kruizing with kikukat

Monday, July 29, 2013

Acting Japanese: Fast Cucumber Pickles

Chie Ike and Ayaka Kojima
For me, summer is officially over.  By the time this post hits cyberspace, I will be knee deep in student files.  Teachers in Hawaii officially begin the 2013-2014 school year tomorrow, but my department requested a stipend so teachers could go in early to divvy up students.  Most everyone else in my department will have an unfair advantage, as they know the students. 

I am likely half-dead too.  I spent the weekend hosting two nice girls from Japan. . .Chie Ike and Ayaka Kojima.  They visited Hilo as part of a Kiwanis Club of East Hawaii's involvement in Hilo's sister city exchange with the city of Sumoto (Awaji Island).

Chie and Ayaka had never been to Hawaii, so this was a very exciting trip for them.  They were here with 10 classmates from Sumoto High School and a handful of adults representing various Sumoto entities (municipal representatives and Sumoto International Association members).  During their 4-day stay in East Hawaii, they visited Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the Hilo Farmer's Market.  The Help and I drove them out to the Hilton Waikoloa Village for Sunday brunch, as the last group of girls from Japan seemed to fall in love with that place.  Chie and Ayaka were no exception.  They loved it!

As always, the Farewell Dinner was hard on everyone.  Saying goodbye is always hard, no matter how old you are.  Emotions were running high at the Farewell Dinner.  Some of the Sumoto girls broke down as they were giving their speeches.  Ayaka actually missed dinner because she was so nervous about her speech.  If I were them, I'd have been more nervous about getting the heck outta Hilo.  We were on pins and needles on Sunday evening, waiting for more information about Tropical Storm Flossie.  I hate flying in shitty weather.

When we got home from the Farewell Dinner, Ayaka said she was very hungry.  I heated up some Beautiful Edamame Rice which I had saved in the freezer.  Kikukat Dad had given me some cut-up pineapple, so I put that on the table as well.  D1 wanted vienna sausage, so she opened a few cans and heated them.  I had some leftover Spicy Soybeans so I put that in a bowl as well.  I hesitated before serving them these Fast Cucumber Pickles because they are from Japan, the land of pickles.  I was embarrassed because I didn't think they'd want to eat them when they could get much better pickles at home.  But they did, and they loved the pickles!

Reflecting on what I did this summer, aside from the 100+ pages of pacing guides, I really busted my ass.  I was busy all summer.  If I wasn't doing my pacing guides, I was cooking.   Here is a list of things I made:

I figured my non-exhaustive list of cooking would be more interesting that Beowulf or Hamlet, but if you want my pacing guide, message me and include yours as an attachment.  I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 Japanese cucumbers (seedless)
     1 chili pepper, seeds removed
     1/2 c raw sugar
     1/2 c water
     1 tbsp salt
     2 tbsp rice vinegar

Slice cucumbers into 1/2" rounds or 1 1/2" spears.  Pack into a glass jar.  Midway through, add chili pepper.  Combine sugar, water, salt, and rice vinegar in a small saucepan.  Heat until sugar dissolves.   Pour over cucumbers.  Chill overnight before serving.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tribute to Uncle George: Furikake Salmon

Today's post is dedicated to Uncle George, who passed away this past Friday after putting up a brave fight against that fucking demon, cancer.

UGeo and AChar, 1-1-13
Relationship-wise, Uncle George is the younger brother of Kikukat Mom.  He graduated from Hilo High School and, like many others in his time, did a stint in the military before enrolling in the University of Hawaii.  His former roommate told me UGeo walked the fine line between "being a genius and a total idiot".  Instead of studying for an exam, UGeo spent the night partying, not worrying, as he had written all the answers and notes on his arms.  When he took the test, he blanked out (forgot about his notes) and received 3 points for getting his name right.  He once caused traffic on University Avenue to come to a halt when he wandered into the street while in a refrigerator box (earlier, he had been scaring Varsity Theater go-ers by speaking to them from inside the box).  He emerged from the box when he heard cars around him honking.  Somehow, he managed to graduate with a degree in civil engineering and went on to work for the City and County of Los Angeles.  Upon the urging of a friend, who did not want to go to law school alone, UGeo quit his job in Los Angeles and moved to Spokane.  He earned a law degree from Gonzaga University, and worked as an attorney for the city.  At one point, he was the canine control officer, in spite of he himself having more than the allowable number of dogs!  Eventually, he moved to Seattle and worked as a litigator for the National Labor Relations Board.  Sometime between Los Angeles and Seattle, he got married to Aunty Char.

