kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 29, 2016

Biko, Suman, or Whatever It's Called

This was the first weekend in a long time when I did absolutely nothing.  There was no chauffeuring to do.  There was no program to attend.  There was nothing.

I started out the weekend with a Friday night get-together at a coworker's pad.  Unfortunately, most of my pals weren't able to make it.  theKeeper was in Honolulu and OllieMama had a piercing headache.  I'm not sure where everyone else was.  Bummer.  But I still had a nice time, and it was very generous of my coworker to invite us over.   Maybe everyone can come over here next time.

But that was it.  There was nothing else.

If I had been thinking ahead, I could've made suman.  It's been months since 3M has made some for me.  3M is really nice...whenever she makes it, she slides me a few ginormous pieces.  She says she often makes it for potlucks too, so the Friday get-together might have been a good time to make it. 

I am really not a fan of Filipino desserts.  I don't care for flan, and I don't like puto (steamed cakes).  But suman is different.  It has just the right amount of sweetness, and I love the flavor of coconut.

I wish I could write more for this post, but I'm mentally drained.  I spent the last two days of last week at workshops, doing my best to play nicely. 

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     6 c sweet (glutinous) rice, rice cooker cup size
     water
     1 can coconut milk
     1 can coconut cream (not cream of coconut)
     2 c brown sugar, packed, divided
     1 jar macapuno (coconut sport or strings)

Wash rice and soak for 3 hours.  Drain.  Place rice in rice cooker.  Add coconut milk.  Add water to make liquid to just over 6 cups line.  Add 1 cup brown sugar and stir.  Cook rice.  Let steam an additional 20 minutes after cooking time is done.  Meanwhile, grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 13" pan.  Pour coconut cream into a small saucepan.  Add remaining cup of brown sugar.  Heat on medium-low until mixture thickens.  Keep warm until rice is ready.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir cooked rice to distribute brown sugar, which has likely settled to bottom.  Add macapuno and 3/4s of coconut cream mixture.  Stir to distribute macapuno evenly.  Spread evenly in greased pan.  Pour reserved coconut cream mixture over top.  Bake 30 minutes.  Switch oven to broil and broil 3-5 minutes.  Do not allow topping to burn.  Cool completely and cut into pieces.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Okazuya Food: Eggplant and Spam Tempura

Once again, the short week did me in.  I just cannot seem to get my act together.  And being pulled out for one of those four days didn't help.  I need to pull up my big girl panties because I will be out two days this week. 

I spent a few hours on Saturday at a band festival.  I am so NOT a band person.  The hook to getting people there was all-you-can-eat hot dogs.  Red hot dogs.  Hilo kine.  Anyone from Hilo knows exactly what I mean.  Always a step behind, I ended up buying all ten tickets D2 had to sell.  Fortunately, I had a few hungry friends (ollieMama and her crew and The Keeper) who were willing to give up a few hours on Saturday to eat hot dogs and listen to adolescent band kids perform.  KikukatMom and KikukatDad were also in the house.  I thing the band made $ off of us.  Nobody ate more than two hot dogs.  Oh wait.  I think The Help ate three five.

The band festival was in the gym at the high school down the road.  KikukatDad almost died there when a lady with horrific body odor sat by him.  He HAD to move.  How could the lady not realize she stinks?  How could the people with her allow her to get so stink?  This wasn't an old person. . .40-something.  No excuse.  And people sitting rows above could smell her too.

After the band festival, D2 had a few friends over.  They spent the afternoon and part of the evening hanging out.  I thought they might play in the pool, but the afternoon was overcast so nobody went in the water.

Believe it or not, I had a goal for the weekend.  The goal was to eat some poke.  Several times this week, I passed a sign outside of WikiWiki Mart advertising fresh poke.  It was a reminder that I haven't had my favorite poke in a while. . ."mixed plate" poke from Suisan.  I meant to get a half-pound of it this weekend, but by the time I was able to get to Suisan, there was hardly anything left.  I ended up with a half-pound of wasabi salmon poke (this is probably the only time I eat a lick of wasabi, and it's only because I can't taste any wasabi in the salmon poke), which I planned to have for dinner.

But on the way home, I didn't feel much like cooking, so The Help suggested we go out for dinner.  I'm not sure why he suggested it, but thirty minutes later, we found ourselves headed to Noodle Club in Waimea.  Yummm.  The bao buns are a no-miss.  The KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, which is not the Korean chicken I posted the other week) was a winner too.  In fact, I'm going to be attempting a copycat version of it with some homemade kochujang. . .when I'm done with all of my other projects.

After all that feasting, I turned to something simpler for Sunday, eggplant and Spam tempura.  This is something KikukatMom cooked occasionally.  Aunty Mo, my friend Colleen's mom also made it.  I see it occasionally at Hilo Lunch Shop, but I stopped buying it after I had a few bitter eggplant ones.  I even saw it at some small okazuya in Honolulu (located on a side street near one of the Kim Chee restaurants between Makiki and McKinley High School).  I have no idea where The Help has been all these years, but he thought I invented this dish.  He was skeptical of my "creativity", but he ended up eating mound of these.

