Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving feast

Every year since getting married, we always have 2 Thanksgiving meals. Thanksgiving lunch is spent at my brother-in-law's for hubby's side of the family. Thanksgiving dinner is spent at our house for my side of the family. It usually takes me the whole morning to prepare everything for our dinner. Mom, dad, and my siblings usually bring dessert, a few side dishes, and sometimes another main dish, while I make the turkey, and a few more side dishes. This year, on the other hand, I've somewhat gotten myself to cook the entire meal. This time, it took me from last night to early this morning to prepare everything - turkey, 2 kinds of potato dishes, vegetable dish, corn dish, and dessert.

Although I was quite stressed while preparing it, it was the fun kind of stress. Nothing beats the satisfaction I get when I see my family enjoy a meal that I've cooked. So the stress was all worth it. I'm thankful for a lot of things - my health, my career, food to eat, a roof over my head, clothes on my back. But I'm most thankful for my loving husband, beautiful daughter, generous parents and siblings. Cooking for them was the least I could do for everything they've done for me all my life. So whenever they make requests for me to cook something, its always my pleasure to do it.

Deep Fried Turkey

I've been deep frying my turkey ever since I got married and decided to cook the turkey for Thanksgiving. I was always afraid of cooking turkey myself for fear of possibly over cooking and and drying it out. So for our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, I decided to deep fry it. I was so new at cooking a turkey that I left the packet of innards inside the cavity of the turkey. I thought I had pulled everything out, but didn't realize there was more to it. lol. Anyway, it still came out so flavorful and so moist. I've never done it any other way. Except that now, I'm more of a pro in cleaning out the turkey. My deep fried turkey has made a lot of non-turkey eaters love eating turkey. I also made this for a potluck at work. My boss bought the turkey and I deep fried it. It was a huge hit. I think this is the reason why I end up having Thanksgiving dinner with my family at my house every year.

18-20 lb. turkey (cleaned and dried)
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. store-bought creole seasoning
2 Tbsp. store-bought turkey rub
peanut oil

1) Measure out the amount of peanut oil you need by placing turkey in the deep fryer and pouring water until the turkey is completely submerged. Remove turkey. Mark the water level on the outside of the fryer with duct tape. Pour out water and completely dry the fryer.

2) Pour peanut oil to the previously measured level. Heat oil until it reaches 360-380 deg. F, about 1 hour.

3) Mix water and creole seasoning in a deep bowl. With a turkey syringe, inject mixture into different parts of the turkey. Note: since the breast area tends to dry out quickly, inject more of the seasoning in this area.

4) Rub turkey rub throughout the skin of turkey. Let sit for 1 hour while oil is heating up.

5) Place turkey on the fryer holder, neck down. Gently place turkey in hot oil. Cook turkey for 5-8 minutes per pound, and the internal temperature at the thickest part of the turkey (between thigh and breast) is 160-170 deg. F.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes and gravy is a staple in almost all Thanksgiving meals. Its really easy to make. I normally just toss everything together without any measurements, but for the sake of my Thanksgiving menu, I thought I should add it on here.

2-3 lbs. russet potatoes (peeled and quartered)
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

1) Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes until softened. Drain potatoes. Add heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper to hot potatoes. Mash together with a potato masher until desired consistency.

Scalloped Potatoes

This is my brother's special request for Thanksgiving. Every year, he asks for scalloped potatoes. And every year I seem to always make a different version. At the end, he always says, he wants it to be cheesy. Well, this year, I finally took him up on it. I searched for a cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe and it all called for some type of processed cheese. I thought, "why not use my own cheese sauce from my macaroni and cheese recipe?" And my Scalloped Potatoes recipe is born. It was quite a hit with my brother. So much so, that I didn't even get a taste of it because he took the rest of it home.

6 small to medium sized russet potatoes (sliced thinly)
3 Tbsp. butter
2 3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Grease a casserole dish.

2) In a medium pan, melt butter. Add flour and whisk for a minute. Slowly add warm milk while whisking rapidly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and allow to slightly thicken.

3) Remove from heat. Add salt, nutmeg, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly.

4) Place 2 layers of sliced potatoes on the bottom of casserole dish. Pour 1 cup of the cheese sauce over potatoes. Place another 2 layers and pour another cup of cheese sauce. Repeat until you have filled your casserole dish to your desired thickness. Sprinkle the top with more shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour, until bubbly.

