Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My first Ramen experience at Ren's Ramen

Hubby's miso ramen
I love noodles. I love how they are so versatile and how you can make it any way you can. You can have it with soup or without soup. It takes the taste of its base and pretty much anything you put on it. I am familiar with ramen but only with the instant kind. So, to eat at Ren's Ramen and have my first ramen experience was exciting!

my shoyu ramen
I decided to order "The Sapporo" style Shoyu Ramen which is soy sauce flavored with Tonkotsu (pork based) broth, 1pc roast pork, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, scallions, inion and ground pork. I also asked them to add an additional toppings of seasoned boiled egg and corn. The hubby ordered "The Sapporo" style Miso Ramen which is miso flavored and pretty much the same ingredients as mine but he asked for stewed spareribs to be added as toppings.
just putting some spices on my yummy ramen
I love both of our orders but I admit that I like the hubby's miso based soup as opposed to mine. We also added a plateful of gyoza and they were okay. The star really of the meal were the ramen. They came in piping hot and the aroma was wonderful. I love that the noodles have a wonderful chewy texture, almost al dente. Truly, this is an experience that needs to be repeated.
Ren's Ramen Sapporo Style Japanese Ramen house is located at 11403 Amherst Ave., Silver Spring,MD 20902. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jollibee's calling my name

notaplainhousewife"I love you Sabado, pati buong Linggo - hintay ka lang Jollibee nandiyan na 'ko!" - this was the song that I kept playing over and over in my head. I feel like a kid again.
Jollibee is a fast-food chain from the Philippines, a counterpart of sorts of McDonald's. The chain offers burgers, fries, fried chicken and dishes that caters to the Filipino palate such as pancit palabok, lumpia and halo-halo among others. In the east coast, the only Jollibee outlets are located in New Jersey. New York and Virginia Beach. For some reason, we do favor the Virginia Beach Jollibee site more. It is the biggest of the three and has more parking space.

notaplainhousewifenotaplainhousewifenotaplainhousewifeOur usual orders consists mostly of the pancit palabok with chicken, a pandan or ube cooler, peach mango pie and a halo-halo and that was just for me. The hubby loves the pancit palabok with chicken too but he also likes the Aloha burger, the pandan or ube cooler and also halo-halo. We just learned that they now offer the Jolly hotdog but when we ordered it, we were slightly taken aback by the size because they look like mini hotdog sandwiches. Definitely not the Jolly hotdog that we remember from our childhood. Still we enjoyed every bit of it because we only get to visit this place twice or at most 3 times in a year since it takes us about 5 hours to drive through Virginia Beach. The other outlets were not visited because they are usually out of the way when we visit our friends and family from New Jersey and the parking is also terrible.

I wish we can have a Jollibee in Maryland someday.
Jollibee Virginia Beach:
4541 S Plaza Trail, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dorie Greenspan's Banana Bundt Cake

without drizzle
I have always been fascinated with bundt pans because of their wonderful designs and have always wanted to own one. I made an agreement though with the husband that if I am going to buy any kitchen gadget/pan/utensils I have to use it right away and not allow for cobwebs to grow around them. So, before I bought one from Ross, I made sure that I have a recipe that I can use on it and I came upon this from - The Best Banana Bundt Cake (Dorie Greenspan). And guess what? It was true to its word - this really was the best banana bundt cake/bread recipe I've ever tasted. It's moist and superbly delicious. I am a novice baker and it turned out really good...the hubby and a bunch of our friends can attest to that. So here's the recipe and happy baking!
The Best Banana Bundt Cake (Dorie Greenspan) taken from by blucoat (August 10, 2010)
with yummy drizzle
3 cup all purpose flour

2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 cup or 2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
about 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup plain yogurt or 1 cup sour cream (or 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup sour cream)
- In my cake I use only sour cream and I made sure that the butter, eggs and sour cream are at room temperature. 
- When using a Bundt pan, don't place the pan on a baking sheet to allow the oven's heat to circulate through the Bundt's inner tube.
- I always sift the flour, baking soda and salt together before whisking them.
- I used a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for this recipe.
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9 to 10 inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (No need to butter it if you're using a silicon Bundt pan.)
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. 
3. Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add eggs one at a time (beating for about 1 minute after each egg).
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas.
5. Mix in half the flour mixture, all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the sides after every addition. Do not over mix.
6. Transfer the batter to the buttered Bundt pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth on top using a spatula.
7. Bake for 65 - 75 minutes or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check 30 minutes before cooking time ends to see if it is browning to fast. If yes, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Cool for 30 minutes before unmolding onto the rack. Cake is better if left to sit overnight.
Simple Frosting to Drizzle:
- Sift 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar into a bowl and mix with 1 tbsp of milk at a time until you reach desired consistency. Drizzle on cake.Yum!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Crepe du Jour - Mt. Washington, my favorite crepe place

