kruizing with kikukat

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Memories: Cranberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I hastily posted a slideshow on Thursday with pics from the Thanksgiving luncheon at Aunty Janice's house in Paradise Park.  I posted a pic of a cake, for which I neglected to include the recipe.  It is one of the easiest and tastiest cakes out there, and I've been making it since 1990 (made it for an ex-boyfriend's family first. . .guinea pigs!).  Ex-boyfriend and his family are long-gone (good riddance), but the cake has stood the test of time.  Click for printable recipe.
Click to play this Smilebox recipe
Now comes the part where I sigh. . .the 2012 elections are finally over, but there are still signs (both winners and losers) all over town.  This year, one particular lot on the main highway never ceased to amuse me with signs, most notably about the mayoral and prosecuting attorney races.

The prosecuting attorney race was a really tight race between Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth.  Both have numerous years in the prosecutors office, but the owner of this piece of property had a clear favorite.  I was initially amused by the sight of the used (this is an assumption) toilet bowl beneath the large "Lincoln 4 Lincoln" sign, but only after I uploaded the pics onto my computer did I see the "me" "me" "me" all over the sign!

There was another sign saying "Lincoln walk on people", but I didn't get a pic of it.  The "artist" seemed to enjoy using "walk" in the signs, as another sign spoke of Roth "walk da walk".

I waited until the elections were over before posting this because I didn't want to be accused by either camp of spreading propaganda.  Hilo is a small town, and people who are close to me know/like both Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth.

Every Sunday, on my way to the rubbish dump, I would check if any new signs had been posted.

Sometime after the Lincoln/Roth signs were posted, pro-Harry Kim (former mayor) signs appeared, along with a "Dump Billy" (Billy Kenoi, current mayor) sign.  I don't know of anyone in Hilo who could not have noticed those signs!

The signs were just hilarious.  In addition to the use of creative spelling, the media of the signs ran the gamut from wood to ceramics to metal (plywood, toilet, and lampshade, to name a few things).  I think my sculpture professor, Charles Smith, would have been proud of the artist.

On November 6, Mitch Roth prevailed over Lincoln Ashida by a very narrow margin, and Billy Kenoi won re-election after a close victory over Harry Kim.  In general, Hilo politicians do not advertise on television, and there was very little mud-slinging, if any, from them.  This was a good thing, because my television time was spent being entertained by the Mazie Hirono, Linda Lingle, Ben Cayetano, and Kirk Caldwell mud-slinging ads.  Too funny!

Anyway, with elections and Thanksgiving behind me, I'm looking forward to the next holiday.  15 more work days until Winter Break!!!  I know Uncle will be gone for at least 2 out of those 15 days, so I'm going to decide if I'll need to pull the sick leave card to make the time go by even faster.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Dinner Rolls

An ex-boyfriend told me that the best thing about a 3-day weekend is a 4-day work week.  That was probably the most profound thing he said.  Too bad that wisdom didn't help him be less of a two-timing prick.

But even I need to acknowledge that he is right.  That's exactly what made this past week bearable. . .it was over before too long.  I parked myself in front of the computer for a few days, trying to develop a training presentation.  In the middle of my work, a bitch troll (borrowing Anna's words) called to ask me if she really needed to attend because she didn't want to waste her time.  She has a lot of nerve. . .but not as many as the wrinkles on her face!  Of course she should attend!  We will be going over updates to the system which will "go live" within the next month.  Just the word updates indicates there are new things coming down. 

I hope this week will go by quickly too.  My tolerance level was fairly high most of last week, so I let people slide with their stupid comments.  The good will and jolly nature ended abruptly when I went to the doctor to get the results of my blood test.  My cholesterol went up from the last blood test, and I've been asked to stay away from fatty foods.  This really bums me out because last week's post had me totally jonesing for a hunk of prime beef.

I'm a little apprehensive about cooking a roast now because I know in a few days, I'll be pigging out on turkey.  Thanksgiving seems to be early this year.  Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'd like to wish Odie a happy birthday!!!  I hope you'll have a great day.

We are headed to Aunty Janice's for Thanksgiving.  I told her I'd bring mashed potatoes, which I plan to load with butter and cream.  I'm also thinking of bringing these rolls.  It might be a good distraction from the cholesterol-laden mashed potatoes.

I have made these rolls several times, and each time I serve them, they are a big hit with the kids.  They are easy to eat, and they are tasty enough to eat without additional butter.  The recipe suggests using the dough to make cinnamon rolls, but I have yet to try that. 

One thing I'm happy about is having the Ds all to myself this Thanksgiving.  I normally share them with Mr. Dependable on this day.  This isn't as bad as it sounds because my family traditionally does a lunch thing, while his family gathers for dinner.  This year we'll be able to enjoy a leisurely lunch at Aunty Janice's instead of having to rush home to do the hand off.  The Ds drive me crazy, but I really do miss them when they leave for the weekend.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Aunty Janice will make oyster dressing.  After spending half her life on the east coast, Aunty Janice moved back to the Big Island with Uncle Dave.  They bought a home which was built on a lava bluff in Hawaiian Paradise Park.  Aunty Janice tends to cook foods which reflect the food traditions of the east/south. . .oyster dressing, soft shell crab, etc.  I'm salivating now in hopes I will see the pan of oyster dressing on the table.

