kruizing with kikukat

Monday, September 15, 2014

Almost Zuni Cafe: Oxtails for Dinner

This week started off fine, but by the time the work week was over, I had been through hell.

I woke up Thursday morning with severe stomach cramps.  The cramps were so bad that I succumbed to The Help's suggestion of the ER.  Luckily, when we got there, they weren't too busy and could take me immediately.  They hooked me up to all kinds of IV fluids and gave me a narcotic painkiller which I think screwed me up for most of the day.

Before I got to the ER, I wasn't suffering from nausea, but by the time I left (to make space for others who needed a room more than me), I was so nauseated that the nausea became my greatest enemy (not the cramping).

I was able to go to the doctor on Friday, and he suspected it was some kind of virus which caused all the discomfort.  He also took me off of the antibiotics from the ER.  By Friday evening, I was ravenous!

Luckily, earlier in the week, I had made braised oxtails for dinner.  We hadn't revisited the leftovers all week because we kept going out for dinner (we went twice this week to Restaurant Kenichi!) but having the leftover oxtails came in handy.  In spite of my stomach discomfort, I wolfed down a bowl of food.  Even leftover oxtails are delicious.

Did I mention how much I love oxtails?  I really do.  I remember eating it (oxtail stew) as a little kid.

Kikukat Mom recently made Chinese-style oxtail soup with peanuts.  It was delicious.  We had it for lunch at ABetty's house in Mountain View.  My favorite part, after the oxtails, was the peanuts.  Yum.

I occasionally see oxtails in the market here, but I usually buy the double pack from Costco.  The double-pack contains about 4 lbs of oxtails.  It's the perfect amount to make a quasi-Zuni Cafe version of braised oxtails.

Admittedly, I have never been to the Zuni Cafe, but back in the 90s, I received a fundraiser cookbook which had some kind of Zuni Cafe scone recipe in it.  A few years later, I purchased the Zuni Cafe cookbook from Borders (before they went out of business in Hilo).  I spent days poring through the book, mentally separating which recipes were feasible for home construction and discounting anything which contained the Devil's condiment (the short ribs sounded yummy until I saw IT in there).

However even after all these years, the only recipe I've made from the cookbook is the braised oxtails.  I've been wanting to make the scones and try their version of roast chicken, but like many of their recipes, including the braised oxtails, the directions are extremely exacting/fussy.  Having made the braised oxtails multiple times, I decided to exercise some amateur cook judgment and cut some corners.  The original recipe suggested using the shank of a pigs leg to add more flavor.  I've never done that.  The recipe also included directions for browning the oxtails, instructing one to start over if things began burning.  Too fussy.

And after exploring the Zuni Cafe website for this post, I think I'm going to spend some time revisiting the Zuni Cafe cookbook.  Maybe, after all these years, I'll finally make the scones and roast chicken!
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3-4 lbs oxtails
     4 c beef broth
     1-2 tbsp olive oil
     1 3/4 c red wine
     splash of brandy
     2 bay leaves
     1 branch parsley
     1 branch thyme
     few cloves garlic
     1 large carrot, cut into 2" lengths
     few stalks celery, cut into 2" lengths
     1 medium onion, cut into wedges
     1 can (about 15 oz)  canned tomatoes (whole peeled), coarsely chopped
     2 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 8-10 2" pieces

Simmer beef broth until reduced to 2 cups.  Salt oxtails and brown in olive oil in a 6 qt Dutch oven.  Deglaze pan with red wine and brandy.  Heat until wine is reduced to half.  Add reduced beef broth.  Return oxtails to pot, "eyes" facing up.  Add bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and garlic.  Fit carrots, celery, onions & tomatoes in spaces between oxtails.  Cover and bake in a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes.  At this point, oxtails can be refrigerated overnight and hardened fat removed before proceeding, or ladle liquid into a fat separator to remove as much fat as possible.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place potato pieces under oxtails.  Bake (covered) for 45 minutes or 60 minutes (if chilled overnight), uncovering for last 30 minutes.

