Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quick Ensaymadas (Filipino Sweet Rolls)

I grew up in your standard Midwestern household. When we'd go out to eat, the most exotic we'd get would be Mexican or Chinese. When I got together with my husband, a whole new culinary world opened up to me. His parents are from Manila and his mom is an excellent cook, so I was introduced to lots of delicious new dishes from the Philippines. One treat in particular, ensaymada, is a sweet roll with butter, cheese and sugar. Until recently I had only had pre-packaged ensaymada from Goldilocks Bakery.

Michael's parents usually had a stash in their freezer from relatives who visited from California. In my attempts to learn how to cook some traditional Filipino dishes, I recently bought a cookbook of Filipino cuisine. The other night I realized I had all (four) of the ingredients needed for Quick Ensaymada, so I thought I'd try it. So glad I did. This tastes pretty much like the real thing. Maybe even better, as it's smaller and likely quite a bit better for us (or less bad, depending on your outlook).

Since we generally start with frozen ensaymada, we tend to microwave ours before eating, so the cheese is pretty melted. According to this recipe, that's not how you'd normally eat it.

Source: Philippine Recipes Made Easy by Violeta A. Noriega

Hawaiian sweet rolls
Butter or margarine
Shredded cheddar cheese

Butter your roll, dredge in sugar and top with cheese. (I then microwaved for 11 seconds). Enjoy. Because seriously, you will.

Pistachio Cake

In honor of Michael's birthday (Happy birthday, Hottie!) I made this pistachio cake for him last night. While not a favorite of mine (not a lover of pistachio pudding), this cake is always a guarenteed hit with him. Michael's mom used to make it for his family - that's how I first learned about it - so I looked around and found this recipe in one of my mom's old cookbooks published for charity by a non-profit. This one is circa 1970, so there are all sorts of interesting recipes in it (drenched sherry prunes, anyone?). What makes this particular recipe great is the addition of orange juice. You can't taste the orange but it adds a fuller flavor to the cake. I like making this cake not only because I know Michael will love it, but also because it's super easy to make, and best of all, I won't want to stuff my face with it, as I'd like to do with most any other cake. One piece dunked in milk and I'm good. The rest is up to him to finish.

I make my pistachio cake in a bunt pan and don't include the chocolate mixture the recipe calls for (or any other glaze), as that's not how Michael likes it.

Source: The Third Saint Louis Symphony of Cooking... The Young Gourmet, 1970

Four eggs
1 box white cake mix (I use yellow)
1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water

1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup Hershey Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs. Add cake mix through water and beat until combined. In a separate bowl mix butter and syrup. Spray tube pan with non-stick spray, pour in chocolate mixture then cake batter. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes (I baked mine for roughly 45 minutes). Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing.