Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What the heck is a Turducken?

It's snowing! Christmas is almost here...oh shoot, it's next week! Gotta shop, gotta think of what to make for Christmas eve dinner, gotta plan my sister date before she leaves, gotta clean the house, *pulling hair** I think I'm getting sick.....*faints*

So much to do but so little time....

I saw this in Pathmark, a cute Christmas tree butter sculpture:
Preparing for the big day.....I ordered a turducken a few days ago for our Christmas eve dinner. I can't wait to try it! I even had dreams about it! haha...yea, I'm a foodie dork!

Everyone's been asking me what the heck is a turducken? I've been telling people it's a mutated turkey that's big enough to eat a duck and a chicken, hence the name tur(key)-duck-(chick)hen. I love the name!
A turducken is a "novelty" dish that is basically a deboned turkey stuffed with a deboned duck which itself is stuffed with a deboned chicken. In between the meat there's stuffing, people usually use cornbread or sausage or whatever you fancy. The turducken I order is a 15lb stuffed with cornbread and pork rice dressing. It has a little bit of Cajun flavor! yum!

  • I found an awesome video of how to make a turducken:

Most likely I will never attempt to make this! Props to my cousin Angela who made a miniature turducken by using just breast meat of the 3 meats. I wish I could've tasted it but by looking at the pictures it looked gorgeous and delicious! *drooling* so I told myself I had to order a turducken for Christmas!
  • Step by Step instructions on how to make a turducken.
  • Pics and food review by a blogger.
I'm kind of nervous about how this whole dish gonna come out. Since my oven isn't working my big sister offered to cook it (she lives in NJ) and bring it over to the house (Brooklyn).
My concerns:
1) I'm afraid the turducken won't arrive on time. I read some reviews of ruined holiday dinners because it didn't come on time. I pray that won't happen to us.
2) I'm afraid my sister won't remember to take pics of the whole process of preparing the turducken, you guys know what a food porn freak I am-okay that didn't sound right at all! ahha but you know what I mean....I don't want to spend all this money and not take pics of it! yea, I'm crazy...
3) I'm afraid the turducken may be under or over cooked....
under= salmonella
over= dry meat
4) I'm afraid when transporting the turducken from NJ--> BK (a 1 1/2 or 2+ hours drive) the turducken will get cold and the meat may turn rubbery, yucky.....

So check back and see if my Christmas eve dinner was a successful one or not *crossing fingers**....stay warm!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mel's Thanksgiving '08: Part 3: The Tong's Thanksgiving Dinner

I usually like to plan my Thanksgiving diner menu a few weeks before hand, looking at recipes, trying to think of ways to change up my classic Thanksgiving dishes, grocery shopping for days (this year I went to supermarket 4 times just for this one dinner-I’m getting old I keep forgetting things), slaving over the oven and chopping all day and night. I love it! The best part is spending time w/ my family, eating food that we love and giving thanks...

Check out some of the food:

Let see the prepping of the dinner....
The 13lb turkey untouched and after marinating it. It's put into an oven bag to bake so it'll be very moist.

check out what ingredients we put on our turkey, this year we used mustard!
Cutting the potato into cubes for the potato salad:

Miki was up all night w/ me eating all the veggies! Miki likes healthy food!

Cutting three types of mushrooms: Shiitake, portobella, button mushroom for my mushroom pastry puff that I learned from Lilly's cooking session.

draining the can fruits and coconut gel over night for my jello dessert, i had to cut the jello in cubes (not shown here), it stained my hands!

cutting up the bread to make homemade stuffing from scratch! we stuffed it into the turket, it came out great!

Here's the finish products:

The turkey w/ stuffing! The skin got stuck onto the bag so it peeled off a bit when we were trying to open the bag. Stupid me I put honey on the skin in the beginning when I should've done that when the turkey was also done...

the stuffing inside, much turkey flavor

More stuffing my big sister made, we had a stuffing throwdown ahhaha...

Shepard's pie by big sister:

Oxtail soup by my big bro

My mushroom pastry puff...I didn't leave it in the oven long enough to get the crust golden brown, next time...

My saute string beans and squash:
My potato and shrimp salad, the shrimp came out perfect, secret is shock them in cold water right after boiling:

Mash yams w/ marsmellows by big sis:

Stuff mushrooms by big bro, these were so good! So far, it's one of the best stuff mushrooms I've ever had! I have to get this recipe.

Pasta w/ sausage by big bro:

My butternut squash w/ thyme and sage-It taste great but I hate cutting them, I think this will be the last time I cook butternut squash!

My corn casserole:

Andy's Ribs:

Dessert wine I brought from the chocolate show:

My neice's cheese cake. It was creamy and tasted like the ones from cheesecake factory. I must get this recipe!

My version of the Flipino fruit salad:

We ate alot that night, after my dinner I had to go to Andy's family dinner but I couldn't eat anything. Now time to plan for my Christmas dinner....What should I make? Any recommendation?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mel's Thanksgiving '08 Part II: Cecille's Potluck with Friends

Cecille has been talking about having a hangout/potluck for a long time and the perfect time to do it would def. be during Thanksgiving! A time when good friends getting together to eat and spending time together. Everyone was suppose to bring a homemade dish and I decided to make one of my favorite, corn casserole! I've been making this recipe for the past 3 Thanksgiving and everyone loves it!
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I use 3 cheese or taco cheese with seasoning-more favor)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I think it taste better without it)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies, drained (I don't like chilies so I don't put it into the mixture)
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn muffin mix (I use only 1/2 box, the first time I used 1 box it turned out to be like a corn bread instead of corn casserole)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, cream style corn, sour cream and melted butter. Stir in whole kernel corn, cheese, onion and chilies. Stir in the corn muffin mix until just moistened.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 75 minutes; or until an inserted knife comes out clean and the top is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Check out what we had that day! So much food:
Chicken wings by Maribeth
Bon Chon Chicken from Jenny (yes she made it! =P)
Some dish I wasn't sure who made it but everything was awesome!
My corn casserole and ratatouille.
Andy's Jamaican oxtail stew:

