Oct 29, 2014

Apple Mac Nut Coffee Cake

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This is a great recipe for the Holidays, your next potluck dinner, or to have with a cup of hot Kona coffee. The sliced cinnamon-apple topping invites you to cut a slice of this moist apple coffee cake, full of raisins and macadamia nuts. The only way to make this recipe better would be to serve it with vanilla ice-cream. For more great tropical quick bread recipes click here.

shortening to grease pans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled tart apples, finely chopped or shredded
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup raisins

Ingredients for the topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice from 1 lemon
2 tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Procedure for the cake:
First grease your two loaf pans with shortening (see note below).

Next, in a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar with the 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. In another medium sized bowl, peel, then quarter the apples cutting out the seeds, now thinly slice them. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the apple slices to keep them from turning brown. Add the cinnamon-sugar mixture and gently toss to thoroughly coat each apple slice then allow to sit for 10 minutes while you make the batter.

In a medium sized bowl, cream sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then add the vanilla. Add baking soda to buttermilk; add to creamed mixture. Mix in flour and salt. Stir in shredded apples, nuts and raisins. Pour into two greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans, lined with foil or parchment strips to help remove the loaf when cooked.

Procedure for the topping:
Arrange the sugared apple slices on top of the batter in a overlapping row (see photo), pressing lightly into the batter. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes (stick a toothpick in the cake, if it comes out clean with no batter sticking to it then it is cooked). Let the pans cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes using the foil or parchments strips, and put them on a wire rack to cool. When ready to serve, slice in 1-1/2-inch pieces and serve with vanilla ice-cream and a cup of coffee if you like. Yield: 2 loaves.

Note: If you don't shred the apple for the batter, the cake will be difficult to cut. However use thin apple slice for the top of the cake, it looks better that way and you can cut the cake so that each slice has a sliced apple on top.

Use shortening to grease your pans, it does not burn easily, imparts no taste, and is
preferred by most bakers. Also I like to make a foil sling in my loaf pans to help remove the loaf from the pan. Simply laying long, wide strips of foil or even parchment paper across the length and width of the pan so the paper hangs over the edges. They work the best if you make the paper the same width as the pan where it will be used. Use the overlap as a handy grip when its time to remove the loaf from the pan.

Oct 14, 2014

Frugal Cooks Go To Heaven!

No matter where you live, there's something very satisfying about being deliciously frugal, you know, feeding your family for very little money. But it's even more satisfying if what you cook gets compliments from your family or friends, and they ask for seconds, and maybe the recipe. In my opinion, "frugal cooks go to heaven!"

Deliciously Frugal Recipes:

Opo Squash Soup
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Opo Squash Soup  (Tabungao)
This delicious Filipino recipe is the most common recipe for Opo here on Moloka'i. Other nationalities also enjoy soups with opo, adding fish, or shrimp instead of pork or chicken, and the addition of lemon grass, sesame oil, and local spices for seasoning.

canola oil for frying
2 pounds fresh pork chops, sliced thin (pork ribs, ground pork, or chicken dark meat is my favorite)
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 whole bay leaf, ripped in half
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
4 roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled, and minced fine
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 cups cold water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or patis)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1- 2 pound small long squash, peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise, then cut into 1/4" slices (4 cups of cut squash)
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat a 6 quart pot or wok with cover. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil and heat until almost smoking. Add pork or chicken and stir fry. Brown and cook until medium well done, about 10 minutes on high heat. Season with pepper and bay leaf while frying. Add onions, tomato, and garlic. Continue to stir fry until vegetables are translucent and wilted. Add additional oil if needed. Add 4 cups of water to pot, cover and bring meat to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer until meat is tender, about 20 minutes. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and white vinegar to soup. Add squash to pot and cover. Simmer until squash is soft, about 20 minutes more. Add more pepper and fish sauce to adjust to your taste. Serve with white rice on the side or in the soup. Makes 6 servings.

Note: I usually use chicken, dark meat, 2 wings, 2 drum bones, and 2 thighs. Leave the bones in the wok until stock is cooked, then remove the meat and bones, cut the meat into bite sized pieces and discard the bones, then return chicken meat to stock, add the squash, fish sauce, soy sauce and cook for 20 minutes and serve with rice. The bones add flavor.

Portuguese Sausage Scramble
The Portuguese settled here in Hawaii many years ago to work in the sugarcane fields. They brought with them their culinary expertise, including the use of linguica or Portuguese Sausage. The spicy and rustic flavor of this sausage, mixed with farm fresh eggs, potatoes, onions, roasted red peppers, and cheese creates the Portuguese sausage scramble.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound Portuguese sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
7 large eggs
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick, or cast iron, over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Turn the heat to medium-low and drop the onions and potatoes into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the onions and potatoes and garlic, along with the peppers, to the bowl with the sausage. Set the skillet aside off the heat.

Heat the broiler. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour the eggs over the sausage-potato mixture in the bowl and gently combine.

Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and warm it over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, quickly stir to cook the eggs briefly, then jiggle the skillet to settle its contents. Run the spatula around the sides of the skillet to prevent the scramble from sticking. Crank up the heat to medium-high and cook until the edges are set, 3 to 4 minutes. Slide the skillet under the broiler and cook until the top is nicely browned and no puddles remain, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide the scramble onto a large platter and sprinkle with the parsley, or slice it and serve it right from the pan. Serve with fresh Hawaiian fruit. Makes 4 servings.

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.

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

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

Green Papaya Chicken Soup
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.

Egg-Lemon Soup with Chicken and Avocado
6 chicken thighs
1 cup of celery roughly chopped
1 cup of carrots roughly chopped
1- 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, crushed
1/2 cup Jasmine rice, or other long grain white rice
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
6 beaten eggs (yolk only)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 avocados sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 whole lemon sliced thin for garnish

In a large soup pot, boil chicken thighs with celery, carrots and ginger in 8 1/2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 1 hour, uncovered. While chicken and stock is cooking, pour rice into a bowl and soak with water for about 15 minutes. Stir the milk and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks to the mixture and beat the eggs. The mixture should become a yellowish color. After the chicken has cooked, remove from stock and shred, discarding the bones. Remove celery, carrots and ginger from stock and discard. Drain the rice and add it to the 8 cups of chicken stock. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the rice is puffy and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the lid on the soup and reduce the temperature to low. Add the milk, egg mixture. Stir carefully and continue to cook until it thickens for about 5 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and shredded chicken. Remove from the heat and ladle into bowls. Add avocado, parsley and fresh lemon slices for garnish. Makes 6 servings.

Slow Cooked Pork Butt
Pork shoulder or pork butt are very similar because they come from the same area of the pig. However the butt, sometimes called the "Boston butt" cut, is more common in supermarkets and is very popular here on Moloka'i because it's reasonably priced and will feed a large hungry family. There are many ways to cook pork butt, slow-roasted, braised, stuffed, smoked, barbecued, etc., but it's usually cooked low and slow because it's a tough cut of meat full of connective tissue. When you cook it low and slow, the connective tissue essentially melts down and bastes the meat. I have never met a tough cut of meat that can't be made into a delicious, tender meal. The problem is that pork butt is a large piece of meat which is great for large families, but if it's just you and your meaningful other, in this case my wife, what do you do with leftovers? So here are several recipes made out of one S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D tropical pork butt... VERY Frugal!

3 tablespoons canola oil
4 pound boneless, or 5 pound bone-in pork butt, cut into several large pieces including the bone if using
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, drained and chopped
3 cups chicken broth

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the black pepper, onion, garlic, orange and lime juice, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and chopped chipotle chiles. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 3 1/2 hours, or you can put the covered Dutch oven in a 300˚F oven for the same length of time.

Transfer the pork shoulder to a cutting board after it has cooled slightly. Meanwhile skim fat from the cooking liquid. Using two forks, shred the pork in a casserole dish, then pour 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid over the meat. Taste and season with salt if needed. Makes 12 servings.

You can serve the pork as is with rice on the side, or on top of hamburger buns with a wonderful pineapple cole slaw and your favorite barbecue sauce, or inside Arepa flatbread, (see recipe below),  You can use the pulled pork (Pork Carnitas) in corn tortillas with chopped Chinese cabbage and pico de gallo or mango salsa. Also you can make pork burritos with pulled pork, flour tortillas, rice, black beans, Chinese cabbage and sour cream. Another use is to make a pork wonton soup with the broth left in the pot. If there's still leftovers, put a little pulled pork in lettuce to make a wrap for a little lunch nibble, or check out this website for more great pork butt recipes.

Arepas Venezuelan Flatbread
Arepas are a very common, and simple to make Venezuelan flatbread made from pre-cooked white or yellow corn meal (masa arepa). They've got a crispy shelled exterior with a soft, creamy corn cake center. They make the perfect naturally gluten-free flatbread for soaking up the flavors of whatever you're topping or filling them with - your favorite salsa, guacamole, stewed black beans with cheese and lime, savory meat like pulled pork or chicken, cheese, or whatever your heart desires.

1 1/2 cups arepa flour (precooked cornmeal), see "Note" below
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups hot water
1/3 cup Fiesta cheese blend, (optional)
1 tablespoon of butter, melted
canola oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Combine Masa and salt in medium bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of hot water. Allow the dough to sit for 15 minutes to absorb the water fully. Dough should be smooth and moist but not sticky, the consistency of leftover mashed potatoes, very pliable and soft, without sticking to your hands. Add cheese and butter. Knead until dough is consistency of smooth mashed potatoes.

Lightly grease or spray heavy skillet or griddle; heat over medium heat. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces; flatten and pat dough into 4 " discs 1/2 inch thick. If dough cracks or is too dry, return to bowl and add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Immediately place dough in a hot skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes per side or until browned in spots. Remove baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes on a baking sheet at 350˚F, until arepas sound hollow when tapped.

Serve warm. Makes 6 corn cakes.

