Feb 27, 2012

Roots Of Today's 'New' Hawaiian Cuisine

"Navigator" painting by Herb Kane
Polynesian explorers began their voyages of colonization into the Pacific over 3000 years ago. Legend has it that these explorers, from the Marquesan Islands, believed that there was land to the southwest... the land of the 'long white cloud'. They named these islands Aotearoa. 

As populations grew new lands were needed. So these early Polynesian explorers sailed with their families in huge seaworthy twin hulled 'waka' (canoes), hundreds of miles over open ocean. The Kaiwhakatere (navigator) used many different skills to guide the canoe including the ability to read the ocean swells, prevailing winds and currents, use the stars as a compass, and interpret the flight paths of land-based birds. 

The ocean-going waka were built to hold 60-100 people. On their voyage they cooked and dried kumara, a type of sweet potato, as their main food source at sea. Other foods such as yams, bananas and breadfruit were eaten, and green coconuts were used as a source of water. 

When they finally arrived some time between 350 - 750 A.D., they found that these isolated islands contained nothing edible on land. Fortunately they brought food plants for sustenance in the new land. The most important plants were taro and sweet potato. The terrain and climate proved to be especially suitable for growing wetland taro. Also important were, breadfruit, various yams, sugar cane, coconut, kukui nut (ground roasted to make a flavoring called inamona), and mountain apples. 

Besides edible plants, they brought pigs, poultry and dogs; which were bred for food. They found island fish such as mullet and mahi mahi, moi, and other seafood, like seaweed and the mussel called opihi. Moi were the most desired fish of the ali'i (royalty) of old Hawaii. Moi were so treasured that fishponds were specially built along the coastline for their culture. Many of these fishponds still exist here on the island of Moloka'i where I live. 

Until European settlers came to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 18th century, the early Hawaiian diet, nutritious and low in fat, characterized Hawaiian cuisine. The discovery of the Hawaiian Islands was one of the greatest accomplishments of the Polynesian navigators, who explored and colonized islands from New Zealand to Rapa Nui (Easter Island).


Chinese Laborers Arrive in Hawaii Circa 1889
Hawaii State Archives
The 19th century marked a historical period in Hawaii as thousands of immigrants from different countries came to the islands seeking work. The Chinese were the first group of Asian immigrants to settle in Hawaii over 150 years ago. Over 46,000 Chinese immigrants brought their customs, cultural activities and especially their ethnic foods. The Chinese immigrants brought Cantonese cuisine, cooking the first stir fry, sweet and sour, and dim sum dishes in the islands, and replaced poi with rice, adding their own herbs and spices. Chinese rice growers imported familiar fish varieties from Asia to stock local streams and irrigation ditches. 

Soon after the Chinese arrived, Asian immigrants came to Hawaii from many other countries including Japan, Philippines, Portugal, Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. As these immigrants became a part of their new society, so did their cuisine become part of the Hawaiian culture. Today, there are over 28 Asian ethnic groups in Hawaii, and they have all contributed to what has become the new Hawaiian cuisine. 

The Chinese were followed by large waves of Japanese between 1890 and 1924. The Filipinos and Koreans started immigrating in the early 1900s, with a major influx of Koreans during the Korean War. Each group wanted to eat the foods from their own cuisine, and so farms and grocery stores were established on the islands. With the onset of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Hawaii saw an influx of immigrants from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. In the late 1970s, several other Asian ethnic groups began migrating to Hawaii to escape persecution in their homelands and seek a better life.

As the Asian population in Hawaii grew, their influence on the native cuisine spread as well. Hawaiians began substituting rice for potatoes and bread, cooking with soy products and tofu and adapting their cooking methods to include steaming and stir-fry. The Asian cuisine, unable to access many ingredients traditional in their homelands, had to adapt as well, and Asian-Hawaiian fusion dishes became an integral part of Hawaii's cuisine. Hawaii's cuisine today is a reflection of its native ingredients and influences from all of the Asian ethnic groups that inhabit the islands.

As Hawaii developed as a tourist destination in the mid- to late-20th century, regional cuisine popped up. Today, it prominently features fusions of Pacific Rim, Indo-Pacific, Euro-Pacific and Euro-Asian food. The 2010 United States Census Bureau states that in Hawaii, Asians made up the highest proportion of the total population (57%) compared to less than 5 percent of the United States overall, and is projected to reach 9% by the year 2050. These latest figures show a clear direction for Hawaii's 'new' cuisine.

Recipes:

Spicy Ahi Poke
Ingredients:
2 pounds highest-quality ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons tobiko (flying fish eggs)
1/2 cup shoyu
1 heaping tablespoon Ko Choo Jang chili paste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup sugar
bunch of Cilantro, chopped (Chinese parsley) or
green onions, chopped fine

Procedure:
Start with the shoyu. Add sugar slowly, until you have "cut the saltiness of the shoyu" but do not make it taste 'sweet'. Add the Ko Choo Jang paste and mix well. Add sesame oil, sesame seeds, chopped parsley, ahi and tobiko, mixed gently. Refrigerate for about an hour to allow flavors to marry, then serve with Sapporo brand Japanese beer. Makes 8 servings.


Hot and Sour Soup
Ingredients:
1 tablespoons wood ear* strips, soaked in water about 4 hours
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
5 ounces bean curd (cut in thin one-inch slices)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon Chinese red hot pepper sauce
10 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch, blended with 4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup thin strips of fresh pork
3 beaten eggs
10 cups chicken broth
chopped green onions for garnish

Procedure:
Heat chicken broth to boiling. Add pork strips, bamboo shoots, wood ear (drained), bean curd, and mushrooms. Return to boiling and add salt, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, red pepper sauce, and vinegar, stirring all along. Continue boiling for a total cooking time of 20 minutes.

Stir in cornstarch mixture and keep stirring until soup is thickened. Pour beaten eggs gently over the top. Turn off the heat and stir eggs gently into soup. Add sesame oil. Spoon into bowls and serve topped with chopped green onions if desired.

*Wood ear: Dried edible fungus, used primarily in Asian cuisine; these are commonly sold in Asian markets shredded and dried. Makes 10 servings.


Portuguese Chili
Ingredients:
2 pound ground beef
1 pound Portuguese sausage, sliced
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
1 29-ounce can kidney beans, with liquid
1 29-ounce can pinto beans, with liquid
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green chili
1/4 cup diced celery
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cup water

Procedure:
Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off the fat. Using a fork, crumble the cooked beef into pea-size pieces. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours. Note: Top with some chopped green onions and cheddar cheese. Makes 8 servings.


Spicy Thai Beef Salad
Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
cooking spray
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, trimmed if necessary, cut into thin strips
4 cups torn mixed salad greens

Procedure:
Mix bell pepper and cucumbers in large bowl; set aside. Combine lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, basil, mint and ground ginger in small bowl; set aside.

Spray large skillet or wok with cooking spray; heat over medium heat 1 minute. Add jalapeno peppers, grated ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in steak; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring frequently. Add to bell pepper mixture; mix lightly. Set aside.

Add lime juice mixture to same skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 30 seconds.

Divide greens among 4 salad plates; top evenly with the steak mixture. Drizzle with the lime juice mixture. Makes 4 servings.


Chinese Chicken Long Rice
Ingredients:
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into small strips
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
dash pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6-8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2-4 chopped green onions
10 ounces long rice* (cellophane noodles)
8 ounces chicken broth

Procedure: 
Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sugar and pepper to create a marinade. Add the chicken and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cover and soak long rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Cut into eight lengths. (Smaller lengths can be used based on preference.) Place a large skillet or wok over high heat. When hot add vegetable oil and marinated chicken. Cook until chicken no longer is pink, turning often.

