Saturday, February 23, 2008


Although Spam isn't particularly popular in the contiguous United States, it's a protein staple in Hawaii. Spam is everywhere in Hawaii in various incarnations: Spam fried rice, Spam and eggs, Spam sandwiches, Spam sushi, etc.

My boyfriend M lived in Hawaii for several years, and as a result has a penchant for all(most all) things Spam. When we first started dating, I was skeptical about the lunchmeat. I had eaten it a time or two when I visited Hawaii, and I hadn't been particularly impressed. But M made me two variations that have changed my mind about Spam!! I made both today:

Spam and Eggs

The first is Spam and eggs and rice. Spam for breakfast is sooooo good :) I just slice up the Spam, dip in soy sauce, and fry with a little bit of oil. Spam is already cooked so you can cook it to your preferred level of done-ness; I prefer mine a little crispy on the edges. Usually M prefers lots of ketchup on his Spam-eggs-rice, but I have successfully converted him to Sriracha, hehe. I like ketchup too, but I prefer a little kick in my food.

Spam musubi

The second is Spam musubi. Spam musubi is so good! The saltiness of the Spam is great with lots of rice and nori. Plus it's the perfect on-the-go food, kind of like Japanese onigiri (posts on onigiri to follow!) Spam musubi is everywhere in Hawaii... restaurants, McDonald's, 7-11. I didn't have a lot of rice left over from breakfast, so at first I wanted to make the Spam musubi with only one layer of rice, one slice of spam on top, and wrapped in nori. But M, ever the spam purist, ridiculed that style as the "kind of Spam musubi at 7-11." So I went with two layers of rice surrounding the spam, wrapped up completely with nori. Yum yum yum!

Spam musubi
  • 1 can of Spam
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • oil
  • 2-3 cups of cooked rice (white, medium or short grain preferred)
  • sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • Spam musubi mold, or empty Spam can with top and bottom removed using can opener
1. Combine soy sauce and sugar in a shallow bowl.
2. Slice Spam crosswise into 1/4-1/2-inch thick pieces. Place in soy sauce mixture and marinate for 5 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a skillet on high heat. Place Spam in skillet and fry for a minute or two on each side, or until lightly browned.
4. Cut nori into sheets so that the width of the nori is the same as the length of the Spam.
5. Place the mold on one end of the nori. Arrange one layer of rice on the bottom of the mold and pack lightly. Top the rice with one slice of Spam and another layer of rice. Pack down the sushi and lift the mold. Roll the Spam musubi along the nori to wrap.

I used mini cookie cutters to make the heart and star "mini spam musubi." They will be in my bento lunches later on this week. They are so cute, I am in love with them! Even the purist approved of these. :)

Birthday cakes

For some reason almost everyone I know has a birthday in this part of the year. In my family, we have one birthday every month from October to February. So this time of year I am always baking cakes!

Chocolate ganache cake

This was kind of an impromptu cake for my boyfriend M's birthday. I had limited supplies at my apartment when making this cake. I used the Magnolia Bakery vanilla birthday cake recipe for this cake, modified to use only regular flour since that's all I had on hand. The frosting is a chocolate ganache. I like the silver dragees but you can't really see them in this pic.

Vanilla birthday cake

I made this one at my house for my brother's birthday. It was my first time piping shells so they aren't perfect, but I'm working on improving them! It was lemon or vanilla inside I think, with vanilla buttercream. The "Happy Birthday" plaque is made of melted white chocolate.

Lemon birthday cake

I think the cake looks good here, but in reality I don't think it was my best. It was very rushed because we held a huge birthday dinner for my dad, complete with 6 or 7 rolls of sushi, sake, and 5 courses. I was exhausted as I was making this cake! Although I do think my writing is improving!!

Over my next break (3-4 weeks) I will make some better cakes, with more intricate detailing, so stay tuned!

Victorian sponge cake

My first food-related post on this blog... something I made a while ago. Even though my friends I are but college students, I like our gatherings to be an excuse to dress up. I hosted a little "afternoon tea" because I love going to those Asian cafes. The ones I have been to have really decadent teatimes with different kinds of beverages and a set of pastries. In our usual potluck style, I was responsible for dessert. I wanted something tradition teatime-y, but also something that would make an attractive centerpiece. I settled on a traditional Victorian sponge cake, and since strawberries were in season, filled with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

I adapted a few recipes I had found online to create this. It was a bit experimental ^^ But it was light and airy like a classic sponge, the strawberries were fresh, and the whipped cream was of course delicious... everyone raved about it, so I was satisfied with the results!

Victorian Sponge Cake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (more for garnish)
  • strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease two cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in another bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully. Mix well.
4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Beat in the milk and vanilla until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the baking pans.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and unmold.
6. Whip cream with electric mixer. When peaks start to form, add in vanilla extract and sugar. Beat for a little while longer, but make sure not to overbeat.
7. Spread a layer of halved strawberries on the cake. Cover with whipped cream. Garnish cake as you like with more whipped cream, strawberries, and confectioner's sugar.

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Cat's Kitchen! At first I wanted to create a blog that had one focus, like breakfasts or cupcakes or something because I love reading blogs like that, they are so unique and interesting. I couldn't decide on one focus because I love a little bit of everything! So this blog will be an array of savory foods and baked goods. I love to cook but I have only begun to think seriously about cooking and baking for a blog post or a photograph. Please enjoy the site, it will continue to improve and expand!! :)