kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 28, 2015

Microwave Daifuku Mochi

So I guess I survived Christmas.  Now onto the New Year festivities.

Last year for CAE's party, I made a tray of daifuku mochi.  The old aunties were so impressed.  They actually thought I purchased the mochi.  Hahahaha.  Now that I think about it, I could've even made this in my classroom and taken it out in time for the potluck (the faculty potluck, just before break began).

Since New Years will be here soon, and you might find yourself with nothing to bring to a party, here is a short tutorial for making daifuku mochi using the convenience of a microwave.

Pour filling into greased microwave tube pan.  Cover with plastic wrap, and cook according to recipe instructions.

Sprinkle work surface and mochi surface with potato starch.

Using a plastic knife, cut hot mochi into 12 pieces.

Use fingers to flatten mochi to 1/8-1/4" thickness.

Place filling onto center of flattened mochi.

Fold mochi around filling.

Pinch mochi edges to seal in filling.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 1/2 c mochiko
     1/2 c sugar
     1 1/2 c water
     food coloring, if desired
     filling, such as sweet bean paste (smooth, chunky, white or black), sweetened peanut butter, or
          brownie chunk

Grease a microwave tube pan.  Combine mochiko, sugar, water, and food coloring.  Pour into greased tube pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Microwave on 50% power for 3 minutes.  Turn out onto surface covered with potato starch.  Sprinkle potato starch on mochi.  Cut into 12 pieces.  Flatten and fill with desired filling.  A #60 disher works well for portioning out the filling.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Potluck Food: Caprese Tomatoes

We had a potluck at work last week and, in hindsight, I should've brought this dish (although the kamaboko & kim chee dip and butter mochi were appreciated).  It would've been so easy to toss everything together.  And the red tomatoes sprinkled with green basil chiffonade looks like this was made for the holiday season.  Shucks!  Maybe next year.  Maybe NOT!!!

The potluck!  Ugh.  Actually, there were some really good things on the buffet line, but when you're food-poisoning phobic like me, what you do take is limited to things you know are safe (food not easily spoiled, food you know was stored properly, or food brought by someone you deem "clean" and hygienic). And, of course, food free from any trace of the devil's condiment.

BTW, we had another potluck, a private potluck, on Thursday.  That was even better!  I brought spicy soybeans to share.  The Keeper brought an awesome warabi salad made by MamaKeeper.  I think D2 would love it, so my next trip to the market will also be a quest for shredded codfish. 

As I mentioned at the tail end of last week's post, D1 is back.  In some ways, it's like she never left.  She even picked up fighting with D2.  Our holiday picture this year was done in one take; it had to be.  D2 had only one smile in her.  She told me later that D1 had upset her just before the shoot.  So nothing changed.

In the past two weeks, we've experienced appliance malfunction here.  The toaster oven started twitching, and the rice cooker/warmer became just a rice cooker.  Crispy rice in a day is ridiculous.  I just don't get it.  Looks like I'll be spending vacation trying to replace those must-have kitchen items.

Meanwhile, I guess all is not lost since I can still make this salad.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Caprese Tomatoes

     6-8 tomatoes
     3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
     2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
     2 tsp fresh thyme
     2 stalks green onion, chopped
     1 tbsp sugar
     1/4 tsp ground black pepper
     1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
     1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
     6 tbsp red wine vinegar
     2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
     3/4 c vegetable oil
     1 log fresh mozzarella, sliced or 1 container fresh mozzarella balls

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients (except for tomatoes and mozzarella) together.  Cut each tomato into 8 wedges and remove all seeds.  Add to mixture.  Stir gently and allow to sit 3 hours.  Serve with mozzarella cheese.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fruitcake Bars

We are entering the home stretch.  Just a few more days until vacation!


I will need to exercise great restraint and not let on to the students that I'm looking forward to the break more than they are.

Other than getting my tooth fixed and the winter ball, I'm looking forward to a quiet vacation.  I'm already off the hook for the New Years gathering; I'm just waiting for my marching orders.

I also need to figure out a way to keep my darn kat from messing up the tree skirt.  I have fixed that skirt almost daily since we put up the tree, but she doesn't fail to mess it up.  I'm surprised she hasn't actually climbed INTO the tree yet.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I need to start/finish my Christmas shopping.  Ummm yeah, the timeline kinda got away from me.  I was busy taking orders on how to cut letters on the Cricut for a presentation board.  Cripes. . .some people in this house have OCD.  And I thought D1 was bad.

In the past week, we managed to survive Christmas Corners, science fair project (only barely), Christmas concert, traveling alone, psycho cats, and early wakings.

Actually, attending Christmas Corners did wonders to put me into the Christmas spirit.  I must thank the Tongans.  Their corner was amazing.  They did an excellent job in creating a longhouse and extending their warm, Polynesian hospitality to all who visited.  They were even kind enough to offer me food from their buffet.

Since I was feeling festive, I decided to do some additional holiday baking.  I love these bars, and the candied fruit makes it a perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.

Years ago, my aunt brought these to my house.  I couldn't resist the buttery crust paired with the just-sweet-enough filling.  Unlike my friend LAMN, I don't mind the candied fruit mix sold in the tubs.  LAMN used to take forever to eat a piece of fruitcake because she would pull out all of the fruits and eat only the cake part.  Crazy, yeah!?  And if my memory serves me right, I don't think LAMN ate nuts either, so those would be extracted prior to eating as well.

