Easy-to-make holiday dishes with Chef John

Posted on Dec 22 2021
Chef John Imperial

Chef John Imperial shares two quick and easy-to-make recipes, perfect for sharing with families and friends this holiday season. (IVA MAURIN)

If there is one delicious thing that brings everyone together during the holidays, it’s food. Christmas is a time for cooking and sharing meals with our families and friends, exchanging stories and laughter gathered around the dining table at home [or at a picnic table in one of the island’s palapala].

Christmas is about food too. After all, food, they say, is the quickest way to someone’s heart. This holiday, Saipan Tribune sat down with John Imperial, head chef of Plumeria Steakhouse, to talk about the importance of gathering for Christmas, and of course, to give a couple of easy-to-make delicious holiday dishes that we can try to replicate and serve in our homes.

Chef John has been in the CNMI for decades, 29 years of which he spent working in the kitchen, and learning the art and joy of cooking from his many mentor chefs that helped him through the years. For Chef John, the secret to great delicious food is “cooking from the heart” and in “serving food with love.”

“Christmas is about loving, giving and forgiving, and sharing,” Chef John said. “Sharing blessings, no matter how small, and gathering as a family is a Christmas tradition that is proof that your family is strong. There, you can see the love of a child for the parent, and the love of a parent for the child. That love and respect, to me, is the meaning of Christmas.”

Chef John also stressed the importance of prayers and humility, and how treating others kindly goes a long way. This Christmas, his only wish is for his family to be well and healthy.

Ready to express love to your family too? Let’s try two of Chef John’s recipes:

Holiday Ham

– ham
– lemon
– orange
– pineapple juice
– honey
– apple
– rosemary
– brown sugar

Step 1. Marinade overnight then boil ham in mixture of lemon, orange, pineapple juice, honey, apple, rosemary, and brown sugar. Make sure to prick the ham while boiling to get the flavor in.
Step 2. Bake ham the next morning for 35 to 40 minutes, in 375 degrees temperature.
Step 3. Remove ham from oven. Pour sauce on ham and top with pineapple slices. Ready to serve!

Seafood Pasta

– lobster
– crab
– pasta [preferably fettuccine] – garlic
– onion
– mushroom
– fresh tomato [4 pieces] – red sauce [marinara] – whipped cream
– fresh basil
– fresh oregano
– salt and pepper
– butter

Step 1. Sauté lobster and crab in garlic, onion, mushroom, and fresh tomatoes.
Step 2. Pour in whipped cream and red sauce. Wait to boil.
Step 3. Cook pasta according to package directions, then add to sautéed mixture.
Step 4. Add salt and pepper to taste, also chopped fresh basil and oregano.
Step 5. Add butter. Ready to serve!

To taste more of Chef John Imperial’s cooking, visit Plumeria Steakhouse along Beach Road in Garapan, next to Ete’ Cafe.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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