kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 14, 2013

Only from Hilo: Butt Laulau

Mauna Kea sunset
Whenever I travel, which is hardly ever, I am always glad to return home.  As most people know, I hate flying, and I hate everything about it. . .the getting to the airport, the checking in, the waiting, and the air time.  I HATE IT ALL!!!  I'm not sure about everyone else, but I've been on the plane with a shitload of idiots.  On my return flight, there was a guy who spent more time digging in the overhead bin instead of sitting in his seat.  Then there was the old lady who kept walking in the aisles (all while the plane was still loading) and screwing up other passengers, as she invariably stood in someone else's seat.  There was also a handful of people who tried to cram a carry-on roller suitcase into the overhead bin when it clearly wouldn't fit (or fits only one way and they spent 5 minutes trying to MAKE it fit the wrong way).  Some dude a few rows in front of me opened the overhead bin above him and left it open til someone else came by and closed it.  What a dumbass.  And don't even get me started on airplane food. . .

Anyway, Seattle/Victoria was fun, and I'm waiting for The Help to "process" the pics so I can get my grubby, seafood-smelling fingers on them.  I must've eaten at least 2 dozen oysters while there. . .raw, smoked, cooked.  I love oysters, and I can't imagine why I don't eat them more often at home.

The Ds return from their vacation this evening.  Mr. Dependable doesn't think much of public education, and to him, its not a big deal that his kids miss school.  He refused to pay the ransom to change their return flight.  His traveling partner, who at first seemed concerned about the kids missing the first day of school back from fall break, took the low road and didn't make a big deal out of it, especially since her child didn't go with them and, thus, wouldn't miss any school. 

Since returning home, The Help and I have been gorging on white rice and "local" food.  Neither of us had rice on the trip (no, I'm not counting paella and risotto), so we were both jonesing for it.  With just the two of us, its easy to pick up food, but with the imminent return of the Ds, I'm feeling like they will be grateful for some "local" food.

If you grew up in Hilo, you know that FF's Oven Ready Butt (brined/seasoned pork butt/shoulder) is TRUE Hilo food.  Its the moonyagi (omiyage) people from Hilo take to friends and relatives on neighbor islands.  It is also what other islanders bring home for family/friends when visiting Hilo.  Now, thanks to KTA, FF is not the only show in town for Oven Ready Butt.  Mountain Apple brand makes their own, and it is usually a little cheaper than FF.  I can't tell the difference in taste, so I buy whichever happens to be cheaper (on sale, FF is cheaper).

When I was away in college, I prepared Oven Ready Butt in the same fashion you'd prepare a corned beef brisket (or how I imagine you'd do it...I don't eat corned beef brisket myself).  Cook the chunk of meat in some water until its fairly soft, then add cabbage wedges and cook until done.  I think I've heard that called "boiled dinner".  I had no choice because back then, there was nowhere in Seattle to get fresh taro leaves.

Now that I live in Hilo, I prepare Oven Ready Butt my favorite way. . .a gigantic laulau which takes minimal effort to make.  The trickiest part is finding the taro leaves, but recently, that hasn't been very difficult.  I can usually find taro leaves at the supermarket (sold in 2 lb bags) or the farmer's market.  In fact, AJanice has some growing in her back yard.  I actually should plant some where the pool pump discharges because the weekly flooding (along with Hilo rain) makes it a good place for growing taro.
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 large piece Oven-Ready Butt
     2 lbs taro leaves, washed and larger veins shaved down

Wrap butt with taro leaves, completely encasing butt.  Wrap tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil, completely encasing taro leaves.  Place in crock pot/slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7 hours or more.  Remove from crock pot.  Carefully remove butt from foil.  Slice and serve.

On occasion, when I can't find a large piece of Oven-Ready Butt, I have bought 2 smaller pieces and wrapped them up.  I usually do the wrapping the night before and store it in the crock in the refrigerator overnight.  Then I just place the crock in the heating element before I leave for work.  This reheats well too, in spite of it not being very photogenic.

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