Note: Arepa flour is precooked corn flour, not to be confused with masa haring. Sometimes sold as masarepa or haring precocida, it can be found in Latin markets. Harina P.a.n. white corn meal can also be purchased online, or Goya brand yellow cornmeal online. You can sweeten your Arepas by adding 2-6 tablespoons of sugar per cup of arepa flour. You also can add 1 cup of pureed fresh sweet corn per cup of arepa flour.

Spicy Pineapple-Apricot Chicken Wings
Summer is here and what could be better than "Hawaii-Style" chicken wings. This is a very simple recipe, sweet with a little spiciness that you can whip up in no time.

Ingredients for sauce:
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) Smucker's brand apricot-pineapple preserves (Misaki's Market)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce

5 pounds ("Georges" brand) "disjointed" jumbo chicken wings (Friendly Market)
sesame seeds for garnish

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In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients for the sauce/marinade, set aside (this can be done the day before). Rinse chicken wings under running water and pat dry with a paper towel (if you buy chicken wings not disjointed, then cut them apart, discarding the tip section of the wings). Put wing pieces into a large zip-loc freezer bag and add 2/3 cup of the prepared sauce to the wings. Close bag and massage sauce into the wings. Put the bag of wings in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Save the rest of the sauce in the refrigerator for cooking the wings.

When ready to cook the wings, place the marinated wings on a greased, foil-lined baking pan, and discard any sauce that is in the zip-loc bag. Lightly salt the wings, then bake them at 400˚F for 25 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove the wings into a bowl and discard any juice in the pan. Return the wings to the pan and baste with half of the remaining sauce. Move the shelf in the oven so that it is 6 or 7 inches from the broiler. Place the pan on the shelf and turn the broiler on to high. Keeping an eye on the wings, in about 5 minutes, after the wings have a nice little burn on them, turn them over and baste with remaining sauce. Sprinkle cooked wings with toasted sesame seeds and serve with corn on the cob and "Pineapple Cabbage Salad" on the side (see recipe). Makes about 30, one piece servings, enough for 6 to 8 people eating 3 to 5 each.

Note: If you want to grill the wings, first bake them in the oven for 25 minutes and then finish them off on the grill for another 10 minutes over medium heat basting with the remaining sauce.

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

Cook and stir beef, onion and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until beef is light brown; drain. Stir in tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, salt and pepper; break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered or without a lid until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Cut papayas lengthwise into halves; remove seeds. Slice a thin piece off the back of each papaya half so it sits flat. Place about 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in each papaya half; sprinkle each with cheese. Arrange in shallow roasting pan. Pour very hot water into pan to within 1 in. of tops of papaya halves. Bake uncovered or without a lid at 350˚F until papayas are very tender and hot, about 1/2 an hour. Makes 8 servings.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies
Peanut butter and jelly are as popular here in Hawaii as it is on the mainland. This recipe will not only please the kids, but the adults as well. This is one my favorite cookies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies
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1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling the dough
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup extra chunky peanut butter (I use Jiffy brand)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large jar of the jelly of your choice (I use Smucker's seedless raspberry)
Parchment paper

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, shortening and sugars, then mix in peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and flour. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined.

Next place a long sheet of plastic wrap on your kitchen counter and place half of the cookie mixture into a long row in the middle of the plastic wrap. Fold the wrap tightly over the cookie dough. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough, then put the two dough logs into your refrigerator for 2 hours. This process will make handling the dough while forming the cookies much easier.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Now line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into a plate. Unwrap the chilled dough and make balls using about 1 tablespoon of dough per ball. Roll the balls completely in the sugar. Place each ball on the parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space between the balls, as they will spread while cooking. Take a fork and gently press lines into the top of the cookie balls, first horizontal then vertical, creating a patern on top of each cookie.

Place the cookie sheets into the heated oven on two different shelves toward the top of your oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then open the oven and switch around the cookie sheets so the bottom is now on the top. This will ensure even browning on the bottom of the cookies. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove cookies to cool for about 30 minutes. Decorate the top of each cookie with a dab of your favorite jelly. Makes about 60 cookies.

Note: You can freeze the dough to cook the cookies at a later date. Just put the logs into a zip-loc freezer bag.

Oct 13, 2014

MUNG BEANS – The Little Bean with Many Faces!

Dried Whole Mung Beans
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You've probably seen these little beans and didn't even know it because mung beans come in many forms, and have many faces. The bean sprouts you see in the fresh vegetable section of your grocery store are the sprouts of the mung bean. Mung bean sprouts are used raw in salads, sandwiches and Asian dishes like egg rolls, and stir-fries, but mung beans can also be purchased dried in the dried bean section of your grocery store. They come whole with the hull on, which look green (see photo), or split with the hull off, which look yellow. It turns out that these little green beans, about the size of a lady bug, are a nutrient-dense food that is a native of the Indian subcontinent and is a popular ingredient in recipes prepared in India, China, Thailand, Korea and Japan. They have been cultivated for over three thousand years. 