Reduce heat and add mushrooms, green onions, long rice, chicken broth and remainder of soy sauce. Simmer until hot, stirring often - about 3 minutes. *Note: Long rice requires very little cooking time. It absorbs liquid very easily and can easily break down if cooked too long. Makes 6 servings.


Wilted Bok Choy with Soy Sauce and Peanuts
Cultivated in China since ancient times, bok choy is found in soups and stir-fries, appetizers and main dishes. Bok choy's popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium, but it is low in calories, a truly great vegetable. This simple recipe will have you sold on bok choy.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 bunch bok choy, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Procedure:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bok choy and saute 3 minutes. Add soy sauce and red pepper flakes and cook 2 more minutes, until bok choy stalks are tender-crisp and leaves are wilted. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Arrange bok choy on plates and top with peanuts just before serving. Makes 4 servings.





Tahitian Lime Pie
Tahitian limes are a variety of lime that grows here on Moloka’i, they have a fairly thin rind and their flesh is pale green, seedless, and very juicy when they are ripe. Tahitian limes are often used in the well-known key lime pie because key limes are often not available in Hawaii. As far as I am concerned, Tahitian limes are much better than key limes. This is one of the best pies I have ever eaten, it is rich, and only a small slice is necessary. Trust me, you're going to love this recipe.

Ingredients:
3 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Tahitian lime juice (about 4 or 5 ripe Tahitian limes)
1 tablespoon Tahitian lime zest ,using a microplane

For The Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

For the crust, place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are the same size. Put cracker crumbs in a bowl and add the sugar and butter. Mix to combine. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Use an electric mixer and beat the yolks until thick and turn to a light yellow, don't over mix. Beat in the condensed milk, lime juice and rind. Pour into the prebaked pie shell and bake for 12 minutes. Once it has completely cooled, cover and refrigerate, about 4 hours. To serve, whip the cream and sugar. Pipe a lattice pattern on top, or spoon dollops around the edge. Makes 8 servings.


Feb 24, 2012

Rice in Hawaii

Chinese Laborers Arrive in Hawaii Circa 1889
Hawaii State Archives
Click on photo to view larger
46,000 Chinese immigrants came to Hawaii from south China to work on sugarcane plantations between 1850 and annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1898. Feeding them meant providing rice, not the poi they were feeding the Hawaiian laborers. At first rice had to be imported, but as the Hawaiian population declined, so did the demand for the taro from which poi was made. Taro patches became vacant. Like rice paddies, taro patches are carefully terraced and irrigated, and thus ideal for rice. The Chinese began growing rice in these patches. By the early 1860’s, rice was well established. By 1907 Hawaii had some 10,000 acres in rice and was experimenting with 130 different varieties. Only sugarcane surpassed rice as a crop.

The next wave of immigrants were the Japanese. They preferred Japanese rice, and California was growing it. By 1930, two thirds of California rice output was being absorbed by Hawaii. This rice was of the Japonica or Calrose variety. By the 1960’s rice farming was dead in Hawaii. Rice farming might have been dead, but rice was firmly established as Hawaii’s staple food. In Hawaii, every man, woman, and child eats an average of 60 pounds of rice a year compared to mainland Americans who eat only 9 pounds. Today rice is the staple food of more than one-half of the world's population.


Recipes:

Jook 咸蛋
Jook with Salted Duck Eggs
Click on photo to view larger
Also known as Chinese Congee, a chicken rice soup, sometimes garnished with Chinese salted duck egg.

Ingredients:
1/2 chicken
12 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 inch slice fresh ginger, crushed
3 green onions chopped

Procedure:
Cover chicken with water, add ginger, soy and salt, bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour until tender. Reserve broth.

Remove bones from chicken. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.

Place rice in pot with 10 cups of chicken broth to which soy and ginger has been added.

Bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce heat to low. Cook for at least an 1 hour, partially covered, stirring frequently. Soup is done when it reaches a porridge-like consistency. Remove crushed ginger.

Add minced green onion, more soy sauce and crushed red pepper as desired and serve.

Note: You can also garnish Jook with Chinese salted duck eggs (recipe), chopped bok choy, chopped watercress, chopped spinach leaves, or Chinese parsley (cilantro). Also turkey or pork works well in this recipe instead of chicken. Makes 8 servings.


Kabocha Squash Rice with Edamame
The sweet squash flavors the rice, and the edamame (soy beans) not only tastes wonderful, but add a nice contrast to the dish. Serve with chicken, pork, or fish.

Ingredients:
Japanese Kabocha Squash Rice with Edamame
Click on photo to view larger

1 1/2 cups short grain rice
3 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sake (Japanese rice wine)
2 1/2 cups kabocha squash (peel and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 1/2 cups cooked & shelled edamame (soy beans)
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

Procedure:
Put rice in a bowl. Wash and pour water out, then repeat 2 more times (this gets rid of some of the milky white starch on the rice which makes it sticky). Place rice and 3 cups of water in a heavy medium sized pot. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel and cut the squash (I like to use a serrated bread knife because the tough to peel, so be careful). Set the squash aside. Just before cooking the rice, add salt and sake to the water and stir. Then add the cut kabocha squash to the rice and bring everything to a boil on high heat without a lid. When it reaches the rapid boil, put the lid on and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand for 10 minutes (don't open the lid.) Fluff the rice, and cooked squash, with a spatula (the squash will be so soft that it will be mashed a little bit with the rice.) Serve and garnish with the cooked edamame, or perhaps pumpkin seeds, or both. Makes
4-6 servings.


Hawaiian Spam Musubi 
Hawaiian Spam Musubi 
with pickled sweet Maui onions and ogo 
Click on photo to view larger
The Spam musubi is perhaps the Hawaiian Island's favorite "to go" or snack food. Musubi (pronounced moo-soo-bee, with no accent) is a fried slice of spam on rice pressed together to form a small block, then wrapped with a strip of nori seaweed. Yes I know, Spam, is sometimes known as "Hawaiian Steak". Seven million cans per year are consumed in Hawaii alone. I am not a real big fan of Spam but I happen to love Musubi. It is delicious and makes a great pupu (appetizer).

Ingredients:
3 cups uncooked Japanese medium-grain sushi rice
4 cups water
5 sheets of Nori (roasted-seaweed found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
1 (12-ounce) can Spam Luncheon Meat
Furikaki (Japanese condiment)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine (mirin)
water

Procedure:
Wash rice, stirring with your hand, until water runs clear. Place rice in a saucepan with water; soak 30 minutes. Drain rice in colander and transfer to a heavy pot or rice cooker; add 4 cups water. If you don't have a rice cooker, place rice and water into a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave pan, covered, for 15 additional minutes.

Cut nori in half widthwise. Place cut nori in a resealable plastic bag to keep from exposing the nori to air (exposing the nori to air will make it tough and hard to eat).

Cut Spam into 8 rectangular slices approximately 1/4-inch thick. In a large ungreased frying pan over medium heat (Spam has plenty of grease to keep it from sticking), fry slices until brown and slightly crispy. remove from heat, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat, add soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine; bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Add fried Spam slices to soy sauce mixture, turning them to coat with the sauce; let spam slices sit in marinade until ready to use.

