Category Archives: Leftovers

Ft. Ruger Market, FISH!!

Here’s something that we don’t get In The Middle Of The Desert,

We went over to Fort Ruger Market, one of our old favorites for Poke.  MAN!  Can you see the prices?  But this stuff is so fresh, I mean, straight off the fishing boats this morning.  The Smoked Tako or Octopus was like eating Beef, really tasty.  The Ahi or Tuna Poke has super fresh, as in plucked from the Ocean this morning, as well as the Limu or Seaweed.  I asked for a dash of Shoyu on the Tako Onion and Ahi.  Before you freak out too much and say, ‘I can’t eat raw fish’, the Octopus is cooked.

We took our booty back to the apartment and had dinner el fresco on our lanai, overlooking Diamond Head.

Shoyu Chicken, assorted Poke, Cucumber Kim Chee and steamed Rice

 

I had some leftover Shoyu Chicken, Cucumber Kim Chee and some steamed Rice.  WOW!!

Menu Board at Ft. Ruger Market

 

I thought about getting us some Opihi, but, GEEZ!!  That’s okay, I’ll pass.  A quarter pound container would be $15.25 before tax (yes, Hawaii taxes EVERYTHING!).  That stuff is like gold.

Ft. Ruger Market

 

So if you every make it to Oahu, do rent a car, do try the different local foods, do go to Ft. Ruger Market and get some fish and maybe even a six-pack of beer to wash it all down.

ALOHA!

Fried Saimin, My Kind Of Beach Food

Oh My GRAVY all over my two scoops rice (that’s OMG! in my world)… I re-read this post and I realized that I forgot one of the key ingredients… DASHI. I add it to taste, maybe a teaspoon all the way to a tablespoon, depending upon how much noodles your making, but I don’t care for it as the predominate flavor of the dish. The soup base package that comes with commercial saimin will do fine, but if you’re using yakisoba noodles, as I did, you can find dashi sold by itself. I use the leftover packettes for my deluxe won ton mein, but that’s another post : https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/noodle-bowls/
ENJOY!

My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert

I could eat Fried Saimin any time of day or night, it’s so ONO (delicious). WHOA! Did you hear that? That was my stomach, that’s how much I like this dish. I never thought to make it myself; back home in Hawaii you can get it even at the gas station. I know, I know the jokes about gas station food, but in Hawaii there’s a company that only makes grab-n-go foods for gas stations, and they are very good.

On our last trip home, every day we went to the beach, duh! And on the way I made DH stop to get something to take with us on our long days of baking in the sun; it was a tough job, but someone had to do it. A favorite place for me is Zippy’s, a family restaurant with take outs and at most locations a full service restaurant and…

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Paniolo (that’s Hawaiian for Cowboy) Chili

The weather has started to turn and my thoughts drift towards big pots of tummy warming goodness.  This is my favorite cooking time of the year.  One pot wonders, soups, stews and chili that sit on the stove smelling so delicious.  This is just one version of Beef Chili that I make.  Sometimes I use a hunk-o Chuck Roast (Blade Roast is cheaper) and butcher it down myself (that’s evencheaper) to small bite sized pieces to make this same recipe.

It’s the Portuguese Sausage or Linguica that really makes it though.  If you can’t find it in your neck of the woods, try Italian Sausage for a Buterro Chili.

 

Paniolo (that’s Hawaiian for Cowboy) Chili

1 lb. Ground Beef or Chuck diced REAL small

1 lb. Portuguese Sausage or Linguica, diced small

4 strips of Bacon, chopped fine

1 medium Onion, rough chopped

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1 tsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted and ground **

1 tsp. Coriander Seeds, toasted and ground **

1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1 tsp. dark instant Coffee or Espresso (we like Starbucks Via)

1 tsp. dried Oregano

1/8 tsp. ground Chipotle Chile Pepper

2 15oz. cans diced Tomatoes

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar (light or dark is fine)

¼ C. Hatch Chiles, chopped (any green chile will do)

2 C. Beef broth

¼ C. dark Beer (any brand you would drink)

S&P to taste

1-2 Tbsp. Corn Muffin Mix (I like Jiffy brand, it’s cheap and friendly)

Heat a large pot over medium-high, cook the bacon until just crisp and transfer to a paper lined plate and pour off the rendered fat, keep it though.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the drippings back into the pot and brown the beef well; transfer to a bowl.  Sauté the sausage until colored, it’s a smoked sausage, so it doesn’t take as long to cook as pork sausages.  Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the beef; drain off the fat and discard.  Take a paper towel or two and wipe out the pot.

