kruizing with kikukat

Monday, January 26, 2015

As You Wish: Andagi for BrendaC

Yesterday, in a lengthy conversation thread, one of my facebook friends said to me, "as you wish. . ."  This friend is several years younger than me and was one of those cute little boys who would say all kinds of crazy things to upperclassmen girls to get in good with them.  I'm sure you have had someone in your life who fits that description.  Anyway, his line, "as you wish. . .", was pilfered from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Princess Bride.

I remember going to the theater in Oregon to see the movie.  I had it on VHS tape (showing my age), and I have it on dvd now!  If another format comes out, I will need to get it on that too.  The humor and the lines are timeless.  A favorite part in the movie is at the beginning when Buttercup asks Wesley to do all sorts of tedious tasks, and he responds on multiple occasions with "as you wish".  Of course, this is his pickup line and begins the story of true love between Buttercup and Wesley.  Sigh.

Anyway, about a month ago, I received an email from a reader, BrendaC.  BrendaC grew up in Pepeekeo and has bragging rights to declare "once a viking, always a viking".  Right on, BrendaC!  BrendaC is on a quest to find an andagi recipe similar to the one her grandfather made.  She said the andagi from the Okinawa O-bon festival in Mililani comes the closest.  Unfortunately, I am not familiar with either version, but if any of you have such a recipe, please share it.

In the meantime, I can share my version.  I need to issue a disclaimer here.  I am unable to drop the batter using only my hands.  My gramma in Honolulu could do this, and I remember taking a tub of her andagi back to Seattle with me while I was in college.  By some miracle, I did not eat the whole tub on the plane ride from Honolulu to Seattle.  My friends were totally impressed with the roundness and how the andagi were lacking "tails".  Those of you who struggle with the plopping of the batter into the hot oil know exactly what I'm talking about.  Luckily, there are some people out there (BT?) who enjoy eating the crunchy tails!

I'm also unable to really tell if the inside of the andagi is cooked, so I cheat and poke each one with a toothpick.  If the toothpick comes out clean, the inside is cooked (just like when you bake a cake).   Be sure the frying oil is about 360 degrees.  While most foods are deep-fried at 375 degrees, the sugar content of these will cause browning to occur too quickly.  For those of you not familiar with andagi, there is no need to roll these in any type of sugar after frying.  And if by some odd chance you have super-human willpower and do not consume the entire batch in one sitting, andagi may be heated in a toaster oven (275 degrees) for about 5 minutes.

I'm sure Wesley didn't know how to use a computer or hook up a new Sony TV, but he sure knew what to say to get the girl.  Those silly little boys from my high school days could've learned a lot from Wesley! 

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3 c flour
     4 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp salt
     1 c sugar
     2 eggs
     1 c milk
     1 tbsp oil
     oil for frying

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Beat eggs, milk and 1 tbsp oil together.  Add to dry ingredients and mix lightly.  Do not overmix.  Heat 1" - 1 1/2" oil to 360 degrees.  When oil is ready, drop batter into hot oil (I use a #50 disher).  Fry until golden brown all over.  Note:  if you manage to make round andagi, they will turn over themselves!

Note to BrendaC:  I hope you find your grandfather's andagi recipe.  When you do, please share it with me!

Monday, January 19, 2015


I am glad today is a holiday.  I really hate Mondays this year.   My students (the ones I grade) are great, but there is another component to Mondays which just makes me want to gag.  Best I stop there.

Before I go on, I'd like to congratulate the Ohio State Buckeyes for winning the National Championship.  I was glued to the tube the entire game.  I waited all season long for that. . .or at least since October 2nd.  A big mahalo goes to The Help for cooking dinner so I could watch the game.

I was hoping to make it to Costco this weekend, but it just didn't happen.  I had too much to do.  I'm preparing for a presentation this week, and I didn't want to just "wing it".  These people deserve better.

I am also working on a post for blog reader BrendaC.  I should have a post for her real soon. 