Khin's sausage meatloaf with mashed potato bite:
Khin's cheddar potato skins
Nadia's couscous salad
Deserts: Bread pudding, apple pie, tiramisu and chocolate moose cake:

Thanks Cecille for hosting this wonderful potluck and thanks to everyone who cooked or bought things to the party! We had so much fun! I can't wait for next year <3>

Mel's Thanksgiving '08 Part 1: Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and Cooking Session with Chef Lillian Bolton

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to gather those you love around you, family, and closest friends to celebrate life, love and to give thanks to what we have. And of course making a big Thanksgiving feast for those you love. It's all about the 3 F's in my life: family, friends and FOOD! It's one of my favorite and busiest holiday of the year! This year I went to 2 pre-Thanksgiving dinners (potluck/cookluck) and 2 Thanksgiving dinners which was on the same day! I was an non-stop eating machine!

This Thanksgiving post is going to be separated into 3 parts to this:
1) Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and Cooking Sessions w/ Chef Lillian Bolton
2) Cecille's Potluck with friends
3) The Tong's Thanksgiving Dinner and the Fung's After-dinner party
Part 1: Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and Cooking Session with Chef Lillian Bolton
This Thanksgiving dinner was celebrated with my high school buds (Jess and Lilly and our boys). This was the first time we ever did a Thanksgiving dinner even though we know each other for 10+ years. Okay, let's talk about my two best buds from HS and how I met them:

Jess: I met her in JHS. She was in my Spanish class during my senior year. The funny part was the first time I spoke to her was the last day of class. We signed each other yearbook and found out we were going to the same HS. We said our good byes/good luck and then saw each other again at HS orientation and the rest is history....

Lillian: She was also in my JHS but we weren't friends until we were in HS. I remember her from my JHS gym class, she was the type of chick who was really good in sports and everyone wanted her on their team. In HS, I met Lillian through Jess and all three of us became good friends, we were all in the same track and took classes together. We had so many good memories....

So how did this Pre-Thanksgiving/Cooking Session came about?
About a week ago, while I was trying to plan for my Thanksgiving dinner I asked Lilly for some easy recipe suggestions since she was the expert. We were back and forth with the emails for a few days with her giving me suggestions and me asking her lots of (dumb) cooking questions. The great friend she is, she asked me if I wanted her to actually do a test run and show me how to cook some of the dishes she recommend to me. Cooking lessons from a chef, oh hell yea! I jumped to the opportunity and emailed Jess to set up an pre-Thanksgiving dinner and cooking sessions at Lilly's house! We wanted to make alot but we had to cut down the menu and this was our final list:
Cauliflower bake
Butternut Squash Risotto
Mushroom and Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce
Saute Butternut Squash
Puff pastry wrapped mushrooms
Smashed potatoes with roasted garlic, onions and truffle oil
Turkey breast

The day of the dinner, the girls didn't have work so they went to the supermarket to buy the groceries. Andy and I went to Lilly's house after work and got there around 7:30. When I got there she put me to work right away..."yes, chef!!" We had to do alot of cutting, mixing, stirring, and sauteing.
Butternut Squash
It was my first time cooking w/ butternut squash and those babies were so hard to cut but Lilly made it look so easy like cutting a melon!

-alot of cutting and sauteed veggies: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red onions, tomatoes and finished with herbs, butter and with orange zest and reduced oj
-alot of work!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Things I learned:
-rozo is different from risotto (duh!)
-wait for the risotto to sound like it's popping then it's ready for the liquids
-must keep stirring!

Prepping the puff pastry wrapped mushrooms
-garlic, sage and thyme goes good w/veggies dishes

Cauliflower bake and the asparagus in the oven

Smashed potatoes with roasted garlic and onions
-truffle oils gives it a great savory taste

After a few hours of cooking we finally ate around 11pm. We were all tired, sweating and starving at this point. I can't believe we cooked all this food in a few hours. If I had to do this alone it would probably take me a whole day! The final products we were so very proud of:

Puff pastry wrapped mushrooms

Butternut Squash Risotto


Smashed potatoes with roasted garlic, onions and truffle oil

Saute Butternut Squash

Mushroom and Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce

Cauliflower bake

Turkey breast

Everything was SOOO good! Thanks to Lilly's supervision, everything turned out right or else we probably would've burn everything! Some of the dish was easy to make and some were pretty complicated and I probably won't attempt again. I actually made two of these dish for my Thanksgiving dinner which you probably see on Part 3. At the end, we were all so stuffed, we all ate a lot but there were still plenty of food left! Lilly made us take a lot of it home which lasted me a few days!

This is def. one of my most favorite Thanksgiving dinner. Special thank you to:
-Lilly for being a great friend, for hosting this dinner and teaching us how to cook, and putting up w/ my silliest =O
-Jess for being a great friend, for being a great sous chef to work with (haha), for cutting all the veggies and everything else!
-Brian for helping out with all the dishes and eating.
-Mo and Andy for being there to help us eat (ahha)

I'm so lucky and grateful to have such great friends that I can share this special holiday with..... BFF <3