Electric Lunchbox #40: Chocolate Cheesecake

Another cheesecake…this time with chocolate crust, chocolate filling, and chocolate topping.

Whew! For the chocolate lover in your life! ❤️

Of course you can totally leave out the topping but I would just go all out since it is just a small cheesecake.

This cheesecake recipe checks all the boxes – easy to make, creamy, rich, sweet, chocolatey…,made in your Electric Lunchbox, it’s something you can prepare any time your craving hits! The ingredients are easy to find anywhere. **Just remember to chill it for a few hours, preferably overnight.**

So chocolatey, so creamy!

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

Perfect for a small celebration! 🎉🍾

Crust:

6 Oreos, crushed

1 tablespoon melted butter

Cheesecake:

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 (8oz) bar cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Topping:

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Crust: grease the big bottom bowl of the ELB. Line bottom with a parchment paper cut to fit. Mix together crushed Oreos and butter. Press onto the bottom of the ELB bowl.

Cheesecake: Melt chocolate chips in 30 second increments in the microwave and stir until smooth. Beat cream cheese and add melted chocolate, sugar, egg, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat just until combined. Pour over crust and cover with foil.

Add 120 ml water in the ELB base, cover and let steam for about an hour. Remove from lunchbox carefully and check if the edges are set but the middle is a little jiggly, but almost firm.

Cover and cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Run a knife along the edges, turn out the cheesecake onto a plate, then invert on the serving plate. Return to the fridge while making the topping.

Topping: Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until soft and shiny. Pour cream in and stir until smooth. Pour over cold cheesecake and smooth the top. Chill about an hour more.

Dig in! 😊

Electric Lunchbox #39: Penne with Meat sauce

Penne with meat sauce the easy way! If I planned my prep day well, I would have some ground beef browned with onions and garlic in the fridge. That little prep makes it easy to put together little meals in the ELB.

This is one such meal. As usual, easy to prepare, one bowl, and you just basically put everything in and press the steam button! Love my ELB!

*I have not used this lunchbox at work though, as I work in a laboratory and we cannot eat on our work desk (we call them bench). We have a cafeteria in our building, and some seats and tables outdoors, and that’s where everyone eats. I am not sure I want to leave the ELB unattended when it is not close by. However, I have used the ELB a lot at home to prepare small amounts of food, and of course, desserts!*

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1/3 – 1/2 cup cooked ground beef (I just saute in garlic and onions until browned)

3 mushrooms, chopped

1 tablespoon diced celery

1 tablespoon diced onions

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder

3/4 cup penne pasta

120 ml marinara sauce

160 ml water

120 ml water for base

Place the beef, mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic powder in the bottom big bowl. Add in the penne, marinara sauce and 160 ml water. Stir to mix. Cover with foil and set on the base of the ELB.

Place 120 ml water in the base, cover and let steam until done, about 55 minutes.

Carefully open the lunchbox and stir the pasta. Check the doneness of the pasta. Adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot.

Electric Lunchbox #38: Puto (Philippine Steamed Rice Cake)

And another Filipino food! I love Puto – steamed rice cake. I have been trying to get the authentic rice based recipe right to no avail. Rice, sugar, water/coconut milk…a few other ingredients but it’s never right. I got it perfect once but never got to repeat it.

The more modern flour based puto is easier to make and more predictable. So here itbis made for the ELB!

Toppings can be cheese or preserved, salted eggs, but I like to use both when I have them.

Hope you enjoy it!

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

Mix the following in a small bowl:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Add in:

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pinch of salt

Grease the big bottom bowl or medium top bowl of the ELB. pour mixture in.

Top with the following:

salted egg and/or grated cheese

Cover with foil and add 3 ELB cups water in base. Cover and pet steam until done, about 55 minutes. Carefully open the ELB and insert a skewer to test doneness. If it comes out clean, it’s done. *Add more water and steam a little longer if necessary.*

Brush top with more:

Melted butter

Serve hot. Enjoy!

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!

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!

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.