Thanksgiving 2015

I have 6 years of Thanksgiving blogs on Unrivaledkitch, which to me, shows my commitment to being there for my family and I am truly grateful that I have been able to take on this tradition for the ones I love and to share these awesome moments with the people who mean so much to me. Thanksgiving, as I’ve said before, is one of my favorite meals to cook. This year I was pretty ahead of schedule with cooking and cleaning, so big thumbs up for me, because, of course, that can be a challenge with an overly ambitious menu. Our Thanksgiving meal has some staples that we always enjoy and then the rest is open to my interpretation, which is the fun part for me.

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Brandon joined us for Thanksgiving this year and I asked him to sit out for the cooking. He cooks all year long and sometimes someone else cooking for you is just the thing you need. I know, when I was cooking, that’s how I felt. My mom and grandma brought a bunch of snacks and sweets and we all made a beautiful meal together. I am so grateful for my family and all the sacrifices and success we have had, and to our extended family, friends and beyond, we hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love! And here is what we ended up with this year:

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Menu
Brined Turkey with Roasted Aromatics, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Hassleback Red Rose Potatoes
Bacon, Leeks, Sausage and Roasted Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Zucchini, Celery, Scallions and Black Olive Stuffing   
Roasted Cream Corn with Turmeric and Bacon
Creamed Spinach, Broccoli and Green Beans
Roasted Yams with Brown Sugar, Marshmallows and Cinnamon
Sweet Potato Casserole with Agave, Granola, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice Marshmallows
Pomegranate & Guava Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Steamed Corn
Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
Honey Baked Ham
Bachan Jello
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Rice Krispies Treats
Spinach Dip
Pimento Cheese
Deviled Eggs
Cheers,
Unrivaledkitch

Summer Time Birthday Celebrations and Mammoth

 

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It’s September. I can hardly believe it. August was so amazingly wonderful, full of gratitude, celebration, family and friends—I miss it already. I was able to go on eight weeks of outdoor hikes with my dad, a family vacation to Mammoth Lakes and to really jumpstart my kids’ yoga business, Little Heroes Yoga, as well as participate in an amazing business course about kids’ yoga called TBoKY The Biz of Kids Yoga by Jodi Komitor. I’m so grateful to have had a wonderful summer, probably one of the best ones of my life. And I’m equally grateful to have a really fantastic fall full of kids’ yoga fun lined up.

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But I wanted to highlight some of the amazing food adventures that I had in August. First of the series will be Amaya and Grandma’s birthday celebration dinner in Mammoth. I spent a total of seven beautiful days in the Eastern Sierras this year. I could have stayed for an entire month, but that’s another story. I truly am home when I go to Mammoth; the fresh air, beautiful scenery and just slowed-down pace of everything, makes it the perfect vacation for me. I’ve been going to Mammoth for my whole life and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
It’s so great to see the next generation of little fisherwomen come up to the Sierras with us. We really caught a ton of fish this year. I caught two pretty good sized ones and a bunch of little ones the whole time we were there. We went to a couple of new lakes: Little Virginia and Big Virginia and Upper and Lower Twin in Bridgeport, and even saw a quick hail storm.
Now, back to Amaya and Grandma’s birthday dinner. Well, the two of them have back to back birthdays and kick off our month of celebration. My sister said she’ll never have to get my mom another birthday present, mom’s present just came a day late. My mom’s birthday is August 14th and Amaya, my youngest niece, was born August 15th. My sister, brother-in-law, Maleeya and Amaya came up to Mammoth to celebrate my mom’s birthday and Amaya’s first birthday, which made it extra special for my mom and dad.

 

We had an amazing time celebrating. I barbequed for Amaya’s birthday and we all enjoyed this fun home-cooked meal.

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BBQ Tri Tip

Boiled Fingerling Potatoes

Chopped Salad

Grilled Nectarines

Baked Beans

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Birthday cake and big smiles all around. Thank you for sharing with us.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

El Patron Reseda, CA

 

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We had multiple Father’s Day celebrations for my dad this year. I’ve been working quite a bit, so we braved the restaurant scene that weekend so we would have more time to be with family instead of cooking and cleaning. My dad is such a special person that we can’t help but celebrate him often. So amongst our other Father’s Day celebrations, I got to spend a little time with my parents and grandma at El Patron restaurant in Reseda, CA.  Being in the valley, I’d say we have a great selection of Mexican food choices and El Patron is one of them.

