Birthday Cream Puffs!

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Inspired by the neighborhood bakery from my childhood, Liliha Bakery, I made these cream puffs for my annual birthday karaoke get together!  Using a choux paste, vanilla pastry cream and a butter custard frosting (it has cooked eggs in it!), prep time was actually about an hour!  From start to finish, it took about 2.5 hours.  I took some inspiration from fruit tarts as well and layered some fresh Oregon Hood strawberries and organic grapes and mangoes on top of each puff.

Portland Mercado and CHORIZO

Opening Day, Portland Mercado

Opening Day, Portland Mercado

The hail and heavy crowds did not stop us from going to the opening day of the most anticipated cultural hub, Portland Mercado. The project came to fruition after 9 years of planning and it was worth the wait!  Funded by grants and a loan by the Portland Development Commission, Portland Mercado is located in the Lents neighborhood with a dense Latino population.

From Foster Road, you could hear the live music blaring from the bandstand under the huge white tents.  A huge crowd of people, spanning every generation was bopping and swaying to the music. We could smell the deliciously spiced aroma of the food carts as we drove past with our windows down.  It was cold, but we didn’t care.  We wanted to hear, smell, and see everything that Portland Mercado had to offer!

We parked about 5 blocks away.  The closer we got, the more we could smell and hear.  The people who were leaving had delicious looking food and bags of groceries or snacks. It was cloudy out and partly hailing with rain.  But no one seemed to care.  After all, we had been waiting for years for this to come true.  And it finally WAS!

We walked through the gated parking lot which was full of information booths.  It lead us to the HUB.  It was at the entrance where we were greeted with the smell of the churro stand.  There was a line to get in, but it moved fast.  Good thing we had the churros to keep us busy!  As you entered the building, there were colorful traditional decorations hanging from the walls, the ceilings, and the windows.  To the right was an impressive candy/snack shop.  I couldn’t read anything so I identified things from the photos on the package.  We walked away with a bag of chili flavored corn chips, mango-chili and pineapple-chili lollipops.

The whole reason why I wanted to go was because of the Chorizoria.  I turned the corner from the candy shop and there it was… Don Felipe Products specializes in Tolucan style chorizo and is locally made in Forest Grove, Oregon.  The owner, Salud Gonzalez, was standing at the counter giving out samples of his tasty chorizo.  I tried the chicken chorizo and I was very much satisfied.  I chose my flavors and paid his partner who was manning the register.  30 bucks on chorizo, but it was well worth it!

Check out Portland Mercado and their other merchants!

Baking Binge

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                                    Bread three ways: Sharp Cheddar cheese sticks, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls!

My sister, Kari recently came for a quick jaunt to Seattle.  I drove up with my son from Portland, Oregon (the drive is gorgeous!!) and we all stayed at my other sister Tricia’s house on Mercer Island.  The result was food, fun and family love!  In 24 hours, we made quiche two ways, bread 3 ways, and a kick ass mixed fruit cobbler.  Here are more photos!

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                                                     Quiche makin’

Quiche two ways!

                                              Quiche two ways!

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                                 Filling for the cobbler: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, mango and apples!

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                                          We had a personal barista at the house too! 😉

Finished Cobbler!

                                                   Finished Cobbler!

New Years at Home in Hawaii

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I get home sick whenever the New Year rolls around.

For someone who loves food and every aspect of it, the annual celebration that takes place in the home I grew up in has always been my favorite holiday. Family, togetherness, longevity, good health and a fresh start are some of the things we celebrate during this grand event!

Days before the party, the menu is planned and the food is purchased.  It’s really the only reason my dad has two refrigerators and a full sized freezer at his house.  Then the production begins at a slow pace… day by day, a little is done. My mom makes a menu and uses it as her list.  She has done so many of these parties, the whole organization of the event is tucked safely in her head.  Words will not do this story justice…which is why I documented this with photos! Here goes!

 

 

It all begins with this list!

It all begins with this list!

 

Sushi making takes place the day before.  A whole gang of family comes over and we literally make a couple hundred sushi rolls!  We only make two kinds:  Takuan (pickled radish) and Tuna Maki.  Everyone takes home a few rolls and the rest is for the big day!

