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.

The first meal

The humidity is lower this week and I decided I can work in the kitchen with out being dreanch in sweat. So I decided to do a crock pot meal for Monday’s dinner. The first meal I making is Crock Pot Chili and I’m using Slow Cooker Taco Spice Chili recipe from sally’sbakingaddition.

[hahaha! When I started this post the humidity and heat had lowered and it was bearable to do some cooking in the kitchen. But today as I patiently wait for our meal to be done, the only place I can find to be cool is in front of the front jalousie window laying on the wooden floors like my cats in an afternoon fog of sleepiness because of the heat and humidity]

I picked this recipe because the different ingredients in–sweet potatoes, corn, bell pepper and black beans. [I slipped in some mushroom to just to use it up before it went bad] I wanted to give my parents a little more diversity in their diet. Change it up. I hope they like it.

Made some slight adjustments in the recipe as I found out that Mom’s crockpot is smaller than I thought it was. I just put 1 can of diced tomatoes and I didn’t add quinoa because there was no more room in the pot. We were having “hapa” rice [half brown and white rice] so that filled in for the quinoa.

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Right before I turned it on low for 7 hours.

Very easy and delicous. I can see with the addition of quinoa at the end it would be extremely hearty. Love all the veggies and black beans in it. I would most definitely make it again.

Next up, mango jam. There are mangos waiting in the fruit bin to use them up.

What I want to make : two

Since I got back haven’t had a chance to cook or back. One, lazy and still not in sync with my work schedule and living schedule. Two, it’s too hot and humid for me. I’m just melting. But I need to start and suck up being a sweaty mess.

Meals for Mom and Dad

Looking for meals that I can cook for my folks. A few food restrictions to adjust to–Diabetic and blood thinner. I think they need a bit of more spice in their diet. I’ll try a couple of the meals I made for friends in the past year: Fish Stew and Spicy Lentil soup

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The Fish Stew I made for the Hawaii girls

I want to try out some new recipes but it’s so hot in the afternoon. I decided to use mom’s crock pot while awaiting the arrival of my favorite kitchen appliance–my electric pressure cooker. Thought chili in a crock pot would be easy and plentiful so we can share what we made with a few of mom’s friends. Found this recipe that I’d like to try https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/01/11/slow-cooker-taco-spice-chili/. I like this recipe because it has sweet potato, corn, and black beans with an added bonus of quinoa. I’ll think I’ll try it this week.

Jamming

I’d like to try out that mango jam recipe again but I think I missed mango season. I will just have to make what in season or what my parents want to have. First up, Kiwi Apple jam as requested by my mom. It’s her favorite.  I’ve been making this recipe so long that it kind of morph into my own. I’m having my parents do the prep on the kiwi and apple and I’ll do cooking up.

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The spices make this jam-cinnamon, ginger, and clove

I’m also getting some Calamansi limes from a friend so I think I can make up a lime curd soon. Calamansi is a little lime with orange inside. It’s tart and fragrant. I use  Ina Garten recipe that I’ve made 100s of time change out the flavor from lime to lilikoi to grapefruit to raspberry. Just a slight adjustment to the sugar depending on how sweet the fruit is. I think adding the zest of the citrus makes the jam taste so good. This is mom’s favorite. I love the grapefruit and turn into a grapefruit curd tart.

Sweet Breads

My parents like a little snack in the evening. I always had bananas in my freezer so I could whip up a smoothie or a loaf of banana bread on short notice. Here it’s a little different. No bananas in the freezer because they eat almost every day. Also, they eat apple bananas which are firmer and tastier. Not sure how it will influence the texture but flavor will be great. Might need to look for another type of sweet bread. Carrot? Zucchini? Hmm. Need to think about it.

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chocolate marbled banana bread. Delicious

Here’s one that I made this year. Everyone liked it. And it looked great. A smittenkitchen recipe.

​onelastshindig

onlastshidig, the last party I would have at the house. A casual affair, people coming and go from 1–9pm. Food that I made from the ingredients I have left in my cabinets or recipes I just wanted to try. My last foodie experience at my Edgebrook home.

The Menu

Lots of prep goes into throwing a party. And I needed to be creative with my menu because I tried to use up as much of my supplies as I could.

Left to right: lentil fritter ready to be fried, salsa ready to served, Oat BBQ chicken marinating.

The morning of the party I had a late start because I had to wait for the Chimney guy to show up. Got stood up and I was behind schedule by 2 hours. And the menu shows it.

  • Gyoza–forgot to make
  • Hawaii Mac Salad–no time to mix up, a giant bowl of macaroni, potatoes, and hard-boiled egg sat in my refrigerator for the party
  • Lentil Fritters–like the Mac Salad, it sat in my freezer waiting to be fried up
  • Beef Salad
  • Asian Chopped Salad
  • Kale Salad–add the Asian dressing, no time to make the sunflower seed dressing
  • Carrot Harissa and Feta–forgot to add the feta
  • Kalua Pork–forgot to serve up
  • Oat’s Chicken
  • Assorted Burgers–veggie and fish
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Lilikoi Coconut Pie
  • Thai Tea Cupcakes–too hot to make up

 

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from top to bottom: Carrot Harissa Salad, Kale Salad with roast carrots and pasta, Asian Chopped Salad

 

I felt that there wasn’t enough food but I didn’t remember the other items. It was the heat and the humidity [stupid AC] plus lack of sleep. I wish I could have made more.

Party Rules

I created party rules, mostly because I wanted help with help with cleaning out my house.

  1. Bring nothing
  2. If you must bring something, bring your favorite drink
  3. You must take one thing home with you
  4. bring a folding or lawn chairs if you have it available

Most people followed was #4. We had more than enough chairs. The rule that most people broke was to take one home with them. At least a few people took things and that all I can ask for. One thing I learned in this past year is to be thankful for what you have and not to expect anything more.

