Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our Sumida Family Reunion and Xmas Feast

If there is ever a time in the future when I doubt if I am related to my family, I will think back to this magical day when my family was reunited and ate 'til we were stuffed like a Christmas goose. Maybe it was the fact that my father and his siblings grew up on our family watercress farm and were surrounded by boundless bunches of fresh island greens; maybe it was my Grandma Sumida who I hear was one of the best cooks; maybe it's just in our blood. Whatever the reason, all I know is that our family can eat, and love to do it, too. Our Christmas celebration was full of fun and reminiscing, along with endless platters of mouth-watering food.

This is a fresh Opakapaka that my Uncle Matt caught. My dad sliced it up so we could eat it sashimi (raw) style on a bed of our family watercress.

In recent years, my dad has become the Christmas Goose King. We used to eat roast beef or turkey; but when my dad decided to make goose one year, we were surprised to find how simple, delicious and...Christmas-like it tasted. It has been a staple ever since.

I wanted to make my new favorite recipe of pork belly and Brussels sprouts, but go figure, the whole island was sold out of Brussels sprouts. The local butcher also said that they do not typically sell pork belly so he had to make a special order for us. The pork belly made a yummy side dish by itself.

My Uncle Sunny spent the whole afternoon roasting this delectable prime rib in a Weber BBQ. The meat was juicy, tender and smokey; a really unique and tasty surprise to my taste buds and a great twist on a traditional Christmas classic.

My mom and I tag teamed on this watercress salad that was topped with candied pecans, pears, and Gorgonzola and tossed with a homemade lemon vinaigrette. For those of you who have never tasted watercress, it resembles arugula in flavor, but is so much better, especially if you are talking about Sumida Watercress.

My Uncle Dave made this tender shoyu (soy sauce) pork that was the perfect amount of salty and slightly sweet.

Uncle Dave also made those lovely ornament looking watercress pesto stuffed mushrooms (another fabulous way to use watercress!) and a Portuguese sausage tart.

My Auntie Barb made this savory cauliflower casserole that had a great crunch--I just recently got into cooking cauliflower, and will have to add this to my armamentarium.

Slicing up that Christmas goose...gobble gobble! Oops, that is a turkey sound.

This was one of our appetizers, but we also ended up having a second round as a night cap after we had rested for a bit and drank more wine. My dad brought fois gras, balsamic jelly and truffle oil from Seattle. He sauteed the fois gras and topped it on a toasted baguette with a bit of balsamic jelly and truffle oil. It was absolute heaven.

Uncle Dave photoshopped this image. The top photo was taken at Christmas in 1994 and is a family classic; we tried to recreate it, but my baby cousin Anna said she wouldn't sit on cousin Nicky's lap, and my cousin Marika wasn't feeling the "Elvira" like hug this time around. We all now live around the country: Marika in San Francisco for art school, Nicky working in Brooklyn, Matty working in LA, me in Seattle. Kelsey, a new-graduate nurse at Queen's Hospital, and Anna, who is finishing up her senior year of high school, are the only ones left in the islands.

It is rare to get the whole gang back together and I was so happy to spend this food filled evening with my Sumida family. My Auntie Charlotte, who lives in Paris, was missing from our reunion. However, we will reunite with her when we visit Paris next year!

Meanwhile, Kyle and my dad went into a food coma.
Hope you all had a wonderful holidays and a Happy New Year!
Happy Eating,

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