kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 1, 2016

Local Style Cornbread


Homecoming is done!  Another one in the books!  For the first time in a long time, Homecoming this year was held during basketball season.  This was also the first year I've actually seen alumni visiting the school during homecoming.

Many of my colleagues remarked that THIS was the homecoming they remembered.  I had to agree (even if I'm not an alum of the place I work).  There was friendly, spirited competition between classes.  As always, the seniors came out looking strong.  This was especially apparent in the tug-of-war competition.  I'm sure you can imagine how large the senior boys were (several of them were starters on the district-winning football team) compared with the freshmen.  Thankfully, the freshmen never had to challenge the seniors.

The Student Association should be commended for putting the activities together (the school events for the week), and the entire student body also deserves a huge shout out.  While there was indeed the desire to win, the students were generally well behaved.  In previous years, there was a lot of boo-ing, but this year, there was hardly any, if at all, boo-ing.  Even when one student had a particularly difficult time with the marshmallow cube, nobody jeered.  Whew!

I really wasn't expecting to go, but I found myself at the culmination of homecoming, the basketball game against the Pahoa Daggers.  Although the Daggers play in a different division (school size), they are a scrappy team and very capable of hitting the shots.  They were the first to draw blood and at one point, they had double the points we had.  Luckily, we managed to squeak by, winning by less than a half-dozen points.  As I've said before, it's always nice to win your homecoming game.  Matsu, wish you could've been there.

With the craziness of homecoming, recovering from the Honolulu trip, and dealing with a few disgruntled students, there was hardly any time to cook dinner.  Luckily, we have several places in town which make really good chili. . .Don's Grill, Blane's Drive-In, and Zippy's.  Since he was in the area, The Help picked up a quart of chili on his way back from a late-afternoon errand.  This left me just enough time to make a pan of cornbread.  Having cornbread with chili is my idea of a great meal.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 blocks butter, melted
     4 eggs
     2 c milk
     4 c Bisquick
     1 1/2 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1 1/2 c sugar
     6 tbsp cornmeal

Grease a 9 x 13" pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently combine all ingredients.  Bake 45-50 minutes.

*I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but in Hawaii, cornbread is usually sweet, almost like a cake.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Korean Chicken

Why is it that short weeks seem to drag by? Why is it that the shit always seems to hit the fan during short weeks?

That's exactly what happened this week.

That's exactly why I'm taking no prisoners today!

Last week was prom packet pick-up.  I cannot understand why students wait until the last minute to clear obligations.  I also cannot understand why students wait until the last minute to pick up packets.  Some dude didn't even attempt to pick up a packet and then expected me to give him one.  I told him he was too late, and he began cussing me out.  Ummm, they had four days to pick up, and they knew even before winter break that packet pick up would be happening in mid-January.

Someone else tried to get a packet without clearing financial obligations.  She got angry at me because I told her she had financial obligations to clear.

But the winner was another student who went to see my cuz for a packet.  My cuz refused on several grounds...outstanding obligations and packet pick-up time was over.  The student asked to speak to the "person in charge".  My cuz, no pushover herself, warned the student that the outcome would not be different.  I guess that's when the student showed up at my room, insisting a packet be given.  I had spoken to this student during lunch and mentioned the clearing of all obligations.  But this student wouldn't budge.  SHE stood in front of me and said she wants to go to the prom.  I told her there was nothing I could do to help her now because packet pick up is over.  She continued to stand in front of me.  I had to tell her to leave my room because I had work to do.  Amazing!

dipping cooked chicken pieces into the sauce
My weekend trip to Honolulu couldn't have come at a better time.  Of course it was for medical reasons, but I enjoyed being there. . . shopping, eating, more shopping, more eating.  The Help tagged along.  Well, The Help actually had an agenda for the trip.  He managed to get himself a spanking new toy.  He also drove me around without complaining and even read things to me when I couldn't see.  

The trip rejuvenated me for what I'm bracing for today...the kids who failed to get prom packets are probably going to seek me out.  Some will try and get sympathy while others will try and intimidate me.  I may even have parents calling me.  Whatevers.  We are moving forward.

On our way home from the airport, we stopped at the market to buy food for tonight's dinner.  I bought a pack of chicken wings because I've been ono for Korean chicken. . .the kine I grew up with. 

chicken glazed just right
About a year ago, I blogged about a copycat version of a popular take out dish from Kay's Lunch Center.  Kay's called it "Korean chicken", and they would shred it up and use it in another popular dish, Korean chicken salad.  As best as I can recall, that recipe is what Kay's chicken was like.

