Sep 27, 2014

Bring Back The Way of Aloha!

You Can Bring Back The Way of Aloha!
Hawaii is the Aloha State. The word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights describe an attitude or way of life sometimes called "The Aloha Spirit" or "The Way of Aloha". It's a way of life that says I will not willfully harm anyone or anything, including our land. The earth, the sky, the sea are ours to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian - this is Aloha!

Major Agro Chemical companies have quietly turned Hawaii's Maui County into ground zero for GMO's - the largest open-air, experimental chemical and genetics test site in the world. These companies are willfully harming our land and perhaps the health of the people who live in Hawaii and the rest of the world. If you are not clear on GMO facts, like what are GMO's, are GMO's safe, are GMO's labeled, etc., click here. Click here for a list of countries that ban GMO crops and require GE food labels.

If you are a Maui County resident, please get out and vote YES on the Maui County Genetically Modified Organism Ban Initiative this November 4th. If approved this measure would prohibit any growth, testing or cultivation of genetically modified or engineered crops and would put a stop to any genetic modification and engineering operations in the county until environmental and public health studies are conducted to find out if the proposed cultivation practices are safe and harmless. For more information click here

The Hawaii Constitution states that the Public Trust Resources (including but not limited to the land, water, and air) shall be conserved and protected for current and future generations. This may be our last chance to vote against harmful experimental chemical testing in Maui County, that's why the Agro Chemical companies are spending so much money on TV commercials and direct mail, they are afraid of the Aloha Spirit. You can bring back that spirit, by voting YES on November 4th.  

To quote William Wallace's speech in the movie Braveheart "What I see here is a whole army of citizens in defiance of tyranny". MAHALO for your YES vote!


POST SCRIPT: Today, November 4, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences LOST the GMO initiative in Maui County by a margin of only 1,077 votes. Unfortunately only 48% of Hawaii's registered voters voted in this general election, the lowest turnout ever. Only 45,356 voters voted on the GMO initiative calling for a temporary ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Maui county. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences spent $7.9 million dollars in advertising to win this county initiative, the most expensive campaign in U.S. history. If you do the math, they spent $362 per 'no' vote, money that could have been spent on testing their products. Monsanto is saying this morning that they will fight these results in court, which means even more money wasted. 

Mahalo to the people in Maui County who voted and a big MAHALO to those who voted 'Yes', The Aloha Spirit lives.

Sep 22, 2014


Fresh organic sweet corn from Kumu Farms
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Nothing is better than sweet summer corn on the cob. Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. It was started from a wild grass called teosinte. Teosinte looked very different from the corn today. The kernels were small and were not placed close together like kernels on the husked ear of modern corn. Also known as maize, Indians throughout North and South America eventually depended upon this crop for much of their food. 

From Mexico maize spread north into the Southwestern United States and south down the coast to Peru. About 1000 years ago, as Indian people migrated north to the eastern woodlands of present day North America, they brought corn with them. 

When Europeans like Columbus made contact with people living in North and South America, corn was a major part of the diet of most native people. When Columbus "discovered" America, he also discovered corn. But up to this time, people living in Europe did not know about corn. The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621. While sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie were not on the menu, Indian corn certainly would have been. Today, we have a corn plant that produces an ear about the length of a forearm with more than 700 kernels.

I recommend eating Certified ORGANIC sweet corn. It's the only way to protect yourself and your family from genetically modified experimental corn. Under the regulations of the National Organic Program, Certified Organic farmers are not allowed to knowingly plant GMO seed. If you want to grow your own ORGANIC sweet corn, there are many seed companies that sell non-GMO seeds online, like, or, and Eden Organic Nursery Services Inc.Thanks to Kumu Farms, a few local organic gardeners, and some grocery stores here on Moloka'i, we can still enjoy ORGANIC sweet corn without worrying about eating experimental food.

Corn Recipes:

Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Corn, Goat Cheese,
and Oven-roasted Tomatoes

2 thick slices of tomato (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 medium ear corn, with the husk still on
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 ounces goat cheese

Heat your oven's broiler on high. Drizzle the tomato slices with a bit of olive oil, coating both sides, and season with salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until beginning to caramelize on top.

While the tomatoes are cooking, microwave the corn (in its husk) for 3 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave and let cool for a few minutes, then strip off the husk and cut the kernels from the cob.

Heat the butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the eggs and scramble (this shouldn't take more than a minute, although if you like your eggs creamy, you may want to lower the heat and cook them more slowly). Turn off the heat and crumble in the goat cheese.

Use a spatula to transfer the tomato slices to a plate, then top with the eggs. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Makes 1 serving.

Spicy Corn Salsa
I love salsa, but this is a real crowd pleaser... and it's easy to make. Great with corn chips, put on top of tacos, or fried fish, etc. You just can't beat this spicy corn salsa.

1 medium poblano chile pepper, seeded
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat broiler. Slice stem off poblano and cut pepper in half. Remove seeds. Flatten pepper halves on baking sheet and broil for 10-15 minutes or until charred. Remove from oven and place in a ziploc plastic bag for 15 minutes. Remove and discard charred skin from peppers. Dice poblano pepper flesh and place in a mixing bowl. If you are using fresh corn, cook it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here) and the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl with the poblano pepper. Stir and serve.

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.

Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad
1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
1 7 1/2-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Makes 4 servings.

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.

Salmon and Corn Chowder
This is a hearty salmon chowder that is wonderfully flavored by fresh sweet corn-off-the-cob. It is so thick and good that it is perfect for company, served with Saloon Pilot crackers and a side salad, on a chilly night.

1 pound of salmon fillets, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
1 10 3/4-ounce can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1 10 3/4-ounce can Campbell's cream of celery soup
3 soup cans of water
4 potatoes (4 cups), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper, or to taste
chopped celery leaves for garnish

In a non-stick fry pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the salmon and sauté just until opaque on the outside, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium-large pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and mushrooms and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the two cans of soup, and water, stir, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cover partially and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Finely chop 1/2 of the corn kernels and add this to the chowder. Add the remaining corn kernels along with the garlic, and cayenne pepper. Simmer until the corn is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the salmon and simmer just until barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season with dill and salt and pepper.

Ladle the chowder into warmed soup bowls, garnish with fresh celery leaves and serve immediately. In Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: You don't want to overcook the salmon, or it will get tough. Use button mushrooms, cremini, or whatever you like, I even like to use Chinese dried black wood ear mushrooms for this recipe. If you can get fresh dill, use it. The fresh corn is key in this recipe, otherwise use frozen, but it won't be as good.

Coconut Fish Chowder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 package (10 ounces) thawed frozen corn kernels
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 pound skinless red snapper fillets (opakapaka or ehu)
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion, 1/4 tablespoon red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt; cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add 11/2 cups water and 1 package (10 ounces) thawed frozen corn kernels. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until corn is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer 11/2 cups corn and onions to a blender. Add 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk; blend until smooth.

To pan, add 1 pound skinless red snapper fillets. Simmer until opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Return corn puree to pan. Break up fish with a spoon; heat until just warmed through (do not boil).

Remove from heat; stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges, if desired. Makes 2-4 servings.

