Tuesday, November 30, 2010

International Thanksgiving Pot Luck Party 2010

Nov 25 was Thanksgiving day here in U.S. and it is a day with family and friends. Normally, people eat Turkey on this special day but we normally have pot luck party without Turkey.

We invited some of our friends and ask them to bring whatever food from their country or whatever they like. The reason we don't roast turkey is that we tried it before and it just took so long to cook and it tasked OK but not spectacular. I guess I am not too keen on Turkey flavor..

Anyway, my husband and I made Lasagna and Banana pudding and Piggy in a blanket.

Lasagna is my husband dish which always comes out great!

I made banana pudding. This is also always a hit!

Then, I tried making piggy in a blanket for the first time. It is super easy appetizer and it looks kind of cute, I think. I just used Pillsbury Crescent roll and rolled up cocktail sausages and bake it in the oven for like 12mins.

Our friend bought lots of different stuff also.

A friend from Argentina and her husband brought empanada and chimichuri sauce. They even made the dough themselves. It had beef and garlic in it. It tasted really good. I love empanada.

Another friends from Romania brought roasted beef and potatoes. The beef was roasted for a long time so it was super tender and melt in my mouth. It was so good!

The other friends brought huge salad. This salad had bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber. They also brought special salad dressing which they made from scratch. It was great salad.

We ate all day, talked all day and watched American Foodball. It was so much fun and I love having pot luck party! It was another great Thanksgiving party this year. I hope we will have a nice Thanksgiving again next year and years to come!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beef Bowl & My Husband's Torterilli

I made beef bowl using thin sliced beef which I bought a few weeks ago from a Japanese supermarket and froze. This is very popular dish in Japan and super easy to make.

I boiled some water, add soy sauce, sugar, grated ginger and added sliced beef and onion then cooked for about 20 mins or so with the lids closed. Then, pour it over the rice and add pickled ginger on top at the end. That's it. It is very tasty and wonderful.

We have a beef bowl fast food chain in Japan called "Yoshino-ya". They serve this beef bowl in fast food style. Actually, there is one in Manhattan also.

Anyway, my husband loved it also. It makes me feel little bit guilty because it is so easy but I get so much compliment from my husband. Well, I guess it is great!

A few weeks ago, I got a cold and stayed in bed for a day. My husband took a great care of me and he made torterilli for us.

It is torterilli with tomato and basil in butter sauce.

This was also really good. I don't know how exactly he made this since I was in bed but he even took some pictures for my blog. What a wonderful husband I have :-)

Torterilli is store bought and had cheese and garlic inside. The sauce had tomato, basil and green onion. He said he add butter to it.

When someone makes food for you, I think it taste much better than you make it for yourself. I am very fortunate to have someone who cook for me with lots of love when I can not cook.

Since my husband took great care of me, my cold is gone and I feel great now. I was very careful not to get cold but it is getting cold here and I have to pay extra caution such as washing my hands when I come home and stuff like that. I hope you guys won't get cold this winter wherever you are!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Green Beans Casserole, Chicken and books

When I think about winter food, I think about casserole. I think many people make casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas when you have people over for dinner or lunch. When I think about casserole, I think about warm family gathering with laughter. It is a happy dish for me.

Many people use Campbell's cream of mushroom soup to make green bean casserole. I think it is a great idea but this time I tried to make my own. It was not as difficult as I thought. I just used a recipe on Food Network. Click here for the green bean casserole recipe from Food Network website. 

Well, the recipe asked to make your own fried onion but I cheated on this one and bought canned fried onion from Trader Joe's.

I sauteed mushroom and onion and add flour and milk then pour them over the frozen green beans.

Then, sprinkle with fried green onion and put them in the oven, That's It!

I also made chicken with a simple marinade and baked in the oven. Easy dinner with lots of flavors.

We had them with some rice. (Well, I am Japanese. I need rice)

This kind of food are very comforting. We eat these hot casserole with smiles on our faces. I felt so happy to have wonderful dinner with my husband in a warm safe house. We are so lucky.

I went to the library again to borrow some books. One of them is the cookie book from Martha Stewart.
I think everybody feels like baking cookies when it get closer to Christmas. It is a great project to do with my husband. I love making Christmas cookies with my husband. He is also excited about it.
Anyway, this book has so many variety of cookies with wonderful photos. All of them looks great and you just want to bake all of them. I think this is a great book to have especially when you love cookies.

