03 March


Shamrock Shortbread

Shamrock Shortbread

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

How lucky and blessed are those who can taste some homemade shamrock-shaped shortbread on the Feast Day of St. Patrick. He used a three-leaf clover, which grows abundantly in Ireland, to teach the pagans about the Holy Trinity—God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and convert them to Christianity in the fifth century. Inspired by the sweet symbolism, we baked shamrock-shaped shortbread sprinkled with green sugar crystals that sparkle like emeralds from the isle of the Irish patron saint. Honor St. Patrick and his evangelistic efforts and make Celtic-style clover cookies.

May your blessings outnumber


The shamrocks that grow,


And may trouble avoid you


Wherever you go.


~Irish Blessing

 

Recipe

(Adapted from Irish Culture and Customs)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (we used Kerrygold brand Irish butter)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 cups flour
  • green food coloring (we used Wilton brand Leaf  Green icing color)
  • green sugar sprinkles (we used Wilton brand dark green colored sugar)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Mix in the cornstarch and sugar and blend well. Gradually mix in the flour until a cookie dough is formed.

Shamrock Shortbread

Tint with green food coloring to the desired shade. Roll the dough into a ball, place in a covered bowl and refrigerate till firm (about an hour). Divide the dough into two or three smaller pieces. Place between sheets of waxed paper. Roll each to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with shamrock-shaped cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet at least an inch apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Re-roll the dough scraps, place between sheets of waxed paper, roll to ¼-inch thickness and refrigerate for another 15 minutes or until firm. Continue cutting out shapes and refrigerating.

Shamrock Shortbread

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with green sugar sprinkles. Bake in a preheated oven at 275 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Shamrock Shortbread

Notes

  • While this shortbread recipe is tasty, we prefer other sugar cookie doughs that are easier to handle. This one requires lots of chilling time and patience in order for the cookies to hold their shape. They do spread out a little in the oven but the puffiness goes down toward the end of the baking cycle.
  • Irish butter is creamier and more yellow than the domestic one. This may have affected the dough being more moist than other recipes.
  • Add a little flour to the work surface or waxed paper so the dough does not stick too much.
  • Baking time is longer for this recipe because it has a lower heat (275 instead of 350 degrees).
  • Search our blog for other shortbread, cookies and other Irish-inspired recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. We also recommended browsing for more feast day food ideas from Catholic Cuisine.

Chicken Long Rice

Chicken Long Rice

March 13: National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

Whether found at the fanciest luau or in a humble Hawaiian home, chicken long rice is the islands’ comfort food equivalent of chicken noodle soup. Ironically, the “rice” in this dish is actually bean thread (also known as cellophane noodles for their transparency). The taste is similar to tinolang manok without the noodles. The hot gingery broth helps relieve congestion, the chicken provides protein and mushrooms are full of vitamins, making this textured noodle soup a healthy option.

For National Chicken Noodle Soup Day, try a dish with a tropical twist and make some chicken long rice. Aloha!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 bunches of long rice
  • 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • water
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4-6 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 stalk green onions, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a large dish, pour boiling water to cover the long rice. Soak until soft, at least 30 minutes. Cut into shorter pieces. Drain before using. In a shallow dish, pour boiling water to cover the dried shiitake mushrooms. Soak until soft, at least 30 minutes. Remove from the water, squeeze out excess liquid and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Chicken Long Rice

While the noodles and mushrooms are being hydrated, chop the chicken and ginger. Heat the oil on medium high and sauté the garlic cloves. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Pour the water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Long Rice

Lower the heat, add the bouillon cubes and ginger, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. Add the mushrooms. Gently stir in the noodles and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Discard the ginger and garlic. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot with chopsticks and a soup spoon.

Chicken Long Rice

Notes

  • Season the broth with a tablespoon of soy sauce, oyster sauce or hot sauce (optional).
  • Search our blog for other soup recipes.

Cornflake-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Cornflake-Macadamia Nut Cookies

March 7: National Cereal Day

Whenever we are on the island of Kauai, it is mandatory to stop in at the Kauai Kookies factory store. Islander loves their cookies so much that she even considered retiring in Hanapepe! Once in a while, her family and friends back on Oahu mail care packages to us on the mainland and include a few boxes of Kauai Kookies.

When those precious cookies don’t come often enough, she resorts to baking something similar to the Kauai Kookie “Cornflake Krunch” flavor—cornflake-macadamia nut cookies. Crushed cornflake cereal is what makes them “krunchy” and the macadamia nuts add a touch of the tropics to these treats.

For a sweet snack, bake a batch of cookies made with macadamia nuts and cornflakes cereal, especially on National Cereal Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from “Flavors of Paradise Cookbook” by Pearl City Community Church)

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white (we used C&H brand)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 cup cornflakes cereal, coarsely crushed
  • ¾ cup macadamia nut pieces (we used Mauna Loa brand)

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Mix in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Gradually stir this mixture into the creamed butter and mix well until a cookie dough is formed.

