Archive for the ‘baking’ Category

Sharing Day

December 19th, 2014
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Olivia wanted to bring our cat, Ocho, for Sharing Day at school. There is no way Claus is going to arrange his schedule to bring the cat, wait for the cat to be presented, and then bring the cat back home.

Just so happened I took a couple of vacation days to just catch up on errands and personal things (including sleep!) so I offered to do it. The teacher was nice enough to rearrange the Sharing schedule to accommodate this.

Unsuspecting Ocho, before her whole day went down the drain.

Unsuspecting Ocho, before her whole day went down the drain.

Ocho should be a pro at it because we've trotted her out for the past two years, but - cats, go figure. She was unhappy at being paraded for a class of second graders.

Ocho: "Too! Many! Hands!!!"

Ocho: "Too! Many! Hands!!!"

I tried to spin it positive for Ocho, telling her this is more petting in 30 minutes than she would get in a whole year. She would hear none of that. Or was it because she couldn't hear over a chorus of excited children greeting her?

Cat Hell.

Cat Hell.

Ocho was actually a real trooper and allowed herself to be groped by 20 children. She didn't really try to run away (much). She didn't yowl, and she doesn't bite or claw in general, so she is a good cat to introduce to new people.

The night before, Olivia and I also baked and frosted cupcakes for the whole class. Olivia was very proud that she (sort of) did it all by herself, frosting and all.

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She was super pleased with herself for being a hit on Sharing Day, and I was very happy to make her happy.

Now if only we could get the cat on board with all this warm fuzzy. Rest up, Ocho. Next year comes sooner than you know it!

Chef Ed Kenney's new restaurant, Mud Hen Water

November 21st, 2014
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Chef Ed Kenney has a lot on his metaphoric plate. The award-winning, telegenic, seemingly ubiquitous culinary figure recently opened Kaimuki Superette, is still managing Town, and is in the planning stages of his latest restaurant, named after the area of town its located in.

Me with Chef Ed Kenney

Me with Chef Ed Kenney

"This is going to be an evening restaurant. We're calling it Mud Hen Water. It's the English translation of Waialae; wai is water, and alae is the native mud hen. The legend goes that there used to be a spring here that the alae frequented and it was only for royalty. It was literally a watering hole. This is going to be a watering hole," he exclaims with what I'm starting to understand is his trademark charismatic enthusiasm. He pointed to a section of the wall and indicated that he'd like to open up the wall and add an outdoors dining section there.

Site of the future Mud Hen Water

Site of the future Mud Hen Water

Kenney kindly took time out of his schedule to continue showing me around the property at the corner of Waialae and 9th Avenue. He gestures to a small shed attached to the two-story building. "This whole property, we're calling it Food Shed. It's because this shed was here, but it's also based on a watershed - the flow of food from producer to consumer. We look at everything we want to put in this property as kind of food or health and wellness oriented. Upstairs we have acupuncture, Eastern medicine," he continues.

He's excited about the venture, and tireless - and I'm sure Oahu gourmands will be just as excited to see what he comes up with next!

 

Life of grasshopper

May 16th, 2014
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In the morning, I heard a bloodcurdling little-girl scream from the bedroom followed by, "MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!!!!!!!"

I calmly walked over to see what the panic was about. I was sure it was nothing traumatic (unless you consider the bug's feelings) and I was right. There was the tiniest two inch grasshopper sitting on the floor, with Olivia dancing around it and pointing.

"It's a grasshopper, Hon. You have seen that before," I chuckled.

Olivia followed my cue and converted her energy to interest. "Can I keep it as a pet? Please?" she begged.

"Just for the day," I relented. "But then you have to let it go tonight."

"Whyyyyy? I just want a pet!" whined my daughter, as if having a 70 pound dog, cat, six bowls of fish, and a tank of shrimp isn't enough.

"Just today," I said firmly, and left.

Later that morning the conversation resurrected between Olivia and my dad. "What is it going to eat?" my dad pointed out. "I don't know what grasshoppers eat, and you need to feed it."

Nobody in the house knew what grasshoppers eat, and most importantly, I do not care what they eat because I will not be feeding it. I reminded her she had to release it back to nature tonight. She complained back at me.

I happened to be baking cookies. "If you love it, set it free, because it needs to live outside, Sweetie. Besides, I will trade you the life of one grasshopper for a coconut macaroon," I offered.

That took all of three seconds. She raced out the door and reappeared in five minutes. She showed it to the neighbor kids first then came home. "I let it go, Mommy!" she confirmed.

"Great, Honey! That's so wonderful of you. That was so nice to that bug," I complimented.

