May 24, 2015

Returning The Jar

Dill Pickled Okra
Fortunately my wife doesn't like okra,
so I get to eat the whole jar.
Not many people "can" anymore. I guess it's too much work, or people are just too busy to bother. I think that's probably true about cooking in general. I hate to think that people get so busy with their lives that they can't make a good home cooked meal for them and their family.

If you cook, then it's possible that you have used canning jars for making homemade jam, jelly, pickles or chutney. Personally canning is a link with the past when refrigeration was not available, a time when survival was about doing what you had to do to provide your family with what they needed.

Like my ancestors, I like to pickle things like beets, green tomatoes, okra, chutney, whatever, I make a large batch to share with friends. Most of my friends know about "returning the jar". They know that it's just good etiquette, and that if they return the jar, then perhaps next time they'll get more. Sometimes I even get my jar back filled with something new which is really a treat, but that hardly ever happens. Unfortunately it seems like not everybody knows about returning the jar.

You see, canning jars can be pricy, and when I give away my pickled tomatoes, I would like to get the jar back afterwards, it's sort of like the jar is an expensive vehicle that will take you on a wonderful journey, but if the vehicle isn't returned to the garage, then you don't get to take another trip. By returning the jar, it shows that you appreciate the hard work that went into making the gift and that you are a worthy recipient for future batches.

I found this poem/label online that is a nice way to get your jar back:

"If you have enjoyed the fruits of my labor and found within this jar a taste to savor then do me a little favor... please return the jar and ring! Thank you Neighbor."


Here are a couple of my favorite pickling recipes:

Dill Pickled Okra
Most people seem to like pickled okra. When I have room in the pickling jar, I usually like to add a few green beans to keep the okra company. They are great in a Bloody Mary.

Ingredients:
2 pounds young, small to medium okra pods, rinsed
4 small dried chiles, split in 1/2
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
12 sprigs fresh dill or 4 teaspoons dried dill
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups bottled water

Special Equipment: 4 pint-sized canning jars, sterilized

Procedure:
Wash okra well, removing fuzz and stems. Leave the caps on; do not cut into the pods. In each of 4 pint jars, place 1 chile, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 3 sprigs of dill or 1 teaspoon dried, 1/4 of the minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns in the bottom of each of 4 sterilized pint canning jars. Divide the rinsed okra evenly among the 4 jars, standing them up vertically, alternating stems up and down. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the salt, vinegar and water to a boil. Once boiling, pour this mixture over the okra in the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space between the top of the liquid and the lid. Seal the lids. When the metal lid pops down, you know it's sealed properly. Set in a cool dry place for 2 weeks, and try not to eat them if you can until they are ready. Makes 4 pints.


Pickled Green Tomatoes
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Click on photos to view larger
This is a great recipe, even if I have to say so myself. Most of the people I have given these to have returned the jar, but you know who you are.

Ingredients:
2- 1 quart canning jars
4 1/2 tablespoons sea salt, or kosher salt
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 red or green jalapeno pepper, cut lengthwise into 8 slivers, remove most of the seeds
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and skin removed
1/2 of a small yellow onion, cut into slivers
2 teaspoons dried dill
2 teaspoons pickling spice, divided
10 large green roma tomatoes, enough to fill 2 quart canning jars (you can use cherry or regular tomatoes as well, but they need to be green or they get too soft)
Sterilizing Canning Jars

Procedure:
Put your jars and lids in a large pot and cover with hot water. Put the lid on the pot and boil the water on high heat. allow to boil for 10 minutes, and then turn the heat off.

To make the brining solution, to a medium sized pot, add 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of hot water, 4 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt, and 3/4 cup of white vinegar. Stir and bring to a boil on medium heat. Meanwhile in a small skillet, saute the jalapeno pepper, garlic, and onion in the olive oil, over medium heat, until the onion just starts to get brown around the edges, but not burnt. Turn the heat off.

