Dec 30, 2016

A Savory Hawaiian Breakfast

Savory Apple Banana Bread
I say savory because this Apple Banana Bread is not as sweet as many, but relies on a little sour cream and Moloka'i apple bananas to make it moist and full of tropical flavor.

1/2 cup butter (one stick) softened, plus 1 teaspoon to grease the loaf pan
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour, plus a little to dust the loaf pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced apple banana, mashed with a fork (about 3 apple bananas)
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream

Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter and dust it with a little flour.

Beat softened butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla to a creamy consistency, then add the dry ingredients. Now add the mashed bananas, nuts and sour cream, and mix well. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean and when you press gently in the center of the loaf, it springs back without leaving an impression.

Transfer to a wire rack to let cool for 25 minutes, then gently tap the pan on a hot pad sitting on your kitchen countertop to help release the loaf. Place a large plate on top of the warm loaf, invert, and then carefully remove the pan. Now invert the loaf again so that it's right side up then let cool completely before cutting. Makes about 12 slices.

Serve with mango jam and a cup of Kona coffee for a Hawaiian breakfast treat.

Note: For more 'Apple' banana recipes, click here.

Dec 25, 2016

Pickled Radish Hawaiian-Style

Hawaiian Sweet & Spicy Pickled Daikon
Fresh daikon from Molokai's Farmers Market
Click on photo to view larger
Fresh daikon is readily available in markets here in Hawaii. You see it used shredded as a garnish for sushi, but my favorite way to serve them is pickled in a sweet & spicy brine (much better than commercial brands). They are served with rice and grilled fish or chicken, or just eat them as a snack. They are some of the best pickles you can imagine.

2 pounds daikon radish no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt, or kosher salt
4 teaspoons plus 1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
2 1-inch slices peeled ginger, cut into strips
2 Hawaiian chili peppers, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Place daikon slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and 4 teaspoons of brown sugar, mix well. Place the colander over a bowl and let drain for about 1 hour, or until the radish slices are bendable. Rinse the salt and sugar off a couple of times under cold running water and dry the slices well. Put the slices into two sterilized quart glass jars.

In a small saucepan over medium heat add the vinegar, water, 1 cup brown sugar, turmeric, ginger, and chopped Hawaiian chili pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.

Carefully pour the hot turmeric brine into a strainer over the jars to cover the radish slices with the brine up to 1/4 inch from the rim of the jar. You want to do this while your brine is still relatively hot, as this improves the final crunch factor of you radish slices. If you wait until your brine has cooled down to add it to your radish slices, you'll end up with relatively soft radishes with little crunch. Screw the lid on tightly before the jar cools, then refrigerate for a minimum of two days, or as long as a week, as it ferments. At this point they are ready to eat. Pickled daikon will last for months stored in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 quarts.

For more daikon recipes, click here.

Dec 18, 2016

Good Things Come In Small Packages

Tobiko Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs have been around for a long time, but they need a facelift for the Holiday season. Tobiko is the Japanese word for flying fish egg caviar. They can be found here on Moloka'i at Friendly Market or in most Japanese markets. They are crisp and sweet and go really well with eggs, making deviled eggs into something special. Serve with champaign or a cold glass of Japanese beer. Happy Holidays!

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled, chilled and cut in half
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon tobiko (small fish egg caviar)
salt to taste
2 teaspoons minced parsley
1/4 cup tobiko for garnishing the top of each deviled egg
Parsley leaves for garnish

To cook the eggs and make them easy to peel, add the eggs, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and a pinch of salt to lukewarm water in a pot to just cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Then cover, turn off heat, and let sit 11 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove hard boiled eggs and place in a large bowl of ice water. Let cool 10-20 minutes.

Halve each egg lengthwise and carefully transfer the yolks into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork until fine and crumbly. Gently mix with the mayonnaise, minced parsley, and 1 tablespoon of tobiko. Taste and season with a little salt. Fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture and top each egg half with a dab more of tobiko and top each egg with a small leaf of parsley for garnish. Serve immediately. Makes 8 tobiko deviled eggs.

For more Tobiko recipes click here!

Nov 26, 2016

Golfer's Potluck Lunch

Ironwood Hills Golf Course, Moloka'i Hawaii
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Playing golf is a passion of mine. I've been playing since I was seven years old. When I moved to Hawaii in 2002 I found out that the locals also love to play golf, and always serve a potluck lunch after a competitive game of golf. 

Some of my Kukui Club golfing buddies.
Left to right, Rick, Dave, Scotty, Billy and me.

Most of the golfers I play with up at Ironwood Hills Golf Course (see photo to the right), are Hawaiian, with a few "Haoles" (white visitors) thrown in for good measure. These people love to play golf, eat local food, drink beer, gamble, and "talk story" at the same time. You never know what you'll be eating from one game to the next, but there's usually lots of good food to go-round. 

I was a little nervous at first, not knowing what to bring, or if they would eat it. After a few years I have learned a few things, like bring food that can be chilled with frozen gel packs, in a cooler with my beer. The last thing I want to do is to have these guys get food poisoning from food that's been sitting in my truck for hours. Some of the golfers bring small portable gas stoves to heat up their food, but to me, thats too much trouble. So most of the food I bring is cold, like pupus, salads and dessert.

Once a year the club caters a lunch. Golf is a lot more "ono" in Hawaii! 

I thought I would share some of my recipes with you:

Ginger & Spice Cookies
Ginger bread and ginger snaps all wrapped up in these spice cookies. They are one of my favorite cookies, and my golfer friends really seem to like them.

