Kee Wah Bakery
, which just last week opened its doors in Cupertino, is the best of what looks like an up-and-coming trend for Asian-style bakeries.
Like other Bay Area beachheads of larger chain bakeries from Hong Kong and Taiwan, Kee Wah offers traditional red-sugar or bean-filled cookies, pineapple shortbread, and even sticky moon cakes when the time is right.
honey sponge cake + berries = breakfast
But it's the perfectly fluffy sponge cake and the meat-based pastries that will keep me coming back. Coconut, orange, matcha (green tea), honey or vanilla cakes are all marvy, and a bargain to boot. $1.50 for a 4-inch roll of sponge cake (which can easily be shared), or $3.25 for a whole cake, which is the size and shape of a small bundt cake.
The Ham and cheese roll, bacon and egg roll and the curry pork pastry will undoubtedly end up as lunch when the kids go back to school.
They also creates these lovely European-inspired/Asian-flavored, absolutely ethereal cakes and pastries. In other words, the perfect hapa bakery. Cakes are impossibly light and fluffy, and fresh-fruit filled with mango, peaches or strawberries. There are also unexpected combos like the matcha mousse cake.
While other Asian-style bakeries may have similar offerings, Kee Wah just has a good vibe
. It also offers greater breadth (traditional Asian/American-Asian, sweet/savory and Hong Kong imported/locally made), is spotlessly clean, and bakes onsite
--so you know the stuff is fresh. You can even watch them work their magic in their open-view kitchen. And their unfailingly polite and honest staff means I leave happy and will return often.
For more information on Kee Wah
locations and as well as a couple other of my favorite bakeries, click here
Red-bean or sugar filled traditional treats
Eat Well. Be Well.
Poi-dog is a Hawaiian pidgin-English term that very loosely means a mixed-pedigree mutt or more generally when referring to people, someone who is blessed to be of mixed ethnicity. Poi-dog doesn't have anything close to the negative vibe that mutt can have. It's a down-to-earth way of saying 'cosmopolitan.'
For example, my thoroughly beautiful and ridiculously charming nieces and nephews are poi-dogs: Hawaiian-Chinese-Portuguese-Japanese-Cherokee-English and Japanese-Chinese-Hawaiian-English-Irish-Dutch-Portuguese. I have a friend who is Indonesian-Jewish, and my cousins are Japanese-Chinese-Irish-Jewish. Think of it as one step beyond hapa.
So this week, we're eating poi dog style...a little bit from everywhere, yet wholeheartedly American. Perfect for the week leading up to the 4th of July.
Grilled tofu steaks
--Tandoori chicken wraps
(instead of sandwiches because I have leftover tortillas)Tuesday
--Costco run for chicken. BBQ chicken pizzaWednesday
--Orange-salsa pork chops
, green beans and jasmine riceThursday
, chard from the garden and yaki musubiFriday
, salad and riceEat Well. Be Well. Celebrate the poi dog in us all.
I've been growing lettuce with vary degrees of success for awhile now. I've finally figured out a few things by trial-and-error so I'm passing them them on. Some will be nakedly obvious for experienced gardeners, but some of it was "oh, cool, that works well."
1. Do NOT let your lettuce do this. (See left)
This is called letting your lettuce "go to seed." This happens when you don't harvest your lettuce fast enough and the weather gets warm very quickly. Lettuce is basically a grass that blooms. Unfortunately, all those lovely leaves at the bottom were left on the plant far too long and turned hideously bitter and inedible. You know it's bad when even the birds won't eat it.
2. Lettuce does not like hot weather. A morning watering is essential. Do not sleep in if you want lettuce. One morning I enjoyed a lazy morning/early afternoon, waited till the sun was high and the lettuce got very, very sad. And they do not recover well.
3. Extend a single head of lettuce: Starfish Method
Named because when you cut the arm off a starfish, a new one grows in its place. In this system, keep pulling leaves from the side of the plant and then eventually cut the plant down. A little baby lettuce will grow in its place.
