31 May 2009

Meal Plan June 4-10


Well, I planned out meals for Thursday through next Wednesday, but the Nerd and I went out on Friday and Saturday night.

On Friday we met up with a friend for coffee downtown, and since it was past dinner time by the time we all said goodbye I decided to treat the Nerd to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

The restaurant is Saigon Cafe. It's known around here as "The Restaurant Without a Sign." Saigon Cafe is located Wailuku, and there are stars on the roof. Nope, I'm not kidding, there are electric light stars on the roof. It's a little tricky to get to, but if you take the first right in Wailuku, past the overpass, and then take a right onto Nani St. You'll see the restaurant to the right. Look for the stars on the roof. The parking is somewhat limited, and there is an apartment complex with reserved parking. But, it's never been a real problem to find someplace to park. Besides, if it was really difficult it'd still be worth the trouble.

The waitstaff are friendly and quite funny. I'm careful about what I order. I avoid the "special" dipping sauce that comes with the summer rolls and instead I use hot sauce.

Our favorite items are the Hot and Sour Fish Soup with Mahi-Mahi, and the Shrimp Claypot. I've never had stomach problems after dining there, and I've never felt glutened. If you're very concerned about cross contamination, you might try elsewhere, but you can always talk with your server about the menu items. Presenting a dining card might help make things clear in case of a language barrier.

When I went to the mainland last year, the first place I went after leaving the airport was Saigon Cafe. Hot, flavorful, and comfortable were a great combination for returning home. Not having to cook was also great.

Last night the Nerd and I went to Sansei sushi, in Kihei, with some friends. This wa a planned outing. Sansei's waitstaff was amazing when it came to Celiac Disease. The waitress informed me that they often have people with food allergies dining there. She was able to list every item on the menu which would be safe for me to eat. The restaurant also has San-J Wheat Free Tamari, just ask for it. Most of what us non-gluten eaters can have are the very simple vegetarian rolls and the Nigiri sushi and Sashimi. Beware. Just because it is an expensive sushi place does not mean they use only crab in their California rolls. The waitress informed that it is actually a mix of crab and imitation crab in them, so please do not eat these if they are unsafe for you. I left totally full, and completely satisfied.

After sushi, we all went for a stroll on the beach before the concert. The concert was held at Mulligans on the Blue. This is an Irish restaurant, and no it's not on the water. It's actually on a golf course. From what I was told, it's the old clubhouse/restaurant for the Wailea Blue Course, from which Mulligans took part of its name.

Don't even dream of eating dinner here. Just about everything looks to be covered in gluten, and I wouldn't risk cross contamination for the world there. However, I did have some delicious vanilla ice cream and alcoholic beverages(Mojito and Sandtrap). There is no gluten free beer, and the hard cider is a gluten containing beverage.

Oh, and did I get sick? Nope. I'm doing really well. It's just hot as the dickens today.

Here's what the meal plan for the week looked like:

Thursday Dinner: Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchiladas & Salad


General Tao's Tofu & Salad (from vegweb.com)
Venison Teriyaki & Salad
Caribean Chicken Stew (from Savingdinner.com)
Indian-Style Apricot Chicken (from Incredibly Easy Gluten Free Recipes)
Chili con Carne & Cornbread (from the Gluten Free Vegan)

I am also planning on baking a Lemon Chess Pie.

Oh, well, here's where you get to see my life happen LIVE. We're now going out to a friend's house to watch True Blood. This means I have no time to whip up any of the meals on the meal plan. Time to bust out pre-made freezer meals.

Seriously, make your own frozen dinners. They're healthier, cheaper, and taste a heck of a lot better than anything you could get at the grocery store.

What is somewhat okay about this, is that I can simply push the recipes further back. I will need to freeze the meats now, but they'll be fine. Don't thaw and refreeze meat. That can lead to food poisoning. The venison is already frozen, and the tofu is fine already. So, the chicken and beef will go into the freezer.

I have an inspiration for a meal to come. I got it from my dad. Sausage and Potato Soup. Not extremely original, but sounds good.

Speaking of my dad, I'm so proud of how he's cooking these days. Since he has such a fruitful garden he has been eating a lot more vegetables and is losing weight and getting healthier. He's also getting to be inventive in the kitchen. He had some patty pan squash that he filled cored, scraped, and filled with a meat and tortilla chip stuffing. He saw a similar recipe online that used cooked rice, but he was inspired to use the tortilla chips. Serving that with some chili powder spices or salsa would be pretty darn healthy, and tasty. Way to go dad!

Aloha! Dinner calls!

28 May 2009

Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao

Summer is almost right on top of us here on Maui, and I am looking forward to its bountiful supply of fresh foods. I'm sure the folks at Market Fresh Bistro are excited by this too as they use mainly locally grown ingredients in their fare.

While they do offer extremely fresh ingredients, beautifully plated food, and healthy yet generous portions they are lacking in things for us on a gluten-free diet to eat.

According to Maui Time the restaurant uses 80-90% local ingredients. I've also read about delicious offerings for vegan and vegetarian fare, as well as something for the carnivorous of us.

Most of their lunchtime options (which is when I went) were sandwiches or burgers, and their entrees included crab cakes and another dish containing gluten. Obviously the gluten containing ingredients are no gluten containing grains are grown locally

I ordered a beet salad with a side of pan seared fish (additional charge).

I wasn't excited by their limiting menu, but the food I ate was worth it. The fish was cooked superbly, and it was a large piece. The beets were of multiple varieties, and the greens were lovely. I'm not a huge fan of beets, but I can't say I didn't enjoy them a little, even though I still think they have a weird flavor. The dressing was a pesto vinaigrette. It contained parmesan cheese, but I went for it anyway. I figured that with how much dairy I'd been consuming at home, I could handle a tiny bit out. I was correct in my thinking.

