kruizing with kikukat

Monday, August 25, 2014

Toaster Oven Food: Brownies

Last week was the first full week of school.  The previous attempt at a full week was thwarted by the arrival of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle.  We finally got to experience a real Friday on our new bell schedule.  All seven periods in the same day makes for a freaking long day, let me tell you!  I think the students hold up better than the adults, but it is still a really long day.  I was beat by the time I got home, and I'm grateful Mr. Dependable picked up the Ds early.

This week's post kinda reflects my energy level. . .very sparse.  I don't even have the energy to bitch about my kids/colleagues/Mr. Dependable/etc.  And I only managed to get one picture of the brownies before they were gobbled up.  In my opinion, these are the best brownies you will ever eat.  They are energy friendly because they can be baked in a toaster need to fire up the behemoth.  Furthermore, the person who does the dishes will also conserve energy since this is mixed in the same pan used to heat the butter, sugar and water.  Another plus to baking in a square pan is the cooling rate.  These brownies cool faster , making the wait to sink your teeth into these decadent morsels that much shorter.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3/4 c flour
     1/4 tsp baking soda
     1/4 tsp salt
     3/4 c sugar
     1/3 c butter
     2 tbsp water
     12 oz (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line (with foil) and grease an 8 1/2" or 9" square pan.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, and water, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and vanilla.  Using a hand mixer, mix at low speed until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture, beating until incorporated.  Stir in remaining chocolate chips.  Spread in prepared pan.  Bake 30-33 minutes until just set.  Cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.

I hope I will have more energy next week for a longer post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kim Chee Patties

Last week was a difficult week.  We had some restoring to do at the hale (house).  The Help put back the gazebo cover.  He replaced the tarp on the tempermanent carport.  He also replaced the loose clamps on the pool heater.

He did a lot, and I'm grateful for his help, but I know there are families out there who still have it bad.  Some of my friends in Kapoho just got electricity restored this weekend.  Many had already capitulated and purchased generators.  I offered to do laundry for some of my work friends, but nobody took  me up on my offer.  I hope it wasn't because of my only stipulation, "no undies". . .didn't want uncomfortable smiles (or new good friends) at work.

This past weekend was a long weekend (unlike the long weekend created by the arrival of Iselle, this weekend was planned). . .Admissions Day holiday on Friday.  Since D2's birthday fell on Thursday, I threw her a slumber party on Thursday evening.  She had a few friends over for pizza (yes, she finally eats pizza) and swimming.  Although I kept an eye on them, its nice to know kids are able to swim on their own.  I wonder when they became "old". . .

Not sure why, but I started feeling really lousy on Friday.  I woke up with a headache right behind the eyes.  I think the Aleve upset my stomach because I had to go back to bed and rest.  It made me think that in spite of being with students all last year, I didn't take any sick leave.  The only time I called a substitute was to attend a workshop.  Amazing!  The previous year, when I was only with adults, I developed bronchitis.  I think the adults gave me more sickness germs than the kids.

Feeling under the weather, I asked The Help to get me some kim chee to eat with the taegu (seasoned codfish) I had.  My reasoning was that the chili pepper heat would kill the bad germs.  It must've worked because I felt fine by the time cake and ice cream time rolled around, and I was even able to keep my claws appointment.  I tried out a new salon since TK was on vacation. 

The next day, I felt fine so I accompanied The Help to a yearbook photo shoot in the morning.  I also managed to squeeze in a test drive of a cute car I've been thinking about for D1.  I'm still thinking. . .

I spent the entire afternoon at preseason football games with The Help.  My job was to sherpa photo equipment.  I think I went above and beyond the call because I actually shot some frames myself!  I have students on both the junior varsity and varsity teams, and it is always nice to see them in a non-classroom environment.  The 3rd quarter of the varsity game seemed endless!  I spent over five hours at the stadium and had no energy to come home and cook dinner.  We ate Korean food at Restaurant Osaka (yes, Restaurant Osaka serves Korean food). . .guess I was still ono for heat.

