Jan 23, 2017

Wait Until You Taste These!

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Fried Apple Banana Fritters
Fried Banana Fritters are popular all over Asia. It's important to use the right banana for this dessert. The Apple Banana here in Hawaii is perfect, with a sweet/sour flavor.  In my opinion this dessert/breakfast food is much better than Hawaii's iconic malasada, which is basically a fried doughnut hole.

These fritters are crispy on the outside, filled with a ripe apple banana chunk, that is tender and moist on the inside. Using ice-cold soda water helps the batter to get crispy, but you want to make sure that you don't put too much soda water in the batter, adding it slowly as you stir, keeping it thick. It's also a good idea to drain the grease from the fritters on a paper towel after they are fried so they are not oily, and use oil that has not been used before. Then simply dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey, very simple. Wait until you've tried these!

3 ripe apple bananas, chopped into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil (to add to batter)
1/2 cup club soda (ice cold)
Canola oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
Honey for drizzling

In a large bowl, mix together the self-raising flour, corn starch, rice flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil until smooth and thick.

Now slowly add the ice cold club soda and whisk gently just until well incorporated and smooth.

In a wok, or small skillet, heat one inch of oil on medium-high heat. While waiting for the oil to come up to temperature,  325˚F, begin dipping the apple banana chunks into the batter. Using a slotted spoon, test the temperature of the oil by carefully dropping a small bit of the batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the batter should begin to bubble up and lightly brown within a few seconds.

Adjust heat to medium then carefully place the battered banana chunks into the hot oil, leaving enough room in between them to turn over. Fry on each side for just about 2 or 3 minutes or so until lightly golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat as necessary with remaining banana chunks. Keep the fritters warm in a 200˚F oven, this will keep them crisp.

Place warm bananas on a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey before serving, or serve with vanilla ice-cream. Makes 18 fritters depending on the size of the bananas.

Note: If you don't have self-rising flour, you can make your own by mixing 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Also make sure your baking powder is current. Check the expiration date on the box. Baking powder can lose its potency over time, which means your baked goods won't rise as they should.

For more apple banana recipes, click here.

Hawaiian Coconut Cream Pudding
Hawaiian island sweetness with a light, creamy texture that keeps you dipping your spoon back in.

Kara brand from Friendly Market
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup corn starch
1 cup coconut cream, Kara brand
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

Ingredients for toppings:
Cinnamon for dusting
Toasted coconut flakes for sprinkling
Crystalized ginger, chopped
4 ounces chopped macadamia nuts, toasted, for good measure
Honey for drizzling over everything

Mix one cup of milk with the corn starch to make a slurry. Stir quickly until the cornstarch dissolves completely.

Heat the remaining 3 cups of milk, coconut cream (not coconut milk), vanilla extract, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Pour in the milk and corn starch mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Remove from stove and ladle pudding into 8 small ramekins. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

To serve, remove the plastic wrap and place a small serving plate on top of each ramekin, then holding each, quickly turn it over so the cold pudding comes out of the ramekin onto the plate with a little shake. Top each serving with a dusting of cinnamon, a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes, chopped crystalized ginger, chopped and toasted mac nuts, and finally a generous drizzling of honey. Serve with hot Fried Apple Banana Fritters to really take this dessert over the top (recipe above).

Makes 8 small servings or 4 larger servings as pictured above using larger ramekins.

Note: This tropical recipe is original and was inspired by the Middle Eastern dessert known as "Malabi". There are very few traditional Hawaiian desserts, however this is similar to "Haupia", which is served at many Hawaiian luau tables.

Jan 15, 2017

Light My Flame!

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Grapefruit Brûlée with Pomegranate Liqueur
I'm always looking for new ways to serve this beautiful citrus. In this simple recipe, brown sugar is caramelized (brûlée is French for burn, as in crème brûlée) into rounds of pink grapefruit slices, and then drizzled with a sweet pomegranate liqueur for an elegant, and tasty finish to almost any meal.

2 flame, pink or ruby-red grapefruit
6 tablespoons brown sugar
pomegranate liqueur, for drizzling on top (I use PAMA)

Position oven rack about 5 inches from broiler: preheat oven broiler on high. Cut the rind and pith off each grapefruit with a sharp knife. Cut each fruit into rounds, about 1/2 inch thick. Place rounds on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each round with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Broil under high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, watching as to brown but not burn sugar. Serve warm, topped with pomegranate liqueur or honey.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: I like to serve a little PAMA pomegranate liqueur on the side for sipping.

Jan 13, 2017


Hawaiian Papio
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The papio is the young fish of the trevally or jack family, and is a major local food fish in Hawaii. The young papio can grow up to over 100 pounds when fully mature and are then known as ulua. These fish are distributed throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region stretching from South Africa in the west to Hawaii in the east.

Ulua and Papio are known as popular gamefish which makes their population a concern especially in the Hawaiian waters. There is a limit to how many you can catch a day and they have set regulations on catch and release policy depending on their weight.

The smaller papio are sized better for home cooking or restaurants. The papio in the photo above weighed in at 5.29 pounds and I was lucky enough to buy it at Kualapu'u Market for $26. In Hawaii it's hard to find papio in grocery stores. Most papio are caught and consumed by the fisherman's family and friends. Once cooked, they are a prize item on my dinner table.

Here's how I cook it:

Steamed Hawaiian Papio In Ginger Sauce
Steamed Papio in foil
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5 pound papio
1/3 pound fresh ginger
fresh lime juice
8 cloves garlic
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions

Clean and filet the fish leaving the skin on. Cut fish into eight individual portions and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When ready to cook the fish, toast the sesame seeds in a dry, small skillet over medium heat until just toasted, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove seeds to a small bowl or plate. Lay portions of fish on individual pieces of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the fish leaving the top open.

