Tag Archives: Salad

Anniversary Dinner OUT, I Didn’t Have To Cook

I’ve been so busy lately, I forgot to come back around and tell you about our anniversary dinner out with my mother.

We went into town to one of the Scordato restaurants, Vivace. WONDERFUL! DH and I have been here a couple of times before for late lunch while out running errands.

stuffed mushrooms at vivace

The last time we had lunch at Vivace, I ordered the stuffed mushrooms that comes with a green salad, light lunch, right?

penne with sausage at vivace

My husband’s favorite dish, which he orders every time we go is the Penne with Sausage. I thought at first that he wasn’t going to care for it because it has fontina cheese, but he’s ordered it four times now.

Stuffed Pork Chop at Vivace

On this occasion, I ordered the stuffed Pork Chop. It’s a dinosaur sized chop, filled with spinach and I think like a ricotta cheese and then covered in a Marsala wine sauce.

Pork Sorrentino at Vivace

Mother ordered the Pork Sorrentino, another very yummy plate. Thinly sliced pork with prosciutto and fontina cheese all baked together in a tomato, white wine and parmigiano sauce, the pasta was good too.

It’s nice when we all order a different dish and we share. That way you get what we call in Hawaii, a mixed plate, multiple entrées on one plate.

Life is too short, eat good food!


Another Doctor’s Appointment Means Going Out Lunch

My mother just can’t seem to catch a break lately. Another doctor’s visit in town, but it was all good. DH came with us this time around and he took us all to lunch once everything was done. We went to this place that we have been to many times before, Sahuaro Café. An added bonus for mom, they serve breakfast all day, she loves that!

Saguaro Cafe House Waffle Plate

My mom ordered the House Waffle, a huge, fluffy, delicate, not at all a belly-bomber that sits there like lead all day. It’s served with 2 eggs done anyway you wish (mom likes basted and the cook does a perfect job of it!) and two Pork Links or Pattie; the link is the better choice in my opinion. I was flabbergasted, mom ate it ALL, she usually only eats half of whatever is given to her.

Saguaro Cafe Chicken Salad Salad

DH had the Chicken Salad Salad, no, not the sandwich please; it was very good. Cook uses a Chipotle Mayo, which gave me a double shock, my husband does not like any sort of mayonnaise.

Saguaro Cafe Caesar Salad topped with grilled Chicken Breast

For myself, the Caesar Salad topped with grilled chicken breast, delicious croutons and light on the dressing. The chicken was nicely seasoned and not dry in the least.

Super nice folks at Sahuaro Café!

As DH was paying for our meal, I asked the gal what brand of sausage links they buy.  I guess it was the owner (I should have asked) came over and explained that she gets Jimmy Dean brand from her vender; she has looked for them in the local grocery stores as well as the club warehouses to no avail, many people have asked her the same question.

Today they were offering freshly baked Apple Pie. I had to walk away, quickly. I didn’t linger to get a photo of the beauty sitting on the counter otherwise I might have had a piece. I can’t do it, yet, later down the road, just gotta shed a few more pounds. Did I tell you that we LOVE food, maybe I bit too much? Next month we should be good to go, the holidays always add a little something to my person…  😉

Poke or Hawaiian Fish Salad, It’s Just ONO !

Yesterday was Aloha Friday, and I started to think of my home, Hawaii. I suppose I should stop thinking that way, seeing as we’ve lived in the middle of the desert going on SIX YEARS now. Some things you just don’t give up, like the foods that you were brought up on and love and miss terribly. Fish is HUGE in Hawaii, duh, it’s only surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. A lot of kids learn to swim even before they learn to walk, I was no exception. I had a boyfriend that took me for our first date spear fishing, which was so much fun.

What I really wanted to share was all of the fish that we had on our last trip back home to Hawaii. I should rephrase that, Poke or Seafood Salad. I shared my Tako Poke or Octopus Salad, it’s cooked, not all Poke has to be raw. I also make a Mussel Poke for DH (I’m allergic) and the ingredients are the same, just substitute the cooked Octopus for Steamed (and shucked) Mussels and there you go.

This all goes GREAT with an ice cold beer.

Primo Beer

*translation-ONO: Good Food



An Afternoon Off From The Kitchen


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.

A Quick Follow-Up

I got a request today on the Cucumber Kim Chee, delish! And WAY easy to make.

