Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Thanks Together Invites

I was wandering through my Pinterest board after work and saw some fabulous ideas for outdoor Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Beautiful and way over my league, but I saw this card that gave me an idea to create a postcard invitation (above) to send to our guests (really it's just our usual Sunday dinner family, but they are still guests)

But since it is a postcard, I figured instead of the usual you're invited, I would choose a grateful poem and give each person a part of the poem. I chose "Invocation" by Jeanne Lohmann as a way to share a piece and enjoy some choral reading. 

I hope they like it. Here's the back of the postcard ( I took the addresses off)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kaiso Seaweed Salad

The weather has been so muggy in Hawaii, perfect for a cold kaiso hijiki salad. Look for this package of dehydrated assortment of seaweeds in the Asian aisle. It's a mix of seaweeds, hijiki, agar agar, etc. If the weather is cold, you can also drop a handful of this mix into your miso soup.

For the summer salad:

I used the whole bag (3 oz) but adjust as necessary. 
Directions - 
3 oz.  dried seaweed (kaiso salad) mix

Put the seaweed in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak (5-8 minutes)
Drain, squeeze out as much water as possible and put it back in a bowl. 


3 1/2 T. rice vinegar
3 T. shoyu
3 T. toasted sesame oil
3 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger and juice
green onion for topping
toasted sesame seeds for topping

Whisk everything but the green onion and sesame seeds to create a vinaigrette. Toss through the seaweed and top with green onion and sesame seeds before serving.

Refrigerate if serving later. I'm putting it on our lunch salads (lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, seasoned kaiso salad and some lemon slices for extra acid.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot with Shoyu/Lemon Walnuts

I had a partial head of cauliflower and a couple handfuls of baby carrots so I put them together so I would at least have a full pan of veggies to roast.

The walnuts were going to go on with just some lemon zest and olive oil but I was craving a little more savory flavor so I added some shoyu and lemon juice to taste and it just adds that extra oomph.


Cauliflower, cut into florets
Carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
Extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat veggies
Hawaiian salt ( I used my mom's Rocking H dry rub)
Black pepper
Lemon zest (about 1/2 tsp)
Lemon juice to taste
Shoyu to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In the last couple minutes of oven preheat, I put the walnuts in a pan and toasted them. You could dry pan toast it on the stove. 

Toss the carrots and cauliflower with a little olive oil. I started with 2 T., tossed in a bowl to coat veggies then added maybe 1/2 T. more. Salt and pepper the veggies and lay it out on a roasting pan. 

Roast until the veggies are tender and lightly browned (about 25 minutes). Taste and season more if necessary (or just get it right the first time). 

While the veggies are roasting, I put the walnuts in a nut grinder or coarse chop them, add lemon zest, about 1 T. olive oil and shoyu and lemon to taste.

When the veggies are done, plate it, add the walnuts and enjoy. I put the extra walnuts in a container to add to salad later in the week. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

No Nut Pesto

This summer has been a good one for basil, tomatoes and green onions  but I hate using so much oil in pesto so I tried this Chef AJ version with no nuts and no oil. I made my usual Moosewood Cookbook version too and the No Nut held up pretty well. Use it first. Without the oil, it doesn't hold onto the basil taste as long as the original.

1 can   cannellini beans, drained
1 oz. basil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 T. miso
1/4 cup lemon juice

Blend it in the food processor. If I put it in the Vitamix, would it make a difference? I need to buy more beans and then I will try it again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Meatless All Day

Author: Dina Cheney

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (March 2014)

About the book:

Meatless all day is a sumptuous book that looks at vegetarian and vegan meals not as quick and easy or even healthy, but as fine dining experiences using the freshest seasonal ingredients and worldly spices and herbs. 

I am used to vegan or vegetarian cookbooks that spend the introduction explaining and defining vegetarian and vegan food in order to highlight the oddity of this type of cooking, but I like that Cheney's book instead goes into some specific tips on cooking. I especially liked the section on tips for golden brown, crispy exteriors. With vegetarian and vegan food, sometimes focusing on textures makes it more palatable for non veg heads. Saw another tip from "The Kitchen" about salting home fried potatoes after and not before cooking for that golden brown color. 

