Sweet Potato Salad with Fresh Ginger

2 cups medium diced sweet potatoes, Okinawan preferred (or a mixture of orange and purple)
1/2 cup raisins, golden preferred
1/3 cup finely diced celery
2/3 cup finely diced red onion
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt)
1 T. finely chopped parsley
Source: Courtesy of Cafe Tu Tu Tango via Food Network

Cook potatoes until they are fork tender in boiling water. Drain the potatoes and cool them completely. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes, then IMG_3454drain. Combine all ingredients and mix them thoroughly but gently. Chill for 24 hours before serving. (Yes, really 24 hours if you can manage it. The time allows for the ginger and onions to completely mellow.)

Chocolate Ganache

14 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate*, broken into pieces
3 T. espresso or strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar* (confectioner’s, granulated, or light brown)
3/4 cup heavy cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized*
1 pinch coarse salt or to taste

Source: appeared in the Honoluly Star Advertiser, 7/16/14 from the NY Times‘Julia Moskin of the NY Times

In heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients and melt together over very low heat, stirring. (Alternatively, combine in a bowl and microwave at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking in 30-second blasts, stirring in between.)*

Just before all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir until chocolate melts and mixture comes together. It may appear curdled, but keep stirring or whisk vigorously; it will smooth out. If too thick to pour, whisk in hot water a tablespoon at a time. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Note: Refrigerate leftovers in a jar; it will keep indefinitely.* To rewarm, place jar in saucepan half-filled with simmering water, or uncover and heat in microwave at low heat.*

* I used bittersweet and bought a 10 oz. bag of chips and a 4 oz. bar to make the 14 oz.
* I used light brown sugar; only ultra pasteurized cream was available.
* I avoid microwaving so I used a pan to melt (no need double boiler).
* Really? Indefinitely? The first batch I made didn’t last long enough to see if indeed it is eternal.
* The chocoholic in the house, takes a tablespoon each night, micros it for about 12 seconds on high, then buries it under ice cream.


Quinoa Salad with sweet potatoes and apples


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 tsp. (or to taste) agave
2 large Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
8 packed cups herb salad or baby greens, such as arugula or kale (about 6 ounces)

Adapted from Food & Wine, November 2012 issue.

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the quinoa and toast over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups of water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer the quinoa for 16 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa, spread it out on a baking sheet and refrigerate until it is chilled, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes, stirring once, until golden and softened. Let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegar and if desired, add agave to cut the acidity; season with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, onions, and greens and toss well. Serve right away.

You can make the quinoa and sweet potatoes ahead; they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

I’ve served this a couple of times, once with baby argula for the greens and another with a ready-to-go herb salad that had various kinds of baby greens as well as fresh dill. Either way, folks liked this salad for its contrasting textures — crunchy tart apples, gently sweet potatoes, red and somewhat sweet but still oniony bermuda onion, and the slightly crunchy quinoa. In many ways this is a complete dish: veggies, carbos, protein.

Furikake Salmon

Furikake Salmon
My friend Kehau shared this recipe with me and it’s a definite keeper.  This recipe is simple and very quick to make.

1lb of salmon

3/4 cup shoyu (sometimes I do a 1/2 cup of regular shoyu, and 1/4 cup of ponzu sauce)
1/4 cup sugar ( I like mine less sweet, you may want to keep shoyu to sugar ratio 1:1).
1/4 cup of sake
fresh grated ginger

2 -4 tbsp of mayonnaise

Assemble the sauce and mix together. Set aside.

Prep the salmon. I took off the skin and cut them into single serving portions, but you can keep the salmon one large piece, really depends on the size of your pan.

Place salmon and sauce in a foiled glass pan or baking pan (foiling the pan makes for easy clean up). Preheat the oven at 350 degrees -it’s fine if you forget gives the salmon more time to marinade (what I love about this recipe is you don’t have to marinade it at all in order to get the flavor!).  The sauce should cover at least half of the salmon.