The waitress didn't understand gluten, and she had trouble with me telling her that there is wheat in soy sauce. She kept thinking I was allergic to soy too, and I had to correct her on that a few times. The head chef was out that day, or else I would have asked to see if he could come up with something creative for a gluten-free diner.

I do intend to dine there again sometime, but I'll know that I am extremely limited.

The atmosphere is quite nice, and they have outdoor seating in a beautiful courtyard. The restaurant is new, and dined at the restaurant holding the space prior to Market Fresh Bistro.

We tried to go last night for dinner, but the restaurant was closed. I've read online that they serve brunch and dinner(BYOB), but we must have gone on an off night.

To make sure you don't miss out on your chance to dine there, give them a call.

Market Fresh Bistro

Ste 102A
3620 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, HI 96768
(808) 572-4877

Park in the back, or on Baldwin Ave. The restaurant is in the back of the courtyard next to Hot Island Glass and a cute little boutique.

27 May 2009

Rachael Ray's Crockpot Indian Curry

Yesterday I whipped up some of Rachael Ray's crockpot Indian curry. I first saw the recipe over at Crockpot365, and then I saw it again later on the Rahcael Ray site. I ended up following the directions from the RR site, but left my chicken breasts frozen like on CP365.

Following the directions from RR I didn't put the chicken at the bottom of the crock, but at CP365 she did. I wish I had, just so it would have absorbed more of the curry flavor.

The curry turned out pretty good, but on a scale of 1 to 5, the Nerd and I give it a 3. We weren't impressed, but we'll eat the leftovers and possibly make this meal again.

Now, I've heard that anything in the grocery store called "curry powder" is just wrong wrong wrong. However, even Rachael Ray uses it. Not everyone believes she's a great chef, but she does great food. Heck, she has a cult following. Typically when a celebrity known for doing something well puts out a talk show, it's a flop. But not Ray. She's got staying power, and way too much energy.

So, if she puts out great recipes why did we only give this one a 3?

Well, it just wasn't amazing. We've had better. It's not a flop, but it's not worth going out of your way to make. It is simple, it does taste good, and it fills up the belly.

Perhaps we're picky, and so we're not fans of the "curry powder" from the store spice racks. Maybe the Madras Curry Powder I have would make things better.

So, no worries. Eat up if you'd like to. I'll stick to my other curry recipes, and continue to hunt for other curries with "Mmm" factor.

P.S. A friend of mine gave me a new gluten-free cookbook as a graduation gift. I'll be choosing a recipe from it to make this week.

Cheap is Delicious

Who says the best food in the world has to cost a first born child or a horde of virgins? Or contain gluten?

Why can't dinner cost less than $2 per person while still causing eyes rolling back into heads and noses hunting out your leftovers?

Well, not to fret my friends. Delicious cheap eats do exist. In fact, they exist in my kitchen all of the time. They aren't always so cheap as to be less than $2 per person, but they have happened. In fact, one happened last night.

After reading about lentils with burnt onions over at Cheap Healthy Good I just had to find out more. I looked up Mark Bittman's original post (which CHG links to) and read what he had to say about something so basic as burning onions.

The onions aren't black and dry, but they're right between there and caramelized. Putting them with onions, some carrots, kale, lentils, and brown rice creates a healthy and cheap well balanced meal. There's protein, whole grains and plenty of vegetables. Many other vegetables could be added to this dish to increase the nutrient power and vegetable serving count for the day. I bet a bit of shredded chicken would taste pretty darn good too.

But, last night it was just the basics. I followed the directions at CHG and substituted kale for the spinach. Kale is quite a nutrition powerhouse as it is high in potassium and vitamins A and C as well as being a good source of calcium and fiber.

There is no picture of this meal as it was eaten rather quickly. The smell of it drew us in too quickly for a snapshot. It's probably better that way anyhow as I tend to have a problem with over-stirring causing foods to break down a bit (i.e. lentil mush).

When I took leftovers to work today my boss and coworker could smell the deliciousness radiating from my container. They wanted some. Only my boss sampled the food. It made her remember why she likes lentils, and made her question why she's forgotten them. She's early on in her cooking education, and lentils were one of the first foods she really learned how to cook (other than scrambled eggs). I told her how simple this dish was and she was stunned.

All anyone needs for this dish is a little forethought. At least in cooking the brown rice. Actually, you could wait until you have an hour left to get dinner on the table and you'll be armed and ready to feed the troops.

Put 1/2 cup of brown rice to boil on the stovetop. Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat to low (about #3) and top the pot with a double layer of paper towels and a lid. I got that idea from Gluten Free Cooking School. Simmer it for 45 minutes.

While the rice is cooking rinse 1/2 cup of lentils and put them into a pot to cook with the appropriate amount of water(check the instructions on your bag, they should say it's a 1 cup to 2 1/2 cup ratio). My bag of lentils said to cook them similarly to the rice, but with no paper towels and for only 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, as they're both simmering away, dice up one and a half large onions, 3 carrots, and 1 packed cup of kale.

Coat the bottom of a pan with extra virgin olive oil (non-teflon would be best, but use what you have).

Bring this up to medium high heat (I know this goes against what I've told you before, but it'll be worth the olive oil flavor, use a high heat oil if you'd prefer to not risk it).

Add in the onions. They should sizzle. Stir frequently for about 15-20 minutes. Turn the temperature down to medium if things are progressing too quickly (meaning: beginning to burn rapidly). We want these onions to burn slowly.

Watch the onions to see that they go past the golden, caramel color. At this point add in the diced carrots. When the onions reach the blackened edges and some blackened middles stage add in the kale. Let the kale wilt down. Turn off the heat.

The rice and lentils should be done at this point. Drain any excess liquid from the lentils.

In a large bowl mix together the lentils and rice. ***Don't over stir.***

Then add in the onion, carrot and kale mixture. Once again, combine but don't over stir.

If over-stirring does occur, simply hide the meal from your guests and eat it all yourself.

If not, proudly serve up your inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty dish.

