kruizing with kikukat

Monday, November 28, 2011

Take Your Pick Teriyaki

teriyaki chicken
I am truly sick of turkey right now.  The Foodland turkey dinner package turned out to be a huge hit (definitely worth it for not having to store all the food before cooking and for the absence of all the greasy dishes from roasting the turkey and making the gravy). After handing off the dark meat to the Pars, its "a hui hou" to turkey for a while.  I wanna go back to eating simple food, food that goes well with a plate of rice.  Nothing fussy, just everyday food.  Hmmmmm. . .teriyaki to the rescue!

In my house, teriyaki goes over very nicely with the Ds.  Its a versatile meal which can be prepped ahead and reheats nicely.  D2 is partial to thin-sliced beef teriyaki.  D1 will eat anything.  But both kids will insist on grilled teriyaki (not pan-fried).  I don't blame them.  The smell of teriyaki cooking on a hibachi is ethereal.  Its the ultimate local comfort smell.  I'm sure you've experienced the feeling of longing when you catch a whiff of someone else making hibachi!

The marinade for making chicken or beef teriyaki is the same.  I prefer white meat (yes!), but thighs can also be soaked too.  Its best to marinate deboned chicken.  Skin-on or skin-off is an individual preference.  If I'm using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I take a mallet and pound the breast halves to an even 1/2" thickness.  Thin-sliced beef is D2's favorite, but hunky rib eye steaks can also bathe in the marinade too.  Rules for marinating chicken and beef are the same.  Marinate overnight and discard any unused marinade.  Do not use the marinade as a basting sauce.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Teriyaki Marinade

     1/2 c sugar
     1/2 c shoyu
     1 clove garlic, smashed
     1" piece ginger, grated
     1 tsp sake
     1 tsp sesame oil

Combine marinade ingredients.  Add a 1-2 pounds of desired meat.  Allow to marinate overnight.  Cook over a hibachi.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Please be sure your speakers are on when you play the greeting below.

I'll be back on Monday with a great recipe!

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Digital ecard personalized with Smilebox

Monday, November 21, 2011

Potluck Food: Soba Salad

I have a whole bunch of work-related food needs this week.  Today I'm at a most-of-the-day meeting, and I have a plate of banana bread to share.  Tomorrow's training will either be an opportunity to share more banana bread or perhaps a pumpkin cake.  Wednesday is an office potluck (of course, what else?), and I'm still undecided about what to bring.  Of course, if we don't bring anything to these events, there would be nothing to eat, and what good is a meeting/training without food.

When the Hawaii economy took a downturn for the worse, the DOE cut back by not providing meals at workshops and trainings.  While some people were saddened by the lack of opportunity for a meal on the DOE's dime, I certainly wasn't.  Although free to the participant, the meals usually consisted of tasteless food.  I was working out of a Honolulu-based office at the time, and what we did was pool our $ together and have lunch catered for us or had a potluck.

Pooling $ together was great in Honolulu because of the wide range of places that were willing to cater or provide a bento.  Hilo doesn't have nearly the range of choices as Honolulu, so what we end up doing is having potluck.  Everyone brings something to share.  In spite of not being told what to bring, things always seem to work out.

Soba Salad is something which invariably can be found at most potlucks.  Soba Salad is a variation on Somen Salad.  Boiled Japanese noodles are cooled and topped with things like fish cake and vegetables.  A shoyu-based sauce is poured over just before eating..  Soba is Japanese buckwheat noodles.  It is easily identified by its gray-brown color.  Soba noodles can be purchased at any supermarket (even Wal-Mart and Target).
I used hijiki, wakame, watercress, kaiware (daikon sprouts), uzumaki (rolled pinwheel fishcake which is likely known as narutomaki outside of Hawaii), and shredded red pickled ginger to top my soba, but I've had versions which contained imitation crab shreds, taegu shreds, maui onion, cucumber, and ocean salad.  The idea is to use whatever you have on hand.  This is especially refreshing on a hot day.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Soba Salad

Salad ingredients:
     1/2 c hijiki
     3 tbsp oil
     3 tbsp shoyu
     3 tbsp sugar
     1/4 oz wakame (this will seem like just a little)
     1 bunch watercress, trimmed and cut into 1" lengths
     4 oz kaiware, root ends cut off
     1 roll uzumaki, slivered
     2 tbsp red shredded pickled ginger
     16 oz dried soba noodles

     3/4 c vegetable oil
     3/4 c shoyu
     3/4 c lemon juice
     5 tbsp sugar

Soak hijiki in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.  While hijiki is soaking, combine dressing ingredients in a jar.  Shake well and set aside.  Drain water from hijiki, and press out as much water as possible without mashing hijiki.  In a small skillet, heat 3 tbsp oil.  Add hijiki, 3 tbsp shoyu, and 3 tbsp sugar.  Cook until liquid is absorbed.  Set aside to cool.  In a small bowl, soak wakame in a bowl of cold water for 7 minutes.  Drain, pressing out as much water as possible.  Set aside.  Boil soba noodles for 6-7 minutes.  Rinse under cold water until cool.  Drain well.  In a 9 x 13" pan or other comparable flat dish, arrange soba in an even layer.  Top with hijiki, kaiware, watercress, wakame, uzumaki, and pickled ginger.  Pour dressing over entire salad just before serving.
As an alternative, served dressing alongside salad, allowing guests to dress their salads individually.  If doing this,  make 1 1/2 or 2 quantities of dressing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy Black Forest Cake

