Monday, November 30, 2009

Cricket Cage

While killing time before a photo shoot, I strolled into the East West Center Gallery on the UH campus. This little wooden cage caught my eye. The plaque said: "Cricket Cage, Wood, 20th Century. Cricket cages originated in China where collecting and training crickets to fight has a long history." I imagined someone's prized cricket in this cage wearing a boxer's robe, shuffling around , swinging right crosses, left hooks and uppercuts into the air.

I found the following info online:

Cricket Culture in China encompasses a 2000 year history of both singing insects and fighting crickets. Under the Song dynasty (960 - 1279 A.D.), cricket fighting flourished as a popular sport. Such activity was still flourishing during the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911), when the Emperor's family, city residents or village men and scholars, all collected crickets feverishly every summer.

A big body, big jaws and a black face are the standard of excellence for a cricket. But to find a good one is not easy. Fu Cun, who has 20 years experience of cricket fighting, said when he went out to catch crickets he often waited in the field a whole day for the right one. The way a cricket is raised is also crucial. "I feed my crickets a special food combining corn flour, wheat flour and apple pieces," said Huang Huoyong, a stall keeper at the Xizang Nanlu Flower and Bird Market. For especially excellent crickets, calcium tablets or ginseng might be added to strengthen their bodies and hone their fighting abilities. Huang said in the current cycle of cricket fighting, it is quite common to hear such stories: for some men, the adored creature who shares their bed each night is their champion cricket rather than their wife.

You can find more info at China

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweetie's Clams Casino

My youngest sister Leigh is such a sweetie that that's what we call her . . . Sweetie. She made these Clams Casino for Thanksgiving.

In Sweetie's words:
* my words

Way back when..... when Didi and Glenn (Didi's husband) worked at John Dominis restaurant....... when I was still in college ..... I was introduced to the restaurant's hot selection appetizer plate. On this plate was Clam's Casino..... among several other delectable delights. It has remained one of my favorite appetizers. I never managed to obtain their recipe but this is my adaptation of something from my past.

A broiler sheet amount of fresh clams in the shell, rinsed - we had dollar-coin sized clams from Tamashiro market, Michael (Sweetie's husband) said we had 100, I didn't think so

2 red bell peppers, diced into 1/4 in cubes
1 small round onion, diced into 1/4 in cubes
1/2 package of bacon strips, or 3-6 strips, sliced into 1/4 in - amount depends on your preference - I like a lot of bacon

Michael's version: the ratio is: 3 parts bell pepper, 2 parts onion, 1 part bacon..... he insists I include this

2 Tbsp butter or 1 Tbsp butter and any extra clam juice that you saved from a can of clams that you used to make clam dip....
-place clams into a pot with 1 inch H20 with whatever aeromatic seasoning you want: we used celery salt and Old Bay seasoning....however much 'fusion' you desire (you can tell that's Michael's term and measurements) and heat/steam until clam shells open up, remove from heat as soon as clam shells open - otherwise clams get rubbery and chewy
-let cool
-while that's cooking.... saute bacon, onions and bell peppers in butter/clam juice until onions translucent and bacon fat is reduced
-let cool
-split clam shells in half and save the side that has the clam meat in it (tee hee)
--rinse off any sand or shell chips
-use spoon edge to pry clam meat off of shell and let meat remain in shell half
-line broiler pan with cleaned clam shells filled with clam meat
-add spoonful of bacon, onion, pepper mixture onto clam/clam shell
-broil for several minutes...low if you have time..... high if you can't wait
-keep your eye on it 'cause it doesn't take long for the bacon,onion,pepper mixture to brown since everything is already cooked
-when bacon is crisp......or before anything burns..... remove from broiler
-cool just a little bit... 'cause it's best when hot.....grab shell and slurp contents off of shell.....
Great when served with baguette slices. (almost as good as my cousin Dennis' baked tako treat)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Didi's Mochi Rice Dish

This is one of the dishes that Didi brought for Thanksgiving. She was trying to recreate the harm joong I blogged about earlier. It was really good. I think it's simple enough for all you good cooks out there, but it's a little too complicated for me. Her recipe follows.