Add in another tablespoon or two of that beautiful bacon grease to the pot and cook the onions until they are about to brown around the edges.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Sprinkle the dried herbs and spices over the onions, stirring for about a minute.

Puree one of the cans of Tomatoes in the blender, food processor or with a handheld stick blender (immersion blender, that’s what I have).

Put the meats back into the pot along with the remaining ingredients, excluding  the corn muffin mix, that’s for later.  Cover and bring to good bubble; reduce the heat to a simmer, cover partially and let it go for about an hour.

Let’s talk about beans.  Some folks don’t care for them, me, I love them.  Especially if they are cooked from dried beans and added in at the last 20 minutes of cooking.  I find canned beans too mushy and that’s what I think turns people off to beans in general, like my DH.  I add about 1-2 cups of cooked Red Kidney beans to this pot of chili and he gobbles it up.

But back to the chili.

At this point you need to decide if you want your chili thicker or not.  We like ours on the thick-ish side, so I took a trick from Cook’s Country.

Spoon out about a quarter of a cup of the hot liquid to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix; stir until smooth and add to the pot that you have brought back to a rolling boil.  Stir for a few minutes to incorporate and begin the thickening process.  If you want an even thicker batch, repeat this step.  Taste for seasoning, S&P probably, it depends, that’s why I hold that til the end.

Like most soups, stews and chilis, they are much better if allowed to sit in the `fridge for a day or two.  We like to eat chili with steamed white rice, chopped raw sweet onion and grated cheddar cheese on top.

Paniolo Chili and Rice

ENJOY!

*Cook’s Note: I keep that box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for later use. And if you’re not a beer drinker and need just one bottle of beer, try Trader Joe’s.  Buy one that has a screw off-on bottle cap and keep it in the `fridge too, it won’t go bad.  It doesn’t matter that the beer goes flat, it’s just for the flavor.

** You really DON’T have to buy whole spices, toast them and grind them, the already ground stuff is fine, really, I’m just a little bit OCD 😉

How Do You Soup?

It looks like ole’ man winter has a pretty good grip on most of us. So maybe now would be a great time to start talking about soups again. My DH, as I may have mentioned before, is American-Italian and adores his Minestrone soup. This is really just a vegetable soup, but sshhhh, don’t tell him that. Since we are limiting our pasta consumption, I opted for a different approach this time around.

The cast of characters for homemade Minestrone Soup

The cast of characters are as follows:

Cooked from dried-cannellini beans in homemade chicken broth

Fresh Kale

look at that chicken broth, yum

Homemade chicken broth, I mean come on man, look at the schmaltz. You just don’t get that unctuous mouth feel of chicken fat from a box or can.

make your own chicken broth

Take a minute and make your own broth by saving the cooking liquor the next time you poach some chicken along with some aromatics.  But I digress, let’s continue with the Minestrone…

Any veggies you like; `member, a recipe is just someones idea. I used:

Fresh Green beans

Fresh Zucchini

Fresh Carrots

Fresh Red Bell Peppers

Minced Garlic

Diced and Sautéed Pancetta

Flat leaf Italian Parsley

Diced Potatoes and Sautéed Onions

Chuck everything into a big pot and simmer until the potatoes of cooked through and the veg is crisp tender.

Minestrone Soup

Grab a bowl and a spoon and dig in.

Stay warm out there!

Aloha

Turkey Leftovers, AGAIN!

Yup, a thirteen pound turkey can go a LONG way in a small household. I don’t what made me think of tetrazzini, I hadn’t made that in the longest time. Man, I even forgot how to make it! I did an internet search and decided on kinda’ following the recipe from Epicurious, I like their stuff.

turkey tetrazzini

My twist:

Egg Noodles rather than spaghetti

Add- minced garlic, onion, celery, more mushrooms, melted butter, Panko bread crumbs and way more Parmesan cheese than called for as the topper. Is there really such a thing as too much cheese anywhere?