Sauted onions, garlic, and peppers
Next wash and cut the roma tomatoes into quarters, lengthwise, or use whole green cherry tomatoes. Divide the jalapeno peppers, onions and garlic equally and put them into the bottom of each sterilized jar, along with 1 teaspoon of dried dill and pickling spice. Now fill the two jars with the green tomatoes, gently pressing them into the jars to get as many into each jar as you can, but leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top of each jar. Put the jars into your kitchen sink and carefully pour the hot brine into each jar, leaving 1/4 inch of air space. Immediately seal the jars with the hot lids, and close them very tightly. Leave the jars on your kitchen counter at room temperature for about 24 hours. If you like crisp tomatoes, you can eat them the next day. After 24 hours, refrigerate the pickled tomatoes if there are any left that is. Makes 2 quarts.

Note 1: Unless you grow your own tomatoes here on Moloka'i, it can be difficult finding green tomatoes. Fortunately you can usually get them at Kumu Farms if you ask them to pick them for you green. Or ask them for semi-green tomatoes, which are great to use for fried green tomatoes, but that's another recipe.

Note 2: For more canning recipes, check out the "Recipe Index" tab above, under "Condiments".


May 12, 2015

Sweet Memories

I have sweet memories of my childhood. In 1952, I was 8, we lived in Jacksonville, Florida, in an area called Ortega Forest. Our house was right on the Ortega River. Life was a lot different in those days, kids had to pretty much entertain themselves. There were no cell phones, video games, or computers. My older brother and I were like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, a couple of river rats. We had a little boat called a dinghy, with a small Evinrude outboard motor that our father bought us. We would take it up the river to fish for speckled perch. 

In those days I mowed lawns to make money, I also received a small weekly allowance. After I finished my chores, I would head over to the Five Points drug store on my red Schwinn Hornet bicycle, with a basket in the front, to buy baseball cards and comic books. I never cared much for the bubble gum that came with the baseball cards, too hard and not as tasty as Bazooka bubble gum. With Bazooka, I could blow bigger bubbles than other brands. Even then I had discriminating taste.
The newly restored Pickwick soda fountain in Greenville SC
sort of reminds me of the Five Points Drug Store I used to go to.
The Pickwick was named one of the best soda fountains
in the U.S. by Food & Wine.com
Photo courtesy of the Pickwick Soda Fountain


Almost every drug store had a soda fountain. Kind of a local hangout, with old-timey knickknacks lining the walls, cola syrup made from scratch and kids sipping shakes at the counter overlooking the mirror-backed fountain. The guy serving you was called a soda jerk. He would prepare the best ice-cream sodas, banana splits, or milkshakes, served with a long-handled spoon and a straw. I would sit on the stool sucking down my favorite, a root beer float. 

My brother emailed me today after reading this blog. He said that he and his wife visited our old neighborhood 4 years ago. Our house was still there and so was the drug store. I hope they still have the old soda fountain inside.

I feel sorry for kids today, they will have different memories, probably not as sweet as mine, but maybe... I hope so.

Here are some sweet soda fountain tropical ice-cream treats for you to try, 
but first you will need an ice-cream machine.


Mango Tango Ice Cream
Mango Tango Ice Cream
Click on photo to view larger
This is my favorite tropical ice cream recipe to date. I have made this many times for dinner parties with no complaints. I suggest you make two batches so you will have some for yourself when your guests leave.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pureed fresh mango
2 whole eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 of a 15 fluid ounce can of coconut cream (shake can just before opening)
1, 14 fluid ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
fresh mango cut into small cubes for garnish (optional, but recommended)

Procedure:
In a food processor puree fresh mango. Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnish. Blend together. Pour into your ice cream maker. Process until frozen to a soft consistency which should take about 1/2 hour. Freeze for several hours until solid. Serve with fresh mango cubes. One batch makes just over 2 pints, or 6 servings.


Coconut Raspberry Ice Cream
Ingredients:
1 box (16.9 ounces) Kara brand UHT Natural Coconut Cream (Friendly Market)
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of frozen raspberries, partially thawed
toasted sweetened coconut flakes for garnish (optional)

Procedure:
Place the coconut cream, half & half, sugar, and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

Freeze using an ice cream maker, according to manufacture's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add in the raspberries. You can serve immediately for a soft serve texture or you can place the ice cream in a container and freeze for a firmer texture. Garnish with toasted sweetened coconut flakes. Makes 2 pints.
 