4. 3 crops from 1 starter: Tree Trunk Method
If you cut a tree down and don't ground out the stump and roots, new trees will start sprouting out. Lettuce woks the same way. The first crop is the starter that you let it grow into a full head. Then, instead of pulling it out, cut it down as close as possible to the stump. Roly-poly bugs will inevitably nibble a bit at the stump, but then the sweetest little baby lettuce "trees" will grow in the stump. Repeat, but do not let the lettuce go to seed (See #1). After re-growth #3, you're at diminishing returns. Not worth the 'micro-greens.'
Tonight's dinner salad, with season's 1st cuke.
I haven't had to buy lettuce since April, and I even gave two heads away. Fresh, early picked lettuce is best, even if the leaves are on the small side. The bigger the leaves get, they get tougher and slowly more bitter.
Eat Well. Be Well.
Summer vacation is in full swing. This means really feeding your ohana--family and various friends and relations that sweep in and out. The much more relaxed vibe is what's best about summer. And this week is pretty typical. At least twice this week, 5-8 assorted kids and some parents will be over to 'hang out.' Sometimes with a couple of days notice, sometimes an hour. Good thing Safeway is close by.
Also if you've been following the weekly menu (and I hope more of you are), you'll notice that we've finally shifted to summer
mode. Lots more lighter, cool, one-dish meals
, and no more soups and baking-heavy meals. Poulet Grandmere
or PDQ Hot and Sour Soup
, for instance, will return when Standard Time and flannel sheets are required. Watermelon, Cherry Salad
, Peach Blueberry Cobbler
and lots of grilling are back in the plan.
: Watermelon, cherries, assorted chips, water, sun teaDinner
: Zaru-soba (barely a recipe, but I'll post later tonight) and any leftover Bulgogi
for the forecast 90 degree day. I will be nowhere near a stove or oven. Maybe some Watermelon Shave Ice
if there is any leftover from Monday. Then again, better to buy two watermelons!
: Salt and Pepper Shrimp
or Chicken, rice, and a green salad.Thursday
: My Sister's Fish Sticks
with My Own Namasu
and Sushi Pie
. We're going Hawaii Japanese today.Friday
. Making this tart-style and baking for the cooler weather forecast.
Enjoy the summer and remember to stay hydrated. Eat Well. Be Well.
The first Early Girls
The regularly scheduled blog is the update of the garden. I will write about that in 3 short paragraphs. See, there's even a photo of the first tomatoes.
But first: WHOO-HOOO!
Can you hear the absolute unbridled enthusiasm through the cable modem?? Feeding My Ohana was mentioned in the San Jose Mercury News
, print and digital circulation = 2.6 Million(!), yesterday, 6/15/11, in the Home Plates section. Click here
for the link.A BIG thank you
to my husband, kids, family and all my ohana who have supported the site (and me). And aloha new visitors!
I shall now return to the regularly scheduled garden update. Awhile back, I had to admit how the then-very-neglected garden was Not Growing At All (click here
Chard from the Yard
Well, it's back. Instead of a dog, I've decided to garden. As much as I like furry, slobbery, unconditional love, I really love eating more. And there is only so much time in the day.
It's pretty amazing what 12 bags of chicken poop, compost and plastic forks and straws and a little water will do. A very cool, rainy spring/summer means that lettuce, chard and bok choy still grow. But it's just warm enough for tomatoes, cukes, zukes, eggplant and blind-date melon/pumpkin/squash.
Fork in, cats out.
What role do plastic, non-recyclable forks
and un-environmentally friendly bendy straws
play in the organic garden's return? Essential
The garden's most persistent problem is feline
. Four raised beds look like luxury bathrooms at Ritz Carlton for the neighborhood cat(s). Eggshells and orange rinds were no match for a cat who needs to 'go' badly enough. But forks and straws present a very, very uncomfortable consequence to Johnny Cat. Thorny stalks from trimming the rosebushes also work well, but these composted pretty quickly. The very fact that forks and straws are not recyclable and do last forever have made them very effective utensils in the war against kitty litter.
