This week's dinners started out smoothly. I was very excited to have a local source for eggs, so it was ham and egg cups
with fresh farm eggs on Monday and a new salad on Tuesday.
Ham and egg cups
New fruit and vegetable salad
In particular, fruit and vegetable salad
salad was a hit. The combination of nashi/oranges and a lime dressing make for a very clean and zippy salad. Click here
for the recipe.
After that, not so much.
Wednesday's Chicken curry
should have been a no-brainer. Chicken, vegetables and either an S&B or Vermont brand curry block. However, sometime before 6:00 pm, definitely before the chicken and vegetables are already cooking in the pot, one should make sure that there is a block of curry
in one's house. I missed that step.
At 6:15 pm, ad-hoc chicken soup developed after adding a container each of vegetable and chicken broth, some spices and orzo. By 6:45 pm, it became orzo-risotto. By the end of the night, it would go into a pyrex dish, destined to become a chicken/orzo bake. Lessons Learned:
1) A block of Japanese curry really is essential
for making Japanese curry.
2) Make sure you have it before
you start cooking.
3) If you need something to absorb A LOT of liquid, orzo is a very good option.
Guy Fieri made Thursday's turkey/brie puff pastry tarts sound so deceptively simple. I added a few more items and the flavors are definitely all there--turkey, apples, cranberries, a dollop of mustard and brie--in a puff pastry. However, a few construction and quantity issues need to be worked out. They weren't bad and there were no leftovers but that's because teeny-tiny tarts are a a tad insubstantial for two teenagers and two hungry adults.Lessons Learned:
1) TV is not real life, especially Food Network TV and Hawaii 5-0.
2) Some brie does not melt, even after 30 minutes at 400 degrees. At all. Best to find a soft version.
3) "Tart" no matter how much the yield, shouldn't be the main course of dinner.
Friday's dinner was postponed so we can eat the orzo before it threatens further expansion.Eat Well. Be Well.
With the recent attention focused on the now infamous pink slime filler in ground beef (Is it beef? Isn't beef?), I have been thinking much more critically about what goes into ground meat. Besides the icky filler, parts from many cows or pigs can be funneled into a single pound of ground meat. Thus, it was the perfect time to try homemade pork sausage.
Fresh homemade pork sausage
It was infinitely easier than I thought
It's less expensive. It freezes well. And I know exactly
what the ingredients are--meat from one little piggy, spices, and some organic maple syrup. No fillers, ammonia, nitrites, preservatives, MSG or lamb casings. The household approved, and promptly passed a referendum putting an immediate halt to store-bought pork sausages.
Pork sausage is about 2 pounds of boneless organic pork butt, sage, nutmeg, thyme, Hawaiian salt, black pepper, and 2T (about 25 cents' worth) of organic maple syrup. Give chunks of pork a whir in the food processor for about 20 seconds, mix in the spices. Voila ici--bulk pork sausage
I took the extra step to make patties. Yield was 17. At least 2 breakfasts' worth, enough to start two batches of meatballs, or a full recipe of cornbread stuffing. I estimate it's about 25-30% less expensive that either Jimmy Dean or Jones brand sausages.
We are not abandoning Spam, Portuguese sausage or kamaboko, which is the fish equivalent of Spam. Let's be honest, giving up these would cause anarchy. However, these items tend to be 'special occasion' food. I've already found a couple of recipes for homemade Portuguese sausage that I'm evaluating.
Lastly, thank you to one of my wisest and dearest friends who does not eat any ground meat, or as she refers to them, "parts". She has always inspired me to find better alternatives in everything I do. Mahalo KT!Eat Well. Be Well.
We are not roaming the streets in search of the uber-trendy food trucks. I like to have dinner Ozzie and Harriet-style, but this week the kids' schedules do not work out that way. So meals are carry-and-go. They can still have a good dinner and get where they need to go.
sandwiches. Instead of rice, I'm using toasted green onion bread, shredded lettuce and mayo. Trying a new citrus salad. Shredded lettuce, and sliced nashi, oranges, green peppers and cukes with a lime/cumin dressing. Tuesday
Breakfast for dinner. Fluffy wheat bread
toast, ham and egg cups
, adapted from Gale Gand's Brunch!
And the rest of the citrus salad.WednesdayJapanese Chicken Curry
. We have a good shot at a sit-down dinner, so this meal is definitely not mobile.