"I want to cash in on my cookie now," she reminded.

So I see. The lesson is less about the value of life and love, and more about motivation by bribery.

Meet the new executive chef at Park restaurant

February 17th, 2014
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Park Restaurant, which my friends and I tried for the first time last fall, has a new executive chef, Yoichi Saito, who brings with him a new style of delicious, inventive cuisine.

Photo by Tony Grillo

Photo by Tony Grillo

I'd heard lots of good things about the restaurant after it opened last August. Located in The Lotus Honolulu, overlooking historic Kapiolani Park and majestic Diamond Head, it originally offered a Mediterranean menu.  However, with Chef Saito now at the helm in the kitchen, Park will feature his “New American Urban Cuisine with an Asian Influence.”

“Great food has no nationality,” says Chef Saito.  “New American is really a mix of the traditional with the influences of the various cultures around us mixed in.”

Coming from an eclectic culinary background has given Chef Saito the mindset that ignoring cultural boundaries in food preparation is the only way to produce truly inspirational and outstanding cuisine.

Chef Saito’s regular menu includes items such as freshly-baked flat breads, Jim Beam-Truffle Mac & Cheese, Japanese-Memphis Ribs, Hanger Steak Satay, Sous Vide Pork Belly, Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank, Chicken Two Ways, Soy Glazed Grilled Ahi, Misoyaki Salmon, excellent side dishes – Saito’s Brussel Sprouts with dried tart cherries, kalua bacon and lemon have been a huge hit! – and scrumptious desserts.  The menu is also evolving, and there will be seasonal and special tasting menus offered throughout the year.

Chef Saito has decades of experience in both Japan and the U.S. He started cooking at the age of 16, focusing on Osechi-ryori, traditional Japanese foods to celebrate the New Year.  After that he was hooked, and entered the Tsuji Cooking Academy in Osaka, one of the most prestigious culinary institutions in Japan.  There, he studied French, Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, as well as confectionaries.  Chef Saito is a very adept pastry chef, and creates beautiful and tasty Japanese confections, as well.

From 1989 through 2000, Chef Saito worked at the Hilton Osaka Hotel (banquets, French cuisine), Kappou Kasagi in Osaka (sushi and traditional Japanese cuisine), Hananoren in Tokyo (French-Asian fusion), La Rochelle (Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai’s French restaurant in Tokyo), and Angelo, also in Tokyo (French-Italian fusion), where he was executive chef.

In 2000, Chef Saito moved to the U.S. and was the executive chef at Wasabina, a Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant, in New York.  During his time there, Wasabina received outstanding reviews from The New York Times and other local publications for their delicious, distinctive cuisine.

In 2002, Chef Saito was recruited by actor Joe Pantaliano to work as head chef at his Asian fusion restaurant (French-Thai-Vietnamese), Bamboo Café Bar, in Norwalk, Connecticut.  After two years and positive reviews, Chef Saito moved to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s V Steakhouse in NY .

From 2004-2008, Chef Saito was the chef de cuisine, and then the executive sous chef, at Roy’s at Pebble Beach, CA.  Chosen by Chef Roy Yamaguchi as the representative chef from Roy’s, Chef Saito was invited to participate in the 1st Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine culinary event in 2008, where his cuisine was praised for its flavor and inventiveness.

In 2009, Chef Saito returned to the East Coast to open his own restaurant, Saito, in Greenwich, CT, where he enjoyed excellent reviews, success, and a very loyal following for five years.  One of his programs was a tasting menu offered to only ten patrons, which proved so popular the seats were sold out well in advance.  Chef Saito hopes to start a similar program at Park this year.

"We’re honored and excited about having Chef Saito on board as our executive chef,” said John Henry Felix, Managing Partner. “After starting during a busy holiday season and a sold-out New Year’s Eve, Chef Saito has really created a stir in culinary circles, making Park the hot new place for exceptional food.  All of us at Park look forward to introducing Chef Saito’s cuisine to many new patrons this year!”

Eggnog for an Invalid

January 9th, 2014
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My friend Lea got me a book about Danish cooking. She thinks its funny since I currently have a house full of Scandinavians: from Denmark, my in-laws and my former babysitter. If you want to get technical, my husband and my child, too - both Danish passport holders. From Sweden, the babysitter's girlfriend.

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"You can cook something for your in laws," she laughed.

Goody.

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I open the book and the first thing I see is this: recipe for Eggnog for an Invalid.

Super politically incorrect, but the book was printed in 1965. I asked Claus if that could mean something other than what it means in English, and he said no.

I will not be making Invalid Eggnog for them. But there is something very funny about the whole thing.