Banana Bread

I almost always have a couple of bananas that turn brown before we get to eat it. I usually just toss them in the Vitamix or Thermomix to make a smoothie. Or peel and toss them in a baggie in the freezer for later. But every so often I save some bananas on the side to allow them to really get ripe and spotty.

Those bananas end up as this banana bread that is so good I often wonder why I don’t make it more often. The extra ripe bananas make it so fragrant and flavorful. The brown sugar gives it a hint of caramel flavor, while the chocolate chips adds a lot of extra flavor. Feel free to use nuts instead, but I urge you to try it with chocolate chips at least once. 😉

I like to make this in pretty bundt pans, like the one pictured above, so it is ready to serve without any decorating as it’s already beautiful. A light dusting of confectioners sugar is enough if you want to dress it up. I have this bad habit of picking up pretty baking pans so often I still have some that haven’t been used. Need to bake more often! Feel free to use a 13”x9” pan or even muffin tins if you want to! I promise that it will still taste good!

If you have a Thermomix, this comes together in about 3 minutes. If not, a little elbow grease and maybe 10-15 minutes, is all you’ll need. It’s an easy recipe that kids can make with adult supervision when baking. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, mix and set aside 5 minutes

2 – 3 bananas, mashed (1 cup)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 10 cup bundt pan. (13”x9” pan or muffin cups will work too! Just adjust time.)

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar, milk and vinegar mixture, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture and mix until just combined . Fold in chocolate chips (or nuts).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (13”x9” takes about 30-45 minutes, cupcakes about 18-25 minutes.)

Electric Lunchbox #37: Adobo (Philippine soy sauce vinegar stew)

Adobo.

This is the all time favorite Filipino dish that you probably have heard of or even tried already. It is a constant at family gatherings and lunch boxes. Every family has their own recipe for this dish that is basically meat or vegetables simmered in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper corns. Some add boiled eggs, potatoes, sugar, fish sauce, bayleaves. The meat can be chicken, or pork, or a combination of both. The only vegetable version of adobo that I had was Adobong Kangkong (water spinach), but I’m sure there are other versions all over.

I remember when I was young, we would always have this dish with a huge pot of rice, a big Igloo/Coleman water dispenser, and fruits, when we go “picnic”. Picnic is a term used by my aunts/uncles when we go to the pool/resort or beach for the day. It was a lot of fun to just be kids while the adults played card games, dominoes, and talk.

This keeps well at room temperature because of the vinegar, however I refrigerate it as soon as I can and won’t leave it out too long. It does taste better the next day, that’s for sure!

*My stovetop version almost always has the boiled eggs and potatoes, as I like having extras in my food. The version I grew up with though, had only bone in chicken with skin and pork meat with some fat, which when simmered for a long time, becomes rich, flavorful and truly delicious, something you will remember for a long time.*

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*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

Adobo:

220 grams pork or chicken, cut into small cubes

1 small potato, peeled and cubed

20 ml soy sauce

20 ml vinegar

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, but highly recommended)

2 bayleaves

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Rice/Garlic rice:

2 ELB cups rice

2 ELB cups water

Toasted garlic, 1 teaspoon oil, and a sprinkle of salt, optional for garlic rice

3 itaki cups water in base

1. Place the meat, potatoes, soysauce, vinegar, pepper corns, fish sauce, bay leaves, garlic and garlic powder in the big bowl of the ELB. Mix and place on the base.

2. Place rice in the small nesting bowl, rinse well and drain. Add in the 2 ELB cups of water and toasted garlic, oil, and a sprinkle of salt, if using. Place on top of the big bowl.

3. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base. Cover the lunchbox snd let steam until done, about 55 minutes. Check meat and rice for doneness, adding more water to steam longer if needed.

4. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Red Curry Chicken

Dinner is always a “what to cook” problem for me. If I am craving something then the battle is half won, as I would have to only make sure I have all (at least most) of the ingredients on hand so that I do not have to make a last minute dash to the grocery stores. The time I get out of work is a bad time to swing by the stores as a lot of people are there too, looking for what to serve for dinner.

So I usually keep a bottle or two of this curry paste and a can of coconut milk handy. That way, if I have chicken or pork and some vegetables, I can serve curry in half an hour or so.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 cup water

3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 carrots, peeled and cubed

2 zucchinis, sliced in half and into half moons

1 package (8oz) mushrooms, sliced

1/2 c frozen peas

1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk

1/3 – 1/2 cup thai red curry paste (to taste)

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (optional)

Chopped cilantro, for serving

Rice and/or flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Add garlic and cook until light brown. Add onions and cook until soft and browned.

Add chicken pieces. When chicken turns golden brown, add water and stir well. Add potatoes and carrots and stir. Cover and let simmer until potatoes are half done.

Add zucchini, mushrooms, peas, coconut milk, and red curry paste. Start with 1/3 cup and add more towards the end if you want it spicier. Add chicken bouillon if using. Cover and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with cooked rice, or flatbread.

