Friday, September 25, 2015


Every year for many years I use Anne Willan's easy French recipe for canning tomatoes. I did my last batch yesterday. If you are new to the home canning world this is the perfect recipe to start with because it is SO easy with a great result.
I have mentioned before that I think any cookbook is worth the price if you find one or two items that become part of your cooking routine - there are many recipes in this book I know I will never try but the French canned tomato recipe and the most delicious and decadent recipe for potatoes have both become part of my cooking repertoire. The potatoes are so rich (and I suppose, therefore considered un-healthy), that I only fix them for special occasions like Thanksgiving but they are oh, so good.
Only four ingredients: Tomatoes, sliced sweet onion, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Use any onion you like but I like to use one of the sweet onions and this year I added some fresh basil from the herb garden - thought I would give that a try this year. A little Italian in my French tomatoes.


Fresh whole tomatoes
Thyme sprigs
Bay leaves
Onion slices


1. Pack whole tomatoes into quart jars with a few thyme sprigs, a couple of bay leaves, and an onion slice or two. Close the lids and set the jars on a rack in a deep pan. 

2. Add enough water to cover generously. Weight the jars down with a brick (or a heavy pot lid) so they don't float. 

3. Simmer for an hour and a half until the tomatoes lose their shape and collapse. 

4. Let the jars cool in the water so that they form a tight seal. 

5. When done, each jar will look only half full of tomatoes, depending on how many tomatoes you are able to pack into the jars, mine usually are more like 3/4 full.

6. Carefully remove the jars with some canning tongs and set on a cloth to cool and wait for the "tink" that you will hear as the jars seal.  If you have a jar or jars that do not seal, put in the fridge and use right away.

 Oh so easy, done for the year with my tomato canning.


I created these labels in Corel Draw - feel use to copy and paste for your use.
I had some tomatoes left over and decided to make a meatless sauce for the freezer.  Easy enough to add ground beef, chicken, bison and peppers or with peppers and sausages. Will be great for pasta or veggies, etc. I really do not have a recipe per se - I ground the tomatoes in a food processor and put into a big pot and added some tomato sauce, a little evoo, grated garlic, fresh parsley, bay leaves, basil and thyme and then quartered three of the onions (I removed the onions and the bay leaves before putting the sauce into jars) and tossed into the pot and let it simmer for over two hours, as it was reducing I added salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes, some Italian seasoning, and a little green Tabasco sauce - use any recipe for tomato sauce.  This will be great to pull from the freezer for a main dish or a side dish of veggies, etc.


From My Chateau Kitchen, Anne Willan: From My Chateau Kitchen
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Labels, Avery labels from Staples, by Martha Stewart

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


On our recent vacation we were at the Aloha Spice Company (located at Hanapepe) to pick up some of their products for gifts, especially the famous red salt and their delicious rubs. I had managed in almost 15 days to avoid shopping for myself - how was I to know that this was a place that would be like cat nip to me?  Besides all of their spice products the shop was all things Kauai chicken including an adorable tablecloth and napkins trimmed with red and white gingham.  I could not resist.
Over this last weekend we had a family Hawaiian themed dinner to celebrate not only all those famous chickens but to showcase the plate lunch. We encountered the plate lunch many years ago on our first trip to Kauai.  Out in the middle of nowhere was a little hole in the wall place and workers from the surrounding area were lined up getting lunch so we decided it must be the Hawaii version of the truck stop.  Plate lunch consists of two starches - two scoops of white rice and a big scoop of mayonnaise laden macaroni salad, the protein is one of the following: pork, fish, chicken or Spam (Hawaii consumes more Spam than any other state).
First the menu.....
Then the tablescape - now you see why I could not resist the tablecloth and napkins.  I have a very large table and as I recently decided to put in the leaf and leave it, because we often have nine for dinner with local family as guests. I knew the cloth would not fit my table.  The cloth only came in a square size but I knew if I put down a white cloth that I could still use the chicken cloth and it worked. Actually worked great because you could see all of the cloth at once since nothing hanging over the sides.

