Dec 20, 2017

The Ginger Jar

Antique 19th Century Chinese Ginger Jar
The jade green glazed ginger jar shown above was originally made in the Chinese Guangdong province, and was used to store food supplies like salt, herbs, oil and ginger (rare spices at that time). Hexagonal in form, with 6 floral panels; the Shiwan lead green glaze ranged from forest green to light teal.

What I find most interesting is that these ‘1-pound’ terra cotta jars were also used by migrant Chinese workers as the working-man's lunchbox while building the Canadian Pacific Railway and working the gold fields in British Columbia during the 1880s. Most of the first Chinese immigrants coming to Hawaii arrived in the mid-to-late 19th century, when 46,000 people immigrated to the islands to work as laborers on sugarcane plantations. I suppose it is possible that this ginger jar came with them.

I purchased this beautiful jar at a rummage sale here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i for $3.

Crystallized Ginger
Crystalized Ginger
Click on photo to enlarge
Have you ever wondered why the Chinese and Japanese frequently add ginger to their food? It helps digestion, facilitates absorption, helps with flatulence, and helps prevent nausea. A delicious way to enjoy ginger is to crystallize it. You can buy ginger already crystallized, but it can be hard to find, and is sometimes expensive. 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 young 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.

Honey & Spice Oranges
This simple recipe makes a refreshingly delicious, and elegant light dessert after a heavy meal. The crystallized ginger adds a hot tropical flavor mixed with the honey and vanilla.

6 large Navel oranges, peeled and sliced into sections
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 teaspoons crystallized ginger, minced very fine
6 mint sprigs for garnish

Peel the oranges and slice sections into a bowl. Combine the honey with the vanilla and drizzle over the orange sections. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature. Serve in martini glasses, sprinkled with crystallized ginger, then garnish with mint sprigs and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Dec 15, 2017

A Show Stopper Holiday Dessert!

Star Fruit Upside-Down Cake
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Star Fruit Upside-Down Cake
This recipe is a show stopper during the holiday season, and is a nice change from pineapple upside-down cake. Star fruit are easy to find here in Hawaii, especially in the winter when they're usually available in farmers markets. Not only are they beautiful and delicious, but they are packed with antioxidants, potassium and Vitamin C, which can help ward off winter colds and flu. They are also a good source of fiber with only about 30 calories per fruit.

While this cake looks heavy like a fruit cake, it really isn't. The starfruit has a distinctive sweet flavor, and adds visually to the presentation. The cake is very light with a slight citrus flavor due to the lime zest and juice added.

Fresh Star Fruit
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1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 to 6 star fruit, depending on how large they are
   (I usually buy a couple extra just in case)
1/2 cup pecan halves
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rinse the star fruit. Holding the fruit in the palm of your hand, using a potato peeler, remove the tip of the five ridges (or “star points”), discarding the brownish outer edge. Trim off the ends of the star fruit and discard. Slice the fruit about 1/4 inch-thick. Repeat this process until you have enough stars to cover the top of the cake.

Using the tip of your knife, remove and discard any seeds you find in the sliced stars.

Melt butter in a 8-inch, cast-iron skillet (or high sided cake pan) on medium heat (watch carefully so the butter doesn't burn). Remove from burner. Evenly sprinkle in the dark brown sugar mashing lumps with a fork. Arrange the star fruit slices on top of the sugar, fill in spaces between stars with pecans halves (remember to turn the pecan halves so the top of each half faces down).

In large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and oil. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute. Add egg, lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla. Beat just until well combined.

Carefully pour batter evenly over star fruit in skillet. Bake in preheated 350˚F oven until tester (toothpick) inserted into centre of cake comes out clean and top of cake is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

This is the hard part, have a serving plate ready as this hot cake needs to be inverted onto it the minute it leaves the oven, otherwise the fruit and nuts may stick to the bottom of the skillet. Simply turn the serving plate upside-down on top of the cake pan. Then hold onto both with a kitchen towel and give it a shake so the cake releases onto the plate. carefully lift the skillet strait up. If any of the fruit or nuts stick to the bottom of the skillet, don't panic, carefully slip a fork under the runaways and press them back on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dec 7, 2017

Santa's Favorite Christmas Cookie

I have tried hundreds of Christmas cookies over the years and I have to say that this cookie would be the one that I would leave for Santa, with a big glass of milk. The combination of spices in this recipe makes for a taste that your family and friends will always remember. Ginger bread and ginger snaps all wrapped up in one!

Ginger & Spice Cookies
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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 for 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses. Sift the flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt together into a bowl. Add the butter mixture, beating just until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 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 then roll in the sugar to coat. Arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets and sprinkle the tops of the cookie dough with a little more sugar. 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.

Nov 23, 2017

How To Cook Hawaiian Octopus

In Hawaii, and particularly here on the island of Moloka'i, hunting for and eating octopus is very common, and has been since the ancient Hawaiians were here. The Hawaiian word of octopus is "he'e", but they are usually called "squid" locally. He'e can be caught by hand, speared, or tricked out of their holes with a special lure made with a large cowry shell.

There are over 70 different types of octopus found in Hawaiian waters. The most frequently seen is the day octopus, or he'e mauli, probably because, as the common name might suggest, they are more active during the daytime and retreat into their lairs (holes in the reef) at night. He'e mauli are found from shallow water to at least 150 feet deep, and geographically span the Tropical Indo-West Pacific region from Hawaii to East Africa. Compared to the giant octopus of the Pacific Northwest, which reaches weights of 90 pounds, the Hawaiian he'e mauli are small, perhaps reaching a maximum arm span of two to three feet and maximum weight of 10 pounds. Hawaiian octopus are, none-the-less, a very popular food item and are sought after by local fishermen.

