kruizing with kikukat

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fergalicious: Black Eyed Peas & Ham Hocks

This past week has definitely been a trying week.  Being out sick one day and having to attend to several evening activities didn't help at all.  Yes, I'm still not feeling 100%, but I really couldn't afford to check out because there were so many things scheduled.

On Wednesday evening I attended D1's open house.  It was followed by an athletics meeting that didn't end until 8 pm.  On Thursday, D1 and I attended Keaau Elementary's open house, where the Key Club was supposed to do a service project.  But D1 was the only Key Club member who showed.  When she phoned the advisor, the advisor was very nonchalant about those who signed up but didn't show.  The advisor has been working in the system for over 40 years.  I'm sure she's seen worse.

D2 did a good job pissing me off.  After nearly 4 weeks of school, I found out D2 hasn't been consistently doing her homework in spite of telling me she has.  I hit the roof when I found out, but get this...when I told her teacher I yelled at her, he told me to "go easy on her".  Well, frick, isn't that how this mess started???  I took away iPad, but now I need to look at my next intervention.  My head is still spinning.

Once again, time to prep meals for the week has been minimal.  I had to bring out the slow cooker and make a big pot of black eyed peas and ham hocks.  It was a good thing because its one of those dishes that tastes better with each day.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb dried black eyed peas
     3 c water
     2 smoked ham hocks
Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours.  Remove meat from ham hocks and combine with beans.  You could also cook everything in a dutch oven on the stove.  If so, bring to a boil, skim scum, and simmer for 2 hours before separating meat from ham hocks.

The Help took a whole bunch of pics at the pre-season football game last weekend, and I wanted to share a pic of my favorite cheerleader:

Monday, August 20, 2012


This weekend was a three-day weekend, and I made good on my promise to take D2 to the sunny side of the island for her birthday celebration.  What made it extra special for her was that she got to bring a friend (KN), stay at her preferred hotel (HWV), and eat at one of her favorite restaurants (Sansei).

On the way to Waikoloa, we made at stop in Waimea to see D1 in her 1st cheering game of the season and watch the Viks win their first varsity football game in two years.  Their 21-18 win over favored Hawaii Preparatory Academy (coached by former UW Husky & NFL center Bern Brostek) was totally sweet.  I hope this football season will be a better than last year.  Gawd.

This would all have been fun, except that midweek (last week) I caught a cold and have been plagued by a scratchy throat and coughs for days.  Add to that a stuffy nose and uncontrollable sneezing and you'll understand why it was difficult to reap all the benefits of a suite at a 4-star hotel.  Then Help was very generous this weekend, and D2 thanked him for making this an unforgettable birthday.  I am grateful we survived the weekend intact, and I am even more grateful that The Help was able to retrieve his tripod plate after it fell onto the ground floor from the balcony.  Yes, I saw it happen in slow motion.

Because I've been under the weather recently, cooking here has slowed.  We picked up food a lot this past week (yes, like last week, but who is keeping track).  One place we went to again was Hilo Rice Noodle (HRN).  Its conveniently located for us...on the Waiakea side of town, and they have li hing soda, which is something I can count on to make me feel better when I am under the weather.  The other thing they have, which I have a hard time not ordering, is spring rolls.  Most people rave about their summer rolls (unfried), but for me, it is the spring rolls (yes, fried) that get me every time.  Spring rolls at HRN are thin and long like a Double Corona and crackle when you bite into the shell.

The spring rolls I make at home are nothing like the ones from HRN.  Mine are wider and not nearly as long and elegant looking.  Even the filling is different.  As I recall, Kilauea Market sells spring roll skins in all shapes and sizes, so maybe I need to buy a different kind of wrapper when I attempt to duplicate the spring rolls at HRN.  Of course, I'll post my culinary adventures here, but for now, I can only boast some proficiency in making lumpia, the Filipino cousin of spring rolls.

Like spring rolls, lumpia can be made with all kinds of fillings.  My ex-bf's family made lumpia with a pork and potato filling and served it alongside a vinegar-shoyu dipping sauce.  My friend's boyfriend (BS) makes lumpia the way I do with a pork and vegetable filling.  Of course, not sure how authentic this is because, unlike my ex-bf, neither of us is Filipino.  BS serves his lumpia with bottled sweet chili sauce.  I prefer mine with sweet and sour sauce, homemade, of course.

