Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

November 27, 2014 - An American Thanksgiving, Filipino-Style
Lechon - Roast Pork
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope all who celebrate Thanksgiving had a good one today. We had ours at my parents' house this year, with extended family members all contributing delicious eats. I'm not quite in a food coma as I don't tend to eat a lot at any one meal but never fear, I'm sure I've consumed enough calories over the course of today to make the gym my second home for the next few weeks.
Lumpia - Filipino egg rolls
When my half-Filipino, half-Caucasian nieces are with us, we tend to go more traditional on the meal with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. But this year they were with their dad and his side of the family so we went Filipino-style all the way since we don't really love turkey that much. My mom made lechon, a 10-lb roast pork that she cooked in the oven for a good 5 hours, wrapped in banana leaves with the last hour without the leaves so the skin could brown and turn crispy, the hallmark of a good lechon. And no Filipino gathering is complete without fried lumpia. During the holiday season, my mom makes dozens upon dozens of them to give away to our friends at church and for our own family gatherings. She also made pancit malabon, one of my favorite versions of the Filipino noodle dishes and I'm kicking myself that I forgot to take a picture of it - doh.
My uncle brought 6 meaty crabs to the feast. He went all the way to Half Moon Bay where the crab fishermen sell fresh crabs off their boat. The picture doesn't do justice to their size.
My cousin Ellen made clams and Mariner's Rice; my mom loves clams as does Ellen's fiance.
Steamed Pork Buns
To keep our international flavor going, my other cousin Miriam (Yammy) brought dim sum. This probably isn't traditional fare for most Thanksgiving celebrants but it suited our family quite well. Tradition is good but I also think you can't go wrong with great food eaten with gratitude amongst family.
Siu Mai
Har Gow
I also did not go traditional with the desserts. No pumpkin pie, no pecan pie, no mince pie. We did have an apple pie but I bought that (we'll get to that in a minute). At first I actually was trying to go for more traditional flavors, like when I pre-tested the Pumpkin Praline Bread Pudding, thinking I'd make it for Thanksgiving dessert but I changed my mind a few days ago.
Lofthouse-Style Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
When I bake for get togethers, I try to take into account the favorites of the people who'll be there. For my uncle, it was Buttery Tea Balls. My cousin Yammy's favorite is White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies. Ellen's kids like Chocolate Chip Cookies. My parents like lemon desserts because they're "not too sweet".
Buttery Tea Balls
By the time I factored in all of those requests, my dessert list was longer than 10 adults and 4 children could conceivably eat so I had to cut back on my more grandiose baking plans. I did allow myself a few baking experiments with the Lofthouse-Style Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (mainly so I could put the sprinkles on it for the kids), Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Lemon Tarts (recipes/posts to follow in the near future).
Lemon Tarts with Almond Shortbread Crust
And I bowed to one tradition with apple pie. I did "outsource" it by pre-ordering it from Three Babes Bakeshop as they did another pop-up shop at work so all I had to do was pre-order it online, they came to campus yesterday and it was a short walk from my office to the pop-up shop to pick up my pie. The pie looked beautiful but a little too brown/(over?)baked for my taste. I had a piece for Thanksgiving dessert and I have to admit, I found it a little too tart for my sugar-loving taste buds. I love apple pie but I didn't love this one. However, Ellen's British fiance felt it reminded him of the pies he used to get in the UK and he loved it. Whew.
Apple Pie from Three Babes Bakeshop
And for the kids, of course I had to make cookies. I still had frozen cookie dough from when I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies before and last weekend I made the Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies (future blog post)
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies and Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Overall, another great Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for, not the least being bounty being shared with family.

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