kruizing with kikukat

Monday, April 3, 2017


April is generally not a month I enjoy.  When I was younger, I looked forward to Easter and all the candy that came along with the holiday.  Coloring eggs was also a much-anticipated activity.  But April always seemed like a month of endless rain.  And I don't like rain.  Everything starts to take on the damp feeling, and it makes me feel a bit foolish to be making a fire in the fireplace.  The window for that (in my mind) closes at the end of February.

Another reason for April receiving a bad mark in my book has been my inability to get going after spring break.  Getting back in the work groove after a break is hard, but it seems even more difficult transitioning from the 3rd to the 4th quarter.  Ugh.

Now that I'm older and have a child attending a college 3,000 miles away, April isn't so bad.  It means that I get to see my hiapo (firstborn in Hawaiian) in a few weeks.  I haven't seen her since early January when I dropped her off at the airport in Kona.  I miss her a lot.

With her imminent homecoming, I figured it would be a good time to get off my butt and start exercising a bit more diligently.  I bought myself a new fitbit and have been hitting the elliptical every weekday morning.  To amuse myself on the elliptical, I've been watching Craftsy videos.  It's amazing the kinds of classes they have for sale.  I've purchased both knitting and cooking classes.  The most recent class I watched was a class on making macarons, madeleines, and other miniature desserts.

Am I the only one who noticed how the previous paragraph covered BOTH exercising AND desserts?

I haven't tried making macarons, but I've been making madeleines for years.  I've tried multiple recipes, but I adapted a recipe I found on the internet.  The original recipe is delicious and was the only recipe I tried which I could replicate successfully time after time.  However, the drawback for me was the lemon zest.  I am not a big fan of using lemon zest in my desserts because I seldom buy lemons.  I have a lemon tree in my backyard, but the lemons do not usually boast beautiful, smooth, golden skin.  The skins are often sunburnt with a green-brown tinge, and the zest they yield does not look appealing in desserts.  This is unfortunate because the flavor of lemon zest is sublime.

So I took that recipe and adapted it for use without lemon zest.  However, I realized that I occasionally missed the lemon flavor.  Using lemon extract will not yield a product exactly like the original recipe, but lemon extract is easy to get.  Using the vanilla extract with a drop or two of lemon oil is another option, however lemon oil is more difficult to obtain.  Of course, the generous dusting of powdered sugar will hide unsightly zest pieces on the surface, but some people might be put off when they encounter off-color zest when they take a bite.

Collette Christian's Craftsy class offers yet another take on getting that citrus flavor.  She opts for dipping the madeleines in a glaze.  Interesting.  I have not yet tried the madeleines from the class, and I'm not sure if I actually will.  I purchased the class for the step-by-step macaron instructions.  I hope to try that out this summer when D1 is home. . . someone to wash my dishes.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/4 c butter, melted and cooled
     2 eggs
     1/2 tsp vanilla extract (may replace half with 1/4 tsp lemon extract)
     pinch of salt
     1/3 c  sugar
     1/2 c flour
     powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease and flour the wells for 15 3" madeleines.  Combine eggs, vanilla, and salt, in a large (1 quart) glass measuring cup.  Gradually add sugar while beating at high speed.  Continue beating until mixture is light yellow and has increased in volume.  This will take about 10 minutes with a hand-held mixer.  Sift flour over egg mixture and fold in gently.  Add melted butter and fold in gently.  Using a #40 disher, divide batter among prepared wells.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Tap pan sharply to dislodge madeleines and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over madeleines when completely cool.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Whole Wheat Milk Bread or Rolls

The foundation for these rolls comes from Mika's blog, The 350 Degree Oven.  Like Mika, I admired "Japanese milk bread".  There was/is nowhere in Hilo which makes Japanese milk bread.  I first had this kind of bread from Panya in Honolulu.  The pillowy softness is what separates it from other local breads (Portuguese sweet bread, shokupan, etc.).  The key to the softness is using a cooked starter called "tangzhong".  Please read Mika's blog for a detailed explanation of what it does.

I must've inadvertently copied Mika's recipe incorrectly.  Only when I went back to her blog to check on something did I realize what I had done differently.  This was AFTER I had made both a loaf of hybrid whole wheat milk bread and a batch of hot cross buns (I will post this recipe another time)!  In spite of my oversight, both turned out great, and I'm posting the full recipe (the ingredients differ slightly from Mika's version).

