Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Return of Kitchen Adventures and other Food Tales

Oh dear. I had a relapse into Worst Bloggerdom... I'm sorry. I promise to try my derndest to stay on top of updates.

Apology accepted?


Also, I started writing this a while ago, but since my food news is hardly news at all, if you didn't already hear via e-mail, facebook or The Flossy Flossy... Lindy is preggo!!!! HOOORAY! Dunc is excited to be Unkie Dunkie once again and I am excited to be faux-Aunt Beezus. Yesh, sounds prefect. Congrats Lindy and Chris!!!! Can't wait to meet Baby Kincaid.

Okay, on to business. Food. As you may remember a long time ago, I promised the detailing of homemade Tikka Masala. Et voilĂ ! Pour vous!

My love of the Pioneer Woman helped me with this little number. Thanks to her wonderful house guest, Pastor Ryan. You will notice his is quite a bit prettier than mine. But do not let looks fool you, this dish was DELICIOUS. I think it had to do with capturing all the right seasonings and of course my insane skills in the kitchen...

Next, my attempts in learning to make pie crust. And by golly! I think I've got it. I have come a long way from the day I attempted to make a lard/butter crust and ended up with a melted crust... I did not even know a baked crust could melt.

Oh by the way, as I type this, the BLUE ANGELS are flying around Seattle!!! They are practicing for the big SeaFair show. I love it. They are so loud and impressive. **Side note: I am such a bad blogger, this was originally typed 7/30 at noon and published with photos on 8/6 after 10pm... oooh, I am goood.

Back to crust! So attempt 1 = FAIL. Attempt 2? I borrowed Banana's mom's recipe and Ashley and I embarked on the crust adventure together. It worked! I am not the best at rolling it out yet, but we made some tasty butter crust and filled it with a very runny strawberry rhubarb filling. For a completely successful pie, I will have to work on my fillings.

Since that blissful day where Ashley and I succeeded in the crust field, I have since made one other homemade pie success and an extraordinarily delicious sheet pie or slab pie (like a giant pop tart) with the most delicious crust ever. Seriously. I followed the guidance of the Smitten Kitchen and turned out a brilliant crust if I do say so myself. But no pictures, just words of delicious delicious enjoyment... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Here I am enjoying an evening of baking. This is the night I whipped up the slab pie along with a zucchini cake for our Kilcup Family Reunion (my dear sweet Mimi is our link to the Kilcup family - we are in the Myrtle clan).

Beyond pies, Ashley and I have also been dabbling in the art of the Crombler. The Crombler is our own invention combining the best of the cobbler and crumble/crisp into one masterpiece of baked fruit and dough.

Ashley decided to adapt a Paula Dean cobbler recipe for the biscuity part of the topping and I whipped up the crispy topping with some oatmeal, brown sugar, lard and a bit of flour. We also have been working to improve our pie filling skills, so took the Crombler as an opportunity to make a thicker filling, playing with the addition of both corn starch and flour.

We did it!!! No more runny filling. Just deliciousness.

Peach Strawberry Crombler

Mixed Berry Crombler

With our powers combined, Ashley and I have turned out two cromblers together and she even went on to make the most adorable mini cromblers on her own... without my signature crombler topping... why Ashley??? WHY???

Ashley's Boysenberry Adorable Cromblers

I think I need to go make a Crombler now... And you should too! Or come over and I will make you one!!! Yay!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Okay, one more fake post...

Are you feeling like your day lacks a proper dosage of cute? When I am forced to go to work and leave behind Butters and Oly, I at times feel a bit cute-deficient. How to remedy?

I give you the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.

A local kitten foster mom (dad, and cat mom, Charlene Butterbean) who takes great care in photographing her adorable foster children.

An example:

Now go, enjoy the kittehs and if you feel so moved, support the work of your local animal shelters and foster homes.

Gooooo CUTE!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Red, White and Blue? I give you: Blue, Green and Purple.

As the fireworks wrap up here on the west coast, I thought I would share a photographic exploration I did yesterday morning... not as patriotic and exciting as Fourth of July fireworks, but I like them nonetheless.
We just so happen to have an insane number of water bottles in our house. Today's water bottle party consisted of Ms. Husky Alumni Purple, Big Blue, and Lil Green Camelback.
Blurry.... like stained glass!
Oooh, reflecty!

