31. May 2009 · Comments Off on Huli Huli Chicken, Part 2 — The cooking challenge! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

So on Thursday night we cooked up the marinated Huli Huli Chicken. Part 1 of this post was pretty simple, make up the marinade, dump in the chicken parts and let ‘er soak.

The cooking is the tough part. Because of the sugar content of the marinade, you have to be VERY careful how to cook up the parts. Low low low, probably for 20+ minutes, then you can turn up the heat at the end to give a nice crispness to the skin. I guess I could invest in one of those rotisserie cooker thingies, but we’re lazy and just want to throw the gas grill.

So that’s what we did, threw the parts on the grill.

What we SHOULD have done was roast the chicken first for a bit, or microwave it first, then throw the parts on the grill.

We foul this up (no pun intended) EVERY TIME! We cook the parts, then serve it up, then frantically attempt to keep the rest of dinner warm while we nuke up the chicken so the near-bone areas finish cooking, all the while drying out the exterior.

So enjoy some pictures of Dave cooking up the chicken, we’re smelling it, hearing it sizzle, looking at it cook up golden brown and delicious…

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I


From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I


From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Looks WONDERUL, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, at the time it was brought inside, it was still raw up against the bones. Darn it! We had to microwave it for 2-3 minutes after grilling to finish it up.

So word to the wise: if you want to try my recipe, bake the chicken, or microwave it for a few minutes before grilling, at least long enough to cook the meat up against the breastbone and thigh bones.

27. May 2009 · Comments Off on Huli Huli Chicken Part 1 — a childhood memory comes alive! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

It’s time for another recipe blog!

I don’t remember all that much in my life before about age 4.  I don’t know why, I just don’t.  Just the intermittent here-and-there memory.

My family was living in Hawaii when I was 4-years-old.  My Dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed at this small base northwest of Honolulu.  My first solid memories were from Hawaii.

And here’s one of them: Huli Huli chicken fundraisers.  Click here for a history of Huli Huli chicken (thanks to the obituary of the inventor from 2002).  I vaguely remember driving up to a large dirt/gravel parking lot, perhaps at a church or a high school.  And you’d see row-after-row of rotisserie-like skewers, all covered with chickens.  I also have vague memories of large metal trash cans to hold the marinade (this was in the 70s, well before plastic trash cans, apparently), and folks using cotton mops to slop on the marinade on the skewers.

My Dad mentioned to me once that the chickens would be sold whole for just a few dollars (I think he said $5, but I could be wrong), and they’d be wrapped for you in newspaper!

I found this nifty blog entry here about a modern-day operation on Oahu.

As for this blog entry, what I’m going to present you is a recipe that seems to bring back the memories I had, but I’m sure someone will tell you that it’s wrong.  I’ve had chicken made with commercially purchased “Huli Huli Chicken Sauce” and that just seemed WRONG WRONG WRONG.  Too syrupy, from what I remember.  If you do a web search for “huli huli chicken recipe” you’ll come up with a very wide variety of recipes.  I see ginger, sugar and garlic as a common thread throughout, but from there you’ll see varied other ingredients: limes, chiles, honey, ketchup, white wine, etc.

Here’s the recipe:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

That’s my sister’s handwriting. She’s now quite the vegetarian, but she wrote out the recipe card for me and I still have it today. I didn’t photograph the back of the card, but suffice it to say that the back merely says to cook the chicken :-).

Let me go through the preparation steps I took today, so we can have huli huli chicken on Thursday night.  First, let me introduce the ingredients:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

There’s “Sugar in the Raw” in the orange sugar dish. Maybe because it’s really-truly from Hawaii, I am using it instead of plain white sugar. I feel more authentic that way…

Note the whole chicken…let me warn you, I’m about to show pictures of a chicken dismemberment, so if you’re adverse to such images, click away now!

Let’s first disassemble the chicken.  When I’m motivated enough, I choose to break up a whole chicken rather than buy the parts separately…it’s cheaper and I can take advantage of ALL of the chicken for broth, soup, etc. The first thing I did was take my kitchen shears and CUT down both sides of the spine.

