Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years: Korean Sauce for Hasu

Hasu, or lotus root is used in the Japanese household as part of the Osechi ryori. The lotus root, with its many holes symbolizes an unobstructed view of the future. It does not have a taste on its own, so we like to use Aunty Jeannete's Korean sauce.


  • green onion
  • garlic
  • oil
  • Hawaiian chili pepper
  • shoyu


  1. chop the first 3 ingredients until it is slimy
  2. add the chili pepper (seeded)
  3. add shoyu to taste

Monday, December 28, 2015

Keeper Project: Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars with Haupia

I am not precise. My bottom dough is always lumpy and uneven. This is a difficult recipe in that it takes a lot of steps. Still, this is a keeper recipe because it always tastes yummy, unless you are Boy 1 who does not like coconut and coconut products. Whose child is this anyway?

First, another must have tool. This potato ricer is a difficult tool for me. I put too much in it and then I need Big Spazz to use his kung fu grip to push the sweet potato through the ricer. However, the texture of the sweet potato from the ricer is fluffy and light. It's the perfect texture for these bars.

Press-In Shortbread Crust:
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 sticks cold butter (12 Tbsp, 3/4 cup)
  • (optional) 1/2 cups chopped toasted Macadamia nuts
Okinawan Sweet Potato Filling:
  • 1 stick room temperature butter (8 Tbsp, 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 generous cups Okinawan sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Haupia Topping (Coconut Pudding):
  • 2/5 cup sugar (about 6-1/2 Tbsp)
  • 2/5 cup cornstarch (about 6-1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1-1/8 cup water (1 cup + 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 can (19 oz) coconut milk (preferably Mae Ploy brand since it is very creamy)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Press-In Shortbread Crust:
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter or lightly oil a rectangular-shaped or square-shaped baking pan. Combine the sugar and flour. Cut or use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until sandy. If the butter starts to melt or becomes too soft, place it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to cool and then continue. (I always have to do this, one because we live in Hawaii and two because my hands are always too hot for the dough and my butter keeps melting). 

Press the crust mixture lightly into the bottom baking pan as evenly as possible.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes to firm it before baking. The unbaked crust can be made ahead of time and stored frozen. 

Bake at 325 F for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the crust is pale but very lightly browned. Let cool.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
You can cook the Okinawan sweet potatoes by baking, boiling, or steaming them. I suggest steaming them whole, since this best preserves their color and moisture, however, when I boil it I find that it cooks more evenly.

To steam the Okinawan sweet potatoes whole: Fill the bottom of a large pot with a tight-fitting lid with a few inches of water (the water level should be below the shelf of your steaming rack or metal colander so that the Okinawan sweet potatoes don’t get wet). Heat on high until boiling. Reduce heat to medium. Place a metal steaming rack or metal colander in the pot. Place the Okinawan sweet potatoes on the rack, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and steam until they can easily be pierced with a fork (about 30 minutes). They should be steamed over gentle heat; reduce the heat if the top of the pot is clanking a lot due to releasing steam.

When the Okinawan sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and then mash them with the potato ricer. 

Beat the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs. Gradually mix in 2 cups of mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes. Add the evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Slowly increase the mixing level to medium-high and whip the mixture as you would to make whipped potatoes (e.g. to level 8 out of 10) in order to incorporate air into the filling.

Pour the filling into the crust. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean but has a few moist crumbs stuck to it or some moisture on it (this indicates that the filling is cooked through but is still moist). Cool.

Haupia Topping (Coconut Pudding):
Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a medium pot. Stir in water and blend well. Add the coconut milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, but doesn’t boil. It will become very thick, similar to a frosting.

Cool slightly, and then pour the haupia over the pie filling, until it covers the pie and nearly fills the crust Use a spatula to smooth the top of the haupia topping.

Refrigerate; the haupia will become solid, similar in texture to Jello and other gelatin desserts. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Keeper Project: Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

These keeper project recipes have nothing to do with healthy eating or "test" recipes. These are tested, go to recipes that are our standards. These recipes are for our boys who are adults now with their own families. Our sons are cooks too and many times they just throw things together, but when they want something, they will call Big Spazz or I. Well one day we will not be here to call, so before they need it, I am compiling this. Because of my grandmother and my mother-in-law, I know too well the speed in which a person can go from cooking to not cooking. They are not all the best thing we have ever had, but many of these that are my go to recipes are convenient, fast, easy and good. I love being in the kitchen, I do not love standing over the stove, so keep that in mind.

