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Green Onion Gaga

Have you ever gone through a phase of your life when you use a certain ingredient or condiment excessively and frequently in your cooking or serving of a dish? Or just about all your food for that matter? Pepper. Salt. Sugar. Butter. Cream. Tobasco. Shoyu. Ketchup. You name it.

As we all know Paul Dean is the butter queen. My sister used to be a ketchup fanatic, using the stuff on just about everything, from generously drizzled over rice and eggs, to sandwiches, to pasta. A good friend of mine in more recent years took on a great affinity for garlic. For example, he’ll take a whole fish such as Moi or Opakapaka, make cross cuts, then add some mayonnaise, salt and pepper, then literally BURY the darn fish with minced garlic until you can barely see what it is. Wrap the foil up and bake it in the oven until done. He’ll also add a heaping spoonful of minced garlic into his tuna salad when making sandwiches.

Which I totally buy, as I’m a garlic fiend myself. Same for ginger. If a dish is prepared using lots of garlic and ginger, as is common with asian cuisine as a whole, count me IN! Oh, and by-the-way, that garlic-smothered baked fish turns out EXCELLENT. In my and his opinion, you can NEVER use too much garlic.

Bringing us now to the subject at hand, which lately I’ve been totally binging out on Green Onions. I know, weird, right? I mean like BONKERS. Like, borderline ridiculous. Like, I’ll go to KCC Farmers Market every Saturday and buy 3 bunches to last me through the week. That goes to show much I go through the stuff.

Why am I suddenly all into the heavy use of green onion? I’m guessing age, or better said a “phase”. Like how my dad totally got into pickled onions (da’ Portagee style) when he got into his 60s, I’m all into onions now in my 40s. Changing hormones perhaps? I dunno.

Actually now I’m in a “phase” where I use onions in general quite heavily, no matter what type, whether it’s the common round white onion, red, Vidalia, Maui, Shallot, green, or the massive Japanese Negi. You name it. If it’s “onion-ee”, bring it!

I’m not a “green thumb” by any means, yet I recently took the rooted stump from a bunch of green onions I had used and tried “planting” it in an empty porcelain potter I had sitting in my office, and not surprisingly, it grew quite well. All the pot has are river pebbles in it, with no other soil  or water drainage. I simply stuck the rooted green onion stump within the pebble rocks, added water, and placed it near my office window sill where it would get at least some sun, and within just one week, it grew from just about 1″ tall with only white stumps, to where you see it here at over 6″ tall. I figure in another two weeks, it will be ready to harvest.

Lots of restaurants do the same thing, having their own roof top herb garden, growing everything from Green Onion, Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Dill and Rosemary, to whatever else they may use frequently in their dishes.

Now that I’ve successfully grown my own green onions, this whole “green thumb” thing just may be my new found hobby! I’ll get a planter trough and try growing my own on my condo balcony. I hear other folks in our building having great success doing the same thing. I’ll start with my favorite basics, which are those mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Certainly the way to go, compared to buying packaged “fresh” herbs, which run ridiculous prices in the regular supermarkets. The next best priced place to get them would either be the farmers market or Chinatown.

So yeah, I’m all about green onions now, loading it with no abandon in stuff like Saimin…


“Negimin”

Yup, that’s it. No Kamaboko, no egg and of course no charsiu. Nothing but saimin noodles in its dashi broth, green onion and net. We’ll call it “Negimin”. And? Winnahz!   Well I think so. Yet, I’m pretty sure if you were to taste it, unless you’re me, you’ll probably think, “damned dude, what the hell is this? This is effin’ getto!” LOL!!!


“Negimin”

Well, don’t quite put off the abundant use of it, as not surprisingly being a green plant by default, Green Onions are quite nutritious, including 10 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, 9 percent of vitamin C and 1 percent of calcium and iron. It also includes organosulfur compounds, which act as anti-inflammatories which prevent arthritis, as well as a good source of Quercetin, a class of antioxidants called flavonoids that helps neutralize free radicals, which can cause DNA damage and cancer.

