kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 5, 2016

NMMR*: Cream Cheese Fruitcake

Happy Birthday D1!  I am eagerly anticipating your homecoming.  It's been months since I've seen you, and while some might think separation gets easier as time passes, I don't think that's really true.  Not a day goes by without me thinking about you. . .what you are doing, how your classes are going, how much $ you are spending, etc.

Same with my mom.  Not a day goes by when I don't think about her and how much I miss her.  Sure, the rest of us are plodding along; I would even go as far as to say we've actually got some routine going.  But it isn't much easier now.  The pain has not gone away.  A co-worker told me it won't ever go away, but it just becomes more bearable as time passes.  We'll see.

One thing that my mom during the holidays every year, as far back as I can remember, is bake fruitcake.  Her fruitcake was called "light" or "white" fruitcake; it is not the kind of fruitcake which comes in the metal can.  That type is laden with fruits and is more fruit than cake.  My mom's fruitcake was definitely more cake than fruit.  The cake was dense, similar (but not identical) to a poundcake in texture.  It was more dense, actually.

And I never liked it (sorry, Mom).

My mom's fruitcake was too intense for me.  Her siblings in town actually loved her fruitcake.  In fact, I would always hear UJohn ask her when she was going to make it.  I much preferred it when, on rare occasion, she strayed and made a more poundcake-like version.  In hindsight, I think she made it so she could say how much she preferred her version.

There will be none of my mom's fruitcake this year.  At least no rendition of it will come from my kitchen.  Instead, I will be making the fruitcake I like.  My fruitcake is like the "other" version which my mom would make, the one with the poundcake texture and flavor, studded here and there with bits of candied fruit (I fondly recall Pennant brand in the tubs) and pecans (Mom used walnuts).  There will also be no raisins.  One thing I remember was my mom adding whiskey to the batter.  My recipe has no whiskey, but I highly recommend generously brushing the finished loaves with rum.  The rum will add a nice flavor and help keep the cake moist.  My friend Sid's mom would actually soak cheesecloth in whiskey or rum and wrap each loaf in the alcohol-soaked cheesecake prior to wrapping in plastic.

Oh, I'm certain my mom's family will ask if I plan to carry the fruitcake-making torch.  I will politely shake my head.  No point in leading them on only to end up with unfulfilled expectations.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter
     8 oz cream cheese
     1 1/2 c sugar
     1 tbsp vanilla extract
     1 tsp almond extract
     4 eggs
     2 1/4 c flour, divided
     1 1/2 tsp baking powder
     2 c assorted dried/candied fruit
     1/2 c chopped nuts
     1/4 c rum

Grease and flour 5 mini loaf pans (cut parchment to fit bottom) or 1 tube pan.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add 2 c flour and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, toss 1/4 c flour, fruit, and nuts until all coated.  Fold into batter.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s).  If using mini loaf pans, a little more than 3 #10 dishers will go into each pan.  Bake for 45 minutes (mini loaves) or 1 hour and 20 minutes (tube pan).  Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set on wire rack.  Brush top and sides of cake with rum.  Cool completely then wrap with plastic wrap.

*NMMR=Not My Mother's Recipe

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sour Cream Banana Muffins

Fall break came and went.  I'm not sure how I got so little accomplished.  I'm glad tomorrow is a holiday, election results notwithstanding.  I did my civic duty and voted (absentee).  And I will be expecting a day of leisure tomorrow.  Perhaps that's exactly how I got so little done over Fall break.  Oh well. . .

This weekend was far from leisurely.  I watched from the sidelines as our team lost a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals of the state football tournament.  They lost by 1 point.  One point.  Sure, there were tons of terrible calls made and an equal amount of infractions overlooked. . .all benefitting the other team.  But the boys held their heads high and hung in there until the end.  I guess yanking the facemask is allowed in the other league.  It's too bad stupid, integrity-lacking adults ruin it for kids.

On Saturday, OllieMama and I trekked over to the sunny side for some much-needed retail therapy.  We braved the food at Genki Sushi (my first choice Japanese restaurant was not open for lunch).  It was disappointing.  They had no avocado, so they made sushi without avocado.  How can a California roll NOT have avocado?  OllieMama actually wanted to eat the scallop mayo sushi, but it was no longer on the menu.  We also braved the Saturday crowds in Costco.  It was crazy.  At one aisle intersection, there was a massive cart jam.  The ladies "talking story" in the middle of the cart tangle seemed oblivious to the mess they caused.  Once again, I was reminded that Friday evening is the best time to go to Costco.

