kruizing with kikukat

Monday, August 29, 2011

Salted Almost-Duck Eggs

I grew up less than 5 minutes away from Ainaola Store, a "mom and pop" store in Waiakea Uka.  Long before they started making laulau plates and serving up the best mango slush in the world, Ainaola Store was reknown for something else:  a jar perpetually filled with salted duck eggs.  I would go up to the cashier and say how many eggs I wanted. . .usually two, one for me and one for Mom.  The egg(s) would be plucked out of the jar and placed in a paper bag.  Then we'd go home so Mom could boil the eggs.  It seemed to take forever, and so much of the shell would stick to the white, but the taste of the egg was worth the wait.  The salty white and the grainy yolk.  Yummmmmmmm.

When I returned home from college, Mom's friend raised ducks, so we'd get eggs from her and pack them in brine.  While waiting for the salt to penetrate the eggs, I always thought about all the ono things I could make with the duck eggs.  It seemed like the eggs disappeared before too long . . . a boiled egg or two here and there. . .

Mom's friend no longer raises ducks, so I no longer have a source for duck eggs.  The salted duck eggs sold at Kilauea Market and Chinese restaurants are already cooked.  Inpired by a blogger friend, Hawaiian Pake in Okinawa, I decided to try salting chicken eggs (the supermarket variety).  I was surprised at how long it took for the salt to penetrate the yolk.  In spite of being smaller, the chicken eggs took longer to salt than the duck eggs from Aunty.

Once again, I'm finding myself thinking of all the things to make with the salted almost-duck eggs.  If you have any suggestions other than joong (I will eventually be posting about my joong adventure) or pork hash patty, please share.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
     3/4 c rock salt
     1 qt boiled water
     eggs, duck or chicken (large)

Dissolve salt in water.  Pour mixture into a glass jar with a tight lid.  Add eggs, making certain that all eggs are submerged in mixture.  Leave eggs in a dark, cool place at room temperature, 24 days for duck eggs or 33 days for store-bought large chicken eggs.  Remove from brine.  Store eggs in refrigerator and use as needed within a month.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cannelini Beans with Rosemary

This is another A-dedicated post.  For years, A has been eating healthy food, going to the natural food stores to pick up lunch.  When we go out for lunch, she'll always have something healthy while I usually order something deep fried.  I've often told her how her menu selections are all fodder for farting.  In retrospect, teasing A proved portentous in that I have come to (or perhaps now willing to admit) enjoy fart food, namely, beans, myself.  Bean soup, sweet beans, tempura beans, chili, edamame, refried beans . . . any kind beans (but not peas).

A few years ago, I got a new cookbook, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.  Lynne Rossetto Kasper is the voice on Public Radio's show, The Splendid Table.  Her distinctive voice could make dirt sound tasty.  Anyway, this is about her book, not her radio show.  In the cookbook is a recipe for white beans with rosemary . . . I can't remember the exact title off-hand.  I tried making it and it was ono.  As great as it was as a side dish, its something which could be eaten as a meal in itself.  I did make a few changes to the published recipe:  kicked up the rosemary and toned down the garlic.  Lynne recommends using canned organic white beans, as she insists the flavor of organic beans surpasses non-organic.  I've only made this with canned organic beans because the only place in Hilo to get canned cannelini beans is Island Naturals.  I suppose this could be made with other types of beans, but it will change the flavor of the dish.

Being gentle with the beans will keep them whole.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
(adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper)
     1 tbsp bread crumbs
     1 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese 
     2 garlic cloves, crushed
     1/4 tsp salt
     2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
     1/2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
     1 can (15 oz.) cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
     1 handful torn lettuce

Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Set aside (used for topping).  Heat olive oil in a small skillet.  Add garlic and salt.  Stir in rosemary.  Add beans and fold very gently.  Heat about 3 minutes.  Add lettuce and heat an additional minute.  Place in serving dish and sprinkle with topping.

Monday, August 22, 2011

D2's Birthday Party Slideshow

Please bear with me for another slideshow post.

D2's birthday party was on Friday, August 19, which is a state holiday in Hawaii (Admissions Day. . . the day Hawaii became a state).  Not everyone in Hawaii feels statehood was a good thing, and while I am sensitive to their cause, I am also grateful for the break from work.  Anyway, this is a slideshow I put together with pics from D2's party.

There will be a recipe next week.  I promise!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fried Tofu with Chives

Another food that comes to mind when I think about what Mom cooked is fried tofu with chives.  It was something that was hurriedly made after a long day of work, and while it was something very simple, I recall being happy to see it on the table.

There are several keys to finding success when cooking this dish.  The first, and most important, is safety.  Like anything containing water, tofu will splatter when it meets the hot oil in a skillet.  A trick to minimizing your chances of being scalded is to slice the tofu and pack it on paper towels the day before you plan to cook it.  While this could definitely be done quickly just before cooking, allowing the tofu to drain overnight is preferable.