What else do I “choke” with it? Instead of chives, I load my baked potato with Green Onions…


Baked potato with loads of butter, cheese, sour cream, black pepper and green onions

You’re probably like, “Where the heck is the potato?” lol I tell you, this is by far one of my favorite comfort dishes, especially late at night (when I really shouldn’t be eating this). All I do is “nuke” a couple small potatoes (I prefer them over the large ones), fluff them, add choke butter, a dash of Hawaiian salt, cheese (whatever type I have on hand), choke sour cream, then load it with a TON of Green Onions and choke black pepper.

Oh, yeah, that’s another thing I use a ton of, is black pepper. If I had one of them battery-powered automatic pepper mills, my food would probably be completely smothered with fresh crack black. Only thing keeping me from doing that is my wrists get tired from hand-cranking the mill. lol

Back to Green Onion, my Tofu always gets a good smothering of the stuff…


Popo’s Tofu Watercress Salad

I also use it generously in my vegetarian stir fries, particularly with eggplant and mushrooms, my other two favorite cooking ingredients. What I do is use the Kikoman Kung Pao Chicken seasoning packet as the stir fry flavoring base, sans the chicken. The Mushrooms and Eggplant are my “meat”, along with lots of green bell peppers, carrots, red onions, green onions and peanuts (or whatever nuts I have on hand). Sometimes I also add Tofu. Yum-ohz!

While I haven’t attempted it yet, I’ll try making a green onion version of the Angry Korean Lady’s Chive Jun


Chive Jun from Ah Lang, a.k.a. the “Angry Korean Lady”

Another Korean specialty that uses green onion generously is Pajeon, a type of Korean Seafood “Pancake”…


Palama Market – Korean Seafood Pancakes (Pajeon)

Here’s a slice..


Palama Market – Korean Seafood Pancake (Pajeon)

As for the “other” onions, I remember back in high school when I used to boogie board a lot, my favorite after-beach snack was Jack in the Box Onion Rings with their house Buttermilk Dressing. Ever try that combo? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! I tell you, it’s one of the few “wonders of the fast food world”. lol Seriously though, so ono! The creamy, slightly tangy flavor of the Buttermilk along with the deep-fried flavor of the onion rings are a match made in fast food heaven. Winnahz!

Which has me wondering, who makes Oahu’s best Onion Rings? Hmmmm. There’s food for thought. I’m thinkin’ it’s gotta’ be from some pub. Aloha Beer Company? Gordon Biersch? Real Gastro Pub, perhaps?

I’m also a huge fan of french onion soup, made the traditional way from scratch with a crusty baguette and melted cheese on top. LOVE that.

Green Onions, any onions, cheese, black pepper… ooh, and dare I admit, butter. Those are a few of the things I currently go “gaga” over in the kitchen. Love the stuff!


P.S. Aloha ‘Oe to our beloved Nainai, who passed away this past Monday, May 14, 2013 at 4:30pm due to age-related health conditions at the age of 13, which in human years, makes her 91.

Nainai was an AKC-registered full-blooded Shih Tzu, bred here on Oahu. Nainai was very loving, playful, sincere and smart. She was also very protective of her family (us), and keen on who was who, when people came over to visit. Her name “Nainai” is a Chinese surname for “Grandma”, and believe me, she acted like it. I wish she could have spoken “human”, as I really think we would have heard a handful from her, being she was the boss of the house.

Nainai truly was a classy lady in every sense of the word, and we will always love her.

A hui hou kakou, Me ke aloha pumehana Nainai



LOST DOG “KOA”

This is an announcement by someone who left a flier on my car yesterday. I called them yesterday evening (Saturday, May 18, 2013) to verify whether they were still looking for Koa, their beloved pet dog, which they still desperately are. This is their message, so if you have any information about their beloved Koa, please, PLEASE call them. Mahalo.

