Monday, September 15, 2014

Tom Kha Gai and Coconut Rice

Another dish I have been meaning to make for quite some time. These copycat recipes are my two favorite dishes from two different Thai restaurants in Haleiwa: Opal Thai and Haleiwa Eats. 

I have eaten at Opal Thai three times. Each has been an experience. It's a small place with a long line and an owner (Opal) who oversees everything, and I mean everything!  He talks to the people in line and takes their names for the waiting list. He decides who goes in next never mind when you arrived. He takes your order, kinda, by asking a few questions like how spicy, do you eat meat, what kind of Thai dishes have you had before. And then he delivers your surprise meal, always several courses. Obviously--because a meal in an expensive restaurant wouldn't be complete without the owner coming out to check on you--he comes back to check on you and make sure you are happy with the experience he has designed for you. I always am. 

I have liked everything I have eaten there but the Tom kha is the one dish that has blown me away. I could eat it everyday! Or at least every month. My pocketbook can't handle that (and Opal won't let you make your own order anyway--yes, a little soup nazi-ish) and so I have been thinking about and researching and trying to figure out for a while how to make it myself. It ended up being quite easy. 

Dani's copycat recipe of Opal Thai's Tom Kha Gai

Combine in a regular size crockpot:
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups water
2 T chicken bouillon
2 T brown sugar
2 T fish sauce
2 T curry powder (I buy mine at Costco)
6 quarter inch slices of fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced small like green onion
4 oz fresh mushrooms, washed and halved or quartered
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 t lime zest
1 Serrano chili (or a portion thereof depending on desired heat. I'm a whimp and used 3-1/4" slices)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Before serving add 1 T lime juice to the pot and stir. Ladle soup into bowl and garnish with a drizzle of chili oil, large pinch of fresh chopped cilantro and a lime wedge. 

Haleiwa Eats is another Thai restaurant in Haleiwa. It's a cute place, kinda quiet and usually has a short wait to be seated. My favorite dish here is their coconut rice. Now it has been a long time since I've been there so it's hard to say that this is a true copycat recipe, I just haven't compared the two close enough. So instead this is my interpretation of what I think I remember coconut rice should taste like. I should also say I know nothing, repeat nothing, about different kinds of rice. I suppose this should probably be made with a special rice like jasmine rice. I really don't know and don't care. If you know more about rice let me know why I should care--like if it will improve the taste and why--and maybe I'll try your suggestion. Until then I was pretty darn happy with how this turned out and will keep it as is. Ready? This is a tough one...

Dani's Coconut Rice
In rice cooker add
3 scoops white rice 
1 can coconut milk
Add water to suggested depth for 3 scoops according to manufacturers directions. 

Press the white rice button and walk away. When rice cooker beeps add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup sugar, and a spritz or two of lime juice. Stir to combine and serve.  Delicious served for breakfast, dinner or dessert!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

1000 things I love (101-120)

101. Working out in the morning with my friend Jenny.
102. That burning feeling in my legs and chest from a good workout.
103. Cold water.
104. Family Home Evening surfing with the family.
105. My crockpot.
106. Working with BYUH students
107. Computers
108. My new wedding band!
109. Cora's super blonde hair
110. My new blender!! I got the blender attachment for my Bosch mixer. It is working great.
111. Jenny. She is a great workout partner, surf buddy, baking buddy, second mother to my children and above all friend.
112. I love that Kirkham is taking an interest in his studies this year and is working very hard in his classes.
113. Non-slip plastic cutting boards from Pampered Chef
114. I received my piano tuning hammer in the mail!
115. ice cream, especially Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia
116. My new Sanuks  yoga mat loafers
117. My practically dead potted orange tree is coming back to life after being moved to a new location. Now if it will only start growing some oranges.
118. Finding fresh laid eggs under my kayak
119. I love having fresh baked cookies ready for my kids when they get home from school
120. Making home made granola.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I have been wanting to make these (imagine a beautiful picture right here of a pan of lightly golden brown rolls glistening with white glaze--kids gobbled them up before I had a chance to take pics) delicious Samoan Coconut rolls for a long time but have been putting it off because I thought it would be difficult. Boy was I wrong! So simple and so delicious. 

I used the recipe "Panipopo from the PCC Favorite Cookbook" from the Hawaii Mission Settlement Recipes Cookbook purchased at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The recipe was good but it didn't have exact measurements on a couple things and I thought it needed some salt (there was no salt in the recipe) and some more sauce. It may be heresy to say but here is my "improved" Panipopo recipe.