I just purchased five fresh Hawaiian he'e mauli from a local fisherman here on Moloka'i. I paid $5.00 a pound and bought a 7 pound bag, which was frozen by the fisherman three days before I bought it. Some say that freezing fresh octopus is a good thing in that it actually helps to tenderize it, but others say that freezing it will worsen the fibrousness and reduce the fresh taste. Yesterday I heard from the owner of The Sundown Deli here on Moloka'i that her "tutu kane" (grandfather) would run his "he'e"(octopus) thru an old agitator washing machine to tenderize it. She added that his washing machine was only used for his octopus.

If you bought your octopus frozen as I did, the first step after thawing it is to cut the heads off from the legs. You want to cut it just below the head, then remove the beak, or teeth from the middle of the octopus, leaving the legs connected if possible. Many people clean and eat the head by cutting it in half and remove all of its innards. Personally I prefer to just eat the legs, but you be the judge of that.

Once you have removed and discarded the head, rinse the legs in water, then dump the water and rub the legs generously, and aggressively, with sea salt for a few minutes. This will help to remove the slippery stuff before cooking it. Rinse the octopus in cold water a couple of times. If it’s still slippery, rub with salt and scrub again until it’s not. This process will not only clean the suckers but also help tenderize it more. Rinse the octopus in cold water, removing the salt.

Octopus flesh can be tough because it is reinforced with connective-tissue similar to red meat. One of the best ways to cook octopus, if you have the time, is to blanch them for 30 seconds in boiling water, then braise them in the oven in a covered dry pot at 200 degrees for four or five hours. Octopus flesh is made up of 80% water which releases in the covered pot and actually slowly braises the octopus.

Another way to cook octopus is simmer it in water with a little salt for about 60 to 75 minutes to dissolve the tough, contracted collagen into gelatin and give the flesh a silken succulence. (check for doneness with the point of a sharp knife.

Boiled Hawaiian Octopus
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I like to add bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, salt, and 1 lemon cut in half to a large pot of water, then cover and bring it to a simmer. The amount of salt added depends on how many pounds you are cooking. Add the octopus tentacles pressing them down with a spoon to completely submerge it. After a few minutes in the simmering water, the tentacles and water will have changed color to red (see photo above), and the octopus contracts into a fist shape. At this point, turn it over every few minutes to cook it evenly. Continue simmering for about 60 to 75 minutes. Do not overcook the octopus, otherwise it will be tough.

Take the octopus out of the simmering water when ready. Quickly rinse it in cold water to stop it from cooking. Split each tentacle from its cluster. At this point you can cover the legs with olive oil, and a little salt and pepper, and charbroil the legs over high heat for flavor. Grill it quickly until the outside browns but the inside is not dried out. Then serve the tentacles whole or cut them into thin slices and serve on a platter with lemon or lime wedges, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Note: One of my favorite Italian cooks is Lidia. She has a great recipe for "Simply Braised Octopus".
Click here for her recipe.

Spicy Hawaiian Tako Cucumber Poke
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Spicy Hawaiian Tako Cucumber Poke
Sliced octopus is great in a classic poke base of sweet onions, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil, but my favorite way is to marinate the cooked, thinly sliced octopus, in a little kimchi base sauce.

Kimchi Base Sauce Ingredients:
15-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of peeled and minced ginger
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce, or to taste

In a blender, combine tomato sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar, lime, salt, sugar, onions, and Sriracha sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste the sauce and add more Sriracha sauce if you like it spicier. Cover and store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups of base sauce.

Hawaiian Tako Cucumber Poke
One pound cooked octopus will easily make 4 servings as a first course. When ready to marinate your cooked and thinly sliced octopus poke, mix in as much of the kimchi base sauce as needed to just cover. Let marinate at least an hour, covered, in the refrigerator before serving.

Note: I like to add Japanese cucumber slices to my tako poke with a sprinkle of seasoned rice vinegar. Simply slice cucumber in half lengthwise and then thinly slice. Garnish with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Soooo Ono!!!

Nov 16, 2017

Pickled Green Opo

Tasty bites of locally grown opo squash, pickled with red bell pepper and spices.
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Pickled Green Opo Squash
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One of the most popular recipes on is Opo squash soup. It's almost always on the top 10 list on the left side of this blog. Long green squash is very popular with the Asian community here on Moloka'i for soups and stir-fries, and is available both in our grocery stores and at our farmers market.

Originally the Chinese and Filipino plantation workers introduced this now popular vegetable to the Hawaiian population. 

Opo squash has a mild flavor similar to zucchini and is fat free, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, and a good source of vitamin C.

I was making Opo soup for my wife and I when I realized that I had half a squash left over. That's when I came up with the idea of slicing the squash up into 1/4 inch, bite-sized pieces and made pickles out of it. They are delicious! For more information about this popular vegetable, 
click here.

Here's my recipe for:

Pickled Green Opo Squash
2- 1 quart canning jars with lids
1/2 large Opo squash, peeled, inside pith and seeds removed, sliced into 1/4 inch bite-sized pieces
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoons sea salt, divided
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and skin removed and thinly sliced.
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, divided
2 teaspoons dried dill, divided
2 teaspoons pickling spice, divided
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar for each jar
4 tablespoons of Patis, Filipino fish sauce, divided (see "Note" below)
6 cups of boiling water

Opo – Long Green Squash
Put your jars and lids in a large pot and cover with hot water. Put the lid on the pot and boil the water on high heat. allow to boil for 10 minutes, and then turn the heat off. This will sterilize the jars.