LOST DOG – $250 REWARD

“Please help us find Koa. He is a 2.5 year old Rat Terrier Mix, approximately 15-20 lbs. White with large grey spots all over his body. Has big grey ears. Had blue Harness & purple leash attached when went missing. He is friendly but skittish around people whom he does not know. Koa was rescued as a puppy.

Lost between Pawa’a St. & N. King St. across Zippy’s on N.King St. on May 14, 2013 around 1:00pm.

If found, please call Paula @ (808) 861-9899 or Larissa @ (808) 223-1368 immediately. Reward $250.00. Please, PLEASE help us find our beloved Koa. He is our heart!”


13 thoughts on “Green Onion Gaga

  • May 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm
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    I like to bake tilapia on a bed of green onions. Not diced, just 2 or 3 bunches, depending on the amount of fish. Cover with soy and ponzu, bake. When it’s done, the green onions are well-steamed, and can be eaten as a side dish like you would with any green (spinach, etc).

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your family dog. It’s always heartbreaking to lose a furry family member.

    Reply
    • May 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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      h,

      I steam-bake my fish that way as well, except never thought of putting the green onion as whole stalks underneath it as a bed, but always chop them up, then sprinkled on top. I’ll try that next time.

      Mahalo for the kind thoughts on Nainai. I’ve been in a state of deep mourning this past week. We really miss her.

      Reply
  • May 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm
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    The water based green onion garden will eventually fail. Instead buy plants from seed (like at Walmart, etc.) or grow your own from seed. In a large, deep, plant pot, half potting soil, half soil. It will last for a couple of years. Meanwhile the wet garden should do for at least one full crop. Just a suggestion.

    Reply
    • May 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm
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      Pat,

      That’s what I thought. I took a horticulture class a long time ago, yet forget most of the basics. Still, being able to regenerate one full new crop from a “used” stalk that would have otherwise ended up in the trash works for me. I’ll certainly use seeds for my upcoming balcony herb garden project. Ko’olau Farmers has a great selection of asian plant seeds from a local nursery, which is of most interest to me. What I really want to try growing is Goya, the Okinawan Bitter Melon. I know that requires a trellis, as it grows on a vine. Maybe I can let it grown along my balcony railing. Nah, the neighbors won’t appreciate that. lol

      There’s certainly an interesting emotional connection I’ve found nurturing a plant throughout its growth, even with my minimal experience.

      Reply
  • May 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm
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    Oh! My condolences on the loss of your Nainai. Having lost beloved pets myself, I know how painful it must be to lose someone who was a close friend for 13 years. Take comfort in the knowledge that she lived a long, happy life with a family that treasured her. A dog can ask for no more, and she’s probably running around happily now with loads of new doggy buddies. Chee-hoo, Nainai!

    Reply
  • May 20, 2013 at 7:53 am
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    That fish recipe sounds ono. My favorite is cold ginger chicken with choke green onion. Don’t see that on the menus over here but thats okay since its so simple to make. Sorry to hear about Nainai.
    BTW, finally tried the NOH portugese sausage mix and that is the bomb. So easy to make and tasty.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2013 at 7:58 am
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    1st up…….my condolences on the passing of your dog. my wife and i have four…….and our oldest just turned 13 on may 16th.

    2nd up…….love green onion. and loveeeeee a loaded baked potato. best one i had……….was in a small town of meadville, pa……it was loaded with butter, sour cream, scallions, cheese and bacon!!!! had it with a hugeeeee slice of prime rib. don’t get any better than that!!!!

