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This is my way of celebrating Thanksgiving: You send me five bucks. I send you five recipes. The Good Neighbor Fund gets your money to help families in need. You get ideas for entertaining your family at the dinner table. I get to feel good.

I can't really afford the cash going out or the calories coming in, yet I continue to order the peppermint mocha at such coffee emporiums as Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

The Crock-Pot can be your friend at Thanksgiving, cooking up a nice side dish while your oven is busy with the turkey, your stove top is occupied with four other things and you're cleaning the house.

A Baked Alaska is a mound of meringue over a mound of ice cream over a slice of cake (usually sponge or pound).

What looks like a cake, smells like a cake, acts like a cake but tastes more like a pudding? Answer: A cake baked in a Crock-Pot.

Once upon a time — the 1960s, or maybe '70s — when Jell-O salads ruled the potluck table and a salad dressing called Green Goddess was all the rage, someone invented Green Goddess Jell-O.

Meatloaf is one of those dishes I make by eyeball — whatever ingredients look good in whatever quantities seem right, and rarely the same.

Monica Young is a fan of the dessert spread at the Alley Restaurant at the Aiea Bowling Alley.

Keith Okazaki and I have been baking together, even though our kitchens are miles apart.

An imu provides hours of long, slow cooking, steaming and tenderizing foods. All told — much more practical, especially for those who don't have much of a backyard. Or a shovel. The only thing missing is the smoke, but that conveniently comes in bottles.

Some like 'em chewy, some like 'em crispy and some are so firmly entrenched in one camp or the other that the wrong amount of crunch can ruin an entire cookie experience.

The bento-box craze has yielded a number of intriguing cooking concepts, not the least of which is the idea of turning chicken into ham.

Agedashi is a classic of the Japanese repertoire — tofu dusted in katakuriko, or potato starch, and fried so it's crisp on the outside, warm and custardy inside.

I love America's Test Kitchen, the operation that gives us Cook's Illustrated magazine, a PBS television show and many online and words-on-paper sources of cooking advice.

It’s too bad Hawaii doesn’t have a state canned meat. There would be a clear choice, no arguing, and it would be Spam.

Some people cook by eyeball. They throw things together in quantities that look right, then cook until it looks right. Others require precision instructions and will not move forward without them.

If only they were all this easy. Sue Massey wrote in for a recipe for an old family favorite: "My auntie used to bake a ‘pudding cake.' We never did find the recipe, but sure remember the taste.

Until a few weeks ago I hadn't met a slow-cooker beef stew that I could love. Turns out I was trusting in the wrong recipes and the wrong cuts of beef.

Tan Tan Ramen is a Chinese-Japanese hybrid, a noodle soup with a deep broth flavored with sesame and a bit of chili-pepper heat.

If there were an American hall of fame for cookies, Hawaii’s entry would probably be the Mountain View Bakery Stone Cookie. Legendary in appeal and somewhat mysterious in background, this ultrahard, oversize, elongated cookie has niche appeal.

Today's recipe is for the determined cook. Someone who relishes the challenge met in making something from scratch even though it's easily available at the supermarket.

Hannah Kawakami is on a cornbread mission. She's tried several recipes, "but none of them are as fluffy and tall as those that we get from Napoleon's Bakery. My little granddaughter loves her cornbread and I want to be able to help her bake it herself."

Even if your Crock-Pot makes few appearances in your life, March is the time to drag it out from under the counter behind the big pots.

Lee Curran and Jacqueline Murai-Pedersen are after the same dish, but with different cooking appliances.

Taro is what poi comes from, but steamed and mashed is by no means the only way to present this wholesome tuber.

I put my latest baking experiment out on the newsroom food table a couple weeks ago. Fruitcake. But I told everyone it was spice cake, and it disappeared.

The holy grail in crockpot cooking is a dish that peaks after nine to 10 hours — a work day plus commuting time. Under this magical scenario you plop the ingredients into the pot in the a.m. and come home to a dinner ready to serve. You are Supermom/dad. Pat yourself on the back.

Cornflakes were 2-boxes-for-1 at Safeway this weekend, allowing for a quick turnaround on Rita Ho's cookie recipe request, received just last week.

If Neapolitan ice cream is popular at your house, these cookies are perfect for you. It's not that they taste like the ice cream, but with their tricolor layers they definitely carry out the theme.

In 1985 Star-Bulletin reporter Lois Taylor talked Dolores and Richard Lee into sharing their recipe for preparing a turkey in the Japanese ceramic smoker called the kamado. It was a story with staying power. Many, many newspaper readers cut it out and saved it for all these decades.

My relationship with my Crock-Pot has been one of rapture and rejection — for decades.

I like to close out the old year with my wish for the new: Somebody help me. This is the day I list the collection of recipe requests I've accumulated during the past 12 months that leave me stumped. If you have one of these, please get in touch. Anyone who comes up with one wins a cookbook.