In a small bowl, add some water to use as a sealer for the ends of the nori wrapper; set aside.

Spam Musubi Press
Available at Amazon.com $1.15 + shipping
Using a Spam Musubi Press, place a piece of nori on a plate. Position press on top of the nori so the length of the press is in the middle of the nori (widthwise). The press and the width of the nori should fit exactly the length of a slice of Spam. (Note: If you don't have a musubi maker, you can use the empty Spam can by opening both sides, creating a musubi mold.)

Spread approximately 1/4 cup cooked rice across the bottom of the musubi maker, on top of the nori.

Press rice down with flat part of the press to compact the rice until it is 1/4-inch thick (add more rice if necessary). Sprinkle rice with Furikaki.

Place a slice of Spam on top of the rice (it should cover most of the length of the musubi maker), sprinkle Spam with more Furikaki.

Cover with an additional 1/4 cup cooked rice; press until 1/4-inch thick.

Remove the musubi from the press by pushing the whole stack down (with the flat part of the press) while lifting off the press.

Fold one end of nori over the musubi and press lightly onto the rice. Wet the remaining end slightly with water, then wrap over musubi and other piece of nori; press down on the other end. cut log into 4 pieces.

Repeat with the other 7 Spam slices, making sure to rinse off musubi maker after each use to prevent if from getting too sticky. Do not refrigerate musubi, as they will get dry and rubbery. Makes 32 musubi rolls.


Potluck Fried Rice
Potluck Fried Rice
Click on photo to view larger
Potluck Fried Rice can be any combination you like, whatever you have in your refrigerator. This is how fried rice started in China, throwing together whatever you happen to have and making a delicious meal out of it. Most of the work is in the preparation. The cooking only takes minutes.

Ingredients:
3 eggs scrambled into an omelet then cut into thin strips
canola oil for frying
1 1/2 cups leftover roast pork tenderloin cut into thin strips
oyster sauce
6 cups of cooked day-old long grain rice
Tamari soy sauce or regular soy sauce
1 cup green onions sliced thin, divided
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/2 cup broccoli tops cut thin
1/2 cup red bell pepper cut into small 1/4" squares
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts or chop suey mix (bean sprouts mixed with carrots, etc)
sesame oil
sesame seeds or furikake for garnish
Japanese cucumber cut thin on an angle for garnish
seasoned rice vinegar

Procedure:
In a wok on low heat, scramble eggs in a little canola oil to make a small flat omelet like cake. Remove and cut omelet into 1/2" strips and set aside. Add a little more oil to the wok and turn the heat up to medium-high, add the roast pork strips. Cook and stir for a minute or so, then add one teaspoon each of oyster sauce and Tamari soy sauce. Cook and stir one minute more. Remove the pork and set aside. Add half the green onions, garlic, celery, broccoli, bell pepper, and bean sprouts to the wok. Toss, then season with 1 tablespoons of oyster sauce, one tablespoon of Tamari soy sauce, and one teaspoon sesame oil. Stir-fry for 2- 3 minutes, then remove. Add a little more oil to the wok and the cooked rice. Season the rice with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Tamari soy sauce. Stir-fry the rice until heated through. Now add the pork and vegetables back into the wok with the rice. When well mixed and hot, you are ready to serve.

Pack the rice into a small bowl like a cereal bowl. Put your serving plate on top of the bowl and carefully turn it upside down so the bowl is now on top of the plate. Remove the bowl for a rounded mound of fried rice. Garnish the top of the rice mounds with the egg strips and the other half of the onions. Sprinkle sesame seeds or furikake on top. Arrange thin slices of cucumber around the fried rice and sprinkle seasoned rice vinegar on top of the cucumbers. Sprinkle more sesame seeds on top of the cucumbers and the plate. Makes 6 servings. Note: Adding shrimp to this combinations of flavors would be a good thing, I just didn't have any when I put this dish together.


Garlic Ginger Rice
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ounce fresh root ginger, finely chopped
1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed in water and drained
3 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh basil and mint, finely chopped

Procedure:
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy pan. Stir in the garlic and ginger and fry until golden. Stir in the rice and allow it to absorb the flavors for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the stock and stir to make sure the rice doesn't stick. Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce the heat. Sprinkle the coriander over the surface of the stock with the finely chopped basil and mint. Cover the pan, and leave to cook gently for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Turn off the heat and gently fluff up the rice to mix in the herbs. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.


Sweet Rice Pudding
Ingredients: 
5 cups whole milk,
1 cup short grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
water as needed
peel of 1 orange, without pith, in large pieces
1 cup sugar
ground cinnamon for dusting

Procedure:
Heat milk in 2 1/2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until
little bubbles form around the edges and the milk starts to steam.

In a separate pan, add rice and salt. Add enough water to just cover the rice. Place the pan over medium-high heat, cover,and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stirring constantly, cook the rice until the water evaporates, being careful not to burn it.

Stir the scalded milk into the rice and add the orange peel. Cover and simmer the rice for another 20 to 25 minutes, until it is almost done.

When the rice is tender, remove the orange peel and stir in the sugar. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes until the sugar is dissolved. The pudding should be somewhat thick, like oatmeal. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Pour onto flat serving platters or individual dishes. Garnish with cinnamon in the Portuguese style: pinching some cinnamon between the index finger and thumb, dropping it close to the surface of the rice by rubbing the finger and thumb together, in a design or initials of the guest of honor. Chill.

Serve chilled or remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Feb 23, 2012

Hawaiian Spiny Lobster

Grilled Spiny Lobster Tails
The Hawaiian lobster fishing industry was very profitable in the 1980s and 1990s, as approximately 1 million lobsters had been caught, creating a huge export market from Hawaii to the mainland United States. Overfishing forced the closing of commercial lobster fishing in Hawaii, and now the only lobsters that can be caught legally are ones that are caught by hand by divers during lobster season from September 1, to April 31st. The lobsters that most people know outside of the tropics are the American and European 'clawed' lobsters. These are cold water species that live on either side of the northern Atlantic Ocean. There are also 'clawless' lobsters that are found in tropical areas around the world called spiny and slipper lobsters. The Hawaiian spiny lobster has a purple and white banded tail and black legs with a single white stripe. It is the most common species beyond the surf zone into deep water in Hawaii. It can grow to a length of 16 inches and is endemic to Hawaii.

The meat of the Hawaiian spiny lobster is sweet and very tasty because of the clean waters here. Spiny lobsters, pound for pound, have more meat in their bodies than New England lobsters do. Without claws the spiny lobsters defense is its spines. These spines are sharp, so wearing rubber gloves when handling and cleaning them is advised. Spiny lobster tails are traditionally grilled, basted with butter, as seen in the photo above. They are also excellent steamed and roasted. If you get the whole lobster, make lobster stock out of the body and legs – once you've picked the body meat out. Pretty much everything inside the body is edible except for the lungs, which are grayish and feathery and attached to the flanks of the critter, the sand sac between the eyes, and anything tube-like or crunchy. You can eat the tomalley, but if you do don't make a habit of it – it's like a liver, and is where the lobster stores toxins. The coral or roe is excellent. When buying a spiny lobster, look for a lively one. Never buy a dead lobster that has not been frozen! Enzymes in the lobster rot the meat very quickly. When buying frozen tails, look for ones that have been vacuum-sealed: They will last up to a year that way.

