Tawn Makes Pineapple Fried Rice

The evening after Andy and Sugi’s wedding, the newlyweds were off at a family dinner so Tawn and I invited Andy W and Kenny over to our condo for dinner. Sugi’s family had sent us home the night before with a pair of very ripe Maui Gold pineapples, so Tawn offered to make pineapple fried rice.

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Chef Tawn busy in the kitchen. We had to buy a few items such as the raisins, the pack of which I carried with me back to Kansas City to leave with my sister’s family, since the friend we’re staying with in San Francisco doesn’t like raisins.

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Dinner started with a fresh mango and pineapple smoothie. Healthy treat to whet the appetite.

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Filling the hollowed-out pineapple with the fried rice. The top shell is placed over the rice and then it is baked in the over until fragrant.

A short video of Tawn removing the top of the pineapple!

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The finished product! It was really tasty.

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For dessert: green tea ice cream.

 

Maui Memories

Some more photos from our week in Maui.

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View from our condo’s lanai (balcony) in Kihei on the south side of Maui. This is on the northern end of town looking south.

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From the deck on the building’s roof looking north towards the neck of Maui.

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Tawn watches the sunset from the beautifully manicured lawn.

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Sunset over the west part of Maui on our second evening there. You can just see the windmills that line the ridge of the mountain.

 

 

 

Andy and Sugi – The Wedding

Last Sunday fellow Xangan Andy was married to Sugi at the King Kamehameha Country Club on Maui. I shared one picture a few days ago, but let me share a few more for my family and friends who know the couple.

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Beautiful view of the wedding site, which offered a sweeping vista from one end of the Maui neck to the other.

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The flower girl (Sugi’s niece Taylor) and ring bearer (Andy’s nephew Cayden) needed a little encouragement.

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The bride is escorted by her father, Mike. As soon as she started down the aisle, tears started flowing. And lest you think that Andy is some tough guy, he started crying, too.

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Sugi and Andy exchange rings. A Shinto priest from the temple close to Sugi’s family’s house in Pa’ia performed the ceremony.

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Sealing the deal with a kiss. The flower girl, Taylor, is barefoot because she said her shoes hurt her feet.

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The newlywed couple walk down the aisle.

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The bride’s sister and matron of honor, Jessica, escorted by the groom’s best man Travis. The flower girl is Taylor, Jessica’s three-year old daughter.

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The bride’s mother and father. Beautiful Japanese-themed dress and cloak!

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The bride and her nearly 95-year old grandfather, who was the hit of the party.

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The couple immediately after the ceremony!

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Tawn poses with the flower girl while she still had her sandals on!

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Andy W (obscured by request), Kenny, me, Tawn, Sugi, Andy, Fei, and Travis. Fei and Travis went to high school in Omaha with Andy.

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The groom and bride address the guests. I was the emcee for the event and, with only a short while to practice, had to introduce all the out of town guests and family members!

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The beautiful wedding cake. They went for a small cake because the main desserts were pie including my favorite macadamia nut cream pie!

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Tawn and I pose with one of the cutest children at the wedding, Chinasa. The friend of Sugi’s college roommate, Chinasa was this perfectly calm one-year old who didn’t mind everybody holding her. No fussing, no crying. But she kept a poker face the whole time and was slow to smile!

It was a beautiful wedding – one of the nicest I’ve been to – and we were really glad we made the effort to fly over to be a part of it. Congratulations to Andy and Sugi and may you have many happy years together!

 

Rehearsal Dinner on Maui

It is our last evening on Maui. I’m a bit bloody, bruised, and battered from kayaking in the ocean in the cove outside Sugi’s aunt’s house. More about that soon. Nonetheless, it has been a lovely trip and I’d like to share some pictures with you.

We arrived in Maui last Thursday. Andy and Sugi’s wedding was Sunday afternoon and in lieu of a rehearsal dinner on Saturday, Sugi’s family invited the out of town guests to their oceanfront home in Pa’ia, on the north shore of the island.

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The family compound, which is where Sugi’s grandfather Ohata originally had his medical clinic and home, faces onto Pa’ia Bay with a view of Kahalui and the ‘Ioa Valley in the distance. Pardon my clumsy stitching in the above photo. At least, you have an idea of how spectacular the view from their backyard is.

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There were at least thirty guests from out of town. With Sugi’s more immediate local family members, the crowd was close to fifty. One of the first orders of business was to rehearse the wedding ceremony, which the celebrants did on the lawn.

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While everyone practiced, I shot some pictures, including this cute three-year old who is the daughter of Andy and Sugi’s friend Linda, who was also the wedding’s photographer. June, being the daughter of a photographer, was ready to strike a pose on request.

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The sun was still strong at this point in the afternoon – going on 6:00 – so Tawn was seeking whatever shade he could find.