Fresh Corn Pudding
I love this recipe, because it reminds me of a good home cooked meal. The key here is to use fresh sweet corn instead of frozen. This corn pudding would be great served with turkey for Thanksgiving, or with a pork roast or fried chicken. One of my favorite recipes.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 cups FRESH yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (6 to 8 ears)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup Ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (6 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar,
plus extra for top

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grease the inside of an 8 to 10-cup baking dish. Melt the butter in a very large saute pan and saute the corn and onion over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Cool slightly. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and then the Ricotta cheese. Add the basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked corn mixture and grated cheddar, and then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with more grated cheddar. Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan 1/2 way up the sides of the dish with hot tap water. Bake the pudding for 40 to 45 minutes until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Summer Sweet Corn with Leek
I always look forward to sweet corn in the summer. The Lions Club always sells it by the bag, and my wife and I are usually first in line. Sweet corn is amazing all by itself, but the addition of leek makes it even better.

2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 corn cobs)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 leek, white & green parts chopped small
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (from Kumu Farms)
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Easy method to shave corn off cob: just stand it upright in a large bowl and run your knife as close to the cob as you can get. The kernels will just come right off.

Heat canola oil under medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add in cumin seeds. When the seeds start to brown, turn the heat to medium and add in the chopped leeks. Cook the leaks for about 3-5 minutes, until they are cooked down. Mix in the black pepper.

At this point, add in the corn kernels and salt to taste. Fry the corn for a few minutes (doesn’t take long to cook). Turn the heat off. Squeeze lemon and mix in the chopped basil. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Mexican Style Corn on the Cob
6 ears corn, unhusked
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup grated cotija cheese, or feta cheese if you can't find cotija
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 2 limes

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place corn, in its husks, directly on the oven rack. Roast until tender and cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. Peel down the husks. Rub each ear of corn with 1 tablespoon butter. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Makes 6 servings.

Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing
This is a wonderful stuffing to serve on the side with roast chicken, or turkey. 

1/2 cup pecan halves
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 green onions, chopped
Cornbread, crumbled (about 6 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 375°.

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes. (Do not crisp.) Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Sauté diced onion and next 2 ingredients in hot drippings 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in green onions; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add bacon, cornbread, and next 3 ingredients. Stir together melted butter and broth, and stir into cornbread mixture. Add salt and pepper. Fold in pecans. Spoon dressing into a buttered, shallow 2-qt. baking dish; cover with aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, at 375°F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and uncover. Transfer oven rack to highest position. Bake dressing, uncovered, 12 minutes or until top is crusty. Makes 8 servings.

Buttermilk & Bacon Corn Muffins
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup fresh corn kernels or drained, canned whole corn kernels
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Generously grease ten 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Beat together buttermilk, melted butter and and egg in small bowl. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Do not over mix; batter should be lumpy. Stir in corn and bacon. Spoon into prepared muffin-pan cups, filling three-quarters full.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans to wire racks to cool complete. Makes 10 muffins.

Click on image to view larger
An African cook in Atlanta is said to have given the name hushpuppy to this food. When frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby puppy began to howl. To keep the puppy quiet, she gave it a plateful of the croquettes and said, "hush, puppy." Since the name was cut, it stuck. This is one of my favorite southern recipes.

2 cups white cornmeal
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 cup milk, more if needed
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup cooked fresh sweet summer corn, off the cob
canola oil for frying

In a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except the frying oil. Moisten with just enough milk to create a stiff dough. Drop the batter from a tablespoon into deep hot oil (350˚F) and fry for 3 or 4 minutes, or until golden (turn them in the hot oil several times). Don't crowd them in the oil. Drain on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with salt. Serve hushpuppies warm with fried fish, Island Pork Ribs, or fried chicken, and Asian Coleslaw. Makes 2 dozen.

Polenta Bread
Polenta is the Italian word for corn meal. Basically it's dried corn that is ground down to a rather large meal. It is yellow in color and is usually boiled, then either served soft, or allowed to cool, then cut into squares or triangles and served underneath some kind of meat with lots of gravy. This recipe uses polenta, instead of flour, to make a crusty bread that is great served alongside a rustic stew, chowder, or pot roast.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm milk (105° to 115°)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (105° to 115°)
About 6 cups bread flour
2 cups polenta (not instant)
Coarsely ground cornmeal, for sprinkling
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the salt, oil and water and mix at low speed for 1 minute. Gradually add about two-thirds of the flour to the bowl, beating constantly. Gradually mix in the polenta. Mix in as much of the remaining flour as needed to make the dough begin to form a ball. Continue to knead for 5 minutes at low speed. Scrape the paddle clean, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough until doubled in bulk, about 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.

Punch down the dough. Knead it on a lightly floured work surface for 30 seconds. Divide the dough in half and shape it into 2 round loaves. Cover a baking sheet or 2 round baskets of the same size with kitchen towels and sprinkle generously with flour and cornmeal. Place the 2 loaves on the towels and cover loosely with clean kitchen towels. Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

At least 40 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475°.

Lightly flour a baking sheet and turn the loaves over onto it. Slash the tops of the loaves several times with a razor blade and place in the oven. Using a plant mister filled with water, generously spray the oven roof and walls, then shut the oven door. Spray the oven three more times during the first 10 minutes of baking.

After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400° and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the loaves are dark golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Rotate the loaves as necessary during baking so they brown evenly. Cool the loaves on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

Note: This bread can be stored in a sturdy plastic bag, in the refrigerator, for 3 to 4 days.

Sweet Fresh Corn Crème Brûlée
3 ears sweet corn
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
8 egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar
8 ovenproof ramekins

Remove the husk from the ears of corn and cut the kernels off. Puree the corn and milk in a blender until smooth. Strain the mixture into a pitcher. Add the cream and in a pan cook until start boil.

Preheat oven to 300˚F. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Add the vanilla and mix. Pour the cream mixture into 8 (8 ounce) ovenproof ramekins, and arrange in a hot water bath. Bake at 300˚F, in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should "shimmy" a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes. Tightly cover each bowl with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours.)

Preheat a broiler to very hot (or fire up your kitchen torch). Uncover the chilled custards. Pour as much sugar as will fit onto the top of one of the custards. Pour off the excess sugar onto the next custard. Repeat until all the custards are coated. Discard any remaining sugar. Place the bowls on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Or brown them with a blowtorch. Let cool 1 minute before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Sep 20, 2014

Cooking with RICE FLOUR

Like most Americans, I have used all-purpose bleached wheat flour most of my life. However there are many kinds of flour from tapioca, to garbanzo, even sunflower flour, but rice flour has really caught my interest ever since I moved to Hawaii. There are so many Asian recipes using rice flour here, and many of them are delicious. 

Rice flour is a flour milled from rice and has been used in Asia for a very long time, in all kinds of dishes. There are 4 kinds of rice flour, white rice flour (used as a thickener in sauces or in combination with other flours, glutinous rice flour (also know as sweet rice flour, used in baking), brown rice flour (milled from whole grain for more flavor and nutrition), and roasted red rice flour (used in flat breads like roti). The glutinous one is called sweet rice flour for some reason, because the truth is that it is not sweet at all and contains no gluten, but it does go very sticky when cooked, and it binds baked goods together, like the Bibingka recipe below. Also if you want to thicken a sauce without using wheat flour in a roux, try white rice flour, it thickens liquids quite nicely.

