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
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

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
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
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

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
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

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
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

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 Wild rice and turkey are a natural together, but this recipe also works with chicken for the rest of the year.

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

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.

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

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

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
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

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


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. 

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

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
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.

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

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
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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Thai Beef Salad
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

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.

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

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.

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)

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
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

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!

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

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. 

1 ripe pineapple
1-2 tablespoons Li hing mui powder

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
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

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.

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

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
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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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
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

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
2 large eggplants
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
olive oil for frying

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

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.

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

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
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

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
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)

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

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)

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.

Nov 5, 2015

Tropical Fruit SLUSHIES

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How can you say no to a tropical fruit slushy, especially when Hawaii has been so miserable from the heat and humidity caused by El Nino this summer. Slushies are a great way to keep your cool during summer, or anytime. Hawaii's fresh fruits: lilikoi, mango, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, apple bananas, watermelon, etc. are great for making slushies. Unfortunately many of these fruits are seasonal. When you can't get fresh fruit, use frozen. Frozen fruit works quite well actually.

Normally people in Hawaii buy shave ice, known on the Mainland as a snow cone. The problem with snow cones and shave ice is that they are loaded with sugar syrup, which is fattening. I like to make my slushies with as little sugar as possible and rely on the natural sugar in the fresh fruit. Make sense? I think so.

You will need a good high-speed blender for these recipes, I recommend Vitamix, Blendtec, or Ninja. The Magic Bullet will also work, but it only makes 1 serving. 

Put the fruit, fresh or frozen, into your high-speed blender and process on high. It should turn into liquid fairly easily. When adding in your ice, less ice will make it easier to sip through a straw, more ice will make it easier to eat with a spoon. I usually use about 1.5 cups, but have gone all the way up to 2. Also, if you are NOT working with a high-speed blender, add in your ice a cup at a time and process in between until you have one consistent slushie mixture. If you have leftovers, consider freezing it into ice cubes. You can add the ice cubes to your blender later and have another slushy waiting to go! 

Note: When I use fresh fruit, I usually put it into zip-loc freezer bags and freeze it overnight or until frozen, this helps your slushy stay cold, this includes bananas as well. I also chill the glasses in the freezer.

So here are a few tropical fruit slushy recipes for you to keep cool with:

Watermelon-Mango-Pineapple Slushy
I posted this recipe a few months ago. It is called 'Otai in Polynesia. You can read more about it here.

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.

Mango-Banana Slushy
1 fresh ripe mango, peeled and cut up, or 9 ounces of frozen mango cubes
1 banana, cut into chunks (I like to use Hawaii's apple bananas but they are small so I use 2)
2 cups fresh orange juice
4 ice cubes

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender, then process until smooth and thick. Makes one serving.

Mango-Pineapple-Lilikoi Slushy
2 large fresh mango peeled and cubed to make approximately 3 cups frozen mango
1 pineapple, peeled, chopped
2 cups ice cubes
3 lilikoi (passionfruit) halved

Blend frozen mango, pineapple and ice cubes until thick and smooth. Add lilikoi pulp. Pulse until just combined. Spoon into chilled glasses. Serve with a straw. Makes 4 servings.

Mango-Ginger-Lime Slushy
1 large ripe mango peeled and cubed (this will make approximately 1 1/2 cups of cubed mango)
2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger teaspoons ginger juice (to make ginger juice, using a micro plane, zest the ginger using the fine shredder and squeeze)
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons honey (adjust to taste as it depends on sweetness of the mango)
3 cups of ice
Zest from one lime for garnishing

Peel and cube the ripe mango. Place into a high-speed blender. Now take a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger and peel it. Take a microplane and run the ginger over it until it is completely zested. Squeeze the ginger zest into a small cup to measure 2 teaspoons of juice, then put it into the blender. Then with the microplane, zest one lime, and put aside to use for garnish. Now cut the lime in half and squeeze to make 3 tablespoons of lime juice. Add it to the blender along with honey and ice. Blend on high speed until it is crushed and smooth. Serve immediately, garnished with lime zest. Makes 2 servings.

Fresh Papaya Slushy
2 cups cubed papaya
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
4 cups crushed ice

Cut the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. Cut a 1 inch slice off 1 papaya half, peel, and cut into pieces; repeat with other half.

Place the papaya, lime juice, and honey in a high-speed blender, and blend on high. Add ice and blend, turning the blender on and off to mix all the ingredients and create a fine icy slush. You may need to break up the mixture a couple of times with a spoon or dinner knife, but make sure the blender is turned off. Taste as you go. You should be able to taste the lime. Makes 4-6 servings.

Papaya-Strawberry Slushy
1 1/2 cups of cubed papaya
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
4 ice cubes
1/2 cup water
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Add ice, 1/2 cup water, strawberries fresh or frozen and papaya to a high-speed blender. Blend on high until thoroughly pureed. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Kiwi-Lime Slushy
Juice of 1 lime
2 kiwis, peeled, quartered and frozen (ahead of time)
12 ounce club soda
4 ice cubes
1 teaspoon of honey (more or less to your taste)

Using a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until it looks like one consistent slushy mixture. Makes 1-2 servings.

Raspberry-Lime Slushy
juice of 2 limes
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon of honey (more or less to your taste)

Using a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until it looks like one consistent slushy mixture. Makes 1 serving.

Nov 1, 2015


Nothing beats the sweet taste of a creamy pudding. Whether it's a tropical liliko'i brûlée, old fashioned banana pudding, or a double chocolate pudding, you always know that it will be a crowd pleaser no matter whether you are young or old. With the Holidays coming up, consider one of these recipes as a gesture of Aloha.

Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Straight from Aunties kitchen, pumpkin pudding with sweetened whipped cream, sprinkled with toasted coconut. Simple and delicious, kind of like pumpkin pie in a ramekin.

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Ingredients for whipped cream & coconut topping:
4 tablespoons toasted sweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk and vanilla, followed by egg. Whisk until fully combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles form in the center of the pan. Reduce heat to low, cook one minute more. Remove from heat. 

Pour through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Use a spoon to press mixture through the strainer.

Whisk together with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.

Divide among serving dishes. Press plastic wrap into the surface of the pudding and chill for several hours before serving.

When ready to serve, whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks.

Put sweetened coconut flakes in a small skillet and toast over a burner over medium low heat until just browned. Let cool.

Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pumpkin pudding and spoon sweetened whipped cream on the top, sprinkled with toasted coconut. Makes 4 servings.

Liliko'i Créme Brûlée
Liliko'i is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit. If you live on the Mainland you may have trouble finding this tropical fruit, but if you live in Hawaii, you can find it everywhere, and it's wonderful added to a Créme Brûlée.

4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for brûlée topping
1/4 cup liliko'i juice (from 4-5 fresh lilikoi fruit)
2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Arrange five 6-ounce ramekins (or equivalent) in a baking dish. Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil (this will be used for the water bath later).

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until lightened in color. Whisk in lilikoi juice.

Heat cream in a small saucepan until it starts to steam. Gradually pour warm cream into bowl with egg yolks, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking vigorously, until incorporated. Skim off foam. Pour into ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place pan on oven rack. Carefully pour in just enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Divide cream mixture among ramekins. Gently place baking pan with ramekins in oven, then carefully pour hot water into the baking pan around ramekins, taking care not to get any water in the custard. It is helpful to use a spouted kettle or pitcher to more easily pour the water into the pan.

Bake for 30 to 33 minutes or until just set. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, sprinkle a generous tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, moving torch evenly across the tops of the custards to keep the sugar from burning. Alternatively, you place the custards on the top rack of a broiler set to high, and broil until sugar is golden brown and caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 5 servings.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding
I grew up with this recipe, way before Jello put it in a box. There's something about this combination of sweet ripe bananas, vanilla wafers, and pudding covered with a fluffy crown of toasted meringue, that makes this pudding a classic dessert.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
4 or 5 ripe bananas, sliced thin (cover with plastic wrap or sprinkle with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown)
1 box vanilla wafers
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter (not margarine)
4 egg yolks (large eggs)

Ingredients for Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9×9-inch pan with a layer of vanilla wafers. Combine sugar, flour and salt in a bowl, and mix well. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, beat the egg yolks well. Over medium heat, add the flour mixture to the egg yolks, alternately with the milk and vanilla, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil and, when the mixture begins to thicken, add the butter, continuing to stir. Keep boiling and stirring until mixture reaches a nice pudding consistency. Make sure you don’t scorch the pudding. Remove from heat.

Place a layer of banana slices on top of the vanilla wafers. Pour half of the pudding over the banana layer. Put down another layer of vanilla wafers, another layer of banana slices, and cover with the remaining pudding.

Beat the egg whites at high speed until they form soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar. At high speed, gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the vanilla into the meringue, and spread the meringue over the pudding, sealing it at the sides of the dish. Bake until meringue browns, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Double Chocolate Pudding
Chocolate is something that I can't resist, but when you double it in a pudding, watch out!

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for whipped cream topping:
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons confectioner's sugar

Whisk sugars, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Whisk in chocolate mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in semi-sweet chocolate, and vanilla.

Spoon into individual bowls and chill.

To make the whipped cream topping, combine cream, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl. Whip until peaks form. Top chilled pudding with whipped cream and serve. Makes 2 cups.

Butterscotch Pudding
What's not to like about Butterscotch Pudding. Its golden color and the rich flavor of burnt sugar leads to a sophisticated festive holiday dessert.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk

4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
2 tablespoons Scotch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 bananas, sliced
Whipped cream
1/2 cup English toffee bits

Stir 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until smooth. Set caramel sauce aside.

Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in caramel sauce.

Whisk egg yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk 1 cup warm caramel mixture into yolks. Gradually whisk yolk mixture back into caramel mixture in saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk in butter, Scotch, and vanilla.

Divide pudding among 8 parfait glasses. Chill until cold, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. Top puddings with banana slices, whipped cream, and toffee bits. Makes 8 servings.

Meyer Lemon Rice Pudding
Meyer lemons are commonly grown here on Moloka'i. This recipe for lemon rice pudding uses Meyer lemons because the rind has more flavor than regular lemons. The Meyer lemon is native to China and is a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange. If you can't find Meyer lemons, a regular lemon will still work.

1 medium lemon, preferably Meyer lemon
1/4 cup jasmine rice
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler, being careful not to take any of the white pith away with the rind. Cut the peel into fine strips. Mix the peel with the rice, sugar, and salt in a 9-inch pie dish. Stir in the milk and cream.

Bake uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. As the milk reduces, it will form a thin layer on top of the pudding; simply break this up and stir it in.

Final baking time will depend on your oven, the pie dish, and how thick you prefer your rice pudding. When ready, the rice will be completely cooked and tender but the pudding will still be soupy and thin. As it cools, however, it will firm up considerably. Eat hot, warm, or cold. Makes 4, 1/2 cup servings.