kruizing with kikukat

Monday, May 2, 2016

Toaster Oven Food: Mandarin Orange Creamsicle Pie

Another shitty week in the books:
  • Finished babysitting an incompetent charge.
  • Got tattled on by some crybabis (adults).
  • Let the boss raise his voice at me and not report him to the powers-that-be (yet).
  • Watched my boy suck at the Russian Grand Prix.
  • Consoled an even-more disengaged colleague.

I made a promise to myself that this week will be better.  It HAS to be.

After getting zuigui'd on Friday (to celebrate the wonderfully crappy work week), I decided my weekend was going to begin on the right foot.  What am I saying?  It began on the right foot from Friday afternoon!  My promise to have a good weekend continued on Saturday when I got my monster taco and curly fries for lunch!

After the monster taco, I was able to get some things done.  I had The Help take a bunch of pictures of my wips, and I decided to make a dessert, a dessert which can be made by people like OllieMama (and other only toaster oven-owning people).

BTW, I recently got a new toaster oven.  It replaced a toaster oven I had for nearly ten years.  Instead of just going to Costco and buying one, I did some research before deciding upon the Breville Smart Oven Pro.  It seems like I made a good choice, and the Breville Smart Oven Pro can even accommodate a 9 x 13" pan!  But no worries. . .my dessert this week is made in a square pan.  I suppose I could've doubled the recipe just to say I made it in a 9 x 13" pan, but I'd rather not end up eating the same dessert for the entire week (and most toaster ovens cannot hold a 9 x 13" pan).

This dessert reminds me of something I used to eat often as a kid. . .a creamsicle (frozen treat on a stick; orange sherbet surrounding a vanilla ice cream core).  I thought creamsicles were good (not as good as vanilla popsicle), and my grandparents must've thought so too because their freezer boasted an endless supply of creamsicle.  And on those rare occasions when they ran out of creamsicles, a quick run by UJohn to Murakami Store (on Manono Street)  solved that problem in no time. 

The creaminess (and calorie count) will depend on the milk you use.  I use what I have on hand (2%), but whipping cream would make it very decadent (and definitely more caloric).  And although I haven't tried it for myself, I think substituting melted vanilla ice cream for the milk would push it into the realm of decadence.

Now that I've had a moment to reflect, I thought of something I could do to make this work week much better than last.  I think I will stay home all week!  I must be dreaming.  There is no way I could stay out all week.  There would be just too much waiting for me when I return.  Maybe going to work doesn't sound so bad after all. 

Well, just in case I end up going to work, at least I'll have some of this dessert to come home to for the first half of the week.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

Crust:  2 tbsp sugar
            1 c flour
            1/2 c butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine sugar and flour.  Cut butter into mixture until dough forms "pea" size bits.  Press into a 9" square pan.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Filling:  2 tbsp cornstarch
              1/2 c sugar
              1 box (3 oz) orange jello
              3 cans (11 oz each) mandarin oranges
              3/4 c milk

Drain mandarin oranges, reserving 1 cup of juice.  In a medium saucepan, heat reserved juice, cornstarch and sugar.  Stir constantly until thick.  Remove from heat and immediately add orange jello and stir 3-5 minutes or until jello is dissolved.  Set aside to cool to nearly room temperature.  Stir in milk.  When completely combined, gently add in mandarin orange segments.  Pour carefully over cooled crust.  Chill until set.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kabocha Ginger Scones

What a week!

I was hoping to start cleaning the house in preparation for D1's homecoming, but my movement was hampered by a late-week accident at work.  Or at least that's what I'm using as my excuse.

I took two friends out for brunch yesterday as a belated celebration for a milestone birthday.  By the time I got home, it was late in the afternoon and I had tons of crap to put away (Costco trip).

All the brunch pigging out rendered me unable to cook dinner.  The Help graciously offered to get dinner for himself.  While he was gone, I discovered a small package of pureed kabocha.  Imagine The Help's surprise when he came back to me actually baking something. . .too full to eat, too sore to clean. . .but not too tired to bake!

When I came across the small package of frozen pureed kabocha, I remember wondering a few weeks ago if it was even worth saving such a small amount.  I guess I got my answer.  The scone recipe doesn't use a whole lot, and I think it's more for the color than anything else.

