Thursday, June 20, 2013

I've been busy

And off island for a week. Being away from routine habits caused us to lose 10 lbs. between us!

Even after ordering pizza - twice!

When you order from Pizza Luce, and ask for peppers, they will ask you, "Red or green?" Ask for olives: "Black, green or Kalamata?" Needless to say, it was delicious. And affordable - $20 - $22 for a large. We ordered half pepperoni, half artichoke hearts with bacon. Or half sausage, pepper and olive.

Short Rib Benedict

Manny's Steakhouse Lobster Benedict
That's a short rib Benedict at the top, lobster Benedict below it. Both from Manny's Steakhouse in the W, Minneapolis.

We went to both farmer's markets in the city, and while I was intrigued with the fresh cheese curds, I didn't buy anything. While there, we went to a grocery co-op, market, and boutique market. The latter had a smaller selection of produce, but better quality, and organic eggs were readily available and affordable. Yes, I did cook, but only basic things like pasta and chicken and salmon.

The sort of sushi you can find in Foodland was easy to find but pricey. We passed.

We ate Vietnamese food - it was OK - and Thai, which was just plain BAD, as was their service.

We bought granola from Target. It cost $3.49/box. Here in Honolulu, it's $6.99/box!

More on food to come...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Changes at The Whole Ox Deli & Butcher

You're reading my prior blogposts looking for a review of the "new" Whole Ox Deli & Butcher.

I can tell you right now, you won't see that yet. In the first place, a large group of us ate dinner there the first night of the new menu from the new chef. It's really unfair to everyone to base an opinion of the new menu on the first night, especially when the menus - both lunch and dinner, are still evolving.

We have tried the "new" lunch and enjoyed it. We had the burger; it IS different, but still good. Also had the fried chicken sandwich, which is also delicious. The MA'O greens are always good, and the mac salad is to my taste - with a minimum of mayonnaise. Please note that these sides no longer come with the sandwiches, and prices have been adjusted down accordingly.

Oxburger and Crush gift from Gooch
 We were happy to see our friend Mark Noguchi from TasteTable and PiliHawaii, and he gifted us with an Orange Crush IN THE BOTTLE! Mahalo for that, Gooch!

Yes, it was our birthday. Yes, we are Aries - stubborn, bossy, etc. Yes, we are 39. AGAIN. However, we don't feel our age, and we do know how to have fun! Surround yourself with great people, make new friends, what's not to love?
Fried Chicken Sandwich

We've talked to the new chef, Justin Yu, and he, Aker Briceno, Lindsey Ozawa and the staff are moving forward.

A note about the burgers: turning a whole cow into burgers isn't the best use, which is why there are only 30 per day. Please go early. You will enjoy!

And Bob McGee is working on something new and exciting. I can't wait!

So hang on out there, until we find out more, and go back for dinner, too! Better yet, go try!

What Lives to Eat Readers Are Looking For

What you readers of my blog actually read here fascinates me!

You are obsessed with the best doughnuts in Honolulu - many people say they are from Kamehameha Bakery, when all I want to eat from there is their ensemada! Other people like their poi glazed or filled poi haupia doughnuts. Not me. Just give me the small ensemada and I'm in heaven!

Also, you want to add fiber to white rice. Listen, I add soybeans, as in this post. Take other cues from Japanese home cooking: add azuki beans or seaweed (hijiki is good because of the fine texture) or cook sekihan - sticky white rice cooked with azuki beans that turns a lovely maroon color. My final thought on that is you could make a quick chirashi with some cooked carrots sliced finely, furikake and aburage - purchased fried tofu skins. If you use the aburage that is sold in a package that comes on a shelf, you could use the liquid in there to flavor the rice, then stuff the rice in the remaining shells, or freeze the skins for other uses.

Finally, you could buy the pricey Genji-mai brown rice, which has a lot of the hull of brown rice removed. This tastes almost like white rice.

What else are you looking for out there? Information on Hamakua alii mushrooms, aka trumpet mushrooms. The husband loves these for their meaty texture - as part of an omelet or stir-fry. I haven't tried this, but I have seen a recipe for a salad with the mushrooms thinly sliced and cut into diagonal bite-size pieces. The other ingredients were a choice of kale or spinach and some onion for crunch. Where do you find them? Sorry, they're not always in the market. How do you clean them? Like any other mushroom: wipe off anything that looks like dirt with a damp paper towel and trim anything too tough to eat (which should be a minimal bit of tough stem).