Dani's Panipopo

In bowl of Bosch (or KitchenAid) thoroughly combine:
4 cups warm water
3 T yeast
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar

2 tsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 more cups of flour, 1 cup at a time.

Knead dough until elastic (may be a little sticky). Let rise in warm place to double. Divide dough into 15 pieces and shape into orange size dough balls. Arrange in a lightly greased large foil pan (the large ones you can buy at Costco that go inside a chafing dish). Rise again.

Combine 2 cans of coconut milk and 1 cup sugar. Pour half of the mixture over the dough balls in the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately after removing from oven pour the rest of the coconut milk mixture over the rolls. Allow to sit 15-20 minutes and serve warm.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Favorite Quotes: Brave New World

When I added Brave New World to my 40 before 40 reading list I didn't know much about it. I knew it was set in the future in a supposedly Utopian society. I knew it was on all those "100 best . . .", and "must read . . ." book lists.  I must say I was more than a little surprised with the obsession with sex in this Utopian society, also a little disturbed by it. But I think that is what the author wanted. Anyways I was glad that the descriptions weren't detailed and there was plenty of other material so I continued reading.

I'm glad I did because this was a good book especially after finishing up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which dwelt a lot on Quality. In the Utopian Society of Brave New World they were obsessed with the exact opposite of Quality. They were looking for peace and happiness in it's easiest, most infantile form.

A few of my favorite lines:

"'Just to give you a general idea,' he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently--though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible." pg 4

"Helmholtz shook his head. 'Not quite. I'm thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I've got something important to say and the power to say it--only I don't know what it is, and I can't make any use of the power.'" pg 69

"Words can be like x-rays, if you use them properly--they'll go through anything." pg 70

"Bernard considered that Electro-magnetic Golf was a waste of time. 'Then what's time for?' asked Lenina in some astonishment." pg 89

"Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand." pg 221

"'But I like the inconveniences.'
'We don't,' said the Controller. 'We prefer to do things comfortably.'
'But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.'
'In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.'
'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'" pg 240

Saturday, August 09, 2014

More Fav's from Zen and the Art . . .

I finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance this weekend. WOW was that a long read. Though I thoroughly loved the book it was not an easy one to read. There were so many things to think about around every twist and turn of his motorcycle adventure. I will read this book again and again.

Here are a few more quotes from the book that I found noteworthy

"You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally. That's the way all the experts do it. The making of a painting or the fixing of a motorcycle isn't separate from the rest of your existence. . . . The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself. The machine that appears to be "out there" and the person that appears to be "in here" are not two separate things. They grow toward Quality or fall away from Quality together." page 417

"The cars seem to be moving at a steady maximum speed for in-town driving, as though they want to get somewhere, as though what's here right now is just something to get through. The drivers seem to be thinking about where they want to be rather than where they are." pg 418

"If he was wrong, who would care? But suppose he was right? To be right and throw it away in order to please the predilections of his teachers, that would be the monstrosity!" pg 444

"We always condemn most in others, he thought, that which we most fear in ourselves." pg 487

"What is good and what is not good--need we ask anyone to tell us these things?" page 508

"They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes"  page 532

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adventure Quotes!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.” 
― E.A. BucchianeriBrushstrokes of a Gadfly

“One of the inescapable encumbrances of leading an interesting life is that there have to be moments when you almost lose it.” 
― Jimmy BuffettA Pirate Looks at Fifty

“Adventures are only interesting once you've lived to see the end of them. Before that, they are nothing but fear, and being too cold or too hot or too wet or too hungry, and getting hurt.” 
― Holly LisleThe Silver Door

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic (1928)” 
― John A. Shedd

“I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

“Go small, go simple, go now” 
― Larry PardeyCruising in Seraffyn

“The only life worth living is the adventurous life. Of such a life the dominant characteristic is that it is unafraid. It is unafraid of what other people think...It does not adapt either its pace or its objectives to the pace and objectives of its neighbors. It thinks its own thoughts, it reads its own books. It develops its own hobbies, and it is governed by its own conscience. The herd may graze where it pleases or stampede where it pleases, but he who lives the adventurous life will remain unafraid when he finds himself alone.” 
― Raymond B. Fosdick

“For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.” 
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cora the Business Woman

Cora was bugging me for a while that she wanted to start a business as a Mother's Helper. She wanted me to send a note to all my friends to offer her services to them. I put her off and put her off but she would not be daunted. Finally 3 weeks ago I gave in and sat down, wrote the email and sent it off to a group of 6 women whom I thought would be interested.

