My feet are on the coffee table. Throbbing.
My bottom is on the sofa, where it’s going to stay.
At 2 o’clock today, there was nothing to eat in my kitchen. By 4:30, there was Chinese chicken salad, Shanghai-style gau, banana poi, lu’au leaf dip with taro chips, halo halo and taco nuts.
Some kind of bizarre party menu? No, a recipe testing and shooting marathon for a little cookbook being written by a Castle High School senior I’m mentoring through the project for a special credit class. Jaysha came to me with the idea of teaching children about nutrition and culture by means of a cookbook. We’ve been spending one afternoon a week together, brainstorming, Web browsing, planning, sharing recipes, cooking, eating, taking photos, playing with design programs on our Mac computers and generally having a blast. I’m so proud of her. She came up with a wonderful idea to make the book interesting and a plotline to give it story flow. We’re doing kid-friendly recipes roughly adapted from five cultures but quick, easy and lower in fat and sugar. I like everything about this project, especially making a new, young friend.
Today, we both thought the stars of the who were the lu’au dip and the haloholo.
The lu’au dip, my modest invention, is meant to be made with boiled lu’au leaf, which is so good for you. I confess we used spinach today because it was just too hot to boil lu’au leaf.
Just defrost a 10 ounce box of frozen spinach (I left it in the sink all morning). Soften an 8-ounce block of reduced fat or nonfat cream cheese (Neufchatel). Open the spinach into calendar and squeeze out all the water. Put it in a bowl with the cream cheese and mash them together well. Add a tablespoon of reduced-fat mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of sweet pickle relish. Mix those in well. You’re pau. Serve with taro and sweet potato chips. Yum! Good for Super Bowl, Jaysha said.
For the halo halo (and it was a perfect warm afternooon for halo halo), we cut cubes of roasted purple sweet potato, bananas and juice-canned peaches (use mango in season). I bought a bottle of halo halo mix, available in the Filipino/Asian section of most grocery stores (this one contained beans, cubed coconut gell, jackfruit and two kinds of sweetened beans). Make one recipe of sugar-free strawberry Jell-O but add in 1 extra packet of unflavored gelatin so it’s very firm. Chill that and cut into cubes. Grab an ice cube tray, put the cubes in a zippered plastic bag and wrap them in a kitchen towel and whack them with a rolling pin or something else heavy to make “shave ice.” Open a can of lite coconut milk or non-fat evaporated milk.
In a very tall glass or a big wide ice cream parlor-type pedastal dish, layer the fruit, halohalo mix and Jell-O cubes. Top with spoonfuls of shave ice. Pour coconut milk or evaporated milk over. I wish I knew how to say delicious in Tagalog!
One banana, one can of peaches, one sweet potato, the can of halo halo mix and the Jell-O would serve 8-10 people generously. You can make everything ahead and keep it chilled, then crush the ice at the last minute and prepare for dessert or a sweet afternoon treat.
We were pretty proud of ourselves.
Now I’m pooped! Although this cookbook will never be published, it may be my favorite of all I’ve worked on when it’s done.