Next wash and peel the squash with a potato peeler. With a big sharp knife, cut the squash lengthwise and remove all of the white pith and seeds (save the other half to make soup out of or add it the your stir fry). Cut the half squash lengthwise into 4 pieces, then slice each into 1/4 inch pieces.

Take two ramekins or 2 coffee cups and divide your sliced garlic and put it into each cup. now add the rest of the spices to each cup. Put the divided spices into the bottom of each sterilized jar.  now fill the two jars with a mixture of squash pieces and red bell pepper, gently pressing them into the jars to get as many into each jar as you can, but leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top of each jar. Put the jars into your kitchen sink and put the vinegar into each jar, plus the fish sauce.

Now carefully pour the hot water into each jar, leaving 1/4 inch of air space. Immediately seal the jars with the hot lids, and close them very tightly with a hand towel. Leave the jars on your kitchen counter at room temperature for about 24 hours. If you like crisp pickles, you can eat them the next day. After 24 hours, refrigerate the pickled opo for one week before eating. Makes 2 quarts.

Note: I've been cooking for a long time and have come to love Asian fish sauce as a complex flavor additive to enhance many different recipes, not just Asian recipes, so I always have a bottle in my refrigerator. My favorite is a Vietnamese fish sauce called Red Boat 40˚ N, which does not contain added water, preservatives or MSG. It has a light amber color, not fishy tasting or too salty. For more information about this amazing sauce, plus great recipes, check out their website. This sauce is also available on but unfortunately not available on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i. However Filipino brands of fish sauce (Patis) are available here, just check the label for MSG. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial.

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

Nov 10, 2017

Striped Hawaiian Mullet

Striped Hawaiian mullet,‘Ama‘ama, were one of the most important fish species in traditional Hawaiian culture. Young fish were caught in nets along the shoreline, then raised in the many fishponds throughout the islands. After being fattened in the fishponds, they were harvested and eaten raw with seaweed added, or wrapped in ti or ginger leaves and broiled or baked.

There are three species of mullet in Hawaiian waters but the striped Hawaiian mullet is the largest, reaching 18 inches in length and weighing about 3 pounds. After December 1st the striped mullet starts its spawning season which puts them off-limits until April 1st. The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.

Mullet has a relatively high oil content that keeps the meat moist in a variety of preparation methods. Steam or bake whole fish or sear fillets, skin-side down, in a pan. Moi can also be grilled, broiled or pan fried and served raw as sashimi. The oil in the flesh makes smoking an option as well.
I was fortunate enough to be gifted a large striped Hawaiian mullet by a friend who loves to fish in the waters around Moloka'i. He told me that he and his wife like to cook this delicious fish very simply in a soup seasoned with just lemon juice and soy sauce. I took this concept and developed my own recipe for Moloka'i Mullet Stew, which follows:

Striped Hawaiian Mullet
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Moloka'i Mullet Stew
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Moloka'i Mullet Stew
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus 2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 inches fresh ginger, sliced into thin strips
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large mullet filleted and cut into 4 pieces (remove the skin), saving the bones for the broth
4 tablespoons soy sauce, plus 4 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or chili oil
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned and stems removed
6 cups water
2 lemons or limes, juiced, or to taste
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat the canola oil and sesame oil in a deep pot.

Saute the ginger, onions, and garlic for 2 minute.

Pour-in water and bring to a boil.

Add fish bones and simmer for 1/2 hour, then remove the bones and strain the broth to remove any stray bones. Add the fish fillets, soy sauce and fish sauce, potatoes, and lemon juice to the stock. Let the liquid re-boil and then simmer for 8 minutes, then taste the broth for additional seasoning if needed.

Put the fresh spinach leaves in 4 soup bowls. Gently place the fish and potatoes on top of the spinach, breaking the fish into 2 pieces. Now pour the hot broth over everything and garnish with sesame seeds, serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Oct 25, 2017

Easy Roast Pork Butt

First of all, a pork butt is also called a pork shoulder. I am convinced that they do this to confuse us. This is a tough cut, unlike a tenderloin, and needs to be roasted in a low and slow oven. It takes about 4 hours to cook this easy recipe, so if you start cooking right after lunch it will be ready for dinner. Slow cooking tenderizes this cut, making the fat run through the meat while cooking, remember fat is flavor. I don't have a problem with the slow cooking because I can do other things while this delicious roast cooks, and you will love the results.

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 (4 pound) pork butt (mine came from Kualapuu Market here on Moloka'i)

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Rub oil all over the pork shoulder, then generously sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Set the meat, fat side up, on a rack set into a roasting pan (I like to spray Pam over the rack and pan for easy cleanup). Roast for 30 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 325˚F. Continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the shoulder reads 185˚F, about 3 1/4 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve with mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and green beans sauteed with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Makes about 3 pounds of meat, plenty for 6 servings.

Note: There will be pork drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan. To make a wonderful milk gravy for the pork, Mix 3 or 4 tablespoons of flour into the drippings. Place the pan over a burner on low heat and with a wooden spoon, blend the drippings and flour together until it turns a caramel brown color. Mix in about 3/4 cup of milk into the mixture (roux), until thoroughly blended and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sep 28, 2017

Roast Duck For Two

When you're cooking for one or two people you obviously cook smaller amounts than you would for a larger group. The other day I noticed Friendly Market had half ducks in the meat department. This is a perfect size for two people for a special occasion, or just because you deserve to treat yourself. 

