kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 26, 2015

Furikake Party Mix

It's almost Halloween.  Halloween marks the crossover to fall, at least in my mind.  After Halloween, the days seem a lot shorter and the weather seems a lot cooler.  I like fall because fall means fireplace weather.

When I was young, I would go trick-or-treating around my neighborhood.  I remember The Rents making arrangements with  KikukatDad's friend to purchase large boxes of full-size candy bars.  I couldn't understand why we had to give out full-size Good News and Snickers bars, when I wanted to give out Jolly Rancher and Dum Dums.  I kinda still don't get it, but I do understand why the purchased the candy wholesale.

I think D1 had similar trick-or-treat experiences when she was younger, but I'm not sure about D2.  Seems that in the past few years, trick-or-treating has undergone some kind of transformation.  For The Rents, they now go to Costco and buy huge quantities of individually packaged pretzels, fruit snacks, and Famous Amos cookies and dutifully pass them out to kids who go to their house for trick-or-treating.  But The Rents have remarked that the kids who stop by are neither from their neighborhood nor are they the grandchildren of neighbors.  No shit.  Kids who are in their neighborhood on October 31 arrive by the truckloads from other neighborhoods.  They get dropped off and picked up after they have huge bags of candy.  It's no surprise that many of The Rents neighbors keep their porch lights off.  The Rents aren't there yet.  They can't seem to turn their backs on Halloween.

Not like me.

Let me explain.  I live on a small street, and there are no children on my street (D2 is the only minor resident. . .by the time D1 returns home in December, she will be an adult).  In the eighteen years I have lived here, nobody has ever come to trick-or-treat.

Maybe that will change this year.  And I will be prepared.  I will have furikake party mix to share!

You can buy furikake party mix from Costco (not cheap), Big Island Delights (you'll never get enough, even in the large foil bag), and Wholesale Unlimited (the cereal becomes hopelessly smashed by the time you're ready to eat it).  But it's easy to make your own, and if you make your own, you can control what goes into it.

The Costco version has Honeycomb cereal in it.  I don't add it in mine because I don't think it matches.  If you'd like to add it, replace the kakimochi with Honeycomb.  One of the pre-made ones also contains Bugles.  Those are good, and I would add them in if I could remember to buy them when I go to the store.  I do make an extra effort to locate the waffle pretzels.  Unlike the sticks, the waffle pretzels don't invariably end up at the bottom of the batch.

Another tip:  try to find a non-fishy furikake.  Nori komi or nori goma is preferable.  Every mouthful should not taste like you're eating a piece of fish or shrimp.

Don't ask me why, but eating the furikake party mix out of a paper cone makes it taste extra special.  And best of all, the cone is refillable and does not require washing.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
     1 box Crispix cereal
     3 cups kakimochi
     1 bag pretzels
     1/4 c sugar
     1/4 c vegetable oil
     1/4 c light corn syrup
     1/4 c butter
     1 tbsp shoyu
     5 1/2 tbsp furikake

In a large roasting pan, combine Crispix, kakimochi, and pretzels.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a small saucepan, heat sugar, vegetable oil, corn syrup, butter and shoyu until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Pour over cereal mixture.  Sprinkle furikake.  Toss everything gently until cereal, pretzels and kakimochi are coated.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  Stir periodically while cooling to prevent mixture from clumping.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oyster Rolls

I love oysters.

I will eat them raw.  I will eat them cooked.

I've eaten raw oysters on both coasts of the United States and in a foreign country.  I bought oyster shooters from some seafood stand in Pike Place Market.  In a fit of drunkenness, my friend DY and I went to a seafood restaurant up the street from our apartment, sat at the bar, and had a bunch of oysters before stumbling home.  My raw oyster experience on the opposite coast was much tamer.  My family and I went to a raw bar in Lexington Market (Baltimore) and filled up on oysters and clams.  I couldn't believe how fast those guys could shuck oysters!  When The Help and I went to Victoria, we enjoyed a cold platter at a seafood restaurant near the harbor.  I got to eat all of the raw oysters on the platter.

Whenever I go to Miyo's, I cannot help but order the fried oysters.  Having attempted, with very pathetic results, frying them at home myself, I can appreciate Miyo's.  I wanted to try the grilled oysters on sticks which were being sold on Miyajima, but I never got around to it.  Until I go back, missing out on the experience will always haunt me.

Unfortunately, the people I live with don't share my enthusiasm for oysters.  They just don't get it.  Losers.

