Our neighbors have family over in Kona, and the family has mango trees. Fortunately, these are very nice neighbors, and they shared mangoes with us, this week. Yum! We started off with Mr. L's Big Island Mango Margaritas last Sunday - what a treat (photo below). We have been nibbling on fresh mango all week, but today Mr. L noticed they were about to be overripe. I found this recipe for Mango Bread online, attributed to Sam Choy. The photo is above.
It is delicious! I made a few tweaks, though. First off, I added a teaspoon of salt to the dry ingredients, just because any fruit or nut bread I have ever made has a little salt, and from what I read, the salt enhances the flavor.
I did not have any shredded coconut (a casualty of the tenting clean-out, a few weeks ago) but I did have coconut extract, which gave it a great flavor. My bread, though, does not have as much fiber. Lastly, I baked for 55 minutes at 350. I checked at 45 minutes and the bread was still doughy in the middle. 55 minutes was perfect. Anyway, if you have a bumper crop of mangoes, this is a great recipe.
And yes, the second loaf went to the neighbors as a thank-you.
Here is how the menus for the week are shaping up.
Sunday: Pan-Fried Ahi Over Salad Greens, Tomatoes, Fresh Croutons, and Sliced Avocado
Monday: Spaghetti with Italian Chicken Sausage; Zucchini
Tuesday: Kalua Pork, Cabbage, and Rice
Wednesday: Chicken Chardonnay, Steamed Broccoli, and French Bread; Sliced Tomatoes
Thursday: Tempura Shrimp, Rice, and Coleslaw
Friday: Burritos and Fresh Guacamole
Saturday: Tomatoes Stuffed with Tuna and Avocado; Home Fries
Cheers! Have a great week. -C. Ironing
My friend Denise Laitinen just had this piece published in The Honolulu Civil Beat, which I found to be thought-provoking. On the same day that I read it, I had also overheard a conversation where the folks were complaining about the local food prices, including bread and milk. They were new to the area and quite surprised about prices.
It is definitely not cheap to live here. A quick google search turned up "30% higher cost of living" (2013 study). From my perspective, which is largely food writing, I really had to change habits when we moved. I used to just go buy whatever, whenever, with very little regard for prices. Now, I check grocery-store ads, use up leftovers (see hash, above), cook a lot from scratch, grow what I can in the garden and buy in bulk.
A reader once commented that I use "too much frozen food" and "should be buying all organic." Well, sure, I'd only buy fresh meat, fish, and organic vegetables, if we could afford to do that. A food budget, though, is part of an overall budget, and I do my best to stick to it.
Much of this weekend has been dedicated to garden prep, speaking of produce. Mr. L and I just got back from taking the "green waste" to that section of the dump. Now we need to prepare the soil. That usually means that Mr. L does the heavy digging while I putter around with my shovel. We're planting green beans, beets, kabocha squash, and bok choy, plus some herbs. A neighbor showed us how to plant squash near a sturdy fence so that it "climbs," and the bugs don't get them. I hope it works.
Speaking of food and menus, here we go.
Sunday: Sausage, Spinach, and Parmesan-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms; Kabocha Squash; Chive Rolls
Monday: Grilled Chicken Breasts over Apple-Cherry-Bleu Cheese and Pecan Salad; Raspberry Vinaigrette
Tuesday: Pork Skewers with Green Peppers and Mushrooms; Rice
Wednesday: Home-made Chicken Noodle Soup; Leftover Rolls
Thursday: Cheeseburger Pie (stuffing piecrust with turkeyburger, cheddar cheese, mustard and chopped dill pickle); Salad
Friday: Cauliflower "Steaks" with Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes
Saturday: Panko-Fried Chicken Thighs, Tater Tots and Salad
Here is an interesting article on the history of Memorial Day. Did you know the 3:00 p.m. part? I didn't.
Hope you have a good week.
- C. Ironing
I had a heck of a time deciding what photo to use for this week's post. As you will see below, I have some really nice ones. However, in the end, I went with bacon. Doesn't everyone love bacon? Maybe I just have bacon on the brain because I'm working on a piece for wisebread.com about fancy bacon recipes.
The above photo was taken last weekend on our camping trip. We went camping because the house was being tented (more about that in my previous post). It was really fun. Despite having not camped in probably 13 years, we were very well-equipped. Between needing to buy food to test bacon recipes and well, just being out of everything after the tenting clean-out, I did a considerable amount of grocery shopping this weekend.
Below are some pictures of the Ka'u area, but most are of our drive down to South Point. South Point is the southernmost place in the United States. In the ten+ years we have lived here, we had not done that, yet. It is twelve miles down, and sort of a narrow road, but well worth the views. Don't plan to take a picnic or hang out for long. It is windy. Beyond windy. Hard-to-stand-up windy. It is also very desolate, but in a beautiful, odd, sort of way. Here is a slideshow, and then we'll get back to menus, below.
Very dramatic scenery, right? Worth the drive.
Here are this week's menus.
Sunday: Pork Loin Roast with Pan-Fried Apples and Red Potatoes; Romaine Lettuce Salad with Bleu Cheese and Pecans
Monday: Chicken Quesadillas (with Pinto Beans, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Olives and Avocado); Corn on the Cob
Tuesday: Brussels Sprouts with Grapes, Walnuts, and Bacon; French Bread
Wednesday: Cremini Mushroom and Shallot Pockets; Kabocha Squash
Thursday: Spaghetti Carbonara; Salad; French Bread
Friday: Buckwheat Noodles in Chicken Broth Topped with Poached Egg, Bok Choy, and Green Onions
Saturday: "Italian" Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce, Olives, and Mozzarella
Recipe Notes: Wednesday's recipe will be adapted from this one from Martha Stewart. I need to use up a pie crust. :-)
Have a great week, everyone!