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Our service was very good from beginning to end; our waiter was engaged and very friendly.  As we looked over the extensive menu, I was impressed to see new and different items on the menu that aren’t traditionally on Mexican menus. They have many vegetarian options for people with dietary restrictions and a kids’ menu as well. The atmosphere is family-friendly, but they have a large patio and bar for the adults.

When we finally figured out what we were going to order—after talking and splitting a pitcher of margaritas—we decided on the Molcajete Cielo, Mar y Tierra (sky, sea and land), which is a large mortar with slow simmered sauce with cactus, tomatoes, shrimp, chicken and steak with cheese and fresh tortillas. The dish served two people, but maybe even could have served three. My mom and I really enjoyed the delicious molcajete, which was easily the highlight of our dinner. The portion and ratio of meat and shrimp was impressive, having served a very ample portion of each protein. My dad ordered fish tacos, which had a really nice piece of fried fish in each one, but they weren’t the greatest fish tacos we’d ever had. My grandma had the chile relleno and carne asada taco combination. The chile relleno was better than I’ve had in a long time; the egg was fried perfectly and the pepper wasn’t too spicy. All of the entrees were served with beans and rice as well as a sweet corn cake.

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We had a fantastic meal together celebrating not only my dad for Father’s Day, but also having one last celebration for my grandma’s 80th birthday. I‘m so grateful for my amazing family and all the time I get to spend with them is so precious. I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating their dads. 


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Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

 

 

Granny’s 80th Birthday Celebration and Catering

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My grandma is a very special woman. She’s such a loving, kind, strong and wonderful person and we were very happy to host her 80th birthday celebration for all of her friends and family. Granny has always been the talk of the town and never met someone she couldn’t charm or take a photograph of. Her personality is best displayed when she played Choco, the adorable little bear mascot for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Her dancing and friendly waves along with blowing kisses to all the children, led her to be requested put on the suit well into her late 70s.

My sister, my brother and I spent countless hours with grandma when we were little. We’d get picked up and taken all the way out to Huntington Beach to stay with grandma for the weekend; some of my fondest memories as a little kid are feeding the ducks at the park, eating toast and tea for breakfast and having French bread and string cheese for snacks. I associate a lot of joyful activities with food as you can see. Grandma was never short on hugs and kisses or presents and spoiling and she’s passed down the fun to my little niece Maleeya. Grandma has the biggest heart and the attitude of someone half her age. Believe it or not, she still cruises out to Vegas in her Corolla on a whim and vacations whenever she can, all between traveling back and forth to come to visit all of us (over 100 miles away roundtrip).

Brandon and I put on a very special catering for all the guests and we were very happy with the outcome. Brandon was in charge of pastries and I helped him assemble some of them, while I took on the savory options, which he lent a big hand in helping with as well. My mom was assigned the snacks department and made our family’s favorite macaroni and potato salad, homemade beans for the chili and mini lemon cupcakes. My sister made the beautiful flower arrangements, all the gorgeous decorations and photo collages. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and everyone else helped out so much to make this a beautiful, delicious, smooth event for everyone involved. I’m so glad I have this amazing family to call my own. I want to thank everyone who came, who helped, and who made this amazing event happen.
Happy 80th Birthday, Granny! We all love you so much!
Ruthie’s 80th Birthday Party Menu

Appetizers
Fruit Platter
Vegetable Platter
Chips and Dip

Salads
Macaroni Salad
Potato Salad
Baby Mixed Greens with Shredded Cucumber, Mozzarella Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions and Blue Cheese Dressing

Entrées: Served Family-Style
Roasted Pulled Pork
Country Spiced Fried Chicken
Homemade Chili Beans

Sides
Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Gravy
Peanut Coleslaw with Red and Green Cabbage, Shredded Carrots, Green Onions and Asian Dressing
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Honey Glaze and Marshmallows

Bread Basket
Corn Bread Muffins
Rolls

Dessert Bar
Lemon Meringue Pie
Banana Cream Pudding
Lemon Cupcakes
Cream Puffs

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unrivaledkitch

Thanksgiving 2012

I’m so grateful that my family was all able to be together for Thanksgiving. I’m amazed by how much love and gratitude we have for each other. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, of course. There’s nothing better than bringing people you love together over a huge meal. I was very fortunate to have Brandon with me to help with the Thanksgiving traditions and not to mention my craziness in the kitchen. We all pitched in to make a great day for everyone—I think Maleeya really enjoyed herself. I’m still in a food coma after all the cooking and eating. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving with some very special people. Enjoy the holiday weekend with lots to be thankful for all holiday season long.

