Dec 31, 2015

Store-bought Sandwich Rolls... FORGET ABOUT IT!

Personally I love a really good hamburger. By a good hamburger, I'm not talking about McDonalds or Burger King with those disgusting soft buns. The U.S. burger deserves a decent bun around it with a perfectly grilled beef patty, lettuce and tomato, ketchup and or mustard, with fries... of course. We do have a choice you know. Lately it seems like we have been stuck with those unnaturally airy store-bought hamburger buns with collapsing domes. After you've eaten half of the burger, the bun is flat and falling apart. I say enough is enough, they just don't cut it. This is my version for...

Homemade Chewy Sandwich Rolls
These sandwich rolls are golden brown, chewy with a hole-y texture, full of flavor, and perfect for a classic Italian meatball sandwich, filled with local ground grass fed beef. They are also great filled with thinly sliced teriyaki tri-tip, made into smaller tropical pulled pork sliders, or made into a grilled mahi-maui fish sandwich with pineapple sauce, or hoisin salmon cakes. After you try this recipe you won't ever buy store-bought buns again!



Dough Ingredients:
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup whole milk (room temperature)
1 cup + 4 tablespoons water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Procedure:
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Once everything is roughly mixed together into a very wet dough, take a dough scraper and lift/fold the dough over on itself about 30 times. Let the dough rest, covered with a kitchen towel over the bowl, for 20 minutes, then repeat this process three more times. This is time consuming, but easy to do while you're doing something else around the house, like watching a good cooking show on television. just set a timer, then turn the dough over again.

After you've completed this simple task, cover the bowl with the kitchen towel again, and let the dough rise for 2 hours in a fairly warm spot; 75°F to 80°F is perfect. If you don’t have anywhere that's warm, don’t stress; just set the bowl somewhere away from cold drafts.

After 2 hours, the dough will have risen. It’ll still be shiny, and sticky; but you should be able to work with it, so long as you grease or wet your hands.

Transfer the dough to a greased or floured work surface. Divide it into 6 pieces, if making long rolls (see note below). Wet or oil your hands and gently shape each piece of dough into a log about 6″ long.

Transfer the shaped dough to a parchment-lined, half-sheet pan, spacing them across the length of the pan. Cover the pan with a heavily greased plastic wrap or parchment. Let them rise until they’re noticeably puffy, 2 to 3 hours or so. That's enough time to go shopping or something.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 475°F. Uncover the rolls, and spritz them heavily with warm water (this makes the rolls crustier). Bake the rolls, no matter what size, for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re a dark golden brown. Remove the rolls from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. That's it!

Makes 6, 6" long sub rolls.

Note: You can shape this dough into thin baguettes using a baguette baking pan (so the dough doesn't flatten out), or 16 rounds to make crusty, 4" hamburger buns. If you have leftover rolls, simple put them in a zip-lock freezer bag and freeze them until you're ready to use them again. Simple de-frost in the microwave and reheat in a 425˚ oven for about 10 minutes.


Dec 12, 2015

What To Eat On Christmas Morning?


Christmas Coconut Scones Served with 
Cranberry Orange Macadamia Nut Butter…What Else!
This is a delicious tropical combo to eat on Christmas morning. Wait until your family sees what you've made for them… this could be the best Christmas gift you've given! Serve with heated apple cider with a cinnamon stick in each cup.

Christmas Coconut Scones
These scones are very easy to make, and are flaky and moist on the inside, perfect for kids, adults, and Santa.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 6-8 pieces
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
approximately 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few larger bits are ok, but most should be smaller than a pea. Stir in shredded coconut. Add in about 1/3 cup of coconut milk and stir into dough with a fork. Add remaining coconut milk as needed until dough comes together into a shaggy ball. Knead lightly with your hand until dough is smooth. Divide dough into two balls and press each into a disc about 1/2-inch thick on prepared baking sheet. Cut each disc into quarters and separate slightly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until scones are a light golden brown on top, but check the bottoms as well so they don't burn. Cool on a wire rack before serving with a pat of Cranberry Orange Macadamia Nut Butter, or your favorite jam, like Mango-Lime Marmalade, or Lilikoi Butter.
Makes 8 scones.

Note: Scones are best eaten the day they're baked. To work ahead, freeze unbaked scones in a single layer, then store in a zip-top bag, up to 2 months.


Cranberry Orange Macadamia Nut Butter
This is what is known as a "compound butter". Basically it's butter mixed with other ingredients (sweet or savory) to enhance the flavor of another dish. The ingredients vary depending on what you are trying to enhance, sort of like a sauce varies. In this case, we have a butter that tastes of the Holidays, and not overly sweet. A compound butter that enhances the flavor of muffins, waffles, biscuits, etc. It's perfect spread on coconut scones on Christmas morning.

Ingredients:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries, divided
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped & toasted

Procedure:
In a small bowl combine butter, 2 tablespoons chopped cranberries, orange zest, juice, salt
and powdered sugar.

On a flat surface place a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Spoon butter mixture into a 1-1/2-inch thick log on the paper.

Fold 1 edge of paper over the butter mixture and wrap or tuck it under the butter mixture. Smooth sides into an even log. Twist ends of paper in opposite directions to seal. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove parchment paper and roll the butter log in remaining chopped cranberries and toasted macadamia nuts. The cranberries and nuts stick better if you let the butter soften for 15-20 minutes. Reroll butter log in parchment paper and seal ends. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Slice into pats to serve.

Note: Instead of rolling a compound butter in parchment paper, you can be put the butter mixture in small ramekins the refrigerate until ready to use. For other compound butter recipe ideas, click here.

Dec 8, 2015

Introducing StarDust Island Seasoning


Ancient Hawaiians gathered sea salt from the ocean's edge to use as seasoning for their food. Today's Hawaii chefs have been influenced by the cuisine of the people who have settled here, creating a unique flavor that defines Hawaii's local cuisine.

StarDust Island Seasoning is the essence of that flavor, a unique umami blend of 
12 herbs and spices.

I like to think of this blend as a gateway to island cultures, naturally enhancing the flavor of so many foods like: grilled shrimp and lobster, fish, roast chicken, barbecued pork ribs, meat loaf and hamburgers, soups and stews, stir-fries, salads and salad dressings, roast potatoes, corn on the cob, even scrambled eggs, your seasoning possibilities are endless. For that reason, 
it's always a good idea to have StarDust Island Seasoning in your kitchen.


