Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

3 T. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. cleaned butternut squash into 2-inch cubes
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/8ths
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1/16 kosher salt
dash of pepper
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. plain yogurt (NOT non-fat)
3 T. fresh chopped chives
2 T. toasted sesame seeds

IMG_6471Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss together oil, squash, onions, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a flat roasting pan and roast 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.

Transfer vegetables to a soup pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer soup 20-25 minutes. Puree soup and add yogurt. Adjust seasoning and serve hot, sprinkled with chives and toasted seeds or with fresh basil and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

I’ve made this soup several times, but the most recent results allowed me to post this recipe with confidence.  What had I done differently?  Use garlic confit to roast the vegetables was one thing, but the defining difference — I believe — was purchasing a locally grown butternut squash.  It was sweeter than any I’d worked with before.  It was gloriously colorful (see photo!).  The moral of this is to buy fresh, buy local.

Honey-Molasses Chicken Drumsticks

1 T. brown sugar
2 T. water
2 T. honey
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. molasses
1 tsp. minced garlic

IMG_56291 tsp. olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine first 7 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken to pan, browning on all sides. Add honey mixture to pan, turning chicken to coat.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken every 5 minutes.
  • Uncover and cook an additional 1 minute or until mixture is thick and a mahogany color, and chicken is well coated.
  • Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes

Source:  Cooking Light


Yougurt-curry Marinated Chicken Thighs

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt (Greek Gods Plain preferred)
1/3 cup grated onion (about 1 medium)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 large or 8 small bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skin removed


  • Whisk yogurt, onion, curry powder, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper in a bowl.
  • Dredge each piece of chicken in marinade, place in ziploc, and then add remaining sauce to bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and grill, turning once until no longer pink in the center.  About 25 to 30 minutes.

Adapted from: Eating Well

I’m violating my Onolish rule here by publishing this recipe after making the dish only once.  A couple of  caveats:  I used boneless thighs so I had to watch the time more carefully.  I also marinated the thighs a little longer than 8 hours.  What’s nice about this dish:  the flavors are well blended and the chicken is wonderfully moist and tender.


Tofu and Sweet Potato Patties

tofu sweet potato patties1 box firm or extra-firm tofu (12.5 ounces)
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked (350 degrees for an hour) or boiled, keep whole with skins on
4 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped OR 2/3 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
3 green onions, green parts only
1 T. or more of finely chopped fresh ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T. sesame seeds
2/3 cup breadcrumbs (or more if needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 or more tablespoons olive oil

Yield:  about 12 to 14 patties

1.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skin, cut into chunks and mash.
2.  Slice tofu and place slices between several layers of paper towel.  Press to remove liquid.
3.  Crumble tofu with your hands into a bowl. Add in the cooked sweet potato and with a fork mash them together.
4.  Add in the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Mix together, place in covered container, refrigerate for an hour or more.
5.  When you’re ready to fry the patties, add bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
6.  Form patties with your hands.  (I use a 1/3 measuring cup as a scoop.)
7.  Heat pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
8.  Cook patties for a few minutes on each side until browned.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 170 degree oven for up to 30 minutes.

I’ve made this dish several times and gradually made changes to the original I’d found online.  Ginger gives the patties a kind of fresh taste and green onions add color and zip.  I finally felt satisfied enough to post this recipe after an accidental discovery.  I decided to prep everything ahead of time, which meant refrigerating the basic ingredients (see note above about what to add right before frying).  This time lapse and chill down mellowed and blended the flavors.  For best results, refrigerate.

German-Style Potato Salad

IMG_50332 pounds (6 medium-sized) white new potatoes or Yukon gold
1 quite small, mild red onion
10 slices bacon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. each dry mustard and salt
1/3 cup each water and white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dry or chopped fresh parsley for color

Adapted from Sunset’s Ideas for Cooking Vegetables, 1973

Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender when pierced (about 30 minutes); drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Thinly slice onion, separate into rings, and add to potatoes. Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble 7 slices into the potatoes. Set aside remaining bacon for garnish.

