kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 16, 2017

Beryl's Special Dressing for Doritos Salad

There are two stars of this post.

The first star is a creamy dressing which goes so well with nacho cheese Doritos.

I began making this dressing back in 2002.  I was prego and jonesing for something cool and crunchy.  My coworker at the time gave me this recipe and told me to eat this with lettuce and crushed nacho cheese Doritos.  Since I was on bedrest at the time, I had my mom prepare this for me.  I couldn't believe how good it was.  Since then, I've made this numerous times for lunch.  It's fast to pack and very simple to throw together.  And for whatever reason, I never thought to post it here.

A few months ago, while working at a volleyball game, I noticed that the concession was selling something called "Doritos salad".  Turns out, they were selling shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, and crushed nacho cheese Doritos with Beryl's Special Dressing!  The addition of tomatoes, I must admit, was really nice.  Of course, I wish they would've taken the time to remove all the tomato seeds and slime, but this is MY hang-up, not theirs.

Then at the last faculty meeting of the year, one of my current coworkers brought a taco salad.  It was served in a pan and consisted of the typical taco salad ingredients:  lettuce, tomato (with seeds!), taco meat, and cheese.  But topping the salad was a layer of crushed nacho cheese Doritos and a generous all-over drizzle of a dressing which tasted exactly like, you guessed it, Beryl's Special Dressing!  While the tomato addition at the concession was nice, the taco meat and cheese took it over the top.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/3 c mayonnaise
     1 tbsp sugar
     1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients with a whisk.  Chill until ready to serve.

If you don't have the time to prepare the taco meat and fixins, don't despair.  A simple salad made with just shredded lettuce, crushed chips and this dressing is awesome in it's own right.  It is good enough reason to always buy a gigantic bag of nacho cheese Doritos from Costco.

The second (but not lesser) star of this post is The Keeper.

I had the good fortune of befriending The Keeper many moons ago.  I'm not sure how we met, but we hit it off immediately and have been close ever since.  Over the years, he has listened to my bitching, shared some of his own, and provided me hours of entertainment and education with tales of his travels in the land of the rising sun.

This past week, The Keeper's arm of friendship and kindness, extended far beyond any expectation when he took me (and a few others) to Hokkaido for the trip of a lifetime.

We spent four-ish glorious days together, stuffing our faces with local seafood (mostly raw), savory ramen, decadent sweets, and, surprisingly, very little alcohol (for me, at least; my alcohol consumption was limited to a sip of something which tasted like grape juice in a can purchased by The Keeper from a vending machine at a train station).  Most of us bought amulets at a shrine, possibly to protect us from blowing our fortune$ at the shopping venues.

I learned so much about Hokkaido and Japan, as a whole.  Japan is such a beautiful country, and Hokkaido has it all. . .an upscale city (Sapporo) with a vibrant night life district (Susukino), as well as quaint towns (Otaru and Hakodate), not unlike Hilo.  At times, I felt like I was traveling with the Old Lord of Mito (Mito Komon) on his journey and wondering which character I was...Kaku-san (a retainer), Ogin (a ninja), or Hachibei (the jester). 

According to my fitbit, I walked over 100k steps in those four-ish days, which equals somewhere over 40 miles.  In spite of having to haul my ass around Hokkaido and worrying about chafing in the nether-regions, I could not possibly thank The Keeper enough for allowing me to interlope on his vacation.  An entire lifetime would not be enough time.  

To The Keeper:  私の心の底からとてもありがとう。 あなたの友情は常に大事にされます。

And my trip would not have been possible without The Help.  My air ticket was my birthday present, and he took care of my home and family (four-legged, finned, and feathered members) while I was away.  Much thanks. . .you are my rock, even if not everyone knows your name.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Toaster Oven Food: Cheesecake Bars

I cannot believe how fast time flew by.  This Friday marks the end of the first quarter of the school year.    Soon it will be time to buy Halloween candy (to be consumed before Halloween!).

Last weekend, The Help, D2, and I went to Honolulu.  I had my ophthalmologist appointment, and it was also a belated back-to-school shopping trip for D2.

We stayed at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.  This was our first stay there since the renovations.  I was very impressed with the transformation.  While the lobby had a more contemporary, open feel, the room transformation was nothing short of amazing:  lots of granite and very clean lines.  They bathroom even contained a Toto washlet!

