Dec 31, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makes 6, 6" long sub rolls.

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

Dec 12, 2015

What To Eat On Christmas Morning?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 8, 2015

Introducing StarDust Island Seasoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chef James Temple

Here are a few recipes to try using StarDust:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Optional condiments:
Shoyu, ketchup, tabasco

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

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

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

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

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

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

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

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

Special equipment:
A grill and charcoal
Meat thermometer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ground Pork with Long Beans & Squash
(Ginisang Kalabasa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 3, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Bourbon Balls
To enlarge, click on photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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