We went to a mochitsuki in Hilo today. A mochitsuki is a gathering of a family or community of neighbors and friends to make mochi or rice cakes. It's an all day event that begins with washing sticky rice. The rice is steamed in wooden boxes in layers over an open fire manned by an experienced tender.


The cooked rice is transferred to a big wooden mortar called an usu and mixed around with sticks. Usually several people surround the mortar with sticks and go at it. The rice is then pounded with mallets – one person at a time with one person turning the mochi rice. This has to be timed and much trust is involved. 



The smooth pounded rice is then turned over to the people who shape the mochi. The mochi is used for making ozoni, a traditional soup served on New Year's Day and to display the kagami mochi (two mochi with a tangerine on top). It is an offering of Shinto origin, I believe. This is so much about passing a traditional from one generation to the next.


During the pounding, saké is served. Trays of shots of saké are passed around and the New Year is toasted. Everyone takes a turn at pounding and all of this activity is said to bring good luck.


When the pounding was nearly done, my friend threw together the most delicious kim chee soup. I say threw together because she literally made it in about 15 minutes.

Here's the recipe:

Kim Chee Soup

1 lb. ground pork

1 bottle turnip kim chee

1 bottle napa cabbage kim chee

3 T. kim chee sauce

6 shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated and sliced)

2 bunches long rice (soaked in water)

Two quarts chicken broth

Brown the pork. Add the kim chee sauce. 

Add all other ingredients and simmer for a few minutes. Yum!

I'm experimenting with raw food. Just keep hearing about how healthy it is and good it is for your energy level. A friend of mine made a really delicious salad with red cabbage, sunflower seeds, apples, dried cranberries, carrots and li hing mui powder. Okay, salads are usually raw, but this was like a slaw. It keeps well in the fridge for a day or two so it's easy to grab as a snack.

Tonight I made one in the food processor using cabbage, pears, yellow bell pepper, radishes, carrots and almonds. I drizzled lemon juice on it and it turned out great. Really refreshing.

I found some recipes on this site: The fact that he's not trying to create dishes that imitate cooked food is appealing to me.

My cookbook collection consists of raw "cook" books by Charlie Trotter and Matthew Kinney, but I found them way too complicated. Dehydrating and all that is way too much.

Anyway, I think I'm just going to experiment by adding raw food (besides our normal salad) to our diet. I know I'll never be able to go all the way without a substitute for bacon. Ha!

Even though I’m so not a vegetarian, I frequently enjoy a vegetarian meal. Tonight was one of those nights.

Saturday is my Farmer’s Market day. I love going there in spite of the crowds. There was a woman selling sweet corn. She said they were experimenting with a new kind. I bought a bag of 12 ears for $6. The Kona abalone people were grilling abalone so I couldn’t resist trying two small grilled morsels for $5. They were delicious…I wished I had a glass of champagne to go with. I replenished my supply of salsa with spicy pickles from Andy, purchased beeyooteeful tomatoes and beets with the tops, of course.

So back to the vegetarian meal. I always have tons of food in the fridge and in the pantry. If there is a crisis, drop by and we can feed the masses. I looked for the oldest living thing and it was a half head of red cabbage. Perfect!

I sauteed the cabbage with pear vinegar and a bit of cinnamon sugar (leftover from a friend’s major snicker doodle event). Then added some chopped and roasted hazelnuts. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen the mobile photo of our radishes. I chopped some up and added them with salt and pepper. Topped that off with crumbled goat cheese. Kris loves red cabbage so I knew he’d like this dish.

The corn on the cob was left in the husks and roasted in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes. They were the sweetest, most tender corn kernels ever. Loved that with a little butter and chile salt. Yimmy!

For Valentine's Day, I made misoyaki scallops for Kris. No photo. I'm always so anxious to start scarfing food that I don't think about photos until the dish has been ravaged. Anyway, I loved the misoyaki sauce.

1/4 Cup sake
1/4 Cup mirin
2 T Soy sauce
1 Cup miso (I used red)

Put the sake, mirin and soy sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the miso. Combine well.

Marinate the scallops in the sauce (I did for three hours) and grill. Yimmy!!

I make this every Thanksgiving.  It's my mom's recipe:

Two 12 oz. packages of cranberries
8 oz. candied lemon peel
Two fresh pears – seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups of sugar

Combine cranberries, pear, sugar, lemon peel in a large saucepan.  Heat, stirring constantly, to boiling, cover.  Cook 5 minutes or just until juice start to flow;  lightly skim off foam with spoon.  Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until cranberries and pears are tender; pour into bowl.  Cool, then cover and chill.