Ginger & Spice Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Combine the butter and 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and molassas. Sift the flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt together onto a piece of parchment paper. Add the butter mixture, beating just until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a pie plate. Shape the dough into walnut-size balls and roll in the sugar. to coat. Arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake until cracked and dry but still soft, about 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cool on wire racks. Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.

Potato-Mac Salad with Surimi and Green Peas
There are many variations to Hawaiian potato-mac salad, but this is my favorite.

1 pound package elbow macaroni pasta
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound surimi (imitation crab), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (defrosted, no need to cook them)
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
1 cup shredded carrots
6 large hard boiled eggs (chopped)
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
3/4 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
3 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 chopped green onion (white and green parts) for garnish

Boil macaroni and potatoes in separate pots, 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked to your taste, drain & cool 30 minutes. Add all other ingredients to cooled macaroni and potatoes, in a large bowl. Gently stir to mix everything together. Keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The macaroni and potatoes will absorb the mayo, so you may want to make your salad a day ahead to let the flavors combine. You might also want to add more mayonnaise just before serving. Garnish with more chopped green onion. Makes 16 generous servings.

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

Ingredients for salad:
Limu Salad
1 (16 ounce) package of linguini, break in half and cook according to package directions

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

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

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

8 ounces seasoned Ocean Salad (Ocean Salad is a seaweed salad that is flavored with sesame oil, it can be found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores or in Asian markets) Here on Moloka'i, Kualapu'u market has most of these ingredients.

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

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

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

Yesterday I played golf with my friends at Ironwood Gold Club. Every month we have a golf tournament. After a round of golf everybody enjoys a huge potluck lunch that everybody contributes to. My contribution was this salad. The lady golfers seemed to especially like it, and wanted the recipe, so here it is, enjoy!

Coleslaw with Lemon Dressing
Click on photo to view larger
Ingredients for Coleslaw:
2 cups finely sliced purple cabbage
2 cups finely sliced green cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

Ingredients for Lemon Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon rind zest
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium serving bowl, combine the prepared purple and green cabbage, carrots and parsley. Set aside.

Toast your seeds in a small skillet, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the they are fragrant but not burnt.

To make the Lemon Dressing:
In a small bowl, combine everything, then whisk until thoroughly blended.

Drizzle the dressing over the slaw and toss until all of the ingredients are lightly coated. Taste and add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 4 to 6 side servings.

Note: This recipe makes a beautiful presentation as you can tell from the photo above. It can be served with a number of things, like pan seared salmon, as a side salad with hamburgers or hot dogs, with bbq pork ribs or chicken, or with pork belly... yumm!

Asian Coleslaw
This is a simple Asian cole slaw recipe that is so good as a side dish for so many Asian recipes, like with ribs or chicken. It's also wonderful in a grilled mahi-mahi fish sandwich or fish tacos.

Ingredients for the Asian coleslaw:
5 cups Chinese or napa cabbage (1 1/4 pounds), thinly sliced with ribs removed
3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes, to your taste (optional)

3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds for garnish (black sesame seeds make a nice contrast)

Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and red bell pepper in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Classic Caesar
While this recipe is not Hawaiian, I have served this salad to many of my friends here on Moloka’i and they always ask for more. I believe this to be the original recipe created by Caesar in Tijuana, Mexico. For a variation, try sprinkling cooked chicken breast or shrimp over the top, then top with Parmesan cheese. 

8 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread
3 large cloves garlic
8 anchovies, rinsed to remove oil and salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons blue cheese*
16 cups 1-inch pieces romaine lettuce (2 large heads)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 soft-cooked 'coddled' egg, boiled only 1 1/4 minutes

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place bread on sheet pan; bake 6 minutes to dry. Halve one garlic clove; rub on one side of bread slices. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes; return to pan. Bake 8 minutes more to toast. Or use already made croutons. In food processor, mince whole garlic cloves; add anchovies. Finely chop. Add mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, pepper, grated Parmesan, blue cheese and egg; process until smooth and thick. This dressing will keep in refrigerator for days. In a bowl, toss lettuce and about 1/2 of the dressing. Top with croutons and remaining Parmesan cheese. Taste before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

*Note: I use the best blue cheese I can find for this recipe (Point Reyes Original Blue, available at Moloka'i Wines & Spirits), also this is a very strong dressing, so use sparingly to your taste, I sometimes add mayonnaise to smooth and stretch this recipe.

Ironwood Whiskey Brownies with Bacon
Ironwood is the name of the golf club on Moloka'i. Brownies are a favorite dessert with these golfers, but these are just a little different, bacon mixed with chocolate and bourbon, how can you loose!

Ingredients for the Brownies:
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 ounces bourbon (Maker's Mark is my preferred brand)

Ingredients for the topping:
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ounce bourbon (Maker's Mark is my preferred brand)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Blend the melted butter and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Next add in the sugar and flour and mix just until they're combined. Now stir in the bourbon and crumbled bacon.

Pour into a 9 x 13" baking pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes.
While the brownies are baking, make the topping:

To a medium saucepan add the evaporated milk, brown sugar and egg yolks. Whisk and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.

Take off the heat and stir in the whiskey, bacon and chopped pecans and then set aside to cool.
After the brownies have cooled completely, spread the topping over the top and cut into squares to serve. Makes 25 brownies.

Spicy Mexican Pickled Carrots
I've had these spicy pickled carrots many times in Mexican restaurants. They are very easy to make and go well as a side dish with sandwiches, turkey, chicken, pork, even great chopped in poke.