Since I was feeling almost normal by Saturday afternoon, The Help and I accepted Brucie's generous offer to come out to his place to view the smoke from the burning trees caused by the advancing lava flow in Pahoa.  
We got there in the late afternoon and stayed for a few hours (until it got dark).   The weather was beautiful, save for the brief, light shower just before dark.

The Help was able to get some neat pics like this (to the left).  The picture shows the glow from the lava as it makes its way towards Pahoa town.  It was surreal to see the long-exposure picture, which allowed both the lava glow and stars to be visible.  The Help also managed to get some "silky water" pictures from the top of the cliff.  While he was busy doing his thing, I got to chitchat with Brucie and play with my niece Nicole.  She is absolutely darling.

We'll be heading out there again on a cloudless night to get some pictures of the Milky Way.  I've said this before, and I'll say it again...Brucie is whom I wanna be when I grow up!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Heart Tarts: Egg Custard Tarts

Today is the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, which means it is Moon Festival (a.k.a. Mid-Autumn Festival), the second biggest Chinese holiday. 

Unfortunately, Moon Festival in Hilo is not commemorated by a holiday.  When I was growing up, the United Community Church would host a Moon Festival dinner.  The Moon Festival banner would be displayed for weeks leading up to the dinner.  My parents would invariably have tickets, and we'd go to pick up food.  I remember there was tough and chewy kau yuk (steamed pork or pot roast pork) and sweet-sour spareribs on the plate, but neither were as good as homemade or the kind from Leung's.  I don't remember anything else on the plate, but I'm sure there was a round scoop of sticky white rice.  Mr. Dependable, whose family did the same (get tickets and pick up food), tells me the food was indeed less than memorable.

I suppose if we lived in Honolulu, we would've taken part in a more proper celebration...go out to eat, buy mooncakes, etc.  I know which restaurants would be on my list too.  Legend Seafood Restaurant or Hee Hing would be at the top of my list.  And I would go to Chinatown to Sing Cheong Yuan (formerly Shung Chong Yuein) to buy mooncakes and pastries.

street view of Harbor City Restaurant

Actually, I don't like mooncakes so much.  The kind we have in Hilo is either stale or preserved with more chemicals than the specimens in biology class.  I don't have a mooncake mold, so I really can't make my own.  So instead of mooncakes, I will be making another Chinese dessert. . .egg custard tarts.

I think it's a Chinese thing, but both Ds love gai dan tat (egg custard tarts).  Whenever we get to go to a dim sum restaurant, they will always get a plate of these tarts for dessert.  Unfortunately, the Ds weren't with me when I went to Harbor City Restaurant (Seattle).  The egg tarts there were the best I've ever had.  The custard filling was good, but it was the crust which made the Harbor City tarts outstanding.  It was the same pastry dough used for a barbecue pork pastry.  Crisp, flaky, light, and, I'm sure, filled with lard!

Because there is no handy-dandy dim sum restaurant where I live, I had to learn to make these tarts at home.  Of course, I don't have lard at home, and I think the idea of even buying lard grosses me out.  If I'm gonna clog my arteries, I will do it with butter.  I will be the first to admit that my tarts are nowhere close to the Harbor City tarts (the crust).  But its rather inconvenient, not to mention costly, to fly to Seattle just to enjoy a Moon Festival meal at Harbor City...or is it???

click on recipe title for printable reipe
(adapted from Judy Lew's Dim Sum Appetizers and Light Meals)

Crust (makes 18 2 1/2" tarts)

     1 1/2 c flour
     1 tbsp sugar
     1/4 tsp salt
     1/2 c butter
     2 tbsp Crisco shortening
     1 egg

Combine flour, sugar and salt.  Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse sand.  Add egg.  Mix well.  Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth.  Divide into 18 pieces.  Press each piece into a 2 1/2" tart pan.