This freezes well if you have leftovers.

We're up here in Volcano Village on the Big Island and it's chilly enough to warrant the making of soup.  This is surprisingly flavorful and can be put together in less than an hour.  The recipe is my version of Judith Barrett's version of the cabbage soup recipe for the cabbage soup diet.  There is no way I'm going on the diet.  I'm just eating the soup!

Cabbage Soup

1/2 Head of cabbage – cored and sliced
One fennel bulb – bite size pieces
Two celery stalks – sliced thinly
1/2 round onion
Five ginger slices
One 14.5 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
Five cups of water or stock
Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/4 fresh lemon
1/4 c. chopped fresh herbs – basil, fennel fronds, parsley

Put all ingredients through the water/stock into the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.  If you like your veggies crunchier, simmer to taste.  Then add salt, pepper, and lemon to taste.  Add the fresh herbs right before you serve.

Serves four.

This is from the Food Network website for the  New Year:Winter Well-Being

1 Eat your fruit and veggies. Beta-carotene, an anti-
oxidant found in yellow and orange produce like
winter squash, carrots and mangoes helps your body
repel infection-causing germs.
2 Include a daily dose of raw garlic in your diet to
boost immunity. Try crushing and swallowing it like
a vitamin pill, or chop it and add it to salad dressing.
If you find the taste too strong, keep in mind that
cooked garlic has benefits too.
3 Eat yogurt
to get a daily dose of probiotics, good
bacteria that guard against
gastrointestinal infec-
tions. Look for containers of yogurt, acidophilus

milk and kefir that are labeled as including
4 Get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Studies
show that a good night’s sleep increases your
resistance to colds and flu.
5 Keep
exercising. Physically active people catch fewer
colds and respiratory
infections. Just be sure to dress
warmly and look out for ice!
6 If a cold or flu does get past your immune system,
enjoy a delicious steaming bowl of homemade
chicken soup. Studies show that "Grandma’s peni-
cillin" eases cold symptoms by thinning nasal
secretions and clearing congestion.

This is for dogs over eight years old.  Some dogs may need special consideration. 

I’ve been feeding my cocker spaniels home-cooked food for 12 years.

Boil for 1 hour or more – meat should be falling off bones:
2 Cups ox tails or pork rib bones
1/2 cup Chinese parsley (cilantro)
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
2 T. fresh ginger
1 cup azuki beans
10 cups water

Then add and boil for another 45 minutes (until root vegetables are cooked):
3 cups white rice
1 cup barley or millet
2 cups beets
1 cup celery
2 cups sweet potato
3 cups greens
1 cup carrots
1 cup broccoli
1 cup chicken livers

from Dr. Ihor Basko – All Creatures Great and Small

I asked Kris the other night, "Should I start writing in my blog?"  He said, "No, it’s a waste of time."

That is why I started this up again.  Such a contrary person.

Last night I made this potato dish that I adapted from a recipe in Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli.  The Yukon Gold potatoes came from the Farmer’s Market and they are a must to make this dish the best.

What you need:
A bunch of Yukon Gold potatoes
Sliced onions
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Herbes des Provence
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven 350 degrees.  Trim the potatoes to remove the eyes and blemishes (I like to use the peeler).  Toss the potatoes and sliced onions with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, salt & pepper. 
Cover the potatoes with foil and roast for an hour and a half, turning the potatoes every 15-25 minutes.  They should be golden brown and onions carmelized.  YUM!

I haven’t posted a recipe in ages.  Anyone who knows me, knows that
I’m a foodie…love to eat, love to cook, collect cookbooks (over 500).

My brother invited us to dinner for Mother’s Day and Auntie Faye
(she’s my age) made a wonderful pasta dish.  She shared it with me and
I offer it to you.  She says it’s from the Sun Noodle pamphlet and she
dabbled with it a lot.  Fay is an amazing cook.


1  8  oz. pkg linguine noodles boiled and drained (the flavored Sun Noodle
ones work out well)
1/2 c. prepared taegu
1/2 bunch chopped and boiled watercress
1/2 c. chopped takuan or other picked vegetables
1 can flaked crab or imitation crab
1/2 bottle furikake
1/2 bottle Pietro’s Miso Sesame Dressing

Mix the above together and top with cilantro, green onions and pickled