Friday, April 29, 2011

In Honor of Divine Mercy Sunday AND the Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Pierogies!!  Perfect to commemorate a great Catholic feast day and great Polish saints and a soon-to-be saint.

Pierogies fried in butter and green onions.

It was through Divine Providence that I read a site on using encouraging readers to use staples in their kitchen in order to make meals. One suggestion was for homemade pierogies. Pierogies? Why, that is a Polish dumpling! Venerable John Paul II is Polish.  St. Faustina is Polish.   I am very thankful to the God for revealing this magnificent feast of  Divine Mercy Sunday, through His Polish saints... St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pope John Paul II, Sister Faustina's confessor, Blessed Sopocko.

My family loves Pierogies. You can get very good Pierogies in New Jersey because some of the northern towns have large Polish population, e.g. Garfield. The best you can do in Hawaii is the frozen Mrs. T brand. I have been wanting to make Pierogies for a long time but never got around to it until yesterday that is.

I had to do a little research on the internet. I found three recipes that I sort of spliced together to come up with the one I thought would be like the ones I remember eating back home.

My family and I loved them!  I prepared them the way my sister told me her husband liked them with butter and green onions.  The recipe is below.

I made a lot of filling so I hope to make some more Pierogies today. BTW, how is it pronounced? Pier-oo-gees? or Pier-oo-hard G?

Recipe One
Recipe Two
Recipe Three

 I modified the recipes to utilize ingredients I had at hand and the amount so that some could be frozen for later.

Pierogi Dough


2 eggs
2/3 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
Approximately 2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and then knead until the dough somewhat elastic.  Approximately 10 minutes of kneading time.  Cover and let rest for approximately 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.

Potato Cheese Filling


5 Medium sized potatoes
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons yogurt
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Medium onion, diced and fried in 2 tablespoons butter (or extra virgin olive oil) until onions are well browned but not burnt.

Peel and boil potatoes in salted water until a fork goes in easily.  Drain and place in a bowl.  Add the browned onions, yogurt and cheddar cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Divide the dough into four parts.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough very thin but not paper thin.  Cut into rounds.  I used a clean tuna can to cut the rounds.

Fill with approximately 1/2 tablespoon full of filling and fold the dough over and press to seal tightly.  If the sides with not stick together, use a little water to help seal the Pierogies well.

Approximately 30 small Pierogies


2 Tablespoons butter
3 large Green onions, minced

Saucepan with boiling salted water

Heat a skillet and add the butter.  When the butter melts, add the green onions and brown being careful not to let the onions burn.  Turn off heat.

Cook the Pierogies in the boiling salted water, approximately 7 at a time, until they float.  Drain and to the skillet with the browned butter and green onions.  Continue until  21  Pierogies are done.  When the 21 Pierogies are in the skillet, turn the heat back on to medium and cook until the bottoms of the Pierogies are golden brown.

Serves 3 for lunch or light dinner.

Serve with a green salad.

BTW, I want to wish you an early Happy Feast of Divine Mercy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Shopping Trip to the Farmer's Market and the Importance of Supporting our Local Farmers

The produce you see in the picture is usually what I buy every week at our local farmer's market.

1.  Bag of baby greenleaf lettuce.  I used to buy the hydroponic lettuce but I haven't seen that vendor lately.
2.  Green onions - just until the ones in my garden are ready for cutting.
3.  Grape tomatoes - So sweet!  I was eating them like candy last evening.
4.  Yukon gold potatoes - I can't believe how much longer these potatoes last compared to the ones in the supermarket.
5.  Lemons or limes - Meyer lemons are my favorite.  These are a must-have in the refrigerator at all times.
6.  Cucumbers - These too last a lot longer that supermarket bought cukes.
7.  Zucchini

My husband loves it when I bring home kettle corn from his favorite popcorn vendor. I haven't seen her in the last few weeks either.  They also sell prepared food and until recently herb plants.   We don't really purchase the prepared food but I make an exception once in a while for grilled abalone from the Big Island's Kona Coast.  It is heaven on earth!! Try eating these with a squirt of lemon juice and hot sauce or soy sauce.

The above produce will last our family about a week.  I supplement vegetables and fruits with sales from the supermarkets. But sadly, the produce I buy in the supermarket will go to waste if not used within a short time.  The local produce on the other hand last a remarkably long time.

It is so important to Hawaii residents to support our local growers.  I was reading that Hawaii depends so much on importing food for us that if God forbid we had a devastating natural disaster, we would only have enough food to last two weeks!  A large percentage of Hawaii's food is shipped here from the mainland something like 80%.

