Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My 10 Best Holiday Food

a continuation...
6. Stuffed Turkey
As you can see, it was mighty big and stuffed to the brink. My sister's nephew, Joshua, asked her Lola (grandmother) "why do we have turkey when it's not Thanksgiving?!" As if Thanksgiving is the only reason to enjoy a fat turkey. I liked how it's abundant in white meat (great protein provider!) and the skin is crisp dry. A vulgar slathering of cranberry sauce elevates this humble turkey into an extravagant and unique eating experience. This is great with bread too.7. Sharksfin Soup
One sharksfin soup is enough to move an ordinary eater to budget-consciousness. But a price has to be paid for all those poor sharks, at least how media interprets the way the seller of these prized gustatory ingredient is acquired. I shall slightly share with you the tales my gourmand Bee has for this particular soup. It's enough that I tell you it has got to do with Singapore. And that he flies there. Just for the soup. Then heads home. Hehe. Oh don't anybody be put off with his seeming pompous claim, he's just such a kidder.
But this soup is really a great eating experience, preferably with raw or blanched bean sprouts and a dash of chinese vinegar, with the thin strands of firm sharksfin making an almost imperceptible thud in every bite. A usual fare in Chinese lauriats, it has become more and more difficult to perfect and with the actual sharkfin becoming less and less in every serving. Do try Gloria Maris (Greenhills, across Unimart), they make a good, relatively abundant serving.

8. Mom's Chinese Ham in Sweet Syrup
Yes, as in sweet sugary syrup. In fact, she's proud to point out that she uses Sprite as one of the ingredients to provide the foundation for the syrup before boiling it with the cut ham in all its fatty glory! This is one of the few dishes she is actually willing to cook, because as I've said, she's not into cooking. This is best with hot pan de sal (staple Filipino buns) and nothing more. No ketchup (I imagined the taste would be hideous and I LOVE ketchup) or mayonnaise or pickles or anything. Just enjoy the ham, with fats please and a good drenching of the sugar syrup. Heavenly. Perfect for a rainy morning.
9. Valrhona Hot Chocolate Drink
Not really a food, but it's a holiday favorite. The powder doesn't readily dissolve upon contact with water, so stir patiently, let the flavor emerge and meld with warm water, and then you pour on the cold/hot milk. The dark brown liquid evokes a vivid mouthfeel, a gradation of taste, from bitter and earthy to sweetish and finally, sinisterly rich. I have my hot chocolate almost every afternoon, taking the place of my coffee or green tea, while I take a break, relax, and look out the terrace to watch the subdued afternoon sunlight.
Available in Cooks Exchange (The Powerplant Mall).

10. Classic English Fruitcake
What is Christmas without fruitcake? It is imperative that one's Christmas should be accompanied with a properly aged fruitcake. At least my Christmas. I love making them and I love eating them. The alcohol I use varies, sometimes I like the stronger, more bitter taste of brandy, but for a less potent fruitcake, I use the more mellow rum. I love biting into candied fruits, tasting their bittersweet coating and crunching into walnuts. I value the soft, dark, pudding-like texture of them and especially the fact that the longer they stand, the better they taste!

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