If you want to produce fried fish, shrimp, oysters, calamari, or onion rings, etc. with a remarkable crispness, then here is a restaurant secret. Dip fish, etc. into sweet rice flour, that you pre-season with any dry seasonings you like (pepper, herbs, garlic, etc.), then into beaten eggs. Roll egg coated fish lightly into Panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Now here's the secret, after rolling in Panko crumbs and before you fry in canola oil at 375˚F, always put battered items in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. When the Panko gets frozen to the egg wash it sticks like glue and the crumbs don't fall off, leaving you with extra crispy fried fish. Shhh! Don't tell anyone!

I may have confused you, but I am just learning about this remarkable rice flour myself. For more information on rice flour and "The Gluten-free Diet", check out the story I wrote a couple of years ago. Click here.

Filipino Coconut Pineapple "Bibingka"
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This cake is considered a delicacy in the Philippines. I have a friend who lives there, Ann Supan who recently had a birthday. She asked if I had ever heard of "Bibingka", and that she only has this special cake during the Christmas season. I researched it and came up with this recipe. It is a sticky cake, very different from other dryer American cakes, because of the glutinous sweet rice flour, which makes it have a unique soft, sweet, and gelatinous consistency, sort of like the Japanese Mochi. There are many different Filipino versions of the Bibingka, including a version that my Filipino friend Estella Ramos likes that uses cooked sticky rice instead of rice flour and only light brown sugar, not white sugar, plus a little less coconut cream. This dessert is a winner Ann, Happy Birthday!

Ingredients for cake:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 cups white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 pound (3 1/2 cups) Mochiko brand sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 15-ounce can sweetened cream of coconut, not coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained of the juice
1 tablespoon Crisco brand shortening
9 x 13 inch metal sheet pan, or glass Pyrex pan

Ingredients for topping:
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir, until smooth. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan. Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Place in oven on middle rack and bake in a 350˚F oven for approximately 60 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking, cover the cake lightly with a sheet of foil to keep the coconut from getting too brown, then continue baking for 30 minutes more. Turn off heat and allow the cake to rest in the oven for an additional 20 minutes before removing. Now remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, then cut into small pieces. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Note: The cooking time may vary depending on your oven, and the pan you cook in. For example I cooked this cake in a glass Pyrex baking pan and had to increase the time by 30 minutes. If the cake center jiggles when you give it a shake, continue cooking, and check again every 5 minutes. The cake is done when the top springs back to the touch.

Italian Fried Chicken
Chicken parmesan is a classic recipe, but using rice flour makes it even more crispy and delicious.

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
canola oil, for frying
2 cups tomato sauce, heated (see note below)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Italian parsley, for garnish

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut or pound the chicken into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In large bowl, beat eggs and set aside. In another large bowl mix together the rice flour and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Coat the chicken in egg and then dredge it in the flour-cheese mixture. Shake off any excess and set coated chicken pieces aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. After the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is golden and cooked through.

To serve, top the cooked chicken with hot tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with penne pasta and steamed asparagus. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Tomato sauce is easy to make and much better than store bought. In a medium sized pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of a chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Now add 2, 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste, and a 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Makes about 2 cups of sauce.

Sesame Rice Crackers
1 1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. The dough shouldn't be too sticky and should come together. You can add a little more rice flour if it seems too sticky and wet. Let the mixture sit for five minutes.

Spray a large baking sheet. Take teaspoon size pieces of dough and roll in to balls. Take a small square of oil sprayed parchment paper and press the ball on to the pan. You can use your hands, or you could use a heavy glass. You want the cracker dough to be very thin, but you don't want it to rip. Even if it rips though, it's still tasty. The crackers do shrink a little in the oven - so it's ok if your dough rounds are touching. Bake in oven for around 15-17 minutes. Check to make sure they don't burn. Cool on 

Lilikoi-Mango Mochi
So what is Mochi? Mochi is a Japanese confection, found usually in the shape of a small, round rice cake. This Mochi recipe is very Hawaiian because it has fresh mango covered in a sweet rice dough flavored with lilikoi juice.

1 1/4 cups lilikoi juice (passion fruit juice)
1 1/4 cups sweet rice flour
cubed ripe mangoes
cornstarch for dusting
powdered sugar
12 paper cupcake liners

Add lilikoi fruit juice and rice flour into a microwave safe bowl like pyrex. Mix until combined, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes on high. Carefully remove plastic wrap and stir - the center should be slightly liquidy and the edges stiffer. Cover again with plastic and microwave for another 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. You should now have a 'dough'. 

Dust a cutting board with cornstarch and turn the dough out onto the board. Wait about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the dough is cool enough to handle. Dust the top of the dough with cornstarch and form into a 1 1/2 inch thick log. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (keep covered to prevent from drying out). Cut off a 1 1/2 inch piece and form into a flat circle (make sure your hands are well starched so the dough doesn't stick). Place some fresh cubed mango in the center of the dough and pinch closed. Place each lilikoi-mango mochi, with the pinched side down, in cupcake liners and dust with powdered sugar. Makes 1 dozen pieces.

Note: This lilikoi-mango mochi is best made the same day that they will be eaten, otherwise the mochi might dry out and start to get hard.

Sep 18, 2014

ASIAN Hoppin' John

Asian Hoppin' John with Snow Peas
Click on photo to view larger
You see, I grew up in the Southern part of the U.S. mainland where they serve fresh black eyed peas and rice called "Hoppin’John". Who knows where the name came from, but basically it's simply black eyed peas (or field peas) mixed with rice, bacon, and onions, but there are many other versions, including this one born out of necessity because you can't get fresh black eyed peas on Moloka'i, only dried or canned. Naturally being a Southern boy I had to come up with an alternative solution for the food I grew up with.

In the Philippines yard-long beans are called pole sitao, and sometimes the beans inside of these long pods are separated from the pod and are cooked with other vegetables. There's a Filipino lady down at the Moloka'i farmer's market named Lina, right in front of American Savings Bank, on Saturday morning that occasionally sells these beans in little zip-loc bags. She always waves at me when she sees me coming, to let me know she has the beans I like. They are not black eyed peas but they come close. They are not mushy like black eyed peas, instead these tough, slightly bitter, little beans have an attitude... I like that! Anyway here's my recipe for my new Moloka'i comfort food, ASIAN Hoppin' John.

Side Note: In the South, it is believed that black eyed peas are supposed to bring you luck if you eat them on New Year’s Day, I know that this Asian version will measure up, if you believe in that kind of stuff.

ASIAN Hoppin' John
1/3 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of yard long beans separated from the pod
1 bay leaf
1 heaping teaspoon oyster sauce
Salt to taste
2 cups long-grain rice, not sticky short grain rice

Cook the bacon pieces slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is crispy, increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and red pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the beans, bay leaf, and oyster sauce and cover with 4 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if needed, until the beans are tender.

While the beans are cooking, cook the long-grain rice separately according to package instructions.

When the beans are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the beans for salt, add more if needed.

When you are ready to serve, mix the rice with the beans in a large bowl. Serve with tatsoi (read about this new spinach on this site), or snow peas. Makes 4-6 side dish servings.

Note: Replace the bacon with roasted pork belly, cut into small pieces, or serve this dish as a side with roasted rosemary pork ribs. You won't be sorry.

Sep 16, 2014


So what is "Food Porn"? There are several people taking credit for this popular term, but the one I like best is about a 1990s British TV cooking show that I loved called "Two Fat Ladies". The shows producer described the "pornographic joy" the pair of Fat Ladies took in using vast quantities of butter and cream. You can watch a little of an episode on You Tube called "Two Fat Ladies Cook Lard". Wonderful!

