Apr 28, 2013

Tropical COCKTAILS Anyone?

"Roy's Saketini"– Sake Vodka Martini
Click on photo to view larger
Hawaii tropical cocktails are generally thought of as some over-sweetened rum concoction served on Waikiki Beach with a cheap paper umbrella stuck in it. In reality, tropical cocktails are a combination of island flavors that usually starts with fresh local fruit and ends with a combination of hard liquor that will put you on the floor if not careful, but who's complaining. Moderation my friends, moderation.

In Hawaii, it's downright rude to invite someone into your home and not offer something to drink and nibble on. Drinks and pupus, as appetizers are called here, have always been an important part of Hawaiian hospitality. 

I've put together a few of my favorite tropical cocktails for you to try the next time you have a luau, you'll never want a plain old rum and coke again. Just remember to say ʻŌkole maluna! which in Hawaiian means Bottoms Up!

Tropical Cocktail Recipes:
"Roy's Saketini"– Sake Vodka Martini
I was first introduced to this cocktail in San Francisco in 1966 by my friend Roy Omi. Roy's family owned a Japanese restaurant on California Street. I have found several recipes for Saketini's, but I like this one best. The hardest thing is finding the acitic and sweet tasting pickled ginger sprouts that garnish and flavor this drink. They are about 5 inches long, 1/4 inch round, and are colored red. They come in a 11.5 ounce jar of 25 sprouts, and are made by Wel-Pac, Hajikami, and are distributed by JFC International Inc, South San Francisco, CA. You can sometimes find them in Japanese grocery stores. Fortunately my son sends me a bottle of ginger sprouts every Father's Day, but I don't share.

2 1/2 ounces vodka, frozen (Tito's is my favorite)
1 ounce sake, chilled
1 pickled ginger sprout for garnish
1 cup crushed ice

Fill up cocktail shaker with ice until 2/3 full. Add vodka and sake and shake until ice cold. Take chilled martini glass. Strain and pour prepared saketini into glass and garnish with a pickled ginger sprout.

Classic Mai Tai Cocktail
The mai tais made in the 1950's on Waikiki Beach were both delicious and powerful. They were a far cry from the watered-down fruit-punchy versions you get in most lounges today. This is a recipe for a classic mai tai mix. You add rum according to your taste.

Ingredients for Mai Tai Mix:
1 cup bourbon (I use Maker's Mark)
1 bottle (fifth) orange curacao
1/2 cup liliko'i juice (passion fruit juice)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup orgeat syrup (this liquid is simply a sweetened almond syrup with a little orange flower water, and can be purchased on ebay, Amazon.com, and from most liquor stores.)

Mix together to make 1 gallon. Keep in the refrigerator to make up mai tais.
To make an individual mai tai:Fill your glass with crushed ice. Pour in 1 jigger of light Puerto Rican rum. Fill the glass with Mai Tai Mix, leaving an inch at the top. Then float 1 jigger of heavy dark Jamaican rum on top. Garnish with mint, pineapple, and an orchid. Be as corny as you like.

Pineapple Mojito
3 ounces Brugal Añejo Rum, the Caribbean's #1 selling rum
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce Pineapple Juice
2 slices pineapple
4-5 lime wedges
6-8 mint leaves
mint sprig for garnish

Muddle the pineapple, lime, and mint in the bottom of acocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add the other ingredients. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Makes 1 cocktail.

Star Fruit Martini
1 fresh star fruit
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces orange juice
1 cup ice
orange twist

Slice off 1 section of the star fruit to get a star shaped slice and set aside for the garnish. Remove the ribs along each edge and seeds of the rest of the star fruit, then puree in a blender with the orange juice. Add 1 cup of ice to the blender, the rum and the Cointreau and blend until smooth. Pour into your chilled martini glass. Slide the star fruit slice onto a cocktail pick, top with orange twist and serve. Makes 1 cocktail.

Lilikoi Lifeline
Click on photo to view larger
Lilikoi Lifeline
1 ounce Tito's Vodka, frozen
1 ounce of lilikoi pulp

Cut a lilikoi (Hawaiian for passion fruit) in half and spoon half of the pulp into a shot glass, seeds and all. Pour frozen vodka on top and give the lilikoi pulp a little stir with a chopstick. Very easy!

Mango Martini
Mango Puree Ingredients:
2 fresh ripe mangos, OR 2 cups frozen prepared mango (cubed)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 teaspoon sugar

Martini Ingredients:
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce vermouth
4 ounces prepared mango puree (see above)
1/4 cup crushed ice (or a few ice cubes if using a blender)

Place prepared mango in a blender or food processor. Add the lime juice, water, and sugar. Blitz well to create a beautiful mango puree. Taste-test your puree - it should taste like a thick and very delicious mango juice (note that if you're using a semi-ripe mango OR frozen mango, you may need to add more sugar). If you want your martinis to have a very smooth texture, strain the puree through a sieve (I like mine as is, with the occasional tiny piece of mango - more flavor and all the fiber!). Now measure all the martini ingredients into a shaker, including the mango puree you just made, and shake it up, or put ingredients into a blender and blitz a few seconds. Pour out into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of lime or a pretty starfruit. Makes 4 mango martini's.

White Dragon
Dragon Fruit
Click on photo to view larger
Dragon fruit is a bizarre looking fruit from the cactus family. They're sweet and crunchy, with  flavors of kiwi and pear. Dragon fruit is particularly suited to making drinks, since it is mostly composed of water, making it quick and easy to blend up.

1 ripe dragon fruit
1/3 cup Tito's vodka
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons white sugar, to taste
2-3 ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut milk
garnishes: dragon fruit wedge

Prepare your dragon fruit by scooping out all of the flesh - see How to Prepare Dragon Fruit for Eating. Place dragon fruit flesh in blender or food processor. Add all other ingredients and blitz 20 to 30 seconds on high speed. Taste-test for desired strength and sweetness, adding more vodka if not strong enough, or more sugar if you'd prefer it sweeter (note that the sweetness will also depend on the ripeness of your dragon fruit - the riper, the sweeter it will taste). If too sweet for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too strong for your liking, add more coconut milk. Pour out into martini glasses and garnish with a slice of dragon fruit. Makes 4 drinks.

Hawaiian Ice Tea
1/2 ounce Tito's vodka
1/2 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce sour mix
1 ounce pineapple juice

Build the ingredients in a collins glass. Stir. Makes 1 cocktail.

Golden Margarita
1 1/2 ounce Gold Tequila
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Grand Mariner)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
3 ounces sour mix
dash of orange juice (optional)
lime wedge for garnish
course salt for rimming glass (optional)

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass. Strain the contents into the glass. Garnish with the lime wedge. Makes 1 cocktail.