UGeo would make occasional trips back to Hawaii, and his first stop was always to a bakery to buy a box of long johns.  He would also make a stop to eat a plate lunch.  His trips were spent visiting friends and gathering local stuff to take back to Seattle.  On one of his trips, he paid a fortune for excess baggage. . .he had 10 pieces of baggage, each packed full with local food.  In typical UGeo fashion, he just shrugged it off and paid the ransom. . .there was no way he was going home without his goodies.

I got to know UGeo well when I attended UW.  He and AChar took good care of me for the 4 years I lived in Seattle.  It was nice to have someplace to escape to on the weekends.  My college friends expressed gratitude at being able to enjoy a home-cooked meal for our first Thanksgiving away from home.  When I began college, UGeo lived in a cute house on Garlough Avenue.  In my 3rd or 4th year at the U, he moved into a beautiful home on Marine View Drive (complete with a fruit-producing Rainier cherry tree).  I remember sitting in his living room and marveling at the panoramic views of the water towards Vashon Island. . .the Lincoln Park ferry terminal was on the way to his home.

UGeo was indeed as crazy as his former roommate had described.  He had a penchant for bargain shopping.  It was UGeo who introduced me to Costco, Nordstrom Rack, Ross, Marshalls, and the basement at either the Bon Marche or Frederick and Nelson (I cannot remember which one, as I always get these stores confused).  He could shop all day and didn't mind going from store to store.  He loved to take visitors to the OBerto factory to buy the flat ends of cocktail pep or smok-a-roni and the bits of beef jerky.  UGeo took me to Eddie Bauer to get my first Gore-Tex jacket, which, much to his dismay, was NOT on sale.

During my time in Seattle with UGeo, we enjoyed multiple visits by family from Hawaii.  Grampa Isaac, UJohn and Aunty Suki came for a visit, and along with UGeo and my friend LM, we piled in UGeo's stick shift Monte Carlo and made a run for the border (okay, okay, I just wanted to make it sound more exciting. . .we went to Vancouver for Expo 86).  We stayed at a bed & breakfast (my first time, thank you again, UGeo) and headed back to Seattle after a few days.  On the way home, we had some car trouble.  UGeo pulled off the I-5, and UJohn hopped out to take a look (UJohn can fix anything. . .UGeo. . .let's say he was a good attorney).  UJohn diagnosed the problem as a burnt out clutch, and UGeo said,"I didn't know a clutch could burn out."  UJohn told UGeo "if you had brains you'd be dangerous!".  UGeo made a face behind UJohn's back but said nothing.  Even with his job of taking on large corporations in court when labor violations occur, he was no match for his older brother and was smart enough to know better.  We managed to call a tow truck and had to be towed to the nearest gas station.  Luckily, we were back in the US when all that happened.

UGeo loved animals.  When UGeo moved to the Marine View Drive home, he set up a gigantic aquarium in the basement.  He had red-tailed sharks and some odd-looking bubble head fish.  When I went to visit him, I noticed one of the bubble head fish was gone.  UGeo told me the fish had a tumor so he attempted to surgically remove the tumor himself.  I'm sure you can figure out what happened next.  In addition to the residents of the large aquarium, UGeo had 2 Cairn terriers, Maggie and Charlie.  When Grampa Benny passed away, UGeo inherited Martino, his black cat.  I'm hanging my head in shame because thanks to me, UGeo also inherited my 2 teddy bear hamsters, Rum and, of course, Coke.  Coke was aggressive and chewed Rum's ears.  Eventually Coke escaped her Habitrail cage and came to her end in the sofa.  I won't go into further details about that.  Aaaahhhhh. . .those were good times (except for the bubble head fish and Coke).

