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KailuaGirl's Profile

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How do you put together a menu plan, if you do?

When I had custody of my 5 nephews, 2 of them with autism, I had to get used to all sorts of new stuff, but they really did. Their parents lived on fast food, and the crappy stuff you get from the drive through. They had hot breakfast every morning before school, and they had to go to school! Every night I cooked dinner, and usually had something for dessert.

I was living in the family home at the time and, like you, caring for my elderly father. He was dying of COPD but still liked to eat, talk, watch TV, read books, etc. The introduction of 5 little boys made his life more interesting! :-)

I cooked every night for my father. Dad and I came up with ideas that day, or maybe the day before if he wanted me to make something that required shopping at several different stores, sometimes in different towns... The nephews/grandkids forced us to change.

My solution was to have a family conference around the dining room table every Sunday evening to discuss the upcoming week's menu. Each boy got to pick one night and tell me what to cook. I did pizza take out on Wednesdays, but that was to give me a break, not to indulge their love of fast food. The boy who chose the dish "got" to help me make it, including cooking. They learned a lot about fractions through measuring stuff for baking desserts, too.

Since they had done most of the decision making, there were no squawks about the menu. I didn't end up clueless as to what to cook. I did try them out on new things every now and then, and they usually loved it (try your parents out on posole, either pork or chicken, to change it up). If they help make the menu it takes some of the onus off of you, plus they've got some control over what they eat so they've got "buy in.

I commend you for taking care of your parents. It's hard work, but so rewarding. I don't regret a day of it, either my Dad or my nephews.

How do you put together a menu plan, if you do?

That sounds good. Another thing to do is to stir fry in sesame oil and add tonkatsu sauce. A drizzle of rayu (chili sesame oil) is great for those who like things spicy. Add some fresh soba noodles, omit the rice, and you've got yaki soba with extra veggies. Shoots, you could probably cook some instant ramen noodles and mix them in if you can't find fresh soba noodles. Put a fried egg on top and you've got more protein, plus that gooey yolk drips through the noodles and cooks. :-)

Jan 29, 2015
KailuaGirl in General Topics

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #12 – 01/21/15 (spoilers)

Precisely! Her parents' support of her brother and apparent lack of support for her, for whatever reasons, almost undoubtedly hurts. "Mom and Dad like you best" is one of those sibling rivalry things that most of us had as kids, worked out by the end of our teens, and can joke about as adults. Our parents probably DID like some personality traits of our sibs better, but also favored us in other aspects. It all evens out in the end for most families. When it doesn't, it's painful to see.
God knows how many chefs we've heard from re: their addictions to drugs and alcohol, then getting sober and saved by food and becoming (better) chefs. The Voltaglio brothers talked about their sibling rivalry growing up, but with them you could see that they loved and supported each other. The love and support that both boys got from their parents was also obvious. Mei's family issues are no less legit. She might be striving for, and failing to get, their endorsement for the rest of her life, or at least the rest of her parents' lives. So sad...

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #11 – 01/14/15 (spoilers)

Some things are best forgotten. The "real housewives" progressive dinner was one of them! It makes me shudder whenever I think of it. Fortunately, that's almost never...

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #9 – 12/17/14 (spoilers)

EAP and H. L. Mencken are the only people I can think of who, as authors, extolled the wonder of Baltimore. :-) I love reading both of them...

Dec 25, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Pork hocks and feet - Long pig feet

Humans were referred to as "long pig" when cooked in an imu through most of the Pacific at one time. Cannibalism usually wasn't gustatory so much as a celebration of beating a foe in battle, then eating him. Of course, there were times when people were a delicacy...

Dec 11, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #7 – 12/03/14 (spoilers)

Sounds wonderful, but a bit steep for my wallet. Dang!

Dec 11, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #7 – 12/03/14 (spoilers)

And she swept LCK - what a great chef, and wonderful human being. Josie was a horror!

Dec 11, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #8 – 12/10/14 (spoilers)

Thanks again, Linda, for a great recap! I always go to see what you had to say before I do anything else on Thursday morning. A cup of coffee and your recap are a great way to start the day. :-)

I agree with you about "clamgate." She was the first one to the ingredient table, then she grabbed the whole bucket of the best clams, thereby attempting to deny the others of that particular item, and get quite an edge over them. I was sorry to see her go, but she did it to herself. If there had been an agreement to share, I doubt she was part of it.

Katsuji really seems to be getting douchier as time goes on. He was one of my favorites when this season started, now he's sinking toward the bottom. I felt bad that Adam went home, and totally respect him for his willingness to be "an emotional mess" on national TV, and then claim it. His love of food and cooking was so evident!

