I threw a party last night. The occasion? My proposal for the October edition of Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 got picked! Foodbuzz, in case you haven’t heard yet, is the third largest on-line food property of which I am one of close to 3000 Featured Publishers. “Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24” is a monthly event where 24 chosen bloggers from around the world make their proposed meals happen in the course of 24 hours – 24 bloggers, 24 meals in 24 hours. To say that I am beyond thrilled to have been chosen for this event is an understatement.
Images from the Evite I sent to my friends. I designed the image in the middle.
October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I proposed a “Pink Food” Party, where everything on the menu is pink or accented with pink. You see, Breast Cancer is a disease that has touched my family and my very own Mom is a survivor. I also have relatives and friends, not to mention friends of friends, who have been touched by the disease as well. I thought it was only appropriate to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month…to celebrate life and honor everyone who has survived, have been diagnosed with and continue to battle breast cancer. As luck would have it, my Mom is currently with us for a vacation.
The Appetizer Table
As if pink food wasn’t already a challenge in itself, in my proposal, I limited my menu to Asian food items, namely Chinese, Japanese and Filipino. I came up with 6 appetizers, 1 soup, 3 main dishes and 3 desserts with 2 other bonus items. I invited 5 other families – my family’s dearest dearest friends – to join my family for this special meal and share the pink calories the food came with. Hee hee. The least of my worries were the food photos. I happen to have friends who are excellent photographers. ;)
Party time was set for 7pm, and while most of the food were ready by the time my guests arrived, I was still very much in the middle of sushi preparation and photos had yet to be taken. Talk about being late to my own party! I’m blaming Murphy’s Law. Thank goodness I have very understanding friends! ;)
Out of the 13 items on my menu, 8 were labor intensive. You have to understand that I’m neither an Iron Chef nor am I Robert Irvine. Plus, I had to make the pink happen. I’ve said enough.
Here’s re-living last night’s party with you all…
1. Shrimp Dumplings
Have you ever seen dumplings in pink wrappers? Because the Asian grocery doesn’t really carry dumpling wrappers in a wide variety of colors, I had to make my own dumpling wrappers from scratch. I attempted to avoid using food color and tried using beet juice at first. Guess what, it didn’t work. So I had to use two drops of food color to make the wrappers. And they came out great! I’ve always wanted to make the translucent kind of wrappers and this was the perfect time to do it. It was well worth all the trouble. Tasted great, too!
These Shrimp Dumplings were the run-away favorite…that or I didn’t make enough. Click HERE for the recipe.
2. Turkey Shumai/Siomai
I made the shumai wrappers from scratch, too. Unlike the wrappers I used for the Shrimp Dumplings which were made with wheat starch and tapioca starch, the wrappers for these Turkey Shumai were flour based. This was the second time I made shumai wrappers from scratch. I have to roll the dough a little thinner next time.
Click HERE for the recipe.
3. Kani Maki
There’s too little crab and too much rice. Haha! I should have used two strips of crab sticks for the maki. Oh well. Nobody complained. I mixed some Sakura Denbu with the rice to give it a pink tint. I guess I should have used more. Hubby was saying I should have just sprinkled them on the rice. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind next time. ;)
4. Spam Musubi
Let me tell you a little secret…I didn’t really use Spam. :P I used a store-brand luncheon meat so technically, these are Great Value Musubi. Hee hee. It’s not that I scrimped on the ingredients. It’s just that over time, I’ve convinced myself that Walmart’s luncheon meat actually tastes better than Spam. :D Now, don’t anyone leave angry comments!
Click HERE for the Spam Musubi how-to.
5. Puto Pao
Puto Pao is Steamed Rice Cake with (Sweet) Pork Filling. It is the Filipino version of the Steamed Pork Buns or Siopao as we call it in the Philippines. This is easier to make than the steamed pork buns and took only about 12-15 minutes of steaming. Ideally, puto pao is lined with banana leaves. I had banana leaves but I didn’t know I had to heat them first to make them pliable. These Hannah Montana cupcake liners saved the day. They’re pink, too! :)
Click HERE for the recipe.
6. Red Cocktail Hotdogs and Marshmallows
The hotdogs aren’t pink, yes, but isn’t pink pale pale pale red? I rest my case. Red hotdogs are huge in the Philippines. At parties, the red hotdogs are usually skewered with a bamboo stick with a piece of marshmallow at the pointed end. Don’t think I forgot the marshmallows because I sure didn’t!…
I didn’t have time to skewer the hotdogs and marshmallows so I served the marshmallows “on the side” in a wine glass. I think it was a nice touch, if I may say so myself. ;)
Sinigang na Hipon sa Bayabas (Shrimp in Sour Broth)
This soup actually doubles as a viand. Sinigang is a popular soup dish in the Philippines made sour either with the use of tamarind, guava or calamansi (Philippine lime). These days, it is more common to use a sinigang seasoning mix. Because I try my darnest best to avoid using ingredients with MSG, I haven’t used a sinigang mix in a long time. For this soup, I used two cartons of organic pink guava juice plus the juice of a boiled and strained fresh guava. The soup was more sweet than sour but tasted really nice. If the soup looks a little too murky, it’s because of the vegetables in it (eggplants, green beans and tomatose). I waited too long before I took a photo.