Oddly enough, in spite of Seattle having a myriad of sports teams, I never heard UGeo talk much about the Seattle teams, but he did occasionally go to games.  I remember Otee saying UGeo took him to some game (Sonics?) and he was appalled by how rowdy UGeo and his friends were.  He shouldn't have been appalled, especially with UGeo's history.  This is the man who threw his TV out of his apartment window after being upset at the outcome of a game involving his favorite team. . .are you ready for this. . .the Cleveland Browns.  He loved the Cleveland Browns, and his favorite player (when I was in Seattle) was Eric Metcalf.  He would tell anyone who would listen that he went to a Seahawks game and sat in the Cleveland Browns section and cheered alongside Eric Metcalf's family.  He said the Metcalf family was thrilled that he was a huge fan of their boy.

UGeo also loved to eat.  It was in Seattle at the hands of UGeo and AChar that I got exposed to all kinds of food.  They were with me when I ate at a Thai restaurant for the first time.  They were frequent patrons of Red Robin, where I ate my first "hamburger for dinner".  They showed me REAL fish & chips and always took me out to dinner for my birthday.  UGeo introduced me to my most favorite pastry in the whole world, the Potato from Nielson's Pastries.  He would actually need to get it for me because at that time, Nielson's was located in a not-so-nice part of downtown, and being a wide-eyed kid from a small town, it freaked me out to see all the bums hanging out on the street.  Thanks to them (and Grampa Benny), I know what  REAL Italian food is (sorry, but its not Olive Garden. . .although I love Olive Garden) and where to find the best birthday cakes in Seattle.  Are you listening, Mr. Borracchini?

I also got invited to his barbecues, which always featured his specialty. . .grilled salmon.  He would buy a whole salmon, fillet it perfectly, then throw it on the grill, which was fueled with coals and alder pieces.  I swear if I close my eyes and breathe in, I can still smell it.

Salmon has got to be the official fish of Seattle.  When you are in Seattle, you cannot help but eat salmon.  Its everywhere.  Every restaurant (maybe with the exception of Spud) boasts some kind of salmon specialty.  Except for the 6-month period following the fisheries class, I took advantage of every opportunity to eat salmon so I feel I have the right to declare myself a salmon afficionado.  And after consuming all that salmon, I must say UGeo did it the best.

Its been over 2 decades since I ate UGeo's salmon, and with his passing, I will never have it again.  I will never be able to ask him to show me how to expertly fillet a whole salmon, how to prepare the fire, and how to cook it so fricking perfectly.  But, thanks to him, I know how to find the best deals on salmon (or anything else).  In memory of the great times I had with UGeo (and AChar) in Seattle, I'm posting my own salmon recipe this week.  I'm hoping UGeo is looking upon me and smiling with approval.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     salmon fillet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line pan with foil.  Place salmon fillet on foil.  Generously spread a layer of mayonnaise over entire top surface of salmon.  Generously sprinkle furikake over mayonnaise.  Bake for 25 minutes (if salmon piece is over 2 lbs, bake 35 minutes).

Teriyaki Glaze

     1 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1/2 tbsp butter

Combine glaze ingredients in a heat-proof cup.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Let cool 5 minutes.  Pour over cooked salmon.

I would like to thank my cousins LA, Dus, and Otee (along with their parents UMiles and AKathy) for being there for our family when it counted most.  If you hadn't taken the lead and gone to Seattle, UGeo would not have been surrounded by love when his time came.  Thanks to you, many of the family were able to make it there in time to bid farewell.  Hugs and kisses to all of you.  You guys rock!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Toaster Oven Food: Thyme Roasted Almonds

This summer has been anything but quiet.  I have been busy trying to develop my pacing guides.  Luckily, of the three classes I'll be teaching, two of them are also taught by someone else.  I was glad that she was willing to collaborate on the pacing guides with me.  I was even more astounded that she trusted my judgment.  It will be difficult for me to ever turn my back on her, as she helped me without promise of any gain.  I have gained a deep respect for her, and she has gained my trust and loyalty.

