A break this week…

There was no cooking assignment for culinary school this week. We just had to fabricate a whole chicken and freeze all the parts. We’ll be using them for the next six weeks. Exciting! I can now say I’ve deconstructed a whole chicken. Yay!

I have to say, I didn’t enjoy the process. Working with raw meat, especially poultry grosses me out. I usually buy already cooked chicken or specific chicken parts (i.e., thighs and drumsticks). It’s much easier and cleaner to work with. As I was fabricating the raw chicken, all I could think about the entire time working was wanting to sanitize everything. Wash my entire kitchen with soap and hot water. I usually wear gloves when handling raw poultry, but I was advised not to wear gloves because it’s actually more dangerous. People are more prone to cutting themselves more easily when wearing gloves. Shucks! So, I had to use my bare hands. I washed them like I had OCD! Seriously! My fingers were pruned by the time I was done. I washed all my equipment and tools several times, as well as cleaned the counter and sink area multiple times. I had to make sure everything was sanitized. Salmonella, food poisoning, bacteria spread is NO JOKE! It’s important to practice safety and good hygiene, especially when working with raw poultry.

August is birthday month. I spent my birthday weekend in the kitchen and with family and friends. My loves! The perfect trio!

Last week, we celebrated my aunt’s birthday. We had the whole chicken with gravy, and carrots vichy and brussel sprouts for her bday dinner. My sister made Oreo-stuffed chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Yummmmm! In my featured image, I created a collage of all the yummy food I ate this weekend. My dad and sis made a feast for dinner. We had tossed salad, steak, chicken, Portuguese sausage, mashed potatoes with boiled eggs and olives, and shrimp and oyster tempura. Wow! We celebrated with strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and coconut cupcakes for dessert from Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club makes some pretty yummy cakes. My dear girlfriend took me out for brunch at the La Hiki at the Four Seasons at Ko ‘Olina. We went there two years ago and had a fulfilled delicious, out-of-this-world buffet brunch experience. However, since COVID, buffets have not reopened, and restaurants that once offered buffets, had to get creative. This restaurant created a pre-fixed brunch menu. The food was yummy, but you can’t beat that buffet. I can’t wait till the buffet reopens again. It was one of the best brunch buffets I’ve ever eaten at. I would love to take my family there to experience all that superlativeness.

Have a great week, All! Please stay safe. This pandemic is getting outrageous!

FS x

Bawk Bawk!

As the Olympics come to a close, it’s always a bittersweet feeling. What an incredible experience, every time! I love how the world comes together to compete in these terrific sports. It truly brings us together. I couldn’t believe how many sports there were this year. Astounding! Congrats to everyone who participated; those who took home medals and those who didn’t. Everyone’s a winner! They’re the best in the world, no matter what! I certainly admired the awesome sportsmanship throughout the games. It was so touching and beautiful to see. Those were the most memorable moments to me. It meant more to me than ever. 2020 gave us a lot to reflect upon and appreciate. Cherish one another; love each other, and be kind.

It was a busy weekend in the kitchen, cooking and roasting up a storm! This coming week is my aunt’s birthday. In celebration of her birthday and for my culinary assignment this week, I’ve roasted a young whole chicken and made gravy from scratch. Good ol’ comfort food. Yum!

I was so nervous because I’ve never roasted a whole piece of poultry before. I usually buy a whole chicken that’s already cooked. It’s so much easier to work with!

In my readings this past week, I learned that roasting and baking are one-in-the-same. Though, I’ve never heard someone say they’re going to roast a cake. I found it very interesting that both terms mean the same.

Before roasting the chicken, I had to truss it. Trussing entails tying the chicken legs and wings snugly together with butcher’s twine so that they are close with the body. Trussing is important for the chicken to cook evenly in the oven. It also prevents the legs and wings from burning. I lathered my chick with butter (olive oil is fine, too) and seasoned with good ol’ salt and pepper. I also seasoned the inside cavity as well. I cut onions, carrots, and celery to create a mirepoix bedding to lay the seasoned chicken on. The mirepoix, a French term, is cooked slowly with the liquid and fat from the chicken. This will be used to make the gravy afterwards. The end goal is for the chicken to be golden brown and for the skin to be crispy. It took nearly two hours for the chickie to cook. The thermometer finally read 165℉; she was cooked thoroughly. Hallelujah! The chicken was juicy, tender, and oh-so-flavorful. I was stoked!