Mung beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, plant protein, and complex carbohydrates and iron, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories, fat and sodium, and are cholesterol free. One cup of these mung beans has less than 30 calories.

So by now you are thinking that anything that's that good for you must taste bad. Not so! They actually have a sweet flavor. That sweet flavor can be enhanced by adding sugar, ginger and coconut milk to make desserts like ice cream, and custards in many Asian countries. Mung beans cook fast and are easily digested, and they don't usually cause a gassy reaction like other beans do. 

You can cook mung beans with spices to prepare soups or curries, you can consume them as a standalone meal or combine with other foods. You can cook them with vegetables, grains and greens in soups, ground into flour for use in flatbreads, mixed with rice, oatmeal or cracked wheat, stuffed into pastries to make sweets. They are even used to make a pasta called bean thread noodles, Chinese vermicelli noodles, cellophane noodles, or glass noodles, a type of transparent noodle made from mung bean starch and water. 

One Cantonese dish called "haam joong", or in Mandarin, "zongzi", is a Chinese rustic food at its best. Every family will have their own recipe, but basically it is a layer of lightly salted glutinous rice, mixed with sweet split mung beans, surrounding a filling of salted duck egg yolk, sliced Chinese sausage (lap cheong), cured pork belly, dried baby shrimp or scallops, and dried shiitake mushrooms, snugly wrapped in aromatic bamboo leaves and tied with string, then boiled. Check out this website to see how it's made on You Tube, or this website for a recipe. This dish reminds me a little of Hawaii's Lau Lau; butterfish, pork and chicken wrapped in layers of taro leaves and ti lives, and then steamed, but with no rice or mung beans.

Now you see why I call mung beans "the little bean with many faces."

Mung Bean Recipes:

Spicy Asian Chicken Wrap
2 1/2 ounces bean thread noodles
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken
12 large Boston or romaine lettuce leaves, or Napa cabbage leaves

Cover bean thread noodles with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain, and rinse under cool water. Chop noodles. While bean threads soak, combine cilantro, soy sauce, chile paste, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add noodles and chicken to soy sauce mixture; toss well to coat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each lettuce leaf; roll up. Makes 4 servings of 3 wraps each.

Korean Mung Bean Sprout Salad
Bean Sprout Salad
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Called "sukju namul", this simple salad is often on the Korean table as a small vegetable side dish.

4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
10 ounces mung bean sprouts

1 tablespoon sesame oil
rice wine vinegar to taste
salt or Tamari sauce to taste
1/4 teaspoon Nanami Togarashi (ground chili peppers), or hot sauce

pickled red ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high flame. Add the sprouts and blanch for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover tightly and set aside for another 2 minutes. Drain the sprouts, rinse them with cold water and dry out any extra water with a towel. Toss the sprouts with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Tamari sauce, and ground chili, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle. Garnish each serving with pickled red ginger, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced green onion tops. Makes 4 servings.

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

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

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

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

Crispy Mung Bean Flatbread
This easy-to-make flatbread tastes wonderful on its own, but also makes a great base for gluten-free pizzas. Not only that, but it's high in protein, relatively low in carbs and low in fat.

1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole cloves garlic
canola oil for frying

Place the soaked mung beans, salt, garlic and basil in a food processor and blend for about two minutes. Try to avoid adding any water at this point – you shouldn't need any as the soaked beans have plenty of moisture already. Stop mixing, and add the white rice flour, one spoon at a time (this will help the flour from flying all over). Blend for another 15 to 30 seconds and add enough water to make a thin pudding like batter. The amount of rice flour and water can be altered to achieve a good consistency.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of nonstick skillet. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of batter to the oil, spread as thin as you can get it, with the back of a spoon, without holes and fry for 3-4 minutes per side before removing onto paper towels.

This batter can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you're ready to fry one up. Makes about 20 flatbread.

Mung Bean Soup with Pork Rinds
There I go again, taking a healthy food... then I add pork rinds, some chefs can't be trusted.

1 cup dried mung beans, washed and drained
2 cups chicharon (pork cracklings or pork rinds)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, stems trimmed
7 cups water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt and more to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a pot over medium heat, combine beans, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, skimming off froth that accumulates and beans that float on top. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 1 hour or until beans are softened and skins have burst. Makes about 2 1/2 cups of beans.

In another pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and onions and cook until tender and aromatic. Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with back of spoon, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until softened and releases juice. Add fish sauce and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add cooked mung bean including liquid. Bring to a boil. Add pork cracklings and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Add spinach, turn off heat and cover pot for about 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach are just wilted. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings. 

Note: In this Filipino dish I use pork rinds for convenience (who doesn't like pork rinds), but it can also be made with seared or roasted pork belly, cut into bit sized pieces and added to the soup, check out this website. I also like to substitute the spinach with chopped tatsoi, read about it here.

Mung Bean & Rice Stew
This is an Indian stew that combines protein (mung beans) and carbohydrates (basmati rice) into a complete protein meal. This tasty dish is known to heal digestive distress, balances the metabolism, to be a potent blood and liver cleanser, assist in healthy weight loss, help the body’s tissues to detox what they don’t need and absorb the nutrients they do.

