Saturday, June 25, 2016

Now with more San Diego!

Aloha Friends!

The last three months have sped by at record speed.   At the end of March, I started the interview process for a promotion & transfer.  In mid-April I had a job offer, and in mid-May all my stuff  was put on a ship, they put me on a plane and BAM here I am in San Diego.

Umm...that is the simplified version.  
The long version included hugs, tears, cleaning, cocktails, packing, leis, ziplines, volcanoes, teppanyaki and a pie in the face.

The teppanyaki in question
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Lahaina

In Maui we, rightfully so, referred to our island home as paradise.    Residents of San Diego also consider their home paradise.    So which one is it?


San Diego

I'm going to find out.  

If I'm lucky, they are both equally awesome.   That's my feeling so far.

Last week, I made my first new recipe in my new kitchen:   Coconut Pound Cake.   Before I could make anything,  I had to stock my new kitchen.  The recipe came from The View from Great Island and it was so good.   

I've started a new restaurant list for San Diego, of course.    There are so many great neighborhoods and I'm excited to explore and dine my way around the city.    If you are Maui bound, my restaurant list there is up to date too.

San Diego Eats List
Maui Eats List 

This deliciousness can be found at
Mastiff in the Liberty Public Market
If you have recommendations of things I should do or places I should eat in San Diego, send them my way.     Thank you for joining me on this new adventure.   

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Potato Chip Candy Brownies

Word on the street is that it's spring.   Is that true?

We've had more winter-type weather here in Maui, it's been cool and windy.   
In fact, I've seen some puffy coats.

We combated the cold last Monday by celebrating National Potato Chip Day in our office.    There are 6 of us, and we brought in 13 different flavors of chips to celebrate....everything from Ono Shrimp Chips with Furikake to Grilled Cheese flavored chips.     Good times.

I  felt that to celebrate properly, I should at least bake something using potato chips.   

Let's celebrate, shall we?

What You Need

1 box of brownie mix (1 lb 3.2 oz  to make a 9x13 pan) with the necessary eggs, oil and water
3/4 cup M&Ms candy, divided
1 1/4 cup of ridged potato chips, broken by hand
20 Rolos, unwrapped and coarsely chopped

What You Do

Preheat the oven per the brownie mix instructions.    Line a 9x13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.   Make the brownie batter per package instructions (I substituted half of the oil with applesauce and it turned out great).  

Pour the batter in the pan.    Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the M&Ms over the brownie batter, then sprinkle the potato chips.    Sprinkle remaining M&Ms over the chips.

Bake per instructions (normally 24-26 minutes).    Take the brownies out 5 minutes early and sprinkle the Rolos on top, then put back in the oven for the last 5 minutes.   

Let brownies cool before slicing.   Enjoy that sweet and salty combination!

Meanwhile in Maui

I went on a snorkel trip to Lanai last weekend and we saw so many spinner dolphins.   AWESOME!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lilikoi Lime Bars

Last Monday I brought these bars in to work.   One of my coworkers in another department sees me with the container while I'm checking out my keys and give me the "I want one" eye.   One bite and she was sold...bringing by a friend from her department to get in on the Lilikoi Lime Bars before they were all gone.    

And they were gone within one day.   Truly the sign of a winning recipe.  

For those of you who don't recognize the word lilikoi, it's the Hawaiian word for passion fruit.  Here, they are yellow (in the picture, the upper right), but you might find purple ones in the store near you. I've heard rumors that they might be $3 a piece on the mainland, but here, they grow in the backyard.  

This recipe is similar in ingredients to Easy Key Lime Pie.   Graham cracker crust, juice, egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk make up the majority of the ingredients.  

What You Need

12 graham cracker sheets (or 24 squares), crushed
5 tablespoons melted butter/margarine4 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt

zest of one lime
6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice  (2 limes)
1/3 cup fresh lilikoi (passion fruit) juice
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 325.    Line a 9x9 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

To make the crust:
Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into crumbs easily.   Combine crumbs with melted butter and brown sugar.    Press the crust in the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes.   Cool while making the filling.  

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, zest your lime.    Then juice that lime, and one other, to get your 6 tablespoons of lime juice.    Whisk together the lime juice, zest, lilikoi juice, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk together until smooth (or smooth as possible....cream cheese might leave a few small lumps).     

Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until filling is set (no jiggling in the middle).    Chill in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.    

If you'd like a thicker crust and filling layer, try an 8x8 pan.  

If you've never tried getting juice from a's full of seeds.   You'll want to use a strainer to push as much juice and pulp through without getting any of the black seeds.    Depending on the size of your fruit, you might need 3-5 lilikoi to get 1/3 cup juice.   

If you're feeling tropical, you might enjoy:

Meanwhile in Maui

I have a friend from Colorado visiting and yesterday we did the road to Hana (and past Hana for that matter).    Each time I explore, I find new places to enjoy, like this quiet pool.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lilikoi Bars

In the two plus years that I've lived in Hawaii, I've learned new words,  eaten different foods,  worn fewer clothes, and gained an appreciation for SPAM.

My first month on Maui, I went to a party and was introduced to lilikoi margaritas.    I had no idea what a lilikoi was other than it grew on their fence and it was mighty tasty with tequila over ice.

Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit.   Here it's popular as a syrup for shave ice and in cocktails.  Lilikoi is not something you'll often find in the grocery store (but maybe at a farm stand)...more likely you'll get them from friends and neighbors.

There is a young lilikoi vine growing in my backyard.    I've gotten six fruits from it this month.   Friends and neighbors took care of the rest....and they consider it a fair trade - fresh produce for baked goods.

Backyard produce
I've mentioned  the size of Maui produce before, including the epic Haiku avocados and farmers market lemons the size of softballs.    I just picked up this giant lemon at the  market.   I used the zest from the whole thing, but only used juice from half (about 4 tablespoons).   The rest of the lemon was put to good use in lemonade.

Lemons the size of kindles
I found the recipe for these bars over on The Little Ferraro Kitchen, plus great instructions on how to actually get juice from the fruit.  So amazing in every way!

What You Need

1 cup (half pound) butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

6 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup lilikoi juice (10-12 lilikoi, depending on their size)
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons lemon juice (half of the monster lemon above)
zest of 1 lemon

What You Do

Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350.   You can  wait a little on the oven, as the dough needs to chill, and if you haven't prepared the lilikoi juice, that will take a few minutes as well.  

To get the lilikoi juice, you have to do a little work.   Slice the fruit in half and scoop the juice, pulp and seeds into the food processor.    Pulse briefly, 20-30 seconds just to help separate the pulp from the seeds.   Pour the contents of the food processor into a strainer over a glass liquid measuring cup. Use the back of a spoon to push as much juice as possible through the strainer.    

To make the crust, beat butter with a hand mixer.   Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.   Add flour and salt until just mixed.  Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board, form into a ball and then flatten dough in preparation for putting in the pan.    

When the dough is in the bottom of the pan, use floured fingers to push it all the way to the edge and to build a little lip all the way around (to help hold in the filling).   Put the pan with dough into the freezer for 15-20 minutes while you're making the filling.  (Now is a good time to preheat the oven if you haven't already)

To make the filling, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour,  lilikoi juice, lemon juice and lemon zest, until combined.   It will smell wonderful.    When the crust is done chilling, and the oven is preheated, pour the filling over the crust.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the filling is set.    I set my timer for 30 minutes and the middle was still jiggly, so I ended up baking for 35 minutes.

Cool before slicing.   
I put my bars in the refrigerator to chill before slicing and then for storage afterwards.     
You won't have to store them long...they're that good!

Meanwhile in Maui

It's whale season again.   Hooray!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

It may come as a surprise to those enjoying a solid cold winter elsewhere, but we do get winter weather here in Hawaii.   It's in the low 70s (or gasp, the high 60s) at night, at sea level.   If you live upcountry, it's even cooler.     When I read all the cold weather, slow cooker recipes, I want to get in on the fun, even if I'm not wearing socks or sitting by the fireplace. 

I don't miss many restaurant chains from the mainland, but there are times where soup in a bread bowl from Panera would be the perfect meal.   This soup makes me think of sitting by the fireplace at the Panera in the DTC back in Colorado on cold winter day.         