25 May 2009



I've just returned from camping up at the Nerd's family cabin. His grandmother's dad built it for his mom. It's a lovely little place without electricity or hot water. There is a gas range, but the oven doesn't work. That's a bit of a bummer because I'd love to bake a pie. However, I suspect not having the oven working is a safety thing as well. If the oven worked, someone might forget it is on when they leave, and we definitely don't want to see the consequences of that.

Having the new gas range up there is great for making delicious meals while away. Using a two burner camp stove just doesn't provide enough room or control for whipping up a hot breakfast without frustration. Trust me, I know from experience.

In case anyone is wondering, there is no refrigerator. We used a cooler and what was considered a refrigerator in the late 1920's. It's a box built onto the outside of the back of the house. It doesn't get a lot of sun, and because we're up between 4000 and 5000 ft on the mountain. It stays nice and cool.

Of course I took along the trusty cast iron skillet. It was its first time on a gas stove, and it's first time at the cabin. It performed beautifully, and I believe I have another best friend in my kitchen.

There are utensils and dishes at the cabin, but I took along my own spatulas and tongs. However, I was risking cross contamination from the flatware and the other dishes I used. But, I ended up having no problems and everything was up to par.


I did miscount the amount of my loaf of bread I'd need for the trip, so I had to remove toast from the breakfasts and serve one of the sandwiches open face. It all worked out thanks to a 5 pound bag of potatoes I brought along. No, we didn't eat 5 pounds of potatoes but we ate about 2 1/2 pounds between us.

Here's all of what we ate, and how we breezed through that many potatoes:

Friday Dinner: Imagine Foods Creamy Sweet Corn and Lemongrass Soup with Salad with Homeade Dressing and Cottage Fries(meant to be toast)


Saturday Breakfast: Kapalua Farms Eggs, Cottage Fries, and Kula Country Farms Strawberries


Saturday Lunch: Tofu, Tomato, Avocado Sandwiches

Saturday Dinner: Maui Cattle Company New York Steak, French Fries, Papa Leroy's local Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts

Sunday Breakfast: Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Hot Cereal with cinnamon, nutmeg, and Kula Country Farms Strawberries


Sunday Lunch: Open Face BLT Sandwiches along with a salad and leftover corn and lemongrass soup

Sunday Dinner: Chili beans, local onion, and gluten free TVP spiced up chili style on top of Gluten Free Hoecakes and Salad

Monday Breakfast: Kapalua Farms Eggs, Bacon, and fried potatoes and local onions

There was also a Chocolate Chess Pie to eat for dessert of the course of our stay. It absolutely was the best pie I've ever eaten.

The Tofu, Tomato, Avocado sandwich shocked and awed the Nerd. He wants more.

The Nerd was also amazed at how tasty the Alae sea salt is compared to standard iodized salt. He even called the iodized salt "cardboard salt." He told me about a TV show he saw on which people were taste testing different kinds of salts and were astonished to find such variations in the flavors. Looks like I might have a salt connoisseur on my hands before too long.

What's for dinner tonight? Lentils and Burnt Onions from Mark Bittman. Although, I think I'll do like someone else did over at Cheap Healthy Good and add a few extras to it. Gotta have those extra veggies whenever you can. I do know that I am out of spinach, but I've got some kale I could steal from if I want to.

While I was away I worked up a new life schedule for myself. That's what getting away to the cabin is for. It's for time to think and manifest things for your life. Time to step back, way back, and look down at the world and view how you've been fitting into it. It's a good place to question whether or not you're liking how you're fitting into things, and how things are working out for you.

I also had time to think on what my next few steps in life will be now that I've graduated.

Don't you all worry though, because this blog did get a daily slot in my schedule. I'll do my best to not neglect posting again, unless I absolutely must. I do enjoy sharing with you all. It's like having you sit at my dining table, even if you're not saying anything. Perhaps your mouths are busy savoring something delicious.

P.S. While I was at the cabin I came across a Wusthof Classic Icon 8" Hollow Ground Carving Knife. People get rid of their unwanted utensils and cookware at the cabin, so since there were so many other knives already there the Nerd thought I should go ahead and snag that little treasure. It's his family, so I accepted his word. I saw the name Wusthof, thought it felt good, and brought it home. Little did I know that it originally retails for $165!

21 May 2009

The High Cost of Producing Local

Last week I experienced sticker shock at the new price of the Kapalua Farms eggs at Pukalani Superette. Not being one who is willing to let things always just pass on by, I e-mailed the farm.

I've been purchasing the KF PR eggs for nearly a month now, and I have
been enjoying them quite happily. I love the variation in the shell
color and size, and I love that they are laid right here on Maui by
pasture raised chickens. This is definitely a good thing for Maui and
for the world.

I've been purchasing the eggs at Pukalani Superette, and for weeks I
was buying them for $4.50 a dozen. Last week when I purchased these
eggs I had to pay $7.50 per dozen on sale (regularly $9.99). I saw
that Foodland carried the eggs for $9.99 a week or two before, and I
was glad to be getting such a great deal while supporting local

I was stretching my money a little to pay the $4.50 for the eggs, and
I would have paid $5.00, but paying $7.50 or $10 for eggs is
impossible to pay, especially in this economy.

In my quest to continue to purchase locally grown and produced food, I
hope that I can see the price come back down.

I do hope that there wasn't an issue with the farm to suddenly cause
the price increase. Lots of love to the chickens and your farm.

If the price increase was not caused by KF I do hope that I can find
another store that will carry these terrific eggs for a better price.

This morning I received a response. I am pleased with what they have to say, and I am glad to hear that the prices in the store should come down a bit, and that I can purchase eggs in larger quantities for a lower price direct from the farm as a consumer. The next time I can get over that far I will certainly stock up with a month's supply or more and do a good bit of baking and cooking so that I don't have to worry about buying eggs so often so I can bake bread or pies, etc. Don't worry, I always make my pizza crust with flaxseed, not eggs. I am not an egg freak, and I do know the cost of animal agriculture on the environment. But, if I am going to eat a lot of eggs I should eat pasture raised happy eggs. Going about procuring eggs in this way is a heck of a lot better for the world than factory farm eggs are.

