Nov 29, 2018

Cookies To Remember

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The Emperor's Pillow
These crispy little banana-nut wonton cookies are a great way to impress your friends, and it's very easy. They are filled with a combination of bananas, macadamia nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkled with more brown sugar and cinnamon. I've tried baking these, but frying works better. Eat them while they are hot and crispy, Yum!

canola oil for frying
1 package of wonton wrappers (a 16 ounce package contains 50 wontons)
ripe bananas cut into thin slices (I use apple bananas here in Hawaii)
cinnamon and brown sugar, mixed

macadamia butter (recipe below)

Ingredients for macadamia butter:
1 cup crushed macadamia nuts, toasted a couple of minutes in a dry skillet
butter, softened
brown sugar

To make macadamia butter, simply place toasted macadamia nuts in a food processor with a little butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Process until they are finely chopped, but not too fine. To assemble, fill a small cereal bowl with water. Place one wonton on a plate. Place two thin slices of banana and about 1/2 teaspoon of macadamia-nut butter in the middle of the wonton. Dip your finger in the water and coat the outside edges of the wonton with a little water. Then pull two opposite corners together and squeeze the points of the wonton to seal. Repeat this step with the other two corners. Finally press together the edges to completely seal the pillow. Continue this process until you have as many pillows as you want. 

In a small pot or wok, heat about 1 1/2 inches of canola oil to 360˚F. Fry pillows, one at a time, until golden brown, turning often with a slotted spoon. It should be ready when it is a light golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place hot pillow on a paper towel lined plate and while still hot, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar. Make as many as you like, but remember to eat them while they are hot and crispy. 

Note: Leftover wontons can be easily cut into 1/4" ribbons with a sharp knife, then fried and sprinkled with a little salt. Put these over salads, like Oriental Chicken Salad, or you can sprinkle leftover cinnamon and brown sugar on the fried wonton ribbons and serve them for dessert over orange sherbet.

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

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

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

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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.

Nov 28, 2018

Savory, tender and affordable, Pork Rib Brisket

Oven-Roasted Rosemary Pork Rib Brisket
The difference between a pork rib brisket cut and spareribs is that it is located more toward the belly of the pig and has less bone-in and a little more fat. The pork rib brisket is savory, tender and affordable. Many chefs smoke pork rib brisket, but it can be braised and oven-roasted as well. I bought this 2 1/2 pound pork rib brisket at Friendly market here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i for $8.52, that's $2.13 per serving... how can you beat that?

2 1/2 pound pork rib brisket
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef stock, heated
4 cups water, heated

These ribs cook low and slow in a preheated 350˚F oven. Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and fresh rosemary. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a foil lined roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

At that point, add heated beef stock and enough hot water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower the oven temperature to 300˚F, and continue cooking for 3 hours more, uncovered, or until the pork brisket is fork-tender. At this point you will see that the brisket has lost a lot of its fat and gained a lot of flavor. The other good thing is that your kitchen will be filled with a wonderful aroma for 4 hours and people will start gathering around asking when's dinner?

Slice the rib brisket into individual servings. Serve with fresh corn on the cob and potato salad, or whatever you like (see recipe index).

Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you don't like rosemary or can't find it fresh, then serve with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Nov 25, 2018

Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

Hawaiian's generally do not use very many seasonings in their food. Sea salt is the primary seasoning, and I would say soy sauce would be second. However if you live in Hawaii you may have seen Hawaiian chili pepper water in stores, or at farmers' markets. 

On Moloka'i, chili pepper water is a common seasoning used for sprinkling on steak, pork, fish, laulau, even on eggs. At the heart of this hot sauce is the Hawaiian chili pepper (nioi), a small red or yellow pepper that has been in the Islands since around 1815, but is actually native to Mexico. These peppers will blow your head off if eaten alone. They are easy to grow and the plants are sometimes found at our Saturday morning farmers' market. If you like hot sauce, try and make this recipe yourself, it's very easy, but be sure you wash your hands after handling these peppers, you don't want to get the juice from them in your eyes.
Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
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Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
1 cup fresh red Hawaiian chili peppers, stems removed and halved
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, bruised
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut into thin strips (or crushed and left whole)
1 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cups hot water (not boiling)

Combine the ingredients in a clean and sterilized pint bottle or jar. Pour in about 2 cups of hot water and let the mixture steep at room temperature overnight, then refrigerate. It keeps indefinitely.