Hawaiian Papaya Margarita
Hawaiian Papaya
Click on photo to enlarge
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus zest for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 large Hawaiian papaya, halved, seeded
3/4 cup tequila blanco
4 fresh orchid blossoms (optional)

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil syrup for 2 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup syrup into a large pitcher. Add lime juice and 1/2 cup cold water. Set lime syrup aside. Transfer 1/2 cup remaining hot syrup to a small bowl. Add rosemary; let steep 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain rosemary syrup into lime syrup; discard solids.
Do Ahead: Rosemary-lime syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Scrape papaya flesh into a food processor; purée until smooth. Measure 3/4 cup purée (reserve remaining purée for another use, such as a smoothie); add to pitcher with rosemary-lime syrup. Add tequila; whisk to blend. Fill 4 large wine glasses with ice. Pour cocktail over. Garnish with zest.

Sparkling Mango
2 ripe mangoes
1/2 cup Tito's vodka
1/4 cup lime juice (or juice of 1/2 lime)
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoon natural syrup, like maple syrup or 1 -3 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
1 bottle champagne OR sparkling white wine (or substitute sparkling spring water if you prefer less alcohol)

Optional Garnishes: ice cubes OR crushed ice, lime wedges/slices, plus fresh cherries or other fruit of your choice

First, cut the mangoes and drop all their succulent flesh into your blender. Add the vodka, lime juice, salt, and syrup or sugar. Blend well to create a kind of mango puree. Now do a taste-test, adding more syrup or sugar if desired (how much syrup will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). This drink should be a balance between sweet and sour, but leaning more toward the sweet. Pour this wonderful mango concoction into glasses, half-filling them. Top up with your choice of champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling spring water if you prefer less alcohol. Finish with a couple of ice cubes or some crushed ice. If desired, garnish glasses with slices/wedges of fresh lime, plus your choice of fresh fruit. Makes 6-8 cocktails.

Coco Loco
1/4 jigger white rum
1/4 jigger tequila
1/2 jigger Tito's vodka
1 jigger coconut cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ice cubes, cracked
spirals of lemon peel for decoration
1 maraschino cherry for decoration

Put the rum, tequila, vodka, coconut cream, lemon juice and ice cubes in a blender. Blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a large wine goblet or tall glass. Decorate with the lemon spirals and sit the cherries on top. Serve with a straw. Makes 1 cocktail.

Coconut Sour
2 ounces sour mix
1 ounce coconut milk
1 ounce white rum

Fill a glass with ice. Add the sour mix, coconut milk, and rum – then stir. Garnish with a lime wedge, lemon peel, or cherry. Makes 1 cocktail.

Fresh Lychee Martini
Fresh Lychee
Click on photo to view larger
2 ounces orange vodka
6 fresh lychees, peeled (You can also use canned lychees in this recipe. Just remove them from the can and leave as much syrup in the can as possible.)
3/4″ – 1″ piece of fresh ginger (sliced into disks)
1 teaspoon simple syrup (simple syrup is equal parts of sugar and water, dissolved)

In a shaker add the ginger and 4 lychees. Muddle (crush) until the ginger is broken up and the lychees have given up their juice and pits (remove the pits). Add in the simple syrup, vodka and some ice. Cover the shaker and shake until it’s cold. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a pick of 2 fresh lychees. Make 2 cocktails.

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

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.

Pomegranate Red Sangria
1 ounce Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
1 ounce brandy
3 ounces white wine
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
club soda
garnish: orange, apple, and kiwi slices

To make simple syrup, mix equal parts hot water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Combine all ingredients except club soda and wine in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and wine. Top with club soda. Garnish with orange, apple, and kiwi slices. Makes 1 cocktail.

Kiwi Martini
2 ounces Tito's vodka
1 lime cut into 8-16 pieces
1 kiwi fruit peeled and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Place the lime, kiwi, and brown sugar in a cocktail shaker then muddle (combine ingredients by pressing). Add the ice, vodka and sugar syrup, shake vigorously. Pour into glass with a slice of kiwi fruit. Makes 1 cocktail.

The Caipirinha
This is the national drink of Brazil made with Cachaça, a liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice.

1 lime (cut-up, middle removed)
1 teaspoon organic sugar
2-3 ounces Cachaça

In the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle the sugar with the lime wedges. Fill the glass with ice and add Cachaça. Stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge. Makes 1 cocktail.

The Painkiller
The official cocktail of the British Virgin Islands and one of the most popular mixed drinks in the Caribbean. I prefer to call this cocktail "The Hair of the Dog".

2-4 ounces of Pusser's Rum
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounces cream of coconut
1 ounces orange juice
grated fresh nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add first four ingredients and stir. Pour into cocktail glasses and top with grated nutmeg. Makes 2 cocktails.

Apr 27, 2013


Hawaiian Star Fruit in Mango-Orange Sauce
When I think of tropical sauces, my mind tastes pineapple, mango and coconut milk with hints of cinnamon, and ginger, flavors that are typical of Hawaii. No matter where you live, everyone loves sauces, but how many of you know how to make them. In cooking school it was one of the first things they taught us, how to make the five "mother sauces". In the culinary arts, the term "mother sauce" refers to any one of five basic sauces, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces or "small sauces." The five mother sauces are Béchamel Sauce, Velouté Sauce, Espagnole Sauce, Hollandaise Sauce, and Tomato Sauce. I won't go into how to make these sauces, but if you want to know, visit this site for recipes for mother sauces and small sauces.

What I am interested in are TROPICAL SAUCES, sauces that cooks use in tropical cuisine. Sauces for not only savory dishes, but also for desserts. So what is a sauce? A sauce is essentially a liquid plus some sort of thickening agent along with other flavoring ingredients. A TROPICAL sauce then would be a tropical flavored liquid plus some sort of thickening agent with other tropical ingredients. Naturally if the sauce is tropical, then the dish will be also, so problem solved, or is it? Tropical sauces vary depending on where they are created. If you live in the Caribbean, savory tropical sauces tend to be on the spicy side. If you live in Hawaii, savory tropical sauces tend to take on an Asian flavor. I have put together a variety of what I consider to be tropical sauces and what they might go on, tropical sauces that everyone can enjoy, even if you don't live on a tropical island.

Savory Tropical Sauce Recipes:

Oysters on the Half Shell
with Passion Fruit Mignonette Sauce 

The difference in flavor and texture amongst oysters comes from where they come from. Local salinity, nutrients, temperature, and trace minerals all have an influence, much like they do with wine. Kumamotos, my favorite, are prized by half-shell connoisseurs for their buttery texture and sweet fruity flavor. This tropical mignonette sauce recipe perfectly compliments the small, deeply cupped Kumamoto oyster by adding floral and sweet notes, yet still allows the delicate briny flavor of the oyster to shine.

