Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tsukiji Fish Market- Tokyo

3am wake up call!
Yeah, right.
I hate to say it, but we passed on the chance of winning one of 120 spots to view the fish auctions at the Tokyo Tsukiji fish market.  The largest fish auction in the world.
Our hotel's concierge said it was really a crap shoot (... so, he DID say it nicer than that) if you'd even win a spot to view the auction and it was a long wait until it started once you scored a spot.  
"Why not go a little later and enjoy some breakfast or lunch?  You'll still have a great time at the market".  Okay dude, you are on!

As you walk down the Harumi Dori street (not far from Ginza and the Tokyo train station), this is how you know you've arrived at Tsukiji market, oh, and the crowds are a dead give away!

It's hard to put into words about this place... but really, maybe Seattle's Pike Place market meets Istanbul Spice market sums it up.  Crazy busy with people, shops and food everywhere!
Every row of shops in the market was jammed packed with people shopping and some tourists too.

We'd skipped breakfast and just headed out after sleeping in that morning.

So naturally, now we were hungry.
Seafood for breakfast?
Why not?

We ate at a couple street vendors between 9:30 and 10:00, so fun, with lots of great selection. 

This place had steamed oysters, fresh oysters chilled on ice, and grilled whole scallops "to go".  For about 300-400 yen, which is about $3, you can have some terrific taste treats.
 In the US, you don't see scallops with the "orange stuff" attached very often, but it is delicious!
 He's is IN for one of those!

Looking pretty fantastic, and so piping hot.  We had to wait a minute or so before eating.

Besides being a fish market, there are fruits, veggies, meat markets, restaurants, shops for every type of cooking item.

A stall of dried beans and next door (shown below) a stall of different types of seaweed.

Fresh fish, beautifully laid out, ready to sell.

Even a kitchen stall store with all sorts of items for cooking.
Hard to see...
but this was a big table of different mollusks- abalone (650) whelks, clams etc.
I have no idea what was in all these exciting little bags...

 Anyone?  What is this?

Same below....  I have no idea what this is.

Finally, we settled for one of the places for an early lunch.  Seriously, this was the best sushi of our lives.  We'd had an expensive fine dining sushi dinner a couple of nights before that was more beautiful and unique, but every bite in this place amazed us.

This was the most expensive plate at 598yen, a little less than $5.

Here's our clue to how much we were spending.   Like lots of conveyer belt sushi plates, they charge by the type of plate.  There is also a tea dispenser at your seat, hot water and instant powdered green tea that was fantastically good.  I'm not the biggest green tea fan, but I loved this stuff.

Grilled sushi, made fresh and finished with a blow torch.  It was the sauces that made each so fantastic with a nice subtle char flavor, leaving the sushi still raw and tender.

Here he is making a couple new plates of the grilled version.  It was so hard to stop eating this.

This place is a Tokyo chain Sushizanmai, that has quite a great reputation and following.  
I am SO glad that we picked the right spot!  I'd recommend stopping at one of their locations when you visit Tokyo.

A morning at Tsukiji Fish Market was so much fun, and while I had wanted to see the auction, I think sleeping in may have been right for us.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mama's Fish House - Maui

Mama's Fish House on Maui gets credit for being the best place to eat on Maui.
Often times it isn't true and the "best place" really isn't.
I am happy to report, in this case, it IS!

We decided to splurge for our 30th anniversary. We booked a perfect sunset time for our reservation, and we were greeted with a free lei and a nice card at the table.  The rain and wind poured down that night, so the sunset was out. Luckily, there were no other disappointments that night.

When in Hawaii, it seems like you should have a Mai Tai! 
Or two...
I happen to love Mai Tai's.  If you need some inspiration, there are two recipes on my blog.
Mai Tai's for a Crowd, and Best Mai Tai on Kauai.

We wanted to pace ourselves with the food, so we only ordered one appetizer to share. 
Macadamia Crusted Wasabi Calamari appetizer.  Tender and delicious with a nice bit from the wasabi.  Edamame coleslaw underneath it.

Mama's signature Tomato Ginger Bisque, which is "complimentary" and served in cute little cups between your appetizer and your next course. 

Last year, after visiting Mama's I came up with a copy cat version.  It's taken from the recipe on their website which makes gallons, I made a nice "home size" batch for you in this post.
We had more soup for our next course, instead of a salad, as it was the rainiest stormiest day on Maui on our anniversary, which is SO fitting as we had the same weather on our wedding day. We didn't take any pictures of our soups, but I chose the Mahi Mahi Cous Cous soup, and my hubby had the Lobster bisque. Both delicious... I plan on making my rendition of the Mahi mahi soup soon and blog about it.