The next book is Indian/Pakistani cooking book. Ever since I had Pakistani food at the restaurant few week ago and also homemade Indian food at my friend's place. I have been wanting to make Pakistani or Indian dish at home. Many of dishes from this book seems easy enough for me to make so I would love to give it a try one of these days.

This book is not a cook book but I was interesting in so I borrowed it. It is about a woman who died from cancer in 1950's and her cell was removed and used for research. Since then, her cells helped to find cures for so many diseases. This book is about the woman and her family and their struggle. I didn't know anything about this story and it is very interesting story.

It is nice and warm today in NY. It makes me happy to feel nice warm air. I hope the Thanksgiving day will be nice like this also! Speaking of thanksgiving, I think I should start preparing for Thanksgiving. I am so excited about it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthy Broiled Mackerel Dinner

I had Mackerel in my freezer which I bought the other day when I went to a Japanese supermarket. I felt like eating something healthy so I decided to use this mackerel for dinner.

There are many ways to cook Mackerel. I thought about broiling, cooking with miso and frying and ended up using a very simple traditional Japanese way of eating. Just broiling with salt. I made rice, miso soup and also had fermented beans with the broiled mackerel. Now, this looks like a very traditional Japanese meal.

Before broiling the mackerel, I made a few slit on it and marinated with sake and salt for about 30mins.
Then, I washed it and sprinkle some salt and put them under a broiler.

I broiled each side for about 6mins each and it cake out perfectly.

It reminds me of home and it was really good quality mackerel. I loved it.

The only downside of this dish is that the house smells like fish after cooking. However, I have this air refresher from Fabreze which a scent of Gain. Gain is my favorite laundry detergent. I found this air refresher the other day and it has been great for eliminating unwanted odor in the house. Plus, your house smells like Gain! If you like the smell of Gain, I am sure that you will like this air refresher. The great thing is that it eliminates odor and leaves the good scents so it won't be mixed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffin & Potato Cabbage Gratin

I had a craving for cake all of a sudden so I was searching something at home. I found this muffin mix which I bought a while ago. Since I didn't want to spend a lot of time baking, this was a perfect choice for my craving.

This is a very famous brand in Germany but I see this brand quite often here in the U.S. also. This one is organic muffin and somehow looked little bit healthier than other brand's muffin mix and I just love the smell of apple & cinammon.

Anyway, those cake or muffin mix are great because you just have to add milk and egg and bake. This one took me about 15mins to prepare before putting it in the oven.

It amazes me how many different kind of those mixes there are at a supermarket. I haven't try many of them but I would love to try different kinds. The best thing about it is that normally it comes out as it should be. (Even though, I had to ruin three boxes of brownie mix once. I had no idea what I did wrong but it did not came out the way it should had been...)

For dinner, I wanted to use potatoes which I had at home. I also had some leftover cabbage and mushroom and so on so I decided to make potato cabbage gratin.

This is how I made it.

First, I sauteed sliced onion and bacon and chopped garlic in a frying pan.

Then, added cabbage.

Then, added mushroom and leeks.

Then, added sliced potatoes

After sauteing a while, add flour and milk and cook until it thickens.

Transfer to a casserole container and sprinkle with cheese, cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. When it is about 50mins into baking, take the foil off to make a golden/brown top.

It was a bit too liquid but tasted really good. I think I should have added some nutmeg though.

The muffin was pretty good. It was not too sweet so I think this is also great for breakfast. It is just amazing how easy this was.

We also had spinach salad with gratin. This is one of my favorite salad. It has some bacon, onion and tomatoes and mushroom.

This is a great satisfying dish with lots of vegetables. If you have leftover vegetables in your fridge, this might be a good option to clear your fridge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Pest Pasta

This is something I made before and loved it so I wanted to make it again for a while. Finally, I was able to make this again and as I remember, it was so delicious! (Click here for my previous post for the same dish)

This is another recipe from Food Network. One of my favorite Food Network Star is Sunny Anderson. Her recipe always seems quite easy and tasty. I also love her personalty on TV. She seems very positive and friendly. I would love to meet her in person someday.

Anyhow, the dish I made from her recipe was "Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Pest Pasta". This is easy to make with usual ingredients which you can find in a local grocery store and always comes out great. I mean, I love garlic, tomato, basil, Parmesan Cheese and Shrimp so this dish is full of things I like. For her "Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Pest Pasta" recipe, click here to go to for Food Network site. 