When I got home, which wasn't late at all, I was greeted by the smell of bananas.  The aroma was a not-so-subtle hint that it was time to do something (other than eat raw) with the bananas.  Luckily, I had sour cream on hand and could whip up a batch of these without a trip to the store.

And Sunday?  Oh, don't even get me started!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/2 c butter
     1 c sugar
     2 eggs
     1 c mashed ripe banana
     1/4 tsp vanilla
     1/4 c sour cream
     1 1/2 c flour
     dash salt
     1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with liners.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add banana, vanilla, and sour cream.  Stir together  flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add to banana mixture.  Divide batter among liners.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Under Pressure: Almost Cafe 100 Beef Stew

Last Friday, I got a frantic call from D1.  She wanted my salsa recipe.  I chuckled silently to myself.  She goes to college in the land of salsa, good, real salsa, and she wants to make the salsa I make.  But being the good mommy that I am, I pointed her in the direction where she could get the recipe any time.

I know I haven't been too good about blogging recently.  I just haven't been able to do it weekly like I used to (a few years ago, I had the gumption to do it twice per week).  Blame other hobbies and having a shitload of other things to do, as well as poor time management on my part.  But D1's call reminded me that being able to provide her with recipes of "home food" (or at least a place where she can go to get them without relying on her own organizational skills) is a good reason to try to post regularly.

Back in 2013, I posted a recipe for beef stew made in a crock pot.  I went on at length about my history with beef stew.  It's been about three years since that post, and a lot has changed.  I will never get to have my mother's "natural" stew again.  I'm not saying that I would want to eat it, but I would love to have her offer some to me.  That won't happen, and I have very little confidence that my father would actually know how to make it.  And if he offered me some, I'd refuse it anyway.

I still don't like beef stew very much, but I cook it more now than I used to.  But after D1's call, I thought I'd be remiss in not posting a beef stew recipe she could easily make.  According to The Help and UJames, this version tastes very much like the one served at Cafe 100, an iconic Hilo drive-in.  Many Hilo ex-pats make it a point to stop there when they come home for a visit.  And if, like D1, you don't own a pressure cooker, you can make this the traditional way. The pressure cooker advantage is being able to cook and serve a pot of beef stew for dinner in the short time between the end of the standard work day and dinner.

So after D1 had a chance to go to the website and check out the salsa recipe, I received another call from her.  This time, she asked, "Mom, do you really put in onions, bell peppers and olives, in the salsa?  Did you really put stewed tomatoes in the salsa I ate at home?  I don't think I eat any of those things."  I told her she did indeed eat all of those things.  Now I'm hoping she won't call and ask about the stewed tomatoes in this recipe!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 lbs boneless beef stew meat
     1 c water
     1 onion, cut in chunks
     1 stalk celery, sliced
     3 carrots, cut in chunks
     2 russet potatoes, cut in chunks
     1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes (broken up with hand blender or kitchen shears)
     1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
     1 tsp salt
     1/4 tsp pepper
     1 tsp sugar

Pressure Cooker instructions:  Dust meat in flour and brown in heated oil.  Drain excess fat.  Add water, bring to a boil and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (may go up to 30 minutes if meat chunks are large).  Use natural release method to lower pressure.  Add vegetables and other ingredients and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.  Use cold water release method to lower pressure.  Thicken gravy by mixing 1 tbsp flour with some water and add to stew.  Return to a boil, then simmer until ready to serve.

Traditional instructions:  Dust meat in flour and brown in heated oil.  Drain excess fat.  Add water, bring to a boil and simmer about 1 hour.  Add vegetables and other ingredients and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked.  Thicken gravy by mixing 1 tbsp flour with some water and add to stew.  Return to a boil, then simmer until ready to serve.
Instant Pot instructions:  Heat Instant Pot on Saute (high/more) setting.  Add oil.  Dust meat in flour and brown in heated oil.  Drain excess fat.  Add water, bring to a boil and cook at manual pressure (high) for 12 minutes and 5 minutes NPR.  At this time, fat may be removed from liquid.  Add vegetables and other ingredients.  Cook at manual pressure (high) for 3 minutes and 5 minutes NPR.  Combine 1 tbsp flour with some water.  Place Instant Pot on saute setting (low is usually enough if stew is already hot) and add flour slurry to stew.  Simmer until ready to serve.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Help's Moscow Mule

It's Labor Day!!!

