Drinks · Sunday Family Dinner

Japanese themed Family Dinner and Lychee Saketinis! Kampai!

April 2013 Family Dinner

I know I should be more humble about this but we really knocked it out of the park for this month’s Family Dinner where we took a gastronomic trip to Japan.

Dinner  was at eldest seester’s house and we literally cooked and ate for 3+ hours straight! Right when we finished one dish, we would only take intermittent pauses to nosh while we worked on the next dish. Quite fun, actually!

My seester has been talking about a fishmonger near her house for ages but we’ve never had a chance to give it try. So with a Japanese themed menu, what better opportunity? We were able to snag a bunch of beautiful product from Dry Dock Fish Co. and lemme tell you—totally rad.

So instead of just describing our menu, how about I show you what we inhaled.

April 2013 Family Dinner

Using the oysters we got from Dry Dock Fish Co., I put together these indulgent beauties. I drizzled each oyster with an Asian inspired mignonette, topped some with uni and tobiko, and fresh chives.


April 2013 Family Dinner

This gorgeous sashimi platter consists of salmon, hamachi, ahi and ahi poke. We picked up the ahi poke pre-made from Dry Dock Fish Co. but added additional scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil for a bit more depth. And of course, we had some beautiful spot prawns.


April 2013 Family Dinner

The spot prawns were so incredibly fresh. How fresh? So fresh that they were still swimming when we brought them home. And for those a bit wary of eating prawns sashimi style–don’t be! These spot prawns were incredibly sweet and had a wonderful crunch to them.

Sorry, I just had to stop myself from licking the screen.

April 2013 Family Dinner

As for the heads—waste not, want not! My sis quickly flashed fried and then lightly salted them.

Crunchy and filled with unctuous goodness…….

April 2013 Family Dinner

There were also pork and shrimp filled gyozas (that I commissioned my niece, Nini to fold) and of course, some yummy maki rolls. The rolls above were my seester’s brainchild–filled with lump crab and avocado, then topped with seared steak, black sesame seeds, and chives (that she commissioned our niece, Nina to roll).

Yea, we put the kids to work that night….

April 2013 Family Dinner

And it would be hard for me to have a Japanese meal without some satisfying spicy tuna rolls.

Nina rolled these for me too 🙂

April 2013 Family Dinner

We also wolfed down these Honey Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps adapted from a recipe from the rad Nami of Just One Cookbook. Sis par cooked the pork on the stove and then finished them off in the oven which gave them a crunchy texture that was lip-smackingly awesome from the glaze.

April 2013 Family Dinner

And the salmon collar–which we nearly forgot about! Luckily Big Sis remembered them half way through dinner and crisped them under the broiler. Crispy goodness though it stayed quite moist. Not the greatest photo but it was darn oishii!


April 2013 Family Dinner

Finally, we finished the savory portion of our meal with my Uni Pasta —because apparently, we didn’t have enough to eat.

At this point, we were feeling a little guilty (okay, just a tad) and rallied for a walk before dessert. Well, the gals + Lucasaurus went for a walk while the big boys opted out—the guys had gone for a mountain bike ride pre-dinner so we gave them a pass.

April 2013 Family Dinner

Dessert was an Icebox Green Tea Cheesecake I made with a chocolate crust. Since it was considered a “no bake” cheesecake, it was actually quite light and fluffy and was the perfect dessert to end our meal. The matcha added a slight bitterness to the filling but not at all overpowering.


Lychee Saketinis

Of course it wouldn’t be a Family Dinner if we didn’t mix up a few thirst quenching cocktails. To go with our theme, I shook up these delish Lychee Saketinis that were aromatic and floral. And although they went down smooth, don’t let these little buggahs fool ya. They pack a punch!

Lychee Saketinis

I’ll be sharing several of the recipes we enjoyed in the next few posts but for now, I’ll let you in on how to make these wonderful Lychee Saketinis.

Until next time, Friends — Kampai!