The next morning Cora got her first response from Stephanie. Stephanie wrote me an exciting email hiring Cora . . . as soon as she got back from her trip on the mainland. Cora was so happy but so sad at the same time. She had to wait.

Last week Cora found herself really, really bored one day. I was gone, her friends were sick, her chores were done and then she remembered Auntie Steph and her family were home from their trip. They had gotten home the day before! Rather than wait for a phone call Cora marched right over--unbeknownst to me--and offered her services. Auntie Steph hired her on the spot! And asked her to come back the next day too!

Two days of work under her belt and she had $6 burning a hole in her pocket. Friday night she approached me with a twinkle in her eye and her money in hand, she was going to the carnival at the school! She was so excited to go on some rides. She couldn't wait to get some candy. She bounced out the door and down the stairs bubbling because she had earned  her own fun!

Thirty minutes later she slumped in the door and her once happy cheerful countenance had now turned to disgust. "There was only one good ride and it cost 3 tickets. Each ticket costs $1! That ride is not worth $3!!!" I was sad for her but at the same time so very, very proud. She had learned the meaning of money. The satisfaction of working hard and making her money work for her. Six hours of work was not worth six minutes of rides. She put her money back into her wallet.

So every day for the past week Cora has gotten up and gotten her chores done and announced, "I am leaving for work now!" She is always prompt and never forgets even though the times vary every day. She is always excited to go and never calls it play. It's work, with a big smile.

Yesterday when she got home and told me about her day and what she had done she suddenly realized she had forgotten something. "I forgot to ask her when she wants me to come back!" She quickly turned to leave but I stopped her short. 

"You what?"

"I forgot to ask her when she wants me to come back. Everyday before I leave I ask her when she wants me to come back and help again."

What a salesman, this girl. I would have never thought to do such a thing. And if I'd thought of it I'd never have dared to be so forward. What a brave, outgoing, smart daughter I have!

So she ended up not going back to ask-- I think she either got distracted or Auntie Steph wasn't home--so this morning she didn't have a job lined up. But can she sit back and relax? No! She gets her chores done and starts making Chocolate No Bake Cookies. She decided to have a sale. She made cookies, she made lemonade, she collected her table, chair, cups, made a sign.

During her whirlwind of preparation my visiting teacher comes over and has her 3 kids with her. Cora takes a break from her prep and takes over the children. My visiting teacher remembers about Cora's email (I am not forward enough to bring it up) and asks me if Cora can come over some time next week. I say sure and am ready to leave it at that but Cora comes over, with the baby on her hip mind you, and says "what day do you want me to come?"

My VT says, "Well . . ." she's a bit taken aback I think but in a good way. She stumbles a bit before deciding and then says, "Wednesday. Maybe Wednesday afternoon?"

Cora, not satisfied with generalities asks, "OK. What time?"

Again stumbling a bit, but with a smile on her face, my VT responds, "um, uh, how about 10. Yes, 10."

Cora smiles and carries on her activity with the kids. That girl!!

They leave and she gets right back to cookies. She tells me she needs a pop up tent so she doesn't get too hot. She tells me she needs a table and she needs a ride so that she doesn't spill her Kool aid as she is walking. Never mind that the corner she wants to set up on is only 3 houses down. I give her the keys and she loads everything in the car and pesters me while I try to find my slippers and hat. I drive her down and then realize she hasn't set up any friends to help. She is planning on doing this herself! I'm not down with that: a little girl sitting on the street corner with food and lots of money, all alone. Even in Laie, three houses from home, that just won't fly.

I insist we find a friend who can sit with her. She hems and haws and gives lots of excuses and then admits she doesn't want to because she doesn't want to share the money. Hahaha. I tell her no friend, no sale, no money. period. We pick up her friend and 5 minutes later they are all set up. Before I leave them to go finish the laundry she insists I take pictures to post to Facebook.

One picture of them on the side of the street
Cora and Kahili selling no bakes and lemonade.

 and one close up of the cookies.
Cora's home made Chocolate No Bake Cookies.
Two hours later they are finished. They sold 1 gallon of Kool Aid and 100 cookies and made over $30. She had two other friends who stopped by. One worked for Kool Aid and cookies and the other got paid $1.50. Cora then paid me for the Kool Aid and No Bakes (I figured out the costs of each way back in these posts: Cost of Homemade Cookies and Kool Aid Sale!). In the end, after paying me and her drop in helpers she decided to compute the division of proceeds by hours put in. Cora worked for 3.5 hours making cookies, decorating her sign and prepping her materials. Kahili worked for the 2 hours of the sale. This is what they each walked away with.

Almost $5 per hour for a 10 year old is pretty good pay I'd say!
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