Archive for FEATURED RECIPES

How to Roast a Fresh Pumpkin — a Pedro “PoP” Aguon Tutorial

Pedro “PoP” Aguon was a chef in the Navy. PoP passed down to his family his extensive knowledge of cooking, and his daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon, is kind enough to share some of PoP’s recipes and cooking tips with us. That was PoP’s way, sharing with the younger generations in order to keep the knowledge of our Chamorro culture and heritage alive. Rest in peace, PoP…your family and friends miss you terribly.

From Arlene:
“My PoP’s taught me how to roast a fresh pumpkin. It makes the best pies, Buchi Buchi & Turnovers. It makes the home smell like Thanksgiving too. ENJOY. ” ~ @untie R

Freshly roasted pumpkin tastes better than any canned pumpkin you buy in stores. Try roasting pumpkins PoP’s way. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Roasted Pumpkins ~ A Pop Aguon Tutorial

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Roast the pumpkins at 350 degrees.  The roasting time varies based on the size of your pumpkins.  Medium pumpkins can take between 45 minutes to one hour.  Check at the 45-minute mark; the pumpkin flesh should be tender when pierced with a fork.  Continue to roast until tender.

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Fresh Shrimp Kelaguen

I love shrimp kelaguen.  I love kelaguen, period, but shrimp kelaguen is at the top of the list, especially if it’s FRESH SHRIMP kelaguen.  Oh, and serve this up with fresh corn titiyas…man, oh, man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

For those of you who don’t know what kelaguen is, it’s kind of like ceviche.

Funny story…I had a recipe for fresh shrimp kelaguen, then my sister, Carolyn, shared hers as well.  I went back and compared our recipes and they were almost identical. Of course they would be nearly identical — we learned to cook from the best teacher in the world, OUR MOM. Here’s to all of our moms and dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents … thanks for teaching us so many things, especially how to make all this yummy Chamorro food!

So, back to fresh shrimp kelaguen.  This is a time consuming process, but it is WELL WORTH the effort.  If this is served at a fiesta, I ignore all other food and gorge myself on this delicacy, it’s that good.

Here is my sister, Carolyn’s recipe.

Give it a try and let us know how you like it.  Enjoy!

FRESH SHRIMP KELAGUEN

Recipe by Carolyn Merfalen

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 pounds fresh shrimp, with the head and shell on
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lemon juice (or powder), to taste
  • 6-8 stalks green onions, sliced
  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Hot Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Fresh shrimp (with the heads on) is best for kelaguen. You can, however, still make it using frozen shrimp (again, with the heads on).  I recommend pouring boiling water over the raw shrimp, to lessen its sliminess. Let the water run right off the shrimp, preventing it from puddling. You want to avoid it being cooked in the boiling water.

2.  Depending on your liking, you may keep the shells on. Fresh shrimp is best for this since the shells are very soft and easy to chew and swallow. Otherwise, carefully remove the shells from the body and tail of the shrimp, especially if you are using store-bought boxed frozen shrimp since those shells are hard.

3.  Work on the heads last…carefully remove the shell around the top of the heads. You should be able to see a tiny black sliver right in the center, top of the head, after removing the shell. (I don’t know what it is, but it looks dirty. My mom also mentioned it’s bitter.)  As you work with the heads, use caution in preventing the orange substance in the heads from being thrown out. That orange substance is what gives the kelaguen its reddish color and very distinct flavor.

4.  Devein the shrimp, if the shells were removed. (I usually remove them and devein them.) Mash the shrimp a bit using a fork.

5.  According to taste, add lemon juice or powder, salt, finely diced green onions, freshly grated coconut, and red hot peppers.  Mix to combine.  Serve with titiyas or hot white rice and enjoy!  Absolutely delicious!

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 3

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 4

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 5

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Pedro “PoP” Aguon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

Pedro Aguon, affectionately known to his family and friends as “PoP”, was a decorated Navy veteran and a Pearl Harbor survivor.

PoP copy

 

Pedro "PoP" Aguon

Pedro “PoP” Aguon

According to PoP’s daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon, “PoP was a personal Master Chef for 11 Navy Admirals. One of the admirals was James Morrison (yep, the father of Jim Morrison of the Doors).  This was Jim’s all time favorite dessert that PoP would spoil the family with.  It is famous wherever it is served.  Word has it that a chef in New Orleans actually has PoP’s World Famous Bread Pudding on his 5 Star Restaurant Menu.”

PoP was an inspiration to many, not just for his service to our nation, but for his love of life.  This recipe posting is dedicated to PoP’s memory, and to his desire to keep the Chamorro culture alive through the sharing of one our island’s treasures ~ our food.

Rest in Peace, PoP.  You are greatly missed.

 

PoP Aguon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

Recipe by Pedro “PoP” Aguon
as shared by his daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon
PoP Augon's World Famous Bread Pudding

PoP Augon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

 

PoP’s daughter, Arlene, says this about making PoP’s World Famous Bread Pudding:

“Please note that my father DID NOT measure his ingredients, so I am attempting to record what I saw.  He usually prepared a huge banquet sized pan of pudding for our gatherings so you can downsize as needed.

An IMPORTANT PoP Aguon SECRET:  for 1 cup of cubed bread, use 1 cup whole milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  This will be the foundation for your bread pudding custard base.”

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf of FRESH bread (white, wheat, whole grain, according to your taste).  Break it down to small 1/2 inch cubes or torn pieces.  Lay the bread pieces in a prepared buttered or Smart Balance/Pam sprayed heavy pan.  (One loaf = 12 cups of bread pieces).

Bread Pudding Base:
  • 12 cups of cubed/torn bread (layered loosely in your pan)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 12 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup of sugar or more to your taste
  • 1/4 cup of pure vanilla extract (don’t use imitation)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Custard Topping:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg
Directions for Bread Pudding Base:

1.  Slowly beat your eggs, butter, salt and gradually add your milk and mix until fully incorporated.  Add your vanilla.  Gently pour your wet custard solution over your bread in the pan.  IMPORTANT:  Do not push down the bread.  Let the bread NATURALLY soak up the wet mixture for at least 15-20 minutes.

2.  Place the pan in a pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees.  Bake for an hour and a half.  Your bread pudding base will puff up to a soufflé texture.  DO NOT PIERCE OR TOUCH!  The soufflé texture will be jiggly.  Remove and set on a rack to cool.  As the bread base cools the soufflé texture will start to compact and settle.

Directions for Custard Topping:

1.  Whip the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, 1 cup of milk, butter, and salt in your blender or with an electric mixer.  Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan on low heat, warm the rest of your milk on a low setting (DO NOT SCALD your milk on a high setting).  Gradually add your mixture into the warm milk and constantly stir, so your eggs will be tempered.  Stir from the sides and bring to the middle of your saucepan to prevent lumping.

2.  Once the custard starts to thicken and bubble, cook to the desired consistency. PoP did not make his custard thick like Latiya.  He made it a little runny so it will seep into every nook and crevice of the bread pudding base.  Remove from heat and add your vanilla extract.  Cool for at least 15 minutes then pour the custard over the bread pudding base.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and ENJOY.

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