Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce

just competed in a chili cook-off. Believe me, it was no big deal. I have two best friends as neighbors and to spice up our lives on the slopes of Maunakea, we have a book club and a cooking competition.  Needless to say, I didn't win (although I do think mine was the BEST) but while my chili was in the oven I prepared a bread pudding from a recipe that I found on epicurious.com. In fact, Epicurious is now one of my favorite websites. It's where I found my chili recipe (which, again, I think was the best) and it also houses my new favorite bread pudding recipe. The recipe actually came from Bon Appetit October 2001. I wish I had pictures of my winning bread pudding (no, there was not a contest for dessert but it won everyone's hearts, lol) but I only took pictures of what I thought would be my award winning chili. I was focused.

I love bread pudding. I think Kuhio Grill in Hilo has one of the best. I make it once in a while (when I have leftover bread) and although very good, it just doesn't quite make it to the top of the "best bread pudding in the world" list. But I think this one does. I considered baking it in a water bath (as was recommended by one of the reviews on the site) but transporting the unbaked bread pudding from my home to the neighbor's (where the chili cookoff was being held) was too traumatic for me (sloping hill = slopping bread pudding liquid) and I gave up on the thought and just threw the damn thing in the oven. This bread pudding was so light that we actually scooped it out with a big spoon rather than cut it into squares. And then we drizzled the spiced rum sauce. Gosh. I think I might make some more tonight. Maybe just a half recipe.

Bread Pudding


  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk (I didn't have whole milk. In fact, I used fat free milk, the only kind we house in the fridge)
  • 2 cups sugar (I happened to use vanilla sugar, my latest favorite thing: a couple of split vanilla beans in my jar of sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (I only had 1/4 cup of whipping cream. I used half and half for the rest)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1-pound loaf cinnamon challah or cinnamon-swirl bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used some formerly frozen sweet bread rolls and just kind of estimated about 10-12 rolls)
  • 1 cup golden raisins (my family is not that hot on raisins so I used 3 of those LITTLE boxes of regular raisins)

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. Add milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla; whisk to blend well. Stir in bread and raisins. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. (I actually refrigerated it for about 3. I don't think it matters how long). There was a LOT of liquid that didn't get absorbed. I was worried that I didn't have enough bread. But all turned out well.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pudding uncovered until puffed and golden, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm with Spiced Rum Sauce.


  • Spiced Rum Sauce

    • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 2 tablespoons spiced rum or dark rum
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cream, rum, and cinnamon and bring to simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Serve warm. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes






I have never been a huge tomato fan, unless of course, it is in lomi salmon. And God forbid you try to feed me beef tomato. I like to eat everything but that would be at the bottom of my list, right above store bought half ripe rock hard tomatoes.
I never knew what a real tomato should taste like until I grew my own cherry tomatoes in Mākaha and then subsequently moved to the big island and had easy and affordable access to Kamuela Tomatoes and now Mauna Kea Tomatoes. Seriously, here in Hawaiʻi we pay a fortune to buy inferior tomatoes that are grown in who knows what faraway country and shipped all the way here. I think it probably costs more in fuel than in growing.
But now I cannot pass up a few tomatoes from any of our local farmers here on Hawaiʻi Island. And most recently I bought a box of Mauna Kea Tomatoes from Costco.
Kikaʻs birthday was approaching and she loves caprese. So what the heck, with Kaipo here to just cut up a tomato and eat it straight off of the cutting board (with sprinkles of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic) and my plans to roast some for a pasta meal, it seemed like a good deal to me. Less than $7 for at least a dozen big red ripe tomatoes seemed like a steal!
Caprese. Check.
Tomatoes for Kaipo. Check.
Roasted tomatoes - Okay, here goes:

