Friday, November 27, 2009


Today is Friday, which means that "Thanksgiving" was yesterday and it wasn't a holiday here.

In fact, most of Japan is already decorated for Christmas. I think it happened right after Halloween.

When I used to work in Hawaii, I used to have Thanksgiving Day off but would have to go to work on Black Friday. Sadly, I didn't know it was called Black Friday until recently. (I know I lived under a rock until the Internet...)

Sometimes my family would go to the Big Island for the Thanksgiving weekend and I wouldn't be able to join them because I had to work the next day.

I guess in a way, this was preparing me for my life here in Japan. Since I didn't go with them, I would get some take-out curry and that would be my Thanksgiving dinner.

I've never seen turkey in the markets here, not even the processed kind. I think you can order it online, but with a teeny, tiny oven, who would be able to fit one in?

Plus, there is only Satoshi and I. Since it isn't a holiday, he has to go to work, which means I will probably eat dinner alone, unless I wait until 10 or 11 at night...

So, this year, I decided to roast some chicken breasts and veggies (zucchini and eringi mushroom) simply with EVOO, salt and pepper, mash some potatoes with buttermilk, herbs (tarragon, rosemary and sage) and some butter and make this dessert.

The recipe was from an early Christmas present to myself, "So Easy" by Ellie Krieger. There are some recipes that caught my eye, I hope to try them soon.

I adapted the recipe and this is what I did...

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
adapted from "So Easy" by Ellie Krieger
serves 8 : 1/2 cup servings

1.5 cups cooked rice
1.5 cups skim milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 grinds fresh cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
In a pot heat up the milk, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & salt.
Add the cooked rice.
Divide between 4-(7 ounce/200 ml) ramekins.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes, take off the foil for the last 10 minutes.
Serve warm.

NOTES: I made my pumpkin puree from scratch. I had some leftover pumpkin on the verge of getting moldy, cut it up and steamed it for 20 minutes. While it was still hot I scraped away the outer shell of the pumpkin. Then mashed it with a fork.

The cooked rice I had was also leftover and it was a mixture of kodaimai and white rice. Kodaimai is the purple/black rice that I bought when we went to Lake Kawaguchi.

The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup honey, but I thought that would make this a bit too sweet, plus the pumpkin I was using was a Japanese ebisu kabocha, which is pretty sweet on its own.

Also, the original recipe calls for whipped cream as a garnish, but instead of going out to buy a carton of whipping cream, I just left it out.

This was good. Since it wasn't too sweet, I would probably eat this for breakfast.

So, this Thanksgiving wasn't spent with family. There wasn't turkey or Mom's pumpkin pie. The chicken skin came out crispy and the chicken very moist. Instead of gravy, I put a dollop of Mom's cranberry chutney.

Even though I had dinner alone, I am thankful for my family and friends, our health, that Satoshi still has a job and that we always have (more than) enough to eat.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Rona Y said...

My family used to do roast chicken for TG because we didn't really like turkey. We later switch to a rib roast--so much better!

If you ever feel like doing a turkey, Costco seems to have them all year round (Kobe Grocers does, too, but they seem to have problems with product turnover). They're a little smaller than most North American birds, so they can fit in largish Japanese ovens, but still pretty big for just a couple of people. Maybe you can do a pseudo-TG dinner for your annual party for your husband's co-workers!

K and S said...

Thanks for the heads up Rona, Satoshi's co-workers are more drinkers than sit down meal types, if you know what I mean. I have a hard time just getting them to fill their plates at the buffet! (They rather be "served" izakaya style...sigh!)

Take care.

ParisBreakfasts said...

It sounds perfectly delicious Kat.
Besides you were spared all that over eating the rest of us had to contend with :(

Anonymous said...

Your rice pudding sounds really good. Glad you were able to make it for your own Thanksgiving meal. ;-)


Debinhawaii said...

Sounds like a wonderful dinner. I ended up at home with a sore throat--didn't know if it was catching. I roasted a small turkey so I would have leftovers and stock for soup and made some stuffing and gravy (my favorite parts of the meal). ;-)

I bought the new Ellie book too--can't wait to cook from it.

K and S said...

Thanks Paz & PB :)

Hope you feel better Debinhawaii :)

Take care everyone!

Helen said...

Just wanted to say that a little closer to Christmas, some of the grocery stores do stock smoked turkey legs. They aren't cheap, but you might want to keep an eye out for them.

Hope that helps... :-)

K and S said...

Thanks for the heads up Helen, I'll keep my eyes open for this. :)

Take care.

Rowena... said...

Happy Belated Tday Kat ^-^ As you probably already know, I've been crazy busy for the big day, but now that it's all over, I won't eat turkey til next year. Maybe!

K and S said...

Thanks Rowena :) sounds like your party was a blast!

Take care.