Egg Custard Filling

     3/4 c milk
     6 tbsp sugar
     3 tbsp warm water 
     3 eggs, beaten
     1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine sugar and warm water.  Stir until dissolved.  Add milk, eggs, and vanilla and stir well.  Pour through a sieve to remove any solids.  Divide among lined tart pans, filling almost to the top.  Place filled tart pans in flat pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool for 15-20 minutes before carefully removing tarts from pans.

I had my first run-in with a teacher last week.  D2's teacher called, telling me she'd be receiving an F on her mid-quarter progress report for not doing an assignment.  I was puzzled because I had seen her working on it.  Furthermore, this teacher was named by D2 as "my favorite teacher", so the sting was even greater.  I was absolutely livid.  The teacher continued on, saying that she would be docking 5 points off for every day it was late.  By the time she called over 2 days had passed since the due date.  When I confronted D2, she produced the paper from her bag, complete with markings by the teacher.  WTF?!?  The teacher had forgotten that D2 had attempted to turn it in early!  I paid a visit to the teacher who, needless to say, was less than thrilled to see me.  She greeted me by saying that she was prepping for her class and had no time to speak to me.  But I apologized for my outburst on the phone and noticed that she had D2's paper on her desk.  By the time I left, 5 minutes later, we shook hands and hugged (Hawaiian style).  The teacher changed her mid-quarter grade to an A and added a smiley-face.  D2 said now her teacher knows her mom is crazy. 

Ending the week on the plus side, both HHS squads scored victories over the Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors.
JV QB Tiogangco makes a run for it
In spite of never leading until the very end, the varsity won a thriller which went into overtime.  The game was filled with penalties, not all legit, called against HHS.  The most blatant happened in front of my very eyes.  The ball touched the ground before it was in possession, yet the visually-impaired ref called it complete.  #dumbass #goseeanoptometrist It was my first experience with 20-20 scoring. 
taking down the QB
#4, my favorite varsity running back

Monday, September 1, 2014

Long Rice Salad

Happy Labor Day!

Today is a much-deserved holiday.  Looking forward to the 4-day work week.  I've been awake since 4:45 am.  Yes, I know it's a holiday, but I had to take D1 to the airport for some kind of 1-day Key Club convention on Oahu.  I hope she brings back some yummy snack for me.  Not sure why, but I've been ono for Beard Papa (cream puffs).

A whole bunch of my friends went to Honolulu this weekend.  There was an HSTA meeting as well as a food and wine festival.  I wish I could've gone to the food and wine festival.  My new favorite Hilo restaurant, Full Moon Cafe, was there.  I missed my smoky sashimi fix this weekend.  For all you Hilo expats living away, the next time you come home, Full Moon Cafe is a must-try.  Their menu is small and changes daily, ensuring that food is only made with fresh ingredients.  I cannot get enough of the smoky sashimi.  Actually, it's a smoky shoyu with chili pepper oil.  It is kick-ass!

As I was saying, this is a much-deserved holiday for me.  I feel like I've been working like a dog.  Things at work have been hectic, and last week, one of my new coworkers announced his departure.  That leaves a big hole because we really could've used his expertise this year.  Alas, Rhode Island pays better than Hawaii, and a former Hawaii administrator has been recruiting heavily on the East side of the Big Island...she already got another administrator to move.  I wonder who else will follow the pied piper.

I also wonder what else will be placed upon my plate (as well as the other teachers) due to our coworkers departure.  Come to think of it, I wonder what his advisorship was.  And on a very personal level, I wonder who will buy his car.  He has a cute Mini Cooper.  If it had Union Jack mirrors, it would already be in my garage!

As if things weren't hectic enough, last week Wednesday my new elliptical arrived.  I was expecting it sometime this week so I was surprised to come home from work to find The Help assembling it.  The box was huge.  I'm not even sure how he managed to get it into the house without my help.  I have been trying to adjust from the treadmill (now in my neighbors living room) to the elliptical, and it hasn't been easy.  I usually walked over 2 miles each morning on the treadmill, but I've come to realize there is no such thing as "walking" on an elliptical".  It is fricking hell.  I cannot last more than 5 minutes on the dang thing, and my thighs burn at minute 3.  At minute 4, I think I went into cardiac arrest from the dang elliptical.  After 5 minutes, I gave up.  It was no better on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday either...thigh burn, cardiac arrest, give up...every single time.