Sushi making takes place the day before. A whole gang of family comes over and we literally make a couple hundred sushi rolls! We only make two kinds: Takuan (pickled radish) and Tuna Maki. Everyone takes home a few rolls and the rest is for the big day!

 

Tons of maki!

Tons of maki!

 

Grandma rolls each maki in waxed paper and places them in soda boxes for service later on.

Grandma rolls each maki in waxed paper and places them in soda boxes for service later on.

 

Nishime is made in HUGE vat!  The konbu is hand-knotted by grandma!  <3

Nishime is made in HUGE vat! The konbu is hand-knotted by grandma! ❤

 

 

Konbu knotting session.

Konbu knotting session.

 

The tuna is bought and cut up for sashimi!  Delicious!

The tuna is bought and cut up for sashimi! Delicious!

 

Along with a couple freshly caught Onaga, that some may or may not like.  =)

Along with a couple freshly caught Onaga, that some may or may not like. =)

 

My uncle usually grows Mizuna in foam planter boxes and  drops them off the day before.  Beautiful!

My uncle usually grows Mizuna in foam planter boxes and drops them off the day before. Beautiful!

 

The mochi is made, the modern way!  We have two steamers going!

The mochi is made, the modern way! We have two steamers going!

 

Grandma portions the An (sweet bean paste) to stuff inside the mochi.

Grandma portions the An (sweet bean paste) to stuff inside the mochi.

 

While my mom has a watchful eye on the mochi production line...

While my mom has a watchful eye on the mochi production line…

 

The HOT mochi is put into this mechanism that portions and cuts the mochi!  It is then tossed on a rice-floured surface.  You need to work quick!  As the mochi cools, it becomes harder to stuff and mold.

The HOT mochi is put into this mechanism that portions and cuts the mochi! It is then tossed on a rice-floured surface. You need to work quick! As the mochi cools, it becomes harder to stuff and mold.

 

My mom collects soda case boxes, my grandma lines them with waxed paper dusted with rice flour, and the mochi is stored at room temperature until service!  Left overs are frozen and are delicious fried up in a pan with butter!

My mom collects soda case boxes, my grandma lines them with waxed paper dusted with rice flour, and the mochi is stored at room temperature until service! Left overs are frozen and are delicious fried up in a pan with butter!

 

This was my friend, Erica Mcgee's idea to stuff apple bananas into the mochi.  It was so delicious!

This was my friend, Erica Mcgee’s idea to stuff apple bananas into the mochi. It was so delicious!

 

decorations are bought...

decorations are bought…

 

These beets are from my sister's farm on Kauai!

These beets are from my sister’s farm on Kauai!

 

One year, we even made FARMER'S CHEESE!

One year, we even made FARMER’S CHEESE!

 

Tako with miso sauce!

Tako with miso sauce!

 

Shiitake mushrooms for the homemade soup broth for the Ozoni (mochi soup).  And of course we use our homemade mochi too!  <3

Shiitake mushrooms for the homemade soup broth for the Ozoni (mochi soup). And of course we use our homemade mochi too! ❤

 

Lotus root for the nishime!

Lotus root for the nishime!

 

Homemade cucumber, carrot and daikon namasu.

Homemade cucumber, carrot and daikon namasu.

 

Toshikoshi soba!  Eaten on New Year's Eve.  Also known as the "year end" soba.

Toshikoshi soba! Eaten on New Year’s Eve. Also known as the “year end” soba.

 

prepping for everyone...

prepping for everyone…

 

Kari (my sister), Jarl and I made signs for the guests so they know what they are eating...

Kari (my sister), Jarl and I made signs for the guests so they know what they are eating…

 

of course, people buy already made food...which is just as delicious!  Here are some baked manapua.

of course, people buy already made food…which is just as delicious! Here are some baked manapua.

 

and my personal favorite...Jin Dui!

and my personal favorite…Jin Dui!

 

Family and friends come and hang out for both days (the eve and the day)...they help with cooking, they help with eating...

Family and friends come and hang out for both days (the eve and the day)…they help with cooking, they help with eating…

 

Then it's service time!

Then it’s service time!

 

FAMILY TIME!  <3

FAMILY TIME! ❤