Monday, September 14, 2015


This light and airy bread is delicious to eat for breakfast or as a snack.

1/2 cup milk
4 tsp. Fleischmann active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
8 egg yolks
6 cups all-purpose flour
Sugar for dusting
Grated edam or cheddar cheese (optional)

Scald milk on top of saucepan of a double boiler. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and 1 tsp. sugar. To the scalded milk, add 1/2 of the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved and butter melted. Cool mixture to lukewarm. Beat egg yolks lightly and add to lukewarm milk mixture. Add yeast to milk and egg mixture. Add flour and beat until well blended. Knead on a floured board surface until smooth. Place dough on a greased bowl and brush with butter. Let rise until double in size in a warm place for 1 hour. When doubled in size, punch down and knead once more. In a greased surface, roll out small portion until paper thin; brush surface of dough with remaining 1/2 butter. Roll dough and form into an ensaimada ring starting from the center going around to the edge of the ring making sure there are no gaps. It will look like a coiled dough. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Set aside in a warm place and let double in size about another 1 hour. When doubled, bake in a heated oven at 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. When done, brush with butter and dip in sugar. Sprinkle grated edam cheese or cheddar cheese (optional). Makes about 24 ensaimada rolls.

*This is one of our family kept recipes which I want to share with anyone who has an interest in baking this special recipe. It has been kitchen-tested many times. It is designed to give the most in cooking pleasure, in nutrition, and in delicious eating. Bon appetit!

Remembering Mom on Mother's Day

What's a better way of celebrating Mother's Day than remembering your mother and paying a tribute to all her unconditional love, sacrifices, unselfish and caring ways, together with your loved ones (not all of them) on this special day.

Now that I have children of my own, I have come to realize that she was not an ordinary mother; she was a supermom. Looking back, I am amazed at how she was able to juggle her time between her work and her devotion to her kids when we were growing up.

She became a widow at the age of 41, her second and last marriage (her first husband was a casualty of war). She remained unmarried until the day she died, unconcerned for the attention quite a few gentlemen had given her. Instead, her time was spent religiously on her obligations to raise her three daughters, and managed to send them to one of the best private schools in the country at that time.

On her spare time, she volunteered to teach impoverished young women on home economics, focusing on cooking, sewing, and other income-generating arts and crafts, a goverment program she launched together with my Aunt Julie Pobre, under President Ramon Magsaysay's administration.

It's been 16 years since my mother passed away, but the lessons she taught us in life will be with us forever. It will be passed on to the next generation.

We saw how she worked hard, how she treated people with respect, how devoted she was with her children, how she made sure our physical and emotional needs were met, cared for us when we were sick, and showed us how to love and trust God.

As I was writing this blog, Christina and Ann (my son, Bernard Kho's girlfriend) came home with a bouquet of flowers for me. Christina bought rack of lamb for me to cook for dinner and Ann bought chocolate brownie with dulce de leche ice cream for dessert. We took some pics and hopefully we can post them tonight.

For the meantime, we are waiting for Bernard to come home from work and join us in this memorable celebration.


Photos Taken by Ann Lodolini
This year, my birthday was spent at home with good friends and family feasted omdeliciously made Mexican Tamales.

There were different kinds: pork, chicken, beef, and sweet tamales with three kinds of sauces and condiments to compliment the very appetizing little sacks of filled "maize masa".

The little sacks made of corn husks with different fillings complimented the "Horchata", a rice flour drink and the "Tamarindo", a tamarind based drink.

I am grateful and thankful to God for a good year, for good friends and family, for good health and for the numerous blessings.

*Note: The birthday cake you see above was a gift from my nephew, Elijah Sugay. He actually gave two cakes, the Moisty Chocolate Cake (with photo above) and a Sans Rival Cake (no photo).

Cooking is an Art

Don't ask me how much green onions or cilantro to use when I am making my bed of greens to lay my precious, fresh fish on top to steam, or how many tablespoons of chinese rice wine to put on top of my fish before it gets a steam bath, quickstyle. Because honestly, I do not know.

I see cooking as an art. When I go to my playground (my kitchen) to cook our meals, I have no quaint idea of what I am going to cook. I open the freezer, check the pantry, check what vegetables are available, and I try to concoct a dish from what I have. The more variety of food I have in my hands, the more room for expansion.

The next question I ask myself is, should I fry, bake, grill, steam, boil, saute, broil, barbecue, roast, or toast. I also make it a point not to repeat a dish for a while. Repeat performance is never welcome with my children unless it is a delicious moisty cake made out of chocolate.

Everything is unknown before I start playing in my playground until I start to cook. Things seem to fall into place. One by one, the chosen ingredients are washed, cleaned, cut, sliced, chopped, julienned, etc., and prepared before I conduct my symphony.

Then I check my pots and pans and check what is the most suitable vessel to use to formulate my invention. Once selected, I start cooking.

I have been used to adding the seasonings by eyeballing, a habit which I got from my mother, who in my whole lifetime living with her, have never seen her use a measuring spoon nor a measuring cup. She just calculated. To me, it is faster. I add seasonings according to how I feel it needs. I try not to put a whole bunch. One thing I am very concerned about is the taste. Not too salty, not too bland, just right.

Also, the ratio of how much to put of each ingredient, how much time to caramelize the onions and garlic is very important because that is how you create the taste. You put a little of the ginger, it's great. You put too much, it's a disaster. It's a skill you have to learn in time. Practice makes perfect.

I get into a trance. No one can talk to me. If they do(my children especially, when they are asking for something. I think they know I'll be saying yes when I mean no), I am not paying attention. I am focused at my art. Timing is very important (especially when I am sauteeing) and I do not want anything to burn. You also have to keep an eye on those veggies because you do not want to overcook them. You want that certain crunch when you sink your teeth into them.

After I cook a certain dish, I try to enjoy and savor the flavor. Eating your own delicious cooked meal with a good pair of wine was my weakness before (not anymore because of doctors orders). Good food, good wine, good company (good friends and family), what more can you ask for?

Surprise Lunch Date

                                                    Photos Taken by Christina Kho

It was a surprise when my daughter came home at noon today. Normally she comes home late in the evening staying at the school lab working on her projects. Looking starved and tired ( she has been sick with a bad cold), I offered to cook her a meal.

Lately, the weather was getting colder at night, so I made sure we have soup for dinner when they all come home. There's always leftover food from the night before, which I sometimes eat for lunch the next day.

My daughter must be really starved, for she reheated the pot of soup from the night before while I was preparing the ingredients of what I have decided to cook. I decided to cook the easiest meal I could make, which was Sugar Snap Beans with Shrimps.

Took out the shrimps in a ziploc, open and run the warm water to defrost them, washed the snap peas and removed the endtips, heat my wok, put some oil, brown the garlic, add shrimps, snap peas, soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, splash with chinese cooking wine and less than 10 minutes we had a delicious mouth watering Sweet Snap Peas with Shrimps!

The green colored snap peas against the pinkish orangy colored shrimps were laid on a white platter and I ask my daughter to take a pic before we took our first bite. Awed by the color contrast in the dish, she got her camera and took some shots.

Most of the time, after I finish cooking a dish, everyone is so tired and hungry that no one remembers to take photos. This time I insisted for the photos of my creation. After lunch, she uploaded the pics, emailed it to me and that's why this blogpage has a photo.

What to me was a surprise turned out to be a good lunch date, except it was at home and I had to cook the food. We talked about how her classes were going and she told me she had a lot of group projects going on. She asked how I was and what's going on with my biz and I told her about some estimates I have to work on and about an article I was blogging online "Staying in Business in a Competitive Market" at my new blogsite:, for Window Coverings Association of America, who requested all members to contribute an article for their newsletter.

Dinner: Crispy Calamare

Photos Taken by Ann Lodolini

Another surprise on a friday night. Friday nights are my free nights not to cook dinner. My children know this. We either eat dinner out, or if they don't get an invitation from me, they cook their own dinner.

Tonight my son, and his girlfriend, came home early and started playing in my kitchen. From my office where I was working, I could hear them planning for dinner. Is it the prawns (big shrimps) or the calamare (squid). The calamare won for I could hear the sizzling sound of the little guys with tentacles gettng deep fried in the fryer.

When I went out of my office to check on what they were up to, Ann was dredging the slices of squids with flour with her bare hands and Bernard was deep frying the battered squid pieces in the fryer being careful not to over overcook them.

Giving my share of the labor (of love), I made the sauce for the calamare dip out of soy sauce, sugar, honey, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, oyster sauce, worcestershire sauce, and pepper.

Dinner is once again one enjoyable and fun sharing moment for the family. Chow!

Trick or Treat Night

As I am writing this blog, it's about 7:50 in the evening of Halloween night, a time for little kids and grownups trekking the night in the dark, parents chaperoning their little tots from house to house, getting their share of fun, camaraderie, and of course, candies.

I did my last minute shopping to buy the goodies for the trick or treat trekkers, and I was surprised to come home seeing my daughter's old friend from grade school, Christopher Wisniewski, dressed like a penguin man or, as my nephew, Elijah Sugay said, "he is a character from a movie." From what he told me when I asked him what he was dressed like, he casually replied that he just wore the beakmask and a cream-colored coat and people can figure out who they want him to be. Hmmmmm......

Most of the children and parents weren't sure if he was for real, or just a prop, until he moved his index finger up. My little porch got crowded with curious onlookers, mostly kids who got intimated by this mystery man (or supernatural?). I will try to post a picture of him later, so you can get a glimpse of how he looks.

My daughter, Christina, arrived later from work and school (She works at the Loyola House of the Jesuits at USF in San Francisco and will be graduating soon.), my granddaughter arrived and was dressed like Scooby Doo. She was uneasy, at first, to approach the Penguin man as she got some candies from the big black plastic couldron, after which she went out to go trick or treating with her mom, Shela, and Christina, my daughter. Earlier, Ann and Bernard, helped me put all the candies in a big plastic couldron and put away some of the groceries.

For dinner, I cooked cross-rib roast beef with the au jus sauce, ground beef ball soup with the bean thread noodle, and I also had wheat crackers with Gorgonzola Cheese Torta with Roasted Hazelnuts and Cranberries.

Every year, we celebrate Holloween with friends and family, with lots of candies and fun, going around trick or treating in a good neigborhood, where people are like one big family.