Friday, December 31, 2010

NY101: Kadomatsu "gate pine"

I figure since I have three boys and they'll soon be on their own, I should actually post some of our mana'o on why we do certain things for special events like New Year's since they won't actually ask. That way when we're gone or when it's their turn to take over, they'll at least know what to do (or not).

New Year's 101 or inside joke ("I show you how!")

The kadomatsu (literally gate pine) is supposed to flank both sides of the entryway of the house for new years and stay up until January 7th. It acts as a temporary housing for the ancestral spirits of the harvest.  We tend to use it as a centerpiece and post the fresh bamboo and pine bunches from farmer's market at the entryway.

What else it means:
  • bamboo symbolizes strength and growth
  • pine is for long life and endurance
  • the bamboo is always bound together in threes to represent heaven, humanity and earth 
  • tallest bamboo is heaven
  • middle is humanity
  • shortest is earth
  • chrysanthemum is not only the symbol for the imperial family of Japan but it symbolizes happiness
  • all our wishes for the new year

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ready for 2011?

One of the worst and best things about New Years is being Japanese. There are so many traditions and expectations for this time of year that it's even more work than getting ready for Christmas.  I'm glad I'm not married to a taishō (the stereotypical boss man husband that sits at the table and yells for beer).

After 23 years, we have our own rhythm and our own list of things that need to be done before tomorrow night, so preparation and lots of list making is key. Today I'm in charge of laundry (don't want to start the new year off with dirty laundry), finishing the new year's cleaning and staying out of Ken's way. He's in charge of the last minute buying, checking and rechecking his lists and negotiating for the best sashimi.

We'd love to make it a simple affair, and food wise, we are, but tradition, tradition, tradition. . .hope your preparations are more relaxed.

Things that can be checked off so far:
  • Red fish (traditionally tai) signifies good luck. The Japanese usually use tai because the Japanese word for auspicious is omedetai so they use the tai, but we are more interested in color and using what we get from our own "backyard" so this weke 'ula is from Ken's November boy scout trip to Ke'ei. He usually starts actively fishing for New Years in October and we just vacuum seal it. If it's not big enough we'll use two, but one's good this year. Ken is a truly sad puppy if we have to buy fish  for New Year's but we haven't had to do that in a long time.
  • We'll make the fish netsuke style where the fish is cooked with sake, mirin, some ginger, soy sauce and a little bit of sugar. The cooked fish is put on a bed of rolled somen noodles and the netsuke sauce is poured over the fish and somen. 

Our family tradition for New Years: sushi bar. My mom changes Christmas dinner every year, and we used to do that for New Years too, but we don't mess with the menu anymore. New Year's eve dinner is shrimp and vegetable tempura and open sushi bar. It makes it easy once all the prep is done. In the bin:
  • koshian is an (sweetened red azuki bean paste). It's used as a filling for mochi, put over local style shaved ice or put into sweet buns (an pan). We use it to make zenzai a hot dessert soup made with azuki to dispel evil and illness in the new year. The azuki soup also has balls of mochi floating in it. If you have a brazier or a grill, grill the mochi first and then put it into the ladled soup. うまい (wonderful)!
  • In ancient times mochi was reserved for special occasions because of the communal nature of making the mochi, but now with electric mochi makers and more demand, mochi is eaten all year round. Japanese believe that mochi embodies the spiritual power of the gods and by eating it one can welcome that power into their bodies and gain vitality and be renewed.
  • sushinoko - It's not difficult to make the vinegar recipe for sushi rice, but really, why? Everyone uses the packaged sushinoko but if you want to make it yourself, it's equal parts rice vinegar and sugar with some salt. Heat it in a non-metal pot to combine flavors (the metal reacts with the vinegar even when using powdered sushinoko so don't mix the hot rice and vinegar in a metal bowl or pot. 
  • Nori
  • Goma (sesame seeds) for the  special mayo and honey sauce. Put some tobiko (flying fish roe) in the mayo sauce for the instant winner.
  • Tempura batter mix
  • Panko for the nice crunch on the shrimp tempura
  • Tapioca for warm Thai tapioca dessert with coconut milk
  • Packages of dried mochi 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 7-course Italian Dinner

 Each year, my mom does an ethnic Christmas dinner complete with researched dishes and a spreadsheet of job assignments for everyone but the little ones and my dad. For the first time in years, my siblings all came home for Christmas so it was wonderful to have the house overflowing with people. But back to the food. Let me just say this is the FINAL time we'll be doing this to this scale. In the midst of it all I felt like we were actually living in the movie Big Night. If you've never seen Big Night with Tony Shalhoub of Monk, it's a foodie movie must-see.

The 7 courses turned into 6 mostly out of a necessity to live to eat another day. 
Course 1: antipasti (1:00 p.m.)

The research:
Antipasti is an Italian word meaning literally "before the meal." The antipasti is the appetizer or hors d'oeuvre course. Antipasti is the plural form of the word, but the singular form, antipasto, is often also used.
Our offering: 

  • mozzarella-prosciutto-basil logs
  • mozzarella-salami logs
  • salami
  • assorted cheeses
  • assorted olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • tomato and mozzarella with sea salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (insalata caprese)
  • crusty bread with garlic-balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping
  • ceviche with fresh caught mahimahi
  • shiraz
Course 2: insalata (2:15 p.m.)
We waited about a half an hour and that gave the cooks enough time to put the salads together. Salads are also served at an antipasti course, but we played Christmas bingo between courses instead.
Our offering:
  • Caesar salad with anchovies on the side (Ken's homemade Caesar salad dressing)
  • pasta salad
  • marinated vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, smoked green olives)
  • chardonay
Course 3: soup (3:30 p.m.)
At this point, lethargy is setting in and the day is getting hot. The older kids have disappeared to the park so Ahi can do some stunting, the little ones are outside picking tangerines and our youngest is downstairs in the "man cave/tattoo studio" playing "Modern Warfare."

Our offering:
  • cioppino
  • minestrone
  • shiraz left from a former course and chardonay
The research:
Cioppino is a fish stew  developed by Italian fisherman in the 1800s.  It's a stew, so any kind of seafood will do and everything is in a tomato and wine flavored broth.  Like cioppino, minestrone is not a fussy soup because cooks just use whatever vegetables are in season.

Course 4: Pasta (5:30 p.m.)
There was a bit of a mix-up on what came when so the fire was started for the salmon and the orzo was finished before the pasta course came out. At this point, everyone is beyond full and seriously making sure that they have enough room for what's coming up. The clearing tables, putting food away and setting up for the next course is taking longer than the actual eating.
The offering:
  • Spaghetti with mushroom marinara
  • Spaghetti with simple clam sauce
  • merlot, second chardonay
Course 5: Entree (6:30 p.m.)
The offering:
  • Grilled salmon seasoned with olive oil, lemon, Rocking H salt
  • Pork loin with roasted potatoes, onions and mushrooms
  • Mango chutney for the pork
  • Orzo with parmesan
  • Grilled marinated vegetables (asparagus, colored peppers, zucchini)

Course 6: (not served): fruit and cheese platter
Course 7: dessert and coffee 
We were actually going to make cannolis but there were no cannoli tubes in Hilo. True story. It seems we only want to make cannolis around Christmas and our local restaurant supply store is always out of cannoli tubes. They must order one after our inquiry, then sell it before the year is up so when we call again, they are once again out of it.

The offerings:
  • Panatone (Italian fruit cake)
  • Christmas themed white cake
  • Lime layered jello
  • Ken's dark chocolate sea salt fudge
  • Ken's cream cheese pie with blueberry or cherry topping

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What to Get a Foodie Geek

Aloha kalikimaka from our family to yours. Hope the big elf left you something wonderful under the tree.

For us, now that our kids are older, Christmas is mostly about breakfast (homemade waffles with strawberries and whip cream, different kinds of sausages and eggs), a fast open of gifts, then on to getting the house ready for company to come over and eat.

Each year my husband gets some kind of foodie thing, so what to get a foodie geek?  A cordless wine cooler :0 You put your water and ice, turn it on, and it spins. Of course hubby already has his own wine refrigerator, but there can never be enough gadgets.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Best deal in Honolulu: Aloha Shorts Taping

My son has a part time job as a mobile DJ for "Da Bomb," a hip hop radio station in Honolulu, so when he started getting busy planning the "Bomb Birthday" celeb, I thought that it was like KWXX's Ho'olaule'a in Hilo - free entertainment to thank the listeners by bringing in stages of live acts. That's not what they do in Honolulu.  Fans have to actually buy tickets to go to Pipeline Cafe for the Bomb Birthay celeb. Not only that, it's like $15 presale VIP, none of the Bomb people get to bring in free VIP and the only thing VIP gets you is no lines.

