Christmas Tamales and Holiday Pozole 2016

That’s the way the holiday starts!

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Another year of Tamales and Pozole. I am so grateful that I could continue to share these amazing little delicious packages of yumminess with my family. It’s pretty amazing how many tamales I made and always make but when you go through the work of making stocks, sauces, braising meats, roasting veggies and getting everything done you can’t just make 12 tamales. So we ate Tamales and Pozole for a long time and enjoyed them I have some in the freezer for later which is nice too.
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This year I made

Beef with red and green chili

Carnitas with Red and green chili

Green chili and cheese

Green chili and chicken

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Pork Pozole

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We also had carnitas street tacos with fresh tortillas because if you have everything out already why not.

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Sauces came out great and I was really happy with everything. Family enjoyed the fruits of tamale labor and we had a fantastic Christmas. I know that it seems like awhile ago but I truly loved every moment of the holiday season and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017.

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-Unrivaledkitch

Maleeya’s Minnierella 4th Birthday

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I can’t believe that Maleeya is already 4-years-old. It’s almost a month later and I’ve been slacking on my food blogging, but this was a very special birthday party catering and since I’ve blogged about each of her birthdays, I can’t stop at 3. So here is the 4th edition.

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This year Maleeya had a Minnierella (Minnie Mouse as Cinderella) themed princess birthday party for her friends at our house. My mom made Maleeya’s beautiful pink dress for her Minnierella costume and my sister decorated the house. Everyone enjoyed playing games, catching up, delicious food and togetherness and I don’t think we’ve ever had so many people in our house at one time, which was really fun. We had a special feast of Maleeya’s favorite foods for her party. I asked Maleeya what she wanted to serve at her birthday party and her list was as follows: latkes, fruit, veggies, salad, chicken, strawberries and cake. So with those directions in mind, as well as some special Vegan and Gluten Free requests, I came up with this menu and we had a blast.

 

Menu

 

Fruit Tower and Melon and Grape Platter

Fresh Vegetable Tray

Sweet Sesame Chicken Skewers

Turkey Meatballs

7-Layer Bean Dip

Pico de Gallo

Grilled Sweet Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Italian Pasta Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Bread Basket

Latkes

Grilled Vegetables and Tofu

Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate this very special little lady, or as she liked to be known that day, Minnierella. Happy fourth year of fun, love and excitement, Mighty Maleeya!

 

Cheers,

Unrivaledkitch

New Year’s Day Oshogatsu Osechi Ryori 2015

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Happy New Year! Already 12 days in and I’m still feeling the freshness of the new year and all that it has in store for us. 2014 was a great year, lots of amazing opportunities and growth that I look forward to carrying over into 2015. The year began as it should, and has for the last 5 or more years, with Osechi Ryori in my family’s traditional and not too traditional Japanese-style. For us, this is a gathering of love, health, togetherness and family and I hope to always be able to share this time with my family and friends.

 

The start of the year is a great time for new beginnings, but we can also be reminded that each moment holds a new beginning for all of us, if we so choose to take it. I wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2015! Here are the dishes I prepared for New Year’s Day Oshogatsu and Osechi Ryori.

 

Here are 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014

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Menu

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Japanese Korokke

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings

Tuna Sashimi

Umeboshi

Tsukemono

Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello

Inari

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)

Ozoni (New Year Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

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I’m always so excited and happy to be able to prepare this beautiful meal for my family. Though it changes a bit each year, the tradition still lies in the togetherness we share with our family and the traditions we pass down to my nieces.

 

Love, Peace and Gratitude.

 

Cheers!

 

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Amaya’s First Birthday Party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym For All Kids

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A first birthday in my family is nothing to be trifled with. For Amaya’s big day, we had to do something that would keep everyone relatively cool, since August in the San Fernando Valley can get up to 100 degrees or higher. My family has taken Maleeya and Amaya to this amazing play space for a little while now, it’s called We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and they have so many fun things to play with that allow children of all abilities to come together and be in a very safe and loving super fun space. So my sister decided that we would have Amaya’s Snow White inspired First Birthday at We Rock the Spectrum.
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The decorations were beautiful and the atmosphere was so fun. Between food, jumping on trampolines, zip lining and swinging, the kids enjoyed cake and sang happy birthday to my sweet little leo for her big party. I took some time to make a few apple inspired desserts: little Rice Krispies red apples with graham cracker stems and little green leaves and of course, red candied apples as well as a few caramel ones too. The food was inspired by kids’ favorites so it naturally lent way to finger foods.
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Everyone enjoyed themselves on this beautiful day celebrating this lovely little lady who I can’t believe is already one-year-old! Happy Birthday Amaya, Auntie loves you! I’m so glad I could be with you on your special day.
 
