On my visits home, weekday breakfasts are usually salad greens made by my mother or father. It is an excellent and positive start to the day! I feel energized, not sleepy.
Thanksgiving morning, the salad consisted of cabbage, spring mix, luscious Hamakua tomatoes, broccoli, celery, radishes, Maui onions (sad face), Kona oranges, Fuyu persimmons. I don't recall ever trying Kona oranges prior to this. They are very sweet, pale yellow, with a lighter citrus flavor. The persimmons were firm and delicious -- nothing like the ones I get in the Midwest that are either firm and bitter or extremely squishy, sweet, and flat in flavor.
I picked Pietro ume (pickled plum) dressing. While Pietro's sesame miso dressing is my favorite for lettuce salads and marinades, the ume dressing pairs perfectly with cabbage salads contributing nutty, tart, sour, salty and peppery flavors.
On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we ate leftover Chinese chicken salad from our Thanksgiving luncheon the day before, as well as locally grown tomatoes, celery, radishes, red peppers, and slices of juicy Japanese pears from Tottori. No, not those forest creatures [Totoro] nor the flushing toilets with bidets from Japan [Toto].
On Sunday, my father made fried rice with leftover multigrain rice, Spam, Portuguese sausage, peas, garlic, onions, Hamakua eggs, red bell peppers, furikake, beni shoga (red pickled ginger) with slices of Tottori pears. As much as I dislike onions, this was delicious. The beni shoga was the scene stealer, however. With just a pinch, it brightened the meaty and slightly salty dish with a pickled bite.
My father and I went to Marukai, a store that specializes in Japanese groceries and sundries, on Saturday. It had been years since I ate fresh chichidango and manju. As soon as my eyes caught sight of these treats sitting on a table, my grubby fingers clawed them into our basket post-haste.
The flavor of chichidango is difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't had mochi. Describing them as "rice cakes," one conjures the puffed rice patty that tastes like Styrofoam. These "cakes" are sweetened, but not very sweet, with a smooth texture and discrete bite (not chewy or stringy). I noticed flavored varieties like coconut and fruit, but I prefer these as-is.
The purple color of the sweet potato manju likely comes from using Okinawan sweet potatoes that are naturally purple. The intense color may have been augmented. When eaten fresh, as these were, the flaky crust is heavenly.
It has only been a week since I returned from Hawaii. As I continue to process my pictures, reliving each moment, it feels like several months have already passed. It probably doesn't help that I traveled from temperatures in the low 70s with frequent trade winds, spending time with my warm and enthusiastic family, to mid to low 30s with bone chilling wind gusts dropping the temperatures to the 20s, everyone bundled up, rushing around with their nose to the ground.