September 26, 2006

Baffled by those baffled by bidets

Travelling has so many benefits, not the least of which is that it often makes you appreciate the things you would normally take for granted. Case in point: bidets.

For as long as I can remember, bidets played a vital role in my personal hygiene. We had built-in spouts in all our toilets at home, similar to the one in the picture below except without the apparatus on the side. The spout was piped in from under the inner rim of the toilet bowl. I am almost certain that all my friend's and relative's houses had them as well. Probably the only places that didn't have them were public restrooms. To me it was such a given that I barely even gave it a thought. They were just always there.


So when I was reading this article written by Terry Riley, a former columnist for Tripso, I had a flashback. I was travelling abroad for the first time and needed to answer a call of nature, (you know number two?). It was then that I first realized bidets weren't a standard fixture in other parts of the world. In fact, they were practically unheard of! Gack!

I was confused. How did these people clean themselves? Of course I know now there are ways, but I couldn't grasp it then. I couldn't see how you could achieve that level of clean without a bidet. It also struck me then how dependent I had become to this little convenience at home. But more importantly, it was disturbing. Shouldn't these be a necessity, rather than a luxury?

It was in Spain when I first discovered the other kind of bidet. You know, that bowl beside the toilet? My first thought was "Wow, how close must these people be to actually be able to poo at the same time?". And though I was eventually educated on the techniques of using one, I never mastered it. I didn't get it. It was just a faucet in a bowl. Did you fill up the bowl with water and then dip? That's not enough. I wanted jet stream action! Dry toilet paper alone doesn't do the trick. It was at this point that Wet Ones became my new best travel buddy.

Although I've lived in the Philippines all my life, I never used the tabo system for this purpose. It always seemed a little complicated to me and I didn't want to risk getting my hands dirty, so to speak. So I never bothered trying.

The Japanese, not surprisingly, have revolutionized bidets. They're so high-tech they come with control options allowing you to adjust the pressure of the water, the type of stream and in some models even the temperature of the water. Now, that is a luxury I can definitely live with!

September 22, 2006

Dumaguete and the now controversial budbud kabog

Leave it to Marketman to have the patience, determination and passion to make his own budbud kabog when no one else will. And being the generous man that he is, he even gives a blow by blow account of the whole learning process on his blog for the benefit of his readers, carefully detailing his mistakes and findings. What would we do without him?

Unfortunately, his post ruffled some feathers and took an ugly turn. How something so unassuming and which can trace its heritage to "the city of gentle people" can cause such a brouhaha could only be the result of a grave misunderstanding. But faster than you could say Makabuang gyud! (it's driving me crazy!- or something like that) it was all sorted.

Budbud kabog is a native delicacy similar to suman (sweet, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves) but made from millet which is a whole grain used to make bread like chapatti and roti. In some Eastern European and African countries, millet is also used in porridge and as baby food. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and is known to be rich in fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals. One of those rare food that's both tasty and good for you!

My grandmother's house on the boulevard

I had been meaning to wax poetic about the budbud kabog and Dumaguete (my dad's hometown) for a long time now and was finally prompted by MM's recent posts. For me these two go together like peanut butter & jelly, like bagels & cream cheese, like Louisiana & crawfish, like Captain & Tennille, like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong chang chang changity chang shoo bop..... sorry got carried away there heehee. What I'm trying to say is, I can't think of one without thinking of the other.

top and bottom photos: typical day on Rizal Boulevard.
Both photos taken right across my grandmother's house
Ever since I can remember, every summer that I spent in Dumsville, we had an abundant supply of budbud kabog in Mamaita's house (that's what we called our grandmother).We always looked forward to that so she made sure there was plenty. We would have it for breakfast or merienda (afternoon snack) and unlike other sumans which I prefer to eat with some sugar , this is perfect as is.

I don't get to spend summers there like I used to for months at a time, but I still try to visit when I can. It is my favorite city in the whole country, naturally because it holds so many memories for me, but also for so much more than that.