1 1/2 pounds of large carrots
1 large yellow or white onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 fresh green and/or red jalapeno peppers
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/8 cup of olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 pint canning jars and lids, sanitized*

Peel the carrots and slice into 1/4 inch pieces either straight across or diagonally. Peel and cut the onion into 1/4 inch slices, peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Slice the chili peppers into thin rounds with the seed intact.

In a pot mix the water and vinegar and bring to a soft boil under low medium heat. Let sit covered.

In a a large frying pan heat the oil, add the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the chili, onion, garlic, and bay leaves then cook for another 5 minutes. Add the salt, oregano and peppercorns and cook for about 3 minutes more, stirring to combine the spices and vegetables well. Don't overcook, the carrots should be crispy.

Carefully take the 3 jars out of the hot water and put them in the kitchen sink. With a large spoon, place enough carrot mixture in each jar until it is about 1/2 inch from the rim, then pour in water/vinegar mixture to about 1/4 inch from the rim. Seal tightly with sanitized lids and set aside to cool, make sure they are tightly sealed. Once they are at room temperature you can put them in the refrigerator. Let them sit in there at least overnight or longer if you want, the longer the more the flavors will mix. The carrots will keep up to a couple of months in the refrigerator.

*To sanitize the jars and lids place them inside a large and deep pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Leave the jars and lids inside the boiling water until the carrots are ready to be poured in. Another way to sanitize the jars by washing them in a dish washer with very hot water temperature. Makes 3 pints, or about 4 1/2 cups.

Nov 15, 2016

The Little Berries That Could!

Who doesn't love fresh cranberries, especially during the Holidays. They are usually available from October through December, even here in Hawaii. When you purchase fresh cranberries, you need to look for brightly colored, firm berries. Avoid bags that have brown or shriveled berries at the bottom. You can store them in their original packaging for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to a year in the freezer. Be sure to rinse and discard any discolored or soft berries. 

I've written a few cranberry recipes that I like, here are a few that I hope will make your Holiday table brighter:

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.

Edamame Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
4 cups cooked wild rice
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
2 medium carrots, peeled and small dice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown (do not let the nuts burn), about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds.

Add the rice, scallions, edamame, carrots, and cranberries to the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.

Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cranberry, Watercress Salad with Toasted Almonds and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Ingredients for salad:
2 large bunches watercress, hand-torn, remove stems
1 cup almonds, toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice

Ingredients for honey balsamic vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soften cranberries by adding orange juice, then microwave for 1 minute, let cool.

Make a quick vinaigrette by whisking together the mustard, honey, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper (or throw the ingredients into a small jar with a lid, cover, and shake). Pour the vinaigrette over the watercress and toss to coat. Garnish with the toasted slivered almonds and cranberries. Makes 4 servings.

Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing 
with Bacon & Portuguese Sausage
6 strips bacon, diced
1 12 ounce Portuguese sausage, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1⁄4 pound ground pork
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large celery ribs, diced
1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup green onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
9x13 pan cornbread, diced 1/2 inch and toasted (see note below)
1⁄4 pound butter
3 cups turkey broth or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, sausage and ground pork. When cooked through, add the onion and celery. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, green onions, garlic, cranberries, and poultry seasoning. Add cooked ingredients (fat and all) to the diced cornbread and gently mix everything together. Moisten the mixture with butter and broth to taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8 servings.

Note: I usually make my easy Iron Skillet Cornbread recipe a couple of days ahead of time for this recipe to give it a chance to dry out a little.

You're My Honey Muffin
These holiday honey muffins are a wonderful combination of flavors, perfect for gifts, or just eaten Christmas morning with a mug of hot honey apple cider.

1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 Tablespoons bourbon (I use Maker's Mark)

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup strong coffee
1 teaspoon orange rind, grated with a microplane

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Ingredients for Cinnamon Honey Buttercream Frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, left at room temperature for 15 minutes
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Special equipment:
2- 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners

Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, soak the cranberries in the bourbon and set aside. Line 2- 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until thick. Whisk together the honey, coffee and orange rind and slowly stir it into the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the cranberries, bourbon and pecans. Fold in the flour mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the batter. Spoon into muffin cups until each is about 2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack about 10 minutes. Remove the honey muffins from the pans and cool completely.

Cinnamon Honey Buttercream Frosting: 
Cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Add honey and cinnamon and blend. Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat for about 3-5 minutes, until desired consistency. If it gets too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk. If too runny, add a little bit more powdered sugar. Pipe or spread on top of each muffin. Note: This is a really rich frosting, so if you like it less sweet, I recommend just a tiny amount on each muffin. Makes 24 honey muffins.

Starfruit Cranberry Sauce
This recipe makes for a festive Holiday side dish, especially at Thanksgiving, served with roast turkey. Fresh starfruit is usually available in October and November here on Moloka'i. Make sure everyone gets a star with their cranberries when served.
Starfruit Cranberry Sauce
Click on photo to view larger

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4-5 ripe starfruit, depending on size
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon or lime, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cook the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and ginger in a saucepan over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Wash and wipe the starfruit dry. Remove the hard ridge on the fruit with a potato peeler, then cut into 3/8-inch star-shaped pieces. Remove the seeds, which are hard like apple seeds. Add the starfruit slices, zests, and juices and cook for about 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled. Makes 4 cups. Note: You can double this recipe to make about 3 quarts. I like to put them up in canning jars and give them to friends over the Thanksgiving holidays.