And sometime between the last post and this one, Kikukat Blog surpassed one million page views.  Wow.  I really didn't expect that!  I began this blog in May 2010, just as I was closing the second darkest year (hope it won't be third darkest!) in my career.  I was looking for a way to keep in touch with faraway family and friends...people who were near and dear to me and helped keep me sane.  So for those of you who read my blog, thank you for giving me this venue to bitch, celebrate, and hang with you.  I hope to see you at the 2-million mark!
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 large pkg. long rice*
     1 Japanese cucumber
     1 kamaboko
     1 pkg bean sprouts
     1/2  c sugar
     1/2 c rice vinegar
     2 tbsp shoyu
     2 tsp sesame oil
     1 tsp ginger juice

Cook long rice for 5 minutes in boiling water.  If using Nice brand long rice, cook 10 minutes.  Rinse in cold water, drain and cool.  Spread in an even layer on a serving platter.  Cook bean sprouts in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Rinse, drain and cool.  Spread over long rice.  Sprinkle cucumber over bean sprouts, followed by kamaboko.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Combine remaining ingredients in a jar.  Shake well.  Chill until ready to serve.  Shake dressing prior to serving.

*Hawaii might be the only place where we refer to bean thread noodles as "long rice".  In other parts of the world, I think it goes by "cellophane noodles" and "glass noodles".  There are several brands to choose from, and the brand I try to buy is Nice.  The Nice noodles come in a flat pack, rather than bunched in a compact bundle like other brands.  You will need 3-4 ounces (dry weight) for this recipe.
Mike and Matsu, you guys missed a great football Saturday!

The JV played Pahoa's 8-man squad and the varsity played HPA.  The JV game was interesting, as I had never seen an 8-man game before.  Pahoa had some big boys, but the scrappy Viks managed to dominate.  Mercy rule kicked into play.  I got to see my favorite JV running back do some damage to the Dagger defense.
#11 rocks

By the time the varsity game began, it was already dark.  The Help told me my assignment was to shoot "emotion".  I think I did well.  The picture above shows elation.  It's apparent the players and coaches are happy.  I was able to capture the player getting air!

The picture to the right shows reverence and respect.  The boys listen politely as one of the coaches speaks with wisdom. 

The varsity game saw a repeat of the mercy rule, and I was most glad to see that no player was seriously injured.  As a parent, being down on the field is a little disturbing.  I do not like the sound helmets make when they slam against each other, nor do I enjoy hearing the wind knocked out of a player.  It really is spooky when someone takes a little longer to get to their feet.

But what I hate even more than the raw side of football brutality is asshole poser photographers who use flash on the field!  Apparently, the dickhead wearing the red HPA t-shirt had no regard for safety, judging from his flash bursts blinding the players (HPA player included).  Show some respect for the players, asshole! 
it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why the Kamakani receiver missed this pass
Oh, and I almost forgot...emotion in the last picture is despair. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Toaster Oven Food: Brownies

Last week was the first full week of school.  The previous attempt at a full week was thwarted by the arrival of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle.  We finally got to experience a real Friday on our new bell schedule.  All seven periods in the same day makes for a freaking long day, let me tell you!  I think the students hold up better than the adults, but it is still a really long day.  I was beat by the time I got home, and I'm grateful Mr. Dependable picked up the Ds early.

