kruizing with kikukat

Monday, June 25, 2018

Almond Panna Cotta

Since nearly the beginning of 2018, I have been suffering from shoulder pain.  What began as stiffness, which I attributed to sleeping funny, turned out to be the beginning of adhesive capsulitis, aka "frozen shoulder".  Over the course of 4 months, my shoulder when from slightly stiff to absolutely painful upon certain motions.  I have had surgeries, sprains, fractures, ischemic colitis, and a bunch of other painful things, but nothing compares to the pain from frozen shoulder.  Nothing.

While the pain didn't start off as all-consuming, it gradually caused a few lifestyle changes which really put a damper on comfort.  I had to resort to sleeping flat on my back; any degree of rotation caused pain, either from direct pressure on my shoulder or from my shoulder being unsupported.  At some point, I reached for the Aleve, but it wasn't very helpful.  I blame the combination of Aleve and sleeping flat on my back as the cause of my GERD.

So in addition to restricted movement/motion while I was awake, I had some difficulty eating, fearing the resulting heartburn and gas which followed.  As I mentioned before, sleep was out of the question.  This was my life for the second half of April and all of May.

MMM suggested that consuming yogurt might be soothing.  The Help had no problem going to the market and buying tons of one of my favorites.  My yogurt jag failed to remedy my stomach ills, but it did contribute to my growing war chest of cover-less, smallish glass jars.  A work friend, who also had an affinity for that brand of yogurt, and I talked about what we could possibly do with all of the jars.  We both thought it would be a shame to throw them out, as the jars were sturdy and cute.

On a hot day in May, I had D2 make jello for dessert, and she poured them into those jars since they were out on the counter already.  She stacked them in the fridge (our fridge real estate is always limited) since the bottom of the jar is larger than the top.  That's when it occurred to me that the jars would be perfect for panna cotta, a dessert I've enjoyed at Noodle Club and some other restaurants.  And being able to stack the jars meant I wouldn't need too much space in the fridge.

I tried a few different recipes, but some were too firm, and some did not set up adequately.  A few recipes also called for odd amounts of not-usually-in-my-fridge milk varieties.  After some trial and error, the recipe with this post is what turned out to be a good texture (to me).  Reduce or increase the amount of milk to get the texture you prefer.  Although this recipe is for almond panna cotta, there is a small amount of vanilla extract in the recipe.  I find that adding a bit of vanilla nicely softens the almond flavor, which can sometimes be very bold (think Chinese almond float).

Because cherries are now in season, I made a topping with fresh cherries (thank you Ds for pitting and halving all the cherries).  I hope The Help can come up with a summery drink using the cherry syrup.  Any type of fruit can be used as a topping.  I've had this at a restaurant with some lavender syrup and it was delicious.  I think chocolate lovers might enjoy it with a spoonful of Nutella.

Now that June is nearly over, my shoulder is almost back to normal, thanks to the MUA (manipulation under anesthesia) I underwent just after Memorial Day.  I am able to sleep on my side, my GERD is gone, and I can actually straighten my arm and lift it over my head. 

Best of all, my MUA was done on Oahu, so I got to check out the Memorial Day sales at the Waikele Outlets and Nordstrom Rack. And the Rack just happened to be having a fabulous sale on boots.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 c heavy cream
     1 c milk, divided
     1 envelope unflavored gelatin
     1/2 c sugar
     1/2 tsp almond extract
     1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Soften gelatin in 1/2 c milk.  Heat heavy cream, remaining milk, and sugar, to just below boiling.  Stir in softened gelatin and milk.  Continue stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove frm heat and stir in extracts.  Pour into small containers.  Chill until set.  If not serving within 8 hours, cover each container to avoid drying out.  If serving unmolded, lightly grease containers prior to filling.  Serve with fruit or desired topping.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Fried Mahimahi

I guess summer is here.  The rain has tapered off, the termites come around, and I haven't had to turn on my electric blankie for over a week.

When the weather turns warm, I try to serve food that won't add much to the heat...more veggies...less rice...no "gravy" foods.  The warm weather is also perfect for outdoor eating and "build your own" foods like fish tacos.