But the Korean chicken made lovingly by aunties for family parties (come on. . .if you grew up in Hawaii, you probably had an auntie who made the best Korean chicken), was not the same as what Kay's Lunch Center called Korean chicken.

Today's blog recipe IS the Korean chicken I grew up with.  Unlike the previously posted version, this chicken is seasoned AFTER frying, therefore, not much forethought is required in making this for a quick weeknight dinner (or an impromptu potluck).  Strangely enough, my favorite way to eat this is cold...refrigerator cold.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2-3 lbs chicken wings
     2 cloves garlic, crushed
     1/2 c shoyu
     6 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp sesame oil
     2 chili peppers, seeds removed, crushed
     green onions, chopped fine
     1/3 c potato starch (may substitute cornstarch or flour)
     1/3 c flour
     oil for frying

Disjoint chicken wings, discarding tips.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine garlic, shoyu, sugar, sesame oil, chili peppers and green onions.  Stir to dissolve sugar then set aside.  In a small ziploc bag, combine potato starch and flour.  Heat oil (about 1/2" deep) in a skillet.  Coat chicken pieces in potato starch/flour.  Fry in heated oil until golden brown.  As chicken browns, remove from skillet and plunge into sauce.  Turn chicken pieces to coat well.  Place in a serving dish. 



Monday, January 18, 2016

Food Processor Food: Kamaboko Dip


kamaboko=Japanese pink and white steamed fishcake on a wooden board which is normally sold in plastic shrinkwrap

This past week of work went a lot better than the previous week.  Perhaps my body clock got used to waking up early.  Or perhaps my brain knew it would be a short week for the kids.

We had a student-free day on Friday.  While that might sound dandy, I'll take a day with students any day over a "planning & collaboration day" with adults.  Kids rock.

In spite of my reluctance to even try to enjoy Friday, it actually turned out well.  We got a lot done and I was pleasantly surprised at how well everyone present was so task-oriented.

Since there was hardly any traffic that morning (several other teachers were being tortured the same way), I made a small detour and picked up lunch from Asamis Kitchen.  I nonchalantly asked the counter person to add a wonton to my order.  When I bit into the wonton, I was shocked to find it was filled with some type of kamaboko dip.  I've eaten wonton with imitation crabmeat filling before, but the kamaboko dip in the wonton was a novel taste.  Kamaboko dip wonton is something I need to try on my own someday, maybe when D1 returns, since she says she likes kamaboko dip.  I have never seen D1 eat kamaboko dip.  Ever.  But she says she likes it.  Whatevers.

Anyway, while D1 was home for the holidays, she attended a party at a friend's house.  She took a container of kamaboko dip for sharing.  I had made a triple recipe of kamaboko dip since I knew my cousins would be over so there was more than enough for D1 to take to her party.  When I asked her if she liked the dip, she said she didn't have any.  She said she left the container on the patio with some intoxicated boys, and by the time she made her way back to the patio, the dip was gone.

So while I cannot verify that this dip recipe will work well as a wonton filling, I can attest that it is enjoyed as an accompaniment for chips, crackers, and/or vegetables.  I normally just serve it in a dish, but The Help thought it would be cute to pack it onto a clean kamaboko board in the shape of a kamaboko.  If you decide his idea is worth replicating, shape the kamaboko on the board, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve.  Remove plastic wrap just before serving.

Now you might today might be a good time to try making some kamaboko dip wonton, today being a holiday and all, but I'm a little busy today.  I'm spending the day at work, prepping for tomorrow.  I thought I would be able to get some prep done on Friday, but my time was consumed with other things.  When I thought I might have a moment of breathing room, I had to call the help desk to ask them to fix a mistake created by a colleague.  Apparently the help desk could use some help too.  The person who answered the phone was incompetent and sent me over to the wrong side for help.  When I said, "next time, make it a policy to ask which side I'm calling about before handing me off," the person who took my call said, "please be understanding because we are short staffed."  Dumbass.  My call had nothing to do with staffing!  It took over 30 minutes to get my issue resolves, 25 minutes of which were spent holding for the wrong person. 

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 block kamaboko, cut into chunks
     2 tbsp celery, minced
     1 tbsp onion, minced
     3/4 c mayonnaise
     1/2 tsp garlic salt

Place kamaboko, celery, and onion, into work bowl of food processor.  Process until kamaboko is chopped fine.  Empty into small mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Roasted Broccoli

Returning to some degree of normalcy after the holidays is easier when there aren't lots of leftovers to deal with.  Furthermore, work has a way of jarring you back to reality.