This week's post kinda reflects my energy level. . .very sparse.  I don't even have the energy to bitch about my kids/colleagues/Mr. Dependable/etc.  And I only managed to get one picture of the brownies before they were gobbled up.  In my opinion, these are the best brownies you will ever eat.  They are energy friendly because they can be baked in a toaster need to fire up the behemoth.  Furthermore, the person who does the dishes will also conserve energy since this is mixed in the same pan used to heat the butter, sugar and water.  Another plus to baking in a square pan is the cooling rate.  These brownies cool faster , making the wait to sink your teeth into these decadent morsels that much shorter.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3/4 c flour
     1/4 tsp baking soda
     1/4 tsp salt
     3/4 c sugar
     1/3 c butter
     2 tbsp water
     12 oz (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line (with foil) and grease an 8 1/2" or 9" square pan.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, and water, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and vanilla.  Using a hand mixer, mix at low speed until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture, beating until incorporated.  Stir in remaining chocolate chips.  Spread in prepared pan.  Bake 30-33 minutes until just set.  Cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.

I hope I will have more energy next week for a longer post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kim Chee Patties

Last week was a difficult week.  We had some restoring to do at the hale (house).  The Help put back the gazebo cover.  He replaced the tarp on the tempermanent carport.  He also replaced the loose clamps on the pool heater.

He did a lot, and I'm grateful for his help, but I know there are families out there who still have it bad.  Some of my friends in Kapoho just got electricity restored this weekend.  Many had already capitulated and purchased generators.  I offered to do laundry for some of my work friends, but nobody took  me up on my offer.  I hope it wasn't because of my only stipulation, "no undies". . .didn't want uncomfortable smiles (or new good friends) at work.

This past weekend was a long weekend (unlike the long weekend created by the arrival of Iselle, this weekend was planned). . .Admissions Day holiday on Friday.  Since D2's birthday fell on Thursday, I threw her a slumber party on Thursday evening.  She had a few friends over for pizza (yes, she finally eats pizza) and swimming.  Although I kept an eye on them, its nice to know kids are able to swim on their own.  I wonder when they became "old". . .

Not sure why, but I started feeling really lousy on Friday.  I woke up with a headache right behind the eyes.  I think the Aleve upset my stomach because I had to go back to bed and rest.  It made me think that in spite of being with students all last year, I didn't take any sick leave.  The only time I called a substitute was to attend a workshop.  Amazing!  The previous year, when I was only with adults, I developed bronchitis.  I think the adults gave me more sickness germs than the kids.

Feeling under the weather, I asked The Help to get me some kim chee to eat with the taegu (seasoned codfish) I had.  My reasoning was that the chili pepper heat would kill the bad germs.  It must've worked because I felt fine by the time cake and ice cream time rolled around, and I was even able to keep my claws appointment.  I tried out a new salon since TK was on vacation. 

The next day, I felt fine so I accompanied The Help to a yearbook photo shoot in the morning.  I also managed to squeeze in a test drive of a cute car I've been thinking about for D1.  I'm still thinking. . .

I spent the entire afternoon at preseason football games with The Help.  My job was to sherpa photo equipment.  I think I went above and beyond the call because I actually shot some frames myself!  I have students on both the junior varsity and varsity teams, and it is always nice to see them in a non-classroom environment.  The 3rd quarter of the varsity game seemed endless!  I spent over five hours at the stadium and had no energy to come home and cook dinner.  We ate Korean food at Restaurant Osaka (yes, Restaurant Osaka serves Korean food). . .guess I was still ono for heat.

By Sunday evening, with my Korean food craving practically satiated, I decided to give it the one final hurrah.  I didn't want the jar of kim chee to be forgotten in the fridge, so I made kim chee patties with the rest of the kim chee (I didn't eat much of it when I was feeling under the weather).   Kim chee patties are easy to make because the patties fry up quickly.  Because they are rather thin, they make a whole lot which means there will be leftovers for lunch the next day (and maybe even the day after too)!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 jar (10-12 oz) kim chee
     1 lb ground beef
     2 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1 1/2 tsp salt
     5 eggs
     1/4 c flour
     3/4 c cornstarch

Drain kim chee, reserving 1/2 c liquid (if liquid is less than 1/2 c, use water to make up the difference).  Chop kim chee and combine with ground beef.  Combine remaining ingredients.  Add to kim chee/ground beef mixture.  Batter will be runny.  Heat oil in skillet.  Scoop 2 tbsp at a time and fry in skillet (flatten out a little) until brown on one side.  Turn over and fry other side.  Add oil as needed.  Skillet should not be dry.  Drain on paper towels.