I've also spent tons of time (and money) on my classroom.  I managed to secure the use of an lcd projector, and thanks to Kikukat Mom, I have 2 laptops and a desktop for my classroom.  The former DH gave me a new (still-in-box) desktop computer for me to use, and he even found a monitor for me (all 15" of it).  I may need to swap out my monitor from home because the last time I used a 15" monitor I was under 30!

I brought in my own swivel chair from home, and I took advantage of a great sale (and free shipping) at  I'm $200 poorer, but I have a cart for my lcd projector and a locking file cabinet.  $230 got me a nice fridge/freezer which is made by a brand that normal people buy.  And for about that same price, I indulged in a document camera by HoverCam.  Now I normally wouldn't be so quick to shell out my own $, but given that it was immensely difficult to get the custodians to remove the unwanted (junk) furniture I inherited and to have the school provide me with an lcd projector, I decided it would be best if I took care of myself (and not wait for the school to kick in the $).  The only thing I'm missing now are students!

I'm realizing that although I've been complaining about the pacing guides taking up a lot of my time, the outfitting of my room has taken up a lot of my time as well.  While I feel I've been terribly busy, I think D1 has been even busier.  Last week she attended a student leadership conference at UH-Manoa.  A few days after she returned, she participated in two-and-a-half days of intense jumping, kicking, and screaming at cheer camp.  And although she fulfilled all her required time for her internship, she has continued to volunteer her time at the lab, extracting DNA from various fly species.

D1s internship this summer has been a totally different experience from her internship last summer.  Last summer she was at Gemini Telescope in the HR department.  She was too young to go up to the mountain, so HR was the only option.  She enjoyed Auntie Carolyn, but the experience convinced her that HR was not something she wanted to pursue as a career.  In spite of the disgusting media (flies in all stages of the life cycle), D1 loves the work in the lab.  Without flinching, she talks about handling fly larvae and pupae.  Early on, I got to look around at the lab, and I was led into a room full of fly cages.  The room reeked.  I cannot even describe the smell, but I was told it was fly pheromones.  I can say with certainty that I am NOT attracted to the smell of horny flies who want to get it on! 

D2 hasn't been as busy as D1 or myself, but I've been cracking the whip about her keeping her room tidy.  My efforts have produced very little results, but soon I'll just give up and stop yelling.  The Japanese guests who will be here in two weeks will need to tiptoe and stay on the narrow path through the mess in order to get to the futon.  She has been keeping tabs on all the school supplies we've purchased so far.  I'm glad to see her at least taking an interest in that.  It tells me that she is looking forward to school, and that IS a good thing.

Earlier this summer, when D2 was in summer school, her class maintained a small garden.  She brought home a beet and a small tomato.  She must've enjoyed gardening because she has been bugging me to start a garden.  I guess she didn't realize that I attempted to start a garden too, but it didn't work out the way I wanted it.  I tried growing lettuce hydroponically.  I did it before with success, but this time, the lettuce just didn't grow.  The seeds sprouted, but the plants never got big.  When work starts up, I'll ask my colleague how he does it.  He always posts pics on Facebook of huge mustard cabbages and cucumbers.

I also tried planting kale and basil (twice), and that didn't work out well either.  The bugs loved it!  They completely overlooked the sage, tarragon and thyme which I had growing in the same area.  All three of these herbs can be chopped up alone or solo and mixed into softened butter.  A pat of herb butter on a grilled steak does wonders.  I love to use sage when I roast poultry.  It also tastes great in a grilled cheese sandwich (honest!).  I use tarragon in a chicken salad and also in hunter-style chicken.  Thyme is one of my most favorite herbs because it is so versatile.  Turkey brine needs thyme, and I'll throw a sprig of it in soups.  And I love it as a seasoning for roasted marcona almonds!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb marcona almonds, roasted and lightly salted
     2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
     2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
     1/2 tsp salt