Me: What's up with that?
Isaac: Mom, this is Honolulu, nothing is free.

But on the first Sunday of the month, in the cozy Hawaii public radio building on Atherton Street, Aloha Shorts tapes three shows for their Tuesday Aloha Shorts program and everyone is invited to be an audience member and hear live readings for FREE. The catch? It's first come, first reserved.

The trick: friend them on Facebook
When they announce the new show, call the studio the next day
Get to the radio station on the night of the taping by 6:30pm (it will last about two and a half hours)

It beats watching Sunday night television. So if you're a fan of literature, especially literature about Hawaii, this is the best and cheapest show in town.

The photo above is snaked from the Facebook page and it's Norman Munoz from this month's show on the Body. He's reading Lee Cataluna's "Curt Lum (true story)" from her book of vignettes People You Meet in Longs

Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: Ice Palace, Honolulu

  • Ice Palace Hawaii, an ice skating rink for public skating, parties, hockey and lessons
  • Location: 4510 Salt Lake Boulevard (across from the stadium and what used to be Castle Park - actually if you remember Castle Park, you have Ice Palace memories)
  • Schedule They're open daily, but check their website for specific hours for public skating 
  • Admission $8.90 per person for everyone that will skate ( parents who are not skating but will supervise their children get in free) - The admission ticket  gets you a rental pair of skates, but if you happen to own a pair, you still pay admission.
I personally am way too old and my ankles are too wasted to be skating around on a tiny blade, although the skates are slimming because they just make you so much taller. Still, I needed someplace to escape the heat of Honolulu and entertain three teenagers while providing a semi-quiet place for me to finish up my homework for class.

For less than the price of a movie ticket, we headed out to the stadium and let the boys loose. There is no outside food and the food at the Palace is geared for kids (nachos, pizza), so we ate first and I snuck in my handy travel mug of coffee.

My youngest just turned 13, and I must admit he's the baby in many ways. He, unlike his brothers, is more cautious and fearful, so although my husband was going to keep me company, after watching Pono struggle his way around the outside wall with his brothers trying to coach him,  Dad went to the pro shop, bought a pair of socks and paid to skate, surf shorts and all.

You can stay as long as you want, or as long as your feet allow you to. Be forewarned, though, if you're not skating, it's super cold. The time is broken up in one-hour increments, so towards the end of an hour, they'll play a game, then the zamboni comes out while everyone is supposed to get off the ice, rest and get food. We maxed out at about 2 hours, but it's a pretty good deal for the price.

Money-saving tips:
Eat first
Bring your own socks
If you're watching, bring warm clothes so that your family can stay longer

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Holoholo home

Came home to Hilo for the long weekend and I have to say Honolulu has nothing on the Hilo Farmerʻs market. Not only do the veggies and produce look more fresh, but the variety just canʻt be found on Oahu (at least not yet, I havenʻt hit all the POPs). We spent under $7 for a bunch of bananas, eggplant, basil, green onion and mint for mojitos.

While I was home, I also wanted to get a tattoo done for my youngest boy who has been going through so many challenges this past year, so the photo is below. My middle boy and I have been talking about it, but as the tattooist and graphic artist in the family, I let him come up with the mana'o and design.

I think reading and tattooing is a good way to pass a Saturday evening.

The end product. For more on the mana'o from the artist himself, go to his blog.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Love Liliha Festival

Thanks to the Honolulu on the Cheap blog, I decided to check out the "I Love Liliha" festival, especially since I drive past the area every day on my way to work.  Every rubber slipper wearing kama'aina is aware of Liliha Bakery, home of the cream puff, (photo courtesy of the Liliha bakery website), but Liliha is going through a revitalization process and the citizens are proud to showcase their community and give back to the residents.

The festival this year was moved to Kuakini Street between the corner of Kuakini and Liliha to the end of the Liliha Bakery parking lot. What I really liked was the fact that the committee chose the vendors with the whole community in mind. There was a jumping castle, craft stations for kids and a climbing wall, but there also was a health tent behind Longs that offered free testing for kupuna. I saw a lot of people taking advantage of the Lion Club's retina van for eye screening, the free flu shots outside of Longs and the diabetes booth with free blood pressure testing.

