Archive for the ‘baking’ Category

Chinese cookies

December 28th, 2015
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I was in my kitchen when the mail lady drove up. My Danish houseguest, Jul, said, "I want to give Susan something. Hand me one of those Chinese cookies," and he pointed to a pile of small blue tins.

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"What Chinese cookies?" I asked, looking for fortune cookies or Chinese pretzels.

"Those," and he waved his finger urgently as Susan turned on the engine to drive to the next house.

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"These? How are these Chinese cookies?" I quizzed, passing him a tin of Danish butter cookies. I'm know I'm half the time out of it, but am I that bad?!

He disdainfully explained they're made in China, by CVS. In no way are they Danish anymore. "They aren't as buttery as the ones in Denmark," he sniffed. My husband has echoed a similar sentiment in previous conversations.

Royal Dansk butter cookies were popular in Denmark in the '80s, he said, but they're out of vogue now. "Now Danes want to make their own cookies and put their own trendy things in it. Beets, kale, Stone Age foods- until it no longer tastes like a cookie," he joked. He is always surprised they're still popular in the US.

We still like those Chinese cookies.

 

Half-baked when half-baked

December 2nd, 2015
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I know full well the dangers of doing anything while extremely tired. I live this at least five days a week with my 3 a.m. wake up call.

Still, I persist. Life marches on and stuff needs to get done. I tried to bake a quiche at 5:30 p.m. when I should be getting ready for bed. Bad idea.

Firstly, I'm a pretty decent home cook, but I do like to improvise a lot. The recipe called for chicken, and I used ham because it was on sale. It called for bell peppers and I used frozen peas because I needed to use that up.

My husband always watches me with amused interest because I think of the recipe as a suggestion. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

If you combine this with the forgetfulness and lack of focus that comes with fatigue, it can be a scary combination. I had piled the ingredients into the pie shell and it still didn't fill up to the top. I pulled out some extra spinach leaves and chucked that in to add content, though the recipe didn't ask for it.

And yes, it was tasty!!!

And yes, it was tasty!!!

"What else should I put in? Didn't it overflow the last time I made this?" I queried. He couldn't recall.

Then he spied the roux and sautéed onions in the pan. "Are you adding that?" he asked.

"OH! That! YES! I forgot!" I exclaimed as I threw my hands up in the air. "Thank you!" You know, it's only sitting right in front of my face.

I mix it in and open the oven door. "Can you read me the recipe and tell me if I missed anything? What else goes in there?" I requested.

Pause. "I really don't think it matters at this point," he stated.

HEY. When this quiche comes out amazing, he'll be sorry for that comment!

Yahoo Travel names Kalihi bakery best pie in state

November 24th, 2015
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Where's the best place to get a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Yahoo Travel says Hawaiian Pie Company in Kalihi-Kai is number one in the state. The bakery's website says it "specializes in melt-in-your-mouth buttery fruit pies and baked goods."

Yahoo Travel praised the bakery for "a pumpkin custard that adds an extra creamy dimension to the norm."

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Co-owner Jan Hori says the family owned and operated bakery is thrilled at the accolade, and wasn't even aware of it until a friend forwarded the article to them.

This is the write up from Yahoo Travel.

(This is the write up from Yahoo Travel.)

She and her family are currently in overdrive preparing for Thanksgiving orders. Hawaiian Pie Company will be open on Thursday, November 26. In the spirit of the season, Hori says they're all very thankful for the shout-out from Yahoo Travel!

Yahoo article here: https://www.yahoo.com/travel/a-slice-above-the-best-1305974970769462.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=ma

 

Posted in baking | 3 Comments »

Grilled Cheese Tart

October 26th, 2015
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I don't mean to brag, but I'm kind of a genius. I just invented a new sandwich and I'm sure it's going to buoy me right to the top of the James Beard Awards or at the very least, maybe get me an email from the Star-Advertiser's food reviewer Nadine Kam to say, good job. (Aim high.)

I give you... the Grilled Cheese Tart!

I give you... the Grilled Cheese Tart!