Commercial efforts to produce mass quantities of Hawaiian spiny lobsters for the marketplace are "in the works". Whether such efforts succeed or not, the Hawaiian spiny lobster needs all the help we can give it - and the first requirement is a healthy reef system. The second is careful regulation of recreational and commercial catches. Without these two elements, they cannot survive.


Recipes:
Grilled Spiny Lobster Tails
Ingredients:
2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper
lemon wedges
skewers (optional)

Procedure:
Melt butter in a medium pan. Peel the garlic cloves and chop fine. Saute the garlic cloves until almost brown. Remove pan from heat. Pour garlic butter into a measuring cup up to 1/4 cup level. Set aside remaining butter for later use. Using kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the underside of the tail to expose the meat. Peel away the tail cartilage from the underside to leave meat exposed. Do the same for the other lobster tail. Brush 1/4 cup of melted garlic butter on to the lobster meat. Sprinkle on some paprika, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Put lobster on skewer rods to keep the lobsters from curling while cooking. Oil grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent lobster from sticking. Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat. Put lobster meat side down and grill for 5-10 minutes. Cook until lobster meat turns white. Flip the tails and cook 3-5 more minutes on the shell side. Remove from grill. Heat up the remaining garlic butter and serve lobster tails with lemon wedges. For side dishes, serve with a green salad or blanched snow peas that have been buttered, rice, potatoes or grilled corn on the cob and a nice cold bottle of Riesling wine. Makes 2 servings.

Spiny Lobster with Black Bean Sauce
Ingredients:
2 lobsters tails (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt to season
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons fermented black beans, chopped
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
6 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup Chinese parsley (cilantro) optional

Procedure:
Chop shelled lobster into bite sized pieces. Heat oil in wok or pan. Add salt, ginger and garlic. Put lobster in and saute for a minute. Add soy sauce, water, sesame oil, oyster sauce, red chili flakes, and black beans, and cover. Cook for 3 minutes; then stir and cook another 3 minutes. Thicken sauce with mixture of cornstarch and water. Add green onions. Garnish with Chinese parsley, if desired. Serve with white rice. Makes 4 servings.

Shirred Eggs with Lobster
In France, this method of baked eggs is called oeufs en cocotte which means "eggs baked in ramekins." This combination of creamy eggs lightened with mascarpone and sweet lobster is easy to prepare and as elegant a combination as you’ll find.

Ingredients:
8 ounces chopped lobster meat
4 tablespoon clarified butter
4 teaspoons melted butter
8 eggs
8 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
4 heaping tablespoon mascarpone cheese
4 teaspoon minced chives

Procedure:
Pick over the lobster meat and remove any bits of shell. Heat the clarified butter in a 6-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the lobster meat and saute, stirring, for about 3 minutes until warm. Cover to keep warm and set aside. Put about 1 teaspoon melted butter into 4 individual baking dishes. Break 2 eggs into each dish. Add 2 tablespoons of cream to each dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle lobster and 1 tablespoon of cheese over each egg and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn out onto a warmed plate. Top with chives. Serve with steamed asparagus spears, laced with hollandaise sauce and hot buttered English muffins. Note: Cooking time for the eggs may vary depending on two factors, your oven, and the thickness of your baking dishes. It would be wise to test this before cooking the lobster. Makes 4 servings.

Lobster Radicchio Cups
Here I have combined cold lobster salad with Japanese Soba noodles, served in radicchio cups. Soba noodles are thin, made from buckwheat, and can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Radicchio is very popular in Italy. It is a vegetable that looks like a small head of red lettuce, but it is actually an Italian Chicory. It’s leaves serve as a cup for this lobster, noodle salad appetizer.

Ingredients for lobster salad:
1 pound of cooked lobster meat cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, diced fine
8 stalks celery, diced fine
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk

Soba noodles, cooked and chilled
Radicchio cups
Radish sprouts for garnish

Procedure:
Mix together ingredients for lobster salad mix. Put a small amount of cold soba noodles in each radicchio cup and top with lobster salad mix. Garnish with radish sprouts. Makes 8 - 10 servings.

Lobster & Avocado Martini Salad
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 pound cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil or mayonnaise
2 teaspoons horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh, cooked corn kernels
one handful chopped parsley
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)

Procedure:
Whisk the melted butter and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. In a bowl mix the lobster pieces with the butter/lemon mixture and one of the chopped shallots. Add salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning. (There’s salt in the Old Bay so consider this when adding the regular salt). In another bowl whisk the oil or mayonnaise with the horseradish, remaining one tablespoon of lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it needs more zing, add a little more horseradish or lemon. If too sharp, add additional oil or mayonnaise. Spoon into martini glasses and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Cold Lobster Salad
with Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing

This is a simple but elegant and delicious salad. It can be made with lobster, crab, or shrimp, but I prefer Hawaiian Spiny lobster.

Ingredients:
About 16 oz. cooked, and chilled, lobster, cut into 4 portions
1 large head or 4 cups of butter lettuce leaves
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 fuji apple, peeled, cored, quartered. Slice each quarter into 3 thin slices
Ingredients for dressing (see below)

Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing
1 ripe avocado
1 clove garlic
6 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or green onion tops, divided

Procedure:
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. With a large spoon, scoop the avocado into the bowl of a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients, saving half of the chives for garnish, and mix until smooth.

Place a bed of lettuce on each of four salad plates. Place lobster on top of the lettuce, then arrange tomato halves around lobster. Drizzle dressing over each salad and garnish with chives and three thin apple slices on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Note: If buttermilk is not available, stir one tablespooon of fresh lemon juice into one cup of whole milk. Let the mixture sit for five minutes and stir until smooth. Sour cream or plain yogurt will also work – mix with a small amount of milk to thin it.

Feb 17, 2012

Papaya, "The Tree of Life"

Hawaiian Sunrise/Strawberry Papaya
Papaya, native to Central America, have been long revered by the Latin American Indians. Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought papaya to many other subtropical lands including India, the Philippines, and parts of Africa. In the 20th century, papaya were brought to the United States and have been cultivated in Hawaii, the major U.S. producer since the 1920s. Today, the largest commercial producers of papaya include the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico.


I am very familiar with papaya here on Moloka'i, because of Moloka'i's Kumu Farms. They grow organic SunRise papaya and ship 14 thousand pounds of papaya every week to other islands and the Mainland. The Hawaii papaya industry offers a wide variety of papaya to its consumers. Some of the varieties are: Kapoho Solo, Rainbow, Sunrise/Strawberry, and Kamiya/Laie Gold, however 75 percent of papayas grown in Hawai'i are the genetically modified Rainbow variety, designed by the University of Hawai'i to be resistant to ring spot virus. This variety is exported to Canada and to a lesser extent Mainland China and Hong Kong. On December 1, 2011, the Japanese government agreed to import Rainbow papayas, which is significant because it is the first horticultural biotech product and the first direct-to consumer food product to gain regulatory approval in Japan.


Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency. Once considered quite exotic, they can now be found in markets throughout the year. Papaya come in various shapes and sizes: the Hawaiian variety are smaller and are pear-shaped, while Carribean and Asian papaya are long and large, both are delicious. Most common commercial varieties, such as the Hawaiian SunRise (my favorite), are on the small side. Papaya with reddish flesh have a taste that differs from that of the orange-fleshed types, which are sweeter. When shopping for a ripe papaya, look for skin that is turning from green to yellow. Parts of the papaya may look bruised - this is normal. You should be able to press your thumb into the flesh. If it's too soft or mushy, or if it has a sweet smell to it, the papaya is overripe. If you buy a firmer, green-skined papaya, it will ripen within approximately 1 to 3 days on your counter.


