pan and start frying the rolls when the oil gets medium hot. Take out the rolls when the skin gets golden brown. (Tip: Take a tall colander, line up with paper towels and drain your rolls standing up. All the oil will drain leaving your rolls staying crispy longer).

Make your dipping sauce with soy sauce mixed with lemon juice.

Serve rolls hot with the sauce. Enjoy!