Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful for Thanksgiving

my lovely uhu
I love Thanksgiving. I love that we share it with other families so that the cooking part is not so overwhelming. I love that we rotate responsibilities each year so that the burden to clean doesn't fall on just one family. I love that the same people love to gather and new people can join and we have even more fun. I love that we eat to capacity and then we rest and then we play and then we eat again. And then everyone takes home leftovers so even if the party wasn't at your house you still have food to eat the next day. I love Thanksgiving.
My mom made this delicious jello mold which has cheese and pineapple and who knows what else but it is SO DELICIOUS. And made so beautiful in the tupperware mold.

I made homemade buns. They rose a little too long because I didn't time the uhu baking well but they were still delicious. And so easy. I really should blog about it, that's how easy they were.

So happy that Laura and her sons and her honey joined us. Even happier that she brought i'a ota, a.k.a. poisson cru. Yum.

Lisa made this beautiful spinach salad that had a homemade dressing. I love her salads. It makes me want to eat salad.

Lisa ALWAYS makes a beautiful cranberry mold with a most delicious whipped topping. Even without turkey it was delish!

And I was so thankful for the beautiful Thanksgiving weather. It could not have been any better.

Jo even played in her dress. We called her the mumu lady. HAHAHA!

And even the little ones play. Hulali held this pose for the longest time. Always ready.

Kaiulu was an awesome player!!!

Hulali moment

Stuffed Uhu

GO LOCAL! That has been my rallying cry the past few months as I strive to eat more local products. So for this Thanksgiving at my house (and since I was in charge of the main dish) I made every attempt possible to stick with the theme. I tried (I seriously tried) to order a prime cut of beef from a local vendor but when I showed up on the day before Thanksgiving with my cash in hand, alas, they only had mainland beef. I shall not be foiled again next year. Plan ahead. Now I know.

I sent my husband to Suisan to scope out a nice size uhu. If there's any fish I like (Wait a minute. There aren't many fishes I don't like) it's uhu, a parrotfish. A beauty of a fish. He did a fine job and picked out a gorgeous looking 6 pounder, costing us about $25. I don't mind. I paid 3 times that for the prime rib.

I polled my friends on Facebook and asked several others how they prepare uhu and most came up with the same basic recipe: stuff it with a combination of yummy products of which mayonnaise is one of them, bake or steam it. And so I did. And it was yummy. From now on, I shall turn away from the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving Day and opt for my favorite fishy.
Basic ingredients - mayonnaise, chopped round onion, tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes that grow in my garden and cut them in halves or quarters), imitation crab, lup cheong (the whole pack because, well, just because), oyster sauce, cilantro (not in picture)

Here he is! While I understand that parrotfish can change between male and female I like to think that if the animal is beautiful in color it must be a male. So "he" he is.

It was speared. And my gfriend thinks the picture is upside down but really, the fish is dead, so that makes it right side up. Get it? haha.

So just to make sure I was doing things right, I got my brother, Bulla, on the phone. I wasn't sure if I had to scale it. He laughed at the thought of me NOT scaling it. Thanks Bulla. He also said it was one of the hardest fish to scale. By the time he told me that I was done with one side. I laugh in the face of difficulty. HA!
Note: Great idea to scale outdoors. Bad idea to have bees nearby. Really-there were about 5 or 6 of them ground bees by the time I finished. And they were getting a bit aggressive. Now I'm not one to be frightened of bees but they were beginning to bug me!



Sorry I don't have any measurements. Seriously, how can you go wrong? Just put your ingredients together and mix it til it looks like this. No salt (I figured the fishcake and lup cheong added seasoning). Just the list of ingredients (minus the cilantro which I just put on top the fish when it was done so non-cilantro lovers (and there are a few) can pick them out easily. I could have easily left out any ingredient or added other ones (green onion perhaps or maybe some ground pepper).

STUFF IT! I made way too much stuffing. It is amazing how little space is actually there after you gut it. But that didn't deter me from just putting the stuffing that didn't fit on the side. Kinda like guts sticking out of the uhu.

I packed the stuffing in there as much as I could. I have the fish lying on two sheets of foil in a 10x13 glass pan. The pan wasn't big enough. The tail stuck out.

And I sprinkled some lup cheong on top before I finished wrapping the foil around. I figured the oil would seep into the fish and provide more flavor. I was right. Again.

I had a little audience. She's going to be a chef.You can tell by the intent look in her eyes. That must be how our kupuna decided who would study with the masters.

I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. I checked it after about 45 minutes and stuck a chopstick in its thickest part, determined that it didn't "feel" done and put it back in for 15 more minutes.

I sprinkled on green onion and cilantro. I think the uhu is smiling. He is so happy to be offering himself up to us in lieu of a mainland raised turkey. He is pleased to be our "local" dish. And so am I.

My two BFFs. I don't do Thanksgiving without them. I love them. They love me. We have Thanksgiving together every year. Jo makes oyster loaf every year. I told her we don't raise oysters in the islands but she still does it. Lisa can always be counted on to bring a wide variety of delectables. This year it was a delicious spinach salad and much much more. Thank goodness we play volleyball afterwards to work off some calories. And then eat again.