1/2 cup split yellow mung beans (without the green hulls)
1/2 cup basmati rice
4 1/2 cups water for cooking rice and mung beans
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup ginger root, finely minced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chopped vegetables of your choice (carrots, celery, green beans, asparagus, beets, sweet potato, kombu (seaweed), etc.)
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 bay leaf
fresh cilantro and yogurt for garnish

Soak the split mung beans for at least 3 hours, or overnight, in water. Rinse mung beans and rice. Add mung beans and rice to 4 1/2 cups boiling, salted water, cover and simmer for (approx. 30-45 minutes) until tender, stirring occasionally. Now add the vegetables of your choice. If you need to add more water you can, a little at a time. Cook for another 20 minutes or so, covered. As the mixture cooks, it will start to thicken. 

Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a frying pan. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and sauté until clear. Add spices and cook 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the bay leaf and add this mixture to the rice and beans. The final consistency should be like a thick soup or stew as opposed to a broth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, parsley, dill, or basil. Serve plain or with yogurt. Serve with steamed vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, or bok choy on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken Soup with Bean Thread Noodles
Bean thread noodles are made from mung beans. This transparent glass-like noodle is available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. It is almost tasteless and relies on other ingredients for flavor.

1/2 pound (200 grams) bean thread noodles, cut into short 3-inch pieces with scissors
1 cup cooked chicken meat, pulled apart into bite-sized pieces
6-7 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 head of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
4 dried Chinese black mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or to taste
green onions, chopped

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes. Remove and squeeze out excess water. Cut and discard stems, slice caps into fourths. Heat oil in a pot. Saute garlic and onion in low to medium heat. Make sure the garlic is not burned. Add chicken meat, mushrooms and fish sauce. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Drop the bean thread noodles in the soup and simmer for about 3 minutes or until noodles are tender and cooked. Add the fresh lemon juice and garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Sichuan Bean Thread Noodles with Shrimp
6 ounces dried mung bean noodles (bean thread noodles)
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns*
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chile oil

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. In a large bowl, cover the mung bean noodles with warm water and let stand until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and cut them into 4-inch lengths. Boil the noodles until tender but still chewy, about 25 seconds. Drain and return the noodles to the pot. Rinse twice under cold water and drain; let stand in the colander.

Season the shrimp with salt, white pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorns. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until pink on the outside and white within, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Stir in the scallions and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the mung bean noodles, soy sauce, vinegar, chile oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to shallow bowls and serve right away. Makes 4 servings.

*Note: There is no substitute for Sichuan peppercorns, however if you don't have any, try substituting 2/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/3 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest. You can order Sichuan peppercorns from Penzy's.

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

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

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

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

Bacon & Egg Foo Yung
I love this recipe, not only does it taste great, but my wife makes it for me so I can take a break from cooking. I love it when that happens!

6 slices bacon, fried and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
4 large fresh button mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large cooked shrimp, chopped
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
canola oil for frying

In a large skillet or wok, fry bacon until crisp, then set aside to cool on paper towel. Using 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, sauté the chopped onion, mushrooms, and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes, then chop up the bacon and add it to the onion and garlic mixture. Set aside.

To prepare sauce, in a small saucepan combine the oyster sauce, beef bouillon granules, molasses, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Blend 2 tablespoons of cold water with the cornstarch, stir into hot sauce mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Turn to low heat and keep warm.

To make bacon & egg foo yung, beat together eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the vegetable/bacon mixture. Stir in the chopped shrimp, and fresh mung bean sprouts, mix well. In a skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil till hot. Using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each patty, fry patties in hot oil about 1 minute per side or till golden. (Spread the meat mixture to cover egg as the egg spreads slightly.) Keep warm. Repeat till all the mixture is used, stirring each time; add more oil as needed. Serve sauce with bacon & egg foo yung. Serve with Asian vegetables, like snow peas or bok choy, and pot stickers (see recipe index for recipes.) Makes 4 servings.

Fried Sesame Balls with Sweet Mung Beans
This is a beautiful sweet mung bean dessert from South Vietnam called Bánh Cam. It is excellent served with coffee or tea.

Ingredients for outer shell:
4 ounce sweet (glutinous) rice flour
0.75 ounce rice flour
0.75 ounce all-purpose wheat flour
5 tablespoons potato flakes
1.6 ounces sugar
1/2 cup warm water (plus ~2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons later to reach desired consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder

Ingredients for mung bean filling:
4 ounces steamed mung bean + water added to desired consistency
0.75 ounce sugar (This equals 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
A dash of vanilla extract

canola oil for frying

Procedure for outer shell:
Mix 1/2 of the water in a big bowl. Add sugar, salt and mix to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and mix (you can use a food processor if you want). The dough should be slightly dry and have a play-dough consistency. Rest 2-8 hours. It will slightly rise and hydrate after resting, making it easier to work with.