OK, get back to cooking and eating!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Orange Food Plus Ochazuke

We had orange soup last night, and on the last day of March, some Garnet Yam. The other items I assembled to eat with hot white rice were: purchased poke, sliced tomatoes from Mari's Aquaponics (delicious!) and something green that I don't remember!

So, I thought the plate needed orange, peeled and cut up enough yam in wedges for the two of us, poked some holes with a fork, and nuked it in the microwave in a little water until tender. Yes, I'd rather eat kabocha cooked the conventional way, but this was a way to eat dinner faster! I drained the yams, had Ted mix in a bit of sesame oil, shoyu and sesame seeds. Perfect!

We ate all the above with furikake and lots of hot green tea, and Ted was in heaven. After homemade beef stew, this is his all-time comfort food: rice, tea, some vegetables, raw or cooked fish - ochazuke!

April 2, 2013 - What We Ate Last Night

This is the way we eat at home: lots of vegetables, lots of flavor. Yes, we do eat out a lot - so many popups, great food at the Blaisdell Farmers' Market. We know we have to be prudent, thoughtful, when we eat at home. Spending an hour in the kitchen is the MAXIMUM I can stand to be there! Half an hour is ideal.

I had some Pit Farm beets I'd already cooked - I put Ted to work peeling them, then cut them into bite-size pieces. First I put a handful of sliced onions in hot olive oil, added the beets to brown and warm them, then a package of Okinawan spinach from Nalo Farms. These are glossy dark green on one side, dark purple on the other. They have to be stripped from the stems. The only new veg I've seen that I like better is the komatsuna. Otsuji Farms has this - it's in the turnip family, but has purple leaves and tastes like bok choy. After it's cooked, it will turn your nearby white food purple or green, but don't be alarmed. It's delicious. And be sure to leave some for me!

The other things we ate were leftover orange soup - most of my pureed soups look that color! This one was based on this recipe, but with mostly Garnet yam. Other versions use more carrots, tomatoes, even red bell peppers. Remember to adjust the spice levels to your own taste, and keep in mind various garam masala mixes, even fresh ginger, have different levels of heat. All I did was heat the leftovers in the microwave oven, and dished out two servings. We ate some orange food a couple nights before, too.

The final item on the menu was leftover whole wheat pasta - about 2.5 cups - thawed from the freezer. First, I sauteed a pile of sweet onion, then added several ripe tomatoes. When these were softened, I added a can of anchovies I got from the bargain corner at Foodland. Didn't rinse 'em or use the oil from the tin; I did smoosh them. (That's the technical term!) I added the pasta, a tiny bit of water. I guess white wine would have been nice. Then a chiffonade of basil before serving. Note: there was no added salt, it was just right! We had no parm, but that might have been good, too.

Ted's reaction: "There's fish in this?" Very good taste observation! But he couldn't find it!

So, we ate a variety of vegetables, whole grain pasta, a teeny bit of fish. Ready for tonight's dinner at Blaisdell Farmers' Market at The Pig & The Lady. See the menu here:

By the way, the Pig & The Lady Miyazaki dinner & movie popup was fabulous!

Friday, February 22, 2013

People with Passion

I love to read about them, and to write about them.

You need to subscribe to the Star Advertiser to read Joleen Oshiro's article about this wonderful Leilehua High School teacher, Jackie Akuna, who inspires her agriculture students to care about the food they grow and eat. In a world dominated by factory-farmed food, in a state where most of our supermarket produce comes from somewhere else - days, weeks, months old - these central Oahu teenagers are growing their own fresh food! They are cooking and eating vegetables, and taking them home to supplement family meals.

But you can read more about Jackie Akuna at She Grows Food, a blog about women and the future of food, and on Alan Wong's Pineapple Press.Alan is also a Leilehua grad!

What is it about good, fresh food that brings me back to farmers markets every week? Two days ago, I talked to several people I met at the Blaisdell farmers market, who I've subsequently seen elsewhere. A week ago, I shared a table with 6 others. The server asked me who they were; I said I met them all at the farmers market!

Back on topic, the produce grown by the Leilehua ag students and Future Farmers is sold at the Thursday Wahiawa Farmers Market at the Hongwanji, and at the Peterson Egg Room (call first, ph. 621-7097.)

If you see me, ask to read my copy of the article, or come to the library to read it. It's worth your time.

You'll be heartened by the resolve and caring, the energy and influence of Leilehua alumna and teacher Jackie Akuna.