kruizing with kikukat

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chicken and Squash

Wow!  I'm glad I made it through last week.  Last week was crazy.  I endured 4 out of 5 days of afterschool meetings.  On top of it all, D1 had 2 advanced placement tests to take and a board meeting to attend.  She even managed to attend the year-end performance of the Ambassadors.  The high point of the week was the may day festivities on Monday.  We sure have lots of student talent, especially the Polynesian students.  There were several Tongan dances as well as modern Hula performances.  I had chicken skin during the oli to open up the program.  And thankfully, the program ran smoothly.  All the students behaved.  I hope it is a sign of healing.

I was also able to make good on a promise I made to one of my language arts classes.  When my administrator came in to do my observation, my students engaged in conversation with him, retelling William Golding's Lord of the Flies novel (up to the point we covered), and the admin mentioned never having read the book in his life.  The students also fully participated in the discussion, leading the admin to give me shining evaluation marks.  The last time he came to my room, the students were very hesitant to speak up.  I told them that if they weren't willing to share what they knew, I would look like I wasn't doing my job in educating them.  I also explained how if that was truly the case, it was their responsibility to let me know, as judging from the work they submit, they are getting what I'm teaching.  I'm glad they were more verbal this time because I think it gave the administrator a better idea on what they knew.  And the ones who were present on observation day got a Korean bento from me.  Anyway. . . yippeeee and whew.  "Yippeeeee" that I did okay and "whew" that it is over for the year.

Thanks to The Help, I was able to enjoy a relaxing brunch with the Ds.  We went to Hilo Bay Cafe again, and once again, they did not disappoint.  I hope they will always have spicy ahi inside-out roll on the buffet line.  Nobody makes it as good (unless you ask D1.  She insists Sushi Bar Hime has the best spicy ahi.).  Their featured crisp/cobbler was peach pineapple, which wasn't as good as the strawberry, but I think they learned from the Easter brunch and made the crisp/cobblers a little smaller.  D2 selected a Dutch apple pie, which was huge.  That's the next thing they need to pare down.  The size made it near impossible for the normal person to finish.  They had a bunch of salads and the typical breakfast fare.  D2 enjoyed herself at the make-your-own miso soup bar.  I hope they will have a Father's Day brunch that I can look forward to.

With all the meetings and events last week, I'm hoping this week will be a little more relaxed since next week is sure to be unreal hectic.  The Ds are already telling me what I need to make for their events.  Uh oh...forget what I said about this being a relaxing week.

And I almost forgot. . .with a string of sunny days last week, we officially welcomed pool season!  Water hit 90 degrees on Monday!  Of course, I was the only one thrilled by the high temps.  The Help and the Ds, especially D2, would've preferred it a little cooler.  Not me. . .I love it when the thermometer climbs into the 90s.  After so many months of cool water, it was nice to splash around again.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I find myself wanting to eat a little lighter.  I'm not looking for a hearty beef dish with thick luscious gravy.  I'm looking for something with more vegetables.  The hot weather makes me want to eat vegetables. 

The Help was nice enough to humor me with a light pasta primavera dish.  Of course he made a side of grilled chicken sausage too.  I'm not a big fan of sausage, but the chicken apple sausage he got at KTA was halfway decent.

When I resumed cooking duties, I made this very humble chicken and squash dish.  In fact, it is so humble that I almost didn't post this.  I changed my mind when I thought this might be one of those cobbled-together dishes which are typical of the plantation mentality which influenced the way many of us here experienced while growing up.  The plantation mentality is one of frugality.  Older Japanese people (my grandparents age or older) might have said, "mottainai", a Japanese word meaning "don't waste".  I never heard that actual word being used , but I remember reading it in an article.  I suppose it's a throwback to the days when every possible cent was saved.  None of my grandparents worked on the sugar plantations, but that does not mean they weren't influenced by the plantations in some way.

So as a tribute to the hardworking people in Hawaii of yesteryear, I decided to post this chicken and squash dish.  The squash is something rarely purchased.  Most people have a friend who has an uncle, a brother, or a grandparent who has a prolific hyotan plant which produces enough to share with their vast extended family network.  That is the way I came upon this hyotan.  Of course, the Ds refused to touch this, as the squash was NOT the type they normally eat. . .they are winter melon purists.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced in half to make it thinner, then sliced 1/4" thick
     1/2 onion, sliced thin
     1/2" piece ginger, grated
     1 medium hyotan, cut into fourths, seeds removed, then sliced 1/4" thick
     1 tbsp oil
     2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
     2 tbsp miso
     1 tbsp shoyu
     1 tsp hondashi granules
     1/2 tsp rock salt

Heat oil in a pot.  Saute chicken, onion and ginger.  Add hyotan.  Add brown sugar, miso, shoyu, hondashi, and rock salt.  Cook until hyotan is cooked.

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