In Didi's words:

Sooo………..wanted to make kinda like that mochi wrapped in the lotus leaf stuff that you said you liked so much….you had it on your blog a while back, I feel you REALLY need the lotus leaves for that missing flavor….anyways….here you go………..dang, I knew, I should’ve measured….

- 3 c. glutinous rice, soak overnight, soak in large container to allow room for rice to expand (1 ½ x’s in size)
- Drain rice COMPLETELY

- 6 dried shitake mushrooms, soak, drain, reserving 1 c. of water, remove stems, finely chop
- 1/3 c. black fungus, soaked, drained, finely chop
- 2 TB SMALL dried ebi, soak in ¼ cup of water, reserve all liquid, finely chop
- 2 links, CHICKEN lup cheong sausage, thinly sliced in rounds
- 3 TB chopped green onion, white parts only
- 1/2 cup shredded turkey meat ** or dark chicken meat, or Chinese Roast duck meat

I did all my mise en place the night before, so when ready to cook rice:

- Place rice in rice cooker
- Measure 3 cups of water, using shiitake mushroom water and dried ebi water, to remaining water, dissolve 1 bag non MSG dashi no moto. Add into cooker
- Top with remaining ingredients
- Press da button
- Garnish with 3 TB chopped green onion, green parts only

Friday, November 27, 2009

Victoria Station-Kine Shrimp

About 30 years ago . . . I can't believe I say that nowadays . . . 30 years ago, 40 years ago . . . sheese, soooo unreal how the time just few by so fast . . .

Anyway, about 30 years ago, both my brother Cy and my sister Didi worked at Victoria Station on Kapiolani. They had this super ono shrimp dish that I would order all the time. I made up this recipe . . . it's kinda similar. I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday.

First I mix together butter, parsley and chopped garlic. I butterfly the shrimp, spread on the butter concoction and sprinkle bread crumbs over it. I then sprinkle a little salt over the whole thing and broil.
Simple yeah. Tomorrow I'm gonna share Didi's recipe for this mochi rice dish that she made. I loved it. Not as easy to make as my dish though. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Da Kamado-made Turkey

Wendell usually makes our Thanksgiving turkey in the kamado. Just before doing this post I checked online (mostly 'cause I didn't know how to spell "kamado") and I couldn't find any that looked like ours. Ours seems to be made of clay and it must weigh a ton. They sure don't make 'um like this anymore. I asked Wendell how old the kamado is. He said about 40 years old!!

Wendell had problems today. The turkey was doing okay but stopped short of the required 170 degree temperature. So Wendell had to add more coals which delayed the pau time a little bit.
It was just as ono as usual though . . . very moist and smoky flavored. Wendell brined the turkey for a day and then left it uncovered in the fridge overnight. Just before putting it into the kamado he rubbed it with olive oil and some salt.

Mission Houses Museum Cafe and Tea Room

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!! My new photog buddy Rand is my guest blogger for this post. He visited the Mission Houses Museum Cafe and Tea Room yesterday and e-mailed me the following photos.

Rand says the setting is very nice and the food ono. He said that this coming Saturday, they'll be having a crafts fair and they'll be serving more food. I can't make it this Saturday; I gotta work, but anybody wanna join me for a photography excursion? Sounds good yeah . . . we get to take pictures, plus we get to eat!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One More Shave Ice From City Cafe

Susan surprised me again!! So nice yeah!! This one had taro, jelly and azuki beans! She said their special this week until Sunday is buy-one-get-another -for -half-off.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

City Cafe

The other day coworker Susan surprised me with this shave ice. It was so, so, so, so ono!! Maybe it was the custard flan . . . or maybe it was the azuki beans . . . or maybe it was the BIG mochi balls . . .

