Category Archives: Food

Better than the ham

We bought a ham on sale after Christmas, and finally got around to cooking it this week. After several days, I decided to freeze the remaining meat and go directly to soup.

Good decision! The soup was far tastier than the ham.


I started mid-morning by chopping an onion, along with garlic and celery, then dropped them into a cast iron dutch oven to cook in some olive oil for a few minutes while I rinsed a bit more than a cup of uncooked white beans. I added the ham bone to the pot, dropped in the beans, added enough water to almost cover everything. Dropped in a few bay leaves. I figured the ham had plenty of its own salt. Then I covered and simmered the concoction for probably 5-6 hours.

Meda came up with a key ingredient, the scrapings from the pan the ham had cooked in, which had been saved. After scraping off the fat, I added the scrapings to the soup. It turned out to be real magic.

In the late afternoon, I added a bunch of kale and some collard greens, torn into bite-size pieces, and let those cook down a bit. Then added carrots, cut into large pieces, and several baby red potatoes, which went in whole. The pot went back on the stove until the vegetables were cooked.

Meda put together a little pickie plate with black and green olives, and canned asparagus. We heated some whole grain bread, added a bottle of red wine, and served. It was fantastic.

As I said earlier, far better than the ham.

Event to challenge “systemic barriers to justice”

A gathering dubbed “The People’s Congress” is being held this weekend in Honolulu, according to a press release from a coalition of sponsoring groups.

The two day event, which is scheduled to run all day Saturday and Sunday, aims to bring together people and groups “working to end systemic barriers to justice in Hawai’i.”

Workshops and panels will address a range of issues, from affordable housing and “Preferred Futures in Public Education” to what can be done to reduce the influence of big money in politics and elections.

Take a look at the full schedule and you’ll likely find some discussions of interest.

The weekend events will be at the KUPU Net Shed, 725-F Ala Moana Blvd. in Honolulu.

The conference is free, but advance registration is required.

Sponsoring organizations include Unite Here! Local 5 Union, and the Local 5-backed Aikea Movement, along with a number of other groups, including Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawai?i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), Hawai?i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Hawai?i Center for Food Safety (HCFS), Hawai’i People’s Fund, Hawai‘i SEED, Hawai‘i Teachers for Change Caucus, Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, KAHEA: Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, Life of the Land, Maui Tomorrow, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), Sierra Club of Hawai`i, the Aloha ‘Aina Project.

The People’s Congress follows a series of forums held last month on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. According to the People’s Congress website, the forums drew “over 300” participants. Given the number of organizations involved, that seems quite a modest turnout for a series of events meant to build up to this weekend’s Congress.

Back in the kitchen…

Last night I decided to rehabilitate the decidedly disappointing chicken from Friday night (“Not all kitchen experiments turn out well“) using ingredients we happened to have on hand.

So while we had an artichoke cooking, I stripped most of the remaining meat off the chicken, and set it aside.

Then I checked the refrigerator, and pulled out some watercress that didn’t fit into the salad on Saturday night, a red onion, garlic, anchovies, olive oil.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

When the water for the pasta was near to boiling, I started cooking.

I first chopped the onion and dropped it into my favorite cast iron frying pan, with some olive oil, of course. Then added the pasta to the boiling water, set the timer for 9 minutes. I added the garlic to the frying pan, and followed with the chicken, stirring to keep it from burning. Then the chopped watercress stems, followed by the leafy parts. Most of a bunch of basil. Oh, did I mention the hot peppers? Then anchovies, and a bit more olive oil from the anchovy can. It all came together well, and right own schedule.

I really wasn’t sure about the watercress-pasta-garlic combo, but the tastes actually all worked well together.

A bit of Italian cheese grated over the top, washed down with a glass of Shiraz, and that nice plump artichoke on the side.

I’ll have the leftovers of this leftover meal for lunch today.

The chicken, Part 2

Not all kitchen adventures turn out well

Not successfulI have to admit that not all of my kitchen adventures are successful. Last night I thought I had a winner. But, unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the “not successful” ones. That’s a cut below the “less than successful” efforts.

It started with a fresh, non-GMO chicken on sale at Whole Foods. That sounded good. Seizing on the opportunity, I added salt and pepper inside and out, then stuffed it will fresh lemon, garlic, and rosemary. Then I set it in a pan on a bed of vegetables, including onions, fennel, carrots, red potatoes, and celery, a bit of thyme sprinkled in as well. Baked at high heat for almost 90 minutes. It all looked beautiful. But unfortunately it was strikingly bland. Blah, even. The chicken was nice and moist, but not flavorful. That was a surprise. And since the flavor was missing, it couldn’t trickle down over the vegetables as I expected it to.

I wasn’t a happy camper after finishing eating. You can linger over your successes, but cut your losses short. So I was the first to get up from the table and start clearing and cleaning. So it goes.