Comfort Foods

Monday Musings from Melinda by Melinda M.

It’s been pretty cold, dark and rainy lately which has led us to craving certain comfort foods. These are the ones we turn to when we want to feel warm inside and connect to childhood memories. Recently, we had a full week of them which made everyone at our table all smiley…:

Yummy tuna tofu patties with shoyu.

Tuna Tofu Patties – squeeze out the excess water from your firm or extra firm tofu blocks and crumble it all with a fork. Do the same with a can or 2 of tuna. Dice up water chestnuts and green onions and mix those in. Crack an egg and mix it all together. Then, make them into patties and fry in canola oil. Douse in shoyu (soy sauce) when enjoying.

Yummy shoyu chicken with rice and corn.

Shoyu Chicken – chicken thighs, equal parts white sugar and shoyu, 1/2 of that amount in water, finger of ginger smashed, garlic smashed. Boil it all together and eat when ready, maybe after 40 minutes to an hour. Over hot rice, of course!

Yummy pork tofu over rice.

Pork Tofu – while there was a recipe my mother-in-law likely followed, we used this one:


To note the cultural differences, I will say here that I don’t think I had ever eaten tofu nor used “soy sauce” as a major ingredient before moving here after college. I’m sure I had cubes of tofu in miso soups and used shoyu/soy sauce as a condiment, but we definitely never made tofu at home nor ordered it as the protein in Asian restaurants. Now, it is a weekly staple of our family.

Yummy Portuguese bean soup on a cold and rainy Hilo day.

One final comfort food we craved and ate this week: Portuguese bean soup. By now this has even become my comfort food! To make it you need:


  • 2 lbs Portuguese sausage, cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 1 lb ham hock (we just use a thick slice of smoked ham)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 qt water
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce & 3/4 can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans w/liquid

Put sausage, ham hock and onion into a large sauce pot, add water. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour. Remove meat from ham hock. Put meat back into soup and add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, celery and tomato sauce & paste. Cover and continue cooking for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, including liquid, and cook a few more minutes. Add more water if necessary!

So ono!!



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