She also got me this scone too. I brought it home (just so you know that I didn't eat everything at one time). It was good too.

She got it from City Cafe on Makaloa, and at that time they had a buy-one-get-one-free sale. I think the sale is pau already . . . but maybe not . . . go check 'um out!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Chase and Allison

It's Christmas card picture taking time for Chase and Allison. Here's how it went.

What was that? A flash?
Can I show my Mickey and Minnie Mouse diaper too?
Hey, is that taco sauce?
This is soooooo boring!
Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!!
Are we done yet??
Please God, let us be done soon.
Hellooooooo, are you listening??
Somebody, rescue me!!!
I can't take it anymore!
Maybe this will work.

The Daily Nail

This might not be your thing and come to think of it it's not really my thing either, but I've been following this blog The Daily Nail. The blogger is quite an artist and she comes up with new designs for her nails DAILY. Unreal yeah! And she does it on BOTH hands! This is today's design.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The Yamada Family

It was at Edsel and Fawn's wedding that I first had a hand at wedding photography . . . and it was with film! They were also the first ever to ask me to take family photos for their Christmas card. Last year we went to Kahala Beach. Yesterday we tried out Wa'ahila Ridge for a different look. I loved the colors, and Tori was as adorable as ever.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


In answer to RonW's question on how I clean my lenses, this is what I use. On the left is a LensPen which I've been using for the past few years and on the right is a Leica cleaning cloth which I used for the first time today.

The LensPen has won several product awards including Accessory of the Year. I use the brush end first to brush off any dust or particles that might be stuck on the lens. Then I use the other side to remove smudges. It works really well, and because it's so portable, I always have one with me. I usually order it from B & H Photo whenever I order other supplies, but I remember buying a generic version once from Longs Drugs awhile back. It's about $10.
This Leica lens cleaner cloth worked really well today too, but it was expensive for just a cloth - $12 online. I think one of those eyeglass cleaning cloths might work just as well.
I also wanted to show you my "photo studio". Wendell had new windows installed around our house, and now I got this beautiful light coming into our bedroom. I'm not sure if maybe it's especially nice because it's reflected off the neighbor's house, but I love it. Wendell wanted to tint the windows too, but I hope he doesn't. I put a big poster board on the bed, and use that to put stuff on.

Diamond Head Market and Grill

I visited Diamond Head Market and Grill again today. For this picture of my favorite Beechwood Smoked Ham and Havarti Cheese Sandwich ($6.50), I turned the bread inside out to show you what the cranberry chutney spread looks like. I wish I knew how to make it 'cause that's what totally makes this sandwich so special.

Here's CQ's favorite, the House Inari sushi ($6.50).
Wendell likes lamb, so I got him this Roast Lamb Sandwich ($6.75).
7-Layer Dip ($7.75)
And the popular Blueberry Creamcheese Scone ($2.50?)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chili's Commercial

Apparently somebody broke their copier, copier, copier.

They think it was Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer

Then somebody's paper got jammed; her paper got jammed.

So they added new toner.

Then something went wrong with their internet, internet, internet.

They think it's the wireless, wireless, wireless, wireless . . .

This commercial is soooooo annoying, annoying, annoying

That I'm never, ever eating there, eating there, eating there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oven Kalua Pig

Wendell made this sometime last week. I didn't get to taste it until a few days later, but it was still ono.
The recipe is from What Hawaii Likes to Eat.

5 to 7 pounds pork butt
3 tbs. Hawaiian salt
1 tsp. liquid smoke
10 to 12 ti leaves, ribs removed

Cut 1-inch slits around pork and rub surface with salt; brush with liquid smoke. Wrap pork in ti leaves then tie with string. Wrap again in foil and seal tightly. Roast at 400 degrees for 3 hours or until done. Remove from pan and shred pork before serving.

Guess Where This Is

No, it's not some fancy hotel lobby.
It's at the same place where I took Wendell's picture for yesterday's post . . .