Before we talk recipe, let me talk about tools. Now that I am living with my oldest son and our daughter in law when I am in Honolulu, and caring for my mother-in-law when I am in Hilo, I have two kitchens with three women's kitchen tools. Here is what I know so far: there are certain tools that I need and will carry with me when I can. All kitchens must have a Swingline brand can opener, and the heavy duty one is preferable to the cheaper one. Spending whatever it takes to buy a simple Swingline can opener is a must. Above is another one. It is an old stainless steel vegetable peeler. I like it because it fits my hand well. It is light, it is comfortable in my palm even if I have small hands. With this peeler, I can peel the whole bag of potatoes without thinking about it. 

The second must have tool is my mother-in-law's but it is mine now. It is a potato masher. There is nothing fancy or unique about the design, but it gets the job done. You could put it in a ricer for fluffy potatoes, but we like the texture of lumps. If it is too smooth, people will assume that you made potato flakes. 

Third is not a tool. It is butter. As I get older, I do not handle butter and fat well without my gall bladder. However, if a recipe calls for butter, do not use margarine. Ever.

Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I like this mashed potatoes because I peel the potatoes ahead of time and I can make it when I am not busy and bake it right before.

  • 5 lbs. Russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 - 3/4 c. half and half
  • garlic salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Cut peeled potatoes so that they are about the same size for more even cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes. You know they're cooked when a fork can go through the potato.
  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes are drained, return it to the pot set on low and mash potatoes, allowing the steam to release.
  4. Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks butter, cream cheese and 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, Add salt and pepper, taste and add more half and half if necessary. 
  5. Butter a shallow casserole dish and put potatoes in. You may refrigerate it covered with plastic wrap and take it out a few hours before to get it back to room temperature.
  6. Put a few pats of butter on top (picture above) and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Keeper Project: Hilo Bay Ken's Famous Smoked Meat

Big Spazz is famous for his smoked meat. It is what started us on this #hilobayken hash tag. Pair it with his guava jelly made from the guava trees at the Komohana Gardens house in Hilo, add onions and you have winner pupus good enough for our son's wedding.

  • 10 lbs. pork butt, sliced
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T. black pepper
  • 1 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 3T. minced garlic
  1. Lomi the marinade above into the meat
  2. Put the meat into gallon Ziploc bags and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
  3. Smoke it to internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  4. Slice, vacuum seal and freeze

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.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shoyu Chicken

This is the basic simmered shoyu chicken thighs. No pre-soak required, but if you slice near the bone on both sides, the shoyu can soak into the chicken while it's cooking.  To make it fancy, while the chicken is cooking, you can cook some udon noodles to put on the platter. If you also parboil a bag of bean sprouts and put that over the udon, you will have a nice crunch.

  • 5 lbs. chicken thighs, thawed, patted dry
  • 1/2 c. shoyu
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. oyster sauce
  • 3 T. sake
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb ginger, crushed
  1. In a large pot, bring all ingredients but the chicken to a boil. Add chicken thighs and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or less, depending on the size of the thighs. 
  2. While chicken is simmering, rearrange the pieces every so often so the chicken gets an even shoyu bath.
  3. When chicken is done, take it out, and if you want, mix some cornstarch and water paste into the liquid to make a thicker gravy for the chicken.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

From Scratch Red Enchilada Sauce

This sauce doesn't look like magic or anything, but this is the special red enchilada sauce. I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again.

I am sounding ignorant, I know, but did you know that enchilada sauce contains no tomatoes? I don't know why I thought that. Moving on.

  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 4 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  1. Combine the spices into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Get your whisk ready. Add flour and stir together for about a minute.  Hold your breath and stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder to oregano).  I did not hold my breath and the chili powder went up my nose. Gasp!
  3. Gradually add the stock and whisk constantly to remove lumps. 
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. It will thicken. 
Use this immediately or put in a jar and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.

I used this with baked chicken enchiladas, but  you could use reheat it and cook broccoli spears in the sauce to make a yummy broccoli enchilada.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Kabocha with Nobu's Den Miso

I found a miso-glazed kabocha squash recipe on Pinterest, read it and realized that I still had the Nobu's den miso sauce so here's the recipe. It is super simple if the miso is made, otherwise, add about 45 minutes to this recipe.