36 Kumamoto oysters on the half shell
1 lemon, juice only
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup olive oil
2 passion fruit, cut in half, pulp scraped out with seeds
3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
crushed ice for presentation
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve

Place all the ingredients, except the oysters and lime wedges, into a small bowl and mix well, cover and refrigerate. Carefully open the oysters using an oyster shucker by loosening the muscle from bottom shell, removing top shell. Arrange oysters on a large, deep serving plate filled with crushed ice. To serve, spoon a teaspoon of the passion fruit mignonette sauce over each oyster and garnish with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings of 6 oysters.

Shrimp in Spicy Coconut Sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound medium shrimp, cooked
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the garlic until fragrant. Stir in coconut milk, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and return to a simmer without boiling. Add cooked shrimp and heat through. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Asian Chile Sauce
1 cup Asian sweet chile sauce* (preferably Mae Ploy brand)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh hot chile (such as Thai or serrano, preferably red), including seeds

Stir together sauce ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Chill, covered. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Great used on Chinese spring rolls or Filipino lumpia. Also great on fried shrimp, or fish.

Pele's Hot Sauce
If Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, uses this sauce, you know it's hot!

1 cup of fresh mango
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 7 limes)
4 cloves garlic
12 jalapenos cut in half. Leave the seeds in if you like it hotter
4 habaneros cut in half. Again leave the seeds in if you like it hot
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar

Saute garlic in a bit of olive oil for 2-3 minutes just until it softens a bit. Mix all of the prepared peppers, mango, pineapple, salt and sugar. Put all of the ingredients above into the pan and mix in the vinegar and lime juice. Bring to a boil, lower to a slight simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Cool, then place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Funnel the blended sauce into sterilized jars. Process the canning jars in a water bath or pressure canner to seal the jars for storage. Makes 4 cups. This sauce is for people who like hot sauce to be hot. Great in a bloody mary, over scrambled eggs, or whatever you use hot sauce on now...but with a tropical twist.

Tropical BBQ Sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup oyster sauce (you can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon Colman's Dry Mustard
1 tablespoon Wright's Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lilikoi juice (passion fruit juice)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons honey (add more if you like your sauce a little sweeter)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (add more if you like your sauce a little more tart)
1 teaspoon sesame oil (you can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store)
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, stir all of the ingredients together except the salt and pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes for the flavors to blend. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. This sauce is great on grilled food, chicken, ribs, even shrimp. Makes 3 cups.

Thai Mango Sauce
2 ripe mangoes (see below for mango tips)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
4 tablespoons good-quality (thick) coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce (available in most supermarkets in the Asian section)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili (from the spice aisle)

Peel and cut mango and place in a food processor, or blender. Add all other ingredients. Process well to create a delicious mango sauce. Tip: Avoid over-processing, as you don't want it too runny. If you prefer chunks of mango in your sauce, just pulse to create the sauce until you're happy with the consistency. Do a taste-test. Depending on the ripeness/sweetness of your mango, you may have to add a little more sugar. Add more fish sauce for more flavor, or more chili for more spice. What you want is a balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. Use as a marinade/sauce for grille chicken, pork, fish, or seafood.

Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce 
8 ounces dry linguine
1/2 cup light cream cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Cook linguine according to package directions in pot of boiling salted water. Warm cream cheese, oil, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in saucepan over low heat. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir reserved cooking water into cream cheese mixture. Add pasta, lemon zest, and parsley; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Tangy Mango Glaze
This bitter-sweet-tangy glaze is great brushed over grilled or roasted pork, or chicken. Just before the meat is cooked, brush on the mango glaze and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the glaze is slightly sticky and golden. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

1/2 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste*
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine the mango chunks with the sugar, tamarind paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and crushed red pepper and puree until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mango puree, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. *Note: Tamarind paste, a tart, seedless paste, is available at Middle Eastern, Indian, and some Asian markets. Tamarind is also used in the manufacturing of ketchup, and sauces like Worcestershire, Barbecue, etc. It is also very effective as a natural preservative and marinade. Usually tamarind paste is mixed with water and strained, the resulting tamarind juice being what's used. Makes 1 cup.

Wasabi-Passion Fruit Honey Mustard Sauce
This is a hot, sweet, tangy and pungent mustard sauce for grilled shrimp or oysters.

3 fresh passion fruit, juiced, including seeds
2 tablespoons Wasabi powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons honey
1 green onion, white and part of green, finely minced
salt to taste

Split passion fruit in half and scrape seed and juice into a blender. Pulse once or twice. Strain and return juice to clean blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend. cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

Salsa Roja
This kind of salsa is called salsa roja or red sauce. It's very much like the tex-mex salsa you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant. If you've never had homemade salsa then you must give this a try.

1 can (28 ounces.) Muir Glen organic fire roasted
crushed tomatoes
1 can (4 ounces) green chilies. I like Ortega brand.
2 jalapeno, seeded and diced.
1 bulb of garlic, roasted.
a pinch of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste.
cayenne to taste depending on how hot you like it.
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup hand diced sweet yellow onion
1/3 cup cilantro or to taste, chopped, no stems

Heat oven to 375˚F. Cut top off bulb of garlic. Place foil under bulb and drizzle with olive oil and cover with foil. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Squeeze garlic into food processor. After you get all that garlic in the food processor, add the fire roasted tomatoes, the canned green chilies, the jalapeno peppers, the pinch of cumin, the salt, and the sugar. Pulse just one or two times to get things mixed. When you feel you have the consistency the way you like it, stop. Pour the salsa into your bowl and stir in the diced onion and cilantro. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour or more so those flavors can mingle. Note: You can cook the salsa for 15 minutes on the stove if you like. This results in a more saucy type of salsa like you might find in restaurants. Makes about 1 quart.

Dessert Tropical Sauce Recipes:

Hawaiian Star Fruit in Mango-Orange Sauce
The star fruit is a tropical winter fruit that is gaining popularity in the United States. It has a complex flavor combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons, (see photo above).

4 ripe star fruit
1 cup fresh orange juice
the fruit of 1 fresh ripe mango
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup good-quality coconut milk
fresh pomegranate seeds or maraschino cherries, halved

Cut star fruit into 1/4-inch thick star slices (count out 3 slices per person) set aside. Place the mango fruit in a food processor, or blender. Process or blend until it is smooth and pureed. Place mango puree in a pot with orange juice and sugar, and turn heat to high until juice begins to boil. Then turn down to low. Add sliced star fruit and allow to simmer for 10 or 12 minutes, or until fruit has softened. Remove pot from heat.

Do a taste-test for sweetness, adding more sugar if needed (how sweet it is will depend on the ripeness of the fruit/juice you're using). If it happens to be too sweet for your taste, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, or a little more orange juice.

When you're happy with the taste, portion out 3 star fruit slices per bowl with enough sauce to surround the fruit (it should still be warm from the pot). Top each bowl with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or cherry halves. Then drizzle over some coconut milk and serve immediately! Makes 4 servings.

