Farewell Play
August 17, 2010, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , ,

How is it that I have only less than one week here?

Things I will miss sorely about my island–wait, better yet, let me give you visuals:

My island

Tidepools at Makapu'u--best tidepools on Oahu

when you live here, this CAN be an everyday sighting

beautiful sunrises

Fragrant ginger flowers

the gorgeous sunsets

roads you'd want to run on

endless hiking trails


Our famed Diamond Head

And of course, the rainbows

I love this land.


somewhere over the rainbow
August 13, 2010, 12:32 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , ,

morning view of south oahu atop Tantalus

I’ve been busy. Playing. Chasing rainbows. With less than two weeks before my five-year chapter of Hawaii living has to end, I’ve been doing not much but play, eat, play.

Playing includes running, of course. This past weekend, Ivy suggested that we run the 10-mile Tantalus–Round Top path as my farewell scenic run. It was a daunting five miles of relentless uphill running on Tantalus Drive followed by five miles of knee-crushing downhill on Round Top Drive. I admit I was a little apprehensive about the idea at first. Ascent of 1,415 ft over five miles is nothing to sneer at. We run some hills every week, but never in consecutive miles.

So we started at exactly 5:40 a.m. after stretching on the street lamp-lit road, a 60+ year old lady who was already finishing her morning walk said to us, “are you girls going to run the whole mountain? If you’re good runners, you’ll finish in about two hours.” Hence we good runners went on our ascending ways.

A clear view of Diamond Head midway up Tantalus

It was my first time running this route, Ivy’s first time in four or so years, so we took it slow and consistent at about an 11 minute mile pace. Even at times steep, the path was surprisingly not harsh on the legs. The air was cool, crisp, and moist, awakening every last bit of me that wanted to keep sleeping. And although it was raining, the vegetation along the route was so dense that we felt only the shadow of the rain.


Lined with ginger flowers, bamboos, and eucalyptus plants, Tantalus Drive gently exchange hands with Round Top Drive as we came to a plateau of about 500 meters. The descent came upon us before I knew we were running the next five miles. Running uphill can be difficult, but downhill running for a person with a bad knee like me is even more challenging. It’s like driving with one foot hovering the brakes at all times. It took a good mile before I found my rhythm, a pace and form that didn’t aggravate the still delicate knee. The descent was not nearly as pretty, and we started to have to yield to cars on windy turns. By then the sun had warmed up the air, evaporating the moistened clouds.

A look at my watch, we were already at 9 miles. Every good run has to come to an end. At 9.81 miles, we were back at our starting point clocking in right at 2 hours and 33 seconds. I guess we were, at least per our soothsayer’s words, good runners.

settled (for now) and cooking
August 2, 2010, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: , ,

Cooking makes me feel at home, at ease. Tonight I’m cooking for the first time since moving into my friend’s place three nights ago. It makes me forget that I’m living out of a suitcase even if I am very comfortable here.

Chicken marsala over pasta = happy people.

chicken marsala

Chicken Marsala


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 large head of shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 carton white mushroom, sliced
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup marsala wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 5 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat on high olive oil and 1 1/2 tbs of butter in a large pan. Wait until the bubbles subside, pan fry seasoned chicken breasts in batches until both sides are golden brown, flipping once. Set aside.

With the oil in pan, reduce heat to medium high, put in prosciutto, letting it fry up. Add in mushrooms, shallots and cook until brown and mushrooms start to give off juice, about 7-10 minutes. Salt and pepper mixture. Turn heat back to high, add in marsala wine. After a few seconds of letting the alcohol evaporate, add in chicken broth, letting mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Slide chicken breasts back in to reheat. Using slotted spoon, take out all ingredients onto serving platter, leaving sauce in pan. Let sauce simmer and reduce for another 10 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp butter right before turning heat off. Spoon sauce over chicken and mushrooms. Garnish flat leaf parsley over top. Serve over rice or flat pasta such as fettuccine or pappardelle.

**What I would do next time is to use boneless, skinless chicken thigh instead of breast. I would also thicken the sauce just a little bit with a roux. It’s probably not authentic, but I think I’ll like it better.

this sucks
July 31, 2010, 3:29 pm
Filed under: babble

I HATE moving.