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After the rehearsal, the tiki torches were lit and the luau began. Above, Tawn poses with the bride and groom to be, Sugi and Andy. To their left are another pair of Xanga friends, Andy (ungrandvoyage) on the far left and Kenny (kenpcho) second from the left. Andy has always kept his identity hidden on Xanga (sound familiar, Matt?) so he asks that we obscure his face when posting pictures that include him. Tawn and I have met Kenny a few times before but this was our first time meeting Andy.

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Several adorable children running around. In addition to the photogenic June (center) we have Sugi’s niece Taylor on the left and Andy’s nephew Cayden on the right. I enjoy watching children interact, especially young children as they can so easily play together and so easily ignore each other.

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Another shot of the children, who were helping Sugi’s youngest niece, Malia (in the yellow outfit), as she wobbled around the yard.

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We also met Sugi’s college roommate Amaka and her adorable baby Chinasa. Chinasa was so cute because she was totally willing to be held by one stranger after another without fuss, but she looked at each one of us with this poker face, as if she was trying to size us up without revealing her feelings.

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As the sun set over west Maui, the photographer has Sugi and Andy pose for some photos. While the sunset was subdued that evening, the pictures turned out well and – most importantly – we had a very Hawaiian welcome that made all of the guests feel very much a part of the family.

 

Flying to SFO

This blog is always a bit delayed. We’re actually already in Maui and have been in San Francisco for the last week – and yet I am still writing about things that happened last month in Bangkok! Anyhow, our flight over on EVA Airways, a Taiwanese airline, was smooth.

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Our airplane in San Francisco after our arrival. Temperatures were cold and breezy, as only a San Francisco summer can be!

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Flight over – “Elite” class, which is EVA’s premium economy cabin. Airfare is higher this summer than when I traveled over this past December. Nonetheless, I’m at an age (and height) where a little extra space makes the trip much more enjoyable.

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While EVA’s food is generally good, this flight’s food was exceptional. Out of Bangkok, I had a Penang curry beef dinner with a duck pate over salad, fruit, and ice cream for dessert.

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Closer look at the beef curry – instead of small pieces it was a petite steak. Very flavorful.

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Strawberry ice cream, complete with little strawberry seeds. Of course, it arrived frozen so solid that I had to wait ten minutes to be able to make even the slightest dent in it!

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Tawn on the air train to the car rental facility in SFO. Because we arrived in the early evening, there was no wait at immigration and customs. We breezed through immigration in less than three minutes and the bags started arriving within fifteen minutes of getting off the plane. In fact, we were in the rental car driving away from the airport within an hour of landing. Pretty impressive!

 

Cold Jasmine Rice in Hot Weather

Thailand’s hot season, which felt hotter than normal this year but according to the weather service was not, is just winding up. One of the few positives to the hot season is that many restaurants serve a seasonal specialty known as khao chae (ข้าวแช่). Tawn and I joined a few friends to sample this delicacy.

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We dined at Lai Rote, a old-timey restaurant located on Sukhumvit Soi 39 across from Samitivej Hospital. It is a traditional Central Thai restaurant and its name means “many flavors.”

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Making khao chae is a three-day process. The rice is parboiled, which leaves it with a “toothier” texture than is typical for jasmine rice. It is then soaked with jasmine petals in a container that has lit jasmine candles floating in it. The delicate floral flavor permeates the rice. Finally, the rice is served in ice water, a cool treat during hot season.

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The side dishses are the real attraction, though. They vary depending on the house’s specialties but what you see above is pretty typical. It includes (working clockwise) elaborately carved green mangoes, cucumbers, grachai (fingerroot), hua hom yat sai (fried stuffed red onion), prik yuan sod sai (young banana peppers stuffed with pork and wrapped in a crispy, eggy shroud), muu wan (sweet dried shredded beef), plaa wan (sweet dried shredded fish), pad hua chai po (thin strands of dried pickled radishes stir-fried with egg), and luk kapi pad (fried fermented shrimp paste balls).

Unlike most Thai food, the khao chae side dishes are quite bland and not spicy at all. It derives from so-called “palace cuisine,” the types of elaborate food traditionally served in the Thai royal palace. In addition to the khao chae, we ordered some other dishes:

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khao tang na tang – Fried rice cracker with a minced pork and peanut topping.

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khanom pang na gung – little toasts with shrimp pate and sesame seeds served with plum sauce.

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yam tua pluu – a spicy salad of wing beans and toasted shallots with a peanut and roasted chili dressing.

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For dessert, I had a less-common dish called khao maow grob. It features grains known as meang lak (hydrated lemon basil seeds) served with syrup and crushed ice, topped with toasted rice grains coated with palm sugar.

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Here’s a close up of the palm sugar coated toasted rice grains. Just like very crunch Rice Krispies. One of the more interesting Thai desserts I’ve had.

The meal was a refreshing break from our hot weather. Thankfully, by the time I’ve gotten around to writing this, rainy season has started to arrive and the heat is breaking.