I like Hot house or English Cucumbers, here in the middle of the desert, I can’t find Japanese Cucumbers. That varietal was developed by the University of Hawaii, and I highly doubt that I will ever find them here in AZ. No need to peel them, just a nice rinse under the tap.

I rough chop them into goodly bite-sized pieces, and plop them into a salad spinner. Take about 1-2 tablespoons of Sea Salt (or Kosher, whatever you have on hand), give them a mix around and leave them sit for 15 minutes. Rinse & drain well, that’s where the salad spinner comes in handy. In a non-reactive bowl (I use a glass one), dump in the cucs and hold your nose, this stuff will make you sneeze, cough, gasp. Sprinkle with some Noh brand Kim Chee mix and stir; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Before serving, give it a stir again.

This is my last packette

This is my last packette

The Noh Kim Chee mix is very strong Korean chili pepper, use it sparingly to start, and then increase it to your liking. It can easily blow your head off, but in a good way.  I find this stuff, at least when we’re not in Hawaii, at Lee Lee International SuperMarket.

Try This Seadfood Salad

Tako, Octopus, Pulpo, Krake, He’e, in any language, it’s wonderful.

Tako Poke

As a young person, I would go spear-fishing often and I sought out those shy creators. I’m not very good at cooking this cephalopod, so now, here in the middle of the desert, I find it already cooked. We have an Asian Market about a 45 minute drive from us and they carry all kinds of goodies that DH and I look for, like Tako. The Asian influence is very strong in Hawaii, so is fishing; there are many dishes that start with Octopus.

Poke, pronounced POO-KAY, is a salad or appetizer made of your choice of seafood, with or with any vegetables. You can use raw or cooked products. There are as many Poke recipes as there are people in kitchens. I’ve read some cookbooks that have any number of ingredients, but in my book, the simpler the better.

Tako Poke Ingredients

Tako Poke

1/4 lb. cooked Octopus, chopped or sliced thin

1/2 of a large Sweet White Onion, rough chopped

2-3 Green Onions, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 tsp. toasted Sesame Seeds

In a large bowl, add all of the above ingredients and mix well.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry.

Tako Poke

Try this at your next potluck or cocktail party. Don’t tell anyone what it is, other than it’s a Hawaiian dish that you found. I did this recently at a friend’s home. I wasn’t sure if I should do that, but DH said that if no one ate it, that’s okay, he would.

Here’s how I look at a new recipe that I want to try, I make a smaller portion of it. That way if we don’t care for it, no harm, no foul.

Couldn’t Be Easier Namasu

In Hawaii, we have a type of delicatessen called Okazu-Ya. Here’s the funny thing, I had to look up the meaning of the word. It is Japanese in origin, Okazu meaning side dish and Ya meaning shop. That makes sense to me now. These delis are take-out joints only; you won’t find a place to sit and devour your booty, best to head to the beach or a park.

The glass front cases in these shops are chock-full of big bowls and restaurant pans overflowing with delicious things. On any given lunch hour, you’ll find folks lined up waiting their turn to drool and point as the shop keeper ladles your choices into a Styrofoam container. I won’t laundry list the menu to you, as each shop has its own specialty.

One dish will always be found in the Okazu-Ya and that’s Namasu. Think of a cold pickled vegetable salad. This plays nicely off of unctuous pieces of Garlic-Mochi flour battered Fried Chicken or any of the other hundreds of choices you’ll find. Here in the middle of the desert, I have yet to find an Okazu-Ya, so as I guess I just have to make my own.

Yummy plate lunch with Namasu as one of the side dishes

Yummy plate lunch with Namasu as one of the side dishes

Couldn’t Be Easier Namasu

1 Hot House or English Cucumber, thinly sliced (do not peel)

1 large Carrot, peel & thinly slice

1 Daikon or White Radish, peel & thinly slice

1 Tbsp. Sea Salt (or Kosher Salt, which ever you have)

1 inch piece of fresh Ginger Root, peeled & course chopped

½ C. Rice Wine Vinegar

½ C. granulated Sugar

Water as needed

In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar; remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the Ginger and set aside to cool completely.

In a large glass bowl, toss the vegetables with the Sea Salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain well, pressing out as much water as possible.

Return the veggies to the bowl and pour the vinegar mixture in; add enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.



I like to cut my veggies into ‘flower’ shapes, which is easy to do. Cut V-shaped notches along the lengths of the piece of Cucumber, Carrot and Daikon before you slice them into thin rounds. Don’t throw away those chunks of veg from the pattern; toss those into the bowl too.