Sunday Family Dinner

The Birthday Boys GO BIG!

April 2019 Fam Din
What can I say about these two dudes?

Not only do they share a birthmonth but they also share a special connection – they’re the best of buds.

And they also share a similar sensibility of foods….

More on that later.

April 2019 Fam Din
To kick off Fam Din, we needed cocktails….something of the tropical nature as a nod to my BIL C.

April 2019 Fam Din
And what evokes “tropical” than a big batch of Blended Passionfruit Margaritas??

April 2019 Fam Din
Aren’t they lovely?

Slightly sweet, super tart and packed a punch that you don’t see coming.

April 2019 Fam Din
As for the food menu, the birthday dudes pretty much wanted ALL THINGS SEAFOOD!

Lobster, crabs, calamari….

I mean, no complaints here!

April 2019 Fam Din
First appetizer was per C’s request – Crispy Calamari with Marinara Sauce.

April 2019 Fam Din
V took the lead with this and we inhaled a few trays of them.

April 2019 Fam Din
C also wanted LOBSTAH!

Seester steamed several lobsters and shelled them. Look at all of those chunks of gorgeous meat!

April 2019 Fam Din
But hey–we just didn’t enjoy the meat.

Seester T took also took the lobster “tomalley”, aka “lobster fat” and mixed it with mayo and spices to create these decadent Lobster Tomalley Crostini.

SUPER scrumptious and a great way to use all parts of the lobster.

April 2019 Fam Din
Then it was time to get the Littlings‘ involved — even if Lucasaurus was one of the birthday boys.

April 2019 Fam Din
We had them trim greens beans that seestrah T used later to make Stir-Fried Garlic Green Beans. It’s a veggie dish that even the munchkins enjoy!

April 2019 Fam Din
Now back to some decadence….

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you saw that a few months ago, I finally got to try Beef Ribeye Cap Steaks – a beef cut that I’ve been coveting for a LONG time.

April 2019 Fam Din

The cap is the top, most tender and marbleized portion that runs above the ribeye steak.

It is so beefy, so packed with flavor….it’s incredible.

So although neither birthday boy explicitly requested it, we knew it would be a hit with them and asked brother V to cook some of up on the cast iron.

April 2019 Fam Din
After they had rested a bit, Nini sliced them up….

And she had a couple of onlookers — just in case she had dropped anything on the floor.

April 2019 Fam Din
Take a gander!

April 2019 Fam Din
Oh!

I almost forgot about these!

I decided to grill up some spears because they looked quite lovely that morning.

April 2019 Fam Din
After I pulled them off the grill, I topped them with a quick dressing I had made earlier to deepen their flavors.

Grilled Asparagus with Salsa Verde – awesome alongside any summertime meal.

April 2019 Fam Din
Lucas had two requests for dinner….crabs and mint chip ice cream.

Well actually, he also wanted plain rice too.

Our little Asian dude….

April 2019 Fam Din
Initially we were going to pick up several Dungeness crabs to steam up but when we got to the store—no Dungeness crabs were to be found!

DOH!

April 2019 Fam Din
So we took a quick run to Costco and picked up a few pounds of Alaskan King Crab Legs …. and as it turns out, those are actually Lucasaurus‘ fave.

April 2019 Fam Din
CAUGHT!

Fam on their devices during Fam Din!

BUSTED!

April 2019 Fam Din
We’ll give them a pass this time.

Back in the kitchen we returned our attention to the huge bowl of lobster meat.

April 2019 Fam Din
And with the assist of her kiddos, seester N created this STUNNING platter of Lobster Rolls.

April 2019 Fam Din
I know….

Calamari, Tomalley Crostinis, Ribeye Caps, King Crab….

April 2019 Fam Din
And now, Lobster Rolls, too?!?

I have no excuses….

…because I was too busy eating….

April 2019 Fam Din
Our plates, quite literally, ran over.

April 2019 Fam Din
Will these munchkins ever understand that eating like this isn’t “normal” for most 6-10 year olds?

But I’m okay with that because I’m banking that they’ll make these kinds of dishes for me when I’m 80 years old.

April 2019 Fam Din
Here’s Leia patiently waiting for us to finish dinner so that we could start the next episode of Game of Thrones.

April 2019 Fam Din
And then it was dessert time!

My nephew/godbebe doesn’t enjoy cake. He likes donuts and mint chip ice cream….the green kind.

For his birthday dessert, I made him a quick Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie.

April 2019 Fam Din
The base was an Oreo cookie crust and then it was filled with mint chip ice cream. I topped it with fresh whipped cream, Andes mint chocolates (a nod to our Grandpa who used to give them to us as kiddos when we were good) and chunks of a new Oreo-Mint candy bar.

But here’s my confession…

I DIDN’T MAKE THE CRUST – IT WAS STORE BOUGHT!

