Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hello Panda

One of the things I'd like to do to improve my blog is feature more "Hawaii foods".  Here's a snack that I grabbed at lunch the other day that I've never seen before.  They're from Japan but are popular here in Hawaii, as many Japanese items are.  

I grabbed these little "biscuits with milk cream" at the drug store on my lunch break because they looked... well, interesting!  Hello Panda.  Being fairly sure they weren't actually made from cute cuddly panda bear meat I decided to try some.  They had both milk cream and strawberry flavor.  Where's the chocolate?  As you can see on the packaging, these aren't just any Hello Panda Biscuits with Milk Cream, they have NEW SPORTS PRINTING!

And that was not a gimmick, you can clearly see the little pandas playing golf, soccer, football, and even shooting a bow and arrow!  I'm not sure what all of the activities are but I know no American snacks look anything like these!  Is the bottom right image a sword?

Not only are these cute and creative, they were pretty tasty!  They weren't as sweet as I expected them to be but they were a nice little snack.

Has anyone ever heard of these or tried them?  Let me know if you want some, I'll mail them to you :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kitchen Fashion

Six weeks ago I didn't own a kitchen apron or feel a need to have one.  Do people really wear aprons, or is that only what Desperate Housewives puts on Bree?  Of course, I had an apron as a child...

Actually, I had another one that my Pap made me - Mom & I had matching, homemade aprons from Pap!  (Read more about Pap here.)  I grew out of those and haven't used an apron since I've been cooking as an adult.

For my birthday my dear friend Christine got me an adorable apron and I was really excited about it!  A week later Bryce's Mom's birthday gifts for me arrived and, yet, another apron!  The two were totally different and both so cute.  Just a few weeks after that, John & Brooke sent us thank you gifts for helping with the cookie table at their wedding (which I still need to blog about!) and my gift was another apron!

So now I have three adorable aprons.  My problem is I always forget to put on one and they're so cute I'm afraid to get them dirty!  They're just too cute not to show off.  Thanks ladies for the aprons!

The Red Ripe Strawberries and the BIG HUNGRY BOYFRIEND

Once upon a time, in the wonderful land of online shopping, I came across these adorable sports themed chocolate covered strawberries.

I knew my Prince (aka Bryce) would love these.  Sports and chocolate all in one, it was perfect for his royal dessert!  6 berries would cost $25 plus shipping to Hawaii, that's more than a new pair of glass slippers!  This princess knew she could make them herself, when the right time came along. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Garlic Knots

Since I started this blog I have discovered many, many good food blogs.  One of my favorites is In Erika's Kitchen.  Her most memorable post, to me, was the one about Garlic Knots as comfort food in which she makes her crappy day at work much better by making, then eating, delicious garlic knots.  Erika, Julie Powell, and I are all in the same boat here.  A BAD day at work, or otherwise, can usually be forgotten once you're busy creating delicious foods in the kitchen.

Over my trip home to Pittsburgh in December, I finally got the chance to make these lovely little knots.  I used crescent roll dough which eliminated the letting-the-dough rise portion of the recipe, since that's all I could find at the store.  I knotted them in no particular fashion, as you can see.  That made no difference once they were baked.

Just a few minutes later they were golden brown and... naked.

Until I added the butter and garlic, yummmmmm.

And finally - the parsley.

I should have made more, though, because they were gone in no time!  This one was a hit with the kids, which by now you know are picky eaters, 8 year old Morgan said to me "What was that buttery thing, it was good!"

The Great Pancake Fiasco

Saturday morning is one of the greatest parts of the week, if you ask me.  Waking up without an alarm and sleeping in, even if it's just a few minutes past your regular wake-up-time, is such a great feeling and a perfect way to begin a lovely Saturday.  If only I could always be so optimistic!

One Saturday morning back in December I decided I was going to take on a new food conquest - homemade pancakes!

Prior to that day I'd made pancakes only twice.  Once in Palolo, John was kind enough to show me how to master the art of Bisquick, the perfect powder to water ratio, and how to wait for the little bubbles.  A few months ago I was babysitting some very smart 5 and 7 year old girls who wanted pancakes and they "knew how to make them", which isn't usually true when it comes out of a child's mouth, let's be serious!  These girls were telling the truth and together we made some delicious and creatively shaped breakfast food.

