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.