Also, I do know that Kapalua Farms is a part of Maui Land and Pineapple, and that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the company. I didn't like the fact that they shut down a lot of their pineapple production and sold off a bunch of land for development. However, I see this is a way that they are trying to improve and do something good for the islands and the planet. I can only hope that they are inspired by their success with raising chickens sustainably and healthily and continue their exploration into this type of agribusiness.
Aloha Amanda,

Thanks for supporting local, the aloha, and for your question.
I apologize for the jump in price. Unfortunately this was an internal
error. When hens first reach laying age of ~6 months, they lay very
small eggs (almost half the size of a large egg). The price they were
sold at to the Superette was at this pullet size. Over time, the eggs
had increased in size, and our packers hadn't quite noticed, so large
eggs were being sold at the medium price - an unsustainable practice,
because our cost of production is high, and chickens eat the same amount
regardless of the egg size!

Now that this error has been corrected, we ran the model again to see if
we could lower the dozen large price, and still be cash flow positive
(which we only very modestly and recently are). We have lowered the
price, so soon (if not now) you should see the price come down a bit,
even with the in-store mark up.

The best deal in town is direct from the farm. If you ever find your
self in Napili, we sell fresh flats (2.5 dozen) for $12.50 at our office
in a honor box system between 6am - 4:30pm M-F. Because they are just
laid, they keep for a month, so most households can make a flat
disappear no problem!

I hope this helps to understand what we are up to. Unfortunately,
pasturing hens in movable cages, keeping low density, importing feed and
hand packing make this local operation many times more expensive to run
than a factory of sick birds on the mainland. The deep yolk color, firm
whites and fresh taste as least are solid indicators that if you can
find a way to swing it financially, you know you are getting a much
healthier food for you, and supporting environmental stewardship rather
than exploitation.

Mahalo for being engaged in your food choices, Tova

Tova Callender
Diversified Ag Supervisor
Kapalua Farms
Maui Land & Pineapple Co., Inc.
4900 Honoapi`ilani Hwy
Lahaina, HI 96761
Phone 808-665-5490
Cell 808-357-1424
Fax 808-665-3729

20 May 2009

Food Safety in Being Gluten Free

Sometimes I am glad that I can't eat certain foods. Sure, it'd be simpler to order a pizza on the phone or buy a bunch of frozen dinners, but I'm glad I can't.

I'm especially glad I can't buy frozen dinners after reading an article in the New York Times titled "Food Companies are Placing the Onus for Safety on Consumers" by Michael Moss. In this publication Moss states that food companies are passing the buck on the safety of their food products onto consumers. The companies don't know where the myriad of ingredients in their meals are coming from, and they can't insure the suppliers of the ingredients inspected the food for contamination. So now customers must be sure to follow even more complex cooking directions to protect themselves from potentially being made ill by their dinner.

Microwaving doesn't cut it anymore either, and companies are suggesting consumers use their ovens as the temperature in the oven can exceed that of their microwaves. However, I know that baking frozen dinners in a conventional oven takes just as long as it does to make a meal from scratch. Consumers are also expected to place a food thermometer into their food products to test for a correct internal temperature that should kill off any dangers lurking within the food product.

In a world where a man will call up his grocery store complaining that his frozen pizza has no toppings on it, only to flip it over and discover the missing part of his meal, I don't believe all consumers are capable of handling their own food products to these safety standards.

We all are adults and should be able to take care of ourselves, but that is a pipe dream. Some people still need babysitters in the form of corporations and government.

I can't say I never ate frozen dinners, but that was quite a few years ago now since the time in which I constantly ate them. They are a rare treat for me these days. I call them a treat because I can't always make a gluten-free lasagna, and so it's nice to have a little bit of a food I like already prepared for me. I never keep frozen meals, that weren't made by me, in the house.

I'm glad I have to make all of my own food. I'm glad I can trust what I'm doing. And, I'm glad I'm smart enough to turn a pizza over.

19 May 2009

Shepherd's Pie Tonight

A Year of CrockPotting: CrockPot Shepherd's Pie Recipe

This was pretty delicious, but I did end up with a little grease on the bottom. I used instant mashed potatoes, but I am very sure it would have been even better with homemade mashed potatoes.

I'd make this in large quantities to freeze for lunches. We'll see how the leftovers freeze tonight. I'm sure they'll be fine.

Oh, and I got to use my new cookware to make this meal.

17 May 2009

Graduation Day

Today is graduation day, and we will be dining out at Haliimaile General Store. I do hope the Nerd remembered to call them.

Perhaps I should check on that.

I read someone's post about having a good dining experience there while not being able to eat gluten. I haven't been there in a while, but I do believe I have eaten there gluten-free before. I just don't want any mishaps to mess today up.

Just so you all know, I do have some more material for the blog but I have been working on a rebuild and it is going to be an extremely beautiful and well laid out blog/site. I am also going to buy a domain name and have this address link through to it that way nobody has to change their bookmarks.

I have in the plans a review of Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao (formerly Cafe Del Sol). They use mainly local ingredients, and they have a very creative chef. It was difficult to find something on the menu to eat, but what I got was delicious and the portions were right on.

I'm also going to write about the woes of sudden cost jumps in local foods at the grocery store. I experienced that on Thursday.

I also plan to share my gardening experience as that progresses. I need to begin with a thorough clean up of the yard and a talk with the lawn maintenance man. I don't want him spraying Round Up anywhere near my garden.

Much aloha, and take good care of yourselves and the planet!

15 May 2009

Meal Plan for the Week

Thursday Dinner: Vegan Indian Curry
This went over very well. Our carnivorous friend brought a can of beef stew. It was Dinty Moore, and was gluten-free. I was happy to cook it in our cookware for him.