Makes 1 pint.

Nov 6, 2018

Thanksgiving Is Almost Here... Are You Ready?

Slow-Braised Turkey Legs
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I have written many Thanksgiving recipes but these are some of my favorites.

Turkey is such a delicious thing to eat, but unfortunately it seems that we always just serve it during the holidays. This is probably because a turkey with all of the trimmings takes all day to cook, and most people don't have that kind of time. However their is a solution, turkey legs. They are one of the best buys in the grocery store. Basically they are the drum bone and connected thigh, which are usually packaged frozen so you get two legs. This adds up to around 4 1/2 pounds of dark turkey meat and bone, which are the most moist and flavorful parts of the turkey. 

My favorite way to cook these sometimes tough legs is to slowly braise them in wine, with aromatic vegetables, the way you would any tough piece of meat. Once braised, the meat can easily be taken off the bone and used in many ways. Take a look at what you can do with the meat from slow-braised turkey legs:

Slow-Braised Turkey Legs
This is the base recipe for most of the recipes below. It is delicious served as is, or you can remove the meat from the bones and use it in a salads, pot pies, tacos, stews, soups, chili, stuffed in egg rolls or enchiladas, or for midnight snacks eaten over the sink. The turkey turns out moist, perfectly seasoned and falling off the bone.

2 frozen turkey legs, about 4 1/2 pounds, cut apart at the joint (they come 2 per package)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves, for garnish
4 sprigs fresh sage
4 fresh bay leaves
3 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Rinse turkey pieces and pat dry; season all over with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat and add olive oil. Add turkey pieces, skin side down, working in batches, if necessary. Cook, turning, until pieces are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon of rendered fat from pot.

Deglaze with white wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot and slightly reducing the wine. Lower heat to medium-high and add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to Dutch oven and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, sage, bay leaves, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add turkey leg pieces, skin side down; cover and transfer to a preheated 375˚F oven. Cook for 40 minutes. Uncover, turn turkey pieces, and continue cooking uncovered until they are tender, 45 to 50 minutes more.

At this point you can serve the turkey pieces as they are or remove the meat from the bone. Then transfer turkey leg pieces to a serving platter. Skim fat from top of braising liquid and discard; season braising liquid with salt and pepper if needed, and spoon over turkey. Garnished with chopped parsley and thyme. Serve with mashed potatoes, starfruit chutney, green beans and/or a side salad.

Makes 4 servings, or about 4 or 5 cups of meat without the bone.

Turkey Leg Pasta Salad
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
3 cups cooked turkey leg meat, cubed (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
3 cups cooked penne pasta
1 (16 ounce) jar pitted kalamata olives, drained, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 (5 ounce) package spring lettuce mix
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano until well blended; set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in large salad bowl. Gently toss with dressing. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

Turkey Leg Asian Salad
Ingredients for turkey:
2 turkey legs cooked, meat removed from the bone and shredded into 2 inch pieces, enough to make 4 cups (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)

Ingredients for wontons:
2 cups vegetable oil
10 wonton wrappers, cut into ½-inch-wide strips

Ingredients for salad dressing:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for salad:
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see note below)
One 1-pound head romaine, torn into 1-inch pieces
3 cups watercress leaves, thick stems removed
1/2 head Napa cabbage (8 ounces), shredded
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips

Procedure for wontons:
In a heavy, medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375˚F. Add the wontons and fry until golden, 30 to 45 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Procedure for dressing:
In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and ginger until honey is dissolved. Whisking constantly, add oils in a slow stream until completely incorporated. Taste and adjust flavor, as desired. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Procedure for salad:
In the same bowl, toss together the almonds, romaine, watercress leaves, Napa cabbage, scallions and bell pepper. Add the shredded turkey and toss until coated. Garnish with the fried wontons and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: To toast the almonds, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350˚F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Turkey Leg Pot Pie
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked turkey leg meat (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
4 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat an oven to 425˚F.