The people are amazingly gentle, the seafood is fishing-net-fresh, the food in general is delectable, the beaches and waterfalls are exquisite, the pace is very laid-back, and the overall atmosphere is one of lazy charm. For many tourists, the lure of Dumaguete is the outdoors. So if scuba diving, snorkling, dolphin or whale-watching, caving, trekking, fishing, golf or just plain lounging and perfecting that tan is your thing then this is the place to be. Oh and by the way, if you are ever in town, make sure to visit Sans Rival on San Jose st., birthplace of the House of Sylvanas. Every afternoon we walked the 2 blocks there for our daily dose of sans rival or sylvanas. Just thinking about those slices of heaven is making me drool.


the sandbar in Campuyo at high tide

Mamaita was a wonderful cook! She was famous for her homemade chorizo (I vividly remember playing with those dried intestine casings, wrapping it around my neck like it was a feather boa and strutting my stuff on a pretend catwalk), bacalao, leche flan, callos, fabada, salchichon de pili and native delicacies like pichi-pichi to name a few.

She was also a very passionate woman who possessed admirable business acumen. With these qualities, it was inevitable it seems that she would go on to build and operate one of Dumaguete's hotel resorts, the North Pole. When I took a chance and looked it up on the net, I came upon this book written by Tara FT Sering which has a reference to the hotel. I thought that was pretty cool! :)

The hotel was soon followed by a restaurant of the same name along the boulevard (now named Mamia by the present owners). The hotel didn't last very long as tourism in Negros Oriental at that time was still pretty much non-existent. The restaurant, on the other hand, lasted much longer. It was a favorite hangout for my cousins and I because we had "signing privileges". The ballrooms of both the hotel and the restaurant were venues for many disco parties during my sister's time and my time. It was always so much fun because (or should i say despite the fact that) we were related to 95% of the people there. Not surprising as I think I'm related to most of the city's population!

Although my uncle still sends the occasional budbud kabog (and chorizo) packages, discovering it in the Salcedo Saturday Market c/o the Van Hovens was serendipity! I loved that I could get it so conveniently. Most of the time, I'd get there too late and all that would be left are the other flavored budbuds. Although they were certainly delicious as well, it was the bk I was after. So I persisted, trying to drag my sleepy butt out of bed earlier every Saturday, hoarding enough for myself and the rest of my family much to my dad's delight. Soon after I found the same stall in the Legaspi Sunday Market with an abundant supply this time.

If you live in Manila and have not yet tried budbud kabog, go go go! and make a beeline for them at the markets this weekend. I do suggest going very early though, as I'm sure MM's readers are planning on doing just that! :)

September 20, 2006

Al fresco eating

There's something so distinctly summery and special about eating and even cooking outdoors. The food tastes better and somehow the dining experience is more enjoyable. It's relaxed, it's fun, and it lets you enjoy the sunshine and to a certain degree, to commune with nature. Picnics and outdoor barbecues have a certain charm for me. When I was little, we would go on family picnics with cousins and family friends often, usually at Lake Caliraya or by the beach.

Lake Caliraya in the late '70s.
That's me kneeling on the blanket with the "coconut husk" head of hair.
Be nice with your comments, you've had your bad-hair years too!

My mom burning off what she ate :)

My older siblings at another picnic. We all had that orange shirt for some reason.
I think this is by Lake Caliraya as well.

My sister and her husband are masters of outdoor entertaining. They have a big front lawn where they like experimenting with different settings. Sometimes it's casual with banigs (woven mats) laid out on the floor and throw pillows scattered about, and other times they'll bring out some sofas and low make-shift coffee tables draped in batik fabric and light up the place with torches and candles during evening parties.

Last Sunday, my sister invited us all to a barbecue merienda-sena (afternoon snack/dinner) at her place. She prepared a feast which included appetizers of prosciutto & melon, chicharon (pork cracklings), various chips & dip, caesar salad, & lumpiang ubod a la Marketman (which was excellent!!). She has taken to lurking in foodie blogs and the inspiration they've given her has produced many delightful meals from her kitchen. She has gone to the farmer's market more in the past month than she ever did in her entire life. :)

The grill was fired up and we had hotdogs, hamburgers, Japanese sweet corn, and pepitos (small cheese steak sandwiches). Then as if we weren't already ready to burst, she set up a halo-halo bar and served the cupcakes I brought. Here are some snapshots from last Sunday:

top row l to r: The casual set-up, prosciutto-wrapped melon, lumpiang ubod a la Marketman
bottom row l to r: Japanese corn, the halo-halo bar, the martini bar


Picnics and outdoor barbecues rank right up there with lazy Sunday brunches. With my own future family, I plan to appoint Saturdays as Picnic or Barbecue Day (weather permitting, of course- and if it's rainy outside we can do indoor bakefests instead!) and Sundays as Slow, Lazy Brunch Days where we can play around with themes and take turns planning the menu. It should provide for great family bonding time, don't you think?