Procedure for mung bean filling:
It's best to steam this if you can. You can also make it in a rice cooker with slightly more water than you would use to make rice, but you will lose some sticking to the pot. Mash after it's cooked and add water to desired consistency. The goal is to have a paste similar to thick, slightly dry mashed potatoes.

Procedure for forming the balls:
Flatten out a disk of the dough and add a ball of mung bean filling. The dough to filling ratio is up to you! I like about 1" in diameter, but you can make them bigger. Keep in mind they will slightly expand during cooking. Try not to leave any air pockets inside, since the dough will already be expanding and adding air to the center. Close off the ball so there aren't any cracks. Slightly roll in your hands to make a ball shape and then roll in a bowl of sesame seeds to coat thoroughly. Set aside for frying.

Procedure for frying:
Deep fry the balls at around 285˚F. It should take about 11 minutes per batch. You may need to stir them a bit for an even fry.

Mung Beans with Sweetened Coconut Milk
This is a simple Filipino comfort food called Ginataang Munggo. It is sort of like a porridge, served warm with coconut milk on top.

1/2 cup mung beans
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
6 to 7 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sticky rice, washed

Heat a pan and put-in the mung beans. Toast them until they turn brown. Turn off the heat and let the mung beans cool down. Crack the toasted mung beans using a mortar and pestle or pulse in a food processor. Set aside. Add the coconut milk to a pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the sticky rice and toasted mung beans. Cook in low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring often until the coconut milk is almost absorbed. Add sugar then stir. Turn off heat and serve warm with coconut milk on top. Makes 3 servings.

Oct 4, 2014

"GRAVY" is my middle name!

Sliced pork rib roast with mustard gravy
(recipe below) 
Click on photo to view larger
Gravy is a wonderful word. It's like a warm blanket on a cold night, comfort food at its best. What would turkey be without gravy? Sort of like a desert without an oasis. 

Gravy is usually considered a type of sauce. It’s often made from meat juices combined with broth or milk and thickened with a starch. There are so many kinds of gravies for so many types of dishes, but they all have one thing in common, everybody wants more.  I've often thought that "Gravy" should be my middle name because I love it so much. Would you go into a restaurant named Gravy? Yes, absolutely yes! 

So hop on to my gravy train as I dance you through a few of my favorite gravy recipes.

Basic Pan Gravy
This recipe is suitable for any sort of roast, whether meat, poultry, or game. You should ideally use the appropriate stock for enhancing the gravy—and by that I mean lamb stock for roast lamb, homemade chicken stock for roast chicken, and so on.

Pan and drippings from a roast beef, chicken, turkey, pork loin, or other cut of meat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups stock, preferably homemade, warmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

After roasting the meat, transfer it to a warmed platter or plate and set aside to rest.

Skim the excess fat from the surface of the liquid that collected in the roasting pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons juices mingled with a little fat. Place the roasting pan over 1 or 2 burners on medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the caramelized pan juices, then sprinkle the flour over the top, stirring constantly to blend it well with the fat and juices. Cook, still stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the flour becomes a light golden color.

Still stirring, slowly add the warm stock to the roasting pan. Bring to a boil and cook—say it with us, still stirring constantly—until the sauce thickens and the mixture is reduced by about a third and has a gravylike consistency. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve immediately.

Gravy Variations:

Herb and Mustard Gravy

Simply add a small handful of your favorite herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or sage, to the gravy as it reduces. Whisk in 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard before straining.

Wine Gravy
Substitute 1/3 cup red wine, port, or white wine for 1/3 cup stock and add gradually, as you did with the stock.

Beer Gravy
Add a 12-ounce bottle dark beer to the gravy in place of 1 1/2 cups stock. Wonderful with roast beef or pork.

Loco Moco with Brown Gravy
This is classic Hawaiian comfort food. The gravy is what makes this dish slide down so onolicious!

Ingredients for Ground Beef Steak:
1 pound lean ground beef (hamburger)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Ingredients for Brown Gravy:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
dash of soy sauce
dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the rest:
4 eggs (cooked sunny-side-up or over easy)
1 tablespoon butter

4 cups cooked white rice, mixed with a slice of chopped spam and green onions

After you have seasoned the ground beef with salt, pepper and onion powder, form them into four patties. Add canola oil to a large frying pan, cook beef patties until they are cooked to your liking, then remove and keep warm. 

For the gravy, combine the butter and oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until slightly browned. Add the flour and stir until pale brown, then gradually add the beef stock. Stir until the gravy thickens and turns brown in about three minutes. add garlic, ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and season with a dash of soy sauce and Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper if needed. Set gravy aside. 

Fry eggs (sunny-side up or over easy) in butter. Divide hot rice mixture onto four plates or bowls, top with hamburger patties and hot gravy, top that off with the fried eggs. Serve with side dishes of your choice; mac salad, fried saimin, or perhaps just a big slice of orange. 

Makes 4 big serving.

Grilled 'Opakapaka with Hawaiian Butter Sauce
'Opakapaka is also known as the Hawaiian pink snapper, a white fish with a delicate flavor. This fish is great grilled, then combined with a delicious butter sauce. Naturally you can use other fish for this recipe, like red snapper.

