Category Archives: FOOD

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

 

When I was pastoring at a church in Arizona, someone always brought several dozen doughnuts from the local bakery to serve with coffee during a fellowship hour. If some were left over, I took them home and let them get stale for a couple days.

Then I would break them up into bits of about an inch to make this bread pudding – regular doughnuts, cake doughnuts, jelly-filled doughnuts, cinnamon twists, and the like. What a delicious and unusual bread pudding!

So I recently got hungry for some old-fashioned bread pudding and dug out my old recipe. This time I used whole wheat bread and dark raisins. The photo above is fresh out of the oven. In the next photo, it is topped with vanilla bean ice cream and dribbled with caramel syrup. Too delicious for words!

 


Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding
1 heaping quart of dry bread – use any kind of bread or leftover pastries [see comments above]
½ cup seedless raisins – or maybe even some dried cranberries or dried blueberries
2 cups milk (I use non-fat, but you don’t have to. Some even add coconut milk.)
2 beaten eggs
½ cup brown sugar (or less if you use sugary pastries)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine bread and raisins (or other dried fruit) in a buttered 1 ½ quart casserole. Add milk to eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until well mixed. Pour over bread and dried fruit. Bake at 350 F for about an hour.

You can add almost anything fruity or nutty to this, like flaked coconut or chopped macadamia nuts. I like it warm with ice cream or cold applesauce. Bread pudding is a popular dish here in Hawaii. I guess it’s a comfort food for a lot of people!

A hui hou!

Irish Soda Bread from an Irish Grandmother

 

I have been using various recipes for Irish Soda Bread for many years. Over a decade ago, my daughter in Idaho sent me a recipe that came from the Irish grandmother of one of her former co-workers. It surpasses anything that I’d ever made before and I pass it along to you in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day next week.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup cold butter
½ cup raisins (she adds a bit more)
¼ cup caraway and fennel seeds mixed (she adds a bit more of this, too)
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Measure and combine dry ingredients.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or in a food processor).

Stir in desired amount of raisins and caraway/fennel. Stir in buttermilk.

Turn dough onto floured board and knead a few minutes, adding flour until dough is not too sticky.

Form into a ball and place in greased and floured round baking pan. Cut a deep cross on top.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, brush top with simple syrup made of sugar, water, nutmeg and continue baking a few more minutes.

Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.

Add a big pot of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, onions, and peppercorns so you’ll think you are back in old Ireland.

A hui hou!

Altamont Pudding

 

As a preacher’s kid (we were called PKs), I grew up eating quite a variety of foods made by church members. Several years before my father died, he and my mother decided to put together some of the recipes they’d gathered over the years. He typed them up on an old Underwood typewriter and Mother (Jane) made some rough sketches to go with it. The picture above is the cover of one of their efforts. The cover is spotted with grease and the edges are well worn, as you can see.

Usually there were no names for the dishes people brought to potluck suppers, so our family started calling them by the name of the person who made it, or sometimes for the town where we ate it.

Such is the case for this recipe. I never knew it by any name other than “Altamont Pudding.” When I asked my grandmother where that name originated, she said it was a dish one particular woman always brought to share when my grandfather was a pastor at Altamont, Illinois. It came down through my mother, and on down to me simply as “Altamont Pudding.” I may have even given it to my oldest daughter when she got married.

I’m using my mother’s words with almost no editing. Just before she wrote out the recipe, she had been talking about a meal of clam fritters with a cucumber salad.

Altamont Pudding
 

Makes a gooey good hot dessert with this meal (see note above), or it’s a happy thought to take to a sick neighbor, or to serve at church dinners, made in larger quantities.

Part I. Melt in a big square pan 2 tablespoons butter, 1 c. brown sugar, 3 c. boiling water, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Part II. Make a batter of ½ c. white sugar, 1 teaspoon allspice, ½ c. milk, 1 c. flour, 3 level teaspoons double acting baking powder and ½ c raisins.

Pour the batter of Part II into the Part I and bake 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until done, or until batter rises to top and cooks through.

When served, spoon it upside down into sauce dishes; it has its own “dip” on the bottom. Make a double recipe to keep for in-between meal eating. Jane’s old standby for instant company.

“Blue Zones” Gazpacho

This is a post I made about seven years ago and it’s definitely one of my favorites. In fact, I happen to have everything on hand to treat myself with a cold bowl. It’s better than a smoothie, a salad, or soggy veggies, and fits perfectly into a “Blue Zones” way of eating.

I learned about Gazpacho when I first moved to California in 1960. It was a huge fad at that time, and I was knocked over by it! It’s been called everything, including “liquid salad,” but whatever you call it, it’s simply delicious!

This may seem like a summer-only dish to many of the mainlanders, but in California, and especially here in Hawai`i, we can eat it year-round.

The beauty of a healthy serving of Gazpacho is that you can put almost any kind of raw veggie into it. Take your pick from:

fresh tomatoes (about 2-3 pounds cut into quarters, skin and all)
cucumber
carrots
onion
bell peppers (I used a combination of orange, red, yellow baby bells)
garlic
hot pepper to taste (maybe a Jalepeño)

Zap it up in a blender or food processor with a dollop of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil until thick and chunky.

Store it in the fridge until it’s good and cold.

Ladle it into a bowl, top with crumbled feta and sprigs of cilantro.

To go with this, I like to serve a good loaf of crunchy rustic sourdough bread fresh from the oven, and maybe a glass of red wine?

Dig in!

“Blue Zones Project” Coming Our Way!

1-Entire raised bed

About fifteen or more years ago, I became interested in the Okinawa program and diet. The exact title of the book I bought was The Okinawa Program: how the world’s longest-lived people achieve everlasting health – and how you can, too.

I suspect I was not the only person who was looking for a program that would help me live a long and healthy life. There was a lot of good information in the book, even though I am not terribly fond of processed soy products that try to mimic “real” foods. I do like tofu if it is prepared well. I have a terrific chocolate pudding recipe that is made from tofu, for example.

Less than ten years later, when I began to hear about Dan Buettner, I was even more intrigued. Dan is a National Geographic Fellow, and in his travels he found spots in our world that have large numbers of centenarians, which he circled with a blue pen – thus the name “blue zones.” Loma Linda, California was one of the areas he found that produced long-lived people, primarily because they were Seventh Day Adventists. Dan found nine principles that were common to each of these areas.

Probably most of you who read this blog have heard of “The Blue Zones” by now. A group of people began to experiment with bringing Blue Zones to other cities in our own country, and the Blue Zones Project was born. Gradually, various towns began to incorporate the same nine principles and have become Blue Zone cities.

In Hawai`i, we are taking part in The Blue Zones Project in an effort to create a healthier population and become one more of the Blue Zones areas. I am a member of the Leadership Team for West Hawai`i, and we are creating strategies to accomplish this goal.

Watch for the Blue Zones logo at your grocery stores, restaurants, schools, workplace, civic organizations, and more. In the next few posts, I will explain the nine Blue Zones principles and what being a Blue Zones community involves. In the meantime, please check out https://bluezones.com to learn more.

A hui hou!
Lucy

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More About Lilikoi Butter

Ever since I made my first post about Lilikoi Butter back in early September of 2009, I have had more than 50 comments on that post alone. When I did “Lilikoi Butter Revisited” in that next summer, I received 26 more comments – a record for any of my posts – and they keep coming. Mahalo to everyone who has written about this delicious food!

People still tell me about their tricks in getting out the juice, about how their efforts turned out, and many made recommendations on what to change, or how they changed it. I’ve learned a lot but haven’t been able to make any lilikoi butter in ages.

Recently one of my readers sent an email about her overabundance of lilikoi. I asked if I could get a few for seed. When I put the last ones into the ground, they were stripped right away and never did do anything. She gave me two different kinds and this time I’m going to keep them in pots under a trellis or tree. I’m determined to get them to grow!

This afternoon I’m picking up more from her. I love them just to scoop out with a spoon and eat, but probably will freeze most as juice for use later.

Now I’m looking for anyone in my area that might have Seville Oranges for marmalade. I love the tartness of true Scottish marmalade, so regular sweet oranges don’t work. I’ve made Pink Grapefruit Marmalade but I miss the flavor of the oranges. Also, pink grapefruits aren’t always available.

A hui hou!
Lucy

Lucy’s Basic Quiche

I was asked to bring quiche to a Christmas brunch with friends, but it’s been years since I made a quiche, even though I love it. This was as good a time as any to rev up my cooking skills. The proof will be in the eating!

There is a lot you can do with a quiche, and it’s hard to go wrong with the ingredients. The basic mixture of eggs, milk and cream of some sort plus seasonings is fairly standard. Some people bake the crust first in a blind-bake, but I’ve always had good luck just putting it in the raw crust. I think it’s the addition of a little flour in the egg mixture that does the trick. Others swear by coating the crust with egg white. Whatever works, right?

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Pour boiling water over ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Let this soak while you do the rest of the preparation.

Sauté the following in a little extra virgin olive oil, or do what I did and nuke the veggies about 2 minutes to soften them.
2 cups broccoli florets or 2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts
½ medium onion, diced
equivalent of 5 mushrooms, sliced (depends on size of mushrooms)
other veggies could be added, too (like spinach, chard, kale)

Prepare egg mixture:
4 or 5 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ cup commercial sour cream
¼ cup flour
1/8 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves (chopped)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Beat until smooth, then add ½ cup grated cheese (variations below).
Drain and chop the soaked sun-dried tomatoes and add to mixture.
Pour over softened veggies and mix so all veggies are well coated.
Pour all into unbaked crust and bake about 50-60 minutes until brown and firm in the middle.

Pie Crust:
1½ cups flour
dash salt
½ cup baking oil (not olive)
2 Tablespoons cold milk
Mix the oil and milk until milky and well combined. Pour over the flour and salt. Mix well with a fork, then press the dough into the pan to make a nice crust. For this recipe, I used a 10-inch 1 ½” high tart pan with straight sides, but could be done in a regular pie pan (large).

Variations:
To make two quiches, I doubled the recipe and made them different.
1) In one, I put 2 cups broccoli florets, used Swiss cheese, and topped it with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.
2) In the other, I put 2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, used pepper jack cheese, added 1/8 teaspoon Thai red peppers (crushed) to the egg mixture, and topped it with crumbled feta.

I grow the tiny Thai red peppers in a pot outside my kitchen door. Sometimes I use them fresh, 2 or 3 in a pot of soup or stew. The ones I used for this had been dried and kept in the fridge for whenever I need dry red pepper flakes.

NOTE: Even with all the tasty ingredients, these both seemed a little bland. The one with Brussels sprouts, peppers, Jack cheese and feta seemed a bit tastier, but could have used even more of the peppers.

A hui hou!

Apple-Plum Crumble

On a daily basis, I eat one of the large organic Fuji apples from Costco. The last time I bought a box, I saw these huge beautiful plums, which I bought on impulse. I love fruit, but there are just so many you can eat in a day!

Flipping through some of my favorite web sites, I found a recipe I could adapt to my own taste buds. It may have originally been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s site, but I couldn’t find it there.

Directions for topping:

Mix until crumbly:
• 1 ½ cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
• ½ cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
• 1/3 cup butter
Add ¾ cup oats and set in fridge. Preheat oven to 390F

Directions for fruit filing:
Cut 6 large plums and 2 large apples into big chunks. (I don’t peel the fruits.) Put in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook on slow heat until fruit is soft.

Place in a lightly buttered oven dish and cover with topping. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is brown enough for you.

Top with anything your stomach craves – plain cream, whipped cream, ice cream… You get the idea!

A hui hou!

Pumpkin Scones

Few of my recipes are original. Like most average cooks, I find something online or in a magazine that looks good. I take it and alter it to whatever I have on hand, and/or whatever sounds right.

I found this one from King Arthur Flour Company and had to try it! You can find the original recipe here.

My version was only slightly different. As I was putting them in the oven, I wondered why the recipe didn’t call for sugar. I checked the recipe and there it was – 1/3 cup sugar!

After eating one right out of the oven, however, I realized the chocolate chips (I used about ¾ cup) and the minced crystallized ginger (I had about ½ cup), they were plenty sweet for my taste.

Instead of coarse white sparkling sugar, I sprinkled half a packet of Splenda on top of each before I stuck them in the oven.

Please check out their recipe and try them. They were easy to make and extra delicious for a fall treat!

A hui hou!

Chipotle Chicken Casserole

From an early age, as a preacher’s kid (or P.K. as everyone referred to us) I was led to believe that you can’t get into Heaven without a covered dish. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Midwest where a potluck supper was a primary social occasion, but usually a casserole doesn’t appeal to me. It always felt like an unappetizing way to get rid of leftovers.

Since I’ve become an adult, I have discovered that a casserole doesn’t have to be the lifeless, tasteless dish I remembered from childhood. I adapted this recipe from the March 2011 issue of Cooking Light, and made it into one of those “quick and easy” ones that might be worth fixing from time to time.

Chipotle Chicken Casserole

Coat either an 8-inch square glass baking dish or a glass loaf pan with cooking spray. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

I used 5 of the largest chicken tenders (breast meat) out of a large Costco package. I zapped them in a microwave until softly cooked. In other words, they weren’t raw but they weren’t overcooked, either.

I shredded these into a bowl and added about 1 ½ tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 3 ounces cream cheese (fat-free works here), ½ teaspoon each of ground red pepper and ground cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste.

In a saucepan, sauté half a large onion and lots of garlic (I used 6 cloves). Add a cup of chicken broth, and about a cup of your favorite salsa verde and a little water. I used my own chipotle salsa; see my recipe here. I stirred in the chicken, cream cheese and seasonings combo with the liquid mix in the saucepan.

In a large skillet, I heated 10 6-inch corn tortillas, about a minute on each side, then cut them into quarters.

Starting with a layer of the chicken mixture, alternate layers of the tortilla quarters, ending with the chicken mix. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, or Mexican Cheese mix over the top and bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned and the cheese is bubbly.

Before serving, I topped it with more fresh chopped cilantro and served with sour cream on the side. Fat free sour cream can be used here, if you are watching your fat intake.

I might add more salsa next time, as it seemed a bit dry to me. Also, I like things fairly spicy, so I suggest you use your own taste buds to determine how much to add. I served this with corn on the cob and salad. It made two meals for two people, but we ate large servings. Again, let your own needs determine how many it will serve.

I think this could easily be doubled if you plan to take it to one of your own potluck occasions! This is one of those recipes that you can play around with, I think, but isn’t that true of most casseroles?

A hui hou!

Roasted Pig’s Head

In my freezer, the head of the pig I got from Masazo’s Piggery in Na`alehu remained, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to prepare it. Every recipe I found online talked about half a head of a smallish pig. This was a whole head from a 400 pound pig, probably weighing between 16 and 20 pounds.

The eyeballs, ears and snout were a bit intimidating! Fortunately, I had the help of a physician who (sort of) knew what we were seeing. We didn’t cook up the head as a whole, but cut off jowls, tongue, and ears to roast separately from the rest of the head.

Please understand that neither of us knew what in the world we were doing, so we took bits from various online recipes. We sprayed the head with canola spray, then rubbed in a mixture of 5-spice powder and ground up sea salt. Garlic cloves were tucked into all cavities, and a cut onion stuffed in the mouth.

We started off with 1 ½ hours in a 375 degree F., oven, basting periodically with a honey-water mix. Then we turned the oven down to 325 degrees F. for another 3 ½ hours.

I won’t gross you out with some of the other pictures I took during this process, but the end result wasn’t really too bad. We sliced meat off the cheeks and served with fresh local corn on the cob. The meat was super rich, and I thought it a bit chewy.

I froze some of the other meaty sections to make Pozole later, a Mexican pork and hominy stew that is traditionally made with meat from a pig’s head and served at Christmas time.

The whole ordeal was quite an experience, although I’m glad there was only one head on the pig. I’m not sure I would want to bother with another one!

A hui hou!

Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is the day many people use as the excuse to declare the opening of official grilling season. What better complement to your grilled veggies or meats than a tasty, easy to make, salsa?

This recipe was given to me by my daughter, Inga. I’m not sure where she got it, but once I tasted it at her home recently, I knew I had to make it soon! The day after I got back from my trip to the mainland, I bought the tomatillos and got to work. I had all the other ingredients already. I’ve eaten some everyday since then!

If you are a gardener, you might want to try growing your own tomatillos. Inga has great luck with them, but I haven’t. I may try again this year, but they are easier to find in my local grocery store.

I know you’ll look for any excuse to make this – and eat it, too! For those of us who watch our waist, this recipe contains almost no calories and no fat!

Roasted Tomatillo-Chile Salsa

10 ounces tomatillos, husks removed, tomatillos rinsed and dried
(The number would depend on the size of tomatillos, but generally about 12-15)
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo sauce)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1pinch sugar
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat broiler. Place tomatillos and garlic on a baking sheet. (I sprayed it with a light coating of canola oil spray)

Broil, turning occasionally, until charred, about 8-10 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins into a blender. Add chipotles and tomatillos to blender. Process until combined. Add salt, sugar and cilantro. Pulse until smooth.

Notes from Inga: I don’t cut the tomatillos. They get very soft after cooling down from the broiling and you can throw them in the blender whole. I buy the smallish can of chipotles and it will usually make 3-4 batches. I get a few baggies opened up and ready to fill. Once I open the can, I put 3-4 in each baggie, plus the ones in the blender for the current batch, then split the sauce between each baggie. I keep the baggies in the freezer for the next batches. Some chiles are bigger than the others, so that’s why some baggies get 3 chiles and others 4. Just eyeball it.

A hui hou!

A Hidden Beach Wedding

One of the pleasures of teaching is my capacity as a retired United Methodist minister to officiate at the weddings of students when they ask. This past Friday, I had the honor to join two very special people in marriage.

We walked about 200 yards along the water on a gravel path to a spot that is fairly well hidden from the traffic of non-Hawaii visitors. Along the way, is this turtle designed out of the white coral, so perhaps it is not so well hidden as we thought.

The black lava gave a classic background to pictures of the bridal party.

Pounding surf provided the wedding music.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to take pictures of myself, so Betsy took the three photos in this post that include me. Here the couple are saying the vows the wrote for each other.

It’s not legal until the license is signed. Fortunately, we had a picnic cooler to serve as our table.

The wedding brunch was served amidst tropical flowers on the deck after we returned to the home that overlooks the ocean.

A toast was raised to the new couple with a mixture of pink champagne and mango nectar, topped with floating sliced strawberries.

We all took shelter when Jeff popped the cork.

Jeff made Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise for the main course along with crisp hash browns and sliced tomatoes. Local Ono fish took the place of the typical Canadian bacon or ham, with English crumpets instead of English muffins.

Betsy made Healthified Carrot Cake using my recipe and Jeff did his first cake decorating to show the names.

You can’t have a wedding without the traditional “cutting of the cake.”

Everything was delicious as well as beautiful!

Coffee with “Cream,” a canned whipped cream enhanced with rum finished the meal.

I wish the best of everything life has to offer to this beautiful couple! Recipes for the Eggs Benedict and Carrot Cake are below.

A hui hou!

ONO FISH EGGS BENEDICT (per person)

Ingredients: one third lb Ono per person (two filets), two free range eggs, two crumpets, one McCormick Hollandaise sauce mix, and lime or lemon juice. Each envelope of sauce enough for makes enough for two to three servings.

Cooking: Fry fish quickly and lightly in coconut or mac nut oil. Add lime or lemon juice while cooking. Mix sauce as directed adding lime or lemon juice to the sauce. Toast crumpets. Fry eggs once over lightly in coconut oil on very low heat.

Assembling: Place toasted crumpets on plate, add cooked fish, then top with one egg; pour sauce over all. Add parsley and thin sliced tomatoes for garnish.

Crab, lobster or mahi-mahi can be substituted for the ono.

HEALTHIFIED CARROT CAKE

Ingredients:

• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ cup packed brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup canola oil
• ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground allspice
• 3 cups finely shredded carrots
• ½ cup chopped walnuts
• ½ cup raisins

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice. Gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour into 2 9-inch round or square baking pans coated with a cooking spray. I prefer to use a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan for a sheet cake (and smaller pieces). Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

• 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 tablespoon fat-free milk (you can use soy milk or almond milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• Dash salt

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake. Store in the refrigerator.