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Soft-shell Crabs

5 Jul

It’s the weekend of the “Red, White, and Blue” which many are probably celebrating with foods bearing patriotic colors.  Redmond Whole Foods had a sale on soft-shell crabs so we took the opportunity to buy a couple for dinner appetizers.  There’s a short season for this warm season delicacy and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Soft-shell crabs

It’s probably unpatriotic to have red, white, and tomalley during our nation’s Independence Day, but come to think of it, since soft-shell crabs are ahem*… “stripper” blue crabs in our part of the world, eating soft-shell crabs might actually be more patriotic than eating hotdogs.  (*The technical term is molting, I only call them strippers for fun.)  The greenish-yellow bit flowing from the crab is the crab version of tomalley (lobster liver).  It’s edible and great with toast, but if you’re squeamish, don’t eat it.  The soft-shell crab is still delicious without it.

In the East Coast where crabs are popular, with Maryland topping the list, soft-shell crabs are usually fried.  We don’t have a deep fryer so to cook the crabs, we broiled the yummy “crusties”.

 

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Doughnut Day 2014

5 Jun

It’s The Salvation Army that gets a big thanks for coming up with one of our more scrumptious food holidays – National Doughnut Day – to honor the people who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.  Every first Friday of June, we get to celebrate the good works and good taste of the men and women volunteers who helped out during the First World War.

This ring-shaped humble treat is easily maligned by diet gurus, when it’s nothing but a fried and sweetened dough, big on calories and character because one can do so much with donuts.  When it comes to getting creative with donuts, we like to make sandwiches with ours.  An easy one for us is a peanut butter and bacon donut.  A PB and B donut sandwich!

Donut Sandwich - Donut Day 2014

Donut shops usually get in the spirit of this food holiday and two popular national donut franchises: Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme will be offering free donuts.  The promotional page for Krispy Kreme currently says June 7th (maybe someone will change it) so you might want to check with your choice of Krispy Kreme location first before you go in expecting a free donut.

I think donuts are dangerous to make at home and we also have our trusted donut shop so we have no need to make our own.  There are tons of good donut recipes out there and I wish I have a personal one to share.  If you’re looking for an easy one, here’s a donut recipe that’s REAL SIMPLE (wink!).

Happy Doughnut Day!

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

14 Mar

It’s Pi Day!  Hurray!

There isn’t any other way to celebrate Pi Day than to have your pie and eat it too.  As my contribution to Pi Day, here’s a recipe for a vegetarian pie that would make Andy Foxtrot (Mom of Peter, Paige, and Jason Foxtrot) swoon.  I hereby present Pumpkin Spinach Pie using my favorite dough: phyllo.  I know it isn’t everyone’s favorite dough (*ahem*, I’m speaking to you, The Hubby) and I know the sheets come in rectangular shapes therefore creating a non-circular pie.  Before the math geeks bring out torches and pitchforks to persecute me, here’s a recipe for a circular pie.

I know it’s all about circumference/diameter day, but in the spirit of all things pie and beautiful, here’s a recipe for a quadrilateral-shaped pie.  Pie is yummy regardless of shape and size.

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

4 cups of pumpkin pie filling
1 cup diced onion
2 packages frozen spinach 
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, optional
Your favorite herb, optional

20 sheets or 1 package of phyllo/filo

Preheat oven to 425 deg Fahrenheit.  Cook onion and frozen spinach in a saucepan over low heat.  Season to taste and add your favorite herb.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Prepare dough on a 15″ x 10″ x 2″ shallow rectangular  pie pan by brushing each of the 10 sheets with oil or melted butter.  Add spinach mixture and sprinkle with parmesan.  Layer pumpkin filling then top with the remaining 10 sheets.  As an option, pre-slice the top in squares or diamonds.  Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden. 

Smile and serve.

Happy Pi Day!  Happy National Pie Day, too!

Kikka Sushi

1 Jan

The Hubby and I spent the holidays in both Central Coast and Northern California regions, per our custom, to spend time with families and friends.  Thanksgiving may be the day of gluttony for many people but Christmas at my family’s, especially when the whole clan is afoot, is Thanksgiving times two.  This past Christmastime, the parade of food rivaled Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and I wish I had Kobayashi’s talent of eating enormous amounts of food at one seating.  Oh wait.  I kind of do.  Except maybe only a quarter-enormous.  We had a Noche Buena late lunch at my parents’, Christmas Eve dinner at The Hubby’s parents’, Christmas morning breakfast at The Hubby’s again, and then followed by Christmas brunch at my parents’.

Before we left, our parents gave us going away goodies in the form of leftovers from the Christmas meals.  I’m a veritable noodle fanatic, but I passed on the palabok (Filipino “spaghetti”, as my family would describe it) when my Mom asked me if I wanted to bring back leftovers.  However, I did ask for over a pound of ham and some tuna salad.  I couldn’t pass those up.  For good measure, my mother gave me a package of palabok noodles so I could cook palabok at my own time.

Back in the Evergreen State, and with the Christmas bonanza behind us, yet benevolently haunted by the food packed by our mothers, we decided that for New Year, we’d break our normal tradition of having New Year’s Rice (a savory sticky rice dish I learned from my paternal grandmother) and long-life noodles, and have sushi instead.  We wanted something light after all the good but heavy foods we’ve had.