Since returning to work, I'm back to preparing hydros and sandwiches in the morning.  I'm also back to cooking dinner.  Yuck.

My first day back at work was also D1's last evening in town, so we went out to dinner.  But by the second day back, I returned to the kitchen.

In spite of placing some kind of food on the table, I'm really not feeling in the mood to cook.  I miss D1, and for whatever reason, spending time in the kitchen is where I can't seem to really function.

The last meal I made that I really enjoyed making was prime rib.  I always use the same prime rib recipe, although I've been tempted to try other preparations with herbs and different seasonings.  One of The Help's friends asked him if we do the pre-seasoned meat from Costco.  We have never tried it, although LA said it's passable.

Anyway, getting back to the prime rib meal. . .I was never a fan of beef, but now, I love prime rib, especially when it's served with a fluffy, piping-hot baked potato.  I was never concerned with other side dishes, but recently, I've taken a liking to roasted vegetables.

Now, long after I had my cousins over for dinner, hindsight has the better of me.  I should have served roasted broccoli.  I served caprese tomatoes, but I think the broccoli would've been a better player with the prime rib au jus and the garlic butter.  Oh well, they'll just need to come back again to have the meal done right.

And I shouldn't have to wait until I cook another rib roast to have roasted broccoli.  Roasted broccoli is easy enough to make any time. Asparagus and cauliflower florets can be roasted using the same method, but asparagus will cook in just under half the time of the broccoli/cauliflower.

After all the other crap I ate over the vacation, I could use some roasted broccoli to get back into normal eating.  But, my God, that baked potato (below) sure looks delicious!

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
     3 tbsp EVOO
     sea salt
     black pepper
     3 tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line shallow pan with foil.  Spread broccoli on pan.  Pour on EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Toss so broccoli is coated with oil.  Spread broccoli in an even layer.  Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.  Remove from oven and sprinkle parmesan cheese over broccoli.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Shiro An

Happy 2016!  Happy new year!  I got a little distracted with updating this post, hence the late posting.  It's been a hell of a break!

I am still recovering from the holiday party season.  Having two holidays a week apart is brutal.  My family doesn't do much for Christmas, but it is still a monumental task to get the decorations put away.

The best part of the holiday season usually comes after Christmas when my cousins come to town.  This year, three of them made it to Hilo.  I had them over for a cozy NYE dinner.  I made prime rib, roasted garlic crab, garlic noodles, and caprese tomatoes.  I've included links to the Rasa Malaysia recipes (crab and noodles), but the noodle recipe is actually different from the one I use.  If you follow the Rasa Malaysia thread, the garlic noodle recipe was originally posted years ago.  Since then, the recipe has been re-tooled.  I use the original recipe from years ago.  I have not tried the new recipe (with the Maggi seasoning), so I don't know how it compares.  I didn't have time to check on a link to the original recipe.  And really. . .the original recipe was kick-ass, so I'm not sure why it needed to be changed.

For NYE dessert, I served amaretto custard bread pudding.  My cousin brought a Hawaiian Pie Company strawberry guava pie.  Both were delicious.

The Help was thrilled with the bottles of RedBreast and Laphroaig brought over from Oahu.  I am definitely not a fan of whiskey, but I cannot help thinking they'd taste awfully good in some kind of dessert.  Maybe when he is not looking. . .

Although the food and drink were fabulous, the best part was being able to just sit and hang with the cousins, something you cannot do at a restaurant.  My cousins are all so awesome, and we don't always have the luxury of being in one place all together.  They had a rough start to 2015, so I'm hoping 2016 will be a better year for them, despite the fact that Kikukat Dad is hounding them to go to Japan with him again.  I know, I know. . .I will owe them big time for the travel-sitting.

The second half of the school year begins tomorrow (for teachers...begins on Wednesday for many students).  Glad I got my grades and pacing guide done before I left for vacation.  I'm the lazy type who doesn't like to work, but there are a bunch of people I work with whom I adore, and it will be nice to see them again.

What I am NOT looking forward to is D1's departure in a few days.  Gotta brace myself for that.  Even though she drove me crazy at times (and cost me over $200 to replace a car key she "misplaced". . .wtf, can make dean's list but cannot keep track of a car key), it was really nice having her home.  Even Shaka is now saying her name!