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  In a flat pan with a low rim, toss ingredients together.  Roast for 10 minutes, stirring twice.  Remove from oven, and place almonds in another pan.  Toss for 1 minute.  Cool.  Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

In two weeks, my vacation will be over.  I feel like I haven't even started my vacation.  A little break would be nice.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ode to Joy: The Most Blogged About Pasta Sauce in the CyberWorld

According to my fellow blogger Joy, this pasta sauce is the most blogged about pasta sauce around.  All I can say is that there is a good reason for that.  The sauce was amazing!  You can find the recipe on Joy's blog here.

This could possibly also be the most expensive pasta sauce I ever made because I went through a lot of trouble to get the tomatoes.  Because there is no Whole Foods on the Big Island, I had to go to Whole Foods Kahala to get the tomatoes (I'm sure Safeway or KTA would've had something similar, but I wanted to say I made the version on Joy's blog).  One thing led to another, and before too long, in addition to the $4 (not on sale) for the tomatoes, I had racked up a huge bill for the weekend!  All this for tomatoes!!!  Okay, the Chinese cousins are probably squirming now, right Housie? Jo?  So before we get all bent, I'm kidding, at least partially.  I had to go to Honolulu for a training, so The Help thought we'd make it an overnight trip.  Hotel, car, his airfare, frivolous meals (more about this later), and shopping, all helped hike up the price of that can of tomatoes.

In spite of the butter in the recipe, this is a light sauce which packs a lot of flavor.  It takes an hour or so to cook down the liquid.  I used an immersion blender to break up the large chunks of tomato.  Like Joy, I pulled out the onion, which The Help later used in chicken soup.  After spending all that $ for the tomatoes, I had to make sure nothing was wasted!

The Help had already wasted a ton of $ in Honolulu!  Astonishingly, we were allowed back at The Hawaii Prince. . .I guess they decided to overlook the housekeeping incident the last time we were there.  The Help heard about Sweet Es and wanted to try the stuffed french toast.  I went for the kalua pork eggs benedict.  Both dishes were good, but the fried rice had a strange taste (burnt sesame oil).  The Help wanted to try Sushi Sasabune. . .I warned him that it was impossible to make it through all the omakase courses, but he wanted to try (or be brave in the attempt).  He was 2 dishes short!  We revisited YogurStory for breakfast, and I finally got to try the fat pig fried rice.  They could teach Sweet E's a thing or two about making fried rice.  I thought our meals were done, but The Help insisted on eating another meal before heading to the airport.  He suggested Goma Tei, but I pulled rank and told him to try Little Village Noodle Shop first.  Luckily, there was ample parking (not too many people eat lunch at 2:30 pm), and we had 3 outstanding dishes:  stir-fried seafood in taro basket, sizzling short ribs, and Shanghai stir-fried mochi.

The Help also bought a new lens which, he HAD to mention, was cheaper than the hotel and the dinner.  Jeez!

LA brought me another can of these tomatoes when she and Stason came to visit, but I used it to make ribollita.  I guess I'll need to make a stop at Whole Foods when I go to Honolulu.  I'll brace myself well because I know they carry Vosges Chocolates Mo's Bacon Bar, and the Ds cannot seem to get enough of it.  Too bad one bar costs more than a Leung's 3-choice plate!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red (White and Blue) Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Fourth of July

What are you doing on this Independence Day?

In Seattle, where I spent one Fourth of July, a bunch of us got together for a barbecue and a friendly softball game.  My contribution to the barbecue was a pecan pie bar, but I told my roommate Gayle (sheltered private school graduate) how to make the potato salad.

In Honolulu, I drove out to the North Shore for a picnic with Edz, Guy, Lisa, and Ella and some of their friends.  I can still imagine myself in that long line of cars heading out in that direction.  It seemed like we were bumper-to-bumper for hours.  I don't remember what I brought, but I do remember Guy's friend Michelle cutting into a watermelon.  On another occasion, I recall going to Waikiki and watching the fireworks from the beach by the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  The fireworks show was over in about 30 seconds.  Pathetic.

