Monthly Archives: January 2013

Here In The Middle Of The Desert

Yeah, this may not be Hawaii, but it sure is pretty

ALOHA

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce, In My Best Peter Brady

When we first moved here to the middle of the desert, we took a class excursion out to an orchard, that’s right, they farm profusely here in Arizona. I am not a fan of tomatoes, but so my mother tells me, they grow some pretty tasty ones in Willcox. On this field trip we went for Apples, yum.

Apple Annie’s Orchard is a blast, they have all types of activities and they sell anything and everything apple that you could think of. My mother was crazy for this place, she must have spent a fortune.

Apple Annie Apple Butter Syrup

One thing that she bought for me to try was apple butter syrup, never heard of that. We had it on waffles and, meh. So here I have this practically full bottle of syrup, what to do? I have a couple of chef-y friends, so I posed the question to them. Here’s what I dreamed up …

If you’re old enough or you watch late night TV, you remember The Brady Bunch and Peter Brady saying, Pork Chops and Apple Sauce. As I was making this dish, he would not get out of my head, ARGH! I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing though.

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

Pork Chops & Apple Butter Syrup Sauce

1 Apple, cored and sliced thick (we had golden delicious)

2-4 Pork Chops (I like to find the ole’tyme cuts with good marbling)

1/4 C. Apple Butter Syrup

1/8 tsp. ground Chipotle Pepper

1/4 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice (just a little bit goes a long way)

Season the Pork chops with S&P

Grill the chops to medium rare and the apple slices to a crisp-tender

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

Tent the chops on a plate with tin foil; let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes, this makes for juicer meat

In the mean time chop the apples into cubes

In a small saucepan heat the syrup; add the chipotle pepper and stir until fragrant

Apple Sauce

Add the apples and syrup mixture to a bowl and combine

Slice the pork and spoon your apple sauce over

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

Serve with rice pilaf and a veggie of your choice (I steamed some green beans)

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce, dang you Peter Brady!

Tomorrow’s Going To be A Fun Day!

BLURB…

Come back to take a peak here in the middle of the desert, it’ll be nostalgic

Chicken Enchiladas Albuquerque-style

In 2010 DH and I took a road trip (more about that later) to New Mexico. I would say that is one reason that we moved here to begin with, we enjoy car trips as opposed to flying. Having lived in Hawaii for the majority of my life may have added to that wanderlust. Our last stop on this particular journey was Albuquerque. We like to do research on the ‘net about new places that we plan on going to, this was no exception. We do City Tours that are offered as a jumping-off point; take note of where we’d like to go back to and investigate later. At the end of this tour via ole’ time trolley car, the two guides gave out restaurant advice. Frontier was the place to go for Cinnamon Rolls the size of your head. Okay. We went back to our hotel, and I asked the gal at the front desk where she would go to eat really good Mexican Food, when in Rome… she agreed with the Frontier Restaurant. Off we went. I am corrected; it’s not Mexican food, but NEW Mexican Food in Albuquerque. In New Mexico, there seems to be a long standing banter over Red or Green Chiles. For us though, we found the Hatch Green Chiles the best, either mild or medium. Back then, I didn’t take pictures of my food, what I did do was write stuff down. When we got home, I figured out how to very closely duplicate the dish that my husband liked most, but with my own twist.

Green Chile-chicken enchiladas

Chicken-Green Chile Enchilada

2-3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, poached & shredded

5-6 Flour Tortillas

2-3 Hatch Green Chiles, chopped (I found canned whole chiles at Costco, I just divide up the jumbo sized cans into zip-top bags and freeze them)

1 can Hatch brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

½ C. shredded Cheese of your choice (I like the ‘fiesta’ bagged cheese)

Preheat the broiler in your oven and move the rack up closest to the heat source.

Heat the tortillas (use the method you like, I wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave them for about 30 seconds)

Combine the chicken with just enough sauce in a bowl to moisten the meat; heat in the microwave until very warm.

On broiler-safe dishes, place a tortilla; spoon some of the chicken mixture down the middle, along with about a teaspoonful of chopped chiles. Roll up the tortilla like a cigar, just not too tightly. Continue this process until you have as many enchiladas on each plate per person.