Neely's Cornbread Dressing with Apples and Sausages

If its stuffed inside the turkey, its called "stuffing." If its left as a side dish, its called "dressing."

I normally ask my dad to bring the "dressing" to my house for our Thanksgiving dinner. He usually makes the boxed stuffing. But this year, I decided I wanted to make it from scratch. At a potluck from work, one of my staff brought his homemade stuffing which was so good so I asked for the recipe. His recipe had clams and italian seasoning with sourdough bread. But I found this stuffing recipe on the Food Network from the Neely's and also looked so delicious. I decided to try this recipe because I always wanted to try a sausage and cornbread stuffing.

This recipe called for bourbon, which I didn't have. So i substituted with white wine. I also used fresh cornbread, instead of the dry stuffing cornbread. It turned out really well, but everyone was surprised by the sweetness from the cornbread. So next time, I'll try to make it with some kind of sourdough or french bread instead of the cornbread. I just love the flavor of the the other stuff in it.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 pounds cubed and dried cornbread
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups turkey or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet.

Cook sausage for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Add onions and celery and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in apples, thyme and sage and saute for another 2 minutes. Add wine. Allow to simmer until wine is almost evaporated; 1 to 2 minutes.

3) In a large bowl, add cornbread stuffing, parsley, chicken stock, eggs and pecans. Mix well. Mix in vegetable mixture to bowl. Combine and stir well together. Add to a large greased casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Creamed Corn

This dish is one of my favorite side dishes ever. I got the recipe from the Lawry's website. I make it so often, not just for Thanksgiving, that I know it like the back of my hand. You can place this dish in a casserole and top with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for a special touch. This dish is so good, that I can't wait long enough to have to bake it. So I just serve it as is.

1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 cups frozen corn kernels

1) Melt butter. Add flour and mix until it becomes like dough. Slowly add heavy cream while whisking to remove lumps. Cook until mixture begins to boil and thicken.

2) Add salt, sugar and corn kernels. Continue to boil until corn cooks through.

Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

Aside from the normal, mashed potatoes & gravy, dressing and corn side dishes, I wanted to serve some kind of a vegetable dish as well. I didn't want to make the typical soggy green bean casserole that frequent Thanksgiving meals. So I found this recipe on from Robin Miller. It came out really well and the colors looked so awesome with my Thanksgiving spread.

1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

2) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Place mixture on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We had our Thanksgiving potluck at work today and I volunteered to cook the turkey that my boss had brought in. I fried it up at my dad's house. I also volunteered to make my famous Tiramisu. I say "famous" because I used to be known for my Tiramisu. I used to make it so often, that I've somewhat already memorized the recipe. Its a good thing I've memorized it, because I couldn't find the written recipe anywhere. Anyway, I haven't made it in a long time (maybe even for a couple of years) and have been dying to make it again. Its such an elegant (yet very easy) dessert that I haven't found the right occasion to make it. And when the subject of our Thanksgiving potluck came, I thought it was perfect timing. Mmmmm, how I've missed my Tiramisu.

My deep fried turkey and Tiramisu were huge hits. Luckily, I made two batches of the Tiramisu. One batch was left at home so I can take a nice picture for this post. This is what the batch I made for work looked like

I'll post my deep fried turkey recipe when I cook it for Thanksgiving.

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 - 8 oz package Mascarpone cheese
1 - 8 oz package whipped cream
3/4 cup prepared strong coffee (3/4 cup water with 4 tsp. of instant coffee)
2 Tbsp. rum
3 - 3 oz packages of soft lady fingers
cocoa powder for garnish

1) In a double boiler pan, beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer until mixture turns into a lemon custard color (about 3 minutes).

2) Place the pan over boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

3) Beat mascarpone cheese into the egg mixture until well incorporated. Fold in whipped cream until well incorporated.

4) Combine prepared coffee and rum. Generously brush lady fingers with the coffee mixture. Layer the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with the soaked lady fingers. Evenly spread the egg mixture over the lady fingers. Place another layer lady fingers and top another layer of egg mixture. Garnish with cocoa powder. Refrigerate before serving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Ice Cream

After all the pumpkin recipes I've made, you'd think I'd be sick of pumpkin yet. And its not even Thanksgiving. Well, I'm not sick of it yet. My next entry with the use of my never-ending supply of pumpkin is......ICE CREAM! I heard somewhere about pumpkin ice cream, and I decided to make my own concoction. I looked at a lot of pumpkin ice cream recipes, and I came up with this simple recipe. Its a little too pumpkin-y for my taste, but it was still okay. If I get the urge to make anything else with pumpkin, I may try to re-vamp this recipe.

