Our Happy Thanksgiving Menu

As a three seniors (60+) family, it is hard to find a small turkey that we wouldn’t be eating for the next month. Plus, I found out my mom doesn’t like turkey. What! Who doesn’t like turkey? Well, in my life, this makes two. Oat tolerated it for my love of turkey, and now it’s my mom. Huh!

Dad’s annual Thanksgiving drawing. Loves to draw on newspaper. #jo1drawings

With no help from the parental units, I came up with the menu of shrimp tempura, veggie tempura, and mom’s famous pumpkin shortbread.

Mom’s eyes are close but it’s the only shot of the table: shrimp tempura, eggplant, veggie tempura; Okinawan sweet potato, Hamakua mushroom, three types of tsukemono (Japanese pickles by me), black sesame tofu with ume salt, black soybean natto with shoyu koji

Everyone loves mom’s pumpkin pie even people who hate pumpkin pie. It’s the combination of the creamy custard and the slightly sweet shortbread cookie crust. I have fiddled with this recipe over the years, changing the pan shape and size, using sweet potato, and even trying it with a regular pie crust (not the best). My sweet potato pie is based of this recipe. Here’s my adjusted version.

The corners are the best with it’s caramel edges

Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Shortbread–adjusted

makes 9 x 13 pan, roughly 20 pieces
Pre-heat oven 425º

Crust*

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c cold butter, cut into small pieces

Prep pan with a light coat of non-stick spray, be sure to get the sides. Mix flour and sugar, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, till a sandy texture. Press flour mixture into the pan, slightly up the sides. Refrigerate crust while you mix up the filling.

Filling

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 t salt
  • Large can of pumpkin about 3 1/2 cups**
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon***
  • 1 t ground ginger***
  • 1/2 t grounded cloves***
  • 3 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • 1 t vanilla

Combine all the filling ingredients, making sure it is blended well. 

Pour the filling into the crust—Bake at 425º for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350º and bake for 55 minutes or when the toothpick comes out clean. 

*If you want to use the springform pan instead of the 9×13 pan, half the crust amounts. The baking time will differ because it has a thicker filling. It has a longer bake time at 350, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Test with a toothpick. The center shouldn’t be jiggly. Cool to room temp. Then put in the refrigerator to set.

** I’ve used both can and roasted pumpkin for this pie. The differences would be you can control the caramelization, chunkiness, and you will have pumpkin seeds to roast up as a snack. My preferred pumpkin is Kabocha because of its smooth texture.

*** I use my spice mix. Here are the proportions: 1 t cinnamon and ground ginger, 1/2 t ground cloves, 1/4 t nutmeg. I mix up a large batch and keep it in a small jar in the spice cabinet. I used 3 t of the mix in the pie. You also can use it in apple pie, oatmeal, or whatever suits your fancy.

What do you have in your pantry?

Quick post on pandemic baking at my house. I had box of brownie and cream cheese in refrigerator. So I made cream cheese brownies.

This is what a designer does when she where down a recipe and instruction.

Finally product. Fast and easy. Next time I’ll leave it in a couple minutes longer to make bottom firmer. Maybe next time, I’ll bake something from scratch.

Cooking for the folks

I’m trying to be creative with meals that I cook for folks. Something that fit all of their food requirements-dad diabetic, mom on blood thinner. I think I got dad’s requirements but mom’s are harder. For not it’s it’s bit of trial and error. They are going to see the dr in October and we will find out how well I’m doing.

So the first meal was chili with black beans, sweet potatoes and corn. This week was a vegan spicy lentil soup. I didn’t make it because it was vegan I made it because it is so delicious.

I made this soup once before for my friends that came and help me packing and purging. It was so delicious. This time I didn’t have that great curry powder I used but I did buy garam masala so I use that instead. It was a success. They like the spices. Dad even ate a lot of it. I sauteed kale with garlic on the side so mom didn’t have to have it.

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added carrots and sweet potatoes

Update on the cats: they are getting used to their new environment. They have found their way up on the ledge in the kitchen. Ollie sleeps up there daily.

And here’s an extra picture of the boys, just because.

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The gift of mangoes and bananas

The best thing about living in Hawaii is that people are so generous. And the delivery of mangoes and bananas to my house demonstrated that. Instead of getting just a couple of each, I got the box of mangoes and hand of bananas. Boy, I needed to get my act in gear and use them up before they got too ripe to use.

Mangoes

I said I wanted to make mango jam and I got to make it. I made this recipe before with overripe mangoes from the restaurant and it turned out so delicious. And it was pretty easy.

Mom peeled the mangoes, cutting away any bruised or bad areas. I peeled the lemon rind then took off as much of the pith as I could. Then toss all of it in a wide pot with the sugar and put it on a medium high heat. It will come to a boil, turn it down to medium to simmer. Then let the magic happen. The meat of the mango falls off and once it all falls off it will be ready. I say we had it on for about hour and half.

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peeled mangoes and lemons with lemon rind and sugar

This is the final product. Naturally thick and chunky, sweet mangos with bright taste from the lemons.

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Mon’s special portion

We got 1 pint, 4 half pints and 2 4oz bottles.

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waiting to cool off

I didn’t use up all the mangoes with jam, so I made batch of mango bread using my banana bread recipe and whatever was left I went into the freezer for a pie I’m thinking of trying.

Bananas

A hand of Williams bananas ripening in a brown bag in the patio, were ready at the same time as the mangos arrive. Meant a lot of jamming and baking on very hot and humid end of summer season. A baker needs to do when the ingredients are ready to go.

I made my princess hotflash healthier banana bread. I couldn’t find ground coconut so I used sweeten shredded coconut instead. I also use this recipe for the mango bread.

I had a brain fart and didn’t look at my mom’s measuring cup and added too much sugar in the banana bread. (thought the 3/4 measuring cup was a 1/2 cup–don’t have a 3/4c in my measuring cups). Oops.

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It turned out darker that it should with the extra sugar

But it didn’t taste too sugary. Whew! I was really sad that I may had needed to toss it out.

And the leftover bananas went in the freezer also for smoothies or monkey butter or strawberry banana pie. Not sure which one I want to make.

Well, more baking and jamming to come. Got a bag of distress fruit at Don Quixote. with plums, peaches, grapefruit and mineola orange. A small batch of stone fruit jam with orange and grapefruit curd all for $2.50.

Be careful what you ask for

Haha! I wrote I that I wanted to make mango jam and banana bread but I either missed the season or all my frozen bananas were all gone. Now I have a bunch of mangos and bananas waiting for me to do some thing with.

My girlfriend read my post and asked her friend that has a mango farm is she had any more mangoes left and look what I got. There were two people in my house that were so happy to see these. They couldn’t wait to eat one.

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Mangoes to eat

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A boxes of mangoes to jam

And maybe some mango sweet with the rest of the mangoes.

Then a family friend came by to share some bananas that she got.

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Bag of Williams Banana waiting to be made into something

May try batch of monkey butter with the bananas.

Well, I’ll be busy in this coming week. Pray to the weather gods for cool dry weather for jamming and baking.