What I love most about these scones is the strong, bold ginger flavor.  I also love the flavor surprise when the candied ginger isn't processed too fine.  I've made this with expensive candied ginger nuggets as well as with the candied ginger sold in the asian preserves section.  Both types of ginger will work with this recipe.  Buy the cheaper one.
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/4 c sour cream
     1/4 c pureed kabocha (or any type of winter squash)
     1 egg
     6 tbsp sugar
     1/4 c coarsely chopped candied ginger
     2 c flour
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
     1/2 tsp ground ginger
     1/2 tsp cinnamon
     4 tbsp cold butter
     1/2 tbsp butter, melted
     1/2-1 tsp turbinado (coarse) sugar (may use granulated sugar if turbinado sugar isn't available)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, kabocha and egg.  Set aside.  Pulse sugar and candied ginger together in a food processor until ginger is finely chopped.  Add flour.  Sift salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into bowl of food processor.  Pulse until spices are evenly distributed.  Add cold butter, and pulse until butter pieces are thoroughly incorporated into dry ingredients.  Add to sour cream mixture.  Stir only until mixture clumps together.  Turn onto floured board and knead a few times.  Pat into an 8" circle.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Place on parchment paper, leaving 1/4" space between wedges.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, April 18, 2016

THFM's Satojoyu Hot Dogs

I had a big treat this weekend.  My friend Wi (I referred to her in a previous post as a "generational friend") called me a few weeks ago and offered me her lunch reservation at Takenoko Sushi.  Takenoko Sushi is probably THE most exclusive sushi establishment on the Big Island.  They are completely booked for the remainder of 2016.  While they will do take-out, even that is hit-or-miss too, and there are stringent, regimented pick-up times.

Instead of ordering the omakase (chef's choice) like The Help, I ordered just the pieces I felt like eating.  I got my mirugai (geoduck) fix for a while.  The Help said the highlight of his assortment was the otoro (fatty tuna).  He said it was like butter.

After all that feasting, there was no way we could have anything for dinner which would come close to the decadence of that meal.  So we went totally opposite. . .I got to eat my monster taco and curly fries!

Searching for a middle ground, we eventually ate one of the most humble dinners imaginable last night.  Neither The Help nor myself was in any mood to cook, and any attempt at a fancy meal would fall far short of Takenoko Sushi, which was still fresh in our minds.  We settled on satojoyu hot dogs.

Today's post is primarily for D1 and any other college student who is yearning for "local" food.  Please pardon the simplistic nature of the recipe, but it is kid-tested and approved!

I mentioned shoyu-sugar hot dogs in a previous post (the same post where I mentioned Wi).  I seriously did not eat shoyu-sugar hot dogs while growing up.  Perhaps I was only one of two kids in Hilo who didn't.  The Help learned how to make shoyu-sugar hot dogs from the Japan-born mother of some high school friends, and because he learned it as "satojoyu hot dog", that is what he continues to call it.  I have NEVER made this; it is The Help, not me, who makes these for us.

Knowing very little about regional dialects, I can only guess that "satojoyu" must be some kind of regional way to describe foods made with shoyu and sugar.  My minimal Japanese language skills can at least identify "sato" as sugar, and any fool can hear the similarities between "joyu" and shoyu.  I cannot ever recall either of my parents using the word "satojoyu".

After stuffing my face with what would probably be a half pound of these hot dogs over a mound of rice (and some kim chee on the side. . .really, who could forget the kim chee), I thought about the last time we had these.  I had sent D1 a picture and she texted back, saying how much she missed these, how good they looked, and how she was got a little homesick when she saw the pic.  Even though this was not something I missed when I was in college (how could I since it wasn't something I grew up eating), I guess D1 grew up eating this.  I told her they seemed simple to make and I would be sure to ask The Help how to make it and get her a recipe.  Unfortunately, they probably don't sell red hot dogs where she is!  Oops!

In the event she is able to locate red hot dogs from a Hawaii source within the next few weeks, she can make these for nourishment while studying for finals (D1, here's your recipe).  And D1, if you're reading this, The Help said he will make these for you when you get home.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg (about 1 pound) hot dogs, preferably red ones from Hawaii
     2 tsp oil
     1/4 c sugar
     1/4 c shoyu

Slice hot dogs on the bias (about 5 pieces per hot dog).  Heat oil in a skillet.  Add sliced hot dogs and saute until brown (areas of char).  Add sugar and shoyu.  Cook until sauce is thickened.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Shredded Mango

I am completely exhausted.  I cannot even think how I got through the week, but I must have because here I am.  I'm hoping this week will be kind.