According to Wikipedia, "Food Porn" is a glamorized spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in advertisements, infomercials, cooking shows or other visual media, foods boasting a high fat and calorie content, exotic dishes that arouse a desire to eat or the glorification of food as a substitute for sex. Food Porn often takes the form of food photography and styling that presents food provocatively, in a similar way to glamour photography or pornographic photography.

In a way, that sort of describes me. I was in the advertising business for 35 years before becoming a professional chef. During those years the majority of my clients had food products, and they wanted them to look as provocatively glamorous as possible. Now that I am taking my own photos for this website, I guess I'm trying to achieve the same "Food Porn" photography as I did then, although I didn't actually consider myself a porn director at the time, just a lowly art director trying to make my clients look good. It's now my job to introduce and "seduce" you into trying the many tropical recipes here in Hawaii. My wife just read this and said laughingly... "Never thought I'd be married to a porn artist!"

My "Golden Papaya Daiquiri"

My Golden Papaya
Click on photo to view larger
2 whole golden papayas
1/2 pint white rum
2 ounces fresh lime juice
4 ounces simple syrup*
8 ice cubes or more
papaya, and/or lime slices for garnish

Slice the papayas in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard. Continue to scoop out the pulp and place it in a bowl. Cover and freeze papaya for an hour. Blend everything except the garnishes in a blender until smooth. Pour into 4 chilled martini glasses. Garnish each glass, serve immediately. Makes 4 golden papaya daiquiris.

*For the simple syrup, bring 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup sugar to a light boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and let come to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

The Noble LEEK

Organic leeks from Pu'u O Hoku Ranch
purchased at Moloka'i Farmer's Market
I'm always on the lookout for fresh leek because they make a nice change from the regular old onion. The leek is the noble member of the onion family, and looks like a spring onion on steroids. However the flavor of the leek is much more refined, subtle, and sweeter than the standard onion. They are prized by cooks as a flavoring for dishes of all types. 

Though the leek was prized by Egyptian pharaohs, Roman emperors and European kings, it seems its sweet, subtle flavor has been upstaged in recent years by onions and garlic, its more assertive cousins.

In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base). The bottom white portion does not grow white naturally. Earth is heaped up around them to keep the sunlight off, which is called "blanching". This makes the bottoms of the stems taste sweeter. Leeks are usually sold in bunches of 2 to 4. The smaller the leek the better; anything wider than 1 1/2 inches may be quite tough.

To prepare a leek, cut the roots off at the bottom. Then cut off the leafy top down to where it starts to turn from dark green to lighter green. After chopping, Leeks need to be washed really well because dirt gets in between the layers. Chop the Leeks and wash in a large bowl or sink of cold water. The Leeks will float to the top; the sand and grit will sink to the bottom. Soak them for 10 or 15 minutes to loosen dirt.

Leeks are typically chopped into thin slices. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. The different ways of preparing the vegetable are: Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste. Fried, which leaves it crunchier and preserves the taste. Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.

One of the most popular uses is for adding flavor to stock. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sauteed or added to stock. A few leaves are sometimes tied with twine and other herbs to form a bouquet garni. Leeks are the king of soup onions and are regarded in France as the asparagus of the poor.

Like all onion family crops, leeks are good for you, too. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein, and folate. 

Wild leeks, also called ramps, are of a different variety. They are much smaller, more akin to small scallions or young shallots. Unlike the leek, they have a very strong aroma and flavor.

Leek Recipes:

Baked Eggs with Leeks and Spinach
This is a wonderful way to enjoy leeks and spinach for breakfast.

2/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, chopped (white and pale-green parts only, about 1 cup)
4 scallions, chopped (white and pale-green parts only)
1 pound fresh spinach
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
8 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Adjust oven to center rack and preheat oven to 300°F. In a 12-inch oven proof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Lower the heat to low, then add the leek and scallion and cook until completely soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

Add as much spinach as will fit in the skillet with the lemon juice, along with a pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently and adding more spinach a handful at a time as it wilts until it is just wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt or more lemon juice as needed.

Now drain the liquid from the spinach. Using tongs, divide spinach into 4 nests in the same 12-inch skillet, leave any excess liquid from spinach behind. Make 2 indentations in each spinach nest and crack one egg into each indentation, taking care to keep the yolks intact. Sprinkle each egg with a pinch of salt, then transfer to the oven and cook until the whites are just set, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the last tablespoon of butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add the chili powder and continue cooking until the butter just begins to brown. Add the oregano and cook the sauce for 30 seconds longer, then remove from the heat.

Serve the baked eggs with the yogurt mixture, and top with the spiced butter/oregano sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Leek Salad with Tomato-mustard Vinaigrette
Tomatoes and leeks from Moloka'i farmers market
This is a wonderful recipe that my wife makes for me whenever we find leek in the market.

4 medium sized leeks (about 1 1/4 pounds), washed, white and tender green parts cut into 2-inch lengths
4 ripe roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a saute pan bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the leeks, bring back to a boil and simmer gently, covered, for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the leeks are tender.

Drain, cool, then gently squeeze the leeks to extract most of the remaining liquid.

Arrange the pieces in a serving dish combining the white and green parts of the leeks.

Mix together the tomato, oil, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and spoon the mixture over the leeks. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

Onaga & Leek Stew
Onaga is the beautiful ruby snapper found in Hawaii waters, however you can use Ehu or regular red snapper, sea bass, or similar firm white meat fish for this recipe.

1, 3 pound onaga (Hawaiian ruby snapper), cleaned, gutted and scaled, head removed (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 3 lemons
2/3 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds leeks, white and tender green parts cut into 2-inch lengths
2 cups water
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Place the cleaned fish on a platter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and one third of the lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large, wide pot and place the leeks in the pot. Cover and steam in the oil over low heat, turning them occasionally until lightly caramelized, about 25 minutes.

Place the fish over the leeks, add the water, cover and simmer over low heat until the fish is fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make the egg-lemon sauce: Separate the egg yolks and whites. Beat the whites vigorously until foamy and nearly stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining lemon juice and then whisk into the whites. Add a ladleful of the pot juices to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking all the while. Pour the sauce into the pot and tilt the pot to distribute it evenly. Pour in the remaining olive oil and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Rustic Potato Leek Soup
Rustic Potato Leek Soup
Click on photo to enlarge
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite soups of all time. Part of it is that I happen to love potatoes, but when you combine potatoes with leeks, onion, garlic and cream, how can you go wrong. Normally this soup is blended until smooth, but I prefer my "rustic" version with small slices of potato that have the skins left on. The Germans and Portuguese would have liked it this way. They brought the potato to Hawaii many years ago. This is a simple, straightforward soup, and is a great first course when guests stop by unexpectedly, or to enjoy by yourself on a cold day.

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half, then thinly sliced, about 1 cup
3 small leeks, white and tender green parts split open, washed to remove any grit, then thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large russet potatoes, washed, thinly sliced with the peeling left on
1 bay leaf
4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (or enough to barely cover the potatoes)
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon mace
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh chives for garnish, chopped

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, with olive oil. Add onions, leeks, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown for about 10 minutes. Add sliced potatoes and bay leaf to the pot with chicken broth to cover, stir. Continue cooking over medium low heat, stirring often for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Break up potatoes with a wooden spoon, but don't mash. Add half-and-half, and mace. Stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf. Serve and garnish bowl with snipped fresh chives. Other garnishes might include, croutons, sour cream, crumbled bacon, grated cheddar cheese, or fresh dill. Serve with hot crusty bread. Makes 4-6 servings.

