Mar 28, 2013

Discover TAMARI Soy Sauce
(green label imported) Tamari soy sauce,

10 oz / 296 mi size costs $7.91 plus S&H,
is the only highly recommended brand by
Cooks Illustrated Magazine. It is made
of Non-GMO organic whole soy beans,
and is gluten free.
I have been cooking for a long time, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered Tamari soy sauce. I love sushi bars, and I was told that most sushi bars don't use soy sauce as a dipping sauce for their tasty little fish morsels, they use a premium soy sauce called Tamari soy sauce. I did a taste test and realize that there is a huge difference in the flavor and saltiness between the two. Hawaii uses a lot of soy sauce, sometime referred to as "shoyu". You can easily find large bottles of soy sauce at Friendly Market, the main grocery store here on Moloka'i, but it's more difficult to find Tamari soy sauce, which comes in small 10, 15, and 20 ounce bottles for some reason. My only guess is that people have not discovered it yet, or it costs more. Here's what I found out about Tamari soy sauce vs. regular soy sauce:

Originally the world's first soy sauce was Tamari, the byproduct of making Hacho miso, a fermented soybean paste. It was the prized liquid that rose to the top of the cask as the miso was aging. This original 'true' Tamari had a very thick consistency, a strong distinct flavor and aroma, and was the color of dark chocolate. For centuries this prized liquid was reserved for special occasions and was a rare commodity. Over the centuries master brewers discovered that they could produce more Tamari by simply increasing the amount of liquid in Hacho miso production. This specially brewed sauce was thinner but had qualities similar to 'true' Tamari. The new liquid resulting from fermentation became known as "shoyu", the common type of soy sauce used today.

There are three main categories of soy sauce that are available in the United States today: 

•  Tamari, naturally brewed and made primarily with soybeans
•  Shoyu (soy sauce), also naturally brewed and made from half soybean and half wheat 
•  Nonbrewed, which is made from hydrolyzed vegetable protein

When judging soy sauce, the characteristics to look for are aroma, appearance, and most importantly, taste. Tamari, my favorite, has a soft, rich aroma; a very smooth flavor; and a well-balanced taste. Shoyu, although a modern-day brewed soy sauce with a balanced taste, is sharper than Tamari due to the difference in raw materials and a stronger alcoholic fermentation. Nonbrewed has a strong, unbalanced taste; a salty aftertaste; and is completely unlike Tamari and modern-day brewed soy sauce.

If you haven't tried Tamari soy sauce, look for it in your grocery store, or you can buy it online, it's worth the effort. I have found that I use 1/2 to 3/4 of a portion of Tamari soy sauce when substituting it for regular soy sauce. I reach for the Tamari when I want a bit more of a complex flavor on something like plain rice. I tend to use regular soy sauce when mixing into a larger homemade sauce or where the soy sauce flavor will blend into the background because the recipe calls for so many other strong ingredients. 

Note: Both soy sauce and Tamari soy sauce contain wheat, but wheat-free versions are available in most Asian groceries, making it ideal for anyone on a gluten-free diet. 

Shrimp Fried Rice with Vegetables
1 cup broccoli florets
7 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup cooked long-grain white rice (jasmine rice), chilled
2 eggs
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame (soy beans), thawed
2 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Chinese hot chile sauce)
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions

Steam broccoli 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to pan. Add garlic, bell peppers and sugar snap peas to pan, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ginger, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add rice and eggs, stir-fry for 5 minutes or until rice is lightly browned and eggs are scrambled. Remove rice mixture from wok, and add rice mixture to bowl with the vegetable mixture.

Wipe the wok with paper towels. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute. Add edamame; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in Tamari sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until liquid thickens slightly. Add vegetable mixture and green onions; stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Mar 26, 2013

The Aloha State Loves SALMON

Sesame Salmon Sashimi
Click on image to view larger
Hawaii is a state that consumes twice as much fish as any other in the U.S., local fish like ahi, ono, mahi mahi and opakapaka. But there is another fish that is not from Hawaii that is heavily consumed here, SALMON. Salmon was introduced to Hawaii by western sailors many years ago, and has grown in popularity ever since. The most common use for salmon here would be for lomi lomi salmon. Lomi lomi salmon is similar to poke, in that it is cut into small cubes and cured in salt instead of soy sauce. This dish is now a classic and integral part of most Hawaiian parties and gatherings, such as traditional luaus, and can be considered a Hawaiian ethnic food alongside poi, kalua pig, poke and laulau.

Most fresh salmon found in Hawaii is imported from the U.S. Pacific northwest, the Atlantic, and even as far away as New Zealand, but it is also very popular here right out of a can. It's one fish that you can always find in our small grocery stores here on the island of Moloka'i, alongside ahi tuna and mahi mahi. Salmon is also very popular served raw in sushi bars here in Hawaii. I love the stuff, who wouldn't, beautiful color, velvety texture, buttery flavor, and it's good for you because it's packed with omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. That's why "The Aloha State Loves SALMON".

Salmon Recipes:

Lomi Lomi Salmon Lettuce Wraps
Lomi lomi in Hawaiian means to rub, massage, or kneed. In this case raw salmon is cured with salt, then the rest of the ingredients are added along with lettuce leaves for serving as a delicious appetizer.

1/4 cup coarse sea salt
8 ounces salmon fillet
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 cup diced tomato
16 butter lettuce leaves

Place salt and fish in a large zip-top plastic bag; shake bag to coat fish evenly. Chill 8 hours or overnight. Remove fish from bag; rinse well. Soak fish in ice water 2 hours, changing water every 30 minutes. Drain well. Pat fish dry with paper towels. Dice fish; place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Soak white onion in ice water 15 minutes. Drain well. Add diced onion, green onions, and diced tomato to fish; toss gently to combine. Spoon about 3 tablespoons fish mixture into each lettuce leaf. Makes 4 servings.

Salmon Poke with Roasted Salmon Skin
Instead of the typical Ahi tuna poke that is normally served here in Hawaii, try this recipe using salmon, garnished with crispy roasted salmon skin.

8 ounce fillet of sushi grade salmon with the skin on
Tamari sauce or soy sauce
sesame oil
Shaoxing cooking wine or sake
black and white, roasted sesame seeds
Hawaiian sea salt, or kosher salt
furikake (roasted nori seasoning, available in the Asian section of your grocery store)
chives or green onion, chopped finely

Start by running a sharp knife along the bottom of the fillet to remove the salmon skin. Put the skin on a sheet of foil or parchment paper, skin side down. Put it into a 350˚F oven until it is crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skin from the oven to cool. When cool, cut into thin strips, and set aside.