Poached Pears In Cranberry Sauce
1 quart (4 cups) cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup light corn syrup
8 slices (1/4-inch thick) unpeeled fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks (2 to 3 inches)
8 slightly under-ripe Bosc pears

Combine cranberry juice, corn syrup, ginger and cinnamon sticks in heavy 4-quart saucepan; bring to a boil. While mixture is coming to a boil, peel, half, and core pears. Add to syrup mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until pears are tender. With slotted spoon transfer pears to shallow serving dish. Remove ginger and cinnamon sticks. Discard all but 2 cups syrup in saucepan. Bring to boil; boil 10 to 12 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. Spoon sauce over pears. Serve with sweetened whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

Cranberry Kiss
1 1/2 ounce vodka (I like Tito's vodka from Molokai Wines and Spirits)
1 1/2 ounce Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Drink, chilled
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Lime twist for garnish

Combine all ingredients, add ice, stir or shake and strain into a martini glass garnished with a twist of lime.

Makes 1 serving.

Oct 27, 2016


Shallots from Friendly Market
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Onions and shallots come from the same family, but shallots lack the bite you get with yellow or white onions, and have a sweet and mild flavor, with a hint of garlic. Shallots are common here in Hawaii, but originated in Central or Southwest Asia, travelling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The French use more shallots, known as échalote, than onions in their fine cuisine.

I love the color of shallots, varying from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots work especially well in dishes where they're eaten raw, like dressings and salads, and can seamlessly blend into delicate quiches and custards. 

Here are a few recipes to try using Shallots:

Lobster & Avocado Martini Salad
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 pound cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil or mayonnaise
2 teaspoons horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh, cooked corn kernels
one handful chopped parsley
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)

Whisk the melted butter and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. In a bowl mix the lobster pieces with the butter/lemon mixture and one of the chopped shallots. Add salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning. (There’s salt in the Old Bay so consider this when adding the regular salt). In another bowl whisk the oil or mayonnaise with the horseradish, remaining one tablespoon of lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it needs more zing, add a little more horseradish or lemon. If too sharp, add additional oil or mayonnaise. Spoon into martini glasses and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Crispy Fried Shallots
Shallots are wonderful when thinly sliced with a sharp knife, then dusted with flour and fried until crispy. They are good all by themselves as a side dish, or as a topping on Hawaiian ahi poke, grilled steaks, roast chicken, pork chops, oven roasted fish, like ahi, or on top of salads or vegetables, like asparagus, green beans, or fresh corn cut off the cob, all kinds of things.

To make Crispy Fried Shallots, thinly slice 6 large shallots with a sharp knife; place in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Close bag and shake until shallots are well-coated with flour. 

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup canola oil over medium heat until hot. Drop shallots, a few at a time, into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Season to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon and Shallots
I have always been a big roasted beet lover. This salad combines many wonderful flavors and is highly recommended.

4 slices of bacon
1 1/2 pounds beets
8 shallots, peeled and halved
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 cups trimmed beet tops

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fry the bacon until crisp and set aside to cool.

Trim beets, reserving greens. Wrap beets in foil. Place beets and shallots on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat shallots with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until shallots are lightly browned. Remove shallots from pan. Return beets to oven; bake an additional 35 minutes or until beets are tender. Cool. Peel beets; cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Place beets, shallots, vinegar, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved beet greens to pan; sauté 1 minute or until greens begin to wilt. Stir in sugar, cider vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Place greens mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 3/4 cup beet mixture. Brake bacon into bits and sprinkle on top of each salad. Makes 4 servings.

Hot & Sour Lemongrass Prawns 
with Roasted Garlic
2 heads garlic, yes heads!
6 shallots
3 stalks lemon grass
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1/4 cup canola oil
4-5 tablespoons Thai fish sauce, to taste
1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar, to taste
Juice of 2-3 limes, to taste
1/4 cup short cilantro sprigs for garnish

Break one of the heads of garlic into individual cloves. Cut the root tip off each clove, leaving the skin on. Do likewise with 3 of the shallots. Place them together on a tray and roast in a hot oven (450°F) until softened – about 10 minutes for garlic, 15-20 minutes for shallots. (Cutting the tip keeps the garlic and shallots from popping and splattering the oven.) Chop the other head of garlic and 3 shallots and set aside.

Trim off and discard the woody bottom tip of the lemon grass stalks. Remove one or two layers of the more fibrous outer leaves. Cut the remaining inner stalk into thin rounds, then chop coarsely. Set aside in a covered bowl to prevent drying out.

When the roasted garlic and shallots are ready, peel off their skin and mash them in a mortar and pestle together with the Sriracha sauce to form a well-blended paste. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until it is smoking hot. Swirl in 3 tablespoons of oil to coat wok surface and wait 15-20 seconds for it to heat. Toss in the prawns and sear them in the hot wok for 1-2 minutes. When they have turned pink, remove from wok. Add another 2-3 tablespoons of oil and heat 15-20 seconds. Sauté the chopped garlic and shallots in it for 15-20 seconds before adding the Sriracha paste. Sauté a short while longer, then stir in the chopped lemon grass. Stir-fry another half to one minute.

When the mixture is well-blended and fragrant with the herbs, season to taste with fish sauce, light brown sugar and lime juice. Reduce liquid so that the mixture is thick and almost dry. Toss the prawns back in and stir-fry with the lemon grass mixture for 1-2 minutes, or until they are just cooked through. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish top with cilantro. Serve with Jasmine Rice Scented with Lemongrass, and Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts. Makes 8 servings.