In spite of going to Honolulu for the purpose of shopping, we seemed to spend a lot of time eating.  We arrived early enough to walk over to Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, arguably the best tonkatsu restaurant in Honolulu.

I didn't realize how much D2 likes curry.  I expected her to order chicken katsu, and I was surprised when she ordered chicken katsu CURRY.

After an unmemorable lunch at Liliha Bakery, we knew we had to redeem ourselves with dinner.  We enjoyed a steaming hot bowl of ramen at Wagaya, one of the 9 best ramen places in Honolulu according to Thrillist.  Since we were done early enough, we decided to have dessert at a place we've been wanting to try for a while, Marion Crepes.

Marion Crepes Hawaii is located in Shirokiya Japan Village Walk.  They serve crepes with various fillings.  I'm quite sure I saw savory fillings on the menu, but since this was dessert, we had to go with sweet fillings.  The Help selected a yummy-looking-but-rather-uninteresting strawberry crepe.  D2 ordered a fruit crepe with a substantial scoop of green tea ice cream. 

I didn't realize how much D2 likes green tea sweets. 

I ordered a strawberry crepe with a piece of cheesecake.  It was absolutely delicious.  In fact, all of us enjoyed our crepes, but the prices are not for the faint of heart.  Our dessert cost nearly $30!

After a week back at work, I'm ready for another vacation. 

I am looking forward to Fall intersession and the adventures that await.  I'm hoping I won't forget to pack everything I need.  I have some sweaters, a shawl, and a new hat I can't wait to use!

Meanwhile, I need to concentrate on getting through this week.  I have progress reports and grades to do.  And I have to feed KikukatDad.  KikukatDad isn't too picky about food, but he likes to have dessert after his dinner.

Inspired by the yummy cheesecake in my dessert crepe, I wanted to make a simple cheesecake to serve KikukatDad.  Square desserts are so unfussy, and they fit nicely in the toaster need to heat the big oven to make this.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 1/3-1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
     1 tbsp sugar
     4 tbsp melted butter
     16 oz cream cheese
     1 c sugar
     2 tsp vanilla extract
     2 tsp lemon juice
     3 eggs
     1 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1 tbsp sugar, and 4 tbsp melted butter.  Press into an 8 x 8" baking pan (for easy clean up, line pan with foil before pressing in crumbs).  Bake for 10 minutes.  While crust is baking, prepare filling by beating cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Blend in sour cream.  Pour over baked crust and bake for 70 minutes.  Turn oven off, leave door slightly ajar, and leave cheesecake in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Somen Inari Sushi V2

I am pretty sick. . .sick because I see Labor Day as the end of summer (the season, not the vacation. . .that was over a long time ago).  There's just something to love about the warm temps of summer.  I love endless days of sun.  I love how the pool heats.  I love the long days.  I've already begun sleeping with my electric blanket on.  Sad, sick. . .shucks!

A few years ago, I blogged about somen inari sushi.  When I recently tried retrieving the recipe, the link was not linking to the correct issue of Currents, and I was unable to locate the correct issue.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to look at ways to change the original recipe to suit my taste/convenience.

While the original recipe was good, I didn't feel it contained enough somen noodles, and I would end up with some unfilled aburage since there wasn't enough filling for all the aburage in the jumbo package.  Problem solved by adding more noodles and liquid.  If possible, make this on the day you plan to serve it.  If it sits overnight, the somen noodles will turn green. . .color leeching from the ocean salad.  While the taste is not affected, the eye appeal might be compromised.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 large (31.74 oz) package frozen seasoned deep fried bean curd rectangles, thawed
     10 oz somen noodles (dried)
     2 blocks kamaboko, slivered
     8 oz ocean salad
     3 oz Tropics oriental dressing

Break somen noodles in half and cook as directed on package.  Drain and cool.  Drain aburage, pouring liquid over well drained somen noodles.  Squeeze aburage pieces gently and add liquid to noodles.  Add kamaboko, ocean salad, and dressing to noodles.  Toss gently until kamaboko and ocean salad are distributed throughout.  Carefully open aburage rectangles and fill with somen mixture.  Chill until ready to serve.  Makes about 55 aburage cups.

