Monday, February 25, 2008

Today's Random Thoughts...

Two of my favorite blogs are Michelle Malkin and Hot Air...and yes, they're related. I read them every day. So I was a little sad to learn that Bryan Preston of Hot Air is leaving. BUT, on the plus side, Ed Morrisey of Captain's Quarters is joining the gang at Hot Air. So the universe is back in balance.

Besides, Bryan left to go to the Laura Ingraham radio show. Gee, are ALL conservative women smart AND beautiful...hmmmm...Laura, MM, MKH (aka 'the Hammer)...I could go on.

ANOTHER winter storm is about to hit here. Anywhere from 3 to 9 inches of snow...depending on where you are. Great. It isn't Global Warming, it's another ICE AGE.


Well, it certainly DOES rain in Southern California. Finally got in the races today. Very small crowd at the track. SoCal seems to be the "black hole" for sports. They can't even keep an NFL team there. Wonder if demographics have know different ethnic makeup???


As a Hawaiian ex-pat, I follow Univ of Hawaii sports, especially football. What a great year! Undefeated. But, then reality...the Sugar Bawl. Whoof. Talk about a letdown. Then head coach June Jones leaves for SMU. Second Whoof.

But, things got better. Great choice for new coach (Greg McMackin, the DCoordinator). Great recruiting with some good prospects. Good hires for assistants.

SO, I followed the NFL combine in Indianapolis this weekend as some UH players were there. Colt Brennan (QB) trying to overcome the SB loss, poor performance in Senior Bowl, etc. He did very well, winning the accuracy drill.

BUT, it seems that ESPN and pundits are down on the kid. Huh? I guess if UH was in a "real " conference, like the Pac-10, Big-10 SEC, etc, he would have gotten a break. But it seems that the pundits really want to put the guy down, constantly complaining about the 'weak' schedule (anybody else go undefeated???) and that CB is a 'system' QB.

I don't know the root of all the negative comments, but UH is at a disadvantage in the WAC and playing most games after the East Coast pundits have gone to bed. But still, I hope that CB succeeds and proves them wrong. Hey, they haven't been right about much up till now, huh? END OF RANT.


Make Kau Yuk for the second time yesterday. Turned out much better than the first time. Oh, it's red-cooked (braised) pork belly. WAS good. Reminded me of buying it at Patti's Chinese Kitchen in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Sadly, Patti's is closing. Yet ANOTHER old time, "local" place that is quitting business. Fond memories of eating there with the beautiful wife and number-one son...who loved the Char Siu (BBQ pork) and tofu dish.

There's a pic of the first Kau Yuk below.

OK, enough. Must get some sleep as I will probably be using the snowblower first thing in the morning to clear the driveway to get the BW to the train.

A hui hou...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Zippy Saimmmmmmmin...

Saimin is a "local" Japanese-style noodle soup that is a staple in Hawaii. I didn't have it growing up in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. There, the closest dish was the udon that my dad would go and get from a little grocery store/shave ice/udon shop. He'd take a Revereware saucepan and bring it back full of udon broth and thick noodles. My mom would make scrambled egg and shred it to put in the soup with fresh sliced green onions. we say...

Well, after we moved to Honolulu, I discovered saimin. Thin noodles, yummy broth with a slice of fishcake, some slices of char siu (bbq pork) and green onions. You got saimin mainly in Chinese restaurants. Variants included wonton min, with boiled, pork-filled wontons added to the basic noodles/char siu/fishcake. Oh so good... It was our usual snack after a night out at the movies or football/basketball games. AH, those nights at the Golden Duck... Really ono...and cheap!

Well, I just finished a saimin for lunch. No, not take out from a restaurant, but made from noodles and soup base shipped out from Honolulu. You see, the intarweb is a wonderful thing.

A local restaurant chain, Zippys, has a website with a shopping page. You can get Hawaiian food (lau lau, poi, kalua pork), Zippy's favorites (their famous chili and soups) or other local foods. Perishable items are frozen before shipping.

One item you can buy is an eight-pack of frozen fresh saimin noodles with eight packets of S&S saimin broth. All you have to do is boil up the noodles, make the broth and then toss in your favorite condiments: SPAM, scrambled egg, fishcake, green onions, etc. They also provide frozen wontons for those of you that want a wonton min.

