If you made a resolution to cook more good stuff and eat less bad, by this point in the new year, you already may be backsliding. Convenience meals and fast food can seem an easy fix when workdays are busy, commutes are long and your house is full of hungry people at 6 p.m.
Rainbow Drive-In serves roast pork on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays but generally sells out about two hours before closing time. Vernon Tam has been late too often and wants to take matters into his own hands.
It's great when someone does all your work for you; doubly great when in the end you get ice cream. My hero today is Mandy Blake, and by extension Louli Yardley, and by further extension Yardley's mother, the late, great Maili Yardley, who wrote The Honolulu Advertiser's food column, "The Island Way."
When a message begins "I am hoping for a miracle," I know what to expect: a request for a recipe from a restaurant long gone. But this is the season of miracles, so I close every year with a list of these long-shot requests, and sometimes we get lucky.
Korean-style fried chicken distinguishes itself in a world of chicken nuggets by way of its sweet-spicy-sticky sauce. Helen Slaughter has enjoyed this style of chicken for years and asked for a recipe.
Thanksgiving approaches, time for my annual mash-up of recipes and charity. This is our eighth year of offering the five top "By Request" recipes of the year as a benefit for the Star-Advertiser's Good Neighbor Fund, which provides aid to families in need.
While I was taking a nap one day last week, my slow cooker baked a cheesecake. It was a good one, too: nice, light texture, a chocolately crust and the sweet-salty flavors of the Snickers bar that was layered on the bottom.
I have two close friends and a brother-in-law who are gluten sensitive, so the world of baked goods is a minefield for them. Any type of wheat or wheat byproduct lurking in a muffin or a cookie could touch off symptoms from a stuffy nose to serious indigestion.
The plate lunches at Rainbow Drive-In fall firmly in the category of not-broke-don't-fix. Change is unnecessary for purposes of taste or economics (Rainbow already moves 1,600 to 1,800 plate lunches every day, thank you very much). But growth, that's OK.
What do you know about okra? It's slimy, right? And hairy. It goes into gumbo and lots of soups, stir-fries and stews, especially of the Filipino persuasion. And pickles — it makes nice pickles. And tempura.
We call ours Dobash cake; they call theirs Dobos torte. They are similar in name only. A Dobos, a 19th-century creation credited to Hungarian baker Jozsef Dobos, is many-layered and many-flavored, a vanilla sponge cake with raspberry and chocolate buttercream frosting between the very thin layers, caramel over all and nuts sprinkled around.
Sometimes a person's culinary advances simply outpace the ability of the average eater to appreciate their significance. For example, the time I baked a pie-cake, or a p'cake, as I have come to call it.
Recently we held a dinner with two highly revered winemakers from Italy. As expected, their wines were compelling and interesting, but it was the conversation we had that I found particularly thought-provoking.
Sometimes in our attempts to eat better, we do a little bit right and a little bit wrong. It's that old two-steps-forward-one-step-back thing, in food form. Gordon Wong took note of the problem in a recent phone call.
I have been pairing German rieslings with Asian-inspired foods for a long time. Slightly sweet, fruity, lower-alcohol wines wonderfully counter salty and spicy components, the same way a bite of cold apple or pineapple would.
For those who think bread pudding is too mushy, too eggy, too bland: Give it another try, using this recipe from the past. Noella Narimatsu wrote in search of the bread pudding served at the F.W. Woolworth store downtown, which closed in 1997. She remembered it as "really moist."
Once in a while you should cook something that scares you. Builds character. That said, I decided against the scariest recipe I could find on the new sauerkraut.com website: grape Jell-O with sauerkraut and hot dogs. My brain recoils at the very thought.
To go forward, look back. Way back. Way, way back. This is the premise of the Paleo Diet, which advocates eating as our earliest ancestors did in Paleolithic times, before we learned to milk cows or raise grain.
Minute chicken is on the menu of just about any Chinese restaurant yet seems a dish loosely defined. The only requirement is that the chicken be cut small enough to cook quickly -- in a minute, literally -- which really is true of most stir-fries.
I can't swear to the provenance of this recipe, but I can swear to its deliciousness and to its suitability to a rice-loving place like ours. Lee Wical wrote in search of a recipe for Canlis Rice, which his wife used to make in the 1950s. His request was published here in my annual New Year's call-out for recipes that have proved difficult to find.
