Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crock Pot on Hold

It's been a REALLY busy week.  Last week we started renovating a rental unit, then on to cleaning it for the new tenant.  College students and recent grads are NOT clean people.  Yuck!

Anyway, due to all the hours we've been putting it, we've not had time to use the crock pot much since Friday!  We have quite a few recipes we want to try, including a healthy, very low carb chicken adobo recipe.

We've got another busy weekend ahead, so no crock pot meals until probably next weekend.  We did mostly takeout this past week.  If you're into healthy pizzas, Whole Foods sells pizza by the pound.  It was ok, not the kind we like :-)  There always seems to be a line for the pizzas.  You can by it by the slice or you can buy three pounds which is a whole pizza shaped like a skateboard versus a round pizza.

We also had pasta from La Pizza Rina.  Will be posting a review of La Pizza Rina since it's one of our usual pizza takeout places.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dining Out: Pho One in Honolulu

Lemon Beef Salad w/Jellyfish
We're not very experienced eaters of Vietnamese food, but we do enjoy chicken Pho and lemongrass chicken.  Recently we made friends with a young gal who's parents are from Vietnam...she is fluent in Vietnamese.  Great gal, very nice and intelligent...oh and generous.  I always tell her she has an old soul, wise beyond her years.

Pork Plate
Our friend offered to share her culture via tradiational Vietnamese cuisine at Pho One in Honolulu (near Ala Moana Shopping Center).  We couldn't refuse!  She knows the owners of the restaurants and knows they make their own chicken and beef stocks from scratch, clean the vegetables one by one and by hand, etc.
Special Beef Pho

We asked her to do the ordering and we got some fabulous dishes:  Lemon Beef salad with Jellyfish, Beef Phở and a dish that wasn't on the menu, Bò lá lốt...more on this dish later.  She also ordered a dish with broken rice (small grains of jasmine rice), pork chops, shredded pork and Vietnamese pork meatloaf.  The Vietnamese steam their meatloaf making it light and fluffy and looks more like a piece of dessert (pretty) was very tasty.

Bo La Lot
First came the Lemon Beef salad with Jellyfish.  Very tasty dressing, the lettuce fresh and the onions mild.  The beef is served rare.  The male half of this couple doesn't get excited about food, but he claims this is the best salad he's had in a long time.  Next came our Beef Phở was one of the better bowls of Pho we've had, but we could've done without the tendons, tripe and whatever other piece of beef was in there.  This Pho is served with raw thin slices of meat also...our friend asked the waiter to have that meat served on the side so we could put the beef in when it arrived at our the meat doesn't was a great idea.

Rolling Bo La Lot
The last dish is the female half of this couple's favorite dish...Bò lá lốt, the meat portion is beef rolled in a pepper leaf.  At Pho One, they serve all the ingredients on a pizza pan, you roll the ingredients in rice paper yourself.  The tray comes with very fresh ingredients and it was recommended to us to lay down half a leaf of lettuce as the base (on the rice paper which you dip quickly into warm water), followed by the rest of the ingredients in whichever order you prefer.  The rest of the ingredients were: bun (noodles, cake form), the meat portion, pickled vegetables, basil and mint (leaves only).  Roll like a burrito tucking ingredients in so the rice paper isn't loose.  Dip the roll into the fish sauce holding it close to the top or else after you take a bite, everything tends to fall out of it.

It was quite an experience...but a great one.  We were too full to try the three layer Vietnamese ice time we think we'll just to the salad and Bò lá lốt.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crock Pot "Mexican" Chicken For Two

HE SAID: Very good.

Years ago before the female half of this couple's cousin married her first husband, he introduced our family to this easy but yummy recipe.  Simple...simple enough for a teenager to make and easy on the pocketbook too.  We believe it was his own recipe.  He made it with sliced canned mushrooms, sliced black olives and shredded cheese melted on the top (baked).  We this without the mushrooms and olives since the male half of this couple doesn't care for them.

Before (forgot to take a  pic of the finished product)
For the salsa part of the recipe, it's really to taste.  Depends on how spicy you like your salsa, if you like it chunky or smooth...we've also made this with homemade salsa.  We normally serve this dish on rice...mmmm, but you can serve with tortilla chips if you prefer.  The amount of sauce you make also depends on how much you like the sauce.  If you're not into sauce, you may want to make just enough to cover the chicken...if you love sauce, make extra sauce for dipping.  The sauce tastes great as leftovers too!

The original recipe calls for the chicken to be baked in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (until chicken is cooked, but not overcooked).  Using the crock pot made the chicken softer, but the sauce runnier.  We probably won't be making this in the crock pot again since the thicker sauce is easier to dip.  If you don't mind the runnier sauce (it doesn't taste bad, just hard to dip) and you're just pouring the sauce over the rice, the crock pot way is a bit tastier and as mentioned, the chicken is very tender.

It was another very busy day, dinner had to wait until 9:30PM, so we forgot to take a pic of the finished product!  Will definitely post one when we have leftovers.


Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 6- 8 hours on low
2-4 qt crock pot (depending on how much sauce you want)

6 - 8 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut in half or whole)
2 small cans or 1 large can cream of mushroom soup (again, depends on how much sauce you want)
1-2 cups of salsa (your choice, depends on texture and spice you desire)
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
1 small can diced black olives, drained (optional)
shredded Mexican blend cheese (optional)

Rinse and pat dry chicken.  Place chicken pieces in crock pot.  In a bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup until smooth and creamy.  Add in as much salsa as you wish (we usually use at least 3/4s of a jar of salsa or more).  Mix in mushrooms and olives.  Pour sauce over chicken, be sure sauce covers chicken.  Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on low.  Sprinkle cheese on chicken just before serving...melt the cheese.  Serve over rice or with tortilla chips for dipping...or both!

Enjoy...we always do!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dining Out: Yohei Sushi in Honolulu

If you're looking for a Japanese restaurant that's pretty close to being something you'd find in Japan, Yohei Sushi is a great choice.  Yohei's in the Kapalama/Kokea area along the canal across Honolulu Community College.  It's a small restaurant with a sushi bar.  The sushi bar is popular...their sushi is very good.

Sapporo Beer at Yohei Sushi
The other night we spent over an hour looking for items for a renovation at Home Depot and we were both famished.  After running through the restaurant choices in the area, the male half of this couple decided to treat me to some "fancy" sushi.  That's how the female half of this couple refers to high quality sushi made with top grade compared to the smaller fast foot type sushi places that use previously frozen fish.

This place is definitely not cheap, but you'll never have anything that doesn't taste fresh.  We decided to do sushi at a table since the sushi bar was full on a Wednesday night!  We were so hungry, we only took a picture of the beer!

We tried the hamachi kama (broiled and served with grated radish and ponzu sauce), negitoro maki, salmon nigiri, natto handroll, scallop/mayo nigiri and hamachi nigiri...everything was excellent. The female half of this couple's been to this restaurant many times and has had the sashimi/tempura teishoku and the zuke done (ahi and cucumber on rice) - both excellent dishes.

Once in a while, this place is a great treat!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crock Pot Fish Provencal for Two

HE SAID: Good.
SHE SAID: Good sauce, needs more wine and better fish.

Before.  Forgot to take an "after" shot.
This dish tasted great...but we need a break from tomato sauce.  We had some crushed tomatoes leftover from the weekend before, so we decided to make this dish.  As mentioned before, the closest market to our house doesn't have the greatest selection of fresh fish...often times we end up buying "previously frozen".  Sometimes that works out great and other times, it's just ok.

It was a busy and humid Sunday...we were running late on getting the fish into the crock pot which meant a late dinner.   We were both starving and ready to watch the movie "Blood Into Wine" that we forgot to take a photo of the finished dish!  By the way, if you're a Tool fan, the movie "Blood Into Wine" is a documentary on Maynard Keenan's vineyard...pretty interesting if you're a fan of Tool or a fan of wine.