Peel ginger and slice into very fine julienne strips and soak in lime juice. Peel and thinly slice garlic. Heat canola oil and sesame oil in the same small skillet and saute garlic until golden brown, then the ginger and lime juice. Add the toasted seeds to the ginger mixture. Stir in soy sauce & mix well.

Divide this wonderful sauce over the fish. Seal the foil around individual fish packets, crimping the edges to prevent steam from escaping. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400˚F preheated oven. The fish is done when the flesh flakes off at the thickest part. After 20 minutes, remove the fish to plates and serve the sauce, strained, over the fish with a sprinkling of sliced green onions. I like to serve this fish with white rice and a side salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: You can use almost any fish you like for this recipe. The ginger sauce is incredible!

Jan 12, 2017


What is SEXY food? It's kind of like asking what is sexy? Naturally it's a personal thing. SEXY food to this old chef, is food that is oozing with decadence, appetite and eye appeal, like smoked salmon served with scrambled eggs, or a plate of raw oysters with lilikoi mignonette, or Tobiko Deviled Eggs. Prime Rib seasoned with chopped fresh rosemary, served with baked potato slathered with melting butter, dollops of sour cream and sprinkled with crisp chopped chives. How about Honey Glazed Roast Duck served with wild rice and fresh asparagus spears wrapped in phyllo dough, brushed with butter and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, then baked until golden brown. 

And what about SEXY desserts... the list is endless! Something chocolate has to top the list. How about dark chocolate brownies... Hawaiian-style, or dark chocolate bread pudding, or chocolate flan. Another of my favorite desserts is Hawaiian star fruit in mango-orange coulis, or roasted mango with honey and lime, or zabaglione with fresh strawberries, or a pear galette.

Are you hungry yet? Check out these SEXY recipes and many more on this site, simply click on the caption under each photo or do a search or visit the Recipe Index:

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Tobiko Deviled Eggs
Honey Glazed Roast Duck

Roasted Bone Marrow
Dark Chocolate Brownies... Hawaiian-style

Pear Galette

Hawaiian Star Fruit in Mango-Orange Coulis

Jan 9, 2017

Seeds of Change in Hawaii

Hawaii is slowly changing, we are becoming more self-sufficient. People are starting to grow their own food again because of the high cost of shipping everything here. More and more people are going solar because of high energy cost. Hawaiian Electric states that Moloka'i will have 100% renewable energy by 2020, according to KGMB Hawaii New Now. That's only 3 years from now.

Tahitian Limes
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Hawaii has a great advantage because it is a perfect place to grow things. Our volcanic soil is naturally acidic. The year-round warm weather is also perfect for farmers, plus we have plenty of rain in many parts of the state. 

When I moved here 15 years ago I planted Tahitian limes, Eureka lemons, Meyer lemons, Flame grapefruit, star fruit, apple bananas, and surinam cherries on my little two thirds of an acre, also avocado trees, grown from seed, and various vegetables like sweet corn, tomatoes, Italian parsley, Tahitian taro, green onions, collard greens and lettuce just to mention a few. I'm now looking into growing strawberries because the island of Maui grows the tastiest strawberry I've ever had. I usually share what I have with my friends and neighbors, or sell what I grow to local grocery stores or at our Saturday Farmer's Market.

Avocados from my yard
As a chef I know the value of having fresh fruit and vegetables on hand in my kitchen. I also enjoy canning my own fruits and vegetables, it's fun and easy.

It pays to grow your own food because most of the grocery stores here on Molokai import most of their fresh produce at a high cost to consumer. Fortunately more and more Hawaiians are realizing how easy it is grow their own food, it's healthier, costs less, and seeds are easy to get either locally or online. Check out this website called homesteadmania.com which talks about being more self-sufficient.

With the seeds of change comes a healthier lifestyle for everyone, and a sense of pride that you grow your own food. Aloha!

Jan 8, 2017

Potluck Lunch!

Yesterday I played golf with my friends at Ironwood Golf Club. Every month we have a golf tournament. After we play 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
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

Eureka lemons from my yard.
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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 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 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!

Jan 1, 2017

New Year's Day Never Tasted So Good!

Honey Glazed Roast Duck
New Year's Day is time to cook something special around our house. This recipe always works because the richness of the duck makes it a good way to celebrate. I stuffed it with fresh orange quarters, celery, and a whole head of garlic. It kept the duck moist and flavorful. I served the duck with steamed broccoli with fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Also I cooked the duck giblets with brown rice and black eyed peas. For dessert we had orange sherbet. New Year's Day never tasted so good!

1 (5 to 6-pound*) duck (available at Misaki's grocery store here on Moloka'i)
2 cups boiling-hot water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 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

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 425˚F. Tuck wing tips under bird (see photo above). Remove excess fat from body cavity and neck, then rinse duck. Score skin with knife, in a criss-cross pattern, then prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Rub duck with salt, pepper and ground ginger. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, on a rack in a 13 x 9 x 3-inch roasting pan. Pour boiling water into pan. Roast duck, 40 minutes, then remove from oven. Turn duck over using 2 wooden spoons, and roast 40 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine and simmer glaze, stirring until it gets thick and syrupy. Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Glaze duck all over (top and bottom) and continue to roast duck until it is a beautiful mahogany color, about 20 minutes more (total roasting time: about 1 hour and 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180˚F). Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from cavity into pan. 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 4 servings.

*Note: Allow at least 1 pound of duck per person, as there is a rather large ratio of fat and bone to meat.