Chicken Thighs with Shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
4 large shallots, peeled and minced with a sharp knife
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 large chicken thighs
3 large garlic cloves, minced
one generous handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

In a large baking dish, mix the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, and salt and pepper, to taste.
Toss the chicken thighs in the mixture, so they’re completely coated with the shallots. Turn the chicken pieces so they are all skin side up.

Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, until it starts to brown on top. Turn the chicken over. Scrape any juices and shallots over the chicken that may be clinging to the pan, sprinkle with minced garlic, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the pieces of chicken are cooked through and the shallots are well-caramelized.

Remove from oven and toss in the chopped parsley. Serve with Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese, and Snow Peas & Tomatoes. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Mushroom-Shallot-Sesame Salad
This is a wonderful salad, served warm with mixed greens. Great with poultry or pork, or by itself with a slice of warm crusty bread.

2 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms—such as white, cremini or shiitake
Salt to taste
10 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup mixed baby salad greens or small spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil with the garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Spread the mixture out the on a baking sheet and season with a little salt. Roast the mushrooms for about 30 minutes, until tender and glazed.

Meanwhile, on a second large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the shallots with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil; toss to coat. Season with salt and roast for about 25 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and tender.

Scrape the roasted mushrooms and shallots into a serving bowl. Add the salad greens and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Serve immediately while warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Asparagus-Shallot Stir-fry with Bacon
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings with a sharp knife
4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1x1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine-grind cornmeal
Kosher salt
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 tablespoon white soy sauce

Combine both vinegars in a medium bowl. Add shallots and let sit, tossing occasionally, 1 hour. Drain and pat dry.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Pour off fat; reserve for another use (scrambled eggs!). Wipe out skillet; reserve.

Fit a medium pot with thermometer and pour in oil to come 2" up sides of pot. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 300°. Whisk flour and cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Dredge shallots in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Fry, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; season with salt.

Heat reserved skillet over medium-high. Swirl remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in pan to coat (this keeps food from sticking); pour out excess. The oil should be shimmering—if it’s not hot enough, the asparagus will steam not caramelize. Add asparagus, season with salt, and cook, tossing, until almost cooked through, about 1 minute. Add bacon and 1 Tbsp. water; cook, tossing, until asparagus is cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce; toss to coat. Serve topped with shallots. Makes 4 servings.

Sautéed Long Beans with Shallots
The traditional string beans used in this recipe are the French 'Haricots Verts'. They are thin, very young green beans. Unfortunately here on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai, they are not available, so I use very thin Chinese long beans. In flavor, Chinese long beans are very similar to the common backyard green bean. I find that they hold up better to cooking, staying crisper and more firm even after being simmered in water or broth. The beans are usually available at our Saturday morning farmer's market here on Molokai.

1 pound Chinese long beans, ends trimmed, leave whole or cut into bite-sized pieces.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 1 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a wok or large skillet. Add the long beans and cook, over high heat for 5 minutes, until they are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the beans and spread them on a large platter to cool.

At serving time, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. When they are hot, add the shallots, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, salt and pepper and saute for about 2 or 3 minutes, until the beans are heated through. Transfer the beans to a platter and serve with roast chicken, turkey, or beef, or in a shrimp stir-fry. Makes 4 servings.

Grape Chutney
A beautiful chutney to serve with roast pork, chicken or turkey.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 cups halved seedless purple or red grapes
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add grapes, sherry, vinegar, mustard seeds and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapes have broken down, 10 to 20 minutes. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Sep 13, 2016

The King of Herbs

Sweet basil, known as "the king of herbs" is of the mint family, grown for its aromatic leaves. The Greek word "Basil" means "king", however it is likely native to India where it has been cultivated for more than 5.000 years.

It's important to know that there are more than 40 known varieties of basil to choose from. Sweet basil, is widely grown as a kitchen herb, and is my favorite variety. The leaves are generally used fresh to flavor tomato dishes, to make pesto sauce, in salads, sauces, marinades, etc. My favorite way to use fresh basil is in pesto sauce, a green Italian oil-and herb sauce, that I use on pasta (recipe below). In general, it's usually added at the last minute, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor.

To store fresh basil, keep it for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. I never use dried basil because it has very little flavor. The leaves are not the only part of basil used in culinary application, the white flower buds (see photo above) have a more subtle flavor and they are edible. I like to use them as a garnish in salads.

Basil is very easy to grow from seed. The photo above of sweet basil was taken in my garden. Sweet basil loves the warm sun here in Hawaii, and prefers well-drained soil.

Basil Recipes:

Panzanella - Italian Bread Salad
"Panzanella" - Italian Bread Salad
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There are many variations for this rustic Tuscan Italian bread salad, but basically the bread, tomatoes, and basil are the stars here. You'll need a good, dense loaf of bread that is at least a day old! Other options are to add capers, olives, roasted red bell peppers, mozzarella cheese, anchovies, etc.

5 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small Japanese cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, very finely minced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces with your hands
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 thick slices of stale country style Italian bread, or French baguette, torn into bite-size pieces.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic and basil. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil and the 2 tablespoons vinegar and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Place half of the bread in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the bread. Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until serving time. Just before serving, toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. At this point the bread should have assorbed the juice from the tomatoes and be all moist. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Butter Broiled A'u with Lime, Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil
I love to broil fish, it always turns out well, and it's very easy to do, A'u is also excellent served raw in poke or simply sliced and served as sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi with a touch of sesame oil for a dipping sauce.