The Kalua pork was SO easy and turned out very much like the real thing - I just happened to be out of banana leaves and we do not have a pit in the backyard to cook a whole pig so I used the crock pot method.

Such a simple recipe you only need three things, a large pork butt, salt (you can use any salt) & liquid smoke (I recommend this brand as it has a more mild and natural smoke flavor).
 Into the crock pot for many hours and out comes yum!

Kalua Pork Recipe:

1 - 5 pound pork butt roast
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt (regular salt will do)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

Pierce pork all over with a carving fork. Rub salt then the liquid smoke over the meat.  Place in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low setting for 16-20 hours, turning once at the half-way point.

Remove meat from the slow cooker and shred. Put the drippings in a fat separator so that the liquid used is not full of pork fat – used the liquid to moisten the meat.

The meat may be served as is or with a Hawaiian bread bun and and assortment of barbecue sauces.

Hawaiian macaroni salad is a very specific mac salad and is full of mayo.  Any recipe you see will always specify Best Foods Mayo or if you live east of the Rockies Hellman's. I am going to give the recipe as it would be made in Hawaii and then tell you the modifications I made to use less mayo.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

1 Pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups Best Foods (Hellman's) mayo
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 green onions thinly shiced
1 large carrot peeled and grated
1 rib of celery, minced
salt & pepper

Cook macaroni in boiling water to which you have added 1 T salt, cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.  Drain and return to the pot, add the cider vinegar and toss until absorbed, let cool for ten minutes then add the milk and mayo and the rest of ingredients and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Cooks notes:  Here is where I made changes - I cooked the mac to package directions in salted water (I typically really salt my pasta water as someone told me years ago it should be "as the sea") after the macaroni had cooled a bit (not too much or it will stick together) I tossed the mac with about a tsp of olive oil until it was well distributed, to keep it from sticking together and so it would not absorb so much of the liquid.  I do the same with potatoes when making potato salad.  I then mixed together 1/4 cup of the cider vinegar, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of mayo.  After all ingredients were mixed together I then added just a little more mayo and it was perfect.  I made this the day before we were having (love to let those flavors meld) and it was still great the next day.  Sometimes the macaroni salad in Hawaii is just swimming in mayo and I think using this method makes a nice balance, still the same flavor but without a lot less mayo, milk and vinegar. I also replaced the green onion with 1/2 a small purple onion finely diced and finely diced the celery instead of mincing.

In place of white rice I served brown rice that was cooked in chicken broth, in the rice cooker.

Simple white coconut cupcakes - follow the directions for cupcakes on a white cake mix and add 1/2 tsp of pure coconut extract.

Marshmallow Frosting: 


1 container of marshmallow cream (Fluff if found in your area)
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 scant cup of sifted powdered sugar
Shredded, sweet coconut for topping 

This amount makes 12 cupcakes, dbl recipe for a cake or 24 cupcakes.


In your mixer whip the softened butter and marshmallow cream until light and fluffy, add the vanilla, and then gradually add the powdered sugar and let it whip for a few minutes until light and fluffy.  Pipe onto your cupcakes and then dip them into the coconut.

Here is a link to a post that has the recipe for both the blondies and the ice cream: Link


Tablecloth, napkins and salt,
They offer "free Shipping" on orders over $50. I don't see the tablecloth or napkins so if you are interested email or call them and I am sure they would be happy to accommodate you.
Gingham flatware, long ago, Target
Polka dot plates, Tai Pan Trading
Polka dot salad plates, Maxwell and Williams Sprinkle Side Plate, Red
Polka dot bowls for BBQ sauce, Amazon, Maxwell & Williams
Wright's Liquid Smoke, Walmart
Large ceramic chicken on table, Deco 79 40744 Ceramic Decorative Rooster Statue, 13 by 14-Inch

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, September 21, 2015


For those of you who follow this blog you will know that I volunteer for Alzheimer's Idaho (local grassroots organization). One of the things I do is to make the dessert for their monthly dinner. Normally the dinner is the last Friday of the month but this month it was the third.
I was still having that "Aloha spirit" so I made them macadamia-white chocolate blondies with a little Kauai coffee.