I also love the pine nuts topping. Yummy!

Speaking of nuts, there is this one nuts which I recently discovered and have been eating a lot. It is "Candied Pecan" from Trader Joe's.

I knew that they have candied walnuts because I buy them quite often for my salad but I found out the other day that they also have Pecan version.

I bought this since I needed pecan to make chicken salad sandwich . Recipe did not ask for candied pecan but I thought it will be nice with a little sweetness.

Then, I tried one before I use it for the chicken salad and totally fell in love with this product. It is so good. It is difficult to stop eating. I had to control myself. I will definitely buying this again when I go to Trader Joe's.

If you have a chance to go to Trader Joe's, please try this. It is really good snack!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Manhattan Soup Dumpling Lunch & Indian Feast dinner with great friends

On Weekend, my husband and I went to Manhattan to see a Play called "Elling". There are famous actors in this show such as Brendan Fraser, Denis O'Hare and Jennifer Coolidge. It was a quite small theater and our seat was great!

The play was pretty funny and heart warming. The actors were great. I think their timing is just wonderful. I never had a chance to see those famous actors act right in front of you so this was a great experience for me. I feel blessed to live close to Manhattan at the moment like this.

Anyhow, our play was Matinee so we decided to have lunch before the show. We went to a Chinese place called "Joe's Shanghai. This is a famous soup dumpling place and I have been to their downtown location a few times and I liked it so I wanted to try their Midtown location also.

We ordered two different kinds of soup dumplings.

It has super hot soup and meat inside so we have to be very careful to eat those things.

The dumplings are really good. We had crab dumpling and pork dumpling. I think crab ones were a bit too crabby for me so I preferred pork ones.

The other thing I always order at this restaurant is Shanghai Fried Rice. This fried rice is my favorite. It is so good. It is just simple egg and scallion fried rice but the rice is always very shiny and it is so good. I wonder what kind of rice they use for this. It is just amazing in my opinion.

After the show, we walked around a little bit since it was such a nice day. Some people were wearing short sleeves and everybody was enjoying nice weather.

Then, we went to our friend's apartment since we were invited for a dinner at their place. They prepared wonderful Indian food for us.

Chick Pea dish and Cauliflower dish.

Cucumber, Red Radish, Pomegranate.

Lamb Keema.

Everything was so good and I had to go back for more after I finished my first plate. Lamb Keema reminded me of the lady who I used to like with when I was in California because she used to make this quite often. I missed this dish! I should try to make this at home. I wish I could eat something like this everyday. I love Indian food!

After the dinner, we had dessert.

We had cake and ice cream.

Cup cakes.

Banana Pudding.

And they made us great milk tea with tea leaves from Assam area. It was also really good.

We ate so much and we had a great time. We also had a friend of theirs from Cypress and all of us had a great time. I really enjoyed spending time with them. I wish we live much closer so we can do this more often.

Next time, I would love to invite them over and make something special for them. We are so lucky to have such great friends everywhere we go. Anyway, we had another great weekend!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roasted Pear_butternut Soup & Chicken Salad Sandwich

I found these recipes again at Food Network website. I made roasted pear-butternut soup & chicken salad sandwich. It was very autumn like supper.

This soup has butternut squash and pear and tomato, etc and tasted really really good. It was creamy yet I didn't have to add any cream and it was also very refreshing because of pear.

First, I tossed vegetables with oil and salt, pepper.

Then, Arrange in a sheet pan.

Roast in the oven until soft.

Then, blend them in a mixer with chicken stock. That's it.

I really liked this soup. If you would like to make this. Click here for the recipe from Food Network Site. 

When I have soup, I crave for sandwich so I made chicken salad sandwich using the roasted chicken breast which I made when I made chicken flautas.

This chicken salad recipe is from Ina Garten from Food Network. Click here for her recipe from Food Network site. 

I cubed the roasted chicken breast.

Mixed with lots of other ingredients such as pecans, walnuts and grapes and made a sandwich with pumpernickel bread.

I loved the combination of chicken, nuts and grapes. This was perfect paring with pear-butternut soup.

Butternut squash is a great thing to make soup or sauce. I would love to try some other recipe using butternut squash while it is in season. I highly recommend this soup and sandwich!