My shoulders are achy. I am exhausted.

the last supper
July 28, 2010, 1:01 am
Filed under: babble, Cooking/Food | Tags: , , ,

My roommate and I are moving out of our apartment this week. Renae is my third yet longest roommate at this apartment of three years. Even though it isn’t the fanciest place with the best view, it’s comfortable and homey. I will miss it. I will miss the loud, incessant noise from the freeway below, I will miss the tiny kitchen that we often cooked in. I will miss the lights over the bathroom sink that would not turn on right away when the switch is turned. I will my noisy bedroom in which I have to wear earplugs to sleep. It wasn’t the best place, but I have made it my place for the past three years.

Renae and I made our favorite dish for the third time, for the last time for a while–Mac n Cheese. We are possibly the most compatible mac-n-cheese-buddies, if there is such a connection. Our previous makings of the comfort dish included, in various combinations, truffles brought back from Italy, truffle oil bought from the store around the corner, goat cheese, aged cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, whole milk, half n half, butter, pretend butter. This time, after surveying numerous recipes, we believe we have found the BEST version of the classic comfort food. And the ingredient list once again confirms that less is more.

We sat in the furniture-less living room savoring our best work, reminiscing past mac ‘n’ cheeses, envisioning future ones. Empty apartment makes for a suitable space for the happy food dance (perhaps in another post). Ahh, this last supper together will be one highlighted in my memory book. And the recipe will surely be starred in my recipe book.

Undeniably BEST Mac 'n' Cheese

Adapted (and slightly lightened) from

Emeril’s BEST Mac ‘n’ Cheese Ever Challenge Winner–Laura Macek (Click here for original recipe)


  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil (see directions)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
  • 5 thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 ½ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 ounces each grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Pecorino Romano
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 8 small caps of white mushroom or cremini, finely chopped
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To roast garlic: Slice ½ inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in a square of heavy foil and roast until tender — about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

4. In a nonstick pan on medium heat, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil and fry prosciutto until brown but not burnt. It will not be crispy until taken out of pan. Drain on paper towels. Reserve oil in pan. Crumble prosciutto when cool.

5. To make topping: Combine panko, crumbled prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino cheese, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.

6. Preheat oven to 375°.

7. Sauté shallots and mushrooms over low heat in reserved prosciutto fat/oil for one minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and continue to sauté shallots and mushrooms until brown. Set aside.

8. In a heavy pot, make roux by first melting 2 tbsp butter into 2 tbsp olive oil over medium low heat. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste.

9. Cook until lumps from roux are dissolved and sauce is thickened (coats the back of a spoon). Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, mushroom mixture, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Keep mixture slightly under salted as topping is salty.

10. Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes until sauce is bubbly. Remove foil and broil until topping is browned, watching it carefully. Enjoy!

crispy top, creamy all over

Eat Grandma! vs. Eat, Grandma!
July 21, 2010, 9:15 am
Filed under: babble | Tags: , ,

Punctuation is important.

In this day and age, when most daily messages are transferred via some kind of type written means–email, text message, facebook status, tweets–and you cannot hear the cadences of the invisible punctuations, it is important to punctuate your messages even in the most casual forms of communication.

Text messages, in particular, are supposed to be informal, succinct, and composed in a relatively quick manner. It is not expected that we spell out everything, capitalize proper nouns, or punctuate. Or so I thought…

Tonight I invited my friend who is new in town, and therefore new to the local culture, out to eat Japanese ramen. Here in Hawaii, everything is casual, but of course he doesn’t know that yet.

So through phone text messaging he asks (read bottom message first):

And in my usual text messaging habit of not punctuating, I answer (read top message):

A lesson in text messaging etiquette

Guess what he showed up wearing??

Day X Snack X
July 20, 2010, 8:11 am
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: , ,

pretty fresh radish


Sounds kind of weird, even gross, doesn’t it? I thought so. But it’s amazingly, refreshingly clean tasting. Spicy, light, flavorful.

I browsed through a few recipes to decide on the other ingredients.


  • 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
  • 5 medium radish, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic
  • fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt

Throw everything into blender and blend until creamy. As for me, I have a handheld immersion blender addiction, remember? So that’s my weapon of choice, of course. Serve chilled with chips, lavosh, bread, or carrot sticks!