Nice to have a holiday, and a Monday holiday beats a Friday holiday.

I know I've been slacking here, but I was just overwhelmed with other duties to keep up with the blogging.  I hope I can be more reliable with the posts. . .not sure if I'm ready for the weekly schedule yet.  Blogging has been a way for me to keep in contact with my far away cousins and friends.

I was supposed to host a get together with my work friends, but we cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Lester knocking at the gate.  This was unfortunate because Lester turned out to be nothing, and I know we would've had a nice time.

One monumental thing about this past weekend was trying Indian food.  Members of the Panda Club go to one of the local Indian restaurants, Kamana Kitchen, for lunch, and they keep going back for more.  Not being too adventurous when food is concerned, I never had the desire to try it.  The Help, on the other hand, has been itching to go.  The Panda Club had graciously offered to take him, but the last time they offered, the timing wasn't right.

In a weak moment this weekend, I allowed The Help to pick up food from the restaurant of his choice, and he chose Kamana Kitchen.  Luckily I had a message thread on my phone and piped in, "someone says chicken saag is good".  I had no idea what chicken saag could be.

To my great surprise, the food turned out to be delicious.  Of course, I didn't eat any lamb.  The mixed kebab was tasty (I ate the shrimp and chicken), and the chicken saag was also good.  There was absolutely nothing in the seasoning which I found offensive.  And no sign of the devil's condiment in any of the dishes The Help chose.

But there was something missing, and I realized it during my conversation with The Keeper.  The meal needed some kind of alcohol.  The Keeper suggested beer, but I don't drink beer (or any malt-based beverage).  I have a fine bottle of sake, but that wouldn't match.  Earlier today, I realized I missed the opportunity to have a Moscow mule. 

You can read all about the Moscow mule here, and I'm sure Otee's friend Rick, bartender extraordinaire at MW Restaurant can make a mean one.  At home, The Help is in charge of bartending, and had I been thinking straight on Saturday, I would've definitely put in my request.  The Help adds something a little special to his version.  The picture to the left showcases the special ingredient.

I think I will have one of these tonight. . .with a teriyaki steak!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 1/2 oz vodka
     1 oz Domaine de Canton
     1 oz lime juice
     ginger beer (or ale)
     lime slices

Shake vodka, Domaine de Canton and lime juice.  Pour over ice into copper mug and fill with ginger beer (or ale).  Garnish with a  lime slice.

Monday, July 18, 2016

BBQ Country Ribs

BBQ Country Ribs

     4 lbs country style spare ribs
     3/4 c sugar
     3/4 c catsup
     1/2 c shoyu
     1/2 c oyster sauce
     thumb-size ginger, divided
     1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
     1 tbsp orange marmalade
     sesame seeds

Boil ribs for 25 minutes with half of ginger (smashed).  Meanwhile, grate remaining ginger and combine with remaining ingredients.  Drain ribs well and place in shallow baking pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour sauce over ribs and bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning every 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Li Hing Cucumbers

I'm baaaaack!

I took an extended vacation to attend to my ailing mother.  Unfortunately, KikukatMom had some insurmountable health issues.  She passed away peacefully.  I'm glad she did not suffer long.

Since then, KikukatDad has been having dinner here.  I don't mind; I know he is lonely, and I know how difficult it can be to cook for one person.

Li Hing Cucumbers

     1 lb seedless cucumbers
     1 tbsp salt
     1/4 c sugar
     2 li hing mui

Slice cucumbers into spears.  Pack in jar with remaining ingredients.  Chill overnight before eating.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ice Cream Cookies

This is going back...way back...old school.

Ice Cream Cookies

     1 lb butter, softened
     2 c sugar
     1 tbsp vanilla
     1 egg
     5 c flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together.  Add vanilla and egg.  Add flour, one cup at a time, until all incorporated.  Using a #60 disher (a little less than a tablespoon), scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet (a flat cookie sheet can accommodate 20-23 cookies).  Flatten to 1/4" thickness with the bottom of a drinking glass (use parchment paper between dough and glass).  Bake for 13 minutes, rotating cookie sheet once.  Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  For slightly larger cookies, use a #50 disher and bake for 15 minutes, rotating cookie sheet once.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Auntie's Chinese Salad Sauce

Memorial Day. . . a day to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. 

Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial start of the picnic/outdoor eating/beach-going season.  Treat yourself to a refreshing salad to kick off summer. 