This weekend, we did the most Hawaiian thing of all Hawaiian things. We did not attend a luau. We did not make lei. We did not go fishing, surfing, to the beach, not any of those. We tented.
For those of you unacquainted with tenting, this is how it works. The tropics are delightful to not only people, but also termites. Man, they love it here. They love your house, especially. They would like to eat your house right down to the studs. So, periodically you must tent. You call a tenting company, they evict you for a while, and it looks like the circus has arrived in your neighborhood (the covers are usually striped). For those of you considering a move to Hawaii, think again. I'm serious. There are hassles, and then there is the tenting. I believe Floridians must also tent; they'll back me up on this.
Besides writing a large check to the tenting company, you will need to find a place to go. You may have family, or maybe you make a weekend of it by going to a hotel. Before you think of this as a junket, let's review what has to be done.
On the exterior, all brush and crap around your house needs to be moved, so that they can get the circus tent secured snugly.
Pets cannot be left home. Off to the kennel. However, pets going to kennels usually need vaccinations, so better check with your vet. Then you need to complete the kennel's 2 - 3 page boarding agreement and sign their little furry lives away.
On the inside, let's talk about the food. Food needs to be double-bagged in these very special plastic bags you will be provided. This means the pantry, the spice cabinet, the refrigerator and freezer. If you like to cook, like I do, this is a major undertaking. I try to rotate stuff around, but every time we tent, it is a reminder that I actually failed in this Mormon-inspired rotation thing. I'll be honest: I had stuff in the freezer marked "2013" and cans in the pantry marked "best by" 2012. So yeah, it's a mixed blessing. The pantry is now a thing of beauty. Our food is current.
Pet food also needs to be bagged or taken out of the house. And pet snacks. But definitely the pets.
The chemical administered is a gas. Supposedly, you can leave beauty/bathroom products at home, unbagged, but this seemed weird to me so I bagged all of ours. My neighbor was so hinky about tenting she'd also pack up her underwear drawer. I'm not that phobic. Close, but not there.
Tenting reveals how good of friends you are with your neighbors. We took several boxes across the street and were also offered refrigerator space. Those are cool neighbors. It's a major hassle, and you find out who your friends are.
At a certain point, I was so tired, I found myself not really caring anymore about careful food-bagging. Nearly-full bag of quinoa? Don't give a crap. Out it goes. Three-quarters bottle of Bloody Mary Mix? Down the drain. For dinner the night before, I made pasta with whatever was left in the refrigerator, and although I had two kinds of noodles and a bizarre combination of leftover squash, we ate it. It didn't go to waste.
When you are allowed to enter your house, a little over a day later, the fun ain't over. The bugs are dead, and now it's time to clean. And clean. We're talking spring-cleaning, here.
I thought about ending this post, usually mostly about menus, by saying, "And this is why we are eating pizza all week," but you know I don't like pizza that much. I am, however, taking it easy. Also, having done a massive inventory, I know exactly what the contents of my food storage are. P.S.: I buy too many cans of beans.
The aftermath is nice, though. The yard is clean and organized. The bugs are dead. Once you get your house put back together, it's clean. You make a grocery store run. Things will be dandy until . . . the next time you need to tent. GAAAAAAH
The menus are strange this week. I just popped into Safeway, the closest market to the kennel we used, and grabbed stuff that was either on sale or looked practical. I was really tired (we had also gone camping, and more about that, later) so I bought some odd stuff. In looking at it this morning, this is what I envision:
Sunday - Mother's Day - Kalua Pork Quesadillas with Pinto Beans, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Salsa and Avocado
Monday: Stuffed Peppers (Turkeyburger, Rice, Cheeses); Rolls
Tuesday: Chicken-Apple Sausage Hash (Sausage, Red Potatoes, Onions, Peppers) Topped with a Fried Egg
Wednesday: BLT's on Toasted Sourdough
Thursday: Chicken Thighs, Kabocha Squash, and Rice
Friday: Home-made Chicken, Vegetable, and Noodle Soup
Saturday: Out to Dinner!
I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day and great week.
Pictured: A shot of a hill I enjoy seeing up on the Saddle Road. It is often dotted with Mouflon sheep, but I missed them on this occasion. I always think this hill looks like it belongs in Scotland or Ireland.
Saturday, May 9, 2015,is the US Post Office's "Stamp Out Hunger" drive. Not only is this a good cause, but you can also do yourself a favor and clean out your pantry. In 2014, over 72 million pounds of food was donated. Just fill your bag (see link for types of food sought) and leave it by your mailbox for the letter carrier.
This is always my trigger to also clean out the freezer and refrigerator, so guess what we'll be eating this week -- yes, a hodgepodge of cleaned-out stuff.
Sunday: Pork Tenderloin roast, Fresh roasted beets, Succotash and Twice-Baked Potatoes
Monday: Turkey Meatballs with Sauteed Peppers Over Pasta with Pesto (I don't know why I am into alliteration at the moment. Roll with it.)
Tuesday: Baked Chicken, Parmesan Zucchini Sticks, and Quinoa (I don't really like quinoa, but there is an open bag of it in the pantry, so we're eating it.)
Wednesday: Italian Spaghetti Squash (got to use up some mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and frozen tomato sauce) and French Bread (loaf found in freezer)
Thursday: Sausage (made by a neighbor) with Lentils (hullo, partial bag in pantry); steamed carrots and rest of beets
Friday: Chicken Pot Pie (yes, rest of chicken and assorted bags of frozen vegetables).
Saturday: OUT. Having done my good citizen duty as well as spring pantry-cleaning, I refuse to mess up the kitchen.
Have a good week, everyone!