Next dice the fresh salmon flesh into 3/4 inch cubes, and put them into a bowl. Drizzle the salmon cubes with a little soy sauce, sesame oil and Shaoxing cooking wine. Be sure to taste, making sure to adjust the flavors as you go. Add some black and white sesame seeds as well as some finely chopped chives or green onions. Finally season with a touch of salt. Spoon the poke into two bowls. Top with a sprinkle of furikake, then garnish the poke with the salmon skin strips. The roasted salmon skin is a nice compliment to the salmon and gives a good texture contrast. Makes 2 servings.

Sesame Salmon Sashimi
I absolutely love raw salmon, and this is an excellent way to try it. In Italy this would be called "Carpaccio of Salmon", in Hawaii it's sashimi, thanks to the Japanese. I like to buy the belly, lower side of the salmon, it has more fat, and fat is flavor. I wish I was eating this right now! (See photo above).

2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon prepared Wasabi paste, or to taste
3/4 pound, sushi grade, salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves for garnish
2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds for garnish
pickled ginger

Combine the sesame oil, Tamari sauce, lime juice, and Wasabi paste in a bowl to make a sauce. Arrange the thinly sliced salmon onto two plates and pour the sauce over the salmon. Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator to marinate in the sauce for 5-10 minutes. To serve, garnish the marinated salmon with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds. Serve with pickled ginger. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Tamari sauce is used by most sushi bars as a dipping sauce. It is very similar to soy sauce but is thicker, darker, and richer in flavor, and is less salty. Both soy sauce and Tamari contain wheat, but wheat-free versions of Tamari sauce are available for anyone on a gluten-free diet. You can usually find Tamari sauce, prepared Wasabi paste, and pickled ginger, in the Asian section of grocery stores.

Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon 
with Garlic and Dijon Mustard
This is my go-to baked salmon recipe for any kind of salmon, not just Sockeye.

1.5 pounds salmon
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
lemon or lime slices
1 tablespoon capers for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a rimmed baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, Old Bay Seasoning, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Mix well. Cut salmon into even portions and lay them onto your lined baking dish skin side down. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don't over-cook or your fish will be dry. Garnish with capers. Serve with rosemary parsley potatoes and lemon-dill green beans. Makes 4 servings.

Salmon Sliders with Fresh Pineapple Salsa
Hawaiians love sweet bread, a recipe that came to the islands via the Portuguese. It's a sweet, soft white bread that is made into a variety of shapes. Fortunately King's Bakery, over on Oahu, makes these little sweet dinner rolls that are perfect for sliders. Sliders are like small hamburger sized sandwiches. Add salmon patties with Hawaiian spices and top that off with a fresh pineapple salsa and there you have it.

7 Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls (King's Hawaiian brand sweet dinner rolls)
1 pound fresh salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, then cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Ponzu sauce
1 egg
dash of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil for frying

Pineapple Salsa Ingredients:
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 jalapeno roughly cut, or to taste
1 handful cilantro
1/2 small red onion, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste

For the sliders, In a food processor pulse one roll 6 to 8 times to create breadcrumbs. In another medium bowl, mix ginger, garlic, onion, soy sauce, Ponzu sauce, and one egg. Stir in salmon and breadcrumbs, add cayenne pepper to your taste. Divide the salmon mixture into 6 equal sections. On a square of plastic wrap, place one sixth of salmon mixture in the center. Gather all the edges together and gently squeeze at the gather to compress ingredients (this will help your patties stay together). Unwrap the salmon, which will be in the shape of a ball, fold the plastic wrap back over the salmon ball and gently press down to form a patty about 1/4 “ thick. Wrap the burger up with the wrap again and place on a plate in the refrigerator. Repeat with the remaining salmon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it’s finely chopped but not pureed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook sliders, heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan. Add salmon patties and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until crispy and brown on the outside, turn and cook an additional 3 to 4 or until crispy and brown on the outside. Serve on a split Hawaiian Sweet roll topped with pineapple salsa. Makes 6 sliders, enough for 3 servings.

Spicy Salmon Pita Pockets
Salmon is actually delicious cooked in a microwave oven. Here is a recipe that is fast and easy and it is delicious.

3/4 pound fresh salmon filet
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
2-3 fresh cut lime slices
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups of shredded Chinese cabbage (napa cabbage), leafy part only
fresh lime juice
1 pita bread
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, roasted

Rinse salmon filet with cold water and pat dry. Place the salmon skin side down in a microwave save container. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Generously spread the mayonnaise mixture on top of the fillet. Add lime slices and parsley. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave the fish for about 3 minutes on high. Check the center of the filet for doneness with a fork. If there is any uncooked fish, microwave for another 30-45 seconds. Heat pita bread in the microwave for about a 15 to 30 seconds on high until hot. Cut it in half and open each half. Fill each half with cabbage until it is about half full. Squeeze fresh lime juice on cabbage. Divide the salmon into two equal pieces and crumble each half into a pita pocket. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and Sriracha/mayonnaise chili sauce if desired. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Hawaiian Baked Salmon
I first had this foil wrapped salmon, grilled over kiawe wood coals at a potluck dinner here on Moloka'i. I was amazed to see the fish smothered in mayonnaise, but it all melted into the fish to make an incredible moist salmon. Needless to say, there were no leftovers.

heavy aluminum foil
3 pounds salmon fillets
5 lup chong (Chinese sausage), sliced thin
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cups Best mayonnaise
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
freshly ground black pepper to taste
chopped green onions for garnish

Place heavy foil in a baking pan large enough to hold the salmon fillets and be able to fold the foil over the fish to form an airtight package. Place salmon fillets on top of foil. Layer lup chong and sliced onions over the filets. Cover with mayonnaise, breadcrumb and parmesan cheese. Fold the foil over the fish and seal. Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes, then open the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is brown and melted. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with hot white rice. Makes 8 servings.

Pan Seared Salmon with 
Coconut Cream Spinach Sauce
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet cut into four pieces
canola oil for frying
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro or Thai basil for garnish
toasted macadamia nuts for garnish
coconut flakes for garnish

Ingredients for the Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh spinach stems removed, leaves cut into strips
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups canned, unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the spinach and onion and cook while stirring for 4-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk. Cook for another 2 minutes. If the sauce is thin, add some cornstarch mixture and cook for another minute. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons canola oil. Salt and pepper the four salmon fillets and place in pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on size and thickness of fillets), until salmon is just cooked through. To serve, place about 1/4 cup of sauce on each plate. Top with salmon fillet and garnish with chopped cilantro or Thai basil and a little toasted macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.

Salmon and Asparagus Wrapped in Puff Pastry
This is a beautiful dish that is perfect for a fancy dinner party. It's not Hawaiian but it's delicious and makes a wonderful presentation.