I already have a great recipe for cooking a whole duck with a honey glaze, so I adjusted the recipe for half a duck, and here it is. Hopefully you will be able to find half a duck at your market, if not, defrost a whole one and cut it in half lengthwise with kitchen shears, re-freeze one of the halves and roast the other.

Honey Glazed Half Roast Duck For Two
Half a duck from Friendly Market
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1/2 duck (at least 2 pounds)
2 cups boiling-hot water
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Ingredients for honey glaze:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce, or to your taste

Remove duck from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before roasting.

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 425˚F.

Rinse duck half and tuck wing tip under bird, or remove the wing as I did. Score skin with a knife, in a criss-cross pattern, then prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Mix salt, pepper and ginger and rub the duck all over with it. Put duck, skin side up, on a rack in a 13 x 9 x 3-inch roasting pan. Pour boiling water into pan. Roast duck for 45 minutes, then turn the duck over and cook for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine and simmer glaze, stirring until it gets thick and syrupy. Glaze duck all over (inside and out) with a basting brush, then continue to roast duck, skin side up, until it is a beautiful mahogany color, about 15 minutes more (total roasting time: about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180˚F). Transfer duck to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Discard liquid in roasting pan. Serve duck with a nice red wine like pinot noir. 

Makes 2 servings.

Note: Allow at least 1 pound of duck per person, as there is a rather large ratio of fat and bone to meat. If the duck comes with giblets, freeze them for stock later.

Sep 22, 2017

Pork Tenderloin Chipotle

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, soy sauce, and garlic in a small 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle peppers with the sauce, and squeeze peppers to combine.

Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag a couple of times.

Light grill and bring to medium-high heat, about 450˚F. Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140˚F.

Remove the tenderloin from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, Italian parsley leaves, or minced green onion tops.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Note: If you don't want to grill the pork tenderloin, you can cook it in the oven by searing it in a oven-safe skillet first (like the cast iron skillet in the photo above) over medium-high heat, then finish off in a 425˚F oven for about 15 minutes.

Sep 15, 2017

Tender & Delicious Pot Roast

I like to give myself a little challenge in the kitchen, like taking a tough and affordable piece of meat, like a chuck roast or chuck steak, and braise it until it is meltingly tender and full of rich, beef flavor. 
A chuck steak is the same as a chuck roast except it is cut into 1- to 3-inch slices. Here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, we seem to see chuck steak more often than chuck roast, so that's what we are using in this recipe.
"Today's Special"... Chuck Steak!
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The trick is to cook either the roast or steak low and slow with lots of flavors all around it. After 3 hours of cooking, add vegetables under the meat and keep cooking in the oven with the lid on until they're tender (about 40 minutes).

The other thing we do here during the summer months is to try not to heat up the house with a 3 1/2 hour oven on, unless we have trade winds to cool us off.

The Pot Roast Challenge
2 or 3 tablespoons Canola oil
3 pound chuck steak
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups of beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup good red wine, like Burgundy
2 dried bay leaves, left whole
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Cornstarch to thicken the sauce

Heat oven to 325˚F and arrange a rack in the lower third.

In a Dutch oven or large, high sided skillet with a lid, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pot, and brown on all sides for about 15 minutes.

Remove the roast from the pot and set it aside while you sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining oil. Then add the beef or chicken broth, wine, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, return the meat to the pot and cover; put the pot in the oven, and roast for 3 hours, flipping the roast every hour, until the beef is fork tender, about 3 hours total. Lift up the roast and add the cut carrots and potatoes to the sauce, and lay the meat on top of the vegetables. Continue cooking in the oven with the lid on until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Carefully transfer the roast to a cutting board, and the carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Slice the roast, and serve with the vegetables. At this point I like to quickly thicken the pan juices.

To thicken the sauce, for each cup of sauce in the pot... in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens. Naturally you should always taste everything before serving. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with your favorite crusty bread or Classic Biscuits.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sep 14, 2017

The First Step Before Roasting Chicken

I love roast chicken, but I have learned that you need to brine your chicken first. If you do, the bird will be juicy and flavorful, not dry. A brine is a solution that basically consists of water, salt, and sugar. 

Salt in the brine not only seasons the meat, but also promotes a change in its protein structure, reducing its overall toughness and creating gaps that fill up with water and keep the meat juicy and flavorful. It's worth the time to go through this easy step before cooking the bird.

1 whole rotisserie chicken, about 4 pounds (see "Note" below)

Ingredients for the brining solution:
4 cups cold water or more if needed to cover the chicken
1/4 cup regular table salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar

Mix brine together.

Chicken brining in a Ziploc bag
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I like to use a heavy duty, gallon size Ziploc bag to brine each chicken, but if you don’t have one, you can use any bowl or pot big enough to hold the chicken and brine. Place a plate on top of the chicken so it is submerged in the solution for 2 hours or up to overnight. Cover and store in the refrigerator. 

When ready, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse chicken well. You are now ready to roast the chicken.

To roast a whole chicken, preheat oven to 400˚F. 

Dry chicken with paper towels. Rub it with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a roasting pan with a rack. Roast chicken until the internal temperature reaches 170˚F which will take about 1 1/2 hours. You need to check on the chicken after about an hour of cooking to make sure that the skin is not turning too dark. If it is, place a sheet of foil loosely over the chicken. Check again every 15 minutes until its internal temperature reaches 170˚F. Let rest for 15 minutes, covered with foil, before carving. 

Makes 6 servings.

Note: Please read the story I wrote in 2014 about "Slimy Chickens" which explains why we need to buy free-range chickens processed without chemicals.