I find it easiest to cut these bars while they are still warm.  When cutting with a sharp knife, be careful not to scratch the baking pan.  If you prefer, you could actually just score the top half of the bar while still warm, then remove the bars from the pan (if you cover your pan with foil, this is easy to do when completely cool) before cutting all the way through the crust.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

Crust:  2 c flour
            1/4 c sugar
            1 c butter

Filling:    1 c sugar
              1/2 c flour
              1/2 tsp baking powder
              1/2 tsp salt
              4 eggs
              1 c candied fruits (fruit cake mix)
              1 c nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine crust ingredients until fine crumbs form.  Press into 9 x 13" pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat in eggs.  Stir in candied fruit and nuts.  Pour over hot crust.  Bake 35 minutes.  Cut into bars while warm.  Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

We're baaaaack!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Family Style Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice)

What an exhausting week!
  • 9th grade registration
  • Testing
  • Summer PE registration
  • Cyber Monday
  • Late night laundry
  • Early morning bento run
  • Photo shoot
  • Birthday party
And I'm staring down the barrel at another doozie of a week!  Hopefully my emotional roller coaster which began last Sunday will come to a halt soon.

Having to euthanize a pet is no picnic.  Now I realize what my parents went through when I was away at school.  Sammy was suffering; she had stopped eating and was unable to even drink water.   Even hot dogs didn't interest hold any interest.  Her passing set my week off on a very somber note.  How could it not, especially when going back to work after an extended weekend is daunting on its own.

Sammy's passing made me realize what good friends I have.  SigMAX and I conversed continually about what was happening, and he helped me explore options.  The Help lent a hand and let me use is truck (and his time) to take Sammy to the vet.  He also drove me home since my vision was compromised by my tears.  I was also deeply touched by the outpouring of sympathy from my friends and family.  They knew how much Sammy meant to us.  I think many of my friends and family truly understood what it was like to say goodbye to a sick pet.  Pet people tend to support each other.

Its been a week since losing Sammy, and we are slowly adjusting.  Rain seemed lost.  Although she was always the bigger of the two, Sammy would always be the first to eat.  It was heartbreaking to see Rain wandering around in the yard, as if she was waiting for Sammy to return.  On Thursday, Rain even took to barking in the middle of the night at some creature which dared approach the fence line, an irritating habit which was normally reserved for Sammy.  Rain will need to get used to being THE family dog.  The Help has banned us from getting any more dogs.

SigMAX asked me if I planned to get a new dog to take Sammy's place.  I think not.  I am grateful that I still have a dog (Sammy's sister, Rain), but life with big dogs has taught me that I really am a cat person.  SigMAX suggested I look into getting a designer kitty.  Hmmmm.  I will need to think about that.  The cost of a bengal cat is rather prohibitive, and that's without even trying to get one to Hawaii!  SigMAX knows a bengal cat breeder in Utah so now I'm wondering if he can get me a good deal.  The Help did say, "no dogs", but he did not say, "no cats".

While I was mourning over Sammy, November became December.  I guess we have officially entered the holiday party season.  This means parties with lotsa food (and drink).  I'm looking forward to an after-work party with select colleagues.  I'm planning to bring spicy soybeans.  It will go well with drinks.  Why am I so fixated on "drink"?

The holiday party season would not be complete without family parties.  One of my aunties already called with an invitation.  I will need to drink before that party.  There's that word again.

I didn't bother asking what I should bring.  It's too early for that, but I am usually asked to make desserts.  While I love eating desserts and don't mind making them, choosing which desserts to make is always confounding.  I have relatives (no names) who can't cook at all.  I would rather slave myself than ask them to bring a dessert.  I have other relatives who are good cooks but make the same things all the time.  I know that people like certain things, but tell me lemon bars do not get tiresome after a while.  I don't want to be known as a one trick pony.

I think I might suggest to my aunty that I will bring a starch and a few desserts instead of just desserts.  D1 has been eating a lot of Korean food (it's easy to cook rice and eat banchan) while at school.  She said her roommate's mom makes a killer taegu.  That took me by surprise.  I don't think she ate taegu when she was at home.  I would know because it's something we always have on hand, whether made by KikukatMom or purchased from Costco.  I think she would appreciate bibimbap on the buffet line.

Although bibimbap is something most people just eat at Korean restaurants, it isn't difficult to make a family-style version.  The family-style version makes an excellent potluck dish.  It's a good way to use up small amounts of kim chee, and much of the prep can be done beforehand.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

Vegetables:  1 bunch watercress
                    1 bag (about 10 oz) mung bean sprouts
                    2 tbsp shoyu
                    1 tsp sugar
                    1 tsp oil
Use rubberband to hold watercress stems together.  Blanch in boiling water, rinse in cold water and squeeze out excess water.  Cut in 1 1/2" lengths.  Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Drain.  Place shoyu, sugar, and oil in a skillet.  Add drained vegetables.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, drain liquid well.

Egg:  Scramble one egg and fry in a thin layer in a saucepan.  Cool and cut chiffonade. 

Chicken:  Cut cooked teriyaki chicken into slivers.  One pound of chicken is ample.

Rice:  Cook 4 cups (rice cooker measure) of rice.

Seasoning:  3 tbsp shoyu
                   1 tbsp sesame oil
                   chopped taegu (seasoned codfish), optional
                   chopped kim chee (spicy picked vegetables), optional

To assemble,  toss drained vegetables, chicken, rice and seasonings together in a large bowl.  If serving family style, top with shredded egg.  If making individual bowls, top each bowl with a fried egg.  For additional spiciness, add ko cho jun or bibimbap sauce.