Saturday, January 7, 2012


One day during this past week I needed to get away from my crazy life and everything in it for just a little while.  So, I went to a movie all by myself.  It wasn’t the greatest movie, but it took place in Hawaii.  That was the part that I needed.  I always say that sitting on a beach watching the waves feeds my soul.  Sometimes my soul feels pretty hungry.  So for me, even though it was in a movie, it was rather fulfilling to see the scenes that took place on two of the 3 islands that I have vacationed on--The Big Island and Kauai. 

On our last vacation there, we went to the Big Island.  It was November of 2008 and we were celebrating my birthday and our anniversary (25 years!)

Me, at the house we rented.

My favorite place on earth!

We found one of the greatest beaches that I have ever seen.  The waves were gigantic and crashing against the black sand.  There were so many warnings about that beach--from how dangerous the trail leading down to it was--to how dangerous the ocean was--that it seemed like no one should even think about going there!  But, it was awesome and I dubbed it my favorite place on earth. At least it was my favorite beach so far.

Signs warning everyone to stay away.

Huge crashing waves!

Our footprints in the black sand.

Waterfall after a huge rainstorm.
Lava flowing into the ocean.

We had a great time sight-seeing, going to beaches, horse-back riding, kayaking, snorkeling, attending a luau, hiking, deep sea fishing, seeing the lava flowing late at night, and just feeling the laid back Hawaiian lifestyle that I wish I could remember to emulate in my own life every day.  Live Aloha!  It was all wonderful. 
Lava flowing into the ocean at night.

Hawaiian time was pretty much--"when we get around to it."  This sign reminds me of that.
I need to hang this up in my house.

Deep sea fishing.  A guy on our boat caught this marlin.  Sadly, we did not.
Very tall waterfall  (which I call Spider Falls)...
...because I was leaning against the fence taking a picture of the falls, then stepped
back and saw that I had been leaning against this spider and its web the whole time.
It was as big as a section of chain link.

We went to a luau for my birthday!

They seriously have spam and eggs at
Burger King.  I did not eat these.
Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream
The food in Hawaii is always amazing.  Even if you are a picky eater like me.  At the luau, there was so much food that it was hard to choose what to eat.  In a tiny town, in a liitle restaurant, Kevin ordered one of the best Big Island dishes that we had on this trip.  He (we) had Korean barbecued short ribs served on a bed of shredded cabbage, along with rice (and a big scoop of potato salad—because for some reason, a lot of meals in Hawaii aren’t complete without a scoop of potato or macaroni salad).  I liked the flavor of the sauce on the short ribs so much. 

When we came home, I couldn’t wait to find out how to make that Korean Barbecue Sauce so that I could re-live that part of the Hawaiian experience whenever I wanted to.  I searched the grocery store for the Korean barbecue sauce and actually found a small bottle of it that tasted exactly like the sauce we had in Hawaii.  But, the price was a pretty high for about 8 ounces, so I began looking online for a recipe.  I found several and then worked on them until I came up with a recipe that I liked.

Next came the meat.  A package of 4 flank-cut short ribs was also fairly expensive.  I loved this recipe so much that I bought them anyway.  But, then, when I decided to make this for the whole family at Christmas, I decided to try to make them with New York steaks that I found on sale.  I put the steaks in the crock pot with the sauce and cooked them for hours.  They were pretty amazing!  

Another time, I was craving this, but couldn’t really afford to buy ribs or steaks.  And then, I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I used venison?  We have plenty of that!

That turned out to be one of the best ideas that I have ever come up with for venison.  After it cooked for hours and hours in that sauce in the crock-pot, the meat was more tender and flavorful than I ever thought venison could be.  Vension steaks or chops can tend to be dry and chewy, but cooking them this way really made a huge difference in how the meat turned out.  I still would make this with beef short ribs or steak, but right now I almost always make it with venison.

I buy a bag of pre-cut cabbage made for coleslaw in the salad section of the produce department to serve the meat on and then make some brown rice to have on the side.  I skip the potato or macaroni salad part of the meal, though!  And, I must say that I usually have a lot of sauce with my meat!

So here is my recipe.

½ c. ketchup
1 or 2 T. hot sauce
1/3 c. soy sauce
¼ c. rice vinegar
½ c. water
3 T. sugar
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. Sesame Oil
3 tsp. garlic paste
1 ½ T. Sesame Seeds
½ tsp. powdered ginger
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients in crock pot.  Place meat in the sauce, making sure that it is almost covered.  Cook in the crock pot for 6 or more hours, starting on high for 2 or 3 hours and then reducing temperature to low.

You may have to double the amount of sauce, depending on the amount of meat that you are using.  For instance, if I am just using a few chops or steaks, then I might not need to double the recipe, but if I am using a venison roast, then I usually do have to double the recipe.  And, I do like to have a lot of the sauce when I eat this, so I really don’t mind having extra.

I would love to go back to Hawaii and try to find that little restaurant again. 

Actually, I would love to go back to Hawaii for any reason!

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