Sep 13, 2015


Is it hot enough for you? August and September are the hottest months of the year in Hawaii, plus it's also a record hurricane season. Add global warming and the most powerful El Niño on record, which has made it even hotter and the worst humidity ever. Naturally if you live in Hawaii you already know about all of this, so what do we do?
Hawaii's answer to global warming
Shave Ice from Big Daddy's restaurant here on Moloka'i

As the old saying goes, "If it's too hot, get out of the kitchen". Being a chef, it's hard for me to do that, but in this heat, who wants to cook unless you are lucky enough to have air-conditioning in your kitchen... I guess I'm not lucky. 

Cooking in hot humid weather is no fun, and cooking should be. All we need to do is change our meal planning and food habits. Remember this is only temporary... I hope?

1. Don't turn on the oven, try limiting your cooking to the stove top burners, or fixing dinner on the grill when the temperatures are cooler. Try using recipes that are quickly prepared, or strictly cold foods.

2. Only you know what you and your family like to eat, so ask yourself and/or your family what cool foods they like. Cool foods like pupus (appetizers), sandwiches, summer salads, even cold soups. 

3. Approximately 80% of our water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20% comes from food. Here are some foods with high water content, according to the American Dietetic Association: 
Lettuce 95%, Watermelon 92%, Broccoli 91%, Grapefruit 91%, Milk 89%, Orange juice 88%, Carrot 87%, Yogurt 85%, Apple is 84%. 
Assuming these percentages are accurate for most of us, the recommended amount of beverages, including water, would be approximately 9 cups for women and 12.5 cups for men. Drink a lot of cold liquids to stay hydrated, but not alcohol. 

Your safest bet for summer fun is to stay alcohol-free. Drinking alcohol in the hot summer weather can leave you dehydrated, confused and more susceptible to accidents and injuries. Interestingly, Time Magazine reports that 40% of all beer sold in the US are consumed from May to August, and Bud Light is the top-selling beer.

4. Eat cold desserts like fresh Hawaiian fruit recipes. Get yourself an ice-cream maker so you can control the ingredients and sugar in desserts like ices and sorbets, or go out for a shave ice.

5. Be sure and click on my "Recipe Index" tab above for hundreds of cool recipes. 

Here are a few cool, easy to fix, hot weather recipes to tide you over until winter gets here.

Ahi Poke Wrap
This simple lettuce wrap makes a nice cool lunch. Poke is easy to make as most locals know, but if it's just to hot to make it yourself, Friendly Market has it already made, then all you have to do is put it on a few leaves of lettuce or Napa cabbage leaves.

1 pound sushi grade ahi tuna
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup scallions, finely minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 butter lettuce leaves

Cut tuna into 1/2 inch chunks. Toast sesame seeds. Toss tuna with sesame seeds, sesame oil, ginger, scallions and soy sauce. Serve in lettuce leaves with steamed white rice. Makes 8 servings.

Limu Salad
Limu Salad
Limu is the Hawaiian word for seaweed. Limu salad is easy to make combination of flavors and textures creating a delicious mixed Asian main course or side dish, and is a very common and well-liked potluck salad here in Hawaii.

Ingredients for salad:
1 (16 ounce) package of linguini, break in 1/2, cooked according to package directions, drained

6 ounces seasoned taegu (Korean spicy codfish found in Asian markets)

2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into thin half circles

16 ounces imitation crab (surimi), pulled apart into strings

8 ounces seasoned Ocean Salad (Ocean Salad is a seaweed salad that is flavored with sesame oil, it can be found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores or in Asian markets)

Ingredients for dressing:
You won't need all of this sweet and savory dressing, but it is great to keep in your refrigerator for other salads.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, crushed

thinly sliced green onions at an angle
1 (1.9 ounce) bottle nori furikake (a sesame/nori seasoning found in Asian markets)

In a mixing bowl or jar, mix dressing ingredients, and refrigerate. In another bowl; combine linguine with taegu, cucumbers, crabmeat and ocean salad, refrigerate until ready to serve. when ready to serve, toss salad with dressing, as needed. Garnish with green onion and furikake. Serves 8-10.

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A cold tropical watermelon slush called ‘Otai, from the southernmost group of islands of central Polynesia. 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 cold summer drink.

