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The big, fat THANKSGIVING post!

November 28, 2010

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Boy & I have many things to be thankful for this year! Also, we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate it twice (two dinners!).  So in honor of this fine day, a new post!

The Warm Up

A few days before Thanksiving, Boy & I went to our local Trader Joe’s and picked up some ingredients. Boy had been thinking about making a green bean casserole ever since he’d seen TJ’s convenient display featuring green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions. That night, he made a delicious green bean casserole, along with beer can chicken with gravy, and an assortment of potatoes. Mmmm!!

Thanksgiving Warm Up Dinner!

 

The Big Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up early and very excited to make Pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes. I had found a recipe online and bought the ingredients the week before. Another shout out to TJ’s! I used their yellow cake mix and a package of their vanilla pudding for this recipe. They turned out moist and tasty, but they looked more like muffins since they weren’t frosted.

Pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes

 

After my baking adventure, which resulted in 24 cupcakes plus a giant “cookie”, Boy’s mom starting preparing a Thanksgiving feast. She cooked a 12 pound organic turkey as well as some baked sweet potatoes and her signature Chinese stuffing. Boy prepared a turkey giblet gravy which was served in a brand new gravy boat. Salad with greens from the garden, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and a Kahlua cream lady fingers dessert put the finishing touches on the feast. Since Boy & I had another dinner to attend, we ate early and controlled our portion sizes- a very difficult task since everything was so appetizing!

Thanksgiving feast
Kahlua cream & lady fingers dessert

 

My aunt hosted yet another wonderful dinner at her home that evening. My family, cousins, and some of  my aunt’s friends were there to celebrate as well so there was an abundance of food! Besides dessert, most of the meal was prepared by my aunt and mom. Unfortunately, the lighting was very dim in the dining area, so I have no food photos to share. This thanksgiving dinner consisted of turkey, carne asada (we SO need the recipe for this!), two types of stuffing, two types of green bean casserole, pumpkin cream gnocchi, mashed potatoes and gravy, and shitake mushrooms followed by pumpkin pie, apple pie, and my cupcakes. After dinner, I asked for the recipe for the sinfully delicious pumpkin cream gnocchi. Maybe you’ll see it on a future post? ^_^

The Leftovers

For dinner the day after, Boy and I decided to grab some sourdough and make turkey sandwiches! He sliced up some of the turkey breast, dipped the slices in gravy, and placed them on the toasted sourdough. We added some havarti, lettuce, and tomatoes and served them with a side of cranberry sauce and leftover stuffing. Yum!

Yummy turkey sandwich

 

What do you like to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

When life hands you Meyer lemons…make pasta!

October 31, 2010
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At least that is what The Phoenix Pastificio did! And very well, I might add.

I scored some of their fresh Meyer Lemon linguine at the local farmer’s market. Together with some broccolini, crème fraiche, parmigiano-reggiano cheese (not pictured) and two tiny Meyer lemons from the garden, a very excited Girl set out to make her part of a post World Series Game 3 Feast!

Boy panko-coated, lightly seasoned, and pan fried some freshly caught Perch fillets to go along with the pasta. My sister joined us this evening to cheer on the Giants, so we prepared a vegetarian friendly version for her using tofu instead of fish. Unfortunately, the Giants lost  Game 3 to the Texas Rangers, but we still enjoyed our meal together.

 

Pasta & Fish

Pasta & Tofu

 

The Phoenix Pastificio offers so many different flavors of pasta and ravioli, it is difficult to choose just one! I’d love to try their Sweet Pea pasta or the Black Pepper Rosemary pasta next time.

On a side note, I’d like to thank my two loyal readers, Mom and S.O.F.A.T. blog. I know I put this blog on hiatus for a while as we’ve been busy traveling, but now we are back and cooking!  Thanks for the encouragement!!!!!

Thai Cooking Fun!

July 7, 2010

After a one month hiatus, I’m back! And finally, the Thai Cooking Class post!
Back in May, we spent a week in sunny southern Thailand and then headed up north for some time in Chiang Mai.

Sunset on Ko Phi Phi

While we were in Chiang Mai, we decided to take a Thai cooking class at Asia Scenic, one of the many cooking schools in the city. We chose the full day course – 6 hours of spicy cooking fun! We started the day off around 8am, when our very excited teacher gave us a tour of the nearby produce market.

Our teacher, Maam

Here, locals and cooking schools alike were shopping and admiring all the fresh foods including vegetables, fruits, spices, noodles, and rice.