September 17, 2006

Carrot Cupcakes

Got a hangover? Indulge in some retail grocery therapy and bake cupcakes! That's what I did on Saturday.

I went to a birthday party at Kublai's last Friday night straight after a 9pm meeting at work. I had a long day and was really looking forward to unwinding with a couple of drinks. Well, it wasn't just a "couple" of drinks for me, but three. Three Cubaba Libres (no, that isn't a typo - that's Kublai's take on a double rum & coke served in massive glasses) and a few sips of the deadly Double Side of Khan (an even deadlier concoction served in fish-bowl sized glasses which is their signature drink. What's in it? More like, what's not in it!). Anyway, I had a blast! Eventually, I had to drag my butt home at 3 am.

I didn't have a massive headache or anything the next day, but I felt spent and my tummy was queasy. That night just drained my energy somehow and I didn't feel like doing anything or going anywhere. I just wanted to veg out in my room and curl up with a book. Which I did the entire morning and the early part of the afternoon. Then I got restless and drove to the grocery for some retail therapy. I bought some Japanese sweet corn and carrots for the cupcakes I wanted to bring to the afternoon barbecue my sister had planned on Sunday.

Late-night baking on the weekends seems to be the norm for me lately. Baking at this time is a little easierI guess because there are less people milling around the kitchen. Rusty is also calmer towards the end of the day so he's less likely to try and steal anything from the kitchen counter or worse gnaw at my feet under the table like they're his personal chew toys.


Carrot Cupcakes
adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book (12th ed)

4 beaten eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional but of course I included it)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups finely shredded carrots, lightly packed
3/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Then in a medium bowl combine the eggs, carrots, and oil. The carrots need to be finely shredded so they don't sink to the bottom of the pan during baking.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir well.

Line your muffin pans with cupcake liners (or grease the pans if not using liners) and pour the batter in. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers come out clean. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting and store in the refrigerator until it's served. This recipe yields 19 cupcakes.

For the cream cheese frosting:

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating well. Add more powdered sugar until you reach your desired spreading consistency.

This cream cheese frosting recipe makes 4 cups because it was originally intended to frost an entire cake. So it would be a good idea to scale it down as you won't need this much for all the cupcakes. But if like me, you're a sucker for cream cheese frosting go ahead and make the entire recipe. You can always store the leftover and use it on that banana bread you plan to make soon. :)

September 14, 2006

Sonja's bakeshop opening real soon!

The opening of Cupcakes by Sonja in Serendra is one of the much-awaited events for foodies in Manila. But I can assure those of you who have been waiting Sonja's delicious cupcakes, that they are well worth the wait. And those of you who haven't tried them yet, give her a call to place an order (0917-8453800), so you'll know what the fuss is all about.

Last Friday I was invited for a sneak preview, to the store's blessing so I went. Ohh the store is so adorable! It's so pretty and pink, dainty and sweet, and just so delightful. The walls are covered in pink and white striped wallpaper and the floors are tiled in a very retro black and white checkered pattern and the entire shop is bathed in a soft warm glow. It reminded me somewhat of those Parisian patisseries that serve tartes and tartines that look too cute to eat. What caught my eye was the unique vintage refrigerator which lends a 1950's diner feel to the place. I have a thing for vintage appliances.

Waitresses brought out endless trays of mini cupcakes. I got to try some of the new flavors, and now have new favorites: the berries and cream which still had that fresh-out-of-the-oven warmth to it, and the hazelnut mousse cup (not sure if that's the right name for it) to name a few.So guys, you don't have to wait much longer. Cupcakes by Sonja will be opening it's doors to the public very very soon! I will keep you posted. :)

UPDATE: Sonja's Cupcakes will be opening to the public while on a dry-run on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 3pm!