By Sunday evening, with my Korean food craving practically satiated, I decided to give it the one final hurrah.  I didn't want the jar of kim chee to be forgotten in the fridge, so I made kim chee patties with the rest of the kim chee (I didn't eat much of it when I was feeling under the weather).   Kim chee patties are easy to make because the patties fry up quickly.  Because they are rather thin, they make a whole lot which means there will be leftovers for lunch the next day (and maybe even the day after too)!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 jar (10-12 oz) kim chee
     1 lb ground beef
     2 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1 1/2 tsp salt
     5 eggs
     1/4 c flour
     3/4 c cornstarch

Drain kim chee, reserving 1/2 c liquid (if liquid is less than 1/2 c, use water to make up the difference).  Chop kim chee and combine with ground beef.  Combine remaining ingredients.  Add to kim chee/ground beef mixture.  Batter will be runny.  Heat oil in skillet.  Scoop 2 tbsp at a time and fry in skillet (flatten out a little) until brown on one side.  Turn over and fry other side.  Add oil as needed.  Skillet should not be dry.  Drain on paper towels.

Preseason football got underway this weekend.  Both the JV and varsity squads were victorious in their debut versus crosstown rival Waiakea.  Way to go VIKS!
making for the end zone
tough-as nails running back on the jv roster. . .she scored a rushing TD
senior running back weaving through Waiakea defenders
Bring back memories, eh, Matsu???

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bread Machine Monkey Bread

PI'm still here!  Thank you to all those, from near and far, who expressed concern for our safety.  Natural disasters aren't fun, but Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle brought the opportunity to hear from my friends all over the world. . .Adamstown, Pitcairn Island; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Mililani, Hawaii; Kennewick, Washington; northern and southern California; Tucson, Arizona; McKinney, Texas. . .the list goes on and on.  I can feel the love!

The Kikukat house sustained only minor damage.  Two cypress trees fell against the house.  One of those trees fell from my neighbor's property onto the gutter of the garage.  The other tree, also a cypress, fell against the gutter near D2's bedroom. I was worried about the tall, decaying trees in bowels of another neighbor's property, but those, miraculously, are still standing.

In addition to the crazy howling and whipping winds, we experienced several power outages.  The longest lasted just under an hour, so we were very fortunate.  Other customers were without power much longer.  In fact, some of my friends who reside in the Puna (south southeast Hawaii)area still don't have electricity (it's been 4 days!).  The pictures they've posted on facebook were horrific.  Even more horrific is the absence of the state government in showing some compassion.  The governor (soon to be booted, as he lost his re-election bid in the primary on Saturday) was too busy usurping the mic at the headquarters of his challenger to even mention how much the people of Puna have been through.  Hilo (east Hawaii) was fortunate to be spared the full onslaught of Iselle.  Scroll down to the "pussyfooting" section if you want to see pictures of the effects of Iselle in east Hawaii.

I called the Rents to ask how they fared.  Kikukat Mom said Kikukat Dad had already called the cable company to ask how to bring his tv back online.  She also reported that their beloved kitty, Oreo, was safely sequestered indoors and would be taking his meals there until the storm threat was over.  When I called, he had just been served his breakfast.  Apparently he eats when the Rents eat.

All this storm stuff makes me thankful.  I'm thankful I still have a roof over my head.  But I need to move forward, and that means shifting my mental focus back to work. school year just did not start right.

Last week I took the high road.  I really wanted to bitch about work and the assholes who try to bring the rest of us down.  I still want to, but I won't (at least not too much).  There are too many around.  I won't have enough space/time to talk about all the dipshits, Iselle notwithstanding, who attempted to make my life miserable this past week.  The biggest joke was having an inexperienced person check the work of competent, experienced, veteran teachers and questioning us on our decisions and calculations.  Shit, I'm doing YOUR work!  YOU are supposed to know these things!  I just can't remember any time in the past (other than the year I spent at the school in the "goat herder" section of town) when the school year got off to such a rocky start.

When I applied for my current job, I was told by a friend at the school that the real monkeys at the school are not in my class.  So in the honor of the un-named "monkeys", this weeks post, monkey bread, is dedicated to them.

The original recipe for this appeared in Betty Shimabukuro's By Request column in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2001.  Since then, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin merged with the rival daily, Honolulu Advertiser, and is now known as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  Not so creative, but I guess everyone (except the people who got laid off) was happy. 