Friday-Wednesday (No Saturday, No Sunday):

Well, it looks like one of the above will be shifted to the following week. We're heading out to a friend's house for dinner and to talk story and watch a TV series she enjoys.

I'll have to cook a big pot of black beans for the enchiladas, but that can possibly happen next week. The lentils could also be held over. It's nice when meals can be flexible like that.

I'm currently baking chocolate chip cookies to take over to our friend's home. I still need to get cleaned up to go.


Tried and Tasted


This month's Tried & Tasted was honoring Fat Free Vegan. I love the food over at Fat Free Vegan. Even though I am not a vegan, I do like to include a couple of vegetarian or vegan meals into my meal plan each week. I do this for the health of myself and the Nerd, and for the health and well-being of the planet.

Animals, and by-products like dairy, contribute greatly to the greenhouse gas emissions (18% of all total G.H.G.E.) I know that it is important for us to cut down on our meat and animal product consumption. In my research on eating locally, and organically, to mitigate climate change I found an NPR podcast, Eating Right Can Save the Planet, in which Mark Bittman stated that if we "eat 10 meals a week containing meat...if you eat a couple of meals less of meat, each week, you’re doing yourself, and the planet,... you’re doing all of us a favor.” That's exactly what I believe. I already eat fewer than 10 meals each week that contain meat. I couldn't tell you how many, because that varies based on the leftovers we have.

I can't tell you how ecstatic I was to see that Fat Free Vegan was the Tried & Tasted blog of the month. I thought about trying out something new, but I thought it'd be better if I stuck with something I'd made in the past. I also had some ingredients that could use some tapping into that were suited for the recipe I chose.

My Tried & Tasted recipe for the month was Double Mushroom Miso Soup with Sesame Broccoli for Two. My version of this tasty, light, and healthy meal was actually a Triple Mushroom Miso Soup.

I used Hawaii island Hamakua Mushrooms in 3 varieties:

Alii Oyster (large)
(Alii means royal in Hawaiian)
Shimeji (small white)
Kea Hon Shimeji (small brown)

I used white miso paste, and homemade vegetable stock (I only had 3 cups, so I watered it down to 6 cups and added extra miso paste for more flavor). I didn't have any tofu, so I left it out and used all of the mushrooms. I also added extra wakame because I enjoy it.

Triple Mushroom Miso Soup

Over at Fat Free Vegan it was noted that the meal wasn't completely filling, so I cooked up some brown rice to go along with the broccoli. This was a really good idea as we were full, but not stuffed and completely satisfied. Brown rice is also a healthy whole grain, especially for gluten-free eaters. It was also a good idea as I only had one small head of broccoli left from the previous week's pizza.

Sesame Broccoli with Brown Rice

Together the miso soup, broccoli, and brown rice formed a delicious flavor balance and was texturally pleasing. I would definitely serve this meal again. The Nerd's verdict was, "Mmm miso." He also liked the broccoli. The only complaint he had was that we ran out of sake too soon.

Not Enough Sake Leftovers

I recommend that anyone who likes miso soup, mushrooms, and broccoli or all Japanese inspired food try this meal. I know I'll be making it again.

Triple Mushroom Miso Soup, Sesame Broccoli, Brown Rice


Links related to Tried and Tasted:

12 May 2009

Nature is Beautiful

I forgot, I wanted to show you all the lovely purple/pink bottoms on the local spinach I bought.

Tuesday Catch Up

I thought I'd just post up some pictures of the meals we've had so far this week.

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

I wasn't amazed by the flavor of the Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu, but the cooking technique was great for me to get the feel for. It would be great for making some mock fried "chicken".


The Gim-Bahp needs work in my rolling technique. Okay, I just need to not fill them too much. This was really good for lunch the next day after being refrigerated. They held together much better too.

Crockpot Honey Lentil Stew

Crockpot Honey Lentil Stew is one of our new comfort foods. We're also putting it into the bulk meal list we're creating.

I've also finished my final assignment for college, and I will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA. I've held all A grades the entire time I've been in school. I've been very lucky though to not have had to work full time, and I have no children. I had a lot of great support as well (family, friends, and great teachers). I'm extremely thankful for every opportunity I've had, and for every person in my life.

Maui Community College was a blessing of an educational experience. I would recommend the school to anyone, and I wish I could continue going to school. Maybe there will be some way I can in the future. I love the learning experience.

I put my name in the hat for the honor of being valedictorian, but I never heard anything back on that. Even though that isn't something that was realized for me, I am extremely proud of the grades I earned.

I look forward to my future.

11 May 2009

Bulk Foods

Lemongrass, because pictures are pretty on blogs.

I'm struggling over here at the computer. I'm trying to come up with a bunch of great bulk food recipes for the freezer. Now, I know I have some, but I want some that are relatively inexpensive but I want them to taste good. I also need them to be gluten-free.

So far, I have on my pad of paper:

Bulk Cooking

Meal #1 Chili

That's all I have. I wrote down a basic chili base from Crockpot365, and I can always play with the ingredients based on what I can get my hands on. Instead of using canned beans, I'll use dry beans. I've discovered that 3 cups of dried black beans is equal to 5 cans of beans(minus water).


I now have:

Meal #2 Shepherd's Pie
What's great about shepherd's pie is that it is another one of those base dishes, where the basics are meat and veggies topped with mashed potatoes. There's even a Crockpot version over at Crockpot365.

We now have all of the meals, and we have all of the bulk ingredients we could buy for them:

Meal #3: Honey Lentil Crockpot Stew from Crockpot365 and Rice
Meal#4: Fried Rice
Meal #5: Rice Casseroles (Sausage, Chicken, Beef, TVP)
Meal #6: Thai Curry and Rice
Meal #7: Indian Curry and Rice
Meal #8: Teriyaki and Rice

Needless to say, we now have a ton of rice in our cellar.

