Christmas is for family traditions.

 



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It wouldn’t be Christmas without a massive cooking extravaganza and that’s just what it was this holiday season. I was able to have time time off from teaching to just work on tamales and pozole and hang out with my family and enjoy every minute of my time with them. I truly cherish these memories with all my loved ones and the time I was able to spend with my nieces as they enjoyed our holiday traditions. It’s completely amazing. Holidays can be a bustling time of the year, but I truly stayed present to the fun, giving, loving, community-inspired essence of the holidays that I absolutely love so much.

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I have been making tamales every year since 2008. It’s a nice way for me to work on some of the bits and pieces of my recipes and come out with a really solid tamale that my family and friends love. This year I got a beautiful new mixer from Brandon, which helped tremendously because my old one was completely worn out.  My mom had a chance to put some together herself this year and I can say that I’m pretty quick when it comes to assembly. The stocks, braising meat, making the salsa, rehydrating chiles, roasting chiles and tomatillos and everything else that goes into tamales is a labor of love. So when you taste a really good tamale, remember that it probably wasn’t fast food and take some time to truly enjoy it.

 

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We went to visit my great-aunts and great-uncles at my grandma’s childhood home. Of course, I couldn’t go there empty handed, so this year I brought them a pot of my pozole. I have to admit, the pozole was rather delicious this year, with just the right amount of spice. pozole is another recipe that is a labor of patience and practice. But soup is a soul food and it truly is a nourishing dish. There is nothing like a hot bowl of pozole with all the right toppings on Christmas morning.

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I hope whatever traditions you and your family and friends have, they are something to keep passing down to the people you love and sharing the things that make you happy, grateful and inspired. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year! Stay tuned for my Japanese New Year annual Oshogatsu post of osechi ryori.

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivaledkitch

 

Baby Sister’s Baby Sprinkle!

My sister and brother-in-law are having another baby girl! News to some, but not to others and low and behold she’ll be joining us maybe this month. My sister’s due date is August 27th and secretly, I think my sister is going to try and hold out til September 1st, because we already have so many August birthdays. I don’t really think that I, my mom and my dad would mind sharing our birthday month with baby sister…well, not too much! But whenever she gets here, she’ll be greeted with the most love and anticipation. Last weekend we had a small last-minute gathering in Huntington Beach, about 50 miles away from where we live, but cooler (which is a must for a pregnant woman) and also where my grandma lives. Seeing as the valley can get temperatures over 100 degrees, I don’t think my sister wanted to risk having the sprinkle out here.

I’m so grateful to my mom, dad and grandma for helping me put this little event together to share our love and celebrate our soon to be newest member of the family. I’m a second born daughter, so I know what it’s like to be a baby sister and I’m so excited for her to come out and drive us all crazy! I cooked for the event and we had a Pan-Asian inspired Hawaiian-themed little Luau for baby sister. Thanks to everyone who made this day special, stress-free and all about my little niece number two.  Maleeya is going to be such an amazing big sister I can’t wait to see how they get along. If it’s anything like me and my sister, they’ll love each other and sometimes want to kill each other at the same time–the way all sisterly relationships should be. I love my sister so much and I’m so glad that my nieces will be able to have the kind of relationship, friendship, and love that we have for each other.

Menu

Coconut Cilantro Green Curry with Button Mushroom, Bean Sprouts and Potatoes

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Braised Pineapple Soy Sauce Chicken Legs

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Spam Musubi

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Chicken Katsu with Japanese Curry

074

Beef Teriyaki with Ginger and Garlic

Pickled Cucumbers071

Tangerine, Mirin and Dijon Skewered Vegetables

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Assorted Fruit and Macaroni Potato Salad

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Veggie Fried Rice with Snap Peas

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Chinese Chicken Salad with Crispy Wontons, Red Peppers, Scallions and Mandarin Oranges

004 069   072    077 082 083Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch