Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strawberries Pie time

We had a long winter and spring came 5 weeks late for us and the weather has been a bit on the unpredictable side, storms and lower than normal temps. Just when I started to wonder would summer ever be here, then I saw these at the grocer.

I had been disappointed a few times this year, but these were different. They had that sweet wonderful smell of in season strawberries and they were so sweet too. I had to do something with it.

Mr Wonderful always tells me he doesn't care for sweet and he will eat anything... Well, well, everyone has a preference... and the truth is, he likes pies. I made a simple quick Strawberries pie for our Memorial weekend. 

Simple Strawberries Pie

  • 2 sheets roll-out pie crust 
  • White sugar, for top of crust 
  • 1 egg, separated into yoke and white, lightly whisked with a fork 
  • Sugar for sprinkle 
  • 4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted 
  • 1 Tbsp instant Tapioca 
  • Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out 1 sheet of the pie crust and put in a 8-inch pie plate, brush the crust with beaten egg white. Set a side.

Roll out the other sheet and cut into 1/2-inch strips with a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. Set aside (You don’t have to be perfect)

In a large bowl, mix together 4 cups of strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla ,melted butter and salt

Add Tapioca, toss well. You can use cornstarch. I prefer tapioca in berry and soft fruits pie.The taste is cleaner to me and the fruit gel tighter and make a better presentation when you serve. 

Pile the strawberries into the prepared crust. 

Arrange the strips over the top of the pie in a lattice pattern. 

Use a fork and crimp down the edges, trim off any excess strips. 

Take 1 tbsp of yoke, mix with 1 tbsp of mix to make the egg wash. Brush the top.

Sprinkle with sugar evenly. 

Place pie on a foil lined baking sheet. It will bubble over, the foil will save you a lot of cleaning up later!

Bake the pie for an hour and until the top is golden brown.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some Huli huli for the BBQ opening season

Whenever I hear "Kūlia, HULI!" that usually came in the voice of my Kumu Hula (Hula teacher). I would usually be "brain-dead", stuck in a position and forgot to turn..

Huli means “turn” in Hawaiian. Huli huli chicken is one the most famous BBQ in Hawai'i. It is actually rotisserie chicken, Hawaiian style. Here is a good article that tells the story of Huli huli Chicken

It's Memorial day weekend, the official opening for Grilling season. I know everyone can use a simple marinade. Huli huli chicken came to mind. The base for huli huli chicken is the marinade. Here is my version. I usually make a small batch and use it with fish, especially salmon, pork, chicken or even firm tofu. 

With requests from a couple of friends, I am making this a simplified version by using some of the "jar" products.

Kūlia's huli huli marinade
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce or ketchup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic or 3 clove (minced)
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger or 2 tsp fined grated.
  • Juice of a small lemon or lime (about ¼” cup)
  • 1 cup shoyu
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • lots of pepper

Combine BBQ sauce, salt, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and lemon juice. I use Hawaiian red salt with this. It gives the marinade a smoky earthy flavor.
Add shoyu.
Add A LOT of pepper (to taste) and sherry.
Mix well. Pour in a jar and store in the fridge, used within a week. Marinade the meat overnight, fish or tofu for a couple of hours.

I also make a variation by adding:
¼ cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp Korean Gochujang (Hot pepper paste) for heat
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
This is great with pork. 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

5 heads to a pot of Creole Lobster soup!

In many old cultures, such as Chinese and Hawaiian, wasting food is frowned on. I usually try to use every usable parts in most of my cooking. Actually there is a lot of flavor in some of the “discards”.

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to a lobster boil and I took home the 5 extra heads that my friends didn’t want to venture with. 
I was allergic to shellfish as a child, but I was required to help picking crabs for our family restaurants during my late teen years whenever I was back in Singapore.  I didn't start eating seafood till I moved to Hawai'i. I learned to eat lobster at my friend, Matt's in MA. I still remember his mother taught me how to take apart a lobster like a REAL Bostonian!!
I was going to make stock and freeze it for later. However, the weather was a bit crazy here, we had pouring rain, then tornado warning, actual tornado touch down northeast of the house. I decided to stay home and make some soup. I was going make chowder; Mr. Wonderful seems to like heartier soup. However with the crazy storm, I couldn’t get out of the house! I also found a piece of kielbasa with the lobster heads… Hmmm sausage? Shellfish? Rice… Let’s cook a little Creole here.

Creole inspired leftover lobster soup
  • 6 cups lobster stock (or any seafood stock
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 1 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic from a jar
  • 6" piece of spicy/smoky sausage your choice. cubed. (I use the leftover spicy kielbasa)
  • 2 stalk celery, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” cube
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs de province
  • ½ cup basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup of lobster meat (or other seafood, such as lump crab meat)
  • ½ cup of lobster tomalley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish
Prepare 6 cups of lobster stock:
Break down 5 leftover heads; remove tomalley and body meat, reserve for later use.

Boil the shells in 8 cups of water for 3-4 hours over low heat
Strain and press on the shells to extract all the stock. Reserve

Prepare the vegetable and soup ingredients while making the stock.
Heat ghee with olive oil over medium high heat in the same pot you make the lobster stock if you want. I like using ghee instead of butter in my cooking. Ghee is clarified butter and it has a higher smoke point, it does not burn easily like butter and still give you that great rich flavor)
Sauté chopped garlic and onion, add crushed garlic.
Add sausage and brown lightly.
Add carrot and celery, sauté for a few mins. Add herbs de province; crush it lightly by hand, sauté for a couple of mins

Add rice, mix well. Let the rice toast for a min or so to develop some flavor.
Season with salt and pepper
Add 6 cups of stock, bring to a full boil. 
Cover. Reduce heat to med low, cook for about 20 mins till the rice is soft, the soup will thicken into a thin porridge consistency. Add lobster meat and tomalley. Heat thoroughly

Ladle in to a bowl. Garnish with chopped parley and serve.
(Serve 6 of Mr. Wonderful or 8 of me – 6 as entrée, 8 as starter)

You can easily adapt this recipe to other seafood, such as crab or fish. You don’t have to make the stock; you can use any seafood stock, such as clam, shrimp or fish. (Better than Bouillon is my preferred brand)
If you are using fish, put uncooked large pieces into the soup and let it cook directly in the liquid. I would also add a sprinkle of lemon juice and lemon zest to the garnish when serving.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

What to do with ono leftover cardamon bread?

