So many changes of recent, I decided to add one more. What the hell, why not? A new look–not to me but my blog. I hope I to generate more traffic and post on a more regular basis. I added advertisements to the site as I’m working part-time, and hopefully, I can generate some extra income.
And speaking of generating extra income, photos have been taken, and I will be posting to my Etsy shop soon (next week, keep your fingers cross). I’d hope to have more of an inventory; I guess I gave away many gifts during the prototyping phase.
Another thing I’m aiming for a new look is the patio area of my parent’s house. I need more space. Going from a four-bedroom place to my childhood bedroom, a mere 10 x 10) is an incredible feat on my part.
I decided to enclose the patio and add a full bathroom, storage, and a bedroom. I met with the draft person to get drawings of what I want, and hopefully, 2021 will be the year of having more space—no more piles of stuff. There will be a lot of decluttering to happen. In the meantime, I’ll start a look board for what I love for the bathroom, entertainment area, and the bedroom.
Coming back to Hawaii has triggered many food memories for me–shave ice (extra fine snow cone), seed (flavored preserved fruit), malasada (Portuguese yeasty donut), to name a few. Pickled ogo popped in my mind during my monthly girls’ zoom meetup. J was telling us about the Marine Learning program at Waianae High School, raising and selling ogo. That spiraled into talking about pickled ogo and ended with four of us buying 5lbs each.
What is “ogo”?
Ogo is an edible seaweed that we used to handpick at the West Oahu beaches when we were kids. It has since been over harvest, and only the people who know the secret spot pick it. Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Hawaiian use it in their dishes. The Hawaiian name for this variety is called Limu Manauea. You can find it mixed in with different pokes.
I just learned that ogo is short for ogonori, which means large amounts of ocean moss in Japanese. Here’s a link to an article about ogo and Waianae’s Marine Learning Program, where I got my giant 5lb bag full. Here’s another piece if you want more information about the different limu (seaweed in Hawaiian).
The funny part about the recipe is I thought my mom had one at the ready. I have distinct memories of coming home from the beach and her cooking up a storm making the pickled ogo. But when I asked her, she didn’t have a recipe. But my friend, Google, did several recipes. They were similar in ingredients, with slight variation in amounts. I picked this one, “My Dad’s Ogo,” from feeding my ohana.
First off, a 5lb bag of ogo is enormous. In my mind, it should be half the size. Fitting it in the refrigerator overnight was challenging, and I played refrigerator Jenga to make it work.
The hardest part was blanching the ogo in salted (Hawaiian) boiling water. It cooks so fast, as soon as it turned green, within seconds, I was scooping it out of the water to drain in the colander. Back and forth, back and forth. Remember, there were 5 pounds to blanch.
I got through half minus a bag of ogo saved for another time. I decided I better see how much of the dressing I need to cover half the bag. I figured to double the recipe would cover it. I mixed all the ingredients well, making sure the sugar dissolved. On tasting, I added a tablespoon more of shoyu. It needed a more saltiness to it.
I dumped everything into a giant yellow Tupperware container from the 70s and mixed well. Everyone (Mom, Dad, and I) had a taste test and agreed it was delicious. Letting it sit would make it even better.
Still had another half to do but had an evening training, so that would have to wait till tomorrow morning. Mom wanted a version with Gochujang in the dressing.
First thing in the morning, started the salted water to boil. Now that I’ve done it once, I have the process to follow. The dressing would be similar to version one, without garlic or round onions plus five teaspoons of gochujang.
Mom made a version of her own using the gochujang version; adding sliced salted cucumbers and more rice wine vinegar (not sure how vinegar she added; I say approximately 1/4 cup). It was more like a namasu dressing-much tarter than rest. I would have added another teaspoon for gochujang for a little sweetness and umami.
Hiking this trail isn’t easy to come by. It’s a permitted trail, only allowing hikers and hunters on the weekends and federal holidays. The permit enables five people and one 4-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a 45-minute slow drive up a rutted (if it’s been raining, muddy) road. But once you arrive, it is all worth the effort.