In Hilo, this is the traditional time for families to start setting up camp by the beach for days & nights of endless partying (well, not really endless. . .pack up camp on Labor Day weekend).  Once darkness falls, there will be fireworks.  For years, the Lehua Jaycees have been putting on a show from Coconut Island.  If you've been fortunate enough to spend the holiday in Waikoloa, the Waikoloa Beach resorts also put on a show.  Its a great show, and it is almost worth the drive out from Hilo to see.  Waikiki could take some lessons from Waikoloa!

As usual, I have no plans for the day.  I will just hang out with the babies and relax in the back yard.  Now that I own a QuikShade, I suppose I could go stake out my camping spot in Keaukaha and set up house.  But that would be going totally outta my comfort zone.  My idea of "roughing it" is staying at The Pagoda!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 1/2 c flour
     1/2 c cocoa powder
     1 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 tsp baking soda
     1 c butter
     2 c sugar
     5 eggs
     1 c buttermilk
     1 tsp vanilla
     1 tsp red gel/paste food coloring (liquid food coloring: 2 tbsp)
     frosting (buttercream, cooked cream or cream cheese)

Place 24 liners into muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add 1/4 of dry ingredients to creamed mixture, then 1/4 of buttermilk, alternating until well mixed.  Stir in vanilla and food coloring.  Fill liners 1/2 full with batter.  Bake for 17 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting notes:  When I was growing up, Red Velvet Cake was the one cake Kikukat Mom actually made.  Of course, she only made it on special occasions, so its not like we had it often.  But when she'd make it, she would go all the way and frost it too.  If you know Kikukat Mom, then you know how "out there" that is .  The frosting she made was always buttercream frosting.  When I got married and lived on my own, my neighbor would make a frosted red velvet cake too.  Hers was a little different from Kikukat Mom's.  It was lighter red (half the amount of food coloring), and she used a cooked cream frosting to frost the top and sides.  Now that red velvet cake is more mainstream (even Safeway has it fairly regularly), I've noticed many places are frosting it with a cream cheese frosting (like the kind normally used on a carrot cake).  In spite of not being a baker, Kikukat Mom really did know best. . .red velvet cake with buttercream frosting rules!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beautiful Edamame Rice

Oh what a week!  I thought I was on vacation.  I made the mistake of checking in at my new school, and, lo and behold, the floors of my classroom had been waxed!  This meant I could get my room keys and get settled in.  Big fucking mistake!

When I opened my room, it was filled with over 20 double desks and over 35 chairs, some of which were likely from the days when my mom went to school there!  There was hardly any room for walking.  One of the custodians told me that because they didn't realize it was going to be MY room, they pilfered the good furniture to set up another classroom.  When I went through the filing cabinets, I saw a note from the previous occupant, asking the custodians to transfer the good furniture from the room to her new room.  She even directed them to take the teachers chair.  For the past 20+ years I've worked, every school ran by the policy of "furniture stays with the room" for does not follow an occupant.  I suppose I can cut her some slack because she isn't even tenured.  Well, being a special needs student doesn't exempt a student from being taught the standards.  Likewise, being a new teacher shouldn't excuse a teacher for overlooking protocol.  I took a picture of her note and will likely use it in a lesson.  It could serve as a mentor text of a friendly note.  It will also make a great lesson in why its important to understand policy and protocol.  I wonder if she realizes she just shit on a whole bunch of exceptional children. . .take the good stuff for the non-handicapped kids.  I don't think she expected me to see the note, much less show it to admin (I didn't want the custodians to take the sole blame for screwing up the inventory sheets).  Talk about egg on your face!