StarDust Island Seasoning
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Hawaiian Alaea sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
2 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon chili powder

Procedure:
Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container. Makes about 1 cup.

Keeping Spices: While these ingredients don't actually spoil, they do loose flavor over time.
StarDust Island Seasoning has both herbs and spices, so I would suggest using this blend no later than 9 months after purchasing the ingredients. Heat, light, and moisture speed up deterioration, so always keep your herbs and spices in a cool, dry, dark place, away from the stove. One way to know how old your herbs and spices are is to mark each bottle with the date of purchase.

I hope you enjoy my StarDust Island Seasoning, and that you let me know what you think of it. 
I would love to post testimonials on this website.

Mahalo,
Chef James Temple

Here are a few recipes to try using StarDust:

Ahi-Olive Stuffed Avocado
"Poke" is a favorite pupu (appetizer) here in the Hawaiian islands. Putting fresh local diced ahi tuna into half of an avocado makes this a creamy first course:

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados, cut in half, pitted with skin left on
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound ahi tuna, sushi grade, diced into 1/4 inch dice
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon StarDust Island Seasoning
12 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

Procedure:
Cut avocados in half and remove the pit. Leave the skin on the avocado halves. Sprinkle the avocado flesh with lemon juice so they don't turn brown. Sprinkle each half with a little salt and pepper. Gently combine one egg yolk with the diced ahi, 1/2 teaspoon StarDust Island Seasoning  and chopped olives. Spoon mixture into the cavity of each avocado. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. Makes 4 servings.


On-The-Go-Loco-Moco
The classic Hawaiian soul food is "Loco Moco". This is my take on making this classic mobile with Pita Pockets.

Ingredients:

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

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

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

Optional condiments:
Shoyu, ketchup, tabasco



Baked Mahi-mahi with Creamy Herb Sauce
Ingredients:
2 mahi-mahi steaks
1 tablespoon canola Oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon Juice
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh Kumu Farms dill for garnish

Dill Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon StarDust Island Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:
Combine sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir in StarDust Island Seasoning, then add salt and pepper to taste. Blend well. Allow to stand at least 1/2 hour to blend flavors. Pat mahi-mahi steaks dry with paper towels. Combine oil and lemon juice and brush on both sides of steaks. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place an inch apart in a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 450˚F for approximately 15 minutes. Serve mahi-mahi steaks with the creamy herb sauce over steaks sprinkled with a dash of fresh dill atop each. Makes 2 servings.


Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon Mustard
Ingredients:
1.5 pounds salmon
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon StarDust Island Seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
lemon or lime slices
1 tablespoon capers for garnish (optional)

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a rimmed baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, StarDust Island Seasoning,  Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Mix well. Cut salmon into even portions and lay them onto your lined baking dish skin side down. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don't over-cook or your fish will be dry. Garnish with capers. Serve with rosemary parsley potatoes and lemon-dill green beans. Makes 4 servings if you are a light eater, 2 if you have an appetite.


StarDust Roasted Chicken
Ingredients:
Click on photo to view larger
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
(I like to use a free-range organic chicken from Kualapuu Market)
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons StarDust Island Seasoning,
or to taste
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
cooking spray (Pam)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Spray the inside of a roasting pan, with a rack, with cooking spray (much easier cleanup). Place chicken on the rack in the the roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt, pepper, and StarDust Island Seasoning. Place 3 tablespoons of butter in the chicken's cavity. Arrange dollops of the remaining butter around the chicken's exterior.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes in the preheated oven. After 45 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and bast it with the melted butter and drippings in the roasting pan. Now loosely place an aluminum foil tent over the chicken, being careful not to burn your hands. Return the chicken to the oven and continue cooking to a minimum internal temperature of 180˚F. (for about 30 minutes more). Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest 20 minutes, with the aluminum foil on it. Move roasted chicken to a cutting board and cut into serving-size pieces. Place the pieces directly on each plate or in a large serving bowl. Serve with mashed potatoes, corn bread, and a nice salad on the side. Makes 6 servings.

Note: To make chicken stock after you have carved the chicken, break the carcass into pieces, put it in a large pot with the giblets. Cover with water, add a cut up carrot and celery stick and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Great for soup stock.


Oven Roasted StarDust Rosemary Pork Ribs
Ingredients:
2 racks pork spareribs (about 6 to 8 pounds total)
1/2 cup StarDust Island Seasoning
3/4 cup fresh rosemary needles, chopped fine

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs by pulling it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a kitchen towel to gain a secure grip, or with pliers.

Combine the StarDust Island Seasoning with the fresh rosemary. Cut the ribs into individual pieces. Place the rib pieces on a large sheet pan, lined with heavy-duty foil, fat side up. Sprinkle each rib with the spice mixture. Place the ribs into the heated oven to cook for one hour, no need to turn the ribs, but check on them after 45 minutes of cooking. They should look well done and crispy. Taste one of the ribs to make sure it has enough salt, if not, sprinkle a little salt on the ribs before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Grilled Moloka'i Venison Tenderloin
There are basically two ways to grill venison, a little for tender cuts like tenderloin, and a lot for working cuts. Tender cuts of venison should be cooked quickly to a rare or medium-rare level of doneness. If it is prepared past medium-rare too much moisture will be cooked out causing the meat to become dry and tough.

Ingredients:
2, 1 pound venison tenderloins, or beef tenderloin if you can't get venison

Marinade Ingredients:
1 head (not clove) of garlic
1/2 cup rosemary needles (Kumu Farms)
4 tablespoons StarDust Island Seasoning
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt,  to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment:
A grill and charcoal
Meat thermometer

Procedure:
The day before your dinner, trim the tenderloins, removing all visible fat and most of the silver skin (translucent membrane). If the loins have a long tapered end, curl the thin end back and toothpick it in place so it doesn't overcook. Now make a paste out of the marinade ingredients in a mortar, blender, or food processor. Put the venison tenderloins in a large zipper-top plastic freezer bag and pour the marinade paste over them. Let rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Turn the bag once or twice during this time to distribute the marinade. Bring the tenderloins to room temperature for 20 - 30 minutes before cooking.

Prepare your charcoal grill. Oil grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent the tenderloin from sticking. I prefer not to use lighter fluid as it is toxic and nasty. There is a Weber coal starter which costs about $15 and starts about the right amount of charcoal with a few pieces of newspaper. It is a sort of metal chimney with a basket in it, and is very easy to use. When the coal is red hot, put it in the grill and spread it out. Close the grill top to get everything hot inside.