4 fresh ‘Opakapaka fillets, about 6 ounces each or use red snapper
Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below)
cilantro for garnish
sliced lime for garnish

First make the Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below). Then marinate ‘Opakapaka in 1/2 cup of the sauce for 10-15 minutes. Remove from marinade and grill very quickly, about 3 to 4 minutes on both sides. Brush fish with marinade as it cooks. Serve on plates garnished with cilantro and lime wedges on the side. Serve with white rice, topped with Shitaki mushrooms, that have been sautéd in Hawaiian butter sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Hawaiian Butter Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup finely diced Maui onion
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese 'Sriracha' sauce
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil over low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and shallots until softened, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Using a whisk, whip the softened butter until fluffy, then slowly add the Sriracha and Thai fish sauce. When the fish sauce and Sriracha have been incorporated into the butter, add the cooled onions, shallots, and garlic, and then add the parsley, whisk to blend. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. Note: This sauce is also delicious used as a dipping sauce for grilled lobster or shrimp.

Shrimp, Grits & Gravy
This is a wonderful Southern breakfast dish using white stone ground grits, my Southern roots are showing again. The key to this dish is the grits, the white corn should be coarsely ground, ideally by a stone grinding wheel. It actually makes a huge difference in flavor. Good grits come out smooth, delicate and flecked with bits of the corn hulls that makes for a radically different experience compared to its Italian cousin polenta. 

If you are serious about food, then here's where to get your white stone ground grits, Weisenberger Mill, in southern Scott County, Kentucky. Click here, then click on "grits" at the top of the page, you want "white" grits. I've used this father/son mill for years. They usually ship UPS, but they will ship to Hawaii via Priority Mail if you ask, much cheaper that way. Their pancake mix is the best I've ever had, while you're ordering, get a bag of that also. Sometimes they will send you little sample bags with your order, love that!

Ingredients for the grits:
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white stone ground grits
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter

Ingredients for the shrimp:
1 pound fresh medium shrimp not peeled
2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced ripe fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Combine the water and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add the grits, stirring, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook till the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat; add the cheese and butter, and stir till melted. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp, combine the shells and water in a saucepan, and reserve the shrimp. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, cook till the liquid is reduced by half, and strain the stock into a bowl.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring, till softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and thyme and cook about 3 minutes longer. Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir well. Add the reserved shrimp and cook, stirring, till they turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, cook 3 minutes longer, add the tomato paste, and stir well. Add the cream, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, Tabasco, and, if necessary, a little more stock to make a gravy that easily coats the shrimp. Heat well.

To serve, spoon a mound of grits in the center of each serving plate, spoon shrimp around the grits, and sprinkle parsley over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom & Leek Gravy
I love pork tenderloin, always tender, fat free, and inexpensive. Cook it with a wonderful gravy and you have a winner.

2 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste
1 leek, halved, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cut tenderloin into 1/2 inch thick, bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork tenderloin. Brown for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, cayenne pepper and leek. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until leeks are soft. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to high and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add cream gradually, stirring. Simmer for 4 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with brown rice and green peas. Makes 4 servings.

Chuck Roast with Gravy
I make this recipe almost every other week. My wife loves pot roast, and this one is easy with lots of gravy. One of the great things about pot roast is that beef chuck gets very tender after slowly cooking for 3 hour, you can add whatever you have on hand to the pot, mushrooms, green beans, canned tomatoes, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, etc. Make it your own.

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cube of beef bouillon
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into bit sized pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
salt and black pepper

Combine the first three ingredients. Rub down the chuck steak with the mixture of salt, pepper & brown sugar and let sit for a half hour on the counter.

Simmer 5 cups of water in a sauce pan with soy sauce and one cube of beef bouillon.

Heat a dutch oven on top of the stove to medium heat. Add about 3 tablespoons canola oil until it is hot, then brown the rubbed down chuck roast on both sides without burning it.

Remove the roast and add the onion, celery and garlic. Reduce the heat slightly so the vegetables cook together for about 5 minutes, without letting them burn.

Stir in the half cup of flour to the vegetables, and let the flour brown slightly while not letting it burn. Now add the hot water, soy sauce and bouillon into the pot and stir. Add the roast back into the dutch oven, with the mixture.

Put the lid on the dutch oven, and put the whole thing in the preheated 300˚F oven for 2 hours, then add the carrots and potatoes, pushing them down into the gravy. Return the dutch oven to the oven and cook for 1 more hour, or until the meat is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve roast, potatoes and gravy with a crisp salad, and some crusty bread, biscuits, or anything you would like to dip in this wonderful beef gravy! Makes 4 servings.

Rosemary Pork Rib Roast with Mustard Gravy
The Moloka'i Dispatch published this recipe last year and I have gotten a lot of good comments about it here on Moloka'i. Give it a try!

1-3 1/2 to 4 pound pork shoulder roast
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3 cup rosemary, finely chopped
2 carrots - rough cut
1 small onion - rough cut and include skins
2 stalks of celery - rough cut
6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon grainy mustard

Defrost pork, if frozen, completely a couple of days in the refrigerator, then let it sit covered on your kitchen counter to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450˚F.