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Lychee Saketinis
Appetizers: Sashimis (Ahi, Salmon, Hamachi, Spot Prawn), Poke, Oysters topped with Uni & Tobiko, Spicy Tuna Rolls, Pork & Shrimp Gyoza, Crispy Ebi Head, Beef-Crab-Avocado Roll
Entrees: Grilled Salmon Collar, Uni Pasta, Honey Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps, Rice
Dessert: Icebox Green Tea Cheesecake


Lychee Saketinis
Serves 2


1 20-ounce can of lychee (in light syrup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
juice of ½ lime
1½ ounces vodka
5 ounces sake

Pour the can of lychee and its syrup into a blender. Add the ginger and puree until smooth. Strain the lychee puree through a fine sieve, using a rubber spatula to push down on the pulp to release the liquid. Discard the pulp and set the lychee liquid aside.

Fill a large shaker with ice. Add the lime juice, vodka, sake and 5 ounces of the lychee liquid. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds and strain the contents between 2 glasses. Garnish with additional lychees and lime wedges. Cheers!


Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

I never realized how much I fancied Panna Cottas.

Which is strange really. I love crème brûlées, yogurts, custards. All very similar in texture.

Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

But then I stumbled upon a few posts for panna cottas that were flavored with tropical fruits. And then it dawned on me. Why wouldn’t I love it?!

This Lychee Panna Cotta turned out so lovely. It had a nice lychee flavor that was subtle and slightly floral—and had a wonderful smooth texture. Since I used the lychee syrup when I pureed the fruit, I only added a tad of sugar and used whole milk.

Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

I decided to up the “tropical ante” by pairing it with a Guava Gelée since I thought the two flavors would pair so well together. And the striking color from the guava was so pretty against the white panna cotta.

Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

However, I might have been a tad overzealous when plating. I’d cut the Gelée amount in half and suggest only a spoonful of it next time as to not overpower the subtlety of the Panna Cotta.

But with that said, this would make a delightful treat on a warm sunny day. 🙂

Keep your eyes peeled for Friday’s post. It made me very happy to bake it—and best of all, Eat It!

Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Gelée

Serves 4-5


Panna Cottta:
1 20-Ounce Can Lychees, in light syrup
¾ Tablespoon Unflavored Powdered Gelatin
2 Cups Whole Milk
¼ Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Sugar

4 Tablespoons Guava Paste
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
¾ Tablespoon Unflavored Powdered Gelatin
½ Cup Water, plus 2 Tablespoons

Prepare the panna cotta. Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin in. Allow the gelatin to bloom—about 5 minutes. In a food processor or blender, puree the lychees with the syrup until it is liquefied. Strain the liquids through a sieve. In a saucepan, add milk, sugar, and lychee liquid. Place saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is just dissolved but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Allow the panna cotta mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes before pouring into glasses/serving bowls—dividing evenly. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours.

While the panna cotta is chilling, prepare the gelée. Pour 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin in. Allow the gelatin to bloom—about 5 minutes. In a small saucepan on medium low heat, combine guava paste, honey, and ½ cup water. Stir and cook until the paste has melted and the ingredients have combined. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and gelatin. Mix until everything is completely dissolved. Allow the gelée to cool to room temperature. Spoon or pour over the panna cotta that has been chilled for 3 hours. Return to the fridge and chill for an additional hour.


Celebrating our “Birthday” with Lychee Bellinis

Lychee Bellinis


That’s right friends, it’s our anniversary today—or more accurately, our 1 Year Birthday 🙂

A year ago today, through the encouragement of friends and loved ones, I started The Culinary Chronicles to help document some of my Foodventures and to jot down some of my random musings. In truth, I wasn’t sure if I’d stick to it for long—admittedly, I kind of have a short attention span for things. 🙂 But here I am, one year later loving the creative outlet that this space has given me and thankful for all of my virtual foodie friends I’ve connected with.

So in honor of our “birthday” and my deepest appreciation to my loved ones and readers, this post is dedicated to you. A TOAST —for all of your support, comments, feedback, and inspiration.

May we continue to have endless Foodventures together.

Much alohas, “N”


Lychee Bellinis
Serves: As many as you’re willing to share with 🙂


1 Bottle Sparkling Wine
½ Cup Lychee Puree*
¼ Cup Lychee Syrup

Take the fruit from one 20 ounce can of lychee and puree it well. Strain the puree and discard the pulp.

In a flute, add 2 tablespoons of the strained lychee puree and 1 tablespoon of lychee syrup. Top off flute with chilled sparkling wine. Garnish each flute with one whole lychee.