Baked Leeks with Red Potatoes
This is a simple, but beautiful side dish to serve with roast chicken, or pork.

2/3 pound large new red potatoes with skins, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups tender white part of leeks (split, cleaned, outer leaves discarded, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Toss the potatoes with the leeks, oil and salt. Transfer to a shallow baking dish (at least 1 quart, so that vegetables are no more than 1 inch deep). Bake about 35 minutes, or until tender, stir once. Let stand for a few minutes. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Summer Sweet Corn with Leek
I always look forward to sweet corn in the summer. The Lions Club always sells it by the bag, and my wife and I are usually first in line. Sweet corn is amazing all by itself, but the addition of leek makes it even better.

2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 corn cobs)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 leek, white & green parts chopped small
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (from Kumu Farms)
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Easy method to shave corn off cob: just stand it upright in a large bowl and run your knife as close to the cob as you can get. The kernels will just come right off.

Heat canola oil under medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add in cumin seeds. When the seeds start to brown, turn the heat to medium and add in the chopped leeks. Cook the leaks for about 3-5 minutes, until they are cooked down. Mix in the black pepper.

At this point, add in the corn kernels and salt to taste. Fry the corn for a few minutes (doesn’t take long to cook). Turn the heat off. Squeeze lemon and mix in the chopped basil. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Bacon & Cheese Leek Quiche
An easy main course leek recipe with a delicious polenta crust.

Ingredients for the Polenta Crust:
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon butter

Ingredients for the quiche Filling:
2-3 slices thickly cut bacon
3 large Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1 large leek, sliced, washed and drained
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup half and half
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flavorful cheese, such as Swiss or gouda, grated

To roast the tomatoes: 
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place the tomatoes cut side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Lay the bacon next to the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes and bacon for 17-20 minutes, or until the skins of the tomatoes have collapsed and are just barely starting to brown and the bacon is crispy. Let sit until cool enough to handle and then chop the onions and break the bacon up into small pieces. Set aside.

To make the polenta crust: 
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a gradual stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking frequently, for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan into a firm, sticky mass.

Grease a 10-inch pie pan and press the polenta mixture into it and up the sides.

In a preheated oven at 400˚F, bake the polenta crust for 15-20 minutes until slightly crispy on the edges.

For the quiche filling:
Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add the leek and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the half and half, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Place the leek, chopped roasted tomatoes, and bacon into the polenta crust. Pour the half and half/egg mixture over it and then sprinkle the cheese over it.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on top and the middle of the quiche is firm. Makes 4-6 servings.

A Festive Frittata with 
Squash Blossoms and Leeks
During the early summer months, I always look for the beautiful squash blossoms found at our Moloka'i farmer's market. This festive frittata is a beautiful way to show off these flowers in a delicious way.

2 tablespoons butter
9 eggs
3 tablespoons Milk
1 leek (or 2 Green Onions) cleaned & chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/3 cup of Kraft Italian five cheese blend (or use a blend of provolone, mozzarella and parmesan)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
9 squash blossoms

To prepare the squash blossoms, remove the stems and outer green spiky leaves. Don’t forget to remove the tough stamen inside the flower.

Chop the yellow squash into small pieces, cut it in half length-wise, and then in half again and then cut into pieces. Chop the leek or onions, and garlic. 

In a large bowl add the eggs, milk and cheese and whisk together. In a oven safe pan, like an iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the leek (or onions) until translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the squash and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add your garlic, cook for a couple minutes more. Stir the ingredients often to avoid sticking to the pan. 

Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Now lay your squash blossoms on top, in a circle with the part on the outside like a flower wheel. Let it cook until it looks about half set, so the bottom looks like an omelet but the top is still watery. Put it in a 400˚F oven for 10-15 minutes and bake until golden and puffed. Makes 4 servings.

Chinese Leek Flatbread
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup warm water
toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
2 medium sized leeks (about 3/4 pounds), washed, white and tender green parts finely chopped

cooking spray
rolling pin
large metal baking sheet
one 10-inch heavy skillet or sauté pan
kitchen scissors

Mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup water until it forms a smooth dough. Knead by doubling the dough over and pressing it down repeatedly, until the dough is even more smooth and very elastic. Coat this ball of dough lightly in sesame oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Lightly oil the back of a large metal baking sheet. Roll out one part of the dough on the back of the baking sheet. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 12 x 9 inches.

Finely chop the leeks and have them ready, along with a small bowl of kosher salt.

Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil, then sprinkle it evenly with chopped leek and kosher salt. Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough. Cut the dough snake in two equal parts. Take one of these halves and coil into a round dough bundle. Roll out the coiled dough bundle again into a flat, smooth, round pancake.

Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, and oil it with a drizzle of canola of vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, pick up the pancake dough and lay it gently in the pan. It should sizzle, but not burn. Cook for 2 minutes on one side.

Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown.

Cut the pancake into wedges with a pair of kitchen scissors, and serve immediately with soy sauce or another dipping sauce.

Sep 14, 2014


Ad published in Ladies Home Journal
In 1901
Click on images to view larger
The 20th century American kitchen was a workroom and often relatively small even in the large homes of the day. There was typically a sink with a counter or drainboard on either side, a woodburning or gas range, and table. Some cabinetry might have been built in, but not always. Shelving was often open and free-standing cupboards or larders were common.

The dictionary defines a larder as a room or cupboard where food is kept. To me it's a lot more romantic than that. It's a place from our past that our grandmothers spent a lot of time in, a cool room filled with jars full of tomato sauce, peaches and pickled this and that, bags of potatoes, and apples, grains, pasta, noodles, breads, crackers and snacks, sugar, and syrups, honey, nuts and seeds. A room that stored the bones of to so many delicious meals. 
My Old Pie Safe

But not all larders were cool rooms, there were also ventilated kitchen cabinets or pie safes. A pie safe was piece of furniture designed to store pies and other fresh food items and keep them safe from vermin and insects. This was a normal household item before iceboxes came into regular use. It was considered an important part of the American household starting in the 1700s and continuing through the 1800s because it was used to store not only pies, but also meat, bread, and other perishables. The doors, and sometimes the sides of the pie safe, had ornate tin plates on them with punched holes for ventilation.

I've had one of these old pie safes for many years. It's made of solid black walnut with original ventilated tin panels in the doors with punched holes in the design of a star. I love this old thing because it's full of not only canned goods from the market, but also memories. Taped inside the left door is a little piece of yellowed paper with a small sketch on it. A sketch of the correct way to set a table with a napkin, knife, fork and spoon. My son Jake made this sketch when he was eleven because it was his job to set the table, and he couldn't remember how it should look. I often wonder how many wonderful things were stored of my old pie safe before I got it, comfort food from the past.
"The correct way to set the table"

Naturally comfort food means different things to different people, depending on what part of the world you live. Here in Hawaii comfort food means a hot bowl of saimin, SPAM musubi, or perhaps one of many plate lunches found only in Hawaii, like kalua pork with two scoops of rice and one scoop macaroni salad, or loco moco, white rice topped with a grilled hamburger patty, a fried egg and smothered with brown gravy, or one of my favorites, poke, fresh, raw island fish like ahi tuna, cubed and marinated in sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, limu (seaweed) and chopped chili peppers or diced onions. These foods are a true taste of Hawaii's local culture.