Note: Place the cream of coconut can in the fridge the night before or a few hours before you make the ice cream. If you don't have chilled cream of coconut, you can always place the ice cream mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes before churning up the ice cream.


Macadamia Nut Ice Cream 
with Roasted Apple Bananas
Ingredients:
6 eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
3⁄4 cup macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped

Procedure:
In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Over medium heat, combine the milk and half of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat, cook until bubbles form along the sides of the pan. Add a little of the hot milk mixture in with the yolk mixture, whisking well. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 5-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and place the pan in a sink of ice water to cool, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming.

In medium bowl, beat the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled cream mixture. Stir in the macadamia nuts. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze for 3 or 4 hours before serving with roasted bananas. Makes 1 1/2 pints.

Roasted Apple Bananas
Ingredients:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
8 apple bananas
1 quart macadamia nut ice cream (recipe above)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine brown sugar, sugar, and allspice on large plate. Place butter in shallow bowl.

Halve large bananas lengthwise, then cut halves in half, or halve apple bananas lengthwise. Coat banana pieces in melted butter, then in sugar mixture, then set cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes, or until sugar melts and turns to bubbly caramel sauce. Cool 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to plate, and scrape sauce into measuring cup with rubber spatula.

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Top each serving with 2 banana pieces, and drizzle with caramel sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Note: For a lot more ice cream recipes on this site, click here, or click on the "Recipe Index" tab above and look under "Desserts".


May 9, 2015

Oh My...‘OTAI! The Summertime Polynesian Watermelon Drink

‘Otai
Click on image to view larger
It's almost the beginning of summer, and it's already watermelon and mango season here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i. What better way to celebrate summer than a refreshing drink called ‘Otai, from the southernmost group of islands of central Polynesia called Tonga. The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian sovereign state consisting of 52 inhabited islands with about 103,000 citizens.

Tongans came up with this cold slushy summer drink because it's very hot their, just like in Hawaii. They grow a lot of watermelons, mango, pineapple, banana, and coconut, so this drink blends one, if not all of these fruits, depending on who's making it. The end result is incredibly tropical, and the perfect summer drink.

About 50 years ago, when commercial farming was more of a way of life here, Moloka'i was considered to be the watermelon capitol of Hawaii. Watermelons were grown in large quantities and sold to other islands. Today farmers grow what is considered to be the sweetest (12% sugar content), reddest, 20 lb. watermelons in Hawaii, a variety known as "crimson sweet". Fortunately their are a few small growers here that sell this luscious red fruit to the public. 

I decided to share my recipe with my neighbors here on Moloka'i, and with whoever wants to celebrate summer with us. So instead of saying cheers in Hawaiian, "Å’kålè ma’luna", or "Kanpai" in Japanese... say ‘Otai! in Tonganese.

‘Otai
The trick with ‘otai is removing the seeds and mashing the watermelon without completely juicing it: the fruit needs to have a bit of structure left to give the drink body, kind of like a tropical slush. Check out this website for step-by-step photos on how to make Watermelon 'Otai. Naturally you can adjust this recipe to your own taste.

Ingredients:
sweet red watermelon (about 5 cups mashed, seeds removed)
1 cup of ripe mango, diced (preferably the Haden variety)
1 cup of fresh or canned, crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon of honey
13.5 ounces of canned coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
crushed ice
shredded coconut and a wedge of watermelon, for garnish
1 shot of light rum into the bottom of each chilled glass (optional)

Procedure:
Add mango, pineapple, and honey to a blender, pulsing several times, then add seedless watermelon flesh, pulse again once or twice, leaving the solution with some texture and body from the fruit.

When you get the texture to where you like it, stir in the coconut milk, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Pour into glasses over crushed ice (if you’d like) and top with shredded coconut. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon and or lime. Makes 8 servings.

Note: For 9 more of my watermelon recipes, click here.

