Apr 19, 2006

Food for a Pinoy Luau

Ewan ko ba, but I really like cooking and I love feeding people. Given the chance, I would probably be having a party everyday. :)

So I volunteered to be chef for my friend Jeng's birthday party. We decided on an island theme and planned a luau.

A luau, in the strict sense, would normally feature poi (fermented taro root paste), kalua pig (pork prepared in an imu, or earth oven), poke (a recipe I found describes something like a Japanese kinilaw), and lomi salmon, among others.

But we didn't dare go into strange territory just yet, afterall, we were all Pinoys at the party and we wanted people to eat (and not be turned-off by the alien-sounding food)! So here's the menu I cooked up for Jeng:

'Arte ng names, 'no? Kasing-arte ng chef. :)

Fanciness aside, all the dishes were very simple and easy to prepare. The Flame-Baked Cheese-Garlic Mussels are just tahong I baked in a baking pan over charcoal; Red Snapper Tropicale is just maya-maya with sweet-sour sauce with pineapple bits, and breaded tanigue cubes paired with tartar sauce is what became known at the party as Golden Nuggets with Sauce Tartare. :) The Chicken Kebabs were the first to be wiped-out. (Jeng and I stopped the threading at about 50 sticks, but after she sampled a stick of the first batch she resumed threading, saying "Masarap eh, baka maubos agad.") The Beef Bulgogi found popularity among the kids, no one looked for Chickenjoy. :) Of course, Papa's Spaghetti Mafia was again topic of conversation, setting first-tasters asking for the recipe.

To keep the island party theme, I made crepe paper lanterns with white hibiscus cut-outs, and hung paper flower garlands. We used Jeng's tie-dyed sarongs as table cloth, then put the dessert Summer Fruit Medley (which are just slices of summer fruits -- bananas, watermelons and mangoes) on a banana leaf on the middle of the buffet table as centerpiece. (I put in some silk orchids I got for a song at ValuePoint as garnish.) The other desserts sat with the drink of the day, Jamaican Island Cooler (orange juice with fresh fruit slices) on the side table.

We were counting on some helpers Jeng hired to do the peeling, chopping, etc. but they were a non-appearance so Jeng and I became mega-multi-taskers. :) Luckily, we wrapped-up photo finish, and I made a quick dash home to shower and change. When I got back there was only time for a few shots using Jeng's cam-phone (in my hurry I forgot to snag my camera), so no pictures of the feast table here just yet.

The party was a great success though (if I may say so myself) and we had a great time eating, singing, talking and drinking (Bailey's for them, Island Cooler for me...tee hee hee) to the late hours of the night.

Party tayo ulit, Jeng? :)


Of course I wouldn't have been able to indulge in this passion without the help of my labidabs, Mike, who was also my handyman, driver, taga-sabit ng garlands, videoke controller, etc. etc. on the day.

The tahong was sinadya in Silang, Cavite by Jeng's husband, Rel, who bought ALL the tahong from the stand-- an astonishing 8 large cans! (I ordered only 2.)