Friday, November 30, 2012

Creme Caramel ~ Flan

Treasured Heirloom Recipes
holiday sweets
Creme Caramel ~ Flan

Creme de la creme of holiday dessert for me specially for Noche Buena - a tradition to my native land Philippines we inherited from the Spaniards.
Remembering watching the women prepare the food for the family and all the guest coming for noche buena--- the streets is fully decorated with paról[1] an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern from the Philippines, Christmas color lights and everyone is busy cooking. Sitting straight with good posture, listening to the women tell stories and happily cooking literary I think for the whole town there are so much dishes and my favorite time is when they start making the flan ~ creme caramel. This recipe is from memory, step by step I watch them---making the caramel, separating the egg yolks---with the technique I still use today, to stacking them in a huge pot with water in the bottom. 

for the caramel
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
zest of one lemon
1 tsp of vanilla extract 
a pinch of salt
dash of lemon juice 

for the custard
1 dozen egg (yolk separated) using only the egg yolks
1 can of condense milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup of milk, for a richer flavor 1/2 cup yogurt or cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF, place the oven rack in lower middle postion and place a pan with water about an inch and a half high. 
Heat the sauce pan over medium high, pour all the ingredients for the caramel except the lemon juice. bring to boil and watch it carefully not to burn, when the mixture get thicker to a sauce like consistency and the color is almost amber turn the heat off and whisk in the lemon juice, with a fine strainer pour the caramel in the cake pan spreading it evenly at the bottom to the side of the pan---set aside to cool.

in a large bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the custard with an electric hand mixer then pour it---straining with a very fine strainer in the with caramel prepared pan, put the pan in the oven in the pan with water bath for about 1 hour--- check with a stick for doneness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


from my peeps
ONIONS! I had never heard this!!!

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu...
Many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser. She said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu, and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:

Thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmer's story...but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia, and, needless to say, I was very ill... I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs...sure enough it happened just like that...the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

This is the other note. Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don't know what to blame. Maybe it's the onions that are to blame. Onions absorb bacteria is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu and is the very reason we shouldn't eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open.


I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist.

Ed, who was our tour guide, is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially-made mayo is completely safe.

"It doesn't even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary." He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the summer picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table, and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.

Ed says that, when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the 'victim' last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It's probably the ONIONS, and if not the onions, it's the POTATOES.

He explained onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.. He says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator.

It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hotdogs at the baseball park!). Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you'll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you're asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.

Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.

Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.