My love and his Crepe Royale
 Our first year in Maryland was spent in the Mt. Washington neighborhood which was northwest of Baltimore City. We used to live with 2 of our close friends and their family in a 3 bedroom unit at Bonnie Ridge Apartments. I love this area because, there were pathways for my morning walks, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church was just around the corner and there were a handful of restaurants to try that were quite pleasing to the palate and one of them is this crepe place - Crepe du Jour.

my Bisous Valentine paired with a cup of capuccino
I have many wonderful memories of this crepe place because after our volunteer work in Sacred Heart, I used to exchange stories with my beautiful Tita Ruth while having our fill of their yummy crepes and coffee.

It's been a while since I last had a crepe here especially now that we live in Ellicott City. This was somewhat like an impromptu date and we decided to have some merienda.

We both got the sweet crepes and they were delicious. The hubby had Crepe Royale - a crepe filled with bananas, chocolate sauce, strawberries and topped with whipped cream. My crepe is called Bisous Valentine which is a crepe filled with bananas, strawberries and Nutella with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. They were yummy!

Crepe du Jour is located at 1609 Sulgrave Ave., Baltimore,MD 21209.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Filipino food items that I miss.....

When I came to the U.S., it was the fall season of 2008 and I can still remember how different it felt. The air smells different, the jacket that was way too warm in the Philippines was insufficient when it comes to the cold of Detroit and people talks way too fast for me to catch up what they're saying. But I was excited because I miss my husband so much...too much actually.

the now you see me. now you don't Yakult
Coming here, I thought that I can easily get everything that we have in the Philippines and of course, I was so dead wrong. Here are a list of the food items that I miss in the Philippines that I rarely find here (Maryland area) or if I do, they are just so darn expensive that I just go for the local brand instead.

1. Yakult - Yakult is almost like an Easter egg around here. If it's in stock, I try to buy as many as I can and when it's out of stays that way for a long.....long....long...time.

2. Pan de Regla or Kalihim - It's a bread that is sold in the local bakeries in the Philippines with a red colored sweet filling which is just so darn good especially when it's still warm from the oven. Recently, I found a recipe for this on Pinterest and I am still mustering the courage to bake something that calls for yeast and also kneading. We'll see....

3. Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdog - It's big, juicy and oh so bad for you but I think, I can finish a whole package of this.

4. La Paz Batchoy - the real one and not from the cup. I miss the smell of the piping hot, chicharon and garlic laden offal soup. I also found a recipe for that but it is a bit intimidating but we'll see. I will definitely post it together with item 2, if ever I get to do it.

5. Red Ribbon Cakes - like Rocky Road Cake and Chocolate Mousse Cake because somehow, the one's that they have here does not seem to taste the same at all. Even the appearance is different!

the I cannot believe it's $10.99 ice cream
6. Becky's Kitchen Brownies and Cakes - I miss the brownies with the cherries and nuts and also the triple chocolate mousse.

7. Conti's Mango Bravo - The Mango Bravo Cake which is a mountain of yummy delightful cream, meringue, mangoes and just heavenly goodness.

8. Isaw and other Filipino street food - Offals I feel is kinda hard to come by in the asian markets or maybe, I just don't know how to ask? hmmmm

9. Porkchops with a strip of fat in it - because all of the porkchops I have encountered are trimmed of the fatty goodness. Why oh why do they have to trim the best part away?

10. Puto Bumbong - The Filipino delicacy which is actually made of purple-colored rice flour cooked in cylindrical bamboo/wooden containers slathered with margarine, and sprinkled with coconut and sugar with sesame seeds. It used to be sold only when the Simbang Gabi starts but in Muntinlupa (where I lived all my life), there was a lady there who cooks the yummy stuff all throughout the year.

I miss you yummies!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Egg Pie (Filipino Custard Pie)

the first of the many egg pies I'll be making and eating
The egg pie was sort of like a family tradition in the Alon (paternal family side) household especially when I was young and we were still living with our grandparents.