Since I'm trying to stretch out the holiday season (since it means D1 is still here), I'm going to continue last week's recipe, which was microwave daifuku mochi.  While a variety of fillings can be used, including the ever-convenient pre-made koshian and tsubushian (comes in cans of plastic bags), my filling of choice is shiro-an, shiro meaning "white" in Japanese.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb lima beans (dried)
     2 c sugar
     dash of salt

Soak beans overnight in water to cover.  Slip skins off before cooking.  Place beans in pot with water to cover and cook until soft.  Add sugar and salt and cook until mixture is almost dry and forms a ball, about 30 minutes, stirring constantly.  When cooking, add as little water as possible - if there is too much water, it takes much longer to cook to the stiff stage.  Yield:  50 "an" balls (using a #60 disher).

Monday, December 28, 2015

Microwave Daifuku Mochi

So I guess I survived Christmas.  Now onto the New Year festivities.

Last year for CAE's party, I made a tray of daifuku mochi.  The old aunties were so impressed.  They actually thought I purchased the mochi.  Hahahaha.  Now that I think about it, I could've even made this in my classroom and taken it out in time for the potluck (the faculty potluck, just before break began).

Since New Years will be here soon, and you might find yourself with nothing to bring to a party, here is a short tutorial for making daifuku mochi using the convenience of a microwave.

Pour filling into greased microwave tube pan.  Cover with plastic wrap, and cook according to recipe instructions.

Sprinkle work surface and mochi surface with potato starch.

Using a plastic knife, cut hot mochi into 12 pieces.

Use fingers to flatten mochi to 1/8-1/4" thickness.

Place filling onto center of flattened mochi.

Fold mochi around filling.

Pinch mochi edges to seal in filling.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe


     1 1/2 c mochiko
     1/2 c sugar
     1 1/2 c water
     food coloring, if desired
     filling, such as sweet bean paste (smooth, chunky, white or black), sweetened peanut butter, or
          brownie chunk

Grease a microwave tube pan.  Combine mochiko, sugar, water, and food coloring.  Pour into greased tube pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Microwave on 50% power for 3 minutes.  Turn out onto surface covered with potato starch.  Sprinkle potato starch on mochi.  Cut into 12 pieces.  Flatten and fill with desired filling.  A #60 disher works well for portioning out the filling.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Potluck Food: Caprese Tomatoes

We had a potluck at work last week and, in hindsight, I should've brought this dish (although the kamaboko & kim chee dip and butter mochi were appreciated).  It would've been so easy to toss everything together.  And the red tomatoes sprinkled with green basil chiffonade looks like this was made for the holiday season.  Shucks!  Maybe next year.  Maybe NOT!!!

The potluck!  Ugh.  Actually, there were some really good things on the buffet line, but when you're food-poisoning phobic like me, what you do take is limited to things you know are safe (food not easily spoiled, food you know was stored properly, or food brought by someone you deem "clean" and hygienic). And, of course, food free from any trace of the devil's condiment.

BTW, we had another potluck, a private potluck, on Thursday.  That was even better!  I brought spicy soybeans to share.  The Keeper brought an awesome warabi salad made by MamaKeeper.  I think D2 would love it, so my next trip to the market will also be a quest for shredded codfish. 

As I mentioned at the tail end of last week's post, D1 is back.  In some ways, it's like she never left.  She even picked up fighting with D2.  Our holiday picture this year was done in one take; it had to be.  D2 had only one smile in her.  She told me later that D1 had upset her just before the shoot.  So nothing changed.

In the past two weeks, we've experienced appliance malfunction here.  The toaster oven started twitching, and the rice cooker/warmer became just a rice cooker.  Crispy rice in a day is ridiculous.  I just don't get it.  Looks like I'll be spending vacation trying to replace those must-have kitchen items.

Meanwhile, I guess all is not lost since I can still make this salad.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Caprese Tomatoes

     6-8 tomatoes
     3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
     2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
     2 tsp fresh thyme
     2 stalks green onion, chopped
     1 tbsp sugar
     1/4 tsp ground black pepper
     1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
     1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
     6 tbsp red wine vinegar
     2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
     3/4 c vegetable oil
     1 log fresh mozzarella, sliced or 1 container fresh mozzarella balls

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients (except for tomatoes and mozzarella) together.  Cut each tomato into 8 wedges and remove all seeds.  Add to mixture.  Stir gently and allow to sit 3 hours.  Serve with mozzarella cheese.