We'll definitely make this again when we're ready for a tomato sauce dish again...and when we can get our hands on some firm fresh fish fillets.


Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours on low
2 qt. crock pot

3-4 cod, snapper or another white firm fish fillets (depending on the size and how much you like to eat)
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. crushed tomatoes, plus 1 T. Italian seasoning or 1 1/2 c. Italian style diced tomatoes
1 T. capers, drained
1 T. dried basil (use fresh if you can)
8 pimiento stuffed olives, slices
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 t. dried thyme, crushes (use fresh if you can)
1/2 c. white wine
salt and pepper to taste
angel hair pasta

Rinse fish and pat dry.  Place fish into crock pot.  Add dry ingredients first (except pasta), top off with wet ingredients (we gave it a stir).  Cover and cook for 3 hours on low or until fish is cooked (at least 2.5 hours).  We served this on angel hair pasta.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crock Pot "Skyline" Cincinnati Chili (Take 2 and for two!)

HE SAID:  Pretty close to Skyline, could use more spice.
SHE SAID:  Not spicy enough, but nice texture.

Finished product - forgot the cheese!
This was our second try at making "Skyline" Cincinnati Chili in our crock pot.  While the texture was a lot closer to Skyline's, we must have not used enough chili powder.  The spices are almost the same as our first recipe, just different amounts.  The main difference between the two recipes we've tried is the boiling versus browning of the ground meat.  After reading quite a few reviews posted by other home cooks, you get the Skyline texture by boiling the ground meat.

This time we also forgot to sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese even though we bought it just for this meal!   We halved the recipe which made enough for one meal and one leftover meal for the two of us.  We also decided to use Multi-grain Angel Hair Pasta which was a nice change from regular spaghetti.
Ground turkey

We will definitely try making "Skyline" chili again, with a slightly different recipe, but keeping the "boiling" part in and adding more chili powder and cayenne pepper.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:  At least 8 hours on low.
2 qt crock pot

(Double the recipe to feed 4-6 people)

1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. ground turkey (can use chicken or beef also)
1/8 c. chili powder (will increase to 1/4 c next time)
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground allspice
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/2 bay leaf
1 T. + 1 t. cocoa powder
Ready to cook!
1 - 10 oz. can beef broth
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. cider vinegar
1/8 t. ground cayenne (probably will try 1/4 t. next time)
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
angel hair pasta (your choice of pasta)

Put ground turkey into crock pot.  Break up the turkey a bit.  Put all other ingredients in except for the cheese and pasta..give it a mix since you have a utensil from breaking up the turkey.  Cover and cook for  at least 8 hours on low.  Try not to cook on just won't taste right.  Serve over pasta with shredded cheddar cheese.

Enjoy..we sure did!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dining Out: Mix Cafe in Honolulu

The male half of this couple doesn't like spending a lot of money on food unless it's really, really good and a good sized portion.  The other week the female half of this couple decided to grab sandwiches from Mix Cafe on Alakea Street in Downtown Honolulu since the male half has never been there.  Grabbed a chicken sandwich and a steak sandwich...both are REALLY good.  As the female half waited for the owner to heat up the sandwiches, the voice of the male half popped into her mind...she heard him telling her about the $8 sandwich he just had from a new place on South Street and how bad it was and very little food for that much money.  Oh no!  The sandwiches we were waiting for at Mix Cafe are between $7.50 and $8.50...yikes.  Well, it comes with a salad and the sandwich is big and did we mention it's delicious.

Normally, the male half doesn't get excited about food (except for his mother's home cooking), so when she asked "how was the sandwich?", she expected to hear "good" but heard "very good, where did you get it from!"  Wow, the female half almost fell out of her chair.

Today we had to run downtown again and guess what the male half wants to eat tonight...sandwiches from Mix Cafe :-)

So far, we haven't had anything bad from this place.  They have two locations, so if you don't want to bother with parking downtown, park in one of the nearby municipal lots near the Beretania Street location. You won't regret spending the $8 or so on a sandwich.

We've never been to the Beretania location, but we believe they have a larger menu there.  The Alakea location seems to only have sandwiches which are all laid out on the counter for you to choose from, desserts and drinks.  Google Mix Cafe in Honolulu and check out the photos from Yelpers.  Mmm!

Dining Out: La Tour Cafe in Honolulu


The female half of this couple's been here to La Tour Cafe a few times...the food is very good, a little pricey, but worth it.  The Wagyu burger is very good.  Normally she only eats the burger and the bottom bun, but the buns are freshly baked and very good.  The french fries are delicious and that aoili sauce they serve with it, even better.

She's also tried the turkey panini with a green salad and the chicken pesto panini...the later being the tastier one.  The only thing the chicken pesto panini could do without is the spinach, it almost overpowers the pesto.  

A friend tried the curry, she said the bread was good, the curry tasted good, but it was very soupy.  The desserts are also very good.  Macaroons in several flavors are $1.50 each - matcha green tea, chocolate, POG (Passion Orange Guava) and coconut are just some of the flavors available.  

The food is a bit pricey, but it's definitely good.  Most of the sandwiches are between $7.00 and $9.50 which includes a generous portion of fries or a small green salad.  The restaurant is relatively small, but very modern looking and only maybe 10 tables with a small bar along one of the windows to sit and eat at.  It's a order at the counter, serve your own drink and place your number on your table.  All the servers and staff are very friendly and helpful.   There's a specials screen also.  Click here to view their menu.  Click here to see yelpers photos of food from La Tour Cafe.

In addition there is a small rack with their freshly baked breads.  A case of danishes which has been almost empty by evening.  A small refrigerated section with meats and other items..and a small shelf area with other baked goods.

Be sure to go during an off hour if you plan to eat there.  Parking is free, but limited...we're wondering what the parking situation is going to be when Lowe's opens next door.

UPDATE:  4/15/11 - We tried the La Tour Salad with Chicken.  It was good, but pricey for a small salad.  We also tried the Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Burger...same patty as the La Tour Burger (Wagyu) but this time the patty was overdone and dry.  Next time we'll be sure to ask for medium rare.  Even though the Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Burger is only $1 extra, we still prefer the La Tour Burger.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crock Pot Coq Au Vin For Two

HE SAID:  Good, but needs more salt and wine.
SHE SAID:  Same as above.

We promise, this looked better in person.
We've been wanting to try this Coq Au Vin recipe for a while now.  We used this recipe as a base but had to make a few alterations since our markets don't seem to carry baby portabella mushrooms and fresh herbs are expensive.  We also didn't realize we were almost out of red wine, so we used 1 cup instead.  Next time we may try this recipe found on WholeFoods' website.

Mmmm...bacon...who doesn't love bacon?  :-)  Well, other than vegetarians that is...even though there's almost no nutritional value in bacon.  You'll love the smell of this dish while it's cooking!  This is the first time we're cooking for frozen chicken in the crock pot which is suggested in the recipe, but the WholeFoods recipe as well as other recipes found on the internet suggest browning the bacon, chicken and veggies first to bring out the flavors.  Definitely trying that next time.

Definitely make sure you have 1 1/2 c. red wine for this recipe.  Our batch was good, but you could tell it was missing something and would have been a lot more flavorful.  We're making this again with the 1 1/2 c. red wine.

Prep Time: 15 - 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours on low (most recipes recommend not cooking this dish on high)
4 qt crock pot (because our 2 quart doesn't seem to boil very good unless we use 6 thighs or less)

6 to 8 frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs (depending on the size and how many pieces each person can eat)
6 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon (we used turkey)
4 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (we used crimini since we couldn't get baby bellas)
1 c. baby carrots
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. red wine
1 1/2 t. dried thyme

Bake bacon, then crumble.  Place frozen chicken in crock pot.  Layer in all ingredients add the liquids last.  Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.  Halfway through you may want to quickly open your crock pot and use a spoon to push everything down into the liquid.