Once the coals have cooked down a little to medium high, and have a nice grey dust on them, put the tenderloins, directly over the coals, and grill for about 6-8 minutes of cooking per inch of thickness for the tenderloins. Keep turning the tenderloins, then check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 125˚F for rare, 130˚F for medium rare, any higher and the venison will get tough. If you don't have a meat thermometer, you should, they are cheap and everyone should have on in their kitchen. If you don't have one, you will have to make a small cut into the meat to check for doneness. Personally I like my red meat medium rare.

Remove the tenderloins to a warm platter and cover with foil for a few minutes. This allows the juices to stay in the meat, not on your cutting board. Keep everything warm in a 200˚F oven, covered with foil, until ready to serve, then cut the tenderloins into 1 inch rounds, or cut them on an angle. Makes 4 servings.

Note: This cooking method works with larger cuts of venison (working cuts) as well, but can take up to 2 hours to cook indirectly off the coals. Remove the larger cuts from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 120˚F. This will rise to about 130˚ as the meat "rests".


Grilled Pork Belly & Mango Salad
This Filipino grilled pork belly is perfect with a mango salad on the side.

Pork Belly and Marinade Ingredients:
2 pounds pork belly without skin - sliced about 1/2 inches
1/3 cup palm vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon StarDust Island Seasoning

Mango Salad Ingredients:
2 large ripe mango - peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium tomato - sliced
1 small red onion - sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup thinly sliced red radish

Mango Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
black pepper to taste

Marinade Procedure:
Combine all marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Add sliced pork belly. Mix until all slices of meat is fully coated. Transfer in a large Ziploc bag with the marinade. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (longer is better). Turn marinade bag every hour. Heat the barbeque grill to about 400˚F. Place sliced pork bellies on the grill and barbecue until each sides are medium brown.

Mango Salad Procedure:
Combine the mango salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl, mix until fully combined then set aside in the refrigerator. In another bowl, toss sliced mango, tomatoes, onions, radish, and cilantro. Add salad dressing to taste. Serve pork belly over cooked jasmine rice with mango salad on the side. Makes 4 servings.


Filipino Oven Roasted Pork  (Lechon sa Hurno)
Ingredients:
1 (3 to 5 pounds.) boneless shoulder picnic roast
2 to 3 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt, or to taste

Marinade Ingredients: 
2 tablespoons StarDust Island Seasoning
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

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

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


Ground Pork with Long Beans & Squash
(Ginisang Kalabasa)

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

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


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

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


Goat Meat Sausage
While it's great for breakfast, it is also good served in tacos. This recipe also works well with ground venison.

Ingredients:
4 pounds boned and ground goat meat or ground venison
1 pound ground pork fat
4 tablespoons StarDust Island Seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure:
Mix together all of the ingredients. Form into breakfast patties and fry. Serve with eggs, toast, and a cup of hot coffee. Use as much as you like, then individually wrap sausage patties in plastic wrap and then put them in a zip-loc freezer bag. Makes 5 pounds of sausage.


Dec 3, 2015

HOLIDAY CANDY

Ginger Stuffed Lychee Dipped In Chocolate
Click on photo to view larger
Holiday candy is enjoyed around the world, and especially here in Hawaii. We have so much to be thankful for, especially our local fruit. Candied fruit makes wonderful gifts and they are very easy to make. Try one of these recipes, and have a deliciously sweet Holiday season.


Crystallized Ginger
Crystalized Ginger
Click on photo to enlarge
A delicious way to enjoy ginger is to crystallize it. You can buy ginger already crystallized, or you can make it yourself. I like to make my own, it's very easy to do, here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra sugar for coating
1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

Procedure:
Combine water and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer ginger to a wire rack, set over a pan, and dehydrate in a very low 170˚F convection oven for 1 hour, or dehydrator until dry, and then cut into smaller 1/4 inch pieces. Roll the small pieces of ginger in additional sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three months. Use in recipes, or just pop a couple of pieces in your mouth every day.


Liliko'i Chocolate Truffles
Purple and Yellow Liliko'i
The Hawaiian Passion Fruit. Click on photo to view larger

Ingredients:
2 liliko'i
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
cocoa powder for dusting

Procedure:
Break chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl. Set aside. Place a sieve on top of a saucepan, take the passion fruit pulp and mash it up to remove the juice. Discard the seeds. Add the cream and honey, stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Pour mixture on chocolate, stir until smooth. Add butter. Leave to cool and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Shape the chocolate paste into small truffles with the help of a small slotted spoon and roll them in cocoa powder. Makes 18-20 truffles.


Candied Papaya
Candied papaya is a delicious and refreshing Hawaiian treat. The best papayas on Moloka'i is found at Kumu Farms, but papaya is also found at most grocery stores and organic stores.

Sunrise Strawberry Papayas
from Kumu Farms on Moloka'i
Ingredients:
1 whole papaya (use completely green papaya that are firm to the touch)
6 cups warm water
1/4 cup baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Procedure:
Start by peeling the papaya with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then cut the papaya into 1/4-inch thick wedges. The length of the wedges may be anywhere from 3-inches to the length of the papaya.

In a large bowl, dissolve the baking powder in the water. Let the papaya wedges soak in the water for about 10 minutes.

Remove the papaya from the water, and rinse under cold water for 1-2 minutes.

In a medium-sized pot, combine the sugar and the papaya. Cook, covered, under medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but do not add water.

After 20 minutes, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon, and cook the papaya over low heat, uncovered, for another 25-30 minutes. The papaya is ready when a thick syrup forms. Cool slightly before eating.

Makes about 1 cup, depending on the size of the papaya.


Candied Starfruit Chips
Sliced Starfruit before they are candied.
Click on photo to view larger.
Ingredients:
2 firm-ripe yellow starfruit, about 1/2 pound total
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Procedure:
Take a potato peeler and remove the hard ridge at the top of the fruit. With a sharp knife, slice starfruit into thin 1/16-inch-thick star slices. If you have an adjustable-blade slicer, use that. Remove any seeds that you see on the slices.

Combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Carefully add the thin starfruit slices, remove the pot from the heat and let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour starfruit into a sieve set over a bowl and drain 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200˚F. Put a Silpat liner on a large baking sheet. Arrange the starfruit slices in 1 layer on liner (discard broken slices). Bake until dry, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, then remove chips to a rack to cool. Store layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature. Chill starfruit syrup for another use. Makes about 32 chips.