We'd like to have food for 3 months in the freezers, pantries, and cellar. We'll cycle through it all over time, and replace things as we need to, in order to keep the food in good rotation. We don't want any food to spoil of course. This means that I will need to keep quite a good inventory system, but I've found some good things online. I'll let you know if I find something that I settle on as a good food system.

The Nerd and I took a trip to Costco today, and we also picked up a friend and her mother. Our friend's car died, and her mom had just arrived on a plane. They were so pleased to have a ride, even if it took us a little bit of time to get through the store.

At Costco we looked at what bulk foods are available for stocking the house. You all know that I prefer to buy local and/or organic, but there are a lot of things that I can't get here. My motto is to do what you can with what you have, and what you have available.

We only bought what we needed there today (toilet paper, local mushrooms, etc.), but we took down a lot of notes on prices, cost per pound, cost per unit, and so on. I will put this into a spreadsheet and figure out what to purchase, and how much it is going to cost us to create a stockpile of food.

I'll post last night's, and tonight's, dinner reviews and recipes tomorrow. Although, tonight's wasn't quite picture worthy as I was trying my hand at rolling sushi with just a bamboo mat. Not an extremely pretty or lovely sight.

What all do you put into your freezer for bulk foods? What are your favorite cheap eats?

Let's chat!

Let's Catch Up

Mothers Day Rhymes with Parfait

I think it's about time for us to catch up, considering it's been a few days since I've posted.

Thursday night we had our weekly dinner, and that went quite nicely. We had the Hawaiian Style Chili. It contained both local beef, and local portuguese sausage. We really have to be careful when buying sausages as they often contain some sort of gluten as a filler, and if dairy is an issue too then that's something else to watch out for in the ingredients list as well. If you're still unsure, try contacting the company. The brand I've been eating without any problems is Gouveas, but I've received no response to the e-mail I sent to the company in which I asked about whether or not their sausage contains gluten. This may be a company I need to call. As I said though, I've experienced no symptoms after eating the product, but this is something I need to get better about. I admit it. Sometimes I do take small risks, but I would never cheat purposely.

I read over at Gluten Free in Georgia and Florida that in her book "The G-Free Diet" Elisabeth Hasselback takes cheating very lightly, and in no way do I want to be associated with that kind of thinking.

Channa Masala

Friday night the Nerd and I dined at home on some delicious chickpea curry. It's based on a recipe for Channa Masala on Seriouseats.com. I couldn't find Garam Masala at Foodland or Pukalani Superette, but I do know that it is available in the bulk spices at Mana Foods. However, I think this dish is quite delicious with Madras Curry powder. This dish has a very spicy, comfort food quality that I can't get enough of. Because there is a little lemon juice, the dish also has just a hint of sourness that enhances all of the spices coating every inch of the chickpeas and that have soaked into the rice. Served alongside a nice salad, or some steamed vegetables, this is a delicious and healthy well balanced meal. I do suggest bringing a large pitcher of water to the table, you might need it.

A Delicious Hot Breakfast for Mother's Day

Sunday was Mother's Day. My moms aren't here with me, but I was able to honor the Nerd's mother by getting up early to make a big, beautiful, and scrumptious brunch. I really only needed 2 hours to prepare everything for this breakfast. The Nerd's brother, the Hunter, and his wife CJ came over for brunch as well. CJ brought me a beautiful jade plant, and they presented his mother with a lovely bouquet.

The Hunter said that he normally needs to put ketchup on his scrambled eggs, partly because of how bland and dry they are, but he felt no need to do that with the eggs I whipped up. I made scrambled eggs that I found the recipe for through Food.com and the recipe is from Foodandwine.com. I had never made scrambled eggs over a double boiler, but I think it is now the only way I will do it. I left out the truffle oil and brioche rolls(of course).

Whisk your eggs up in a bowl with some water while bringing a pot of water up to a simmer. Once the water reachers a good simmer, place a metal bowl on top of the pot and add in a little butter or margarine. Let the butter melt and then add the whisked eggs. Drop the temperature just a bit, and use a heat resistant rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl as the eggs cook. Just before they are completely set up, add some more butter. Keep scraping and stirring. The eggs should come together in a curd like consistency. Cook the eggs to the firmness you like, and then remove the bowl from the pot and turn off the heat. Add in your seasonings at this point.

Roasted zucchini, onions, and garlic were also a delicious hit. With a little salt and pepper, they were a nice addition to a savory hot breakfast.

I followed a recipe for buttermilk biscuits from Bobsredmill.com, but they didn't turn out as they should have. I may have rolled the dough too thin, but if I hadn't then I don't believe the recipe would have yielded as many biscuits as it says it will. Despite being thin, I think they worked well with the amount of food served. We topped these biscuits with Poha jam. Pohas are berries that are also known as Cape Gooseberries, Goldenberries, and some other names. I found out from CJ that she's been eating some berries called Incan Goldenberries, and they are highly nutritious and full of antioxidants. She was excited to learn that they are also Poha berries and grow wild here on the island. The jam slightly reminds me of very sweet gold cherry tomatoes with sugar. I will happily eat some more.

It was worth a second shot!

Finally, we had a breakfast "dessert" of strawberry, blueberry, and banana yogurt parfaits. These caused some "Oo's" and "Ah's" from the family. Deliciousness was inspired by the local fruits available at the farm stand. The strawberries, bananas, and blueberries were all local. The yogurt was organic. Mary, at Kula Country Farms, let me run in and buy 2 boxes of berries on Saturday while they were closing up. Thank you for the berries Mary!

To make these tasty treats:

Hooray for Parfait!
  • 3-4 small bananas, sliced
  • 1lb of strawberries, rinsed and diced
  • 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed
  • Nonfat vanilla yogurt

Layer 4 slices of banana on the bottom of the glass, top with a few tablespoons of yogurt, add in a couple tablespoons of strawberries, add more yogurt, add blueberries, add more yogurt, top with more strawberries and banana slices.