1. Get your tomatoes. Romas are best. But I wouldnʻt let that stop me. Heck, if I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes I might even try that! Remove the stems and wash (I read that tomatoes are one of the three top veggies that need good cleaning to prevent E. Coli and the like.)
2.  Cut in half. I had big tomatoes so I cut them into thirds. Straight down the top. Kamuela tomatoes are a bit smaller so those I just cut in half.
3. Put in a large bowl and toss with a variety of herbs, if you have them on hand. Sprinkles of dried basil, marjoram, thyme, any kind of italian seasonings would work. I used some fresh pesto, thyme, dried chopped onion.
4. Add some salt (I always use Hawaiian salt) and fresh ground pepper (is best but if you donʻt have fresh ground then so be it. I just bought a fresh ground pepper shaker thing from Costco filled with peppercorns so Iʻm getting fancy).
5. Chop up a few cloves of garlic (I used about 4). Big chops. Add to bowl.
6. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
7. Mix with your hand
8. On a cookie sheet (with rim) lined with parchment paper or foil, place tomatoes (cut side down at first).
9. Slow roast at 250-275 degrees for about 4 hours or so. Depends on how you like it. After an hour or two turn the tomatoes.

If you start off with big tomatoes it takes a while for the moisture to bake out of them. And when you turn them (I used tongs) they might be kind of squishy so you have to be gentle. Just kind of play it by "eye". By the time I considered mine done, some were very well done and some were still a tad squishy. But thatʻs okay. I plan to have them cut up and tossed with some pasta and olive oil so it doesnʻt seem like a big deal that they be totally dried out.

If you need more directions go here! Itʻs a wonderful food blog site called Kalynʻs Kitchen. This is how I first got going on roasting tomatoes.

I took them out of the oven as the ʻohana and guests were making their plates for lunch (corned beef and cabbage thanks to Mom!) and I said, specifically, "Donʻt touch the tomatoes! They arenʻt for todayʻs meal!" Next thing you know, there it is, tomatoes on the bread, on the rice, or just in hand. I barely have enough left for the pasta. If you like tomatoes, and most definitely, if you LOVE tomatoes, you are going to love your very own roasted tomatoes. It isnʻt quite like sun dried tomatoes. Itʻs better. More flavorful. Easier to bite into. D E L I C I O U S .

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chile Relleno


At the Parker School Open Market on Saturday I saw poblano peppers, beautiful green, shiny, large,  next to all of the other quite delectable vegetables. The only kind of peppers I have EVER used in cooking, EVER, are nīoi (Hawaiian chili peppers) and bell peppers. That's it.  I wouldn't be able to identify an anaheim from a jalapeno or an ancho. But I reflected on one of my husband's favorite Mexican dishes, Chile Relleno, and I thought that with a long weekend I might just find the time to give it a shot.

I did a search, as I always do, on google (why oh why do I even BUY cookbooks but I do love them so) and found a couple of recipes that I thought would work. One even had a youtube video with it! I took what I thought to be the best of both recipes and that's what you'll see below:

Ingredients
6 or so poblano peppers (I hear you can use other types. The poblanos were not hot at all, my kinda pepper)
8 oz. pkg monterey jack cheese
1/4 c. flour (plus 1 tablespoon)
4-5 eggs, separated
dash of salt
vegetable oi, enough to cover bottom of a frying pan (maybe about 1/4 inch)

Directions
1. Rinse the chiles.
2. Preheat your oven to broil.
3. Place the chiles in a 9 x 14 baking dish or cookie sheet and place on the top shelf of your oven. I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper because I hate washing.
4. Watch and listen closely. When the skins start to make popping sounds and to char and turn black in places, take the chiles out and flip them over. I tried to get all sides of the peppers charred.

5. When both sides are fairly evenly charred, remove them from the oven.
6. Place all the chiles in a paper bag and close the end.
7. After a few minutes, check them. Once the skin comes off easily, peel each chile.


8. Cut a slit almost the full length of each chile. Make a small "t" across the top, by the stem. Pull out fibers and seeds (this is where the heat is). After a while I stopped making the "t". I just did the one slit the full length and kind of turned the chile inside out and pulled out the seeds and membranes attached.
Place a slice of cheese in each chile. I took the 8 oz. block of 
cheese and cut it to form wedges that I could just place right inside. Some recipes said to use a toothpick to hold it closed. I didn't have any and it seemed to work just fine.
9. Whip the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks have formed.
10. Heat the oil in a skillet until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the pan.
11. Beat the egg yolks with one tablespoon flour and salt. Mix the yolks into egg whites and stir until you have a thick paste.
12. Roll the chiles in 1/4 cup flour and dip each one in the egg batter. Coat evenly. I ended up getting the batter all over my hands because dipping doesn't do the trick. You have to kind of pick up some batter to cover the "bald" spots. Fry, seam side down on all sides until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain.