Of course, this is Friday and Lent, so I made mine meatless, with two kinds of fishcake and green onions. It was really good...ooops, I mean ono.

I've got one packet of noodles and broth left, so I have to order some more online soon. This time I think I'll also get a "local" favorite: Saloom pilot crackers. I used to LIVE on them when I was a kid in Hilo.

Too bad that Hilo Macaroni Factory is now gone, closed because the 80-year old equipment couldn't be modernized to increase production. But Diamond Bakery crackers are an acceptable substitute and can be ordered from the Diamond Bakery website or from Zippys.

Last time I ordered from Zippys, I received TWO phone calls from a very nice lady, who was making sure the order was correct and, later after the box arrived, that everything was OK. Very good customer service and one reason I will be ordering from them in the future.

Our local Mitsuwa Marketplace carries Aloha Shoyu from time to time, but the last three time I went in there wasn't any. SO, I either have to order online or just keep waiting...I think I'll order online.

Although there are many great Asian restaurants in the Chicagoland area, the stuff just doesn't taste like the food in Hawaii. Thank goodness for the intarweb...


California this weekend. They renamed the California Speedway; now it's "The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California." Whew... More $$$$$$$ for NASCAR.

Nice article on about Ryan Newman's wife, Krissie. Seems she's a really nice, down-to-earth young lady, and a great role model (hate that term). That's one of the attractions of NASCAR...they seem to be "real" people and not at all like some Britney's or Lindsay's that are slutting around...did I say that out loud? Anyhow, go read the article.


I've been a flying nut all my life, from the time my dad would take us to watch the airplanes land at the airport to my stint in aviation in the military, to my attempts to get a pilot's license (failed).

Recently the FAA and EAA got together and came up with a new class the Light Sport Pilot/Light Sport Airplane. Just need a driver's license and no medical to learn to fly. BUT...

...THE LSA AIRCRAFT COST OVER $80,000. This, for a two-seat, daytime only, short ranged, SLOW airplane. One I really drooled over, the RANS S-19 starts at $110,000!!! For that kind of money, I can buy a Saleen Mustang or a ZO-1 Corvette AND have money left over. OK, rant over.

Hey, local weathermen are predicting a "warming" spell...yeah, that's right, we should get to......40 degrees!!!! Woo hoo...please, where is Spring...huh??? Where is, help...

A hui hou...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

As I Was Saying...

Ok, let's get caught up, as it's been a few days:


Daytona 500...WHOOOOO WHEEEEE!!!! At least Toyota didn't win 'The Great AMERICAN Race.' Sorry, but I just think Toyota will be the death of American manufacturers in's all about the MONEY $$$$$$$.

Anyhoo, congrats to a legend in American motorsports, Roger Penske, and to Flyin' Ryan Newman and the Dodge boys for the victory. AND, a big tip o' the hat to Kurt Busch for the push that won the race.

Felt really weird not rooting for my old fave, Smoke, aka Tony Stewart. But, hey, it's a TOYOTA...geez.


Mmmmmmade kimchee over the weekend. Living in Hawaii in the 80's, I'd get the cucumber or regular cabbage kimchee in bottles from Star or Times Supermarkets. Now, all you can get is the Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage versions. So, with a little help from NOH's KimChee mix, I can have my cucumber/daikon or cabbage kimchee. Made the cabbage version and enjoyed it last night with Huli Huli Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup).

Make the sauce by combining the following in a small bowl:

1/3 cup EACH catsup and shoyu
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP dry sherry
1 'finger/thumb' fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 stalks green onion, finely sliced

6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Lightly oil foil. Place thighs on foil and brush both sides with sauce, ending up with the thighs skin-side up. Use all the sauce.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with steamed white rice and homemade kimchee. Mmmmmmm, ohso ono...


In the car this morning, taking The Beautiful Wife to the train, the outside temp was...5 DEGREES!!! It's the MIDDLE of February, for God's sake. OK, enough of this 'global warming.' I'm about ready to sue AlGore for NOT delivering WARMING...get it??? What do I have to do???

Ok, that's all folks.

A hui hou...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not Again...

Was going to post about NASCAR Gatorade Duels today...but the tragedy at Northern Illinois just overrode anything.

DeKalb is not that far from here.

