Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunny's Lomi Sardines

My sister Sunny is allergic to salmon and shrimp so my mom would always have to make one bowl of lomi sardines for Sunny. Lomi in Hawaiian just means to rub, mash, massage, mash fine, crush. It basically means to put everything in a bowl and massage it together . Sunny likes it spicy and I don't but I was going to eat her lomi sardines anyway so my mom would make two bowls. One spicy, and one not.


  • 2 cans sardines (either the one in olive oil or if you want it spicy, the one with jalapeno pepper)
  • 2 or more tomatoes, diced
  • 1 round onion, diced
  • green onion to taste
  • inamona to taste
  • Hawaiian salt to taste
  • some kind of vinaigrette (whatever is on sale: Italian, zesty Italian, balsamic. . .)
  • Optional - squeeze of lemon or lime

  1. Drain the oil from the sardines, take out the bone and break it apart a little
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough dressing to taste
  3. Cover and put it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before eating.
Note: my Grandma Sodetani used to peel the skin off the tomatoes. She also used to pick off all the little ends of the bean sprouts too. If she wasn't in her yard or in the hot house with her anthuriums, Grandma was in the kitchen. I was too young to learn how to cook with her and once the Alzheimer started taking over her mind and she got worried about leaving the stove on and forgetting it, she stopped cooking. But I remember her in the kitchen and having spent my fair amount of time in kitchens I realize that she cooked with love and that included doing unnecessary prep like putting the tomato in hot water to take the skin off.

So if you want to take the skin off the tomato first, by all means, #cookwithlove

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Smoked Bourbon and Orange Brined Turkey

Every year Big Spazz makes two turkeys in his electric smoker and one turkey in his oil free fryer. So far, this is his favorite brine for the smoked turkeys. Take out the innards, put the defrosted turkey in the brine and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. 

Ingredients for brine:
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 1-1/2 c bourbon
  • 1 c Hawaiian salt
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 lg naval orange, sliced into 6 wedges
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for turkey:
  • 1 (12-14 lb) turkey, defrosted, giblets removed
  • 1 large naval orange, sliced into 6 wedges
  • several sprigs fresh herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  1. For the brine, in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey and brine, combine the water, bourbon, salt, brown sugar, orange wedges (squeeze each wedge to release the juice), bay leaf, pepper, and cinnamon. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. 
  2. Add the turkey to the brine, breast-side down, weighting it with resealable plastic bags filled with ice or cold water. Refrigerate the turkey and brine for 24 hours. 
  3. Recommended hardwood for smoking: apple
  4. Cook time - 3 hours

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunday Dinners - Six Years Later

This blog started with one idea on July 5, 2009, create at least one year of Sunday dinners. six years later, some things have changed, the usual guests remain but we have added, subtracted, switched out. Sunday dinner used to always be at our house because my parents moved to a smaller house. My mother in law stopped driving, so we would pick her up. Then it came to the point where she couldn't take care of herself so we started moving in with her at the same time that I took a job in Honolulu again, now at UH West O'ahu and not a one-year stint either, but a tenure-track position in a building program.  Two of the three boys got married and moved to Oahu too so there are 5 of us for Sunday dinner on O'ahu and 5-7 of them for Sunday dinner in Hilo depending if I'm in Hilo or Honolulu for Sunday dinner.

The picture at the top is our Sunday dinner at Buca di Beppo for my daughter-in-law Pomai's birthday. It was fall break, so boy 3, now a senior in high school came to Honolulu to hang out. In both locations, 3 "families"take turns "cooking." My mother in law does not cook anymore either, she is almost immobile, so we either go out on her turn or Ken or I cooks. Whenever I go home, I try to cook. On Oahu, the 2 boys and I take turns so I make sure I am home to cook and I don't go back to Hilo on my turn. 

Dinner is still at 6. Dessert is still not optional. For Ken, pupus are not optional, but the kids and my mom don't seem to need this or spend time worrying about pupu, and the kids are not always dessert people either, but they are still in training. 