1 cup fresh pureed pumpkin
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1) Combine all ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Pour into ice cream maker. Run the machine according to manufacturer's instructions for 40-50 minutes.

2) Freeze for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maybe as good as the taco truck?

During my never-ending pursuit for the Kogi Korean Taco truck, hubby and I discovered Galbi n Kimchi on our way one day to visit my mother-in-law in L.A. Its located in a dive of a strip mall, behind the Paramount studios. There hung a sign that said "Korean Tacos." I wonder if its just as good as the Kogi truck's? Well, it was worth a try, since I haven't been able to try Kogi's. Well, it tastes just as it sounds - Korean BBQ, wrapped in fresh corn tortilla, topped with cabbage, cilantro, and other vegetables that complimented the crunch of the cabbage. I don't know who came up with the idea of combining Korean and Mexican together, but it was pure GENIUS! I thought it sounded weird at first. And out of curiosity, I wanted to try it out, hence the pursuit for the Kogi truck. But since I haven't been able to catch up to the truck, I'm glad we found Galbi n Kimchi to see if it was even worth chasing down the truck. It was quite delicious. We ordered both pork and beef tacos. The pork was little spicy, and the beef was just right. But both were really good.

Today, was the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight and we decided to go over my parents house to watch it, since they ordered it on pay-per-view. We siblings decided to order our own food to bring to the house. We decided to bring these Korean tacos:

They were quite the hit. And we even had some leftover to take home. I don't know how much longer I'm going to pursue the Kogi truck, but at least I know where I can get my Korean taco fix.

Oh yeah, and Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao won, by the way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good times.....

The long wait is over. After months of anticipation, our dear friend, Reni, came in to town for a quick visit from Oregon a few days ago. We had planned on taking her to Bistro Ka. Apparently, she took a look at my blog entry when Che and I went to Bistro Ka. So she was quite excited to hear that we were taking her there too. We decided to all meet up at the restaurant tonight, where Che reserved the private room. And when we finally all saw each other, it was all shrieks from the girls. We hadn't gotten together in a long time. Probably not since our friend, Vivian's, wedding. So it was a very happy moment, to say the least.

We ordered my favorite, Yummie Roll. As well as this "Dynamite Roll"

After enjoying plates and plates of sushi for about 2 hours, we all bid our farewell to Reni. She leaves for Oregon again tomorrow. Time really flew tonight. But it was great hanging out with my dear friends and their families. I wish we can do this more often. Maybe one day, we'll get to visit her in Oregon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

I've been feeling like I'm coming down with something. And as usual, I wanted to have some soothing soup to help cure me. Well, what's been the theme of my recipes lately? Pumpkin! So of course, I had to dig up my pumpkin soup recipe. I haven't made it since last year, so its perfect timing for it.

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream

1) In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sautee onion until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the broth, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Return to heat and bring to a boil.

2) Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream and cook for another 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vietnamese-style Grilled Steak Wraps

I love eating different kinds of Asian dishes. Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese. I love them all. I've attempted to make the Vietnamese Pho before, but decided to leave that up to the pros to do. It came out pretty good, but of course the restaurants do them better. I found this dish in one of my cookbooks and made it a while ago. Since hubby and I are off today, I decided to make this for lunch again today. Its been a while since I've made it, and boy have I missed it. The sweetness of the sauce and the savory of the beef makes it a perfect combination. MMMM!

1 lb. beef top round strips
Grated peel and juice of 2 lemons
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or you can use sherry wine)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
6 romaine lettuce leaves
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup cilantro leaves

1) Combine lemon peel, juice, 2 Tbsp. sugar, sesam oil, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

2) Combine water, vinegar, the remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring until it becomes syrupy. Stir in crushed red pepper. Set aside.

3) Remove beef rom marinade. Discard all liquid. Thread beef onto wooden skewers (soak skewers in hot water for 30 minutes). Grill beef for 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

4) Grill tortillas. Place lettuce, cooked beef, mint and cilantro on tortillas. Drizzle vinegar sauce. Roll tortillas to enclose filling and serve.

OH!!! ROAST a pumpkin!, why didn't I think of that???

