Thursday, August 30, 2007

Relieving a Childhood Memory - Takoyaki

takoyakiSince my DS came to live with us, he has been trying to remember a Japanese dish he loved as a little boy in Osaka. He really couldn't articulate what it was other than it was very tasty.

Today, I was determined to go to a local Japanese specialty store because it was the last days of the Takoyaki festival. Takoyaki are sold by street vendors in Osaka.

Tako is octopus in Japanese.

I therefore dragged my son to the store and the takoyaki chefs where busy performing for us. Takoyaki are little balls of batter that includes a piece of tako, pickled red ginger and green onions. As we stood in line waiting our turn, my DS tells me that it looked like the dish he enjoyed so much as a little boy. Well, I bought a box that contained 10 pieces.

When we got outside, we had a taste each. He couldn't believe it was his favorite treat...the one he couldn't remember the name of. He made me go back and get another box. We shared one box for lunch. We will have the other box later. We are counting on my DH not liking octopus so we don't have to share ;-) Seriously, tomorrow we have to go back for more.

The following is a recipe for these little delectables. However, without a special takoyaki pan, it will be hard to make at home.


BTW, I also picked up another specialty item...sweet potato and apple pie. Lady on line with me told me it was so good, she bought two!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

I was organizing the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator to see what staples I needed to replace. There was a small bag of frozen okra in the freezer. Too little to do much with other than add it to soup. Well, why not make gumbo! I had some shrimps in the freezer which I had been saving for Friday's shrimp foo yung.

In my Better Homes and Garden cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks, I found a simple recipe under soups. No shrimps required!

I found a recipe online which is similar to what I made:


I hope you try it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


poiPicture source: This site

I mentioned that my DH needs to eat a lot healthier than he has been. While speaking to a friend who is half Hawaiian, she reminded me most nutritious food is poi. Poi is the Hawaiian Kalo (taro root) that has been pounded into a paste.

While shopping today, I remembered that I was supposed to buy poi. As hard as it is to believe, living in Hawaii, poi is not always available. I found a Hawaiian food stand and there were bags of poi. I asked the clerk if it was fresh poi but no, it was day old poi. Day old poi starts going sour. My husband mentioned that he didn't mind so day old poi it was.

Since we were eating salmon for dinner, I did not pick up the lomi salmon that is salted diced salmon with tomatoes, onions. Lomi means massage so the lomi salmon is massaged with the fingers. Here is a basic recipe Lomi lomi salmon

Well, we still have a half a bag left. Eating poi plain is alright but I think I will try something new.

In one of my Hawaiian cookbooks, I found a recipe for Poi Cocktail. It is a recipe from Maili Yardley's Hawaii Cooks cookbook (Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, Tokyo, Japan):
"You don't hear too much about this nourishing drink anymore. A pity, too, because it is one of the best foods for invalids, children or non-eaters. Shake well 1 C milk; pinch of salt; cracked ice and 3 or 4 heaping T poi. Serve cold in glasses.".
The other recipe I will be making is Poi Mochi. This is indeed a treat to eat!

To learn more about poi, please visit this website

Chinese Salmon Steaks Recipe

My DH was in the mood for fish tonight. Actually, because of recent health issues, I told my family we are going to be eating healthier foods.

I ended up buying farm-raised salmon steaks. Unfortunately, although loaded with Omega 3, wild salmon would have been even healthier.

So now my dilemma was whether I wanted to prepare it Japanese style or Chinese style. I finally decided to try something new.

Chinese Salmon Steaks:

4 Salmon Steaks (go over the skin with a knife to remove any remaining scales)
2 Green onion stalks
3 garlic cloves
3" piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 1/2" of fresh Jalapeño (vein and seeds removed)
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Approximately 1/4 cup of shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

In a food processor, pulse the green onion, ginger, garlic, Jalapeño until coarsely chopped. The ingredients can be minced by hand too.

In Pyrex baking dish (or something similar), place the salmon steaks and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover with the chopped vegetables, lime juice, oil and shoyu. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

You can then bake the fish in a 350 degree preheated oven or steam it until fish is flaky...after approximately 15 minutes.

Serve with steamed white rice.

I will also be serving it with stir fried mushrooms or bean sprouts.

My New Skillet

cast iron skilletWhile on a shopping trip for lunch and dinner ingredients, we happened into a store that sells overstocked stuff. I was looking for a salad spinner but had no luck.

I mentioned to my son that I was looking for a big skillet. I told him the best cookware would be cast iron but that they were not that easy to find. Reason being the popularity of cast iron and the cost. At least that is what I recently read in an article.

Lo and behold I hear "Like this?" There he was holding a large cast iron skillet! The best part was that it was only $8.99! The first new cast iron skillet we bought was over 10 years ago and it was at Sports Authority. I believe it cost us about $20.00 back then.

It has now been seasoned and it is ready for use.

Mahalo Joey!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Learning to Cook From a Priest

Fr. Leo

Sunny posted an interesting article about a priest with his own cooking show. He is on PBS but I hadn't heard about him until Sunny mentioned him. You should check out Fr. Leo"s website for more details about him, his new cookbook, videos and his blog even has recipes.