Note: As an elegant variation on this recipe, bake your favorite spice cake or rum cake in a cake pan or sheet pan. When cooked, cut out 3” circles of cake with a round cookie cutter. Place cake rounds in the middle of the warm mango sauce (recipe above) and top with one star fruit slice and a cherry half or pomegranate seeds plus a drizzle of coconut milk around the cake.

Rum Butter Dessert Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons dark rum

Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and salt in medium bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add rum and beat until well blended. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. This sauce is great poured over crepes, cake, or ice cream piled high with a combination of tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, and papaya. Makes enough for 2 servings.

Coconut Scones with Passion Fruit Curd
These scones are great plain, but are even better with passion fruit curd. The combination of the coconut and passion fruit makes for a wonderful tropical treat.

Ingredients for Passion Fruit Curd:
2/3 cup strained, fresh passion fruit juice (8 large passion fruit)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons passion fruit seeds and pulp

Starting with fresh passion fruit, cut them in half and spoon the pulp out. Strain the fruit pulp to get all the juice out. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the seeds and pulp. In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar and passion fruit juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly stream the hot sugar syrup into the egg. Beat until very smooth, then pour through a strainer and back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd comes to a boil and is thick. Remove from heat and stir in reserved seeds. Transfer to a small airtight container and store in the fridge. Chill completely before serving over coconut scones. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Ingredients for Coconut Scones:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 6-8 pieces
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
approximately 1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few larger bits are ok, but most should be smaller than a pea. Stir in shredded coconut. Add in about 1/3 cup of coconut milk and stir into dough with a fork. Add remaining coconut milk as needed until dough comes together into a shaggy ball. Knead lightly with your hand until dough is smooth. Divide dough in to two balls and press each into a disc about 1/2-inch thick on prepared baking sheet. Cut each disc into quarters and separate slightly. Bake for about 15 minutes, until scones are a light golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack before topping with passion fruit curd. Makes 8 scones.

Apr 25, 2013

FILIPINO Cuisine In Hawaii

Ground Pork with Long Beans & Squash
Note: I used fingerling potatoes in this photo 
instead of squash, but squash is better.
Click on photo to view larger
The Republic of the Philippines lies right in the heart of Southeast Asia, between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. The Philippines has 7,107 islands extending more than 1,056 miles (1,700 kilometres) in the direction of the Equator. 

Filipinos have been in Hawaii for over 100 years. The importation of Filipino workers for the sugar plantations began around 1906. Then as now, the Filipinos have become a very vibrant community and very much a vital part of Hawaii's past, present and future. Recent census reports showed that Filipinos surpassed Japanese as Hawaii's largest ethnic group. 

The Filipinos I've known here on Moloka'i, are wonderful, friendly people, that understand the value of hard work and have a love for life and family. That's the beauty of living in America, we are a nation of many nationalities, a melting pot of creative people looking for freedom of speech and a way of life that is better than any other. 

One of the benefits of a multi-cultural society is that it is a multi-culinary society, a society filled with delicious recipes handed down from generation to generation, melding into a whole new fusion of flavors. That's what Tasting Hawaii is all about, exploring the foods and food history that make up Hawaii's mixed plate, including Filipino cuisine, and sharing those recipes with you.

Filipino Recipes:
Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo is basically a salsa that I like to serve right in the middle of a ripe avocado, served with a spoon. Naturally it also goes well on fish tacos, burritos, roast pork, or with grilled fish or shrimp. Somehow Pico de Gallo sounds sexier than salsa.

4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic, or more if you like
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes and onion. Gently toss to mix. Add the chopped cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno. Pour-in the lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Mix well. Makes about 3 cups.

Pork-Shrimp Lumpia
(Lumpiang Shanghai)
Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) are almost always present at every Filipino family gathering as an appetizer. Lumpia are similar to Chinese egg rolls, but lumpia have less filling and are much thinner.

1 pound ground pork
1 pound shrimp (shelled, deveined, ground)
1 onion, minced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 cup cooked long rice noodles
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, minced
3 egg yolks (save the whites to seal wrappers)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar

about 75 lumpia wrappers
canola oil (enough to cover 4 lumpia when frying)

Mix everything together and put into a wok or saute pan and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. This process can be done a day ahead of time and refrigerated. Place a lumpia wrapper on a plate with a pointed end facing you. Spoon about one heaping tablespoon into the lower-middle of a wrapper. Spread the filling into the wrapper horizontally. Pick up the corner nearest you and roll the mixture towards the middle. Fold both sides inward over the mixture, then continue to roll until you have about an inch left of the wrapper. Using your finger, brush the edges with a little egg white or water to seal completely. Make sure it is tightly secured. Repeat this process placing the finished rolls in a deep baking dish (casserole) with the sealed side downwards. Heat oil in a wok or saute pan to 350˚F and fry several lumpia at a time until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the rolls to allow them to brown evenly. Makes 75 lumpia.

Filipino Oven Roasted Pork
(Lechon sa Hurno)
This recipe was taken from my first cookbook, "The Beauty of Cooking on Moloka'i"

1 (3 to 5 pounds.) boneless shoulder picnic roast
Hawaiian sea salt or Kosher salt

Marinade Ingredients:
fresh sprigs of rosemary leaves, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Gravy Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon of flour
1/4 stick butter
olive oil
salt to taste

Mix together marinade ingredients and marinate pork shoulder for several hours. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry (save the marinade). Rub generously with salt. Transfer to a roasting pan and bake 40 minutes per pound. Brush skin with some of the marinade every 1/2 hour, then with the fat drippings from the pan every 10 minutes during the last hour, making the skin crisp. Increase oven heat to 450˚F. Roast pork for about 20 to 30 minutes more or until golden brown. The skin should be crispy. Internal temperature reading should be 170˚F. Remove from the oven. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. During this time prepare the gravy; put all the juices and marinade in a pot, add water to the flour, stir to dissolve. Heat the juices in the pan. Stir in the flour mixture. As soon as it starts to thicken add the butter, stir. Slice pork and pour gravy over and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Green Papaya Chicken
This is one of my favorite Filipino recipes. It is important to find rock hard, dark green papayas for this dish, with no sign of any yellow-orange on them.

2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced 
2-3 pound whole chicken or parts cut into bite sized portions, remove skin
2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
3-4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups peeled and cubed unripened (green) papaya
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions and saute until transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute another 5 minutes to partially cook and lightly brown. Add the fish sauce and stir well. Add water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring and skimming off fat and scum occasionally. Add cubed papaya and simmer another 5-10 minutes until papaya is tender. Remove from heat, salt and pepper to taste and stir in the chopped spinach. This dish will be soupy when done. Serve with hot white rice on the side with Tamari sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Filipino Fried Chicken Wings
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cornstrach
2 tablespoons salt 

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Aloha shoyu (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional

5 pounds chicken wings

Combine the first 4 ingredients together, then add remaining. Rinse chicken wings and pat dry before adding to the batter. Marinate overnight. Deep fry until golden brown. Makes 10-12 servings.

