A Grand Turkish Meal

Happy Fourth of July! Wishing you all a safe celebration.

I have a few days until I begin culinary school. I’m super excited to start this new journey. From next week, I’ll be highlighting my weekly posts on dishes I’ll be making in my classes. If time permits, I’ll post additional blogs about new restaurants I’ve dined at or exciting dishes I’ve made.

This week, I’d like to share about Turkish cuisine- one of my top five faves. I’m so happy to say that Istanbul Hawai’i has finally opened their restaurant! I remember ordering a lamb-beef doner from their food trucks at Night Market years ago. I would always get excited whenever I saw their food truck. This is a long time coming and I’m so ecstatic to have finally dined at their restaurant.

My friend and I were so excited. The restaurant was packed! We had a late reservation. There were reservations all through the evening. It was busy the entire time we were there. Even near closing, the place was filled. I was so happy to see how busy it was. It shows that the food is spectacular and that business is a success.

The menu was pretty overwhelming. A lot of dishes were very foreign to both my friend and I. I’ve been to Turkey twice; had authentic Turkish food there. I’ve also had Turkish food in Japan as well. My experiences eating Turkish food in its native country to Japan, and at home, have all been very different.

We used our helpful friend, Yelp, for suggestions on what to order. We honestly didn’t have a clue on where to start. We also took my friend’s friend’s suggestions and ordered what she thought was really delicious. Great recommendations! We shared the meze platter, which seemed like a popular dish. The meze platter (top right image) contained the following: fresh pita bread to accompany the three hearty dips: hummus, muhammara, and babaganush. I liked all three dips equally. They were fantastic! I’ve only had hummus before. The muhammara was made with roasted red peppers (not spicy). I’ve heard of babaganush before, but never had it. I didn’t know it was made with eggplant. It was delicious! The other dishes on the platter were: su borek, spanakopita, and peynir and karpuz. The su borek and spanakopita were pies, very similar to each other, but tasted completely different. The peynir and karpuz dish was very interesting. It was watermelon with feta cheese and Turkish olives, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Not my favorite on the platter because I’m not a huge fan of watermelon, but it was very fascinating to try. The balsamic vinegar made it easier to eat. We ordered the iskender doner dish (bottom right corner image), which was lamb/beef combo with rice pilaf, and a refreshing toss salad, with my fave, tzatziki sauce- whoo hoo! We had to order more pita bread at this point to eat with the tzatziki sauce. So, so good! We chowed down our delicious dishes with some very refreshing drinks: a caffeine-free organic hibiscus lychee iced tea (bottom left image) and a saffron lilikoi sorbet with prosecco. My friend ordered the latter and welcomed me to try it. I am getting that drink next time! Last, but not least, dessert. We saw a lot of images on Yelp of the hatay kunefe dish (top left image). From the looks of it, you wouldn’t think it’s a dessert. It looks like crispy noodles. It’s actually shredded phillo, which is a like a flaky pastry. Underneath the phillo, is glorious cheese, mixed with a honey syrup. Oh, goodness gracious! The shredded phillo is topped with crumbled Turkish pistachio and kaytay, which is a kind of thick whipped cream. Hatay kunefe is a small dish, but don’t let that fool you. It is super filling and rich!

What a meal! Everything was beyond fabulous! I can’t wait to dine there again to try more dishes. I love lamb! Istanbul Hawai’i is the perfect place to go, as there are a lot of lamb dishes on the menu, for both lunch and dinner.

To the land of the free… Happy Independence Day!

Stay safe!

FS x

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Papa’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and father-figures! Hope you had a chillaxing day, doing absolutely NOTHING! We appreciate all that y’all do for us. Thank you, thank you!

My family and I are celebrating with my dad. My sister and I cooked steaks, seasoned with garlic pepper, and rack of lamb, marinated with teriyaki sauce. We’re using the Instant Pot air fryer combo we got my dad for Father’s Day last year. It has all kinds of cool features: air fry, bake, broil, and roast. We’re using ALL the features. So exciting!

I made a Greek yogurt sauce to complement the meats. Yum! That’s my favorite part about eating red meat, which I’m so excited to eat because I don’t have very often anymore. Red meat is a delightful treat. I was introduced to this delicious pairing when I went to Turkey in the summer of 2010 for a world conference.

The yogurt sauce is similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce. It’s very simple to make. I add my own simple touches to it to make it my own. I used plain Greek yogurt and seasoned it with garlic pepper, minced dried garlic, and dried dill. Voilà! All done! The sauce is so good, I can eat it by itself. Uh huh! You heard right!

Now, gotta have them veggies! We made green beans and brussel sprouts, cooked with garlic balsamic olive oil, onions,and garlic. Scrumptious! Now, that’s how you get people to eat their vegetables, haha!

We also had Portuguese sausage, the best sausage there is, in my opinion (I’m not a huge sausage fan) and shrimp tempura. The tempura was already pre-made, thanks to Costco. My dad cooked oysters in a buttery garlic sauce. Oh my! I was in heaven! I love oysters. We don’t eat it all the time. Whenever we do, I savor every bite! It’s a wonderful treat!

For dessert, my dad requested a haupia pie, which my sister bought. Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut dessert.

Time to grind all the delicious foods! Ciao!

