Cool Summer Salad – SOMEN

Octopus

Happy Birthday America! Imagine being 239 years old. That begs for a celebration for sure. This holiday weekend we had lots of grilling, marinating, chilling and freezing. It is such a production but when you see satisfaction and delight on everyone’s faces as they partake in the feast – it all feels worth the work.

These past few weeks it has been extremely hot. In planning for the 4th we knew we would have to have some cold dishes. Yes, cold watermelon, cold potato salad or cold desserts are good but nothing like cool somen noodles.

Here in Hawaii we love our noodle dishes. I don’t think any party, buffet or plate lunch house doesn’t have some type of noodle dish. As a young girl I fancied vinegar. Shoyu, sugar and vinegar was a go to mix for vine ripened mango and guava. At an aunts house I tried somen salad and I was in love. However as I grew up I quickly found out that not all somen’s were made equal. I’ve tried many recipes, pre-made bottle sauces and non-compared to aunty’s sauce. This is a winner, tried and true potluck dish you would want to share.

Ingredients:

2 Bundles somen noodles

½ Lettuce head sliced julienne style

You can also chop your veggies!

Cooked Meat sliced julienne style (Char siu, ham, spam, luncheon meat)

2 Cooked scrambled egg sliced julienne style

1 Kamaboku sliced julienne style

2 Carrots sliced julienne style

1 Cucumber sliced julienne style

Green Onions chopped (enough to sprinkle as garnish)

Toasted Sesame Seeds (enough to sprinkle as garnish)

Sauce

Individual serving cups with chiso or lettuce cups

You can also try individual serving cups with chiso leaves or lettuce cups.

1 T oil

2 T sesame oil

¼ C vinegar

½ C sugar

½ C shoyu

Directions:

Boil noodles according to package instructions. Drain. Rinse until cool. Drain well. Grab a serving of noodles (fist size) and twirl into a ball. Continue to make single serving balls to cover the bottom of a large platter. Layer vegetables, meat and egg over the noodles. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Combine ingredients for the sauce. Mix well. Allow guests to put their own sauce.

Variations:

Vegetables are normally in this order: Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, meat, eggs and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

I’ve made it where each topping item was in a separate dish where guests could make their own.

I’ve tossed the entire dish together with the sauce. I do it this way only when I know I will not keep the leftovers or there will be no leftovers. Noodles sitting in sauce over night is not good. It gets mushy and spoiled fast.

My favorite is to make a pretty design. Lettuce is key. You can never have enough lettuce, so I sometimes layer the lettuce like a hedge around the dish covering half of the noodle surface. I then place the vegetables strategically such as a row of cucumbers, a row of carrots, a row of kamaboko, row of egg, row of meat and repeat until the entire surface is covered. Then sprinkle the garnish.

Another favorite topping is ocean salad. I love the crunch and salt that it brings to the dish. Just beware that your noodles will turn green wherever the salad is sitting. If your guests are familiar with ocean salad – no big deal. If not, you may want to leave on the side so they can add as garnish.

Noodles do not have to be twirled into a ball. I do that because the noodles can be a little sticky and it helps when guests serve themselves. It also gives me a good idea of how many servings I have.

I also like serving the noodles in a large glass bowl. I can quickly tell if too much water has settled from the vegetables and if too much sauce is sitting on the bottom.

The sauce, if served separately works well in a salad shaker bottle or condiment bottle where it can be shaken before application. The oils will separate and you will need to give it a nice shake.

I also double the dressing recipe. If you toss the salad yourself – the ratio is perfect. However, when guests serve themselves they tend to use more. It is so delicious that they just can’t help themselves!

Enjoy ♥

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Yummy Summertime

barbeque pork ribs

barbeque pork ribs

When you think of summer – it always conjures up playfulness and fun! When attending school I always looked forward to summer break. It was pure bliss to hang out on the beach, at home or with friends. It was a time to be a kid. We played outside from sun-up to sun-down and we weren’t bogged down with homework and getting to bed by 8pm. As an adult, summer is also something to look forward to. Less to no traffic in the morning commute, family trips and summer food. Yes, summer food. This time of the year we get sweet local mangoes and lychee. In the stores the oranges, strawberries, cherries and melons are sweeter. The corn is fresher and the peas are crispier.

