my very own ramen burger
I’m not really much into food trends. Meaning, I will not go out of my way to queue up in a restaurant/cafe/bakeshop just to get my hands on the flavor of the month. Truth to tell, I haven’t even tasted a cronut yet.
When I heard about the ramen burger and saw how one can recreate it at home, I thought it was worth a try. First off, I love instant ramen. It has been part of my childhood when there were only two flavors available back then: chicken and beef. What we loved about it was that it came with sesame oil along with the seasoning packet. And it was made in Japan so there’s the authenticity factor.
I also remember having those cup noodles as midnight snack during our flights from Manila-New York-Manila. When local companies inundated the market with their version of instant noodles, our Japanese favorite somewhat disappeared. But now they’re back and with a variety of flavors to boot.
For my rendition, I used my sister’s hamburger recipe. It has soy sauce as an ingredient which I thought was perfect. And because I am obsessed with baking everything, I baked the beef patties. As I assembled the “sandwich”, I used Japanese roasted sesame as dressing, put some romaine lettuce (I’m not a fan of arugula) and added seasoned seaweeds for texture and crunch (as suggested by my nephew P._). And I sprinkled some toasted black sesame seeds on top of the buns.
Verdict: It truly was an unusual, savory burger. P._ said that putting cheese on it was not a good idea. The dressing certainly elevated the burger. The seaweeds, as expected, got soggy in a few minutes; maybe they would be better as a side item, like what french fries are to regular burgers. And my testers swore they could eat the ramen buns alone and still be happy. Yes, I would do that, too, especially if the buns are browned to the point that they are crispy. Overall, it is not something that I would look for when I am hungry. I would still choose the noodle soup any time, instant or the fancy one served in restaurants.
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*To make the ramen buns, cook noodles according to instructions. If there are seasoning packets, add them to the noodles once drained. Cool for a few minutes, then add 1 egg and mix thoroughly. Divide into ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and stack with a bottle or can to flatten the noodles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add oil (you can use sesame oil) to a heated pan, fry the bun until golden brown, about 4 minutes, then flip.
October 10th, 2014
Barbie Doll Cake and Cupcakes Project – Barbie doll with a gown made of cake and cupcakes with chocolate toppers featuring the Barbie logo. Price available upon request.
i’m a barbie girl . . .
I have never owned a Barbie doll in my life. It was so expensive back then and we being five girls in all, our parents never spoiled us with toys because money was set aside for the more important stuff. My sisters and I, we never complained; we just amused ourselves with whatever toys were on hand. Paper dolls were big at that time. Sometimes we would make our own dolls from cardboard and cut dresses from colorful magazine pages. Yes, we did have the regular plastic dolls but then, we were not much into toys anyway. We spent a lot of time outdoors running around, playing badminton, hide and seek or chinese garter. It was only my youngest sister who became so enamored with dolls but I don’t remember if she ever asked for a Barbie.
When I got the call for this project, I was not sure if I can pull it off because I have never made something like this. Initially, what I had in mind was to make the Barbie image cake topper with chocolate. But M._ told me she wanted the “doll” cake for her daughter and sent me photos for reference. M._ is a sister of a loyal client so I could not refuse. Enter Google. As I searched online for instructions on how to make this cake, I told M._ that if I have to provide the doll, she will have to shell out more since the doll alone costs a lot. She said she will lend me one of her daughter’s dolls which has a built-in bodice.
Typhoon Glenda nearly sabotaged this project because a few days before this was due, Glenda came bringing with her a massive power outtage that lasted for days. I already texted M._ that if there was no electricity yet by Friday (delivery date was Sunday), then the project would have to be shelved. Fortunately, power was restored in the nick of time. Back to regular programming!
I needed a sturdy cake because the layers have to be stacked high so I used my golden butter cream cake recipe. I threw in some colorful sprinkles in the batter to liven things up. I baked one cake in a bowl to get the dome shape and the rest were baked in regular pans. I do not have a round cookie cutter so I relied on my DIY skills and used a champange glass to cut holes in the center of the baked cakes where the doll will be inserted. Barbie’s waist down to her legs were covered in plastic wrap to protect the doll from the whipped cream icing. The flowers on her gown were made of chocolate.
The cupcakes did not require much work as the cake did. Toppers were hand drawn using chocolate. Frosting was also whipped cream. I think I overdid it with the pink but hey, Barbie is mostly pink so there.