Three days 'til Christmas. Still looking for a few gifts? I have an idea that can be pulled off in the limited window of opportunity remaining.

Dorothy Nakazawa is planning a prime rib dinner for 15 on Christmas (how can we get invited to her house, I wonder?) and would like to serve an accompaniment of twice-baked potatoes.

Mary Ann Kato's request arrived back in October, but I've been holding onto it as a good idea for the holidays. "Do you happen to have a recipe for pork rib or steak seasoning rub?" Kato wrote. "I would like to have one with Hawaiian salt in it."

Even if you can grapple with a turkey only once a year, there are still many post-Thanksgiving reasons to make stuffing.

This column depends on the kindness of strangers — those who cook and create recipes and are willing to share them. To those kind souls, I'd like to say thanks on this, the eve of Thanksgiving.

Rochelle Wenger e-mailed me a recipe mystery last week, then solved it herself. Normally something like this would pass in and out of my consciousness, but in honor of Thanksgiving (next week -- did you forget?) I'm taking note of the recipe in question -- a stuffing made with cornbread and Portuguese sausage.

Now that we have dispensed with Halloween, those other holidays -- The Holidays -- are imminent. As in, blink and it's Thanksgiving. Blink again and it's Christmas.

I admit a certain fondness for Rice Krispies Treats. Gooey yet crunchy, they somehow encourage happiness. So when Carol Hiroe wrote in search of a recipe for a variation on this all-American treat, I saw a good excuse to make lots, pass them on to my friends and spread the joy.

It's hot out there -- still. A glass of iced tea would be nice. "Do you have a recipe for Plantation Ice Tea that is close to the one that Diamond Head Market and Grill makes?" Shayne Tanaka wrote.

This column generally follows a you-ask-I-tell approach, meaning readers ask for recipes and I find someone to tell us how to make them. This means that some of my own favorites never see print.

Last week chef Wayne Hirabayashi of the Kahala Hotel & Resort shared a recipe for the Plumeria Beach House Chinese Chicken Salad. Today we have Part 2 of a pair of requests involving the Kahala banquet menu, this time a fish dish.

A Chinese-style chicken salad is one of those island staples you can get almost anywhere. The salad part is pretty standard: lettuce, chicken, won ton strips. If you want to get fancy, maybe you add some sesame seeds, sliced almonds and a sprinkling of green onion.

This recipe request goes waaaay back -- to 2004, when Julia Wolkins wrote to ask for the Shrimp Shack Pasta from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

"My grandson asked me to make him cheese cookies," writes Bobbie Stone. "I told him I never heard of cheese cookies." Neither had I, but who wants to disappoint a grandson? It became a quest.

Rice is nice, but any fool can push the button on a rice cooker. For a really stylish starch you've got to do dinner rolls. Even if it's a feat you can pull off only on the weekend, you will be a hero.

The Pleiss family from Sunnyvale, Calif., has a favorite stop when on Hawaii vacations: 3660 on the Rise, where the kids especially love the taro rolls.

What's a little fakery between friends? "I used to make a 'mock' crab salad containing crab, cubed bread, celery, etc., to extend the crab," Laurie Sparks wrote. "You refrigerated it overnight and I can't remember the other ingredients.

Today I'd like to kick off a recipe mystery with the hope that someone out there can figure out whodunit. Or rather, howdunit. In other words, who has this recipe? Someone must.

Mustard cabbage is a dark, rather bitter leafy thing, which makes it intimidating for those who like their greens mild and Manoa lettuce-like.

What's a cookie without butter, milk or eggs? An ookie? An ickie?

A few weeks ago, I hit upon what I thought was the ultimate in brownie recipes, a mint-chocolate layered bit of deliciousness that, I kid you not, made people gaze heavenward in bliss. Seriously.

To prove that good food is well understood across borders and seas, Sharon McKenzie writes from across both: "Last year I was studying at UH-Manoa on exchange from New Zealand, and LOVED the taro poke that was sold by Taro Delight at the KCC farmers market on Saturday. I used to buy it every week and really miss it."

It can take time to reach the proper degree of yum. In this case, at least a week.

I'm willing to try just about anything paired with chocolate. Potato chips dipped in chocolate, bacon dipped in chocolate ... anything short of grasshoppers.

Just got back from a visit with family in Las Vegas. Vegas - a place with so many things to do. Spend money, gamble away money, walk the casinos. Repeat. Everything's big, bright, colorful and distracting.

If a tossed salad bores you and you just don't consider macaroni salad to be a real salad, the alternative could be a salad made with soybeans, or edamame.

At a time of loss and sadness, you know what you need? Mochi cake. Beth An Nishijima of Nori's Saimin & Snacks in Hilo knows this by the amount of her Chocolate Mochi Cake ordered for funerals.

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