kruizing with kikukat

Monday, March 26, 2012

Local Style: Warabi-Kamaboko Salad

Happy Kuhio Day!  I'm so grateful today is a holiday.  Last week, work was brutal.  Going back to work after a vacation is so difficult.  To make things worse, I had two days of training scheduled (I was the trainer).  I think the training really took the wind out of my sails.  I can only hope that this week will be better, but it already includes a drive to Naalehu for an all-day meeting.  From where I live, driving to Naalehu means leaving the house by 6:00 am, as I refuse to drive over the speed limit anywhere in the national park.  Thats how I'll get to spend my Friday.

The Ds spent this weekend with me.  The house is not any neater than it was before they returned from Honolulu, which leads me to believe I'm the messiest out of us all.  I was hoping the weather would start getting warmer, but it wasn't to be.  Saturday was totally gloomy, and my trip to the Farmer's Market became an essay in how to avoid puddles, extremely slow people, and extremely rude people.  I was behind a throng of people, and I saw this lady pushing her way through the crowd, rudely shoving her body in gaps, trying to get through.  I was horrified when I saw her face. . .it was a local (well, she was born in a foreign country) teacher.  It was THE same teacher whom I saw in Ross who made the cashier, after being rung up, put all her stuff on hold because neither she nor her partner (male) had the $8+ to pay for her purchases (looked like kiddie clothes).  This is the kinda stuff that drives me crazy.  This lady is a science teacher, so obviously she must know how to add.  Isn't it just common sense to know that if you don't have a credit card, you need to have enough cash to cover your purchases?  Ross (haven't been there in a while since its still Lent) has actual price tags on their items, so its not like you need to check out before you have an idea of how much your purchases will cost.  This is the same lady who told me she needed to wear sunglasses in class because of light sensitivity and then in the next breath said how she loves to hang out at the beach.  Hello!!!  No wonder kids get all kinda crazy messages.  The teachers are crazy. . .well, SOME teachers are crazy.

The farmers market trip yielded a pound of biew kew longan, a basket of Waimea strawberries, prickly Japanese cucumbers, and a bunch of warabi (also known here as ho`io. . .I may be missing an okina, or vegetable fern. . .it is NOT the fern that is known to be carcinogenic).  With this wet weather, I'm sure warabi must be thriving in the gulches.

Warabi is something you either love or hate.  I belong to the former.  I love seeing a pan of warabi salad when I go to parties.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen often so I usually get warabi from the Farmers Market.  I have also seen warabi for sale at KTA and RC tells me Marukai sells it on Oahu (at the price of gold).  Warabi can be prepared in a variety of ways, and my favorite way to eat it is in a salad.  Because its parboiled, it still retains some crunch without being woody. 

My favorite warabi salad recipe uses dried codfish, a flavor which I love.  Some recipes call for dried shrimp, but the flavor of fubuki tara is the best.  Unfortunately, it is not always available in stores, so I buy a big bag when I see it and store it in the fridge to use as needed.

Another ingredient this recipe calls for is shiofuki konbu.  Shiofuki konbu is dried seaweed strips that looks like its coated in white granules (salt).  Some people enjoy eating shiofuki konbu with tea rice.  Sesame oil and shiofuki konbu are complimentary ingredients, and a quick salad can be made by tossing sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, shiofuki konbu, and sesame oil.  Both fubuki tara and shiofuki konbu can be found in the asian foods section in most local markets.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Warabi-Kamaboko Salad

     1-2 lbs warabi
     1 tbsp white vinegar
     1 block kamaboko, cut in strips
     3 tbsp sesame oil
     1 pkg (1.5 oz) shiofuki konbu
     handful fubuki tara (shredded codfish), long pieces cut shorter
Wash warabi well.  Cut into 1 1/2" lengths, keeping tops separate from thick stem portions.  Boil water in a large pot.  When boiling vigorously, add vinegar.  Stir briefly.  Add stem portions and cook 3 minutes (do not let water boil), then add tops and cook an additional minute.  Drain.  Plunge into ice water until cold.  Drain well.  In a large bowl, combine warabi with all other ingredients.  Chill and serve.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Cinnamon Challenge: Snickerdoodle Edition

Before we get to my rundown of Spring Break and the Cinnamon Challenge, I'd like to wish my cousin Dustin a happy birthday.  I'm sure his favorite brother has a great gift waiting for him!

Speaking of challenges, getting through today will be a challenge.  This is the first day back at work after a week off for Spring Break.  Ughhhhh.  Spring Break was nice, albeit too short.  I didn't do much except pamper myself:  massage, haircut, facial, sleeping in.  I'm now on first-name basis with the people at Nicole's Salon in Keaau. They are a full service salon, and its super convenient since they are located in the same lot as J & J Diner, Verna's, McDonalds, and the Shell Station (yes, its all connected).  I can now get a bang trim AND pick up a plateful of lechon kawali on my lunch break.