1 salmon fillet, about 1½ pounds
1 pound asparagus (trim off any woody stems)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or lemon creme fraiche (see recipe on this site)
zest of 1 lemon
1 pound of puff pastry (2 sheets, thawed)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Skin and bone the salmon fillet and set aside. Heat the oven to 425˚F. Poach the asparagus in boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well. Add to an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Drain completely. Cut the tips off the asparagus, measuring so they just fit across the top of the salmon. Set aside enough to cover the top of the salmon fillet. Purée the remaining asparagus. Add in the pine nuts and puree until smooth. Place in a bowl and stir in the mascarpone, and lemon zest, to blend. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay a sheet of puff pastry on a damp baking sheet. Lay the salmon in the middle of the pastr. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus puree on top of the salmon. Lay the tips of the asparagus on top of the puree. Brush the margins of the pastry with the egg wash. Lay the top pastry over the entire salmon and press the edges to seal. Trim the edges, leaving about a 1-inch border. Press with the tines of a fork to seal. Make two or three slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush all over with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350˚F and cover pastry with foil to keep the pastry from burning. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 6 servings.

Roast Salmon Linguine with Broccoli Florets 
& Creamy Parmesan Mornay Sauce
This is one of my favorite salmon recipes. A creamy Parmesan mornay sauce embraces the roasted salmon linguine with broccoli florets. This is an easy recipe, suitable for company or the family. Serve with a side salad, crusty garlic bread, and a cold glass of Chardonnay. 

1 pound salmon fillet, flaked
salt and white pepper to taste
1-16 ounce box of linguine pasta
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Remove any bones from salmon, leaving the skin on. Put the salmon skin side down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Coat salmon with a teaspoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Put on the middle rack of your oven and broil on high for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. When cooled, remove and discard the skin. With your fingers, break the salmon into small chunks, removing any bones you may have missed. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions, adding broccoli florets to the salted water during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in flour until well blended, about 2 minutes, being careful to not let the sauce turn brown. Add the milk and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, stir until cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice, stir until blended.

Add salmon chunks, salt and pepper, and heat through. Add the drained linguine and broccoli to the large skillet. Stir in basil, and capers. Taste for final seasoning. Serve each plate with a sprinkling of the remaining Parmesan cheese. Serve with a side salad, crusty garlic bread, and a cold bottle of Chardonnay. Makes 4 large servings.

Curing and Smoking Salmon at Home
Cameron's Large Smoker Cooker
15"x11" size for $54.95
Curing and smoking salmon is a good thing, and is actually quite simple to do. Naturally you will need a small home smoker to do this procedure. Years ago I bought this large (15"x11") stove top smoker called "Cameron's Smoker Cooker" which is still available on It's made of stainless steal and comes with "chiplets", basically containers of sawdust made from different hardwoods for smoking different foods. It's also dishwasher safe. Amazon's price is only $54.99 with smoking chips, but it can be also be found elsewhere, it's an excellent product. This smoker is a good investment. It can provide you with a whole new world of flavors, especially with fish and seafood. Yesterday I smoked 2 pounds of salmon using this device and after curing the salmon overnight, it only took 30 minutes to smoke it right over the burner on my gas stove. This smoked salmon is great served on a bagel covered with cream cheese, salmon pieces and a sprig of fresh dill on top.

Smoked Salmon in Cameron's Smoker Cooker
Click on photo to view larger
Brine for Curing Salmon:
This mixture is an important step in that it flavors the salmon before smoking it.

1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sake, or mirin (Japanese sweet cooking rice wine)
8 sliced peeled fresh ginger coins, 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed, deboned and cut into 2-ounce 1 inch strips
8 fresh sage leaves*

In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, sake or mirin, garlic, and salt together until the sugar dissolves, then add the ginger. Put the salmon pieces in a non-reactive container, or I use a large plastic zip-lock freezer bag, then pour the curing liquid over the salmon. Allow the salmon to marinate in the refrigerator overnight, (about 10 hours), turning it once half way through. Line the inside bottom of your smoker with heavy-duty foil, then put 1/2 cup of alder wood chips in the middle of the foil. Place the drip pan over the chips, then the grill. Spray the grill with nonstick spray so the salmon doesn't stick to it. Remove the salmon from the marinade, and place the pieces on the sprayed grill of the smoker. Place a sage leaf on top of each piece of cured salmon or whatever herb you like. Slide the top on to close the smoker, then place the smoker on top of your stove with the ventilation fan on high. Smoke the salmon for about 30 minutes. Remove the fish and let come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate in another zip-lock freezer bag and refrigerate. Makes 8, 2-ounce servings.

*Note: Other herbs and spices can be used to flavor the salmon, like star anise, sage, fennel, or dill.

Japanese cucumber pickles make a good accompaniment to this recipe (see recipe index). You can make this a few days ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

Smoked Salmon Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound smoked salmon, minced (I used the Cameron's Smoker shown above to smoke the salmon, using alder wood chips)

Cream the cheese in a medium sized bowl or food processor, until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lime juice, dill, mustard, cayenne pepper, and salt, and mix. Add the minced smoked salmon then mix well. Taste and add any additional seasonings to your taste. Keeps for a couple of days tightly sealed in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, serve with thinly sliced baguette rounds, cucumber sticks, toasted bagels, or your favorite crackers. Makes about 2 cups.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon
Click on photo to view larger
6 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup smoked salmon broken into pieces
1 teaspoon dried or fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Crack 6 eggs into a small bowl. Add sour cream. Whip vigorously until sour cream is incorporated in the eggs. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, then pour in the whipped eggs. Stir the eggs until cooked to your liking. Add the salmon pieces and serve garnished with dill and pepper with cucumber-tomato salsa on the side. Makes 2 servings.

Mar 21, 2013

The little fish that packs a WALLOP!

Avocado-Tomato Salad
with Anchovies, Eggs, and Capers

Click on photo to view larger
I'm talking about ANCHOVIES, they have been a staple of the global diet for thousands of years. And not just any staple, but one so highly prized that it was used to make a condiment, garum, during the Roman Empire that cost as much as the finest perfumes.

Unfortunately, many Americans scoff at the idea of adding anchovies to their food because of its strong fishy flavor, but that is changing. In recent years anchovies have become more and more popular as street food, as health food and as umami-dense morsels of fine dining. Many chefs have fallen passionately in love with anchovies, which is a core reason you now come across them on so many menus across America. 

Anchovies have been used in recipes for a very long time. They are a principle ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, Caesar and Green Goddess salad dressings, and in a type of anchovy paste called "gentleman's relish" which has been popular in England since 1828. Anchovies are wonderful used in tomato and fish sauces, with vegetables, chicken, and lamb. Just check out the varied recipes listed below.

Anchovies are members of the herring family, and swim in warm waters all over the world. They average 1 to 4 inches in length. Anchovies can be bought fresh, but unfortunately are not available here on Moloka'i. I recently read a food blog "rachel eats" that talks about fresh anchovies in Italy, with a simple recipe for marinated anchovies, check it out. Many anchovy experts like the salt-packed anchovies, but you do have to clean them, which means filleting, cleaning out the innards, removing fins, heads, and tails, etc. The flavor, they say, is a dramatic improvement over oil-packed. Personally, good-quality oil-packed anchovy remain my favorite for everyday use.