ThursdayPuff pastry tarts with turkey, brie and TBD add-ins
. I saw a turkey/brie turnover on an episode of "Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives" Thinking of adding apple slices and cranberries to the mixture. Or I may try pear, brie and pecans or pork sausage. Fish on Friday
Furikake crusted fish with yaki musubi
Lots of ideas brewing from the cookbook research and Pinterest. Should be fun. Eat Well. Be Well.
When I was in college, the Hawaii clubs were literally an island of retreat from the occasional homesick blues. There was always someone who understood your crazy, lilting pidgin English and odd vocabulary choices like open/close the lights, or, something I still say today, try wait and try come. Or just someone who understood that when you said "$*!#? When will it ever be warm again!?" you really meant 80 degrees, sunny and a slight breeze.
So I'm happy to get the word out that the Menlo College Hawaii Club
will be putting on their 21st Annual Luau this Saturday, March 24th at the Hayes Prim Pavilion of Menlo College in Atherton/Menlo Park.
Doors open at 4:00PM
Dinner buffet starts at 5:00PM
Program starts at 6:00PM.
$40/Adults, $20/Children, Free/Children 6 and underClick here
to buy tickets.
Note that I do not get a cut of ticket sales.
Besides the opportunity for good food, great entertainment and a little ABC-store style shopping, one of the goals of the luau is to raise funds to for a scholarship for Hawaiian/Pacific Island students.
The scholarship fund has been created, but it's not quite enough to allow for an award. The good people at Menlo College tell me it's close, and hope that turnout will allow them to fund the scholarship fully.
A community luau is often one of the main projects of college Hawaii Clubs, where anyone and everyone is welcome to join the festivities as well as the preparation. Even more so at Menlo, where 7.5% of students are from Hawaii. In fact, excepting California, Menlo draws the most number of students from Hawaii than from any other state.Good Food
. Good Entertainment
. Great Cause
.Menlo College Luau
this Saturday 3/24.
The weeklong cow-fest was a rare indulgence that will not be repeated. When Friday rolled along, even the steak-loving husband no desire for another beefy meal. On top of that, my son informed me that during his weeklong school camping trip, he ate "heaps" of bacon, hashed browns and pancakes for breakfast. Every day.
Thus, this week, we're taking a break from 4 legs. I admit that I'm attempting to make a maple/pork sausage from scratch sometime this week, but will save eating it for a later date. Well, I may have to taste a little bit.
Here's what cooking this week.
with onions, mushrooms, chard, red pepper and jalapeno jack cheese. Normally I would use zucchini, but winter zukes are expensive and just plain sad. Also scored some fresh eggs from a work friend. Maximizing oven use by toasting sage leaves for pork sausage and roasting tomatoes
for panini on Wednesday.TuesdayCurry yakisoba with chicken, green beans and carrots
. There is really no recipe for this. Maruchan's fresh yakisoba and add vegetables.WednesdayPanini
with turkey, the last of a gift of homemade sundried tomato pesto, basil leaves, roasted tomatoes
from Monday and mozzarella cheese. I shall have to snag the recipe for that pesto. Will start another loaf of fluffy wheat bread before work in the am.ThursdaySweet Potato Curry
. When it's warmer in Toronto, Ottawa and Providence than it is in California, it's time for a spicy, hearty and completely vegetarian curry.Fish on FridayMahi Mahi with Tomato Cilantro Butter sauce
. This is a great dish that has been sitting in the Greenhouse
for far too long. And the cilantro in the garden is calling out for it.
Last week's menu definitely reinforced the idea of eating everything in moderation. Lesson learned.Eat Well. Be Well.
Is there a better way to spend a rainy Saturday night than with a glass of red, Girl Scout cookies and 8 new cookbooks from the library? Probably, but not today. By request, here's a quick post on this weekend's reading.In a Small Kitchen
, by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine.
Subtitled "100 years of cooking in the real world." Cara and Phoebe are two young, beautiful women whipping up beautiful food. Hope they can feed teenagers.The Big Book of Potluck
, by Maryana Vollstedt. This one definitely has a Feeding My Ohana feel to it. "Good Food--and lots of it. For parties, gatherings and all occasions." I like it already.The PDQ Vegetarian Cookbook
, by Donna Klein. "More than 240 healthy and easy no-prep recipes for busy cooks." After cow-week
, this is definitely promising.Brunch!