Except for my freshman year of college, I lived in a private apartment which was six blocks away from the edge of campus.  Along the route was a German bakery, Woerner's Pastry and Coffee Shop.  I passed it almost every day for three years but fear of mustard kept me away from the restaurant portion.  I would occasionally stop in to buy  a napoleon from the pastry case.  The napoleons sat amidst other pastries, cakes, and tortes.  The bakery seemed to have an endless supply of sachertorte and black forest cake.  I was immediately turned off by all the little seeds in the sachertorte filling, but the black forest cake was intriguing.  Unfortunately, I left Seattle before trying Woerner's black forest cake.

Being a perennial favorite of sweet tooth people like myself, some versions of black forest cake are very complicated to make.  Some boast over 3 layers of chocolate cake with a fancy creamy filling between each layer (Woerner's version was like this).  In local cookbooks, a shortcut version of black forest cake, sometimes called chocolate cherry cake, can be found in many volumes.  I've tested several versions and have tweaked the best one to make it my own.  The greatest variance between recipes came in the amount of eggs.  Some recipes call for as little as two eggs, while other specify "4 large eggs".  The cake seems to be the highest with four eggs.  One recipe said to "jigger in some rum".  My touch was to add a bit of amaretto di saronno, since cherries and almonds go well together.

And yes, Melissa, you are right. . .I do like a cold cake, so you can probably guess where I would suggest storing the cake.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 box (about 18 oz) Devil's food cake mix*
     4 eggs
     1 c vegetable oil
     1 tbsp amaretto di saronno
     1 can cherry pie filling
     1 c sugar
     6 tbsp butter
     1/3 c milk
     1 c chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate will work)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and amaretto.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add cherry pie filling.  mix until gel is incorporated into batter.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13" pan.  Bake 55 minutes.  Cool cake in pan on a rack for 25 minutes before starting on frosting.  Cook sugar, butter and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips.  Continue stirring until chocolate chips are melted.  Pour over cake.  

*If you are using a new cake mix with less than 18 oz (about 15 oz.), add 6 tbsp flour to cake mix before proceeding with recipe.

Monday, November 14, 2011

White Trash

Being home was nice.  It wasn't nice being sick, but being in the comfort of my home was nice.  I got to watch a lot of tv.  I noticed many commercials have that holiday feel to them already.  I guess its not too early to start thinking about Christmas, and I'm thinking of sharing some White Trash with my colleagues (the ones I like only).

Looking for something sweet and salty at the same time?  Look no further.  White Trash combines the silky sweetness of white chocolate with the saltiness of pretzels and cashews.  While there are a bunch of recipes out there, this is one of those recipes where you can add your own touch to it.  Vary the type of M & Ms and the nuts.  Macadamia nuts would be very decadent.  And with Christmas just around the corner, a chunk of this in a cellophane bag tied with a festive ribbon makes a nice gift for those worthy.

With the High Commander moving into the house next door, its certainly not too early to start thinking about office Christmas gifts.  Last year I handed out bags of mini pizzelle, homemade, of course.  In doing so, I took notice that several of my office mates are frugal, never treating anyone, never bringing in treats to share.  Shame.  The High Commander, is one of THE most generous people I know.  Last year, she took her entire team for lunch at Nihon Restaurant!  It was a lunch buffet and open non-alcoholic bar.  For Halloween she gave each member of the entire District staff a See's Candy Bar.  It bewilders me that some people can't see that the High Commander treats people well AND values that quality in others.  Others certainly haven't taken the time to internalize that quality themselves.  Amazing. . .how dense can people be???  Anyway, getting back to my post. . .

click on recipe title for printable recipe
White Trash

     2 10-oz. bags Snyder's Sourdough pretzels (short and fat)
     2  10 oz. bags M & Ms
     11-12 oz. salted cashews
     2 11 oz bags white chocolate chips
     1 tbsp oil

Combine pretzels, M & Ms, and cashews in a large bowl.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.  In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, heat white chocolate chips and oil on medium-high power for 2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave on high for 10 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over cereal mixture in bowl and mix well.  Spread onto prepared baking sheet.  Let cool until chocolate hardens.  Break apart and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Steamed Pork Hash

This dish is something that reminds me of when I was young.  I'd like to thank Nate and his blog, Hawaiian Pake in Okinawa, for taking me back on a nostalgic journey.  Since Mom worked full-time, dinners were generally quick, thrown-together things.  I remember going to the market with her after she picked me up from Aunty Elsie's house.  Together, we'd comb the aisles, hoping we'd find the answer to the question, "whats for dinner?".

