kruizing with kikukat

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wi's Japanese Eggplant

Another busy week in the books!  I headed to Honolulu again on Monday to attend a training.  This trip had been planned for a while, but coming so close on the heels of an unexpected trip made it even more tiring.  A whole bunch of us from my school attended the training, and it was nice to be with colleagues.  I don't think I could've said the same about where I worked previously.  Taking a trip with any one of those clowns would've been hellish.  Oh, wait.  I did, and it was hellish.

Yes, HELLISH.  I took a trip with a colleague pickier than D2.  She kept saying she "wanted to try new things", but everywhere we went, she ordered the waitstaff to cook things SHE would eat, not what was on the menu.  She even admonished the waitstaff about lying to her about a dish.  I'm not kidding!  And probably the worst part...she stole hotel towels, something most people outgrow before their 21st birthday.  I know I will never room with her again, lest the thievery be mistakenly attributed to me.  I might be a bitch, but I am not a thief.  In kindergarten, someone at the sitter told the sitter that "kikukat takes things from people's lockers".  The sitter reported this to kikukat Mom, who proceeded to admonish me.  The next day I got in bigger trouble because I punched the girl in the mouth for talking smack about me.  Like I said, I might be a bitch, but I am not a thief, even way back then.  And a big "fuck you" goes to the sitter, for being an adult and just repeating shit she heard from a 5 year old.  Dumb wench!

Taking stock of my travels, I spent 5 days of the past 2 weeks in Honolulu.  That translates to 5 days of eating out.  I normally eat at the same places every time I go to Honolulu, but I actually broke new ground during these 2 trips.  We dined at Liliha Bakery, Aiea Bowl, Gyotaku, Kulukulu, Morimoto, and Kunio.  After 5 days of eating out, it was nice to come home and eat "home food".  The Help was nice enough to have prepared the Ds favorite, shoyu-sugar hot dog.

I did not grow up eating shoyu-sugar hot dog, but many of my friends say it was something served at home.  One thing I remember being served a lot of while growing up was eggplant.  It was sliced, seasoned, floured, and fried.  I enjoyed eating fried eggplant, but now I eat it another way, thanks to Wi.

My friend Wi (not the girl I punched in the mouth) has shared some great recipes over the years.  Nobody makes jello like she does.  Her layers are also perfectly level.  Kikukat Mom says Wi makes the best warabi rice she has ever had.  Wi's warabi rice is indeed ono and has a nice caramel color all over.  Maybe one day I will make it and post the recipe.

Wi happens to be a generational friend.  She comes from an old Hilo family.  Her parents know my parents and their siblings, and her grandparents were good buddies with my grandparents.  They went to the same church, had kids around the same age, and lived on the same street.  In fact, it was Wi's grandma who made me fall in love with botamochi decades before Wi's mom became known as a Hilo mochi maven. 

Years ago, when we were both pregnant, we'd email back-and-forth about cravings we were having.  Okay, even when we aren't pregnant we email each other about cravings, but the pregnancy seemed like a good excuse at the time.  One craving Wi had was for eggplant, and she shared with me this preparation method.  This has since become my go-to way of cooking eggplant.  Now that The Help is watching what he eats, this is something we can both enjoy. 

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
     1 tbsp oil
     Japanese dressing (mayonnaise & shoyu mixed together)

Heat oil in a medium saucepan.  Add eggplant, skin touching oil.  Cover and cook until side flattens, about 3 minutes.  Turn eggplant so another surface (still skin-side) will be in contact with hot pan.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Repeat 2 more times.  If necessary, cook a little longer until eggplant is soft.  Serve with Japanese dressing.

Cooked eggplant doesn't look so flattering in pictures, but trust me...this is delicious.

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