, by Gale Gand. I love
this book and have borrowed it a few times now. I may even buy it. There is a recipe for homemade pork sausage I've been wanting to try.Ancient Grains for Modern Meals
, by Maria Speck. Besides quinoa, it's time to start exploring beyond rice.FoodMadeFast--Asian
, from Williams-Sonoma. I've found that the W/S cookbooks give a good basic ingredient list for subtly-flavored dishes. I line up all the ingredients, and then pump up the spices.Asian
, also from Williams-Sonoma. Same as above. This is probably the least interesting, because it has some very basic recipes. I'm looking through it for technique improvements or fine-tuning favorites like potstickers, stir-fries and pho. A coconut curry soup also sounds promising.Barefoot Contessa Family Style
, by Ina Garten. I have always loved the Barefoot Contessa. The subtitle to this one is "Easy ideas and recipes that make everyone feel like family." Exactly up Feeding My Ohana's alley.
All readily available at Amazon, but much cheaper at the library. Eat Well. Be Well.
Hapa is the Hawaiian word for ‘part’ or ‘half’ and usually refers to someone of mixed ethnicity. Unlike the ugly derogatory “half-breed” or “Mudblood” for Harry Potter fans, hapa is a positive moniker. Hapa kids, especially in Hawaii, are typically perceived as having the best of both worlds—particularly their good looks or names that honor their combined heritage--Tyler Kainalu, Melody Haruka or Kawika Johnson (really!).
And it is a growing demographic. Check out Everything Hapa
for more information. Keanu Reeves, Tia Carrere, Apolo Ohno, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Kariya, Sean Lennon, Cheryl Burke, Devin Setoguchi, Bruno Mars, Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park), Kelly Hu, Tiger Woods and some guy named Barack Obama are all hapa.
This makes for diverse families, and by extension, diverse food. Amazing combos that are squarely cross-cultural. We should thank our lucky hapa stars for this goodness. In honor of Hapa Day
, here are some of my favorites.
Rice, nori (dried seaweed) and Spam. Nothing remotely Japanese about Spam. And there is no way you can make musubi using Uncle Ben’s. But spam musubi is marvy--a beloved go-to item at potlucks, graduation parties and beach trips.Mochi Ice Cream
Sheer genius to the family who figured to swap out the traditional azuki or kuri in the mochi with ice cream. Not exactly good for the many lactose-intolerant Asians, but delicious anyhow.
Peanut Butter Beer Miso Chicken
Thank you Sam Choy for this odd yet ono combo.Coconut Butter Mochi
Coconut, butter and mochiko (sweet rice flour) come together and play nicely in this sticky chewy goodness of a dessert. Sushi Variations
I'm certain that avocado, cream cheese, and lox are not traditional sushi ingredients. To be fair, these are named California and Philadelphia rolls, but still, you get the idea. Unlikely mixing improves the original concept
Furikake Chex Mix
& Hurricane Popcorn
Best. Snacks. Possibly Ever.Teri-beef Sandwiches
Sweet/salty/juicy teriyaki meat on a hamburger bun slathered with with mayonnaise, plus lettuce, sweet onion and tomatoes. Drippy goodness.Li-hing Anything
Shave ice, apples, barbecue sauce, high-concept Alan Wong's vinaigrette salad dressing. It’s all awesome.Celebrate your inner-hapa! Eat Well. Be Well.
Cows will not be sacred this week. My son, who doesn't eat cow as a lifestyle choice, has educated us. We rarely eat beef. However, he is on a school trip. While I miss him dearly, much more than say, his older sister does, we will console ourselves with beef. Here's what's cooking this week.
Korean Egg Meat Jun
MondayKorean Egg Meat Jun
, My Mom's Japanese Coleslaw
and hot rice. I don't have enough time to make Macaroni Salad
, otherwise, this would be a pretty fair plate lunch dinner.TuesdaySalt and Pepper Shrimp
, green beans, Okinawan sweet potatoes and rice. Day 1 prep for Beef Barley Soup/Stew
You didn't really think we would eat beef every day did you?! Even the steak-loving husband has limits.WednesdayBeef Barley Soup
and Fluffy Wheat Bread
because it's supposed to rain, rain, rain. Perfect soup weather.ThursdayChicken Piccata
, mashed potatoes and broccoli. Fresh lemons from my neighbor work well. This may turn into Fixed Lemon Chicken
, depending on how I feel. I may even feel like a cheeseburger from In-n-Out.FridayChristine's Clam Chowder
and the rest of the bread. Fish on Friday, more or less.