13. Meanwhile, heat an enchilada sauce or salsa in a medium saucepan (or in a microwaveable dish and zap it). Place one or two Rellenos on each plate and pour salsa over them. Serve  immediately.
I thought it would be a lot harder to fry than it was. A couple of my chiles had slits in it where it had torn so I thought cheese would ease out all over the place. but it didn't! I only had one leak out and that's because when I put it down in the pan it sort of opened up and I knew I was in for a gooey one. But even that one came out great. 
It was deelish. And not too difficult. I mean, you take out the guts and put a slab of cheese in it! Dip it and fry it up! I opened a can of vegetarian refried beans and heated that up and I made a batch of cornbread (with a chile in it that i cut up into small bits).
Everyone said they loved it. Even Kaipo, who is generally anti-pepper, ate it! I'm sure if I see these peppers on sale for a good price (I think it was around $4.99 a pound, but they are really light!) I'll buy them and make rellenos again!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pesto


I love making pesto (basil pesto) for my 'ohana and I am thankful they love to eat it. So much so that they turn their noses to store bought pesto (learned that the hard way when I bought the Costco size, thinking it would be the same and it sat. Forever. In my fridge). We put it on pasta, on bread, in a great tasting tomato mixture for bruschetta, and in eggs.  Once in a while I give a bowl to a friend or I make pasta for potlucks and someone always ends up asking me for the recipe. I HAVE NONE! I just kind of throw all the ingredients together in my food processor, have my official pesto taster (a.k.a. Kaipo) try it out, and add a little bit more of whatever as it needs it.

This morning I decided to measure my ingredients. First time ever! My OPT (official pesto taster) said to throw in more garlic, but seriously, she is a garlic fiend so I opted not to. You might think differently.

Recipe

  • 4 cups basil leaves (packed)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled (why is it necessary to put peeled? Would anyone seriously put in garlic that is unpeeled?)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or any kind of nut you may have such as pecans, walnuts or mac nuts)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (I use the Costco one that comes in the big jar but in a pinch I have been known to use the green tall can one and it was not a bad result!)
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Hawaiian salt (I always use my favorite Kaua'i Hanapēpē salt...I swear it makes a difference)
  • 1 1/4 cup EVOO


Some cookbooks or blogs get a bit fancy and say to first grind up this, then that, use this oil, then that, but for me, I just throw the first five ingredients into the food processor, turn it on and pour in the olive oil in a steady stream until it is all in there. Then I will stop it, take off the top, use a scraper and scrape down the sides (there are always a few "leaf chunks" that are clinging to the sides) and then mix again.

And that is about it! I divide it up into a couple of small containers, one to keep and one to give away. The giveaway one is for my BFF who gave me the basil!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Green Papaya Salad



Kaipo and I ventured to Hilo bright and early this morning to participate in the Big Island Roadrunners 5k run. Ugh. I hate running. And running with ONLY runners (about 40 of them) is not fun at all. The thought of possibly coming in last place kept me running more than I was comfortable with. Yay for Kajla who stuck with me. Or maybe she was using me to have a walking excuse. It took me 40 minutes, 1 sec. Damn that 1 second. And I sprinted at the end, too! Even if it was to beat out the old lady in front of me. I think I beat her by 1 second. I guess 40:01 is better than 40:02.

You cannot go to Hilo on a Saturday without stopping at the Hilo Open Market, one of my favorite places to buy my veggies and other goodies. Kaipo always wants a fresh lemonade and musubi. One elderly gentleman sells a wide variety of "prepped" goodies, right out of a bunch of coolers, including mango, sugar cane, coconut, cooked beets, and shredded green papaya. Of course, being in my "gotta keep healthy" mode, I opted to buy the papaya. The woman with him was more than happy to tell me the necessary ingredients for green papaya salad: garlic, chili pepper, fish sauce, and tomato. Check.