We were running around that morning with so many errands that by the time I got to the store, I just picked up the crust thinking that it would save me time.

But when I used it…THE GUILT!

Really!! It would have taken me all of 15 minutes to make the crust but I took the short cut. Which I get…is fine in most cases. But I felt so guilty and came clean to everyone….. I made a vow to make it up at the next dinner.

April 2019 Fam Din
As for C….the man loves him some green tea. So this oldie but goodie came out again — Green Tea Match Tiramisu.

April 2019 Fam Din

Needless to say, these dude were very happy with their Birthday Menu. And how could they not – it was all decadently delicious!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lucas and C! 

April 2019 Fam Din

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Blended Passionfruit Margaritas
Appetizers: Crispy Calamari with Marinara Sauce, Lobster Tomalley Crostini
Entree: Beef Ribeye Cap Steaks, Alaskan King Crab Legs, Lobster Rolls
Sides: Stir-Fried Garlic Green Beans, Grilled Asparagus with Salsa Verde, Steamed Rice
Dessert: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie, Green Tea Match Tiramisu

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Sunday Family Dinner

Our Fishermen Bring it in for Family Dinner!

Fishing Wknd.2

Several weeks ago we sent our boys out to reel us in some fish.

Well actually, they didn’t go on our bidding but rather my B.I.L.(s)–brothers in law, took off for their annual deep sea fishing trip off the coast of San Diego.

But BOY, oh BOY did they come through!

In years past, they’d come back with some beautiful fish (mostly tunas) that would immediately be inhaled as sashimi, poke and other forms of sushi. Sure, we’d keep a few fillets in the freezer for a rainy day but those, too, would quickly disappear.

Fishing Wknd

But this year, those boys must have been doing some crazy praying to Poseidon because it was raining Dorado and Yellowfin for them!

Look at all of those beauties!!!

Someone pass me some soy sauce and wasabi because I’d totally be Gollum up in there!

Don’t judge my LOTR reference….

Fishing Wknd.3

The entire haul was split up among all of the guys on the boat but it still left each person with a hefty amount of Yellowfins and Dorados.

Heaven…….

With all of the beautifully fresh and wonderful fish, our theme for Family Dinner was born.

Simple really—we wanted to focus on creating dishes that were fresh and in season.

Fishing Wknd.4And as always, it started off with cocktails. Because cocktails make the world go round….at least we like to think so.

Since it’s Autumn (despite the 80 degree weather we’re having), I decided to serve up a bunch of Apple Moscow Mules. They’re super easy to make and I love how it’s a delicious spin on one of my favorite cocktails.

Apple Moscow MuleSeester T also served up some Champagne Cocktails which was essentially chilled sparkling wine with about an ounce of elderflower cordial. The cordial adds a lovely floral profile to the cocktail. Since elderflower cordial can be a bit on the sweeter side, I’d recommend choosing a brut sparkling wine to balance it.

Wondering how Champagne is seasonal in the Fall?

Champagne season is year round silly.

CocktailLobster season begins in late September here in California.

And since my family gravitates towards lobsters like teenage girls to a Taylor Swift concert, it had to be on the menu in some shape or form.

Lobster2
Sweet, tender and just so damn good.

LobsterSeestrah N chose to make little Chipotle Lobster & Avocado Sliders using Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

In all honestly, I would have been happy with 2-3 of these beauties and call it a day. But we’re gluttons during Family Dinner– so we noshed on them as appetizers to tie us over.

Lobster RollOf the two catches the boys brought home, we chose to serve the Dorado over the Yellowfin.

Dorado, commonly known as mahimahi or dolphinfish, isn’t a fish that I have too often. Rarely when I do order it out, it’s either in a fish taco or prepared with some type of blacken Cajun seasonings. So when T said she was going to grill it, I thought–heck, if you say so.

She marinated the fillets in a clarified butter-anchovy-capers-herb mixture before the boys grilled them. The Dorado was then finished with some of the sauce it was marinated in and then topped with chopped parsley.

It was awesome.

Surprisingly moist and tender—nothing like I’ve ever experienced with Dorado before. I’m certain it has to do with how fresh the fish was but I am definitely going to give it another try next time I see it on a menu.

SFD

T served the fish with a warm Cannellini Bean and Arugula Salad. The vinaigrette had some of the same ingredients as the fish marinade but she also added briny olives and crunchy diced celery. It was a wonderful light pairing to the Dorado.

On a side note, the leftover salad was fantastic the next morning with a runny fried egg on top. Brunch goals and all…..

Cannelini SaladAnd finally, Dessert.

I knew I wanted to make some sort of fruit tart since the prior few Family Dinners were all chocolate desserts. The week leading up to Family Dinner, I had seen figs EVERYWHERE at my markets in San Diego. Because of it, I was inspired to make a Pistachio-Fig Tart filled with a Marscapone Cream.

