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Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes aren’t traditionally found on a Chamorro menu, but there are times when my family craves something other than rice with a meal.

We like mashed potatoes–GARLIC mashed potatoes, that is–with the “classics” like fried or baked chicken, baked turkey, ham steaks, and meatloaf.  If it’s prepared right, you don’t even need gravy.  Oh, I just cringed–me, who LOVES to drown my food in lots and lots of gravy!  Well, my mashed potatoes are delicious with our without gravy.  It’s light, creamy, and garlicky…it’s just plain YUMMY!

I made this with russet potatoes, but it’s also fantastic with red potatoes (leave some of the skin on if you use red potatoes).

Give my mashed potatoes a try.  It’ll go great with your next meal. 🙂

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet or baking potatoes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Wash and peel the potatoes.  Cut into evenly sized pieces.

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2.  Place the potatoes into a medium sized pot then cover with cold water.  I also salt the water, about a teaspoon of salt will do.  Bring the water to a boil, keeping the pot uncovered.

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3.  When the potatoes are done, turn off the heat and pour out the water.  Keep the potatoes in the pot.  Why dirty another bowl?  Everything gets mixed in the same pot. 🙂

Slice the butter into small pieces then add it to the pot of potatoes.  Stir gently; the heat from the pot and potatoes will melt the butter.

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4.  Add the garlic powder and cheese to the pot; stir to combine.

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5.  Place the half and half in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl.  Heat for about 90 seconds.  Pour the hot liquid into the pot of potatoes.  This may appear to be too much liquid, but trust me…it’s just the right amount.

In case you’re wondering, those green flecks in the photo below are dried parsley (I used garlic powder with dried parsley in it). 😉

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6.  Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes.  Mash only to the point when you don’t have any large chunks of potatoes anymore.  A few small chunks are okay.

This is IMPORTANT:  DO NOT over mash, and by all means, DO NOT use a hand mixer to mix your potatoes.  Over-mixing or over-mashing potatoes turns the whole thing into a sticky, gummy mess.  If you stop mashing–as I stated above–when there aren’t anymore large chunks, I guarantee you’ll have light, fluffy, tasty mashed potatoes your family will love.

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7.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir (no more mashing), then taste again.  Adjust seasonings if required.

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Serve and ENJOY!

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Pot Roast, Chamorro Style

Whenever I find myself feeling a bit homesick, I think of something to cook that soothes my longing for my island home. Chamorro Pot Roast is one of those dishes. This is a dish that was usually on the menu for Chamorro gatherings. I remember going to parties when I was younger, and before the table was opened, I’d check to see if there was any pot roast. If there was, the ONLY things I’d have on my plate were rice (red or white), pot roast (with as much gravy as I could scoop up), and lots of fina’denne’. These days, I use a crock pot to cook my pot roast. Set it and forget it…what could be easier?

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂  

Chamorro Pot Roast

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Ingredients:

  • 1 2-lb chuck roast (look for one that is nicely marbled with fat)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (you can use white vinegar instead)
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (Korean beef soup stock)
  • 1 teaspoon Accent or Ajinomoto
  • 1 cup water (if cooking this on the stovetop, use 2 cups water)
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch plus one cup water

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Directions:

1.  Place a large skillet or dutch oven over high heat.

2.  Using a long, sharp knife, CAREFULLY cut 8 deep slits into the sides of the roast. Push a whole clove of garlic into each slit.

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3.  Rub the sides of the roast with salt and pepper.

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4.  When the pan is hot, add half of the oil into the pan. Brown the roast on all sides then remove it from the pan and place it into a slow cooker or crock pot set to HIGH.

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5.  Add the remaining oil to the pan used to brown the roast. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the slow cooker.

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6.  Into the crock pot, add:

the tomatoes with juice…

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the Dashida seasoning…

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the accent or aji…

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the balsamic vinegar…

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the soy sauce…

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and 1 cup of water (see note below) plus any remaining salt and pepper.

NOTE:  If making this on the stovetop, add 2 cups of water instead (a lot of water will evaporate as the roast cooks).

