here and there

Thursday, April 28, 2016


My aunt who is in her nineties and lives in a senior's apartment still mades her own sauerkraut.  In talking to her, she told me how she made her sauerkraut now.  The important thing was to buy a plastic container that is hard and safe for food.  In researching this, the recycling symbol was important to find as the best food grade containers are HDPE or those that have the symbol #2.  The molecules in this plastic are tightly packed so less plastic leaches into your food.  

My Aunt stressed the important ingredient in making sauerkraut is coarse salt which is not iodized but called Pickling Salt. The iodized salt, regular salt will make your cabbage turn color.   My Aunt does add thin slices of onion and allspice to her mixture, something I don't remember my Mom doing.  

The cabbage is finely shredded with a mandolin cutter.  My Dad had made my Mom a Mandolin cutter that looked like the pictures I found on the net for sale.  The blade on her slicer looked sharpen which leads me to believe the blade could be taken out to be sharpen.  

 While living on the farm my Mom had a huge garden, I saw her shredding the cabbage for sauerkraut and placing the cabbage into a large stoneware crock. 

The cabbage was pounded down as it is layered in the container.  My Mom would salt the layers as she went along.  She as my Aunt placed a few whole heads of cabbage at the bottom of the container to use for cabbage rolls.

My Mom had a stone that fit perfectly in the crock that she used to weigh down the cabbage to keep it submerged in liquid as it ferments.  A piece of wood cut to fit the crock fit over the stone.

My Aunt weighs the cabbage down with a gallon of water in a plastic milk jug in a plastic container.  Saran wrap covers the plastic container loosely then a white cloth.  

In speaking to her today, she uses a large stainless steel bread bowl to mix her shredded cabbage.   I had added the shredded cabbage to a smaller bowl but couldn't mix the cabbage well in the smaller container so did end up using my large bread bowl.   When I mentioned that I had 3 pounds of shredded cabbage she said that wasn't very much!  LOL!  She also laughed when I asked her for a recipe saying there ready wasn't any but to keep things clean. 

Although she did not measure the amount of salt, she thought it would be about a 1/2 cup added to the shredded cabbage in the bread bowl.  She also added about a handful of whole allspice and thinly sliced onions.

Any scum that developed over the fermentation process would be removed.  After a week, she tasted the sauerkraut and would package it in ziplock bags and freeze for later use if it had fermented enough.  She felt this was the best way to keep the sauerkraut once it was fermented to her taste.

I used a knife as only had one cabbage to shred! 

I did weigh out the amount of shredded cabbage and I had 3 pounds so to this I added 1 1/2 Tablespoon of Kosher salt. 

I had come across a large glass bowl that I thought would be perfect for fermenting a small amount of cabbage. 


  • 3 pounds of shredded cabbage ( one large cabbage head)
  • 1 1/2 T Kosher salt
  • handful whole Allspice
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • handful of peppercorn
My aunt strongly advised against using caraway seeds

My solution for weighting down the shredded cabbage.  I covered it with a tea towel to keep it dark!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hawaiian Spicy Mango Glazed Pork Ribs and Chicken Drumsticks

With the weather being dreary and wet, thoughts of our recent trip to Hawaii come to mind and especially the fruit glazed pork ribs that we sampled at Duke's on Kauai'i and the Kiki Grill and Bar in Honolulu.

Duke's Kauai
3610 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766, United States

From the Restaurant's web site

In his lifetime, Duke Kahanamoku traveled all over the world and introduced people to the Hawaiian lifestyle and the sport of surfing. Duke visisted Kauai' and enjoyed the beach and bay right out in front of what is now Duke’s Kauai. He was a friend and mentor to Kalapaki Beach’s own legendary Beach Boy, Percy Kinimaka. You are invited to enjoy this stunning beach setting with views out to the crystal blue waters of Nawiliwili Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains beyond.

