kruizing with kikukat

Monday, June 3, 2013

Look out, Spud! Homemade Fish & Chips first official post of summer!  Yeah!  On paper, I have 2 whole months of vacation (we report on either July 30 or 31).  I am totally exhausted and drained from work, and I will definitely need every minute of those 2 months to recover.

Last week was probably one of the most intense weeks of work this year, and it was only 3 days long.  For the first 2 days, teachers from schools in the complex area got together and worked on content-specific common core pacing guides.  At least that was the way it was supposed to work.  Immediately after we got into our groups, one of the teachers made a formal request that she be permitted to work ONLY with teachers at her school.  What a joke because the other school actually had their shit together!

The Edison consultants, who were likely paid a ton of money to assist in the process, were likely paid a ton of money to sit on their asses in a corner of the classroom while everyone else (yes, even the grumblers) worked their tails off.  I know this was the case in at least 3 classes I peeked in on.  I must say that in the end, the teachers came through and produced what was expected of them.  One of my coworkers said his session refused to put anything on the flash drive to give to the High Commander.

The common core draining went on for 2 days, and it was followed by a day of culture-based education, lunch, and a grueling reflection session with the High Commander.  The culture portion of the day was held at the school of the "haves" (versus the "have-nots", a.k.a. the DOE), Kamehameha Schools Keaau Campus.  Teachers were warned repeatedly about our status as invited guests and we were not to take any food or drink into Lunalilo Hale.  Teachers are dang good at following directions.  Unfortunately, two administrator-level people (one school and one district), were seen eating and drinking within Lunalilo Hale.  Both were spoken to by teachers, and both shook off the admonitions.  The High Commander's deputy saw at least one of them violating the rules and did nothing.   

Well right now, all that is behind me.  At 3:00 pm on Thursday, I walked out of the office.  Of course, some people were blocking the exit, but I just pushed past them and didn't look back.  I am gone. . .not just for the summer. . .I am gone.  I managed to secure a transfer during the Teacher Assignment and Transfer Period (TATP) 2.  I'm looking forward to the new adventure.

And speaking of adventure. . .my cousin Kent and his awesome wife Julie go fishing in Alaska every year.  Usually, they give me salmon (remember the gorgeous salmon in the batayaki post), but this time, there was a package of rock cod in the mix. I knew immediately what I would be making with cod. . .fish and chips.

Before I get into the recipe, I need to share how I became a fish and chips aficionado.  Sometime in the 80s, I went to Seattle to attend orientation at U-Dub.  One of the places Uncle George took me to was Spud Fish & Chips on Alki Beach (West Seattle).  This was the first time I had eaten fish & chips which weren't on a school lunch tray and the fish wasn't in "stick" form.  I watched with fascination as Aunty Char squirted malt vinegar all over her fish.  From that moment on, all fish & chips I consume are judged against Spud.  While Island Fish & Chips (Waikoloa Kings Shops) does a good job, the fish is not the same as Spud.  I do love the cole slaw from Island Fish & Chips.  Ivar's and Long John Silver don't even come close to Spud.

Without even leaving my home (Kent and Julie can do that for me), I can make superb fish & chips.  The key, in addition to the best cod you can find, is the batter.  The batter needs to be crisp and remain crisp as the fish and fries are cooked.  I hate soggy, oil-laden batter!  The batter recipe was given to me by Kikukat Mom.  I believe she got it from the wife of one of Kikukat Dad's golf buddies.  I have used the batter to coat all sorts of things:  shrimp, soft shell crab, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet potato, pickles. 

Fish is only part of the story, so for the best fries, use Anthony Bourdain's method.  The fries were made according to his New York Restaurant, Les Halles.  The fries/frites recipe can be found in multiple places on the internet.  I cannot stress enough that you MUST do the 2-step frying process.

For most of my life, tartar sauce was right there next to the vile condiment on my list of detested foods.  I think its because many permutations of tartar sauce contain the Devil's sauce.  Blecchhhh.  The tartar sauce in the pic, and one of the two versions I eat, is made by The Help.  He uses mayo (Best Foods, of course), sweet relish (the kind with pickles only), Worcestershire sauce, and a touch of lemon juice.  I am certain he would not dare slip in Grey Poupon or French's!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 box (40 oz) Bisquick
     1 pkg (10 oz) potato starch (might be labeled "katakuriko")
     1 box (1 lb) cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Store in refrigerator.  When ready to use, combine (only the amount needed) with cold water until desired consistency is reached.  Fry between 350-375 degrees until golden brown.

The only other tartar sauce I will eat is served at Hilo Bay Cafe with their Fish & Chips.  Like The Help's tartar sauce, it is also very "white".

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