Pork Adobo
This is considered by many as the Philippine's national dish.

2 pounds pork belly
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
5 pieces dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole pepper corn
1 cup water
salt to taste

Combine the pork belly, soy sauce, and garlic then marinade for at least 1 hour. Heat the pot and put-in the marinated pork belly then cook for a few minutes. Add water, whole pepper corn, and dried bay leaves then bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Put-in the vinegar and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Pork and Peas
Filipino pork and peas are a favorite combination in Hawaii, as is the unique blend of seasonings in this almost complete meal. Just cook some rice and your meal is done.

1 large boneless pork butt cut into 2-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
1 whole head garlic, peeled & crushed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
3-4 bay leaves 
2 cinnamon sticks, split in half
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 bag frozen green peas
2 large red bell peppers, sliced length-wise into strips
salt & pepper to taste

Remove part of the fatty layer of the pork butt. Cut up into 2-inch cubes. Marinate pork with the next 6 ingredients. Marinate this for 24 hours. In a large, very hot, wok, stir fry the pork. As the pork is half way done cooking, about 5-7 minutes, add in the tomato sauce; you don't want this dish to have a powerful tomato flavor, this is used primarily for color. Taste to see if it needs more salt and/or pepper. Add the peas and the peppers and stir until hot. Serve with steaming hot white or brown rice. Makes 8 servings.

Pork Sparerib Stew
3-4 pounds of pork spareribs, cut into rib pieces
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1, 10 3/4 ounce can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, or chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
15 whole black pepper corns
3 bay leaves
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 head of cabbage, cut into wide slices
2 small heads baby pak-choi, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce, (patis), or to taste

Put the pork rib pieces in a pot and sprinkle coarse black pepper, and salt. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Toss the ribs 2-3 times in the pot and set aside for 15 minutes for meat to marinade. Next pour in the water, enough to just cover the ribs. Add the chicken soup and bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer (leave pot uncovered). Add onion, crushed garlic, ginger, black pepper corns, and bay leaves. Continue boiling spareribs for 1 1/2 hours then add potatoes and carrots. 10 minutes later add the cabbage and pak-choi. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add fish sauce to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Ground Pork with Long Beans & Squash
(Ginisang Kalabasa)

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons fish sauce (Patis), or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 roma or plum tomatoes, diced and seeded (if desired)
3 tablespoons soy sauce or to taste
1/2 cup water
1 whole bunch of Asian long beans, cut or broken into 2 inch pieces, about 2 cups
1 medium sized kalabasa, or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into inch-long chunks

Heat oil in a deep sauté pan, or wok. Sauté the garlic and onions for about a 1-2 minutes. Add the ground pork and crumble the meat with a fork to prevent clumping as you brown it on medium-high heat. Season with fish sauce and black pepper, to taste. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil. Cover then simmer on low heat for at least half an hour to allow the meat to absorb the flavor of the liquid. Immediately add the long beans and squash, stir and cover. Simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the beans fully cooked yet still retain some crunch. Correct the seasoning if necessary. Serve with white long grain rice (see photo above). Makes 4-6 servings.

Bitter Melon Salad
Bitter melon (ampalaya) is an odd looking gourd that is enjoyed in the Philippines, and is truly bitter. I have written about it on this website if you are looking for more information. In this recipe, bitter melon is covered in salt to remove a lot of the bitter flavor, then rinsed with water and combined with vinegar, red onion and diced tomatoes for a very different salad or side dish.

1 medium bitter mellon (ampalaya)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium Roma tomato, diced and seeds removed
extra salt to taste

Peel, then cut the bitter melon lengthwise and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the halves into 1/4" half moon slices. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. Remove the salt by rinsing with running water in a colander. In a bowl, combine vinegar, ground black pepper, and sugar in a bowl. Add the bitter melon, sliced onion, and diced tomato to the bowl. Gently mix together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours. Great served with fried fish. Makes 2 servings.

Crema de Fruta
This is a soft cake, topped in succeeding layers of custard filling, and fruit.

Ingredients for cake:
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
2 3/4 cups milk
1/3 cup cake flour
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

Topping Ingredients:
1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained and juice reserved
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

Preheat oven to 325˚F (165˚C). Butter a 9×13 inch oval, glass baking dish.

To Prepare Cake: 
Beat 6 eggs until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar until smooth and thick. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cake flour, nutmeg and salt. Stir in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until center springs back when lightly touched. Let cool 10 minutes in pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Split cake horizontally into two layers.

To Prepare Filling: 
combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cake flour, 5 egg yolks, water and vanilla in a mediumsaucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until thickened, 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

To Prepare Topping: 
Place reserved juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in gelatin and continue stirring until completely dissolved. Set aside.

To Assemble: 
Return bottom cake layer to glass dish. Spread half the filling over the layer. Top with remaining layer and remaining filling. Arrange fruit cocktail on top and cover with gelatin mixture. Chill 4 to 8 hours, until set. Makes 6 servings.

Watermelon Fizz
This is a beautiful sparkling drink with all of the tastes of summer.

3 cups watermelon, seeded & cut into chunks
1 cup ice cubes
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
sparkling water
watermelon wedge or ball, for garnish

Cut 2 big slices of watermelon, remove the skin and seeds and cut into chunks until you have 3 cups of melon. Place watermelon, honey, lime juice and 4 ice cubes in a blender and blend thoroughly. Strain into 2 tall glasses to get rid the pulp. Add the remaining ice cubes and add a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with watermelon wedges or melon balls and a straw. Makes 2 servings.

Mango-Papaya Smoothie
It gets hot in the summer here in Hawaii, and nothing tastes better than this cool fresh fruit shake straight from the Philippines.

3 cups papaya, seeded and chopped
3 cups mango flesh, chopped
2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup milk, or more if desired
brown sugar (or your favorite sweetener), to taste

Start by putting some ice in a blender, and then pile the fruit, brown sugar, and milk on top. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Apr 18, 2013

GARLIC... "The Stinking Rose"

Garlic from Christopher Ranch, Gilroy, California
this superior brand of garlic is available at Misaki's Grocery
Click on photo to view larger
I can't imagine cooking without garlic, even though it is affectionately called "the stinking rose". The smelly compound found in garlic is allyl methyl sulfide. After eating garlic, this compound is passed into your blood during the digestive process. This ends up causing your whole body to smell, not just your breath. As you are excreting this sulfide from your pores and breath, you essentially are wearing a stinky perfume, which can last anywhere from a few hours to as much as a day after eating garlic.