Have a great week. Happy belated Juneteenth, now a federal holiday (yay!), and Happy Summer!

FS x

Christmas grindz

Christmas came and went. All we did was eat! The holidays is a wonderful time to gather together with loved ones and enjoy delicious foods together. In Hawaii, we have a mixed pot of ethnicities and that means there’s a variety of foods on the menu, plus the local grinds!

We had our annual prime rib, courtesy of Costco. This dish never disappoints. It’s so tasty! It’s pricey, but it’s worth every penny! Yummy!

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I also made fresh cream corn for the first time. I came across a recipe on Delish.com.

It’s super simple. The following ingredients included:

  • 2 c. milk (I used lactose-free skim milk)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 bags of frozen organic corn (you can also use canned corn, too)
  • 1 tbsp. organic sugar
  • fresh black pepper
  • garlic salt
  • garlic powder

I slow-cooked it on high for four hours. My Crock Pot did not have the two-hour feature.

We had leftover bacon from our Christmas breakfast, but forgot to add it in afterwards. Also, decided not to add in the green onions. This dish was a hit, nonetheless! Everyone loved it. Guess this’ll be a dish that will be added to the holiday dinner menu! Yay!

Have a blessed New Year’s celebrations. Be safe!

FS x

My belated Thanksgiving Feast

Hola! So sorry I’ve been absent for a while. Life has been insanely busy the latter half of this year. If you are a follower of my other social media platforms, I tend to update those sites more often. Please follow!!! However, I do plan to resume posting blogs on this site as well.

The holidays are here again. I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and having a great start to the holiday season. The days are flying by so quickly! Christmas is in 19 days! Trying to savor this special time of year. It’s my ultimate favorite that I hold dear to my heart.

Sharing my Thanksgiving feast in today’s post. My family and I never shy away from tradition on Thanksgiving. We got to have the turkey, stuffing, yam, ham, mashed potatoes, rice, and gravy! Oh, and we can’t forget the two famous pies- custard and pumpkin!! Yum! That’s our feast, and we never get tired of it!

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The stuffing is homemade and is very simple to prep and make. On my Instagram, I will post some videos of the dishes I made this Turkey Day, including this yummy stuffing.

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My mouth is watering looking at this and reflecting on that delicious meal.

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Homemade desserts made by my cousin- layered jello and mini tarts. I couldn’t resist- they were amazingly good!

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Oh, and I had to have a slice of this! Pumpkin pie from A’ala Bakery is bomb!!!

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…And this custard pie, too- haha! FYI- A’ala Bakery is closing its doors at the end of this month, so get your fix while ya can!

A’ala Bakery
1425 Liliha St.
Honolulu, HI 96817

Have a blessed and safe holiday season!

FS~

Gotta love them stir fries!

Happy Sunday, almost October, and Fall!

I love stir fries! I love cooking this dish, too. It’s simple and healthy for ya. I made a teriyaki ground turkey breast rice bowl. It was bomb! Enjoy the videos.

This entrée is inspired by: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/teriyaki-turkey-rice-bowl/

The following ingredients that made this wonderful dish are:

  • Ground turkey breast (ground turkey is fine, too)
  • Rice (any type of rice. I used a mix of quinoa, wild, basmati, jasmine, and white rice)
  • Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic salt
  • Himalyan pink salt
  • Cornstarch (for thickening of the sauce)
  • Red wine vinegar

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Ingredients and seasonings

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Da final product! Whoo hoo!

Have a great week!

FS

Gimme some brown suga!

Happy Sunday! My apologies for the hiatus. You know how life is- crazy! I hope to post entries more often. I do have my social media platforms available for viewing and commenting (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). I try to post pictures regularly on those platforms.

A couple months ago, I made some brown sugar chicken in a Crock Pot. I used the time-lapse video feature on my phone. That is my favorite now! Check it out. It’s pretty cool.

Ingredients used:

  • Chicken thighs (you can use whatever piece of your choosing)
  • Carrots
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Himalayan salt
  • Brown sugar

Cooked on low heat for eight hours. You can also cook it on high heat, if you’re pressed for time.

Simple and easy. What’s left there to say?

Have a great week. I’ll be back!!!

FS~

Flyin’ Hawaiian!

It’s time for another review of airplane food. My fave! Haha! Airplane food is the best! I’ve always enjoyed it! I get so excited. It’s the best part of the flight!

I flew with Hawaiian Airlines (Hawaii, represent!!!) to Cali to attend one of my BFF’s wedding. I used to live in Cali for a couple years several years ago and loved it. I always enjoy visiting and have been thinking about moving back again in the future if a good job opportunity arises.

I love that our airlines has expanded their flights to fly across the world. It’s awesome knowing that Hawaii is being represented and known to the rest of the globe. Yea!

Going to California, I had an egg-and-cheese sandwich. It was amazing! Oh my gosh! My lovely neighbor, whom I enjoyed talking story with, didn’t want hers, so I ate hers too, later in the flight- haha! Totally satisfying!

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On my flight returning home, I had penne pasta with meatballs, mushrooms, and a light marinara sauce and a southwest salad. Wine was complementary, so I had a cup of good ol’ Chardonnay! Yummy!

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Can’t wait till my next adventure! Have a great week, all!

~FS x