Last Chance Kitchen should be an exciting addition, at long last. I haven't watched it yet, but will do so later this morning.

Of all the dishes served tonight, the one I think I would have enjoyed most was George's. I'm SO glad that he's back in, and totally impressed by the selflessness of the other eliminated cheftestants in nominating him for the chance to get back on. I'm sorry that we've missed the opportunity to see what he would have done in previous challenges. He's clearly got the skills and motivation.

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #8 – 12/10/14 (spoilers)

I'd make that a foursome and include Michael V.

I just love the spirit that Blais adds to this! He's like a kid on Christmas morning, all excited to see what's coming next! The joy in his facial expressions are equal to the pain we saw whenever he was second guessing himself and/or worrying about the food he was preparing.

It's also nice to get a top former contestant's take on things that the other judges lack. He's the only one who has been in the same place as the current cheftestants, and more than once (as he has reminded us more than once).

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #8 – 12/10/14 (spoilers)

Dennis Leary would be awesome! I didn't even know he was in Boston...

Soba --- thick noodles

Mugi cha is made from barley. It's a summer tea, never served warm or during any other season.

Dec 06, 2014
KailuaGirl in Japan

Tokyo > Osaka > Kyoto > Nagoya Itinerary! Any Glaring Errors?

Also, since it's winter there will be great echizen crab from Hokkaido. You've got to get some of that! If you can, go to a restaurant that specializes in crab. There's a fantastic one in Kyoto, but it's another one I can't remember the name of, but could walk there in my sleep. I'm sure you can get good recommendations from local friends or your hotel's staff.

Dec 06, 2014
KailuaGirl in Japan

Tokyo > Osaka > Kyoto > Nagoya Itinerary! Any Glaring Errors?

I strongly agree with Mimiu, and disagree with skipping okonomiyaki. I lived in Osaka for 5 years and Mimiu was one of the easiest places for a good dinner. We usually went for birthdays and other times when we wanted something nice, but affordable and semi-casual. Both locals and ex-pats enjoy it. Their dipping sauces are fantastic!

Okonomiyaki is an Osaka specialty, and it's one of my favorite casual dishes. You can find it in neighborhood dives (some of the places I most often ate it) and more upscale locations. Skip the fancy places, they're probably catering to foreigners, and go out with some locals to their regular okonomiyaki spots. It's similar to having a favorite burger spot (excluding Mickey D's and that ilk) - better than fast food but not too expensive to be a regular lunch spot.

If you haven't done so already, I would set aside at least one meal for a good oden restaurant. There's a terrific one in Sakai (Osaka's neighbor to the South) but I can't for the life of me remember its name. Oden is served only in the winter and the good oden restaurants serve a large variety of food and many different brands of sake.

Robatayaki is another must have! There are lots of them around, some of them outstanding! The variety is there so you can easily find dishes to satisfy everyone from vegans to omnivores to strict carnivores. Some of the larger places have small tatami met booths along with counter seats.

Kyoto also has a lively jazz scene. One of the best clubs is near Gojo - friends of mine still go there regularly. Check it out, but be prepared for Japanese who want to practice their English. You'll be approached at train and subway stations, but especially in areas where foreingers can expect to be found - jazz clubs, the English language section of Kinokuniya book store, English pubs, and Kobe. :-)

Above everything else, have fun and be ready to change your dining plans, with the exceptions of those places requiring reservations, on the spot. Sometimes you'll be walking down an alley going to one place to eat when you smell something irresistible coming from a small restaurant or neighborhood dive. Stop there to eat - you might never find it again...

Dec 06, 2014
KailuaGirl in Japan
1

The Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State

Just a regular, traditional, Mainland-style, Thanksgiving Dinner - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli casserole, and our one local dish, Hawaiian apple bananas with sweet potato casserole topped with crushed Corn Flakes, chopped roasted macadamia nuts, and drizzled with butter. We had to have a pretty sparse menu since Thanksgiving came so late in the month this year...
One year Hurricane Iwa knocked out all the power in the state just before Thanksgiving. There were a few pockets with electricity, but 99% of the state was without power. We lived on the same small grid as did the head honcho for O'ahu's power company so, of course, we had light and a working stove/range.
Up our little lane, and across the street, they were without power. A friend's father called his friends the night before (we had phone service and it was before cell phones so no one had to worry about the charge wearing down) and they put together an imu (earth oven) for everyone to make kalua turkey in the morning.
An ex-boyfriend's mother called me and asked if I could cook their turkey. If so, she was giving it to me. It was already thawed and would go bad soon. I threw that one in the imu, along with some sweet potatoes and peanuts (for kalua peanuts - so ono!) and we fed the neighborhood (along with ex-boyfriend and his parents - all of whom were still friends)! No one could cook any sides so they all brought wine. We sent everyone home with enough leftovers for one more meal (they all had coolers with ice they'd brought at my request). It was one of the best, most boozed up Thanksgivings we ever had. :-)
Oh yeah, and we did have poi with the kalua turkey. :-D

Discussions about taking food home during Thanksgiving dinner

Hopefully she didn't take the bag of unprepared, unserved fruit along with her!