Came home and did a search on google to get several recipes. Here is what I ended up with:

3 cups shredded green papaya (although I might have had closer to 4 cups)
2 Tbsp. patis
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Hawaiian chili pepper (USE ONE! Two turned out to be hot for us)
2 garlic cloves
2-3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tomato, cut up (cherry tomatoes cut in half would be great to use but I just had a big ole tomato)
2 Tbsp. roasted peanuts, chopped

Using a mortar and pestle (first time I used mine), I crushed the garlic and chili peppers together. I'm certain you don't need to use the mortar action.

You can probably just smash the garlic and chili pepper using the side of a knife and add some chopping action. I'm all about the least amount of dishes to wash. Next put your green papaya and tomatoes in a big bowl, then add all of the ingredients (except for the nuts) and mix it up. I ended up just using my hands (yes, I washed first) to make sure that all the papaya got some sauce on it. I put the chopped peanuts on the side and everybody just sprinkled it on their individual plates.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cake


I love a good coconut cake. Grandma Alice (my neighbor's mom) makes one of the greatest. But hers calls for coconut cream and I have a hard time finding it and when I do I have a hard time not using it in a chichi drink or on pancakes. And her recipe is a bit labor intensive. I am anti-labor intensive.

So when I found this wonderfully simple recipe for a coconut cake (and I had all the ingredients until I looked for confectioner's sugar, of course) I just had to give it a try. I knew it would be great since it comes from the Barefoot Contessa. I decided to whip it up for our favorite neighbor, Charlie Mahuna, on his 86th birthday.

One of my favorite cooking blogs is The Sisters Cafe. I can't remember how I found it, but I did and I'm happy about it. So click here to see their coconut cake post! YUM!

Coconut Cake
from Barefoot Contessa At Home

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (I used just 3/4 of a box and it seemed sufficiently sweet)
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line with parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour. (I used pam AND I forgot to dust lightly with flour. Fortunately everything turned out just fine)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed , add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned. (I got all excited and forgot to wait for the light yellow and fluffy stage but I think it didn't matter much. On a much prouder note I happened to have extra large eggs and I'm pretty damned proud of it, thank you Costco)

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda , and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula. (I used unsweetened coconut for this part)

4. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling. (I used 8 inch pans so I guess the cake is just a tad higher than it would have been had I used 9")

5. For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!). (I used 3/4 box of confectioner's and I thought it was plenty sweet. I'm not a fan of too much sweet in my cream cheese frostings)

6. To assemble , place on layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

VERDICT

I thought it was good. Everyone said it was Good. Kalena said it was rich (yeah, 5 sticks of butter rich). I loved the frosting but I am cream cheese frosting lover. When I started cutting it, the top started sliding off. Ugh. I think I put too much frosting in between the two layers maybe or maybe because I used a smaller cake pan. I don't know. I need to improve my baking/frosting skills.




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baguette

After spending a week in Tahiti, I have fallen back in love with baguettes. I was never truly OUT of love, but when you visit a country where you can walk a few yards to the nearest market and purchase several baguettes for what amounts to loose change and then smother it with New Zealand butter, well, you tend to miss it when you do not have it. And of course, driving to the nearest Foodland or KTA is no substitute for those baskets full of fresh baked wonder each morning.
     So I set my sights on making my own baguettes for tonightʻs Italian feast. On the menu: fresh pesto (basil from our Hilo Farmerʻs Market) on spaghetti noodles with asparagus and oyster mushrooms sauteed in chopped garlic, butter and olive oil (with a sprinkle of red peppers and Hawaiian salt), fresh organic mixed lettuce, and a wonderful bruschetta mixture of fresh tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil for the bread. 
     I sent out an alert on my twitter account: Looking for a good baguette recipe to go with my pasta dinner and promptly received a reply from @foodista:



The directions seemed simple enough. Mix ingredients, let it rise, form the loaves, and bake. It was really that simple. And so few dishes. Go to the foodista.com website for the recipe, complete with its own photos.
Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1 ½ cups water, room temperature
1 tablespoon egg white, beaten with 1 cold water (optional-I didnt do this part)


Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir thoroughly (by hand or in a mixer) until dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes on low speed. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down dough.