Menu
 
Hot Dog Cornbread Muffins with
 
Turkey Dog Croissants
 
7 Dwarf Layered Bean Dip
 
Fruit Platter and Veggie Platter with Purple Basil
 
Spinach Pinwheels with Hummus and Mortadella
 
Turkey Pinwheels with Cheese
 
Ham Pinwheels with Hummus
 
Mac n Cheese Bites
 
Mac n Cheese with Peas and Carrots  
 
Rice Krispies Treats Red Apples with Graham Cracker Stems
 
Red Candied Apples
 
Caramel Apples

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cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Thanksgiving 2013

 

After a week of working hard, teaching yoga and witnessing the effects of the holidays on children in my classes, it was really interesting to see the shift in their attention and mood, as well as in their parents’ or caretaker’s moods. When the holidays come up, energy is either very low or extremely high and temperament can be extremely unpredictable. It’s been a good beginning of the holiday season, as I remember to carry a heightened sense of awareness, a commitment to staying with change and constantly reminding myself to embrace the present moment in my teaching, practice, and life.

 

I am so grateful that I was able to take time to cook a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Sometimes we don’t really get to all spend very much time together but it’s always nice to share the holidays with my family because they mean so much to me. I took on the cooking. We had our traditional spread of dishes and mom and dad took care of some of the other big items so my oven didn’t have too much wait time between sides. Granny, Maleeya and my sister did an amazing job with decorations and clean up. It’s always a team effort with everyone and I’m so grateful for my awesome family. My brother and sister-in-law brought a delicious pumpkin pie for all of us to share.

My kitchen is a place for me to be completely in tune with what ingredients, ideas and delicious dishes that are produced and I love that. Though I’m not cooking as much as I used to, Thanksgiving was a nice reminder of what I can still do in there. Dinner was ready in no time at all and all of us were able to sit down and eat without too much excess running around. It was Amaya’s first Thanksgiving and Maleeya had a great time feasting on pumpkin pie and everything else we normally save for special occasions. It’s so wonderful to have my little nieces here with us to celebrate our family traditions and make new ones for them to share in.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with their families and friends. I am so grateful for everyone that has shared their time and love with me on Thanksgiving and to all of you! May the season of gratitude carry you into the rest of the holiday season and throughout the New Year!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Menu

Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Herbs

Granny’s Stuffing

Roasted Zucchini and Cauliflower Gratin

Roasted Asparagus

Sausage and Spinach Sautéed Kale

Candied Spiced Yams with Roasted Marshmallows

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Roasted Apple, Pineapple and Golden Raisin Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Candied Yam Bread Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream

Mom and Dad’s Contributions

Honey Ham

Green Bean Casserole

Pumpkin Muffins

Bachan Jello

Spinach Dip

Granny’s Deviled Eggs

Auntie Linh and Uncle Kyle’s Homemade Pumpkin Pie

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-Unrivaledkitch

Because I like to cook and eat my own food… My Birthday Dinner and My New Niece Amaya

 

My 28th year is here and I believe it will be (and has been) one of the best years of my life. I’ve undergone and am still undergoing a great transformation in my life—learning so much about myself, my relationships with others, my yoga practice, my cooking, and overall my whole life and I’m so grateful for this beautiful chance to be myself.  My birthday was on August 20th and it was a beautiful day filled with yoga. Teaching seniors, kids and practicing yoga with incarcerated youth really puts life into perspective. I’m so amazed by the people in my life, especially my yoga students who are more like my teachers than my students because they always show me something new, sometimes challenging, and exciting about life.

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I’m so lucky to have my whole family be so close to me and so supportive of my choices in life— I know a lot of people may not be so lucky. My sister and niece made me a gorgeous card, breakfast and lunch, and hung balloons from the ceiling for a most festive atmosphere. My mom and dad bought me the most heartfelt card and some awesome new yoga clothes, seeing as I can never get enough of those. My brother and sister-in-law sent me the funniest card and sweet gift. But I’d have to say my brother-in-law and sister gave me and our family one of the most precious gifts of all: my new niece, Amaya Sayuri, who was born on 8/15, just one day after my mom’s birthday. Both my grandmas sent me wonderful cards with lovely messages of love. More than anything, I’ve felt the most love in my life and it feels really amazing to be able to share that love with everyone.

 

Brandon never fails to impress me with how amazingly well he knows my taste. He made the most gorgeous farmers’ market basket for me with all types of delicious fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and a beautiful big bouquet of lilies that just blew me away. Also, a really great planner to keep me organized in all my endeavors and such a sincerely thoughtful card. With everything he has to do, all the hard work he puts in every day at his demanding job, he makes me feel special in a way no one else ever has and I love him so much for it.

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What I wanted for my birthday is what I always want—to be around the people I love and share food with them—and that’s just what we did. Brandon and I made a delicious meal for my family using my favorite white platters, large serving bowls and fancy family-style plating for all of us to enjoy the delicious items that Brandon bought at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market.  My family jokes that I always want to cook for my own birthday, but like I always tell my sister, “I enjoy making and eating my own food” and if Brandon helps me, it’s even better. My brother bought me an ice cream cake and Maleeya sang me happy birthday about 20 times.  I’m so glad we could all celebrate together, be together and see our family grow and expand our love to our new little addition.