Spoon as much sauce as you like over the top of the enchiladas; sprinkle with cheese and more chopped chiles, a lot or a little, it’s up to you.

Put the plates, now full of enchiladas, under the broiler to melt the cheese to the desired gooey-ness.

**Be VERY  careful removing the plates from the oven; put a trivet on the table in front of each diner to set the plates down on, remember, it’s hot.**

This recipe will feed two hunger adults.

Chicken-Green Chile Enchiladas

Make this recipe your own. Try it with leftover turkey, how about shredded roast pork or beef. If you like red chiles better, go for it!

Pizza ‘don’t buy it’ Dough

Did we talk about Pizza yet? No? Good…

My American-Italian husband adores his pizza. Me, meh, I could take it or leave it, but then I’m Hawaiian-Portuguese-Swedish-Irish-English-French-Danish-Native American-Scots, and, shot, one more I can’t remember, oh well.

MANY moons ago, when my DH and I first started dating, he wanted homemade pizza like his grandmother would make.  Yeah right buddy, like that’s gonna’ happen here in Hawaii. Well, wouldn’t ya’ know, in the newspaper that Sunday there was a two page article about making pizza. It didn’t look so hard. That was in the days before I had a KitchenAid® stand mixer or a food processor. Have you ever tried to knead a triple batch of pizza dough by hand? OY!

So here we are years later, and I’ve perfected my pizza to an art.

Sometimes I think that I could make a penny cry, “Uncle” .  I can’t see paying the price in the market for horrible dough, gosh, make your own, it taste so much better, trust me! The thing that you should trust me on is that in Italy they leave the dough to rest for at least 24 hours. This step makes for a better chew, taste, texture, smell, well it’s just better.

PIZZA!!

Pizza ‘don’t buy it’ Dough

1 C. Warm Water (no warmer than 110º)

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 tsp. granulated Sugar

2 1/2 C. Bread Flour

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. Table Salt

In cup, measure out the warm water and add the yeast and sugar, stir and set aside for at least 10 minutes. The yeast will proof or puff up in the cup about 1-2 inches with foam (if it doesn’t toss it and start again).

In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups of the flour along with the salt, turn on the machine; add the oil through the feed tube and allow to combine for a few seconds. Give the yeast slurry a mix and pour it in a steady stream into the machine; STOP! Turn off the machine. The mixture should be sloppy and lumpy, that’s okay. Now add in maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of the remaining flour and pulse the machine to incorporate. The mixture should start to come away from the sides of the bowl of the food processor and be slightly tacky. Depending upon how humid it is where you live, you may not need all of that remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Turn the machine back on and let it run for 30 seconds, hold on to it, the machine while try to run across the counter! How does it feel now? Firm, smooth but still just a little sticky? GREAT! You’ve got it. Now turn the dough out in to a large bowl that has already been coated with Olive oil and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 4-6 hours. Place into a zip top bag and refrigerate for at least a day, that’s right.

This dough will make two medium-sized pizzas.

I normally make a triple batch; I have the biggest stainless steel bowl you’ve ever seen. I will divide it all up and put them into the deep freeze.

When you’re ready to make pizza, put the refrigerated dough out on the kitchen counter, with the zip top open, for about 6 hours and frozen for the whole day.

Mangiamo/let’s grind!

Another Blurb …

I want to put this out into the universe…

I could NEVER, EVER and I mean not in two life times, be a Professional Cook.

My mother had not been well and was staying with DH and I for 15 days; she just went home this afternoon. My husband has been very carefully watching what he’s been eating, which meant that I was a short order cook for 15 days, three meals each day.

Oh My GAWD!!!

I just hope that I am not bringing bad karma or what we would say in Hawaii bachi on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and adore my husband, but I AM TIRED!!!

There, I put it out there.

Kahlua Cake, My Favorite, Well One Of Them Anyway

When I was still twenty-something, I went to a potluck Christmas party.

In Hawaii, food is a big thing.  Men and women take genuine pride in the dishes that they make.  It was such a blast to go to potlucks; you never knew what would be on that groaning table full of food.  When I say table, I refer to what is called the Luau-sized table.  They could easily be 20 feet long with plain white paper tapped to the top.