My effort was very minimal as I was one of the five that didn’t have to apply for the permit or drive the truck. All I needed to do was to arrive at the meeting places at a reasonable hour (7:00). I’m a lucky girl (really an old lady). Haha.
Our group of five hiking friends that met through my cousin, “E.” There was “L,” “J,” “R,” “E,” and myself. Pretty well paired with each other as hiking ability goes. Several of them have excellent knowledge of fauna and birds on the trail. Always nice to have that on a hike.
The weather was beautiful; winds picked up from earlier in the week. Sunny, with a minimal amount of clouds. It had been dry the previous days before making the mud at a minimum.
The trailhead looked different because of the tall grasses surrounding the sign. Hiker “L” heard the trail upkeep might be lacking because of the quarantine. Grasses were tall but still walkable.
It has been at least two years since I last hiked the trail. It was a similar type of day; dry and sunny. I’m happy because of the stories I’ve heard slipping, sliding, and walking out mud up to mid-calf doesn’t sound like fun.
On the way up, we were met with a brisk breeze around every corner, making corners something to look forward to. The trail was narrow, on foot in front of the other in places. Making it a good workout on our balance.
Much of the Strawberry guava was past it’s prime. The fruit flies were swarming in those areas (needed to breathe through our nose or get a mouthful). And where there wasn’t guava, there were ferns. I’m not sure what type of fern, but a sturdy variety as it saved me from falling into the mud.
Once you reach the summit, you understand why this is one of the beautiful hikes in Hawaii. You can see all the way to the east side beaches. On this day, the breeze was more than a breeze but a Pali Lookout style winds.
We had our rest and back on the trail. It was as comfortable as the morning as the sun had risen high in the sky. Turning the corners, we were not greeted with a gust of wind. But we made our way to the last bench for orange slices and the last of the water to get us out to our truck.
We all feel accomplished finishing the 7 miles and dreaming of our next hike together.
I had a good run of 21 years at my job. My furlough has turned into a layoff. I made many great friends in the 21 years who I will miss, not working with them. I will miss working with beautiful images and illustrations in my designs. I’ve learned so much from these many years with these people.
But I think it’s time. I was antsy throughout the leave, wanting to know if I would be going back or not. Being laid off is the kick in the pants that I needed to move on with my life.
The last 3.5 years has brought so many major life changes and I’ve been running with it non-stop. Now it’s time for me to slow down and think about what I want to do with my life and how to achieve it.
The first thing I decided it to work only part-time 30 hours a week to be available for my parents when they need me. I move back to Hawaii to help them and with COVID, life has changed for them and they seem to need me more.
I need to prioritize my ever-growing To-Do list. That should be the top of the list. So many things I want to do, and at times it gets overwhelming. For now, I’ll make a shortlist of the most important things.
prioritize my TO-DO List
make a budget
My time off hasn’t been unproductive. Here’s what I’ve up to since August. I’ve been busy knitting, crocheting, jamming, and pickling Japanese-style.
Final square done. Now to steam block and putting them together. Will stitch together with navy blue used in the blocks. Still thinking about the border and the backing and what to do. I’ll wait till they’re all together to make that decision.
. . . but I feel accomplished. I’ve decided square #24 will be my last. Making too many mistakes and spending too much time ripping things out, I feel it’s a sign to stop and making it into a finished piece.
I enjoyed this project immensely and have learned so much from it. My tension has become more even and learned that I can watch Amazon Prime Videos while doing it, even ones with subtitles (haha).
My finish piece will hopefully be done by the end of summer. I even treated myself to some new yarn for t-shirt for my next project.
What do you do when you are waiting for Hurricane Douglas to arrive. Well, I decided to make a dinner of Japanese dishes that I’ve been wanted to try for a while. Tonkatsu (pork cutlets with savory sauce) and simmered daikon (Japanese radish). My mom added spaghetti salad (like Hawaii Mac salad but with spaghetti).