For our entrees, my hubby had the macadamia crusted mahi mahi topped with a local lobster tail and some asparagus $54).  Amazing. Every night, the menu gets updated with the fresh local fish, and the local fisherman who caught it.  For reals!  Isn't that cool?

I had the Hawaiian sampler plate ($50) but lots of great variety and treats.  It included Taro Kahlua Pork (the dark thing on the right), grilled Mahi Mahi, Molokini Sweet potato, grilled apple banana, lomi lomi salmon, octopus in a coconut sauce (green one- which was SO good) and ahi poke.... and poi (ick).  Besides not liking poi, I loved everything else on this plate.  So yummy.

Also with the my Hawaiian sampler plate came a bottle of the "chili water" that they bring so you can add to any of the dishes, or to use as a palate cleanser.  Crazy good.   

Hana Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp... 

Such a simple idea!  Why haven't more people thought of a banana crisp?
It was fantastic!  We liked it so much, I made a copy cat recipes, that just might be better than Mama's. Mine has RUM in it.  Maybe I should let Mama know...?  My recipe is here.

My suggestion?
Get to Mama's for a night out and splurge when you are there.  
Expensive? Yes! Go ahead and eat "local" for the other meals with plate lunches and fish tacos.  This is SO worth it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Calypso Martini

Can you say DAY-o....?
This will put you in the right frame of mind.

Whether you are old enough to remember the original Harry Belafonte song, or, like me, you lived in NW Washington state, and remember The Bon Marche TV commericial for the One Day Sale... "Day-o, one Day sale-o, one day only at the Bon Marche!".

Never mind that the One Day Sale was usually TWO days.  That's not important now, is it?

Makes 1 (easy to double)

1 jigger Vanilla Vodka (2)
1 jigger Malibu Rum (2)
1 jigger Pineapple Juice (2)
1/2 jigger Grand Marnier (1)

Mix over ice and strain! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lazy Girl Crockpot Mexican White Bean Soup

Hmmm, let's see what's in the cupboard and fridge?
Not much, but I do usually have carrots, onions and celery. Limes too.
Cupboard?  Usually dried white beans and a jar or two of green salsa.
Chicken stock, I always have it in the freezer. Want to know why? 
Check out my link to best, easy homemade chicken stock.

Throw it all in a crockpot and walk away and leave it.
I like the flavors and it's healthy too.
Hey, this is easy to make vegetarian too.  Just swap out the broth for veggie broth.

Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups dried navy beans
4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup sliced carrots (2 medium)
1 tsp granulated garlic, or 1-2 fresh cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 cup salsa verde
1 lime, juiced
Sour cream (optional)
Fresh cilantro
Cayenne pepper

Add all ingredients (not the toppings), stir and cook on High for -5-6 hours, or low for 8-10 works too.

Using a handheld immersion blender, blend mixture slightly. Or let soup cool slightly. Transfer one third of the mixture to a blender. Cover; blend slightly. You want some creaminess, but some texture from the beans and veggies too.

 If desired, top with sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro and cayenne pepper.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Watermelon Vodka (or Gin) Tonic

Feeling kind of brilliant here.  
Won't lie.
My idea?
Freeze chunks (cubes) of fresh watermelon and use them as "ice" cubes to chill your drink!
Doesn't matter what you like best.... would be great in a gin and tonic or a vodka tonic. 
Hmmm, I got a question for you! 
Why do people say gin AND tonic and just,  vodka tonic (no AND)???

Guess what?
No recipe here... I figure you know how to make a Vodka Tonic.
Just freeze up some watermelon and you're most the way to SUMMERTiME!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shrimp and Mango Cobb

I do know this is not a "Cobb" in the traditional sense of the word, which... my friends... is EXACTLY why I am doing it.  I do love a Cobb salad with chicken, blue cheese and bacon, but sometimes its just too rich.  You know?

I saw this salad at a local Anthony's Homeport restaurant and thought, YES!  This is what I want.  While the salad wasn't quite everything I could want, as I have high expectations, here's my version.

Serves 4

1 lb Shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed (I use the Costco ones that are ready to go)
2 mangos, peeled and diced
4 eggs, hard boiled then sliced
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup feta, cubed
1/4 cup green onions

6 cups Spring greens, or other lettuces

Lime and cilantro dressing:
3 limes, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a blender, add the lime juice, the cilantro and dry mustard.  Blend, and with the motor running, pour a stream of oil into the blender.  Blend until the dressing is slightly thickened and only has a few flecks of green.  Taste, add the salt and pepper to your liking.  
Note- Some people like a sweeter dressing, if so, add a tsp of sugar or honey.