Dec 01, 2014
KailuaGirl in Not About Food

Discussions about taking food home during Thanksgiving dinner

My thoughts, too. My free range organic turkey cost $3.99 a pound in Hilo this year. Granted, Honolulu and Hilo are the most expensive cities for Thanksgiving according to the New York Times, but it still hurts the old pocketbook.

We've always planned on sending people home with leftovers. As others have said, sometimes that's the part of the whole Thanksgiving dinner that is most eagerly anticipated. Mmmm, turkey sandwiches with stuffing and gravy are the best!

I ask people ahead of time to bring containers for food to take home if they want any. I'm happy to provide the food, but don't want to provide the Tupperware.

Dec 01, 2014
KailuaGirl in Not About Food
1

Stuffing from a box -- best brand and how to spruce up?

Please don't.

Nov 28, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

Stuffing from a box -- best brand and how to spruce up?

Another vote for Pepperidge Farm. I always saute diced onion and celery in butter, then add diced water chestnuts and chopped roasted pecans (this year I tried chopped macadamia nuts but will go back to pecans next time). Dump the contents of the pan onto the bread cubes/crumbs in a large bowl, add chicken stock or premade turkey stock (made ahead with the roasted neck and wing tips), and mix the whole mess with my perfectly clean hands. Most of it goes into the bird, the rest into a buttered Le Creuset casserole. The stuff from the bird is nice and moist, the casserole gets a crispy outside from the buttered enameled cast iron and the top from the oven roasting, uncovered.

Nov 28, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

Slow roasting the turkey: a homily

Beautiful bird!

Nov 28, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

Slow roasting the turkey: a homily

I always cut off the wing tips, roast/brown those separately with the neck the day before Thanksgiving, and then make stock out of them with some carrot, celery and onion (and salt and pepper) along with a bay leaf or two.
That's what I use to wet the stuffing or boost the extra gravy that I make with the drippings. That saves me from burned wing tips, and doesn't really hurt the appearance of the bird.

Nov 28, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

Slow roasting the turkey: a homily

Epicurious had tip recipe for brining turkey then leaving it uncovered in the oven for a day prior to roasting it. That day uncovered in the fridge gave the skin a chance to dry out and, I can attest, it comes out beautiful, brown, and wonderfully crispy. I've been brining for years,and this is the best skin ever! The meat still had that wonderful moistness, even the white meat (which I don't really care for, but do sample every year) was juicy and tender, and the dark meat literally fell off the bone. I did mine at 325 the whole time, but next year might try this lower and slower method. I also stuff my turkey and prepare a side of extra dressing.

Nov 28, 2014
KailuaGirl in Home Cooking

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

The NYT posted another article in response to the outrage voiced by readers. The new article lists the most frequently searched Thanksgiving recipes by state. Top for Washington - Smoked Salmon Dip. Most of the recipes in the new article look more appropriate for a holiday meal or other indulgent/celebratory feast. I can't wait to try some of them.

Nov 27, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

The Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State

I just mentioned that upthread...

Nov 27, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

The Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State

Wonderful description! I had to look it up, too. What a horrific concoction! I should say that, having lived in Colorado for 5 years, I've never head of it. Looking at the map, it appears to be quite popular, or frequently looked up, in several states.
On FB I said the Hawaiian Salad from Illinois sounded like a more disgusting version of ambrosia. I'm from Hawai'i, and have lived here all my life other than a few years in San Jose, Calif., 5 years in Boulder, and after college 5 years in Osaka, Japan. I have never heard of "Hawaiian Salad." Why do people call anything with pineapple in it "Hawaiian" and anything with shoyu in it "Asian" (as if all Asian cuisine was the same, no less!)?

Nov 27, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #6 – 11/19/14 (spoilers)

I miss the extended judges' table that we used to be able to watch on the Bravo site.

Nov 27, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #6 – 11/19/14 (spoilers)

Times two!

Nov 23, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #6 – 11/19/14 (spoilers)

Thanks, D! Interesting stuff.

Nov 20, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

However (Bourdain Continued)

I loved that book!

Nov 17, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News

Classic food documentaries

Tampopo

Nov 16, 2014
KailuaGirl in Food Media & News