This week, although a short work week, will be very busy.  In addition to the presentation I'm giving, Kikukat Dad is having a birthday later this week.  His "new" favorite restaurant is Sansei, although he keeps hinting about Ruth's Chris Steak House.  If his birthday fell on a weekend, I would take him to Waikoloa for dinner, but since it's falls on a weekday, I will just invite him over for dinner. 

Of course, the invitation begs the perennial question, "What to make?"  Given that it will be a workday (for me, not him), the menu needs to be uncomplicated.  I think I'll ask The Help to cook some rib eye steaks.  I can do a Caesar salad, and we can get him a birthday cake for dessert.  But every time I have Kikukat Dad over, he seems to enjoy having something to pick on while waiting for chow time.  I've had boiled peanuts, roasted almonds, and spicy edamame before.  I think I will make some gravlax for him to munch on this time.  Gravlax is fancy, and since dinner is so simple, I think the gravlax would be appreciated.

I love gravlax, and Kikukat Dad loves it too.  I made gravlax last year and shared some with him.  It isn't difficult, and it is much better than any lox sold at the market.

For clarification purposes, especially for the relatives who are reading this, gravlax is NOT the same as the smoked salmon in the box from UGeo.  Gravlax is cured, not smoked.  No heat is used to make gravlax.  Gravlax might be more familiar as "lox", as in "lox and bagels". 

My family enjoys lox.  One of my relatives even brought it to a family party, much too the dismay of my late  uncleR, who had given specific instructions as to what everyone was to bring.  Ignoring uncleR's request, HE brought a platter of lox, bagels and fixins to the party.  While delicious, the platter stuck out like a sore thumb.  Kikukat Mom likes to eat gravlax plain.  I like it atop a bagel slathered with cream cheese and a sprinkling of capers.  It's good in sushi too.  Sushi Bar Hime makes a roll with lox, cream cheese, and asparagus.  The Help suggests using a sharp knife to slice it thinly across the grain for picture-worthy pieces.  He prepped the gravlax for the pictures (a good thing since I'd butcher the delicate flesh with my beast Henckels knife).

If I begin the process tomorrow, the gravlax will be ready in time for the birthday dinner.  I guess The Help will need to pull up his big boy pants, pinch his nose, and go to Suisan for a slab of salmon tomorrow.  While The Help likes eating salmon, he finds the smell of Suisan utterly unappetizing.
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 lb piece of salmon with skin
     1/4 c rock salt
     1/4 c sugar
     fresh dill, coarsely chopped

Wash and dry salmon.  Place skin-side down on a large piece of plastic wrap.  In a small bowl, combine rock salt and sugar.  Spread evenly over salmon flesh.  Top with dill.  Wrap tightly in plastic, place in a shallow pan, and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.  Slice thinly to serve.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ginger Sesame Lavosh

Well, it's game day.  As a die hard Washington Huskies fan, this season has been hard to stomach.  It bugs the shit outta me to see the Oregon Ducks doing well.  I still remember when the Oregon teams were at the bottom of the Pac-10 conference (actually one team still is, but I like the Beavers), and their annual football meeting was known as the "Toilet Bowl" instead of the "Civil War".  Its okay if USC or UCLA dominates, but really, NOT the Oregon Ducks.  Needless to say, I'll be cheering for Ohio State.  My favorite school administrator is a Buckeye.  His late sidekick, "Sugar Daddie", was also an Ohio State alumn.

In addition to being game day, it's also an administrative day at school.  The students come tomorrow, but today will be filled with meetings and the like.  That part sucks, especially since a nasty cold robbed me of the full enjoyment of a vacation. I teach year-long classes, but I was told that I'd be getting some additional students who were failing other classes.  I suppose I'll be expected to "courtesy pass" these new ones.  Well, I don't play that game.  They will be expected to work and submit quality work if they hope to pass. 

After months (yes, months) of being bombarded with requests for lavosh, I finally got off my ass and made some for D2.  The pictures for this post were taken a few years ago, and, for whatever reason, never got posted.  D2 would scream if she knew I put up this pic, especially since she looks so different now.  Oh well, she can just take a number in terms of getting in line to bitch me out. 