All this talk about food is making me hungry. In fact I smell something delicious. Ah, it’s Kalea eating ribs! Fall off the bone baby back ribs was a treat at the family bbq and it would accompany the local favorites of Korean chicken, somen salad, baked beans, steak, macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, baked salmon and more.

As Yoko is more interested in the fresh fruits and Kalea is more interested in eating – I’ll give you a family recipe for fall off the bone ribs that has been around for three generations. Enjoy!kalea

4 lbs Bone in Spareribs

Boil ribs 1 hr with 3 inch crushed ginger

Marinate  Overnight

  • 1 C Ketchup
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 C Shoyu
  • 1/3 C Oyster Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brown ribs for 20 minutes flipping the ribs once or fire up the grill and brown the ribs making sure the internal temperature is 160 degrees.

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2014 School Tools Recap

On Saturday, June 28th, a group of HiTel FCU employees rounded up to help out at the School Tools Drive at the Pearl City Sam’s Club. Our volunteers partnered up with staff from Helping Hands Hawaii and KITV to collect generous donations from shoppers as they were entering and exiting. Both Yoko and Kalea made a special appearance to meet and greet shoppers alike. Collectively over the weekend, according to KITV, we all raised $7,343! We would like to thank everyone who generously donated supplies, money and their time.

To view more photos from the event, visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/hitelfcu

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Globetrotters Honolulu

The famous Harlem Globetrotters entertained people of all ages at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Saturday, April 26th.  It was a day full of pre-game festivities followed by a delightful exhibition game.  When the doors first opened, HiTel FCU had a table set up for a drawing to win two side line tickets, and the lucky winners were announced just minutes before the game.

Both our athletic mascots took the court as they were announced as “Honorary Globetrotters Team Captains!”  Yoko and Kalea received a certificate of appreciation and had a paparazzi photo shoot with some key members including players, coaches, and their mascot Globbie.

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ESPN 1420 Sports Festival

On Saturday, June 29, HiTel FCU employees were on hand at the 3rd annual ESPN 1420 Sports Fest at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. This action-packed event spotlighted the latest and greatest in sports and fitness products, featured autograph sessions by local celebrity athletes, a wrestling exhibition, food, games and more.

Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union employees were there to promote “financial fitness” and to let patrons know how good a Credit Union can be for one’s pocketbook. HiTel FCU’s very own loveable mascots, Yoko and Kalea, delighted keiki of all ages who flocked over to get their pictures taken.

The event was well-attended, and HiTel FCU staff had a grand time giving out prizes to the lucky spinners of our prize wheel and increasing public awareness of HiTel FCU’s wonderful products and services. Mahalo to all Credit Union members (and there were quite a few of you!) who stopped by the booth!

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HiTel FCU’s Annual Dinner

As members of Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union, we attended their Oahu Annual Dinner this past Saturday.  Those folks at HiTel FCU sure know how to put on a good celebration!  After the Annual Meeting adjourned, Augie came on stage and gave away tons and tons of door prizes ranging from everything to a digital kitchen scale to gift cards to a grand prize trip for two to Las Vegas! Kalea and I wanted to win so badly, but luck was not on our side!

After the meeting we went into the beautiful Coral Ballroom where the tables were set-up so beautifully!  Each place setting had an embossed drinking glass that looked like it could be vintage!  Shortly after we finished admiring the gorgeous glasses,  a group of servers emerged from the kitchens and our dinner began.  We feasted on seven delectable dishes, each more delicious than the last.  During our meal, the talented Taimane Gardner played her unique sounds on her ukulele.  After eating all we could possibly eat, Dita Holifield took the stage with her band.  Dita is an amazing country singer and she had us singing along to some of our favorite tunes.

Later in the evening, Dita asked for volunteers to do some line dancing, and of course Kalea and I stood up right away!  Dita was prepared with a cowboy hat for every participant!  She taught us how to do simple steps to songs like “Sweet Home Alabama”.  I had so much fun watching Kalea, he doesn’t dance often and his flippers were having trouble keeping up!  He just ended up creating his own moves, and we had a great time!  We can’t wait for next year’s dinner!

KALEAannualDinner

Sunset

I wanted to quickly share this photo I took the other day when we went to see the sunset on the east side!  You can barely see Yoko in this picture!  She flew all the way out to a far ridge of the rocks to get a great view of the sunset.  We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place!