This being a long weekend and all, I hope to wrap Christmas gifts.  I was toying with the idea of getting a Christmas tree this weekend (I know that a shipment is in somewhere because I saw a tree masted to the roof of a small car in Pahoa on Friday), but it seems a bit early to have it up.  Its upsetting to see gifts under a brown tree at Christmas, and at my age, I hardly get any gifts so the situation is even more distasteful.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank You, Charley: Prime Rib Roast

Its Veterans Day!  Thank you to the brave men and women who fought (and continue to fight) for freedom.  It is because of their efforts that I am able to live the way I do.  I'm also grateful that their honor and bravery have given us a holiday to day.  Yay!!!

Since we are knocking on the door of the holiday season, I thought I'd give you something to think about.  Towards the end of last week's post, I mentioned being undecided about what to do for our Thanksgiving meal this year.  And this year will actually be special because I get the Ds all to myself while Mr. Dependable is away on another trip.  No more having to ush them to dinner at the ex-out-laws.  Anyway, another option to buying a pre-made meal from the market would be to find a nice buffet in town and have dinner there (I suppose I'll include The Rents).

I don't know if the Ds are big on turkey either.  I know D1 is a real carnivore and loves prime rib.  This got me thinking that yet another option would be to forgo turkey altogether and just go for the beef.  I make a pretty wicked prime rib roast!

I need to admit that the roast and recipe you see here is NOT the roast I grew up on.  It is a roast that I was introduced to as an adult, after I got married.  Mr. Dependable and his family are yacht club members, and one of the foods the yacht club is known for is prime rib.  Yacht club prime rib is still made the way Charley did it back in the 1900's (2nd half, but still 1900's).  Charley was the cook at the yacht club back in the days when the yacht club had 3 dinner entrees:  prime rib, prawns, and lobster.

Ex-MIL had somehow gotten hold of Charley's secret and would make this roast for special family gatherings.  I never ate much of the roast when she made it because it was never cooked enough for my taste; it was cooked to HER family's liking, but I was, obviously, not family.  And really, I figured stuff she'd give me was poisoned anyway. . .like when she tried to kill me with her devil's condiment-laden "ham gravy".  That fucking thing was full of mustard!

One of the first cookbooks I purchased when I returned to Hilo was a fundraising cookbook for one of the local elementary schools, Ha`aheo School.  In the cookbook was a recipe for Prime Rib Roast submitted by Lorraine Murakami Ishimaru, a Ha`aheo alumnus.  The recipe appeared very similar to the way ex-MIL made her roast.  When I made the recipe one night, Mr. Dependable couldn't believe I had asked the wicked witch for her recipe.  I told him I did no such thing and explained I had found the recipe in a cookbook.  Hah!

A few years later, I had the opportunity of working summer school.  The summer school principal was Carole Ishimaru, Lorraine's daughter.  When I mentioned the roast to Carole, she promptly explained that her mom and Charley were good friends, and the recipe in the cookbook was the same recipe Charley had used to prepare the roasts at the yacht club!

History lesson pau!  Lets go on to the roast itself.  You will want to buy the best roast you can find.  My favorite is a rib roast, but in trying to placate The Rents, I have prepared a New York roast in the same manner, trying with great restraint not to express my disdain the entire time.  Why eat a New York roast when you can have a rib roast for the same price.  Thats stupid.

The best way to season the roast is to do 1 plane at a time.  I see a rib roast as having 5 panels:  2 ends, a fatty side, the underside (opposite the fatty side), and the small side.  Of course, I am not a butcher so this is my vocabulary.  So season 1 plane with garlic, brown, sugar, salt, and pepper (in that order), and then move on to another plane/panel.  The brown sugar will help the salt and pepper adhere to the meat.  Be generous with the seasonings, including the brown sugar.  Place the seasoned roast on a rack, and roast for the given time.

I will need to ponder this a while longer.  While I like turkey and trimmings, just looking at these pictures of the last roast I made is making my mouth water.  I really need to make my way to the west side. . .for BOTH Costco (the only place I know of on this island to get Prime meat) and Sansei (refer to last week's post).

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Prime Rib Roast

     rib roast (allow 1 lb of meat per person)
     brown sugar
     minced garlic
     rock salt
Rub brown sugar and garlic on all parts of roast.  Rub rock salt and pepper all over.  Place, uncovered, fat-side-up, in a roasting pan.  Bake at 325 degrees to desired doneness.  Let stand 15 minutes to firm meat before carving.