Candied Pineapple
Ingredients:
1 medium ripe pineapple
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Procedure:
Peel pineapple and slice into bite sized chunks. In a heavy saucepan bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil. Add pineapple chunks. Cook over low heat until fruit becomes transparent. Drain pineapple on rack and allow to dry. Store in airtight container. Makes 10 servings.


Adults Only... "Chocolate Bourbon Balls"
This is an easy, no-bake recipe. I make these during the holidays every year to give as gifts, they are delicious and very potent. They should not be served without checking the recipients ID.

Chocolate Bourbon Balls
To enlarge, click on photo

Ingredients:
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup Maker's Mark bourbon (you can use whatever brand you like, this is my favorite)
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (15.25 ounce package of Orios with cream centers removed, then crushed)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup finely chopped pecans to roll the bourbon balls in

Procedure:
In a small bowl, let 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries macerate in 1/4 cup of Makers Mark bourbon for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine well 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup each of firmly packed dark brown sugar and finely chopped pecans, the cherry mixture, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and firmly roll the balls in finely chopped pecans. Store the bourbon balls in an airtight container in your refrigerator for at least 1 week before serving. Makes about 30 servings.


Apricot Pecan Balls
Ingredients:
1/2 pound dried apricots
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup small pecan pieces
1 cup flaked coconut (for rolling)

Procedure:
Mince apricots in a food processor. Place in a bowl and toss with brown sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut, condensed milk and pecan pieces. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in coconut. Keep refrigerated.


Dark Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels
Ingredients:
1 large navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Procedure:
Using a vegetable peeler, cut the orange part of the peel from the stem end of the orange down to the navel end, forming long 3/4 to 1-inch-wide strips. Bring a heavy small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peels and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse the peels under cold water. Repeat cooking the peels in the saucepan with fresh boiling water and rinsing under cold water.

Stir the sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh water in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the orange peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the chocolate in a small bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Dip 1 1/2-inches of each candied orange peel into the chocolate then place them on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes. Makes 12 pieces.


Macadamia Nut Pralines
Being a Southern boy, I grew up with pecan pralines. Now that I've spent 13 years in Hawaii, it's time to change my nut allegiance to macadamia nuts. Macadamia nut trees grow all over Moloka'i and to my surprise, they are even good eaten raw. If you ever get to Moloka'i, be sure and visit Purdy's Natural Macadamia Nut Farm.

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups crushed roasted macadamia nuts

Procedure:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a 3-quart saucepan, mix together sugar and baking soda. Add cream and place over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until golden brown and mixture reaches 235˚F on a candy thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes. Add butter and crushed macadamia nuts and mix together until butter has melted and mixture is well combined, about 1 minute. Drop 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart; let cool completely. Makes 2 dozen pralines.


Tropical Fruit Jellies
Any flavor of jam you happen to have in your pantry will work to make these simple, delicious candies, however tropical jam works best here in Hawaii: Pineapple jam, lilikoi jam, mango jam, papaya jam, lime jam, whatever you like.

You will need:
8 x 8-inch baking pan
3-quart saucepan
Heatproof silicone spatula 
Candy thermometer 
Spoon
Bowl
Cutting board 
Parchment paper

Ingredients:
Oil for the pan
11⁄2 cups jam
3⁄4 cup water 
3⁄4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (3envelopes) unflavored gelatin
1⁄4 teaspoon citric acid 
1⁄3 cup powdered sugar 
1⁄3 cup cornstarch

Procedure:
oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

combine the jam, water, sugar, gelatin, and citric acid in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir constantly and slowly over medium-high heat with a heatproof spatula until the syrup reaches 220°F. Pour into the prepared pan, and skim off any foam with a spoon. let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. unmold the jelly onto a cutting board lined with parchment paper. cut into 1-inch squares and roll in the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container. Makes 64 pieces.


Sesame Coconut Bars
Ingredients for the cookie base:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) raw brown sugar or organic sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted

Ingredients for the sesame-coconut layer:
1 ounce (1/4 cup) whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup, firmly packed) unsweetened shredded coconut
1 to 2 ounces (1/4 to 1/2 cup) sesame seeds, coarsely ground

Procedure:
Make the cookie base. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Cream the butter with the salt and sugar. Add the sifted flour and blend together. Using your hands, press out the dough over the bottom of the parchment-lined pan in an even layer. Using a fork, make holes all over the surface of the dough (this is called docking). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Bake the cookie base for 20 minutes, until it is just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and cool for at least 5 minutes before topping.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer or whisk until light and thick. Add the honey and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the flour and baking powder and beat to blend. Add the coconut and sesame seeds and stir together. Spread in an even layer over the cookie base, scraping out every last bit with a rubber spatula. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes, until the surface is just beginning to color. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before cutting into squares. Makes 18 to 20 squares.



Hawaiian Fruit Squares
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dried mango, diced
1 cup dried pineapple, diced
1/4 cup crystalized ginger, diced
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure:
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 3 minutes. Remove the blended ingredients to an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Press the ingredients evenly across the pan to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to harden overnight, then cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for a week, or you can freeze them for up to a month.


Ginger Stuffed Lychee Dipped In Chocolate
Fresh Lychee from Moloka'i farmers market
Lychee are one of my favorite tropical fruits, especially when they are fresh and in season. Inside the bumpy red peeling is a beautiful white pearl of lychee fruit. Inside of the fruit is a big black seed, which is already removed when you buy whole lychees in a can. Lychee tastes like nothing else, sweet and tropical. You add candied ginger and semi-sweet chocolate and you're Tasting Hawaii.

Ingredients:
2 cans (20 ounces each) whole peeled lychee in heavy syrup
4 ounces of preserved candied ginger
12 ounces of Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 limes or lemons, juiced

Note: All of these ingredients can be purchased at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i.
For more lychee recipes on this site, click here.

Procedure:
Drain the 2 cans of whole lychee. Put the lychee in a bowl and marinate with lime or lemon juice for about 20 minutes. Spread the lychee fruit between paper towels to dry for about 1 hour. I do this because canned lychee is very sweet and needs the acid of the limes or lemons to play against the sweetness of the chocolate.

Cut candied ginger into small slivers about 1/4-inch long, and carefully stuff the cavity of each lychee with as many of the ginger pieces that fit.

Combine chocolate and shortening in a large Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir to combine, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to thicken the chocolate a little.