So far, a cat-free garden where forks and straws have reared their spiky tines.Eat Well. Be Well.
(With one last whoo-hoo!
to click here
for the article.)
When the kids are out of school, our schedule streeetccchhheees out. Dinners get late. Dinner "planning" gets very lax. This should be pretty obvious right now as our weekly menu is finally getting posted and it's practically Tuesday.
We're going for very simple prep and one-bowl salads meals this week.Monday
, yet another last-minute experiment. Plus rice and salad with some leftover chicken tossed in. Practically meatless dinner.
, using the from-scratch char siu
I made awhile back, and maybe one of the first cukes
from the garden (fingers crossed), and definitely more home-grown lettuce.Thursday
. By Thursday, laziness should be at its apex.Plate Lunch Friday
, Hawaii Homestyle Macaroni Salad
, some grilled corn and a salad. I'm aiming for Friday, but this will probably end up as the Father's Day meal.
Enjoy the sheer laziness that summer brings. Eat Well. Be Well.
First of all, mahalo to Ground Control to Major Mom
. I'd been searching for an old-time huli recipe for awhile, and finally came upon an authentic one. She has graciously allowed me to share her post and recipe
Huli Huli Chicken by Ground Control to Major Mom
My family was living in Hawaii when I was 4-years-old. My Dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed at this small base northwest of Honolulu (not Pearl Harbor). My first solid memories were from Hawaii.
And here's one of them: Huli Huli chicken fundraisers. Click here for a history of Huli Huli chicken
(from the obituary of the inventor--a Navy man--from 2002). I vaguely remember driving up to a large dirt/gravel parking lot, perhaps at a church or a high school. And you'd see row-after-row of rotisserie-like skewers, all covered with chickens, as well as large metal trash cans to hold the marinade (this was in the '70s, well before plastic trash cans, apparently), and folks using cotton mops to slop on the marinade on the skewers.
My Dad mentioned to me once that the chickens would be sold whole for just a few dollars (I think he said $5, but I could be wrong), and they'd be wrapped for you in newspaper
!Click here about a modern-day operation on Oahu.
What I'm going to present always brings back the memories I had, but I'm sure someone will tell you that it's wrong. I've had chicken made with commercially purchased "Huli Huli Chicken Sauce"
and that just seemed WRONG WRONG WRONG
. Too syrupy, from what I remember. If you do a web search for "huli huli chicken recipe"
you'll come up with a very wide variety of recipes. Ginger, sugar and garlic are common threads, but from there you'll see varied other ingredients: limes, chiles, honey, ketchup, white wine, etc.
That's my sister's handwriting, circa 1995 or so (she was still in high school). I didn't photograph the back of the card, but suffice it to say that the back merely says to cook the chicken.
Mix all ingredients together, sans chicken. Stir stir stir, dissolving as much of the sugar as you can.
Since the chicken is taking up so much space in the bag, a little marinade will go a long way in the zip-top baggie.
I will allow this to sit in my fridge for TWO DAYS, flipping the bag about every 12 hours.
The cooking is the tough part. Because of the sugar content of the marinade, you have to be VERY careful how to cook up the parts. Low low low
, for 25 minutes on each side, then you can turn up the heat at the end to give a nice crispness to the skin. I guess I could invest in one of those rotisserie cooker thingies
, but we're lazy and just want to throw it on the gas grill.
Another option is to slow bake the chicken, then throw it on the grill. I don't have a rigid cooking time, or even a rigid cooking temperature. Let's call it 350F for 1 hour. Then give it about 5 minutes on each side on a NASA-hot grill (to coin an awesome Alton Brown
term). Baste it with more marinade, if you wish.
Looks WONDERUL, doesn't it? DO NOT be alarmed if you cut into your Huli Huli chicken and you see pink nearest the surface
...this is the marinade penetrating the meat! Trust me, it's a good thing. So long as it isn't pink next to the bones, you're golden!