May 8, 2015

Venison Vegetable Stew on a COLD day

It's a cold rainy day here 1,200 feet above sea level on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, and a good day for "Barking Deer Vegetable Stew". Several islands in Hawaii, including Moloka'i, are known for their Axis deer. They are called "barking deer" because they make a high-pitched barking noise when calling each other, especially around 2 am when I'm asleep and my dog Maka starts barking back at them. The Axis deer are plentiful here on Moloka'i, and delicious to eat. Venison is very healthy, low in cholesterol and fat, but packed with quality protein.
Barking Deer Vegetable Stew
Click on image to view larger

To me, the best part of the deer is the tenderloin, which is usually barbecued, charred on the outside and left rare inside. The tougher shoulder, and hind quarters are usually ground up into sausage meat or hamburger meat, thinly cut into a stew meat, or dried for jerky. 

Sometimes it's a challenge to think of recipes to go with the tougher cuts, which are commonly cooked in a slow cooker with lots of liquid. Most hunters here have been eating Axis deer all of their lives. They usually have a freezer full of venison to help feed their families. This recipe is a simple, and a delicious way to enjoy a tougher cut of venison, especially when it's a cold and rainy day on the side of a mountain here in Hawaii.


Barking Deer Vegetable Stew
For those tougher cuts of venison like in this stew, forget about "tenderizing marinades"; there is no magic formula that will convert tough venison into tender venison. If the venison is a little tough, pounding with a tenderizing hammer and the liberal use of Adolph's Meat tenderizer may help. I have also heard that if you soak the tough cuts of venison in a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and water for 2 hours, then rinse the meat and cover it with milk, soaking for another 2 hours, or overnight, refrigerated, will help, but I haven't tried that... let me know if it works. It is also said that if the venison is really tough, maybe you shot the wrong deer.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds venison (from the shoulder or hind quarter), very thinly sliced because this is very tough meat, you can also use ground venison if you like
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 can (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-1/2 ounce) tomato sauce
1 cup red wine (I use Franzia burgundy as my house wine)
1 cup hot water
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups beef stock, or 2 teaspoons beef bouillon
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste (optional)

Procedure:
In a Dutch oven or large pot, brown venison cubes in olive oil with the onion and garlic. Now add the remaining ingredients; cover partially and simmer for 1 hour longer or until meat is tender (stir the stew about every 15 minutes. I always find that this stew tastes better the next day when all of the flavors have melded. Serve with crusty bread and a dark beer like Sierra Nevada Torpedo extra IPA, both from Moloka'i Wines and Spirits. Makes about 8 servings. 

Note: You can add whatever vegetables you like, or have on hand, like zucchini, frozen peas, soy beans, even fresh basil, spinach, cabbage, or bok choy. This stew is great served at potluck dinners, over cooked elbow or penne pasta, plus it stretches a meal for large families.


May 3, 2015

Hawaii Loves To Eat CHOW FUN!

When Westerners speak of Chinese food, they are usually referring to Cantonese cuisine. When I start craving Chinese food, I usually think of Chow Fun Noodles. You are probably thinking to yourself, what is a Chow Fun Noodle? In the south of China noodle stalls and roadside food stands are popular places to find Chow Fun Noodles being prepared, with each vendor offering a slightly different twist. Sometimes, the distinction comes through the sauce or the additions; other times, it is the cooking style. In its many variations, the dish is one of the most popular street foods of Hong Kong and the Guangzhou region of China. 

Sun brand fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles found at 
Friendly Market and Misaki's Grocery Store here on Moloka'i
Click on photo to view larger
Chow Fun Noodles are made from rice flour. They are wide and flat and when cooked have a different mouth feel and texture than wheat flour noodles. The most common methods of cooking these noodles is stir-fry with thick sauces. Personally I love all pasta, in all shapes and textures, but there is something very exotic yet comforting about Chow Fun Noodles. 

Chow Fun Noodles are a Hawaii local favorite, mostly because of the huge Chinese-American population here, and also because it tastes so good. If you are going to Honolulu, and want to try Chow Fun Noodles, here is a list of restaurants from Yelp, that serve it (click here). Otherwise, look for it fresh-cooked in the refrigerated section or your grocery store. If you are craving Chow Fun Noodles on Moloka'i, Friendly Market sells both fresh-cooked and dried Chow Fun Noodles, but you'll have to prepare them yourself because there are no Chinese restaurants here. Just follow these simple recipes:


South of Market, Chow Fun Noodles 
with Portobello Mushrooms & Asparagus
I first had Chow Fun Noodles about 20 years ago in a back-alley Chinese restaurant, south of Market Street, in San Francisco. At first the noodles seemed kind of slimy compared to wheat flour noodles, but the flavor of the sauce and the way everything blended so well, I have been eating Chow Fun Noodles ever since.