Thanks Sunny!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Roasted Lamb Shanks with Lentil Rice Pilau Recipes

Yesterday, I found nice lamb shanks at a local supermarket.


4 lamb shanks
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh herbs such as oregano and basil

Place the shanks in a shallow baking dish and top with all the above ingredients. Let sit for at least an hour or two in your refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking dish in hot oven and roast for approximately one hour or until the shank meat is very tender.

Serves 4

I will be serving this dish with Rice Pilau the recipe which is below:

1 cup raw long grain rice
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp butter or better still 1/4 cup of ghee
1/4 cup raisins
2 tsp or 2 cubes of chicken buillion
1 tsp prepared powered curry or 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt if needed
1 cup cooked lentils
2 1/4 boiling water
2 tbsp. toasted almonds

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the onions. Saute along with rice. Add he raisins, buillion, curry or spies and salt. Pour into an ungreased casserole dish. Stire in cooked and drained lentils and add the boiling water. It should cover the rice and lentils by at least an inch and a half. Cook in 350 degree oven until water is absorbed. Top with toasted almonds. [toast raw almonds in a low temperature cast iron skillet until brown].

Fish Piccata Recipe

On Friday, I had a choice between Basa fillets or Dover sole fillets. Since the Dover sole was caught wild in US waters, I opted for that one instead of the farm raised catfish from Vietnam.

The way the dish came out was not disappointing in the least!

Recipe for 4 persons:

8 or (2 medium sized to large sized fillets per person)
1/2 cup flour
Juice of 1 fresh lemon or lime
1 tsp capers (more to taste)
Salt and Pepper
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying fish or combo of vegetable and olive. You may need to add more.
3 garlic cloves, minced

Dry fresh fish fillets with paper towels and coat lightly with flour. Reserve the rest of the flour.

In a large heavy frying pan (cast iron works well) head and then add the oil. Brown each fillet almost golden brown on each side or a few minutes on each. Remove to a serving platter.

When all your fish has been browned, add the butter and your garlic and with a wooden soup, fry the garlic slightly. At this point add approximately 1 tablespoon of the flour you reserved. Stir well with wooden soup to make a roux. Add the lemon juice and water. Whisk well with a wire whisk so that the sauce blends well. When the sauce thickens, adjust seasonings to taste. If bland, you may need to add a few more drops of lemon juice, if too tart, you may need to add a little more water. Stir well, add capers and pour over cooked fish fillets.

Serve with white rice.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Local Recipe - Chantilly Cake and Frosting

Mahalo to Layla for sharing this recipe from Aloha World

Chantilly Cake & Frosting

Chocolate Chiffon Cake:

3 Eggs, separated
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 2/3 C Sifted cake flour
3/4 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1 oz square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/3 C Vegetable oil
1 C Whole milk

Cream Filling:

1/4 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
11/2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract Chantilly Frosting:

1-13 oz can evaporated milk
11/2 C sugar
3/4 C butter
4 large Egg yolks
11/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 C chopped, toasted pecans
Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9x9 cake pans. Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Sift remaining 1 cup sugar with cake flour, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate, oil and 1/2 cup milk. Beat one minute on medium speed. Add egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup milk. Beat one minute until smooth. With rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold in egg white mixture. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and use a sharp knife to split cake layers through the middle into four rounds.

Cream Filling:

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add egg, blend well. Stir in milk slowly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add butter and vanilla. Chill for 30 minutes. Spread a third of the mixture between each layer.

Chantilly Frosting:

Combine milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. Cook stirring constantly, over medium heat for 12 minutes, until mixture thickens. (Make sure that it's thick, or it will slide right off your cake!) Add vanilla extract. Chill 1 hour covered with a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface for proper spreading consistency. Frost cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill for 2 hours. Yield 8-10 servings

Aguadito de Pollo - Peruvian Recipe

Tonight we are having Aguadito de Pollo. It is a soupy rice dish made with chicken, beer and cilantro. I looked on the internet and found a few recipes, none of which come close to my dear mom's way of making it.


1 whole chicken cut up into large pieces (tonight I am using cut up breasts of chicken which I found on sale)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped up or minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
Tip: I processed the cilantro, garlic and onion in the food processor.
1 large can of beer, (use light beer if you absolutely must)
1 cup white rice, uncooked (preferably long grain)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 tsp. Peruvian Aji or 1 small Jalapeño, seeded and deveined
Water to fill the can or bottle of beer you will be using. Maybe a little more if you like your dishes a little soupier.
1/2 cup of frozen peas

In a soup pot, heat pot and add approximately 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add your chicken pieces and brown on both sides. Add the remaining ingredients except the peas.

Cook over a medium heat until the rice cooks and absorbs some of the liquid approximately 1/2 hour. At this point add your frozen peas.