Another use for anchovies is in fish sauce which has found its way into kitchens around the world. Romans had their coveted garum. The Indonesians have kecap ikan, which dates back to the 15th century. Koreans useaek jeot to make their national side dish, kimchi. The Filipinos have patis. The Vietnamese have nuac mom, and the Thais have nam pla, an essential ingredient in so many Thai dishes. They all usually contain anchovies.

Oil-Packed Anchovy Tips:
1. There are two reasons why we don't care for anchovies in America: We don't use the correct balance of anchovies in our dishes, and we don't use quality anchovies. Seek out the more expensive anchovies, often found in a jar, not a can, at specialty food stores or Italian or Spanish markets. You'll be surprised by the difference in flavor.

2. Unopened canned anchovies are fine on the shelf up to 1 year. Once opened, be sure they are covered in oil in a sealed container and refrigerate. Use within two months.
3. To remove some of the salt from anchovies, soak in cold water or milk for 1/2 to 1 hour. Drain and pat dry before using.
4. Anchovy oil can be used in salad dressings or sauces in lieu of whole anchovies. It will have a stronger flavor than if the anchovies were used and also be more salty.

Unfortunately anchovies are mostly used as bait for catching tuna here in Hawaii, but more and more chefs here in the Aloha State are joining the rest of the world creating new tropical uses for this "little fish that packs a WALLOP".

Anchovy Recipes:

Mozzarella in Carrozza
Traditionally Mozzarella in Carrozza is an Italian dish of deep-fried balls of mozzarella cheese and prosciutto wrapped in battered bread, however in this recipe, we substitute anchovies for the prosciutto and fry this Italian gooey cheese sandwich like French toast, except in olive oil. This is a very rich dish, and makes an excellent appetizer topped with a julienne of marinated Japanese cucumber. Sooo good!

8 slices white bread, cut into equal squares while removing the crust (I use white potato bread)
1-16 ounce mozzarella ball, sliced or grated
8 anchovy filets, mashed
1/2 clove of garlic, mashed
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
1/2 Japanese cucumber, cut into long thin strips (julienned) and marinated for 30 minutes in Mirin (Japanese sweet sake) with a pinch of salt.

On a cutting board, mash the anchovy filets and garlic together with the side of your knife creating a paste. Divide the anchovy/garlic paste into 4 equal amounts. Spread the paste onto 4 bread slices. Put the grated or sliced mozzarella cheese on top of the other 4 slices of bread. Top that with the 4 slices of bread with the anchovy paste for each carrozza. For the batter, beat eggs and milk together in a bowl. Dip carrozza sandwiches into batter and make sure they are fully coated. In a saucepan, heat extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat, and cook sandwiches until golden brown on each side. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles and serve immediately. Note: Because this appetizer is so rich, I like to serve it with a julienne of marinated Japanese cucumber on top of each triangle. The julienned cucumber is marinated with a little sweet Japanese sake (mirin), with a pinch of salt. Makes 8 servings of two each.

Anchovies with Artichoke Hearts
This is a Spanish Tapas recipe that is easy to make and delicious.

8 anchovy fillets (use a good quality, olive oil packed anchovy)
4 marinated artichoke hearts, cut in half
8 strips of roasted red pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Wrap the anchovy fillet around a piece of marinated artichoke heart and roasted red pepper strip. Secure with a toothpick and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with slices of crusty bread. Makes 4 serving, 2 per serving.

Potato Salad with Anchovies Mayonnaise
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
sea salt
1 large celery stalk, diced small
2 scallions, chopped
2 large hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup Spicy Anchovy Mayonnaise (recipe below)

In a medium pot, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water over high. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool, about 30 minutes. Stir in celery, scallions, eggs, and mayonnaise and season with salt. Makes 6 servings.

For the anchovy mayonnaise: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and 8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (about 1 can, drained).

Polenta Cakes with Anchovies
These little bite-sized savory polenta cakes will surprise you and your guests because they are so good, and easy to make as appetizers.

1 cup instant polenta
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper
7 anchovies, or to your taste
mozzarella cheese, grated
7 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
14 small basil leaves for garnish

Cook polenta as per package instructions. Stir in butter, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Pour hot polenta into a lightly greased 8x8-inch square pan which has been lined with baking paper. Let cool completely in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Cut 14 polenta rounds using a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Top each polenta round with one half of an anchovy filet, half of a cherry tomato, and a little grated mozzarella cheese. Just before you are ready to serve the appetizers, pass them under a broiler until the cheese melts, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish each cake with a small basil leaf which you stick into the melted cheese. Makes 14 savory appetizers.

Grilled Shrimp with Green Goddess Dip
Before the advent of ranch dressing, green goddess was one of the most popular salad dressings on the West Coast of the U.S. It is believed that this recipe was conceived in San Francisco, at the Palace Hotel in 1923.

3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions chopped (white and green parts)
1 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, or classically, a combination of parsley, chives, tarragon, basil and chervil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds medium shrimp with tails on
4 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of cayenne pepper
fresh lime juice from 2 limes

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender and puree to make a smooth dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss the shrimp in a little melted butter mixed with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Grill the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the shrimp and serve warm or at room temperature with green goddess dip. Makes 8 servings.

Avocado-Tomato Salad 
with Anchovies, Egg and Capers
2 ripe avocados, cut in half, pit removed
1 head of butter lettuce
4 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
4 hard-boiled egg, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 ounce can anchovies in olive oil
1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
lemon juice
sliced baguette, toasted

Place each avocado half on a bed of butter lettuce in the middle of a salad plate. Gently mix diced tomatoes with chopped hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, and capers. Fill each avocado with the mixture, then drape each with 3 anchovy fillets. Top with some chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves. Drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and fresh lemon juice. Serve with sliced toasted crusty bread or crackers. Makes 4 servings.

Tapenade Butter
Great served as a topping for grilled fish or lamb chops, or stirred into your favorite pasta.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives, or Nicoise olives
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons drained capers, finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Mix everything together in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer tapenade butter to sheet of plastic wrap. Form tapenade butter into 1-inch-diameter log, wrapping plastic tightly around log. Chill tapenade butter until cold. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Cut log crosswise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices and put a slice on top of cooked meat or pasta as a finishing touch of flavor. Makes 4 servings.

Swiss Chard That's Very Italian
2 large bunches of Swiss chard, washed
1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove chard leaves from stems. Cut the stems into bit sized pieces. Add them to a large pot half filled with water, simmer over medium heat until they are tender. Meanwhile, roughly chop the leaves and add them to the pot with the stems. Continue cooking until the leaves wilt. Drain the chard in a colander. Return the pot to the stove and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, anchovies, and pine nuts and cook/stir until the garlic and pine nuts start to turn golden, but not burned, and the anchovies dissolve. Next add the drained chard and raisins. Toss to heat it through and the chard is coated with the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Anchovy Lovers Pasta
This is a delicious recipe for you anchovy lovers. It is a simplified spaghetti alla puttanesca, without the olives and capers, focusing more on the garlic and anchovies.