I started cooking around noon-ish just in case we lost power. Started with the simmered daikon in a dashi sauce. I used TabiEats Simmered Daikon [link: https://youtu.be/GXpiOZ6QrYE]. I just started watching Shinichi and Satoshi’s Youtube channel about food and travel. They do feature Japanese recipes and this recipe looks so delicious, plus I got two more homegrown daikon from my mom’s friend.
Sliced the center section into four 1 1/2″ pieces. They all should all be the same height and size to cook evenly. I peeled and rounded the edges of the rounds. Satoshi explained the rounded edges help the daikon from breaking apart. Then place and “X” one side of the round, about 1/2 inch deep. This “X” helps the daikon absorb the sauce it is cooked in.
The daikon is prepped for cooking. Place in pot big enough to fit all of the rounds in a single layer, “X'” side down. Satoshi suggest to a 1 tablespoon of uncooked rice to the pot to help take out impurities from the daikon. Add water to cover the top of the daikon. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer. Cook to daikon is soft, to test stick a screwer or paring knife in the center if it goes in and comes easily, it is done.
Once daikon is soft enough, put is a bowl of water to clean and add to a clean pot (as before in a single layer) “X” side down. Add sauce ingredients bring to boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook to daikon turns a light brown. I did help the daikon along by spooning the sauce over them every so often.
Serve with a little bit of sauce. It was so tender and sweet with the mild dashi flavor. I could eat this as my meal with pickled veggies and rice. Yum.
While I was simmering the daikon, I prepped the leftover daikon to make shoyuzuke (pickled daikon in soy sauce). I made shoyuzuke with cucumbers and celery and decide to try it with daikon. I quartered, sliced and salted the daikon, letting them sit longer that I usually do with the cucumbers. I then added the slices to the my mason jars, then added minced ginger and a chopped chili pepper. I poured the brine in to the jars. They should be ready to eat in 3 hours but we’ll try it tomorrow as we needed to finish the other daikon that I made. I swished around the brine to get the flavor to the top.
I really like the technique she gives for frying it really was crispy and still juicy, not oil. Next time I’m going to use the boneless pork chops instead. I picked up different cut was sliced thinner than pork chop. But I can see how a thicker cut would taste better, more like what I had in Japan. Her tonkatsu sauce was good, I would add less sugar or some shoyu to make it slightly more salty.
One last thing is Mom’s spaghetti Mac salad. Hawaii Mac salad has hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, elbow macaroni, and Best Food mayonnaise. This salad uses spaghetti instead of macaroni, adds, can of black olives, minced onion. Looks a bit odd but it’s a great combination.
That’s my Hurricane Douglas dinner. It’s was good use of waiting around in the humidity before the storm. I think we dodged a bullet and the storm move north and we probably missed what could have been bad. Glad I did something productive and tasty at the same time.
I peeled and sliced the daikon into 1/4″ thick slices. Then everything goes into a ziplock bag.
Toss in rest of the ingredients (kosher salt, rice wine vinegar, sake, chopped dried chili, and sugar) into a ziplock bag with the daikon. I didn’t have dried chili so I tried a small fresh chili.
Lock the bag and mush all the ingredients together. Open and close bag, getting as much air out of bag. Toss in the refrigerator and let sit for 2 days. I turned and mushed the ingredient around after the first day to distribute the brine again.
I peeled and shredded the papaya. I use a julienne peeler but you could use a mandolin or do the the Thai way with the knife. I took the easy way out. The green papaya was to be hard to the touch, and the skin was shiny. One was a bit riper than the others but was okay to use.
I soaked the dried shrimp in water to soften up and started to prepare the dressing.
The dressing has fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar (coconut sugar if available), and fresh chili pepper. You can use a mortar and pestle or food processor to bring it together but I chopped the garlic and chilis well and mixed to gather in my measuring cup.
Also in the salad is grape tomatoes, halved, green beans, sliced into 2″ sections, chopped peanuts, and chopped cilantro. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss well. I made this ahead around midday to have it at dinner. I let it rest and marinate in the refrigerator till it was time. I forgot to take a picture of the finish product but got one a day old.
It was delicious and would definite make again if I can get the green papaya.