Thanksgiving 2011!

Here at three squabbling asians, we have a rule that we cannot start talking about our Thanksgiving menu until October. This year however, due to my extreme gestational state, Little Miss and Yuan were left in limbo while I fretted about how I may have to spend my favorite holiday of the year eating hospital food turkey. As my early November due date came and went with no indication that someone had any intention of leaving the womb, I called Little Miss and Yuan to tell them that I would have have to skip Thanksgiving unless I evicted a tiny person in the next 24 hours. Thankfully, occupy my belly ended less than 24 hours later.  Just in time for me to go home and have my fellow squabbling asians come up to Davis to cook me a Thanksgiving feast!

Little Miss was highly organized as usual and whipped up our usual Thanksgiving menu items.  Because of the last minute planning, Thanksgiving was a cozy family affair this year and we pared down our menu a bit and added some flair to our usual items.  I was still incapacitated but my mom filled in for me and I contributed by sitting on the couch and eating.

To celebrate my ability to eat whatever I wanted for the first time in almost a year, Yuan brought up sweetwater and Kumamoto Hog Island oysters.  Oh how I missed that briny, succulent, raw oyster!  They were absolutely delicious.

This year, Mr. Turkey was a 15 lb pre-brined bird that Yuan rubbed with herbs and truffle butter and roasted.  He did not flip the bird this time during the cooking process, but Mr. Turkey came out very tender and juicy. Here he is in all his glory…and Little Miss picking at him.

My mom made our usual stuffing with sausage, shitake mushrooms, celery, onion, rosemary bread, water chestnuts, and the magical powder that makes everything taste like Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. I know turkey snobs insist that cooking the stuffing in the turkey dries it out, but the stuffing does not taste the same unless it is cooked in the turkey with all the juices! We stuffed half of the stuffing in Mr. Turkey, then scooped it out into baking dishes when Mr. Turkey was done and finished the stuffing in the oven. By cooking the stuffing again after it comes out of the turkey, we ensure that both the turkey and stuffing are cooked just right.  Here we are, inspecting Mr. Turkey for hidden stuffing bits.

We also had Molly’s cranberry relish and green bean casserole and Yuan made a classic gravy.  For sweet potatoes, Little Miss made her mom’s recipe with bacon and cheddar cheese which sounded strange and mid-Western (much like Little Miss) but was a great sweet savory combination.  Bjorn made a butternut squash bisque with homemade croutons which was also really delicious.  For dessert, we resisted the urge to have half a pie per person and limited it to pumpkin and apple staples. Little Miss made pumpkin cheesecake which she modified this year by making a half portion of the filling and making it in a shallower pie dish.  We found that it was easier to bake properly and resulted in a better crust to filling proportion.  She also made a yummy apple cheese torte.

My mom’s Thanksgiving day plate.

Many thanks to Little Miss and Yuan who came up and prepared a feast for me, Bjorn, my mom, and my new little man.  Next year little man, you too can enjoy some Thanksgiving grub.

Shellfish and Dumpling Birthday

To celebrate another glorious year of Little Miss, Yuan and I decided to cook up a nice birthday dinner. Little Miss, not one to turn down any dinner, immediately demanded “shellfish and dumplings!” We were happy to oblige since we also enjoy shellfish and dumplings. We decided on a menu of familiar Little Miss favorites.

Yuan bought two dozen sweetwater and one dozen kumamoto oysters for the occasion. He could not shuck them fast enough before the rest of us sucked them down with a perfectly vinegary mignonette he concocted. Those little, lusciously briny sea creatures were milky and amazing.

Little Miss likes making dumplings almost as much as she loves eating them, and our nimble fingers created a batch of the always popular pork gyoza. Yuan pan fried them and made a dipping sauce, and I made an accompaniment of shrimp fried rice, an old Little Miss favorite.

Yuan ceremoniously dispatched a pair of dungeness crabs and made this AMAZING ginger scallion crab. (See recipe above!!) There was crab flying everywhere as Little Miss and I fought to eat every tiny morsel of crab possible. I was literally licking the crabby ginger sauce off the bottom of the platter at the end of the meal. We finished the meal with a two layer French yogurt cake smothered in whipped cream frosting (hey, it didn’t look pretty but it tasted good) and a champagne toast to Little Miss. Happy Birthday Little Miss and cheers for another joyous occasion for us to celebrate with yumminess!

Oyster O Oyster

Yes, it’s time for my post. The girls have called me out and it’s time to show them up.

I LOVE oysters. In fact, I was in a slight panic when I thought I wouldn’t be able to buy a bag of 50 x-small sweetwaters Saturday. But everything is all good… I came home from a crappy day at work, turned on my kitchen TV, shucked some oysters over the sink, had a cold glass of wine, got the food giggles and all is OK with the world again.

Of course, I couldn’t just do one kind of oysters right? On Saturday we went to the Marshall Store and ordered some BBQed oysters. Now normally I think a cooked oyster is a wasted oyster, but these definitly changed my mind and even Lisa loved them. So I recreate the recipe as much as I can.

BBQed Oysters

Normally BBQed oysters are cooked until they open but by then they are rubbery and a little fishy tasting. These are shucked first then topped with the sauces and finally broiled just until they are slightly cooked. A little bit more work but so worth it.

1 dozen fresh oysters shucked
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbl of chopped parsley
1 tbl of butter
juice of half of a lemon
1 tbl of cocktail sauce

1) combine garlic with butter and cook the mixture in the microwave until it melts and you can smell the garlic
2) mix in the lemon juice and parsley and spoon over shucked oysters
3) add a little dab of cocktail over the oysters. This is what mine looked like

4) Finally broil them for about a minute on high heat and enjoy!

I also made some deep fried oysters by dredging them in just flour, deep frying them in vegtable oil and topped it off with a remoulade sauce. Awesome…

Trio of Oysters