Place the peas and carrots, green beans, and celery into a saucepan; cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer over medium-low heat until the celery is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander set in the sink, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup of flour, salt, black pepper, celery seed, onion powder, and Italian seasoning; slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens. Remove from heat; stir the cooked vegetables and turkey meat into the filling until well combined.

Fit 2 pie crusts into the bottom of 2 9-inch pie dishes. Spoon half the filling into each pie crust, then top each pie with another crust. Pinch and roll the top and bottom crusts together at the edge of each pie to seal, and cut several small slits into the top of the pies with a sharp knife to release steam.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crusts are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. If the crusts are browning too quickly, cover the pies with aluminum foil after about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2, 9-inch pot pies.

Turkey Leg Shepard's Pie
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely crushed herb-seasoned dry bread stuffing mix
1 cup cooked, diced turkey leg meat (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups mashed potatoes (I use Yukon Gold potatoes)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in the flour. Slowly stir in evaporated milk and water, then season with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir sauce over low heat for 5 minutes.

In a separate saucepan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Blend in the dry stuffing mix. Place the turkey in the prepared baking dish. Pour the sauce over turkey, then sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Spread mashed potatoes over cheese. Top mashed potatoes with the stuffing mixture.

Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven.

Makes 6-8 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Easy Turkey Leg Enchiladas
2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey cheese blend
1 onion, chopped
1 (2 ounce) can sliced black olives
24 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 (19 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
4 cups cooked turkey legs, chopped (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
Refried beans
Sour cream
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the cheese, onion, and black olives.

In a small skillet, heat enough oil to lightly coat one tortilla, and cook until soft. Remove and dip in enchilada sauce to coat.

Add turkey and cheese mixture to center of tortilla, roll and place in the prepared dish. Repeat until bottom layer of pan is covered with enchiladas. Spread enough sauce over bottom layer to cover.

Repeat process with a second layer; spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is melted. Serve topped with sour cream and refried beans on the side (see recipe).

Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Leg Chili
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 pound cooked and chopped turkey leg meat (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
2 cups chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and stir in chopped onion. Cook and stir until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the turkey leg meat, chicken broth, tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, refried beans, garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle each bowl with a teaspoon of Cheddar cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Roll-ups
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked turkey leg, chopped (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
2 bunches Swiss chard, or large curly kale, trimmed

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, garlic, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and parsley. Stir in brown and wild rice and turkey. Set filling aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. If any Swiss chard leaves are longer than 12 inches, cut them in half crosswise. Flatten out any large stalks with a fork to allow for even blanching and easier rolling. Immerse 4 to 6 leaves at a time in boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet as done and allow leaves to drain and cool slightly. 

Arrange 1 leaf on a work surface, smooth side down. Place 3 to 4 tablespoons filling in the center then roll up, starting with the large end of the leaf and folding it over the filling to roll up like a burrito. Repeat process with remaining leaves and filling, placing rolls seam side down in a steamer basket. Steam for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the rolls reaches 160°F. Transfer to plates and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Turkey Leg Rice
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 pound cooked turkey leg meat, cut into 1 inch cubes (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, drained

In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute bell pepper, celery and onion until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add turkey leg meat, stewed tomatoes, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until hot. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 6 servings.

Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Leg with Squash Stew
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 leeks, trimmed, chopped and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 cups shredded turkey leg meat (see recipe for Slow-Braised Turkey Legs above)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth, squash, thyme and cumin; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add turkey and corn; return to a simmer and cook until the turkey and corn are just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add lime juice and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Leg Barley Soup
Turkey stock ingredients:
5 quarts water, or as needed
2 turkey legs (drum bones & thighs cut apart)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
3 stalks celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
10 whole black peppercorns
1 pinch dried thyme, or to taste
1 bay leaf

Turkey leg soup ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 onions, diced
6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup barley
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch dried thyme
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite-size pieces

Bring water and turkey leg parts to a boil in a large pot; add 1 1/2 cup chopped onion, 3 stalks celery, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, peppercorns, 1 pinch thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Simmer, skimming excess fat and foam from top of stock as needed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add more water to stock as it evaporates. Remove turkey leg parts from stock and cool. Pull meat from bones and shred; refrigerate until needed. Strain stock and return liquid to pot.

Mix 1 1/2 pounds carrots, 2 onions, 6 stalks celery, barley, mushrooms, 2 bay leaves, salt, marjoram, black pepper, and 1 pinch thyme into turkey stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, then add potatoes and simmer for 45 minutes more. Add turkey meat to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Note: For lots more Thanksgiving recipes, type in "Thanksgiving" into the "Search" box above.

Oct 6, 2018

The Beauty of Swiss Chard

Rhubarb Swiss Chard from Kumu Farms here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i.
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The beauty of Swiss Chard is that it's easy to make as a side dish, delicious, and is very good for you. Swiss Chard, like spinach, is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. 

Swiss chard isn't actually native to Switzerland. A Swiss botanist named Koch determined the plant's scientific name in the 19th century, and since then, the vegetable's name has honored his homeland. Chard really originated further south, in the Mediterranean region. Aristotle wrote about it in the 4th century BC, and the ancient Greeks and Romans valued chard for its medicinal properties.

The variety of Swiss Chard shown above is called Rhubarb Swiss Chard because of its vibrant red stalks. There are other varieties of Swiss Chard, and they pretty much all taste the same. 

Whatever, all I know is that it gives us all another beautiful vegetable to enjoy with family and friends.

SIMPLE – Swiss Chard
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 bunch of Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or other hot sauce (optional)
1 cup low salt beef stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

Remove the skin from the onion and slice thinly. Wash and clean the chard leaves trimming the bottom of the stems. Slice the stems into-inch pieces. Roll the leaves into a cigar-like shape and slice across horizontally into one-inch wide strips.

Heat butter and olive oil in a wok or large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and pepper, sauté for another minute.

Add the stock and chard stems and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until tender. Add the chard leaves and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The chard leaves will wilt down.

Now add a little soy sauce or salt to taste.

Makes 4 small servings.

Note: Refrigerate Chard, wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days. I like to serve chard with ham, roast chicken or pork, or toss steamed chard with pasta, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. You can also sprinkle cooked chard with crumbled bacon or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Swiss Chard with Pumpkin Seeds 
and Golden Raisins
2 pounds swiss chard, stem ends trimmed
1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place the chard on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut out the colorful stems from the leaves. Slice the stems crosswise into ¼-inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Working in batches, stack the greens, roll them into a thick cigar shape and slice them crosswise into ¼-inch-wide ribbons.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until fragrant, toasty-brown, and plump, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until they're starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring often, until they begin to wilt, about 4 minutes longer. Stir in the raisins and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and turn the greens out onto a serving platter. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sep 29, 2018

A Basket Full Of Love

I love mushrooms, but did you know that they are very good for you. They are one of the only veggie foods to contain vitamin D, mushrooms are a great way to boost your daily requirements of this vital compound. They’re also packed with other goodies too, such as selenium, copper, iron, potassium, niacin, and vitamin C, to name but a few.

They’re also a decent way to get a little more calcium into your diet as well. This works symbiotically with the aforementioned vitamin D, as it helps your body absorb calcium. Furthermore, mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and are considered to have a greater capacity than many veggies, making them brilliant immune system boosters. So, you really should be eating more mushrooms.

Here is a great recipe for...

DILLicious Cream of Mushroom Soup
This is an easy soup to prepare. It is thick and rich, with wonderful undertones of dill.

DILLicious Cream of Mushroom Soup
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3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried dill, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
fresh dill leaves for garnish

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and it has evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.