Slow cooked, mango barbeque sauce glazed, grilled Big Island style, with steamed white rice and coleslaw

 2570 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach Hotel, Second Level ... Fabulous views of Waikiki Beach
From the restaurant's website

A hip, open-air restaurant with a retro South Pacific design and experience, Tiki's Grill & Bar features a menu highlighting the flavors of the islands prepared in an open exhibition kitchen. The restaurant appeals to residents and visitors alike and draws the late-night crowd with live contemporary Hawaiian entertainment every evening. Tiki's Grill & Bar provides a casual American and Pacific-Rim menu with flavors of the islands, using fresh local produce. Tiki’s offers lanai seating with beautiful sunsets on Kuhio Beach. Established in October of 2002 as a family restaurant and bar, Tiki's is located on the second floor in the newly renovated ResortQuest Waikiki Beach Hotel. Lined with 13-foot tiki torches and topped with a 30-foot, red-glowing volcano, capping the outside bar area. A full service dining establishment, Tiki's is only a brief drive from Honolulu International Airport and offers the finest in Hawaii regional cuisine, wine and spirits.  

Guava Glazed Baby Back Ribs 

A rack of St. Louis-style baby back ribs glazed with our 
signature guava barbecue sauce

Roll your own Korean Taco's 

Thinly sliced & marinated beef ribeye, served sizzling
on a cast iron skillet. Island made Sinaloa white corn
mini pups, lomilomi tomatoes, Mrs. Chengs tofu, Nalo

Farms honey & ko chu jang dipping sauce, housemade
kimchee & Kula butter lettuce for you to roll & eat. 

Yesterday, I saw Caribbean Pot do Spicy Mango Chicken Wings and I did follow his recipe for the Mango sauce but used chicken drumsticks and pork recipes in place of chicken wings. 

I marinaded the meat in the juice of two orange in place of lime juice, chopped fresh spring onions from the garden, salt and pepper.

Spicy Mango Sauce

 2 cans of Mango puree
Chopped Jalapeno pepper
Fresh chopped thyme from my garden
1 T corn syrup/honey
2 T butter
salt and pepper
 1 T fresh ginger

The mango puree was placed in a sauce pan and simmer to reduce the volume. I was not pleased with the reduction as it was not thick or sweet, very bland.  I usually use honey, but had used it up at Christmas so used the corn syrup which Caribbean Pot does suggest.  He also uses thyme for this sauce, but I did find the Thyme too earthy for this sauce.  Maybe it was the freshness of thyme from my garden. 

Since I also did not have a lime, I used oranges instead which did not give it the zip that a lime would, so I added freshly chopped ginger to the sauce. The butter finished off the sauce nicely.

The meat baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 until cooked, uncovered.

After the meat was cooked, the meat was covered in the sauce and returned to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to be browned. 

Interesting enough, Murder She Wrote the murder mystery show last night was filmed in Hawaii! 

The glaze used did brown nicely but lacked flavor.. A mango or peach jam or the spicy Mango chutney I have in the refrig would have worked much nicer.  Definitely the lime would have given better flavor and acidity to the sauce.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Garlicky Oyster sauce Gai Lan, Chinese Broccoli

The best recipes are those that you get from others.  Yesterday I picked up some Chinese Broccoli, Gai Lan and asked the Chinese lady who was stocking the fresh vegetables on the shelves how she prepared the vegetable at home.   She happily told me the steps she used to prepare this leafy green vegetable. The recipe is very much how our friend prepares it for his family in Regina.  Garlicky Oyster Sauce Chinese Broccoli is my favourite dish to order at dim sum.  So easily done at home!

After washing the Gai Lan, trim off the leaves so you have manageable pieces to eat with chop sticks. I left the pieces whole but one could cut them even smaller.  

 The vegetable is par-boiled in hot boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves wilt.  The Gai Lan is then dropped into icy cold water to keep the vibrant color. 

Oyster Sauce

3 Tablespoon water
3 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 Teaspoon soya sauce
1Tsp Sesame seed oil
1 tsp sugar
Black pepper and red pepper chilies
garlic cloves, minced

Mix together and beep in Microwave 1 -2 minutes until sauce is hot

Pour sauce over the parboiled broccoli. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the veggies. 

My friend did stir fry the parboiled vegetable in hot oil, after he had browned the minced garlic and chile flakes in the hot oil.  Since I was braising beef chunks in the oven, I placed the serving dish with the Chinese broccoli and sauce to warm up before serving!

The recipe was a winner, and I will be making it again.  Although my 4 1/2 year old grandchild was most disappointed that when I said I was serving dim sum, it was not steamed BBQ pork buns!