September 11, 2006

Ratatouille


I don't know if I love this sauce because it's got zucchini in it or because I love saying it's name : ratatouille (rah-tuh-TOO-ee). But whatever the reason, it is a favorite. Ratatouille is a traditional French Proven├žal stewed vegetable dish which can be served as a meal on its own, with rice, bread or potatoes or as a side dish, hot or cold. It is tomato-based and usually consists of eggplant, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, flavored with oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil.

Our family likes to serve this dish with pasta. Poured over penne or spaghetti, with some crusty bread to wipe up the sauce with. But I've found that it is also perfect with grilled fish. Once, I served it as bruschetta for appetizers which turned out to be a big hit. The best thing about this sauce is it's wonderful hot or cold.

Of course, there are tons of ratatouille recipes out there, but this is the only one I've ever known and one I am very happy with.My dream is to one day pick the ingredients I need for a good ratatouille from my own garden. :)

Ratatouille

EVOO
4 pcs zucchini, chopped
6 pcs eggplant, chopped
1 small can pimiento, chopped
2 – 2 ½ cups basic tomato sauce (recipe below)
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute zucchini in olive oil until golden brown and set aside.
Saute the eggplant in olive oil until golden brown and set aside.
Using the same pan, pour in the basic tomato sauce, add the zucchini, eggplant, and sliced pimiento and cook on medium heat. If you feel it's a bit acidic, add a little sugar.

Basic tomato sauce:

½ cup minced white onions (2 large)
½ cup minced garlic
½ cup olive oil
½ cup herbs (2 part basil, 1 oregano, 1 thyme)
½ cup parsley
1 can whole tomatoes (largest can)
1 beef broth cube
1 ½ - 2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 cup water, if needed

Saute garlic and onions in very hot olive oil. Add the dry herbs and tomato juice from the can. Mash whole tomatoes and add parsley. Add salt, pepper and beef broth cube. Add water, if needed.

You may reduce the tomato sauce to 1 1/2 cups if you like it less saucy.

Lazy in Punta Fuego

view from the living room (above); dining area (below right)

I was just telling my friend how long it has been since I've been to the beach and how I was yearning for it. I missed some opportunities in the recent weeks because of prior arragements that kept me in Manila. But this time when my cousin invited me for a weekend at their beach house in Punta Fuego, I jumped at the chance. I needed the open space and the fresh air. I was due for some of that zen that only being by the ocean can give you.

It was a very nice and relaxing weekend. The weather was pleasant, not too hot and with some occasional rain showers. My sister and her clan of five were with us as well. I love being with them at the beach because we get to spend a lot of quality time together. One of my favorite things in the world is lying beside them when they wake up in the mornings or after a nap. I think this is when they are their sweetest and cuddliest!

We left late Friday night and arrived way past midnight. After helping unload and unpack, I prepared the Cookies n Cream dessert for the next day, giving it time to set in the fridge overnight. All it is is chocolate chip cookies quickly dipped in some sherry, then dunked in a cream and sugar mixture, and arranged on a pyrex topped with the remaining cream. It's as good as it is easy to make.

On Saturday, we took the kids down to the main beach to expel some energy in the water and on the beach. They caught some hermit crabs and puffer fish (pictures above) which they set free soon after. When we got home, we prepared merienda (afternoon snack) for the kids, and cocktails for the adults. I made some Nut-glazed Brie which went really well with wine.

Clockwise from top left: One of our lunch spreads which consisted of adobo, ratatouille,
beef tapa, mango salsa and creamy mushroom sauce for pasta; the nut-glazed brie,
cookies and cream dessert, the yummy ratatouille up close.


It was the most lazy weekend. We did most of the usual stuff but this time skipped all the rigorous activities. There were no volleyball games, no snorkling, no boating, no racing around in the golf cart, no kayaking, not even pingpong competitions. Just pure R & R. We did some reading, eating, chatting, watching dvd, and a whole lot of nothing. It was great!

We continued to do a whole lot of nothing on Sunday morning too before we left to have lunch in Bag of Beans in Tagaytay. Anton of Our Awesome Planet recently did a pretty thorough review of this restaurant here. This is a really nice place to bring your family. The kids enjoyed running around the garden, searching for tadpoles, watching the birds and butterflies, and of course we all enjoyed our food. I had the omelette which was huge.

Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

September 7, 2006

Asia Food Expo 2006

The annual Asia Food Expo is ongoing! It will be held this year from Sept. 6-9 from 11 am to 7 pm at the World Trade Center, Pasay City. It is said to be the Philippines largest food and beverage industry exhibition. Last year's expo featured over 500 exhibitors.

The Asia Food Expo is:
  • The 10th International Exposition On Specialty Foods, Delicatessen, Confectionery, Beverages, Beers, Wines & Spirits
  • The 15th International Exposition on Food Processing, Packaging and Handling Machinery, Equipment and Technology
  • The 10th International Food Franchising and Business Systems Exposition
  • The 6th International Exposition On Foodservice, Catering Systems, Supplies, Equipment and Technology

For more info, contact:

Trade Information Marketing and Exhibitions, Inc.
Tel. Nos.: (+632) 8340085 - 8340086 - 8337116
(+632) 5517920 loc. 7420 - 7422 - 7426
Fax No.: (+632) 8313828
tradeinfo@pldtdsl.net
lnagroup@pldtdsl.net

September 6, 2006

Masal chai: my holy grail of teas

One of my favorite places to hang out in London is Camden Town. If New York City has Greenwich Village and Paris has the Rive Gauche or Left Bank, London has Camden Town with it's bustling market. If I had nothing planned for the weekend, then Camden Market is where you'll find me, lost in the blur of color and cacophony of sound and aroma that is this bohemian wonderland. Everything about Camden is an assault to the senses.

The market has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike because of the wide variety of goods being sold here including hard-to-find items from faraway places. Regent's Canal that runs straight through the middle of the Market lined with pubs and eateries where you can sip your pint as you watch the canal boats go by and through the lock. Camden Market is so big that it is actually six markets in one: the Stables which is the largest market of all has mostly vintage clothing and furniture, Inverness street market, the original Camden Lock market which features crafts from all over the world, and a few other sections for art enthusiasts, antiques, used books, handmade soaps, earthenware, and even what they call an Electric Ballroom - an indoor market on the weekends selling music-related goods.

During the summer, I would spend hours sometimes even the entire day here just browsing the stalls, getting my fortune told and people-watching (Camden Town is also known for it eccentric and shady-looking characters, as well as a place to score easy pot). But my favorite part about visiting this place was the food. All kinds of food!

There is a strong Oriental presence but you will find specialties from around the world. There are stalls selling dimsum and noodles, burritos and tacos, gyros and falafels , fish and chips, Belgian frites, donuts and coffee, tartines and croissants, curries and tikka masalas, sushi and tempura, spring rolls and pho, crepes and pastries, shawarma and hummus, samosas and skewers of chicken teriyaki, chocolates and fudge sold in blocks as big as shoeboxes, mulled wine and chai....name it, I can assure you you'd find it there! I can write a whole blog about Camden Market and it's food. But I won't, as it is something that is best left to be experienced. So I will get to my point. Why am I talking about Camden Market anway, and what does it have to do with my post title?

Well, it was in Camden Market where I first had my taste of real masala chai, a sweet spiced Indian milk tea. Not the restaurant variety that was probably made with a tea bag and some milk, which was usually week and diluted. I'm talking potent authentic Indian masala chai, being scooped up and served from a huge pot like a witch's cauldron.

I was first drawn to the stall like a dog following a scent. I sniffed the air until I found it, until I found where that aroma was coming from - a heady mix of cinnamon, cardamom and other spices. I looked into the pot, seeing big chunks of ginger and cinnamon sticks bobbing along in the milky pool and was hit by a waft of steam that was at once intoxicating and inviting.

I ordered a cup, warming my hands around it as I walked towards the canal. I knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience, so I wanted a nice view to go along with it. And it was. I sat on the bench with the sun in my face listening to Brazilian samba from an eatery nearby, slowly sipping from my cup, thinking that all was well in the world.

Prior to this experience, I had only ever tried tea-bag masala chai like the kind made by Stash. But tasting the real thing ruined those for me. So it was that every weekend, or whenever I was up that way during the week, I bought some homemade fudge and chai. Many times having more than one cup. It became a ritual for me. Rain or shine. Especially during the winter months, when there was nothing like a nice cup of hot chai to warm my soul. Sometimes in the evenings I would opt for a cup of mulled wine instead (incidentally, this is my next experiment), but ultimately it was the chai I came for.