Another plus for this book is that the pictures are fabulous. This is not a book to read when you're hungry or even right before dinner. This is a plan ahead for the week Sunday morning read.

I definitely loved the vegan dishes like the "tabbouleh with dates and pomegranate vinaigrette." The spices of cumin, coriander, sumac, cayenne created a vibrant palate of flavors. I lucked out that my health food store had sumac which I think makes a difference.

I also enjoyed going out of my usual comfort zone of Indian/Asian/Mediterranean flavors and made the Mexican chopped salad with cornbread croutons. I don't use lime zest enough and I need to start doing that. I didn't use the cheese cubes because I am more vegan than vegetarian, but I don't think it made a difference. 

What I want to try and I'm waiting for the right time is the Greek salad with roasted chickpeas and watermelon. Perhaps fourth of July. Also fall would be great for the veggie chili with butternut squash.

There are just so many intriguing recipes in here that it will take a year to try everything and with so many different ethnic flavors, going meatless all day will not be a boring journey.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Almost Homemade Ketchup with a Kick

Tango Cafe in Honolulu is one of my favorite places to eat breakfast in Honolulu. When we are there for work, we wait in line outside at 7 am for their coffee and eggs benedict. My favorite is a half half - half gravlax benedict and half florentine or crab hash benedict. Really great restaurants have great food, true, but a really really great restaurant knows how to do those little off the menu things like make sure that every refill of coffee is unasked for and fresh. But the real key is their ketchup. When it comes to the table and you're sitting with Tango newbies, don't say anything. Just nonchalantly move it toward you. It comes in a little dish, not really red and kind of thick and grainy in texture, but this stuff is so good you will want to lick the dish. 

We asked them how to make it and all they said was it's tomatoes cooked down, carmelized onions, some cumin.

This is my first attempt. I didn't cook down tomatoes. I just used bought ketchup I had, carmelized some onions and added some kick. The Tango version is not spicy, but this one has a bit of a kick. 

1 T canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin

In a heavy bottom saucepan, slowly cook the onions with oil until they are brown and super soft (I stood over the stove for about half an hour which is long for me). 

While it cooks, put together -
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
black pepper

When the onions are carmelized, not burned, add 1 Tablespoon of cider vinegar, stir it around to scrape some of the crusty bits from the pan then add the ketchup mix. Cook it gently for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors, then take it off the heat. When it cools down a little, put it in the Vitamix, blend to the consistency you want and enjoy. 

I'm pre-prepping for the Father's day sliders, so ketchup done.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nobu's Den Miso with Broiled Eggplant

Summer is the worst time to cook, but I have so many recipes in my Evernote folders and my Pinterest boards so this is the down time for me. I think this is a fabulous fall or winter recipe, but with a cold Kirin, it's still good in the summer and it can be eaten cold on salad for lunch.

Find the original recipe here. Besides cooking the sauce on eggplant, it's a good dipping sauce for fried tofu, tossed with blanched green beans, and used as a dipping sauce for boiled tako (octopus). Keep the extras in the refrigerator.

Den Miso:
  •  1 1/2 cups white miso 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 cup sake 
  • 3/4 cup mirin 
Combine miso and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add sake and mirin, whisking to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and color begins to darken, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

Den Miso with Nasubi (eggplant)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying 
  • 4 Japanese eggplants (about 6 ounces each), halved lengthwise and skin scored in a crosshatch pattern 
  • 1 cup Nobu's Den Miso 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 
  • Pickled ginger and plums, for garnish (optional) 
 Heat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat about 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees. Working in batches, place eggplants in pan, skin side up, and fry 1 minute. Turn and fry 30 seconds more. Transfer eggplants to baking sheet and let drain. 

 Transfer eggplants, skin side down, to an unlined baking sheet. Spread each half with slightly more than 1 tablespoon miso. Broil until miso begins to darken and caramelize, about 30 seconds to a few minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with pickled ginger and plums.