Ingredients:
South of Market (SoMa) has changed a lot in the past
20 years, but I'm sure they are still serving Chow Fun Noodles
Click on image to view larger
2 large portobello mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 sweet Maui onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
3 tablespoon Tamari sauce, or soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce, or to taste
3 7-ounce packages fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles
2 green onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Procedure:
Cut stems off mushrooms; trim hard end off each stem. With spoon, scrape dark gills from bottom of caps. Halve caps; slice caps and stems crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Set aside.

Remove the tough ends from the asparagus and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Click on image to view larger
In a wok, heat oil over high heat; stir-fry chopped onion for 2 minutes or until they start to brown. Add garlic; stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add mushrooms; stir-fry until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add rice wine and Tamari sauce; stir-fry until dry. Stir in oyster, hoisin and chili sauces; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add Chow Fun Noodles and asparagus; stir-fry until coated.

Stir in 1/2 cup water; cover and cook, stirring once, until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until no liquid remains, about 1 minute. Stir in green onion and sesame oil. Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can add protein to this recipe if you like, things like tofu, thinly sliced beef, pork or chicken.


Stir-fried Chow Fun Noodles 
with Marinaded Shrimp & Pork
Chow Fun is one of the easiest meals to get to the table and has a high comfort factor.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh shrimp (shelled)
1/2 pound lean pork (sliced)
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup string beans, thinly sliced
1 (9-10 oz) package of bean sprouts
1 cup green onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 7-ounce packages fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
sesame seeds and cilantro for garnish

Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 quarter size piece ginger, minced

Procedure:
Take the fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles and gently stir them in warm water for roughly a minute to soften them up, they should separate. Put in strainer and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl; combine marinade ingredients. Marinate shrimp and pork 15 minutes. In a large skillet over medium high heat; cook shrimp and pork in oil for 3-4 minutes until shrimp just turn pink. Add vegetables; stir fry 2-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Add noodles and remaining ingredients. Toss to heat through. Do not overcook vegetables. Arrange the noodles on platter if desired, garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro leaves. Makes 6 servings.


Cantonese Beef Chow Fun
Chow Fun beef stir-fry is a famous Cantonese dish.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound beef, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons dark (thick) soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 7-ounce packages of fresh-cooked chow fun rice noodles
3 green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch lengths
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons light (regular) soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, smashed or mashed with a knife blade (see note below)
3 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained well
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Procedure:
Cut the beef with the grain into 2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a bowl. Add the cornstarch, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir or massage to coat the meat well. Set aside.

Take the fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles and gently stir them in warm water for roughly a minute to soften them up, they should separate. Put in strainer and set aside. Smack the white sections of the green onion with the flat side of the knife, then put into a small bowl; add the ginger and garlic. Keep the green sections in another bowl to add separately.

In a small bowl, stir together the white pepper, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, and water. Put this seasoning liquid near the stove with all the other ingredients.

Heat a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes in 1 to 2 seconds. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the ginger, garlic, and crushed sections of green onion. Stir-fry for 15 seconds, until aromatic, then bank on the side. Add the beef, spreading it out into a flat layer. Sear, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Add the black beans, then stir-fry the beef for 30 seconds, until barely cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Rinse and dry the pan well.

Reheat the pan over high heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the noodles, spreading them out to a thick layer. Sear, undisturbed for 1 minute, until a tad crusty. Dump in the bean sprouts, then vigorously stir-fry for 1 minute, until the sprouts have slightly softened. Some noodles may stick to the pan.

Return the beef and any juices and add the remaining green onion sections. Stir to combine, then pour in the seasoning liquid. Stir-fry for 1 minute to heat through and finish cooking the beef. Pile onto a platter and serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Fermented Black Beans were used in many parts of China but nowadays, it's a staple in southern Chinese kitchens. It can be purchased in Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, usually in the dried, pickled, and preserved vegetables aisle where mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and dried tofu are stocked. Try to find the Yang Jiang brand. If you live on Moloka'i, both Friendly Market and Misaki's have them.