I appreciate those things, but I really went to check out the food booths and ended up at the booth with the longest line: the Hula Shrimp Company. For $10 each I got two combination plates (seared garlic ahi, Kahuku shrimp, grilled steak and guava chicken). Each plate came with hapa rice and a choice of Nalo greens or potato salad. The wait was a little long, and the portions are more Blane's drive inn mini plate size, but nobody balked at the prices, so it must be reasonable for Honolulu. It looks great and smells wonderful. I wish I could talk about what it tastes like, but I'm waiting for my son's lunch break from the hospital, so the pics will have to speak for themselves.

This is an annual event, so if you missed it this year, plan on stopping by next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Honolulu on the Cheap

I must confess that I am a self-described home body, so although I'm now in Honolulu, Hawaii's own city of lights, I really should get out more, but when I come home at 4:30ish, I'm home for good. I feel extremely blessed to be able to get to work and back without touching one freeway. I'm also blessed to be able to travel to work in 15 minutes (hmmm, same in Hilo. . .I must be a 15 minute girl).

One reason for not leaving the house is that I can hear the city buzzing outside. The freeway noise is a constant slow hum down the block, and until I hear cars passing by, that means the freeway is at a stop and go pace. The second reason is that it takes a lot of planning to go anywhere when there are like a million people and two million cars all in an area the size of Hilo town.

I vow to get out more, so I've been checking out several websites and I kind of like the Honolulu on the Cheap site.  Some sites have more coupons, but I'm not interested in coupons, because to really save money you don't need a coupon, you just don't need to buy it. You save 100%. This site seems to have more festivals and things to do for free, so I'll probably check out the Aloha Festivals block party on the 27th and the I Love Liliha festival on the 29th. The trick is to eat first and go enjoy the entertainment. :-)

Will post pics later. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

POM: Banyan Court Mall, Honolulu

The People's Open Market (POM), was founded in 1973 to provide fresh produce to citizens at a reduced rate and to provide a place for the farmers to sell their merchandise.  I think this is a project of the city and county of Honolulu because I found the information on their website, and the POM staff regularly inspect the sites, and survey the retail markets to ensure that the POM prices are reasonable.

The third thing they wanted to do was provide a place for people of the neighborhood to get together and socialize, which is probably why most of the people we encountered this morning walked.
We went to the original POM site -- the Banyan Court Mall at 800 N. King Street. It runs on Saturdays from 6:15 am - 7:30 am. That is so bizarre to me, but I guess if you want the POM to travel around to different neighborhoods, it can't be open all day.  At 8:15 am - 9:30 the POM moves into Kalihi by Kalakaua Intermediate. This is the largest of the POMs so maybe we'll check it out next week.

The same tips apply at this "farmer's market" as the other farmer's markets we frequent. Look around first to see what people are offering, check prices, check quality, bring your own bag and bring small cash. I usually put a $10 limit, but that's just me.

We normally see the same things, but some of the farmers brought things that I don't usually see: pipinola greens, kalamungai leaves for chicken papaya, and some other fast spreading greens that looked like pipinola but it was more delicate with small yellow blossoms.
I didn't quite spend my $10 because I don't know how to use the Filipino veggies including bitter melon, and we're not really into tropical fruits: papaya, mango, sad looking, wish it was from Hilo lychee. . .
Manoa lettuce - 2 heads, looks like hydroponics  $1
Bag of carrots - 6 count $2.50
Green onions (we cut off the bottoms and planted it in our little side of the apartment area (it's not a yard) - $1
Sweet potatoes- 6 count $3
Onions, round - 4 count $2

This POM is between Kaumakapili Church and St. Elizabeth Church. I actually found parking on the street, but it looks like people can park at Kaumakapili Church. I'm wondering if the quality of the veggies goes down as the day progresses because they offer 5 POMs in the Honolulu-Hawaii Kai area on Saturday with Hawaii Kai's POM happening from 1 - 2 pm.

Anyone have a favorite POM they go to?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Scones Attempt #3: Chocolate Chunk Lazy Girl Scones

I love scones - not too crumbly, slightly dry, perfect with morning coffee and one of the things I'll carry with me on the plane with my cafe misto. Still, I don't like paying $2.25 for a scone, so I've been trying to make scones without actually going out to buy special supplies.

This is attempt number 3: chocolate chunk scones using things I already have in the kitchen. Living cheap is about knowing what staples you need for the kind of cook you are, buying them on sale, or always knowing where the cheapest place in town is to get them. 
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. (I love parchment paper. It's an indulgence, but it bakes the bottoms more evenly than if you don't use parchment)

2 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (for some reason, I only have sea salt, so I just grind it up a little)
Cut into the dough:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cold, cut into pieces
(I don't have a pastry blender, and the two knives method is irritating because I don't like the sound of metal on metal, so I cut pieces of butter into the dry ingredients, then go with my hand to push the flour mixture and butter pieces together until it's crumbly.