Put egg in a saucepan and stir in the sugar, flour, mustard, salt, water, and white wine vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens (about 4 minutes). Pour over potatoes; mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool, cover, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving, garnish with reserved crumbled bacon and parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Making this ahead of time — for at least the four-hour chill down — is important for allowing the flavors to blend and mellow.

Kabocha and Pork Jook


2 1/2 quart water
2 tbsp chicken bouillon
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 cup rice

1/2 cup pork
1 cup diced cabbage
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup chunks of kabocha
Diced green onion or chives

white pepper
seasame oil

I know it seems strange to add kabocha to jook, but it is amazing! My family has always had a pretty extensive vegetable garden and when the season came around for harvesting our kabocha or japanese pumpkin, my dad would always make soups with it.  In my adult life I have grown quite fond of kabocha, especially roasted. The color is so beautiful. My dad would add the kabocha into soup even into xi fan (aka jook).   His jook was more on the sweet than the savory side.    Jook is an ultimate comfort food for me. I hope you like this combination as much as I do!

Saute diced onion in at least a 4 quart pot. I would highly recommend a thick pot.

Pour water, chicken bouillon, and ginger. Bring to a light simmer. Add a cup of rice.
Let all come to a boil and then simmer. Add half of the kabocha.

In a separate pan (or you can do this first and then set it aside) Brown pork, add some shoyu for some flavor. Add to jook.

The trick is to let the rice cook for a long time on very low heat. Patience and love is necessary for a good pot of jook. Cook for at least an hour.  At the 30 minute mark add more kabocha and at 45 minutes, add the cabbage.

Add shoyu to taste. Finish with white pepper and drizzle with seasme oil. I like my jook on the thicker side and my rice broken down into tiny morsels ono-ness. If you don’t know about white pepper, it’s really great in soups and you can find it in most Chinatowns.

P.S. This is also a great thing to cook in an electric pressure cooker, you can cut the cooking time in half.. you just don’t have as much love in it ;).

Stuffed Quinoa Peppers

I get in these moods sometimes to have my food all packaged neatly like my muffin tin lasagna. I decided to try making stuffed peppers after my friend made some for dinner once, but I wanted it a little lighter so decided to add quinoa to lighten a filling a bit.IMG_7239

You will need:
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
1 tbsp chicken bouillion
1 tsp taco seasoning
1lb ground beef
1/2 diced small onion
1 cup shredded cheese
1 tsp oil
4 bell peppers

Preparing the ground beef quinoa filling:  Bring water, chicken bouillon, and quinoa to a boil. Then simmer (see quinoa recipe for more details).

In a separate pan. Using a little oil, brown the diced onion, ground beef, and mix in taco seasoning. Mix the quinoa and meat mixture together.

Prep the bell peppers by cutting the tops and blanching them for 3-5 minutes.

IMG_7243Let ingredients and peppers cool so that you can easily assemble the peppers. Preheat oven to 350º

Stuff the peppers with quinoa mixture layering with shredded cheese of choice.

Bake covered at 350º for 20 minutes. Serves 2. If you’d like a top layer of golden cheese then leave uncovered and continue baking for a couple minutes.


Baked Chicken, sorta sweet, sorta savory

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 T. honey, divided*
2 T. Dijon mustard**
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp. dry rosemary
3 or more cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 lbs. chicken drumsticks
Sea salt to taste


Combine first 7 ingredients and salt. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag, pour in marinade, and massage chicken to coat thoroughly. Marinate for 1 hour or more. (I’ve done it as long as overnight.) Occasionally turn the bag to ensure even marination.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place foil on broiler pan and arrange drumsticks on pan. Do not crowd the ‘sticks. Drizzle chicken with remaining honey or *maple syrup.

Roast 45 minutes or until cooked through, rotating pan every 10 to 12 minutes. It’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer to check for done-ness since the size of the drumsticks can vary.

Serves 6.

Source of this recipe.

I’ve made this three or four times when I wanted to serve/eat drumsticks (rarely but my grandson likes them) and when something baked that is a bit sweet and savory yet gentle on the stomach is needed.

**The last time I made this, I used a “deli mustard with horseradish roots” for some of the mustard. I’m not sure if this made the chicken better or just slightly different. But as usual at Onolish, we encourage folks to experiment, substitute, go with what you have.

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.