Serves 5-6 persons.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Local Favorite - Portuguese Bean Soup

Thanks to Layla. Source: Aloha World

2 C Kidney beans
1 C White beans (Great Northerns)
2 Smoked ham hocks or ham shank
4 C Chicken broth
1-1/2 C Chopped cilantro (Chinese parsley)
2-1/2 C Diced potatoes, peeled (red or white)
2-1/2 C Carrots, cut into 1" size
1-1/2 C Diced onion (Maui or yellow)
1/2 C Diced celery 1 Portuguese sausage (10 oz or bigger) your choice
2-1/4 C Tomato pur'ee or (16oz's of tomato sauce w/ 3 table spoons corn starch)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
6-7 C Water
Tabasco or small hot Hawaiian chili pepper, if you like to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Soak the beans in water overnight, if using da dry kine. In one big pot put together beans, ham, chicken broth, cilantro and water to cover (about 7 cups). Bring to a boil, then simmer (slow cook) until meat and beans are tender. Remove Da skin and bone's if get from the meat and return to the broth. Slice the Portuguese sausage into 1/2" slices and fry in frying pan, blot (remove the grease) w/ a paper towel. Add sausage to the pot and the potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, tomato puree or tomato sauce mixture. Cook until Potatoes are tender. Season w/salt and pepper.

Recipe - Rocky Road Brownies

Thanks Layla!

1-1/4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.

2. Stir together chocolate chips, marshmallows and nuts; set aside. Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until melted. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs; beat with spoon until well blended. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; stir until well blended. Spread batter in prepared pan.

3. Bake 22 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chip mixture over top. Continue baking 5 minutes or until marshmallows have softened and puffed slightly. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using wet knife, cut into squares. About 20 brownies

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Food As Medicine

Shared by Karr


I didn't write this or research it!

Food as Medicine

Eat plenty of fish -- fish oil helps prevent headaches.
So does ginger, which reduces inflammation and pain

Eat lots of yogurt before pollen season.
Also-eat honey from your area (local region) daily.

Prevent buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls with regular doses of tea. (actually, tea suppresses my appetite and keeps the pounds from invading....Green tea is great for our immune system)!

Use honey as a tranquilizer and sedative.

Eating onions helps ease constriction of bronchial tubes. (when I was young, my mother would make onion packs to place on our chest, helped the respiratory ailments and actually made us breathe better).

Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines actually prevent arthritis.
(fish has omega oils, good for our immune system)

Bananas will settle an upset stomach.
Ginger will cure morning sickness and nausea.

High-acid cranberry juice controls harmful bacteria.

Bone fractures and osteoporosis can be prevented by the manganese in pineapple.

Women can ward off the effects of PMS with cornflakes, which help reduce depression, anxiety and fatigue.

Oysters help improve your mental functioning by supplying much-needed zinc.

Clear up that stuffy head with garlic. (remember, garlic lowers cholesterol, too.)

A substance similar to that found in the cough syrups is found in hot red pepper. Use red (cayenne) pepper with caution-it can irritate your tummy.

BREAST CANCER? EAT Wheat, bran and cabbage
Helps to maintain estrogen at healthy levels.

A good antidote is beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A found in dark green and orange vegetables.

Cabbage contains chemicals that help heal both gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Grate an apple with its skin, let it turn brown and eat it to cure this condition. (Bananas are good for this ailment)

Mono unsaturated fat in avocados lowers cholesterol.

Olive oil has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Celery contains a chemical that lowers pressure too.

The chromium in broccoli and peanuts helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.

Kiwi: Tiny but mighty. This is a good source of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E & fiber. It's Vitamin C content is twice that of an orange.

Apple: An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low Vitamin C content, it has antioxidants & flavonoids which enhances the activity of Vitamin C thereby helping to lower the risks of colon cancer, heart attack & stroke.

Strawberry: Protective fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits & protects the body from cancer causing, blood vessels clogging free radicals. (Actually, any berry is good for you..they're high in anti-oxidants and they actually keep us young......blueberries are the best and very versatile in the health field.....they get rid of all the free-radicals that invade our bodies)

Orange: Sweetest medicine. Taking 2 - 4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent & dissolve kidney stones as well as lessen the risk of colon cancer

Watermelon: Coolest Thirst Quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione which helps boost our immune system. They are also a key source of lycopene - the cancer fighting oxidant. Other nutrients found in watermelon are Vitamin C & Potassium.
(watermelon also has natural substances [natural SPF sources] that keep our skin healthy, protecting our skin from those suv rays)

Guava & Papaya: Top awards for Vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high Vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fiber which helps prevent constipation.

Papaya is rich in carotene, this is good for your eyes. (also good for gas and indigestion)

Tomatoes are very good as a preventative measure for men, keeps those prostrate problems from invading their bodies.

Local Recipe - Somen Salad

One local favorite is cold somen salad. Somen is a think Japanese noodle garnished with all kinds of goodies and served with an Asian style dressing. This recipe was also shared by Layla and it comes from Aloha World

Somen Salad

1 package somen noodles, boiled and drained
2 eggs, scrambled
1 kamaboko (fish cake), chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
shredded lettuce
charsiu or ham, chopped Sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp shoyu

Cooking Instructions:
Lay somen in 9x13" pan. Garnish with lettuce, kamaboko, charsiu, green onion. Sprinkle sesame seeds. Mix sauce ingredients in bottle, shake well and pour over salad.