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7.  Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH setting for 2 hours then lower the heat to LOW and cook for an additional 2 hours then turn off the slow cooker.  If cooking this on the stovetop, cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours.

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8.  When the roast is done, remove the roast to a plate or cutting board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing (don’t cut it sooner that this or all the juices will flow out and leave your roast dry).

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9.  In the meantime, while the roast is resting, prepare the gravy. Using an immersion blender, purée the chunks of vegetables in the gravy until it is completely smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer all of the gravy (the liquid and all vegetables) from the slow cooker to a blender and blend until smooth.

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10.  Pour the puréed mixture into a small pot; bring the mixture to a boil.

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11.  Mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1 cup of water.

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Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the gravy and return to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Turn off the heat once the gravy has thickened.

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12.  After the roast has rested, use a serrated knife or very sharp carving knife to slice the roast into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.

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Pour gravy over the sliced roast beef.

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Serve with hot white rice and Enjoy!  I love to “drown” my pot roast and rice in lots and lots of gravy!  🙂

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Pumpkin-Carrot Crunch Cake

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, not just because of the beautiful fall colors and cooling temperatures, but because I love the smell of the house when I bake up a batch of pumpkin anything.  I say anything because my family loves most everything made with pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Turnovers (Pastit or Buchi Buchi), and one of our favorites — Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake.

This recipe is my take on the popular Pumpkin Crunch Cake that you must have seen making its rounds on the internet.

I make mine differently.  One thing I do differently is instead of sprinkling dry cake mix over the pumpkin filling, I make a cake and nut layer by mixing together melted butter, chopped nuts and the cake mix, then spreading it onto the bottom of a pan, making a delightful crust of sorts.

My pumpkin filling is essentially a custard, forming a rich and creamy layer on top of the cake and nut crust.

And finally, the top layer is not just plain old Cool Whip Whipped Topping, but a thicker version made so by adding sweet vanilla pudding to it.

My version also uses carrot cake instead of regular yellow cake mix, although yellow cake is perfectly fine if that’s what you prefer.  We love carrot cake in our house, so I incorporated two favorites into one, and voila, there you have my Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake!

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

PUMPKIN CARROT CRUNCH CAKE

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INGREDIENTS:

Pumpkin Filling:
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cake & Pecan Crust:
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 box super moist carrot cake mix
Whipped Topping:
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding & pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling (pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt). Set aside.

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3.  Finely chop the nuts using a food chopper or processor.

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4.  In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Cake & Pecan Crust (melted butter, chopped nuts, and cake mix).  Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 cake pan with cooking spray (butter flavored, or the one for baking that has flour in it).  Spread the cake mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

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5.  Pour the pumpkin filling over the cake and pecan mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to an hour.  The cake is done when the sides are set (the pumpkin filling will look firm and dry from the edge of the pan inward about two inches) but the middle will still be jiggly.  When you take the cake out of the oven, it will continue to cook as it cools.  Allow the cake to completely cool on the countertop.  Top with Whipped Topping when the cake is completely cooled.

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6.  To make the whipped topping, place the Cool Whip into a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the dry pudding mix over the Cool Whip.  Add the milk.  Using an electric mixer, mix until all the ingredients are combined.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to set.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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7.  After the cake has cooled, top with the whipped topping mixture.

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8.  Serve and enjoy!

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Shrimp Patties

Hi everyone!  This is Hannah, Annie’s daughter.

I made some delicious shrimp patties for lunch one day. My version is somewhat different from the “regular” recipe most people have.

What’s different about my version? I don’t use any eggs. It started out as a mistake one time when I was making shrimp patties and forgot to put eggs in the batter. However, I liked how it turned out. The inside was nice and fluffy, and my shrimp patties were nice and round (my neighbor called them “shrimp balls”) and not flat.

Give my recipe a try. Let me know how you like them. My family loves them; I hope you do too!