I was talking to my sisters-in-law on Halloween and was complaining to them how difficult it was for me to peel and cut up the whole pumpkin I bought the last time. And they said that they roasted theirs. Why didn't I think of that? duh!

Its Veteran's day today and hubby and I have the day off. So we decided to take our daughter for a walk to the farm around the corner from our house. I wanted to see if they still had pumpkins I can buy so I can stock up for our upcoming Thanksgiving feasts. "All pumpkins 1/2 off!" So I bought 4 pumpkins to roast and puree for later use.

1) Cut the pumpkin cross-wise. Scoop out all the seeds and thread.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place cut pumpkin, cut side down, on baking sheet and pour 2 cups of water at the bottom of the pan.
Bake uncovered at 375 deg. F for 1-2 hours, or until pumpkin is fork-tender.

2) Peel the skin off the pumpkin and cut into pieces. Use for your favorite pumpkin recipes.

I can't believe how much easier it was to cook a pumpkin. I think the hardest part was cutting the pumpkin in half, which hubby was glad to do for me. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this before. I guess I figured since I boiled all the root vegetables to puree for my daughter's baby food last year, it was natural for me to think to boil the pumpkin too. Well, now I know.....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Green Cilantro Rice

I must confess, I haven't really been posting too many new recipes lately. My parents just got back from their 3 week vacation last week. During that time, I also took a vacation from work to stay home with my daughter while they were away. Because of that, I haven't really had time to experiment on different recipes. I did a few, but not as much as I used to.

Anyway, my aunt gave me some Tamales the other day that she had ordered. I wanted to eat it for lunch today, and I wanted a rice side dish to go with it. But I didn't really feel like making my normal Mexican rice. I remember eating a Cilantro Rice one day when my friend from work and I went out to lunch at a popular Mexican restaurant. I've always wanted to try to make it at home. I found some cilantro in the fridge, so I decided to create my own version. And boy am I glad I tried. It came out so good and when I fed it to my daughter, she cleaned out her plate and asked for seconds! The picture here doesn't do it justice because you can't really see the beautiful color of green it turned out to be. While my daughter was eating up her rice, it gave me an idea to add another ingredient next time, to try to squeeze in some more vegetable in her diet.....spinach. We'll see how that one turns out.

1 Tbsp. oil
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup pureed cilantro (a bunch of cilantro with a splash of water, then pureed)

1) Heat oil in medium heat. Add rice, onions and garlic. Cook until the rice becomes opaque and begins to slightly turn golden brown. During the cooking, add cumin and salt to taste.

2) Add broth and pureed cilantro. Cook until liquid begins to boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to medium/low and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has dried out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Parents' birthday celebration

For my parents' 60th birthday last year, we threw them a huge surprise birthday bash, complete with a live band. This year, we decided to tone it down with a simple dinner out to one of their favorite restaurants - Flemings Steakhouse. Its been pretty difficult to find a place to eat with them lately because my mom is now on a strict diet. But Flemings has a really good menu with a mix of different kind of entrees to choose from. Preferrably, fish for mom. I always order their Chilean Sea Bass, which they prepare in different ways. For some reason, the sea bass is NEVER on their menu and is always a daily special. Luckily, so far, they always have it. Tonight, Mom and I ordered the it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to photograph my beautiful dish, but it was, as always, delicious. I had a side of their sauteed sweet corn, which I mostly fed to my daughter. And for dessert, I became adventurous, and tried something different other than the Creme Brulee that I always ordered. Hubby and I split this delectable dessert:

YUMMY!!! I think I found my new favorite dessert - Frozen Lemon Gingersnap pie.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The day-after Halloween

I'm all candied out. I've been eating my daughter's candies from trick-or-treating because she obviously can't eat them yet. Today after going to church, my dear brother treated us to some sushi at Bistro Ka. Its the second time I've been to this restaurant, and the second time I've been impressed. The first time we went, my friend Che-Che, treated us and I ordered a bento containing chicken teriyaki, tempura and california rolls. Che Che ordered us a couple of other sushi plates and they were delicious. Today, my brother ordered all kinds of sushi plates, including this Yummie roll

We used to have a favorite sushi restaurant we would eat at, Samsala. Hubby and I would always order their Crispy Crab salmon, which was almost similar to this Yummie Roll. The management there at Samsala changed so often, and the sushi chef's we were accustomed to was no longer there. So we haven't really found the right sushi place to go to until now. I think we'll be going back to Bistro Ka more often to have more of these