Butter Broiled A'u with Lime, Tomatoes, 
Garlic and Basil
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1/2 cup butter, divided
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
8 to 10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (from Kumu Farms here on Moloka'i)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds, 8 A'u steaks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lime cut into quarters for garnish
fresh basil tips for garnish

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the butter and minced garlic in a small skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the cut tomatoes, basil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Just before the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to melt, then turn off the heat.

Arrange the A'u steaks in a baking dish or in a large oven safe skillet that has the olive oil on the bottom. Bake the fish for about 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn fish, and continue baking 5 minutes more. Now pour the tomato mixture over the fish and return the baking dish to the oven for 3 minutes more. Remove the fish to serving plates. Spoon the tomato mixture over the fish to serve. Garnish with lime wedges and basil sprigs. Serve with brown rice and Parmesan roasted zucchini.

Makes 4 servings.

Bow-tie Pasta with Basil Pesto Sauce
One of my favorite ways to have pasta.
Bow-tie Pasta with Basil Pesto Sauce
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2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts or half of each
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 pound dried bow-tie pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt

Combine the basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and half the cheese and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in large pot over moderately high heat, add water to boil, then add the salt. Add the bow-tie pasta and cook for about 11 minutes or until the pasta is 'al dente', or until pasta is still a bit firm in texture). Add the basil pesto sauce, gently stir and serve with the remaining grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Makes 1 cup of sauce for 6 servings.

Pesto Carrots
This is a wonderful way to use basil pesto sauce. 
Cooked carrots with butter and pesto, how simple is that!

5 carrots, peeled and slice into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons basil pesto sauce (Kumu Farms makes a great pesto sauce, or make your own (see recipe above)

Boil carrots until cooked but not overcooked, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and add the butter while the carrots are still hot. Stir, then add about 3 tablespoons of pesto sauce, or until the carrots are just coated.

Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

Portuguese Molho Cru Sauce
This thick, spicy, Azorean sauce is just what this chef likes as a sauce for fish, chicken, or pork. It's similar to Italian pesto sauce, but with more personality!

3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup green onion, including tops, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or two anchovy fillets
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or 1 hot Hawaiian pepper, minced
1 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves, minced
a dash of salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse into a thick green paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate for 2 hours to blend the flavors. Use as a topping for fried, broiled, or grilled fish or shrimp, or on roast chicken or pork.

Makes about 1 cup.

Aug 30, 2016

Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki Mushrooms
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These elegant, long, thin mushrooms with tiny caps are commonly found in Asian dishes, particularly Japanese dishes here in Hawaii. They are traditionally used in soups and stir-frys, but are sometimes used in salads.

Enoki Mushroom Salad with Thai Salad Dressing
Enoki mushrooms have a crisp texture with a mild, almost fruity flavor. They are so beautiful I had to buy a package of them today from Misaki's Market here on Moloka'i for $2.39. They only weighed 3.5 ounces, enough for 2 servings.

3.5 ounce package of Enoki Mushrooms from Misaki's Market here on Moloka'i
1 small carrot
1 small Japanese cucumber
one head of hearts of romaine or watercress
black sesame seeds for garnish
Thai Salad Dressing (see recipe below)

Remove and discard the ends of the Enoki mushrooms, give them a quick rinse and gently dry them off. Next, shred some carrots and Japanese cucumber into long threads, and gently mix everything together in a large bowl with my Thai Salad Dressing. Place the mixture on a bed of hearts of romaine or watercress and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Makes enough for 2 servings.

Thai Salad Dressing
Juice of 4 limes
2 teaspoon fish sauce
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce (or more to taste)

Use a fork to whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Spoon over Enoki Mushroom Salad. 
Makes 2 servings.

Enoki Beef Sirloin Roll-ups
Another one of my favorite ways to use Enoki mushrooms is to simply roll them up in thinly sliced beef sirloin from Friendly Market here on Moloka'i. This is similar to my German recipe for "Beef Rouladen with Pan Gravy".

Ingredients for marinade:
8 ounces (1/2 pound) of thinly sliced beef sirloin from Friendly Market here on Moloka'i
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of canola oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for sauce:
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of rice wine or white wine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup beef broth

Ingredients for the roll-up filling:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 carrot, cut into 3 inch matchsticks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 3 inch matchsticks
2 ribs celery, sliced thin on diagonal
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
6 small green onion tops, cut thinly lengthwise, then into 3 inches long
3.5 ounces Enoki mushrooms, cleaned and cut 3 inches long (discard the ends)
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 3 teaspoons of water to use as a sauce thickener
sesame seeds for garnish

You will also need 8 toothpicks

Remove the thinly sliced beef from its package and cut it so you have 8 rectangular pieces. In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients, then gently mix in the beef and let marinate for about 20 minutes.

Now heat a large skillet over medium-high heat to cook the vegetables. When hot add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add minced garlic and ginger, frying for about 20 seconds. Now add carrots, red bell pepper, celery and stir fry for just 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and stir, and cook 1 minute more. Pour vegetables into a bowl to cool. Keep the sauce.

To construct the beef roll-ups, lay beef slices out with the short side facing you. Equally divide uncooked green onions, enoki mushrooms and cooked vegetable mixture in the middle of the pieces of meat. Leave some of the vegetable filling hanging out of the meat at either end. Roll the beef up, over the filling and secure with a toothpick.