Sep 5, 2017

Put some heat in your SALSA!

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Fire Roasted Chipotle Tomato Salsa
This tomato salsa is all about fire roasting vine ripened tomatoes and blending them with canned chipotle peppers for spice and flavor. Everyone likes their salsa seasoned differently, some like it spicy and others don't, so adjust this recipe to your taste if you like. Do Hawaiians eat salsa? You bet, ever heard of Paniolos? Hawaiian cowboys.

6 fresh tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into quarters
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Tortilla chips for serving

Preheat broiler on high. Place tomato quarters on a broiler-proof sheet pan, skin side up. Broil on top shelf of oven for 15 minutes, turning pan once half way through cooking until tomatoes are charred on top. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and dispose of the charred skins. Cut tomato quarters in half. At this point you can freeze the tomatoes until you are ready to make the salsa.

When you are ready to make the salsa, defrost the tomatoes and set aside. Add the rest of the ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a couple of times until combined but still chunky, then gently stir in the roasted tomatoes. Give it a taste to check for seasoning.

Make the salsa several hours before serving, as it will give the flavors a chance to meld. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve with tortilla chips, or serve heated over slices of roasted fish or charbroiled shrimp.

Makes about 2 cups.

Note: Friendly Market sometimes carries chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and so does Molokai Wines & Spirits, which is where I buy it. You can freeze any leftover chipotle peppers to use next time.

Sep 3, 2017

Potluck Salad For 12

Ironwood Hills Golf Course, Moloka'i Hawaii
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Potluck Taco Salad
I made this salad yesterday to feed my friends after a golf tournament at Ironwood Hills Golf Club here on Moloka'i. This salad is a meal in itself, full of good things. My golf game wasn't that great but everyone seemed to really like this salad. This is a crowd pleaser for any potluck meal.

1 pound ground beef (ground round)
package Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
1 large head each napa cabbage and iceberg lettuce, shredded thin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 tomatoes, diced
1 (15 ounce) can of corn, drained
6 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle
(15 ounce) can black beans, drained
(15 ounce) can large black olives, sliced in half
1 cup pepper-jack cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
(16 ounce) bottle Kraft Catalina dressing
1 lime, juiced (this is to cut some of the sweetness from the dressing)
(14 1/2 ounce) bag nacho-flavored tortilla chips, crumbled

Brown ground beef, drain grease, adding taco seasoning and following directions on package. Chill for at least an hour. When ground beef is cold, place in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve.

Sorry I don't have a photo of this beautiful salad. I took all of the ingredients with me in a cooler filled with frozen gel packs and put the salad together in a large bowl on the back tailgate of my pickup. These guys were hungry and wiped it out before I could photograph it... next time I'll try and take a picture.

Makes 12 servings.

Aug 4, 2017

Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies with Liliko'i Butter

Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies with Liliko'i Butter 
Ingredients for liliko'i butter:
Fresh liliko'i from Moloka'i
Click on photos to view larger
3/4 cup liliko'i pulp (about 15 liliko'i,
  seeds removed)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Ingredients for cookies:
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of powdered sugar for garnish

Procedure for lilikoi butter:
Cut liliko'i in half and remove the seeds and pulp to a blender. Pulse 5 times to separate the seeds from the pulp. Strain the pulp into a measuring cup to the level of 3/4 cup, discarding seeds. Heat the liliko'i pulp, and sugar, in a small pot. In a small bowl, like a ramekin, combine the cornstarch and the water. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the liliko'i mixture and mix using a wooden spoon. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts boiling and thickening, remove it from the heat.

Now place the egg yolk in a ramekin or small bowl and stir with a fork. Now gently pour 1/3 of the egg yolk into the warm liliko'i mixture  and mix vigorously. Place the rest of the yolk into the liliko'i butter and mix. Cover with the pot lid and place into the refrigerator to completely cool, about 1 hour.

Procedure for shortbread cookies:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer and mix until combined. Take 1 level tablespoon of dough and press it into a little balls, repeat this process, then place them separately on the lined cookie sheet (the dough will not rise so you don't have to leave a lot of space between cookies). Cup your fingers around each dough ball and with your thumb, make a deep indentation in the middle of each ball of cookie dough, being careful not to push through to the bottom. Spoon cooled liliko'i butter in the middle of each thumb hole. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Let the cookies cool completely on a rack, then garnish with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 32 small cookies.

Jul 28, 2017

When The Summer Wind Blows

Lilikoi from our Molokai Farmers Market
every Saturday in Kaunakakai.

Click on photo to view larger.
I first experienced passion fruit in Bora Bora many years ago. Hotel Bora Bora served purple passion fruit, cut in half, as part of a breakfast buffet. It was very strange because you ate the tart pulp, seeds an all. It was delicious and unforgettable. 

Years later I moved to the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i and again I rediscover passion fruit, but it was yellow and had an Hawaiian name,  'liliko'i'. For years now it has become one of my favorite things to have with breakfast... when in season. The season is in the summer, July, August, and September, when it is hot and humid. 

I have been seeing them for sale at our local farmers market lately and have wondered if travelers to this lonely island know what a treat liliko'i is. Fortunately for me, they happen to grow wild in a vacant lot next to my house. Long vines covered with this wonderful fruit that falls to the ground 'when the summer wind blows'.