Papaya offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but it is one of natures wonders. In the ancient Mayan civilization, the people honored the papaya tree as their sacred "Tree of Life." Papaya can improve digestion and prevents heart disease, arthritis, lung disease, and eye disorders. And with it's antioxidants, flavoniods, plus loads of vitamins and minerals, papaya will help you fight off cold and flu viruses and help keep you healthy through the winter. Papaya is high in: vitamins C, A, K, E, plus magnesium, folate, beta carotene, and lutein, and more.


Papaya can be eaten many different ways as you can see in the recipes below. They can be added to a fruit salad or to a host of different recipes. One of the easiest ways to eat papaya is to eat it just like a melon. After washing the fruit, cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then eat it with a spoon. To cut papaya into smaller pieces for fruit salad or recipes, first peel it with a paring knife and then cut into desire size and shape. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. Note: If you are adding it to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruits to become very soft. While most people discard the big black seeds, they are actually edible and have a delightful peppery bite that is more subtle than black peppercorns. Like papaya, the seeds contain an enzyme that tenderizes meat, so meats marinated in papaya seeds or cooked with them will be very tender. They can be roasted and ground or blended into a creamy salad dressing, giving it a peppery flavor.

Recipes:
Papaya on the half shell
Ingredients:
1 ripe papaya (seeded and halved, slice a thin piece off the back of each papaya half so it sits flat.)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup low fat natural yogurt
powdered sugar for garnish

Procedure:
Combine the lime juice and honey. Pour in the yogurt and stir in slowly until it has a thick and creamy consistency. Now, place your papaya halves on a plate and pour the liquid in. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar. Makes 2 servings.

Papaya-Tomato Salsa
Ingredients:
2 cups diced fresh papaya
1/3 cup red onion, diced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
zest of one lime
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh jalapeno chile pepper, minced

Procedure:
Gently combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with grilled chicken or fish, like tuna or mahi mahi. Makes 4 servings.

Papaya Seed Salad Dressing
You can buy papaya seed salad dressing in a bottle from your grocery store, but homemade is better.

Ingredients:
1 papaya, halved, reserving 1 tablespoon of the seeds
1/4 cup fresh papaya
1/4 cup maui or red onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

Procedure:
Add papaya seeds, papaya flesh, and onion to a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times to chop (the papaya seeds should be the consistency of ground pepper after blending). Add the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and pulse 3 or 4 times. Gradually add the olive oil in a thin stream, while the processor is running, to thicken the dressing. Taste and adjust the taste to your liking. Makes about 1 cup of dressing.

Note: This dressing makes a great marinade for grilled chicken or pork, use the papaya fruit in a salsa to serve with the chicken. Store dressing in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Hawaiian Papaya Smoothie
Ingredients:
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup papaya peeled and chopped
1/4 cup guava nectar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
1/2 cup ice

Procedure:
Place ingredients in the order listed in a blender. Pulse three times to chop the fruit, then blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Baked Stuffed Papaya
Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 (12 ounce) papayas
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Procedure:
Cook and stir beef, onion and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until beef is light brown; drain. Stir in tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, salt and pepper; break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered or without a lid until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Cut papayas lengthwise into halves; remove seeds. Slice a thin piece off the back of each papaya half so it sits flat. Place about 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in each papaya half; sprinkle each with cheese. Arrange in shallow roasting pan. Pour very hot water into pan to within 1 in. of tops of papaya halves. Bake uncovered or without a lid at 350˚F until papayas are very tender and hot, about 1/2 an hour. Makes 8 servings.

Moloka'i Sunrise/Strawberry Papaya 
Poached in Cinnamon-Lime Syrup
Ingredients:
2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
3 1-pound papayas, halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 lime peel strips
1 cinnamon stick
plain yogurt
lime zest for garnish

Procedure:
Bring 2 cups water and sugar to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Add papaya wedges, fresh lime juice, lime peel strips and cinnamon stick. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until papayas are just tender, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer papaya to bowl. Boil syrup until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Pour syrup over papayas and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Spoon papayas and syrup into 6 dessert dishes. Drizzle with plain yogurt and garnish with lime zest. Makes 6 servings.

Papaya Pudding
Ingredients:
2 cups firm papaya, peeled, seeded and mashed
2/3 cup fresh coconut, grated
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the papaya
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream

Procedure:
Combine papaya, coconut, lemon juice, sugar, eggs and cream in a mixing bowl. Whisk briskly to blend well. Add salt to taste. Spoon mixture into greased 1-quart-casserole. Bake in preheated 350˚F oven for about 45 minutes or until pudding is set. Serve hot with veal, pork or chicken as a side dish. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Papaya Chutney
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons (2 limes) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
5 cups papaya, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2/3 cups golden raisins

Procedure:
Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute one additional minute, stirring often. Add cider vinegar, brown sugar, lime juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and dry mustard. Stir until well-combined. Add papaya and raisins. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered glass container. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Papaya Pie
Ingredients:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups (about 1 medium papaya) fresh papaya cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Whisk together brown sugar and white sugar. Add papayas and toss to coat. Let rest for 10 minutes. Place papayas with its juices in a heavy saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Continue to cook about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is softened, but not falling apart. Remove papaya mixture from the heat and let cool until lukewarm. Stir in beaten egg with a large fork until well-combined, taking care to leave the fruit in chunks. Pour papaya filling into graham cracker pie crust. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let papaya pie cool before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings (1 pie)

Candied Papaya
This is a classic Portuguese dessert from the Cape Verde Islands called "Dulce de Papaya". It is important not to use ripe papaya in this recipe, or it will disintegrate in the cooking process.

Ingredients:
2 pounds almost ripe papaya
1 pound white sugar
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups water
1 lemon, grated zest

Procedure:
Peel the almost ripe papaya, remove the seeds and cut the flesh either into strips or into 1" cubes.

Combine the water and sugar in a large pot. Heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the papaya pieces along with the cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon zest. Bring to a heavy simmer and cook over medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar becomes a thick syrup (about 20 minutes).

At this point take the pan off the heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Put the papaya and syrup mixture into a jar and store in the refrigerator. It is typically served as a dessert with cottage cheese, cream cheese or thick yogurt, or as a sweet filling in fried empanadas (wonton wrappers stuffed with candied papaya then sealed with a little water and fried, then dusted while still hot, with cinnamon sugar). Delicious!

Feb 15, 2012

Shrimp Farming In Hawaii

Kauai Shrimp from Friendly Market







There is a huge domestic demand for shrimp, but the supply is very small, and most of the shrimp in the U.S. comes from overseas. Virtually all farmed shrimp are of just two species, Pacific white shrimp, and giant tiger prawns, which account for roughly 80% of all farmed shrimp. About 75% of farmed shrimp is produced in Asia, in particular in China and Thailand. The other 25% is produced mainly in Latin America, where Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico are the largest producers. The largest exporting nation is Thailand. That creates a $3 billion federal trade deficit here in the U.S., so there are strong incentives on a number of fronts to develop a domestic shrimp farming industry.


The U.S. Marine Shrimp Farming Program was formed in 1984 to find out what was required for domestic shrimp farmers to become competitive in world markets. From the very beginning, it has been clear that to be internationally competitive, U.S. producers must rely on advanced technologies, systems and products to offset other cost advantages enjoyed by foreign producers. Foreign producers' production methods enjoy lower costs for land and labor and, most certainly, lower costs for environmental protection. Such production methods, however, are proving to be environmentally and economically unsustainable. Massive disease problems are directly associated with deteriorating water quality and poor quality shrimp broodstock and seed.


