Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner 2010 Menu

Appetizer    :    Caviar With Lemon Sour Cream Canapes
Soup            :    Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Main Dish  :    Roasted Turkey With Cranberry Sauce and Turkey Gravy
Side Dishes:    Glazed Carrots, Fresh Green Beans, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes Parmesan
Dessert       :    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie
Beverage    :    Coppola Blanco Pinot Grigio, 
                          French Roasted Arabica Beans Coffee

It's been almost a week since Thanksgiving Day and I still haven't blogged about our Thanksgiving dinner and how and what procedures, observations, and end results I have concluded every time I prepare a holiday meal like this. I take note of everything hoping to unravel the secrets of cooking this challenging feast. 

This year was a buffet style dinner for fifteen guests of close family and friends. Like before, our Thanksgiving dinner is a joint effort of love from my family. My daughter was in charged of the table setting, cleaning, and decorating the house. My future daughter-in-law helped in cooking, my niece and her daughter helped in some way or another, but I took care most of the cooking, for my son went hunting with his friends. 

The night before, I did an all nighter making the cranberry sauce from scratch. I made them in batches in a small pan until I finished a whole bag of cranberries. First, I washed the cranberries and picked the fresh red berries and threw away the white pale ones. Then in a pan I put 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar with 1/8 cup of water, after which I added two cups of cranberries and brought it to a boil. I lowered the heat to medium and cooked it for 10 minutes. You will hear the berries popping and that's when the pectin is released which gives the cranberries the gel that makes the syrup thick and gelatinized.

At 9:00 AM I took my turkey out of the ref and washed it thoroughly inside and out with warm water. Pat it dry with paper towels and sprinkled it with salt and freshly grated black pepper generously inside and out. I planned not to put stuffing in my turkey, so I just chopped one whole big onion and snipped a few tops from my rosemary garden and put them all inside the cavity just to have an aroma while it is cooking. The oven was preheated at 450 Fahrenheit and I cooked the turkey for about 20 minutes to give a crispy golden brown skin outside. I covered the breast with a triangle foil so as not to overcook the meat on the breast part. After 20 minutes, I cooked the turkey at 12 minutes per pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until done. It took another 4 hours to cook the turkey. Checked with the thermometer for doneness. I then took it out of the oven and rested it for 20 minutes before getting the drippings to make a delicious turkey Gravy.

While the turkey was in the oven, I boiled the neck, liver, giblet, chopped onion, carrots, celery, seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper, and bay leaf in water for 2 hours on medium-low heat. When cooled, I finely chopped them and added to the gravy.

With a big rubber spatula, I collected the drippings of the turkey and set it aside. In a pan, I made a roux out of butter and flour. When the roux was done, I slowly poured the stock where the neck, giblet, and liver were boiled. In another pan, I warmed the drippings and splashed some wine, strained, and added it to the stock and roux mixture. Seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. The liver and giblet were added last. Simmered on low for a few minutes until consistency became creamy. Transferred to to gravy boats. 

The soup was the easiest. I roasted two butternut squash on a sheet for 45 minutes on 350 Degrees F. Cooled them, then skinned them just by pulling with a paring knife. They came off easily. Transferred them into a pot, added the stock,  and used my hand blender to puree. Added heavy cream, salt and freshly ground pepper, and served them with freshly grated nutmeg on top. 

All the veggies were boiled in water for about 3 to 4 minutes and then glazed with butter and brown sugar, then served in individual serving veggie bowls.  

The canapes were prepared by my daughter and some help from the rest of the family members. 

Sorry no pics. Didn't have time to take them. The picture you see above was from the previous year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boiled Lobsters

2 medium-sized lobsters
12 or more cups water
1 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 to 4 dried bay leaves (break each leaf in half )


Bring the water to a boil in a big pot with salt, peppercorns, and herbs. Add the lobsters and lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes or until lobsters have turned red and cooked.   Serve with lemon-butter sauce.

*Serves 2 to 3

Basic Pancake

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons refined sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

*Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Do not grease pan when cooking pancakes.

Put flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  In a separate bowl, combine  egg, milk, and melted butter or canola oil and mix together.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, a little at a time.  Starting at the center of the flour mixture, mix slowly with a rubber spatula or a hand whisk in a circular motion until you reach the side of the bowl. Do not overwork the flour.

Pour the batter to the heated non-stick pan using a 1/4 measuring cup (for dry ingredients). When bubbles appear on top (about 3 minutes), flip the pancake and cook the other side for another two minutes.

Makes about 6 to 7  four and a half  inch pancakes.

*Serves 3 to 4

*Serve with butter and maple syrup.