But they will eat oyster rolls.  Go figure.  I think its because the oysters are chopped and there are other ingredients in the mix.  I suppose you could say it's rather underhanded of me to "hide" the oysters.  Oh well, it works.  And in spite of being allergic to some shellfish, D1 can eat oysters, which is a big plus for her since much of the food she associates with home contains oyster sauce.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 cans (8 oz each) whole oysters, drained and chopped
     1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
     2 can (4 oz each) mushroom stems & pieces, drained and chopped
     2 tbsp cornstarch
     2 eggs
     1 lb fishcake paste
     2 tbsp sugar
     1 tbsp shoyu
     1/4 tsp 5-spice
     1/4 c chopped green onions
     oil for frying

Combine cornstarch and eggs with a whisk.  Mix in fishcake paste, sugar, shoyu, and 5-spice.  Stir in oysters, water chestnuts, mushrooms and green onions.  Heat oil in a skillet.  Place panko in a small bowl.  Drop heaping tablespoons (#40 disher) of mixture into panko.  Coat completely with panko then shape into 2-inch long flat oval.  Fry in heated oil, turning once.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with shoyu-oyster sauce mix.

I barely survived the stress from the Summer Ends music festival from a few weeks ago, when D1 dropped another bomb on me.  She told me her school has a fall break too and she was going to visit friends in California and she was going to take the Greyhound bus to get there.  I was okay up until the "take the Greyhound bus" part.  I was hoping Mr. Dependable would put the brakes on this, but he didn't.

So D1 went on an 8-hour bus ride to downtown LA with her friend A, who was actually going home for the break.  She had contacted the SoCal Uncles earlier in the week, and fortunately, UDus was in town and able to get her from the station, which, I discovered, isn't too far from Skid Row.  Frick!  UDus got her safely to Orange County where she met up with Hawaii friends.

D1 sent me a bunch of pics from her trip.  I guess she had a lot of fun.  She mentioned going to Knotts.  Gee, it's been over 20 years since I've been to Knotts.  I'm sure the attractions have changed a lot.  I wonder if they still offer the chicken dinner.

Of course, all the vicarious happiness garnered from D1's fall break trip was tempered by the anxiety of her getting safely back to AZ.  OMG!  I was on pins and needles hoping she'd make it back to the Greyhound station on time.  It didn't help that she was going back on the overnight bus.  Then came the worry of how she'd get to campus.  I'm glad all went smoothly, and later that day, I received a pic of yukgaejang and banchan from HoDoRi, which seems to be the mainland doppelganger of Restaurant Osaka (she said they also make good katsu).

While D1 was stretching her wings and doing all kinds of shit, D2 was also keeping busy.  Mr. Dependable arranged golf lessons for her.  So far, things seem to be working out.  She hasn't grumbled about going.  We'll see how long this will last. . .

On behalf of all of us here, I'd like to extend a huge high-five to the man who re-energized my career.  Thank you for bringing be back and giving me the opportunity to spend valuable time with my children.  Thank you for helping me remember why I do what I do.  Thank you for having faith in me.  Best wishes in your new endeavor.  I hope our paths will meet again one day.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Easy Black Bottom Cupcakes

It's back to the salt mines today.  Ugh.  Fall break never seems to last long enough. 

I spent most of my fall break suffering from TMJ.  I'm sure going to the dentist/oral surgeon would be a smart move, but I can't even think about surgery right now.  This is the first bout of TMJ suffering I'm experiencing.  The Help told me it can take weeks to feel normal again.  It HAS been weeks for me, and the pain has traveled from the area of my ear to my lower jaw.  The pain seems to be getting better, but it has been a slow recovery process.

Having a sore jaw kinda put the damper on eating my favorite snack...potato chips.  I have a large Costco-size bag of Cape Cod chips just calling my name, but I need to hold off.  I did manage to eat regular Lay's potato chips without too much trouble, but Lay's (yellow bag) lacks the satisfying crunch of the Cape Cod chips.  I guess it's apparent why I have TMJ.

On Saturday afternoon, I asked The Help what did we do for the past week.  He said we did chores.  Maybe that's why I didn't want to think about it.  Doing chores suck.

I vaguely recall going to Kona sometime last week.  The trip, which would have been a high point, was marred by a stupid power outage due to a large tree falling on electrical wires.  It was the one day where I was craving Starbuck's lemon pound cake.  Unfortunately, I never got my pound cake because they were unable to ring the register at Starbuck's in Target.  It would have been nice to get my safety check (vehicle inspection) done too, but the car dealership's computer was down, which meant no safety check that day.  A dinner at Monstera would have been nice too, but D2 refused to come with us.  Going to Kona this past weekend was totally out of the question with the Ironman happening on Saturday.

I do clearly recall going to a football game.  The Viks notched another victory, and my thoughts about the worst behaved kids in east Hawaii were validated.  I'm thinking about calling the school and complaining to the principal about players and their girlfriends who created trouble by not abiding by stadium rules.  Several players lied, and one was foolish enough to give me his name, which I cross-referenced with the roster and asked another player.  The girlfriends were another story.  One wanted rules bent for her AND her friends.  While she seemed nice, one of her friends had a sassy attitude and a nasty mouth.  Apparently, she hasn't learned manners yet.  Of course, no rules were bent for them, and they stormed off. 