Thing is, today is Valentine's Day and it was the first day in a long while that had decent weather: warm (near 40) and snow.

So, if you're so inclined, say a prayer or two for the victims of this despicable act, and their families, friends and loved ones. And also for all the students at Northern. College is supposed to be a time of exploring, learning, trying new things, meeting new (and hopefully lifelong) friends. Then this happens...

And if you were wondering, yup, it was a "gun-free zone."

A hui hou...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kau Yuk...Braised Pork Belly...Mmmmmm

Long.Time.Ago...we used to go to Patti's Chinese Kitchen at the Ala Moana Shopping Center for a plate lunch. My beautiful wife loved their fried rice and manapua (char siu bao). My son loved the char siu with tofu and could eat a whole order by, he was 4 years old at the time.

My favorite was kau yuk; red braised pork belly. Rich, luscious, fatty...mmmmmmm. Well, I just read recently in the Honolulu newspapers online that Patti's at Ala Moana is closing. Dwindling business, changing tastes, higher rents (and the new nearby Panda Express) all contributed to the owner's throwing in the towel after decades. A sad day.

Too many 'local' businesses, especially the local 'plate lunch' places are going out of business. Many started after World War II as a means of providing the American dream to many returning local servicemen and their wives. That generation is now past retirement age, and many of their kids are now doctors, lawyers and teachers and working 12 to 18 hours a day preparing food and making a very small profit are simply not attractive to the younger generation.

In fact, one owner said that she didn't want her kids to take over her business. "It's a hard life," she said. She and her husband had worked hard for years to provide the opportunities for a better life for her kids, and she just didn't want them to have to go through what she had. I decided to make kau yuk. I tried a 'traditional' recipe a few weeks ago and it came out garbage. More like kau yuk jerky. The pork belly was too thinly sliced, more like bacon. This time I got some nice thick slices.

I found a 'shortcut' recipe on a Hawaiian food recipe site and used it. The KEY ingredient is a package mix (OMG, am I turning in to Sandra Lee????? NOOOOOOOOO...).

NOH makes a line of packaged, powdered mixes for a variety of local (Hawaiian) dishes...from KimChee, to Korean Barbeque, to Adobo.

BTW, the picture shows some of the pork sliced and just before I poured the sauce over it.

"Quick" Kau Yuk

One package NOH Char Siu (Barbeque Pork) Mix
1 1/2 cup water
One large 'finger' of ginger sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
Four green onions slice into 3-inch pieces
3 lbs pork belly

Mix the Char Siu mix with the water. Add the ginger slices.

Brown the pork belly in some peanut oil in a heavy pot, like a dutch oven. I cut the pork belly into 4-inch long pieces so it would cook quicker.

Remove the oil from the pot. Place the pork belly pieces in one layer in the pot. Pour the sauce/marinade over the pork belly pieces. Add the green onion pieces. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours or until very tender.

Remove the pork from the pot. Degrease the sauce as there will be a LOT of fat rendered.

In the dutch oven or another pot, bring the degreased sauce to a boil and reduce until the sauce thickens and becomes syrup-like.

Slice the pork belly into 1/2-inch thick slices. Pour sauce over.

You will NEED to eat this with a LOT of steamed rice as the meat will be fatty and VERY rich. I could only eat three or four pieces. A nice steamed green vegetable, such as Chinese broccoli (choy sum?), goes nicely with this dish.

SPORTS: Sorry, but if I NEVER hear about Roger Clemens again in my life, I will be VERY, VERY happy. Arrrrgggghhhh...ENOUGH already.

NASCAR: Getting closer to the Daytona 500. Gatorade Duels are tomorrow, final practice is Friday and then the race on Sunday. Whooopeeee...can't wait. You heard it here first...with the new car and all the changes, my prediction (W.A.G.) is that someone unexpected will win the race. Hmmmmm...who could that be????

POLITICS: Hey, did you know that there's some election going on? Anybody interesting running? Hmmmm...maybe I should be more interested...NAH...

A hui hou...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh my aching...

It snowed last night...again. Went out at '0-dark-thirty' this morning to see if I had to drag out the snowblower (again) and clear the driveway (again) to get the beautiful wife to the train.

Surprise! Just a light dusting of snow that came off the car (our trusty HHR) easily.