Again place the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter, swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for 1 minute, turn roll. Add sauce and juices from the vegetables to the pan as well as the cornstarch water mixture. Cover and simmer over medium heat until beef is just cooked through, 1-2 minutes, and sauce thickens. Remove toothpick, sprinkle with sesame seeds on top. Serve with brown rice on the side. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Enoki Mushrooms are best kept refrigerated in a paper bag, not in plastic wrap. Like most mushrooms, they will only last a few days.

Aug 23, 2016


I'm always looking for ways to enjoy creamy Hawaiian avocados, especially because it's still avocado season here, and I happen to have a small avocado grove in my backyard. 

This morning I was making lilikoi ice-cream with honey which called for 6 egg yolks, leaving me with 6 egg whites. Normally people make angel food cake or meringue cookies out of egg whites, but I'm looking for something a little easier to make for my breakfast. So I just put two and two together and came up with this protein packed, delicious morning meal using ingredients I had on hand.

Avocado Scramble
Scrambled egg whites with creamy Hawaiian avocado and tomatoes are a great way to get in 
a little protein in a healthier way.

Avocado Scramble
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1/2 avocado, smashed into small chunks with a fork
6 egg whites
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
red pepper flakes to taste
2/3 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

In a small bowl, add the smashed avocado, egg whites and salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine and set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat add a little drizzle of olive oil. Then add the red pepper flakes and sliced tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are tender, add a little more oil if needed so the eggs don't stick. Add the egg whites and cook, stirring occasionally until set, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Remove to a plate and serve with fresh fruit, like sliced papaya or mango, and chopped toasted macadamia nuts on the side. If you like, add a slice of toasted English muffin with surinam cherry-ginger jam and a cold glass of Ocean Spray cranberry pomegranate juice. That's what I call a healthy, delicious breakfast.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: If you are visiting Moloka'i, or live here, you can sometimes find my avocados at Friendly Market, or my wife sells them at our Saturday Farmer's Market while in season in July and August. Her booth is directly across the street from the Moloka'i Library. She sells out early, so get there around 8:30 am.

Aug 10, 2016

A Cheaper Cut of Roast Beef...

Rump Roast – with all the trimmings
Rump roast is an inexpensive cut of beef because it's on the tough side. Our grocery stores here on Moloka'i seems to have it available quite often, so I decided to develop this recipe for me, you and my neighbors. Because this cut of beef is tough, you have to oven roast it at a high temperature, then lower the heat, cooking it low and slow, breaking down the toughness and creating a wonderful roast with all the trimmings. I would have added more photos, but I was hungry... maybe later!

Ingredients for the rump roast:
3 to 3 1/2 pounds of boneless rump roast
   (the meat should have a layer of fat on the bottom. The stores usually want
   you to see the meat, not the fat) pick an end cut with a layer of fat if you can)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
8-10 slivers of garlic (3 to 4 cloves, sliced in half or into thirds)
salt and pepper (use about a tablespoon of each)

Ingredients for the gravy:
1 1/2 cups of beef stock and about 1/2 cup of red burgundy wine
2 tablespoon corn starch in 2 tablespoon of water
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme or Italian seasoning

Take the thawed roast out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Make small cuts around the roast and insert the garlic slivers in the cuts. Dry the roast with paper towels and rub with the olive oil plus salt and pepper. Bring your oven to 375˚F. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Put the roast on the center rack of your oven. Remember to place the roast fat-side up so that it is bathed in the fat as it melts. Roast the beef for 1/2 hour at this temperature. Then lower the heat to 225˚F and continue cooking the roast for about 2 hours, checking its temperature every 20 minutes or so. You don't want to overcook the beef.

Meat Thermometer
You will need a meat thermometer to check its temperature. The internal temperature of the roast should be 135˚F to 140˚F for medium rare. Remove the roast from the oven to a cutting board and cover with foil for about 20 minutes, then cut the roast into thin slices with a sharp knife, and keep it warm in a 200˚F oven.

To make the gravy, drain the juices from the beef into the roasting pan. Place the pan over a burner on your stovetop over medium heat. Stir in the beef stock and red wines to deglaze the pan. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and add it to the drip pan, stirring it as it thickens to avoid lumping. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of thyme or Italian seasoning. Serve with Pesto Carrots, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes, and Classic Biscuits. My Hawaiian friends will probably serve this roast with sweet white bread from Kanemitsu Bakery, sticky rice to soak up the gravy, and maybe a vegetable like Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce, or Papaya Salad with Watercress and Toasted Macadamia Nuts with Sweet Papaya Dressing. Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: If you are using a smaller cut of rump roast, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly by checking the meat temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of 135˚F. I usually buy a 2 pound roast for my wife and I, so if you do the same, still bring the oven to 375˚F and roast the meat for 1/2 hour, but then lower the temperature to 225˚F for only about 20 or 30 minutes to bring the internal temperature up to 135˚F, which is medium rare, the way we like it, and the meat is tender. My wife complains about the garlic slivers turning bitter, but it does add a nice flavor to the beef, and who says she had to eat the garlic in the first place?

If you have leftovers, try this recipe for "Steak Pita Pockets with Dill Yogurt Sauce". Simply substitute the steak with the slices of leftover rump roast, cut into thin strips. We have this all the time and it is really delicious. Sometimes it's worth getting a larger cut of meat just to make leftovers out of it. If you are a meat eater, this recipe is a keeper!

Aug 8, 2016

A Beautiful Salad

Imagine the colors of a Hawaiian fresh vegetable garden in a salad. This beautiful antipasto salad is made up of sweet red bell peppers, white cauliflower, brined capers, anchovies, Kalamata olives, sweet Maui onions with a touch of minced garlic. Then it is tossed together with olive oil, fresh lime juice, a little red wine vinegar or Hawaiian chili pepper water, and salt and pepper for seasoning. Great served with grilled crusty bread.