  • 2 lbs. cut up and skinned kabocha squash
  • Den miso to coat squash
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Bake for 15 minutes
  3. Flip, add more den miso if the squash is a little dry
  4. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until squash is tender.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pinterest Project: Cauliflower Rice

The original pinned recipe is here from Elana's Pantry. I pinned it from a Cauliflower Recipes board I found from my email.

I have used the Nom Nom Paleo recipe before so I substituted coconut oil for olive oil because I like the taste better. Come to find out, Nom Nom Paleo got her original recipe from Elana's Pantry too.

I also used the golden cauliflower instead of the white only because it was all my market had. I like the color. It makes it look like fried rice.

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 c. celery, diced
  • 4 T coconut oil
  • garlic salt to taste

  1. Heat half of the coconut oil in a deep skillet with a cover and saute onions until it starts to soften
  2. Add celery and one more T of oil if needed. Let it simmer on medium low until the vegetables get soft, but not burned.
  3. Put the florets in a food processor in batches and pulse until it gets to the consistency of rice.
  4. Add the last T of coconut oil and the raw cauliflower rice into the skillet. Mix, cover, turn the heat down a little and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Salt and serve

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Strawberry Dutch Baby with Lemon Curd

Give yourself TIME - this is not a whip up for breakfast and out the door. This is a plan ahead, leisurely, drink coffee and relax breakfast.

Ingredients for batter:
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. whole milk (since I do not buy milk, I use the evaporated milk - 1:1 ratio)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. melted unsalted butter 
  • 1 c. fresh strawberries *see note
  • Powdered sugar for serving
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Gently whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until everything is blended (lumps are ok, it will sit)
  4. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or preferably chill in refrigerator 2-3 hours.
  5. Make lemon curd while you are waiting. It will need to be chilled before serving.
  6. About 20 minutes before end of resting time, preheat oven to 425 degrees. When oven is very hot, put in a 10" cast-iron skillet for 10 minutes to thoroughly preheat (I don't know where our 10" cast-iron is so I had to use our 12"). Working quickly, with all ingredients at hand, pull skillet out of oven with oven mitts and set on stovetop. Pour in melted butter (careful, it will splatter) and swirl pan. Whisk batter to smooth it out. Pour batter into skillet, scatter strawberries over the top, and return to oven.
  7. Bake until dutch baby is puffed up and golden brown around edges and set in center, about 15 minutes. Sift with powdered sugar. Top with lemon curd.

*Note - the original recipe calls for 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries. You probably could use frozen strawberries too, just cut them.

MAKE AHEAD: lemon curd can be covered and chilled up to 2 weeks. Batter, covered and chilled, up to 3 hours.

Lemon Curd

I use these on the dutch baby rather than just the squirt of lemon, but what else can I use it for?

  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice (the 2 lemons gave me enough juice)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  1. Get the water in a pot or bottom of a double boiler simmering. If using a pot, make sure the bowl you use does not sit in the water.
  2. In top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, sugar and eggs. 
  3. Add butter and set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  4. Cook misture, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Strain through a sieve into a jar or other airtight container.
  6. Close and chill until ready to use.
The lemon curd in the refrigerator will last up to 2 weeks. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Almost Vegan "Cream" of Mushroom Soup

Granted it is not the most beautiful job of food styling, but trust Boy 3 who hates mushrooms - this soup is ʻono-licious. It's a combination of two "soups," but we will call it a mushroom soup although it really is a cauliflower soup with mushrooms.


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper (be generous, keep tasting)
  • 1 tsp. of Earth balance or butter
  • 1 8 oz. tray white mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • green onion to garnish
The cauliflower soup is the "cream"

  1. In a pot, bring a quart (4 cups) of water, salted, to a boil
  2. Add the cauliflower, turn it down a little after it boils again and cover the pot
  3. Let it cook for about 5 minutes until it is very tender
  4. While the cauliflower cooks, cook the mushrooms, onion and celery in a wok with very little oil or water saute on medium heat until the onions get brown and carmelized.
  5. With a slotted spoon, take the soft cauliflower pieces out of the water and put into a Vitamix. 
  6. Use the cooking water to put 1/2 as much water as the cauliflower. Just eyeball it.
  7. Put the creamed cauliflower back in the pot, add the pat of butter and taste and season until it's good by itself. 
  8. Add the mushroom mixture and taste again.
  9. Serve soup with green onion for a nice fresh bite.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lemon Tahini Dressing

I am always searching for salad dressings, so I saw this on the Food 52 site and I trust their recipes so I used it pretty much as is. The original is here.