What You Need

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts,- two large ones will do it and frozen worked just fine
1 cup uncooked wild rice, I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice experimenting from the bulk bin at the natural food store
2 cups, total, of chopped celery, carrot and onion
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or improv here with sage, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
2 cups 2% milk (the original recipe called for whole, but I don't usually have that on hand...I did know that my normal choice of skim milk wouldn't make the soup as creamy as I'd like, so 2% was my personal soup compromise of the day)
3 tablespoons white wine
salt and pepper to taste

What You Do

Why I loved this recipe so much was that it really was easy.   Take the whole chicken breasts, rice, veggies, chicken broth and seasoning and put it in the slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.    

Walk away.  Go to work, walk the dog, take a nap, hit the beach, read a good book, visit with your neighbors, or curl up by the fireplace.

Come back and use tongs to pull the chicken breasts from the pot.   Use two forks to shred them and then put the chicken back in the pot.  

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.   Add the flour and let it bubble for a minute.   Add the milk, and whisk the mixture together.   Then add the wine (if you're drinking it at the same time, that's totally fine....especially if it's cold out).    Add this roux to the soup going in the slow cooker.   If you want to change the consistency of the soup, you can add additional milk at this time.    Let it cook a little longer so that it's all combined and full of hearty goodness, then dig in.  

Bonus if you have a bread bowl on hand.   

Recipe source:  This soup recipe comes from Pinch of Yum, one of my favorite food blogs to follow

Meanwhile in Maui

Friday night's sunset was glorious.  
If you're thinking that Hawaii is calling your name in 2016, come.

Other soups you might enjoy:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Traveling the World and Eating Potato Chips

Here's the truth.    I want to travel the world and eat chips.
When I'm on vacation, I enjoy eating.   Including fine snacks purchased at the local mini-mart or 7-Eleven.   

On our recent family trip to Myanmar and Thailand, my sister and I were on the lookout for addition to all the elephant pants in all the land.     I think I came home with the fewest pairs of pants. 1 pair of elephant pants and 2 pairs of elephant shorts - since I live in a tropical climate.  

I digress.    This should be all about the chips.    Not pictured are the chicken satay and scallop butter garlic chips that made it through 4 airports and the longest Saturday ever of flying.   

Potato Fritter - Purchased on a quick escape from our horse cart in Myanmar.   After eating these, they are henceforth called Mouth on Fire Chips. 

Chiang Mai Corner Mini Mart Assortment - The first bag of Lays has no English whatsoever.   The best vote from my friends on Facebook was Creepy Lip Flavor.    In reality.....lime and something else.     The center bag was french fries with chili sauce.  The chips were shaped like fries and the chili sauce came in a separate packet.   The bag on the right was Sweet Basil.   It was hard gauge the flavor since there were only 6 chips in the bag.   Really.

Namtok Hotpot Lays - A tasty find in the Chiang Mai Airport and a solid accompaniment to our iced coffee.    I'm guessing that the man on the label is a celebrity chef.    Is it just me, or are Hotpot flavored chips in short supply in the US?  

What's your favorite way to snack on vacation?    

Monday, November 9, 2015

Easy Four Berry Cobbler

Last week my sweet tooth got the better of me.    This cobbler was the result.

I wanted something sweet.   I scouted the fridge.   The freezer.   The cabinet.   Nothing jumped out at me.     Surely there had to be something that could be quickly and easily put together.

Back to the freezer.    A bag of mixed berries.    A bag of cranberries.

Cobblertown, here we come!

What You Need

For the fruit layer
3 cups of frozen berries - 2 cups of mixed (blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry) and 1 cup of cranberries {any  berry combination of your choice will be delicious}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cobbler topping
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oats - I used old fashioned
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 375.
Coat an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the frozen berries, sugar, starch, water and cinnamon.   Stir until any corn starch chunks are broken down.    Pour into the 8x8 pan.

In a small to medium bowl, cream sugar and butter.  Stir in the milk and vanilla.   In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt, then add to the butter and sugar.  Stir to mix into a batter.  Spoon the cobbler topping over the fruit layer.   It won't cover everything, but it will be close.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is baked and the fruit is bubbling hot.     I highly recommend eating it straight out of the oven.    And then for breakfast until pan is empty.

Meanwhile in Maui

We had managers outing a few weeks ago and went out on a sunset sail.   Such a beautiful evening!

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