Tuesday, March 31, 2015

So Funny!

Look at what one of my sisters saw the other day!

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wendell's Fish Cake Inarizushi

This is a Betty Shimabukuro By Request recipe that Wendell found in the Star-Advertiser earlier this month. I gobbled it  up.



 1 pound fresh Chinese fish paste
 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
 2 tablespoons minced green onion
 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
 2 tablespoons shredded carrot
 1 egg, beaten
 10 pieces inari age (cone sushi wrappers)

Combine fish paste with ginger, green onion, cilantro and carrot. Fold in egg, turning until well combined. (If you wish to test your flavorings, fry a small amount in a skillet and taste. Adjust seasonings.)

Squeeze excess liquid from inari age (some liquid can be added to filling to add a sweet-tart flavor). Separate inari age and open each piece. Stuff about 1/4 cup of filling into each wrapper.
Set in a steamer basket, pressing filled cones into basket so bottoms flatten out a little and cones stand up. Place in a steamer over simmering water and cover. Let steam until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Test by cutting into filling of 1 cone with a knife; it should be white and firm. Makes 10 filled cones.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wendell's Irish Soda Bread

This recipe was in last week Monday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  It came out so good that Wendell made it a couple more times for his softball team(s).


Heat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for loaf pan). 

Whisk together 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar (5 tablespoons for loaf), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2    teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 cup raisins and 2 teaspoons caraway seeds.

In a separate bowl, whisk 1 large egg, 2/3 cup buttermilk (1 cup for loaf) and 4 tablespoons warm, melted, unsalted butter. Add flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be stiff but sticky. Scrape the batter onto a cookie sheet and shape into a mound about 7 inches across. Use a sharp knife to make a large X on the top.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes (45 to 50 minutes in a loaf pan). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool before serving.

—Mike Gordon

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lessons in Patience

It seems that with this sewing thing I spend an equal amount of time going backward as I do going forward.  Dunno why, but no matter how careful I try to be, I keep doing dumb stuff. 

I've sewn a zipper onto a side seam instead of the top.  I've sewn on pieces upside down. I've accidentally ripped out stitches and then had to resew them again. Once when I was all pau with a project and was just tidying it up by snipping off some loose strings, I cut a puka right in the front of the bag. 

For the coin purse below, I decided that I didn't like the zipper that I had already sewn on.  It ended up being too heavy and stiff for the small-sized purse. It looked too bulky. So even though I was almost done, I took it out.


And guess what I did with this nifty rotary cutter that I just got?

I accidentally sliced a precious red zipper in two. Yup. Clean in two. Howzdat?

Ohmmmm . . . Ohmmmm . . .

Saturday, March 21, 2015

T-Shirt Theatre's Spring Show: Big Ideas Re-Imagined

I attended a T-Shirt Theatre rehearsal of few days ago, and as usual these talented Farrington High School students provided an amazing performance.

If you happen to be free on either of the days below, you should go check them out.

Spring Show "BIG IDEAS"

T-Shirt Theatre's spring show "Big Ideas: Reimagined" weaves together theatrical vignettes from earlier shows reimagined into one connected storyline by Direct Primo Assis. New original music composed by Musical Director Jonah Moananu adds the punch and elevates the emotional power within the performance into this delightful and introspective drama adventure.

FREE Performances
Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m.
Kaimuki High School Auditorium











Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wendell's Puff Pastry Salmon

Unreal that Wendell made this yah! I couldn't believe that he even attempted it, and it tasted as good as it looks.  He got the recipe from here


Luckily, I was home to catch some action shots. 



He made these beets to go with it.  It was yummy.  The recipe can be found here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Pouches

Here are some pouches that made recently.

Isn't this triangular coin purse so cute?  The instructions are here. I found the black and white material in a remnant bin at Walmart.

The zipper and lining material is from a brand-new Paris Blues jean that I got at a garage sale for $1.

Here's a matching pouch.

I used the waistband of the jeans to decorate this pouch.  The canvas-like blue/white material is from an old Roxy bag.

This is a pencil case that I made with a Japanese furoshiki cloth that Leslie gave me a couple of years ago.

Here's a coin purse made with the same material.

Coworker Michele gave me the material that I used for this pencil case. 

Wendell asked me to make him a case for his eyeglasses that he could fit into his fanny pack. I recycled the black material from an  old bag.

The material for these four pouches came from another Roxy bag.

This is the bag that I cut up. I got it for $1 at the Kalaheo Project Grad garage sale last month. IMG_1784

While taking pictures of the four pouches, I decided to shoot this lamp to show you too. It was 5 bucks at the swap meet.  Verilux! Score, hah!

I'm thinking of using these buttons for zipper pulls.  Not sure if they're sturdy enough though 'cause they're plastic. 

But I couldn't resist buying um 'cause they're so cute. Right? They're from Ben Franklin and were $3.50/pack.