I spent most of Tuesday afternoon going through the chairs and desks with D1 & D2.  We placed blue tape on what I needed the custodians to remove, which amounted to 7 desks and 18 chairs.  My classes will likely have no more than 12 students at a time.   The previous tenant was also nice enough to leave the file cabinets (none of the 2 lock) full of crapola, which I would be shame to even sell at a garage sale.  I can bring my own junk from home...I don't need to use someone else's shit.  Speaking of shit, I guess the previous occupant wasn't bothered much by termite shit because there was tons of it at the base of the windows and on the chair at the teacher's desk.  Thats just fricking gross.

I went in to work on Thursday to meet with another teacher.  We are collaborating on pacing guides for the classes we teach.  Unfortunately, I'm still not done with my part, and I still need to work on the one for the other class I teach (for which I am the sole teacher).  So now, in addition to working on pacing guides for the rest of my vacation, I will also need to work on tricking out my room.  The Help did the chivalrous thing and helped me move the really shitty furniture to the corner near the door.  This allowed him enough room to move my desk away from the termite shit landing area.  When the custodians get around to fixing a mistake they helped cause, they will be grateful they won't have to haul the shitty desks from the far side of my room.

The Ds had a busy week too.  D1 completed her hours at the USDA Pacific Basin Research Facility.  I fear she will now have more time to study for her drivers permit.  D2 had KN over for the night, which was more than fair, considering she spent a night at KN's house at the beginning of the week and another night later in the week (for KN's sister's birthday).  Big mahalo to KN's nice parents for having her over and feeding the pickiest eater in the world.

ochazuke wakame
nametake chazuke
I don't know how I could end up with a child who eats maybe 10 different things.  I am not a picky eater, and D1 will eat, or at least try, all kinds of stuff.  D2 is the total opposite (Mr. Dependable is picky, so I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree).  Last week, I went to Kona and made a Costco stop.  Before I left, D2 asked me to bring back a Costco chicken (roast chicken).  I did, and she didn't touch it at all!  I ended up making curry chicken salad with the white meat and boiling the remaining parts for stock (used in a mushroom risotto).  D2's reason for not eating it was that I didn't have bread.  She eats the white meat in a sandwich.  Well, excuuuuse me!

And that is one of the hardest parts about being on vacation. . .having to figure out lunch for Miss Picky.  We can go to Kawamoto's, Hilo Lunch Shop & McDonalds only so many times, and Costco chicken in a sandwich ain't gonna happen regularly.  Thank goodness there is something else  she loves to eat that makes a whole bunch and freezes and reheats well.

Many people probably think of edamame rice as potluck food.  Someone invariably brings it to a family get-together (usually me because I know D2 will have something to eat).  I do the mommy thing and add fiber by making it with a combination of white and brown rice.  This actually works out well because the nuttiness of the brown rice complements the tiny rice crackers in the ochazuke wakameOchazuke wakame is a mix of dried seaweed, rice crackers, and salt.  Its meant to be eaten with a bowl of tea rice.  The heat of the rice and the liquid from the nametake chazuke help reconstitute the dried seaweed.  D2 doesn't like the enoki mushrooms in nametake chazuke, and asks me to leave it out.  She doesn't realize that the dish wouldn't taste the same without it.  Both ochazuke wakame and nametake chazuke can be found in the Asian food section of the supermarket.  Even Wal-Mart and Target in Hilo carry these items.

The edamame rice in the pics was done by The Help.  I was occupied with fried garlic chicken, so I told him to put it all together.  He was amazed at how easy it was to prepare, but he kept asking me if he really had to add the whole bottle of ochazuke wakame!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     4 cups (rice cooker measure) white rice
     1 cup (rice cooker measure) brown rice
     1 bag (about 1 lb) shelled edamame (soybeans)
     1 bottle ochazuke wakame
     1 bottle nametake chazuke

Combine white and brown rice, wash, and cook as usual in an electric rice cooker.  When rice is done, follow package directions for heating edamame.  Drain.  Place rice in a large bowl.  Add edamame.  Add entire contents of bottle of ochazuke wakame and nametake chazuke.  Toss lightly until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout rice.

The rice also tastes great when stuffed into an inari (seasoned aburage) skin.  Use the same kind as for somen inari sushi.  Follow the directions on the bag for preparing the aburage.