1 pound of pasta (traditionally served with spaghetti, although it goes well with penne, bucatini, linguine and vermicelli)
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
about 20 anchovies from 2-2 ounce cans anchovies in olive oil (use the oil for the sauce)
2 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes, or 2-14.5 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, saute the minced garlic in olive oil, plus the oil from the anchovy cans, in a large skillet. Cook the garlic for about 1 minute, being very careful not to burn it, then add about 20 anchovies. The anchovies will start to disintegrate quickly as you stir them into the oil and garlic. At this point, add the finely chopped tomatoes, oregano and freshly ground black pepper and a few tablespoons of pasta water, to give it a sauce-like consistency. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, then serve and garnish with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve with hot crusty bread. Note: Anchovies and anchovy oil is very salty, so taste the sauce for salt. This will tell you how much sauce to put on top of the pasta. Makes 4-6 servings.

Penne Pasta with Kale and Anchovies
8 ounces penne pasta
6-8 anchovies packed in olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
4-5 leaves curly kale, chopped fine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of pasta water for cooking at the end if you need more sauce. In a pan on medium-low heat, warm a tablespoon of olive oil. Add anchovy filets and cook until light sizzle for about 3-5 minutes. Raise heat then add tomatoes and cook down for about 10 minutes. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir in kale and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Toss pasta in the pan with the sauce and mix well to combine. If it seems dry, just add some pasta water. Serve with parmesan cheese on top. Makes 2-4 servings.

Mar 16, 2013


Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
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Whether you live in Hawaii or in the Middle East, pita bread (Syrian bread), is great for a quick meal any time of the day. Because pita breads form a large pocket of air in the center when baked, you can stuff them with leftover steak and onions with sour cream, fill them with tuna salad, or use them as a soft taco shell, the combinations are endless. They are also great to just serve warm with a stew or soup, or to sop up gravy from the plate. You can also cut them into small wedges, coat with olive oil and spices, then roast them until they are crisp. Use them to scoop up your favorite dip. "They are a good thing" as Martha Stewart would say, because they are so versatile. 

Easy To Make Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
Whether you buy them from the grocery store all ready made or make them yourself, you can't go wrong with this simple pita bread recipe.

2 1/2 cups warm water (110˚F)
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy. Combine white flour, wheat flour, and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression. Slowly add warm yeast water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough becomes elastic. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated with oil. Allow to sit, covered, in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500˚F, and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking. Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags. Makes 10-12 pita bread rounds.

Note: To make a cinnamon/sugar pita bread, add a little cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of your rounds prior to baking. When you are ready to eat your pita bread, you can eat them as they are, or stuff them with stewed apples and raisins with some butter for added flavor.

Storing Pita Bread:
Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer. Pita bread dough can also be refrigerated for up to one week in the refrigerator.

There are three easy ways to cut pita bread:
• a sharp serrated knife with pita flat against cutting board (my personal favorite)
• a pizza knife
• kitchen shears

The classic Hawaiian soulfood is Loco Moco. This is my take on making this classic mobile with Pita Pockets.


1 pound ground beef (hamburger)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
dash of soy sauce
dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs (cooked sunny-side-up or over easy)
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups cooked long grain white rice, mixed with a slice of chopped spam and green onions

2 whole-wheat pita pockets, heated for a few seconds in the microwave, and then cut in half with a serrated knife.

Season the ground beef with salt, pepper and onion powder. Add canola oil to a large frying pan, cook beef until it is cooked to your liking, breaking it up into chunks, then remove and keep warm. Combine the flour and softened butter and put in the same frying pan over medium heat until the mixture turns pale brown, stirring all the time, then gradually add the beef stock. Stir until the gravy thickens and turns brown in about three minutes. add mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and season with a dash of soy sauce and Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper if needed. Put a strainer over a pot and pour the gravy into the strainer. Set gravy aside. Fry eggs (sunny-side up or over easy) in butter. Divide hot rice mixture onto four pita pocket halves, top with the fried hamburger chunks and hot gravy, top that off with the fried eggs. Makes 4 servings. Serve with a lot of napkins.

Optional condiments:
Shoyu, ketchup, tabasco

Spicy Salmon Pita Pockets
Salmon is actually delicious cooked in a microwave oven. Here is a recipe that is fast and easy and it is delicious.

3/4 pound fresh salmon filet
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
2-3 fresh cut lime slices
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups of shredded Chinese cabbage (napa cabbage), leafy part only
fresh lime juice
1 pita bread
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, roasted

Rinse salmon filet with cold water and pat dry. Place the salmon skin side down in a microwave save container. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Generously spread the mayonnaise mixture on top of the fillet. Add lime slices and parsley. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave the fish for about 3 minutes on high. Check the center of the filet for doneness with a fork. If there is any uncooked fish, microwave for another 30-45 seconds. Heat pita bread in the microwave for about a 15 to 30 seconds on high until hot. Cut it in half and open each half. Fill each half with cabbage until it is about half full. Squeeze fresh lime juice on cabbage. Divide the salmon into two equal pieces and crumble each half into a pita pocket. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and Sriracha/mayonnaise chili sauce if desired. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Pita Bread Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, but have you tried making pizza with pita bread? It's easy and you can make them with your favorite toppings. Serve as a main course or cut up for appetizers.

4-6 pita rounds (white or whole wheat)
1 cup of pizza sauce (recipe below, or use your favorite store-bought pizza sauce)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice (veggies, cooked meats, cheeses)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Spoon pizza sauce over pita rounds. Top with mozzarella and desired toppings. Place on baking sheet and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Slice and serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: For Hawaiian pita pizza, use a combination of Canadian bacon (or slices of ham), diced, fresh pineapple, diced, and mozzarella cheese on top of your pita bread.

Pita Bread Pizza Sauce
1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of cayenne
splash of red wine (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it bubbles. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Makes 1 cup.

Pita Pockets with Beef Kafta
This Arabic meat mixture is usually grilled on skewers, but in this recipe we are filling pita bread pockets with the seasoned ground beef, or lamb. It is usually served with hummus and tabbouli as side dishes.

8 pita breads

1 pound ground beef, or 1 pound ground lamb
½ cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
5 mint leaves, very finely chopped, optional
½ cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons ground allspice
3 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup bread crumbs
1 whole egg
chile flakes, optional

1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded, or use small fresh spinach, stems removed
3 tomatoes, chopped, or use cherry tomatoes cut in half
Greek yogurt, plain
English cucumber, chopped
fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Mix ingredients together in a glass bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to a large skillet. Heat skillet on medium high heat and add meat mixture. Cook until meat is no longer pink, but do not overcook. Meanwhile, heat pita bread in a 300˚F oven, covered in foil, until hot, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cut in half with a serrated knife. Fill each half with cooked meat, leaving room for toppings. Makes 8 servings, 2 halves per serving.