Thanks again to Major Mom. The Internet can make us all ohana. Or at least it has the ability to bring kindred huli chicken fanciers together. Click here
for recipe.Eat Well. Be Well.
My husband made Crock Pot Kalua Pig
and did some baking over the weekend (mango cake and zucchini bread
), so we're starting out with leftover kalua pig, about a cup of crushed pineapple, and some errant zucchini. So this week's dinners take into account all the orphan food.Monday
--Plum Sauce Chicken
, buying a roasted chicken from the Chinese market and using up the rest of crushed pineapple from the zucchini bread.
, the vegetarian meal of the week. Maximizing the oven use by roasting eggplant, the leftover zukes, onions, tomatoes and corn (for Wednesday's corn salsa) in one fell swoop.Wednesday
--Kalua Pig Quesadillas
and fresh corn salsa
--Huli Huli Chicken
(a new addition of an old-time recipe, posting on Wednesday!).Friday
--Argentinian Lamb Chops with Fresh Mint Sauce
(also new recipe, posting later this week).What I'm using from the garden
: mint, cilantro and parsley; rosemary from my neighbor.What I'm buying pre-made
: roasted chicken from the Chinese market (on the way to the 'regular' grocery store).What I'm buying that's in season, but hoping to get from the garden later in the summer:
tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapeno and fresh corn.
No orphan food gets left behind. Or forgotten. Eat Well. Be Well.
My daughter has informed me that there are eight different kinds of rice in our pantry. She has rather sternly asked if we really need and use 'all that rice?!' Yes.
We now have nine because I just bought orzo, which isn't technically rice, but will be counted as such in the household rice census.
Here are the demographic segments of our rice universe:
1) Short-grain Japanese rice.
The staple--for everyday, sushi
and spam musubi
. Kokuho Rose New Crop Koda Farms
is the preferred choice. Because good rice really does taste better, the long-time family-run farm actually invented Kokuho Rose nearly 100 years ago, and the current generation includes someone I knew in college, who very patiently taught a very uncoordinated me to Vienesse waltz. While I was wearing slippers (flip-flops, if you must). After that it's the least I can do.
2) Brown rice.
Get over it. It's good for us. Go with Sukoyaka organic brown rice
when it is on sale, usually at Marukai. However, I will buy smaller bags of Nishiki
or organic brands if I happen upon them, especially if they are on sale. Not so picky about this kind of rice.3) Long grain white rice.
This is what my parents called "Chinese rice" Long-grain, fluffier, not so sticky, and perfect for fried rice or Spanish Rice. I am not brand-loyal, and buy whatever is on sale because I'll be adding flavors when using it.4) Jasmine rice. Even fluffier than long-grain, and a lovely smell. Good for Chinese food, curry and orange-salsa pork chops. The specific brand escapes me, but I usually buy a bag in the yellow package at Safeway.5) Sweet sticky rice (mochi kome)
--for making mochi (the old-fashioned way) or Portuguese sausage sticky rice
. We also have mochiko
, which is flour made from this rice. Go with Koda Farms
here too. Mochi-kome is available at most Asian grocery stores and mochiko is even available at Safeway.
6) Arborio rice
--because you can't make risotto
, no matter how much I tried, out of short grain sushi rice or any of the others above. We use Beretta.7) Orzo
--technically this isn't really rice. Even though I don't cook it in a rice pot, I sometimes swap orzo for arborio rice. Barilla
from Safeway is our favorite.8) Wild rice
--McFadden Farm of California
or Trader Joe's
have good wild rice blends. Good for cold salads
or rice pilaf.
9) Sweet Jasmine rice--for sticky coconut rice with mangoes. This last one can be hard to find, but the Three Ladies are often on sale at Marina Market and also available at at Ranch 99. Golden Carp is another brand.
So that's how much rice we need. What about you?
Eat Well. Be Well.