The Hawaiian Islands, are among the most remote islands in the world, and provide an ideal location for shrimp farming because of prevailing trade winds and strong ocean currents. Some of the best shrimp farming in Hawaii is done right here on the island of Moloka'i at Moloka'i Sea Farms. Their facilities have been subject to rigorous testing by the State of Hawaii's Aquaculture Disease Prevention Program and as a result produce quality broodstock for customers in over 20 countries.


Researchers at the Oceanic Institute say their methods have produced large quantities of market-quality shrimp in an environmentally safe setting. Of the 9,000 pounds that are expected to be harvested, 7,000 will be sold to a local distributor and in turn sold to local and Mainland markets. Farm raised shrimp is being sold as "Makapu'u Gold Shrimp" at Tamashiro Market on Oahu. There are many other shrimp farms in Hawai'i but it is still a small industry, with less than $3 million in annual sales and making up just 10 percent of the value of the state's aquaculture industry, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Hawai'i Field Office.


Recipes:
Grilled Pineapple Shrimp Kabobs 
Ingredients: 
1 cup coconut milk.
3 tablespoons lime juice.
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic.
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.
1 teaspoon ground cumin.
1 teaspoon ground coriander.
18-24 pineapple chunks.
2 pounds of large peeled and deveined shrimp
bamboo skewers to put your shrimp and pineapple chunks on.

Be sure to soak the skewers in water for 1/2 hour before to prevent them from burning.

Procedure:
To make the coconut marinade, mix the first six ingredients in a blender. Place your shrimp and pineapple chunks onto the bamboo skewers and place into a shallow pan. Pour your coconut marinade over the shrimp and set covered in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Now after the shrimp has marinated, remove the pan from the refrigerator and grill your skewers of shrimp on a pre-heated grill on medium/low heat. Turn often and be sure to only cook until your shrimp is done, about 2 minutes on each side. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Fried Honey Sesame Shrimp
Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon each, salt & pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
2/3 cup water
12 jumbo sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups canola oil for deep frying in wok
3 tablespoons sesame oil
6 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Procedure:
Sift flour and salt and pepper into a bowl. Make a well in the center, add egg and water, and gradually mix with the flour. Beat to a smooth batter and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss shrimp in cornstarch and coat well. Shake off any excess cornstarch. Add shrimp to batter and coat well. Heat oil in wok and add shrimp, a few at a time. Cook until batter is golden. Remove shrimp, drain on paper towels, and keep warm. Repeat until all shrimp have been fried. Carefully remove hot oil from wok. Gently heat sesame oil in pan. Add honey and stir until mixed well and heated through. Add shrimp to mixture and toss well. Sprinkle over sesame seeds and again toss well. Serve immediately. Makes 6 appetizer servings.


Grilled Garlic Shrimp
This is one of my favorite shrimp recipes. What could be better than grilled, shell-on, shrimp that have been brined and marinated in a spicy tropical rub. Leaving the peelings on give these shrimp
Grilled Garlic Shrimp
Click on photo to enlarge
even more flavor, but you have to get messy eating them. I suggest serving these shrimp with the rice of your choice, and a little side salad or coleslaw, and of course, several cold beers.


Brining Solution:
1 cup Hawaiian or Kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts water

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 pounds large shrimp, with shells left on

Procedure:
Prepare brining solution and brine shrimp for 15 minutes. Remove from brining solution and pat dry, set aside. Using mortar and pestle, smash garlic and salt into a smooth paste. Add cayenne and paprika and mix well. Add olive oil, ginger, and lemon to form a thin paste, making sure the paste isn’t too loose or it will not cling to the shrimp. Toss shrimp with paste until evenly coated. Grill until shells are bright pink, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.


Shrimp Tartare with Avocado
Ingredients:
2 large ripe avocados, diced
1 pound cooked shrimp, diced, reserving 4 whole shrimp for garnish
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
capers for garnish
French bread, sliced and drizzled with olive oil

Procedure:
In a stainless steel bowl, combine ingredients, except for capers and bread. Mix gently. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for 2 hours. To serve, fill tartare mixture in 4, 3-inch wide ramekins on 4 small chilled plates. Carefully remove the ramekin molds. Place one whole shrimp on top of each mold and sprinkle around the plates and on top of the tartare with capers. Serve with sliced French bread drizzled with olive oil. Makes 4 servings.

Feb 10, 2012

The Exotic Fruit - Lychee

Hawaiian Lychee
Click on photo to view larger
Before moving to Hawaii, I had only tasted lychee from a can, however like most things out of a can, fresh is usually better. Peeled, seeded lychees have been canned in heavy sugar syrup and exported from China, Thailand and India for many years. Lychee is native to southern China and is the leading center of lychee production. The first lychee plant brought to Hawaii was imported from China in 1873 by Mr. Ching Chock and planted on Oahu. Lychee is a slow growing, long-lived, subtropical evergreen tree growing to 40 feet in height. They are a favorite home garden tree in Hawaii, since there is hardly a more attractive ornamental fruit tree than a lychee tree heavily laden with clusters of bright red fruits. Although a few commercial lychee orchards have been planted in Hawaii, they are erratic in bearing habit and productivity.


This exotic fruit has become increasingly popular in the last few years–showing up in juices and energy drinks, on restaurant menus and mixed in martinis. But the best way to eat the lychee is fresh, out of hand. The warty skinned, strawberry-red fruit is easily peeled revealing a clear, delicious juice. Surrounding a rather large dark brown seed is the translucent-white flesh of the lychee. After the seed is removed, the flesh is usually stuffed with a variety of things, such as cottage cheese, or a blend of cream cheese and mayonnaise, or stuffed with pecan meats, and garnished with whipped cream. Lychee is also used in ice cream and sherbets. They can be spiced or pickled, or made into sauce, preserves or wine. The flesh can be dried and eaten like raisins. Chinese people enjoy using the dried flesh in their tea as a sweetener in place of sugar. Also honey is harvested from hives near lychee trees. It is light amber in color, of the highest quality, with a rich, delicious flavor like that of the juice which leaks when the fruit is peeled.


Lychee, like citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. They are low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but are rich in dietary fiber which, can be very important for individuals who are concerned about their excess body weight. As a matter of fact, companies are launching an ad campaign about the "Lichi Super Fruit Diet". If you have never tried fresh lychee, do yourself a favor and seek them out, they are much better than a diet pill.


Note: If you can't find canned lychee in your grocery store, there are several places to order online if you do a search. This particular site, eFoodDepot.com offers groceries from all over the world at reasonable prices and flat rate shipping! You can find canned Thailand lychee under "Canned & Jarred foods" at: http://www.efooddepot.com/search/quick2.asp


Recipes:

Lychee Sunrise Cocktail
Ingredients:
1, 20 ounce can lychee, drained
2 cups orange juice
grenadine syrup
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup gin or vodka
12 ice cubes
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Procedure:
Divide orange juice evenly between 4 large glasses. Pour a few drops of grenadine into juice; stir once to give marbled effect. Blend or process lychees, sugar, gin, ice and lime juice until smooth. Carefully pour lychee mixture over orange juice. Makes 4 servings.

Tropical Heaven
This recipe starts by sauteing bananas in butter and sugar, then adding mango, passion fruit, lychee and grated coconut to create a heavenly tropical dessert.

