Archive for January, 2011

The inspiration for this experiment is the house-made orange sauce from Koa Pancake House, Kaneohe.

Orange Sauce on Pancakes, Koa Pancake House

If you remember, this is The Cat’s favorite. She orders pancakes from here just for the sauce. I think the sauce contains orange pulp, juice, and zest.

Anyway, about two weeks ago, we picked-up a bag of Clementine oranges from Costco. I started saving the peel, throwing them in the freezer. After we finished the bag, I had two plastic containers of frozen orange peel. I melted about an eighth of a cup of sugar in boiling water. I added the orange peel and simmered for a few minutes. I also added a splash of akvavit, just because. I kept adding sugar until the bitterness of the orange peel (including the pith) was acceptable to me (not sure how much I added). The pith is supposed to provide some health benefits.

After the peel cooled a bit, I used my handy-dandy immersion blender to chop the peel and ended up with this.

Sugared Orange Peel

At Koa Pancake House, the sauce is pourable, mine came out more of a paste or chutney (note to self, maybe more liquid next time), although I though it turned out good (read on).

So far I’ve used it like jam on bread with peanut butter,

Peanut Butter and Sugared Orange Peel on Bread

and sliced bananas.

Next time, I may add a bit of ginger or clove. A definite try again.


The Mouse

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Macadamia Nut Cookies

I don’t know whose traditions this is but when we return a container that someone gave us to take food home, we usually don’t return it empty. I was returning a container today. This one was hard, the people who gave us the container (with food) try more places than I do. It’s hard to find someplace they don’t know about.

The Container

After wracking my brain for a little while (it’s hard for me to think while driving), I ended up in the Kalihi area. One of the technicians at my orthodontist’s office recommended here.

I hoped they hadn’t heard or tried this place yet. The technician thought the owner/baker used to work at Panya (or one of the other high-end bakeries in town).

I picked up a package of their Macadamia nut cookies.

Mac Nut Cookies

There were also chocolate walnut cookies, shortbread cookies, and chocolate chip cookies but when in Hawaii …

It Fits!

The cookies were a success. They haven’t heard of the bakery and obviously hadn’t tried the cookies. I think they liked the cookies, the package was almost devoured at one sitting.

Mission accomplished.


The Mouse

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The inspiration for this was the roasted garlic bulbs that were popular a while back. You know the ones, the whole bulb is sprinkled with olive oil then roasted until soft. The garlic is then squeezed out as a paste. I always thought it was a nice presentation but very messy and not all of the garlic was extracted.

I think my method is less messy, and all of the garlic is used. I used to call it garlic confit, but then there was some concern about storing garlic in oil and the possibility of botulism. Now, I immediately use whatever I make. Since confit means to preserve, I couldn’t call it garlic confit anymore. Sigh.

I started to call this poached garlic, but then the definition of poaching (as it applies to cooking), is to simmer food in liquid other than oil. Double sigh. And “simmered garlic” just doesn’t have the same sexiness about it.

So, I’ll describe the process, and you call it whatever you want. I still don’t have a name for it.

Take peeled garlic (I usually find mine in Asian markets, or peel my own), place them in a small sauce pan, and cover with oil (peanut or olive). Heat the pan over the lowest heat possible (because the garlic is quick to burn) for an hour or so until really soft. We have a warming burner that works well. Remove garlic from oil.

We use the garlic on French bread, in salads, in pasta, and in hummus. The cooked garlic gives the hummus a softened garlic taste, not the in your face flavor. The Cat stomach likes the cooked garlic over raw of even sauteed garlic.

"Cooked" Garlic

The holes on the bottom clove was from me checking its doneness.

This time, I made pasta with the garlic, some of the oil, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, sugar, salt, chili powder, almond milk, and capers.

I slightly browned the garlic to add color.

The Cat said yum!

If you come up with a sexy name for the garlic, let me know, kthx.


The Mouse

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Homemade Lasagna

As mentioned in the last post, our cousins made lasagna for dinner last night, one spinach and one meat.

Spinach Lasagna

Meat Lasagna

The cousins don’t cook the pasta before preparing the lasagna, they let the sauce do the cooking. Very interesting.

Meat and Spinach Lasagna

Of course I had to try both (for journalistic purposes). 😉 Both were very good. But if I had to choose, tonight the spinach lasagna won by a smidge. I could’ve eaten more but had to restrain myself (have to keep my looks). Just kidding!

They also made an asparagus salad, and bought garlic bread from the new La Tour Cafe.

Garlic Bread

The texture was good and the garlic flavor was very pronounced, whole cloves were added to the dough.

This was a good night, got to know some of my relatives a little more, in a good way. I didn’t know they were so funny.

Okay, as promised, these are the Japanese sweets I bought from Nisshodo (see previous post).

Japanese Sweets

The manju on the top is filled with mashed and sweetened lima beans, the manju in the middle has sweetened red beans (azuki), and the pastries on the bottom is like a sponge cake with sweetened, mashed, and colored lima beans.

The manju is very dense, not like some other manju that is flaky, very old school. I thought it was a good finish to the meal (talk about mashing cultures).

One more thing, I wasn’t sure P would eat the pastries (he is not a dessert person), but he likes diet Coke. I bought him a eight-pack of mini cans.

Coke Zero

It’s smaller than the regular can (it has 7.5 ounces). He can either drink them now or wait until the grow up. Cute yeah?

I’ve written this before. Good company, good laughs, and good food, does it get any better?


The Mouse

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Japanese Sweets from Nisshodo

Dinner with the relatives tonight, lasagna. Even though they said not to bring anything, it’s difficult to unlearn generations in one night. Went to Nisshodo (Yelp link here) to pick up some manju. I would’ve gotten their mochi but I didn’t think mochi would compliment lasagna too well.

If you don’t know where the shop is, it’s hard to find. It’s in the back of a bunch of small warehouses and industrial companies, next to a radio tower. Whenever I go, be it early morning or afternoon, there is always a wait. There is a small display counter. The women that work the counter are always friendly and willing to answer my dumb questions. This is definitely old school, very old school, but that’s part of the charm. After filling the order, the women will ask if you want it gift wrapped (the wrapping is white paper with a red ribbon). I always say yes (who doesn’t like to open gifts?).

"A Present, For Me?"

Sorry, you’re going to have to wait for the next post to see inside. I wasn’t about to unwrap it and then re-wrap it, it would’ve been a disaster.

I also picked up some cookies for The Cat and myself. I don’t think these are made on the premises (the sign says “product of USA, packed by Nisshodo).

Sesame cookies for The Cat, puffed rice for The Mouse.

See you tomorrow, I promise.

Enjoy (oh wait, you can’t, okay then, patience). 🙂

The Mouse

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