Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Turkey and Mushroom RisottoDSC_7084

With gratitude in our hearts, a wonderful Thanksgiving is over. I brined the turkey, prepared pie crusts and made rolls ahead of time, with two assistants ready for my command I didn’t have to rush so much - it’s going to be a great day! The scale I stepped on in the morning confirmed my prediction - I lost 2 pounds!
Oh what a beautiful morning
Oh what a beautiful day!
I got a wonderful feeling
Everything’s going my way!
That is all the lyrics I know of the song but I love Hammerstein!

One of my memorable Thanksgiving dinners was in Hawaii in 2006. My husband and I were traveling to Japan and we stopped at my daughter’s place for Thanksgiving. Over 20 people were there at my daughter’s friend’s house. My husband wore his formal - Hawaiian shirt AKA as his casual Friday suit. It was already dark when we sat down at a long table. People are friendly, it was a wonderful meal, my son was serving a mission in Japan and it was our granddaughter’s first Thanksgiving.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Isn’t Louis Armstrong great?
The color of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you                                                   

OK, that’s enough of singing, back to my post - What do you do with all the leftovers? I bought the smallest turkey in the store and halved the recipes yet what’d ya know? We ended up with relics of Thanksgiving. Although I desperately wanted to be away from the kitchen the day after the feast, I must re-purpose.

I’m really lucky to have a sous-chef husband. He stepped up and  made this risotto featured in November 2012 issue of ‘bon appetit’ magazine so that I can leisurely watch Kimutaku’s new drama on the computer, that’s ‘Priceless’ (title of his new drama).

First –Make stock

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 turkey carcass, broken into pieces
  • Water to cover (12 –14 cups)

Put everything in a large stockpot. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-1/2 hours. Strain. Discard solids. Let cool,  then cover and chill. Makes about 9 cups. This stock will keep chilled for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.DSC_7096Strainer-love the gadget. DSC_7058

Turkey and mushroom risotto –modified a tiny bit

  • 8 cups turkey stock
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups assorted fresh mushroom (photo shown chanterelles, trumpet king mushroom, shiitake). You may substitute with white button mushrooms. DSC_7060DSC_7061
  • 2 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup shredded leftover turkey meat (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. reduce heat to low. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat until it begins to foam.
  3. Add onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally  until onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add mushroom. Cook stirring occasionally until soft, 4-6 minutes.DSC_7066
  5. Add rice. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add 1 cup warm stock. Stir constantly until liquid is absorbed.
  7. Add 1 cup of stock at a time until rice is tender but still firm to the bite.DSC_7074
  8. Add shredded turkey if you’re using. Stir to warm.
  9. Add more stock or water if necessary to keep mixture creamy.
  10. Stir parmesan and remaining 1 Tablespoon butter into risotto.
  11. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley.DSC_7077

Our Thanksgiving started with simple salad. Apple cider vinaigrette was good! DSC_7049Parker house rolls. The spendy sea salt flakes was worth it.DSC_7022Tangy and refreshing, cranberry-orange relish with mintDSC_7008
My son’s job this year was to make the green bean casserole – same as last year. DSC_7033DSC_7041DSC_7040DSC_7045DSC_7051Must have pies-Asian pear pie filling we canned and good ol’ pumpkin pie.DSC_7027


Grilled turkey sandwich was delightful too-cream cheese in place of mayo.DSC_7090

Forgotten on the corner of counter, the Chinese yam (長いも) sprouted. I’m lost on what to do with this now.DSC_6889

I’m sooo not going to step on the scale for a while.




Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Pumpkin Tart

DSC_7006In only two days,Thanksgiving is here. Our family plan of having Thanksgiving Day meal at Higgins did not materialize due to slow acting on my part - every table was booked by the time I called. I spent a hectic last three weeks, I didn’t have much of time to think about plan B –cooking at home menus. No matter what, I have to secure the bird first. I went to Whole Foods today to check out if my criteria of turkey are left – fresh, free range, organic, no chemical added and light weight, 9 pounds or less.DSC_6952

I was back and forth between the butcher and refrigerator section searching for the turkey. Most were too big for our family, too pricey, or so fresh that I could see blood. The Heritage turkey met most of the things on my check list. The bird is a little over 9 pounds but probably it is just water weight.

Now that I’m good with the bird, the next agenda is dessert-something fabulous. I made this for a test run. I had all the ingredients except can of orange. I substituted with canned peaches but it was a bad move. The peach overwhelmed the pumpkin flavor and didn’t set hard. I made a few mistakes on the crust but tasted good so I can use that for pumpkin pie. I guess I’m going to make fabulously humble pumpkin tartish pie! Then with all the left over egg white, I should make French macarons next!DSC_6937It’s hard to see but it says gratitude.