I think my babies will also go through a period of adjustment.  With me being home most of the day, they got spoiled with spending most of the day in the main yard.  Unfortunately, I need to buy two more ti plants, as they've destroyed two of the three I planted a few weeks ago.

D2 & Minnie
The Ds had way more excitement than me.  They spent the better part of the week with Mr. Dependable, taking in the sights of the big city (Honolulu), shopping upscale (Ala Moana), hanging with family (BriBri), taking in the culture (Chinatown) and hanging with Mickey & Friends (Disney's Aulani Resort).  I'll post more pics if/when D1 sends me her files.  That would be a good idea since she needs to transfer her files to her new notebook, which should arrive tomorrow.  She made a wise decision:  choosing a new notebook over an internet shopping extravaganza.

D1 & Minnie
The next holiday for me to look forward to is Kuhio Day (one week from today).  But I may need to make my own holiday (personal leave rather than play hookie) because I was a very bad kat over break and made a huge purchase.  Me and my new toy will need serious ho'olauna (get acquainted) time.  And no, I did not buy THE new iPad!

Okay, lets get down to business.   A few months ago, D1 showed me a video from YouTube that sent me into a fit of laughter (to the point where I was crying).  I'm not the only one who saw the video in my home, but I was the only one in tears.  I'm not sure why or what triggers these fits of laughter, but this is the kind of laughing fit that you just cannot derail.  And its often over something that others do not find funny at all.  I'll let you decide for yourself.  Here is the video.  Be sure your speakers are on.

From what I could discover, the Cinnamon Challenge is a years-old dare game where one eats a tablespoon of cinnamon without drinking anything.  There are several other videos, but GloZell's is the only one which sends me into delirium.  And I really can't explain why because since I initially saw GloZell's video, I've watched several other YouTube uploads of others taking the cinnamon challenge, and none are very funny.

In the light of recent media stories about the dangers of the Cinnamon Challenge, I am not trying to encourage people to take the cinnamon challenge.  Me, personally, I am a little curious because based on the videos I've seen, the amount of cinnamon ingested varies greatly.   While I ponder on whether or not I would actually have enough craziness to take the Cinnamon Challenge, I'd like to share another version of the cinnamon challenge which was very real in the Kikukat house.....snickerdoodles!

 Everyone in the Kikukat house loves snickerdoodles.  Back in college, the UW food service system had a cookie we affectionately called "white cookie".  I'd take a cookie off the buffet line nearly everynight.  I just couldn't resist it.  It was, of course, a giant snickerdoodle.  Now, when the Ds want cookies, D1 will usually offer to make a batch of snickerdoodles.  D2 has the responsibility of rolling the dough balls in cinnamon-sugar.  In looking through my hundreds of cookbook, I noticed that the recipe D1 uses doesn't contain an ingredient found in many other recipes:  cream of tartar.  We decided to try making a batch of both versions to see which one we'd prefer.  That was our version of the Cinnamon Challenge.

This is the version I made.  D1s version doesn't contain baking soda and cream of tartar.  Hers uses baking powder.  Both D2 and I preferred my version, as the cookies were crispier.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter, softened
     1 1/3 c sugar
     2 eggs
     1 tsp vanilla
     3 c flour
     1 tsp baking soda
     1 tsp cream of tartar
     1/4 tsp salt
     2 tsp cinnamon
     3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease 4 cookie sheets.  In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/3 c sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.  In a small bowl, combine cinnamon with 3 tbsp sugar.  Roll dough into 1" balls (may also use a #50 disher) and then roll in cinnamon-sugar until completely coated.  Place on baking sheets (16 cookies will fit on a sheet) and bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for 1 minute before transferring cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oyster Sauce Burgers

Conversation of the week:
The Help, "Do you want to go to Ross?"
Kikukat, "No, I told you. . .I gave up Ross for Lent."
The Help, "You're not even Catholic!"

I may not be a regular at Christmas mass, but I am observing Lent beyond the reaches of the Catholic church.  I have decided to give up my weekly cruise through Ross, and so far, I've been managing okay.  It was an easier decision to give up Ross than to give up pork or cake or ideeli shopping.

This past week was a bummer altogether.  GP had a family emergency so he bailed, leaving me and Sensei to cover for him.  He couldn't have picked a shittier time to leave because the doodoo hit the fan from all angles while he was gone.  The phone rang constantly, and we even entertained office visitors for him.  I also came "this close" to yelling at someone (the same someone I yelled at last May and the ONLY someone I ever yelled at in my current job).  The one sliver of sunlight from my work week was checking out my friend NK's Mini Clubman.  Cool!  Maybe I can get one when I grow up, although I think I'd prefer the Countryman.