Many years ago, my auntie gave me this recipe, and we've been using it in our salad dressing rotation.  This dressing is strong, so my recommendation is to dress greens lightly.  Feel free to add won ton chips for additional crunch or throw in leftover chicken pieces for a chicken salad variation.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Auntie's Chinese Salad Sauce

     1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
     1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
     1/2 tsp peanut butter
     2 tbsp plum sauce
     1 tbsp sugar
     3 tbsp rice vinegar
     1 tsp salt
     1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients and blend well.  Serve with mixed greens.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My favorite Drop Biscuits

What an awfully long week!

Commencement was all-consuming.

I did no cooking all week.  I couldn't even bring myself to cook this weekend.  Maybe I will recover sometime this week.  Maybe not.  Thank goodness for graduation party invites.

If I had been able to get off my ass yesterday, I would've made these biscuits.  Instead, The Help went to Jack In The Box and got me a biscuit sandwich.  It was awful.  If I hadn't been so lazy. . .

Actually, I don't think I was lazy.  I think I was tired.  Super tired.

Graduation was long.  It had to be.  The broadcasting demanded it.  I'm sure if I had a child graduating this year, the length would've been a minor irritation.  Unfortunately, every minute matters when you're wearing heels and standing for the entire evening.

Remind me not to take this beast on next year.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 c flour (may replace up to 1/2 c with whole wheat flour)
     1/2 c powdered sugar
     1 tbsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp cream of tartar
     1/4 tsp salt
     1/2 c butter
     2/3 c buttermilk, milk, or cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Cut in butter until crumbs are the size of peas.  Gently stir in buttermilk.  Using a #20 disher (full+), plop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-9 minutes, just until tops begin to brown.  Remove to wire rack to cool. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

It's THAT time of year again.  Yes, THAT time.  It's the time of year when seniors act crazy and do things they normally would have the better judgment to NOT do.

My boss always says he hate the Fourth Quarter (roughly mid-March til the end of the school year in late May).  I hafta agree with him on that one.  Students in other grades, not just seniors, act crazy too.  And not that I think about it, the adults act wacky too.  Some teachers seem to create their own bell schedule and release students from class any time.  Some teachers allow students to roam campus. . .or at least that's what some kids tell me when I ask what they're doing outside of class.  For some classes, it's movie time, be it in the classroom or at the local theater.  Unreal.

For the seniors, at least, the madness should come to a head soon enough.  By the time of my next post, the seniors will be graduates.  Whew!

This past week was senior awards night.  Senior awards is an exciting time.  It's when the valedictorian(s) are revealed.  It's also when seniors are celebrated for accomplishments.  What I find most interesting is finding out where seniors will be attending college.  Unfortunately, there are no seniors who will be cheering "Dubs-Up" in the Fall, although there is at least one scholar who will be up the hill at Seattle University.

Speaking of college, my favorite college student returned home the other week.  She managed to survive her freshman year of college (YAY!), and I have a few cents left in my bank account.  Thank goodness for meal plans and instant noodles.  Of course, returning home means she has a list of things to eat in the next few months.  High on her list was crisp won ton, which we managed to cross off last week.

D1 likes her won ton without any sauce.  Chinese restaurants always offer hot mustard mixed with shoyu as a dipping sauce.  Unfortunately, hot mustard is still mustard and is known as the Devil's condiment here.  I like to dip my won ton in this savory sauce.  It is easy to put together, and leftovers can be refrigerated.  If you prefer a stronger bang than white pepper, add a few drops of chili oil.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 tbsp vegetable oil
     1 tbsp oyster sauce
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1/4 tsp sugar
     1/2 tsp sesame oil
     dash of white pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Serve with crisp won ton.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Oyster Sauce Chicken

I made sure this week was better than last.  For starters, I stayed out of work for 2 days.  Actually, both days were planned well in advance of last week.  I had an appointment on one day, and I had to be on the other side of the island for the other day.  I'm sure nothing catastrophic happened while I was gone, but I did miss the annual May Day Program.  Bummer because my school is knows for putting on a kick-ass program.  During my very first year at the school, I was blown away by what a monumental production it was.  The musicians were the musicians at a local halau, and the program was like a mini version of the Merrie Monarch Festival.  It was unreal.  Over the years, some of the fanfare has subsided, but it's still an awesome program.