My weekend was quite busy.  I worked on Friday night at a game.  Since it was late, I ended up with my favorite fast food dinner. . . monster taco and curly fries from Jack In The Box.  Yummm.

The Help and I sped off to Kona on Saturday afternoon, hoping to beat the closing time of a lighting store near Costco.  We made it, but the store did not have what we needed.  Now I need to decide what I'm going to do about my dining room lights.  Currently, the lights I have are unusable.

I felt a little guilty about dragging The Help to Kona on his birthday, but he was nice about it.  We ended up buying food for his birthday dinner.  Costco is the only place I know of on the Big Island where you can buy prime beef.  Costco parking lot was crazy, and the inside was just as bad.  For the second trip in a row, I was unable to locate beef brisket.  With the warm weather, I'd like to smoke a brisket soon.  I meant to go back to the seafood kiosk for giant prawns, but by the time I remembered, I was out of the store and didn't have the gumption to brave the masses once again.  Next time I will remember.  I need to get my fill of crab, lobster, and shrimp before D1 gets home.  I don't want to be party to tempting fate.

One thing which paid off this week was having leftover ham from the weekend.  It was nice to come home, knowing dinner was gonna be easy.  You can do lots of things with ham.  I made chowder, quiche, and, of course b-f-d.  I didn't bother cooking much this past weekend (remember the craft projects needed to be finished) so I won't be as lucky this week.  I'm hoping Aloha Mondays will have something I can eat (no mustard or wasabi).

During the first part of spring break, I ordered a handful of craft books.  Only 2 have arrived, so I've been diligently reminding The Help to stop off at the mailboxes daily.  On one of the stops (I make him get the mail while D2 and I look for our friend the green anole), I noticed a bunch of small, unripe fruit on the mango tree in the backyard of the corner house.  Later, when I looked at fb, I saw that a friend had posted a pic of pickled mango.  I guess GREEN mango season is here.

I love green mango season even more than ripe mango season.  While pickled mango makes a kick ass snack, my favorite mango snack is shredded mango.  Making shredded mango is a bit more labor-intensive than pickled mango, but the results are definitely worth it.  And with all the publicity about the shit that people find in imported preserves, making your own is the way to go.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     10-12 green mangoes, peel and slice in 1/4" thick strips
     4 tbsp rock salt, divided
     1 1/4 c turbinado (raw) sugar
     1 lb brown sugar
     1 tsp grated orange rind
     1/4 tsp red gel food coloring
     1 tsp 5-spice

In a large bowl, sprinkle mango strips with 2 tbsp rock salt.  Toss gently.  Cover and let sit overnight.  Rinse mango strips and drain well.  Place mango strips in large pot and add 2 tbsp rock salt, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, orange rind, food coloring, and 5-spice.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat (gentle boil).  Cool completely before packing.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pesto Tortellini Salad

It's finally warming up.  I actually went to work without a jacket several times this past week.  I was even tempted to go for a swim.  Tempted.  But it was also windy and I really didn't feel like skimming leaves.

In spite of the Merrie Monarch Festival happening in town this past week, I had a very non-festive week.  Work, which should've been nice since it was a short week, was just blecchhhh.

I supposed teenagers will always be teenagers.  The after-prom shenanigans included the pilferage of the table decorations (kids were explicitly told, in no uncertain terms, that decorations were not to be removed from the tables) and defacement of linens.  Dealing with the aftermath, including tracking down the perps, makes for a pretty shitty week.

The culminating activity of the year, Commencement, was another source of shittiness.  Every year, I discover more adults "on the spectrum" (or at least I swear they are).  And students who are in the running for (and have hopes to win) a class award. . .not pono!  Being pono includes abiding by the direction of adults.  It does not include stirring up trouble by sparking "he said, she said" controversy.  I'm still pissed.

And since I'm on the shitty bus, here's another suck ass thing which happened.  My car repairs are gonna cost big buck$.  Dang!  I got that bit of bad news when I went to Kona this weekend.

In trying to end this post on a positive note, I'm gonna dig deep.  The Kona trip this weekend did yield something good. . .a jar of pesto from Costco.  OllieMama told me a while ago that Costco makes awesome pesto.  I'm glad I listened because she is right. 