Here is the dough mixing in my kitchenaid


Letting it rise right in the kitchenaid bowl
I did have two kitchen towels over the top and wrapped the whole thing in the towel since I wanted to speed up the rising process. But I didnt need to. I waited the full 2 hours.

Divide dough in half on a floured board and shape into 2 equal rectangles. Form each into a baguette by rolling dough away from you. Continue rolling, pressing outward, until you have a long, thin loaf with slightly tapered ends. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet; loaves will double in size, so make sure there is adequate space between them. Cover the loaves with a floured, clean cloth and let rise until doubled. Score the tops of the loaves.
Letting it rise. This is about half way through.

I scored it with a little knife I use for paring. I think it was four knives for $2. Handy little suckers.

Shaping it was not a big issue but I did need to put a lot of flour on the counter. The dough was STICKY.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. At the bottom of the oven, place a baking pan filled with 1 cup hot water; this will create steam (I filled a ramkin with water and set it on the bottom of oven). Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes or until loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped. 5 minutes before the loaf is done, brush with the egg white mixture (I was so famished I completely forgot this step).

We were so hungry at this point that our plates were already made and all we needed to do was cut the bread, slather it with butter or put the wonderful bruschetta mix on top. OMG. Thatʻs all I can say.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Creme Brulee

     It has been a while since I last blogged but I have two good reasons:  1-I have been travelling to places near and far, namely Oʻahu and a weekʻs worth of luxury and love (of the doing nothing sort) in Tahiti and Moʻorea. Wait. There is one more reason: my son, Kalena, has since "moved" back in and has subsequently taken over the dinner duties, and gladly I might add. Case in point: I was taking out some frozen cod fillets, he took one look at it and said, "Ooh, I want to make dinner tonight with that!" Go to it, Son, go to it.
     No one can go to Tahiti without bringing back some of their delicious Tahitian vanilla beans so with that in hand I had to do creme brulee for tonightʻs dessert. Itʻs the least I could do. 
      This Creme Brulee recipe comes from my favorite Food Network star, Ina Garten. I love Ina. 
Ingredients


  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (as a substitute for this I split one vanilla bean and put that in the milk as it was scalding. Then I had to strain the cream before pouring it into the egg mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier. I didnt have any so I substituted Brandy)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. If you are going to use a vanilla bean, split the bean, scrape the inside and add it to the milk as it scalds. Keep stirring. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla extract (if you didnt use a bean) and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.
Verdict
It was smooth. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, even Kika who isnt a big custard fan but loves the crunchy sugar topping. I think straining it is a good idea, maybe even better if it is strained before poured into the ramekins.







Friday, June 19, 2009

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones

Last weekend my bff, Kathy W, introduced me to the scrumptious blueberry cream cheese scones that are sold at Diamond Head Market. She is my hero.
Go forward one week and a quick glance at my Cook's Illustrated podcasts which revealed the best way to make blueberry scones. Alas, you can watch the video on how to best make it but you have to sign up (a.k.a. pay money) for access to their recipes. So I did what I always do when I am yearning for answers: GOOGLE! and voila. The entire recipe found online on the Wine Guy World blog. Lucky me! So along with the video (download the Cook's Illustrated podcasts on iTunes), the recipe and an idea of how to get the cream cheese in there, I gave it a shot.
The few modifications I made was that I ended up grating the frozen butter (one stick of salted since I didn't have unsalted) in my food processor. I did it with a hand grater the first night I made it but it wasn't fun. Not hard but not fun. It worked in a couple seconds with the food processor (grater attachment).
For the cream cheese, I mixed about 4 oz. of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons sugar. Then I flattened out the cream cheese on a plate and stuck it in the freezer. After adding the blueberries to the dough, I then took out the cream cheese, cut it into small chunks with my dough scraper, and pressed pieces between blueberries.
Hope you enjoy the pics. Believe me, the scones are among the best ever. I recall hearing comments like, "These are restaurant quality...you could sell them". Kika, my food critic, said they were like at least a 9. I think that's good. Wait. She said they were a 10. If she didn't consider Diamond Head a definite 10. Damn. I gotta work on it some more.


