kruizing with kikukat

Monday, September 29, 2014

Black Bean Crab

I am in Honolulu today!  I haven't been back here since March!  I will be back here next week for LA's wedding, but today's trip came as a small surprise.  Last week I was asked by several school administrators to replace a fellow teacher on a school team.  They said she (my comrade) had suggested me as a replacement for her, as she currently has her hands full with personal issues.  Once I agreed, I was told to plan to be in Honolulu this week.  Yikes!!!

And leave it to the state to be so inept.  They "designated" a hotel to stay at, trying to ply educators with discounted room rates.  What a crock of shit!  First of all, the hotel is in a seedy area, which is ridiculous if you are a woman staying alone.  Related to the seedy area is the "entertainment" choices surrounding the hotel.  NO!  There are hardly any food establishments (not watering holes) within safe walking distance.  The hotel reeks of the days when smoking in hotel rooms was prevalent.  DISGUSTING.  And the worst can get a hotel room for the same $ or even less in a better part of town.  The discounted rate isn't really much of a discount at all.  And let's be clear...whether you stay at this dive or at a better place, the per diem offered as compensation is still the's not like it will cost them more if you chose to stay at the Hyatt.

I plan to devote my attention during the workday to whatever the workshop is about.  When I agreed to be on the school team, I realized that it came with a certain expectation.  It is only fair.  But when the workshop is done for the day, I'm going to have some fun and enjoy myself.  I can't wait to jump on the opportunity to enjoy 2 dinners in Honolulu.  Hmmmmm...where to go and what to eat?  The options are endless.  Hope I get to see some old friends too.

There are so many great restaurants in Honolulu.  I think that's what I miss most.  It's the one thing that, even after moving to Hilo and living here for the past 20 years, I haven't quite managed to overcome.  Let's face it.  The dining out choices in Hilo are nothing compared to what you can find in Honolulu.

When I lived in Honolulu, me and my bff EDZ would dine out all the time.  We usually lunched together at Orson's on Sundays, although at any time during the week, we might hook up for a dinner.  Because EDZ was working with the inside-out aloha shirt crowd, he'd lunch during the week at all these places and we'd get to re-visit some of these places at night...Han Yang, Mama's, Kabuki...just to name a few.

Of course, if it was up to me, I'd invariably pick Chinese (this lapse in better judgment would eventually come around to haunt me in the future, and that itself would be enough fodder to begin a new blog).  Back then, THE dish I wanted to eat was black bean crab.  I must've ordered it at nearly every restaurant I visited.  Some places would just have some starchy black bean sauce poured over the cracked crab and vegetables.  At other places, the black bean sauce would be studded with ground pork.  It was a treat to eat the dregs (after all the crab pieces were gone) over a bowl of rice.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I've become rather adept at making this favorite dish at home.  I make it  the way I like it...crab and a hearty ground pork vegetables.  The Ds (well actually just D2 since D1 is now allergic) would prefer an unadulterated crab...just heated and served with a pot of melted butter.  But The Help and I love it this way.  I've trained The Help to disjoint, clean and crack the crab.  Perhaps he might be able to find employment at a Chinese restaurant, should his helping gig not work out.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 dungeness crab, cooked
     3 tbsp salted black beans, rinsed & chopped/mashed
     2 eggs
     1 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp oyster sauce
     2 tbsp shoyu
     3 tbsp cornstarch
     1/3 c water
     2 tbsp oil
     2 cloves garlic, minced
     1" piece ginger, minced
     1/2 lb ground pork
     green onion, chopped

Clean and chop crab into serving pieces.  Combine black beans, eggs, sugar, oyster sauce, shoyu, and cornstarch.  Set aside.  Combine cornstarch and water, set aside.  Heat oil in a wok.  Saute garlic, ginger, and ground pork until pork is cooked.  Add crab pieces.  Stir until heated.  Add egg mixture.  Stir until cooked.  Push crab pieces to the side and add cornstarch.  Cook until thick, gradually stirring pork mixture into cornstarch mixture.  Remove to a serving platter and garnish with green onions.
What an up-and-down weekend!  My beloved Huskies lost a heartbreaker to Stanford.  They came so close to the upset but self-destructed in the 4th quarter.  I don't get it.  We were at home too.  Did we really hire the right guy for the job?  One must wonder.  I know I'm wondering.  Coach P, show us what you got.  Prove to me you deserve the job.  I'm still thinking MarquesT would've had my vote.  Not only did he get the bowl victory, but he is a hometown boy and a Husky. 

A bright spot of the weekend came late Saturday afternoon.  Leave it to high school football to rescue me from the dumps.  We scored a definitive victory over the Cougars to spoil their homecoming.  Actually, it was bittersweet.  Winning is always the goal, however when it's so lopsided, you can't help but feel for the other team.  Hopefully we can win our homecoming game next week.

Saturday evening turned out to be unexpectedly edgy.  What began as a calm night turned into turmoil just after midnight.  I felt something crawling on my tummy.  I flicked it off and was startled by the sound it made when it landed on some paper on the floor.  It was a blue centipede!  It took about 10 minutes of throwing things about to find it again.  It had crawled under some other papers and under the highboy before it crawled back out again.  The Help was able to snatch it up with a pair of tongs and douse it under the 190-degree tap.  Ughhhhh.  We haven't seen one of those in a while, but I suppose the hunt for water drove it indoors.

And just after the centipede incident, when I was already sinus-y from all the dust kicking up during the centipede safari, Mother Nature decided to have herself heard.  Flashes of lightning and loud bangs of thunder put the dogs on edge.  Between the thunder and the barking, I could not get back to sleep.

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