That is all. I will back to posting about food explorations shortly. Just picked a billion pounds of strawberries and raspberries, so I am sure something fun will come of that. (If you haven't picked your own berries before, I would strongly reccomend it. Cheap and delicious.)

Good night America! Happy Day (night) of Independance! I bet firework shows are still happening in Hawaii....

Friday, July 3, 2009

The long-awaited conclusion of: O'ahu, an Adventure of Epic Proportions

Alas, the final hours of our time in Hawaii arrived and we used every last second we had on the island.

For the first time over the last few days, Dunc woke up before me and spurred me out of bed at 5:45ish so we could go hike Koko Head Crater, or as one blogger calls it "The Stair Master" or "Switchbacks are for Wimps!" Our camera was charging, so we couldn't photograph our own success... but here is a look at what we were faced with.
Those "stairs" that run straight-up the side of a crater are old railroad ties and there are about 1,100 of them to the top. For my little legs that resulted in 1,100 lunges... awesome!!! This hike is actually really only famous among locals and everyone except us was from one Hawaiian island or another.

The lunges were hard, but in all honesty, worth it. And the descent was way more painful for my hip/knee injury combo* than the way up. Although the way up was TOUGH. Sweat Fest 2009 obviously returned, but we were so happy we got up early to do this and didn't attempt it in direct sunlight. If we move to O'ahu, you bet your boots that we will be joining the other dedicated locals who climb this beast once or twice a week. And the view... oh my... if we had our camera, you would have seen a view stretching all the way from Makapu'u to Diamond Head. Incredible.
*As for my injured body, the way down caused some pain that I was sure was going to get me in trouble with my PT. Lo and behold, my body can take more than I thought; when I met two days later with my PT, she was actually impressed with my maintained progress, increased flexibility and sustained balance. I was a bit tight in the knee and hip, but nothing a good beating from a PT can't fix! Healing rocks!

Anywho, after Koko, we headed back to pack, shower and eat. We were checked out and on the road again by 9am... headed to the SPITTING CAVE OF PORTLOCK.

The cliffs and cave referenced here are yet another location only really visited by locals. We had a mini-hike down to the cliffs, and it was gorgeous:
But a bit frightening...
I definitely sensed my mortality as I stared down the cliff face at the beautiful, churning, deadly water.
Duncan was a bit more fearless than I...
Here's one for the mothers out there... Careful!!!
And here is the "spitting" cave. We had trouble capturing the "spit" at just the right moment, but you can see some spray. Water rushes in the cave and when it is a big wave, makes a booming sound and the water comes spraying out. It was pretty awesome.

Yearning for another hike, because one just isn't enough for us... we headed for an easier climb out to the Makapu'u lighthouse.
Here we are at the top - a much easier slow incline over a mile and a quarter - after Koko Crater, we felt like we could run this. Behind us you can see Rabbit Island, the same Island hiding behind the dangerous waves of Makapu'u beach.
Duncan's thumb looking down at Makapu'u and Sea Life Park.
The super cute and adorable light house.
Yay! Peace!
Some Hawaiian cacti for Logan, we took this on your birthday!

We enjoyed our lunch of leftovers atop Makapu'u and then headed out to find a jungle!

We found one. And no one else was on the trail. Awesome. But also a bit creepy.
Dunc plays Jungle Ball.
Then climbs a crazy jungle tree.
I am much better at being a goblin, or a frog, or Gollum...
I am totally like Crysta from FernGully.
Dunc's Senior Photo, Jungle-Style!
We call this photo: JUNGLE NOM.

Why? Because check out what the Jungle ate:
A tractor thing!
This was the "entrance" to the trail. Don't worry, we checked, we were allowed to crawl through the fence...

Then it was back to the turtles!!!
Eeeeee, soooooo cute. The one on the left was coming up when we arrived and totally opted to snuggle with the other turtle.
This is my snorkeling, turtle impression... not the best...
Pointing at turtles.
More pointing.

And that was all we had time for outside of Waikiki. We had to change, buy some souvenirs, pick up our bags and return the rental car. So we drove back to Waikiki, past the Dole plantation, and through a lot of red dirt farms.

After dropping the car off, a limo arrived to take us to the airport...
This is our "Why did a limo pick us up?" faces...

At the airport we enjoyed some over-priced Kona Brewery beers, some Kalua pork nachos, and headed home.

In conclusion, we are moving to Hawaii.

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