Here are a few of the good ole' fashioned classic home cooking recipes that I remember.

Pot Roast with Vegetables
3-1/2 to 4-pound chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups water
1 large onion (or 2 medium onions) cut into wedges
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Rub the salt, pepper and garlic powder into the roast. Heat the oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven, and brown the roast over medium-high heat on both sides. Then pour the water around it, reduce the heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer for 2 hours.

Place the onions, carrots and potatoes around the cooked roast, sprinkle lightly with salt, cover the Dutch oven, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Transfer the roast and vegetables to a platter and keep warm.

Measure the liquid remaining in the pan. Add enough water to make 3 cups of liquid. Pour about one-third of the liquid into the Dutch oven. Over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour, and stir rapidly with a whisk or wooden spoon, adding the rest of the liquid gradually, and smoothing out any lumps. Cook until gravy thickens, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sunday Meatloaf
1 to 1-1/4 pounds ground beef (see Note, below)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
14-1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, mashed and drained again (drink the juice)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons catsup
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 or 3 strips uncooked bacon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Put all ingredients except the tomato sauce and bacon in a large bowl. Mix everything with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Scoop up the meat mixture and form it with your hands until you have an oblong loaf that will fit easily into a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Don't pack the mixture into the pan. Pour the tomato sauce evenly over the meatloaf, and cover it with the bacon slices.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Makes 4 generous servings.

Grandma's Chicken & Dumplings
Ingredients for chicken:
1 3-pound chicken
4 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for dumplings:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Place the chicken in a Dutch oven or other large pot, and add the water, broth, carrot, onion, celery and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 60 to 70 minutes, or until tender and chicken is done. Remove chicken and allow it to cool enough to handle. Remove the carrot, onion and celery pieces from the broth and discard. Reserve the broth.

Bone the chicken, discarding all skin, bones and cartilage, and tear meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside. (You can do this part the day before, if you like. Just refrigerate the boned chicken -- well covered so it doesn't dry out -- and broth.)

For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is consistency of coarse meal. Add the buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times -- no more.

For drop dumplings, pat the dough down to a 1/4-inch thickness, and pinch off 1-1/2-inch pieces.

For rolled dumplings, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into strips, no larger than about 2 x 2 inches. (The dumplings will plump up when they are cooked.)

If you have prepared the chicken in advance and refrigerated it, return it and the broth to your big pot and bring it to a boil. Then, with a very large slotted spoon or ladle, dip the boned chicken out of the broth, cover it and keep it warm. With the chicken broth at a low rolling boil, drop in the dumplings, one or two at a time, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir from time to time to make sure dumplings do not stick together. Cook dumplings 10 minutes. The flour in the dumplings will thicken the broth, and it is absolutely not necessary to thicken it further.

Return the boned chicken to the mixture and simmer until heated through. Add the freshly ground black pepper and remove from heat. Makes 4 servings.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450°F. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender, and add the milk, blending quickly, just until dry ingredients are moistened. A sticky dough will result.

Turn the dough out on a floured board. Flour your hands and knead the dough 3 or 4 times. Important: Do not overhandle dough. Roll or pat to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter.

For soft-sided biscuits, place close together on a lightly greased baking sheet or in a lightly greased cast iron skillet (vegetable cooking spray works just fine). For biscuits that are crusty all around, place about an inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 450°F for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with lots of butter, jam and honey. Makes a dozen biscuits.

Buttermilk & Bacon Corn Muffins
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup fresh corn kernels or drained, canned whole corn kernels
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Generously grease ten 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Beat together buttermilk, melted butter and and egg in small bowl. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Do not over mix; batter should be lumpy. Stir in corn and bacon. Spoon into prepared muffin-pan cups, filling three-quarters full.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans to wire racks to cool complete. Makes 10 muffins.

Lemony Bread Pudding
3 rounded cups of 1/2-inch bread cubes (see Note)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom only of a 2-quart casserole or soufflé dish.

Combine bread cubes and lemon zest in large bowl. Set aside.

Combine whipping cream, milk, sugar, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat, cook until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Pour over bread mixture, and toss. Allow to cool.

Lightly beat the egg yolks, then beat in the lemon juice, and stir into the bread mixture. Set aside.

Beat egg whites in large bowl of electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold egg whites into bread mixture.

Pour bread mixture into prepared dish, and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean. The top of the pudding should be golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Note: French or Italian bread, with crusts removed, works well with this recipe. If your bread is less than a day old, you can "age" it by placing slices in a 300°F oven for 15 or 20 minutes, or until some of the moisture is baked out. Makes 8 servings.

Honey Apple Crumble
4 cups peeled, sliced apples (Golden Delicious, Jonathan, or Granny Smith)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F, and butter a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, 1/4 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and honey. Toss to coat apple slices, and pour into baking dish.

In a small bowl, cut the butter into the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Sprinkle mixture over apples, and top with pecans.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and brown on top. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Banana Cream Pie
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or cashews
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg white

3 egg yolks
5 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts or cashews

For the crust, preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine the nuts, coconut and sugar. Beat the egg white until stiff, and fold into nut mixture. Press mixture evenly into and up the sides of an 8-inch pie pan. Bake for 7 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on rack. Crust will tighten up as it cools.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch and sugar until well combined. Then stir in the milk, salt and butter.

Cook mixture slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until filling is thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer filling to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Two hours before serving, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into chilled filling. Peel and slice 1 banana. Arrange banana slices evenly on bottom of crust. Spoon half of the filling over the banana slices. Peel and slice the second banana, and arrange slices evenly over the filling. Top with remaining half of the filling. Top with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for two hours.

Before serving, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the chopped nuts over the filling. Garnish with additional banana slices if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 1 pie.

Country Buttermilk Pie
11/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick of butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shells

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well. Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake 10 minutes at 400°F. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes. Makes 1 pie.

Apple Butter
8 or 9 medium apples (Golden Delicious, McIntosh)
1 teaspoon water
1 pound brown sugar
1 orange

Core the apples and cut into quarters. Place in a Dutch oven with the teaspoon of water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until apples are soft. Turn apples about halfway through the cooking time.

Grate the orange and put the orange zest into a measuring cup. Juice the orange into the measuring cup. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup juice.

Put the cooked apples through a food mill. Return the apple pulp to the saucepan and stir in the brown sugar and reserved apple juice/zest.

Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick (about 1-12; hours), or pour mixture into a large baking dish and bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour; reduce heat to 250°F and bake for another 2 to 3 hours until mixture is thick.

Remove from heat and ladle into 2 hot, sterilized pint jars, attach sterilized and screw rims. Process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 2 pints.

Sep 11, 2014

Hawaii is in the DANGER ZONE! People Are Getting Sick From Poorly Handled Food.

Click on photo to view larger
Yesterday I read an article in Moloka'i's only newspaper, the Moloka'i Dispatch. The title of the front page story was "New Rules for Food Businesses" You can read it for yourself by clicking here. I wrote about this same issue a couple of years ago here on this blog. You can refresh your memory by clicking here.