In the center of a roasting pan add your rough cut vegetables. Rinse the rack of pork well and pat dry. Rub the olive oil into the meat, then sprinkle entire rack with the sea salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Place rack, fat side up, on top of cut vegetables. Place pan in preheated oven at 450˚F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce heat to 325˚F and continue to roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature has reached 150˚F with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast. Note: The general rule is to roast your pork roast for 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 150˚F. 

Remove the pork from the oven placing it on a cutting board and allow it to rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes before slicing it. This will allow all the juices to remain in the pork, rather than have them run all over the cutting board, making the meat dry. 

While the pork is resting, remove the roasted vegetables from the roasting pan and discard, or give the carrots to your dog as I do, he loves them. Now remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil that remains in the pan. Set the pan across 2 burners turned to medium high. Sprinkle the pan with the flour and brown the flour, stirring it in the remaining oil, to a light brown color. Now add the wine and chicken stock to the roasting pan. With a wooden spoon stir the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens, making your pan gravy. Finally stir in the mustard. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cut the rack along the bones, making even portions of the pork, serve with mashed potatoes, with pan gravy and fresh green beans, or whatever vegetable you like. Makes 5 servings.

Oven Roasted Steak with Red Wine Pan Sauce
There are times when char-broiled steaks are just not convenient, and I have to say that this recipe is just as good, easy, and works every time.

2 (6 ounce) 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick filet mignon or rib-eye steaks
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tablespoons butter

Bring the steaks to room temperature. Rub the steaks with 1/4 teaspoon oil per side and generously season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 500˚F (a very hot oven produces a juicy interior). Place a 10-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron skillet in the oven as it preheats. When oven reaches 500˚F, use a baking mitt to remove the pan from oven. Be careful! The pan and handle will be extremely hot. Place the pan on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Immediately place steaks in the middle of the hot, dry pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving; turn steaks with tongs, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pan with the seared steaks to the hot oven. Roast in the center of the oven until the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. 

Rare – 125˚F
Medium Rare – 130˚F
Medium – 140˚F
Medium Well – 150˚F
Well Done – 160˚F

Transfer the cooked steaks to a warm platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute. 

While the steaks are resting, place the skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine to the skillet and bring to a boil. As the wine boils, use a wooden spoon to scrap any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid boil until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup. Remove pan from heat. Add the butter, swirling the pan to incorporate it into the sauce. Serve the steaks whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates. Pour the sauce over the steaks just before serving. Makes 2 servings.

Braised Sirloin Tip with Mushroom Gravy
Sirloin tip, unlike top sirloin, is an economical cut of beef because it is very lean, and somewhat dry and chewy. This recipe slowly braises the beef in a low oven until it is tender and full of flavor, with lots of good mushroom gravy.

1 beef sirloin tip roast (1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, onion, and thyme. Rub the roast all over with this mixture and let rest, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. One hour before cooking the beef, remove from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 325˚F. Heat a cast iron or oven proof skillet on high. After about a minute, place roast in the hot skillet and brown meat for about 2 minutes per side. Pour heated beef stock and sliced mushrooms around roast, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.

Remove roast to a cutting board and keep warm by covering it with foil for 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, pour drippings and mushrooms into a saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into drippings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve sliced beef and gravy with mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Makes 4 servings.

Biscuits & Milk/sausage Gravy
I think this was the first thing I learned how to cook. My parents went out of town and left my sister, brother and I with a baby sitter named Mrs. Tiller. She was a great Southern cook and knew that I was interested in what she was making, biscuits with milk sausage gravy.

12 ounce package bulk Pork Sausage, I like Jimmy Dean® brand
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Crumble sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat 5-6 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk; cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sausage mixture over warm baking powder biscuits, (recipe below). Makes 8 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 pork sausage, fried eggs, and lots of gravy. Makes a dozen biscuits.

Oven Fried Chicken and Gravy
Crispy oven fried chicken with gravy. Great no matter where you live.

Ingredients for fried chicken:
1 cut up whole chicken (8 pieces)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
black pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Ingredients for gravy:
3 tablespoons chicken drippings
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth

Place the chicken in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetable oil and butter in shallow baking pan and set in oven to heat and melt. Combine flour and seasonings in a plastic bag. Shake pieces of chicken in flour mixture. Remove hot pan from oven and arrange chicken pieces on it, skin side down being sure not to crowd. Place pan in oven and bake 30 minutes. Turn chicken so that the skin side is up and continue to bake 20 to 30 minutes more until nicely browned and juices run clear. Remove to a platter and keep warm allowing to rest for at least 10 minutes.
For gravy, scrape baking pan and place 3 tablespoons of the accumulated cooking fat and browned bits into a saucepan. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour and cook 1-2 minutes until well combined. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth and continue cooking and whisking until gravy boils and thickens. Cook for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans. Makes 2-4 servings.