"Fattoush" - Bread and Vegetable Salad
Fattoush is a popular salad, especially in Lebanon. The great thing about fattoush is that you can add and delete veggies from the recipe according to taste. Instead of pita bread, you can also use French or Italian bread. In Italy this salad is called "Panzanella", one of my favorites.

5 cups toasted pita bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1 half head of romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure for the salad:
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, bread, cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and parsley together. Toss gently.

For the Dressing:
In a small bowl combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mint. Mix well. Pour dressing over salad and serve.

You can add many spices to this according to your tastes. Some people like to add chick peas for a heartier salad. Serve 4 large salads or 6 side salads.

Sweet Potato Hummus
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet potato
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
6 ounces feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 cup water, as needed

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook garlic for 1 minute, then pour oil and garlic into the food processor. Microwave sweet potato until soft, then place in food processor with all remaining ingredients; process until well blended, adding water as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Serve with pita chips (recipe below). Makes 8 servings.

Pita Chips
Pita chips are easy to make, and are wonderful with your favorite dip like hummus, or served with a salad, like tabbouleh salad.

6 pieces pita bread (about 12 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Using a serrated knife, carefully split each pita bread by cutting along the edge, so you end up with 12 flat circles of bread. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside surface of each piece of bread lightly with oil, then cut each disk into wedges.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and place chips, olive oil side up, in an even layer. You'll probably need to bake the chips in several batches. Bake at 400˚F for 7 to 9 minutes, until chips are crisp and golden brown. Cool completely on the sheet pan, a plate or a cooling rack. You can make these chips a day ahead of time and store them in a zip-top bag at room temperature. Try the pita chips with your favorite dip (see "dip recipes" on this site). Serves 6 to 10 people as an appetizer.

Mar 9, 2013

Hawaiian "AKULE"

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The akule (from the mackerel family) is an oceanic fish that is abundant in Hawaii's shallow coastal waters, and around the globe in tropical regions where they travel in large schools. This small fish only grows to about 15 inches (38 cm) long. Other common names for akule include bango, chicharro, charrito ojon, purse-eye scad, coulirou, and goggle-eyed scad.

The young akule swim close to shore into protected bays and harbors providing great sport to shore anglers fishing with light spinning tackle. Adult fish are found offshore where they are netted or hand-lined in season by commercial fishermen.

They are an oily fish with lots of bones and small scales, and are excellent to eat raw, sliced for sashimi, fried, baked, grilled, steamed, smoked, or dried. 

The akule is culturally important to native Hawaiians who have fished and eaten them for generations. We are fortunate to be able to buy these tasty little fish here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, when local fishermen sell them out of the back of their pickup trucks.


Pan Fried Akule
Pan Fried Akule
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4 akule, about 1 1/2 pounds each
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup canola oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup soy sauce (shoyu), or Tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Clean fish, gut, scale, but leave head and tail on. Split the fish in half from head to tail, leaving the head on one side. Next, season the fish on both sides with a mixture of dried dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper, then dust the fish with a combination of flour and cornmeal that has been seasoned with salt. Heat a large skillet on medium high, and pour in about a quarter inch of canola oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Just as the oil starts to ripple, but not smoke, lay the fish skin side down in the hot oil and fry on both sides. This should take only a few minutes, or until the fish is golden brown. While the fish is frying, make a hot butter sauce with melted butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh grated ginger, and some chopped green onions. Serve immediately with steamed white rice and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Steamed Black Bean Akule
1, 2 pound fresh akule
fresh ginger
black bean sauce
green onions
peanut oil
soy sauce (shoyu)

Clean fish, gut, scale, but leave head and tail on. Cut slits in sides of fish and fill with plenty of fresh ginger and black bean sauce. Steam fish in a wok. When done steaming (15 minutes), top with plenty of julienned ginger, cilantro, julienned green onion. Pour super hot peanut oil on top of fish and toppings, it will sizzle. Then pour about 3/4 cup of shoyu/water (2:1 ratio) over fish. Serve immediately with steamed white rice. Makes 2 servings.

Foil Baked Akule
4, 1 1/2 pound akule, cleaned, gutted, remove head, put 3 slits into each side
seasonings (see below)
julienned vegetables, like carrots, bell pepper, whatever you like

Pre-heat the oven to 450˚F. Place each cleaned akule into the center of a piece of foil large enough to wrap around each fish. Season the fish. Typical seasonings include sesame oil, Tamari sauce, chopped green onions, minced ginger, minced garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Place vegetables and herbs on top of each seasoned fish and sprinkle with salt. Fold the edges of the foil over the fish. Pinch and seal the foil to enclose the fish and vegetables into a foil packet. Place the foil packets at the center of the oven on a baking sheet, and bake them for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the fish flesh is opaque and moist. Serve with rice and a tropical salad. Makes 4 servings.

Mar 4, 2013

My Favorite Salads

From tropical to classic, these salad recipes are some of my favorites.

Salad Recipes:

Hearts of Palm Salad
Hearts of Palm Salad
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1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, quartered and thinly sliced
1 head of curly leaf lettuce or watercress
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

On a platter, arrange lettuce leaves, followed by the hearts of palm, tomato and avocado, overlapping the lettuce. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Makes 4 servings.

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
This salad is all about texture and the flavors of Southeast Asia where it is hugely popular. Green papaya salad is usually eaten with barbecue or grilled chicken and a portion of sticky rice. The dish is made from unripe green papaya, which has a firm white flesh and white seeds, and can sometime be hard to find. If you are going to make it, look for rock-hard dark green papaya without a trace of pink or yellow blush on the outside. Normally this salad is made with a lot of hot chilies, but I prefer it with just one chili in the dressing.

Green Papaya Salad
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Ingredients for dressing:
2 large garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably nuoc mam)
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chili (1 to 2 inches long) or serrano chili, or to taste, seeded and chopped fine (wear rubber gloves)

Ingredients for salad:
1/2 pound small shrimp, shelled
3/4 pound green papaya, peeled, seeded, and shredded, or julienned into 2-3 inch strips 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor (about 3 cups)
1 carrot, julienned the same size as the green papaya
1/2 cup cut long beans - 1 1/2-inch-long segments (or substitute with regular green beans)
1 tomato, cut into bite-size wedges; or 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, no stems, washed well and spun dry
4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
mint or Thai basil sprigs for garnish

In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved, set aside.

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook shrimp 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cooked through. In a colander drain shrimp and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Halve shrimp horizontally. Add shrimp, papaya, carrot, beans, tomatoes, and cilantro to dressing, tossing well. Salad may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. Serve salad sprinkled with chopped peanuts, garnish with a sprig of mint and Thai basil. Makes 4-6 servings. Note: It is important to julienne the papaya, carrots and long beans as thin as possible, otherwise this salad can be a challenge on your jaws.