 I tried to blog in mid-August, but I was just too dang busy.  My friends and I made a trek out to the Manta Restaurant at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel to enjoy their fabulous brunch.  It was a beautiful day.  I'm too embarrassed to show my plate of food.

And sometime at the end of last month, the high school football season began.  I accompanied The Help to HPA for the game.  I'm proud of another Viking victory.

I've been spending lots (too much) time knitting.  I managed to finish 4 projects in August, 2 of which are Christmas gifts.  I'm working feverishly to finish another project, a test knit for my fave designer.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Peanut Butter Brownies

My summer vacation is over.  Waaaaaaahhhhhh!

It sure didn't last long. 

D1 already made the journey back to the valley of the sun.   It feels like it was only a few weeks ago when KikukatDad and I went to pick her up in Kailua-Kona.  Shout out to Mr. Dependable for being a great dad and taking her back.  She had lots to do, and she is lucky he was there to help her.  Thanks to a rented minivan, they were able to get her shit out of storage and into her new apartment in one trip (would've taken at 3+ trips with her sedan).  I cannot imagine she would have so much stuff. 

Just like summer vacation, D1s visit didn't last long either.  I know I will see her in 4 months, but it  was nice having her home.  Who else would remind me to clean the house?  Who else would tell me it's too early to drink alcohol at 3:30?  School for her won't start for nearly 2 weeks, but she had recruitment practice and some other things she needed to get rolling.

In all seriousness, I will miss her many talents.  D1 can do all kinds of things once she sets her mind.  This summer, she conquered macarons.  Having never made macarons before, I was shocked at the lengthy and tedious steps to produce a batch of macarons.  I can also attest that a batch of macarons makes a mound of dirty dishes (and extra egg yolks).  I need to start a list of recipes which use just egg yolks or, at least, use more egg yolks than egg whites, so I will know what to do with the egg yolks (other than throw them away).

It took several attempts, but I think D1 perfected the filling.  Initially, the filling she used was just too sweet.  She experimented with different bases and flavorings and came up with a good filling which didn't try to compete with the already-sweet macaron shells.

D1 put her macaron talents to good use.  She made some for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event in July.  I helped her package them and did the clean up.  I also decided that I won't be making any macarons on my own.  I will stick to less fussy snacks. . .with a lot less dishes to wash. 

If you are like me and don''t like having too many dishes to wash, then these peanut butter brownies might be in your wheelhouse.  They are totally unfussy, whip up in no time with ingredients you likely have on hand, and are mega-delicious.  You will also not be left wondering what to do with extra egg yolks.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/2 c butter, softened
     1/2 c peanut butter
     3/4 c sugar
     3/4 c brown sugar, packed
     2 eggs
     2 tsp vanilla
     1 c flour
     1 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 c chocolate chips
     1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13" pan with foil (or grease a 9 x 13" pan).  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar.  add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.  Add in flour mixture a little at a time.  Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Spread in prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars when completely cool.

A few months ago, I purchased a bag of Korean chili pepper powder.  The ingredients are chili pepper and salt.  I use it occasionally and store it in the fridge.  Last week, I discovered another use for the powder.  I've made the notation on the Spicy Soybean post.

It's been a little over a year since my mom passed.  Although I still miss her dearly, I feel like some normalcy and routine have returned to my life.  I'm hoping to post more frequently since I'm cooking more now (I have another mouth to feed during the work week).  Over the past few years, I've become more adept at knitting, something which would have made KikukatMom proud.  While I will continue to share favorite recipes, I hope to also share my knitting triumphs, fails, WIPs and FOs.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Easy Salmon Tofu Salad

I have been trying to keep busy this summer but not with work.  Actually, I haven't gotten called much for work.  I will probably regret not taking a multi-day job at a certain elementary school, but really, I won't.  It wasn't worth the $ I would have earned.

My time has been spent walking and doing research to expand my fiber arts equipment arsenal.  I could not pass up a deal I came across for a Schacht swift, and one thing led to another, and I ended up with a set of Signature needles (belated Mother's Day gift from the Ds, underwritten by The Help) and a Strauch ball winder.  I've also been working on some projects, as projects are the reason why I upgraded my equipment.  My cousin from Indiana was here last month, and I gave her some goodies for her and her daughter to use this fall/winter.  It was a good reminder that Christmas is 5 1/2 months away, and I will need to have a bunch of gifts ready by then.