It's a grilled cheese sandwich with a Pop-Tart warmed in the middle alongside the cheese. It's so good, it's stupid.

It was late one night when I had a craving to eat something (and this story does not involve substance usage!), and I was making myself a grilled cheese sandwich when I saw one of my kid's Pop-Tart boxes on the counter.

Hmm, I thought. That sounds good, too. Unable to decide if I wanted now to eat the sandwich or the tart, it occurred to me I could have both!

Why choose? This is America, and I can make choices without limitations on class, caste, religion, race, or crass culinary hankerings! I can have it all!

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So I had it all. Right on my plate. I plopped that strawberry bad boy on top of the nicely melting cheese and nestled it between two slices of hotly buttered bread.

I felt rebellious against the snobby gourmet revolution. I felt like a firebrand for Best Loved Processed American Foods From The 70s.

You see, the bread was soft and mushy Wonder Bread, perfect for lapping up all the melted butter and without all those trendy grains for fiber. The cheese was Kraft Singles, deliciously uniform and plasticine in its wrapper, and unnaturally orange. And then there's, of course, the Pop-Tart that will stay fresh for ten years until one opens that metallic encasing.

I'm raging against the food machine. I'm feeling sexy! Alive!

I bit into it. I was a little hesitant to find out if I'd just created an atrocity or a marvel, and my taste buds told me with victory that it was the latter.

It's the savory of the cheese juxtaposed against the sweet of the pastry jam. It's tasty!

I was so excited, I went into the bedroom to tell my husband what I'd created. He, with his Michelin aspirations and Zagat bible. He didn't laugh at me. He said he'd like to try it, too!

We looked online to see if this was a whole new invention, and it seems to be. There's sandwiches made using Pop-Tarts as the bread, but there are no sandwiches I found with Pop-Tarts as the filling.

I'm so super impressed with myself! When the James Beard Award committee calls, just let them know I'm working on my next masterpiece. It involves Spam.

Love Bites, LLC

October 9th, 2015
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Olivia and I made some mean butterscotch pudding. It had real vanilla bean seeds and everything. It tastes as silky and rich as creme brûlée, but with a buttery finish.

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We were very proud of ourselves and decided to create a fictitious bakery name for our mother-daughter baking team. After vetting a few ideas, we settled on Love Bites.

This became a shorthand for all activities mother-daughter, as in: "Love Bites is watching a movie!" or "What shall Love Bites do now?"

I mentioned this to my friend Kalei. "LOVE BITES?! As in, hickey?!" she sputtered.

"What? As in, small bites of delicious dessert made with love. Love in every bite," I returned.

"NO. Love bites is slang for hickey. Do you not know this???" she retorted.

"Are you serious? Really? I didn't know this! Does everyone know this?!" I exclaimed, grabbing my phone to search it online. Yep. It's there on Wikipedia.

"Yes. I told you so. You have to come up with a more appropriate company name, or people will be placing orders for cakes shaped like body parts," she lectured. "Geez. What are you teaching our kid?"

"I didn't know! Fine. Let's come up with something else. What about Love Bakes?" I suggested.

"Love Bakes???" she sniffed. I could feel her exasperation across the phone line.

"What, is that too close to Love's Bakery?" I asked.

"No! It sounds like marijuana. Now you're selling medical edibles?" she sighed.

"How is that like marijuana?" I quizzed.

"'Bakes?' People say they're baked when they're stoned," she prodded.

I didn't think I was this sheltered, but this conversation is making me think otherwise.

"Can't you just do like (your cousin) Janice (Hori) and have something simple and straightforward like Hawaiian Pie Company? Why do you have to get all creative?" questioned Kalei.

"Creative is fun," I defended. "How boring is 'Olivia & Mommy's Cupcakery'?"

"Apparently, you are inappropriate when you are creative," decided Kalei. "You are so lucky you have me."

I had to break the news to Olivia that we couldn't use Love Bites anymore because... someone else took that company name. She was bummed and made sad faces.

We are now thinking about a new fake business name that doesn't imply anything else inappropriate. Got any suggestions?