Electric Lunchbox #36: Mama Tuca’s Lentils

My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook! Lucky for me, she is always more than happy to teach me how to prepare Peruvian food whether in her kitchen in Lima, or mine in Orange County. She is very kind and gentle but strong and determined. She likes to go out on her own, fearless, and discover places. I grew up more sheltered, more scared, careful of the outside world. I remember once when she was vacationing here in the US, my husband and I came home from work and she was gone…we had to go and drive our cars to look for her all over our city. I found her walking by Trader Joes, arms full of grocery bags with treasures she found to make a meal. She is good at substituting and making a new dishes.

When we were in Peru, breakfast is usually turkey, cheese, ham sandwich, with fruit juice and my essential, coffee. Lunch is the biggest meal, and she would always prepare a salad to go with it. Everything tasted really good. This is one of those recipes. Healthy and easy to make, it quickly became a staple as both my husband and my son likes it.

I adapted it to the ELB, substituting garlic and onion powder for the real thing as we will not be sautéing it. If you have a red bell pepper and aji amarillo, please use that instead of the paprika and turmeric I used. I just used those as it is something we are all familiar with and probably have in our pantry already. When mama Tuca made this, she used pork, but I had used beef, and chicken when I’m too lazy to go to the store.

Please remember to soak the lentils, preferably overnight. We are using raw lentils as they cook faster than regular beans, but soaking helps it along.

I hope you like this recipe. I’m sure my family does!

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*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

1/2 cup lentils, soaked at least 1 hour, up to overnight

1 cup water, for cooking

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika powder (or 1/4 red bell pepper, pureed)

50 – 60 grams cubed pork or chicken, or ground beef

1 small potato, peeled and cubed

120 ml water (for steaming)

Drain the lentils after soaking. Transfer to the big bottom bowl of the ELB. Add all ingredients and stir to mix. Place in the ELB base.

Add the water for steaming to the base. Cover the ELB snd let steam until done, about an hour. Check lentils and meat for doneness , adding more water to the base and steaming longer, if necessary.

Serve hot, over rice (can make some in the little nesting bowl at the same time!).

My husband usually asks for a fried egg on top of the lentils. I like it this way to so I happily fry some eggs to serve with this dish.

If you have a jumbo, make lentils in the bottom bowl, poached egg in the small nesting bowl, and rice in the top medium bowl! Perfect meal!

Electric Lunchbox #35: Choco Flan/Flan Cake

You all know how I adore flans – I have to try every single flan I cross paths with – Spanish Flan, Filipino Flan, Japanese Purin, Crema Volteada in Peru, Cuban Flan……and I love all variations of eggs, egg yolk, milk, cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and caramel! I even tried one that had cream cheese mixed in and that was yummy and super rich!

So imagine my surprise when a coworker at UCLA brought a flan topped chocolate cake to one of our potlucks! Heaven! I didn’t even really cared about the main dishes…I made a beeline toward the cake and took the first slice! He said it is called Choco Flan. I, of course, had to get the recipe. 😊

This recipe is for making Choco Flan in the ELB…I will be playing with the recipe more in the future as I want a thicker layer of flan. But this satisfied a chocolate cake/flan craving quickly. I will be updating the photos when I find the time to redo this recipe. If you don’t mind a little flan on a chocolate cake, this will definitely make you glad to have an electric lunchbox.

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*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

Caramel:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon water

Chocolate Cake:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 tablespoons milk

Flan:

1 large egg

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/3 cup condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon all purpose flour

1. Caramel: Place the ingredients for the caramel in the big bottom bowl if the ELB. Place on the stove over low heat and handling it with heat proof tongs, swirl constantly until you get a golden brown caramel. Set aside on s heat proof surface.

2. Cake: mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.

3. Cream butter and sugar in another bowl using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and milk. Blend well.

4. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Pour batter into the bowl with caramel and smooth the top.

5. Prepare the flan mixture: in a small bowl, mix all flan ingredients until no more lumps remain. Pour flan mixture over chocolate batter. Cover with foil and add 120 ml water to the ELB base. Cover and steam until done, about 58 minutes.

Cool completely in the pan and chill until cold, around 4 hours to overnight. Enjoy!

Baozi (steamed buns with pork and cabbage)

This is a familiar dimsum item that is easily prepared at home. Basically a meatball sandwich, it is portable and easy to eat so it is always a good thing to have in the house. You can prepare the whole recipe and freeze extras individually. My son loves this for breakfast and I like that I only have to steam it in the microwave and breakfast is ready! You can use a microwave steamer or just enclose the bun in a wet paper towel – to make clean up easier. We all lead busy lives, I won’t judge! 😊

I like this recipe because the filling tastes like a big ball of Gyoza, but my husband is not crazy for it, so I make it less often than the actual Char Siu buns (called Siopao in the Philippines).