1/2 cup chocolate chips ( I only had chocolate chunks)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, craisins, figs, stuff like that (I didn't have craisins, so I doubled up on chocolate chips)

Mix in wet ingredients:
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk

Mix, but don't overmix. Only mix until the dough comes together. If it's too dry, add more buttermilk, too wet, more flour.

Lazy girl style is to make like the scones are drop biscuits so that you don't actually have to knead the dough, make a round and cut the scones into wedges.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until it's golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe says it makes 8 scones, but drop biscuit style made me 11 scones.

I served this with some cut oranges, and if I were to do it again, I would have added the orange zest for my fruit element, but still double up on the chocolate chunks.

The only unusual pantry item that I used was the buttermilk, but that's because I tried to make scones two times before and the Safeway brand buttermilk only came in the large size, so I also used the buttermilk for making fried chicken, and I've been using it in my coffee (can't waste).

I'm posting scone attempt #1 because besides my blueberries bleeding, they look ok, but I put the same amount of baking powder as baking soda - ugh. Failure.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Living Off the Dollar Menu

While we were setting up the apartment in Honolulu, we were on a mega strict budget and still trying to feed 5 mouths, so two meals were cheap (living off the dollar menu) and we saved one meal for a "splurge."

I did see Food Nation and that other documentary where he only eats at McDonald's for one year and he develops high blood pressure, obesity, etc. Still, breakfast on the dollar menu for 5 is not bad. Check the price.
 The most expensive item on the tray was a small coffee. The special for the dollar drink was any size for a dollar, plus we sat inside, so the kids got free refills before we left. So that's 5 breakfast burritos, two sausage biscuits, one sausage mcmuffin, four drinks and a small coffee.

We can't eat this way all the time, but sometimes food is just sustenance, so we were ok with going cheap for breakfast.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Shabu Shabu

Shabu shabu is a Japanese version of the Chinese hot pot where thinly sliced meat and vegetables are swished into a pot of boiling broth. The pot is placed on the table with the raw ingredients and diners just cook their own ingredients in a common pot by swishing the pieces in the pot. The word shabu shabu, then is to "swish swish."

The ideal meat to use is wagyu, (commonly known as Kobe beef), but not only is that expensive, but I'm not even sure where to buy that in Hilo. The broth is just water and konbu (dried seaweed), and the sauce is either a ponzu (shoyu and citrus) or a goma (sesame) sauce.

Like many Japanese dishes the urusai (irritating) part is in the preparation. The sample of veggies we used were mustard cabbage, Chinese cabbage, green onions, round onions, enoki mushrooms and slivers of takenoko (bamboo shoots).
The other urusai part is that there needs to be all these little dishes on the plate. Chawan for rice, small plate for your cooked goodies, and a dipping bowl for your sauce. We used thin slices of beef, pork and shrimp for our protein.
With six people around the dining room table, and one electric deep fryer, it's easier to just have one or two people cooking items, then having the cooked pieces available for others to grab, so that's how we changed it up. It's a great Sunday dinner sit down meal because everyone has to be totally involved in the journey. It's a slow way to eat dinner, so everyone is present for talking while waiting. 

This has nothing to do with shabu shabu, but this is a great pupu idea. Take the chikuwa (it's in the kamaboko section), and stuff it with kim chee, cut and serve. Rubber slipper style simple.

Thanks for joining the erratic Sunday dinner putt putt. I'm currently away from my family and totally homesick, so I'll be posting on living in the big city of Honolulu, rubber slipper style.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Dinner Overkill: Dim Sum Madness

Every so often to keep the dinner excitement alive, someone will come up with a theme, so the theme was dim sum. Hubby is the dim sum seeker. Everytime we go to a new city, he urban spoon or googles the nearest dim sum restaurant. If we are the only ones speaking English, he is a happy Buddha.