For rare, 30-32 minutes per pound.
For medium, 34-37 miutes per pound.
For well done, 39-42 minutes per pound.
A New York roast will cook in about half the time due to the shape.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Restaurant Chatter: Sansei

calamari salad
Its been a long time since I did a Restaurant Chatter post, so I thought it would be a good time to stick one in.  Sansei is definitely one of my favorite restaurants, and the Ds also enjoy going there.  My first Sansei meal was nearly a decade ago.  UMiles, AKathy, Dus & I had dinner at the Sansei in Restaurant Row (Honolulu).  I remember the mango crab salad roll being unbelievably tasty, and I can proudly say that I have never failed to order it at each subsequent visit.

asparagus tempura
Sansei has multiple restaurants on several islands, but of course, the one I frequent most is Sansei Waikoloa since I don't need to hop on a plane to get to it.  The first time I went to Sansei Waikoloa, The Help and I decided to order the set tasting menu.  It was a good deal, but after a while, I got tired of the sweet chili flavor, as more than 2 dishes had sweet chili sauce. . .including the mango crab salad roll.  Since that time, we've stayed away from the tasting menu and ordered specific plates.

grilled shiitake mushrooms in ponzu
After a brutal week, driving out to the west side for a day of shopping and ending with a leisurely dinner at Sansei is a real treat.  I sure could have used the treat this weekend.  Work this past week began with two days of training.  I guess that doesn't sound bad, but I was one of the trainers.  It was the same training repeated 2 days in a row to a group of administrators.  I must say that the majority of administrators in my area (school level) are competent and know their stuff.  But all it takes is one idiot to make the whole group look bad.

shrimp tempura
must have the ikura sushi
And one of them was a major pain in the ass.  She asked questions, and everytime the answer was given, her response was either, "well, yes, I know that, but. . ." or "yes, but. . .".  Well, why fucking ask if you supposedly know the answer???  If we did not adequately answer your question, it might be because your questions demonstrated a pervasive lack of vocabulary and content mastery.  Trying to cover up your shortcomings by asking a lot of questions did not fool anyone.  You are not impressing other administrators, and you are certainly not impressing the High Commander. 

Because Halloween fell in the middle of the week, I was busy doing the treats thing.  D1 made mini layered rainbow cupcakes, and my job was to frost them.  I also ended up doing a lot of the cake mix portion too.  D2 made it easy for me.  She wanted to pass out bags of candy to her classmates.  The only stipulation was there needed to be a dumdum pop in the bag.  I went to 3 stores before I found the dumdums!  The Ds went to a party with Mr. Dependable, and I went out to dinner.  I was rather surprised to see children at the restaurant.  I would've thought they'd be out trick-or-treating.

an older pic, but it reminds me of fun times
The secretary at work was encouraging everyone to dress up, but I didn't.  I have no costume, and since I had a parent conference scheduled for the afternoon, it affirmed my decision to wear my everyday spooky face.  D1 went as Minnie Mouse and D2 went as a Spanish dancer.  I really wanted D2 to buy the ostrich rider costume, but she nixed that idea.

ahi carpaccio
mango crab salad roll
In spite of all the candy nibbling, I decided to do my blood test on the morning after Halloween.  If it comes back bad, then at least I know how I can improve it.  I celebrated the blood test being over by indulging in a plate of tinoni (crispy fried pork belly with onions and tomato in a vinegar sauce).  I have to go see Dr. KO next week, so I plan to indulge myself until the hammer drops then.  When I went to the Keaau Village Market to buy my tinoni plate, I noticed a new filipino stall opened up.  I will need to try the adobo from Uncle Ben's the next time I go.

rainbow roll
caramel apple tart
I was really hoping to get to Sansei Waikoloa this past weekend, but it certainly didn't happen.  There was too much to do at home.  We spent Saturday cleaning "problem areas" of the house (actually, the whole house is a problem).  I also waited over an hour in the parking lot by Lalakea while D1 met her friends at the beach.  I was planning to drop her off, but after having to take the Keaukaha detour, I decided I could just hang.  It wasn't an especially hot day either, so waiting in the car with the windows down was not a problem at all.  I spent my time looking at one of my cookbooks.  The Help was romanced by a KFC commercial he saw while watching football, so we had a whole barrel of extra crispy chicken tenders to eat.  NO Sansei!!!

I don't think I'll even get to go next weekend, so I'm not sure when the next window of opportunity will happen, but I'd love to post more pics of other favorites.  I love the shrimp dynamite, Alaskan flower sushi, and crispy shrimp cake.  Next time.  Sigh.

I am soooo looking forward to all the holidays this month.  I haven't been asked to host a Thanksgiving party yet, and I'm hoping I escape.  Last year, I was under the weather, and The Help ordered one of those packaged Thanksgiving dinners from Sack N Save, which was delicious.  I'm trying to decide if we should go with a packaged dinner again this year.  I was told Safeway has a good meal (a little pricier than Sack N Save), and they were sold out when The Help tried to place an order last year.

Before I end my post for this week, I'd like to thank God for keeping my pals Maggie (New York) and Joe (Virginia) safe this past week when superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast.  I'd also like to give thanks for sparing Hawaii from a devastating tsunami.  In spite of all my bitching and rants, I do have a lot for which to be thankful.