So, here's how the Great Pancake Fiasco came to be...  I used my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cook book although, I didn't have buttermilk and opted for one of the smaller, less prominently advertised recipes on the pancake page.  It turns out I couldn't keep my eyes off of the buttermilk recipe and I measured one of the ingredients correctly for the b-milk recipe and incorrectly for the recipe I was using plus I added an ingredient that I shouldn't have!  I was thinking it might be ok, since they were both pancake recipes, right?  No.

I'll keep the rest simple, since it was so painful the first time around...

It started out honest enough - milk, flour, eggs, etc.

Giving the first pancake a try...

It looks like I burned the bottom and unsuccessfully flipped it, too!

Trying again, that one is U-G-L-Y

But it seemed to be much better once I flipped it over!

Here's my temporary success!  I thought this was the winner, plated it up and slathered it with syrup.

Took two bites and realized it wasn't cooked through!  EW.  I threw it away and went back to the stove...

And tried again...

Burn = fail.

To make things much worse, please see what the photo on my Comfort Food calendar was that month staring me in the face from the other side of the kitchen!  "Ang, you can't make one edible pancake and look at us, we're so pretty and yummy!"

So, in the battle pancakes vs. Ang - Pancakes WIN!  Ang has coffee and leftovers for her Saturday morning meal, aka NOT the breakfast of Champions.

Have I mentioned that I hate baking?

And here's the trash, full of pancakes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl

If you didn't know, I'm a big-time Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  (I don't know who in the world would be reading this blog if they didn't know at least that much about me).  Sunday is going to be a HUGE ordeal, as I mentioned in the last post.  We've had food shipped from Pittsburgh to Hawaii, restaurant signature items replicated, custom cakes ordered, recently black & gold Jell-O shots have been added to the menu, etc, blah blah blah... IT'S A BIG DEAL!

Last year's Super Bowl was NOT the same for me.  Since the Steelers won in 2009 and didn't even make the playoffs last year (which is pretty much a given after a SB win for us) the "big game" was small potatoes to me.  Despite my general lack-of-caring, I made this awesome "Super Bowl" from the Food Network Magazine and filled it with greasy, salty, delicious chips.  In an attempt to be healthy I also made some veggie dip and served it with carrots, celery, tomatoes, and broccoli = boring.  Speaking of boring, after I ate I feel asleep on the couch for the remainder of the game.  The Saints won, right?  Who did they even play?  Was that a literal "Who Dat?"  I just created?

The bowl was super cool and unique but tasted a little stale!

The edible Super Bowl was the highlight of my Super Bowl Sunday last year!  Here's hoping this will be our stairway to SEVEN!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Primanti's Sammiches - Part I

That's right, I said sammiches.  That's what we call 'em in Pittsburgh.  If you have seen ANY type of Travel Channel, Food Network, Cooking Channel, or other food related show on 'da Burgh you've heard about Primanti Brother's sandwiches.  Fresh Italian bread (Mancini's, to be exact) stacked with the meat of your choosing, provolone cheese, tomatoes, french fries and coleslaw!  The story goes that waaaaay back in the day the late night workers (literally - not "ladies of the night!") wanted a hot meal and Primanti's put the side dishes, slaw & fries, on the sandwich so it could be eaten with one hand! 

Here's their website:  Primanti Brothers

Now, maybe you haven't seen one of these shows or heard of this goofy place before...  Even so, I'm SURE you know that the Steelers, Pittsburgh's NFL team, is playing in the SUPER BOWL this Sunday!  (OMGOMGOMGOMG I'M SO EXCITED I COULD FAINT!)  My cousin Darren is throwing a party for the game, complete with Steelers balloons, decor, gumbands, etc.  We're having Pittsburgh foods - pierogies (see Pierogies N'at if you don't know what those are, either), pepperoni rolls, a Steelers cake, and my friend Deanna and I are making our very own Primanti's sandwiches!  We did a practice run on Monday and they were awesome.  More on that in Primanti's Part II. 

Today I just wanted to get excited about the game and let you know what Primanti's is all about.  Still want more?  Here are some pics, n'at!

Here's the location I usually go to - on 60

Close of up the huge sammich!


Bryce's first visit to Pittsburgh, we took him from the airport to Primanti's!

First bite!

Nothing says love like gluttony :)

 My cousin Vanessa & Aunt SLynn trying Primanti's for the first time - doesn't it look like fun?!?!