What happens when we do this for 6 years rather than the 1 I was trying for?

Our adult children, our daughters-in-law and hopefully soon our new grandchildren who can actually stay for Sunday dinner feel like this is just what we do as a family. It is our one day a week to sit down together. It has become a part of our culture and a part of our genealogy. My mother often asks, shall we stop Sunday dinner? 

No. For a long time, that was the only socialization my mother in law was getting. If we don't hold on to Sunday dinner, we will drift away and we won't even notice until it's too late. 

I think we will eventually end this because people will have not enough time, too much distance, too much chaos, too much kuleana, but for these six years and for as many years as we can swing it, we will hold on. I may not be blogging because I am not going to make something new every week, but we are still here.

Blessing on you and your 'ohana. #sundaydinnercrew

Easiest Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I admit that I am slow to learning to like Brussel sprouts. I was well into adulthood before I really got into eating and making these mini cabbages, but now I love when it is roasted and the leaves are a little burnt and crispy. This is my favorite and I will buy a bag from Costco, take a Sunday to make the whole bag and eat it the rest of the week. 

  • 1 bag of Brussels sprouts
  • good olive oil
  • Hawaiian sea salt (or my mom's Rocking H seasoned salt)
  • pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Trim off brown or yellow leaves and cut the larger Brussels sprouts so they are almost even in size with the smallest of them
  3. Put the sprouts in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper
  4. Lay the sprouts as flat as possible in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for about 35-40 minutes
  5. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hawaiian Pineapple Delight Cake

I made a Hawaiian style hamburger curry stew for Sunday dinner so I wanted to do some other nostalgic dessert. I tried this Hawaiian Delight cake from HECO and it was a hit! My brother, who is not a dessert person ended up taking pieces home.

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (read the back of the box to ensure you have enough eggs)
  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained, reserving liquid
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 c. cold milk
  • 1 container (8 oz) frozen Cool Whip 
  • 1/2 c. toasted macadamia nuts (chop up after toasting)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2" pan and prepare cake mix according to box directions, BUT replace water with the drained pineapple syrup and add water to make up the difference if you are short on syrup. 
  2. Bake the pie according to the box times, let cool.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and pudding. 
  4. Gradually add in cold milk; beet until mixture is smooth and thick. 
  5. Fold in the pineapple.
  6. Fold in the Cool Whip.
  7. Spread topping over cooled cake.
  8. Sprinkle top with toasted mac nuts and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Corn Chowdah

It is soooo muggy in Hawaiʻi with three tropical storms in three weeks coming in just close enough to kill our trade winds and bring the humidity way up, but somewhere in the near future, fall is coming, so think coooool weather.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 thick slice bacon cut up 
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can whole kernal corn, drained
  • 1 can cream corn (optioal)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • salt 
  • pepper

  1. In a pot, melt butter, fry bacon and onion until onions are soft
  2. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and oook until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes)
  4. Stir in corn(s), 1/2 cup of milk and salt and pepper. With the other 1/2 cup of milk, whisk the flour in the milk until it is smooth and add it in the pot. 
  5. Return to a boil and cook for 2- 3 minutes until the soup thickens.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cook Ahead: Roasted Grape Tomatoes

I love to roast tomatoes and use it as a "pantry" item for a meal later. I am also super lazy and I don't want to cut tomatoes, so this is a good size for me.

Place grape tomatoes in a pan. Try to use a large enough pan so that the tomatoes are flat. Smash and peel 3+ garlic cloves.

Add 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil, hand mix, add Hawaiian salt and pepper to taste.

Put this pan in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, stir it around so it doesn't stick. If it's too dry, add some water and continue baking for another 10-20 minutes until the skins get puckery and liquid is released into the pan.

Eat this as is, add it to one pot pasta or cod stew (or any other recipe that calls for a can of diced or stewed tomatoes). I just think it adds a better taste than raw tomatoes.