In fact, here's a list of the food in this breakfast that was local:

Poha Jam

Here's what was organic:

Soy Milk

If not for the biscuits, then everything would have been local or organic. That's amazing, and inspiring!

Go out to your farmers market or farm stand and get inspired too!

07 May 2009

Meal Plan for the Week

I prefer fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning.

Finally, Thursday's Meal Plan For Ya'!

I've made the meal plan, done most of the shopping, and I'm wiped. Now I'll share with you all what I'll be cooking up this week.

One of the meals this week will be made for the Tried and Tasted Blog Event happening over at Fat Free Vegan. I'm going to make one of her meals, with my own modifications. Tried and Tasted was created by Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen. I'm excited to finally participate in a blog event, especially since I love the recipes over at Fat Free Vegan. The meal I'm making from her is the Double Mushroom Miso Soup and Sesame Broccoli. Instead of using white mushrooms and buying dried shiitake mushrooms, I'm going to go pick up a bunch of locally grown mushrooms at Costco. The mushrooms come in a variety pack, and are somewhat expensive. However, they will be worth it. I don't buy mushrooms often, so I might as well go for the good local stuff.

Have I told you all yet how important it is to me to buy as much locally grown and produced food as possible? Well, it is an important part of my cooking philosophy. In fact, I just gave a presentation on eating locally and organically to help mitigate the climate crisis. If anyone would like to see the powerpoint and/or read my notes on this please feel free to e-mail me. I can also point you in the direction of some really great resources on the topic.

One great way to buy locally is to go to a farmers market. I've got an interview in front of me, from Parade Magazine, with Tom Wilsack the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and former governor of Iowa. He said that he is working to make sure "that food stamps an be used at farmers' markets." (Parade, May 3 2009).

If there aren't any farmers markets near you, look for farm stands, roadside produce stands with honor boxes, and of course check your nearby grocery stores for locally grown produce and locally raised meat products. Even buying locally processed products is a good idea because they don't have to have as much packaging or refrigeration to get to the store as do products that come from half way across the country or globe.

I also promote eating fewer meat based meals each week. Last week was a bit meat heavy for us, with a lot of chicken in our meals. So, this week we're cutting back.

I'm sure you've been wondering when I'd get off my soap box and finally show you the meal plan, and since I've set it up so nicely now:

Thursday Dinner: Local Style Chili (contains local green bell peppers, local onions, and local ground beef, local Portuguese sausage, and all organic canned beans)

This is a chili based on the chili sold at Zippy's restaurants and in the grocery stores here in Hawaii. This makes a ton, and will be good for the meat eaters who are dining here tonight. Plus, the leftovers will help restock the freezer.

Sunday Brunch: Mother's Day
  • Scrambled Local Eggs
  • Buttermilk Biscuits (gluten-free of course)
  • Roasted Local Zucchini with Local Onions
  • Local Strawberry, Local Blueberry, Local Banana and Organic Yogurt Parfaits (no granola)

Friday-Wednesday (minus Saturday as we'll be out and about)


4--Zucchini (yellow and green)*
1 pint--Blueberries*
2 small bunches-Bananas*
1 bag--Organic Carrots
2--Green Bell Pepper*
1lb--Ground Beef
2 bags--Lentils
2--Portuguese Sausage*
1 carton--Pasture Raised Eggs*
2 cans--Organic Kidney Beans
2 cans--Organic Chili Beans
1 can-- Organic Garbanzo Beans
1/2 gal--Organic Milk
1 qt--Organic Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt
1 1/2 qt--Organic Ice Cream
2 bars--Chocolate
1 Toblerone (impulse buy)


* indicates locally grown, produced, or raised

I still need to buy the mushroom, and I'm not sure how much they'll cost. I'm also doing my Costco trip early this month and getting some tomato paste, laundry soap, and salsa. Although, I am considering making my own salsa. It will be more expensive, but it will cut back on snacking on tortilla chips.

I hope everyone has a great week!

3 Days Later

Zucchini-Broccoli Pizza

I'm sorry I haven't posted for 3 days. This is my final week of school, and then I will have my Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts. Everyone keeps asking what I'll do once I am done, but I don't know. There aren't many Bachelor's Degree offerings that appeal to me at the college here. Many people have told me to go to the college's culinary school. It is something I have considered. I've even spoken with the counselor for the program. However, I need to make some money and pay back the money I used for my A.A.. I also wonder how I would work going to culinary school with my issue with gluten. I certainly couldn't taste anything containing gluten, and I worry about being around too much flour floating around in the air. I don't have any skin issues with gluten, and I don't believe I have trouble with breathing it in, but it seems like I shouldn't chance it. I'd hate to spend the money to go to school, only to be made sick by it. I believe I've discussed this in a prior post.

It came to my mind this morning because of this being my last week of school, and because of a dream I had. If you can't eat certain foods you have probably had a dream in which all of the food available is food you can't eat. That was my dream last night.

In my dream I was in an airport with my mom, and we stopped to get some food at the food court. She quickly grabbed something to eat, and I told her that I'd go see if there appeared to be anything I could eat. Well, I wasn't having much luck until I spotted a sign at an Italian place. It looked like the sign said they offered brown rice pasta, but the letters were so small I couldn't tell. I actually climbed up onto the counter to read the words, and found disappointment. The letters spelled out something different entirely. So, I went and sat back down with my mom. I watched everyone around me eating. I was so hungry, but because of an awful idea that people thneed gluten on everything to be made happy, I was made angry and depressed.

Dining out is so difficult for people with food allergies, intolerances, and Celiac Disease(which is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disorder). I can't even call up the pizza place and order a couple of pizzas. I have to make them myself. Which isn't all that bad you know. Homemade pizza has all of the things I like on it, it's delicious, and still hot. It doesn't take long if the sauce is pre-made, or if you have a quick sauce recipe. This was our dinner last night. We ate the pizza and watched Dune.

