On December 26th, or Boxing Day as known in the UK and Canada, or the shopping day after Christmas as we know it in the US, my family members, all five of them, wanted to do different things. Continue reading
It was a gray, dreary day in San Francisco. A first, since there’s usually sunshine shining down on “The City by The Bay” whenever we’ve visited. But during this past December, it was blessedly raining… raining and helping provide that area of The Golden State with much-needed water.
Our main purpose for being in SF that one rainy day was to visit a family friend. It isn’t always easy getting a hold of this busy Mom of two beautiful girls and also working to complete her California RN license requirements. Between juggling motherhood and demands on her schedule, Eva managed a get-together. It appears I’ve fallen under “demands on her schedule”, but just as well if it means hanging out even for a spell.
While texting and phone chatting, Eva asked several times where The Hubby and I wanted to eat, and The Hubby asked me the same question too as we drove to SF. My answers consisted of exercising my prerogative to change my mind several times in the span of 60 minutes. Maybe a rate of a different food type every 5 minutes or so. After driving about, and walking up and down Market St. (in the rain with one meager umbrella designed for one person but was being used to protect our friend’s gift), I thought of Chinatown. I imagined dim sum dishes stack high because I was ready for a rumble.
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!
We had a laid-back mini luau dinner courtesy of our good friends, LeAnne and Rex; although LeAnne did the bulk of the preparation and was the one who used some elbow grease to cook the kalua pork which, to my surprise and delight, was something she brought back from Hilo (I think she has a stash). Usually, I am the one slaving in the kitchen, and it’s a nice change not to be the one doing the cooking when friends are over; though I must admit that I find it weird having someone else cook in my kitchen.
What’s mucho cool about the dinner is that I originally requested only lomi lomi and poke, but my island girl friend righteously felt that lomi lomi needs to be paired with poi. She also brought rice (thank goodness!) and kalua pork, and lilikoi sorbet and lemon thins for dessert, which was exceedingly generous of her.
As a contribution to the dinner, I made a mango salad variation, the addition of shrimps was an inspiration that came to me during a grilling party at my parents’ place last summer. Also, I made sure to make macaroni salad because a local lunch plate is not complete without “2 scoops of rice and a scoop of mac.” The macaroni salad is very easy to make: cook the macaroni according to instructions on the package, add enough mayonnaise to coat, and add salt and pepper to taste. I like the mac salad slightly sweet, and if you do too, you can add a pinch of sugar or 2 tablespoons of condensed milk.
There were a couple of things missing during the dinner that I wish were present: the tradewinds and the sounds of surf crashing against the shore in the distance. But overall, it was an enjoyable dinner. As well, I have a newfound liking for poi, thanks to LeAnne’s tip of eating it with lomi lomi and/or kalua pig. I much prefer the pork with the poi, rather than the fish. My favorite, hands down, is the poke. It had a clean yet rich taste; all thanks to the quality of the tuna, I bet.
To LeAnne and Rex, mahalo. Let’s eat ono eats again!
How does one say thank you to friends who gave up a Saturday/Sunday to help on moving day? Our answer is, by serving a nice lunch.
I channelled my mother’s Spanish ancestors to get the tapas right. Since it is a heritage I can’t run from, and though I didn’t inherit the deep set, large dark eyes that Spanish folks are known for (my younger sisters have that arguable honor), the least I could do is recognize this blip in my ancestral heritage by learning and appreciating the cuisine. As I told our friends, I hope that I didn’t fail my maternal ancestors. The last thing I want is one or two Spanish Conquistadores haunting me. Ay dios mio…
To our good friends, muchas gracias muchachos y muchachas. We hope that you all enjoyed the tapas as much as we appreciated your help on our moving day.