Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Lea

June 25th, 2014
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One of my best friends is a woman named Lea, who I've known since we were in the seventh grade together at Kamehameha. At one point she also worked with me at KHNL.

Lately, due to reasons probably related to us being at-home moms, we have developed a relationship that has us communicating a couple hours a day. Obviously, she has a special ring tone on my phone.

When Claus hears Lea's text alert or Lea's ring tone, he mockingly rolls his eyes and says, "Lea again?" He is so mellow that nearly nothing fazes him, so it's in jest - but I know he finds it oddly amusing that our first texts start at 6:30 am and the last text often ends late at night. "You talk to her all the time," he half-complained.

One day, I decided to try an ayurvedic detoxification that my yoga teacher was talking about. I love food. I love to eat. I do not have food issues, unless the issue is not having enough to eat.

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but for the first one to three days this cleanse suggests to consume only vegetable soup or juice. I was optimistic that I could do it. I'm not sure why I was so deluded, in hindsight.

It made me SO grumpy to be starving. I mean, all the vegetable soup you can drink does not a full stomach make. After having the caloric equivalent of three legumes all day I was terrible to be around. He was getting annoyed with me.

The following day, the grumpiness grew, and I could no longer stand it. I smelled the dinner Claus was cooking and I completely had a detox fail. I ate a hot dog, spaghetti meat sauce, and since I was on a roll already, I said to heck with it and had a bowl of ice cream.

Then, I felt guilty and started beating myself up for not being able to follow the detox guidelines. This poor guy had been subjected to so much of my crazy this week.

"You see?" I pointed out. "This is what Lea and I talk about. She hears my complaints so that you don't have to."

"Yeah. You should talk to her more," encouraged Claus, as he sidled away from me, probably for the next week until I was back to eating normally again!

Girlfriends. Good ones are like gold.

Car beans

June 23rd, 2014
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Welcome to another episode of The Housewife Files.

I think I have more work to do now than when I had an office job. Notice how I did not say just "job"? Raising a child and tending the domestics is a J-O-B!

I went to the grocery store to buy supplies. Dinner + pantry items + snacks for Olivia's day + random sundry items people need to stock up on. I returned to the car with many, many bags of groceries.

In the spirit of my housewife agreement to spend all my husband's money now, I also ended up buying more things than I had on the shopping list. You know how that goes.

One three-digit-receipt later and I was back home carrying all the bags in the house. Apparently, a bag of edamame beans fell out and under Olivia's seat. I didn't see it because my car has a fair amount of other things in it (her toys, her shoes, her extra clothes, spare pool towels, my yoga mat and towel, my gym bag... blah blah)

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A short while later, the family was headed out in my car. Olivia got into her car seat and asked, "Mommy, what should I do with the car beans?"

"Car beans? What are you talking about?" I asked, rushing around as I so often am.

"These green things. In the car. Car beans," she answered. "Should I bring it in the house?"

Thanks for specifics. I finally walked over to see what she was talking about.

Her little finger was pointing to a bag on the car mat, slightly hidden under the car seat. "OH! Car beans! The edamame beans! I wondered where they went!" I exclaimed, grabbing them and putting them in the freezer.

This is so not the first time this has happened to me. I have more spaced out moments as a mother than I have ever had in my pre-child life. Sometimes I think I might lose my head if it wasn't attached!

 

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.

SAHM Club

March 7th, 2014
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I'm officially a member of the SAHM Club - Stay At Home Mom Club. It's really nice.

I did this some four years ago but at the time, Olivia was two years old and so I still didn't have any time to myself. It's kind of amazing to have a house that is quiet, and all to myself, for six whole hours a day while she is in school.

My friend Beth Hillyer escorted me through my first day of this new life. In her characteristically sunny way, she invited me to take a long walk with the Labs.

Over I went, and the very second I came out of my car, two yellow Lab pups hurtled towards me and immediately jammed their snouts in my pants. They are one year old and males, therefore overly enthusiastic and learning boundaries. At least one of them should have bought me a drink after the welcome they gave me.

We played with dogs in mud puddles. We looked at her chicken coop and the eggs that her Americana hens are laying in an unauthorized spot, which is in the bamboo when it should be in the hen house. I was given a proper introduction to the hens: Ruby, Buttercup, Brownie, and a whole bunch more whose names I do not remember.

We had lunch, and over pizza she revealed the secret of Stay at Home Momming: "You will not get as much done as you think you should. I drop the kids off at school. I do laundry, tend the dogs, the hens, the yard, the housework, and then it's time to get the boys again. But it's wonderful," she said, of a world whose horizon I'm just starting to peer over.

When I bemoaned my lack of land, she invited me to communally farm at her house. I might have to unleash all my vegetable-growing, chicken-raising aspirations on Beth's yard.

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We then parted ways because it was already time to get our kids after school. She sent me home with a basket of eggs that she harvested from the forest, much to Brownie's dismay.

Olivia got my full attention after school. We did homework. She biked outside. I cooked dinner. The husband was happy that everything was taken care of when he got home.

It was a lovely day. I can get used to this!

What's your SAHM or SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) routine?

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!”