We usually mix spoonfuls of pesto into cooked pasta, but in looking for something different, I tried this salad.  The original recipe called for half the pesto, but I wanted a more punched-up pesto flavor.  I also decided to toast the pine nuts because I like the extra-nutty flavor.  Like the crimes of theft and vandalism (the acts committed by irresponsible kids), this salad is so good it should be illegal.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Pesto Tortellini Salad

     1 pkg. (8-9 oz) refrigerated, ready-to-cook cheese tortellini
     1/2 c pine nuts
     1 small zucchini, sliced into thin strips
     1 c grape or cherry tomatoes
     1/4 c pesto
     1/3 c mayonnaise

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and cool.  Line a shallow baking pan with foil.  Place pine nuts in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove pine nuts from pan and cool.  Halve grape tomatoes or quarter cherry tomatoes.  Remove seeds.  Combine pesto and mayonnaise in a medium mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cookie Jar: Crispy Rice Krispies Cookies

D2 is back  home and we are digging our feet in, getting ready to brave out the last quarter of the 15-16 school year.  This year feels like it went by quickly, except when I was counting down the days for D1 to come home.

I had some big plans for this vacation, which is all but gone now (just a few HOURS left).  I managed to get some things done, but I didn't get to things I wanted to do.

I wanted to send D2 on her trip with a gigantic bag of cookies.  That never happened.  I wanted to clean my bedroom.  That didn't happen.  I was hoping to complete my pacing guides for next year.  That didn't happen (my efforts fell far short).  I wanted to buy a new car.  That didn't happen either.

Enough about what didn't happen.  Here's what DID happen (which I can smile about):
  • I survived the senior prom.  Mother Nature blessed us with safe driving conditions.  I could hear thunder while the prom was going on, but by the time we hit the road for home, the rain let up.
  • D2 did not appear malnourished from her trip.  And the iPhone 5C is practically bulletproof.
  • I discovered a super ono sushi lunch place in Hilo.
  • My cousins treated me to a Hilo Hawaiian buffet dinner on crab night.
Life is good.

These are the cookies I wish I made for D2.

She'll hafta eat the pics.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter
     1 c sugar
     1 c brown sugar
     2 eggs
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 c flour
     1 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 c rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal)
     2 c Rice Krispies cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment.  Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredient mixture.  Fold in oats and Rice Krispies.  Drop by tablespoonfuls (#50 disher) onto prepared cookies sheets.  Moisten fingers and press gently to flatten slightly (top should be flat, not domed).  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Almost Uncle Dan's: Vegetable Dip

D2 left for the east coast on Thursday.  I have no idea how her packing went because I wasn't part of the process.  She assured me that she packed everything she needed.  I sure hope so, and it's too late now anyway.  I know what I forgot to be sure she took, but I'll save the whine for another post.

D2 will be home in a few days, and I'm certain she will want to eat white sticky rice (she stuffed herself with rice the few days she was home between trips).  Once she returns, I will need to go back to cooking food she likes:  beef teriyaki, chicken katsu, beef tomato, edamame rice, and anything made with oyster sauce.  Sigh.

When it's just me and The Help, we eat whatevers.  Maybe that's why we've had Jack In The Box multiple times in the past 2 weeks.  I am addicted to their monster tacos.  The Help cannot understand what the draw is, and I can't explain it either.  But I keep ordering the same thing.  Oh, and I MUST get an order of curly fries with the taco.  With D2, the only fast food establishment she recognizes is McD.  Nothing else, and that's why going to Jack In The Box when she isn't around seems equivalent to sneaking around behind her [her=the parents] back.  Maybe that's why the taco tastes even better.

Another naughty thing we've been doing is not eating "real" food for dinner.  We've eaten sweets and appetizers in the late afternoon and called it dinner.  Luckily, we stocked up on an assortment of chips just before D2 left on her first trip.  I like the kettle chips from Costco or the 40% reduced-fat Cape Cod chips (sometimes found at Costco).  Both go great with dip, and this copycat dip is what we've been having.  

Back in the 80s, I remember having a dip made with a supermarket seasoning packet.  It was called Uncle Dan's Southern Dip Mix, and you mixed the dry packet's contents with sour cream and mayonnaise for a totally awesome cold dip for chips or vegetables.  Its been years since I had that dip, and I haven't seen Uncle Dan's anywhere in the local supermarkets, but this is a dip which comes close to the flavor (at least what I remember about the flavor).

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2/3 c sour cream
     2/3 c mayonnaise
     1/2 tsp dry dill
     1/2 tsp Beau Monde seasoning (Spice Islands)
     1 tbsp chopped green onions
     3 tsp minced fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients.  Chill to blend flavors.  Serve with chips or vegetable sticks.