I have learned that if you remove the pulp of the liliko'i with a spoon, then gently pulse it in a blender about 5 times, you can loosen the pulp from the seeds and remove the seeds with a strainer. Then you can freeze the pulp in ice trays, put the cubes in freezer bags to use when the fruit is no longer in season. That's how good this flavor is in recipes, especially desserts. Hawaii is famous for lilikoi butter, which is actually a curd made with liliko'i pulp, butter, honey, and eggs. I have written many other recipes using liliko'i, which you will find on this site, here's a new one:

Hawaiian Liliko'i Ice Cream
Liliko'i Flower
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This is a thick, creamy ice cream that is more suited for adults than children because it's not overly sweet, but full of liliko'i flavor. You only need to serve a couple of scoops of this rich tropical dessert, then drizzle it with honey. Serve with a delicate cookie like my 'Ono Hawaiian Lace Cookies'

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups liliko'i pulp (without seeds) or 27 lilikoi
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup white sugar
honey for drizzling

Special Equipment: an ice cream maker

Procedure to make the ice cream:
Cut each liliko'i in half at the equator and scoop the pulp, with seeds, into a blender and gently pulse about 5 times to remove the pulp from the seeds. Strain the mixture, remove and discard the seeds, saving the 1 1/2 cups of pulp for the ice cream.
I have been using this small
ice cream maker for years,
made by Cuisinart.
It's an excellent product!
$47.73 at

Mix together the condensed milk with the seedless liliko'i pulp.

In another bowl, whip the cream with a hand help mixer for 3 minutes until peaks form, Then turn the speed to low and add the condensed milk/liliko'i pulp mixture and sugar. Mix just until combined.

Immediately spoon the mixture into your ice cream maker and proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about a half an hour the cream gets thick. Transfer the ice cream into air-tight containers and freeze solid for at least 4 hours. This is a very rich dessert that is not too sweet. I like to drizzle honey over the top and Serve it with a cookie like my 'Ono Hawaiian Lace Cookies'. You won't believe how good this recipe is!

Makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream, enough for about 6 servings.

Note: If you can't get fresh liliko'i where you live, try this product available at and on ebay. It is basically the same thing as liliko'i pulp, without the seeds, and the work. If you read the comments that people have written on Amazon you might want to try it. 

Cost: $9.90 for one 16.9 fluid ounces, or two bottles for $13.47. That's a bargain!

Jul 24, 2017

Fish Sauce

Dipping Sauce made with fish sauce,
pickled ginger, and Asian chili oil

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I'm a big fan of Southeast Asian food, especially sauces like Tamari sauce, oyster sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, and fish sauce. Fish sauce is sometimes made from different species of fish, but generally it's made from just anchovies, salt, and water, then fermented in wooden barrels. Fermenting gives this simple sauce a wonderful nutty, rich and savory flavor. In Vietnam, fish sauce can be sour and spicy when lime juice and chili peppers are added. Southeast Asians usually use fish sauce as a cooking sauce, or as a dipping sauce, instead of salt.

Fish sauce was also used in ancient Greece cuisine and in Classical Roman cooking. It is believed to be the precursor to soy sauce. Worcestershire sauce, is a related product because it is fermented and contains anchovies. As a matter of fact, the first ketchup recipe appeared in print in Eliza Smith's 1758 cookbook 'The Complete Housewife'. The recipe called for anchovies, cloves, ginger and pepper. Eventually tomatoes were added to ketchup here in the U.S.

I've been cooking for a long time and have come to love fish sauce as a complex flavor additive to enhance many different recipes, not just Asian recipes, so I always have a bottle in my kitchen. My favorite is a Vietnamese fish sauce called 'Red Boat 40˚ N, which does not contain added water, preservatives or MSG. It has a light amber color, not fishy tasting or too salty. For more information about this amazing sauce, plus great recipes, check out their website. This sauce is also available on

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Filipino Chicken Afritada
This is a Spanish-inspired, everyday stew served in Filipino households using fish sauce. Fish sauce or “Patis” is a commonly used ingredient in Filipino cooking. One of the top Filipino brands of fish sauce is 'Pufina', which can be purchased on Amazon. This dish should take about an hour to cook plus about 10 minutes of prep time.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds whole boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 2 pieces each
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, cut into bite size pieces
2 medium potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar, or to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Add oil to a large pot. Heat on medium high heat. Add chicken pieces and saute until it is nice and golden brown. Add garlic, and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Now add pineapple juice and the chicken stock. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the tomato sauce and fish sauce. Now add the bay leaves, carrots, potatoes, green peas, and red bell pepper. Season with sugar, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 or 10 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve over steamed rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Note: Although this dish is traditionally cooked with the ingredients listed above, feel free to add other vegetables if you like, such as whole okra, yellow squash, celery, or zucchini.

Thai Beef with Broccoli 
in Oyster Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound boneless beef roast, thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
1/4 pound broccoli floret, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in deep, heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat; add garlic and cook until a bit of garlic sizzles at once. Toss well. Add beef and toss until it changes color. Add broccoli florets and toss for about 1 min., until they turn shiny and bright green. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and water and cook 3-4 min., tossing often, until broccoli is tender and beef is cooked. Transfer to small serving platter and serve hot or warm. Makes 4 servings.