I tried cutting the Spam two different ways:  as coins (Hilo Lunch Shop and KikukatMom style) and as logs (Aunty Mo style).  I think I prefer it cut as coins, but the coins only work if the eggplant has a certain diameter (1-1/2 inches or more).  Skinny eggplants should be cut as logs.  As with all fried foods, leftovers should be reheated in a toaster oven.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     4 long eggplant
     1/2-1 can Spam
     1 c flour
     2 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 c cold water
     oil for frying

Slice long eggplant into 1 1/2" slices (same as width of a piece of Spam).  Eggplant can also be sliced into coins, 3/4-1" thick.  Cut through middle of eggplant, but do not cut all the way through.  Slice Spam into 1/4" thick slices.  Cut Spam to fit into slits made in eggplant.  Set aside.  Heat 1 - 1 1/2" of oil to 375 degrees.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add cold water and mix gently.  Dip Spam/eggplant pieces into batter and fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cookie Butter Rice Krispies Treats

I am glad today is a holiday.  I need a break.  I feel like I'm just treading water.  I can finally catch up on all of my corrections.  I'm normally good about correcting papers and giving feedback, but being out a day each week since the month began is taking its toll on being timely.

In spite of the long weekend, I could not get away from work.  Saturday was the first-ever powderpuff football game.  It was a senior class fundraiser, and the main event of the day pitted the Lady Sharks (senior girls) against a team of brave underclassmen, er, underclassWOmen.  The seniors dominated the game, but the younger girls never gave up and managed to put points on the board.  Most impressive was the ability of a few girls to throw a football. 

Of course, the half-time show, a male cheerleading contest, wow-ed the crowd.  Students are so adept at choreography, and I know the male cheerleaders took the competition as seriously as the powderpuff players.

For pics of the day, visit the poi-dog page and view the slideshow.  

My contribution to the day:  I donated food for the concession, purchased a few tickets, and patronized the concession.  My cuz made the chicken long rice, which was absolutely delicious.  D2's pal, KN enthusiastically agreed.  I need to ask my cuz how she did it and, maybe, even get her to be a guest writer here.  She is an awesome cook.  Other goodies for sale were goody-goody, malasadas, kalua pig & cabbage, spam musubi, and party mix.  I'm not sure where they got the smoked meat from, but that was really good too.  Speaking of smoked meat, I hope they will be selling that at the concession for volleyball season.  I love smoked meat.

After the full day of powderpuff football, I was ready to relax.  D2 had a friend over and eventually went over to another friend's house for a sleepover.  I think it was then that I remembered all the papers I needed to correct and the 5+ loads of laundry I had to do.  I'm not sure how I accumulated 5 loads, but I did.  Crap!

I spent the better part of Valentines Day AND Presidents Day correcting papers and doing laundry.  I even managed to make a pan of these goodies, which were a nice change from eating party mix crumbs (I'm party mix'd out. . .made for the powderpuff concession and for D2 to take to the sleepover).

If you are a fan of marshmallow treats, then you must try these.  If you are a fan of cookie butter, then you cannot afford to pass these up.  I happen to be a fan of both, and I swear I can eat a whole pan of these without breaking a sweat.  That's really not as impressive as it sounds since these treats are made in a square pan.  I think of it as a way to limit the madness, although if I'm going to share it with anyone else, I would double the recipe and pack it into a 9 x 13" pan.  For the record, I prefer these to Trix treats, hands-down.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/4 c butter
     3/4 c cookie butter (Trader Joes Speculoos or Biscoff)
     10 oz (5 1/2-6 cups) miniature marshmallows
     7 c crisp rice cereal

Grease a 9" square pan.  Heat butter and cookie butter in a large dutch oven until melted.  Add marshmallows and stir until melted.  Stir in rice krispies.  Press into prepared pan.  Cool completely then cut into squares.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Crisp Won Ton

Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Happy new year!

I was fortunate enough to go to Honolulu last month, so I managed to get my lucky gao.  I always feel good when I can get gao in January.  Of course, I could always make my own, but its so much easier when made by someone else...at least I think so.  In an effort to spread good fortune and cheer, I brought home a few extra gao for sharing.  If Homegirl had let me know ahead of time, I would even have brought back the half-dozen she wanted.

Over the years, around this time of year, I've shared some of my favorite Chinese recipes:
This year I'm sharing my recipe for my favorite appetizer, crisp won ton.  I used to have trouble getting the seasoning just right.  It was often hit-or-miss; sometimes it was too salty and sometimes it was bland.  I must be onto something because several times a year, Mr. Dependable calls me for the recipe.  Perhaps it is also HIS favorite appetizer.

I don't usually do this, but The Help was playing with a new toy, so he took some sequence pictures of won ton wrapping.  There are tons of different variations in wrapping, but this is how I wrap it for special occasions.  If we are eating it at home (not for a party), I will fold it into a simple rectangle shape.  This makes it easy to reheat leftovers (toaster oven, 300 degrees, for about 10 minutes).

center 1 tsp filling on wrapper
moisten edges with water
press edges to seal (rectangle shape)
place a drop of water on lower left corner of rectangle; bring upper left over lower left corner; press to seal
place folded won tons in a single layer


click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb ground pork
     1 can water chestnuts, chopped
     2-4 tbsp chopped green onions
     2 eggs
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1 tsp salt
     2 tsp sugar
     1 tsp sesame oil
     2 pkgs Twin Dragon brand won ton wrappers or 3 pkgs Chun Wah Kam won ton wrappers
     vegetable oil for frying

Combine all ingredients, except won ton wrappers and vegetable oil.  Fill wrappers with 1 tsp of pork mixture.  Deep fry until golden brown.  Oil should be 350-375 degrees. 

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.