My grandmother who was a grade school teacher then would go to the local bakery and buy us a whole pie and we would eat it right after we pray the rosary which includes not just the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary but also a list of all the family members who passed away. You could just imagine what it does to our knees (because we kneel while we pray) and this pie was the yummy incentive.

I have not tasted this pie for the last 6 years until I summoned all my courage and conquered my fear of baking. This egg pie was baked adapting a recipe from Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner and here it is:

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes softened
1/4 cup cold water

1 can evaporated milk
4 large eggs and another 1 large egg with white and separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can condensed milk

note: some alterations from the original recipe
- in the original recipe it says 1 cup evaporated milk
- it calls for 1 tsp fresh kalamansi or lemon juice that I omitted

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add butter and mix thoroughly using a pastry cutter.
2. Gradually add the cold water to the mixture and using your clean hands, mix all ingredients until they are well combined.
3. Gather and shape the dough into a large ball. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. On a clean flat surface sprinkled with flour, flatten the dough using a rolling pin into about 1/2cm thick and wide enough to cover a 9 inch pie pan/dish.
5. Arrange and press the flattened dough on the baking pan or pie dish.
6. Crimp the edges either with a fork or by pinching around the edge with your fingers. Keep the dough in the refrigerator while making the filling.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling :
1. In a large mixing bowl,  combine and whisk gently  the 4 eggs and separated yolk. Gradually add the condensed milk, vanilla extract and evaporated milk.
2. In a separate bowl,  beat the egg white until it forms soft peaks.
3. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture until well combined. The beaten egg white will give the top of the egg pie the brown coloring after baking.
4. Pour the filling on the chilled pie crust.

Baking the pie:
1. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F then lower the heat to 325 degrees F. Continue baking the pie for 40 to 45 mins.
2. Remove the egg pie from the oven and allow to cool down before cutting and serving.

So yummy!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Citrus Paradise

notaplainhousewifeThe last time we went to Florida was during the Holiday of 2011. It was the first solo trip we ever did as husband and wife and doing this proves that:
a.) the hubby can be a NASCAR driver and the proof was his uncanny ability to drive from Baltimore,Maryland to Orlando,Florida in 14 hours including bathroom and food breaks
b.) I am good at being the assistant navigator, drink holder and snack feeder.
c.) we are adventurers at heart and 
d.) we are each other's best travel buddy.
Part of the itinerary of our trip was to do something other than the usual amusement park hopping (Disneyworld and Universal Studios forever!!!), so we decided on visiting a citrus farm and we came upon this one called The Showcase of Citrus.
notaplainhousewifenotaplainhousewifeThe Showcase of Citrus is a family owned farm. The farm property is huge and a big portion of it is dedicated to growing various types of Citrus fruits  but they also do cattle farming. One of the owners toured us around the property in a giant truck and we get to feed oranges to the cattle. It was this time that I almost became a vegetarian especially when I came upon the most beautiful cow these brown eyes have ever set upon. I call her Barbie 919. She was drooling in the pic but don't worry, I gave her a nice juicy orange to feast on. According to the owner, he became a vegetarian because of those cows. It was also nice to learn that they practice organic farming and that they are part of the cooperative that supplies Florida Orange Juice (the hubby's only juice brand) with oranges.
After the tour, we obtained a net for our oranges and proceeded to pick our oranges. I have to say that these oranges - hands down - were the best and sweetest oranges we ever had!  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'm back and o so many food adventures to tell!!!!

taken on our 3rd year anniv with an amazing Mango Bravo Cake
Yes, I am still alive....
Yes, I am still a foodie...
Yes, I almost killed this blog....
Yes, I am back for good!

So what happened to me, well - check my other blog: and see what happened through the entry called "The Comeback". But now on to what my plans are for this blog...

1. I am doing a 30-day blog-writing challenge which starts today. This coincides with the 30-day challenge that I have in my notaplainhousewife blog.
2. I am pushing myself a bit and will cook 1 recipe from my private collection of cookbooks and recipe clippings every week.
3. I will also bake 1 pastry/bread a month to hone my newfound love for baking.
4. I will do a Meatless Monday challenge to encourage my hubby and I to love veggies more
5. I will include our food budget and my weekly menu in the hopes of re-learning the beauty of budgeting and proving that even with a budget, food can still be healthful and yummy!

Yehey! Day 1 of 30-day blog-writing challenge:accomplished!!!