Mix in the flour and paprika and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, dill, tamari or soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper, then mix in the lemon or lime juice. Remove from heat and serve with a teaspoon of sour cream, garnished with fresh dill leaves. Serve with crackers or hot crusty bread.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you don't have chicken broth on hand, use a 10 3/4 ounce can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup mixed with 3 cups of water.

Sep 28, 2018

Red & Yellow Bell Peppers

Pineapple Mango Pepper Salsa

This salsa goes really well on grilled fish and shrimp, in tacos, and used on chicken and pork chops. Mango and papaya go well together with the pineapple, so feel free to use papaya instead, using the same amount and technique as for the mango. It also is very good with diced avocado mixed in and eaten with chips. 

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 large red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons brown or white sugar
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 8-ounce can of pineapple chunks in juice or light syrup, chopped*
1/2 inch cube of peeled ginger, finely minced
1 small pinch of cinnamon
1/2 red bell pepper-cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 yellow bell pepper-cut into ¼ to 1/2 inch squares
1 medium jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and de-ribbed, finely diced
1/2 firm but ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons cilantro or mint, (or a combination of both)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook to soften, avoiding browning.

Add the sugar to the pan and stir. Now add the vinegar to the pan and stir to mix well. Add the pineapple and the liquid it came with to the pot, and bring to a boil.

Cook to reduce the liquid to an almost syrupy consistency.

Add the ginger and cinnamon and cook to soften the ginger.

Taste for balance and adjust as needed. It should be a balance of tart and sweet. Use vinegar or sugar to balance.

Add the chilis and bells and mix well.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. When cool, carefully fold in the mango and chill. Add pepper to your liking.

Carefully fold in the leaves of some cilantro, or some finely shredded mint, or a combination of both.

*The reason I use canned pineapple instead of fresh is that fresh, uncooked pineapple contains an enzyme that will break down proteins. These enzymes, along with those found in papaya, are those used most in commercial powdered “meat tenderizers.” Bromelain and papain are the names of the active ingredients in the powders. The other reason I go with canned? It’s easier.

Makes 2 cups.

Sep 8, 2018

The Secret To A Perfect Apple Pie

I love apple pie, and so do Hawaiians. The secret is to use an apple that is tart and crisp after cooking, like Pippin or Granny Smith, the others seem to get mushy. When I am in a hurry I use pre-made refrigerated pie crust, like Pillsbury brand.

Easy Apple Pie

Crust Ingredients:
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on the box, or make the crust from scratch.

Filling Ingredients:
5 cups sliced, peeled Pippen or Granny Smith apples (5 medium)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (1 large lemon)
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

In a large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute, or press with a fork like I did in the photo above. Cut slits or shapes in several places in brush crust an egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving. 

Makes 6 delicious servings, that is if you want to share. When people say “you can’t possibly eat all that apple pie by yourself” I say "watch me".

Note: I usually squeeze a lemon over the apple slices as I cut them to keep the apples from turning brown. Also I like to brush the top of the pie crust with egg white before sprinkling the crust with sugar. It helps the sugar stick and makes the pie look delicious.

Aug 18, 2018

Kale... Superfood That Tastes Good!

Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale grown at Kumu Farms here on Molokai. They also have curly kale.
Click on photo to view larger

I have a love affair with kale. The most common variety of kale is curly kale. It gets its name from its curly leaves. Curly kale seems to cook a little faster than dinosaur kale (shown above) and is a little less bitter. There is another variety which is called red Russian kale. The stalks of this variety are slightly purple and the leaves have a reddish tinge. The stalks are very fibrous and are not usually eaten as they can be rather difficult to chew and swallow. The leaves of red Russian kale are sweeter and more delicate than other types, with a hint of pepper and lemon, almost like sorrel. They are ideal for salads, sandwiches, juices, and as a garnish.

Kale has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any vegetable, and until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates. Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems.