Over a decade has passed since that recipe was published, but I finally got around to making it.  And I am stupid for waiting so long.  As far as doughs go, this was one of the easiest doughs to work with. . .if you tried my manapua post and did okay with the dough, then this one will be a piece of cake.  If you are a fan of the monkey bread served at Mariposa (Neiman-Marcus), I need to forewarn you that while this recipe is delicious, it will not produce a replica of Mariposa's monkey bread.
Although I like things made "from scratch", I don't have the patience nor the technique to knead dough by hand.  And while I've tried to do bread in the kitchenaid mixer, I just cannot get around how convenient it is to use a bread machine.  For those of you who enjoy feeling the dough between your fingers (or seeing it in the bowl), then follow Betty's recipe.  If you are like me, then use my cheater's method for the bread machine.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
adapted from Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2001

     1 c milk
     1 c butter, divided
     3 1/4 c bread flour
     1/4 c sugar
     1 tsp salt
     4 tsp yeast

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, heat milk and 1/2 c butter in the microwave for 1 minutes.  Pour liquid into pan of bread machine.  Microwave any remaining solid butter (from the 1/2 c) until melted and add to pan of bread machine.  Add flour, sugar, and salt (in whatever order recommended by your bread machine).  Make a well and add yeast.  Set bread machine for dough cycle and start.  When dough cycle is complete, turn dough onto floured surface.  Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  While dough is resting, melt remaining 1/2 c butter in a small bowl.  Roll dough out to 1/2" thick and cut into diamond shapes with a pizza cutter.  You should have about 48 pieces.  Grab 4 pieces and pinch them together.  Dip one side in melted butter, and turn and dip the other side in melted butter.  Place a buttered side down in ungreased muffin pan.  Repeat until all 12 muffin cups are filled.  You should have some melted butter leftover.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from muffin pan and brush with remaining melted butter.  Makes 12. 

coconut trees swaying near the canoe sheds (Hilo bayfront)
canoes moved away from the storm surge (Hilo bayfront)
Hilo Farmer's Market deconstructed
Downtown businesses boarded up with plywood

Kress Building windows taped and awaiting the arrival of Iselle
near Country Club Drive (Kaumana)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Soba and Asparagus Salad

I am definitely back at work.  There is no doubt about it.  My muscles ache.  My feet ache.  Even the marrow in my bones ache. 

By the time this gets posted, I might not even be alive.  Today is the first day of school for everyone (all the students).  This past Friday was freshman-only day, so they would've had a weekend to relax before the big dogs usurp the coveted areas on campus they thought they could claim. Hopefully they listened carefully to the senior guides.  I like the way the school allows seniors to do a service project for freshman-only day by serving as guides. 

Last week was the first full work week for teachers.  I think I came home from work just too tired to cook, which is how we ended up eating take-out food or food from the freezer all week.  I don't think defrosting and heating frozen food counts as "cooking".

One night I felt a little guilty because D2 and I ate 2 lbs of crab between us.  D1 had gone out for the evening so D2 suggested we eat the crab we bought the last time from Costco.  She said she's been craving crab from early summer, even before she went to Japan, and she didn't get to eat any crab in Japan.  Poor thing.  Times must've been hard!  Anyway, the crab was so yummy.  I will need to get more the next time I head to Costco.  2 lbs was just enough for the two of us.

I finally decided to get off my ass yesterday and sort-of cook.  Because it's been so hot and muggy recently, a cool dish like this was so  refreshing.  If I had any leftover crab, I would've sprinkled some over the top.  IF I had any leftover crab. . .

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg (about 12 ounces) soba
     1 lb asparagus
     1/2 c chicken broth
     1/4 c shoyu
     3 tbsp sugar
     1/2 tsp Hondashi
     2 tbsp sesame seeds
     2 tbsp sesame oil
     2 tbsp rice vinegar

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine chicken broth, shoyu, sugar, Hondashi, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.  Shake to dissolve sugar.  Chill.  Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  Cook asparagus for 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge into ice water immediately.  Drain well.  Slice into 3/4" pieces.  Cook soba according to package directions (most packages suggest boiling for 6-7 minutes).  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain soba well and place in serving dish.  Add asparagus.  Shake dressing and pour over soba and asparagus.  Toss gently before eating.