Americanized Bibingka

Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
Living in the United States, we don’t always have easy access to Filipino food. I guess it depends on where in the U.S. you live. Unfortunately, where I live, if you want Filipino food, you need to make it yourself. There have been times when I’ve really been craving some native food from back home. This recipe was born from one of those cravings.

Filipino bibingka galapong is a native cake made of rice flour that’s cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. As strange as it sounds, the sweet little cakes are dotted with pieces of quesong puti (carabao milk cheese) and wedges of itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). Growing up, the best bibingkahan to get hot, fresh-made bibingka was a place called Ferino’s. It was started in 1938 by a man and his wife who made their bibingkas on three clay pots set on a bench. From there, the business grew till they eventually had shops all over town.

Anyway, I was craving the taste of Ferino’s bibingka one day. Since I don’t have a clay pot or banana leaves, and since we can’t get quesong puti or itlog na maalat where we live, I came up with this recipe which I called “Americanized Bibingka” because I baked it in a pyrex glass baking dish in the oven, and I substituted American ingredients for the native Filipino ingredients I couldn’t get – cream cheese for the quesong puti and dried shredded coconut for the itlog na maalat. It’s not Ferino’s, but it’s a really good substitute.

This recipe makes a big pyrex dish so it’s perfect for parties or get-togethers. Don’t expect it to look anything like traditional native Filipino bibingka galapong. Just follow the recipe and you’ll get a good taste of what bibingka is like, albeit without the look. Everybody loves it, including all our American friends.

AMERICANIZED BIBINGKA GALAPONG

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 box (8-oz.) cream cheese
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded, sweetened, desiccated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar and water.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 9” x 13” pyrex glass baking dish.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt and stir together the butter and cream cheese. The cream cheese mixture will be separated and lumpy. It looks weird, but don’t worry. This is normal.
    Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture as evenly as you can over the cake batter. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfectly even. You can’t.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cake from oven and top with shredded coconut (as much as you want).
  8. Return cake to the oven and broil till the coconut flakes turn golden brown.

NOTE:  If you can’t get self-rising flour, you can make your own by mixing together:
                4 cups all-purpose flour
                2 Tbsp. double acting baking powder
                2 tsp. salt

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Holiday Sausage and Wild Rice

Sausage and Wild Rice | Pinky's Pantry
This recipe makes a great side dish to serve during the holidays or any time of year really. I got the original recipe from Rosemary, one of the nurses at my office who’s retired now. I’ve changed it up just a smidge to make it more appealing to my family, but the basic recipe is the same. If you want to serve it during other times of the year, you can omit the cranberries and still have a great side dish to go with a roast or some chicken. If you ask me, though, I think this dish is really perfect for Thanksgiving and is wonderful on a plate next to some turkey smothered with gravy and a pile of green beans. Yum! I can’t wait to serve this at our Thanksgiving dinner this year!

HOLIDAY SAUSAGE AND WILD RICE

  • 1 cup brown rice (2 cups when cooked)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 boxes (4.3 oz. each) long grain and wild rice blend (like Rice-a-Roni)
  • ½ cup pine nuts (can substitute slivered almonds)
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 ozs. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bag (9.6 ozs.) turkey sausage crumbles (can use pork sausage)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook brown rice in rice cooker or stove top. To the cooking water, add the bay leaf, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. In another pot, prepare wild rice blend according to package directions.
  3. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 375ºF oven, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Melt butter or margarine in a large stock pot.
  5. Sauté onions and mushrooms in melted butter until onions become translucent.
  6. Add sausage crumbles to pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Stir in cooked brown rice, cooked wild rice, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and frozen peas.
  8. Continue cooking until peas are heated through.
  9. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  10. Serve warm garnished with chopped parsley, if desired.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole | Pinky's PantryI was watching Trisha Yearwood’s show on the Food Network. She made a chicken and rice casserole that looked really good so I thought I would give it a try. It was truly yummy! The family liked it a lot. I’ve made it a couple of times since then, but of course, with some minor changes to the original recipe. I added a little more parsley for one thing. I also don’t bother chopping the slivered almonds. The biggest change I made, though, was to add a topping. My kids wanted the dish to have a crunchy topping. What is it with kids and crunchy toppings? So I made a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, sprinkled it over the top, and voila!
Chicken and Rice Casserole | Pinky's Pantry