Serving suggestions:

Kale can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps, steamed, braised, boiled, sautéed or added to soups and casseroles.

In salads: When using kale raw in salads, massage the leaves by scrunching them briefly in the hands. This begins the breakdown of the cellulose in the leaves and helps release the nutrients for easier absorption.

As a side dish: Sauté fresh garlic and onions in extra-virgin olive oil until soft. Add kale and continue to sauté until desired tenderness. Alternatively, steam for 5 minutes, then drain and stir in a dash of soy sauce and tahini.

Kale chips: Remove the ribs from the kale and toss in extra-virgin olive oil or lightly spray and sprinkle with a combination of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, roasted red pepper flakes or garlic powder. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 30 minutes to desired crispness.

Smoothies: In a food processor or a high-speed blender, add a handful of kale to your favorite smoothie. It will add nutrients without changing the flavor very much.

Risks of eating Kale:

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause an increase in potassium levels in the blood. High potassium foods, such as bananas and cooked kale, should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If the kidneys cannot remove excess potassium from the blood, consuming additional potassium could be fatal.

A cup of kale provides 1,062.1 mcg of vitamin K. This could interfere with the activity of blood thinners such as warfarin, or Coumadin. Patients who are taking these medications should speak to their doctor about foods to avoid.

Ham & Eggs with Kale
The combination of ham, eggs, and kale makes this recipe something special. 
It is ideal for breakfast, but I enjoy this recipe anytime of day.

Usually available at Friendly Market
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of ham steak, diced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh curly kale, stems removed 
   and thinly sliced
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until the onions are translucent. Now add the diced ham and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute.

Now add the thinly sliced kale to the pan and toss with the onions and olive oil. Cook for a few minutes, until the kale is just wilted.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the beaten eggs to the pan. Stir until the eggs begin to set. Then stir in the grated cheddar cheese and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat and continue to stir a few times until the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings.

Oyster Sauce
Click on photo to view larger
Curly Kale with Oyster Sauce
This is a very easy side dish that goes well with pork, chicken or beef.

tablespoon canola oil
1-2 large garlic clove, sliced
7 ounces curly kale, rinsed with stems removed
3 fluid ounces boiling water
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Now add the kale and toss around the pan to coat in the garlicky oil. Pour over boiling water and cook for 7 minutes more until the kale has just wilted and is cooked through. Stir in the soy and oyster sauces and heat and serve.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Sesame Kale
Another delicious side dish using kale with sesame oil and seeds.

Kadoya Brand
sesame oil

1 1/2 pounds curly kale
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash the kale, but let the water cling to it. Cut off and discard the tough stems. Slice the leaves once down the middle, then cut them crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. In a wok, heat the oil. Add the garlic. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the kale with broth. Cover and steam for 3 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the soy sauce. Top the kale with sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

Makes 6, 1/2 cup servings.

Gingered Pork Tenderloin 
with Cremini Mushrooms, Garlic & Kale
Company food, or treat your family to this delicious meal for four.

Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Stir-fry Ingredients:
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces cremini mushrooms (baby portobello mushrooms), halved
3 cups chopped curly kale

Ingredients for Service:
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
Cook enough Jasmine rice for 4

In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, then add the sliced pork tenderloin, stir to cover in marinade and let sit covered in the refrigerated for at least 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Remove the pork slices from the marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade, and add the pork to wok with the garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes until the meat is browned, stirring often (don't burn the garlic). Remove the pork and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Then add in the mushrooms, kale, and reserved marinade, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the kale is wilted, the sauce has thickened and com to a boil, and the mushrooms have cooked, stirring regularly so that the sauce does not burn. Add the pork and toss to combine.

Serve immediately over cooked Jasmine rice, garnished with chopped green onions.

Makes 4 servings.

Aug 5, 2018

Easy Hawaiian Cooking Without Breaking The Bank

If you live in Hawaii then you know that it has the highest cost of living of any state in the union. People work hard to make ends meet, and having a large family makes life in Hawaii even harder. Top that with the fact that more and more people don't have the time or desire to cook for their families. This all may lead to meals that are not beneficial to your families health.

