Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Pizza and Some Other Stuff...

This recipe is coming.  Be patient....

asparagus pesto pizza with ramps and a fried egg
     Usually when I come back from a trip I sigh, clasp my hands under my chin, and bat my eyes about what a wondrous culinary adventure I had and regale you with tales of my perfect family's perfect vacation.  Lemme tell ya.  This ain't gunna be one of those posts.  My son is going through an unusual developmental thing right now that, in an effort to afford him some privacy when he is old enough to read this blog I won't go into detail on, but I will say it made mealtimes challenging.  Couple that with a limited resort menu and a limited restaurant selection and I ended up having one good meal on the island.  

Pizzetta in Koloa, HI is definitely worth a visit or three.
     This was it.  I was so desperate for something edible I didn't even stop to take a picture beforehand.  It was the gnocchi at a place in Koloa called Pizzetta.  Get it.  And get the tiramisu.  Holy crud.

     Got back home, discovered a week's worth of mail had been stolen, and on top of that someone had been writing (and cleared) a couple checks.  So we've been in a whirlwind of account closures, police reports, and general feelings of violation for the past week.

     Top that with my husband's surgery on Tuesday that both of us were expecting to be more on the "not-terribly-extreme" end, and ended up being on the "much-more-than-we-bargained-for" end and I'm completely drained.

     This isn't a "poor me I can't do my blog" post.  It's a "WT actual F?!" post.

But to be fair we did have a really great time, even if it wasn't culinarily mind blowing.
Did I find a recipe to make again (better) at home?

I'll be making this breakfast burrito at home again soon!

Eat totally worth it $12 chocolate made on Kauai?
Hawaiian Chocolate grown and processed on Kauai, HI
 Yeah, man!

Sample a weird fruit we weren't sure how to eat?
A Cream Apple on Kauai
Yes. (It's a cream apple.  Next time we won't try to eat it w/o utensils....)

Did I get to eat my first manapua?
Purple Yam Manapua and Taro Chips Poolside in Kauai, HI.
Yes.  This is purple sweet potato.  It was a really good dessert.

Visit a Taro Chip factory?
Taro Chip Factory in Hanapepe, HI
 Yes.  This is it.  The factory.  It's awesome.

Taro Chips in a Factory in Hanapepe, HI
Yes.  Four different varieties of chips, taro, purple sweet potato, and potato and purple sweet potato with li hing mui powder.

Taro Chip Factory Exterior in Hanapepe, HI

Taro Chips, Sweet Potato Chips, Li Hing Mui flavored potato chips, and Li Hing Mui flavored sweet potato chips
And Oooooooh yes.  We loved all the flavors, but finally decided on two.  We paid the weathered little man, and as he was bagging them up, he stuck the other two varieties in the bag and said, "For you!"  If you are ever in Hanapepe (the town that Disney used as a model for the town in Lilo and Stitch) you have got to go by the chip factory.

Did we find what my husband called the best textured shave ice he's ever eaten?
Best Shave Ice on Kauai in Hanalae, HIYes. (From Wishing Well Shave Ice in Hanalae).

Did we rent a convertible?
Hail to the yes.  And we got it stuck in the sand because we're not used to driving two wheel drive cars...  Oops.  Fortunately a couple of locals took pity on us and helped us shove it out of the hole we dug ourselves into.

Did we see this?

Did we see a bunch of touristy stuff?
Small Rainbow inside Wimea Canyon
Yes. (Wimea Canyon)

Spouting Horn near Poipu, HI
 Yes. (Spouting Horn)

Kilauea Light House in Kilauea, HI
 Yes. (Kilauea Lighthouse)

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
And yes. (Hanapepe Swinging Bridge)

Did we see a bunch of not so touristy stuff?
Hanapepe Bookstore
 Yes. (Talk Story Bookstore mural in Hanapepe)

Yes. (Gorgeous smelling barbecue on Poipu beach.  Dude came up a little later and chopped actual logs to feed the fire in this little thing.  No sissy lighter fluid filled briquets for kama'aina!)

Menehune Ditch Kauai, HI
 Yes.  (The Menehune Ditch, built to bring water from the mountains down to the fields at the base of the mountain.  Legend says the Menehune built it.  They are mythical men who helped the ancient Hawaiians build lots of things.  They seemed to have been especially active on Kauai.)

Double yes.

Would I do it all again?  Oh heck yes.

Would I skip all the returning home drama?