SO I walked down to the end of the driveway to see if the village snowplows had built up a berm where the driveway meets the street. No...again, very good.

So I start walking back to the garage and WHAM!!! Just as I get to where my brother's car is parked, my feet go one way, my butt goes another and I'm on my back, looking up at the trees.

You see, that light dusting of snow was covering a patch of ICE. So I did the 'old man's flip' and landed on my okole (that's Hawaiian for glute).

I crawled over to my brother's car, grabbed the hood and stood up.

Hmmmm...nothing seemed broken. But when I flexed my right hand...owwwwww. I guess I jammed my thumb when I fell. You're NEVER supposed to try to break you fall by putting your hand out, because then you break your wrist.

Well, I don't think anything is broken, but I have felt more sore spots as the morning has gone on.

Just another sign that I'm finally getting...oh no...OLD. Oh, well, I guess that just means I have Senior Discounts to look forward to.

Supposed to get the TV fixed today. Geek Squad to the rescue. Interesting problem: it turns itself on and off and changes the volume at random. Great, a possessed that what HD is all about???

No food today, but maybe a lamb roast with pitas tomorrow.

A hui hou...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday...'Nuff Said

This morning while I was taking my beautiful wife to the train, the outdoor temp indicator in the car started at 1 degree...but soon fell to -1. Yeah, I guess it's COLD. And, hey, 3-5 inches of snow is expected later today. WHY did we leave Hawaii???

Tonight for dinner: Kalua and Cabbage. That's a "leftovers" dinner. The original was Oven Roasted Kalua Pork...mmmmm. Took me a while to get the recipe right.

3-3.5 lb pork shoulder or 'Boston Butt'
Kosher or Hawaiian salt
Liquid smoke...preferably mesquite "flavor"
Freshly ground pepper
'Black' Shoyu (has lots of molasses in it)
Granulated garlic (also known as garlic powder)
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Unroll 4-5 pieces of the aluminum foil. Make sure it's large enough to wrap the roast completely and tightly. Stack the foil sheets.

Place the roast in the middle of the top sheet of foil.

Sprinkle salt over and under roast. Use 3-6 tablespoons of salt. Yes, that much IS necessary.

Sprinkle 4-6 teaspoons of liquid smoke. I generally 'eyeball' this.

Sprinkle shoyu and dark shoyu over roast. Maybe one tablespoon each

Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of granulated garlic. Grind fresh pepper over roast.

Fold up foil around the roast and crimp first sheet to seal tightly. Rotate roast 90 degrees on second sheet and fold up foil and crimp to seal. Repeat with all sheets of foil.

Place foil-wrapped roast in roasting pan. Fill pan with water a couple of inches up the side of the foil-wrapped roast. Place in oven. Roast for 5 hours. Replenish water as necessary. Turn oven off and let roast sit in oven for another hour, for 6 hours total.

Remove from oven and let cool. Discard any water left in roasting pan.

I usually unwrap the roast as it sits in the roasting pan. There will be a LOT of liquid in the foil. SAVE THIS LIQUID!!! I usually pour off the liquid into a large measuring cup (4 cups).

SHRED the roast with two forks. Put the shredded meat into a storage container with a lid.

Degrease the liquid. There WILL be a lot of grease on the top of the liquid. You DON'T want the grease.

Pour the de-greased liquid over the shredded meat in the storage container. You can eat it now... jor refrigerate it and reheat later.

We had ours with some poi we got from Hawaii...a local restaurant chain named Zippys has a GREAT online shopping page on their website. I get the poi from them and also frozen fresh saimin. More on that later.

So...tonight, leftover kalua with cabbage and steamed rice. Now if I only had made some of my kimchee to go with...

NASCAR is back! Daytona 500 next week. HD on Fox...whoopeee!! SPEED-TV is SUPPOSED to be broadcasting in HD, but not on my cable system. Must call Comcast (ugh!) and find out why.

Am I the ONLY person who could care less if Roger Clemens actually used performance-enhancing drugs? I really can't get excited about yet ANOTHER privileged, rich professional athlete who may or may not have used some banned/controlled substance to 'enhance' his performance. Yeah, gotta tell the kids NOT to do it, as it could screw up your body/life, etc. But really...I just DON'T CARE anymore.