Carefully dip each ginger stuffed lychee in the melted chocolate with a teaspoon, one at a time, coating them completely. Carefully lift the lychee out of the chocolate and place the stuffed side down on wax paper. A little pool of chocolate will form around each lychee. When finished dipping the lychees, drizzle any remaining chocolate over them and make nice patterns.

Refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes. Makes about 30 servings.


Nov 20, 2015

Stretching That Thanksgiving Turkey



It's Thanksgiving again, which usually means leftovers. It's always a challenge to use them up in a delicious and creative way, not any more.

Many of the recipes below call for turkey stock, so put your turkey carcass to good use this year and make homemade turkey stock yourself, it's easy, frugal, and it tastes better than store bought. 
Here's the recipe:

Homemade Turkey Stock
Ingredients:
12 cups cold water
1 turkey carcass, broken into 3 or 4 pieces
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 unpeeled onions, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 stems parsley

Procedure:
In large stockpot, combine water, turkey pieces, celery, carrots, onions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and parsley. Bring to boil; skim off any foam. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours.

Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve set over large bowl; let cool. Refrigerate until fat solidifies on surface, about 8 hours; remove fat. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 months. Makes about 12 cups.


Turkey Salad Platter, Cobb-Style
Ingredients:
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup torn watercress leaves
3 roma tomatoes, cubed
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions

Ingredients for dressing:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch granulated sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Procedure for dressing: 
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar; whisk in oil in thin steady stream.
Procedure for salad:
Arrange romaine on large platter; top with watercress. Arrange tomato, red pepper, turkey, avocado, cheese and eggs in lines on top of lettuce/watercress. Sprinkle with chives or green onions. To serve, drizzle with dressing. Makes 4 servings.


Turkey Noodle Soup Hawaii-Style
Ingredients:
1 package (14 oz) fresh Udon noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms, caps only
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups turkey stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Procedure:
Rinse noodles in hot water to loosen; drain in colander. Set aside.

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and salt, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.

Add turkey stock and soy sauce; bring to boil. Add turkey; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add noodles and green onions; simmer for 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts. Garnish with coriander leaves. Makes 4 servings.


Leftover Turkey Chowder
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 onion, diced
8 ounces Yukon Gold potato
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey stock
2 cups diced cooked turkey
1-1/2 cups milk

Procedure:
In large Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat; cook carrots, celery, onion, potato, thyme, salt, sage and pepper, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in turkey stock and 2 cups water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in turkey and milk and bring just to simmer (do not boil); simmer gently to heat through, 5 minutes. Serve with hot crusty bread and butter. Makes 4 servings.


Classic Monte Cristo Sandwich
Ingredients:
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (Kumu Farms)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch salt
8 slices of thickly sliced (1-inch) Hawaiian sweet white bread
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons mayo
4 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
leftover turkey, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons butter, more if needed

Procedure:
In large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, chopped thyme, pepper and salt; set aside.

Spread 4 of the bread slices with mustard; top with cheese and turkey. Top with remaining bread spread with mayo

. Dip into egg mixture, turning to soak well.

In large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook sandwiches, turning once, until browned and cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Makes 4 sandwiches.


Turkey & Wild Rice Casserole
I am a big fan of wild rice. It's hard to come by here on this little island, so I usually order it on Amazon.com. Wild rice and turkey are a natural together, but this recipe also works with chicken for the rest of the year.

Ingredients:
1 onion
5 carrots
5 stalks celery
1 cup wild rice
3 cups turkey stock
1 pound leftover cooked, shredded turkey
10 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3-4 cups cubed bread (dry, sturdy, or day old bread works best)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped, for garnish

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Place in a large baking dish. Add the wild rice and turkey stock. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

When the rice is almost done, melt four tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, salt, and poultry seasoning and cook for one minute. Add the milk slowly, whisking to form a thick, creamy sauce.

For the toasted bread topping, melt the remaining six tablespoons butter and toss with the bread cubes.

When the rice is done, remove foil, add turkey and creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Arrange the bread in a layer on top. Turn the heat up to 450˚F and bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes until the bread cubes are golden brown. Top with salt, pepper, and parsley for garnish. Makes 6 servings.


Creamy Turkey-Pasta Casserole
There's something wonderful about combining leftover turkey and pasta with lots of cheese.

Ingredients:
16 ounces penne, ziti, or rigatoni pasta
2 cups Cream Sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces sour cream
3 cups leftover cooked, shredded turkey
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Procedure:
Cook the pasta till just before al dente. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.

If you're making Alfredo sauce from scratch, see recipe below.

Mix pasta with the cream sauce, sour cream and turkey. Combine ricotta, garlic, eggs, Parmesan and parsley and mix throughly. Season the pasta mix with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the ricotta mixture to the pasta and stir to combine. Top with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese
Bake in a 9x13 casserole dish at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until bubbly, then broil at 450˚F for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

Cream Sauce
Ingredients:
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Procedure:
Over medium low heat, melt the butter and pour in the heavy cream. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the Parmesan cheese in portions and stir to mix. Makes 2 cups.


Turkey-Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
Ingredients:
1 large head green cabbage
1 pound leftover turkey meat, shredded
1/2 cup uncooked red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
28 ounce canned crushed tomatoes, or marinara sauce
1/2 cup dry white wine or turkey stock
Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

Procedure:
You want a large cabbage so you have 8 large outer leaves to wrap around the turkey mixture. Remove whole leaves from the cabbage to yield 8 large leaves and plunge into boiling water. Cook until soft enough to fold, about 4 top 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water and lay out on clean kitchen towels to continue cooling. When cool, cut off thickest part of vein from bottom of leaves, leaving leaves intact.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine turkey, onion, rice, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper; mix well.

Place about 2 tablespoons of the turkey mixture onto the center of each leaf. Fold in sides of leaves and then roll up tightly from one end to other, making sure filling is fully covered by leaf.

Combine the wine, or turkey stock, with the crushed tomatoes. Add seasoning (salt, pepper, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, garlic, whatever you like) to taste. Pour half of the tomato sauce into an ovenproof casserole dish large enough to hold all the cabbage rolls, packing them tightly to prevent opening during cooking; pour in remaining tomato sauce. Bake at 375˚F for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve with rye bread and butter on the side. Makes 4 servings.

For other Thanksgiving recipes, check the Recipe Index.