When we got home it was Easter and we spent the day with some friends.  This was my lunch contribution:

Spring Pizza with asparagus pesto, ramps, fried egg, goat cheese and thyme
What says Spring more than eggs, asparagus, and ramps?
  This is asparagus pesto on a pizza crust baked with ramps and topped with a fried egg, thyme and a mild chevre.

We also made these.  Avocado, asparagus pesto, cumin, dill, goat cheese deviled eggs.
  I'm unclear as to whether we had started drinking yet at this phase.  They were... interesting...  Make the pizza.  Maybe skip the deviled eggs.

Allium tricoccum, Ramps, Wild Leek
These are ramps by the way.  I extolled the virtues of ramps last year.  They are a wild leek native to the Eastern states.  I may or may not have tried to transplant a few into my back yard.  (Shhhh...)

Wild Leeks, Allium tricoccum, aka Ramps

I just realized that this is basically the same recipe I wrote last year.  Doesn't matter.  This time there's pizza crust and pesto.  I used the asparagus pesto recipe from Food and Wine.

Asparagus Pesto Pizza with Ramps and Eggs
1 batch of pizza dough
1/4-1/2 C Asparagus Pesto
4-5 ramps
1-4 eggs
1 Tbs goat cheese (for sprinkling)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Depending on the size of your pizza, you will need differing quantities of the ingredients.  The smallest amount is for a personal size, the largest amount works for a large, four adult size pizza.  Bake your pizza dough according to recipe directions.  I like to do mine at 500 on a pizza stone.  Bake until slightly browned, but not completely finished.  Your crust might puff up in the center like a balloon, that's perfectly fine, just push it down flat when you take it out of the oven.  Remove from oven, and top with pesto and ramps.  Cook a few more minutes until ramps have wilted.  In the mean time, fry your eggs in the butter until they have reached your perfect consistency.  I like sunny side up for this, but hard boiled would probably be great, too.  When ramps have wilted, remove pizza from oven, top with eggs and sprinkle with goat cheese and thyme.  

When I made this at my friend's house, I baked the eggs on top of the pizza.  That worked OK but it was hard for me to tell the eggs doneness so they ended up being over-baked.  It's just as fast and a little easier to run quality control if you fry the egg separately.

If you can't find ramps, or want to try this when their short season is over, you can sub green onions, garlic, or thin slices of leek.

The adults loved it and the kids were happy with their regular old pepperoni.

PS, On a quasi food-related Hawai'i note, we don't have cable so the only time my kids get to see it is when we're on vacation.  My 6-year old's new favorite tv show?  Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives.  "I like that guy.  He's funny.  He looks like he's about to cry all the time."  He also said, "I can feel in my mind what the food would feel like."  So there you go, Guy Fieri's target audience: 6 year old boys on vacation.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hawaii Homeschool and a Little Bread

Apologies in advance.  This is a little heavy on the homeschool, but there is a delicious treat in the end...

     We're on our way to Hawai'i again soon.  Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.  Hate me because I'm going to Hawai'i without you again.  But don't worry, I've got a way for you to have a little taste of Hawai'i's bounty in your own kitchen.  I have been avoiding sugar for about a month because I read a bunch of Internet junk about probiotics and gut flora and sugar monsters.  It's been a pretty fun experiment, actually.  So I endeavored to make a cake that 1) featured Hawaiian food, 2) didn't fail like my Internet-famous last experiment, and 3) didn't have any sugar in it.  What resulted was a great bread, not really a cake, but totally snarfable with a little butter.  Honey optional.

     But first, for all my homeschool Mamas out there, I revamped our Hawaiian unit because I found such great resources about Kauai, the island we're visiting this year. 

     I based our studies around a workbook I found on Amazon called Holoholo i Kauai.  There are lots of pages with interesting facts, but I found two of the pages required you to know the fables of how certain geographical features came to be, and I didn't know how the stories went!  There are many different tales apparently about each feature, but they all have similar basis.  One story is about how NouNou mountain came to be.  It looks like a giant lying on his back.  I found this nicely illustrated version on Amazon: The Sleeping Giant.  I also found several stories online, which lined up a little better with what went with the workbook version.  The other story in the workbook is about the Spouting Horn blowhole.  Teller of Tales, Stories from Kauai was a great resource for this study with three stories, one about the blowhole and two about the Menehune (another page in the workbook).  Again, the story in the workbook doesn't quite line up with the story from the book so I supplemented with online material.  I used the discrepancies to illustrate oral tradition and storytelling embellishment but we talked about how the stories had many similarities, too.

