Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bibingka Royale (Coconut Rice Dessert)

Ok, you're right, this one didn't come from my grandma's recipe box, but she would approve of me including this as a continuation of her recipes.  I know I have said it before, but my Grandma LOVED Hawaii.  Even though she never actually visited the place, she knew a lot about it (except for maybe how to actually pronounce it, lol - she always had a "ya" on the end). You know..she would say it like "Hawaiiya".    I just loved it!   Now I am not exactly a huge coconut fan and this isn't exactly what I remember eating at get togethers when we lived in Hawaii, but it sounded close and so I included it as a part of a recent Hawaiian dinner.  The menu included Kalua Pork, Shoyu Chicken, Hawaiian-style macaroni salad, rice and Bibingka Royale.  This recipe came  from a great cookbook called "Best of the Best from Hawai'i Cookbook"  Every time I look at this picture and the coconut on top, I think of the recent snow we have I am not sure how I go from a sweet Hawaiian coconut dessert to snow, but maybe there is someone out there who can see what I see!

Bibingka Royale (Coconut Rice Dessert)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups mochiko
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs, beaten until light
1/4 cup melted butter
Wilted banana leaves (I skipped this part because I couldn't find them)
2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.  Sift mochiko and baking powder together.  Add mochiko mixture to milk mixture.  Beat until dough is smooth.  Add eggs and melted butter to batter.  Beat mixture until smooth.  Pour batter into a greased, 9x13-inch pan that has been lined with wilted banana leaves. (I just greased the pan instead of using banana leaves)  Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded coconut while still hot.  Cool completely before cutting. Another note;  I could not find mochiko in the stores near by, so I used "Sweet Rice Flour" which may be found in the baking section with many of the gluten free flours. It seemed to work fine.

You'll note that  "sifting" is required in this recipe too and I did make sure I didn't skip this step...still trying to clean up my slobby/lazy kitchen habits.  I'm also still searching for that coconut rice dessert recipe I remember and I hope to find it, make it, (eat it) and post about it one day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Banana Tea Bread - A lesson in 'Sifting'

I am very excited to be somewhat settled and to have the time to continue the journey through my Grandma's Recipe Boxes.  Yesterday, we had a "dusting" of snow and it really got me thinking about baking.  Along with the desire to warm the house  I had some bananas that needed used, so I set out looking through the boxes for something "banana" to bake.  As I look back through prior recipes, I noticed I had previously made a few banana recipes, but I found this "Banana Tea Bread" that I hadn't made yet.  I'll start off by saying, I think this tasted GREAT!  Of course, I dived in while it was warm, but I would bet that is exactly how my Grandma served it too!
This recipe pointed out the fact that I have perhaps become a kitchen slob.  I often whip through recipes, not taking the time to read them thoroughly and even if I do, I take short cuts.  Maybe those shortcuts are driven by my desire to eat what I cook as soon as possible, my desire to get this task done and move on to the next or my lack of experience or appreciation for how details really make a difference.  Today's lesson (remember - she was a teacher - so through her recipe's I find lessons) has to do with sifting.  Who does this today? I mean really, measure it, sift it, measure it again and sift it makes me tired to think about it.  What's the point?  Does it really make a difference?  Who cares?  And if they care, will they even know?  But you know what, I did it today (after all, I am unemployed and I have time...lots of time, so my reasons for skipping steps isn't as valid).
So here's what I learned...It makes a difference!  Sifting serves a purpose.  And depending on what you are making, it can be an important step in baking light and airy cakes and breads.  Through out history, the purpose of sifting was two-fold.  Back when flour was ground more locally (and probably sold in 50 lb flour sacks (sound familiar?)), sifting was a way of removing "foreign objects" from the flour - don't ask.  Sifting also ensures a uniform measurement. Today, we often buy our flour at the grocery store in bags that have been handled many times - each time, packing the flour, sifting it lightens it back to its original form.  Sifting is also the proper way to ensure other ingredients are incorporated throughout the flour/batter/dough.
This Banana Tea Bread was light and tasty and it must have been good as I found 3 different recipe cards for it throughout the 7 boxes.  I noted that one of these recipes is over 50 years old.  A recipe that stood the test of time...and I am glad I took the time to "sift".

Banana Tea Bread
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. soda
1 1/4 tsp Cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. lard or 1/2 c. butter (I used unsalted butter)
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. mashed ripe bananas

Sift flour, measure, sift again with soda, cream of tartar and salt.  Cream butter and sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add flour mixture alternately with bananas, small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.  Turn into a well oiled loaf pan. 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 and bake in a moderate oven - 350 degrees for about an hour until done.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Recipe Boxes have arrived in Colorado!!!

Wow - it has been a short but long journey as I look back at my posts and realize I started talking about our move in August.  Last week, the moving van delivered what seemed like endless boxes from Texas to Colorado.  Finally, we are in our new home!! The kitchen was the first room to be unpacked and admittedly, there are still boxes that are waiting for attention.  The good news is - we  ALL made it!  The 2 dogs, the 2 cats, the 2 peeps (me and Bubba) and the 7 recipe boxes.  (Sounds almost like a song).
Any way - hopefully I'll get back to cooking and posting in the next few days.

Take Care!
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