Another thing that made this week better was dinner.  I did a repeat performance of Mississippi Roast.  I know there are a bunch of pins on Pinterest, but this is the recipe which I use.  Next time I will throw in a few move peperoncini.  The Help likes to eat them.

Of course the main reason why this week was better was D1's return.  She brought a big, heavy suitcase home!  I couldn't believe what she packed in there. She also used those Ziploc compressed bags to really pack a lot of clothing.  I have no clue why she didn't take more things to the storage unit I rented for her, but I'm not gonna spend too much time trying to understand what goes on in her little head.  I'm just happy she is home.

On the way home from the airport, we stopped at Noodle Club in Kamuela.  Noodle Club was a hit with D1 and the Rents.  KikukatDad was skeptical of the place when he heard it was one of D2's favorite restaurants.  He said D2 is one of 2 people whose opinion on what good food is remains extremely suspect to him.  The other is CAE!  Anyway, both D1 and KikukatDad loved the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) there.  I really need to figure out how to make it, but I know it MUST contain ko choo jang.

Since I don't have the Noodle Club KFC recipe figured out yet, there was no chance in making it this weekend.  Instead, I went to an old favorite, oyster sauce chicken.  This is something everyone, including D2 and Mr. Dependable (the pickiest of the pickiest eaters I know), enjoys.

People I live with like wings.  The Help eats the drummettes, and the Ds and I prefer the flats.  KikukatMom also likes the flats. . .the flats have a higher skin to meat ratio.  If you don't want to take the time to disjoint wings or if you just prefer boneless chicken, you could easily make this with thighs or half breasts.  And while we are all aware of the cholesterol pitfalls from consuming chicken skin, how could you NOT want to have this with skinless chicken?

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 lbs chicken wings
     1/2 c flour
     dash black pepper
     8 tsp water
     1 1/2 tbsp sugar
     1/4 c oyster sauce
     oil for frying
     sliced green onions

Cut each wing into 3 pieces.  Discard tips.  Heat oil to 350 degrees.  Place flour in a bag and shake chicken to coat.  Fry until golden brown,  Drain on paper towels.  Place chicken on a serving dish.  Heat black pepper, water, sugar and oyster sauce until boiling.  Pour sauce over chicken pieces.  Garnish with green onions.  May be served hot or cold.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Toaster Oven Food: Mandarin Orange Creamsicle Pie

Another shitty week in the books:
  • Finished babysitting an incompetent charge.
  • Got tattled on by some crybabis (adults).
  • Let the boss raise his voice at me and not report him to the powers-that-be (yet).
  • Watched my boy suck at the Russian Grand Prix.
  • Consoled an even-more disengaged colleague.

I made a promise to myself that this week will be better.  It HAS to be.

After getting zuigui'd on Friday (to celebrate the wonderfully crappy work week), I decided my weekend was going to begin on the right foot.  What am I saying?  It began on the right foot from Friday afternoon!  My promise to have a good weekend continued on Saturday when I got my monster taco and curly fries for lunch!

After the monster taco, I was able to get some things done.  I had The Help take a bunch of pictures of my wips, and I decided to make a dessert, a dessert which can be made by people like OllieMama (and other only toaster oven-owning people).

BTW, I recently got a new toaster oven.  It replaced a toaster oven I had for nearly ten years.  Instead of just going to Costco and buying one, I did some research before deciding upon the Breville Smart Oven Pro.  It seems like I made a good choice, and the Breville Smart Oven Pro can even accommodate a 9 x 13" pan!  But no worries. . .my dessert this week is made in a square pan.  I suppose I could've doubled the recipe just to say I made it in a 9 x 13" pan, but I'd rather not end up eating the same dessert for the entire week (and most toaster ovens cannot hold a 9 x 13" pan).

This dessert reminds me of something I used to eat often as a kid. . .a creamsicle (frozen treat on a stick; orange sherbet surrounding a vanilla ice cream core).  I thought creamsicles were good (not as good as vanilla popsicle), and my grandparents must've thought so too because their freezer boasted an endless supply of creamsicle.  And on those rare occasions when they ran out of creamsicles, a quick run by UJohn to Murakami Store (on Manono Street)  solved that problem in no time. 

The creaminess (and calorie count) will depend on the milk you use.  I use what I have on hand (2%), but whipping cream would make it very decadent (and definitely more caloric).  And although I haven't tried it for myself, I think substituting melted vanilla ice cream for the milk would push it into the realm of decadence.