OK, gotta do some grocery shopping before the NEXT snowstorm hits this afternoon. Hope the snowblower starts up tomorrow morning.


Friday, February 8, 2008

First Friday

So, it's the first Friday of Lent. No meat...

So here's what I did for lunch (see the picture):

Cheesy Tomato Bread

2 slices Italian Bread (French works OK, too)
Monterey Jack Cheese
Thinly sliced onion
Finely diced red bell pepper
Parmaggiano Reggiano cheese
4 slices tomato
Chiffonade fresh basil leaves

Spread the bread slices with butter. Sprinkle granulated garlic (garlic powder) over. Grind some fresh pepper on. Grate Jack much is up to you. Spread onions on cheese. Add more garlic and pepper. Cover the onion with more Jack cheese. Sprinkle diced bell pepper. More garlic. Cover with Parmaggiano. Broil in toaster oven to melt and brown cheese.

Put tomato slices on toasted cheese bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chiffonaded (??) basil. Enjoy.

A meatless lunch, just right for a Lenten Friday.

HOORAY!!! NASCAR starts tomorrow. Bud Shootout tomorrow night. ARCA race before that. SPEED-TV is Hi-Def, FINALLY!!

Ok, before you put that "redneck" label on me, I gotta tell you that the first "stock car" race I attended was at the old State Fairgrounds in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the 1950's. Yeah, we had cars back then. Been a fan of auto racing ever since: NASCAR, Formula1, ALMS, Rolex Sports Cars, etc. Everything but drag racing for some reason. And now in Hi-Def. Just need to get the TV fixed...drat!

Halibut for dinner tonight. Very expensive, but worth it...well, it better be worth it.

READING: The Modern Researcher, Fifth Ed., by Jacques Barzun and Henry G. Graff. Barzun is, as you know, the eminent French-born historian of ideas and culture. A great book. Now all I need to do is start my own research business...hmmmm, information broker...information consultant. Soon, sooon...

A hui hou...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


What, you say, are malasadas? Well, roughly translated, mala-sada means "bad dough." Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts. See the picture above.

Growing up on the Big Island of Hawaii, we had these doughnuts on Shrove (or Fat) Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

You see, malasadas are supposed to be the last sweet consumed before Lent begins. During Lent, you were supposed to fast and abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. Now, it's just observed on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent.

We actually made the malasadas on Sunday, but the first batch wasn't very good. We put about half the dough in the fridge and made the rest last night. Well, the long rising period of the second batch did the trick. That, and making them very small.

They turned out very nice, indeed. And they reheat very nicely...25 seconds in the microwave does the trick.

Now, back to Letter of Intent know what that is, right? When the high school football players sign their letter of intent to attend a certain university. No? Am I the only one? Hmmmm...

Oh, and today, I'm making Oven Roasted Kalua Pork....mmmmmm. Got some poi to go with it, too. Yum-o....OMG, I just Rachel Ray-ed...I'm so ashamed... Where is Tony Bourdain when you need him???

A hui hou...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm Baaaaack...

Whew, was that a tough end of 2007 and beginning of 2008. But after much stuff under the bridge...don't ask...I'm back and better than ever.

And what better day than SUPER TUESDAY...the day that we poor unwashed get to vote for the politician that we can actually know, it's hard to hold your nose while voting...but after soooooo maaaaany elections doing it, you get pretty good at it.


How about that Super Bowl, huh??? Didn't have a dog in the fight, but was nice to see Eli silence the big mouths. Actually, before the game started, my son and I agreed that the perfect ending would be for Eli to lead the winning drive with 2 minutes left... Well, TB still has Giselle...not bad.

We're expecting a BIG snow storm tonight-tomorrow. As much as 5 to 12 inches or more. Fun. At least the snowblower works. Still, I have to clear the driveway before 6:20 AM to get the beautiful wife to the train.

So, I should be posting more regularly from now on. And, if ANYONE, is reading this stuff, here's what you can look forward to: Recipes (yes, cooking is a hobby; I've been the family cook for 25+ years); motorsports (a lifelong vice); football (great timing, huh, as the last real game was last Sunday; but college football declaration day is tomorrow...GO UH WARRIORS); and other stuff that comes up.

So, sit back and read up.

A hui hou...