Off The Beaten Path: Obon Ceremony in Hawaii

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I took my son to his first Obon lantern ceremony on Oahu this summer.  For him, getting acquainted with his culture (he is mixed race, but 50% Japanese from yours truly) was one of my priorities.  I just bought a new camera and this is what surfaced after 100+ photos.  It totally captured the essence of that night!  The beautiful moonlit Pacific ocean waters decorated with the warm glow of lanterns representing each families ancestors, while my son helped them move along was enough to take my breath away!  I will never forget this moment!  ♥

It’s Meyer Lemon Season!

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Winter time brings the best of citrus to our table.  It’s nature’s way of making sure the right foods are at peak during the time of the year when our immune systems are challenged the most!  In my home, Satsuma mandarin oranges and Meyer lemons are what we look forward to!  You can use my previous recipe post for pancakes and just add zest and vanilla beans or extract to it.  Enjoy!🍋🍋

Vegetarian Night!

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Now that the busy season is closing in, I have time to devote to more cooking!  I apologize for being away for some time now…getting excited about food again.  I have been eating more vegetarian dishes lately and this was one of them…I will post some recipes soon!  On the left, some onion pakoras with roasted eggplant.  On the bottom right, some grated daikon with lemon juice and soy sauce for dipping or just eating on top of steamed white rice!  Add some organic grapes and veggie sticks, it was a vegetarian delight!

Birthday Cream Puffs!

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Inspired by the neighborhood bakery from my childhood, Liliha Bakery, I made these cream puffs for my annual birthday karaoke get together!  Using a choux paste, vanilla pastry cream and a butter custard frosting (it has cooked eggs in it!), prep time was actually about an hour!  From start to finish, it took about 2.5 hours.  I took some inspiration from fruit tarts as well and layered some fresh Oregon Hood strawberries and organic grapes and mangoes on top of each puff.

Portland Mercado and CHORIZO

Opening Day, Portland Mercado

Opening Day, Portland Mercado

The hail and heavy crowds did not stop us from going to the opening day of the most anticipated cultural hub, Portland Mercado. The project came to fruition after 9 years of planning and it was worth the wait!  Funded by grants and a loan by the Portland Development Commission, Portland Mercado is located in the Lents neighborhood with a dense Latino population.

From Foster Road, you could hear the live music blaring from the bandstand under the huge white tents.  A huge crowd of people, spanning every generation was bopping and swaying to the music. We could smell the deliciously spiced aroma of the food carts as we drove past with our windows down.  It was cold, but we didn’t care.  We wanted to hear, smell, and see everything that Portland Mercado had to offer!

We parked about 5 blocks away.  The closer we got, the more we could smell and hear.  The people who were leaving had delicious looking food and bags of groceries or snacks. It was cloudy out and partly hailing with rain.  But no one seemed to care.  After all, we had been waiting for years for this to come true.  And it finally WAS!

We walked through the gated parking lot which was full of information booths.  It lead us to the HUB.  It was at the entrance where we were greeted with the smell of the churro stand.  There was a line to get in, but it moved fast.  Good thing we had the churros to keep us busy!  As you entered the building, there were colorful traditional decorations hanging from the walls, the ceilings, and the windows.  To the right was an impressive candy/snack shop.  I couldn’t read anything so I identified things from the photos on the package.  We walked away with a bag of chili flavored corn chips, mango-chili and pineapple-chili lollipops.

The whole reason why I wanted to go was because of the Chorizoria.  I turned the corner from the candy shop and there it was… Don Felipe Products specializes in Tolucan style chorizo and is locally made in Forest Grove, Oregon.  The owner, Salud Gonzalez, was standing at the counter giving out samples of his tasty chorizo.  I tried the chicken chorizo and I was very much satisfied.  I chose my flavors and paid his partner who was manning the register.  30 bucks on chorizo, but it was well worth it!

Check out Portland Mercado and their other merchants!