Thai Chicken Fried Rice
4 cups cooked cold jasmine rice (cold rice is essential so the grains will not stick together when stir frying)
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups boneless skinless chicken thighs sliced thin
2 eggs
4 green onions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons palm sugar (table sugar is fine if you can't find palm sugar)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cucumber, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. While pan is warming, toss the cold rice with your hands, making sure to separate the grains from any clumps. Add the garlic to the heated wok, and toss until fragrant and slightly golden. Add chicken and stir fry for about 1 minute. Push the meat and garlic up the sides making a well in the middle and add eggs. Scramble eggs for 1 minute in middle of pan then, add green onions and peas and incorporate all ingredients together, stir frying for another minute. Add rice, turning over rice with pan ingredients several times to coat and stir frying for 2-3 minutes. You want the rice to begin to have a toasted smell, making sure that all the ingredients are constantly being moved around the pan for even cooking. If your pan seems to have cooled down to the point where the ingredients are no longer sizzling, you may need to turn the heat up slightly. Sprinkle in the sugar and add the fish sauce and oyster sauce. Stir fry all ingredients together for one minute more or until sauces are absorbed and mixture is completely combined. Transfer to serving platter. Garnish plate edge with sliced cucumber, lime wedges, and additional whole green onions if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Grilled 'Opakapaka with Hawaiian Butter Sauce
'Opakapaka is also known as the Hawaiian pink snapper, a white fish with a delicate flavor. This fish is great grilled, then combined with a delicious butter sauce. Naturally you can use other fish for this recipe, like red snapper.

4 fresh ‘Opakapaka fillets, about 6 ounces each or use red snapper
Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below)
cilantro for garnish
sliced lime for garnish

First make the Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below). Then marinate ‘Opakapaka in 1/2 cup of the sauce for 10-15 minutes. Remove from marinade and grill very quickly, about 3 to 4 minutes on both sides. Brush fish with marinade as it cooks. Serve on plates garnished with cilantro and lime wedges on the side. Serve with white rice, topped with Shitaki mushrooms, that have been sautéd in Hawaiian butter sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Hawaiian Butter Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup finely diced Maui onion
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese 'Sriracha' sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil over low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and shallots until softened, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Using a whisk, whip the softened butter until fluffy, then slowly add the Sriracha and Thai fish sauce. When the fish sauce and Sriracha have been incorporated into the butter, add the cooled onions, shallots, and garlic, and then add the parsley, whisk to blend. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. Note: This sauce is also delicious used as a dipping sauce for grilled lobster or shrimp.

Filipino Sardines & Tomatoes
Lately I have noticed in one of our local markets, Friendly Market, small, dried sardines. I asked the meat manager, PJ, how locals eat them. He said that the Filipinos fry them, then add tomatoes, onions, and garlic. He also said that they are a little hard on your breath, so I used fresh sardines for this recipe, which don't have that strong odor. 

If sardines aren't your thing, try this recipe using shrimp. If you can't find Southeast Asia calamansi limes, you can substitute lemon juice, however if you live on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, you can get them at our Saturday farmers market.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced (2 tablespoons)
4 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika, or regular paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large can of sardines in tomato sauce
Fresh calamansi limes, or fresh lemon wedges, for squeezing over the sardines

Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over moderately high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, dried red pepper flakes, and paprika and cook until the shallot becomes soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, continuing to cook until the tomato paste just begins to brown, 1 minute more.

Toss the cherry tomatoes into the pan and sauté until the tomatoes soften and have released some of their juices, 5-7 minutes.

Pour the wine into the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the water and fish sauce and simmer until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the sardines from the can and arrange them in a single layer, on top of the tomato sauce in an oven safe sauté pan. Pour the tomato sauce in the sardine can over the sardines. Place the pan underneath the broiler and broil for 5 or 6 minutes, flipping the fish over once during that time.
Serve with steamed white rice and calamansi limes, or lemon wedges, on the side for squeezing over the sardines. Makes 2-4 servings.

Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce
I particularly like this delicious sauce with boiled artichokes, shrimp, or crab.

4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice

Combine all ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds until warm.
Makes about 1/2 cup, enough for 2 servings.

Dumpling Dipping Sauce
A great dipping sauce for Asian dumplings.

8 teaspoons finely minced garlic (about 8 medium cloves)
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons fresh juice from about 4 limes
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems
1/4 teaspoon Asian chili oil, or to taste

Combine garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, cilanto, and chili oil in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Makes 3/4 cup.

Thai BBQ Sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon fish sauce or 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1-2 teaspoons chili sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well blended.

Taste-test your bbq sauce, adding more honey if not sweet enough, or more lime juice if too sweet or too salty for your taste. Also add more chili if desired.

Use the sauce as a marinade for your meats, fish, or seafood, and brush it on while grilling. Great with steak, ribs, burgers, salmon, shrimp, and more!

Note: I like to double this recipe and then drizzle a little more over the entree before serving. This great sauce will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Jul 6, 2017

Good Morning From Hawaii

July pineapples from my garden
Click on photo to view larger

Pineapple season in Hawaii begins around mid-June, and peaks in mid-July, then tapers off in September. The most common pineapple in Hawaii is the 'Smooth Cayenne' variety (shown above). It has a rough skin which turns completely gold with a sweet pineapple smell and tangy afterbite. People don't realize that it takes about 18 months to grow one pineapple, and depending on the variety, they can cost as much as $4.50 a pound.

Pineapples are native to the southern part of Brazil and Paraguay and eventually, it traveled all the way to Hawaii in the sixteenth century. Today, pineapples are second only to bananas as America's favorite fruit because it is so versatile. It can be used easily in both sweet and savory dishes. Below you will find some of my favorite pineapple recipes.

Pineapple Slaw
Ingredients for slaw:
4 cups cabbage (shredded)
4 slices fresh pineapple (diced)
1 cup carrots (shredded)
1/2 cup apple (chopped)
2 tablespoons green bell pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoons red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine vegetables in a bowl. In smaller bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in the vinegar, then pour over slaw mix. Sprinkle with black pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Makes 4 servings.