Thaw shrimp, you can do this overnight if you plan ahead, otherwise you can use the water method, but it is not ideal.
Hard boil the eggs
Make the dressing.
If you need a fool proof method, check this link for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Everytime!

When ready to eat, toss the greens with a small amount of dressing.  You just want a bit of flavor, you will pass additional dressing when you serve the salads.  Add the greens to a plate and start to make rows, or sections, of each of the ingredients.  I did it like this:

Color order on salad
  1. white- feta
  2. pink- shrimp
  3. orange- mango
  4. red tomatoes
  5. dk red- bacon
  6. green- onions
  7. white/yellow- eggs

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs- Everytime!

We make hard boiled eggs every week when we prep for our week's lunches.
Everyone hates the hard boiled eggs that are so over done that the white is rubbery and there is a green coating around the edge of the yolk.  Yuck.
Yhis is our fool proof way to get easy to peel eggs, no "green" and nice tender whites, and

If you need some inspiration on pre-prepping your lunches so that you always have healthy lunches that are quick to grab in the morning, then check this link. Plan for a Week of Healthy Lunches

Makes 12

1 dozen XL or large eggs
1 Tbsp of salt

Add eggs to a small saucepan (approx 2 qt) that has a lid.  Add water so that the eggs are completely covered by 1/2 to 1 inch.  Make sure that every egg is covered! Add the salt

Over high heat, without the lid, bring the eggs to a boil.
Once the water has started to boil, set the timer for 1 minute.
After the minute is over, cover with the lid and reduce heat to LOW
Set the timer for 11 minutes.
At that time pull from the stove and drain the hot water.  Cover the eggs with a mound of ice. 
Add cold tap water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Drain and refrigerate for another use.

I used these for my Mango Prawn Cobb Salad.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Chocolate Glaze

A very intense, almost flourless chocolate cake that has a FULL pound of dark chocolate in it (a half pound in the cake and a half pound in the glaze). I've been making the Silver Palate's Chocolate Decadence for years, but frankly this one is WAY better.

I have to say I was attracted to the this recipe mainly because the glaze had red wine in it.
I was intrigued by leftover wine...
What the hell is that???
LOL, but it is true, every once in a while leftover wine does happen.
Even if you are confident you will not have a leftover wine problem any time soon, go ahead and crack open a new bottle and reserve half a cup!  Aren't I smart?
Now you'll need to get to work to polish off the rest of it.
Original recipe From Bon Appetit Feb 2014

Makes 10-12 servings 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Glaze and assembly: 
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
Special equipment: A 9" springform pan

For cake: 
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool completely.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened, 55–65 minutes (rely on visual cues; a tester inserted into cake's center will come out clean before cake is truly done). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.

For glaze and assembly:
Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.

Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes. 

Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. 

Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hana Banana Macadamia Crisp

At Mama's Fish House in Maui, they have the most delicious dessert.
Hana Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp!  
Who would have thought of banana crisp?  Well, Mama, I suppose.
What a simple idea, and it's amazingly easy to make.

I searched the internet for any recipes, but all I found was so many posts about how many people loved the dessert and wanted the recipe. Me?  I said "I can do this" in my superpower voice.

This tastes a bit like banana's Foster, that classic New Orleans dessert, only simpler to make. A perfect thing to make ahead for a dinner party and bake while you are eating the main course.  Serve with some fancy vanilla ice cream and sit back and collect the "oohs and ahhs".

As to the authenticity of this recipe, I am pretty sure my recipes differs from Mama's with the addition of rum and brown sugar instead of white. My husband said, "this is better than what we had at Mama's!".  Yes!  A keeper - - both the recipe, and the husband.

* A Hana Banana is a small banana variety, sometimes called an apple banana.  I just used regular bananas like we have on the mainland.

Serves 6

6 Bananas, sliced and chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup dark rum (optional)
Dash of salt
Dash of cinnamon

Crisp topping:
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Peel and slice the bananas, I chose to chop mine up as that's how it was when we had it at the restaurant.

 Mix the chopped bananas with the brown sugar, melted butter and the rum.  Add a pinch of salt and some cinnamon.  Mix well and add to small baking dishes.  Be sure to place them on a baking sheet, as you may get some spill over during the baking process.

Mix the topping ingredients together until it clumps together. Feel free to use your fingers, it just seems to work better like that.


 Add the topping to each of ramikins filled with the banana mixture.  At this point, you could chill these until you were ready to bake and serve later.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or do.  They should be bubbly and browned on the top.
Let cool for about 10-15 minutes... so, you don't burn someone's mouth off.  Mama's just don't do that.  Serve with ice cream and enjoy! 

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