The commencement of my spring break was delayed because I inadvertently volunteered to attend a work-related function in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  This took 10+ hours(spread over two days) out of my Spring Break, but it was actually a breeze of fresh air after the nasty week I had.  I got to see my pal CR, which made the entire time worth it.  I miss her.

It was also nice that Sensei was there for the first leg(4 hours) so I had company for part of the drive and someone to bitch with while there.  In spite of being only on-time (and not early), Sensei and I arrived significantly before Uncle.  By the time Uncle arrived, everyone was seated.  Shame!  I had to brave it alone for the second leg, but it worked out okay because I got to spend time with CR.  I also got to walk through the Jaggar Museum.  The last time I was there was when I was in elementary school!

This week I'm sharing a recipe which has never let me down.  It makes the tastiest hamburger patty which can be served all kinds of different ways. . .with rice and a fried egg in a loco moco (scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to see an unflattering picture of a loco moco), or in a bun.  I normally make a single recipe, which will yield about 8 good-sized patties (for placing in a bun).

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Oyster Sauce Hamburger Patties

     1 lb ground beef
     2 slices bread, torn into bits
     1 egg
     2 tbsp chopped onion
     2 tbsp mayonnaise
     2 tbsp oyster sauce
     1 tbsp shoyu

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.  Form into patties and pan-fry.  Make gravy with drippings if necessary.

loco moco
I already told you this is an unflattering pic.

Testing the mobile feature

Kikukat may be taking a vacation soon...

Wanted to try using the mobile posting feature since it might be too costly to find a guest blogger.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Monday, March 5, 2012

Okazuya Food: Kimpira Gobo

Back in June of 2011, I blogged about spicy shredded potatoes.  In that post, I went on and on about a yummy gobo aroma in the vicinity of Komohana Street.  Its the same smell that the old Hilo Lunch Shop (when it was across the street from Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School) used to hit you with when you walked through the double screen doors.

This past weekend, The Rents went to Waimea to pick up a big box of daikon for pickles.  The vendor gave them a bunch of gobo, and I was lucky enough to get a big fat stalk.  After peeling the stick (I had to ask The Help for directions on peeling gobo, as I don't remember ever seeing it prepared; The Help remembered his gramma cooking gobo so was able to tell me what to do. . .he was actually supposed to do it for me!).  After a few minutes, I realized there was no way I was going to shred the darn thing by hand, so I got out the food processor and the julienne disc (the same one I used for spicy shredded potatoes) and shredded the gobo in minutes.  And just like the potatoes, a salad spinner makes quick work of drying the gobo shreds.

If you don't own a salad spinner, I have some free advice to give out.  Buy one which doesn't have a cord.  The cord eventually gets frayed and guji-gaji.  Once that cord breaks, the spinner will need replacing anyway.  The model I like is the OXO brand.  There is no cord to break, and its easy to clean.  I had a large one and a smaller one, but I gave the larger one to The Rents (now THEY can store it).

The cooking part went by quickly too, and we were able to eat kimpira gobo with our leftover kun pao fried tofu, salty fish fried rice, and spicy bbq pork. . .lotsa heat on a single plate!

Speaking of heat, early last week, the union members in Zone school voted to ratify the extended learning time memorandum of agreement which will give teachers at Zone schools a 17% increase in salary and a 19% increase in work time.  Who the fuck taught these teachers math is beyond me?!?  A stinking 17% in pay is not worth my 19% less freedom time.  Teachers say they put in the extra time anyway so they might as well get paid for it.  Yes, teachers work hard, but right now, they are choosing what they do when they put in that extra time.  When $ compensation is given for that extra time, they will not get to choose what they do in that extra time; orders will be dictated.  I wonder if they actually thought they could choose what they do during that extra time.  They must be smoking something.  Just saying.  But for the High Commander, I would've put in the time on my own, without any compensation.  Again, just saying.

I have four days left until I begin my spring break.  Please pray for me that I will be able to control the hot lava spewing from my mouth these days. But I need to go see someone at _____ High & Intermediate tomorrow, so there is a good chance I will not be able to contain myself!

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Kimpira Gobo

     1 lb gobo, shredded or cut into matchsticks
     3 c water
     1 tbsp vinegar
     1 tsp salt
     1 tbsp (or more) dried shrimp
     3 tbsp shoyu
     3 tbsp sugar
     3 tbsp sake
     1 chili pepper, seeds removed

Combine water, vinegar, and salt.  As soon as gobo is shredded or cut, place in water mixture.  Drain.  Heat oil in a skillet.  Add dried shrimp and saute a few minutes.  Add gobo and remaining ingredients.  Stir-fry until all liquid is absorbed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Girls Day

Not making chichi dango for Girls Day.  Too many other things to take my time.  See you on Monday!

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