For more information on a local farmer's market near you check out Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.  The local produce is fresher, tastier and you will be supporting our local farmers if you buy from the farmers.  They in turn will grown more food locally for us to enjoy.  And, hopefully, Hawaii can stop depending so much on the mainland.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tasty Shrimp with Feta Cheese Recipe and Tips for Cooking in a Small Kitchen

...and I thought my kitchen was tiny!  Although my kitchen is small, it is spacious compared to the NYC apartment you will see in the video.  Melissa Clark  has some good tips and the shrimp dish she cooks looks so ono!

H/T to DefinitiveInk.

Peruvian Home Cooking - Aguadito de Pollo (Soupy Chicken Rice Stew)

Aguadito de Pollo
One of my late father's favorite dishes was Aguadito de Pato. It was a soupy rice duck dish. The soupier the better my father liked it. My mother would make this special dish for him on his birthday. The rest of the year my mother made this tradition Peruvian dish using chicken.

The following is my mother's recipe for the chicken rice dish and slightly modified by me.  Like my father, I like it soupy while my husband likes it thick.  My son does not like cilantro so I usually make him a separate chicken dish utilizing the thighs which are his favorite part of the chicken.


1 chicken cut up. Skin removed. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken.  The gizzards, heart and liver can be used.
3/4 cup rice (washed and drained)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. Peruvian Aji Amarillo paste. Fresh hot chili such as jalapeño can be substituted if Aji Amarillo is hard to obtain.
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large can of ale or beer(My mom prefers Guinness). The best I could do was the beer you see in the photo. Light beer would be the last choice.
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 bunch fresh cilantro (washed well and dried)It should not be soaking wet.
1 large beer bottle or can of water *Together with the beer the liquid should add up to approximately 4 1/2 cups of water. Depends on whether the preference is for a thicker rice dish.
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Process the cilantro in a food processor or mince finely with a sharp knife.

Cilantro in small food chopper

Heat a Dutch Oven or large pot over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and place the chicken pieces in the pot.  Brown well on both sides.  Turn the chicken over only once.

Chicken, garlic, chilies and onions

Add garlic, onions and sauté a few minutes until cooked. Add the aji amarillo paste, cilantro and rice. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the beer/ale and water. Bring liquid to a boil and cover the pot. Lower to medium low and cook until rice is cooked. Add the peas and cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Cilantro has been added

Serve with boiled potatoes and green salad.

Beer and basic seasonings. I use course Hawaiian sea salt for all my cooking
Rice has been added

Beer adds a special flavor to this dish

Bringing the aguadito to a boil and then it will be simmered
Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Dinner

I promised that if I remembered I would post a photo of the marinated roasted pork I made for Easter.  Here it is:

How Does My Garden Grow?

My plants are doing quite nicely!  Usually in Spring it is the battle against the white flies and aphids.  I noticed that with the help of some dead-headed marigolds that are placed on the plants themselves, the little buggers do not seem to be as pesky.  But I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that I did not speak too soon.


Hawaiian Chili Pepper
HECO (the electric company) has a tree give-away in November.  Last November I picked a small plant, a Hawaiian Chili Pepper plant.  In the past I have chosen Plumeria trees because I love the smell of Plumeria flowers.

Green Onions and Tomato plants
Once I spent 7.00 on a large green onion planter thinking that I would spend 6.00 more than I usually do but I would have green onions that would last  forever.  (I use a lot of green onions in cooking).  Sadly, that was just not the case.  It seemed to me that the green onions dried out much quicker than I had anticipated.

Then it occurred to me since green onions have roots I would leave two inches above the root part and plant them in potting soil.  Guess what?  I have lots of green onion plants growing quite well!!  I also grow cilantro this way.  They too have roots that take well in potting soil. 

As for the tomato plant you see growing in the photo.  That was a sucker plant that I removed from the beef steak tomato plant currently growing.  The sucker has taken root and will soon be producing tomatoes.

I enjoy growing plants that I get for free or just about for free.  It bothers me to think of all the money I have spend at the garden centers only to watch the plants wither up and die.  What a waste!

Baby Eggplant
The Mama Aloe (pronounced a-lo-e) plant
I know have many, many baby aloe plants growing.  They are much needed here since I am prone to burning my hand when cooking.

This is our newest addition to our garden.  But it has not yet been planted.  My friend gave it to me for Easter.  I haven't  had an azalea plant since I lived in New Jersey. 