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 5:06 am
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    Sorry about Nainai. They bring us so much joy but their time with us is too short.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 5:12 am
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    Ever eat a Korean style scallion salad? It’s so good, my family puts it in grilled meat but I eat it straight.
    Scallion Salad
    1 bunch scallion shredded
    Korean red pepper flakes
    Vinegar
    Olive oil
    Toasted sesame oil
    Salt
    Baby greens salad 5 oz bag
    Just put everything in a bowl and add 2 TB vinegar, 1 TB olive oil, 1 teaspoon seasame oil, lots of salt and a big spoon of the chili flake, and mix.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 6:11 am
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    @ Lois – mahalo (to you and everyone else) for the kind words on Nainai. Not sure if there’s a movie already made on it, but a producer such as Disney should do a film on how owners become reunited with their pets in the afterlife, either reincarnated as humans, or by our souls. Sounds deep, but it would be very touching! I like to think that pets who have come into our lives and touch us as they do, are with us for a reason. Guardian angels perhaps. Or simply our karma brought us together.

    @ kobi – I LOVE that Chinese “pesto” they put on cold ginger chicken. In fact, when I was young kid, that was my favorite dish at the Chinese restaurant we frequented, which is odd, because I otherwise totally despised Chinese parsley back then. That, and egg fu yung, which the restaurant we frequented also put lots of green onion in it. I’ve seen some cold ginger chicken recipes call for just cilantro, and some with both cilantro and green onion. I like it with both. That Chinese “pesto” works equally as tasty on steamed fish as well.

    Glad to hear you liked the NOH PS mix. It’d be interesting making it from scratch. I’d definitely sweeten it up just a tad so it tastes similar to the Purity brand. I’d also try using smoked Paprika in the seasoning.

    @ Raph – my sister has a recipe for making bacon out of tofu. I’ll have to try that so I can get that flavor without the fat of the bacon, and use it as Tofu “baco-bits” on my baked potato. Tofu Bacon sounds like a recipe blog people would find interesting.

    @ Lili – No I haven’t, but I will certainly try your Korean Scallion Salad recipe. Sound delish! Sounds like a type of Banchan (side dish). I notice you specify TOASTED sesame oil. That surely must make all the difference in the outcome of the dish. Anyhow, thanks for sharing! I’ll try it!

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 6:20 am
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    Howzit, Pomai!

    Wow the green onion blog is awesome! Haver you tried cebollitas? There’s a chain called Baja Fresh; hope they get to Hawaii soon… anyway, they used to make cebollitas which are grilled green onions. Simple prep, whole green onion w/ roots, oiled and seasoned w/ rock salt,m then grilled to a light char… awesome! Good solo or as part of your taco, burrito, etc.

    As to the onion/garlic/ ginger thing, my fave is a chicken dish my mom used to make: she called it onion chicken… a bed of cold boned chicken (she used to boil it and de-bone and skin it) cut into servinng portions. then totally smothered in almost a half inch layer of finely minced raw onion, ginger and garlic. She’d then heat up oil ontil almost boiling and then drizzle it over the dish causing the veggies to sizzle and crackle and heating the chicken underneath with the flavored oil, and she’d finish it with a generous sprinkle of chopped green onion… amazing. You probably already know about the dish and even know its proper name… but your blog brought back the memories…

    Reply
    • May 21, 2013 at 6:37 am
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      Keith,

      Similar to the Cebollitas you’re talking about, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations episode on Spain featured a traditional Spanish farmers dish called Calcots, which are sort of a mix between an onion, green onion and a leek. They aggressively toast the Calcots over an open fire, then you peel off the softened outer layer, then dip the Calcots in a Romesco Sauce.

      Here’s the video…

      Fast forward to about 4:15

      Interesting onion/garlic/ginger chicken recipe your mom has there. No, never tried it myself. Heating the oil up until smoking point sounds like it’s Chinese in origin. Another one that could surely be applied to a whole steamer fish.

      Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 11:05 am
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    Pomai, my condolences on Nainai. It’s always hard to lose a pet, especially one that has been a part of your family for so many years. Know that she’s crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and one day you’ll be reunited with her.

    Reply

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