One dish that she'd often when pressed for time was steamed pork hash.  She would get the steamer going, toss ground pork with a bunch of ingredients, usually whatever she had on hand (egg, chung choi, shiitake, water chestnuts, shoyu, etc.), pat the mixture into a bowl, and stick the bowl in the steamer.  In under an hour, a hot entree would be on the table.  The same ground pork mixture was sometimes stuffed in a hollowed out end of togan (winter melon) or mushroom caps.

Nate uses salted duck egg in his pork hash patty.  Mom never used that, but its probably because we never had any uncooked salted duck eggs around.  The first time I had pork hash with salted duck egg was at Helen's Chinese Restaurant in Kapahulu (dinner courtesy of an ex-boyfriend and his family).  I loved the yolk smeared on top.  Upon reading Nate's blog, I remembered seeing a recipe for pork hash patty using salted duck egg in one of my many cookbooks.  Gathering up a few recipes, I put together something to call my own, especially since I now know how to make salted eggs out of chicken eggs.

While this dish won't win any beauty contest, it will certainly warm hearts and tummies.  Mom, your steamed pork hash is still the best, but I think mine is pretty good too.  Thanks for the inspiration, Nate.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Steamed Pork Hash

     1 lb ground pork
     1/2 - 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
     2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
     4 tsp shoyu
     1 tbsp rice wine
     2 tsp sesame oil
     1 tsp sugar
     2 salted eggs (raw)
     1 tbsp slivered green onions
Separate eggs, setting yolks aside.  To egg whites, add pork, water chestnuts, cornstarch, shoyu, rice wine, sesame oil, and sugar.  Pat into heatproof bowl.  Cut each egg yolk into several pieces.  Place atop pork mixture.  Steam 40 minutes.  Remove carefully and sprinkle green onions on top.  Serve hot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthday Confetti on Salmon

In honor of someone's birthday, why not honor them with confetti . . . confetti on salmon! 

In the 90's, while I was living in Honolulu, the Honolulu Advertiser, sponsored a recipe contest.  Winning recipes were featured in the food section of the newspaper with a story about the person who submitted the entry.  Unlike other recipes which appear in newspapers, these recipes were submitted by "regular people" who were not employed in the food service industry.  In other words, "regular people" were capable of recreating these recipes.

Confetti Salmon/Salmon Confetti was one of those winning recipes.  It was around that same time that I remember Mom making an oven-baked salmon frosted with mayonnaise and onions.  Of course, Mom's version was the best, especially since I didn't eat tomatoes back then.  In a familiar vein, once I began eating tomatoes, gateways to many different dishes opened up for me.  This is what led me to give Confetti Salmon a try.

As its name implies, the topping is what gives this dish the appearance that multi-colored confetti was thrown over a slab of salmon.  Credit for this recipe goes to Steven Tsai, who was a writer (not food) with the paper.  Like me, he had also spent some time in the Pacific Northwest, making him an amateur salmon expert!  Thank you, Steve, for sharing this recipe!
Happy Birthday!
click on recipe title for printable recipe
Birthday Confetti Salmon

     1 1/2 - 2 lbs salmon fillet, bones removed
     1/4 c onion, diced fine
     1 tomato, diced
     1/4 lb mushrooms, diced
     4 tbsp bacon bits or 4 slices bacon, cooked and cut fine
     2 tbsp capers
     juice of 1/4 lemon
     salt and pepper to taste

Place salmon, skin-side down, in a shallow pan.  Spread a layer of mayonnaise over entire salmon.  Sprinkle mayonnaise with onion, tomato, mushrooms, bacon and capers.  Squeeze lemon juice over.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes.

I sure could've used a Goma Tei restaurant in Hilo this past week.  I stayed home from work on Thursday and Friday, spending most of my time in bed.  I spent Saturday in bed.  I tried to join the living yesterday, but never ventured outside of my property. . .after the small chaffeuring mishap on Friday when I bravely (and stupidly) attempted to take D1 to the Mooheau Park Bandstand for Black & White Night. . .the episode left me a bit fearful about driving while on meds.  If only Goma Tei were here. . .I know the tan tan noodle broth would've cured my ills in no time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Restaurant Chatter: Goma Tei

Just look at how thick and hearty the broth is.
I have been waiting a long time to post this.  Goma Tei has got to be my favorite noodle restaurant in the world.  Yes, I meant world.  Of course, I missed out on having ramen at the yatai in Fukuoka/Hakata because Mr. Dependable had seen the yatai workers washing dishes in the back.  That ended any chance I had of sampling what is known in Japan as good ramen.  Okay, so my world is a little narrow.

When I'm in Honolulu, I make every attempt to enjoy at least one meal at Goma Tei.  Goma Tei has 2 locations, Ward Center and Ala Moana.  I will eat at either location, as I can't tell the difference in the quality of the food.  They are both awesome.

There is never any doubt as to what I'll eat at Goma Tei:  tan tan ramen and gyoza.  The tan tan broth is sultry and robust.  The gyoza have just the right amount of garlic.  If there was some way I could bring tan tan noodles and gyoza home for moonyagi, I would do it!  I would also love it if Goma Tei were to open another shop on the Big Island.  If they came to Hilo, I'd eat there weekly!