Kikka Sushi

We went with Kikka Sushi Catering in Whole Foods Redmond to cater our New Year’s Eve dinner since we were already familiar with their service for we occasionally pick up impromptu dinners from their Whole Foods Redmond booth.  Kikka Sushi is not exclusive to Whole Foods Redmond, and can be found in other Whole Foods and Ralph’s stores.  At least 24 hours notice is required for all orders, and make sure to ask about their prices because they’re subject to change due to seasonal variety.  I’m only reiterating (almost verbatim) the specification in small print on the catering menu.

Kikka Catering Menu

Kikka Catering Menu2

Kikka Sushi provides a nice selection of sushi platters and customers can even choose to build their own.  We went with their Cherry Blossom Platter which consists of Rainbow Roll, Spicy Tuna Avocado Roll, Spicy Salmon Avocado Roll, Spicy Shrimp Avocado Roll, and an assortment of nigiri.  The folks at Kikka Sushi in Whole Foods Redmond are attentive and courteous, much more so than some of the grocery store employees.

Kikka Sushi Catering Cherry Blossom Platter

The menu doesn’t say how many people each platter would adequately serve, but based on your own and your fellow diners’ appetite, you should be able to make a guess.  The Hubby and I had half of the Cherry Blossom Platter for our New Year’s Eve dinner, and the leftovers for our lunch on New Year’s Day.  Hence, I can guesstimate based from experience that the CB platter should be good for four adults.  Or one Kobayashi.  Hah.

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and wishing everyone a fun 2014!

*Photos courtesy of The Hubby and our swell Canon EOS 20D.

A Thanksgiving Story

25 Nov

Weeks before the grandiose day of cooking and eating we all know in the US as “Thanksgiving Day”, I made very strong requests to The Hubby that we order a Thanksgiving meal instead of making the turkey and trimmings ourselves.  I knew he wasn’t enthusiastic about my idea and so gave constrained answers.  But after last year when we pulled an Iron Chef Thanksgiving and cooked everything on the day of, I was ready to throw in the towel and not ever enter the Thanksgiving meal cooking foray ever.  Never ever.

One week plus away from Thanksgiving, I was chatting on the phone with a girlfriend, whom I dotingly call “Meet” (because she reminds me of “Geet” a character played by my fave Bollywood actress), to set up a get-together when we got into the topic of turkey day.  Maybe it’s the spirits of Thanksgiving past, present, and future that got to me but I unexpectedly invited our family friends to join us for a meal that I’ve been promising myself all year not to cook.  My initial reaction was one of dread and I wondered what I got myself into; but Meet’s excitement was contagious and within three days of Thanksgiving, I found myself looking forward to the meal… the opposite of how I felt last year.

To accommodate Ayaan, one of our special visitors (who will be turning one this December), we timed the meal for lunch instead of dinner.  Ayaan is Meet and Ajay’s handsome little boy who has been a Prince Charming since when we first met him less than a year ago.

Please baby girls, please… pipe down the screaming.  Yes, I know he’d make a great prince to your princess selves, but he’s not even a year old yet.  Give him and yourselves a few years.  He still needs to gain several feet and complete his set of teeth.  He also needs to learn how to uncork a bottle of red.  Or white.  You know what I’m sayin’.  To the Bollywood agents out there scouting for a cute baby, feel free to get in touch with me.  This boy could be the next Shahid Kapoor.

As Ayaan’s first Thanksgiving, I wanted to make our Thanksgiving meal extra special by bumping up the veggie side dishes.  On our menu for the big day were: glazed carrots, French beans with bacon, embutido, sautéed mushrooms, sausage and bread dressing, mashed red potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the mega star roast turkey.

I have two winners for favorite sides.  Last year, my side winner was the dinner rolls.  This year, the award for yummiest sides go to: glazed carrots and French beans with bacon.  My dinner partners could disagree all they want, and that would be all right with me since there’s only one room for judge and I’m it. [smiles]

As for the turkey, The Hubby and I were more than satisfied with how it turned out: juicy, moist, and tasty.  All that glistening goodness you see on the photo is not due to Photoshop.  Finger-lickin’ good can now be used to describe this bird that’s usually known for being dry.

Dessert went just as wonderfully as the main course.  We made pumpkin mousse, pumpkin pie, and mashed sweet potato.  Ajay and Meet made berry cobbler pie, brownies, and chocolate raspberry cake.  While Noel, our friend Mike’s comely lady made his favorite dessert: éclair squares.  The lovebirds joined us later in the day for a casual dessert potluck since they were busy doing great things by volunteering at a Seattle shelter earlier in the day.

When our friends left, I couldn’t pull myself away from the brownies, sweet potato, éclair squares, and more turkey.  How I didn’t end up with heartburn from all the Thanksgiving goodies, I have to chalk up to good genetics.  Thank you parents and ancestors.  And since it’s not Thanksgiving without giving thanks to all my loved ones and friends, here’s an acknowledgment to all you superb folks… to my family, thank you for being fabulous; to The Hubby, thank you for being supercalifragilisticexpialidocious; to my gal pals and dude friends, thank you for being da bomb.  To my dear readers, a humongous thanks for visiting my blog and checking out the entries!

Now that the cooking fiasco and the gluttonous eating sessions are over, I look forward to no food shopping for a few weeks.

HERE’S TO THE HOLIDAYS! CHEERS!