Blueberry Scones
from Cook's Illustrated

It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and workbowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance.

INGREDIENTS
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (see note above)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 

4 oz cream cheese, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.
2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Add chunks of frozen cream cheese next to blueberries. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
To Make Ahead:
After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

(now if anyone has tips on how to manipulate my pictures I would really appreciate it)






Thursday, May 28, 2009

Madis, Pressure Cooker, Summer

Kalena got a calf a couple years ago that he named Madis after a Jewish singer, Madis Yahu. Madis' mother was not able to care for him so he came to us and Kaipo bottle fed him 2x a day for weeks. Morning and night. She was so good at it. You'll never know how hard it is until you do it yourself. Plus we had Mary (another calf) at the same time and feeding one at a time was almost impossible. Imagine twins. Hungry twins. Weighing a couple hundred pounds each. Madis was slaughtered not too long ago (to prepare for Kanoa's pa'ina) and our freezer is FULL!
Last year my mom gave me a pressure cooker. Now you know I love my crockpot. Put a meal in there and just let it cook all day while you are at work. My mom did it and now I do it. But a pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance I never grew up with. And the only thing I ever remember hearing about a pressure cooker is how one blew up in the dining hall kitchen at school and a certain kitchen utility worker didn't come to work for weeks after that. So I was a bit leery. But Kalena said he does a pressure cooker stew in 20 minutes so I thought, what the heck!
I browned up the stew meat (w/ salt and pepper) in about 2 tablespoons oil, took it out, put in and little more oil and the chopped onions (cut large), and stirred a bit. But once I noticed the brown left on the bottom from the meat started to burn I took it off the burner and added one small can of tomato paste, 2 cups of chicken broth, and 3 tablespoons shoyu and stirred. Then I added all the vegetables (potatoes, celery and carrots) and about 1 tablespoon of minute tapioca (though I suppose this could be skipped. I read that this is a good way to thicken up a gravy/soup so I wanted to try it. I think I'll go ahead and add a little more next time). I stirred it all around, put the top on the pressure cooker and returned it to the burner on medium until it started to spew steam. I took that as my sign to turn it to low and let it go for 20 minutes.
Stew came out PERFECT! Yum. And knowing that the meat was hormone and antibiotic free and that it came from a steer that lived a VERY happy life in Pa'auilo and Honomu made it even more enjoyable (just got through reading Omnivore's Dilemma). I know, some people are squeamish about eating animals they've raised but it has never bothered me. In fact I felt honored. Kind of native. Earth friendly. Carnivorous.
I think everyone enjoyed it. Kim chee on the top helped to cool it down if you can believe that. Kika says to please give time for the food in the pressure cooker to cool before eating, lest a family member get "hotburn" a new funny word in our home, thank you Shelbie, referring to the HEAT of food going down down down.
I'm officially on summer vacation so hopefully posts will be more frequent.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Prime Rib Hash

Sorry no pics for this post but I just have to rave about a prime rib hash that I made using Easter leftovers.  Got the recipe idea from Simply Recipes.  No measurements. No massive chopping.  I used my food processor and a big skillet!

Ingredients (ingredients are approximate measurements)
8 - 12 oz. leftover prime rib (or any steak would work I suppose)
1 large onion (roughly chopped in processor)
8 oz. mushrooms  (roughly chopped in processor)
4+ cups leftover mashed potatoes (or cut up cooked potatoes would probably work well)
1 Tablesppon each - olive oil/butter

Directions
Heat olive oil and butter in skillet. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms to skillet with onion and cook both for another 6 minutes. Or so. Add the chopped up prime rib (I chopped it up pretty good in the food processor but I suppose you could chop it up small by hand). and mix well. Add mashed potatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. I really liked it. One family member thought it was great use of leftovers. Another family member "ate way too much." I am not going to write what the last member thought. She apparently didn't care for my creative use of leftover mashed potatoes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Peach Cobbler with Hard Sauce, Kamehameha Schools Style

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Nani, my friend in food. And much more.