Moving back to the Philippines, I knew finding a local place serving authentic masala chai as good as Camden's was would be a challenge. But I searched anyway. In every Indian restaurant I visited, I ordered their masala chai and though most were alright, none came close. I searched online for recipes, each one considerably different from the other. I had about five different recipes saved in my folder, all waiting to be tried and tweaked to my liking.












Making chai is like making sangria, or paella, or adobo. There is no end to the diversity of recipes, you can add or remove ingredients (in this case, spices) as you please to find your perfect brew. The fun is in the experimenting!

In my research, I discovered the most delightful website about spices. It's called Spice Advice. You'll find everything you ever wanted to know about popular spices here including how to test spices for freshness, storage suggestions, recipes, a spice encyclopedia, a history on spice trading, measurement conversions, etc.

This is more or less the recipe I've come up with after experimenting with four different recipes:

Masala Chai

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tsps black tea
3 cinnamon sticks or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
10-12 whole cloves
10-12 cardamom pods, cracked
1 ginger finger - about 3/4 inch
1 nutmeg - freshly ground

In a medium sized pot, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes.

September 2, 2006

Glorious Apple Crisp

My sister, Ginny, is sleeping over tonight with her 3 youngest kids. Her husband and the 2 older boys are out of town on a wakeboarding trip to celebrate their eldest's 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Diego! :) I love it when her kids visit and most especially when they sleep over. It's always a celebration of youth. The house comes alive with happy noise reminding me of how it was when all my siblings still lived at home.

When I was much younger, my older sisters would sometimes spend hours baking in the kitchen. I remember watching as they made polvoron (powdered milk candy), blueberry cheesecake, flan, banana bread, oatmeal cookies or tapioca puddings. Most of which they learned from our abuelita (grandma). I loved every minute of it - from tagging along as they shopped for ingredients, being mesmerized by the whirring and swirling of the mixer, feeling important and proud as I helped pour in the milk slowly, and my most favorite part of all, licking the spoon or spatula! Those are some of my fondest memories. So commonplace yet so meaningful.

Tonight we relived those days. (Although instead of my other sister Lilibeth who has since moved to Canada, my niece Bea joined us). Same fundamental tradition, same kitchen. The walls may have been painted a different color, but they still held the divine secrets of our sisterhood. ( oh stop your groaning, I'm allowed to be corny sometimes!) :)

Anyhoo, Ginny was so intrigued by Glo's Apple Crisp which I mentioned in my post about Lori's baking demo she suggested we try and make it together. She didn't need to twist my arm! She brought the apples and we went to work immediately after dinner. She peeled the apples while I made the crumble topping. I then chopped what she peeled, as she prepared the rest of the ingredients to be mixed with the apples. Bea was distracted by the TV, but she would come in every now and then to check on our progress and see how she could help. The recipe was so easy though, that there really wasn't much to do. So I think she got a bit bored and decided to come back when it was ready.
Which was one hour later. Ginny watched me take my first bite then asked, "So are your knees weak again?". I didn't answer, I just closed my eyes and savored the flavors in my mouth. God, it was gooooooood! After seeing the look of pure ecstacy on my face, she shoved me aside to get her own plateful. Her reaction mirrored mine. We didn't even bother with the vanilla ice cream. Maybe next time.

I have decided to give it my own name: Glorious Apple Crisp, in honor of the sweet lady who generously shared her aunt's recipe with me. :) Thank you again, Glo!

Ingredients:

Apple Mixture
5-6 Fuji apples, peeled & cut into wedges
2/3 C brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven at 325F.
Mix & gently toss the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon & vanilla. Set aside until the apples give off their juices for about 10 mins.
Transfer the mixture to a square baking pan.

Topping:
1 stick butter, unsalted

11/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
11/3 C all purpose flour

In a bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, flour & salt. Don't overblend. Grab a handful & squeeze tightly to compress into a solid piece. Then crumble it into small pieces on top of the apple mixture. Repeat with the remaining topping.

Bake for 1 hour or until brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.




Can you tell she loved it too? :)



BTW,I think it's funny that my nephews/nieces have taken to calling me Tita (aunt) Crisp now instead of Tita Chris. :)