The Event

It was a hot and humid day only made worst that my AC didn’t work. But all my friends were troopers and stuck it out with me and had a nice time.

My large yard came in handy for kids at my party. Running around, chasing each other, kicking and throwing a ball. It was so nice to see it being used for what it was made for.

Most of the food went. Had a lot of beer and wine left, which my neighbors were happy to take off my hands. I think my foodie experience was a success with many requests for recipes. I added links to the menu above for all the request recipes.

I wanted to make up takeaways for people but once again I ran out of time and gave into the heat and humidity. I made up one batch of harissa, sugar plum jam, and Princess Hot Flash Healthier Banana Bread. Not enough for everyone but a few people got some. Here’s the recipe for the Banana Bread. I adjusted a recipe from my old blog. It most definitely is better than before.

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Princess Hot Flash Healthier Banana Bread

Bake: 350º
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes or tester comes out clean
Pan: 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan [5 mini loaves adjust bake time]

3/4 c butter, soften
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c non-fat greek yogurt, plain (I use full-fat vanilla greek yogurt for the bread at the party)

Dry Ingredients
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c grounded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 c grounded golden flax seeds

1 cup ripe bananas, mashed [I throw my ripe bananas in my freezer, I used 3 medium size ones]
1/3 cup golden raisins *

Grease pan with oil and flour, set on the side. Sift together in a separate bowl dry ingredients and set on the side. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a ​time, mix in well then add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients alternating with yogurt in 3 addition, starting with flour, don’t over mix. Fold in bananas and raisins.

Watch your bread as it got really dark at the end. I tented it with foil for the last 1/2 hour so it wouldn’t burn. I tested it with a bamboo skewer to see if it was done.

*I threw the raisins into the flour mixture so they were coated with the flour so they didn’t sink to the bottom.

 

Using up my supplies

I’m off to a 4th of July party today and I’m bringing blueberry apple crumb pie and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Pie ready for the oven

Cookies waiting their turn in the oven

This is a perfect way to get rid of whatever supplies I have left in my kitchen. I know it’s hot out but that’s what central air is for. I’m going to miss central air. And since I was in the mood I decided to make a batch of granola. I have way TOO much oatmeal.

Pre-bake granola

It all started with apples. I bought them to make apple bread pudding for some friends. That didn’t happen. Then I found some nice looking organic blueberries. I’ve been making a blueberry custard pie, which everyone loves. So I thought maybe I can combine the apples and blueberries with the custard filling and crumb top.

2 Golden Delicious slices for the pie

What I would do without the internet. I found this recipe as my guide. I added 1/2 cup extra blueberries and changed out the sour cream for plain yogurt. And eliminated the pecans because some at the party have nut allergies.

Tah Dah! Finish product right out of the oven.

Onward to the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Using my trusty hand mixer for the time being

This is the King Arthur recipe, supposedly it should be a little chewy. This sentence made me choose this recipe,

“Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan

Haha! The designer in me wanted to make this a pulled quote.

Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny = chewy center. So this was the recipe. I remembered to take out the butter so creaming the butter and sugars was quick. 1/2 cup less of chocolate chips and my handy scooper to make the cookies equal size and even.

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dough

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done!

28 cookies later, ready for the party.

The last of the how to use as much oatmeal bonanza: Granola. Alton Brown’s Granola recipe with a few changes. Added walnuts, figs, cherries, and golden raisins plus cinnamon and turmeric. Remember this is an exercise in using up all my supplies.

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combining the dry ingredients

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wet ingredients

Two trays later, I guess I have a breakfast for me. Maybe I’ll give some of it away.

What I want to make : one

I can’t use my kitchen since I’m showing my house. Never know when you will get a moments notice that someone is coming to see it. I’m trying to keep it as clean as possible. But this has got me wanting to make stuff.

Here’s list one of a few links of stuff I want to make.

roasted tomato salsa

I make this every year, several time during the summer when I can good tomatoes. I’ll make the a batch on my little old grill for everyone at work. I’m sure they will be happy. Here’s link to my old post from my previous blog with the recipe.

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3 quarts of roasted summer tomatoes salsa

ruffle milk pie

This recipe I found from smittenkitchen.com. I had something like this on my epic bakery crawl I had with my girlfriend from HI and NYer guide at Pi Bakerie. I think the item was called Galaktoboureko Pi. It was so creamy and delicious. I don’t think it’s the same thing but sounds similar.

one last great cake

I LOVE LAYERED CAKE! and I want to make a cake before I go but . . .  MY LIST IS TOO LOOOONG! and I don’t have enough time to make them all with testing in between and keep my kitchen clean enough to keep showing my house. may something with curd like this cake or tea like this cake

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This is an Dorie Greespan’s recipe that I made for my Mom and Annika’s birthday

something savory

My list is long and I want to make everything. Not having a kitchen to use is really making me hungry and want to cook for myself. Yotam Ottolenghi is my favorite of recent. I love everything I make of his. Still my favorite is his Turkey Zucchini Burgers. I use this link to make it. But I really want to make is a the top left next to the colorful bars–Onions Bhajis. I never had one but it looks like a crispy onion fritter. yum!

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just a part of the savory list on Pinterest

getting rid of my supplies

The end is near and I liked to use up my supplies by making stuff for friends. I have a big box of old fashion oatmeal, a bag of Thai tea, bottle of malted milk powder. . . I hope I not much more. I’d like to make a more butterscotch oatmeal cookies, granola, Thai tea cupcakes with condensed milk buttercream, malted milk biscuits

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Thai Tea Cupcakes that I made for the restaurant