Zippers are the most costly item to me. Michele found a good deal on eBay, 100 zippers for $15.  I'm hoping I don't lose interest in sewing until I can make use of most of um. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Amazon Has a Heart

A family friend posted this on Facebook.  They recently lost their beloved pet, Mr. Ernie.

We had ordered Mr. Ernie special food from Amazon but it arrived after he had already passed. We never opened the box. Still grieving, we emailed Amazon to ask if the un-returnable food could be returned because of our circumstances. Amazon wrote us back a personalized letter apologizing for our loss and giving us an immediate full refund on all items. Furthermore, not to inconvenience us during our mourning period, Amazon told us to not return the products and instead donate them to an organization.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Binchotan Charcoal

When me and Geri were in Marukai the other day we looked at some table-top shichirins much like this one that me and Leslie used in a restaurant in Japan. Geri was seriously considering buying one but ended up just "thinking about it".


I told her that if she got it she would need to use that special Japanese charcoal.  I didn't know the name of it at that time. We couldn't find it at Marukai, but I did manage to find it at Nijiya the next day.  I bought a bag. Ho da expensive.  $9 for a 1-pound bag.  

When I got home I looked it up.  Sooooo interesting. Binchotan is made from ubame oak and is called white charcoal. It does not release smoke or other unpleasant odors. Binchotan is harder than black charcoal and rings with a metallic sound when struck. You can reuse binchotan several times by submerging the hot coals in cold water and then drying them for a day. It's also used to freshen the air and to purify water. The photo below is from Wikipedia.
"BurningBinchōtan" by STRONGlk7 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia

Here's a video I found showing how the King of binchotan, Kishu Binchotan is made. From what I could figure out using Google Translate, they use ubame oak which they straighten and make uniform in size by inserting wedges. This is so that the pieces will burn evenly. They fire the pieces at 2190 degrees F. Many factors including the season, weather, condition of the wood, etc. determine when the binchotan is done. It takes many years of experience to learn when the timing to finish is right. 

Watching the video made me realize why the binchotan is so expensive.  And I wonder how much longer this traditional method of charcoal-making will survive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kashiwa Mochi

This is Kashiwa Mochi.  It's made and eaten during the Children's Day celebration time.  Geri bought it at Marukai and started eating it as soon as we got into the car.  


When I got home I looked up "Kashiwa Mochi" and found a recipe. Look at what it says about the leaf. 


I couldn't stop laughing after I read it because I'm the one that told Geri that she's supposed to eat the leaf. And she listened. Because I'm older. And wiser. Hahahaha!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hmmmm . . .

I bought this lemon from the swap meet.  It's so huge that it looks like an orange. The guy I bought it from had 10 of um.  I bought um all.  They were 50 cents each.


They were plump and so juicy.  I'm gonna give my mom half and I'll make lemonade with my half.  

Look at the seeds.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yes!  I'm gonna try again.  Yee haw!

Isn't the juicer so pretty?! I got it from Akemi of Nippon Nin. She bought it in Japan.  Thank you, Akemi!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sole Survivor

Two years ago I planted some lemon seeds.  They suffered through snail damage, a hungry caterpillar, citrus leaf miner, and of course, DAMN RABBIT.  I only have one plant left. 

It flowered for the first time recently.  Made me so happy!  But, I have worry . . . some of the leaves been turning yellow and then they fall off.  Dunno what to do . . . 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

AGU's Yuzu Jidori Ramen

I usually order the Kotteri Ramen at AGU because I favor a thick, rich broth. Only thing . . . the Kotteri Ramen comes with the thinner Hakata-style noodles which, although good, is not really my favorite style of noodle.

Me and my sister Geri found ourselves at AGU this past Sunday. She ordered the Yuzu Jidori Ramen. Hmmmm, I thought . . . something different . . . and made with Tokyo-style chijire noodles.  So I copied her.


It was ono ono ono. The broth was light yet very flavorful. And the noodles were perfect. I think you should try it the next time you go there.  Here's their menu:  AGU menu.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


So huge, yah!!  The lilikoi vine(s) which it came from is taking over the neighbor's mango tree.  An average of around 10 lilikoi a day fell into our yard at one time.  They've kinda stopped now.

This photo reminds me of Kat's (Our Adventures in Japan) picture of a chestnut that she found years ago while walking to the train station. That photo is actually what started me reading her blog.  I thought it was just so cool that she could just find a chestnut on the ground while walking.  You can check out her story here

I think Kat's photo affected me a lot because there was a crossroad in my life where I could have chosen to pursue a relationship with somebody, and it might've ended up with me being the one walking to a train station in Japan and discovering a chestnut on the ground. Instead I chose the path that finds me with a giant lilikoi in the palm of my hand.  It's been a great path, and yet sometimes I wonder . . . 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recycled Life Hacks

Thanks for sharing, Ross!