It's been a little over a year since KikukatDad has been joining us for dinner several times a week.  When he started coming over, I would often try to think of things which I thought he'd like to eat.  Sometimes, though, I must admit with guilt, I just make what I want to eat.  That's what I did last week.  I made salmon tofu salad.  To my surprise, and his, KikukatDad liked it.  I can tell when he likes something because he will agree to take some home with him.  On the rare occasion when I make something outta-this-world good, he tells me he is going to share it with ABetty in Mt. View.  That hasn't happened too often this past year, but I vow to get better this year.

Happy early Independence Day!  I hope to test out a few more recipes and get farther on some crafting projects.  The Aquifer scarf is slow going, but I love seeing the color changes.  I'm not sure why I do this to myself, but whenever I get a project off my needles (booties for MamaKeeper), I start another.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/8-1/4 lb watercress, optional
     10-16 oz bean sprouts (steam in microwave over water for 3 minutes, rinse and cool
     1 block regular tofu (about 16 oz), drained on paper towels, cubed
     1 tomato, dice
     1/4 onion, chopped
     1 can (7-8 oz) red salmon, drained and crumbled
     2 tbsp oil
     1 clove garlic, minced
     3 tbsp shoyu
     1 stalk green onion, chopped

Layer first 6 ingredients in order given.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  In a small saucepan, heat oil and garlic until garlic begins to brown.  Remove from heat and carefully add shoyu and green onions.  Set aside to cool until serving time.  When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad.

And in case you are wondering, that little fleck on the tofu cube is NOT a tomato seed; it is a small flake of salmon.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Layered Cool Whip Jello

Happy summer vacation.

What are your plans for the summer?

I have none.

It's been a while since I had an actual summer vacation.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.

Oh, that's right.  I need to clean the house.  I have school stipend days.  I have loads of laundry to do.  I have meals to cook.  I promised D1 I would have another go at making xiaolongbao.  Okay, so much for vacation being relaxing.

Now that summer vacation (for some) is here, it's nice to have a cool dessert with dinner.

click on recipe title below for printable recipe

     3 pkgs unflavored gelatin
     3 small boxes Jello (all same flavor)
     1 1/4 c sugar
     2 1/2 c cold water, divided
     3 c boiling water
     8 oz Cool Whip

Soften unflavored gelatin in 1/2 c cold water.  Set aside.  In a large bowl. combine Jello and sugar.  Add boiling water and stir.  Add softened gelatin and stir until everything is dissolved.  Add remaining (2 c) cold water.  Add Cool Whip and beat well.  Pour into a 9 x 13" pan.  Refrigerate until set.  Cut into squares or bars.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tea eggs

Happy May Day!  I can't believe it's already May.  In a few weeks, D1 will be home.  I hope she is able to power through her final exams.  She probably doesn't realize how much I stress over her.  It's probably more stressful than when I was in college.

May is also the month of Mother's Day.  Things will be different this year.  In honor of my mom (and D1's homecoming), the recipe for this month is tea eggs.  My mom enjoyed having these to snack on, and D1 loves them too.  The picture above is how I would serve the eggs if I was having a potluck.  The star anise and stray tea leaves look striking among the bronze-colored eggs.  I saw a similar recipe on the internet which called for a cinnamon stick, so I tried making a batch with the cinnamon stick.  It was okay, but I prefer it without the cinnamon.

A nice thing about tea eggs is that they don't need any additional seasoning (no need to carry a salt shaker).  The eggs are flavored during the simmering.  Be prepared for a beautiful surprise when the shells come off.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     6-8 eggs
     2 tbsp pu'erh or black tea
     1/2 c shoyu
     2 tsp salt
     2 tsp sugar
     3 star anise
     1 strip orange peel

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Gently slip eggs into boiling water and set timer for 11 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath.  When timer rings, use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to ice water.  Add remaining ingredients to water in saucepan.  Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.  When eggs are cool enough to handle, use the back of a spoon to gently crack eggs all over.  Do not remove shells.  Return cracked eggs to saucepan.  Add water to cover eggs by at least 1/2".  Simmer eggs for 1 hour.  Drain and serve.