I'll be back to my old cheery self next week (it will be a holiday!) and I should be done licking my wounds from bowl season. . .looking forward to the next college football season since Marcus Mariota should be in the NFL by then.  and if he isn't it will be apparent that he is either afraid of the big boys or a closet scholar
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 3/4 c flour
     1/2 tsp salt
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1 tsp powdered ginger
     1/2 c sugar
     1/2 c butter
     1 c buttermilk
     3 tbsp black sesame seeds

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, powdered ginger, and sugar together.  Cut in butter until crumbs form.  Stir in buttermilk and sesame seeds.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Using a #40 disher (a generous tablespoon), scoop dough into balls onto floured surface.  Flour hands well and smooth balls.  Flour dough balls well.  On a piece of parchment paper, roll ball of dough out as thinly as possible.  Repeat with remaining balls of dough.  Place lavosh, parchment paper and all, on cookie sheet.  Bake for 23 minutes.  Remove lavosh to cooling rack and cool completely before storing.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cookie Jar: Arare Cookies

2015 is finally here!

I'm looking forward to a better year than 2014.  I'm hoping to avoid being a client at the hospital ER.  I'm also hoping to avoid any type of medical procedure.  I had enough of that in 2014.

I'm down to the last few days of vacation.  Shucks!  And being laid up for most of it wasn't a good thing either.  We did still manage to get a lot done:  kittens for Kikukat Mom and Dad, passports renewed for the Ds, optometrist visit for all of us.  D1 is job shadowing at the dental clinic, but she is almost certain dentistry (other than as a patient) will not be a part of her future.  Mr. Dependable's mom should be happy. 

I guess there was no way to avoid the holidays without going to at least one party (I am so NOT a party person).  At the last moment, CAE and Kikukat Mom decided to have a small New Years party and put me in charge of desserts.  They told me there would be 20 people.  I figured that was manageable enough so I made a few things:  confetti jello, daifuku mochi, mini cupcakes with kick ass frosting, almond danish puff, and a jar of these arare cookies.

Now I'm not sure if "arare" is used much these days.  When I was growing up, arare was used interchangeably with kakimochi.  Nobody ever told me there was any difference.  When I went to college, many of my college friends from Oahu called it "mochi crunch".   When we went to the movies, "mochi crunch" was on the label of small bags of arare sold in the theater snack shop...purpose of the small, overpriced bag was to mix with the popcorn.  I guess this is a Hawaii thing; I don't think theaters on the mainland sell mochi crunch in their snack shops.  Anyway, arare, kakimochi, and mochi crunch all refer to small (quarter-size or smaller) Japanese rice crackers.

Sometime in the 1980s, Wholesale Unlimited became known to Hilo folk as THE place to go to in Honolulu to buy moonyagi ( before returning home.  They also sell all kinds of smelly (fishy) snacks, Chinese preserves, and gummy candies.  It's difficult to walk out of that store with just one thing.  Some people swear they have the best li hing powder.  My mouth is watering now!  Wholesale Unlimited was/is close to the airport, and they sell arare in all kinds of shapes, including the mini yakko, which is the shape you see in the picture at the top. 

Okay, so back to my party story.  The cookies were a big hit with the family.  Some old aunties were surprised that "could actually put furikake and arare in a cookie".  It took them a while to even guess there was furikake in it.

A few months ago, I ran a test batch past Aunty 3M (cookie baker snob), and the savory-sweet combo appealed to her palate.  I know Aunty 3M is a sucker for a non-chewy cookie too.  Of course, there will always be people who are not so quick to drink the water.  The Help and the Ds do not like this cookie.  The Help doesn't care much for arare so I can understand why he wouldn't appreciate it.  But I'm not sure why the Ds didn't like it since they both like arare AND furikake.  Perhaps their taste buds are not mature enough to appreciate the combination.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter
     1 c sugar
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 c flour
     1 tsp baking soda
     3 tbsp furikake
     1 1/2 c mini yakko arare

In a small bowl, sift flour and baking soda together.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add in vanilla and mix well.  Gradually stir in flour mixture.  Stir in furikake and arare.  Chill dough for 30 minutes.  Line several large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Using a #60 scooper, drop cookie dough onto parchment-lined sheets.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on sheets 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.