Please note that this is a one-week cow-feasting anomaly
. I do not advocate eating this way as a normal routine. I'm grateful and proud that my son has steadfastly stuck to his no-cow commitment.Eat Well. Be Well.
My Mom believes that there is a clear and absolute line between "for company" homemade food, and the more unassuming and humble food that you only make for your family. The latter category definitely includes things that make my California-raised children raise skeptical eyes. This time it was warabi and watercress soup.
Warabi, cleaned and trimmed.
Pictured at left is warabi, the Japanese name for an edible fern. The Hawaiian name is pohole. The curly parts are not inchworms. I think of "eats shoots and leaves" now when I see it. I grew up eating and liking it; ferns were no more exotic than spinach. It grows best on the damp Hilo side of the Big Island or Maui. Mom usually gets it from the Peoples' Open Market, which is what the Farmer's Market is called in Hawaii, or from my sister, who lives on the Big Island.
You won't find this at plate lunch places or hotels, and only rarely might you find it in the Hawaii Regional Cuisine restaurants like Alan Wong's or Roy's.
Warabi is sold in bunches like spinach. Clean, cut and boil it. Mom makes a kind of salad using dried shredded codfish, chopped kamaboko, a little shoyu, sesame oil and shio fuki konbu (dried, salted and shredded konbu). Mom says do not even try using konbu sheets and shredding those because it is Not The Same Thing. The sheets, she says, are dashi-konbu. There's no recipe to post right now because it's chock-ful of ingredients that are quite difficult to find unless you live in Hawaii. But it's well worth seeking out when you are in Hawaii.
A full pot of watercress soup
On a 'freezing-cold' day where the temperature slipped to the mid-70s during the day, Mom decided it was watercress soup weather.
Chicken, beef and vegetable broth, ginger, garlic, sake, bit of dashi powder, pork and watercress. This is a highly requested meal, and can be easily made in non-Hawaii locales. Three phone calls later, I wrangled out a general recipe. Click here
for what I did.
This is cooking, not Cuisine, but it satisfies your soul. If this is served to you, you're part of the family.
Eat Well. Be Well.
I owe my parents big time for making 'any kine' food, and not just what my sisters and I preferred. Whether I liked something or not was irrelevant.
Dad liked it, it was good for you, and starving children in the far reaches of the world would gratefully consume your creamed tuna or daikon greens, thank you very much. You ate what was made.
I came to appreciate this when my babies started having food opinions. This newby parent was convinced that her piteously hungry children would starve or worse yet, be emotionally scarred for being forced to eat something that didn't appeal to their largely untested and extremely limited toddler palates. At that point, my pediatrician said, "Look at that child's thighs. If he misses a meal he will most definitely not starve. Do not short-order cook for your children. Think of how you ate as a child.
" Did I mention I love my pediatrician?Epiphany.
Meals at my parents house were as much about trying new foods as nourishment. Their neighbors and friends were Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Haole, Hapa, Hawaiian...and we were always getting something new to add to the dinner table.
So this week is inspired by spending a week back at Mom's table. Picky eaters are welcome and most certainly will not starve.Monday
Not the Colonel's KFC. The kids had doctor's appointments and Bon Chon Korean Fried Chicken
is next to the doctor's office. This is a happy coincidence, and not how I chose my children's doctor. Rounded out with plain rice, nori, green beans and a green salad.
TuesdayMy Daddy's Killer Fried Rice
, using Portuguese sausage and a little kim chee. Plus Choy Sum with Shoyu Mirin Sauce
. Mom usually makes this with ung choy, but choy sum was fresh and on sale. WednesdayWatercress soup.
Mom made this last week on a 'chilly' O'ahu day when we were all still feeling icky from colds and jet lag. Everyone was happy and slept well that day. Will post the recipe later this week.
ThursdayHuli Huli chicken
, broccoli and musubi. Just because we can't go to the beach doesn't mean we can't have beach food.FridayTofu-tuna burgers
. I know, "tofu," "tuna" and "burger" in the same breath makes your head want to explode. If that's not enough, I have to throw in "carrots" and "shiitake." It sounds odd, but tastes really great. Think of it as a kind of hash.
Here's to parents and pediatricians--who tirelessly foster un-picky eaters. Eat Well. Be Well.