Sometimes freezer can be full of surprises. As I was making a mushroom pot roast for Mr Wonderful for the week, I found ½ load of cardamom bread from Tobies. I bought it on the way back to the city from Momi’s amazing yoga retreat a month ago.

A group of friends and I had plan to attend the Lobster Boil at Smack Shack this afternoon. Check out this feast:

I brought home 5 lobster heads too, it will be wonderful for stock!
I know Mr Wonderful would most likely want something sweet by this evening. I picked up some blueberries a few days ago, so here is my simple leftover bread pudding

Blueberry cardamom bread pudding with simple microwave blueberry syrup
  • ½ loaf of cardamom bread, cut or tear into small pieces
  • 8 oz low fat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup blueberries, washed.
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (I had a tbsp of lillikoi butter left in a jar, I use that instead)
In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, Add sugar. Mix in buttermilk till blended. Fold in butter.

Add bread piece, make sure it is well soaked, you may need to add a little bit more milk, depending on the size of the load and the texture. The bread I used was quite soft and not dense.
Use the back of a spoon to break down the bread as much as possible. Fold in vanilla. Cover and let it stand in the fridge for about an hour

Heat oven to 350. Grease or spray a 8x8 square glass pan.

Gently fold blueberries into the bread mixture.  
Pour pudding into the prepared pan
Bake for 1hour or until set. (When you insert the toothpick in the center of the pudding, it should come out clean)
Let the pudding stand for about 10 mins. Cut into squares and serve with ice cream and/or with the simple blueberry syrup (About 8 serving). 

Microwave Blueberry syrup (Serve 4)
  • ¼ cup blueberries, cleaned
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
Combine all in a 2 cups measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 mins. It will boil in the cup and thicken slightly.

Remove from microwave, stir and let stand for a few min. Stir again.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the syrup over the bread pudding and serve


Friday, May 20, 2011

Not Julia or Julie's Boeuf Bourguignon, but Kūlia's

Here I am... my first posting!! I would like to start with honoring one of my favorite Food author, Julia Child. Since I didn't grow up in this country, my memory of her only goes back to my college days.

I was visiting my college best friend, Matt, last weekend and we watched Julie and Julia. Matt and I used to cooked together "Julia Child's cooking show" style. 
Actually Matt was the one who encouraged me to start this blog, so this is for you too Matthew. It can't be more appropriate to post my version of Boeuf Bourguignon.

So here it is my version, I use a lot more vegetable and I don’t use pork or bacon in this variation.

Kūlia's Beef Bourguignon

• ½ bottle (about 2 cups) of good red wine

• 1 large onion, peeled and cut in quarters

• 2 carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks

• 1 stalk celery, trimmed and cut in 1” pieces

• 1 green pepper, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 1” pieces

• 1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 1” pieces

• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

• 4 shallots, peeled and cut in quarters

• 12 parsley stems

• 2 teaspoon dried thyme

• 2 teaspoon dried rosemary

• 8 black peppercorns

• 2 bay leaf

• 8 ozs white mushrooms, cleaned

• Small jar of Dijon mustard

• 3 pounds well-marbled beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces

• 8 tablespoon olive oil

• ¼ cup tablespoon flour

• 2 cup stock

• salt and pepper to taste

• 1 tbsp butter

• 1 tbsp flour

• Chopped parsley leaves


In a large bowl, combine the red wine, onion, carrots, celery, 
green pepper, leek, garlic, parsley stems, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp rosemary, 
peppercorns and bay leaves.Add the beef, mix well. 
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day drain the beef, reserving the marinade and vegetables 
separately. I usually separate the onion, garlic and shallots from the 
other vegetables. Discard the peppercorns, and parsley stems. 

Heat 6 tbsp olive oil in large fry pan over high heat, brown beef in batches evenly, remove beef to a large bowl.

In large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, add garlic, 
shallot and onion to the pan, saute till soften. Add beef to the large pot. 
Remove from heat

Meanwhile, add the remaining vegetable and mushroom to the pan you 
browned the beef in, cook over high heat for a few mins. 
Add the vegetable to the large pot

Add the reserved marinade liquid to the pan to deglaze. Bring to boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 

Add the liquid to the large pot, coat the meat and vegetable well

Add the remaining rosemary and thyme. 

Add in the jar of Dijon Mustard. Mix well.

Add more wine and stock if need. The liquid should almost cover 
the meat and vegetable. Bring the mixture to a boil, season with salt and pepper. 

Cover and simmer at low heat for about 2 hrs till the meat is folk tender.

Remove the stew to a large bowl. Drain the liquid, add stock or water to 
make up to about 3 cups. 

In the same pot, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, add 1 tablespoon of flour to 
make a roux. Slowly add the liquid into the roux over very low heat 
with a whisk, make sure you don’t have many lumps.

Bring to a boil and stir constantly till thickens lightly. Add the meat and 
vegetable back in and coat. 
Serve. Garnish with chopped parley. 

I love to serve this with low fat mashed yukon potatoes topped with parsley pesto on a cold winter night.

Here is my boys, sharing their TV dinner!