The second trick is to use garlic chives.  Garlic chives have flat blades, rather than cylindrical stalks.  Cut the chives in 1-inch pieces.  Any shorter, and they will get lost.  Any longer, and they will be cumbersome to eat (you might resemble a catfish at some point).

Because Mom was pressed for time, we usually just ate the fried tofu with a generous squirt of shoyu.  But if you can spare an extra 2 minutes, make the sauce.  The sauce will give people the impression you slaved all day!

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Mom's Fried Tofu

1 block tofu
handful garlic chives, cut in in 1" pieces
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp shao hsing wine

Begin the night before by slicing tofu block in half.  Slice each half into 1/2" thick slices.  Pack slices between paper towels and refrigerate overnight.  Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet (no more than 1/4" deep).  While oil is heating, combine shoyu, oyster sauce, mirin and shao hsing wine in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Add tofu slices to heated oil in a single layer, frying in 2 batches if necessary.  Fry until tofu is golden brown and edges are crispy.  Turn over and fry other side in same manner.   Sprinkle chives over top of tofu, continuing to fry tofu until golden brown.  Remove tofu and any chives sticking to tofu to a serving platter.  Turn off heat, and carefully add sauce.  It will sizzle and sputter.  Allow to bubble for a minute, then pour over tofu slices.  Serve.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake from Gourmet

In early July, Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy posted a recipe for Peachy Keen Buttermilk Cake, which she adapted from a recipe in the June 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine.  Her pictures made the cake look so ono, and I was surprised that the only "odd" ingredient in the cake was buttermilk.  I also liked the idea that the cake was rather small (round, single-layer).  The original recipe, Raspberry Buttermilk Cake,  called for raspberries, rather than peaches.  I guess the title gives it away.

When I went to Costco last weekend, the cold room was full of berries.  I had a hard time deciding between blackberries and raspberries but eventually went the sentimental route with raspberries (flashback to Seattle:  my Italian gramma often made raspberry jam).

Aren't these gorgeous?
 I think you can figure out the rest of this post.  Needless to say, this cake is super simple to make, provided you have buttermilk or know how to fake it with milk and vinegar.  The sweetness of the cake complements the tangy fruit.

The fruit will sink beneath the surface of the cake during baking.
The finished cake will be a warm, golden brown with delicate cracks on the surface.

Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy didn't seem to have a problem with the cake sticking to the bottom of the pan, but I sure did.  Next time, I will use a round of parchment in addition to greasing and flouring the pan.  That should do the trick.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kruizing with the Ds: Seattle-Alaska Cruise 2011

Apologies to anyone expecting a recipe for this post. I'm devoting it to the Ds summer vacation pictures. They had a blast with their cousins on the Norwegian Pearl, sailing from Seattle to Alaska along the Inside Passage. Ports of call were Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. Juneau, Alaska, was originally a port, however the delayed departure from Seattle due to a broken propeller nixed that port.

The highlight for D2 was sailing past the glaciers. D1 enjoyed all the sights, sounds, and smells (food) in Seattle. Perhaps she'll become a husky like her mom!

Recipe next post, I promise.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Snack Food Party Mix

I'm dedicating this post to A, a self-proclaimed party mix connoisseur.  I hope she reads this and drools.

Party mixes have been around since I was a kid.  I remember buying Doodads from the supermarket and snacking on them in the car on the drive home.  When I was in the third or fourth grade, Mom's coworker gave her a recipe for something called "Nuts and Bolts".  Nuts and Bolts was a mix of three kinds of Chex cereals, Cheerios, peanuts, and pretzels.  My favorite item was the rice Chex; I hated the wheat Chex.  The mixture was coated with a sweet, garlicky, buttery mixture, then baked in the oven forever to dry out.  The whole thing needed to be stirred every 15 minutes.  People went crazy with Nuts and Bolts, adding everything from M & Ms candies to Honeycomb cereal.  Somewhere along the line, "Party Mix" replaced "Nuts and Bolts" in the local lexicon.

About a decade after the debut of Nuts and Bolts, Aunty's friend brought over a different kind of mix.  This one was peanut butter based and had the same cereal-nut mixture as Nuts and Bolts.  It was made using the same principle . . . pour sweet peanut butter mixture over cereals and nuts, then bake.  This one didn't take quite so long to dry out, but somehow, it never enjoyed the epic popularity as Nuts and Bolts/Party Mix.