The recipe said to serve over pasta, which the male half of this couple would have loved, but we had leftover Japanese rice, so we had it over rice.

If you decide to use this recipe, change it to 1 1/2 c. red wine.  We used 7 pieces of chicken.  It was enough for the two of us, plus one leftover serving.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crock Pot Butterfish Foil Packets for Two

HE SAID:  Good, but prefers the misoyaki sauce most restaurants use and too many bones
SHE SAID: Same as above

Butterfish steaks were on sale at the local Japanese store...great!  The male half of this couple LOVES butterfish.  The female half of this couple thought she hit the jackpot.  Well, the butterfish steaks were frozen...surprisingly enough they tasted great BUT they were ALL steaks near the tail...BONES BONES BONES...what a pain.  It's not unusual to find some bones in your butterfish, even at restaurants, but these had a LOT.  Also, we both ended up with stomach aches immediately after eating the fish.

We had about half a cup of sukiyaki sauce leftover from our sukiyaki dinner the other week, so we decided to cook our butterfish steaks in foil packets with the sukiyaki sauce.  It was good, but the taste was very light...not like misoyaki sauce which is much saltier.

We'll definitely cook butterfish in our crock pot again, but think we'll spend a little more for better cuts.


Prep Time: 10 - 20 minutes (depending on how much you have to clean your fish)
Cook Time: 3 hours on high
4 qt crock pot

3 butterfish steaks (if you're a big eater, you may want to cook 4-5 steaks)
1/4 c. sukiyaki sauce

Cut a piece of foil for each piece of fish large enough to fold into packets.  Rinse, pat dry and place one piece of fish in each foil.  Pour 3-4 T. sukiyaki sauce over each piece of fish.  Fold each into sealed packets.  Turn up the ends to minimize the amount of sauce that spills out.  Place foil packets in crock pot.  The foil packet on the top layer didn't seem to allow for the sauce to boil much.  The two pieces on the bottom of the pot were a darker brown color.

We served this with Japanese rice and stir fried baby bok choy or shanghai cabbage in a katsu sauce.

Enjoy...we did, except we'll be using a better cut of butterfish next time!

Dining Out: Nico's Pier 38

Photo from Nico's website, grilled ahi sandwich
On Friday the male half of this couple wanted to have fish for lunch.  He wanted to go to Nico's Pier 38.  The female half of this couple said, "have you been to Uncle's?"  He says, "I've never been there, let's try it."  She says, "How about La Tour since the last time we went it was closed due to the tsunami warning.   Since all three restaurants are very close to each other, we decide to try La Tour.  La Tour is a POPULAR lunch spot apparently.  The parking lot was already full (and Lowe's next door hasn't even opened yet!).  As we waited in the line of cars for parking, someone opened the door to La Tour and the line was to the door.  We said, "next time" and were on our way to Uncle's.

We got to Uncle's, grabbed a table, then noticed the prices went up, a lot!  After a couple of minutes perusing the menu, we decided since Nico's was right next door to Uncle's we'd walk over there.  Wow, the line!  Nico's is a very popular place..reasonably priced, but be careful...if the menu doesn't say "Fresh" next to the dish, the fish may be "previously frozen" or at least taste that way.

Photo from Nico's website, fresh catch plate.
There was a band playing Hawaiian music, so there were no tables open and diners weren't leaving.  Seating is open air, most of it's covered and there are a few cement tables with cement benches and umbrellas across the driveway along the water.

We tried the Grilled Ahi Sandwich which was ok, tasted like previously frozen fish.  We also tried the fresh catch which was Swordfish in a creamy caper sauce, this was very good.   Check out the photo above from Nico's website...the fish wasn't even that big, it was skinner, a bit longer, but we sure didn't get that much.  The french fries were ok...we've had better at other restaurants.    The photo to the left is also from Nico's website and again, the fish wasn't even that big.  We also got our plate with a scoop of brown rice.

