kruizing with kikukat

Monday, November 20, 2017

Another Greek Pasta Salad

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I am having guests for Thanksgiving.  None of my guests are blog readers, and that's a good thing.  They won't know how I worked my tail off this weekend, trying to tidy up the house.  I am still not done, but I think I now have the mess at a manageable amount.

Truth be told, I did not spend ALL weekend cleaning.  Against my better judgement, I turned the TV to the UW-Utah game, thinking I would watch for a few minutes then get back to cleaning.  No such luck.  I got suckered in, and, 2 glasses of Kraken and Diet Coke later, I found myself screaming with a few seconds left in the game.  What a nail biter.

Throughout the game, my phone kept going off with updates about another football game.  The HHS football team played Damien Memorial High School for the Division I state title.  Not nearly the nerve-charged game as the UW game, but still exciting, especially since Damien drew first blood.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many friends were at the game.  Not friends who live in Hilo, but friends who live in Honolulu.  Several sent congratulatory messages via Facebook.  One of the well-wishers was someone I worked with nearly a decade ago.  She is lucky enough to be retired now...ahhh, someday.  But hearing from her brought back memories, and that's when it occurred to me that her recipe for Greek pasta salad would make a nice addition to my Thanksgiving lunch.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb thin strand pasta (angel hair, vermicelli, spaghettini, etc.)
     1/2 c vegetable oil
     3 tbsp lemon juice
     3 tbsp mayonnaise
     3 tbsp Greek seasoning (Cavender's is what we find here)
     1 can olives, sliced
     1 small jar pimientos, larger pieces sliced
     3 tbsp thinly sliced green onions

Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Drain and cool.  Combine oil, lemon juice, mayonnaise and Greek seasoning.  Mix with cooked/cooled pasta.  Toss in olives, pimientos and green onions.  Chill overnight.

Continuing the highlights of my recent Hokkaido trip..........
Sapporo, Japan
October 9, 2017:  Day 1
The Keeper made my hotel arrangements for me, and he chose a hotel which offered a complimentary breakfast.  Aside from "suite" type hotels, I am not accustomed to having breakfast provided, and I was quite surprised at what was on the buffet line.  Of course, I didn't take too much food since I knew we would be having breakfast at the Jougai Ichiba.

Jougai Ichiba was on The Keeper's itinerary.  It required a short hop on the train to get there.  I'm not sure which stop we got off, but I know we headed west from the Sapporo station.

Jougai Ichiba is also known as the Hokkaido curb market/Sapporo Central Wholesale Market.  I'm not sure why, as I did not see a curb anywhere, but vendors do have their goods on the sidewalk.  Vendors were very welcoming, suggesting we try the different foods.  I really wanted to buy a crab to eat, but I didn't know how long I'd be out.  And I certainly didn't bring my favorite weapon of choice (Joyce Chen kitchen snips).
Most of the vendors were selling either seafood or fruit.  Some of the seafood businesses had counterpart restaurants which offered to prepare the food for you.  That would've been fun to try, especially since I discovered that I like uni (sea urchin).  Perhaps I need to say that I like the taste of uni in Japan.  I've had uni in Hawaii, and it was either yucky or only okay.  But the uni sample the vendor let me try was sweet and buttery.  Yum.  I knew I would need to have more of it later.

The sweetheart of the fruit offerings has got to be the melon which every fruit stand proudly displays...yubari king melon.  The melon looks similar to the cantaloupes we see in the supermarkets.  But the yubari melon is more globular, and somewhere in size between a softball and a bowling ball.  There is usually a "T" shaped stem attached.  The orange fruit is extremely fragrant and sweet.  This fruit has the distinction of being the most expensive fruit in Japan.  I could probably eat one by myself (as a meal), but it would be my luck that I am allergic to musk melons.  I did allow myself to accept a sample from a vendor, but I quickly rinsed my mouth after eating it.

As promised, The Keeper took us to a restaurant above the shops.  From the picture menu, I selected the kitamae don.  I thought the uni and ikura would make me happy, but it was the raw scallops which put a huge smile on my face.  They were sweet and delicious.  It's hard to believe that I live on an island surrounded by water, but the seafood in Japan is superior.

After breakfast, we made our way back to the station, stopping at a 100-yen shop.  It was my first time at one of these shops.  Wow...the things one can find there!

We went back to the Sapporo station and made our way on foot to check out the old government building.  From there we walked down to Odori Park.  Most of us could not resist buying grilled corn.  The corn was so tasty.  It had just the right combination of salty and sweet.

In spite of being full from breakfast AND corn, we stopped at the Ramen Yokocho in Susukino.  This was where Anthony Bourdain ate when he was in Susukino. 

The Keeper and I decided to try the the chashu grilled pork spicy miso ramen at Teshikaga Ramen (this is not the restaurant which borders the street).  The ramen was a little oily, but that was to be expected.  There were at least 3 types of pork in the ramen:  a spicy ground pork, cubes of soft pork, and the grilled pork belly slab.  And as you can tell from the picture, I was still in denial.  I still thought I liked corn in my ramen.

Now this is where my mind gets a bit fuzzy.  Perhaps it's from too much eating, but our next stop was the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory.  I cannot remember how we got there.  I think we went underground and caught a subway/train.  I think.  I am pretty sure the chocolate factory isn't too far from the Jougai Ichiba, where we were earlier in the day.  But The Keeper said we needed dessert.

The Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory is known for the famous shiroi koibito, a cookie sandwich.  Two langue de chat buttery cookies are sandwiched together with white chocolate.   It reminds me a little of the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.  In addition to shiroi koibito, the factory also has "Candy Labo", the hard candy division.  The Keeper, Nakaz, and I bought a bunch of things from Candy Labo.  I haven't eaten my Candy Labo yet, but I sent some "magic candy" to Heather, a knitting friend in Kansas.

We took a walking break and sat down to dessert in the restaurant of the factory.  The Keeper ordered a gigantic parfait with shine muscats.  I didn't think I could eat something so large, so I settled on something which I had been wanting to eat for nearly 2 decades:  baumkuchen (layered sponge cake).  My dessert would've been fine, had I not been urged by The Keeper to try a shine muscat.  I figured I wouldn't like it, since I don't eat grapes, but the shine muscat turned out to be something other-worldly.  I have never eaten anything so fragrant.

And I don't think I ever ate so much food in a single day.  Little did I know, we weren't done yet.  The Keeper told me that there was a place in one of the malls adjoining the Sapporo station which served tonkatsu even better than Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin (Waikiki).  I found that hard to believe, so I told him to bring it on.  We ended up at Tonkatsu Wako.

The Keeper was right.  The tonkatsu was  tender with a crisp, light and airy coating.  But to be perfectly honest, I prefer the dressing (for the cabbage) at Bairin.  The dressing at Tonkatsu Wako was not the sesame-mayo dressing I was expecting.  It was more like a ponzu.  I like ponzu, but NOT with tonkatsu and cabbage.

And finally, after all this eating, we made it back to the hotel for, what I hoped, would be a good night of sleep.

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