Fast-forward another decade or so, give or take one or two of them (I was never good at math).  I was at a friend's house, and another guest brought over what appeared to be a mixture of Frito's Scoops, Cheetos, pretzels, and Bugles.  Puzzled as to why anyone would just randomly mix these together, I avoided it, preferring to eat the won ton I brought instead.  While helping tidy the place (okay, maybe this is an embellishment. . . since when do I clean up)  at the end of the evening, I happened to taste a Bugle, and I was blown away.  It wasn't straight out of the box.  The Bugle was coated with the same sweet, garlicky, buttery mixture as Mom's Nuts and Bolts!

Since the cook has the authority to cook what/how she pleases, I decided to put only what I want into my snack food party mix:  Cheetos and pretzels.  I like the balls or the curls (puffs), but I'm waiting for Frito-Lay to make paw shapes again.  Any pretzel shape will work, but I don't use the sourdough-type they sell at Costco.  And I leave out the stinky garlic powder that many other mixes contain.  This permutation of Party Mix is definitely my favorite.

A. . .call me.  Your bag of party mix is waiting. . .next to the kitty treats.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Snack Food Party Mix

     3/4 c butter
     3/4 c sugar
     1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
     1 lb. pretzels
     9-10 oz. Cheetos
Melt butter.  Add sugar and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Pour hot sauce over pretzels and Cheetos.  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely then store in an airtight container.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mystery Fruit: Smooth, Orange, Tree-growing

mystery fruit from Ninole
I am looking for help.  I took these pics of what appears to be a fruit, but I have no idea what it is.  In fact, I'm using the term "fruit" very loosely, as I don't even know if it is edible.  This fruit was growing on a tree in Ninole, Hawaii (Big Island).

The tree, about eight to ten feet tall, appears citrus-like.

each fruit showing the single crease line
size comparison with a nickel
The fruits are about the size of a racketball, so bigger than a golf ball, but not quite as large as a tennis ball.  They have smooth skin (no dimples and no fur).  The skin feels similar to a lilikoi (passion fruit), but its more orange than the typical lilikoi.  There is a single crease line which runs the length of the fruit on the underside.  While this picture shows a group of three fruits growing in a clunch (I think I made up that word. . . thanks, Deira), not all of the fruits were in a triad. 

fruit is actually more yellow-orange color than brown
I decided to take a chance and cut one of the fruits open along the crease line.  I was shocked to see a very lilikoi-like pulp.  There were black seeds encased in white pouches, about the size of the little seed packs in lilikoi.  These were surrounded with what looked like white pith (like citrus). 

fruit just after it was cut open
 Oddly enough, as soon as I cut the fruit open, a thick white sap began oozing from the cut surfaces.  The sap was like a thick glue.  Even stickier than Elmer's Glue!  It took forever and a lot of elbow grease to get the sap off the paring knife I used.

My questions:
  • What is this fruit called?
  • Is it edible?
  • If its edible, how do you eat it?

I'd be grateful for any realistic answers.  When I posed this question on facebook, I got all kinds of crazy answers ranging from "Smurf berries" to "permissions" (yes, this is what the person wrote).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Parmesan Frittata

Breakfast For Dinner (BFD) is one of the best inventions (well, for me because I love eggs).  For a twist on the usual BFD fare, try Parmesan Frittata.  You likely have all the ingredients on hand already, and paired with a green salad, this is good enough for company.

Frittata is easy because its made in a skillet (oven-proof).  Once it hits the oven, there is no turning or flipping.  The oven does all the cooking.  Although my recipe calls for potato (raw), feel free to substitute chopped, cooked potato, if you have any on hand, such as leftover from baked potato.  Another easy substitution would be chopped ham instead of bacon.  About 1/3 cup of sliced ham should do the trick. 

When I lived in Seattle, Uncle George and Aunty Char liked to go to Cafe Casino.  Cafe Casino offered cafeteria-style service with cuisine leaning towards the land of the boot.  Aunty would often choose the frittata du jour.  Back then, I had no idea what frittata was.  Anything egg/savory/baked was labeled "quiche", thanks to three years of French class.  I should have tried the frittata at Cafe Casino to see how mine compares, but I haven't been back to Seattle since 19XX, and I'm not even sure Cafe Casino is still in business.  Perhaps Seattle and Hilo have more than rain in common . . . business graveyard for all but a few (Starbucks & Costco, to name a few).

serving suggestion:  a frittata wedge paired with a fresh salad
click on recipe title for printable recipe
Parmesan Frittata

     1 c thinly sliced raw potato (wide matchsticks)
     2 tbsp butter
     6 eggs, slightly beaten
     6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
     1/4 c green onion, sliced
     1/4 c milk
     dash of black pepper
     1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

Rinse potato sticks well to remove starch.  Stir-fry in a dry, non-stick pan for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a 10" oven-proof skillet.  Combine remaining ingredients;  Add potato sticks a little at a time (so egg won't cook).  Pour into skillet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.