15 Dec2013


This weekend’s (though it says only Saturday) list of MM things to do. On the fridge, attached with magnets. And so far, so good, I will do everything by late this afternoon. :)

1. Pie crust for 2 pies – Made crust good for 4 pies. I am really enamored with a new pie crust recipe I have used for several months now, it is far “wetter” but oh so malleable and easily rolled, and calls for vodka for half of the liquid content. The vodka burns off during baking and there is no alcoholic flavor or aroma at all. It’s really easy to make ahead, then freeze or refrigerate, and later bring to room temperature to make pies fresh on the day you need them. I made enough dough for say an apple or blueberry pie, strawberry/rhubarb if I find the latter, savory potpies, etc. The dough should be good for up to a month in the deep freeze.

2. Biscotti – I initially intended to make one batch of pistachio and dried cranberry (such holiday colors), but discovered we had quite a few nuts and dried fruit in stock. So we ended up making three batches, adding a chocolate chunk and almond biscotti, and an almond and cranberry biscotti. It’s much easier to bake a lot of the same cookie (or variations on a theme) at the same time and that’s what we ended up doing.

3. Gingersnaps – With no gingerbread in the house, a first in 18 years (but the Teen made a ginormous one for our Escario Central branch in Cebu), I decided to make a double batch of ginger crisps instead. And now the house is smelling of Christmas indeed…

4. Pate de Campagne – a really simple pate that is a personal favorite, made with pork, pork liver, some ham or duck confit, spices, etc. I am making this a few days before our annual Christmas dinners, to serve as pica-pica or appetizers. I may make a second batch with some unsalted pistachios thrown in as well, since I have a few leftover from the biscotti.

5. Chicken Liver Pate – Another easy but festive addition to the season’s selection of appetizers. A big splash of brandy for flavor, please.

6. Dressings – I always find myself making last minute harried salad dressings minutes before salads leave the kitchen. So this year, I decided to make a few and have them ready in the fridge, to remove one of those last minute tasks that do take up a few precious minutes when you don’t have them to spare.

7. Ube Jam – Our Bohol-based lawyer was headed to Cebu last week, and I asked him to see if he could get his hands on some “kinampay” or one of a dozen varieties of ube tubers available in Bohol. He checked with a suki of ours, drove up to the hinterlands, and secured 11 kilos of coveted kinampay that was dug up just for him. He brought the kinampay bounty to Cebu, I then promptly stuck it in my luggage to Manila, and yesterday, I made the first batch of ube jam — it was heaven! My mother was from Bohol, and this was the classic holiday treat in our home while growing up. Kinampay is almost only harvested in December, so it is associated with Christmas in a big way…

8. Duck Confit – Yup, we are making some from scratch, will do a post on the finished product in the weeks ahead. It turned out beautifully.

9. Brioche – Baked two loaves of brioche, which I plan to use for a snazzy appetizer dish later in the week.

10. Have Roast Cut – A Roast Beef that I acquired was a bit too big (7 ribs) so I needed to get my suki butcher to re-portion it. Done. :)

11. Not on the fridge, but I had to pop out to a friend’s apartment, where she taught me how to make her stunningly good carrot cake… a portion of which is now baking in our oven.

12. Finally, I have to pack a suitcase, head to Cebu before the crack of dawn Monday, for our last distribution of goods in Northern Cebu on Tuesday. We decided to axe the rice and sardines and canned goods routine and will be doing something just a bit more festive to help folks celebrate the holidays… And we head North with loot bags of simple toys and sweets for every single kid in the two barangays we plan to visit.

Have a wonderful week ahead, and cross off all those things that are ON YOUR TO DO LISTS! :)



  1. Betchay says:

    You did all these in one weekend? I will be doing them the whole week ….or even more! I really wonder where you get all your energy!
    Btw, nice handwriting!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 9:01 pm


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  3. EJ says:

    All of the above plus this blog, too! Are you on uppers, MM? ;-)

    Dec 15, 2013 | 9:41 pm

  4. EbbaBlue says:

    And everything from scratch,, and the ingredients from all parts of the earth. Saludo ako sayo MM.

    Dec 15, 2013 | 10:21 pm

  5. millet says:

    i miss the smell of kinampay ube cooking. my mom had a giant tacho (copper wok) for cooking haleyang ube.

    Dec 15, 2013 | 11:24 pm

  6. natie says:

    What a busy man! Not one to sit still… I can imagine the kitchen!!

    Dec 16, 2013 | 7:45 am

  7. shane says:

    Hi MM…such energy… :)

    this year i was actually planning to boycott the holidays…but what with family and friends all abuzz about the holidays…i ended up scrambling for last minute shopping and prep…planning for a menu (which i intend to give to my sister since i can’t cook)…my plan to boycott was an epic fail…and surprisingly, this is one failure that i am very happy about…guess, Christmas really is my favorite time of the year.

    PS, looking forward to your post re Northern Cebu trip…

    God bless…

    Dec 16, 2013 | 12:40 pm

  8. Papa Ethan says:

    MM, like you, I am also fond of writing such lists for various tasks. Unlike you, though, I can’t seem to go beyond the posting-on-the-ref stage. =(

    Betchay, i noticed the handwriting, too: old-school penmanship that is elegant, beautiful, and (most important) legible! I wished more folks could still write this way, especially in this age of touch-screen typing.

    EJ, it’s funny to imagine MM on uppers. Buti na lang wala munang rant, hehe.

    shane, i was also entertaining the idea of a boycott, but with all the goodwill swirling around and building up to a climax towards the true reason behind Christmas, it made me feel shamefully guilty. So let’s just jump in and enjoy! Like i told my daughter when she was still a toddler, Christmas is one big birthday party — for Jesus.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 5:25 pm

  9. Denise says:

    Can’t help but notice the nice handwriting, MM! :-)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 10:19 pm

  10. Maricel says:

    Gingersnaps! I love gingersnaps but they are so hard to find here. Kindly share the recipe MM. Thanks.

    Dec 17, 2013 | 7:05 am

  11. MP says:

    Oh I love making lists, at work and at home! I find it such a thrill when get to scratch out most, if not all the tasks on the list at the end of the day…

    MM, please, pretty please post the recipe for that stunningly good carrot cake. Please. I so love carrot cake!

    Happy holidays!

    Dec 17, 2013 | 4:41 pm

  12. maria says:

    MM, would you be kind enough to share the piecrust recipe? Or at least the original source? Wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas!

    Dec 19, 2013 | 7:59 am

  13. Marketman says:

    maria, see link, here. But if you are doing this in the Philippines, or other warm tropical like location, watch the amount of water and vodka you add, I find you need a lot less to get the dough just right…

    Dec 20, 2013 | 11:06 pm


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