stir-fry filling
place filling on wrapper
fold wrapper over filling
roll up tight
pan fry lumpia

remove lumpia when golden brown
serve with sweet and sour sauce
 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb ground pork
     2 cloves garlic, minced
     2 pkgs chop suey vegetables
     1 1/2 tsp salt
     1/4 tsp pepper
     1 tbsp fish sauce
     2 tsp flour
     1/4 c water
     1 pkg Menlo lumpia wrappers (in freezer section), completely defrosted or whichever brand 
          wrapper you prefer to use (TYJ is good too)
     oil for frying
Brown pork and garlic.  Add vegetables, salt, pepper, and fish sauce.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Drain and cool thoroughly.  Combine flour and water to form a thin paste.  Place 2 tbsp filling on a wrapper.  Fold bottom corner up, followed by left side and right side.  Spread paste on remaining corner before folding down.  Heat oil to 375 degrees.  Fry until golden brown.  Makes 30-40, depending upon amount of filling used.  Serve with sweet-sour sauce.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carry Along Shrimp

I'm still trying to get used to the longer work day.  Cannot say I've mastered it, but I'm doing okay for the moment.  Last week was a totally busy week for trainings, but we started it off with a meeting that ended with my coworker chewing out the bosses.  As I left, she asked me to close the door.  Later, she told me that during her chewing out process, one of the bosses apologized to her because she was made to feel unsafe.

The irony is that I was the actual victim of the scenario my coworker referenced!  I was the one who looked like an ass in front of the entire office staff at the opening-of-the-year staff meeting.  It was apparent that three other coworkers were given a different set of directions from what I was given.  This resulted in me standing up and talking for 2 minutes about the wonderful experience I had at the Culture Matters day and the 3 of them taking close to 30 minutes to do an interactive (and with powerpoint slides), multi-sensory presentation.  Uhhhh am I the only one who thinks I got screwed?

Anyway, I've added this to my anecdotal records of all the times I have been slighted  . . . the multiple times I have been mistreated/chastised/chastised publicly due to another coworker's screw ups.  I may be making a call to the Office of Civil Rights.  I called them two years ago about the same boss, and they gave me advice, which included continuing to compile anecdotal records.  Most of all they empowered me to believe that I don't need to take it.  I have been hesitant to report the boss because I don't want this to reflect poorly on the High Commander.  If anyone reading this happens to be a labor attorney (like crazy uncle George who worked for the National Labor Relations Board in the Seattle office) or a civil rights attorney, free advice is welcome.

Ironically, my cousin works in the complaints section of the Department of Education's Office of Human Resources, so I suppose if things get really bad, I could go to her.  But I don't want her coworkers to think I'm getting special treatment as her cousin. . .and really, with her voice, I don't think even my cats would take her seriously!

Last week,  The Help commented that my post about Kilauea Lodge lacked the zest, zeal, and colorful bitching which are normally rampant in my blog.  I think he was proud that I was exercising my inner censor.  Believe it or not, I intended to tone things down a bit since I have way more blog traffic now.  But this latest boss episode was just too much.  I'm just so disappointed in the boss. Again, the High Commander set the bar high, but not everyone can be the same.  Auwe!

Other than the trainings and me being shortchanged an apology, I had an okay week.  I didn't cook (thank you, leftovers, Hilo Lunch Shop, Restaurant Osaka, KTA, McDonald's, Hilo Rice Noodle, Tamari, The Rents), I worked on my online class, and at the urging of Kevo, JoFer & Weezee, I began reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I'm almost done, and I fully intend to buy the next 2 books in the trilogy.  Then Imma gonna look for Christian.

About my leftovers. . .a few weeks ago, Longs had large size (16/20) shrimp on sale.  A 4-pound box was under $25!  It was too good a deal to pass up, so I bought a box...I would've bought more than just 1 box if I had the room in my freezer.

D1 likes scampi (something about the butter and garlic being addictive), but I prefer grilled shrimp.  I usually rotate my repertoire for grilled shrimp. . .I have 3 recipes which I rely on.  They are:  Carry Along Shrimp, Mimi's Shrimp (recipe from a local cookbook) and the other needs no recipe (Italian dressing marinade).  Carry Along Shrimp is actually the favorite grilled shrimp recipe of The Help and The Rents.  My favorite is Mimi's.  Sorry.

I'm guessing this recipe got its name from the fact that you can throw the shrimp and the marinade into a ziploc bag and "carry" it "along" with you to a picnic.  Whatevers.  What I do know is that this works best when the shrimp are large (no smaller than 21/25).  Its a small pain to get the shells off, but its definitely worth it.  While this goes well with rice, I like it as an accompaniment to a tossed salad. 

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Carry Along Shrimp

     1/4 c mayonnaise
     1 1/2 tsp sugar
     3/4 tsp oyster sauce
     1 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
     1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
     3/4 tsp lemon juice
     1/2 - 3/4 lbs shrimp (size 21/25 or larger)

Remove legs from shrimp.  Butterfly the shrimp through the back without cutting completely through body.  Combine all other ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.  Combine shrimp and sauce, making sure sauce covers all parts of shrimp, even cut in the back.  Soak for 1 hour.  Grill.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Restaurant Chatter: Kilauea Lodge

Nestled in cozy Volcano Village, Kilauea Lodge is the reigning monarch of Volcano-area eateries.  I have eaten breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner at Kilauea Lodge, and I can say with confidence that my favorite meal there is brunch.