Enjoy

Aloha

Turkey Dinner All Over Again

I suppose you could refer to Thanksgiving leftovers any way that you like, but for me, it’s simply a repeat from last Thursday.

bruschetta

I know that we don’t need to have any appetizers, but why not. I had a couple of handfuls of those lovely fresh baby San Marzano tomatoes; they were begging me to make them into bruschetta with some basil, garlic, Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar and S&P.

TJ's Pita Bite cracker with goat cheese and roasted yellow pepper

Then just for fun, some goat cheese topped with roasted yellow pepper and basil.

TJ's Pita Bite Crackers

Both bites were assembled on a Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Cracker.

The main event

The Turkey, Gingered Carrots, Gravy, Stuffing, Rolls, Mashed Potatoes… YUM!

Since I break my bird down prior to roasting, the stuffing or dressing is made in a casserole dish and it can’t be simpler. I use Fresh Gourmet recipe, but with my own twist. I add diced, sautéed Hawaiian Portuguese sausage.

Happy Thanksgiving, Again

Let’s Eat, ALOHA!

Hope You Had A Happy Thanksgiving

Some years back, I would watch FoodNetwork every holiday season to get ideas for our family’s table.  I saw Ted Allen make a De-constructed Turkey and wow, the bells and whistles went off in my head.  I’ve struggled with whole birds for many, many years.  Dry white meat, under cooked dark meat, crummey gravy… Do I really need to go on?  You know!  This is how I make a whole turkey.deconstructed turkey

Deconstructed Turkey and Gravy

• 10-12 lbs. Whole, fresh, natural Turkey (read the labeling, make sure it does NOT say enhanced with sodium soultion)

Butcher the bird yourself (or purchase it in parts), leaving breast whole and reserve the carcass for homemade stock, much better!

Brine: (I do this part the day before I’m going to serve the turkey)

• ½ C Kosher Salt

• 1/3 C Brown Sugar

• 1 Onion, sliced

• 1 Carrot, sliced

• Peel (no white pith) from 2 Oranges

• Whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally

• 1 tsp each, dried Thyme, Rosemary, Rubbed Sage

• 3-4 large Bay leaves

In my 12qt. stock pot, I add the salt and sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot tap water; add remaining ingredients, along with 3 quarts of Ice Water, stir well. Add the turkey parts (make sure that the water covers all parts of the bird), cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Pour off all of the brine, leaving turkey parts in stock pot. Cover and put back into the `fridge until ready to roast.

Roast:

Pat turkey parts dry with paper towels, arrange on the half sheet pan, fitted with a cooling rack. Try to give as much space between pieces. Schmear with soft butter; sprinkle with S&P. Pour about 1 cup of turkey broth or stock in the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 425⁰ for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown; lower the temp to 400⁰ and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the breast reaches 165⁰ and the thighs are 175⁰.

Tent with tin foil until ready to serve.

Make the gravy by pouring all of the juices left on the bottom of the pan into a cup.

In a saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter; add 4 tbsp of flour whisking for a few minutes. Slowly stream in 2 cups of the broth/juices and bring to a boil to thicken. For richer gravy, use some dry white wine and milk with the broth/juices.

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey Day Is Coming, Are You Ready?

In my X number of years in the kitchen, believe it or not, I have never brined anything. Well, let me say that I did once, unfortunately I brined a turkey that already had 8% salt solution enhancement, ACK!  It was a Thanksgiving of side dishes only that year, so I never tried it again, until now.

All of the turkeys or parts thereof, that I have prepared I’ve just chucked into the oven and said a pray, oh please kitchen gods, let my meal be good this once? Recently, I have been buying Jenny-O turkey breast tenderloins that are already flavored. It took me till now to look at more than the calorie count. MAN!

So back to the basics.

I searched the `Net, looking for a brine recipe that I,

a) had all/most of the ingredients for, and

b) sounded tasty

I settled on my own twist of a Bon Appétit recipe, with a few changes due to the lack of certain items.