*Sprinkle some blueberries or sliced strawberries (optional).
*Kitchen retested 03/15/2010
*Approved by author for Publication 05/14/2011
*Tested and tried again by author 07/18/2011

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lima Bean Soup with Caramelized Onions

Last night, I found a package of Lima beans in my pantry.  It must have sat there for years waiting for its turn to be used.  I immediately dropped them in a bowl covered with water to soak them overnight. This morning after breakfast, I boiled them just enough to soften and make into a hearty soup, good for the cold weather.  Here's my recipe:


6  cups Lima beans
1/2 pound ground beef
beef stock
1 big sliced onion
1 big can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1//2 teaspoon ground white pepper
flat leaf parsley for garnishing
shaved Parmegiano Reggiano


Put the Lima beans in a pot with 6 cups water and bring to a boil (about 5 to 10 minutes).  Set aside.  In a pan saute the sliced onions with canola oil on medium  heat until caramelized.  Add the ground beef cook until meat is no longer pink.   Season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the beef stock and boil for about 10 minutes.  Add the Lima beans to the soup.  Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fish & Chips

2 pounds fresh white fish, cut into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 14.9 Oz beer 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 big white potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cups canola oil, for frying

In a bowl put the egg and beat well. Add the flour and beat until blended. Pour the beer slowly and mix into the flour with a fork or a an electric mixer.  Add at the 3 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle the salt and pepper.

Prepare the white fish (cod, catfish, halibut, or any white fish) by cutting them into desired pieces, then dry them with a paper towel. Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan to 375 degrees F. Dip each piece of fish into the batter and gently drop into the heated oil and fry for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. When cooked transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain the oil. Repeat the process. Do not crowd the pan.  Fry only a few pieces at a time.  Alternate by frying the potato chips.

Serve with malt vinegar or tartar sauce (see recipe on another post).

Edited by author 01/27/2011

*Serve with malt vinegar or tartar sauce.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lifestyle Changes: Eat Right to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Here's a good article by the American Cancer Society about Eating Right to Prevent Colorectal Cancer.  I am posting this on my website to help spread the importance of Eating Right to Prevent Diseases specifically Colorectal Cancer. Hope we can all learn from this and start making lifestyle changes.

Eat Right to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Take a Look Inside the Colorectal Cancer Prevention Shopping Basket

Article date: 2000/03/07

The link between diet and colorectal cancer is so strong that learning to make sound food choices can influence your risk of developing ? or not developing ? this disease.

In the American Cancer Society's book, Colorectal Cancer, Bernard Levin, MD, writes of the importance of filling your shopping basket with foods that help prevent colorectal cancer as well as other kinds of cancers.

"The key dietary strategy for preventing cancer of the large bowel is to increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits (especially vegetables) while lowering the amount of fat you eat," writes Dr. Levin, who chairs the ACS?s National Advisory Task Force on Colorectal Cancer and is vice president for cancer prevention at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The evidence that eating vegetables prevents cancer ? including cancers of the colon and rectum, lung and prostate -- is building. Dr. Levin cites one report on more than 750,000 people who were studied for eight years. That report showed a significant decrease in colon cancer risk in men and women who ate lots of vegetables. When colorectal cancer does develop, eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can result in less serious cases of the disease, according to Dr. Levin.

The Produce Aisle

Green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts, are generally best for you. They offer large amounts of vitamins A and C and moderate amounts of B vitamins, potassium and iron.

Roots and bulbs, such as carrots, beets, onions and potatoes, are good sources of fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The stems and flowers group of veggies ? which includes broccoli, artichokes and celery ? gives you vitamins A, C and E as well as B vitamins, iron, calcium and potassium.

The legumes (beans and peas) provide a range of nutrients and contribute protein. However, they don?t provide everything you need for complete protein balance; whole-grain foods can provide that balance.

Folate and a related form of the vitamin called folic acid, which protect against colorectal cancer, are found in leafy vegetables, grains and legumes.

The Fresh Fruit Bins

Fruits offer plenty of vitamins, especially vitamins A and C. They also give you minerals, other nutrients and fiber.

According to Dr. Levin, the best fruits for nutrition are berries, cantaloupes, mangos, persimmons, papayas and dried apricots.

Fruits break down into the following groups:

Seed fruits including apples, cherries, peaches, pears, nectarines, grapes and others.

Citrus fruits ? oranges, grapefruits and lemons.

Melons such as honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe.

Tropical fruits, including kiwi, papaya and pineapple.

The Bakery

Wheat, rice, oats and corn are among the most widely used and well-known grains. Grains are the basis for flour, breads and cereals. But Dr. Levin points out that modern food processing often takes away the healthy properties from grain. The process of making white flour, for example, strips the outer hull, or bran, from the wheat kernel and takes away the inner part of the kernel called the germ. This is done to make dough rise better and remain fresher longer, but bran is a source of fiber, and the germ contains important nutrients. Because of this, it?s better to eat flours, breads and pastas made with whole grain, according to Dr. Levin?s book.

Processing robs rice of its nutrients as well. All rice begins as brown rice. It?s processed to peel away the outer hull, leaving it white. Brown rice is much more nutritious than white.

To prevent colorectal cancer, your diet should include a variety of nutrients, high amounts of fiber and low levels of fat, according to Dr. Levin. "By increasing the amount of vegetables and fruit in your diet, and by choosing whole-grain products, you will significantly lower your risk of this disease," he writes.


ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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Easy Chicken Satay

2 half chicken breasts (skinless and boneless), cut to thin slices 1" X 2" X 1/3"
1/4 cup dark soy sauce with 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2  cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of madras curry powder
3 cloves garlic
1 finger ginger, sliced
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or olive oil)
1/8 cup ground roasted peanuts, for garnish

You will need
Small bamboo skewers (pre-soaked in water for 1 hour or more).

Put all the ingredients in a food processor except the chicken, roasted peanuts and cilantro. Process for 3 to 5 minutes to make marinade. Marinate chicken pieces in about 1/2 cup of the marinade for about 30 minutes. Then thread 3 chicken pieces in the small bamboo skewer.

Heat a greased grill pan or a barbecue grill on medium-high heat. Grill chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until opaque or cooked. Serve with the remaining marinade peanut sauce and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. 

Slow-boil the remaining marinade for 3 to 5 minutes. 

*Serve with freshly sliced cucumber (cut in half and remove seeds) with gourmet seasoned vinegar, salt, pepper, and red chili sauce. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Turkey Taco Salad

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup refried beans
1 cup black beans
1 taco seasoning
1/2 head of shredded iceberg lettuce
1 medium sliced avocado - cut each slice into 3 pieces (to make smaller)
4 big roma tomatoes - seeded and chopped
1/2 chopped red onion (add more according to taste)
2 cups chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno pepper - seeded and chopped finely (add more according to taste)
juice of 1 lime
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup lowfat sour cream (optional)
I cup mild red taco sauce
1 cup lowfat grated mexican cheese
4 cups thin and crisp tortilla chips

Brown the ground turkey on a skillet with olive oil until cooked.  Add the taco seasoning and mix together. Add the refried beans and mix well.  Set aside. Mix the chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, jalapeno, and the lime juice to make salsa. On a deep round or square serving tray, make a bed of lettuce. Arrange the crisp and thin tortillas around the serving tray.  Layer the turkey meat and put the following on top; black beans, sour cream, taco sauce, and avocado slices. Then add some salsa . Sprinkle with grated mexican cheese.

*Serve with a refreshing tamarind juice, lemon, or lime juice.

Lifestyle Changes: Eating Healthy and Exercising

My family loves good food and we love to cook together when an occasion calls for it like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. but lately, all that is changing.   In the recent months, our family has been undergoing great lifestyle changes.

It would be unwise to continuously ignore the consequences of not eating healthy.  Ignoring the fact that saturated fat from a big fat juicy rib eye steak can eventually clog your arteries, that having a sweet tooth and not controlling your cravings for ice cream, chocolate bars, cakes, donuts, candies will elevate the sugar in your blood and can give you diabetes, and last but not least, putting too much salt or other sodium products in your food can elevate your blood pressure.  In the same manner, drinking too much alcohol can eventually lead to stroke or heart failure but also can contribute to other problems for your heart and other organs. 

It is time to make lifestyles changes.  Moderation is the key and exercising at least three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes will help bring down the numbers next time you get your medical lab work done.

Nowadays, there's so much information in the internet, books, and tv shows that can educate us about healthy eating and exercising regularly.  It's about time we take this seriously.  Most of the silent killers do not show any symptoms until it hits you.  It is your life and no one else can take care of it but you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crispy Chicken Wings

3 lbs freshly bought chicken wings
Seasonings: Parmesan cheese, lemon pepper salt seasoning,
Sweet chili sauce
ranch dressing, 
tomato salsa

Set your oven to 450 degrees F.  

Cut the chicken wings on the middle joints to make two pieces.  Wash then well.  Put them on a colander to drip and then wipe them dry with paper towels. 

Steam on a big steamer for about 20 minutes.  Lay 1/4" away from each other so they do not stick together.  After steaming, let them cool for one hour in the refrigerator.  

Bake them on a cookie sheet with a cookie rack for about 20 minutes on one side.  Turn and bake the other side for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  

Take out from the oven  sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.  You can also put some in a bowl and add a little sweet chili sauce. Cover with a plate and shake a few times. Serve on a platter and enjoy!

Edited by author 01/27/2011

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Irish Lamb Stew

Next Wednesday, March 17, 2010 is St. Paddy's Day (colloquial). Coal-black Guinness beer, potatoes, Irish Lamb Stew, and Green Pistachio Cake with Four-leaf clovers are a perfect menu for this special day.


2 1/2 pounds of lamb shoulder cut in 2" x 2"
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
Sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and bayleaf (make into a bouquet garni)
1 big onion cut into chunks
1 medium-sized turnip cut into chunks
2 medium-sized carrots cut into chunks
2 cups yellow or red potatoes (quartered)
2 stalks celery cut into 1/2"
1/4 chopped flat leaf parsley for garnishing
1/2 cup olive oil


Dredge the lamb meat pieces in flour and freshly ground pepper. Brown the lamb meat pieces on medium-high heat with the olive oil for about ten minutes. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the beef stock and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the carrots, potatoes, and celery and cook for another 15 minutes. Add more beef stock if needed.

*Serve with Irish Soda Bread or Sourdough.
*Edited by author 01/30/2011
*Approved by author for publication

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