SHRIMP PATTIES

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh green beans
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 3 cups corn kernels (I love lots of corn in my shrimp patties)
  • 4 cups shrimp, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (the seafood flavored kind)
  • 1 teaspoon Accent
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil, for frying

 DIRECTIONS:

1.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Do you know how to tell if the oil is hot enough and ready? My mom taught me a great trick.  Use the tip of a wooden spoon (I used a wooden chopstick) and dip it into the oil.  If little bubbles start to form around the wood, then the oil is hot and ready. Make sure the wood is clean and dry first; you don’t want hot oil to splatter and burn you.

Here is a short video clip. You can see all of the little bubbles form around the tip of the wooden chopstick. This tells you that the oil is hot and ready for frying.

2.  While you’re waiting for the oil to heat up, mix all of the ingredients (except for the oil, of course) in a large bowl.

3.  Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Note: I used a small ice cream scoop that holds 1 1/2 tablespoons. This is also what makes the shrimp patties nice and round like doughnuts. (Maybe that’s why my neighbor calls them shrimp balls, LOL.)

 

I added a lot of photos below to show you the process.

Enjoy, and I hope you like them!

~ Hannah

 

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Place the shrimp and vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

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Place the flour and other dry ingredients in a smaller bowl.

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Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of shrimp and veggies.

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Pour the evaporated milk into the mixing bowl.

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Mix, mix, mix! 🙂

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Check to see if the oil is hot. Scroll up and watch my video that shows what to look for.

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When the oil is ready, use a small cookie scoop to drop the batter into the oil. This makes the shrimp patties nice and round.

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Don’t put too much into the oil. You want to leave enough room to allow the shrimp patties to cook evenly, plus overcrowding might make them stick together when you drop the batter into the oil.

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The shrimp patties usually turn on their own, but if they don’t, turn them occasionally to ensure even browning.

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Fry until nicely browned.

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Place in a colander or strainer to drain the excess oil.

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The small cookie scoop I use makes shrimp patties that are a little bit bigger than the size of a ping pong ball. I think it’s the perfect size — not too big, not too small.

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The inside is nice and fluffy.

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Pile on the goodness! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Kelaguen & Flour Titiyas

Kelaguen and Titiyas ~ both staples on a Chamorro fiesta table.  But you don’t have to be invited to a fiesta in order to enjoy these tasty dishes — they are so easy to make that you can have it anytime you get the craving!

My two daughters (ages 11 and 15) prepared the dishes pictured in the photos below; if THEY can do it, so can you!

Give my super easy recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them!  🙂

Annie’s Chicken Kelaguen

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small rotisserie chicken
  • 6 stalks green onions
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon powder plus 3 tablespoons water (or use the juice of 1 large lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (more or less, to taste)
  • Hot pepper, optional
  • Freshly grated coconut (unsweetened), optional

Directions:

1.  Debone the chicken; shred or cut into small pieces (I used a food processor to roughly chop the chicken).

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2.  Thinly slice the green onions then add it to the chicken.

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3.  Add the lemon powder, water, salt and pepper to the bowl of chicken; mix to combine.  Taste; adjust seasoning if required.

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4.  Stir in the grated coconut (optional).

5.  Serve with my super easy sweet flour titiyas (see recipe below) and enjoy!

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Annie’s Sweet Flour Titiyas

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream of coconut (the sweet one, used for mixed drinks)

This is what the can of cream of coconut looks like.  This is incredibly sweet so you do not need to add more sugar.  Cream of Coconut is NOT the same as coconut cream (thick coconut milk).

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Directions:

1.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, melted butter, and cream of coconut (start out with 1/4 cup; increase to a total of 1/2 cup, depending on how humid your day is–more humid means less liquid). Mix together until a dough forms; knead gently to form a smooth ball of dough.

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2.  Break off golf-ball sized pieces. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin.  Roll out the piece of dough into a flat disc (about 1/8-inch thick). Place the titiyas on a dry skillet; prick all over with a fork to prevent bubbling during the cooking process.

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3.  Pan-fry on a dry skillet over medium-low heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bottom begins to turn a golden brown; flip over and cook the other side until it turns a nice golden brown.  For thicker titiyas, cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side; the titiyas is done when you gently press down on the center and it feels somewhat firm to the touch.

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4.  Place cooked titiyas on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.  Serve with my delicious chicken kelaguen.  Enjoy!

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