Hawaiian Antipasto Salad
1 small head white cauliflower
2 tablespoons brined capers
4 flat anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, core and seeds removed, cut into thin bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup chopped Maui or red onion
10 Kalamata olives, halved
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried dill, or fresh if you've got it
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Discard the large outer leaves of the cauliflower, along with stem and core. Cut cauliflower into large, bite-sized pieces. Blanch the cauliflower pieces in a pot of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool.

Add cooled cauliflower to a serving bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Toss well, correct seasoning, and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Note: The addition of fresh local tuna and hard cooked eggs makes this simple salad even better.

Jul 21, 2016

Tahitian Taro – Leaf for Life

Recently I was gifted with stem cuttings of 'Tahitian Taro' by my neighbor Mana Puaoi. It turns out that this plant, Xanthosoma brasiliense, is a species of flowering plant in the Araceae family. It has a few other names like Tahitian spinach, tanier spinach, belembe and calalou. Mana told me that the difference between Tahitian Taro and Hawaiian Taro is that Tahitian Taro is grown mainly for its leaves. Hawaiian Taro is also grown for its edible leaves, but is primarily grown for their starchy corms, which is what poi is made from.

After a little digging online, I found that this plant is not native to Tahiti nor is it a taro. It turns out that this plant has been around for a long time. It originated in the Amazonian region of South America and was widely cultivated long before Columbus arrived in the New World. Its popularity spread throughout tropical Asia and Africa by ancient sailors.

Today the plant is hard to find because it rarely produces seeds. Instead it is propagated from corms or stem cuttings that must be obtained locally. The plant is shade tolerant but can't tolerate sandy or dry soil with very low organic matter content. Basically it thrives under hot wet conditions but is slow growing. Tahitian Taro can grow up to 4 feet high if given good growing conditions.

Unfortunately the leaves of the Tahitian Taro contain calcium oxalate crystals, and when eaten raw or inadequately cooked, can irritate your lips, tongue and throat. It should be well-cooked and the cooking water discarded. After cooking, it is soft in texture and delicate in flavor, similar to spinach.

This plant grows and produces nutritious greens year round, and is rich in vitamins A and C and in phosphorus and contains a significant amount of protein. It is successfully grown by subsistence farmers in areas of the world where malnutrition is a real threat, hence the name "Leaf for Life".

So what can you do with this spinach-like, healthy plant? There is a very popular dish in the Caribbean called 'Callaloo'. In Grenada, callaloo is steamed with garlic, onion and coconut milk and often eaten as a side dish. It is sometimes combined with tomatoes, crab, conch, lobster, chicken, pumpkin, and chili peppers.

Hawaii uses the leaves from Tahitian Taro to wrap around pieces of salted butterfish, and pork shoulder in a dish called 'Laulau'. The bundles are then wrapped in ti leaves and steamed for 3 or 4 hours. Another popular Hawaiian dish is called 'Squid luau' made up of tender cooked squid or octopus that it is stewed in taro leaves and coconut milk.

When harvesting the leaves of this tropical plant, use only the large older leaves, unless yellow or damaged. Taking tender young leaves will slow the growth of the plant. I cut away the petiole and principle vein, which can be chopped for vegetable soup, then boil the leaves about 20 minutes, and discard the water. By then Tahitian Taro is almost a puree, similar to spinach. Season to taste for a really elegant side dish.

One of my favorite ways to use Tahitian Taro is to make a quiche with it. Here's my recipe:

Tahitian Taro Quiche
A delicious tropical quiche with a sweet coconut cream flavor.

9" Pillsbury pie crust
1 1/2 cups of blanched Tahitian Taro leaves, chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut cream (see note)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons flour
2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

Simmer chopped Tahitian Taro leaves in salted water for 20 minutes, drain and discard the water. 

Beat together eggs, coconut milk, mayonnaise and flour. Add cooked Tahitian Taro and cheese.

Pour egg mixture into pie crust, topped with slices of Roma tomatoes all around the edge of the quiche. Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes and serve with a mixed green salad. Serves 6

Note: Coconut cream is the thick coconut milk that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk. Don't shake the can before you open it and you can skim it right off the top. 

You can use frozen chopped spinach if you can't find Tahitian taro leaves, in which case simply thaw, then squeeze dry before adding to this recipe. Also you can add 1/2 cup thinly sliced cooked squid to this dish for a Squid Luau Quiche. If you don't like squid, substitute chopped raw shrimp.

Sautéed Tahitian Taro 
with Mushrooms, Onions & Garlic
6 medium Tahitian Taro leaves, stems removed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pint of shiitake mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
Garlic – 6 cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the Taro leaves, then submerge them in a bowl of cold water and let soak for 20 minutes then remove, discarding the water. Now add enough cold water to cover the leaves. Add a pinch of salt to the water and let sit for 1 hour. Discard the water and rinse the leaves in cold water. Now chop the leaves into 3/4 inch pieces. You should have about 4 cups of firmly packed chopped Taro leaves.

In a large pot heat the oil and butter over a medium-low flame and sauté shiitake mushrooms and onions until wilted.

Add the Tahitian Taro, and minced garlic. Be careful not to brown the garlic. Now add 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Best served as a side dish with fish or chicken and rice, or stuff wonton wrappers and sauté or boil in soup stock with vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.