Christmas planning is going full-speed ahead. This weekend, we got our pictures taken, ordered Christmas cards, went Christmas shopping and now I'm prepping boxes to ship out to Hawaii. I also attempted to cash in on an online calendar sale, but sadly, that sale and along with the last of my Christmas mojo expired like Cinderella at midnight last night.
However, we still need to eat, and planning the weekly menu always reminds me to settle down and pay attention to the most basic of things--feeding my ohana. Here is what we're having this week.
Pork sausage spice goodness
, stew-style. It's too late for tomatoes, but red peppers and eggplants were looking fabulous at the grocery store. Lucky to have temperate California weather.TuesdayWinter-style Panini
, using the technique from Turkey/Summer Panini.
I made a huge batch of Homemade Pork Sausage
for Thanksgiving and froze half of it into patties. The winter version is pork sausage, arugula, pears and either Havarti or brie. Or both.WednesdayMy Grandma's Meat and Macaroni
, with ground turkey. There is nothing fancy about this meal, but everyone loves it.
Nearly Meatless ThursdayMy Mom's Watercress Soup
. Like shabu shabu
, watercress soup is great for cold days and not heavy. Watercress is apparently the new "it" food, so Mom really does know best.Friday--Dinner and the Movies
and Baba Ghanouj
. The featured flick is The Avengners, which we will watch for about the 14th time. Each family member has their own favorite character: Black Widow, Iron Man, Pepper Potts and Captain America.Remember, this time of the season is supposed to be fun. Eat Well. Be Well.
Avocado poke stacks are wondrous combination of flavors and textures. I first had these from Alan Wong at a Taste of Hawaii
. It is a piece of ahi heaven.
Poke, avocado and wonton crispies sound so simple in concept. So I set out to make a home version, using the construction guidance from Alan Wong.
Source: Chef's Table, ABC News
Avocado poke stacks--Home Version
The original Alan Wong's recipe is in The Blue Tomato Cookbook.
In the interest of full disclosure, I bought the book with my own hard-earned cash, and do not receive any compensation for mentioning it here. Generally, Alan Wong recipes can be hard to do family-style because they tend toward individual portion dishes that require fine construction and finish work. This one is unusually simple but know that it does use a raw egg.
I attempted a home version to use up leftover guacamole
. Instead of a circular mold, I used my trusty Spam musubi frame.
I started with my own poke
recipe, but cut down the shoyu. I did switch to the sambal oelek, as per the Alan Wong's recipe instead of pepper flakes. This is a good switch and I've edited the poke
I also used Hawaii Candy brand pepper flavored wuntun strips
instead of making them from raw squares of wonton wrappers.
Mayo, mustard, sambal and lemon juice
The biggest change was in the aioli that drizzles on top of the dish. I substituted mayonnaise both canola oil and the raw egg because using raw eggs just freaks me out. I also left out garlic because I like the brighter flavor of lemon and shiso leaves. As well, the guacamole had a hefty dash of garlic in it already.
I definitely recommend the Haute version at least once, especially if you can go to the restaurant. The portion size is just right, and it really is quite beautiful. And I'll take it on faith that the chefs know how to handle raw eggs properly.
Home version tasted great, but doesn't come close to the plating perfection from the professionals. The Spam musubi mold works as a construction device. However, the stacks are pretty substantial for an appetizer, but not big enough for an entree. And it's hard to grab and go or share.
For round 3 of the Home version
, I'm thinking it might be better to crisp up full wonton sheets to make single-serving versions. The serving size will be more appropriate, construction will be a lot faster, and people can just pick 'em up and eat 'em. Time to have a potluck to try this out. Click here
for the work-in-progress recipe. The flavor is all there, but the construction needs refining.Eat Well. Be Well.
Snow, finally in Lake Tahoe
Today is the first day of the year of the Dragon. Being a Dragon Lady rather than a Tiger Mom, this is supposed to be my year for new undertakings. The signs are everywhere.
#1 sign. A friend has encouraged me to put together a book proposal. Whoa! and Yay!
#2 sign. Over a cup of Kona coffee on a getaway Lake Tahoe weekend, one of my dearest, most loyal and refreshingly candid Feeding My Ohana followers gently reminded me that, "Your recipes are all good and we all know you can cook, but you've not had many new recipes lately. What more are you going to do with Feeding My Ohana?"
#3 sign. Today, I had lunch with a former boss who asked me the very same thing, along with, "What are your plans for a mobile app?"
Food for thought indeed. Fabulous Ideas and a whole new year to Do Something. So Step 1: New recipes. Here's Week 2 of better four legs/feathers/gills/plants distribution and three new meals to foist upon the family.
Hot and sour soup in 30 minutes
MondayPDQ Hot and Sour Soup
(four legs). No gau, the Chinese mochi that is typically served for Lunar New Year's, so it'll have to be Jello mochi
instead.TuesdayCrock Pot Peanut Butter Beer Miso Chicken
(new feathers). I've been wanting to try this for awhile now-a Honolulu Advertiser recipe I brought back this past summer. I will post to the Greenhouse
later this week.Wednesday
Lemon pasta with macadamia nuts, mushroom and parmesan
(new plants). This is based on a recipe that uses hazelnuts, and I'll likely throw in some arugula for color and a little peppery zap.
ThursdayAlan Wong-inspired avocado poke stacks
(new gills) and Bri's Butternut squash
. The avocado poke stacks are one of the doable-at-home recipes from the Blue Tomato cookbook
, and I'm using the spam musubi maker as a mold. Balancing the lightness and saltiness of the ahi with the substantive creamy sweet of butternut squash. And perhaps some kind of wilted arugula for salad. This could be a great meal, or just plain weird.Friday
Pannini using bread-machine bread with roasted tomatoes,
mozzarella and arugula. Roasting tomatoes seems to be the best way to get good flavor from winter tomatoes, and we are two days with plants this week.
Any other suggestions for Feeding My Ohana are most welcome. What do You
want to do this year? Eat Well. Be Well.
The sweet, shiny. deep red/pink of fresh, line-caught ahi was calling out to me at the Japanese grocery store. That ahi turned into a lip-smacking dish of poke that we all fought over at dinner.
Why am I calling it 'ex-pat' poke? Traditional poke typically includes some kind of limu/ogo (seaweed) and a bit of inamona
(a kind of paste made from kukui nuts). I've tried to get fresh ogo here, even to the point of calling a fish distributor, but no luck so far. And getting inamona would be a crazy cooking hoop to jump through. Thus, 'ex-pat' poke for the Hawaii people who love poke but cannot get these requisite items.The most important and critical element is to find the absolute freshest ahi you can get.
Fresh means not previously frozen, not slimy and it shouldn't smell like 'fish'.
It's also better to get a chunk of ahi and slice it yourself rather than the pre-sliced stuff. The reasons are 1) the pre-sliced stuff is what my father disparagingly calls "rubbish ahi" or the fish equivalent of hot dogs and 2) air degrades fish, so the fewer exposed surfaces, the better.Click here
for the recipe.