Sunday, February 28, 2010

Holoholo Weekend: Staying In for Tsunami Saturday

My husband is the safety officer for the University of Hawaii at Hilo, so when there are looming disasters, like yesterday's possible tsunami from Chile, he shuts down the university and hunkers down at the civil defense office. That leaves us to fend for ourselves, which is pretty ironic since when the UH fire alarms go off, they call him 24/7 to come and take care of it but we don't even have smoke detectors in our house.  We were also low on dog food, low on gas and low on milk. Ironic.  We left the house to gawk at all the gas lines around town, stopped at Wal Mart for food items, then stayed home and watched the live coverage on television.

Where were you on tsunami Saturday? It was a beautiful day. Were you parked along the road watching for the wave, or were you at home like us?

The water getting sucked out near Coconut Island (from our television). I must say we had the best view. Comfy chairs, easy access to the bathroom, refrigerator and facebook. 

Wal mart was a sad affair with empty shelves and cases of water all over the place. 

The only thing left to do was rely on my own freezers and pantry. What I learned from this near emergency: my kitchen is like my cable service - I have a lot of choices but I don't have anything to watch (or eat, in this case). Here are the pics anyway so you can laugh.

Chest freezer, left side - I'm not about to dig down, I'll fall in.

Chest freezer, right side. Scary on this side too.

Pantry - cakes, oriental food, staples

Bottom of the pantry. I found 4 ziploc bags of open powdered sugar. See, nothing to eat.

Freezer under the refrigerator. The ziploc on the top left is actually a lei.

 Wine refrigerator

Coffee and tea 

Friday, February 19, 2010

By request: Valentine's Chocoflan

Several people have asked for this recipe, so I'm passing it along. This was our Valentine's dessert that we saw on the Food Network show "Easy Mexican" and so we tried it.

If you want to try it, here's the recipe courtesy of Marcela Vallolid, 2009 - Food Network.

It's a little more difficult, but really yummy! The flan is creamy, but not too sweet, and the chocolate cake makes a nice counterpoint because it's not too chocolaty and overpowering. What we thought was really cool was that you put the caramel on the bottom of the bundt pan, then the cake, and then the flan mixture. As you pour the flan mixture in, it starts seeping into the cake mix until the cake mix rises up to the top so that when you flip it over, the flan is on top.
Caramel on bottom, then put the cake mix in.

As soon as the flan mixture is poured in, the cake mix starts showing.

What we found: 
  • Make sure the water is hot in the roasting pan, and stick with the 1" of water suggestion. 
  • The recipe asks you to cover it with foil, but after about an hour, we found that the cake was not setting, so we took the foil off and the cake went for another 20 minutes. Just keep checking. I think our oven temperature is not accurate. 
  • We could not find cajeta or dolce de leche at our local supermarkets, so we used plain old bottled caramel.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday Dinner Week #30: Valentines - Wooing Lessons

Our middle boy has been with the same girl for three years, and each Valentine's he tries to up his game with some kind of homemade Valentine, so although this Valentine's was our 22nd anniversary, it was Sunday so we were planning to make dinner instead of going out. This crimped his "wooing" plans since he wanted to cook dinner at our house, so he had to take some wooing lessons from mom and dad to make it work. 
Lesson 1: Food is not just the key to a man's stomach. Women like to be catered to, cooked for and wooed. Ahi's been showing interest in cooking, so Dad taught him the easy Monday pasta dish which is what he made (pasta, Italian sausage, red peppers, onions, fresh basil, roasted canned tomatoes). He also made ceasar salad, tomato, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar pupu with toast, cran/blueberry sparkling cider cocktail and creme brulee).

Lesson 2: Ambience - we have a little covered lanai on the second floor so he just set up a table and some chairs, strung icicle lights, then looked up centerpiece ideas from the internet and made our way to Ben Franklin and Ross.
Lesson 3: start planning earlier (we'll see if he can learn that lesson next year).

Sunday Dinner Week #29: Superbowl

If it's Superbowl, then the party's at our house. It's one of those traditions. Halloween at the Tokunagas, early Halloween trunk or treat at the Brownies, and Superbowl in the Ikeda's garage. On Superbowl Sunday, our garage turns into Ken's man cave with projector, tvs, picnic tables, comfy chairs and full coolers. In the kitchen, he's in charge of the menu, which must include lots of pupu, and enough food to keep people eating all day. 
The Hawaiian party
The art of hosting a Hawaiian style party is to have enough food so that the platters don't look like we're running out of something. Otherwise, as the host, that's "shame." On the other hand, there's a fine line between having more than enough and having an obscene amount of food. I think we did pretty good this year because we had enough to let everyone take home food, and we were left with enough for only one dinner. If we're eating leftovers all week and we have to freeze things besides hot dog buns or potato rolls, that's an obscene amount.
The Menu
  • assorted poke
  • Ken's homemade salsa with chips
  • Ken's homemade clam dip with chips and veggies
  • crab rangoons
  • deep fried spam and kamaboko in won ton pi
  • chili
  • hot dogs
  • pulled pork with barbeque sauce for sandwiches
  • pork roast for sandwiches
  • assorted salads
  • Buffalo wings
  • Galen's homemade haupia sweet potato pie
  • make your own yellow and red velvet cupcakes
  • Minnesota purple jello (because I really wanted the Vikings in the Superbowl)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Holoholo Weekend 3: 'Ula La at Hilo Yacht Club

February 6, 2010
No time for farmer's market this weekend, but I did have a Red Hat event with 'Ula La at the Hilo Yacht Club. It takes all day to get the right outfit and bling for these things, so I didn't have time to leave the house.