Dim sum is normally served on small dishes with two or three pieces of dim sum. The key is to order a VARIETY - and that's where we got into overkill trouble. There are many dim sum recipes online, and I think we tried them all. I don't remember what was good or not because it was all good, but labor intensive, time intensive and over eat intensive. Here's the pics.
Dim sum using a pork mixture and won ton pi wrappers. My attempt at being fancy with the folding.
Shiu mai with a shrimp mixture using the shiu mai wrappers. The wrappers are thinner and harder to manage, so excuse the shoddy workmanship. I kept ripping the wrappers.
This lovely piece of dough turd actually hides a piece of oily lup cheong (Chinese sausage). Looks are deceiving. Behind it is the extra pork mixture put into shiu mai wrappers.
Ken's homemade char siu wrapped in Ken's homemade dough (bao) turns into char siu bao or manapua. What we couldn't control was the amount that the dough rose in the steamer. They just kept growing and pushing each other around.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I Learned from Sunday dinners

Through this year of Sunday dinners, sometimes Sunday dinners were just, well, dinner. It was just food. Nothing fancy, nothing new, just a chance for the family to come together and eat, watch Sunday tv together, then go on our merry way. So what did I learn from this year of Sunday dinners?

  • Cooking for family is sometimes a chore, but never a burden.  
  • Sunday cooking is a chance to cook slow, eat slow, and bring our families, even those who have passed, into the kitchen
  • Some things should be constant - dinner is always at 6. That way if people are gone, when they come back, they'll know - Sunday dinner, my house, 6 pm. 
  • Dessert is mandatory for Sunday dinner. Seriously, when there's no dessert on Sunday, no one leaves, there's just no satisfactory transition to Monday. 
  • Jello is a staple (see the bullet above)
So I have two more posts before I move on this year. The next theme for this blog has to do with the fact that I'm moving to Honolulu today and will be working and going to school there while the majority of my family stays in Hilo. I'm renting an apartment with my oldest son, and using this last year to pass on my  pake survival skills to him before I can let him go and declare him officially "raised." This year it's all about living pake in Honolulu. After all, my husband and I still have the same basic jobs, but we're adding on to our two mortgages one more apartment rental in Honolulu, I'm selling my Sequoia ($200/month in gas) and picking up a Honolulu car, and we're maintaining two separate households. In between, we'll try to send me home at least once a month.

Change is challenging, but it's good to stir up the pot sometimes don't you think?

Here's the view from the street outside our building. My bedroom has a straight view of the capitol building. We have the main highway right below the bottom street of our hill. This is definitely living in Honolulu.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Dinner #42

My favorite part of mother's day is that I don't have to think about what to cook. Thanks Ken and dad for a wonderful day.

Omilu with lemon and capers, grass-fed Rockin H Ranch beef, grilled corn, Caesar salad, three kinds of pies and fresh strawberries with brown sugar.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Dinner Week #29: Fish Tacos, tempura style

Our usual fish tacos are usually just olive oil, lemon juice and Rockin H salt mix marinaded and grilled, but I decided to try a tempura style crunchy fish taco with some kind of sauce.

I tried Guy Fieri's Tex Wasabi's Koi Fish Tacos
1 lime, juiced
1 T. tequila
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
12 oz. cod or firm white fish (we usually use mahi mahi, but I had salmon)
corn tortillas
canola oil
4 oz. tempura flour
8 oz. tempura batter prepared with cold water
6 oz. panko bread crumbs
1 c. shredded white cabbage
1/2 c. shredded red cabbage
3 T. chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion

In medium bowl, combine lime juice, tequila, cumin, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add the fish and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Warm tortillas on grill or pan. Cover with a towel to keep warm.
In a medium Dutch oven, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees F.
Remove fish from marinade, shake off excess, dredge in tempura flour, and dunk in cold tempura mixed batter. Roll in
panko bread crumbs, pressing panko onto fish. One by one add fish to oil, making sure to keep the fish pieces separated.

Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Mix cabbage, cilantro and onion. 

Stack 2 tortillas; place 1/8th of fish on top of each, and top with cabbage mixture, Pico de
Gallo, and Tequila Lime Aioli. Serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo:
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 red onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper
Mix in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the tastes blend. I didn't use the jalapeno because I'm a wimp.

Tequila lime aioli
3 T. tequila
1 lime, juiced
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. milk
2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. minced cilantro leaves
salt and pepper
Mix and refrigerate for an hour.

The verdict: the tequila lime aioli is tart and tasty, but we noticed that the longer it sits, the stronger the tequila gets, so for the kids, it was a little too strong. 

Ken prefers the grilled fish over the tempura style, but we both agree that the slaw and pico de gallo are winners!