I left out the Allspice, Juniper berries and fennel seeds, didn’t have `em; I used dried thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, 4 smashed garlic cloves and a palm-full of whole black pepper corns. In addition, rather than using fennel bulbs, I added the peel (with no pith) from a fresh orange, subbed the white sugar for brown and boy howdy! Let me tell ya’ friends and neighbors, that solution smelled mighty fine!

I had a fresh bone-in half turkey breast weighing a little more than 2 pounds. I gave that puppy a good wash and dunked him into my largest dutch oven containing the brine, covered it and stashed the lot into the ice box.

After reviewing the procedure yet again, I started to second guess myself, how long is ‘leave overnight’? 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours? When I Goggled that, the consensus was 8 hours.  I pulled my turkey from its bath, gave it a rinse, patted it dry, discarded the now used brine solution, wiped out the pot and put the birdie back in and covered it back up… Into the chillbox until morning.

In the am, after my usual cuppa Joe, I preheated the oven and prepared the turkey for roasting.

homemade polutry seasoning

I brushed it all over with melted butter and put together my own poultry seasoning in my mortar and pestle. Dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme… hey, isn’t that a song? … and savory.

Not having a rack small enough for such a meager amout of protein, I placed three ribs of celery in my quarter sheet pan and the bird atop those. Finally some Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper and into the oven with him!

Oh My GAWD!

Juicy, moist, savory, just gosh darn delicious if I do say so myself.

This was lunch as well as dinner for the two of us, well and lunch again the next day all for less than $5

Turkey isn’t just for the holidays or big family events. This can be an economical meal anyday.

BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON!

Love it! Can’t get enough of it! GIMME!

Not so long ago, our two nephews came to visit during their Spring Break. Jack, the younger of the boys, asked me when we picked them up at the airport, “so Aunt Doni, I hear you’re a good cook. Is that true?” Well, Jack, this one’s for you.

The first morning’s menu was BACON! I made two trays of that glorious meat and it was gone in a flash. I had been thinking that we’d make sandwiches with the leftovers, yeah right!

A few days ago, I was on the phone with the boys Mom and she said that she got a great compliment on her bacon from Jack, “Mom that was Aunt-Doni-worthy bacon.”

 

 

I Need A Little More Than A Salad, Please

I know that I haven’t been around much, but it’s been so DANG HOT here in the middle of the desert. This has been the hottest month of June on record to date. 100⁰ or more of DRY  heat every day. DH and I have been spending most of our days at our community pool trying to keep cool. We’re still on our diet and we have been longing for something more substantial than salads.  So I was racking my brain as to what I could make that we could eat and that would fulfill that hunger.

Auntie Doni’s Chicken Chili 

5 boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, 1 inch cubes

2 Tbsp. Oil

½ of a large Onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted & ground

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1/8 tsp. Chipotle Chile powder

1 C. Chicken Broth

1 15oz. can diced Tomatoes

1 4oz. can (2 whole Hatch-diced) Green Chiles

1 small roasted Pasilla Chile, chopped

1 large Sweet Red Pepper, diced

½ C. Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Corn Kernels

2 tsp. Cilantro, minced

1 15oz. can White Kidney Beans, rinsed & drained

**1-2 tsp. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

Heat a large Dutch oven with the oil, over medium. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook just until you smell it. Toss in the chicken and cook until the exterior turns white. Add the spices and cook those for a few minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, peppers, corn and cilantro; bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cover partially. Cook for 40 minutes, until it thickens; at the last 15 minutes, add the beans to cook as well.

Chicken Chili

Look at that bowl of goodness

This recipe makes 4 good sized servings. (without steamed white rice though, ARRGGHHHH!)

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, makes a tasty thickener

** this is optional, if you like a thicker broth, add a few tablespoons of the hot broth to a small cup and stir in a teaspoon or two of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. Bring the pot back to a boil and stir in the corn mixture and allow to cook for a few minutes to desired denseness. (I keep the rest of the box in the `fridge in a ziptop bag for later use or just make it into corn muffins that go with your bowl of chili)

Remember, a recipe is just someone’s thought; you take that and make it your own. Add or delete and ingredients you want; maybe black beans instead of white? Green bell peppers rather than red. Or even chicken breast meat over dark thigh.

ALOHA!