Now that I've had a moment to reflect, I thought of something I could do to make this work week much better than last.  I think I will stay home all week!  I must be dreaming.  There is no way I could stay out all week.  There would be just too much waiting for me when I return.  Maybe going to work doesn't sound so bad after all. 

Well, just in case I end up going to work, at least I'll have some of this dessert to come home to for the first half of the week.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

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

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine sugar and flour.  Cut butter into mixture until dough forms "pea" size bits.  Press into a 9" square pan.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Filling:  2 tbsp cornstarch
              1/2 c sugar
              1 box (3 oz) orange jello
              3 cans (11 oz each) mandarin oranges
              3/4 c milk

Drain mandarin oranges, reserving 1 cup of juice.  In a medium saucepan, heat reserved juice, cornstarch and sugar.  Stir constantly until thick.  Remove from heat and immediately add orange jello and stir 3-5 minutes or until jello is dissolved.  Set aside to cool to nearly room temperature.  Stir in milk.  When completely combined, gently add in mandarin orange segments.  Pour carefully over cooled crust.  Chill until set.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kabocha Ginger Scones

What a week!

I was hoping to start cleaning the house in preparation for D1's homecoming, but my movement was hampered by a late-week accident at work.  Or at least that's what I'm using as my excuse.

I took two friends out for brunch yesterday as a belated celebration for a milestone birthday.  By the time I got home, it was late in the afternoon and I had tons of crap to put away (Costco trip).

All the brunch pigging out rendered me unable to cook dinner.  The Help graciously offered to get dinner for himself.  While he was gone, I discovered a small package of pureed kabocha.  Imagine The Help's surprise when he came back to me actually baking something. . .too full to eat, too sore to clean. . .but not too tired to bake!

When I came across the small package of frozen pureed kabocha, I remember wondering a few weeks ago if it was even worth saving such a small amount.  I guess I got my answer.  The scone recipe doesn't use a whole lot, and I think it's more for the color than anything else.

What I love most about these scones is the strong, bold ginger flavor.  I also love the flavor surprise when the candied ginger isn't processed too fine.  I've made this with expensive candied ginger nuggets as well as with the candied ginger sold in the asian preserves section.  Both types of ginger will work with this recipe.  Buy the cheaper one.
click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/4 c sour cream
     1/4 c pureed kabocha (or any type of winter squash)
     1 egg
     6 tbsp sugar
     1/4 c coarsely chopped candied ginger
     2 c flour
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
     1/2 tsp ground ginger
     1/2 tsp cinnamon
     4 tbsp cold butter
     1/2 tbsp butter, melted
     1/2-1 tsp turbinado (coarse) sugar (may use granulated sugar if turbinado sugar isn't available)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, kabocha and egg.  Set aside.  Pulse sugar and candied ginger together in a food processor until ginger is finely chopped.  Add flour.  Sift salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into bowl of food processor.  Pulse until spices are evenly distributed.  Add cold butter, and pulse until butter pieces are thoroughly incorporated into dry ingredients.  Add to sour cream mixture.  Stir only until mixture clumps together.  Turn onto floured board and knead a few times.  Pat into an 8" circle.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Place on parchment paper, leaving 1/4" space between wedges.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, April 18, 2016

THFM's Satojoyu Hot Dogs

I had a big treat this weekend.  My friend Wi (I referred to her in a previous post as a "generational friend") called me a few weeks ago and offered me her lunch reservation at Takenoko Sushi.  Takenoko Sushi is probably THE most exclusive sushi establishment on the Big Island.  They are completely booked for the remainder of 2016.  While they will do take-out, even that is hit-or-miss too, and there are stringent, regimented pick-up times.

Instead of ordering the omakase (chef's choice) like The Help, I ordered just the pieces I felt like eating.  I got my mirugai (geoduck) fix for a while.  The Help said the highlight of his assortment was the otoro (fatty tuna).  He said it was like butter.

After all that feasting, there was no way we could have anything for dinner which would come close to the decadence of that meal.  So we went totally opposite. . .I got to eat my monster taco and curly fries!

Searching for a middle ground, we eventually ate one of the most humble dinners imaginable last night.  Neither The Help nor myself was in any mood to cook, and any attempt at a fancy meal would fall far short of Takenoko Sushi, which was still fresh in our minds.  We settled on satojoyu hot dogs.

Today's post is primarily for D1 and any other college student who is yearning for "local" food.  Please pardon the simplistic nature of the recipe, but it is kid-tested and approved!

