Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara

November 27, 2007

I have a very large family and every Thanksgiving, a sprinkling of us flock to my aunt and uncle’s beach house in Santa Barbara for a long weekend of sea, sun and food. It’s truly a magical place, located right on a little cove called Devereaux. To make things easier on people traveling from out of town, we celebrate T-Day on Friday, and this year about 40 of us were able to eat together. My cousins Jaime & Shannon and I were in charge of making the appetizers, or as we call them, “pupus” (hawaiian for finger food). Here are a few photos from our weekend.

Persimmons and Clementines are in Season and Surf’s up!

Pumpkin Curry Deviled Eggs

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Spring Rolls with a Cilantro Soy Dipping Sauce

Goat Cheese and Apricot Empanadas

Jaime & Aunt Janet BBQing the Turkey

The Dinner

Turkey Report

November 26, 2007

It was definitely one of the best highlights of my dinner hosting business. We bought a table, chairs, table clothes and new plates. (Remember my past post about sit-down dinner options?). I realized renting wasn’t an option (I couldn’t reach the minimum order of $500).

Everything looked like how it should be. As I said before, I didn’t make everything, and all the guests brought side dishes and they were all superb! I didn’t have to worry about making everything, and because of that, I was pretty relaxed all day. Although I love making everything from scratch, I think I’ll wait till I have an appropriate kitchen/oven.

Here is the scene. Our living room turned into a nice dining area.

Basically turkey was busting out of the oven. 22lb. was definitely too big for my tiny oven. I marinated it in the recipe I showed before (soy, hoison marinade) overnight. I also kept basting every 20 minutes with a white wine, turkey broth and ton of melted butter concoction.

6 hours later, the monster was done, very moist, and very tasty. 22lb. and an All-Clad roasting pan made the heaviest thing, and I almost dropped the whole thing when taking it out of the oven. Thank god I managed not to do that!

Since I didn’t assign anyone to make vegetable side dish other than salad, I made brussels sprouts with pancetta.

Oscar brought this AMAZING yam dish. It was almost like a dessert, with nuts and pineapple in it. Super sweet and delicious!

Marty made Martha’s famous stuffing with cranberry and sausage. This was also VERY tasty.

Oscar’s Finnish potatoes. This was sooo fattening that Oscar didn’t even touch it. You know how bad it is when the maker doesn’t even want to eat it (which means taste sooo good) . It has ton of cheese, cream and other good shit. Red bits are not bacon, mind you. It is red potato skins.

The whole spread. I wanted to put everything on the dining table, but we had WAY too much food so we made it buffet style.

Happy toasting time. I think everyone had at least 2 servings. We almost finished both breast meats.

It was very nice to have all our friends over, and had such a wonderful meal. Everyone was full and drunk by the end of the day (we went to karaoke to burn some calories off afterwards). Too bad I broke the wishbone trying to yank it out… I guess my wish of having a wonderful thanksgiving meal came true already, so no need to wish for more…

I was dog sitting over the weekend, and she was way too overwhelmed by all the people, and was covered up by a cashmere throw and slept almost all day. What a classy girl Wheezy is..

Thanksgiving – Let’s Give Thanks

November 20, 2007

Yeah right. I am just excited about executing all the practices into my 22lb bird (the biggest I could find). It’s fresh bird this year, and I will marinate the whole thing in a household ziploc bag over night. Some people, such as Kayoko has been telling how much she HATES turkey, but I will make people change their minds. Turkey = Dry is such a myth. If you cook it right, it’s very moist, flavorful, not gamy, just damn good!

Everyone, enjoy this Thursday, eat a lot, drink a lot, eat more, till you fall asleep while eating. I will write all about it next week.

Thanksgiving – An Alternative to a Big Bird

November 12, 2007

I was watching Food Network Sunday, and saw this recipe for turkey and cranberry raviolis on Everyday Italian. The theme was “Thanksgiving for two” and it looked pretty yummy and easy, so I made it for myself. It surely was a success. If you don’t want to be bothered with making a big turkey, this definitely will be an interesting diversion.

Although it seems like there’s a lot of cranberry to put in, it doesn’t taste too sweet, just right. Using wanton wrapper is also another very good way to make the raviolis. Since the skin is very light, You can have a lot more than 5 (which was the portion on the recipe, but I used a 1 lb. turkey, hence quadrupled the recipe).

You can stuff other things using wanton skins, and the sauce could be different as well. Oh, I didn’t have Romano, so just used Parmesan, which was as good. Giada’s recipes are always good.

Thanksgiving 2007 – Stage 1

November 1, 2007

I am planning to host a thanksgiving dinner (as usual). Every year for the past 8 years or so, I have hosted it. I made my turkey in every way you can think of. Herbed, brined, buttered, you name it, I’ve done it. (Though I haven’t tried frying..) I usually make everything, but this year, I’ve given up the idea because 1. it’s way too labor intensive, 2. my oven is just too small to be able to cook everything simultaneously, 3. I get too tired and I always fall asleep right after meal (which many people do because of whatever it is in turkey meat). So this year, i will be only making turkey and desert. I might have to give exact recipe to guests to make what they should be making (I don’t want soggy veggies, or store bought stuffing. Cranberry should not be sliceable, damn it!)

Everyone knows the rule, oven is 325 degrees, and you cook till bird’s internal temp becomes 170ish. Flavor can be many different way, so I am trying to come up with an interesting flavor.
To practice what I can do this year, I bought turkey breast and experimented. It’s an Asian flavored turkey. Marinade can be made as follows (for the whole bird, I don’t know how I am going to marinate it in, though):

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic, chopped
  • ginger, chopped
  • scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup hoison sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Mix above, and marinate turkey in it for about 4 hours. When you take the bird, make sure you take out all the shallots/garlic/ginger/scallions, otherwise they will burn.

Put the bird in lower part of the oven, and cook till it’s done (this one took about 1.5 hours). For basting, I made turkey broth with giblets (for breast meat, there comes a package of liver and neck, which was a bonus) , garlic and ginger. Mix it with butter/oil. I put it on every 20 minutes to keep it from drying up.

It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? It was very moist, thanks to diligently basting the bird every 20 minutes, and Asian flavor was definitely a YES.

For desert, I am not making traditional pumpkin pie. I am thinking to make pumpkin chocolate tart (Martha’s recipe, I have been making this every year and it’s very good), individual pumpkin creme brulee (I made it last year, and it was a huge hit) and apple tart. There can be some improvements, but basically it is tart shell, filled with sliced apple, sprinkled with sugar. I think I will put a layer of custard on the bottom for the big day.

I want to have 10 people sit down dinner, but I don’t have a dining table that big. Any cheap, creative, ideas that I won’t be stuck with million folding tables and chairs?