Preseason football got underway this weekend.  Both the JV and varsity squads were victorious in their debut versus crosstown rival Waiakea.  Way to go VIKS!
making for the end zone
tough-as nails running back on the jv roster. . .she scored a rushing TD
senior running back weaving through Waiakea defenders
Bring back memories, eh, Matsu???

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bread Machine Monkey Bread

PI'm still here!  Thank you to all those, from near and far, who expressed concern for our safety.  Natural disasters aren't fun, but Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle brought the opportunity to hear from my friends all over the world. . .Adamstown, Pitcairn Island; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Mililani, Hawaii; Kennewick, Washington; northern and southern California; Tucson, Arizona; McKinney, Texas. . .the list goes on and on.  I can feel the love!

The Kikukat house sustained only minor damage.  Two cypress trees fell against the house.  One of those trees fell from my neighbor's property onto the gutter of the garage.  The other tree, also a cypress, fell against the gutter near D2's bedroom. I was worried about the tall, decaying trees in bowels of another neighbor's property, but those, miraculously, are still standing.

In addition to the crazy howling and whipping winds, we experienced several power outages.  The longest lasted just under an hour, so we were very fortunate.  Other customers were without power much longer.  In fact, some of my friends who reside in the Puna (south southeast Hawaii)area still don't have electricity (it's been 4 days!).  The pictures they've posted on facebook were horrific.  Even more horrific is the absence of the state government in showing some compassion.  The governor (soon to be booted, as he lost his re-election bid in the primary on Saturday) was too busy usurping the mic at the headquarters of his challenger to even mention how much the people of Puna have been through.  Hilo (east Hawaii) was fortunate to be spared the full onslaught of Iselle.  Scroll down to the "pussyfooting" section if you want to see pictures of the effects of Iselle in east Hawaii.

I called the Rents to ask how they fared.  Kikukat Mom said Kikukat Dad had already called the cable company to ask how to bring his tv back online.  She also reported that their beloved kitty, Oreo, was safely sequestered indoors and would be taking his meals there until the storm threat was over.  When I called, he had just been served his breakfast.  Apparently he eats when the Rents eat.

All this storm stuff makes me thankful.  I'm thankful I still have a roof over my head.  But I need to move forward, and that means shifting my mental focus back to work. school year just did not start right.

Last week I took the high road.  I really wanted to bitch about work and the assholes who try to bring the rest of us down.  I still want to, but I won't (at least not too much).  There are too many around.  I won't have enough space/time to talk about all the dipshits, Iselle notwithstanding, who attempted to make my life miserable this past week.  The biggest joke was having an inexperienced person check the work of competent, experienced, veteran teachers and questioning us on our decisions and calculations.  Shit, I'm doing YOUR work!  YOU are supposed to know these things!  I just can't remember any time in the past (other than the year I spent at the school in the "goat herder" section of town) when the school year got off to such a rocky start.

When I applied for my current job, I was told by a friend at the school that the real monkeys at the school are not in my class.  So in the honor of the un-named "monkeys", this weeks post, monkey bread, is dedicated to them.

The original recipe for this appeared in Betty Shimabukuro's By Request column in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2001.  Since then, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin merged with the rival daily, Honolulu Advertiser, and is now known as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  Not so creative, but I guess everyone (except the people who got laid off) was happy. 