Asian Coleslaw
This is a simple Asian cole slaw recipe that is so good as a side dish for so many Asian recipes, like with ribs or chicken. It's also wonderful in a grilled mahi-mahi fish sandwich or fish tacos.

Ingredients for the Asian coleslaw:
5 cups Chinese or napa cabbage (1 1/4 pounds), thinly sliced with ribs removed
3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes, to your taste (optional)

3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds for garnish (black sesame seeds make a nice contrast)

Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and red bell pepper in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

The NEW Classic Iceberg Wedge Salad 
with Chunky Blue Cheese/Dill Dressing
The NEW Classic Iceberg Wedge Salad
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3 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons of dried dill
1 cup (4 ounces) good blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chives, or scallions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Iceberg lettuce, quartered
Cherry Tomatoes cut in half, for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, and dill. Add half the blue cheese and mix together, using the backside of a spoon to mash the blue cheese into the mixture. Some chunks of blue cheese should remain. Add the chives, or scallions, and season with salt and pepper, stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Cut the cold iceberg lettuce into quarters. Place a wedge of the lettuce in the center of the cold plate and generously spoon the chunky blue cheese dressing over the wedge of lettuce, sprinkled with the other half of the crumbled blue cheese and the cherry tomato halves. Serve with a cold knife and fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing, enough for 4 salads.

Note: If you like the dressing a little thinner, simply add a little more milk and stir.

Hearts of Romaine with
Cream of Avocado Salad Dressing

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed and the hearts cut in half lengthwise

In a food processor, combine the first nine ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Serve over romaine hearts. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups, plenty for 4 servings.

Fresh Fruit Salad 
with Sweet Ginger Dressing
Ingredients for salad: 
a mixture of sliced fresh fruit (mango, papaya, orange slices, bananas, pears, etc., whatever is in season) on a bed of watercress, or other salad greens that you like.

Ingredients for dressing:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Serve over your favorite salad greens with fresh fruit. Makes 2 1/3 cups of dressing, enough for 6-8 salads.

Limu Salad
The Hawaiian word for seaweed is "Limu". Limu salad is easy to make but you will have to find the ingredients. It is a combination of flavors and textures creating a delicious mixed Asian main course or side dish, and is a very common and well-liked potluck salad here in Hawaii.

Limu Salad
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Ingredients for salad:
1 (16 ounce) package of linguini, break in 1/2, cooked according to package directions, drained
6 ounces seasoned taegu (Korean spicy codfish found in Asian markets)
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into thin half circles
16 ounces imitation crab (surimi), pulled apart into strings
8 ounces seasoned Ocean Salad (Ocean Salad is a seaweed salad that is flavored with sesame oil, it can be found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores or in Asian markets)

Ingredients for dressing:
You won't need all of this sweet and savory dressing, but it is great to keep in your refrigerator for other salads.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, crushed

thinly sliced green onions at an angle
1 (1.9 ounce) bottle nori furikake (a sesame/nori seasoning found in Asian markets)

In a mixing bowl or jar, mix dressing ingredients, and refrigerate. In another bowl; combine linguine with taegu, cucumbers, crabmeat and ocean salad, refrigerate until ready to serve. when ready to serve, toss salad with dressing, as needed. Garnish with green onion and furikake. Serves 8-10.

Papaya Salad with Watercress 
and Toasted Macadamia Nuts 
with Papaya Dressing
Ingredients for salad:
1 firm-ripe papaya (10 to 12 oz), halved lengthwise (save 2 tablespoons of the seeds)
1 large bunch of watercress, enough for 4 salads
chopped toasted macadamia nuts

Ingredients for dressing:
2 tablespoons chopped papaya seeds taken from the fresh papaya listed above
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Scrape seeds from papaya and coarsely chop enough seeds to measure 2 tablespoons. Discard remaining seeds, then peel papaya halves and slice. Press ginger in a fine-mesh sieve or a garlic press into a small bowl to extract juice (about 1 teaspoon), discarding pulp. Whisk in chopped papaya seeds, onion, tarragon, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Divide watercress and papaya slices among 4 plates and drizzle with dressing and top with chopped toasted macadamia nuts. Makes 4 servings.

Glass Noodle Salad
Glass (or "cellophane") noodles are very different than other noodles, they are thin and as transparent as the name suggests. Healthier than wheat noodles, glass noodles are made from mung bean starch, which makes them gluten-free and a source of iron, calcium, and fiber.

Ingredients for Vietnamese dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juiced
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Ingredients for salad:
8 ounces cooked small shrimp
6 ounces glass noodles
4 ounces sugar snap peas
4 ounces bean sprouts
3 scallions, sliced at an angle in thin circles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish

To make the Vietnamese dressing, simply mix all the ingredients together. The dressing will keep very well in a jar in the refrigerator for at least a week. To make the salad, marinate the shrimp in 1/2 cup of the dressing for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the noodles in warm water for 15 minutes to soften them. Once re-hydrated, drain them. Snip the glass noodles into smaller sections with scissors, if desired. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the drained noodles to the boiling water. Cook the noodles for 30 seconds to one minute to the desired textured. Drain the glass noodles immediately and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and avoid mushiness in the glass noodles. Put the sugar snaps and bean sprouts into a colander and pour boiling water over them. Rinse with cold water and drain. In a large bowl, mix the marinated shrimp with the drained noodles, scallions, sugar snaps, and bean sprouts. Dress with 2 tablespoons more of the dressing; add more dressing, to taste, if desired. Sprinkle over the chopped cilantro and toss everything together before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Pineapple Slaw
Ingredients for slaw:
4 cups cabbage (shredded)
4 slices fresh pineapple (diced)
1 cup carrots (shredded)
1/2 cup apple (chopped)
2 tablespoons green bell pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoons red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine vegetables in a bowl. In smaller bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in the vinegar, then pour over slaw mix. Sprinkle with black pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Makes 4 servings.

My Classic Caesar Salad
While this recipe is not Hawaiian, I have served this salad to many of my friends here on Moloka’i and they always ask for more. For a variation, try slicing surimi or cooked shrimp over the top with black olives, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

8 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread
3 large cloves garlic, minced
8 anchovies, rinsed to remove oil and salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
black pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons blue cheese*
16 cups 1-inch pieces romaine lettuce (2 large heads)
1 soft-cooked 'coddled' egg, boiled only 1 1/4 minutes
mayonnaise to taste
2 - 8 ounce packages of Okuhara brand surimi (imitation crab legs) cut into thirds
1 can of pitted black olives left whole
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place bread on sheet pan; bake 6 minutes to dry. Halve one garlic clove; rub on one side of bread slices. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes; return to pan. Bake 8 minutes more to toast. Or use already made croutons.