Cantonese Roast Duck
You can use this simple recipe the next time you have a craving for Roast Duck, then save 2 cups of the meat for the recipe below "Chinatown Roast Duck with Chow Fun Noodles & Vegetables".

Ingredients:
Another one of my favorite recipes for duck...
"Honey Glazed Roast Duck", click here for recipe
Click on image to view larger
1 whole frozen duck, excess fat trimmed, giblets removed (Misaki's Grocery Store on Moloka'i)
1/4 cup miso
1 cup honey
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup cold black coffee
1/4 cup ginger, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 lime, halved

Procedure:
Thaw duck for about 3 days in the refrigerator if frozen, then wash and dry with paper towels. Using a fork, pierce the duck skin all over to allow the flavor of the marinade to penetrate and the fat to drain.

Prepare the marinade. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except for the citrus. Stir well until miso and sugar are dissolved. Squeeze the citrus juice into the marinade then stuff the cavity of the duck with the citrus halves. Marinate the duck in the bowl or large heavy plastic bag, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning several times in the marinade.

When ready to roast the next day, preheat oven to 450ºF. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. Fold the wings back and tie the legs together. Roast the duck for 20 minutes to caramelize the sugar and set a rich, mahogany color. After 20 minutes, drop the temperature to 325ºF and roast for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚, when your meat thermometer is stuck in the middle of the breast meat. Makes 4 servings.


Cantonese Roast Duck
with Chow Fun Noodles & Vegetables
So now that you have roasted your own duck, Cantonese-style, you have lots of duck to work with in this recipe. Save the rest of the duck to snack on or use in another recipe.

Ingredients:
3 7-ounce packages fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles
8 dried Shiitake mushrooms soaked in water for 30 minutes, then cut them into thin strips
1/3 cup Japanese hijiki (dried black looking seaweed, soak in water to rehydrate for 30 minutes)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced, depending on your taste for garlic
1 piece(s) thumb-sized piece ginger, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
a pinch of sugar and black pepper
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup each, broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 cups cooked Cantonese roasted (boneless) duck, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Procedure:
Take the fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles and gently stir them in warm water for roughly a minute to soften them up, they should separate. Put in strainer and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a high-sided skillet or wok, then sauté the garlic and ginger (do not burn) for about 1-2 minutes in the oil. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and pepper, mix until well blended.

Add the veggies and drained water chestnuts and stir-fry until just cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the noodles and cooked duck, heat through for about 1 minute. Drizzle with sesame oil and then toss in the hijiki at the end. Makes 4 servings.


Chicken Chow Fun with Baby Bok Choy
Ingredients:
1 pound chicken, cut into thin bite-sized pieces
3 7-ounce packages of fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles
1 pound of baby bok choy, washed (Kumu Farms, or Farmer's Market on Moloka'i)
1/2 pound of bean sprouts, washed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons sweet cooking rice wine (Mirin Japanese cooking wine)
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
black pepper to taste
scallions (green onions), cut into 1 inch strips.

Procedure:
Place the cut chicken in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the rice wine. Let it marinate while you deal with the noodles.

Take the fresh-cooked Chow Fun Noodles and gently stir them in warm water for roughly a minute to soften them up, they should separate. Put in strainer and set aside.

If your baby bok choy stalks are bulky, you can cut them lengthwise, in half. Otherwise, you can leave them as is.

Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Toss in the marinated chicken, as well as any leftover marinade. Cook until the chicken is lightly brown on both sides.
Sprinkle the chicken with black pepper, remove the chicken from the pan, leaving the sauce, and set it aside.

Toss the bean sprouts into the pan and stir fry for roughly a minute. Remove the bean sprouts, leaving the sauce, and set them aside.

Toss in the baby bok choy into the pan. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Toss in the separated noodles into the pan. Add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the chili garlic sauce into the pan.

Stir the baby bok choy and the noodles until they are coated somewhat evenly with the soy sauce.
Toss in the scallions, bean sprouts, and the chicken. Continue to stir fry for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how much “char” you want on your noodles. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve hot! Makes 4 servings.

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