Please don't be put off by the long recipe.  I've been wanting to do this post for a while, so all the baking times and temperatures for the variations are in the same place.  This is a recipe I use frequently, but I make shaping changes according to how we plan to eat this.  The standard shape for us is the sandwich roll.  These round rolls are perfect for stacking slices of salami or some of the round, paper-thin cold cuts.

I purchased an 11x11" square pan from just so I had a good pan to make these rolls.  When made in the square pan, the rolls touch each other and are great for having with soup, pasta, or stew.

I have even given loaves away as thank you gifts (seriously).  If you can spare a few minutes to learn a braiding technique, an oblong loaf or a round loaf can look unbelievably impressive.  One recipient told me she and her daughter finished the entire loaf in half-a-day (I gave it to her at work and the next morning, she told me it was gone).

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/2 recipe of tangzhong (see below)
     1/2 c milk
     1 egg
     3 tbsp butter
     2 c bread flour
     1/2 c whole wheat flour
     4 tbsp sugar
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 tsp yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan, following the manufacturer's ingredient order.  Start dough cycle.  Grease a large loaf pan (9 x 5"), a square pan (11 x 11"), an oblong pan (9 x 13"), a round pan (9"), or a flat, sheet pan.  When dough is done, divide dough and shape as desired.  
large loaf pan (grease and flour pan):  Shape dough into a traditional loaf shape or make a short, 6-strand braid).  Let rise for 40 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
square pan:  Divide dough into 16 pieces.  Shape into balls and place in 4 x 4 arrangement.  Let rise for 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes.
oblong pan:  Divide dough into 15 pieces.  Shape into balls and place in 3 x 5 arrangement.  Let rise for 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
round pan:  Shape dough into round ball or make a fancy braided round.  Let rise for 40 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
flat, sheet pan:
  • sandwich rolls:  Divide dough into 12 pieces.  Shape into balls and flatten.  Place in 3 x 4 arrangement.  Let rise 30-40 minutes  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • hotdog buns:  Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Shape into ropes.  Place in 2 x 5 arrangement.  Let rise 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • hoagie rolls:  Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Shape into long ovals and flatten slightly.  Place in 2 x 4 arrangement.  Let rise 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
Loaves/Rolls may be finished with a "wash".
  • melted butter:  brush on for a soft finish
  • milk:  brush on for a soft finish
  • egg yolk + 1 tbsp water:  brush on for a shiny glaze
  • egg white + 1 tbsp water:  brush on for a binder to adhere sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rock salt, etc.
Tangzhong (cooked starter)

     1/3 c flour (original recipe called for bread flour)
     7/8 c water (original recipe called for 1 cup)

Heat flour and water in a small saucepan, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste.  Set aside to cool or refrigerate if not using immediately.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Twice Baked Potatoes (Pan Style)

A little over a month ago, my family got together to celebrate the holidays.  One night which has always been a quandary for us is new years eve.  Traditionally, the family celebration has always been new years day.  The night was a time spent preparing for the next days party, as many dishes need to be started the day before serving.  This year, even without my mother, things were no different.  The family party, which was generously catered by my cousin, was on January 1.  This left me with time to have a few family members (those who did not have another party to attend) over for dinner.

My dad happened to be in Safeway on a day when New York roasts were $5/pound.  He left Safeway with 3 roasts and could not believe his good fortune.  I could not believe my MISfortune, as the New York cut is not a cut I enjoy eating.  My dad has been through a lot of shit this year, so instead of arguing, I agreed to cook, not one, but TWO New York roasts.

In an attempt to placate myself by serving something I would enjoy, I attempted to make twice baked potatoes in the shells.  It was the first time I even considered making it in the shell, and I thought it would look fancy next to the slab of roast beast.  I guess it wasn't my time to make it happen because I ended up making it in a casserole dish.  It turned out to be a huge hit (in addition to the salad).  My cousins loved it.  I made 1 1/2 recipes, and most of it was gone by the end of the evening.  That's a lot of potato pulp for less than 10 people!

Since my cousin Otee is a devoted Kikukat follower, I thought I'd post the recipe for the potatoes (and a link to the dressing is above) for him.  Although he doesn't cook much, he is known to hibachi a steak.  He can print out the recipe for the potatoes and have his brother make it for him!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     4 russet potatoes
     2 tbsp butter
     1/2 tsp salt
     1/4 tsp pepper
     1 c sour cream
     1 c shredded cheese, divided
     1/2 c bacon bits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake potatoes for 1 hour, directly on rack.  Let cook 15 minutes.  Scrape pulp into a bowl.  Combine pulp with all other ingredients, reserving 1/2 c shredded cheese for topping.  Place in an au gratin dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.