I mentioned shoyu-sugar hot dogs in a previous post (the same post where I mentioned Wi).  I seriously did not eat shoyu-sugar hot dogs while growing up.  Perhaps I was only one of two kids in Hilo who didn't.  The Help learned how to make shoyu-sugar hot dogs from the Japan-born mother of some high school friends, and because he learned it as "satojoyu hot dog", that is what he continues to call it.  I have NEVER made this; it is The Help, not me, who makes these for us.

Knowing very little about regional dialects, I can only guess that "satojoyu" must be some kind of regional way to describe foods made with shoyu and sugar.  My minimal Japanese language skills can at least identify "sato" as sugar, and any fool can hear the similarities between "joyu" and shoyu.  I cannot ever recall either of my parents using the word "satojoyu".

After stuffing my face with what would probably be a half pound of these hot dogs over a mound of rice (and some kim chee on the side. . .really, who could forget the kim chee), I thought about the last time we had these.  I had sent D1 a picture and she texted back, saying how much she missed these, how good they looked, and how she was got a little homesick when she saw the pic.  Even though this was not something I missed when I was in college (how could I since it wasn't something I grew up eating), I guess D1 grew up eating this.  I told her they seemed simple to make and I would be sure to ask The Help how to make it and get her a recipe.  Unfortunately, they probably don't sell red hot dogs where she is!  Oops!

In the event she is able to locate red hot dogs from a Hawaii source within the next few weeks, she can make these for nourishment while studying for finals (D1, here's your recipe).  And D1, if you're reading this, The Help said he will make these for you when you get home.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg (about 1 pound) hot dogs, preferably red ones from Hawaii
     2 tsp oil
     1/4 c sugar
     1/4 c shoyu

Slice hot dogs on the bias (about 5 pieces per hot dog).  Heat oil in a skillet.  Add sliced hot dogs and saute until brown (areas of char).  Add sugar and shoyu.  Cook until sauce is thickened.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Shredded Mango

I am completely exhausted.  I cannot even think how I got through the week, but I must have because here I am.  I'm hoping this week will be kind.

My weekend was quite busy.  I worked on Friday night at a game.  Since it was late, I ended up with my favorite fast food dinner. . . monster taco and curly fries from Jack In The Box.  Yummm.

The Help and I sped off to Kona on Saturday afternoon, hoping to beat the closing time of a lighting store near Costco.  We made it, but the store did not have what we needed.  Now I need to decide what I'm going to do about my dining room lights.  Currently, the lights I have are unusable.

I felt a little guilty about dragging The Help to Kona on his birthday, but he was nice about it.  We ended up buying food for his birthday dinner.  Costco is the only place I know of on the Big Island where you can buy prime beef.  Costco parking lot was crazy, and the inside was just as bad.  For the second trip in a row, I was unable to locate beef brisket.  With the warm weather, I'd like to smoke a brisket soon.  I meant to go back to the seafood kiosk for giant prawns, but by the time I remembered, I was out of the store and didn't have the gumption to brave the masses once again.  Next time I will remember.  I need to get my fill of crab, lobster, and shrimp before D1 gets home.  I don't want to be party to tempting fate.

One thing which paid off this week was having leftover ham from the weekend.  It was nice to come home, knowing dinner was gonna be easy.  You can do lots of things with ham.  I made chowder, quiche, and, of course b-f-d.  I didn't bother cooking much this past weekend (remember the craft projects needed to be finished) so I won't be as lucky this week.  I'm hoping Aloha Mondays will have something I can eat (no mustard or wasabi).

During the first part of spring break, I ordered a handful of craft books.  Only 2 have arrived, so I've been diligently reminding The Help to stop off at the mailboxes daily.  On one of the stops (I make him get the mail while D2 and I look for our friend the green anole), I noticed a bunch of small, unripe fruit on the mango tree in the backyard of the corner house.  Later, when I looked at fb, I saw that a friend had posted a pic of pickled mango.  I guess GREEN mango season is here.