If you have read both stories, then you must realize that food poisoning is a big problem here in Hawaii, and on Moloka'i. The State of Hawaii now has stricter rules in place for restaurants and grocery stores, but it shouldn't stop there. After living on Moloka'i for 12 years I have witnessed many food handling problems at local luaus, potluck lunches and dinners, church functions, in local restaurants and grocery stores. If you live here then hopefully you know what I am talking about. Not washing your hands before preparing food, and especially not leaving food out of refrigeration is a no no, especially here in the tropics where temperatures often reach 90˚ in the summer. The bottom line is that you want to protect your family and friends from food poisoning.

The one thing I didn't agree with that Cathleen Sakamoto, (Department of Health (DOH) Inspector for Moloka'i), said in the Dispatch article was the Health Departments "four-hour rule" which is the amount of time food can sit out unrefrigerated, the amount of time after which certain foods should be discarded. This should actually be the "two-hour rule" not 4. You can check this website on the second page, for conformation of what I am saying. It says "Foods can pick up bacteria at the store or in the kitchen. This usually happens when food that needs to be kept cold is left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours."

Also if the outside temperature is 90˚ or more it should go down to the "one-hour-rule". Please check the Tasting Hawaii website that you are now on, on the left hand side of the front page "Guidelines for cooking safely" where you will see a list of helpful food safety information, or visit this website for more information on "Refrigerated storage of perishable foods", and stay safe, life is short enough.

PANIOLO – The Hawaiian Cowboy

"The Herd Quitter" by C.M. Russell
In 1793 British Captain George Vancouver gave King Kamehameha five black longhorn cattle. Kamehameha set them free to roam the plains of the Big Island (Hawaii). He put a kapu (Hawaiian word normally translated as “forbidden”) on them in order to allow them
to multiply and reproduce. Kapu was part of a Hawaiian system of laws, which, if violated, met with instant death.

These cattle flourished and soon became a nuisance because of their rapidly growing numbers. As they spread up into the mountains, they made farming increasingly difficult for the Hawaiians. By the time the kapu was lifted in
1830, they had ruined many crops, and forests and farming were in decline. 
Kamehameha III

That year Kamehameha III – the younger son of King Kamehameha – realizing the potential of cattle production, invited 200 accomplished Mexican Vaqueros, of Mexican, Indian, and Spanish decent, to teach Hawaiians horsemanship and cattle roundup skills, this was fifty years before the cowboy culture of the mainland's Old West. These Vaqueros were from Southern California, which, at the time, belonged to Mexico. Their Hawaiian students became known as Paniolo, from the Spanish word "Pañuelo" in reference to the handkerchief that the Vaqueros wore around their necks.
Ikua Purdy in steer roping contest, Frontier Day, 1908

Hawaii's Paniolo history is a rich multi-ethnic story of hard work in rugged conditions, ingenuity, perseverance, love and respect for the land. In 1908, Eban "Rawhide Ben" Low, a Hawaiian rancher paid the steamer and rail fare for three Paniolos, (Ikua Purdy, Archie Ka`aua, and Jack Low), to enter the Cheyenne rodeo, the premier rodeo in the United States at that time. It attracted cowboys from all over the United States

Paniolo – Ikua Purdy
On August 21, 1908, the Cheyenne Daily Leader front page newspaper headline read "Ropers From Hawaii Cause Sensation". The story said that three Hawaiian Paniolo entered the Frontier Day, Cheyenne rodeo, and Kohala-born Paniolo Ikua Purdy was proclaimed the world rodeo steer-roping champion. The fact that these men came all the way from Hawaii and won, invaded the heart of the American cow country and taught the white ropers a lesson in how to handle steers. This event placed Hawaii on the cowboy map. Today, these same values are nurtured within the rural ranching lifestyle that is so much a part of the state.

Prior to his death Purdy (1873-1945) served for twenty-four years as foreman of the Ulupalakua Ranch in Hawaii. He was inducted into the Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999.

"Vaquero" by Frederic Remington
John Parker founded the Parker Ranch, the largest privately-held ranch in the U.S., in 1848. Ranching has been a major exporting industry for Hawaii since. Many of those Mexican cowboys stayed here and got married. That’s one reason many of Hawaii’s Paniolos have Spanish surnames. They remind us of the legacy left by those Vaqueros that roamed these islands 184 years ago.

Today the cattle industry is one of the longest-sustained industries in Hawaii with over 1 million acres of land in Hawaii, or 25% of the State's total land mass. 

The Paniolo of today dress in the same jeans and jackets you might see on their cowboy counterparts in Texas or Montana, but they often pair them with bright Hawaiian shirts, wraparound sunglasses, and a baseball cap instead of a wide-brimmed sombrero.

Vaquero immigrants from Mexico not only shared their horsemanship and cattle roundup skills with Hawaiian Paniolo, they also shared their food culture. Eventually their food evolved into Paniolo food, just another example of Hawaii's culinary "mixed plate". 

For example, Huevos rancheros, a hearty Mexican breakfast dish consisting of corn tortillas, eggs, refried beans, salsa, etc., was loved by the hungry Paniolo, however the Vaquero's hot sauce was replaced by Hawaiian chili pepper water. 

Another Vaquero dish adopted by the Paniolo was Pipi Kaula, basically beef jerky. However, the Hawaiian Paniolo didn't just dry the thin beef slices, they added soy sauce to the marinade, along with Hawaiian chili peppers, and fresh ginger, then they dried the beef for 2 days in the sun. This recipe is still being used today at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

'Opihi Makaiauli, is a well known shellfish (limpet) found on Hawaii's rocky shores. "Opihi can be very dangerous to collect giving it it's name "the fish of death". This variety, one of three, lives on rocks above the waterline. Paniolo collected them for nourishment while driving their cattle along the Big Island's rocky shores. They soon became known as "Cowboy Opihi".

Recipes inspired by hungry Paniolo:

Grilled Cowboy Opihi
Opihi are the little black shells, the shape of a Chinaman's hat, that cling to the rocks along the shoreline here in Hawaii. They are extremely hard to come by now because they have been over-harvested. Hawaiians usually eat them raw, or barbecue them after marinating them for 10-15 minutes. They have a rubbery texture and taste salty like the ocean. Opihi are sometimes referred to as "poor mans abalone".

2-3 pounds Opihi in the shell
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt
Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water (Hawaiian hot sauce)

4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Shoyu (soy sauce)

Put opihi in a bowl or large ziplock bag. Add vinegar, water, garlic, salt, chili pepper. Marinate for 10-15 minutes before grilling.

In a small dish, melt butter, add shoyu and mix well. While grilling Opihi, meat side up, drizzle butter-shoyu mixture on them just as they start to separate from the shell. Makes 4-6 servings.

Paniolo Huevos Rancheros
2 cups chopped roasted green chilies (about 4 fresh poblano peppers)
3 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
6 cloves garlic, crushed then chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans
canola oil
4 corn tortillas
8 eggs
4 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cotija cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese, grated

To roast poblano chilies:
Set your oven to broil on high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray each poblano pepper with cooking spray, ensuring that all surfaces are covered with the spray. Place the peppers on the aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Broil for about 5-10 minutes per side or until the skins are dark and bubbly. The entire skin doesn’t need to be dark but to ensure that the skins are easily removed, the majority of the skins should be dark and bubbly) I also recommend leaving your oven slightly cracked open so the peppers to not burn too much. You want them to be crispy but not burnt. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in the bowl. Cover and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Put on your gloves and start removing the skins from the peppers. Remove as much of the skin as you can and then run the pepper under cold water. The water will help to lift more of the skins off. Remove the cap and gently remove any of the seeds. You can also do this under running water. Be sure to be gentle with the peppers while removing the skins and the seeds. They are delicate and will break easily, but that's ok because now you need to chop them into into 1/2 inch dice. Set peppers aside.

