Crispy Potato Pancakes

Savory pancakes, anyone?

crispy potato pancakes

Crispy Potato Pancakes
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

2 1/2 cups mashed potato
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
olive oil, for frying

1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic and onion powders. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Divide the mashed potato into 8 equal portions and form each into patties.
3. Dredge patties in the flour mixture. Dip in the egg/milk mixture, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Shake to remove excess. Repeat the same process for the remaining patties.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Cook the patties until golden on each side. Transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate. Top with sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

Recipe by JG


Ube Waffles with Coco Jam Syrup

This was an experiment that I wasn’t expecting to be a good one, but I guess luck was on my side.

ube waffles with coco jam syrup

Ube Waffles with Coco Jam Syrup
Yield: 8 servings
Prep time: 75 minutes (includes resting)
Cook time: 10 minutes

1/3 cup hot milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup ube jam
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ube extract
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
coco jam syrup, recipe follows
toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

1. In a measuring cup, combine the hot milk, melted butter, and ube jam until fully incorporated. Whisk in the eggs and ube extract. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm milk mixture in a slow steay stream. Increase the speed to medium until the dough barely sticks to the bowl, about 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. Once doubled, turn on the waffle iron. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Spread each waffle dough in the hot iron and cook until deep golden brown.
5. Serve with warm coco jam syrup and toasted coconut flakes.

Coco Jam Syrup
1 15-oz can coconut milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pandan juice extract, optional

Bring the coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and pandan extract to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as the milk starts to vigorously boil, quickly reduce the heat and let it simmer over medium-to-low heat while stirring frequently. The sweetened milk will slowly thicken and its color will gradually darken into deep chocolate brown. The jam is ready when a spoonful firms up when cool.

Coco Jam Syrup Recipe adapted from Jun Belen

Scarpetta’s Tomato-Basil Spaghetti

Bucket list: Try the real deal at Scarpetta’s. This will have to do for now.

scarpetta's tomato-basil spaghetti

Scarpetta’s Tomato-Basil Spaghetti
Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

4 ripe plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 12-ounce can of San Marzano or organic whole tomatoes
Pinch of crushed red chili pepper flakes
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly crosswise into a chiffonade
8 ounces dried spaghetti

For the Basil-Garlic Oil:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 whole cloves garlic
10 whole fresh basil leaves
Pinch of red chili flakes

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease the tomatoes into the pot and boil for about 15 seconds, then promptly move them to the waiting ice water. Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife. Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the basil-garlic oil. Heat a small saucepan over low heat with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, basil leaves and pepper flakes. Keep the heat on low to allow the ingredients to warm slowly and release their flavors. When the garlic is lightly browned, turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes. The longer you let the oil sit, the more infused the oil. Strain the oil, discarding the solids.
4. To cook the spaghetti, bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente and drain, reserve a little of the pasta cooking water.
5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and the sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons and a lot of exaggerated movement until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive. (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta cooking liquid to adjust it.) Remove the pan from the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner.
6. Drizzle with just a bit of the basil-garlic oil on each plate and serve immediately.


  • The sauce yields about 2 1/2 cups. You may use the leftover as dipping sauce for baked mozzarella sticks or spread on bruschetta.

Recipe adapted from Steamy Kitchen

Chicken Cacciatore

I love everything about Italian food, this one in particular. The combination of rustic braised chicken and aromatic vegetables make this dish very comforting.

chicken cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 chicken tenderloins, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Coat chicken evenly with flour mixture.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add mushrooms, onions and bell peppers; cook and stir 5 minutes on medium heat or until tender.
4. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Serve over cooked pasta or rice, if desired.

Recipe adapted from McCorkmick

Baked Macaroni

This is a very popular dish for Filipinos and it’s usually served during Christmas or New Year’s eve dinners. I felt a little nostalgic when I made this…and I am missing my hometown even more.

baked macaroni

Baked Macaroni
Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 pound dried elbow macaroni
1 recipe sweet-style bolognese sauce, recipe here
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened and cubed
salt & pepper, to taste
cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
2. Cook the noodles a little shy of al dente. Drain and toss the noodles with the sweet-style bolognese sauce. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread the pasta evenly.
3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the milk, briskly stirring to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ground nutmeg and stir in the cheeses. Whisk until all the cheese has melted.
5. Turn off heat and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, coating evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping has slightly browned.
6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve with garlic toast.

Recipe by JG