Ok, so now you stink and it's all my fault... I can handle that because it's worth the stink. OK let's keep going; Garlic is a member of the lily family, which also includes onions and leeks. Native to central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and has been grown for over 5000 years. Apparently ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate this plant which played an important role in their culture.

Garlic was thought to have sacred qualities and was placed in the tomb of Pharaohs. It was also given to the slaves that built the Pyramids to enhance their endurance and strength. This strength-enhancing quality was also honored by the ancient Greeks and Romans, civilizations whose athletes ate garlic before sporting events and whose soldiers consumed it before going off to war. No wonder I am so strong!

Garlic was introduced into various regions throughout the globe by migrating cultural tribes and explorers. By the 6th century BC, garlic was known in both China and India, the latter country using it for therapeutic purposes.

Throughout the millennia, garlic has been a beloved plant in many cultures for both its culinary and medicinal properties. Researchers have found that garlic is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds, and is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C and a good source of selenium. They have also found that garlic has the ability to lower blood pressure, and lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol by as much as 15% (so how come I have high blood pressure and cholesterol?). You’re going to need to eat a lot of garlic however… at least two cloves per day in order to enjoy all of these health benefits. In many societies that have very low cancer and heart disease rates, the people eat even much more than this… 8-10 cloves per day! Luckily, garlic is super-tasty, so eating a lot of it isn’t so difficult, not for me at least.

Currently, China, South Korea, India, Spain and the United States are among the top commercial producers of garlic. If you live in Hawaii, or in the tropics, and want to try and grow your own garlic in your vegetable garden, check out this website for instructions on how to do it.

How to Select and Store Garlic
Fresh garlic is available in grocery stores throughout the year. For maximum flavor and nutritional benefits, always purchase fresh garlic. Although garlic in flake, powder, or paste form may be more convenient, you will get less culinary and health benefits from these forms. Purchase garlic that is plump and has unbroken skin. Gently squeeze the garlic bulb between your fingers to check that it feels firm and is not damp. Avoid garlic that is soft, shriveled, and moldy or that has begun to sprout. These may be indications of decay that will cause inferior flavor and texture. Size is often not an indication of quality. If your recipe calls for a large amount of garlic, remember that it is always easier to peel and chop a few larger cloves than many smaller ones.

Store fresh garlic in either an uncovered or a loosely covered container in a cool, dark place away from exposure to heat and sunlight. This will help maintain its maximum freshness and help prevent sprouting, which reduces its flavor and causes excess waste. It is not necessary to refrigerate garlic. Some people freeze peeled garlic; however, this process reduces its flavor profile and changes its texture.

Depending upon its age and variety, whole garlic bulbs will keep fresh for about a month if stored properly. Inspect the bulb frequently and remove any cloves that appear to be dried out or moldy. Once you break the head of garlic, it greatly reduces its shelf life to just a few days.

Warning! Do not store garlic in oil at room temperature. Garlic-in-oil mixtures stored at room temperature provide perfect conditions for producing botulism, regardless of whether the garlic is fresh or has been roasted.

The Healthiest Way To Cook Garlic
It is healthier to use RAW garlic in many recipes, not powdered. If you can't tolerate the taste of raw garlic, add chopped garlic towards the end of the cooking time to retain maximum flavor and nutrition. Too much heat for too long will reduce the activity of the health-promoting sulfur compounds. Also if you mince garlic 10-15 minutes before cooking it, the oxidation process produces enzymes that make the garlic healthier. Too much heat will also make garlic bitter. Therefore expose garlic to heat for as little time as possible (5-15 minutes). Keeping the heat at 250˚F/121˚C or lower will help preserve the health benefits of garlic. This same principle also applies to oven roasting of garlic bulbs.

Garlic Recipes:
Pickled Shoyu Garlic
Pickled Shoyu Garlic
Click on photo to view larger
Pickled shoyu garlic is crunchy, salty, and a little bit spicy. It's almost universally loved among most Japanese and Koreans. The pickling process mellows out, and flavors the garlic making it delicious to eat all by itself. I first had these in a sushi bar in San Francisco, and have been eating them ever since.

1 cup soy sauce (called shoyu in Hawaii)
1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)
1 pound garlic cloves, (buy them already peeled, available at many supermarkets)

Heat the soy sauce, chili pepper flakes, vinegar and mirin in a pan over medium heat until it's hot but not boiling. Lower the heat to low and put in all the garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes. Put the garlic and hot liquid into the a sterilized jar and close the lid tightly.

Refrigerate or keep in a cool dark place for at least 2 months. The garlic is ready to eat after that. Store in the refrigerator after opening. The soy sauce mixture can be used for meat, fish, fried rice, etc, but make sure the garlic cloves stay completely immersed in the soy sauce in the jar.

Note: If you don't want to go to the trouble to make this recipe, shoyu garlic can be purchased in the refrigerated section of most Asian grocery stores. Here on Moloka'i they can be purchased at Kualapu'u Market for $13 for less than one quart of pickled garlic. They are much easier to make yourself however, and a lot less expensive.

Garlic Shrimp Salad
4 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound medium-sized cooked shrimp, best bought still frozen
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, discarding bottom fourth
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 fresh tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 3 teaspoons dried parsley if fresh is not available)
small head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Ingredients for the dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Press garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out its hidden health benefits. Make sure shrimp is completely thawed and patted dry with a paper towel, or it will dilute the flavor of the salad. Add broth to medium skillet and after it has heated up, sauté asparagus for 5 minutes. Whisk together lemon, oil, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss shrimp, asparagus, parsley, and tomato with dressing and herbs. Allow shrimp salad to marinate for at least 15 minutes or for up to 2 hours, covered and refrigerated. Discard outer leaves of lettuce head, rinse, dry, and chop. Serve shrimp mixture on bed of lettuce and top with crumbled goat cheese, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Spicy Cucumber Salad with Garlic
1 seedless cucumber ("Japanese" cucumber), slice thin on a diagonal
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 yellow onion sliced thin
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Chinese 'Sriracha' hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of roasted sesame seeds

Mix sliced cucumber with salt and let sit fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, soak onion in a little water with rice vinegar in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes. Rinse the cucumbers and set them aside. Mix the garlic with the Sriracha sauce, honey, rice vinegar and sesame seeds. Drain the onions and cucumbers and mix with the dressing. Serve salad chilled. It tastes best when it's very, very cold. Makes 4 servings.

Rustic Garlic Soup
1 quart (4 cups) water
1 bay leaf
2 sage leaves
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
a dozen medium cloves of garlic, smashed peeled, and chopped
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

day-old crusty bread & more olive oil to drizzle

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, garlic, and salt. Heat to a gentle boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain into a bowl, remove the bay and sage leaves from the strainer, and return the broth and garlic back to the saucepan, and turn off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

With a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolks, cheese, and pepper together in a bowl until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the time, then add (slowly! slowly!), continuing to whisk, a large ladleful of the broth. Stir the contents of the bowl into the garlic broth and whisk it continuously over low-medium heat until it thickens slightly, about the consistency of half-and-half or cream. Place a handful of torn crusty bread chunks into the bottom of each bowl and pour the soup over the bread. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups of soup.