Nov 19, 2015

PIQUANT

The Golden Lime
The Filipino Golden Lime (calamansi), grown here on Moloka'i,
came from the Moloka'i Saturday farmer's market.
Click on photo to view larger
What a great word. The dictionary says that piquant means having a pleasantly sharp flavor. It brings to mind the passion fruit (lilikoi), or the golden lime here in Hawaii, or a sharp mustard, sour cream, etc.  

There's even a beautiful piquant website, that I subscribe to, it's an online journal with writers nationwide, that showcases the crossroads of the food and design industry.




Here are a few of my recipes that have that sharp piquant flavor:

Oysters on the Half Shell with 
Passion Fruit Mignonette Sauce
Mignonette sauce is a condiment usually made with minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar. 
It is traditionally served with raw oysters. This is the Hawaiian version. 

Ingredients:
1 lemon, juice only
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup olive oil
2 passion fruit, cut in half, pulp scraped out with seeds
3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped

36 oysters on the half shell
crushed ice for presentation
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve

Procedure:
Place all the ingredients, except the oysters, lime wedges and ice, into a small bowl and mix well, cover and refrigerate. Carefully open the oysters using an oyster shucker by loosening the muscle from bottom shell, removing top shell. Arrange oysters on a large, deep serving plate filled with crushed ice. To serve, spoon a teaspoon of the passion fruit mignonette sauce over each oyster and garnish with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings of 6 oysters, or 36 appetizers.


Golden Lime Ceviche
(Kinilaw)
If you have been to Mexico, then you know about ceviche. Actually this dish is believed to have originated in Peru. Raw seafood cooked by the acid in lime juice. The Filipino style of ceviche is called "Kinilaw", and uses Golden Limes with tuna. You can use almost any type of raw fish, such as sea bass, as long as it's really fresh. The exception are certain types of fishes in the mackerel family, such as mackerel, or sardines. Other oily fishes like bluefish or jack don't make the best ceviche either, nor do freshwater fish like trout or catfish. Personally I like a combination of raw shrimp and squid or octopus. Normally ceviche is made with Mexican key limes, but the Peruvians used bitter orange or lime juice similar to the Golden Lime, which adds even more acid and a nice golden color. Pucker-up, this tart, bright, and refreshing appetizer makes a wonderful addition to any tropical meal.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 pound of fresh squid or octopus, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
10 to 15 Golden Limes
2 roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 green onions, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño peppers, or to taste, seeds and ribs removed

Procedure:
Place the chopped shrimp and squid in a medium sized bowl. Pour Golden Lime juice over the raw fish so that the fish is fully immersed in the lime juice. Chill the mixture anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, no longer! Then mix in the rest of the ingredients and immediately serve in chilled martini glasses garnished with slices of lime. Makes 6 servings.

Note: See two other golden lime recipes on this site. Chick here.


Hot & Sour Lemongrass Shrimp Soup
Ingredients:
1 pound sweet shrimp, with peelings
4 cups chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice (remove the rind of one of them, see below)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
5 strips of lime rind, green part only
1/2 cup re-hydrated, dried black tree ear mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili oil, or to taste
2 green onions, chopped for garnish

Procedure:
Shell and devein the prawns, reserving the shells. Rinse the shells and place them in a large saucepan with the chicken stock. Remove the hard end and outer layer of the lemongrass stalk. Bruise the white ends of your stalks with the blunt edge of a large knife (it helps release the lemongrass “juices”), then add them to the broth along with the strips of lime rind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until the lemon grass changes color, and the stock becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the saucepan. Discard the solids.

Return the stock to a simmer, and add the mushrooms and prawns. Cook until the prawns are pink. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons green onion, cilantro, and chili oil. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. The soup should be sour, salty, spicy and hot. Garnish with remaining green onions. Serve with white rice on the side. Makes 4 servings.


Leek Salad with Tomato-mustard Vinaigrette
Tomatoes and leeks from Moloka'i farmer's market
This is a wonderful, and very different salad with a piquant mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
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

Procedure:
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.


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

Procedure:
Mix bell pepper and cucumbers in large bowl; set aside. 

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, basil, mint and ground ginger in small bowl; set aside.

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

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

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


Cornish Game Hen Piccata
This dish originated in Italy using veal (veal piccata). In the United States, the most well-known variant is chicken piccata. My recipe uses a cornish game hen, which is the perfect size for 2 servings, and is more tender than chicken, and the caper/butter sauce is piquant and delicious.

Ingredients:
1 cornish game hen, butterflied and then cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup brined capers
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Procedure:
Season cornish game hen halves with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the cornish game hen halves and cook for 3 minutes. When they are browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Into the same pan add the lemon juice, wine or stock, garlic and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the cornish game hen halves to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, spooning sauce over them. Remove game hen halves to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Serve with Fresh Corn Pudding. Makes 2 servings.


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

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

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


Lemon Dill Rice with Mustard Seeds
Ingredients:
2 cups long grain cooked rice (make sure it is fluffy and grains are separated)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves (stems removed)
1 green chili (finely chopped)
3/4 cup edamame (frozen soy beans) or lima beans
2-3 garlic pods (grated)
juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
salt
oil

Procedure:
Boil the soy beans or lima beans separately in little water and salt for about 8 minutes. Drain the water and set the beans aside. Take a big plate and spread out the cooked rice making sure there are no lumps. Add turmeric, chopped dill leaves, a little oil, mix well and set aside. Note: This step is important, mixing the dill to the rice and then adding the combination to the cooked onions. Adding dill directly to heat, removes its flavor. Hence it is best to combine with rice and cook it as this retains its texture and imparts good flavor to the rice. Take a heavy bottom pan or wok, add a little oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter, add the grated garlic and stir until it turns light brown. Now add the green chili and the chopped onions and fry until it gets transparent. Add the rice mixture and stir it thoroughly. Cover with lid and let it sit for a 5 minutes. Finally add the juice of a lemon. Mix well. Serve hot. Note: Make sure to add the lemon juice when the prepared rice has cooled down a little, or else it tends to add sourness to the rice. Makes 4 servings.


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

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

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


Pineapple with Li Hing Mui
Originally from China, the name "li hing mui" means "traveling plum". My guess is that it is called "traveling" because this salty dried plum is preserved, making it portable and easy to use in many recipes. It has a strong, distinctive flavor, and is often said to be an acquired taste, as it has a combination of sweet, sour, salty, tart, and even tangy taste. 