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Now I can take the spine/back part and toss it into my freezer bag that already contains two other chicken backs…I’ll probably make up some broth this week for recipes later.

Moving right along…I got sick of cutting a little bit of the chicken, then washing my hands, taking a couple pictures, then going back to cutting, I decided not to photograph the rest of the disassembly.  I cut the remaining chicken into 2 breasts, 2 leg quarters and 2 wings.

Now I chop the garlic and grate the ginger.  I freeze my ginger, so grating it on the Microplane (BEST KITCHEN TOOL EVAH!!!) is easy:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I
From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I
From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Now we start to mix everything together: this is the ginger, garlic and sugar.

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

To pour 3/4 c. of soy sauce, I have to pry off the slow-pour spout thingy on my Kikkoman:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

That’s better:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Now that we have everything — garlic, ginger, sugar, white wine and soy sauce (I omit the MSG), it’s time to stir stir stir. I try to dissolve as much of the sugar as I can.

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Now I take a 9 x 13 baking dish and line it with a gallon-sized zip-top bag:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Add the chicken:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Pour in the marinade:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

And here’s what you get:

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

Since the chicken is taking up so much space in the bag, a little marinade will go a long way in the zip-top baggie. I will allow this to sit in my fridge for TWO DAYS, flipping the bag about every 12 hours.

From 2009 05 26 Huli Huli Chicken I

You’ll just have to come back Thursday night for the rest of this — I haven’t decided whether we’re going to grill or roast/broil this, it’ll depend on the weather. As much as I love how this tastes grilled, grilling bone-in chicken breasts is tricky. Balancing cooking the chicken through with keeping the marinated exterior from burning is always a challenge in the Vollmer house!

Jacob got his top tooth knocked out playing baseball last night during
our Memorial Day BBQ. At first he was spooked by it- the tooth is in
our yard somewhere – but after we assured him that the tooth fairy
will come anyway, he felt much better.

He found four quarters under his pillow this morning 🙂

19. May 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Jacob was fiddling with that tooth all during field day today. He
wanted to get onto Mrs. Brockhaus’ tooth chart and he’ll just make
it! Tomorrow is the last day of school and his last lost tooth was
last July, just before we left NC.

19. May 2009 · Comments Off on The NEW Major Tom · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Have you heard the cover of the Peter Schilling “Major Tom” song by Shiny Toy Guns? It’s featured in the 2010 Lincoln MKZ commercial on TV. I really like it.  The You Tube below will play for you the whole thing.

Interestingly, last year Lincoln used a cover of the David Bowie version to advertise the 2009 MKS (“Space Oddity”, which is my favorite of the batch, by the way).
By the way, I’m not a fan of Lincoln automobiles and am not endorsing the product in any way.  Just their choice in music to advertise their products 🙂

19. May 2009 · Comments Off on The Incredible Changing Woman · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

I’m quite impressed — in 2 1/2 weeks I was able to go from this:

From 2009 04 07 Muff_My_Last_Week

To this:

From 2009 04 24 AFWA_DiningOut

(Do I look like one of those ladies from the cast of Dynasty just standing around in a formal gown?)

I made it home from the desert in time to go with Dave to his office’s “dining out”. For some reason I emphatically proclaimed that I wanted to wear a dress instead of my mess dress. This is the first time in 15 years I’ve been to a military formal NOT in my mess dress:

From 2006 03 26 NCSU AFROTC Ball Pic

Also, I have to express how impressed I am that I’m wearing a NINE YEAR OLD DRESS! Whoo hoo! It’s still in pretty good shape, structurally, and (most importantly) IT STILL FITS ME!