Ingredients:

2 recipes Lotus bun dough (recipe link: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/06/15/lotus-leaf-bread-cua-pao-gua-pao-buns-he-ye-bao/)

FOR FILLING:

1 pound ground pork

1 pound chinese cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, shredded

1 stalk green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 egg

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoon shaoxing wine

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Procedure:

Prepare dough and let rest until doubled.

Prepare filling: brown half of the ground pork in a skillet, drain and cool. Mix with the rest of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Divide dough into 20-24 balls. Keep dough balls in a covered bowl. Working with one dough at a time, roll out into a circle about 5-6 inches. Then go back and roll the edges thinner.

Place about 2 tablespoons filling in the middle. Pull up edges, fold over into pleats and press to seal. Continue until the filling is enclosed. Twist and pinch tops.

This are the photo illustration for the Philippine steamed bun, but the method is the same for rolling out, filling, and sealing the dough.

Place prepared bao on a piece of parchment paper and place in steamer tray.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover the steamer trays and let rise about an hour.

Remove steamer trays and set aside, covered with a dish cloth.

Heat water in the steamer and bring to a rolling boil. place steamer racks back onto the base and cover.

Red ones are filled with red bean paste as I ran out of filling for the last 2 dough balls. . Red dot was made using red food color.

Steam 20-25 minutes. Turn heat off and let stand for 5 minutes before removing baos to a cooling rack.

Makes 20 – 24 pieces. Feel free to halve the recipe to make less.

Enjoy it hot or cool completely before storing.

Electric Lunchbox #34: Lemongrass Scented Coconut Rice (Nasi Uduk)

This recipe is for an Indonesian style coconut rice. Fragrant and lightly flavored with coconut, it will surely be a new favorite. Serve with curry, fried eggs, omelets, fried chicken – really, it goes with anything. I love eating it by itself with kimchi, takuan, and a little scrambled egg…unusual, yes but this combo works for me. 😊

This rice dish is easy to prepare and tastes so delicious. Since it can be served hot or at room temperature, it can be prepared for lunch or picnics.

I hope you enjoy this coconut rice dish and find other ways to serve it!

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*NOTE that this recipe uses the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

4 Itaki cups long grain rice

2 1/2 Itaki cups water

2 Itaki cups coconut milk

1 lemongrass leaf, green part, folded over and knotted

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fried shallots or garlic, to serve

3 Itaki cups water in the base

Place rice in the big bottom bowl (or medium bowl) of an electric lunchbox. Rinse the rice and drain well. Add the water, coconut milk. Stir.

Lightly crush the knotted lemongrass and add to the bowl with the salt.

Place the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 (120ml) little cups of water to the base, cover and steam until done, about 55 minutes.

Carefully open the lunchbox, fluff the rice and remove the lemongrass. Top with fried shallots (or garlic, which is what I had!) and serve.

Electric Lunchbox #33: Cherry Clafouti

Clafouti! This recipe is for a French custardy dessert that is a perfect use for summer’s sweet cherries!

I had vanpooled for work during the last couple of years I worked at UCLA (140+miles/day)and was in a group of 11 people. Some would leave, and got replaced, but the rest of us, we got to be really close. When traffic is really bad, we’d stop by McDonald’s in Gardena for ice cream, or even a combo meal, while I sometimes did a quick run at the nextdoor Japanese grocery store. Or when there is just a few of us, we’d detour to a Church’s chicken in Norwalk. Or to Knott’s Berry Farm for the chicken dinner and boysenberry pie….I love those times, as I am saved from thinking what to cook for dinner!

We’d meet up for dinner, dimsum, and we have group texts….they were an amazing group! Even now, well over 12 years since my last van ride, we still keep in touch. One passed away a year ago, others retired, but we’re still friends and chat almost every day.

This recipe is from Jerome. He is French and would talk about foods (our van’s favorite topic) that he miss a lot. This was one of them. And he taught us how to make it.

I hope you like this easy, refreshing recipe. I’ve seen the cherries substituted with other summer fruits, but to me, cherries are essential to this recipe. I tried adding a drop of almond extract (just because I love cherries and almond combo!) in the custard mix, and of course it tasted awesome.

Pitting the cherries.

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1/2 pound cherries

2 eggs

4 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

125 ml whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla sugar to serve*

1. Grease the big bottom bowl of the ELB. Place the pitted cherries in and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and salt.

3. Add flour, milk, butter, and vanilla. Blend well.

4. Pour mixture into the bowl with the cherries. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base.

5. Place 3 (120ml) little cups water in the base. Cover and let steam until done, about 50 minutes.

6. Carefully open the lunchbox and insert a skewer into the clafouti. It should come out clean. Add more water and steam longer if necessary.

7. Place the bowl in a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate until cold. Unmold onto a serving dish and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Serve cold.

*vanilla sugar – you can purchase this or make your own. To make it: bury 1-2 vanilla beans that were split down the middle in a cup of sugar. Make sure to cover the container. Leave for about a week. Use for a hint of vanilla in your coffee, tea, or desserts.