Many kinds of rice!

Fresh rice noodles

Vegetables galore

After the colorful tour,we  indulged our senses even more in the school’s garden. Here, our teacher let us sample a variety of ingredients we would use in our cooking. Next, it was time to choose our dishes. We each made (and ate) a 6 course meal, and also made a curry paste by hand! I chose a spicy but refreshing Glass noodle salad, Coconut milk soup, Pad Thai (of course!), Cashew and tofu stir fry, Penang curry, and for dessert, Sticky rice and mango.  Boy made Papaya salad, Pad se lew (my favorite!), Tom sap soup, Spicy basil stir fry, Khao Soi Curry, and a Banana coconut dessert.

I was really surprised at how easy it was to make a curry paste from scratch, as well as the variety of curries that can be made from learning two basics: red curry and green curry.

Khao Soi Curry, a Northern specialty and Tom Sap Soup

Cashew & Tofu stir fry, Penang Curry

Delicious Banana and Coconut dessert

Sticky rice with mango

It was a really fun but tiring day!  I would highly recommend taking a Thai cooking course if you happen to be in Chiang Mai!

Working hard but mostly just having fun!

Pho of Memories!

June 1, 2010

Back in the day, Boy & I attended UCSD (where we first met and became friends ::grins happily::). Besides some of the best beaches in California, San Diego is known for it’s great choices in Mexican food restaurants, of which they have more than you could dream of!! California burrito? Carne asada fries? Yes, please! It’s a  gastronimic delight for burrito lovers with tight budgets. But where did we go when we craved something not topped with quacamole?

Clairemont Mesa Boulevard/Convoy street area was our go-to place for decent and reasonably priced asian cuisine. Sometimes we’d drive over just for dessert and to hang out  or study at one of the many boba cafes. I have fond memories of going to Pho Hoa Cali, across the street from the 99 Ranch, for pho and grilled pork plates. Afterwards, we’d saunter over to Green Tea House or Tea Station for some sugary but satifsying boba drinks. Ah, those were the days.

I thought back to those carefree college days while eating this Pho dinner. ^_^ He made the pho soup with chicken meatballs and served it with  a plate full of pho toppings and bok choy with oyster sauce. Yum!

No boba drinks, but it’s okay. The convenience stores in Japan always have well-stocked drink shelves and dessert freezers. ^_^

Somen and strawberries!

May 19, 2010

I caught a little cold last week, so although I’ve been eating well ^_^ , I haven’t felt up to posting. Here is a meal we enjoyed last week. I believe this is the final hot meal we’ll be making in our nabe this season. From here on out, it will be too warm for nabe! This is somen with ground chicken and assorted vegetables in broth. The package of somen noodles contained a strands of colored noodles (same taste), just for fun. ^_^

Now on to dessert! It’s trawberry season in Japan! Strawberries have peaked in sweetness  and they are so delicious!

It’s funny, the other popular time for strawberries in Japan is in December. Why? To decorate the traditional Japanese Christmas food: Christmas cake!

Fish Taco Madness!

May 11, 2010
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We’re back from 2 weeks of sun, sweet iced teas, and very spicy food. Thailand was amazing!! I have a lot to write about the cooking class we took while we were in Chiang Mai, so stay posted. I need some time to sort out all the stuff I brought back (including some recipe books!) and would love to post some photos of the class, and more importantly, all the dishes, which will take some time (he’s got over 1,000 photos from the trip… ah!).

In the meantime, here is a photo of a tasty fish taco dinner we enjoyed before the big trip!

He picked up the fried fish from the store and made corn tortillas and all the sides, including the sauce. Here is a photo of  a taco after assembly: tortilla, fish, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, onion, yogurt sauce, and a dash of lemon juice.

I kind of went crazy for these and at some point during dinner, lost count of how many I had eaten. Wow, as a former seafood-hater (ah, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word…),  I never thought there would be a day when I would scarf down a bunch of fish tacos. I guess it just depends on who made them. ^_^

Spring Bento!

April 16, 2010

Spring is bento box season! Stores put out their bento box and bento accessory inventory in time for all of the hanami picnics. This year, I added a Totoro lunchbox to my collection of cuteness. ^_^

Also, just for fun, I made this lunch last weekend. Initially I wanted to make a kyaraben (Character bento), but alas, I ended up being too hungry to put the time and effort into such a detailed lunch. This simple bento includes rice, sweet Awaji onions, tofu and pork hash, carrots, and scrambled egg.

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