Two-week Kauai Study Unit for 5-8 year olds

Day 1: Read Legend of the Sleeping Giant, HawaiiWeb and GoHawaii and do p. 2 of Holoholo i Kauai
Day 2: Learn Hawaiian State Symbols and do Holoholo p. 3
Day 3: Read Yesterday's Rain, Holoholo page 4
Day 4: Watch Crash Course in World History #27 on You Tube and do p. 12
Day 5: Study Wailua River and do p. 19
Day 6: Read Teller of Tales, Stories from Kauai stories The Ale Koko Fishpond p 248 and The Ditch the Menehunes built p 97 and do p 13
Day 7: Learn about Wimea Canyon and do p. 16
Day 8: Hawiian Word Book pg 28-29 do pg 9 and 14
Day 9: Read Teller of Tales, Stories from Kauai p 208 HawaiiWeb and GoHawaii and do p. 10
Day 10: Review landmarks discussed and show on a map.  Holoholo means an aimless walk for pleasure.  Walk your fingers around the map to all the places you have learned about!

Amazon Videos about Kauai (Free for Prime Members)
Passport to Adventure: Kauai Hawaii's Garden
Travel with Kids Hawaii: The Island of Kauai

Putamayo Kids Hawai'ian Playground

We also watched Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark since large portions of them were filmed on Kauai, but I must say, Raiders is a little much for my two.

There is so, so, so much more to see and learn about Kauai!  I've got lots more landmarks listed on my Kauai Pinterest Board.  I hope we can see at least half of them!

If you want to see my other units on Maui, and the Big Island, they are not as detailed, but available for all to see.  Don't forget to check out your library to see how many of these resources you can find there!

And now... finally... the Bread...

Kauaian Coffee Bread
3 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C sour cream or plain yogurt
3 eggs, separated
5 T melted and cooled coconut oil + more for greasing
2 pureed bananas (1 C)1/2 C cooled Kauai coffee (available at Trader Joe's)
1 C minced dried pineapple (no sugar)
1/2 C chopped macadamia nuts
1 T lemon zest (optional)
1/4 C coconut chips (no sugar)

     Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease two loaf pans with coconut oil and dust lightly with flour.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in oil, egg yolks, sour cream or yogurt, bananas and coffee.  Stir in nuts, pineapple, and zest. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Slowly fold egg whites into batter.  Divide evenly between the pans and sprinkle the tops with coconut chips.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick removes cleanly.  If the chips get too brown, cover with some foil.  Let cool briefly, then run a knife around the bread and turn out onto a cooling rack.

You can also make this batter into muffins.  I think each half would make 10-12, so you aught to get about 24 total.  Bake for 15 minutes.
My kids actually love this.  It's kinda crazy.  It's not super sweet so I didn't think they'd go for it.  My youngest won't touch a regular muffin with a 10 foot pole (go figure, right?) and he begged me for these.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gathered Table

     A friend of mine has a new job.  It's a freaking exciting new job.  He's on the staff of a start-up menu planning service called Gathered Table.  It's founded by a former Starbucks heavyweight, Mary Egan (her bio has lots of interesting sounding job titles that I'm not even a little bit qualified to comprehend, but it generally sounds like she's got her sh*t together.  Unlike me.  I think I found a piece of toast in my bra today.  I have to say "I think" because I didn't eat toast today.  This is why I am not qualified for many, many things in life.  Bra toast.) 

Because I am my friend's friend and he is awesome, my husband and I were invited to the launch party.

 There was cheese.  You know how I love my cheese.

     Hello, Seattle.  Wanna tiny cupcake?  Gathered Table is also launching in Boston, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.  I guess you other cities can have a cupcake too.  But it doesn't mean I have to like it.

     Gathered Table is really just in the initial start-up phase.  I think you still have to be invited to join.  It uses your own favorite recipes (either typed in manually or snipped from the web) and the contents of your pantry to help create your meal plan for the week.  They also have on-staff nutritionists and other foodie wizard people churning out new recipes to try.  But what I can't wait for is their ultimate goal of having the food automatically delivered to your house.  They are working with CSA's and other local grocery delivery services to have your week's portion delivered to your door.  All you have to do is chop it up and boil it.  I am looking forward to when they've got it all up and running for realzies.  It's like floating car and robot maid time, finally.

(This doesn't have much to do with how the company runs, it was a little self-portrait craft just for fun, but I was proud of my little Kilroy selfie up there... Also, my husband is a rock-star.  Just sayin'.)

     So go give Gathered Table a once-over.  It's exciting to be on a ground level with so much potential.  If you haven't been able to focus on this whole post because I said, "Bra toast" in the first paragraph.  I'm sorry.  You're welcome.  Goodnight Seattle, I love you.
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