 

My dad and mom brought:

Spinach dip, pimento cheese dip and ranch dip with crackers, sliced baguette and crudités (raw mixed veggies)

Two-layer Jello

Honey baked ham

Green bean casserole

 

Menu

Fresh Citrus and Herb Sweet-Brined Turkey with Roasted Zucchini, Black Olive and Scallion Stuffing

Turkey Breast Stuffed with Sausage and Mirepoix Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes with Irish Butter

Roasted Fall Aromatic Turkey Gravy

Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kabocha Mash

Candied Yams with Homemade Roasted Marshmallows

Roasted Haricot Verts

Herb Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Red Potatoes

Cranberry Relish

Cheddar Cheese, Mozzarella and Smoked Paprika Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Marinated Vegetables and Buffalo Mozzarella

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Zucchini Gratin with Spicy Sausage and Pancetta

Creamed Corn with Red Onions, Chives and Turmeric

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Crispy Pancetta

 

 

Mammoth Lakes 2012

Mammoth Lakes is a place I never tire from visiting. Throughout my life the anticipation of returning to this majestic platform of nature’s daily miracle always carries me through to another year. For as long as I can remember, my dad has visited Mammoth at least once or twice each year. Mammoth Mountain is located in the Eastern Sierras of California, just outside of Bishop and towers at an astounding 11,060 feet above sea level. This mountain is known mostly for its snow sports and winter wonderland activities, but our family has been enjoying the wonders of summer in the wilderness for many years. We don’t camp—we stay in a condo with full amenities including pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, ping pong table, and pool table, so it’s definitely not wilderness all the time.

Lake Mary with View of Mammoth Mountain

 Twin Lakes from above

Twin Lakes from Below

Convict Lake

I’ve always enjoyed fishing. Though I might not be the greatest fisherwoman, I can still show up, cast out and catch some fish, which is what we often do while we are in Mammoth. Aside from this large mountain that most people know about, Mammoth is situated amongst many lakes, ample hiking trails, bike paths and so much scenery that your eyes are sure to find something new each trip.  I never tire of the beauty that unfolds in this stunning place. This year we were caught in a couple of strange thunderstorms, which made for some of the most breath taking and fierce sights I’ve seen in a long time. The claps of thunder and the swells of rain were something we’ve rarely experienced on our trips in the summer and though it may have taken us off the lake and away from the fish, it gave us some much needed relaxation and togetherness.

Lake Mamie

Lake George

I’m so grateful to all my family for being able to show up and be together, even as we grow older and time is scarce. It’s nice to know that we can still come together and remember what it was like to be little kids fishing together and joking around. We are also introducing the next generation of fishing fanatics to the sierras; my niece Maleeya was out around the lakes exploring with fresh eyes and that’s always a beautiful thing to see.  So between fishing with mom and dad, exploring with Granny, Maleeya, my sister, and my brother-in-law, as  well as hiking to unknown waterfall territories with my brother and sister-in-law (check out her blog at fabliss.wordpress.com for her awesome Mammoth pictures and food photographs), we ate delicious food, enjoyed each other’s company, caught our limit of fish, and had a wonderful time in the mountains.

Sunscreen and set up key to a successful day of fishing

While we were there, I enjoyed packing sandwiches and making dinners and breakfasts for everyone, but we also stopped into our usual places, which are written about in these entries from last year.

On our trip this year we were able to stop by Mammoth Brewing Company: a crowded and vivacious place where people were standing in lines to get a tasting of what they had to offer. The set-up is really quite interesting and I’ve never been to another place quiet like it. The outside looks like a warehouse—you have to keep your eyes out for the place, but most likely there will be people outside.   My sister-in-law, brother, grandma, dad and I all went in for a beer tasting, which was definitely a deal. For $4 you can sample nine beers. They range from all different types of beers (light to dark) and finish with a house-made root beer. If you can make your way up to the bar, you’re greeted by very kind bartenders and can start your tasting. Overall, I really enjoyed the IPA 395, which everyone else thought was pretty rough, but I loved the earthiness of the beer and you could really taste the sage and juniper. So as we sampled we had a lot to choose from, but for the five of us to enjoy an hour of fun for only $20, this was a bargain for Mammoth. You can also purchase growlers and kegs, as well as take home bottles of your favorite beers. I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you’re up there, just don’t be in a hurry and relax.






Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

New Year’s Day OShogatsu and Osechi-ryōri

New Year’s day is one of my favorite days of the year  because it’s time for family and friends, new beginnings, reflections and always tons of food. Last year I went over the traditions behind everything (if you want a bit more information, check out this post) and this is the 2012 version of the feast. I prepped, cooked and then packed everything up and took it to Pasadena to surprise my Bachan. It was a really amazing experience. Bachan never expects it; however, the perfect smile and delight that I could tell she felt from knowing I made all these things, from the memories that we shared together when I was little, was worth the all work.
I’m ready to get back into my kitchen and start the overhaul, work through new ideas, and make new memories. It’s been a phenomenal, exciting, and definitely very busy holiday season and I have so much to look forward to in January and throughout the new year. I hope 2012 is off to the start you wanted it to be. But if it’s not, just remember that every day can be a new start. Cheers!
Here’s the Menu
Kagami Mochi
Manju (Japanese sticky rice confection)
Ozoni (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shitaki mushroom, Imo (taro root), Renkon (lotus root),  and Mochi in seasoned homemade Dashi)
Ponzu and Ginger Salmon Yaki (skewered salmon)
Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (my mom’s contribution)
Char Siu Style Sliced Pork
California Roll
Inari
Spicy Salmon, Cucumber and Avocado Roll
Salmon Sashimi with Cucumber and Takuan
Jūbako (tiered decorative Japanese boxes) filled with the following:
Sake, Honey, and Lemon Poached Jumbo Shrimp
Takuan (yellow pickled dikon)
Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)
Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Carrots and Gobo (Burdock root)
Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)
Roasted Kabocha (Japanese squash)
Jūbako boxes filled with varying Japanese vegetables:
5-sided carrot, 5-sided daikon, kombu (rolled seaweed), shitake mushrooms, satoimo(taro root), renkon (lotus root)
-Unrivaledkitch

Christmas Tamales and Morning Traditions

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. This whole holiday season has been the most amazing, honest experience I’ve had in a long time. I love Christmas! It truly does bring out the best (and the worst) in people, but I think that it’s not necessarily Christmas that brings about the worst, it’s our misunderstanding of what is really important: togetherness, happiness, tenderness, contentment and compassion. I hope you carry these things with you always, through theses sometimes strenuous times, and into the new beautiful year of 2012.

This year I decided to offer my “tamale services” to my friends and family. I was both lucky and fortunate to share these amazing tasty morsels with others this year. It’s a new tradition that I decided to take on because the prices, quality and distance I had to travel to buy decent tamales, seemed to not be worth the hassle in the last couple of years. I love being able to decide what to put in  my tamales, from the beautiful homemade sauces: slowly simmered broths from roasted bones, vegetables and lots of toasted coriander and cumin, to the freshly braised varieties of meats, roasted chilies and luscious cheese, which all combine to make the perfect melding of flavor and freshness.  This year I exceeded my previous year’s number by over 100, making around 250 tamales of several varieties for friends and family. It was one of those things where I was able to create without recipes, but with just feelings and intuition: my favorite type of cooking.
Here’s a little photo journey of my cooking adventure.

I also made traditional pozole (you can find that recipe here) for my family for Christmas morning and tested out a new idea for menudo; both were a smashing success.  I want to thank my sister and brother-in-law for allowing me to proceed with my madness in our home through all hours of the night and my little niece for bringing a smile to my face even when I was thinking at 4:00 a.m., “What did I get myself into?” But it was all worth it! I hope you put some of your favorite traditions on the plates of your loved ones this joyous season.
Happy holidays to you and yours and a wonderful 2012!
Love Kimberly
Cheer
-Unrivaledkitch

Little Brother’s Big 25 and Recipe for Pork Chop “Saltimbocca”