Over a decade has passed since that recipe was published, but I finally got around to making it.  And I am stupid for waiting so long.  As far as doughs go, this was one of the easiest doughs to work with. . .if you tried my manapua post and did okay with the dough, then this one will be a piece of cake.  If you are a fan of the monkey bread served at Mariposa (Neiman-Marcus), I need to forewarn you that while this recipe is delicious, it will not produce a replica of Mariposa's monkey bread.
Although I like things made "from scratch", I don't have the patience nor the technique to knead dough by hand.  And while I've tried to do bread in the kitchenaid mixer, I just cannot get around how convenient it is to use a bread machine.  For those of you who enjoy feeling the dough between your fingers (or seeing it in the bowl), then follow Betty's recipe.  If you are like me, then use my cheater's method for the bread machine.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
adapted from Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2001

     1 c milk
     1 c butter, divided
     3 1/4 c bread flour
     1/4 c sugar
     1 tsp salt
     4 tsp yeast

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, heat milk and 1/2 c butter in the microwave for 1 minutes.  Pour liquid into pan of bread machine.  Microwave any remaining solid butter (from the 1/2 c) until melted and add to pan of bread machine.  Add flour, sugar, and salt (in whatever order recommended by your bread machine).  Make a well and add yeast.  Set bread machine for dough cycle and start.  When dough cycle is complete, turn dough onto floured surface.  Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  While dough is resting, melt remaining 1/2 c butter in a small bowl.  Roll dough out to 1/2" thick and cut into diamond shapes with a pizza cutter.  You should have about 48 pieces.  Grab 4 pieces and pinch them together.  Dip one side in melted butter, and turn and dip the other side in melted butter.  Place a buttered side down in ungreased muffin pan.  Repeat until all 12 muffin cups are filled.  You should have some melted butter leftover.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from muffin pan and brush with remaining melted butter.  Makes 12. 

coconut trees swaying near the canoe sheds (Hilo bayfront)
canoes moved away from the storm surge (Hilo bayfront)
Hilo Farmer's Market deconstructed
Downtown businesses boarded up with plywood

Kress Building windows taped and awaiting the arrival of Iselle
near Country Club Drive (Kaumana)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Soba and Asparagus Salad

I am definitely back at work.  There is no doubt about it.  My muscles ache.  My feet ache.  Even the marrow in my bones ache. 

By the time this gets posted, I might not even be alive.  Today is the first day of school for everyone (all the students).  This past Friday was freshman-only day, so they would've had a weekend to relax before the big dogs usurp the coveted areas on campus they thought they could claim. Hopefully they listened carefully to the senior guides.  I like the way the school allows seniors to do a service project for freshman-only day by serving as guides. 

Last week was the first full work week for teachers.  I think I came home from work just too tired to cook, which is how we ended up eating take-out food or food from the freezer all week.  I don't think defrosting and heating frozen food counts as "cooking".

One night I felt a little guilty because D2 and I ate 2 lbs of crab between us.  D1 had gone out for the evening so D2 suggested we eat the crab we bought the last time from Costco.  She said she's been craving crab from early summer, even before she went to Japan, and she didn't get to eat any crab in Japan.  Poor thing.  Times must've been hard!  Anyway, the crab was so yummy.  I will need to get more the next time I head to Costco.  2 lbs was just enough for the two of us.

I finally decided to get off my ass yesterday and sort-of cook.  Because it's been so hot and muggy recently, a cool dish like this was so  refreshing.  If I had any leftover crab, I would've sprinkled some over the top.  IF I had any leftover crab. . .

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg (about 12 ounces) soba
     1 lb asparagus
     1/2 c chicken broth
     1/4 c shoyu
     3 tbsp sugar
     1/2 tsp Hondashi
     2 tbsp sesame seeds
     2 tbsp sesame oil
     2 tbsp rice vinegar

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine chicken broth, shoyu, sugar, Hondashi, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.  Shake to dissolve sugar.  Chill.  Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  Cook asparagus for 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge into ice water immediately.  Drain well.  Slice into 3/4" pieces.  Cook soba according to package directions (most packages suggest boiling for 6-7 minutes).  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain soba well and place in serving dish.  Add asparagus.  Shake dressing and pour over soba and asparagus.  Toss gently before eating.