Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

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?

Made with love... and butter

September 28th, 2015
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Olivia loves grilled cheese sandwiches. I made her one the other night and for the first time in all these years she paid attention to how I did it.

"You put butter in it?!" she marveled. "You make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world!"

I served her the plate and she continued, "Yours is even better than Daddy's!"

Well, Claus is a great cook, but I've seen him sometimes toast cheese in between bread as a lazy method. He's tired. I get it. She still eats it.

My girl went on and on about how I'm the best cook ever, etcetera. (I'm "eating" it up, LOL.)

I told her, "It's also because I cook it with love. I love cooking for my sweetie!"

"Yours is still better than Daddy's," she insisted.

"He cooks with love, too," I reminded, trying to get her to cut her dad some slack. He's a great dad.

"That's fine," she determined. "He cooks with love, but he's not cooking with butter."

2016 World Gelato Championships

September 16th, 2015
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A Hawaii man is leading the charge to bring home the gold in the upcoming World Gelato Championships. Il Gelato Hawaii owner Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D. is Captain of Gelato Team USA.

His team members include:
John S. Hui, CEPC, AAC – Team Manager (Corporate Pastry Chef, Pebble Beach Resorts, CA)
Michele Pompei – Lead Team Pastry Chef  (Baking & Pastry Instructor, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art, WA)
Tim Brown, B.A. –Team Pastry Chef (Baking & Pastry Instructor, Johnson & Wales University, RI)
Chris Foltz –World Champion Ice Carver (Culinary Instructor, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, OR)

2014: Chef Dirk & organizer Sergio Dondole

2014: Chef Dirk & organizer Sergio Dondole. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The USA is one of fourteen countries from around the world. The five-member team formed under the American Culinary Federation Chapter from Oregon. “We are very excited to have world class and competitive chefs, and one of the world’s best ice carvers on our team,” says Koeppenkastrop. He's referring to Foltz, who holds three ice carving and four wood carving world champion titles.

Since 2006, the USA has participated in seven gelato world competitions. Gelato Team USA received “Best Gelato Cake” award in 2006 and “Best Gelato Tub” award in 2008.

Team USA received the International “Best Taste Award” and the “People’s Choice Award” in 2012.

2014 Cake and ice carving. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

2014 Cake and ice carving. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The World Gelato Championship, a prestigious event in the culinary industry, is held every two years as part of the International Exhibition of Artisan Gelato, Confectionery and Bakery Goods in Rimini, Italy. The Championships will take place from January 23 - 25, 2016.

The countries competing for the world title are Argentina, Australia, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Each team will choose a theme, which has to be reflected in seven different championship tests including a decorated “coppa” (sundae), gelato cake, four assorted miniature chocolate gelatos, an entrée serving a savory gelato, a center piece croccante sculpture, an ice sculpture, and its final presentation.

2014 Gelato cone. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

2014 Gelato cone. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The entire contest is streamed live in Italian and English.

When Maestro Gelatiere Koeppenkastrop isn't busy winning culinary titles, he's working at his three gelaterias in Kahala Mall, Kalihi and Haleiwa. He is no stranger to fame, either.

Il Gelato Hawaii served its Haupia Coconut Gelato at the final APEC conference hosted by President Barack Obama, and its Mango Sorbetto to the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet when His Holiness was here in 2012. Koeppenkastrop also competed in the last championships for Team USA in which its theme was 'aloha spirit.'

 

Food-safety during the summer season

July 3rd, 2015
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Many are getting together for potlucks with family, friends and co-workers this holiday weekend. It is also a time for a potential increase in food-borne illnesses as a result of improper food handling, according to Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager in the Hawaii Department of Health's Sanitation Branch.

Peter Oshiro, DOH

Peter Oshiro, DOH

"As consumers, we're all concerned about eating at restaurants with proper food-handling procedures. The Department of Health holds restaurants to high standards and they are motivated to correct any violations and make any improvements to retain customers," said Oshiro, who oversees the restaurant placard program that was launched in Hawaii six months ago. "However, many people do not realize that many food-borne illnesses are not from restaurants, but from the home."

Oshiro said his group holds public facilities accountable for food safety, but in the home, it is the individual's own responsibility to adhere to safe-handling practices. Whether you're hosting a buffet party or bringing a dish to a potluck, here are 10 holiday food safety tips to have safe holiday celebrations and prevent giving friends and family a case of food poisoning.

Food left out for long periods of time leaves the door open for uninvited guests - bacteria that cause foodborne illness. This makes foods at potlucks and buffets especially vulnerable.

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1. Shop and Store Food Properly

Safe food handling starts when you're buying the ingredients. Shop for your groceries last and do not leave perishable foods in your vehicle. Bring a cooler with ice or ice substitute to store your milk and other perishables, if you have a long drive home, or if you have other stops to make. Make sure all perishables are placed in your refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home.

2. Wash Your Hands / Make Sure the Cook is Healthy

Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any food. Be sure to wash your hands after handling any raw meats or poultry because they may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Do not prepare food if you are not feeling well -- especially if you have experienced any vomiting or diarrhea in the last 72 hours. You do not want to share your illness with friends and family. Ill food handlers are one of the major causes of food illnesses.

