Aloha Dispatch Week 3

It feels like we’ve been here a lot longer than 3 weeks, yet it also feels like we just got here.

There is a daily rainbow to the west of us each morning around 8am. Today it lasted for well over an hour, becoming more and less intense over time. I had never seen a rinbow move before, but this one lasted long enough to indirectly watch the Sun’s passage upward; the rainbow’s transit got lower and lower toward the ground while drifting northward, in exact opposition to the Sun.

There is a libertarian streak to the politics here, but more of the liberal, free-to-be-you-and-me variety. Part of that culture is home-schooling, which I realize now often means no-schooling.

Saw a cardinal at … Read the rest

Aloha Dispatch Day 9

I must have posted twice at some point because this is our 8th day here, not our 9th.

Election day is very different here. I didn’t see any evidence anywhere that today was any different except that the elementary school was closed, as is the tradition/law here.

I’m used to staying up until after 1am to see how the race is called, but it was 6:14pm when it was called tonight.

It’s easy to see how Hawaiians would feel marginalized. Every election is called hours before the polls here have even closed. And by the time the local elections are called here, the east coast media has gone to sleep. We don’t know yet whether Linda Lingle, the former governor, won the senate race although … Read the rest

Vegan Meatballs

We continue the struggle to get enough protein with a primarily vegetarian diet.

I found a recipe here for lentil meatballs and modified it a bit. It’s not very different from falafel except the tomato paste and yeast give it a meatier taste.

Part A
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp bread flour
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1 egg (this and the cheese make it non-vegan)
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Part B
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flax meal

(Without thinking, I measured 1 1/2 cup dried lentils and now we have enough cooked lentils for a week.)

Chop and dump everything … Read the rest

Infused ethanol

I’ve made beer about ten times. Only one of the batches was what I would call good. And unlike years ago, there is so much good craft beer available now, it’s no longer practical for me to homebrew. Besides, I don’t need the calories.

I made wine once (once on purpose, a few times by accident) and it wasn’t good. Not bad, but not good.

The next step is to home distill, which I’ve done successfully once. The contraption was quite a sight, as well as a quite a fire hazard. After weeks of prep and hours of work, I got about an ounce of rather harsh, but genuine moonshine.

Thinking of the cheapest and easiest way of doing some kind of DIY booze, I decided … Read the rest


We’ve been doing a lot of family breakfasts at home lately and I’ve had a chance to perfect my pancake recipe. The oats make them very tender (I tried once using mostly oats and the pancakes were tender to the point of falling apart) and this recipe uses more baking powder and egg than most other pancake recipes I’ve seen. The powder make the pancakes lighter and the extra eggs help hold the oats together.
These are also sweeter than other pancakes.

1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp oil
2 eggs

whisk and fry in 1/4 cup dollops. Makes about 10 light, smallish pancakes, enough for 2 adults.

Serve with:… Read the rest

The Pizza Guy

So much information on pizza delivery. Stories, trivia, advice…

Did you know:
“Pizza delivery is considered a hazardous job by the US government. They are third most likely to be murdered on the job, right after police officer and taxi driver.”
The stat is not cited, but I believe it.… Read the rest

Anthony Bourdain Answering Questions

Anthony Bourdain answers questions from Reddit.

His answers remind me why he’s popular and why I like him: he’s very thoughtful and communicates clearly. The subject matter he discusses is interesting as well, but the main reason I like to hear him speak is that he thinks things through and describes his thoughts effectively.

Read the rest

Crunchy Homemade Potato Chips in the Microwave

La Cucina di Kat has a post about making potato chips in the microwave.

The idea seemed implausible since microwaves tend to make crispy things (e.g. toast, pizza crust) stiff, not the other way around. But I tried it and it totally works, the chips are very crispy and light. One potato made about 40 chips (sliced with a mandolin) and I had to do it in 2 batches since that’s all that fits without overlapping the chips. It’s a little time-consuming, maybe 20 minutes (slicing + 7 minutes each for 2 batches from one potato) but makes a decent snack and it uses almost no oil.… Read the rest

Food Experiments

#1 Baked Falummus / Humafel

I tried making hummus. We had a bunch of dried garbanzos that I soaked overnight. We didn’t have tahini so I used sesame oil. I tried pureeing them but they stayed pretty chunky. I blamed that on the oil/tahini switcheroo but realized that you’re supposed to use cooked garbanzos. So I put the quart or so of raw hummus in the microwave but it cooked very unevenly, so it went into the oven on low heat. As the garbanzos cooked they absorbed all the moisture so I added a little olive oil and a 1/4 cup or so of water and stirred it in. I let it bake at 250° for a few hours and then tasted it. It needed a … Read the rest

Cook Tofu Like the Pros

I’ve tried to make tofu at home and other than putting the really soft stuff in soup, I’ve had no success. It always comes out mushy and without absorbing any of the seasoning I put on it.

This is a mystery since when I have tofu at a restaurant it’s almost always good, or at least not horrible like mine.

This article gives a little how-to, however, demonstrating how to first dry the tofu in an oil-free pan, then marinate it, and only then actually sautéing it.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it makes sense.… Read the rest