Lucky me, I found this picture of me in the dress from almost exactly 9 years ago:

From 2009 04 24 AFWA_DiningOut

Pardon the strange-looking makeup there.  I look like an unpopular geisha or something…
14. May 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Timmy REALLY loves his little Webkinz puppy, named Thomas. This was Timmy’s first Webkinz, we got him at the end of the boys’ preschool year, about a year ago. Thomas has traveled with Timmy all over the place: Timmy sleeps with Thomas, takes him to child care on each day that he goes — for naptime, and Thomas has appeared in pictures throughout the past year….you can see the dates on the links below each picture.  I wish you could see how progressively grubby this dog is becoming…he’s been markered-upon, snotted-upon, thrown-up-on, and chocolated.

From 2008 05 25 ColonialWilliamsburgWithGrandmaGrandpaFox
From 2008 06 21 DriveToPA_Beilers_ThomasStrasburg
From 2008 06 21 DriveToPA_Beilers_ThomasStrasburg
From 2008 06 21 DriveToPA_Beilers_ThomasStrasburg
From 2008 08 12 JacobFirstDayOfKindergarten
From 2009 05 03 OmahaZoo

Last summer I let the boys decorate t-shirts for fun — Jacob did his own t-shirt, but Timmy dictated what he wanted on his shirt. “Mommy, I want a sand castle, and a happy sun and a crab family.” I did my best to accomodate him. Here’s a trip down memory lane with the t-shirts:

From 2008 06 15 HandmadeShirts
From 2008 06 15 HandmadeShirts
From 2008 06 15 HandmadeShirts

So (and here’s my point), I came across a stray green t-shirt when I was changing the boys’ clothes from winter to summer. I probably picked up the shirt in 2008 sometime, it’s kelly green and I probably planned to do something St. Patricks-ey, but I can’t remember. Timmy saw the plain shirt and asked if we could paint another picture, and I thought that would be fun.

This morning I set up things for Timmy to paint the shirt and once again he asked me if I could do the painting. He asked for a picture of him hugging his Thomas Webkinz. I couldn’t do that…but I attempted a picture of just Thomas. Then Timmy asked me to write “I Love Thomas” on the shirt. Here is the end result:

From 2009 05 13 Timmy Tshirt

I am NOT an artist at all, so this is super-corny, but Timmy thinks it’s great! The letters are actually a gold glitter paint, as it dried the opaque liquid gave way to just plain gold glitter. I think once the face dries I’ll fill it in with some of that gold paint like the body.

So there you have it — my baby LOVES his puppy dog and Mommy isn’t much of an artist.

More evidence that I tend to lead a double life. I have the honor of not just being a member of the military, but I’m also a proud Air Force wife.

When I was active duty, I’d attempt to participate in spouse functions, sometimes successfully, but sometimes NOT. Most were very welcoming and I had a great time playing Bunco, going on shopping trips, and attending countless bridal and baby showers.

The Air Force Wive’s group when I was in Korea in the late 90s was a prime example of not feeling welcome…most of their functions were tailored to times when the kids were in school, but once I made it to an evening event, and, to be honest, I wasn’t very comfortable listening to the men I worked with being referred to as “Billy”, “Joey”, “Tommy”, etc.

On the other hand, when I was stationed with the Army in my first years in the USAF, many of the Army ladies’ functions I participated in were great! They seemed much more laid back, and I didn’t see the distinctions between whether your spouse is enlisted, officer, the commander, etc. And they certainly didn’t care that I was Air Force, not Army.

If you’re a commander’s wife, you’re expected to be a leader in the spouse’s group. Obviously it isn’t required, but the other spouses will look to the commander’s spouse for guidance.

“What in the world is making you think of this NOW?”

Here’s what. Last week I attended a spouse’s appreciation function at Dave’s office. There were about 20 of us, we had a nice catered lunch and they even had some young Airmen who took Timmy and sat with him in a conference room where “Tale of Desperaux” was playing. After the lunch, we received the official Air Force Weather Agency briefing and then got a tour of the relatively-new building they work in now.

I like things like this.  Dave will tell you about how much fun I have at social functions, and it’s important to me to know about the people and their families in Dave’s professional life, we help each other out in times of need.

During the function, the AFWA commander came out and addressed us, thanking us for supporting our husbands and even giving us these lovely certificates.