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)

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.

Gazpacho - Hawaiian Style
Gazpacho - Hawaiian Style
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Gazpacho is a classic Spanish tomato-based vegetable soup that is traditionally served cold. It is also served in neighboring Portugal where it is spelled Gaspacho. This Portuguese adaptation was created with the tastes of Hawaii, combining the best of Hawaiian summer vegetables and seasonings for a refreshing luau meal or for a 'ohana (family) picnic on the beach.

2-14.5 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2-14.5 ounce cans tomato sauce
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 sweet maui onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Hawaiian Hot Chili Water, or Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Garnish with a dollop sour cream, watercress, or small basil leaves

In a food processor, add one can of crushed tomato and one can of tomato sauce. Then add HALF of each of the chopped vegetables and garlic. Blend until almost smooth, or to desired consistency. Pour into a large non-metal, bowl. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Now add the vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce to the bowl. Mix together with a spoon and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight, allowing the flavors to blend. Ladle cold soup into chilled bowls and garnish with small dollops of sour cream and the top sprigs of cold watercress or basil. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with your favorite crackers on the side. Makes 8 servings, or 4 if you're hungry.

Frozen Bananas with Papaya-Berry Coulis
A Coulis is a thick sauce or purée made from strained vegetables or fruits. This cool dessert uses Hawaii's ripe frozen apple banana slices, they are then blended in a food processor to make a kind of banana ice. To make it even better, pour a little papaya-berry coulis over the top.

1 large ripe papaya
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 limes (and zest)
1/2 cup sugar
bananas, sliced and frozen

Skin and deseed the papaya, dice it into small cubes. Next, zest one lime and reserve the zest. Squeeze the lime juice of both limes into a medium saucepot. Add sugar to the saucepot. Add diced papaya, strawberries and jam to the pot.

Bring to a medium heat and reduce to low. Let simmer for 30 minutes until fruit is soft and cooked through. Remove from heat and add to a blender or food processor. Pulse briefly and add lime zest. Pulse until smooth then bring to a high speed for 1-2 minutes with no lid (allowing steam to escape). Chill thoroughly and serve over sliced, or pureed frozen bananas. Makes about 3 cups of coulis, enough for 4 to 6 servings.

Moloka'i Lilikoi Mousse
Local Moloka'i Lilikoi
Late summer is lilikoi season here in hawaii. Some people know lilikoi as passion fruit. I'm lucky enough to have planted this vine in my yard and now have them growing. My wife and I enjoy them every morning with breakfast. Just cut them in half and spoon out the pulp, seeds and all. They are commonly sold at our farmer's market here on Moloka'i. Anyway, here is a simple little dessert recipe that involves no cooking. You will need 10 lilikoi for this recipe.

6 fresh lilikoi fruit, to make 3/4 cup fresh lilikoi juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 can sweetened-condensed milk
4 fresh lilikoi fruit for garnish
4 sprigs of fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Cut 6 medium sized lilikoi cut in half with a serrated knife. Scrape out the pulp (including the seeds and juice) into a blender with 1/4 cup of water. Blend at low speed for 20 seconds. Pour into a strainer and mash through with the back of a spoon (you should have 3/4 cup of lilikoi juice). Discard the seeds.

Again with the blender, mix the whipping cream until the liquid becomes light at fluffy, about 2 minutes. Now add the sweetened-condensed milk to the whipped cream and blend on high for 30 seconds. Add the 3/4 cup of strained lilikoi juice to the mixture and blend again on high for 1 minute.

Pour the mixture into individual dessert dishes. Top each serving with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, but overnight is better. Serve with fresh lilikoi pulp, including the seeds, on top of each serving. Garnish each serving with fresh mint on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Mango Tango Ice Cream
You will need to get yourself an ice cream maker for this dessert. 
I have made this recipe many times and it's a wonderful tropical blend of flavors for these hot El Niño summer days.

1 1/2 cups pureed fresh mango
2 whole eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 of a 15 fl. oz. 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
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut

In a food processor puree fresh mango. Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut. Blend together. Pour into your ice cream maker and add the coconut. Process until frozen to a soft consistency which should take about 1/2 hour. Freeze for several hours until solid. Makes just over 2 pints.

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