Grilled Mahi-mahi with Roasted Pineapple Sauce
Ingredients for Roasted Pineapple Sauce:
2 cups chopped peeled and cored fresh pineapple
1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients for Fish:
4 mahi-mahi fillets, skinned (about 2 pounds of fish, total)
2 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

cilantro leaves for garnish

Prepare a grill for moderately high heat.

In a grill pan, sear and soften the pineapple and red bell pepper, turning occasionally with tongs. Transfer the pineapple and bell pepper to a blender and add the cayenne pepper and lime juice, then puree the mixture. Season the sauce with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice if needed, keep at room temperature.

For the fish, combine the sweet paprika, oil and lime juice and brush on both sides of mahi-mahi steaks. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Oil the grill rack, then grill the fish, covered, turning the fish once, until it is opaque and just cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the fish to a platter and keep it warm, covered. Serve the fish with a fresh green salad or slaw, roasted sweet potato fries, with the pineapple sauce on the side. Garnish fish with fresh cilantro leaves. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Grilled mahi-mahi is commonly used for fish tacos or fish sandwiches. For a variation on this recipe, prepare an Asian coleslaw, recipe on this site, click here. Break the grilled fish up into chunks and fill fried or steamed corn tortillas, or toasted hamburger buns, with the mahi-mahi. Top the fish with a little roasted pineapple sauce and Asian coleslaw for a delicious tropical fish taco or fish sandwich.

Pineapple Stir-Fried Rice with Shrimp
1 ripe pineapple
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, veins and seeds removed
2 spring onions, the green tops only, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups shrimp, shells removed and deveined
3 tablespoons garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups cold, steamed Thai jasmine rice
cilantro leaves for garnish

Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise with green top. Scoop out the fruit, saving the two pineapple halves to use as bowls to serve the rice in. Chop the pineapple fruit into bite sized chunks, removing the tough core. Put the fruit in a bowl and add the shallots, jalapeno, ginger, green onion and cilantro. Add a pinch of salt to bring out the juice. mix and set aside. In a wok, over high heat, add oil, and stir fry the shrimp for 2 minutes or until just pink. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside. Stir fry the garlic a minute or so until golden brown, but not burned. Add the cooked jasmine rice, and stir thoroughly until slightly toasted. Add the fish sauce and sugar, and continue stirring. When the rice is heated through, add the pineapple mixture and cooked shrimp, and stir until thoroughly heated through. Pour the mixture into the pineapple shells, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve as a side dish. Makes 6 servings.

A light, fluffy and moist coffee cake 
that's not too sweet.

Click on photos to view larger

Pineapple Perfection Cake
This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped fine, or
1/2 cup of canned and drained crushed pineapple
1/3 cup of roasted, chopped Macadamia nuts (optional)

1/2 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the sour cream mixture. Stir in pineapple and nuts.

Transfer to a greased 9 inch square baking dish. Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350˚F for 60 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Cover cake lightly with a sheet of foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking to keep the coconut from getting too brown. Makes 9 servings.

Liliko'i-Pineapple Ice
2 cups fresh liliko'i juice (about 28 liliko'i)
1/4 cup fresh liliko'i seeds left whole (about 4 liliko'i)
2 cups pineapple pulp
3/4 cups sugar
2 egg whites

To juice the liliko'i remove all pulp from all the fruit. Place in blender and pulse for 5 to 10 seconds. Pour in a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and with the back of a spoon push the pulp around until you are left with just the seeds in the strainer. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into a metal or plastic bowl and freeze. When frozen, break up the ice and place a small amount at a time into the food processor. When whipped and frothy, return to the bowl and freeze again. This mixture will not freeze hard and solid, so it will be easy to scoop out to serve. Sprinkle a few of the reserved seeds over the top of the ice when it is served or they may be added when the ice is returned to the freezer for the second time.

Makes about 5 cups.

Note: Liliko'i juice can be made in advance and frozen in ice trays then transferred to freezer bags for future use.

Jun 11, 2017

A Dessert Created For Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlova in 'The Dying Swan', Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1905
Anna Pavlova, was considered the greatest ballerina of her time. She was a dancing sensation across America, Europe, and the UK in 1911. It is believed that at that time a dessert was created in homage to her, a light, airy dessert called 'Strawberries Pavlova'.  It was a marriage of a delicate crisp meringue, sort of like the tutu she is wearing in the photo, with a soft sweet marshmallow center. It was then served with sweetened whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries. Other countries like Australia and New Zealand also claim to have invented this beautiful dessert, using kiwi fruit, strawberries, blue berries and other fresh fruit as a topping.

To my knowledge, Anna Pavlova never visited Hawaii, so I created a tropical version of 'Pavlova' using local Hawaiian Mango. It has a crispy meringue shell that is filled with sweetened whipped cream. It is then crowned with slices of sweet fresh mango. The whole thing is then drizzled with fresh lilikoi (passion fruit) pulp, creating a crispy sweet, yet tangy dessert that's easy to make.

Mango Pavlova
5 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
1 tablespoon powered sugar
3 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
parchment paper

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 6, 3-inch circles on the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Blend the vanilla, cornstarch and lemon juice together, gently fold it into the beaten egg whites.

With a large spoon, scoop the mixture inside the circles drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building up the edge slightly, leaving a depression in the center.

Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and let the meringues cool in the oven for at least 1 hour, but overnight is better, with the door left ajar.

In a small bowl, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringues on serving plates. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with mango slices topped with fresh passion-fruit pulp, with or without the seeds. Serve immediately!

Note: Use room temperature eggs whites that have absolutely no yolk in them when broken.

Makes 6 servings.

For more information about the history of this dessert, click here.