But when I had gone up to Orange County for the weekend for dinner, I couldn’t find figs for the life of me! I had gone to 5 different stores in search of them but apparently they must have all gone to San Diego on vacation.

N had convinced me to go with plums instead since it was nearing the end of its season. It wasn’t too bad. Although I had grilled the plums, we all agreed that it would have been better had I sprinkled it with sugar and brûléed it. Still, the flavor was good–despite the elusive figs.

Tart

All in all, it was a great Family Dinner and was even on the lighter side…..for us, at least 🙂

BIG THANKS to my B.I.L.s for bringing in the greatest catch for us to date!

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Apple Moscow Mules and Champagne Cocktails
Appetizers: Chipotle Lobster and Avocado Sliders
Entrees: Grilled Herb Butter Mahi Mahi with Cannellini Bean & Arugula Salad
Dessert: Pistachio-Plum Tart with Marscapone Cream

Poultry

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I know, I know.

It’s kind of silly that I’m even posting this recipe as it’s a near no-brainer.

But if any of you are like me and have been running around like crazy with holiday errands, festivities, tasks, etc —then you know how clutch it is to have a “set it and forget it” kind of meal in your back pocket.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

And that’s where slow cookers are my saving grace.

I got up pretty darn early this past Saturday with coffee in hand and a heavy to-do list that needed to be tackled. But before I dashed out of the house, I threw some chicken, aromatics and a couple of glugs of BBQ sauce in the slow cooker pot, flipped the switch on and let it do its magic while I battled crazy holiday shoppers.

I’m still sporting the wounds from some ‘bows being thrown at the toy store.

Scawie.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

But my quick 5 minute prep in the morning was rewarded when I got home to a pot of delicious chicken ready to be piled on to some soft Kings Hawaiian buns.

So tender, so tangy, so delicious and so dang easy.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow cooker pulled chicken is definitely one of those fab dishes that you can add or omit whatever you may have handy in your pantry or fridge. Crushed tomatoes, canned chili, cream of mushroom soup, bell peppers, root veggies—whatever goes! But if you do opt for the BBQ sauce route, don’t skip the liquid smoke. It adds that wonderful smokey element you can’t get if you don’t use a smoker or outdoor grill.

This time around, I topped the chicken with lightly pickled onions and shredded lettuce. But definitely use whatever toppings you like. Or in my case, whatever I managed to scrounge up from the fridge.

And with that dear friends, let me wish you and your loved ones a very, very….

Happy Hanukkah!
Joyous Kwanzaa!
Merry Christmas!
Cheerful Winter Solstice!

and a Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us!!!

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Serves approximately 8

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ small white onion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 dried bay leaves
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
2 cups BBQ sauce, divided (homemade or bottled)
4-5 dashes liquid smoke
8 large hamburger buns/rolls
optional: cole slaw, pickles, cheese, shredded lettuce, pickled onions, avocado, etc.

Season the chicken with kosher salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Place in the slow cooker and top with the onions, garlic and bay leaves. Pour in the can of chiles and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce. Cover the pot and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Once done, carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a platter or large dish. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite sized pieces. Spoon the onions, garlic and chiles from the slow cooker over the chicken. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce over the meat and stir in the liquid smoke. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

Assemble each sandwich by placing a large mound of the pulled chicken and sauce on top of each bun/roll. Serve with additional toppings/condiments as desired.

 

Pork

Slow Cooker Kālua Pig

Kālua Pig

 

It’s ALOHA FRIDAY and what better way to kick off the weekend with some island grindz? And it sure doesn’t get any easier or more ono-licious than Kālua Pig made in a Crock Pot!

 

Sure, you could go traditional and dig an imu in your backyard to channel the Hawaiian spirit. And heck – I would definitely be the first to give you mad props if you did! But as my family have continually denied my pleas to dig a large hole in their yards, I’ve had to settle for conventional methods and use slow cookers.

Kālua Pig

It really is a fool proof method of creating delicious Kālua Pig since you throw everything into the pot and then twiddle your thumbs for the next 10 hours. But the secret is the addition of banana leaves and liquid smoke which truly impart the authentic flavors an imu provides.

I like to serve my Kālua Pig over sticky rice with mac salad or sandwiched in my beloved Kings Hawaiian rolls with a tangy slaw. However you choose to serve it, your loved ones will adore you for channeling the flavors of the islands onto their plates.

Alohas!!!

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Slow Cooker Kālua Pig

Ingredients:

5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
sea salt (Hawaiian sea salt if possible)
black pepper
3-4 banana leaves
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
4-5 dashes liquid smoke
Using paper towels, dry off the pork and generously season with the sea salt and black pepper.