1. Sweet and Sour Shrimp Balls
We love shrimp balls. We love sweet and sour “anything”. That said, I knew Sweet and Sour Shrimp Balls would be a logical choice for a main dish. I had a feeling that this was going to be a hit amongst my guests. And I was right! SHOULD’VE.MADE.MORE! Tsk. Tsk.
2. Fish Sarciado
Sarciado is a sauce made with sauteed chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic seasoned with salt or fish sauce. I used tilapia fillets to make these. Oh, I take that back…it was my sous chef/all-around helper who made the Fish Sarciado (and the Sinigang, too!). She’s no other than my mom. ;) Thank God for vacationing mothers! Hee hee! It was my mom who taught me how to make this dish. I thought it was just right that she did the honors of making these for my friends. ;) Excuses, excuses!
Click HERE for the recipe.
3. Ginataang Manok (Chicken with Coconut Milk)
In as far as pink/reddish dishes are concerned, it is obvious that I failed miserably in achieving the desired color. What a shame! I didn’t expect the dish to turn too orange-y. I know exactly where I went wrong. I shouldn’t have browned the chicken pieces before adding the coconut milk and the tomato sauce. Then again, I would have ended up with a less tasty dish in my desired color. What can I say? Taste trumps color!
1. Ginataang Bilo-Bilo (Rice Balls with Coconut Milk)
I love bilo-bilo or sticky rice balls! There are different kinds of ginataan or desserts with coconut milk. There’s Ginataang Mais (Corn with Coconut Milk) and there’s Ginataang Hal0-halo (Mixture of Fruits with Coconut Milk; halo-halo means mixture)). Ginataang Bilo-Bilo is my ultimate favorite! Bilo-Bilo is made by adding water to sweet rice flour – the same flour used for mochi balls – and turning them into balls. This dessert was made with coconut milk, coconut cream, jack fruit slices, pink tapioca pearls and sugar.
2. Mamon (Filipino Sponge Cake)
I’ve made sponge cakes so many times, yet, the night before the party, I had to start over three times! I’m telling you…Murphy’s Law! Grrrr! Instead of rolling the buttered sponge cakes in plain sugar, I rolled them in pink and red candy sprinkles.
Click HERE for the recipe.
3. Fresh Fruit Kebabs
My dear dear friend, Bet, who is an excellent mommy chef, refused to come to my party without bringing anything. So I relented. I asked her to bring fruit kebabs, thinking it wasn’t going to be too much of a bother. Well, look at these kebabs! I think they’re gorgeous. And they came with two kinds of dip, yogurt and whipped cream…
Each fruit kebab had the requisite pink/red fruits – watermelon and strawberries – plus banana, pineapple, pound cake and a special treat…a huge white marshmallow! ;)
4. Chocolate Kisses
I was looking in the pantry for treats to add to my dessert table and found these appropriately colored chocolate kisses! I checked the date and they are still good! Woot woot! ;)
5. Pink Marshmallows
More treats from the pantry! Pink marshmallows! This was one of those times that I wished I had a fondue pot. :(
1. Sagot’s Gulaman (Tapioca Pearls with Jelly)
My friend, Bet, came early for the party, so I bestowed upon her the honor of being Beverage Manager. ;) I shoved a pack of brown sugar and pack of pink tapioca pearls in her very helpful hands so she could get to work. Oh, and that was after she made the Fruit Punch! Hee hee. Sago’t Gulaman (Tapioca Pearls and Jelly) is a popular thirst quencher in the Philippines. I love having this in parties I’m hosting. It’s always nice to have something that takes me home.
Click HERE for the recipe.
2. Tropical Fruit Punch
This was very simple to make. Just pour a big can of pineapple juice and a huge container of fruit punch in a punch bowl and voila, you have a kid friendly drink. If I can help it, I will not serve soda at my house. I very much succeeded this time. ;)
To prove to you that I did have guests over to enjoy all these pink food goodness, here’s our group pic…
Here’s another one at a different angle (we had 4 cameras take this group pic!)
It was a successful party, notwithstanding the wait time my guests had to endure. Some of my friends were asking if we could do this on a monthly basis. Haha! My husband and wife friends, Andrew and Michele, couldn’t have said it better: “Great company and excellent food.” *clears throat*
Here’s a parting pic for all of you…
That would be me…happy and visibly tired. The eyes don’t lie. ;) This was taken after the guests have left a little after midnight.
Thank you, Foodbuzz, for the wonderful opportunity and for making this party happen. To my family and friends…thank you…you are all super. ;)
PS: I’ll be linking the recipes to the above dishes in a bit. In the case of the new dishes, like the Puto Pao and Ginataang Bilo-bilo, I shall post them in the next couple of days.