Making tart shell

Necessary equipment – food scale, 8 inch tart pan

  • Weak power flour 292g Chilled in refrigerator
  • Granulated sugar 80g Chilled in refrigerator
  • Salt 4g
  • Butter 187g Cut in small cubes and put in refrigerator.
  • Egg yolk 53g (about 3 eggs) plus 1 egg yolk for brushing the tart shell.
  • Water 7g
  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt together in advance. Put flour mixture in large bowl, add butter.
  2. With pastry cutter, incorporate the butter to make a resemblance of corn meal. Do this as quickly as possible so that butter won’t melt and the end result will be a flaky, cookie like crust.
  3. Mix egg and water in a small bowl. Add this to flour/butter mixture.
  4. With spatula quickly incorporate flour and egg mixture while rotating bowl.DSC_6921
  5. Gather the flour to make ball with your hand – your warm hands will melt the butter so do this fast.
  6. Place the ball on some plastic wrap and push down to form a disk. Wrap tightly and chill for 3 hours or more in refrigerator-overnight is desirable.DSC_6926

Shaping and baking of tart

Necessary equipment – rolling pin, pie weight, heavy aluminum foil

  1. Sprinkle small amount of flour on a clean, flat surface. Put well chilled dough on and pound with flat side of mallet or wooden rolling pin to half inch thick.
  2. Roll out dough with rolling pin until the it reaches 1/4 inch thick. To keep the dough from sticking, run a thin spatula underneath it every so often.
  3. Put tart pan in the center of rolled out dough. Cut all round including the height of tart pan.
  4. Lay the round dough over the tart pan. Press into edges and side of pan.
  5. Flatten the top with flat side of knife.
  6. Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 320 F
  8. Put foil over the tart shell then put in the pie weights (I used black beans).
  9. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove pie weight along with foil 30 minutes in.
  10. When the tart shell turns golden brown, remove from oven and cool on the cooling rack.
  11. Preheat oven to 284F.
  12. When the shell is cooled, brush inside shell with beaten egg yolk – this prevents a soggy bottom.
  13. Bake shell for 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Pumpkin flan filling

  • Heavy cream 80g

  • Milk 40g
  • Egg yolk 45g (about 3 eggs)
  • Sugar 45g
  • Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Pumpkin puree 120g
  1. In a microwave proof bowl (a 2 cup glass measuring cup is good for this), mix heavy cream and milk. Microwave for 30 second to warm it up (do not boil). Stir and set it aside.
  2. Mix egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and flour in a medium bowl without whipping.
  3. Pour cream mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture and combine well each time.
  4. Add 1/2 of pumpkin puree into the cream/egg mixture and stir well. Do the same for rest of pumpkin puree. Strain the mixture through sieve.DSC_6980
  5. Preheat oven to 280 F. Pour the pumpkin mixture in the prepared tart shell. Place it on top of the rimmed cookie sheet, this will prevent spillage in the oven.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Check for doneness after 40 minutes- the center will still jiggle a little when you shake the cooking sheet. Cool on a wire rack.DSC_7007

I made Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites from the leftover pumpkin puree.

  Cucumber roll

  1. Slice cucumber with peeler to make long strips.
  2. Shape sushi rice with round biscuit cutter.
  3. Roll lower sushi cylinder with one strip of cucumber slice. Make slits with knife so that you can interlock the strip. Put another on top if needed to form the cup to hold the topping. Now the cucumber cups are ready for your favorite foods - tuna, poke mahi-mahi, salmon eggs. I used tuna mixed with soy sauce and wasabi then topped with green onions.

DSC_6909Salmon roe with avocado and lemon

I attended a free demo holiday cooking classes at Decorette shop in Tigard. The photo below is from the cupcake decoration class-cute, right?DSCN1210DSCN1209Chocolate truffle demonstration.DSCN1213DSCN1212

My husband and I were invited for friend’s surprise party organized by her boyfriend. Lucky girl!DSCN1196DSCN1199DSCN1207DSCN1173DSCN1200

Our cul-de-sac was flooded Monday, turned into a small pond. We appreciated City’s maintenance crew for long hours pumping water in the darkness.   DSCN1248

I see an abundance of foods prepared at this particular time. I feel blessed and grateful. I also feel guilty for having so much and plenty was wasted in the end. I can’t bring myself to volunteer at a shelter or wherever needed, I wrote a check for local food bank and am praying that my small donation will help even just one person today. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.DSC_6935
The word is charity.

P.S. to KG and others may want to know the conclusion of Smap concert story – It was a spectacular show! I survived (and participated) in the deafeningly loud screaming sound entire time. Although the way back to friend’s home I was staying took awfully long time, I was in such a good mood. The kind friend and her husband stayed awake for my return. Even we’re all same age, for a moment, I felt like they were my parents and waiting for their teenage daughter to come home. I felt so warm.