Ingredients:
1 ripe pineapple
1-2 tablespoons Li hing mui powder

Procedure:
Peel pineapple and cut into chunks and put in a bowl. Sprinkle li hing mui powder over pineapple. Stir well, adding li hing mui powder to taste. I like it when the pineapple is quite reddish colored. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Liliko'i-Pineapple Ice
Ingredients:
2 cups fresh liliko'i juice (about 28 liliko'i)
1/4 cup fresh liliko'i seeds left whole (about 4 liliko'i)
2 cups pineapple pulp
3/4 cups sugar
2 egg whites

Procedure:
To juice the liliko'i remove all pulp from all the fruit. Place in blender and pulse for 5 to 10 seconds. Pour in a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and with the back of a spoon push the pulp around until you are left with just the seeds in the strainer. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into a metal or plastic bowl and freeze. When frozen, break up the ice and place a small amount at a time into the food processor. When whipped and frothy, return to the bowl and freeze again. This mixture will not freeze hard and solid, so it will be easy to scoop out to serve. Sprinkle a few of the reserved seeds over the top of the ice when it is served or they may be added when the ice is returned to the freezer for the second time. Makes about 5 cups.
Note: Liliko'i juice can be made in advance and frozen in ice trays then transferred to freezer bags for future use.


Pineapple Lemongrass Sourtini
Set up your tastebuds with this piquant sourtini before your next tropical dinner.

Ingredients:
2 cups pineapple juice
8 stalks fresh lemongrass, 6 coarsely chopped and 2 halved crosswise
4 small fresh pineapple wedges
Crushed ice
1 cup Absolut Citron vodka
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Procedure:
In a medium saucepan, simmer the pineapple juice with the chopped lemongrass over moderate heat for 15 minutes; let cool. Strain the pineapple juice into a jar and chill.

Spear the pineapple wedges with the lemongrass stalks. Fill a pitcher with ice and add the pineapple juice, vodka and lime juice. Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with the pineapple. Makes 4 drinks.

Nov 11, 2015

YOGURT – "Food Of The Gods"

Most historical accounts attribute yogurt to the Neolithic peoples of Central Asia around 5000 B.C.. Herdsmen began the practice of milking their animals, and the natural enzymes in the carrying containers (animal stomachs) curdled the milk, essentially making yogurt. Not only did the milk then keep longer, it is thought that people preferred the taste so continued the practice, which then evolved over centuries into commercial yogurt making.

In the ancient cuisine of India, the combination of yogurt and honey is called "the food of the gods". The "milk" in the biblical reference to "the land flowing with milk and honey" was actually a fermented yogurt style drink.


Nomadic Turks
The word yogurt comes from Turkish, indicating that it arrived in Europe from the Ottoman Empire. It was brought to Vienna by the nomadic farmers of the Balkans and the Turkish army.

Turkish immigrants brought yogurt to North America in the 1700s but it really didn’t catch on in the United States until 1929 when Armenian immigrants, Rose and Sarkis Colombosian first commercially produced and sold yogurt in the United States, which later became Colombo Yogurt. In the 1940s, Daniel Carasso took over a small yogurt factory in New York – the company is now called Dannon. Yogurt is often sold sweetened and flavored, or with added fruit on the bottom, to offset its natural sourness. If the fruit is already stirred into the yogurt, it is sometimes referred to as Swiss-style.

Greek “full” yogurt is made from milk that has been blended with cream to a fat content of exactly ten percent. Standard (5%), low-fat (2%) and non-fat (0%) versions are also made. It is often served with honey or fruit preserves as a dessert.

The popularity of yogurt soared in the 50s and 60s with the boom of the health food culture and is now available in many varieties to suit every taste and lifestyle.

Beneficial, friendly or helpful bacteria: Bacteria that naturally inhabit our digestive tracts and help us to digest foods and help keep our bodies healthy by controlling harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.

A variety of plant-milk yogurts appeared in the 2000s, using soy milk, rice milk, and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk. The products are aimed at vegans, as well as consumers who prefer plant milks or are unable to tolerate dairy products.

Today, yogurt is one of the most universal and diverse foods in the world, even here in Hawaii.

How to Store Yogurt:
• Before you buy yogurt, check the best before date on the package and choose the product with the furthest date.
• Refrigerate yogurt immediately after you buy it and store it on the colder shelves rather than in the door. The coldest part of most refrigerators is the bottom shelves. Cold air is denser, and tends to sink.
• Do not eat yogurt after the best eaten before date, usually printed in small type just below the lid.
• Once the package is opened, eat the yogurt within 3 days.
• Protect yogurt from other foods with strong odors by sealing it tightly.
• Spoon as much yogurt as you are going to eat into your bowl with a clean spoon. To avoid cross-contamination (which will speed up spoilage), do not return unused portions to the original container.
• Do not freeze yogurt. Freezing will affect the texture and flavor. However, it will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month if you do decide to freeze it.


I am always looking for new ways to prepare food, all you have to do is look back in history to see that yogurt has been around for centuries. Now that you are yogurt savvy, here are a few recipes to try:


Yogurt Hawaiian-Style
Life is simple here in Hawaii, and so is this decadent dessert, truly "the food of the gods".


Yogurt – Hawaiian Style
Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup wild honey
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks for garnish, optional

Procedure:
Divide Greek yogurt into two servings. Sprinkle each serving with toasted macadamia nuts, fresh pineapple chunks, then drizzle with wild honey. Makes 2 servings.


Poached Eggs In Yogurt (Cilbir)
This is typically a breakfast/brunch recipe from Turkey, however it can also be presented as a creative dinner, served with a mixture of lentils and rice, or saffron rice pilaf and a tossed salad.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup unsalted butter ( 1/2 stick)
12 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
8 eggs
Watercress for garnish
chunks of warmed crusty bread

Procedure:
Stir yogurt and garlic in small bowl to blend and then season to taste with salt.
Divide the mixture equally among 4 plates, spreading to coat the the center of each plate.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the sage ribbons, smoked paprika and red pepper and stir just until the butter sizzles; remove from heat and season with salt.

Add the vinegar to large skillet of simmering water and return the mixture to a simmer.

Crack the eggs into the simmering water and simmer until the eggs are softly cooked, about 3 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or pasta server/fork, remove the eggs from the water, drain briefly and place 2 eggs atop the yogurt on each plate.

Rewarm the butter mixture, if necessary, and spoon over the eggs. Serve immediately garnished with a bunch of watercress and chunks of warmed crusty bread to wipe up every luscious drop. Makes 4 servings.


Cucumber Yogurt Dip  (Tzatziki)
Grated cucumber marries with chopped herbs and aromatics in this iconic Greek yogurt condiment.

