Feb 19, 2018

A Symphony of Flavors in Every Bite!

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Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs
You will discover a Hawaiian symphony of flavors in every bite of this incredible dish. Tender baby back ribs with notes of sweet brown sugar combined with tart apple cider vinegar. Mysterious umami-rich flavor of Chinese fermented black beans, sweet pineapple, and soy sauce combine with fresh garlic and ginger to give you a climactic ending that's well-deserved of a standing ovation.

1 1/2 pounds of baby back pork spareribs (one rack of ribs)
   cut into individual pieces
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fermented Chinese black beans*, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons water
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Cut baby back spareribs apart and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a roasting pan, covered tightly with double-thickness foil and bake for 2 hours at 275˚F.

Whisk ketchup, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, Chinese black beans, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a pot. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer everything gently for approximately 10 minutes. Stir often.

Meanwhile, stir butter into a large hot skillet. When butter melts and just starts to brown, stir in all of the pineapple chunks without the juice. Cook, stirring, until pineapple is caramelized and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Now add the pineapple chunks to the ketchup mixture, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Combine cornstarch with water and add to the sauce to thicken. Bring sauce to a full boil to properly thicken the cornstarch.

Put ribs in serving bowls and pour the thickened sauce and pineapple over the ribs to cover. Let rest for a minute or two, then serve with Gingered Jasmine Rice and Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: *Fermented Chinese black beans (aka salted black beans) are actually fermented soybeans which adds a wonderful umami-rich flavor to this dish. It is available in the asian food section of most grocery stores including Friendly Market and Misaki's here on Moloka'i. It comes in little 8 ounce plastic bags, which is better tasting than brands in a jar. I usually add a little olive oil to them and keep it in a small jar in the door of my refrigerator. It can be added to a variety of stir fry dishes. It's nice to have on hand. 

Jan 24, 2018

Linguine with Clams

Clams are not native to Hawaii. In the 1920s several species of clams and oysters were introduced from Japan and North America to Hawaiian waters as a food source. Among these was the Japanese littleneck clam, also known as the Manila clam.

Today, little neck clams are actually farm raised here on the West side of the island of Kaua'i. Sunrise Capital, owners of Kauai Shrimp, not only raise white shrimp but also clams. I happen to be very fond of clams, especially when used in this easy recipe.

The ingredients are available almost anywhere, even on a small island in Hawaii. Once you have gathered them, it will take you about an hour to prepare this delicious meal for 4. It's best to eat it right away, naturally with a nice bottle of cold Chardonnay and some hot crusty bread.

Linguine with Clams
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 pound linguine dried pasta (one 16 ounce box)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 pounds fresh clams, shells scrubbed clean
   (available at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i)
3- 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams with juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine, like Chardonnay
1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced tomatoes in juice,
juice reserved and tomatoes coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top,
   with hot crusty bread on the side

In large pot over moderately high heat, combine 10 quarts of water to a boil with salt. Add the linguine and boil on medium high for 12 minutes until pasta is 'al dente' (quite firm).

Meanwhile, in large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat butter and extra olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, and red bell pepper, and sauté until the onion is just golden, about a minute or two. Add both canned and fresh clams and the red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes (chopped) plus the juice, and 1/4 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.

Drain the linguine and return it to the pot, mixed with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together. After the clams have opened in the pan, pour the sauce over the pasta and carefully mix the ingredients together so that the clams remain in the shells. Transfer the linguine with clams to plates or a serving bowl and serve immediately, sprinkled with the rest of the chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can remove the fresh cooked clams from the pan before mixing the sauce with the pasta. This will allow you to place them on top of the pasta after plating. They say "presentation is everything".

Also, be sure you inspect the clams before you buy them to make sure that the shells are not open. This could be dangerous to your health.