Friday, December 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Our Way

My family only started cooking for Thanksgiving roughly 4-5 Thanksgiving ago. Prior to that, we've always gone to a family friend's place and eat those Chinese-style Thanksgiving turkeys. The reason it is Chinese is because rather than putting stuffing in there, these turkeys are stuffed with sticky rice! While I do like the turkey, over the years we found that it is too tiring and too much for us. Most of my relatives still live in Taiwan, with only an uncle and a few cousins here in the US, so for the past 2 years, we've prepped ham instead of turkeys!

Now... I'll admit, we don't make everything from scratch. In fact, we love it when we can find shortcuts to things, sorta like Sandra Lee and her store & home prepped ideas. Some is worth making from scratch, but some store bought items just taste... good, and if we like it, why change it :P Also, my family's Thanksgiving isn't very... American in terms of the food we prep. We take inspiration from everywhere and as long as it is tasty, nobody minds at all, so this year we have American, Hawaiian, Taiwanese, and Thai!

glazed ham
So this year, we went for the Kirkland Smoke Ham from Costco but of course we enhanced it a little! We used pineapple and OJ as glaze, then stuck a few cloves to give it additional flavor. Honeybaked? Psh... ours is better :P

glazed ham
Cloves stabbed in there.

ramen salad
Usually we make have a mixed green salad with lemon balsamic vinaigrette, but this year, we decided to try something with a little Asian flair. Bought some shredded cabbage (the ones from supermarkets for cole slaw) and Maru-Chan ramen packs to make our own ramen salad! We just toasted the ramen a little, then tossed it in with the cabbage with some awesomePietro Sesame & Miso dressing. Pietro's dressings have always been family favorite!

ramen salad close up
Toss a little bit of sliced almonds, and there, restaurant quality ramen salad :P

taiwanese fried chicken
Taiwanese style fried chicken. Gotta have something Taiwanese! We made the marinade usually used for popcorn chicken, and soaked the chicken overnight to give the breast meat some flavor, then breaded lightly to be fried! All it needs is a little white pepper and everybody's happy :]

thai salmon
Oven-baked Thai Salmon. The sauce is just soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, lots of lemon juice with come chopped up red chili peppers, parsley, basil, and garlic! Simple, healthy, and super easy to make!

truffle mashed potato
Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving if the table didn't have mashed potato. Last year I made garlic mash with some chopped garlic, but this year, taking it to another level by adding truffle to make truffled garlic mash potato! Russet potatoes, fat free half & half (I don't like it too fatty :P), garlic, garlic powder, and just a little little bit of white truffle oil.

truffle oil
La Tourangelle Infused White Truffle Oil. This one is actually made in Sonoma, CA, rather than Italy. I actually have truffle oil from Italy as well, but figured since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, gotta go with the American-made truffle oil!

I've been buying these small bottles of truffle at TJ Maxx & Home Goods, and yes they are still good and there's nothing shady about it! TJ Maxx & Home Goods are actually two of the best places to buy specialty food items since it's always at a discount. You just have to search for a bit since it is sorta like treasure hunting. I've seen truffle oil go for as low as $7 from their retail price of $25+! The one above was around $12, and yes even though it is small, a little bit of truffle oil goes a loooooong way.

garlic bread
We LOVE our Pepperidge Farm Texas Garlic Toast. Garlic bread is definitely one of those items where we could've baked our own garlic bread but why move away from the family favorite??? Look how perfectly golden brown it is :P

rum cake
There's always some sort of dessert, and this year, a family friend of ours dropped off a rum-soaked cake, and gotta admit, pretty damn good. First bite gives you a huge kick in the mouth with the rum, then a little bit of sweetness together with the flavors of all the nuts.

ham fried rice
There's always leftovers after a Thanksgiving meal and one of my favorite leftover meal is definitely the ham fried rice I get to make the next day! Leftover rice, ham, pineapple, eggs, green onion, soy sauce, white pepper, with a sprinkle of tasted sesame seeds.

We also made some tiny potato pancakes with the truffled garlic mash but I totally forgot to take a picture of it. Smelled to good and I devoured it before I remembered haha.

So that was our Thanksgiving dinner! A little unorthodox in terms of what we eat for Thanksgiving this year, but nevertheless, we are thankful for what we have and the time we get to share with family, even if it is only with my parents, sister, and cousins this year!