3. Prevent Cross-Contamination

Make sure that both you and the grocery store bag all raw meats and poultry separate from each other, and all other foods to prevent blood and other raw meat juices from contaminating any other foods. Arrange or plate ready-to-eat foods, like salads, poke, and, baked goods first. Poultry should be prepared separately if possible from other raw meats. Thoroughly wash and clean all surfaces between poultry and raw meat preparation so you don't cross contaminate ready to eat foods or other food items during their preparation.

You should also keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean.  Always serve food on clean plates, trays, or platters - never re-use containers or plates that were previously used to hold or prepare raw poultry or meats.  Bacteria that may have been present in raw meat blood and juices can cross-contaminate the food to be served.  Prepare ready to eat foods or foods that do not require cooking on separate cutting boards from the ones you use for raw meats and poultry.

4. Cook Meats and Poultry Thoroughly - Use a Cooking Thermometer

If you are cooking foods before your party, cook foods thoroughly to safe temperatures. When taking temperatures, make sure that the tip of the probe is in the center of the thickest portion of meat. Cook beef, veal, lamb, pork, fish and other seafood to at least 145°F.  Roast whole poultry to 165°F, and ground turkey and all other poultry to 165°F.  Hamburger, meat loafs, and other should be cooked to 155°F. Using a cooking thermometer not only ensures safe temperatures; it also prevents overcooking your meats, so you can always have that perfectly done, moist cut of poultry or meat.

5. Proper Food Cooling and Heating

Cook no more food than your kitchen's refrigerator/freezer and oven can handle.  Most home refrigerators cannot safely cool large quantities of food. Keep cooking in advance to a minimum. If you must cook large quantities in advance, place food in large re-sealable bags, squeeze out the air and bury completely in ice to chill a few hours prior to placing in your refrigerator or freezer. Reheat chilled foods rapidly to 165°F for serving. Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven (set at 200-250°F), or cold in the refrigerator until serving time.

6. Maintaining Foods at Proper Temperatures

Foods that have been cooked to the proper temperatures should be held at 135°F or warmer by using the oven, chaffing dishes, slow cookers or warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 41°F or below. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice, otherwise use small serving trays and replace every two hours.

7. Thoroughly Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Always thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables prior to preparation and serving. Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

8. The Two-Hour Rule

Foods left out for long periods at potlucks and buffets are especially vulnerable to uninvited guests - bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Perishable foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting out on the table and immediately refrigerate or discard anything that was left out for more than two hours.

9. Storing Leftovers

After the meal is over, put away all leftovers promptly, remembering the two-hour rule. All meats should be cut off the bone and placed in re-sealable bags and buried in ice to chill quickly. If ice is not available, place in shallow containers (less than 2" deep) to chill and store in the refrigerator. This same quick-chill method should be used for all other perishable foods that need cooling. If ice is not available, use shallow containers to refrigerate or freeze promptly. Don't forget to refrigerate the noodles and rice, too!

10. Preparing Leftovers

Use leftover meats, turkey, stuffing and other perishable cooked foods within three to four days. If you do not plan to use these foods in this time frame, consider dividing them up and freezing them for later use. Always reheat all foods rapidly to 165°F prior to eating.

Half & half

June 26th, 2015
By



I cook and I bake, and I'm decent at both. I wanted to make a coconut creme pie with whipped cream frosting (from scratch), so I went to the store and looked for whipping creme as part of the ingredients.

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Lime Whipped Cream. Recipe: Flour, by Joanne Chang.

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Lime Whipped Cream. Recipe: Flour, by Joanne Chang.

The grocery store was out of whipping creme so I bought Half & Half, thinking I could make a substitution work. I know baking is a precise art, but I was also tired and lazy to drive to another store.

I had never made this recipe, so I didn't consider the whipping creme was for actually whipping into frosting. I made the custard and it turned out delicious.

When it was time for the frosting, I - still on auto-pilot- poured my Half & Half into the bowl and set it to whip. Nothing happened.

Claus, who once wanted to be a chef and likes the culinary arts even more than I do, researched it online and pronounced, "It might be because the dairy is at room temperature. Let's chill it."

I had to get somewhere so I said, "I need to take a shower. Can you take over?" He's a kitchen god so I know my stuff's in good hands with my husband.

I love a hot shower. Love it, love it, love it. There ain't nothing a hot shower can't fix, I believe, including an addled brain.

Suddenly, when I got out of the shower, I realized: It's because it's Half & Half! D'oh!

I ran to the kitchen laughing. I could hear the Kitchen Aid whirring the entire time. "Honey! It's Half & Half!"

He looked at me pseudo-disdainfully. I saw a big bowl of ice which he'd just used to chill the dairy, and saw the blender, which had been working overtime for 15 minutes to try to whip something that would never whip.

"Um, hey. Did you realize Half & Half is half milk, half whipping creme?" I joked. He rolled his eyes.

I used the failed frosting for the rest of the week in my coffee, and later that day he drove us to the store to get actual whipping creme - that he insisted on finishing himself.

The pie, by the way, was wonderful. Team effort.

Hey, did you know Half & Half won't whip up not matter how hard you try?