Thank you, weather gods for clearing the skies; thank you Meralco for restoring power in the nick of time; and thank you mommy M._ for your trust.
September 4th, 2014
Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
We always have a bunch of bananas in our house. My father loves them. I always have one before heading out to log my LSD (long slow distance) workout and then use it for a recovery smoothie when I return. But sometimes we have too many and they ripen too quickly.
There are myriad ways of using overripe bananas. Banana bread, banana cake, banana cupcakes, even soft serve ice cream. I’ve used it for a three-ingredient cookie recipe that I so love. And now, I discovered these banana oatmeal pancakes. There are also various ways of preparing these breakfast/snack treats. Some only use bananas and eggs. But I wanted a healthier pancake and when I saw a recipe that calls for oatmeal, I was on board.
I got this from the The Fat Kid Inside but I altered the recipe a bit. I don’t like topping my pancakes with syrup so I make sure I use overripe bananas with this because they lend enough sweetness and flavor. I also ditched the vanilla called for. I will try to use rolled oats next time. And hey, I added chocolate chips just because they make everything good taste better.
These babies are very filling. I think they will make a good recovery fuel as well after a long run because bananas, oats, cinnamon, eggs are staples in a runner’s diet.
1 overripe banana, mashed
1 packet Quaker instant oatmeal (any flavor)
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
add-ons: chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, bacon
1. Brush pan/griddle lightly with butter or oil and heat it on medium-low.
2. Mix all ingredients. Put about 1/4 cup of batter on the pan. After a few seconds, drop your add-ons.
4. Wait for about a minute before flipping the pancake. Cook for another minute or so. Makes about five smallish pancakes.
September 4th, 2014
Dark Side Cupcakes - Star Wars-inspired cupcakes with edible toppers. Price available upon request.
tempting, these cupcakes are!
Lexie just celebrated her birthday and now it was her big brother’s turn. After I handed over the “Frozen”-themed cake to Dr. M_’s household, I was handed back a thank you note accompanied by a request if I can make Darth Vader cupcakes for Liam who was turning 11. I only had a few days to do them but since I am a sucker for challenges, of course I said yes.
When my nephew P._ learned of this project, he told me to make Death Star cupcakes. I had no idea how to do that and with little time to make tests, I decoded to just make the Darth Vader chocolate toppers and edible red light sabers.
I have longed to do the light sabers ever since I got an inquiry for a similarly-themed project which never pushed through. Now here was my chance. The light sabers must remain stiff and using only chocolate paste just won’t cut it so I used pretzel sticks as base. The chocolate paste won’t stick to the pretzels so I just painted them with red chocolate.
As for the Darth Vader image, I searched for something easy for me to draw. Tedious the task was but rewarding in the end.
I was very happy with my handiwork and was glad when Dr. M._ said they were yummy. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!
As for the Death Star design, I hope to do that on my next project.
July 31st, 2014
Disney’s “Frozen”-themed Cake – decorated with images of Elsa, Olaf and some snowflakes, all made of chocolate. Price available upon request.
“the cold never bothered me anyway”-not!
I am not in my element in extremely cold places. Whenever I visit my sisters in New York, I easily get the shivers even if the temps are in the high 50s. It was spring the last time I was there, in May 2013, and I got a bad case of colds and allergies. So bad that I could not breathe as my nose was so stuffy. Having allergic rhinitis made matters worse. That’s what I got from going on an hour’s run in the park on a chilly morning (at least for me), with pollen flying around and me not wearing enough layers. To quote Charles Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For me.
Now what’s all this talk about the cold and the chills when the Philippines is experiencing one of the hottest summer ever this time of the year? Because my next project was a “Frozen”-themed cake. Dr. M_ asked me if I can make a cake along this line for her little girl Lexie. Naturally, I was thrilled. First, the good doctor is a loyal client. Second, I also made Lexie’s cake when she turned one (the cake theme then was Angry Birds). Third, they are just a stone’s throw away from where I live. Neat!
Frozen, a movie so popular it made Idina Menzel a household name and spawned the Adele Dazeem name generator. And. I. Haven’t. Watched. It. Though it posed no problem to my project, I felt a bit disconnected to the characters I was drawing in chocolate. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.
I had a great time creating the cake. Dr. M_ sent me some photos and seeing Lexie with the cake was good enough for me. Thank you Dr. M_ for the continued patronage!
July 23rd, 2014