So what's a girl in Hawaii doing making Southern food? Not sure how I started this, but I've been making black-eyed peas on New Year's Day in some form forever.
Two cups cooked black-eyed peas
Two bunches mustard greens - look for young ones
Ham hock or ham bone
Celery - three stalks
Boil ham hock or ham bone in water with five cloves of garlic, one onion, one carrot and celery stalks.
Boil until meat falls off the bones.
Remove bones and chop ham into bite-size pieces
Chop mustard greens, keeping the stalks and leaves separate.
Put the stalks in first, then add the leaves.
Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
I'm seriously thinking about making the big commitment to make it New Year's resolution to get back to my blog. I really like checking in. I've made it a point to keep my blog as positive as possible without the usual whining that occurs in my daily life.
One of the BIG things that gives me pleasure is food. I'm passionate about food...I'm a food crazy person. I live for food.
So I thought I'd share this recipe. Williams Sonoma catalog always contains great recipes to entice you to purchase the cookware to make them. I love that. I normally try to stay with a recipe that combines cream, cheese and butter, but it's the holidays and I made this on Christmas Eve.
Leek and potato Gratin (My version)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
One bunch scallions
8 oz. heavy cream
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese - grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
Slice leeks in half lengthwise. Cut off the roots and dark green parts. Save the thick dark green part for soup stock later. Wash well. Chop the scallions and leeks into 1/4 inch pieces.
Saute the leeks and white parts of the scallions in a tablespoon of butter. Add the cream and simmer to thicken. In a separate bowl combine the cheeses.
Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces.
Coat the pan with butter.
Layer beginning with potatoes, then the leek/scallion/cream mixture, and last the cheese. I did two layers.
Bake the gratin for 40 minutes. Yummy! I promise!!!
We went to a mochitsuki in Hilo today. A mochitsuki is a gathering of a family or community of neighbors and friends to make mochi or rice cakes. It's an all day event that begins with washing sticky rice. The rice is steamed in wooden boxes in layers over an open fire manned by an experienced tender.
The cooked rice is transferred to a big wooden mortar called an usu and mixed around with sticks. Usually several people surround the mortar with sticks and go at it. The rice is then pounded with mallets - one person at a time with one person turning the mochi rice. This has to be timed and much trust is involved.
The smooth pounded rice is then turned over to the people who shape the mochi. The mochi is used for making ozoni, a traditional soup served on New Year's Day and to display the kagami mochi (two mochi with a tangerine on top). It is an offering of Shinto origin, I believe. This is so much about passing a traditional from one generation to the next.
During the pounding, saké is served. Trays of shots of saké are passed around and the New Year is toasted. Everyone takes a turn at pounding and all of this activity is said to bring good luck.
When the pounding was nearly done, my friend threw together the most delicious kim chee soup. I say threw together because she literally made it in about 15 minutes.
Here's the recipe:
Kim Chee Soup
1 lb. ground pork
1 bottle turnip kim chee
1 bottle napa cabbage kim chee
3 T. kim chee sauce
6 shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated and sliced)
2 bunches long rice (soaked in water)
Two quarts chicken broth
Brown the pork. Add the kim chee sauce.
Add all other ingredients and simmer for a few minutes. Yum!
I've loved visiting the coast of Maine in summer and eating an obscene quantity of lobster. Oh, I've also attended many photography workshops.
I wanted to share a link to the blog for Maine Food and Lifestyle. My friend, Jim Bazin and his partner Merrill Williams own this beautiful magazine. The magazine is full of Jim's fantastic photographs.
This is a link to one of my favorite posts. The Thomaston Cafe is a must for me. Jim and I went there one morning and had the lobster benedict. It was unbelievable!
During a wonderful sesshin in Maui, I was introduced to the most wonderful salad and way of eating. Colorful with the variety of veggies - bok choy, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, carrots and avocados. Simple, common ingredients. Our tenzo (temple cook) told me about a book called "The World's Healthiest Foods" by George Mateljan. It's full of common sense with explanations on why these foods are so good for you.
There are instructions on healthier ways of cooking: Healthy sautéing in broth, then drizzling olive oil over the dish to reap the benefits of the beneficial oil. Quick boiling retains the nutrients in vegetables and quick.
We've been eating this way for about a week and we've noticed increased energy and overall just feeling good. You never feel deprived. I actually get tired of chewing all those veggies even though they are delicious. I've been shopping at the Farmer's Market and love using all the local stuff.
Today is travel day to Maine. My route was from Honolulu to Dallas and Dallas to Boston. Then I drove from Boston to Wiscasset, Maine. Armed with knitting, flying is really painless and quite productive. I've made progress on my zendo shawl:
I-95 from Boston to Maine is quite pretty. It's lined with trees and you see very little buildings or industrial sites. I stopped at one yarn store and the market to purchase bottled water.
I left home at 5:30 PM and arrived at the B&B at 7 PM.
Tonight I'm staying at the Squire Tarbox Inn. I believe I may have mentioned it in the blog the last time I stayed here. Now I remember why I wanted so much to return. It's in a remote part of Maine and miles from any highway. I was welcomed by Roni de Pietro. She showed me to my room, a small room perfect for one. A place had been reserved for me in the dining room.
The food is Swiss/German/Austrian/American. The roesti potatoes and spaetzel are amont my favorite things on the menu. Oh..there's red cabbage stewed in vinegar and sugar. It feels like being in someone's home, but not. Mario de Pietro is a chef extraordinaire. There's nothing frou frou about his cooking. It's traditional and it's wonderful. Tonight I ordered a crab cake with roesti potatoes and red cabbage. Pardon the appearance of the photo. I got so excited at the sight of the roesti potatoes that I dug in before taking the photo. I did my best to reconstruct the plate.
Good night...I'm beat...