For several years, I've been making breaded mahi (short for mahimahi).  Breaded mahi/fried mahi, is an okazuya staple.  Pieces of golden brown fillets line trays, waiting to be packed in a box lunch.  "Breaded" usually refers to the use of panko breadcrumbs.  The Ds and The Help enjoy mahi because it's easy to eat; no bones to pick out.  I like making fried mahi at home (maybe because The Help makes the absolute best tartar sauce).  I would post his recipe for tartar sauce, but I am certain he doesn't use a recipe.  Magically, it turns out delicious every time.

In spite of willingly consuming breaded mahi, The Help isn't normally much of a fish, rice, and Japanese pickles eater.  So it wasn't a huge surprise when he broke from the norm and used my breaded mahi in fish tacos.  I suppose the stars were all in the right place. . .we happened to have won bok, carrots, purple cabbage, tortillas, AND salsa, on hand.

Whether you have breaded mahi in a bento, with rice or in a taco, making it at home isn't too difficult.  The results are delicious and well worth the effort.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb mahimahi, thinly sliced
     1 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp cornstarch
     1 tsp salt
     1 tbsp sake
     1/2 tsp curry powder
     1 tbsp shoyu
     1 egg, beaten
     1 1/2 c panko
     oil for frying

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, sake, curry powder and shoyu.  Add mahimahi and marinate for 1 hour.  Heat oil in a skillet.   Dip fish into beaten egg then roll in panko.  Fry until golden brown.
    
It seems like it's been a while since I went anywhere.  But a few weeks ago, I went to Honolulu to "fix" my shoulder.  A trip to Honolulu would not have been complete without visiting the newest (for now) member of my family, Cody.  Big congratulations go out to his parents, LA and Stason, and his beaming grandpa Miles.  Cody will have many rich years of listening to Grandpa Miles' stories about his youth, the dangers of going into Waikiki, and how he didn't enjoy napping while he was younger.

And we will forgive Stason for his ugly shirt.






Although I was in town for only an evening, I managed to get my dim sum fix.  We tried a new place called Yum Cha.  I was excited to see xiao long bao on the menu.  It was actually just okay, although this was the first place in Hawaii where I've actually had xiao long bao.  My previous experience has been limited to Din Tai Fung, so perhaps it's not a fair comparison.  The shrimp look funn was delicious.  Yum Cha is one of those places on Oahu where you can get the cute animal buns (I think the other place is Panda Dim Sum, a place I have yet to try).

The animal buns are dessert buns.  The piggies are filled with custard, and the doggies (sorry, no pic) have a black bean filling.  If you know me, then you know why there is no doggie bun pic.  I'm not a big fan of black bean.

The Help had to have his steamed char siu bao, and we also had an order of lo bok gao.  I managed to eat just one of the piggie buns because I could not leave without having my favorite, mango pudding.

For our only dinner,  it was a no-brainer.  We ended up at Tonkatsu Tamafuji.  I was smarter this time and ordered the white rice.  But next time, I think I will try the oyster and shrimp combo.  I don't think I need to eat the pork loin katsu again...not because it wasn't good, but it was just too heavy.

Since returning home, I've been putting a lot of time into my recovery.  In addition to physical therapy, I've been trying to stretch and do more at home.  While I am not back to normal yet, I can tell that I have made progress.  I can actually put on my own deodorant and wash my own hair.

While all this was happening, Kilauea volcano continued producing lava.  It is rather difficult to grasp the magnitude of changes which have occurred in the lower Puna area in the past 5 weeks.  I know of several people who had to evacuate, as well as others who have actually lost their homes.  D1 called me last week Thursday to tell me her long-time friend no longer has a home in Kapoho.  This is not a stranger.  This is someone who has spent time with our family over the years.  It's difficult to find words.

The Help allowed a friend to try out his Fuji, and he captured this amazing picture from his bedroom.   The foreground is bayfront (downtown Hilo).  The lava fountain (fissure 8) is about 20 miles away.
photo credit:  Nakaz42
And yesterday, I received an awesome gift from the valley of the sun. . .D1 returned! 😻