Not shown here are plumeria, papaya, sweet basil lettuce, pineapple, sweet potatoes, celery, etc.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Dinner - Peruvian Marinated Roast Pork

In my family the traditional Easter (Pascua de Resurrección) meat is a marinated roast pork. Thank God for fresh picnic ham because it comes with the skin because the crispy skin is my favorite part of the roast pork.

The fresh picnic ham I bought is almost 8 lbs. It has been marinating for almost a week in the refrigerator. Tomorrow when we return home from Easter Sunday Mass, it will be popped into the oven and roasted slowly until the meat just about falls apart. Then with a sharp knife the skin will be separated/lifted from the meat and broil until the skin is crackly and crunchy. I have to be careful not to burn it!

Family tradition is to serve this roast with roasted fresh sweet potatoes or yams, white long grain rice, green salad. Easter candy for dessert. I think I will also make white and semi-sweet chocolate dipped-fresh strawberries.

Marinade Ingredients:

1 Fresh Picnic Ham (rinsed and dried) weight:  approximately 7-8 lbs.

Approximately 2 cups vinegar (Cider or white)
2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Approximately 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. Hawaiian Salt (less if you are using table salt or as per your preference)
Black pepper to taste
1 large head of garlic (not one clove.  We will be using all the cloves in that head)
Few fresh oregano leaves or (approximately 1/4 tsp dried)
Few fresh basil leaves or (Approximately 1/4 dried)
Herbs like Chives, green onions, mint can be used
Approximately 1 tsp Goya's Adobo Seasoning (optional)
1 envelope Goya's Sazon Seasoing (optional)
Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cumin

Process in all above ingredients (except the oil and the vinegar) together to get a paste. This can also be done by hand by mincing all the herbs and blending it with the salt, pepper and other seasonings.

Use the largest bowl you have that can hold the picnic ham comfortably. My largest bowl was a bit snug. Oh well... Add the vinegar and oil to the bowl. Blend together with a whisk.  Score the skin or poke the skin with a sharp knife. Rub the seasoning paste all over the pork.  Place the ham carefully into the vinegar.

Marinate the pork in refrigerator (make sure to cover tightly with cover or aluminum foil) for the minimum of three whole days.  The longer it marinates, the tastier the meat.

Preheat oven at 325 degrees UPDATED NOTE: After 4 hours, the roast pork was still pink.  So back it went into the oven at a higher temperature (350 degrees) for another hour. Then the meat was just the way I originally wanted it.  Delicious too!

Place aluminum foil in the bottom of the roasting pan for easier clean up (optional).  Place roast on the aluminum foil.  Roast pork slowly for approximately 4 hours or more.  (approximately 35 minutes per pound)  It is hard to over-cook pork but try to watch it after the first two hours.  The roast will be ready when the meat is no longer pink or even slightly pink is done.  If you prefer the meat to fall apart, like we do, cook it the extra time.  Then follow directions for broiling the skin.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

Wash by scrubbing one or two sweet potatoes per person (such as Okinawan).  Dry and place in a baking dish or they can be placed directly onto the oven rack.  Approximately one hour before the roast is ready, place the sweet potatoes in the oven and roast until a fork goes in easily.

If I remember, I will post pictures of the roasted pork on Monday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My First Attempt at Hot Cross Buns

This is the first time I made Hot Cross Buns and the first time I will be eating them. That was a really good recipe to follow even though mine came out a little bigger than the Pioneer Woman.  I think I made mine tennis ball size and not golf ball size ;-)

Hot Cross Buns on Foodista

Some Meatless Meal Ideas for Good Friday

I still haven't decided what to make for our main Good Friday meal.  My mom always made Bacalao with Garbanzo beans.  Bacalao is salted codfish. Very tasty.  I cannot always find Bacalao in Hawaii so that means we really don't have a Good Friday traditional meal.  The following are a few dishes I am considering:

1.  Pasta with Pesto
Homemade Pasta with Pesto and Calabrese Salad
I may have enough fresh basil leaves to make a quick Pesto sauce.  However, since it is Good Friday, I will not be able to make fresh pasta tomorrow.  I am not sure I have enough time to make pasta today since I am already working on the Hot Cross Buns dough. Pesto with Macadamia Nuts Recipe.

2.  Vegetable Cakes (Zucchini)

I made the above meal the other evening.  Zucchini cakes made almost like you would crab cakes from Relish magazine recipe I mom shared.  Garlic lemon with mayonnaise sauce.  I also served broccoli and cauliflower with Bechamel sauce in a baked potato along with artichoke and garlic vinaigrette.  Although my husband and I loved the all veggie meal, my son was very disappointed there was no meat in his food.