Put a thin layer of mayo on the top of the salmon pieces I found the trick to be to use a spoon and place some mayonnaise on each piece  and then to either use a butter knife or my fingers to spread over the top of the  salmon.  Once you have coated the salmon with a layer of mayonnaise,  sprinkle your favorite furikake. I like the furikake with the bonito flakes. Now it’s time to cover it with foil and let the magic happen. By covering it, the sauce steams nicely into the salmon in the oven.  Bake in the oven covered for 30 minutes. Waaa lllaaaa

Some other things to do with this recipe:

  • With the salmon skin, I have also thrown that in the oven – crisped it up and made my own salmon skin hand rolls!
  • Kehau mixes wasabi with the mayonnaise. I have not tried that yet – I’m sure it’s ono though!
  • I like to eat the salmon with quinoa and some nori – making little salmon sushi action.
  • The salmon is also great on salads or in a tortilla wrap.

Green Goddess Dressing

green goddess2 T. anchovy paste or 2 to 4 canned anchovies
2 or more small garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (not fat free)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (1/3 this amount if using dried)
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon (1/3 this amount if using dried)
3 T. chopped chives or green onions
2 T. lemon juice (the juice of about one lemon)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp agave (optional to tamp down the tartness of the lemon)
salt and black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend or pulse until you get an evenly smooth dressing, about 30 to 45 seconds.

Here the goddess is drizzled on fresh avocados.  But, of course, use it as a salad dressing or a dip.  But it would work on sandwiches, as a condiment on chicken, pork, steak. Whatevah.

Adapted from simplyrecipes.

I was wondering about the origin of this dressing, and even thought it might be a female version of Caesar since they’re similar.  Well, not according to the history of salads and salad dressings.

Asparagus Bisque with variations

asparagus soup in progress2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 T. butter
4 green onions, including tops, sliced
1 small potato, peeled and diced OR 1/4 cup or more uncooked quinoa
47 oz. regular strength chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. each Worchestershire and dill weed
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream or half-and-half or plain Greek yogurt

Options: For each serving, dust with cayenne pepper or sprinkle dill or float a basil leaf.

Source: adapted from Sunset’s Ideas for Cooking Vegetables (1973)

Snap off tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Rinse asparagus spears well and cut into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

In a Dutch oven or other large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onion and cook until limp (about 3 minutes). Add the potato or quinoa, chicken broth, salt, pepper, Worchestershire, dill weed, and asparagus. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and pour the soup into a food mill, pressing vegetables through or whirl soup in a blender.

Return soup to pan. Blend eggs with cream; stir into soup and heat, stirring until hot. Serves 8.

On a trip to Costco a few days before Thanksgiving, I decided to buy a typical asparagus soup last stageCostco bumboocha amount of some vegetable — in this case, asparagus — and figured I could find a way to make something tasty. If you like asparagus and a creamy soup, you’ll like this recipe.  I’ve made this recipe with potato and with quinoa. Both are nice.
Most recently I’ve been substituting whole Greek yogurt, not as rich but still good.

Beef Sukiyaki



Makes 4 servings


      • 1/lb thinly sliced beef
      • 1/2 package of cellophane noodles (3 bundles in the pink bag – soak them in warm water)
      • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (keep the water you soak it in )
      • 1  package enoki mushroom, trimmed
      • 1/2 cup of sliced onion
      • Scallions- long, thin slices  (1/3 of a bunch?? or to taste)
      • 1/2 Chinese cabbage, washed and cut into 2 inch wide pieces  ( or any other greens, sometime I usually throw whatever I have – watercress, spinach, you get my drift)
      • Block of firm tofu ( I typically use the smaller containers, you may want to just use half if it’s aloha tofu)

For sukiyaki broth:

      • 2/3 cup soy sauce
      • 3 Tbsp sake
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      •  3/4 cup water
      • 3/4 cup of the water you soaked the shitake mushrooms + extra 1/4 cup in case you want the broth less potent
      • 1 tbsp of fresh grated ginger ( I like mine very gingery so I load it up!!)

Slightly brown the meat and throw in the sliced onions. Put the broth in the pot, add the tofu, bring to a simmer.  I give it a taste to see if I need to add any of the components of the broth at this point. Sometimes I like it sweeter and other times I like it very bland. I throw in the shitake mushrooms and the vegetables especially if it’s Chinese cabbage and needs some time to break down.  I let all the ingredients come together. Surprisingly you don’t have to simmer this for a long time. Then I add the noodle and enoki mushroom. Remember to trim the mushrooms and break them apart some.

Then let the sukiyaki simmer a couple more minutes, throw in the scallions and taaaadaaaa, sukiyaki goodness.. full belly comfort (especially during this cold weather we’ve been having)!




Posole, C’s version

4 medium onions, divided
7 T. olive oil, divided
4 T. special seasoning (see recipe below) or ancho chili powder
2 T. plus 2 tsp. dried oregano, divided
6 to 6-1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)*
5 cups (or more) of chicken broth (low sodium or not)
4 7-ounch cans green chilis (or more)
5 or more large garlic cloves, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, skin removed, seeded, and chopped
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 15-ounce cans golden or white hominy, drained
thinly sliced green onions
leafy lettuce, chiffonaded

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit December 2008

Special seasoning
2-1/2 T. paprika
2 T. salt
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice two onions. Heat 4 T. oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions to pot and saute until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp. oregano to onions; rub pork with 1 T. plus 1 tsp. special seasoning and some salt. Put pork in pot and lightly brown all sides.

*  The original recipe calls for cutting the raw pork into 1/2 inch cubes and then braising it.  Although I do this for my pork tikka recipe, the two times I’ve made posole I’ve left the pork butt whole and then shredded and cut the pork and removed excess fat when it was done and had cooled.

Add 5 cups of broth, bring to boil. Cover and transfer to oven.

Braise pork until tender enough to shred easily, about 2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large bowl. Pour juice into another large bowl. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You should make the pork a day ahead to allow the fat to rise to the surface of the juice so it can easily be removed.

Discard fat from top of chilled juice; reserve juice. Chop pork into 1/2-inch cubes, discarding excess fat. Thinly slice remained 2 onions. Heat 3 T. oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add remaining 2 T. plus 2 tsp. special seasoning, 1 tsp. oregano, diced chilis, tomatoes, garlic, and cumin. Stir 30 seconds. Add pork, reserved juice, and hominy. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend adding more broth to thin, if you want.

Ladle into bowls. Place strips of lettuce on top and a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, which are very optional. I served buttered tortillas with the posole. Heat a fry pan without oil to warm the tortillas and then butter them. But warm corn bread would be a good alternative.

Background:  When I frequently visited Anne Noggle in Albuquerque, her friend Jim Holbrook would make, not nearly often enough, as far as I was concerned, posole and share it with us. That was several years ago. Recently, I’ve been occasionally getting lunch from a food truck on the University of Hawaii campus, and posole is one of the dishes that they rotationally serve. I figured I could make a version of it. What I have here can’t come close to Jim’s (and likely other authentic and regionally situated posoles out there) but it’s as good, maybe better, than the food truck’s. Pearl likes it, and I had to fight Mike to keep him from eating it all.

Split Pea Soup and Greens

pea soupHam shank or shanks to total 2 to 3 pounds*
12 cups water
1 whole onion, peeled and halved for flavoring stock
1 pound dried split peas, inspected (for duds and pebbles — no kidding) and rinsed
1 additional large onion, peeled and diced (about 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 cups)
2 – 3 carrots, washed, peeled, diced
1 – 2 ribs celery, washed, peeled, diced
4 or more cloves garlic, diced or sliced (if you like seeing them in the soup)
About 1 pound dark leafy greens (Swiss chard, kale, collards)**
2 T. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Optional: 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more depending on your taste)
Croutons (ready made or see recipe below)

Adapted from kitchenriffs.

* I’ve made this soup with ham hocks as well as with the leftover bone from a Christmas ham, which had some meat still clinging to it. If you use the latter, then be sure to have some leftover ham — about a cup or more, diced or shredded — to add to the soup in the final stages of the assembling. If you decide to use a shank (way better than ham hocks), you can still toss in the leftover ham bone to add even more flavor to the soup stock.