I love green mango season even more than ripe mango season.  While pickled mango makes a kick ass snack, my favorite mango snack is shredded mango.  Making shredded mango is a bit more labor-intensive than pickled mango, but the results are definitely worth it.  And with all the publicity about the shit that people find in imported preserves, making your own is the way to go.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     10-12 green mangoes, peel and slice in 1/4" thick strips
     4 tbsp rock salt, divided
     1 1/4 c turbinado (raw) sugar
     1 lb brown sugar
     1 tsp grated orange rind
     1/4 tsp red gel food coloring
     1 tsp 5-spice

In a large bowl, sprinkle mango strips with 2 tbsp rock salt.  Toss gently.  Cover and let sit overnight.  Rinse mango strips and drain well.  Place mango strips in large pot and add 2 tbsp rock salt, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, orange rind, food coloring, and 5-spice.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat (gentle boil).  Cool completely before packing.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pesto Tortellini Salad

It's finally warming up.  I actually went to work without a jacket several times this past week.  I was even tempted to go for a swim.  Tempted.  But it was also windy and I really didn't feel like skimming leaves.

In spite of the Merrie Monarch Festival happening in town this past week, I had a very non-festive week.  Work, which should've been nice since it was a short week, was just blecchhhh.

I supposed teenagers will always be teenagers.  The after-prom shenanigans included the pilferage of the table decorations (kids were explicitly told, in no uncertain terms, that decorations were not to be removed from the tables) and defacement of linens.  Dealing with the aftermath, including tracking down the perps, makes for a pretty shitty week.

The culminating activity of the year, Commencement, was another source of shittiness.  Every year, I discover more adults "on the spectrum" (or at least I swear they are).  And students who are in the running for (and have hopes to win) a class award. . .not pono!  Being pono includes abiding by the direction of adults.  It does not include stirring up trouble by sparking "he said, she said" controversy.  I'm still pissed.

And since I'm on the shitty bus, here's another suck ass thing which happened.  My car repairs are gonna cost big buck$.  Dang!  I got that bit of bad news when I went to Kona this weekend.

In trying to end this post on a positive note, I'm gonna dig deep.  The Kona trip this weekend did yield something good. . .a jar of pesto from Costco.  OllieMama told me a while ago that Costco makes awesome pesto.  I'm glad I listened because she is right. 

We usually mix spoonfuls of pesto into cooked pasta, but in looking for something different, I tried this salad.  The original recipe called for half the pesto, but I wanted a more punched-up pesto flavor.  I also decided to toast the pine nuts because I like the extra-nutty flavor.  Like the crimes of theft and vandalism (the acts committed by irresponsible kids), this salad is so good it should be illegal.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Pesto Tortellini Salad

     1 pkg. (8-9 oz) refrigerated, ready-to-cook cheese tortellini
     1/2 c pine nuts
     1 small zucchini, sliced into thin strips
     1 c grape or cherry tomatoes
     1/4 c pesto
     1/3 c mayonnaise

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and cool.  Line a shallow baking pan with foil.  Place pine nuts in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove pine nuts from pan and cool.  Halve grape tomatoes or quarter cherry tomatoes.  Remove seeds.  Combine pesto and mayonnaise in a medium mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cookie Jar: Crispy Rice Krispies Cookies

D2 is back  home and we are digging our feet in, getting ready to brave out the last quarter of the 15-16 school year.  This year feels like it went by quickly, except when I was counting down the days for D1 to come home.

I had some big plans for this vacation, which is all but gone now (just a few HOURS left).  I managed to get some things done, but I didn't get to things I wanted to do.

I wanted to send D2 on her trip with a gigantic bag of cookies.  That never happened.  I wanted to clean my bedroom.  That didn't happen.  I was hoping to complete my pacing guides for next year.  That didn't happen (my efforts fell far short).  I wanted to buy a new car.  That didn't happen either.

Enough about what didn't happen.  Here's what DID happen (which I can smile about):
  • I survived the senior prom.  Mother Nature blessed us with safe driving conditions.  I could hear thunder while the prom was going on, but by the time we hit the road for home, the rain let up.
  • D2 did not appear malnourished from her trip.  And the iPhone 5C is practically bulletproof.
  • I discovered a super ono sushi lunch place in Hilo.
  • My cousins treated me to a Hilo Hawaiian buffet dinner on crab night.
Life is good.

These are the cookies I wish I made for D2.

She'll hafta eat the pics.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter
     1 c sugar
     1 c brown sugar
     2 eggs
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 c flour
     1 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp salt
     2 c rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal)
     2 c Rice Krispies cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment.  Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredient mixture.  Fold in oats and Rice Krispies.  Drop by tablespoonfuls (#50 disher) onto prepared cookies sheets.  Moisten fingers and press gently to flatten slightly (top should be flat, not domed).  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.