Pupu-style Garlic Chicken Wings
3 pounds chicken wings & drummettes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup cornstarch
canola oil for frying

Garlic Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
1 cup minced garlic (yes, 1 cup!)
1/2 cup minced green onion
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Combine sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar caramelizes slightly. Strain the sauce to eliminate the minced garlic, then set aside.

Season flour and cornstarch with salt and pepper and mix together. Dredge chicken in flour and cornstarch mixture, deep fry or fry in large frying pan. Dip in garlic sauce and serve. Makes 10-12 appetizer (pupus in Hawaiian) servings.

Seared Ahi Tuna with 
Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
Ingredients for sauce:
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red chilies
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large avocado, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 -6 ounce ahi tuna steaks
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by combining the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt, red chilies vinegar and oil in a food processor and puree at medium high speed just until slightly chopped but not smooth. Taste a adjust if necessary. Chop the avocado into 1/4 inch pieces and add to about 1 cup of the prepared chimichurri. Set aside.

Preheat your grill pan on medium-high heat (I use a large iron skillet). Lightly dust each side of the tuna steaks with salt & pepper. Grill the tuna for about 4 minutes before turning, then for about another 2-3 minutes, or until the tuna is no longer pink on the inside (if you like your tuna seared on the outside and slightly raw in the middle, cut the time in half). Serve with a generous amount of the avocado chimichurri with white rice on the side. Makes 2 servings.

Cilantro Garlic Sauce
This simple cilantro garlic sauce recipe is very popular in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a delicious condiment used over grilled meats, hamburgers, as a salad dressing, a dip for french fries, or over steamed vegetables. Once you have tried it once, you'll definitely be craving more!

10 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Turn blender on and slowly drizzle the olive oil so that the mixture emulsifies and resembles a light mayonnaise. Add the chopped cilantro leaves and pulse gently until green flecks are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Makes about 2 cups.

Apr 15, 2013


Scarlet Charlotte Chard
Grown from seed from reneesgarden.com
Click on photo to view larger.
Chard is, in fact, considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available and a valuable addition to a healthy diet (like other green leafy vegetables). Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets it is difficult to determine the exact evolution of the different varieties of chard. While the leaves are always green, chard stalks vary in color. Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, seakale beet, and mangold.

The red-ribbed forms (shown in the photograph) are very attractive in the garden, but as a rough general rule, the older green forms will tend to out-produce the colorful hybrids. Chard has a slightly bitter taste and is used in a variety of cultures around the world. Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach. Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, and it is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein. The stalk retains more iron compounds than the leaves, hence their rosy color.

Swiss chard didn’t actually originate in Switzerland, but in Sicily. So if you grow chard in Hawai'i, I guess you could call it Hawaiian chard, then you could serve it squid lu'au style to get away with it.

Chard is almost always available at Kumu Farms here on Moloka'i, or try growing it yourself, as I did, in a vegetable garden or in large pots, it's very easy to grow, as most things are here in Hawaii.

Chard Recipes:
Chard with Ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 large bunch chard, chopped into large pieces
1 1/2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Tamari sauce or soy sauce
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper, or if you like it spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

Heat olive oil to a medium heat in a saute pan. add onion, and continue to saute stirring occasionally. When the onions have softened and browned slightly, add the chard, ginger and garlic. stir well, incorporating ingredients. just as the leaves wilt after turning a brighter green, turn off heat and sprinkle with Tamari sauce and red wine vinegar to taste, stir again and serve hot with pork tenderloin or stewed chicken thighs and brown rice! Makes 2 servings.

Lemon Chard Soup
9 cups water
1 cup green lentils, picked through for stones
1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped into 1" strips
10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste
2 lemons, juice of
1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of diced Yukon Gold potatoes

Wash the strips of Chard; drain.
In a large saucepan put the lentils and about 9 cups of water, place on high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and add the chard. Cover and boil gently for 15 minutes. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a skillet, add onions. Cook on medium heat until translucent; add the garlic paste and cilantro and cook gently for 3 minutes; transfer to the saucepan and mix well with the softened chard and the lentils. Add the potatoes and continue cooking covered for another 45 minutes until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Slowly incorporate the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, serve at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

Spicy Stir-Fried Chard
1 pound chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Black Bean Garlic sauce
1-2 teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce, to your taste
1 tablespoon honey

Cut stems away from swiss chard leaves, folding over the leaf to cut some of the larger part of the stem (ribs) that run through the leaves. Cut stems/ribs into short pieces. Pile the leaves up in a stack and slice about 1 inch thick; then turn the cutting board and cut the slices the other way, repeating until the chard is all chopped. Wash in a salad spinner if needed and spin dry. Mince enough garlic to make 1 tablespoon. Mix together soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, Black Bean Garlic Sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce, and honey to make the sauce. Turn the heat under the wok (or large frying pan) to medium high, add the oil and heat until the oil is slightly shimmering. Add the chard stems and stir-fry about 2 minutes. Add the leaves and minced garlic and stir-fry for about 3 minutes more, turning leaves over several times until all the chard has wilted. Add the sauce and stir to combine it with the chard, then cook 2-3 minutes more, or until the chard is tender and all coated with sauce. Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

Apr 13, 2013

Hawaii's "MIXED PLATE" Lunch

Lemon Chicken
The Kualapu'u Cookhouse, Moloka'i

Click on photo to view larger
The "mixed plate" is unique to Hawaii. Tasty dishes from the varied ethnic groups that call Hawai‘i home. The Hawaiian plate lunch goes back to the 1880s during the early days of the sugar plantations. Laborers were brought from around the world, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipinos, to work in the sugarcane fields. During their lunch break, the Japanese laborers would bring teriyaki beef with rice and pickled vegetables. The Filipino workers might bring their traditional adobo or perhaps a pork or chicken stew. The Koreans had their kalbi or marinated ribs and the Chinese a rice noodle and vegetable dish called chow fun. The Hawaiians would perhaps bring their kalua pig, roasted in an underground oven called an imu. It wasn’t long before they began to share their foods with one another and the “mixed plate” was born.

Today the mixed plate lunch is a popular choice in Hawaii. It’s normally packed into a compartmental foam container so it’s easy to transport on the go. Disposable chopsticks are the choice utensil, but you’ll also find plastic forks and spoons. There are a huge number of popular entrées to choose from: kalua pig, chicken katsu, "loco moco", tery beef, Hawaii-Style barbecue chicken, laulau, or fried mahi mahi, just to mention a few. If you want to see a huge variety of plate lunch photos, check out this Honolulu food blog "The Tasty Island"

Naturally, “two scoops rice” and “one scoop of Hawaiian macaroni salad”, (better known as “mac salad”), always accompany the traditional plate lunch. Whatever the combination, you can count on having a lot of food at a reasonable price when you order the Hawaiian mixed plate lunch. Throughout the Islands, from mom and pop shops, to lunch wagons, to local chains, you won’t have to look far to find the perfect plate lunch, just bring a big appetite.

Just A Few Plate Lunch Recipes:

Lemon Chicken
2 whole boneless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon gingerroot, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (japanese bread crumbs)
1 1/2 cups canola oil (for frying)
2 cups of thinly sliced napa cabbage
2 green onions sliced at an angle, for garnish

Ingredients for sauce:
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 dash salt

Cut chicken in half and pound to 1/2 inch thickness. Rub chicken with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. Coat chicken with flour, dip in beaten egg and press on panko. Fry the chicken pieces in a frying pan, turning once or twice until golden brown on both sides. Keep cooked chicken warm in the oven as you fry.

Combine sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. To serve, cut chicken into strips or bite size pieces. Place 1/2 cup of sliced napa cabbage on plate. Put chicken on top of cabbage and pour sauce over the chicken. Garnish chicken with green onions. Serve with garlic ginger rice, and potato/mac salad (recipes below). Makes 4 servings.

Garlic Ginger Rice
Did you know that rice is the staple food of more than one-half of the world's population? Rice is served with every meal here in Hawaii. Normally unseasoned short grain "sticky" rice is served here in Hawaii, but I prefer this version because it has more flavor.

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
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh basil and mint, finely chopped

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 cilantro 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.

Potato-Mac Salad with Surimi and Green Peas
There are many variations to Hawaiian mac salad, but this is my favorite.

1 pound package elbow macaroni pasta
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound surimi (imitation crab), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (defrosted, no need to cook them)
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
1 cup shredded carrots
6 large hard boiled eggs (chopped)
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
3/4 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
3 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 chopped green onion (white and green parts) for garnish

Boil macaroni and potatoes in separate pots, 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked to your taste, drain & cool 30 minutes. Add all other ingredients to cooled macaroni and potatoes, in a large bowl. Gently stir to mix everything together. Keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The macaroni and potatoes will absorb the mayo, so you may want to make your salad a day ahead to let the flavors combine. You might also want to add more mayonnaise just before serving. Garnish with more chopped green onion. Makes 16 generous servings.

Also known as Korean-style or cross-cut short ribs. Korean-style beef short ribs are much thinner than the more common English version. They should only be about 1/4 inch thick, with three rib bones attached. These ribs are very popular in Hawaii.

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
4 scallions, trimmed and minced
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds Korean-style (flanken cut) beef short ribs (cut 1/4 inch thick across the ribs)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine juice, soy sauce, honey, mirin, scallions, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar, and pepper in a medium nonreactive bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated. Place ribs in a large resealable plastic bag or a nonreactive dish and cover with marinade. Toss the meat in the marinade until well coated. Seal and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 400°F) and rub the grill with a towel dipped in oil. Remove ribs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while the grill is heating, at least 20 minutes. Remove ribs from marinade and let excess drip off. Grill, spaced 1 inch apart, until well done and crispy on the edges, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with rice and spicy cabbage kimchee (recipe below). Makes 4-6 servings.

Spicy Cabbage Kimchee
1 pound Chinese cabbage (napa cabbage)
1 pound white radish (daikon)
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 green onions, cut into fine rounds, including green
1 tablespoon cayenne or hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar

Using a small whole cabbage, cut it in half lengthwise, and then cut it across at 2-inch intervals. Peel the white radish, cut it in half lengthwise, and then cut it crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a large bowl put 5 cups water and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the salt. Mix. Add the cabbage and radish to this water and dunk them in a few times. Cover loosely and set aside for 12 hours. Turn the

vegetables over a few times. Put the ginger, garlic, scallions, cayenne, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in another large bowl. Mix well. Take the cabbage out of its soaking liquid with a slotted spoon (save the liquid) and put it in the bowl with the seasonings. Mix well. Put this cabbage mixture into a 2-quart jar or crock. Pour enough of the salt water over it to cover the vegetables (about 2 cups). Leave 1 inch of empty space at the top of the jar. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and set aside for 3 to 7 days in a cool place. Taste the cabbage after 3 days to check on the sourness. When it is done to your liking, cover the jar and refrigerate. To serve, remove just as much of the kimchee as you think you will need for a meal - a cupful is enough for 4. The kimchee liquid may be used to flavor stews and soups. Makes 8 servings.

 Teriyaki Tri-Tip
2 to 2 1/2 pounds Tri-Tip Roast, 2 inches thick
2 cups Honey Ginger Teriyaki Marinade (recipe below)
2 cloves fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly cracked peppercorns
1/4 cup red wine

Marinade: (makes 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated on rasp
1 tablespoon garlic, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon granulated (or powdered) onion

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well, set aside. Rinse meat, pat dry and place in a large heavy zip-lock bag. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 of the marinade, garlic, pepper and wine. Pour marinade over meat in zip-lock bag, close and refrigerate overnight, turning bag once or twice. Discard marinade and pat meat dry. Grill over low, direct heat until internal temperature reaches 120˚F (about 30 to 40 minutes), turning 1/2 way. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes (internal temperature will rise to 130˚F to 135˚F for medium rare). Adjust cooking time accordingly for preferred doneness. Slice thinly across the grain at a slant and serve with remaining marinade. Makes 6 servings.

Pork and Chicken Adobo
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch cubes
2 pounds lean pork, cut into 2 inch cubes
10 peppercorns lightly crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar

In a large glass baking dish, mix vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and soy sauce; add chicken and pork and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in fridge for one hour. Transfer meat and marinade to a large saucepan. Add water and heat to boiling over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Transfer chicken and pork pieces to a plate and allow to cool. Boil liquid until it is reduced to about 1 cup; 10 minutes. Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat until very hot. Brown meat lightly. Return meat to sauce, stir to coat evenly. Serve with rice. Makes 6 servings.

Chicken Katsu
Chicken Katsu
The Kualapu'u Cookhouse, Moloka'i Hawaii
Click on photo to view larger
6 chicken thighs, de-boned and flattened
1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
vegetable oil for frying

Tonkatsu dipping sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons garlic
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)

Procedure for Tonkatsu dipping sauce:
Put all above ingredients in sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes skimming any foam that rises to the top. Will keep refrigerated for 4 weeks. Makes 3 cups of sauce.

Procedure for chicken:
Heat oil in frying pan. Coat chicken with flour, dip in beaten egg and roll in Panko breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Slice and serve with Tonkatsu sauce for dipping. Makes 4 servings.