From 2009 05 11 AFWA Spouse Certificate

More »

09. May 2009 · Comments Off on My Goldfinch! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

I’d been seeing a goldfinch come by every once in a while for the past 10 days or so, yesterday I was finally able to get a picture! He’s on the thistle sock on the right.

From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

Stay tuned!  I have lots more to talk about, I’ve just been addicted to Bejeweled Blitz lately on Facebook and have been slacking off other responsibilities…on Facebook you can play against your FB friends, talk smack, etc.  My sister and I have been neck and neck, as soon as her high score tops mine, I stop what I’m doing, sit down and play, play, play until I nudge past her.  I’m terrible.

03. May 2009 · Comments Off on Nebraska Discoveries 8: Spring….FINALLY! Eastern Nebraska Birding 101 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Today was a gloriously beautiful day!  I can’t believe I was able to enjoy just about all day outside…I mowed the lawn for the first time this season, worked more on my garden, and planted a couple of containers with annual flowers purchased yesterday from Timmy’s child care center’s fund raiser.  I enlisted Timmy and a couple of neighbor children this evening to “dig for earthworms” in our future-hop-plant plot, thereby loosening the soil for me.  They found some 30 earthworms that I had them deposit in my compost pile…which needs a lot of help this early in the season….

…and I’m still outside and it’s so wonderful I’m going to take a picture with my uber-cool built-in-webcam:
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

Ta Da!

Can you see the bird feeders in tbe background? Maybe you can, then again, maybe not…

When we moved into the house in early August of last year, one of my first acts was to hang a birdfeeder on the tree in the backyard.

No action. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. The only birds around seemed to be giant blackbirds and they didn’t eat the black sunflower seeds I offered…

The week I came back from the desert, I saw some small brown birds around in the neighborhood…and that reminded me to re-invigorate my birding efforts.  I went nuts installing feeders all over my yard.  Can you count 6 of them here?  Look REAL closely:

From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

I remember from North Carolina that inspiring birds to come to your feeder as opposed to someone else’s takes some time and effort.  I had a perfect backyard in North Carolina, with a hedge of wax myrtle about 20 feet behind my house to provide nesting and hiding spots.  It wasn’t until the spring following our arrival — I hung our first feeder right away there, too — that I saw anything worth talking about.

Same as this time…we moved about the same time of year (latter half of July), so it’s now spring and my bird feeders are coming alive with activity.

Of course, being in a new part of the United States means a new group of birds to learn about. In North Carolina I was greeted with house finches, goldfinches, Carolina chickadees, Carolina wren, tufted titmice, myrtle warblers, cardinals and eventually, hummingbirds.

I’ve been once again sleuthing to learn about eastern Nebraska suburban birds. In mid-April all I was seeing were grackles, European starlings, and robins. Since robins don’t really partake of bird seed (they’re mainly carnivores, eating worms instead), and the grackles and starlings were too big, my feeders remained quiet.

Until this week.  I started to see some brown birds feeding routinely, and I saw a downy woodpecker off and on.  I stood inside at my kitchen window with my Canon Digital Elph camera set on 12x zoom and attempted to photograph the bird action so far as best I could….

From 2009 04 16 BirdsInYard
From 2009 04 16 BirdsInYard
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

The birds are as follows: downy woodpecker, robin, house sparrow, American pipit or female house sparrow, another house sparrow and common grackle.  Thanks to Maryann for helping me identify the sparrows — definitely a new species for me to identify!

I think I also am seeing a black-and-white warbler hanging out along the tree trunks, especially the rotted out trunk that’s been infested with termites.

The sparrows are definitely telling their friends about this place…there are more and more every day…

This morning I saw my first goldfinch, but didn’t get a chance to photograph any yet.  Maybe in the morning.  I’ve also seen a couple of cardinals, they sit VERY high up in my backyard trees…but when they sing they’re LOUD!

For now, I’m listening to the songs of a pair of robins who sit perched in my tall trees…a regular thing here now and I’ve loving it!