Now, I know I promised a post on eggs, but I swear that will be here soon enough. I just felt that I had to post this particular entry this morning. All in due time my dear readers.

Unbaked Pizza

Zucchini-Broccoli Pizza

  • 1 small gluten-free pizza crust [from scratch and pre-baked(recipe follows), or frozen]
  • 1/4 cup pre-made pizza sauce
  • 1 cup Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar, shredded*
  • 1/2 a large onion, julienned**
  • 2 medium zucchini, yellow and green***, sliced into rounds
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Using a medium sized spoon, smooth out the sauce over the crust.

Top the sauced crust with the zucchini, starting on the outside, forming a ring, and working in. It's like laying pepperoni.

Place the broccoli as evenly as possible over the pizza.

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the veggies.

Bake in the preheated oven, on a baking sheet or pizza pan, until the cheese has melted and the onions are browning on the ends.

Serve with the crushed red pepper for a little spiciness.

*Note: I think goat cheese would taste delicious on this pizza.
**Note: Use less onion if you're not a big onion fan.
***Note: Feel free to use one large green zucchini. You're going to have more than enough for the pizza. Leftover zucchini is great in other dishes as well.

For the pizza I used the recipe for gluten-free pizza crust in The Gluten-Free Vegan, as well as the sauce recipe. I made up the sauce a few months ago and froze half of it.

I'm still trying to understand the copyright laws for posting recipes. I've posted a few without any problems, and I contacted the author of The Gluten-Free Vegan but received no response. Since many of you are probably looking for a good gluten-free pizza crust recipe I'll go ahead and post it in my own words, since it seems that the directions are the most protected part, and if I get a take down notice I'll remove the recipe.

Pizza Crust
adapted from The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O'Brien

  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • Egg replace for 1 egg**
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup milk replacer (soy works well, but so would hemp or perhaps another)
  • 1/8 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Grease a pizza pan or baking sheet with a little vegetable oil.

Combine the dry ingredients, but not the egg replacer or the ingredients listed below. Whisk it together.

Mix the egg replacer together, and add to it the agave, the milk, and the oil. Whisk this well.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir it together with a rice paddle, a flat wood spatula, or a spoon.

Form into a ball. It may look crumbly, but once it is brought into a ball form it will hold. If not, add a little more milk or oil.

Set the dough ball onto the baking sheet and flatten it down by hand.

Place a piece of wax paper, or parchment, or saran wrap over the dough. Roll the dough into the desired shape(circle or rectangle). Remove the paper/parchment/wrap.

Using your fingers, push down at the edges and push against the side of the dough and form a raised crust.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crust.

Top with your favorite toppings!

Note: The author tops the pizza crust with the toppings before baking it, but I've never found the inside of the dough to be completely cooked when I follow her directions as was the case last night. I've made the recipe in 2 ovens, and haven't had success in getting the dough to be fully baked through. That is why I suggest pre-baking the crust. If you worry about the edges getting too brown, treat it like a pie and cover the edges with aluminum foil.

*If you don't have potato flour, buy some instant mashed potatoes and processes 1/3 cup of them in a blender or food processor until they reach a more flour like consistency. This is my own suggestion, not the suggestion of Susan O'Brien.
**O'Brien uses Ener-G, but I use 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed 3 tablespoons of warm water.

Oh, and we used our zucchini leftovers for breakfast. Pan roasted and topped with poached eggs. Fresh made orange juice too!

04 May 2009

03 May 2009

Sunday Cooking Projects

Kula Country Farms Strawberries

I feel like I do a lot more cooking on the weekends than during the week. Basically I just cook one more meal, but I do tend to plan the more complicated cooking for the weekend.

This morning I made Strawberry Buckwheat Pancakes. I used the Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes from The Gluten-Free Vegan as a guide, but I made my own changes to the recipe.The strawberry flavor isn't extremely strong, so if you'd like more strawberry flavor, try pureeing some strawberries and replace the apple sauce with the puree. The strawberries were locally grown. Here's the recipe, they're definitely worth making.

Strawberry Pancake Breakfast

Strawberry Buckwheat Pancakes

adapted from The Gluten-Free Vegan

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tbsp strawberry guava syrup
  • 1 egg or substitute for 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk alternative
  • 7 medium strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1/8 inch pieces

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Combine the rest of the ingredients, including the strawberries, in large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it is thoroughly combined and smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil or butter to prevent sticking, if necessary. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and heat until bubbles form and pop. Flip the pancake over, and cook until the pancake is cooked through. The pancakes should be a nice brown color.

Serve with more strawberry guava syrup, and if you love peanut butter and jellies use peanut butter instead of butter on the pancakes.

For dinner we had Grilled Chicken Tostadas. These were pretty healthy, and very delicious. We like our Mexican food spicy, so if you don't like too much spice you should use half of the jalapeno and less of the cayenne pepper if you use either at all. The tomatoes and lettuce were locally grown. We didn't have sour cream or yogurt, so we left that out. You could replace that with avocado if you have them readily available.

Grilled Chicken Tostadas

Grilled Chicken Tostadas


  • 1 1/2 tsp goya adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 cups crisp lettuce, chopped
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • Cilantro, minced
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream, dairy or non, or plain yogurt (optional)

Grill 2 chicken breasts either on an indoor or outdoor grill. Chop into small pieces.

Empty the refried beans into a pan and add the adobo seasoning, red pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and jalapeno pepper. Stir well, and keep over low heat until the rest of the food is prepared.

Heat the oil over medium low heat and add one or two tortillas at a time (depending on the size of the pan) and heat until they are crispy and partially browned.

Remove the tortillas and place onto a platter with paper towels to help absorb some of the oil from the tostadas.

When everything is ready, top the tostadas with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, green onions, salsa and sour cream/yogurt.

Coming Soon: The beauty of pasture raised, not uniform, local eggs.