As time goes by, it seems that things change and we get lost in the adult whirl wind of life. Though I don’t believe I’m truly an adult at heart, the time has come to come to grip with the fact that I’m not a kid anymore either. I’ll always find humor in being young forever; the people around me of all ages are so young at heart that I could never age myself by dwelling on a number. Seeing as my great-grandma is 97 years old, she’s proof that there’s still so much life to live and no number is going to change that.  My brother is now 25, which is insane. He’s accomplished so much for being 25, I’m proud of him every day.
Me, Kyle in the red and my sister Kristen behind
Kyle, Kristen, and Me
I always picture us so young, but we aren’t and that’s okay too. We’ll always be running around making fun of each other, punching and talking trash to one another, no matter how old we are. I’m so glad to have such an amazing family.
Happy birthday, I love you little brother.
So for Kyle’s birthday I made dinner for our family and his wife’s family as well. There were 11 of us at the table, enjoying each other’s company and the food that was made. I fashioned this menu from some things that came to mind while utilizing my limited refrigerator space after Thanksgiving and refashioning some left over at that.
Menu
Balsamic, Honey, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Cucumber, Tomato, Mozzarella and Red Onions
Caprese Salad with Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken Marsala with Roasted Baby Bellas, Shitake Mushrooms and Steak Button Mushrooms
Center-cut Pork Chop “Saltimbocca” with Crispy Sage,  Prosciutto di Parma, and Bruleed Mozzarella Cheese with Champagne Sage Beurre Blanc
Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes
Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Banana Peppers
Tri-Colored Rotini Pasta with Parmesan Cream Sauce, Roasted Green Beans and Honey Baked Ham
Saltimbocca which translates in Italian to Jumps in mouth, can be prepared in a variety of ways, and originates from different places in the world. Traditionally it is a Roman, Italian dish, which includes veal, sage and prosciutto that is rolled and cooked in a sweet butter wine sauce.  This recipe isn’t traditional, but a bit of a spin on what I know to be saltimbocca. I love the use of pork chops in this dish because it’s an elegant way to make an affordable delicious meal, since veal can be costly. So the next time you have pork chops and want to try something new, think about this.
Center-cut Pork Chop “Saltimbocca” with Crispy Sage,  Prosciutto di Parma, and Bruleed Mozzarella Cheese with Champagne Sage Beurre Blanc
15 sage leaves
4 tablespoons butter
5 center cut (½ inch to ¾ inch) pork chops
5 slices Parma prosciutto
5 slices whole milk mozzarella
1 cup  dry white wine or brute champagne (I used left over from the past evenings festivities)
1/2 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Garlic power
¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Season pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.
Place in the bottom of large sauté pan, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Heat until sizzling.
Add sage leaves to hot oil mixture and fry until lightly crisp, about 5 minutes (careful not to burn). Then remove from oil and set aside.
Add one more tablespoon of butter to pan and heat until melted.
Then add prepared pork chops.
Depending on thickness, cook on each side about 3 minutes or until golden on each side.
Place in baking dish and add two leaves of sage to each pieces of pork, one slice of prosuitto, and top with one slice of mozzarella.
Sauce
Add remainder of butter, lemon juice and wine to pan and reduce by half on medium heat about 5-7 minutes.
Then add stock to pan as well and reduce for an additional 5 minutes.
To finish, add cream to sauce until thickened and the sauce comes together loosely.
Taste for seasoning
Add ½ of the sauce to the bottom of the baking pan with the pork.
Finish pork chops off in 400 degree oven for 6-7 minutes, but depending on the size of chops. You can use a meat thermometer to make sure it reads 150 degrees in the center of the chop.
Lastly, place pork chops in the broiler to brulee cheese to a golden brown.
Place on platter to rest 5 minutes.
Heat sauce and ladle over top of chops, adding extra sage for garnish.
Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite vegetables.
Enjoy
Cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

What We Ate on Thanksgiving

Here we are, giving thanks for this extreme bounty of food and great times. I’m so lucky to have so much love in my heart. This is the menu I prepared for Thanksgiving day. I hope you enjoy the photos and had a magnificent feast yourselves.

Seasons Greetings :)




Menu prepared by yours truly

Roasted lemon and herb sweet brine turkey
Roasted zucchini, scallion and olive pork stuffing
Braised sausage with red Swiss chard and kale potato gratin
Roasted asparagus with garlic, red pepper flakes and crispy pancetta
Green bean casserole with soaked “buttermilk” fried onion strings
Beef and tart apple dressing with roasted carrot shreds
Homemade cranberry jelly
Roasted shallot cream corn
Bacon and gorgonzola shrimp
Mashed potatoes
Fall aromatics and roasted giblet gravy
Garlic bread sticks
Basil, spinach and green olive tapenade
Arugula and spinach salad with roasted spicy baby bellas, feta cheese, tomatoes and avocado in honey balsamic dressing
Brown sugar and marshmallow candied yams

Additions brought by family members and friends included dips, snacks, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, carrot cupcakes and ham. Some of my dishes weren’t photographed.

Over indulgence to the max. I could probably do with running a hundred miles, but I won’t.

Time to finish my menu for my brother’s 25th birthday party. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend.

Cheers-

Unrivaledkitch