CHICKEN AND WILD RICE CASSEROLE

  • 2 (6-oz.) boxes Uncle Ben’s long-grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 16 ozs. fresh mushrooms, sliced (or 2 (4½ oz.) cans sliced mushrooms, drained (reserve the liquid)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 4 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, diced
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • ½ cup sliced pimientos
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the long-grain and wild rice mixes according to the package directions. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter.
  4. Add the onions and mushrooms, and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  5. Stir in the flour, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the broth (and reserved canned mushroom liquid if using) into the onion mixture, then stir in the half-and-half.
  7. Cook until the mixture has thickened, 7 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add the chicken, rice, toasted almonds, pimientos, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  9. Pour everything into the prepared casserole dish.
  10. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese until well combined.
  11. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of casserole.
  12. Bake about 30 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice

Shrimp with Lemon Saffron Rice | Pinky's Pantry
We were invited to a potluck dinner at our neighbor’s house. I remembered a recipe I had seen in the January 2012 issue of Cooking Light magazine and thought it would be a good one to take for our contribution. I was right!

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, preferring instead to use Vigo Yellow Rice to simplify things. But if you can’t get Vigo rice, I’ve given directions at the end of the recipe for making this dish with regular white rice. The dish turned out tasty and was eaten up by all the guests. It reminded me of paella…… only if you’ve ever made paella, you’ll see that this was way easier to prepare!

SHRIMP WITH LEMON-SAFFRON RICE

  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) Vigo yellow rice (Mahatma brand is good too)
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • ½ large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 2½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. In a large pot, prepare yellow rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  4. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  5. Add shrimp to pan and cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in peas, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook just until peas are heated through.
  7. Pour mixture over cooked rice in pot.
  8. Add oregano and lemon juice and toss all together until well-combined.
  9. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

NOTE:  If you can’t find Vigo yellow rice, you could just as easily make this with regular white rice by following the directions below.

  1. Instead of Step 1, cook 2 cups of white rice in a rice cooker using chicken broth in place of water.
  2. Stir ¾ tsp. crushed saffron threads into the rice and chicken broth before turning on the rice cooker.
  3. Continue with Steps 2-6 above.
  4. Stir in ½ tsp. paprika; then stir in the cooked rice.
  5. Continue with Steps 8 and 9 above.

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

Arroz Verde | Pinky's PantryThe first time I tried arroz verde was at the home of my Mexican friend, Vicky. I haven’t seen Vicky in years. We lost touch when we moved away but I loved her a lot. Vicky was a kind, caring person with a no-nonsense streak tempered by a great sense of fun. She was hardworking, practical, and a warm, loving mother. She was also a really good cook. I don’t know how she made her green rice but I never forgot it and I always wished I had asked her for her recipe. I know it had some kind of pureed peppers in it. I assume they were chili peppers but they could’ve been bell peppers for all I know.

Anyway, I decided to make my own version of the green rice I remembered from Vicky’s house with one difference….. I decided to use pre-cooked rice instead of cooking the rice from scratch. It didn’t look like Vicky’s rice which I remember had an even, pale green color all over, but I think it’s because I threw in some cilantro. The cilantro didn’t puree into a smooth sauce but instead broke down into tiny green flecks. Still, I thought it tasted pretty darn good! And using rice which I had cooked ahead of time in the rice cooker just made the arroz verde that much quicker and easier to prepare as far as I was concerned. It was so yummy and is the perfect side to a Mexican entrée. I might just be making this instead of Spanish rice from now on!

ARROZ VERDE

  • 3 cups rice, cooked (day old rice is better)
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  1. Cook rice in rice cooker or over the stove. It’s better if you cook the rice the day before so it’s a little bit dry.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter or margarine.
  3. Saute garlic, onion and bell pepper in melted butter.
  4. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Add cilantro and puree with immersion blender until cilantro is very finely minced. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could puree mixture in a regular blender, then return mixture to pot.)
  6. Squeeze in lime juice.
  7. Season with salt.
  8. Add cooked rice and toss together until well mixed.
  9. Taste and add more salt if desired.