I remember this particular party because of this cake that was my dream come true. I’m not one for sweet, sticky, gooey icings or frostings. My sister loved it when we had cake as kids, because she could always have the frosting that I scraped off. I’d just eat the cake and not the icing, unless it’s German Chocolate cake, that’s a whole n’other story. I must have had three pieces of this wonderful Bundt cake. I sought out the maker and begged her to give me the recipe. She swore me to secrecy, that I could make this cake for other people, but I couldn’t share the recipe. My sister doesn’t feel as though it’s Christmas if I don’t make and/or send her this cake. Many years later, I was searching the Internet and found many recipes very similar to the one that I had been given.

I am not the best baker out there.  I use to bake a lot when I was younger, but as time marches on, so do our waistlines.  But Christmas is a time for indulgence. Normally, I make most of what DH and I eat from scratch, no packaged dinners and such. But this is how I learned to make this cake, and I’m sticking to it.

Kahlua Cake

1 Duncan Hines Butter Recipe cake mix (any brand will do)

1 pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding

4 Eggs

½ C Kahlua

½ C Vegetable Oil

½ C Water

 

In electric mixer, beat eggs; add the remaining cake ingredients beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into a well greased and floured Bundt pan and bake at 350⁰ for about 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

 

Glaze:

1 stick (8 Tbsp) Butter

¼ C Kahlua

½ C Water

1 C Granulated Sugar

 

In a small saucepan melt the butter and then stir in the remaining ingredients; boil for 3 minutes.

Pour over the warm cake still in the Bundt pan.

Cool for 1 hour before removing.

This cake is best on the second day.

This cake is moist but not overly so. The booze in it isn’t so strong that it’s like jet fuel, burning your throat on the way down. This past Christmas, DH and I spent the holiday with very dear friends of ours and I took this cake, made up all fancy like. I still can’t believe that domed cake stand didn’t break along the way in our car. As we were leaving, Missus Dear Friend came running out, ‘you forgot this’.  I told her what My Grandmother would say, you give it back to me when you see me again, and I’ll fill it back up for you.

The Perfect Burger And Fries

On the odd occasion, DH and I get the meanest ono-s, as we say in Hawaii, or hunger for an All American Cheese Burger, Fries and a Coke. Not very often mind you, and I haven’t mastered that meal as yet. So there are times when you just have to go out to eat.

A few years back, we spent a month in Virginia with our nephew’s family. Actually, dear nephew was deployed in the Middle East, so it was a fun-filled month with his wife and two boys. Our niece-in-law was nice enough to let us borrow one of their cars, that way we didn’t need to rent a car. We went all over the Eastern Seaboard, loved it. We also spent a good amount of time with the boys. They are a ball. Our youngest grand-nephew kept asking us if we had been to Five Guys yet. We had absolutely no idea what the 6 year old was talking about. Finally, he asked us the same question with his Mother in earshot, and she translated for us. ‘It’s like a fast food place Auntie’, she explained, that only serves burgers and fries. The boys started to jump around, all excited, telling us what to order, and that we had to eat peanuts too. With that said, everyone’s salivary glands went crazy. It sounded like a fantastic idea for dinner, since the boys had baseball practice that evening, it was a done deal.

Oh baby, baby, baby.

I want to tell you, never, ever had either my husband nor I had ever had such a mind blowing burger and fries in our lives. Since that time, I had been going to the Five Guys website, waiting for them to come out to the middle of the desert. When they did, we had to take an excursion. At first, DH said no, I’m not driving all that way just for lunch. Then I reminded him of our time with the boys and that incredible that burger and fries.

LET’S GO!

It was well worth the trip.

I ordered a single bacon and cheese, or ‘little burger’ with pickles and DH had the regular Bacon Cheese Burger, which is two patties, with tomato and onions; ketchup on the side for him and I like Mayo, to dip my fries in. We now share a small order of fries after our inaugural run in Virginia; it was way too much with two orders. Let’s not forget a drink.

We were beyond stuffed as we walked out and over to our car. I suggested that we continue walking for awhile (maybe an hour) and try to burn off some of those calories, SO worth it though. As I said, we don’t do this very often.