Cornflake-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Crush the cornflakes cereal to measure one cup. Fold this into the cookie dough. Add the macadamia nut pieces. Roll out one-inch balls.

Cornflake-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet about two inches apart. Flatten into discs. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: Approximately 3-4 dozen cookies.

Notes

  • When Islander still lived on Oahu, she would visit her godsister, Min V., in Kekaha, Kauai, on long weekends. What a wonderful coincidence that Kauai Kookie was on the way to Min’s house from the Lihue airport!!!
  • Kauai Kookie used to bake up different flavors of cookies and only offered them at the factory store or at special events (such as the Made in Hawaii Festival) where Islander would buy a bunch of bite-sized “banzai cookies” and macadamia nut tea cookies.
  • Islander once left a box of Kauai Kookies out on the dining room table and put a “kapu” on them. However, her brother could not resist and ate them all while she was taking a nap. As soon as she woke up, he immediately ran out to the store to buy replacements to avoid her wrath. To appease her, he bought more Kauai Kookies—and some especially for himself.
  • We also gift Kauai Kookies to our mainland friends after coming back from a visit to Hawaii. Share the aloha!
  • Mahalo to Mary Ann B. for sending the “Flavors of Paradise Cookbook” to Islander for her birthday. Mahalo to Lisa L. for giving us vanilla extract from the Big Island.
  • Try the recipe for macadamia nut-white chocolate chip cookies on September 4, which is National Macadamia Nut Day.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing cereal as an ingredient.

Hawaiian-Style Chex Mix

Hawaiian Style Chex Mix

March 7: National Cereal Day

Put some pizzazz in a plain party chex mix and add some aloha with meaty macadamia nuts and flavorful furikake. Hawaii’s locals love to sprinkle the latter on snacks, such as “hurricane popcorn” and Spam musubi. The salty-sesame rice seasoning balances the sweetness of the sugar-syrup in the cereal mixture. Try something deliciously different for your next social gathering and for National Cereal Day—mix it up with macadamia nuts and furikake for an onolicious Hawaiian-style chex mix! Aloha!

Recipe

(From Auntie Maria B.)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 box rice chex cereal
  • 1 box corn chex cereal
  • 2-4 cups macadamia nuts
  • 1 bottle furikake (nori fumi or nori komi)

Directions

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the vegetable oil, sugar and corn syrup. Mix until well combined.

Hawaiian Style Chex Mix

Line two large baking pans with foil. Mist with cooking spray. Combine the rice and corn chex cereals with the macadamia nuts and divide evenly into the two pans. Pour the sugar-syrup over the cereal mixes, dividing evenly between both pans.

Hawaiian Style Chex Mix

Mix with a spatula. Sprinkle furikake. Bake in a preheated oven at 225 degrees F, stirring every 15 minutes, for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool, stirring every so often to prevent the ingredients from sticking together. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Hawaiian Style Chex Mix

Notes

  • Mahalo to Auntie Maria B. for the recipe as well as the macadamia nuts and furikake that she sent to us from Hawaii.
  • Fond of furikake? Then try furikake on fish (mahi mahi)!

Oscar Chocolates

Oscar Chocolates

February/March: Hollywood Awards Season

Add some edible elegance to your Oscar watch party and give guests mini Oscar chocolate statuettes! They may not walk away with an expensive Hollywood swag bag, but they still get a fancy favor from you at a fraction of the cost!

To make these knockoffs inspired by the candy creations of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, you need a mini mold or two (we purchased one from eBay from a seller in the United Kingdom, probably because the Oscar design is proprietary in the United States). A 12-ounce bag of melted chocolate yields 10-11 mini Oscar chocolates. Paint them with gold edible powder for a fabulous finish. Place them in treat sacks and into swag bags or display them as dazzling decorations on an Oscar-themed dessert table.

These Oscar chocolates are sure to be the biggest stars at your movie night celebrations—and you definitely win the award for being the Best Host(ess)!

Recipe

(Inspired by HMH Designs)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces chocolate wafers/candy melts (such as Ghirardelli or Wilton brands)
  • alcohol, such as EverClear, tequila or vodka (optional)
  • gold edible powder (we used CK brand)

Directions

Melt the chocolate according to the package instructions. Fill the mold, tapping lightly to level out the chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, around 15 minutes. Unmold carefully on a paper towel. If the chocolate breaks, dip a little into melted chocolate and “glue” back together. Smooth out the edges and breaks with a warm finger. Continue molding the rest of the Oscar chocolate statuettes.