Ingredients:
2 medium ripe bananas
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
pulp of 3 fresh passion fruit
6 fresh lychees, peeled, pit removed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sweeten coconut, grated
half a mango, sliced

Procedure:
Peel and slice banana, at an angle, into 1/4 inch slices. Saute in butter for 1 minute until golden. Add half the sugar and lower heat. Saute for 2 more minutes until the bananas are well caramelized. Cut passion fruit in half and spoon out the seeds and juice into a small bowl. Add the lychee, water and the remaining sugar. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar. To serve, arrange the bananas and mango slices around the outside of two plates. Place the lychees in the center and top them with the grated coconut. Pour the passion fruit juice around and over the bananas and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Lychee Ice
Ingredients:
2, 20 ounce cans lychee
juice of one fresh lime
3/4 cup powdered sugar
fresh mango or papaya slices

Procedure:
Remove juice from canned lychees (makes a great drink). Place the lychee flesh in blender with lime juice and powdered sugar. Process until smooth. Pour into a container suitable for the freezer, freeze until slushy, then beat well. Repeat this twice. Freeze for several hours until solid. Serve in small scoops with slices of fresh mango or papaya. Makes 6 servings.


Feb 6, 2012

Hawaiian Coffee and Chocolate

If you are like me, you love the combination of coffee and chocolate. Both are produced here in Hawaii. The Big Island is known for its Kona coffee, grown on the Kona coast. Kona coffee only constitutes less than one percent of the world's total coffee supply. It has a rich aroma and taste and is highly valued. Coffee is also grown here on Moloka'i, from Arabica coffee trees, at the Coffees of Hawaii Plantation. A cup of high-quality Arabica is beautifully fragrant, sweet and round, with an aftertaste of caramel and just a mild hint of bitterness.

Hawaii is the only place in the United States with commercial cacao production. The cacao tree, which grows the fruit that turns into chocolate is one of the oldest cultivated trees on the planet. Chocolate from Hawai'i cacao has proven to be a gourmet product, but unfortunately due to high labor cost, the industry remains small. The largest grower, Dole Food Co., has about 13,000 trees on 20 acres in Walalua on O'ahu's North Shore. 

Many Hawaiian food products contain coffee and chocolate but if you are ever on Moloka'i you need to try a "Mocha Mama", an ice cream and espresso concoction that is impossible to resist. It is the unofficial beverage of the island, and is one of the best sweet drinks in Hawaii. You can find it at Coffees of Hawaii, a 500 acre coffee plantation and espresso bar located in the small plantation village of Kualapuu. The coffee plantation was recently bought by Coffees of Hawaii and reopened for business. They now grow, pick, dry and roast coffee beans here. While at the coffee plantation, visit the store next to the coffee shop, The ‘Blue Monkey’, They happen to carry my cookbooks. They also have eclectic and beautiful handmade artisan products, many locally made. If you can't visit Moloka'i, try these recipes at home and get your "Mocha Mama" on:


Mocha Mama 
Ingredients:
3 cups strong brewed, expresso coffee, chilled (you can use instant espresso coffee granules)
1 tablespoon prepared chocolate sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups chocolate milk or chocolate ice cream
crushed ice
prepared whipped cream
chocolate shavings, or cocoa power for garnish

Procedure:
Combine all the ingredients, except the last three, in a blender and process until frothy. Pour over tall, ice filled glasses. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Makes 2-3 servings.

Mocha Muffins
Ingredients:
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
7 ounces of chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (Tia Maria or Kahlua)
2 tablespoons pulverized coffee or instant espresso coffee granules
2 teaspoons boiling water
powdered sugar for dusting

Procedure:
Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside. Boil water and mix two teaspoons water with two tablespoons of pulverized coffee (it will form a paste.) Chop the block of chocolate into small chunks. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl sift the flour and cocoa together then add in the sugar and fluff until mixed. Add in the beaten egg, melted butter, sour cream, milk, chopped chocolate chunks, coffee liqueur, and the coffee. Stir just until combined, then pour into the muffin pan allowing 1/3 of the space for the muffins to rise. Bake at 350°F. for about 25 minutes or until muffins are done. To check for doneness insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin; it should come out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the muffins from the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar, as desired. Recipe doubles easily. Makes 12 muffins.

Mocha Snow Cookies
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 tablespoon milk
Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)

Procedure:
In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and mix in the cooled chocolate. In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso coffee granules, baking powder, and salt together and with mixer on low add to the creamed butter mixture; then beat in the milk until combined. Cook's Note: Will make a sticky dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until firm, for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the icing sugar 2 times, letting them sit in the icing sugar in between coatings and completely covered so no dough shows. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets 2-inches apart as the cookies will spread. Bake until the cookies have spread and cracked, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a cookie sheet. Makes about 24 cookies.

Feb 3, 2012

Axis Deer Problems in Hawaii

Like everything else here in Hawaii, the Axis deer were introduced to these islands by well meaning people. When my wife and I moved to Hawaii years ago, we were surprised that they even had deer way out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We were told that they were called the “barking deer”, because they make this shrill, high-pitched short bark in the middle of the night. I presume they are calling one another for some sexual reason, but I don’t speak deer. The Axis deer is also called “spotted deer”. It is a beautiful medium-sized deer, slender and graceful. The coat is a bright reddish-fawn covered with permanent white spots and has a dark dorsal stripe. Antlers are long and beautiful. Its behavior is gregarious, living in groups of 5-10, although herds of more than 100 have been seen. Some herds contain all ages and sexes, others have only females and young, or only males, and the herd composition changes constantly. As is usual with tropical deer, Axis breed year-round, so there will be some males with hard antlers at all seasons. Rutting males fight frequently and furiously for females, injuring each other and breaking tines in the process. Females typically produce one fawn, sometimes two. They have a lifespan of 9-13 years. The Axis deer are mainly grazers, preferring grassland and open forest. It rests during the hotter part of the day, but may become nocturnal when temperatures are very high or when molested. It does not tolerate cold climates because it lacks the necessary layers of insulating fat. Their eyesight is excellent, hearing and sense of smell are good. Principal predators are hunters and wild dogs.

They are native to India where they go by the name ‘Chital’. Outside Asia, Axis deer have been introduced in eastern Australia, and in parts of Europe, South America, and North America including Hawaii. The Axis deer were first introduced to Moloka’i and O’ahu in 1868, Lana’i in 1920, and more recently, brought to the island of Maui in 1959 by order of the State legislature “as a game species with reportedly low reproductive potential.” Nevertheless, from the introduction of just 9 deer, the population is believed to have grown to 12,000 on Maui alone. There are now reports of Axis deer on the Big Island of Hawaii. They have become a major problem because of over population and crop destruction, especially row crops, coffee and tree crops, not to mention the damage they are doing to the environment and personal property, including mine.

Hunting deer here on Moloka’i has been a way of life for many years. The dark red meat of the Axis deer has been a huge source of protein for Hawaiian families. Unfortunately the Axis deer and goat population explosion has gotten out of hand on this island. I fear that soon, measures will be taken to eradicate this beautiful but invasive species from Hawaii all together.