So it’s at this point that I ask:

Have You Found Your Perfect Burger And Fries Yet?

Maki Sushi For Dummies, Like ME!!

When we travel, I like to bring back very different things as souvenirs.

On our recent trip to Hawaii, I brought back a mold for Maki Sushi and powdered Sushi Seasoning mix. I had seen these the last time that we were back home, but passed it by at the time.

This morning I was clearing out the refrigerator and I was going to put a half of a pot of cooked white rice into the freezer. We eat steamed Calrose or sticky rice

(I think it’s a medium grain) with many of our meals.

DING! Why not try out my new toy?

Maki Sushi for Dummies

I heated the rice back up in the microwave and sprinkled some of the powdered Sushi Seasoning over it and gave it a mix. By using the powder instead of Seasoned Rice Vinegar, this keeps the Sushi Rice from getting too wet.

I had an English Cucumber that I julienned into lengths that were about the same as the sheets of Nori that I always have in the pantry.

Okay, let’s assemble.

sushi mold

sushi mold

The instructions on the back of the package of the Sushi press are in Japanese characters; fortunately, illustrations too, thank goodness.

This couldn’t be any easier.

sushi mold

The mold is a plastic sphere cut in two. I found after my first attempt that it was best to run the mold under water to insure non-stickage.

I just filled one half of the mold with the room temp rice, placed the sliced of veg on top.

sushi mold

 

I then put it into a third piece that has higher sides and fill to the top with more rice, pressing it down with moist fingers; with the other half of that spherical mold, press firmly.

Maki Sushi for Dummies 002

Lay a Nori Sheet, shiny side down, onto a piece of plastic wrap on the counter; unmold the now round rice-log out onto the edge of the sheet closest to you and roll the log up, like a cigar. I wet my finger again to moisten the farthest edge of the Nori so that it would adhere to itself.

Maki Sushi for Dummies

Slice and serve.

It’s probably at this point that you’re asking yourself, “Yeah, so what? Why didn’t she just use a sushi mat?”

I have tried for YEARS to roll Maki Sushi with horrible results. I’m not sure if it’s that I have such little hands; my husband teases me that our 13 year Niece is bigger than me. But, whatever the reason, I’ve tried and have found my solution.

I feel in the process, I’ve created a Sushi Monster. My husband wolfed down the two rolls that I finished and asked where the rest were. Well, that’s all the cooked rice that I had on hand, to which his retort was… PLEASE MAKE MORE!!

Maki Sushi for Dummies

An Afternoon Off From The Kitchen

Wahoo!

My Mother has been staying with us for the past couple of weeks.  Yesterday, I took her to have her hair done and next door to the Salon is this great restaurant. DH is not a fan of this place, so we only go to eat there when it’s a girls’ day out.

Lunch out with my Mother

We had not been there for some time and they have remodeled the interior. It’s gorgeous in soothing blue tones and clean white walls. It was a warm and sunny day for a change so the patio tables were all taken, that was okay though. I tried to take photos as inconspicuously as I could, but that didn’t work out. I did get pics of the food in front of us.

Ciabatta with dipping Oil

Our server was wonderful. She asked if we had come in recently, as they had undergone some changes. She went over the menu and brought us some Ciabatta and Olive Oil flavored with Parmesan cheese and herbs for dipping.  This bread was so good not only in taste, but the smell!  I stuck my nose in it and inhaled deeply, AHHH!

Fish & Chips

My Mother ordered the Beer battered Cod with French fries, Cole Slaw and a Caper Aioli.  Just look at that, need I say more?

Perfectly cooked fish

The fish was cooked perfectly. I have found that folks here on the Mainland cook their fish way past done. This Cod was so moist and nicely flaky with the batter clinging to it beautifully.

Crisp Calamari Salad

Here’s where I start to drool.

I have been dreaming of this plate for quite some time, and now finally, finally it was there for me to savor.

Crisp Calamari Salad with mizuna greens and yuzu/sesame dressing, fantastic. The flavors all bounced off of each other in perfect harmony. A glass of Pinot Grigio rounded out my meal.

We looked, just looked at the dessert menu.

Honestly, we didn’t have enough room left for anything more.