Karaage chicken is the Japanese version of chicken nuggets. Like nuggets, karaage comes in many versions, but the general theme is bite-size bits of boneless chicken marinated in a soy-sauce base, then lightly breaded and fried.
Kathy Laoron emailed me early last year with a list of recipe requests from restaurants long gone. I told her not to get her hopes up, and she said, "If I get just one recipe, then it's as if I won the lottery."
I like to start out the year with a call for help, a tradition that often reaps rewards in recipes. It’s an out-with-the-old custom: Printed here are requests I received in 2013 that I could not fulfill. Through the kindness of strangers, I hope to bring a few recipes in with the new.
A recipe for New Year's good luck came to me in the form of an unsigned recipe from the Ozawa family in Mililani. It's a slow-cooker recipe for a traditional Japanese holiday dish, kuromame, or sweet black beans.
Here's a gift idea for the guy or gal who has everything: an invitation to the Bacon and Bourbon Dinner Party at Tiki's Grill and Bar. The event is Monday, so it will be an advance gift, allowing you to set the bar for a reciprocal present of equal warmth and yum.
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.
This business of recipe requests usually follows a particular flow: Questions come in, recipes go out. But this time, Dagmar Oato sent in a recipe, totally unsolicited yet quite welcome in this season of pumpkins.
The ramen burger is not even 7 weeks old, and already it’s a phenomenon. They’re calling it “the food craze of the summer,” and by “they” I mean those who would stand in line for four hours for the chance at the latest, greatest edible thing.
If you saw a lady in the produce aisle last weekend spending way too much time looking at bags of carrots, that was me. I was trying to pick the one that had the most carrots of the size and shape of hot dogs. Not too fat, not too thin and not too tapered.
Ursula Hirao's request made me laugh out loud. (Is that redundant? Can you laugh silently?) Anyway, she is after a recipe for a chicken curry with tomatoes that she used to make for her family in the '80s, until "my husband found out it had apples in it and wouldn't eat it after that."
It is my job to taste food. Presented with something succulent, I will consider the cholesterol content, then eat it no matter what. It is my sacred duty. Then sometimes I figure out how to make it and put it in front of other people, who then must do their own weighing of cholesterol versus succulence.
Lisa Tam's request is for a treat that takes me back years, to my early days of operating a stove: "It was a fake malasada that was made with bread and tasted pretty much like the real thing without all the deep-fat frying," Tam wrote.
Last week, due to a little miscalculation while grocery shopping, I ended up with an excess of cucumbers in the vegetable bin. Miscalculation as in, “I wonder if I have any cucumbers, oh well, I guess I’ll buy three,” and it turns out there were already three at home.
We make cakes out of carrots, zucchini and a host of fruits, so why not tomatoes? No reason not to, and in fact bakers have been using tomato sauce, condensed tomato soup and even ketchup to make cakes for generations.
First of all, sorry, sorry, sorry. A recipe printed here Jan. 9 for Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Aikahi Elementary School proved popular with those who fondly recall their school cafeteria cookies or who just liked the idea of chocolate in their shortbread. That was the good news.
Jell-O is the go-to dessert for many during the holidays. Easy, refreshing and — with all those choices of red flavors — so full of ho-ho-ho. We all have an auntie or cousin who brings the red-green-cream-cheese layered dessert to the potluck, right? It just says Christmas.
June Tong's friends and fans have been after her for years to publish a second cookbook. Tong's first, "Popo's Kitchen" from 1989, is a staple of many island kitchens, a straightforward guide to Chinese home cooking.
It's almost Halloween. If this ramps up your fear of vampires, consider pickling some garlic. Put up a pound of cloves now in a briny solution and by Oct. 31 they'll be ready to offer you full vampiric protection with less pungency and bite than your usual pound of garlic.
Something to chew on: In an average month this year, recipe hunters launched 9.2 million online searches for pork chop dishes. This places pork chops in the No. 1 position on the list of most-searched-for recipes in 2012.
A warm, soft biscuit is a lovely thing. A warm, soft biscuit, sliced in half with a slice of cheese melting slightly in the center — mmmm. Next step on the evolutionary scale: Bake the biscuit and the cheese together.
My adventures in Crock-Pot cooking have been lacking in dessert ideas. So thank you, Deborah Schneider, for your new cookbook, "The Mexican Slow Cooker," and the recipe on Page 123 for a chocolate bread pudding.