Venison on Moloka’i is the best I have ever eaten. The meat is low in fat, calories and cholesterol and is more richly flavored than beef. The meat has no ‘gamey’ taste, unless it is from an older buck. The meat is more tender and better tasting if it comes from a younger doe. Venison tenderloin should be served rare to medium rare. Other tougher cuts, like the shoulder, need to be cooked low and slow, until the meat falls off the bone. The secret to cooking venison is to not change its flavor with marinades, soy sauce, vinegar or powerful spices. The goal is to keep the cooking process simple and let the meat speak for itself. You'll see what I mean with these simple and delicious recipes, give them a try.



Recipes:

Fried Venison Wontons
Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in water, and diced
fresh ginger root, size of a thumb, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup ground venison
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon celery leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili paste
24 wonton wrappers
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
canola oil for frying
1 small bottle sweet and sour Asian chili sauce like Mae Ploy brand, or make your own (recipe)

Procedure:
Take about 1/2 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms and cover with warm water for 1/2 hour. 

Peel the ginger and grate finely with the garlic cloves. Mix together the ground venison, grated ginger, and garlic into a bowl, add the soy sauce, and lemon juice. Leave to marinate for half an hour.

Drain the shiitake mushrooms and dice, combine with chili paste and chopped celery leaves. Now combine this mixture with the venison mixture.

Spread the wonton wrappers on a working surface and spoon one teaspoon of ground venison mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Brush the ends of the wonton wrappers with a little beaten egg white and press the wrappers' ends together, folding diagonally. Also press the sides firmly with your fingers to prevent the meat juices from running into the oil when frying.

Brush the folded wontons with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. The sesame seeds will stick to the wontons.

Heat the oil to 320°F and fry the wontons for two minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve in small bowls. Serve with sweet and sour Asian chili sauce in small sauce dishes. Makes 4 servings.



Roasted Venison Tenderloin
Ingredients:
2 pounds venison tenderloin (backstrap), cleaned of all sinew and cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon coarse cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1⁄4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup beef or chicken stock
2 teaspoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste.

Procedure:
Marinate venison in olive oil, thyme, and black pepper for 2 hours to overnight. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat a heavy-bottom sauté pan or iron skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Add canola oil and sear venison on all sides until brown, about 4 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Flip meat over and place pan in oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 135˚F, about 6 to 10 minutes. Move venison to a plate, and tent with foil. In the same pan, add red wine and red wine vinegar. Reduce over high heat until thick and syrupy. Then add stock to pan and reduce until syrupy. Add butter to pan and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cut venison on an angle and place venison on plates. Spoon sauce over the meat. Serve with wild rice and roasted beets gratin. This recipe is from my cookbook "Ambrosia". Makes 4 servings.



Roasted Venison Shoulder
This is a low and slow cooking recipe for the tougher cuts of venison like the shoulder.

Ingredients:
1 shoulder of venison
1⁄4 cup bacon drippings or canola oil
2 onions, diced small
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 apples, Granny Smith, cored and diced
2 ounces mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms are my favorite
2 cups beef broth
1 cup apple juice
1 cup red wine
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 dash sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure:
Season venison shoulder with salt and pepper. Over high heat, add oil to pot, then brown venison on both sides. Remove venison, then add onion, carrot, and celery. Reduce heat to medium and stir while cooking, until vegetables have become mahogany in color. Then stir in flour. When flour has been well incorporated, add garlic, tomato, apple, and mushrooms. Let mixture come to a boil before slowly stirring in beef broth, apple juice, and red wine. Raise heat to high and bring it to a boil again. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sugar, and venison shoulder. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cover pot. Cook for 2 hours, or until meat begins to pull from the bone with a fork. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Remove from heat. Take out venison shoulder and carefully pull meat from the bone. Return meat to the cooking liquid until ready to serve. Serve with mashed potatoes, rosemary and parmesan cheese. This recipe is from my cookbook “Ambrosia”. Makes 6 servings.



Venison Kabobs
Ingredients:
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves
8 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1-2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons salt
1 pound venison kabob meat (tenderloin, shoulder, whatever you have, but the more tender the cut the better.)

Procedure:
Place the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and salt in a jar and shake until well mixed. Cut the venison into 2-inch cubes and marinate in the sauce for 1/2 hour. Thread meat onto skewers. Lightly coat a grill with nonstick cooking spray, heat, and grill the venison until done, about 6 minutes total. Makes 4 servings.



Moloka'i Venison Stew 
with Kabocha Squash & Barley
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 1/2 hour, stems removed and discarded
2 cups peeled, cubed kabocha squash (1-inch cubes)
1 1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless venison shoulder or rump, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups low sodium beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 large cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cups pearl barley
Water as needed (approximately 3/4 cups)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Procedure:
Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, onions, mushrooms, kabocha squash cubes, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme, stirring gently to coat vegetables. Cook vegetables until browned, then remove to a bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle venison cubes with salt and pepper. Brown venison, in small batches, in the Dutch oven, then transfer to a plate (add additional 1 tablespoon of oil if needed). When all venison is browned, return it to Dutch oven. Add beef stock, bay leaf, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir vegetables into stew. Cover and simmer until vegetables and barley are tender, about 45 minutes longer; add water as needed during cooking to keep mixture moist. If you want a thicker sauce, mix cornstarch with an equal amount of water. Stir into stew until mixture has thickened. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle stew with parsley and serve. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of merlot. Makes 4 servings.



Venison Meatloaf
Ingredients:
2 pound ground venison, or hamburger meat.
1 pound ground pork if using venison
1 cup bread crumbs, or one slice of bread, torn into small pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup spicy BBQ sauce, or tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
1/4 cup oyster sauce

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine venison, pork, bread crumbs, and onions and mix well. Mix with your hands to make sure ingredients are well blended. Add the milk, eggs, BBQ sauce, salt, pepper, and half of the ketchup to meat mixture and combine well. Put in a loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. Mix the other half of the ketchup with the oyster sauce. Spread over loaf and bake 1 hour or until done. Let set for 5 minutes before serving with my Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. Makes one loaf for 6 people.

Venison Meatloaf Meat Sauce
If you like meat sauce as much as I do, then what I do is double this recipe. One night I serve the meatloaf, or have meatloaf sandwiches, then I take the leftover meatloaf and make a meat sauce by adding my "Mamma Mia" Marinara Sauce with the crumbled meatloaf to a thick consistency. I then freeze the meat sauce in ice-cream containers. Then whenever I want pasta with meat sauce, I just defrost the sauce and mix it into the cooked pasta, topped with parmesan cheese.



No Fat Venison Burger
Most people add a minimum of 15% pork or beef fat to their ground venison because venison meat is so lean. This recipe uses no fat, with egg to bind, bread crumbs for softness, and seasoning for added flavor.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground venison
2 tablespoons minced roasted garlic
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons worchestershire
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper to taste.

Procedure:
Mix all the ingredients together and form patties. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Caution, venison cooks quickly, so don't walk away from the stove. Serve on an onion bun with lettuce and tomato. A lot of people like to put mustard on their buns, but I like a 50/50 combination of ketchup and Asian oyster sauce. Makes 4 burgers.



Venison Chili
Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1 pound ground venison
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Procedure:
Heat a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add venison; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Cover and keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in chili powder and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper). Add venison, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and tomato paste, stirring until well combined; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add red kidney beans; cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Serve with "Iron Skillet Cornbread" . Makes 4 servings.

Note: I like to make this chili in taco salad. Simply make a dressing out of my Pico de Gallo salsa and add a small can of tomato sauce to it. Then crush up a bag of corn chips. Grate some carrots and cheddar cheese. Thinly slice a head of Napa cabbage, then mix everything together for a great salad.