In a food processor, add minced garlic cloves; add rinsed anchovies and finely chop. Add mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, pepper, grated Parmesan, blue cheese and egg; process until smooth and thick. Now double the amount by adding Best mayonnaise and blend together. Add a little of the dressing at a time and mix with the dressing. Continue adding the mayonnaise until the salad is perfect to your taste. Now serve dressed lettuce to the salad bowls and garnish the top with bread cubes, pieces of surimi and black olives. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and serve.

This dressing will keep in refrigerator for days. In a bowl, toss lettuce and about 1/2 of the dressing. Top with croutons and remaining Parmesan cheese. Taste before serving. Makes 8 servings.

*Note: I use the best blue cheese I can find for this recipe (Point Reyes Original Blue, usually available at Moloka'i Wines & Spirits).

Dixie Salad 
with Honey French Dressing
When I was only 6 years old, my father had a restaurant with a German chef. He prepared a salad called a Dixie Salad, probably because the restaurant was in the state of Georgia. I loved it and have been making it all of my life. It's kind of a strange combination of things, but it tastes really good.

Ingredients for salad:
1 firm head of iceberg lettuce
2 cups of cooked fresh corn off the cob, or frozen
2 cups of Honey French dressing (recipe follows)
2 ripe tomatoes
chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Ingredients for Honey French Dressing:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salad oil (I use canola oil)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder, or minced fresh onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, or minced fresh garlic

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients in a small bowl, or in a blender. Chill before using. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Remove any wilted outer leaves from the iceberg lettuce, then trim the stem of the lettuce. Cut the head of lettuce into 4 wedges, and put onto salad plates. Pour 1/2 cup of corn over each wedge of lettuce. Cut the tomatoes into bit-sized pieces and place around each plate. Pour the dressing over each plate and garnish with chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Panzanella - Italian Bread Salad
There are many variations for this rustic Tuscan Italian bread salad, but basically the bread, tomatoes, and basil are the stars here. You'll need a good, dense loaf of bread that is at least a day old! Other options are to add capers, olives, roasted red bell peppers, mozzarella cheese, anchovies, etc.

"Panzanella" - Italian Bread Salad
Click on photos to view larger
5 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small Japanese cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, very finely minced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces with your hands
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 thick slices of stale country style Italian bread, or French baguette, torn into bite-size pieces.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic and basil. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil and the 2 tablespoons vinegar and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Place half of the bread in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the bread. Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until serving time. Just before serving, toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. At this point the bread should have assorbed the juice from the tomatoes and be all moist. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Tuna/Bean Salad
This little rustic salad is a great way to use canned tuna. The combination of tuna, white beans and arugula tastes really good together, and is good for you.

1 can (15- to 15 1/2-ounce) cannellini or great northern white beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, halved
1 can (6-ounce) tuna in olive oil, drain; reserve oil
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups torn arugula leaves

In a bowl, combine beans, red onion, tuna, tomatoes, olives, parsley, 2 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Stir in arugula and serve with toasted pita bread. Makes 4 servings.

Beet Carpaccio Salad
3 golden and/or red beets (about 12 ounces)
2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1 or 2 handfuls watercress, baby spinach or micro-greens
chives, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or pistachio nuts
1/3 cup Italian gorganzola cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment needed: mandolin

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Wrap the beets tightly in foil. Roast them directly on the oven rack for 45 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Unwrap, cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until completely chilled. (The beets can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.); Carefully trim and peel the beets. Using a mandolin, set at 1/8-inch thickness, or a very sharp knife, cut the beets into paper-thin rounds. Mix vinegar and olive oil and sprinkle over beets, toss gently so as not to break the beets. Arrange the beet slices overlapping on a large platter.

Thinly slice pears and lay down in petals on top of beet slices.

Place a nest of watercress, or other greens of your choice, in the center of the platter and sprinkle with scissor-cut chives, nuts or seeds and crumbled gorganzola cheese. Drizzle greens with more vinegar and olive oil (to taste). Season everything with salt and pepper (to taste). Makes 4 servings.

Note: Beets can be cooked in a microwave oven. Put scrubbed beets into microwave-safe dish, cover with parchment paper and cook on high until beets are easily pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Keep covered until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice.

The Best Potato Salad
I love a classic potato salad, served the day after it is made. The flavors meld and the salad has a chance to get nice and cold in the refrigerator. I've found that Yukon Gold potatoes are much better to use than russets or new potatoes. Take my word for it, this is the 'best' potato salad, but then everyone has their favorite.

5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (better than new potatoes)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
4 ribs of celery, cut into small pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cup red or green onion
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped Italian parsley
2 1/2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow mustard (or to taste)
5 gherkin pickles, chopped fine

Cut potatoes in half and place in a large pot. fill with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. While potatoes are hot, peel and coarsely chop into large chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar, salt and pepper and toss. Let stand and come to room temperature. Meanwhile, boil the eggs. Put them in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Turn off heat, cover. Leave for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water until eggs are cold. Peel and slice. Add to bowl with potatoes, then add the rest of the ingredients and gently mix. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper or more mustard if you prefer. Best if made a day ahead. Makes 6-8 servings.

Wakame, Cucumber & Carrot Salad
Wakame is a tasteless sea vegetable (seaweed) from Japan, which can be bought in small bags in the Asian section of your grocery store. This seaweed salad combines cucumber, carrots, with a savory sweet dressing that is topped with gomashio seasoning for a delightfully different Japanese side dish.

1/2 ounce dried wakame (one-quarter of 2.1-oz. pkg., or 3 to 5 strips)
3 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (I leave stripes of peeling)
2 large carrots, peeled and matchstick-julienned
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/8 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
3 tablespoons gomashio seasoning (a blend of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt)

Place wakame in large bowl, and cover with warm water. Soak 10 minutes, then drain in colander, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Cut wakame into thin slices, and place in bowl.

Peel cucumbers and cut into thin slices, leaving seeds. Peel and cut carrot into thin matchsticks. Add both to wakame.

Whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce in small bowl. Stir in red onion and red pepper flakes (if using). Mix vinegar mixture into wakame mixture with your hands. Cover, and chill 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours. To serve: sprinkle with gomashio seasoning. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Note: If you can't find gomashio seasoning, just use toasted sesame seeds and a little salt if needed.

Sweet Memphis-Style Coleslaw
Chopped Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
with Sweet Memphis-Style Coleslaw

Click on photo to view larger
I went to high school in Memphis, Tennessee, and loved Memphis-Style pulled pork sandwiches with sweet and tangy coleslaw piled high on top. This is how I remember the recipe.

1 large head green cabbage, cored and shredded (I sometimes use Napa cabbage)
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, cored seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
2 cups prepared mayonnaise
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place shredded cabbage, carrots, red pepper and onion into a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together all of the remaining ingredients. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to combine. Cover the coleslaw and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours for the flavors to meld. Stir again before serving. Makes about 2 1/2 quarts of coleslaw.