** I’ve used fresh spinach and kale. If you use spinach, the braising time will be very brief since the leaves are delicate. But if you use chard, collards, or kale, you’ll need to thoroughly cook the leaves. Of the two I’ve tried, kale has been the most tasty.


Don’t be put off by the number of steps in making this soup since you’ll have time to prep the peas,chop and sauteed the vegetables, braise the greens, and remove the meat from the bone and chop or shred the meat. Look over all the steps below to decide how you want to manage your time — early prep or prep as you go. Making soup is not like baking a cake; you have time to do things and can even take a break, as I did, after the shank had cooked for an hour.

1. Rinse ham shanks and place in a large pot with water. You should add enough water to make sure the shanks or hocks are nearly covered with water.

2. Add peeled and halved onion to the pot and bring to a simmer. Skim any scum that forms.

3. Simmer for one hour or so to develop the soup stock.

4. At this point, I remove the shanks or hocks and the onion. The original recipe calls for just adding peas at this point but I don’t like fishing for bones and pieces of meat in the green (but delicious) murk. Add peas that have been inspected and rinsed. When ham is cool enough to handle, remove the meat, discard the bones, and chop or shred the ham into bite-sized pieces.

5. While peas are cooking or earlier, peel and dice (1/4 to 1/2 inch) the additional onion; wash, peel and dice carrots; and wash, peel, and dice celery. Peel and mince or slice garlic.

6. Wash greens and remove overly large, woody stems. No need to dry greens. Chop leaves into squares of about one inch.

7. Heat deep casserole or Dutch oven or wok on medium and add oil. Add onions, carrots,celery; season with salt and pepper, and saute onions until they’re translucent.

8. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.

9. Add thyme and pepper flakes. Saute about 30 seconds; add greens.

10. Stir greens to incorporate with onion mixture. Saute about 1 minute and then cover.kale

11. Braise greens for 2 to 3 minutes for spinach, 5 to 10 minutes for tougher greens.

12. Once greens are done, add the onion, carrot, celery, greens mixture to the pea soup.

13. Add ham.

14. If the soup is very thick, you can add more water and adjust seasoning. Simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer until the peas are the desired consistency. This can range from the peas completely dissolved to soft but intact.

As you can see, I like my pea soup chunky. But if you want a smooth consistency, after it has cooled down some, you can use a stick blender or run it through a blender.

Note: This soup is total comfort food. It makes about 4 quarts so it will serve several people or you can portion it up and freeze for later. It also continues to thicken once it’s refrigerated, but then returns to a nice consistency once it’s heated. You also can add more water or chicken broth if you want a thinner soup.

1/3 of a baguette or several slices of oldish bread, crusts removed
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. parsley
Preheat over to 300 degrees

For a baguette (crust remains), slice into rounds about 1/2 inch thick, cut each round into three strips, and then cut the strips into cubes. Toss with oil, garlic salt, and parsley. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spread the tossed cubes into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn and bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle a few croutons on each serving of soup.

Spinach Appetizer

spinach appetizer
2 T. butter
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 diced red bell pepper
Optional: Substitute 1 or 2 cups of jalapeno Jack cheese for Monterey. Or, just add some cayenne during the final mix if you want some heat.

Source: TLC Cooking and called “Easy Spinach Appetizer.”

red pepperPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in 13×9-inch baking pan.
Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add milk, flour, baking powder and salt; beat or whisk until well blended. Stir in spinach, cheese, and bell pepper; mix well. Spread mixture over melted butter in pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes until set. Let stand 10 minutes; cut into squares to serve.

This appetizer can be made ahead, frozen and reheated. After baking, cool completely and cut into squares. Transfer squares to a baking sheet; place it in the freezer until the squares are frozen solid. Transfer to a large resealable food storage bag. To serve, reheat the squares in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Background: I like to bring a baked appetizer to gatherings, from wine bottling events to Christmas potlucks. This one transports well, has good color, and, of course, tastes good or I wouldn’t be posting it at Onolish.  Any leftovers work well as a vegetable side dish, reheated or at room temperature.

Side note:  Often the raw ingredients of a dish are more beautiful than the final concoction; thus, the “screaming” red bell pepper.