Ingredients:
1⁄2 large English cucumber, peeled
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt
3 tbsp. finely chopped dill
2 tbsp. finely chopped mint
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
Paprika, for garnish

Procedure:
Grate cucumber using the large holes of a box grater; transfer to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Toss cucumber with 1 tablespoon of salt; let it sit 10 minutes. Squeeze excess water from cucumber and transfer to a bowl. Stir in yogurt, dill, mint, lemon juice, garlic paste, shallot, salt, and pepper; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika to garnish. Makes 2 cups.


Carrot-Pineapple Salad with Yogurt-Mayo Dressing
Ingredients for the salad:
4 medium sized carrots, freshly grated
1/3 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/3 cup Yogurt, whole plain
1/3 cup mayonnaise-4
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Procedure:
Combine carrots, Craisins, pineapple, apple, grapes in a large bowl. Mix mayo, yogurt, sugar and salt together, and pour over carrot mixture. Toss until well combined and serve cold. Makes 4 servings. 


Baked Salmon with Asparagus & Yogurt Sauce
Ingredients for fish:
1 (2 1⁄2 pound) boneless, skin-off salmon filet, cut into 4 equal pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried dill

Ingredients for asparagus:
1 pound asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for yogurt sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile powder or paprika

Procedure:
Heat oven to 500˚F.

Rub each piece of fish all over with olive oil. Put salmon pieces on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, leaving about a 1/4 of space between each piece, then season the top of the fish with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with dill. When the oven comes to temperature, bake fish, until crisp, lightly charred, and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove fish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce oven heat to 425˚F. Place asparagus on another foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until tender, stirring once halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper.

Using a large metal spatula, transfer salmon and asparagus to a serving platter, or individual plates, and serve with the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle some chile powder or paprika over the top of the sauce and serve with a wild rice casserole on the side. Makes 4 servings.


Broiled Pork Kebabs with Yogurt Mint Sauce
Whether you broil or grill the pork kebabs you will have a treat in store for you, especially with the yogurt mint sauce.

Ingredients:
2 cups red wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Yogurt Sauce and Garnish:
1 cucumber (about 12-ounces)
1 1⁄2 cups yogurt
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
4 pita breads, warmed

Procedure:
For the marinade: Whisk together the wine, oregano, cumin, salt, thyme, cinnamon, and garlic in a large bowl. Add the cubes of pork and toss well to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce: Trim the ends off the cucumber and peel it. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds from each half. Finely chop the cucumber and transfer it to a medium bowl. Stir in the yogurt, mint, oil, and garlic, and season with salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. (The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

Arrange an oven rack 7-8" from the broiler element and heat broiler. Remove the pork from the marinade (reserve marinade), thread the cubes onto 4 metal or wooden skewers, and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. (If using wooden skewers, make sure to cover the ends completely with the pork cubes, to prevent the skewers from burning.) Season the pork with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Broil the kebabs, generously basting with the marinade occasionally, until browned on all sides and cooked through, 20-25 minutes. (Alternatively, the kebabs may be cooked over a medium-hot grill for the same amount of time.)

Arrange the skewers on a platter and scatter the scallions and parsley over them. Serve with the yogurt sauce and the pita. Makes 4 servings.


Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Greek Yogurt
Ingredients:
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup half and half, plus more if needed
1/2 large garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon green onions, chopped (plus another tablespoon for garnish)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Procedure:
Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Put potatoes in a pot covered with water. Add the rosemary and boil until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove, and discard the rosemary. Roughly mash potatoes and add remaining ingredients until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. I like a few lumps in my mashed potatoes. Add more half and half, one tablespoon at a time, if potatoes are too dry. Garnish the top with more chopped green onion for garnish. Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.


Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce
Ingredients:
2 large eggplants
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
olive oil for frying

Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Procedure:
Slice eggplants 1/2 inch thick. Lay slices flat and sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the lemon juice. Turn slices over and sprinkle the other side with the remaining salt and lemon juice.

Put eggplant aside while preparing sauce.

Whisk yogurt until smooth. Add garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk until well blended. Cover and chill.

Heat 1/4 inch of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add eggplant in a single layer. Fry each side until browned. Place finished slices on a serving platter, and keep warm in the oven while frying remaining slices.

Serve eggplant hot, accompanied by the yogurt sauce. Makes 6-8 servings.


Yogurt Bundt Cake with Lilikoi Sauce
A tropical yogurt bundt cake with the tang of lilikoi (passion fruit) fruit syrup.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more
3 eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen passion fruit purée, defrosted
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Procedure:
Heat oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and the butter until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. With the motor running, slowly add dry ingredients until batter forms. Transfer to a greased 10" bundt pan, and smooth top. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 45 minutes to an hour. Let cake cool completely, then invert onto a serving platter and slice.

Bring remaining sugar, the lilikoi purée, and 1⁄2 cup water to a simmer in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened, 1–2 minutes, and let cool. Drizzle sauce over cake slices; garnish with sesame seeds. Makes 8 servings.


Yogurt Doughnuts
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for frying
1⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar

Procedure:
Sift flour and baking powder together into a medium bowl and set aside. Put granulated sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, honey, and 1 tablespoon of the oil into another medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture, beating with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until batter is chilled, 30-60 minutes.

Pour oil into a wide medium heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2" and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 325°F on a candy thermometer. Working in batches to avoid crowding with the pot, carfully spoon a scant 1⁄4 cup of the batter into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until doughnuts are deep golden brown all over and cooked through, 5-7 minutes per batch. Transfer doughnuts with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners' sugar while still hot. Makes 14 doughnuts.


Dark Chocolate-Yogurt Dip
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons Hershey's unsweetened 100% cocoa powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Procedure:
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until it is an even dark color and all of the brown sugar granules have dissolved, about 3 minutes.

For dipping, serve with fresh Maui strawberries, fresh pineapple sticks, sliced apple bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers, pound cake cut into squares, macadamia nuts, etc..

Makes 1 serving.


Mango Lassi
A thick, yogurt based, drink from India

Ingredients:
2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1" pieces, plus more for garnish
Vanilla ice cream or heavy cream, for topping (optional)

Procedure:
Purée yogurt, ice, milk, sugar, vanilla, and mangoes in a blender until smooth. Pour into glasses and top with 1–2 tablespoons ice cream or heavy cream if you like; garnish with additional mango. Makes 2-4 servings.