Kamehameha Schools is apparently famous for two particular delectables: haole brownies (sorry, I really don't find the word Haole to be offensive so despite PC people's efforts to be sensitive to Caucasians I will ALWAYS refer to them as haole brownies...and keep in mind that I am half Haole so I think I have a right to feel the way I do. At least 50% right) and peach cobbler with hard sauce (apparently it's not the same without the hard sauce).

The recipe circulated around many years ago and somehow I got ahold of it. Lucky me. Because despite the fact that Kamehameha Schools posts many of their best recipes online, this particular one is not there. Perhaps they wanted  to keep it a secret. But believe me, something this good that gives pleasure to all who try it should not be kept a secret. That's just wrong. I hadn't made it for several years but for lack of eggs in the ice box (I really like that word instead of refrigerator sometimes) I needed to find a great dessert to take to Nani's house. And so I searched high and low in my dessert folder and found it hiding right behind the haole brownies recipe (future post?).  I hope you give it a try. It was easy.

Recipe

Crust:  
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter

Filling
3 or 4 16 oz. cans of sliced peaches, drained
3-4 Tablespoons minute tapioca
1-2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)

Topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tablespoons cold butter

Hard Sauce:
1 lb box of powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare crust first: cut butter into flour mixture, form a ball and pat into 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove from oven. (my notes: I used to actually CUT the butter into the flour mixture, using two butter knives, and then advanced to one of those pastry thingees that you use to cut butter into flour for making pie crusts. I have since advanced to a food processor so I did it in that. I started first with just pulsing the flour butter sugar combination but that was taking forever so I just turned it on and as it started getting more and more blended and sticking together, I went back to pulsing, til it all just seemed to stick together. Then I just turned the food processor upside down into my ungreased pan. Pressing it out takes a bit of time and I am horrible at figuring it out if it is even in thickness from one end to the other but it doesn't seem to matter a whole lot. I tried to make sure that at least the edges came up a little bit and were not very "torn" looking but that, too, proved to not be a big issue because the peaches covered everything well. The baking took a bit longer than 10 minutes, probably closer to 20 till it was a golden brown. Don't wait for it to get too dark. You will be baking it a second time.)
  3. Prepare filling and pour onto baked crust (my notes: I only had two cans of sliced peaches and two cans of halved peaches. So I cut the halved peaches into slices and it worked out fine. I used 4 cans this time though 3 cans works just as well. It's obviously more "peachy" with 4. Don't forget to drain the peaches...no fancy draining, just right in the can. I did add one Tablespoon of sugar but two will probably be better. Moani's comment was, "it's kind of tart...but maybe after the third piece it'll get better" or something to that effect)
  4. Prepare topping: Combine all dry ingredients and cut into cold butter to form crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over filling. (my notes: again, I used my food processor. I just put all the ingredients in (the butter I cut into pieces. I pulsed it until the consistency, when I used my fingers, felt like there were little butter bullets in the flour)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (my notes: I'm sure I baked it at least 10 minutes longer. I waited and waited for the topping to get a nice golden brown but it wouldn't. So I just took it out. There were some golden brown spots but not a lot and it made me a bit uncomfortable. But it was cooked. And the taste was still great. I may work on adding more butter or something else in the future and will update the post if it works better)
  6. Prepare hard sauce: Beat ingredients together. Figure out how you are going to add it to the peach cobbler. (my notes: I only prepared HALF of the recipe. And I think it was enough. I actually opened a brand new box of powdered sugar and poured out what I thought was half.  I used one of those fancy shmancy pastry bag things where you can make the icing look, well, fancy. I am not very good at it. In the past I just used to put these hard sauce globs every half inch or so using a spoon. I think another solution would be to just serve it on the side and after you cut a piece off for your guest, just put a glob on top of the cobbler. Bottom line: Do not do without the hard sauce. It offers the sweetness that makes this cobbler special.)
Half of this recipe makes a 8 x 8 inch pan, use 2 cans of peaches. But why bother with half when you can have a whole freakin' pan's worth?

Verdict
What can I say? I wish I could have eaten more but I did take it to Nani's house and I didn't want to eat it all. Especially since my husband was eating more than his fair share. Four pieces to be exact. He gave it an A and his comment was: "THICKER. Make it thicker. So there's more of it in each piece." Personally, I think he still would have eaten four pieces. Nani loved the crust. And the hard sauce. Moani apparently had tartness issues and I failed to ask her for her final verdict after she devoured her third piece. In a row. Apparently tartness isn't a big issue for her.