All in all, Nico's is a good place to try.  If you're trying this place, go either early or later, we got there at their peak lunch we waited a while for our food.  The $9.95 we paid for the fresh catch plate was worth it.  If you're visiting Hawaii, this is a nice place to get a local plate...but we don't recommend some of the other non-seafood items.  We've tried the loco moco once and it was just ok.

Easy Crock Pot Chicken Provencal for Two

HE SAID: Good.
SHE SAID: Very good...tastes like a lot of the other chicken with wine and tomato sauce dishes we've made, but you can taste the anchovy paste!

The male half of this couple doesn't like a lot of sauce on his pasta
We had a half cup of white wine leftover from cooking another dish, so we decided to try Chicken Provencal this weekend.  (Plus we saw a Chicken Provencal recipe in a Crockpot Cookbook at Barnes and Nobles a few weeks ago...mmm).

We were going to make fish, but we ended up having lunch at Nico's on the pier (two fish dishes - one very good and one just ok).  More on Nico's in another entry.  So, with fish on the lunch menu and the rain coming, we decided on something more comfort food-ish.

We decided to serve this on pasta...mmm.  Wine makes everything taste good!  The recipe is another one we tweaked to fit what we could find in our market...and it's actually a sauted recipes, but we decided to throw everything into the crock pot.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 7-8 hours on low (try not to cook on high)
2 qt crock pot

6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (wash and pat dry)
1 T. olive oil
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. red or white wine
1 1/2 c. canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/3 c. olives (black, nicoise, kalamata or green)
1 t. anchovy paste
pasta of your choice, depends on how much you want and if you're low carb-ing it.

If you have the time, sear the chicken in a pan (use the oil and salt/pepper on your chicken).  Transfer chicken to crock pot.  Layer in onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, olives, then wine.  Mix anchovy paste into crushed tomatoes, then pour mixture over chicken.  Cover and cook for 7-8 hours.  If you make the larger batch, you'll have enough for one leftover serving.  Serve over a bed of pasta.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dining Out: Tanioka's in Waipahu

With an upcoming trek to Kapolei, we decided to pick up lunch at Tanioka's on our way back to eat someplace different.  At any given time, there is a line at least 10 people or more waiting to order fresh poke or pick up okazu like mochiko chicken, corned beef hash patties, etc.  This past Sunday, there was a line of about 20 people...and by the time we got to the poke (seasoned raw fish) area, there looked like at least 15 more behind us.

We've always found Tanioka's poke to be very fresh and in a wide variety.  There's regular ahi limu poke, spicy ahi poke, dried poke, tako poke and a LOT more.  We got our favorite, spicy ahi poke which was excellent.  The ahi limu poke was great also.  We also tried the spicy marlin which didn't taste very spicy...come to think of it, it really didn't have much flavor.

We also got their famous fish patties...chopped up poke pan fried in patty form.  Very good, but a bit on the salty side.  There are so many things to choose from, if this place were closer to town, we'd probably eat there regularly!

If you're not from Hawaii and aren't sure what to get, the workers there are friendly and will give you samples of the poke items.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crock Pot Cuban Style Chicken for Two

HE SAID: Good, but didn't care for the sliced onions and diced tomatoes (texture)
SHE SAID: Good, could use more sazon

Our intentions were to make some fish in the crock pot this weekend, but we needed comfort food with the rain.  We've made Chicken Fricassee, the Cuban style one before and loved the flavors, so we decided to try a new Cuban style recipe.

The aroma from this dish as you prepare it is wonderful.  We took a recipe we found on the web and tweaked it to what we have available in the market here and added some sazon.

It was good, but next time we may cut down on the was good, but a bit overpowering.  We'll probably add some dry white wine and more sazon next time too.


Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 6-7 hours on low
4 qt crock pot

6-8 pieces boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 c. chicken broth (we used low sodium, free range)
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. white vinegar
3-4 T. garlic, minced
2 T. cilantro (we used freeze dried this time)
1 T. cumin
1 T. garlic powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 pkg. sazon
avocado, sliced

Wash and dry chicken thighs, placed in crock pot.  Add all other ingredients except avocado.  Stir.  Cover and cook for 6-9 hours on low or 3-5 hours on high.  Garnish with avocado and a splash of vinegar.  According to the recipe we found, the splash of vinegar is a must!

We served over a bed of Japanese rice (because we were making musubis for the next day) and corn.

Enjoy..we did!

Dining Out: Blazin' Steaks in Manoa

We've always wondered if Blazin' Steaks at the Manoa Marketplace was any good.  For the price, we must say, it's pretty good.  The female half of this couple tried this place the early part of 2010 (Downtown Honolulu location).  The steak plates were ok, but everything else wasn't and the selection was poor.

For the past few months, we've threw out the idea to try the Manoa location...but the female half of the couple was reluctant due to the experience she had at the Downtown location.  Today we decided to go for it and we're happy we did.  We found another inexpensive place in Manoa with surprisingly good fish!  Wow, imagine that.  For $6.95 we got the sweet chili fish plate which had some sort of white fish with sweet chili sauce (yum), 2 scoops of brown rice and tossed greens.  We also ordered the grilled steak plate which came with grilled steak seasoned with salt and pepper, 2 scoops of brown rice and tossed greens.  We thought for $6.95 we'd get a piece of dried out fishy tasting fish, but the fish was moist and better than the steak!

Plates come with the choice of white or brown rice or for $1 more you can get fried rice.  There's a self service "bar" with condiments like Korean BBQ sauce, ketchup, shoyu (soy sauce), etc.  The selection at this location is pretty big.  See menu.

We're definitely going back...maybe to try the Thai peanut sauce fish.

NOTE: 4/5/11 - If you shop at the Safeway in Manoa, there is a $2 off have to buy the large plate and a drink which eats up the $ really not a savings if you weren't going to buy a drink.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dining Out: Genki Sushi

The other night we ran out to price some was getting pretty late, so we decided to grab something quick to eat before the restaurants closed and we would be left with only fast food choices.   Well, the choices near the hardware store were pretty limited and we had a coupon for Genki Sushi, a kaiten-zushi or conveyor belt sushi restaurant.  So, Genki Sushi it was!

If you've been to Japan like we both have, you know what good quality sushi tastes like.  Genki Sushi is an affordable way to satisfy your sushi cravings, but don't expect high quality here.  We've been to the Ala Moana, Ward and now the Waikele locations.  Each has it's pros and cons.  At each location we've had great and poor servers.  Great and poor quality sushi.  Our recommendation - order off the menu (versus taking sushi off the conveyor belt).  It's a cool concept, but if there aren't a lot of people eating, the fish looks like it's been sitting there for days.

The turnover of sushi at Waikele seemed pretty low.  We saw some not to attractive pieces of fish coming around.  However, everything we ordered off the menu was pretty good (even though our waiter messed up our order twice).   Our favorite item is the spicy ahi.  Actually, next to Waipuna Sushi in Manoa, Genki has one of the best spicy ahi mixes in our opinion.  We've been ordering the spicy ahi bowl instead of the sushi.

The female half of this couple loves the scallop and mayo, but that's a hit and miss.  There are times it's pretty good and there are times you wonder if it's real scallop!  The Ala Moana location still serves O-toro Salmon which is the fatty salmon when available.

For the price, Genki Sushi is a good deal....but if you're looking for higher quality sushi try Akasaka, Yohei or even Kahala Zippy's sushi bar.

As mentioned earlier, we were starving, it was almost 8:40PM and we needed to eat quickly before last no pics of the sushi this time!