The Yacht Club food was delicious - well seasoned (except the bland chicken), and the variety, even for an event buffet was just right for us. The best thing was the white cake with strawberry sauce.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday Dinner Week #26: They Eat Without Me 1/17/10

I was in Arizona for the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, so since I missed Sunday dinner, the family had it anyway and sent me a picture over the phone.
What I missed most about being away was not the food, or cleaning the house, or planning out the menu. I realize that this is about creating a schedule that everyone can count on, whether we're there or not, it will continue.

Our meetings lasted from 7 am to 4:30 pm, then 45 minutes free time and dinner together.  Here's the sunrise at 7 in Scotsdale Arizona.

The view outside the hotel window.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Dinner Week #25 January 10, 2010

Thai Curry Attempt #1
My husband is on a thai curry kick. It could be that he has a new worker, a dive safety officer from Georgia (do they even have an ocean near Georgia?), and he's a vegetarian, so they've been going to Sombat's in Hilo for Thai food. We are not even aspiring vegetarians, so our no recipe Thai curry attempt number one consisted of shredded chicken (from grocery store-bought roast chicken), garlic stir fried choi sum and red thai curry (bottled by Thai Kitchen, with coconut milk and sugar)poured on top. The curry had onions, carrots, and eggplant with some peanut butter thrown in.  

The verdict: not bad, but something "Thai"ish was missing.  

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Holoholo Weekend 2: Hilo Farmer's Market

This weekend's holoholo trip was to the Farmer's Market located in historic downtown Hilo. It's open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Again, like the Kinoole Market, we found that timing is everything, and the earlier the better. It seems like the vegetables at this Farmer's market are all the same, perhaps from the same source, and similarly priced. I think the locals just have certain vendors that they always flock to for their veggies.

Besides the usual vegetables and flowers are the food vendors from bentos, Filipino desserts, tamale, honey, coffee, breads and Thai food.

We actually got here before 9, so we missed the early morning rush and found parking near the market. We have a routine. Bring our own bags, keep an open mind, look for the common veggies sold and walk all the way around before talking it out and deciding what we're going to need and what we'll make.

Since we're on a $10 budget, we weren't able to get any flowers, but when there's some extra money, flowers seem like a worthy luxury.

Our $10 this week got us a bag of pumpkin and a bunch of thai basil (for thai curry attempt #4), one bunch of apple bananas, one bunch of long eggplants (thai curry), and 3 bunches of Italian basil to make pesto for our homemade pizzas.

On another note, we went back to Kinoole Farmer's Market to go off budget and pick up some bread. We heard from some friends that the bread vendor was really friendly and could give us great suggestions on kinds of bread. We ended up picking up some walnut  English mufins and a foccacia type of flatbread. Both were heated up and oh so yummy with the chewy texture on the inside and the crispy edges. Yum! If you're in Hilo, go to Kinoole Market and see the bread people.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sunday Dinner Week #24 January 3, 2010

I realize I'm totally way behind, but we will tread on nonetheless. New Year's seems a long way away, but I have all the photos in order, so basically this week was a night for leftovers. New Year's is always Japanese food because the traditions are so thick, it's our way to remember all the cooks that taught us, all the people who are no longer here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weeknight concoction - parfait surprise

Ever finish dinner, start watching television and get that restless feeling? That seems to happen to us about Wednesday or Thursday. Usually whatever dessert I've made on Sunday is gone, but something's missing. It's not hunger, dinner is over. It's just that we feel, well, unfinished. It's too late to make cupcakes (plus, in the middle of the week, we're usually out of eggs). We've got ice cream, but not enough for a full bowl for everyone. I don't want to spend more than a few minutes between shows. Hmmmmm. This week's middle of the week concoction - Parfait Surprise.

Duck soup directions:
  • 5 minute instant pudding, fat free and put into wine goblets. It's truly 5 minutes and you just need one box of mix and 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • Once pudding is set, slice some apple bananas (the last of the bunch from Saturday's farmer's market foray)
  • leftover neopolitan ice cream 
  • chopped up macadamia nuts - 
Sounds like your standard parfait, nothing surprising, except that the only macadamia nuts we had were garlic and chives flavored macadamia nuts, so I put it through the nut grinder and sprinkled it on.

The chives taste was really strong, but it was an interesting counterpoint to the sharp, sweet, cold of the ice cream and the mellow pudding.  It's easy, it keeps your tongue guessing, and it fulfilled that something-something.
I did learn that for grinding mac nuts, don't use the bullet. After I wasted a batch of mac nuts in the bullet, my husband tells me that mac nuts, with its high oil content can't be put in a blender. They must be put into hand grinder (baby blue one by Martha Stewart on the left). It was so fun, this is my new favorite gadget now. I wonder what else I can use this for?