Baked crust. Not very golden but done.

Peaches (w/ tapioca and sugar) on top of crust
Getting ready to blend the ingredients for the topping. I cut up the butter into small pieces first.
Topping mixture on top of peaches before baking
Finished product. See how it's not too brown? But the crust is a beautiful color. I used a glass pan so I could tell it was done
The finished product. Minus the first few pieces. Then I remembered to photograph. And the picture of my second piece on the paper plate did not look very appealing, asthetic wise, but it was oh so 'ono. Notice how I am not good at the fancy pastry bag thing. But it works.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kim Chee Soup

I think we are secretly Korean in this household. We love everything Korean. So Kim Chee is always a welcome dish, especially on a cold evening. We buy the Costco HUGE jar of kim chee. One day I will make my own kim chee.
I only started making the soup a few months ago. All along I thought it would be difficult but this is one of THE SIMPLEST soups to make. When I was recipe hunting online I found that all the recipes were pretty much the same. You can fancy and perhaps one day I will but for now, simple works for me and the fam.


Recipe
5 garlic cloves (or so)
4 oz. belly pork (optional, usually I don't even add meat)
2 or so cups of kim chee, rough chopped
1 onion, cut the long way, into strips (or whatever way you like...I notice Koreans do the strips)
1 cup (or more) kim chee juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water (or so)
firm tofu, cut into cubes
green onion (optional)

Using a little oil (maybe sesame oil would work well for taste), fry up the garlic cloves with the onions. While this is frying and you are stirring periodically, start chopping up the kim chee. When the onions are limp (not totally translucent, that just takes too long), add the chopped kim chee and stir around a bit. Then add all the liquids: kim chee juice, chicken broth, water. Taste. If it's not tasty enough, you can try adding more broth or chicken stock powder/cube (I just bought a huge jar of Knorr chicken flavor bouillon and I think it's going to be my new best friend because I always use chicken stock). Let it simmer for about 1/2 hour. Maybe. Less is probably okay. Garnish with green onions. Cut up the tofu and leave it in a bowl on the side. Not everyone in my family appreciates tofu so I let them add it to their own.
I bought, as a fundraiser, raw marinated teriyaki meat. I fried that up and cut it into strips for people to add to their soup. It was a great addition to our soup tonight but generally, no meat.
Verdict
Kaipo says, "You can eat 5ths of that!" Glen didn't have any. But when you have white rice and spicy pork as the main course, well, sometimes you just skip the soup. Kim chee soup is ALL I ate. Shelby said, "It's no good. It makes you eat so much. I went back 3 times." I guess that's an A.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

OMG Brownies

The son and his fam came over. Two things get triggered in me whenever they visit. The need to cook/bake and the need to drink. I don't know what it is. He brings out the worst in me. With only 4 eggs in the fridge, my options were sorta limited. Definitely no creme brulee (as if) or bread pudding (no bread either!). Brownies came to mind. And then of course a visit to my favorite food searching blog, Food Gawker, and a quick search for brownies. That led me to (after many lookeesees at many options) Sing For Your Supper Blog and a wonderful brownie concoction. I did a few modifications, as almost always.





Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa (regular cocoa is fine too)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional (I didn't use any but would have loved to if I had it)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips (actually one 4 oz. bar of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate broken up into pieces and 6 oz. dark chocolate chips)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans), optional
1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth
Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips. I didn't do this. I'll do it next time, though.
Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. It is thick. You have to spread it out with a whatever you're using spoon. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Verdict
The texture was fabulous. Whenever I make brownies or eat someone else's it's either too cake like or the edges are too done while the middle is undone. These were perfect all around. I did end up baking them for about 8 minutes more than the recommended time (I used a glass pan...I don't know if that made the difference). And it tasted VERY dark chocolate, probably due to my choice of chocolate. Next time I will use the regular semi sweet chips, two cups worth and probably more nuts. I love nuts. These brownies would go perfect with some high quality vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream. And coffee. Yum.