 

 

 

Menu

 

Roasted Mushroom Marsala Cream Grilled Pork Chops

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Herb Grilled New York Steaks

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Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad with Mozzarella, Cucumbers, Basil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Grilled Purple Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Olive Oil

 

Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Italian Sausage

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Steamed Broccoli and Peas

Roasted Squash and Heirloom Purple Bell Peppers

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Sesame Cider Coleslaw with Scallions and Fresh Peas

 

Herb Focaccia

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who journeyed with us on this very special day in my life and welcome beautiful little Amaya.





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Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

 

 

Maleeya’s 2nd Birthday

My niece just recently turned two on Monday, April 8th. I can’t believe she’s already two! It really goes by fast and I know that’s a very cliché thing to say, but it does. It feels like just yesterday that my sister told me she was having a baby and now Maleeya is just so adventurous, ambitious and remarkable. She truly is an amazing little girl and I feel so fortunate to be able to see her every day and watch her little spirit grow.

Happy Birthday, Monkey! Auntie loves you very much.

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So for Maleeya’s birthday we had everyone over to Encino Park for some food, of course, and lots of other fun things for the kids and plenty of catching up for the adults. Some of my sister’s friends brought their little children and we were able to get a little kids yoga session to happen while the adults watched. I’m so grateful to the little ones who decided to participate, even with everyone watching. It’s amazing how fearless young children are. So we had yoga, party favors, a huge Minnie Mouse piñata, cake and lots of food.

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The menu this year was more manageable with my current work load and shortage of time, but still delicious and fun. I’m so glad I got to cook for over 50 of our closest family and friends. I’m so grateful for all the support everyone has shown me through my yoga and my cooking. I’m truly living a dream I could only have actualized with all of your help. Thank you!

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Menu

Homemade Balsamic Cumin Barbeque Sauce Chicken

Rainbow Pasta Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Italian Herbs, Black Olives, Broccoli, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

Cobb Salad with Hard boiled Egg, Crispy Bacon, Roasted Garlic Turkey, Tomatoes, Avocado and Blue Cheese over Baby Mixed Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetable Platter

Fruit Platters

My mom prepared our grandma’s special macaroni salad and potato salad, as well as Bachan’s triple-layered Jell-O, which are all family traditions at any event. My boyfriend made delicious pork sliders with jalapeno coleslaw—needless to say, everyone loved them.

We had such a great time celebrating my beautiful niece, Maleeya! I can’t wait for next year. :)

These gorgeous photos are courtesy of the wonderful and talented Lyz Cooper, Brandon’s mom is an amazing photographer! Thanks Lyz for capturing such special memories for out family.

cheers

-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

 

 

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

Shaved Pattypan and Crimini Mushroom Salad

 

Sometimes we think of salads as those boring dishes that are on the table just because people should eat their greens. I have a blatant fondness of salads, but also a sheer disgust of them, because if I had to eat salad every day (like I used to when I was trying to be way too skinny or when I was too lazy to cook something), I’d probably not want to eat them anymore either. I like the versatility of pasta salads, potato salads, vegetable salads, etc. People tend to get locked up in ideas of lettuce and dressing, so I say to you all: give up the mixed greens and take the plunge of eating salads that make you happy and change up what you’d normally eat.

 

We could all use a number of fresh ingredients added into our diets and sometimes a perfect salad is the best way to incorporate all of those things. This Shaved Pattypan and Crimini Mushroom Salad is something that can change the way you think about raw veggies. The mild marinating of balsamic vinegar and vegetables helps to take that sometimes unpleasant raw flavor out of the lovely little pattypan. I love pattypan. It’s one of my very favorite vegetables to eat, along with most zucchini for that matter. For those of you who don’t know what they are, pattypan are squash that are mild in flavor and are the shape of a large top or also described as sunburst. It is normally a summer squash, so it may be a little difficult to find around right now; if so, you can substitute yellow zucchini, which works well. I hope this little salad, inspires you to give cold vegetables a go with a beautiful light dressing.

 

Shaved Pattypan and Crimini Mushroom Salad

 

10 pattypan, shaved on a thin setting with a mandolin or sliced thin with a knife
10-15 crimini mushrooms, wiped down with a paper towel to get off excess dirt and sliced thin (like the pattypan)
1 small hand full of cherry tomatoes or heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 stalks celery or the celery heart with the leaves attached, cut into small pieces
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
Salt
Pepper
2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs minced parsley (optional)
5 large green olives, pitted and sliced

 

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add mushrooms, tomatoes and pattypan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a small amount of black pepper. Add vinegar and oil to pattypan mixture. This mixture can be done ahead of time up to 15-20 minutes in advance and if you’d like a longer “pickling” affect from the balsamic, you may refrigerate and keep longer.
When ready to serve add celery, feta, olives and parsley to the mixture and toss together.

 

Taste for seasoning.

 

 

Enjoy

 

Cheers
-Unrivaledkitch