Photo Credit: James Ransom

1/2 c.tahini
2/3 c. water
3T fresh lemon juice
some zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt
black pepper

Blend it and enjoy. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Soba Soup

Warning: This broth, like the other kombu broth is めんどくさい (mendokusai) - troublesome or bothersome and not for the lazy cook.

Japanese food should look simple. Clear broth, buckwheat noodles, a few condiments, but it is probably very Buddhist, or very Zen (not sure on my Asian religions) for the simplicity of the end product to come from struggle. Food, after all, is a metaphor for our own mortality so add your thoughts on that here.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
  • 8 cups water
  • large piece of good quality kombu
  • 2 large handfuls of katsuoboshi (dried bonito flakes)
  • 4 T. mirin
  • 2 T. sake
  • 4 T. shoyu
  • 3 bundles soba noodles
  • Condiments like:
    • kamaboko
    • par-boiled greens like pak choy, choi sum (nothing too strong so not mustard cabbage)
    • leftover fish, tako, tempura
    • negi including the whites (Japanese green onion)
Note: I did not have the amount of time I needed to get the broth where I wanted it to so I also added 2 packets of kombu dashi powder, a few pieces of dried daikon, and after I strained it, I used some misoshiru no gu that I had in the pantry (which added  some ebi, wakame, dehydrated kamaboko and iriko)

  1. Soak the kombu in water overnight. (Remember, kombu should not be boiled because it gives off a naturally occurring chemical like MSG)
  2. Transfer the water and the kombu in a pot and heat it up. Just before it starts boiling, take the kombu out. 
  3. Add the katsuoboshi and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let it simmer in the pot for about 10 minutes. Most of the flakes should sink to the bottom as it rehydrates and flavors the dashi.
  4. Set a large strainer lined with paper towels over another pot and strain the liquid. Squeeze the paper towel to get all the broth out. You now have your base stock. 
  5. Add the mirin, sake, shoyu and heat the broth up again to boiling. Taste and salt as needed. Cover and let it sit on simmer until the noodles are ready.

Soba directions:
  1. Get two pots of boiling water ready plus one colander and one large bowl for rinsing
  2. Cook the soba in one pot (about 3 1/2 minutes)
  3. Drain the water and put it in the large bowl.
  4. Rinse the soba by hand to get the film off of the noodles.
  5. Put the soba in the 2nd pot of water to heat it up again.
The finish:
Prepare your condiments, place warmed up noodles in bowls and let everyone put in their condiments and broth.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pinterest Project: Orange Sauce

I am guilty of "pinning" and creating Pinterest boards without even trying it, so since I have an open 3-day weekend, here's to the start of the Pinterest Project - try something, if it works it out, I'll repin it.

Orange Sauce for Pancakes

I tried a chocolate dutch baby from Pinterest, thought the recipe was suspect, "fixed" it and didn't like it. But that recipe also called for fresh strawberries that I didn't have. I did have "naked" oranges. Big Spazz used the orange zest to create triple sec so I decided to try this orange sauce from Pinterest to use with the chocolate dutch babies. The original Pinterest recipe is here.

  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Equal part of sugar

  1. Juice the oranges and pour into a measuring cup
  2. In a medium pot, add the juice and the same amount of white sugar. 
  3. Heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved. It tastes great served warm over pancakes.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Garlic Ginger Shrimp

We had a little over a pound of cleaned shrimp from our tempura making on New Year's eve so I found a garlic ginger shrimp stir fry recipe on Steamy Kitchen and adapted it here.  Wish I had some baby pak choy and a lot more green onion - there is definitely enough sauce for more greens. 

  • 4 T. oyster sauce
  • 2 T. shoyu (used low sodium)
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled with tail intact and deveined
  • enough cooking oil for the wok
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 bunch baby pak choy, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce and shoyu and set aside.
  2. Pat the shrimp dry and mix it in a bowl with cornstarch to lightly coat the shrimp.
  3. In a wok, over high heat and a little oil, add the shrimp in a single layer and leave it for a minute until it gets crisp and flip it over. The shrimp does not need to be cooked all the way, just get it crispy, take out of wok and drain on a rack. It took me about three rounds to crisp the shrimp.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium, stir fry the pak choy, green onions, garlic and ginger with a little more oil until the pak choy is a little soft.
  5. Pour in the sauce mixture and the shrimp back into the pan. Stir fry for another minute until the shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately.