On hiatus

Sorry it has been so long since the last post. I was on a brief hiatus. The good news is—lots of entertaining happened between then and now…will be posting!

A local favorite - Portuguese Bean Soup

Recipe courtesy of My Hawaiian Home blogspot.

2-3 mediums sized smoked ham hocks or shanks

3 cups chicken broth

1 lb. Portuguese sausage

1 large Maui onion

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup diced celery 

4 cups cabbage (I omitted)

3 15 oz cans kidney beans with liquid (I drained)

2 cups garbanzo beans soaked overnight (I omitted)

2 14.5 cans organic tomatoes, diced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

8 garlic cloves, minced (I smashed and left whole)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 bunch flat leaf pasley

2 Tbsp black peppercorns

5 fresh or 3 dried bay leaves

With the relatively cooler weather here (I said relatively!)…it’s time for soup!  There is no soup more iconic than Portuguese Bean Soup for those of us who reside in Hawaii.  Here is a picture of my version of the soup.  I borrowed from the recipe posted above and added tweaks from my friends who have eating and making experience.
Start with 2-3 large ham hocks (I had ham hocks and a bone from an spiral sliced ham.)  Soup base:  Cover the bones with water or chicken broth  (I used water and a tablespoon of chicken base).  Add bay leaves, thyme, chopped carrots (I used 2 slim ones), 2 celery ribs.  (chopped) and a chopped large onion.  Add some peppercorns.  Bring to boil and then simmer for a couple of hours,covered.  
Remove meat from bones and dice.  Set meat aside and toss bones.  Using an immersion blender, blend the broth base.
Add chopped 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, 3 cans kidney beans, drained (15 oz), and 3 cubed potatoes.  (I used Yukon gold.)  Add 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I just used whole canned tomatoes I had on hand) and 6 oz. can tomato paste.  Add ham and chopped sausage to soup.  (I chopped sausage into 1/2 discs.)  Simmer 20-30 minutes more.
Add macaroni until cooked through.  Add flat leave parsley and cilantro.
Great to freeze!

With the relatively cooler weather here (I said relatively!)…it’s time for soup!  There is no soup more iconic than Portuguese Bean Soup for those of us who reside in Hawaii.  Here is a picture of my version of the soup.  I borrowed from the recipe posted above and added tweaks from my friends who have eating and making experience.

Start with 2-3 large ham hocks (I had ham hocks and a bone from an spiral sliced ham.)  Soup base:  Cover the bones with water or chicken broth  (I used water and a tablespoon of chicken base).  Add bay leaves, thyme, chopped carrots (I used 2 slim ones), 2 celery ribs.  (chopped) and a chopped large onion.  Add some peppercorns.  Bring to boil and then simmer for a couple of hours,covered.  

Remove meat from bones and dice.  Set meat aside and toss bones.  Using an immersion blender, blend the broth base.

Add chopped 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, 3 cans kidney beans, drained (15 oz), and 3 cubed potatoes.  (I used Yukon gold.)  Add 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I just used whole canned tomatoes I had on hand) and 6 oz. can tomato paste.  Add ham and chopped sausage to soup.  (I chopped sausage into 1/2 discs.)  Simmer 20-30 minutes more.

Add macaroni until cooked through.  Add flat leave parsley and cilantro.

Great to freeze!

For a fall dessert, I decided to make pumpkin spice cupcakes.  Taking some help from Betty Crocker, I started with her yellow cake mix, added 1 cup of canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup oil, 1/2 cup water, 4 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.  I made my own pie spice with 2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.  You’ll have extra for pumpkin pie or bread later on!  

For a fall dessert, I decided to make pumpkin spice cupcakes.  Taking some help from Betty Crocker, I started with her yellow cake mix, added 1 cup of canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup oil, 1/2 cup water, 4 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.  I made my own pie spice with 2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.  You’ll have extra for pumpkin pie or bread later on!  

To frost the pumpkin cupcakes, I made my usual cream cheese icing, but added a bit of the pumpkin pie spice to “kick it up.”  It was subtle, but tasty.

To frost the pumpkin cupcakes, I made my usual cream cheese icing, but added a bit of the pumpkin pie spice to “kick it up.”  It was subtle, but tasty.

The completed pumpkin cupcakes garnished with orange edible glitter and sweet and spicy chopped pecans.

The completed pumpkin cupcakes garnished with orange edible glitter and sweet and spicy chopped pecans.

Oh Canada!

A recent trip to Vancouver, BC allowed me to meet and mingle with some wonderful, friendly Canadian folks, and to sample some Canadian culinary delights.  Here are just a few…

On our “Canadian night” we were treated to some regional specialties.  One iconic specialty was maple syrup poured in melted snow on a stick.  With maple stick in hand and an open bar, I stuck the maple stick into a vodka martini, let the maple mix with the martini and voila!  Mapletini!

On our “Canadian night” we were treated to some regional specialties.  One iconic specialty was maple syrup poured in melted snow on a stick.  With maple stick in hand and an open bar, I stuck the maple stick into a vodka martini, let the maple mix with the martini and voila!  Mapletini!

The salmon in Vancouver is amazing.  Here’s a delicious smoked salmon flatbread that I had for lunch one day.  And yes, I couldn’t resist taking a bite before photographing it!

The salmon in Vancouver is amazing.  Here’s a delicious smoked salmon flatbread that I had for lunch one day.  And yes, I couldn’t resist taking a bite before photographing it!

I had the good fortune to travel to Vancouver.  Yelp led me to the popular Cafe Medina!  Even with the rainy, gloomy morning, there was still a line out the door at 9 a.m.  But as a solo traveler, I was lucky to snag the last seat at the bar and to take the chill off with a lavender latte.  Yum!

I had the good fortune to travel to Vancouver.  Yelp led me to the popular Cafe Medina!  Even with the rainy, gloomy morning, there was still a line out the door at 9 a.m.  But as a solo traveler, I was lucky to snag the last seat at the bar and to take the chill off with a lavender latte.  Yum!