 Simple recipe ....


  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick)  butter
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder*
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 to 4 oz.  white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat an oven to 350°. Butter (or spray) an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, espresso powder and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and beat just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts and white chocolate just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Cut into bars and serve. Makes 12 to 16 bars.
*If you do not have instant espresso powder you can use regular coffee and grind it in a grinder or crush with a mortar and pestle.
 Cooks note:  I made two batches of these blondies and the second one I reduced the oven temp to 325° and baked them a little longer and they came out better the second time.
The hostess and I take turns providing the "door prize" and this month it was a reversible tote from Hawaii!
Ready for delivery with some Kauai coffee ice cream.
Ice Cream recipe:


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream


Put the condensed milk in a bowl and stir in the espresso powder. In a separate bowl whisk the cream until it reaches soft peaks. Fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture, then pour into an airtight container and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. 
Cake stand, William's Sonoma
Petal plate, HomeGoods
Blondie recipe, adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Ice cream recipe, adapted from Nigella Lawson

Thank you for stopping by.


Thursday, September 17, 2015


This blog post was supposed to come out on Tuesday but as I was editing the post, I back spaced to make a correction and whoosh, it all went away even though I had saved, it was gone.  I had to lick my wounds a bit to start over.


Last year I did a post on some trip tips on a visit to Oahu.  We went again this year and my tips are all still go.  Here is the link to that post: Link. 

Uncle Bo's in Honolulu is still great and the taro root beignets are still memorable, they are served with a lemon dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream.  We shared an order and ignored the ice cream as it seem superfluous with the beignets. They have a new sign out front but it is still the same - not looking so good out front but the food is still great.  Just order pupu's (appetizers) and dessert - best thing to do at Uncle Bo's.

The Aloha Stadium is still great and their hours are the same this year.

Tip: We did find a great place for lunch. The Kahala Resort at 5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu.  It is down near Diamond-head and a really great place for an outdoor lunch by the ocean.
Just use the valet parking and let them know you are headed to the Seaside Grill - great place to watch the ocean and have a nice lunch.
It is a bit of a walk from the parking back to the Seaside Grill but you get to go across a bridge over the huge koi pond.  I have never seen mantas in a pond before.  Note the wire guard fence at the bottom of the photo - kept these guys from going to the other side where there were two big turtles (as well as lots of fish) - maybe they don't play well together.
Last year we flew on another airline (won't say the name but is AA enough of a hint) and we were underwhelmed to say the least.  We had flown Hawaiian before on inter-island flights but never from the mainland.  We paid extra for Extra Comfort Seating and boy was that money well spent.  Here are just a few things that were included:
  • Five or more inches of extra legroom
  • Priority security line*
  • Priority boarding
  • Personal electrical power outlet
  • Complimentary “Unlimited TV & More” entertainment pack**
  • Pillow and blanket for use during the flight
Extra Comfort seats are available on all North America and international routes operated with our A330 aircraft.

We enjoyed breakfast on our way over and dinner on our way back plus drinks and snacks. Wine was complimentary with dinner.  Not first class but way close and the entire cabin crew was so wonderful - we kept that aloha feeling all the way home.
I would be remiss if I did not mention this little card that was on our dinner trays. Now when was the last time an airline gave you a free Shutterfly photo book so you could create a book to remember your trip?  I'm thinking never - me too.