I couldn't help thinking that I was the idiot for spending my vacation dealing with pilau kids from another school!  That really IS dumb.

One bright spot about my vacation. . .my beloved Huskies upset the Trojans.  Yeah!!!

On my last day of vacation (yesterday), I decided to treat myself (and D2 and The Help) and make dessert so we could end our vacation on a sweet note.  I noticed a brick of cream cheese in the refrigerator, so instead of making plain devil's food cupcakes, I made these cream cheese-filled ones.  They are easy to make, and they don't need any frosting to taste like a million bucks.  If only I could've had a handful of crunchy Cape Cod chips with these. . .

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     8 oz cream cheese
     1/2 c sugar
     1 egg
     1 c chocolate chips
     1 box devil's food cake mix (preferably the non-pudding type)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan(s) with 20-24 paper liners.  Cream together cream cheese and sugar.  Add egg and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Set aside.  Prepare cake mix according to directions on box.  Fill each cup 1/2 full (a #20 disher works well) with cake batter.  Plop 1 tbsp (a #50 disher works well) of cream cheese mixture on batter in the center of each cup.  Top with more cake mix (#20 disher, half-full or #40 disher).  Bake 22 minutes (or whatever cake mix instructions give as baking time for cupcakes).  Remove from tins and cool completely on wire rack.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Yummy Salad

It's Fall break!  Yippeeee!!

I have so many things I want to do.  I have projects to finish.  I need to supervise the cleaning of D2's room.  The Help bought a bunch of pants from Banana Republic which need to be hemmed.  And in order to keep my day job, I need to finish my pacing guide.  I don't think I'll have much time for anything else.

Thankfully, my grades were done before I closed up my room on Friday.  I can't believe how many people wait until the last minute to do grades.

The start of Fall break was delayed a few hours because I had to work at a football game.  Sadly, our boys did not prevail, and we lost a tough home game.  There will be another game on Thursday, so hopefully that game will be a win for the Viks.

The concession at Friday's game was run by football parents.  I noticed they had pastele stew on the menu.  If I didn't need to be on the field, I would've ordered some.  I love pastele stew.  Sweetie often buys a big tray of it for Class of 2016 gatherings,  and I cannot get enough.  She also buys a tray of hunto rice to go along with it, and the combination is fantastic.  I'm hoping they will have more of it at Thursday's game, especially since I haven't been cooking much recently.

I still can't seem to get going when it comes to dinner.  I made beef teriyaki this past week.  I sent The Help to the store for thin sliced beef, and I was disappointed when he returned with 1 1/2 lbs of it; I had been hoping for a gigantic family pack so we could eat beef teriyaki for days.  The big draw of beef teriyaki is that The Help cooks it on the hibachi, leaving me free to cruise.  I don't know when I got so lazy.

In spite of not wanting to cook dinner, I don't mind making side dishes, snacks and desserts.  This week, in addition to the beef teriyaki (this only lasted for a dinner and a lunch), I made yummy salad.

The funny thing about yummy salad is that it is a gelatin mold, not a traditional salad made with vegetables.  When I lived with Mr. Dependable, I offered him yummy salad.  He refused saying, "you know I don't eat salad.  Why are you even wasting my time?"  So I stopped offering him any.  A few nights later, as I sat on the sofa eating the last serving of yummy salad, he said, "There you go again with only making food for yourself.  You didn't even offer to get me some."  I reminded him of our conversation a few nights prior.  He then got upset because I didn't bother telling him yummy salad was a gelatin mold.  What a fucker.

Now that I'm posting the recipe for yummy salad, he can go ahead and make his own.  If I find my jello mold gone, I'm going to assume he asked D2 to pilfer it for him. 

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/2 c water
     2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
     1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple
     3/4 c sugar
     1 c cottage cheese
     1 c half & half or whipping cream
     1/2 c grated cheese

Sprinkle gelatin over water.  Set aside.  Heat pineapple (undrained) and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Remove from heat when boiling and stir in gelatin.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, add cottage cheese, whipping cream, and grated cheese.  Pour into a mold or 8 x 8" pan.  Chill until set.

Yummy salad is a nostalgic recipe for me.  When I was in the 9th grade, I won a blue ribbon for making yummy salad in a 4-H contest.  The award was a huge accomplishment, as KikukatMom was living in San Mateo at the time.  The only help I got was from KikukatDad, whose sole job was taking me to the market and paying for the ingredients. . .there's no way I would've trusted him to actually do the shopping!