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with banana leaves, setting aside one to top off the pork. Place the seasoned pork shoulder in the cooker and top with the onions, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Wrap the remaining banana leaf over the top and cover the slow cooker. Cook the pork on low heat for 10 – 12 hours.*

Once done, carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a platter or large dish. Using two forks, shred the meat into pieces.

Skim and discard the fat and oil from the liquids left in the slow cooker. Pour the liquid over the shredded pork and stir in the liquid smoke. Taste and season with additional sea salt as needed.

Serve over rice or my favorite Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls.

*You can also cook the pork over high heat for about 5-6 hours but I prefer the texture of the low and slow method.

Desserts/Pastries · Ice Cream · Sponsored

Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream for King’s Hawaiian

Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream

I scream, You scream…

We all scream for Ice Cream!

With Summer in full effect, the heat has been blazing here in Southern California. Somewhat uncomfortable at times but it’s the perfect Ice Cream weather!

Channeling the flavors of the islands, I put together this onolicious Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream for the King’s Hawaiian O’hana. The recipe is quite simple to pull together and is packed full of the balanced island flavors of coffee, chocolate, and rich macadamia nuts. Click here to find my post and recipe for the KH O’hana as this is the perfect way to end the week.

Happy Aloha Friday Friends!!!

Seafood · Sponsored

Crispy Fish Sliders + New Foodventures with King’s Hawaiian

Crispy Fish Sliders on Kings Hawaiian Rolls

Happy Earth Day Folks!

I am thrilled to be sharing that I have the honor to join the wonderful o’hana at King’s Hawaiian as one of their Featured Bloggers. As y’all know, I’m OBSESSED with the ono King’s Hawaiian products & since my visit with them back in August, I have gained the utmost respect for the organization and the Taira O’hana.

Check out my first post here where I share my experience with Aloha ‘Aina and a fun recipe for Crispy Fish Sliders.

Stay tuned for more posts to come! Alohas!

Breads · Desserts/Pastries · Giveaways · Sponsored

Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce + King’s Hawaiian GIVEAWAY!!

Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce

I am a sucker for Bread Pudding.

There’s something so darn comforting and mouthwatering about a bowl full of this goodness. Rich, sweet–almost sinful.

Drools.

Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce

With Autumn finally coming around, it was the perfect time to make an apple version highlighting the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. And the only thing to take it over the top was a decadent drizzle of Caramel flavored by good ol’ Bourbon.

Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce

Inspired by my visit with the great o’hana of King’s Hawaiian, I used the slightly sweet Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread for the pudding. I also cut back on the amount of sugar in the custard base since the final dessert would be sweet enough from the luscious Caramel Bourbon sauce.

But the awesomeness doesn’t stop here! One of our lucky readers has the chance to win a cornucopia of goodness courtesy of our friends from King’s Hawaiian!

The winner will receive a vast assortment of King’s Hawaiian baked products, King’s Hawaiian coffee, apron and more!! Needless to say, you will be a very HAPPY CAMPER!

How to Enter:

Leave a comment and tell us what the first thing you’ll make with some of the Kings Hawaiian Bread products

For extra chances to win, leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did:

  1. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  2. Like the King’s Hawaiian Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like King’s Hawaiian, leave a comment and let us know); or
  3. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  4. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so).

Due to shipping challenges, this Giveaway is limited to those in the continental United States. Sorry! 🙂

The deadline to enter is Monday, October 8th at 5pm (PST) and the winner will be announced the next day.

Best of luck friends and MAHALOS King’s Hawaiian!!

Pssst! Don’t forget to make this Apple Bread Pudding!

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Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce

Ingredients:

Caramel Bourbon Sauce:
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
¼ Cup Water
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Bourbon
Sea Salt (optional)

Bread Pudding:
2 Large Eggs, beaten
¾ Cup Milk
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3-4 Pinches Nutmeg
2 Pinches Salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
6 Cups Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread, cubed and toasted (Brioche can be substituted)
1 Cup Apples, cubed (I chose a mix of Granny Smith and Fuji)
Additional Unsalted Butter to grease the pan
Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, dissolve the sugar and water over medium-high heat. Once the liquids begin to bubble, swirl the saucepan around and continue cooking until it reaches an amber color. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cubes of butter one at a time until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. (The liquids will bubble up so be careful!) Stir in the Bourbon and a few pinches of sea salt (optional). Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and thoroughly butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients of the bread pudding. Add in the cubed bread and apples making sure that they have been coated by the custard mixture. Let set for 5 minutes to allow the bread to absorb some of the custard. Pour the entire contents into the greased pan and spread evenly. Take a few spoonfuls of the Caramel Bourbon Sauce and drizzle on the top. Bake the Bread Pudding in the preheated oven for approximately 35-40 minutes until the custard has set and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool before cutting. Serve warm with additional sauce drizzled on top and fresh whipped cream.