Onto the gravy… I used the mirepoix and the juices from the chicken to first make a roux. I added flour to create a thickening agent. Then added chicken broth to create the gravy. I poured the contents into a mesh strainer, and voilà! Homemade gravy! It was pretty simple and oh-so-good!

For my aunt’s birthday I made a mocha jelly dessert dish. I initially saw a video on Emmymade’s Facebook page on chocolate jelly. I, of course, altered the recipe and made it my own. It turned out to be more of a pudding texture, but it tasted fabulous. It was very rich. Next time, I’ll add more gelatin.

Emmy loves to make unique dishes. This link has some pretty wacky stuff: https://www.emmymade.com/7-wacky-retro-recipes-for-you-to-try/. Not sure if I’m totally game to trying them. Some of them are quite strange. The 7-Up mayo jello salad and the rainbow sherbet snowball cake look interesting. She’s got some interesting stuff on her Facebook. It’s quite entertaining.

Have a marvelous new week! Cases are rising everywhere. Stay safe and healthy!

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

Lunar New Year Celebrations & Good Luck Wishes Continue…

Happy Sunday! As previously stated last week, today’s ethnic food feature is a popular dish eaten to celebrate the Lunar New Year (LNY). LNY or Chinese New Year (CNY) is celebration across 15 days. Yea!

This week, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to Singapore. I’ve been to the country twice. This year marks 10 years since my first trip to Singapore. Time truly flies. Feels like I was there yesterday. Singapore is a beautiful country- and clean. Smaller than O’ahu, believe it or not, but is more populated by an additional three million people. I can’t fathom the thought of Singapore having more people than O’ahu. O’ahu is pretty crowded with about one million of us residing here. The two times I traveled to Singapore, I hardly saw any people while I was out in public. Although, I traveled to the country before and during the Lunar New Year, respectively. So, maybe a lot of citizens took a holiday and traveled out-of-country.

I learned that during this huge holiday celebration, this is the one and only time families get together and celebrate. It’s a BIG deal! It’s the once-a-year party/reunion everyone looks forward to. I’ve been to one celebration in 2011 with a friend’s family. It was wonderful to be in another country, experiencing a holiday that is so important to them. Their Chinatown was beautifully decorated and multiple festivities were occurring. A much different feel from how LNY is celebrated in Hawai’i, even though we have a huge Asian population in our state.

One of the popular dishes that is eaten during the LNY celebration is yusheng (see featured image). It’s a must-have. All the restaurants offer this on their menu. Yusheng is a mixed salad that includes ingredients symbolizing good luck, that are neatly organized on the plate. Everyone participates and mixes the salad. It’s been said that the higher you toss the salad, the greater the good luck. I was fortunate to experience eating this delicious salad twice, in 2011 and 2015. It was truly memorable.

I found a website that lists all the ingredients needed to make this salad- and its meanings of why it represents good luck. Very fascinating. I love what individual foods represent for different cultures. In many ways, this is what brings people together. Moreover, this is how we learn about and from one another. Through culture, through food, through history, and through story-telling. It’s so wonderful.

Yusheng ingredients:

  1. Raw fish
    • Abundance and prosperity.
  2. Pomelo, which is a very big grapefruit
    • Good luck. Optional to add.
  3. Pepper and cinnamon powder
    • A wish for prosperity. Optional to add.
  4. Oil
    • Drizzled onto salad in a circular motion. This is to symbolize that money is coming in from all directions.
  5. Carrots
    • Good luck.
  6. Green radish
    • Eternal youth. Optional, but recommended to add if serving salad to elders.
  7. White radish
    • Brings good business opportunities.
  8. Crushed peanuts
    • Hopes that your household will be filled with valuable possessions.
  9. Sesame seeds
    • Hopes for your business to flourish in the coming year.
  10. Golden crackers
    • Great wealth.
  11. Plum Sauce
    • Poured all over the dish instead of just one spot for the desired stronger ties with loved ones.

