Over the weekend we celebrated the lunar new year with my hubby’s side of the family. Since my hubby’s family is Filipino and traditionally does not celebrate this event, it was up to me to carry on the tradition. I hosted a dinner at our home for about 25 guests. I spent most of Saturday preparing the meal while my hubby was in charge of prepping the house for guests.
I made my mom’s recipe for ma-po tofu (with ground pork, dried mushrooms, and silken tofu); a stirfried chicken dish with (onions, red and green peppers, and a blackbean and chili garlic paste); green beans sautéed with tomatoes and Taiwanese sausages in soy sauce and black vinegar; and a huge bowl of fragrant Jasmine rice. Jojo ordered a special seafood noodle dish (with large pieces of rock cod, shrimps, crab meat, and squid) from our favorite Chinese place since you can’t have a Chinese dinner without noodles, can you? For dessert, I had fresh fruit (baby tangerines and longans) and lychee jelly. I also served a lightly sweetened jasmine iced tea for those who wanted a light and refreshing drink.
I would have taken pictures or would have asked my hubby to take photos of the food at least. But when you are doing double duty as the cook and the host for hungry guests whipping out the camera is at the bottom of the priorities list.
Trust me when I tell you everything was presented very well (I used our all white serving wear) and dressed the dining table in a pale gold tablecloth and with chocolate gold coins and red Chinese party-poppers strewn around). I learned well from my mom that even if the food is good, the presentation heightens the experience! Everyone was very complimentary about our home and the way the table was arranged. I got oohs and aahs when the food came out. There was a lot of good natured teasing like how my hubby hit the jackpot by marrying me. But the best compliment of all, was how everyone really liked the food. – and they weren’t just saying that too. They all filled their plates the first time. Everyone went back for seconds. And most of them even went back for thirds. After dinner, my hubby’s aunt asked me where I learned to cook like this and I proudly gave credit to my mom. My MIL confirmed this by saying my mom was an excellent cook and a great homemaker and that I was following in her footsteps. Such high praise to be even thought of in the same category as my mom!!!
It was well worth the trouble of shopping for the food and spending the afternoon cooking. My MIL and SILs pitched in with the after-dinner clean-up. And the best part was relaxing after dinner with tea and sweets and a houseful of family and friends.
HAPPY YEAR OF THE PIG EVERYONE!