 After a short inter-island flight (on Hawaiian of course) we landed in Lihu'e, Kauai's airport.  Kauai is our favorite island but we had not been there for many, many years and we knew it had changed a lot - both Walmart and Costco are  in Lihu'e - sort of a good news-bad news thing.  I have to give big thanks to my dear friend Kathleen Johnson as well as my dear son and DIL, Rich and Lindy Dewhirst.  The Johnson's spend time on Kauai each year and the Dewhirst's go almost every year so they were both fountains of information about where to go on the island and did not steer us wrong.
Kauai is not a big island and the road does not go all around the island because of the rugged terrain so you can easily go from one end to the other and take in all the sights.  This photo is of the front desk area at the Pono Kai Resort at Kapaa and is very centrally located - condo's - we were happy campers. If you go try and stay in a condo as you can really cut down on expenses - we had a budget and did not go over the budget.
View from our BR window - note the community BBQ, very nice and what a view for the person manning the Q!
There are feral chickens on the islands but especially on Kauai.  We are told that the huge population explosion on Kauai since our last visit is because during hurricanes their cages have broken open and freed them and they have no predators - no snakes in Hawaii (thank heavens) and other islands have a mongoose population (they will eat the eggs) but not on Kauai.  They are not good to eat so don't worry you won't find them on the menu but you will find signs that say "Don't feed the chickens."

Told you they were everywhere.....I came home with a Crazy Shirt tee shirt with a Kauai rooster and "Kauai Pride" on the front.  If you can't get rid of them - make them your symbol!
We did not have to be told to go here.  The first time we went to Kauai we stopped at the TT truck that was beside a canal and had a wonderful lunch. Huge tacos that were served in a paper plate that had been made into a cone and stapled - very clever. Gone is the truck and in it's place a nice restaurant, no more paper plates but still great tacos. Tip: Great place for a breakfast burro or a lunch - located at 5-5088 Kuhio Hwy, Kilauea, HI 96754.


This view has not changed - the road to Poipu, so beautiful.

Keoki's Paradise located at 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr, Koloa, HI 96756 -Phone:(808) 742-7534 Tip: great place for either lunch or dinner. If going for dinner call for reservations.
The outside of this restaurant belies what is waiting for you inside. Below are just a couple of shots I took at lunch on the patio.

  It really is a beautiful and relaxing place.
 Tip: Keoki's has a sunset menu 5:30 to 6:30 and for $26 per person you get a three course meal and the entree is a full entree. It is served in the dining room - be sure and call for reservations.


 Tip: Short side trip to Wailua Falls is well worth the drive, just north of Lihu'e, just watch for signs.
The day we were at the falls this hibiscus bloom flew onto our car and I just had to pick it up and take a photo and wear in my hair.
Is this not the best view ever? Tip: Be sure and have dinner ere - Duke's In Kauai (they also own Keoki's and other restaurants, so far all we have been to have been great). They are located at 3610 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766, Phone:808-246-9599. Call for reservations or do as Hubby does and use Open Table - be sure and use the valet parking.

We were there for Hubby's birthday so we noted it was a birthday on the reservation and so he was given gratis their famous Hula Pie!  Good stuff.
Tip: Great place to shop for gifts. The Aloha Spice Company is located at 3857 Hanapepe Rd, Hanapepe, HI 96716 and is a must stop when you on on the Hanapepe side of the island. I did not do much shopping (except for gifts to take home for friends and family) but what I did purchase was here.  A really nice store and a great place to buy rubs, spices and the famous Hawaiian pink salt.
If you look at the lower left you can see the Spice Company, this beautiful banyan tree is just out front of their shop.
Waimea Canyon - Grand Canyon of the Pacific is also another great place to visit when on the Hanapepe side of the island. Well worth the walk up to the viewing area.
When we visit Hawaii we always find a way to see a great show that features the beautiful dances of Polynesia. Last year we went to the Cultural Center on Oahu and this year we went to Smith's. Tip: Great food and great show at a good price.  First you ride around their unbelievably beautiful property in a tram and then it's time for open bar for a Mai Tai or soft drinks, then a lovely Kalua pig dinner with all the trimmings including poi (my advise is taste it once), then a lovely show.  The surroundings by the Wailua River could not be more beautiful. The Smith Family have been doing this for years and they were all so gracious - you did not get the feeling that it was just another night to them.

Last meal at Duke's downstairs in the Barefoot Bar, more casual, less expensive but still great. Tip: Great place for lunch.
Sunset photo taken from the window on the plane on the way home. Aloha Hawaii, till next time.

Thank you for stopping by.