Explorer for a Day

This past weekend really made me happy!  After the vog cleared I could finally spread my wings and zoom around the bright blue Hawaiian skies.  We knew we were in for a weekend packed with amazing weather, so I suggested to Kalea that we spend the weekend exploring the real north shore.  We vowed to stay away from touristy areas and venture to new beaches!

Our first stop was the beach by the surf break called Leftovers.  It’s really hard to explain where this beach is, which is why the beach is almost always deserted.   The reef near the shore breaks up the rough waves and makes a nice little area to swim around.  There is plenty of shade from near by trees too!

Leftovers

From leftovers we made our way further north to Turtle Bay.  Kalea insisted we go there…he was expecting to run into a bunch of his friends!  Turns out Turtle Bay is the name of a gorgeous resort.  Although there aren’t too many turtles at the bay, the views are just incredible!

Turtle Bay

We laid out on the sand to relax, and I took this great picture of palm trees against the perfectly blue sky!

After Turtle Bay, we ventured even further north to Malaekahana.  Talk about an amazing beach!  There wasn’t another soul in sight, and though the beach is riddled with rocks and coral, there are large pockets of soft sand for swimming.  The landscape of Malaekahana is quite unique.  There are two small islands just offshore (it looks like you’d be able to walk to the island during low tide) and there are remains of some sort of structure left in the water.  I flew to the top of one of these remains and Kalea took a picture:

While we were relaxing at Malaekahana, we noticed a great picnic area in the nearby park!  We made a mental note to plan a picnic with our friends for the next time we come!

After hanging out at Malaekahana for a bit, we back tracked and went to visit Kahuku Farms.  They had a giant sign that said “FARM TOURS” and we wanted to go on one so badly, but the tours didn’t start until later that afternoon.  Instead, we bought a papaya and coconut smoothie, and a jar of their homemade lilikoi butter (made with lilikoi juice from their own farm)!  I can’t wait to use the butter on toast for a sweet breakfast!

Kahuku Farm

We want to encourage everyone to go out and explore their own “backyards”!  You really never know what kind of gems you will find in places you think you know well.  Kalea and I left the north shore on this day feeling so lucky that we live in such a beautiful place.  :)

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Beach Clean Up

Sand Island beach is a great spot for barbecues, jet skiing, and canoeing!  It’s hard to truly appreciate the beauty of this beach because most of the time you will find trash floating near the shore, and more trash in the sand and near the picnic area.  So, when our friend asked us to join their beach clean up, Yoko and I were more than happy to participate.

Around 10am on Saturday, Yoko and I met up with a small group of friends, and armed with trash bags, gloves, and SPF 50, we split up into groups and tackled different areas of the beach.

A friend and I took on the grassy area near the picnic tables.  We were appalled at the amount of cigarette butts we found!  Some of them were there for so long, they started to decompose!  We also found tons of cola bottles, napkins, food wrappers, and the occasional surprising item like a piece of carpet, or plastic bucket.  In just two hours, a group of about 15 people were able to significantly improve the aesthetics of Sand Island Beach.  If we could achieve so much in such a short amount of time, imagine how great the beach would look if everyone did their part and put their trash in the appropriate receptacle!

After the clean up, we enjoyed a quick lunch and a dip in the ocean.  Who knew cleaning up could be so fun?

Aloha,

Kalea

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Chinaman’s Hat

Destination: Chinaman’s Hat!

Hey everyone! We had a great adventure the other day out on the Windward side of the island.  Going out to Kualoa is always a great experience.  The mountains are deep green, the mist is cool and the beaches are always deserted.  This particular day, we took a canoe from Kualoa beach park to Chinaman’s Hat!   The paddle there was quick, it only took about 15 minutes, and of course I swam by the canoe and cheered everyone on! It was my first time actually stepping foot on the island, but I have swam by the island before.  The island has a small beach on the far side of it with a little alcove, perfect for a small picnic.

View from the top of Chinaman’s Hat!

We made the fun (but dangerous) climb to the top of Chinaman’s Hat, and WOW Oahu looks amazing from this perspective!  The movie JurassicPark comes to mind because you really feel like you’re in prehistoric world!  After the climb, we went back down to the alcove and had a small snack in the warm sun.

I have to say this day was just about perfect.

Aloha,

Kalea

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