"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Family's Thanksgiving Tradition

Roast Turkey
Turkey is a mainstay during Thanksgiving celebration in my family

Our family tries to stick to traditions, and part of that is celebrating the four major holidays with my in-laws. There are 4 of us families in all -- my parents-in-law, my husband's brother's family, his sister's family, and our very own, that take turns hosting the four major holidays, and for this year's Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law was the "IT." In addition, we have her father with us as well, so that makes for four generations in these gatherings.

I was excited when Eric and Tiffany of theguerrilagourmet.com emailed me for an invitation to be a part of their holiday project - The Gorilla Gourmet -- to represent Maine.  It is an honor for me to do so.

Our family probably typically represents the Mainers in that we try our best to be together with family (and exclusively family) during the Holidays. My mother-in-law prepares her fruit cocktail with mostly canned fruits that they picked from their own trees and bushes.

Our usual menu stars THE TURKEY and it will never be Thanksgiving if we prepare an entreé other than the turkey. (Oh, the Filipina in me tried to do that before, and it was like a major violation to them true Mainers!). The turkey is roasted with stuffing that is usually prepared the night before then stuffed into the turkey's cavity just before roasting.

Mashed potatoes are also prepared using potatoes they harvested from their own garden. White bread is prepared using a breadmaker (and no, we don't mill our own flour; we get that from Hannaford stores). Other sides are pitted olives, cranberry salad, bread and butter pickles, boiled onions (a Tibbetts family tradition that I am still trying very hard to assimilate), and mashed turnips.

My mother-in-law also prepared three various pies -- pecan pie, pumpkin pie and raspberry pie, but I forgot to take photos of these desserts before they were gone. One thing that my mother-in-law prepared last year that she skipped this year was the pumpkin whoopie pies, something that was not really traditionally prepared in our family during Thanksgiving, but my younger son was somehow anticipating this year. Now if there is something in our menu that I would be almost sure was very Maine-ly, it would be whoopie pies. So I decided to make the whoopie pies the very next day (recipe coming soon), and I promised to my son that from now on, pumpkin whoopie pies will be part of the Thanksgiving tradition in our family.

From the slideshow above, you can see how closely-knit our families are.  I feel so blessed to have in-laws who treat my sons as if they are true blood relations, and that is something worth thanking for.  We have a lot other things to be thankful for, but that would be something exclusively for our family to ponder upon.

Tassimo Brewing Machine

Last Christmas, I asked hubby for this gift....because I love coffee...and I wanted to have
immediate access to Starbucks-type of coffee. If you are familiar with Keurig, this is pretty much the same. I chose this, though, because among those that I looked at, this was one that made hot chocolate drinks as well. My husband is not a coffee drinker, but he loves hot cocoa!

Since getting this, my husband has concocted his own recipe for hot chocolate drink. I just get the usual packs available for caffe latté, caffe macchiato, and the regular ones. Gevalia brand has become my favorite, as I find Starbucks too strong. Of course, it has its cons, like I get too much trash (no recycling program by Tassimo for their pods), and I get to do maintenance (so does a regular coffee brewer) - daily wiping, change of filter, and descaling every three months....but it is so worth it!

If at times it does not seem to work okay, it could be that the bar code reader is dirty. I just get a cotton cloth (I get the rags sold by Wal-mart), dampen it and wipe the reader. Instructions say not to use paper towel for the bar scanner since that will damage the see through material (glass? or plastic? I can't remember).

I also got some teas (yellow tea, black tea and green tea, Tazo brand) for use on those times when I feel bloated.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Apple Dumplings

Apple dumplings fresh out of the oven
We had these apple dumplings when we ate supper at my mother-in-law's one night.  We loved them so much that I asked for a recipe. Surprisingly, it was easy to make, using ready-made dough.  I made it the very next day at home. Hubby was even surprised to find that orange juice makes a good flavor combination with apples!
Oranges and apples combination is surprisingly good!

2 cortland apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters (to come up with 8 wedges)
1 tube of crescent rolls, divided into 8 parts (cut along the perforations)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Boil together in a small saucepan the butter, orange juice and sugar.
Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.
Wrap each apple wedge with the dough, place on a deep 9x9 baking dish.
Pour the mixture on top. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Bake for 45 minutes.

It looks so unappealing, and yet...
My first piece

The apple wedges are practically melted by this time! It's like a citrusy applesauce.

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