I do have specific gripes about the food at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  First of all, the fruit served with breakfast comes with papaya, something I detest (maybe 3rd on my list of hated foods).  The meal I had for lunch was a French Dip sandwich (pic is further down on page) which had jalapenos in it.  It was an odd taste combination. I haven't had dinner at Kilauea Lodge for a long time, but the last time I did, maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I remember the menu having a heavy German lean.  I have nothing against Germans/Germany, but their favorite condiment happens to be my MOST detested food of all time, and I'm certain I saw THE WORD in several places on their dinner menu.  Bleccchhhhh.

The dining room is spacious with high ceilings and a charming stone fireplace.

I like the way the dining room appears during the day.  There is a very airy, expansive feel to the place.  At night, the dining room is transformed into a dark, cozy room with a true "mountain lodge" type feeling.

The fireplace is embedded with old and foreign coins as well as plaques from different organizations.  Every time I go, I'm tempted to linger in front of the fireplace to read everything that is there, but I know it would take too long and other diners would likely not appreciate me doing so. 

The entire dining room is also an essay in local hardwoods, namely mango and koa. 

A small gift shop selling all kinds of Volcano-area products is tucked away in the corner of the dining room.   I was tempted to buy 2 things:  a glass ornament and a vase by local artisans Michael and Misato Mortara.  They operate 2400 Fahrenheit, a glass studio on the edge of the national park area.

Here are some food pics, along with the eaters' reviews:

crab cakes benedict - the crab cakes had a strange spice taste, but the home fries rocked
buffalo burger - lean and tasty
lava tube omelet - very good, likely to order again
apple/pear bread - this comes free with the meal. . .good thing because its not very good
teriyaki chicken and rice - epic fail, however, the chicken is a nice breast piece
club sandwich - yum
french dip - good, except the jalapenos seemed out of place
happy diners

the grounds are well maintained

Last week, I posted a recipe for Chicken Potstickers, and I mentioned a spicy dipping sauce which I like to have with the potstickers.  If I'm bringing the potstickers to a party, I usually double the sauce recipe.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Dumpling (Potsticker) Sauce

     1 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
     1 clove garlic, chopped fine
     3 tbsp shoyu (or Chinese light shoyu)
     1 tbsp red wine vinegar
     1 tsp sugar
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 tsp hot pepper oil

Combine all ingredients.  Serve with dumplings or potstickers.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

The Help returned safely from his trip to the Bay Area.  He brought back lots of goodies for me and the Ds, along with a shitload of pics.

This was a killer week...the first of the 4-days til 4:00 and 1-day til 3:00 weeks.  I don't know if I can last the year.  Actually the time wasn't too bad, but this, being the 1st week of school, was chaos in some schools.  I dealt with idiocy all week, both at the teacher and admin levels.  I deserve combat pay.  Its not my fault admins sign teachers up for trainings and then accuse you of not informing them (the admin) about the training.  Its not my fault that teachers lack relationship-maintaining skills.  Its not my fault some people have no balls.  Lotsa emotions running high.  Patience running low.

The Oregonians (the people, not the newspaper)
And as to be expected, the High Commander was totally gracious as drones adjusted to the new everything (school year, schedules, students, personnel, etc.).  In fact, the week with Uncle was great too.  Maybe things might actually work out with Uncle.  I think people are on a high because the kids did well on last year's high stakes testing.  I ended the week at a workshop at Imiloa where I got to see my two favorite Oregonians.  We didn't have much time to chat, but I'm sure they will be around for a while.

I (and all my fellow 10-month teachers in the Zone) received a double paycheck on Friday.  I hope they did what I did...went to the bank and put that entire paycheck into savings.  What the stinking brass forgot to mention to the workforce was that come 8/2013 or 2014, whenever the PD days end and the Zone shifts back to the "normal" 24-paycheck cycle, teachers in Zone schools will miss a paycheck.  I tried to caution my representative to the articulation team about this, but I guess nobody took me seriously.  I'm not accusing the state of stealing my $...I'm merely cautioning my constituents that they extra paycheck was not really "extra".  And if anyone has questions on how the Zone teachers managed to get that extra paycheck, leave a comment so I can explain.  I got the info straight from some dude named Edwin in the state $ office.

On the home front, we are adjusting well to The Help being back, and we've been going through tons of pics of northern Cali.  The Help took about 400 pics, so he has been busy editing, tagging & uploading them.  Here is one of my favorite pics from his trip:

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, hoping this week will be as good as last week.