Oscar Chocolates

Spread a little melted chocolate on one half of the unmolded chocolate. Press the other Oscar half together. Continue with the rest of the Oscar statuettes, taking care to keep them dry and cool.

Oscar Chocolates

When ready to paint them with edible gold powder, make a thin paste with the alcohol (make sure it is not too watery). Work quickly and brush the gold paint over the surface of the Oscar chocolates. Let dry and retouch with more gold paint, if necessary. Keep them dry and cool until ready to serve.

Oscar Chocolates

Notes

  • We tried spraying edible gold aerosol paint (such as AmeriColor brand food color spray and Wilton brand color mist) on the Oscar chocolates but they did not adhere to the chocolate very well. Coverage was uneven, leaving liquid spots on the surface.
  • Alcohol mixed with the edible gold dust is optional and the Oscar chocolates may be dusted dry instead. The surface will not be as shiny as those applied with the alcohol mixture but it still has a shimmery surface.
  • Bake some Hollywood cookies as another dessert for movie nights and Oscar watch parties.

Chocolate Bunny Butts

Chocolate Bunny Butts

March 31, 2013: Easter

As a reward for surviving Lent (and giving up chocolate for 40 days), Islander gets a chocolate bunny from Highlander as an Easter gift. Whether it is a hollow or solid candy bunny (she likes the latter better!), Islander can indulge in all that chocolate goodness after sacrificing sweets for a few weeks.

As an alternative to chocolate bunnies, Chocolate Bunny Butts are a differently delicious dessert made with deviled food cookies, miniature marshmallows and melted chocolate.  They look especially cute with colorful candy eggs—and they are quick and easy to make.

Eat an Easter fun food and have a Chocolate Bunny Butt. Hoppy Happy Easter from HI Cookery!

Recipe

(Inspired by Hungry Happenings)

Ingredients

Directions

Place the bunny head pattern on a cookie sheet. Lay waxed paper over it. Melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Cool slightly.

Chocolate Bunny Butts

Flatten a miniature marshmallow. Dip one flat side in the melted chocolate. Attach it to the cookie. Fill with melted chocolate a pastry bag outfitted with a round decorating tip (or fill a plastic bag and snip off a small hole in the corner). Carefully trace the bunny head pattern with the melted chocolate leaving a small tab at the end.

Chocolate Bunny Butts

Place in the refrigerator to cool and harden the chocolate. Carefully peel off the bunny heads from the waxed paper. Use the remaining melted chocolate to attach the cookie to the head. Refrigerate to set the chocolate. Arrange the dessert on a platter and serve.

Chocolate Bunny Butts

Notes

  • Download a PDF of our bunny head pattern here.
  • Search our blog for other Easter or egg recipes.

Creole Turkey Neck

and Cabbage Soup

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March 30: National Turkey Neck Soup Day

Highlander sometimes eats turkey giblet gravy and Islander gobble-gobbles up the oven-roasted tail at Thanksgiving meals. We enjoy our leftovers and try not to waste any of the turkey meat. But we rarely save other turkey parts, such as the neck, because they do not look or sound too appetizing to cook. Yet we decided to try making a Southern soul food-style dish, Creole turkey neck and cabbage soup, in observance of National Turkey Neck Soup Day. Islander did not like it at all and practically gagged at the “aroma” of the boiled neck pieces (a foul-smelling fowl?). The cabbage, along with the spicy seasonings, did tone down the odor a bit. Highlander agreed that it was not worth the effort and few ingredients of making it again since it took a few hours to prepare this dish in our kitchen. However, for those who are more adventurous with their appetites and cooking experiments are welcome to try the recipe below.

Recipe

(Adapted from Live Strong)

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey neck
  • 1 head cabbage
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Creole seasoning to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Cut off the bottom core of the cabbage. Halve it and rinse well. Slice into strips and drain in a colander.

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Cut the turkey neck into three or four pieces. Place in a pot and pour enough water over the pieces. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the neck pieces and skim the debri out of the liquid. Add the sugar.

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Stir in the Creole seasoning. Return the neck pieces in the liquid. Boil on medium low heat for another hour. Remove the neck pieces again and strain the liquid. Put the neck pieces back in the pot, then add the cabbage strips and strained liquid.

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Pour in the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and let the cabbage cook for about 30 minutes or until wilted. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for another 45 minutes to reduce the liquid. Adjust the taste with Creole seasoning. Stir gently. Ladle the cabbage strips and liquid into soup bowls. Top with a turkey neck piece. Serve with a splash of hot sauce.

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Notes

  • Turkey neck is a tough meat so it needs to be cooked for a long time to become tender.
  • Smoked turkey neck, if available, would lend a more unique flavor to this recipe.
  • Although Thanksgiving is many months away, try our traditional turkey recipe (simple oven-roasted method). Or prepare our popular Oreo turkey cookies.

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