3.  Fr. Leo's Eggplant Caponata

Fr. Leo of Food for the Soul has the most delicious Eggplant Caponata recipe. I serve it with white rice like Father suggests.

4.  Pizza

My husband put his favorite toppings on this one. Black olives and green peppers.  My son and I like plain old cheese pizza.  I finally found a pizza dough recipe I like a lot.  It was in the Mary Ann Esposito's cookbook Nella Cucina.  This dough would probably make good zeppoles too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meatless Recipe: Rice Pilau with Garlic Shrimp and "Raita"

Rice Pilau is one of my family's favorite rice dishes. It is hearty enough to be the main course. I like variety in my foods so I usually serve Rice Pilau with meat as a side dish. In this case, shrimp was the side dish.  The original recipe for Rice Pilau came from an international cookbook.  It was either Betty Crocker International Cookbook or Betters Home and Garden International Cookbook.  I do not remember.  It was my mother's cookbook.

Rice Pilau
The following is my recipe for Rice Pilau.
Combination of rice and lentils waiting to be washed

Combination raisins and Craisins

Chopped onions


1 cup rice (I used half white and half brown rice for this dish)
1/2 cup dried lentils (make sure to rinse)
1/2 cup diced or chopped onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and approximately 1/2 tbsp. butter (the butter can be omitted)  The original recipe calls for Ghee. Click the "Ghee" for recipe if you prefer a more authentic Indian flavor.
1/2 cup raisins (I used 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup Craisins).
2 Tsp. Chicken Bouillion
1 Tsp. or more depending on your preference of Curry Powder.  Note:  when I do not have curry powder I use approximately 1/2 tsp. cumin and 1 tablespoon Turmeric.  Even if you do use Curry Powder, you can add the additional spices.
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cup boiling water

Garnish:  Toasted almond slivers
Fresh Cilantro leaves

Rice Pilau goes into oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a heavy large skillet or even a heavy saucepan, add the oil and butter (or Ghee), rice, lentils and onions.  Stir in raisins, chicken bullion, curry (or Turmeric and cumin), and salt to taste.  Pour into an ungreased casserole dish (I used a Pyrex dish).  Carefully, pour boiling water over the contents of the baking dish.  There should be approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of water over the top of the rice.  It does not have to be perfect.  If too much water, the rice will be very soft.  If too little water, it may be a little hard on top of the rice.  Bake in oven until all the water is absorbed.

Garnish with toasted almond slivers and fresh cilantro leaves.  You can omit the garnishes if you prefer.

Rice Pilau coming out of oven

Rice Pilau with Shrimp and Garlic, Raita and Fresh Pineapple Spears
Shrimp and Garlic:

1/2 lb. to 1 lb. large Shrimp (21/25 count) shelled and deveined
3 large minced garlic cloves
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dry shrimp on paper towels. Set aside.  Heat skillet.  Add oil and garlic.  When garlic is lightly brown, add shrimp and fry until brown. Turn over and fry for another few seconds or so.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from stove immediately and set aside.

Raita (Cucumber with Yogurt)

Raita is the Indian version of cucumber and yogurt.  The Greeks call it Tzatziki.

The following is my version of this salad.  I do not know if it really Indian though...

1 large Japanese cucumber, remove seeds and peel.  Diced.
1/2 cup plain yogurt.  Greek Yogurt would be good.  I used the homemade yogurt I made earlier.
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Minced Spearmint (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Extra virgin olive oil (drizzle...also optional).
Pinch of Cumin (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Fresh Pineapple Spears
Cutting the pineapple with a Chinese cleaver
Pineapple spears

I was able to find another small sweet pineapple.  It went well with this meal because the sweetness of the pineapple accompanied the the savory flavors very nicely.

Serves 3 to 4

Recipe for Hot Cross Bun:s a Good Friday Tradition

Picture source

Although, I am very familiar with this nursery rhyme and have seen them in bakeries my entire life, I have never tasted a Hot Cross Bun, let alone made one. Fellow Catholic blogger Helen shared a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, on her blog that I think I would like to try:

Hot Cross Buns

She wrote:
Hot Cross Buns are as synonymous with Good Friday. I usually buy these as they are not expensive, but someone encouraged me to make them. Here is a great recipe, I found at The Pioneer Woman.

Hot Cross Buns on Foodista