Make chili sauce: Place olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, oregano and garlic and saute until onions are soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add stock and roasted poblano chilies and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by about ⅓, about 15 minutes. In a small cup, combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water, stirring to form a smooth slurry. Add slurry to chili mixture, stir and let simmer until sauce is thick but pourable, about 15 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Warm pinto beans in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Decrease heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

Fry tortillas: Heat ½ inch canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Use tongs to dip 1 tortilla into oil until it softens, about 3 seconds. Remove and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover plate with a kitchen towel to keep tortillas warm.

Pour most of oil out of skillet, then place skillet back over medium heat. Fry eggs, two at a time, until over easy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Repeat with remaining eggs.

To serve: Divide warmed tortillas among 4 plates. Divide beans and eggs evenly among tortillas, then top with green chili sauce, tomatoes and cotija, or grated Monterey Jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Paniolo Pipi Kaula  (Hawaiian beef Jerky)
2 pounds flank steak or London broil, cut thin
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, crushed
1 Hawaiian chili pepper, crushed

Cut the pipi (beef) into thin strips (see note below). Combine all other ingredients and marinate pipi in the sauce overnight. If you have a drying box, place the meat in the hot sun for two days, bringing it in at night. If drying in the oven, set oven to 175˚F. Place pipi on a rack such as a cake cooling rack. Place rack on a cookie sheet and dry meat in the oven for about 6 hours. Keep dried pipi in the refrigerator.

Note: When cutting the pipi, it helps to partially freeze it, which makes cutting thin slices much easier.

Paniolo Pinto Bean Chili
8 ounces dried pinto beans
3 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups chopped onions, about 4 large onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 pounds lean ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
4 to 5 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Pick over pinto beans; rinse. Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water and let stand overnight in refrigerator. Drain before cooking. Place drained beans in a large Dutch oven or pot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until beans are tender. Bean skins should burst when you blow on a few in a spoon. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Set beans aside. In a skillet in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, sauté chopped onions and bell pepper until soft, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chopped parsley. In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter; or margarine and brown ground beef lightly. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to the onion mixture; stir in chili powder and cook for 10 minutes. Add beef mixture to beans and stir in pepper, ground cumin, and salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. Skim off excess fat before serving pinto bean recipe. Makes 8 servings.

Paniolo Crispy Ahi Belly with Ginger Chili Sauce
4 pieces medium to large size ahi belly
3 cups cornstarch
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Ginger Chili Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili sambal
5 teaspoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
5 garlic cloves, minced
6 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup green onions- chopped, for garnish

Mix the cornstarch and flour, salt and pepper together and dip the ahi belly in the dry mixture and deep fry in heated oil until crispy brown.

Mix ginger chili sauce and dip the crispy ahi belly and serve hot, garnished with chopped green onions. Makes about 4 servings.

Paniolo Cheese Enchiladas
canola oil
12 corn tortillas
2 teaspoons olive oil (or peanut or canola)
1/2 onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 clove of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
14-ounce can (about 1 3/4 cup) crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
3/4 cup of chopped cooked green chiles (about a 4-ounce can), or 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (more or less to taste, depending on the heat of the chiles and how spicy you want your enchiladas)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lb (4 cups) of jack cheese, mild cheddar, or a mix, grated
A handful of cilantro
1 cup of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large frying pan at medium-high heat add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot (not quite smoking), add a corn tortilla to the pan. Cook it for 2-3 seconds, use a metal spatula to turn it over, and cook it for 2 to 3 seconds more. Lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook the second tortilla for 2-3 seconds, lift both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath. Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding more oil as needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. It's important to pre-cook the tortillas because not only does cooking them help soften them for rolling, cooking them in a little fat helps develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown a little, remove them to a plate.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the crushed tomatoes. Add the green chiles. Add 1/2 cup of water. Add the oregano. Bring to a simmer and taste. If the sauce tastes too vinegary, add half a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce. Remove from heat.

Put a little olive oil on the bottom of a 3-quart casserole pan. Take a tortilla, cover 2/3 of it lightly with the shredded cheese, then roll up the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled.

Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the the casserole pan. Make sure the rolled up tortillas are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water to thin the sauce to spread it more evenly over the tortillas. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Serve with Paniolo Spanish Rice, and Paniolo Refried Beans, and Paniolo Pico De Gallo (recipes below). Garnish enchiladas with cilantro and sour cream. Makes 4 servings.

Paniolo Spanish Rice
The trick to good Spanish rice is to brown the raw rice first with onions and garlic, and then cook the rice in chicken stock with added tomatoes. Browning the rice give it a nutty flavor.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups* chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian) homemade stock is best if you have it
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
Pinch of oregano
1 teaspoon salt

*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium/high heat. Add the rice and stir it so that the rice is lightly coated with the oil. Cook on medium high heat, stirring often, until much of the rice has browned. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently another 3 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and softened, about a minute more.

To save time you can bring the stock to a simmer in a separate saucepan, with the tomato sauce, oregano, and salt. Add the browned rice to the simmering broth (or broth to the rice, depending on which pan has a cover). Or you can skip the simmering step and just add the broth (and tomatoes etc) to the rice. Bring everything to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to barely maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork or spoon and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

Paniolo Refried Beans
I like these refried beans because they are quick and easy, and they taste good. I use a potato masher to smash the beans in the bottom of the pot.

2 tablespoons butter
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
salt to taste
1/2 lime, juiced

Heat butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Stir drained pinto beans, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, oyster sauce. Cook until beans are thoroughly heated, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Smash bean mixture with a potato masher to desired texture. Taste the beans and add salt if needed. Squeeze lime juice over smashed beans and stir until combined. Makes 4 servings. 

Note: If the beans appear too dry, add a little more butter (after all, the real thing is made with lard, not butter).

Paniolo Pico De Gallo (fresh salsa)
3 large tomatoes, chopped (I prefer to peel them and seed them first)
1/2 cup sweet Maui onion, chopped
1 -2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Stir together all ingredients; serve with tortilla chips. Makes 4 cups.

Spicy Paniolo Salsa
This is a spicy blended salsa that can be served with corn chips or over tacos or scrambled eggs.

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 10 ounce can Ro-tel original diced tomatoes & green chilies
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 of 1 jalapeño, seeded or not (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small handful of fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime

Put all of the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so, until all of the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for additional seasoning and adjust if necessary. Makes about 3 cups.

Paniolo Fresh Fruit Salsa
This is a multi-purpose island fruit salsa with the addition of sweet white corn.

1 mango, peeled and chopped in 1/2" cubes
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped in 1/2" cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2" pieces
Kernels from 1 ear fresh white corn
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large handful cilantro, washed and chopped
1 large handful fresh mint, washed and chopped
Juice and zest from 1 lime
2 dashes of ancho chili powder (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste to see if more lime, chili powder, salt and pepper are needed. Makes 3-4 cups.