Happy celebrating! Have a wonderful Year of the Ox!

FS x

References:

Giant Singapore (2021). Yusheng ingredients you need to use for luck & prosperity. Retrieved from: https://giant.sg/yusheng-ingredients-you-need-to-use-for-luck-prosperity/

New Year with the bestest of friends!

I was blessed to have spent the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 with my dear friends. We dined at Chef Chai’s, a Thai-fusion place with my family. My family and I always enjoy the food there. However, we were disappointed that they didn’t have the deep fried whole fish. They had sold-out of the dish before we dined there that evening. Nooo! It must be a very popular dish.

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Butternut squash lobster bisque soup. That was so yummy! I am determined to use butternut squash in my cooking and make a soup.

Ordered the jumbo prawns. Absolutely delicious!

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So glad they had brown rice! It was mixed with coconut milk and ginger. Interesting mix!

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We couldn’t resist dessert- deep fried banana cream cheese with gelato and berries. Oh boy! So good!

Chef Chai
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, 96814
http://chefchai.com/

Reflecting on 2018 and embracing 2019

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! As 2018 is coming to a close, I’m reflecting on this past year and embracing the welcome of 2019. I hope 2018 was a great year for you all. I hope 2019 brings more blessings your way! It’s going to be an excellent year!

My family and I are blessed! Our good family friends treated us to a delicious dinner at Haleiwa Joe’s this holiday season. Yummy! They are known for their prime rib. They have limited prime rib daily- and they go fast! It’s first come, first serve. It’s also very reasonable for the portion.

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Look at this bad boy! Wow! I had a taste from my sister… it was to-die-for! Totally worth it!

We just couldn’t stop talking about the size of the prime rib and the price. We were so impressed! It’s really, really worth it!

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I ordered a fish red Thai curry. That was pretty good. Very healthy- haha!

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Had to try the banana bread tiramisu. Mmmm!

Haleiwa Joe’s has two locations: Haiku Gardens in Kaneohe and on the North Shore in Haleiwa.

We dined at the Kaneohe location. The view is gorgeous.

46-366 Haiku Road
Kaneohe, 96744
https://haleiwajoes.com

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

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~

Dad’s Bday at Hy’s!

Happy Sunday! My family and I celebrated my dad’s bday a couple months ago to this day at Hy’s Steak House in Waikiki. We love steak and I haven’t been to Hy’s in years! We really enjoyed the food. The ambience was sophisticated and quiet. It was a very intimate dinner with great company and delicious food.

I ordered the steak au poivre, which is a New York striploin with black peppercorns and au poivre sauce. Au poivre basically means “pepper steak.” My favorite seasoning- pepper! I had to try this dish.

I absolutely loved it. The peppercorns with the sauce was amazing! The steak was cooked at medium-rate- my preference- and it was tender. I loved my sides, too- mashed potatoes and green beans. Got to have green beans- my ultimate favorite.

I haven’t been to a steak house that didn’t disappoint.

Have a great week!

Breakfast for Father’s Day dinner

Happy July! We had an extended Father’s Day celebration. My sis and I cooked dinner for our dad. We made him breakfast for dinner!!!! Whoo hoo!

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Bam! Breakfast pasta, ready to be served!

This was an extremely simple dish.

Ingredients:

  • Package of organic spaghetti pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Eight cloves of garlic
  • Six cage-free brown eggs
  • Handfuls of organic spinach
  • Ground lamb
  • Portuguese sausage
  • Bacon (crispy)

I first cooked the pasta and set it aside. I added some olive oil into a pot, then cooked the garlic with the ground lamb. After the meat was fully cooked, I added in the Portuguese sausage. I cooked the eggs in a separate pan and then added them into the pot with the existing ingredients. I added the cooked pasta and some handfuls of spinach, before topping the dish off with some crispy bacon. Mmm!

Next, was dessert! Waffle sundae split.

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Dairy-free is the way to go! Loved that cookie dough ice cream with cashew milk.

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The final product! I bought cinnamon and chocolate chip banana waffles.

Hope y’all had a great Father’s Day!

Be on the lookout for a change in the social media accounts- Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. Exciting times!!!!