Hawaii is a state with a diverse ethnic groups, Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese, Portuguese, etc., most of whom came to Hawaii to improve their lives. They brought their ethnic recipes with them, some good for you and some not so good. So this is a collection of easy recipes to help all of you busy people enjoy cooking without breaking the bank.

Poi... For Hawaiian Baby Food
Wet-land taro field on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i.
The other day I was sitting in my dentist waiting room. A Hawaiian couple was sitting across from me holding a young baby that looked very healthy. I introduced myself and asked her what she fed him and her husband said poi mixed with sweet potato.

Poi is the pounded root of taro, a sacred plant in Hawaii. The root is high in calories, very easily digestible, an excellent source of calcium and iron, and — that critical factor for infants — hypoallergenic. It turns out that many children in Hawaii are raised on poi and the National Institute of Health has recognized that it just might be the perfect baby food.

Taro, when cooked, takes on the flavor of what it is cooked with, like cooked sweet potatoes. The use of poi as baby food continues to be a popular practice in the islands, and local wisdom has it that "a chubby baby is a poi baby." Check out this website:

Potato-Mac Salad with Surimi and Green Peas
There are many variations to this classic Hawaiian 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.

Coleslaw with Lemon Dressing
This is a very easy salad to make and works as either a main course or a side salad.

Click on photo to view larger
Ingredients for Coleslaw:
2 cups finely sliced purple cabbage
2 cups finely sliced napa 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 napa 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 broiled chicken, or barbecued pork ribs... yumm!

Opo Squash Soup  (Tabungao)
Opo - Long Squash
Click on photos to view larger
Opo is a long pale green squash that is grown around the world, and locally grown here on Molokai. When peeled and the seeds removed, it makes a delicious soup. This Filipino recipe is one of the most popular recipes on Other nationalities also enjoy soups with opo, adding fish, or shrimp instead of pork or chicken, and the addition of lemon grass, sesame oil, and local spices for seasoning.

Opo Squash Soup

1/4 cup canola oil for frying
1 1/2 pounds fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or pork, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 whole bay leaf, ripped in half
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
6 roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled,
and minced fine
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 cups cold water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or patis)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1- 2 pound small opo (long squash), peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise, then cut into 1/4" slices (4 cups of cut squash)
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat a 6 quart pot or wok with cover. Add canola oil and heat until almost smoking. Add pork or chicken and stir fry. Brown and cook until medium well done, about 10 minutes on high heat. Season with salt, pepper, and bay leaf while frying. Add onions, tomato, and garlic. Continue to stir fry until vegetables are translucent and wilted. Add additional oil if needed. Add 4 cups of water to pot, cover and bring meat to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer until meat is tender, about 20 minutes. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and white vinegar to soup. Add squash to pot and cover. Simmer until squash is soft, about 20 minutes more. Add more pepper and fish sauce to adjust to your taste. Serve with white rice on the side or in the soup.

Makes 4-6 servings depending on whether you serve it as a first course or main course.

Note: I usually use chicken, dark meat, 2 wings, 2 drum bones, and 2 thighs. Leave the bones in the wok until stock is cooked, then remove the meat and bones, cut the meat into bite sized pieces and discard the bones, return chicken meat to stock, add the squash, fish sauce, soy sauce and cook for 20 minutes and serve with rice. The bones add flavor.

Portuguese Bean Soup
This is a delicious hearty rustic soup/stew, the way the Portuguese would have made it.

Portuguese Bean Soup
Click on photo to see larger image

2 ham hocks
1 10-ounce mild Portuguese sausage, thickly sliced
1 chorizo sausage, peeled and broken into pieces
1 medium onion, minced
2 quarts water (8 cups)
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 celery rib, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes, broken with your hands
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 to 4 cups cabbage, roughly cut
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place ham hock, sausages, onion, and water into a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour, covered. Take ham hocks out and remove the meat, roughly chop, and return to soup, discard bones. Stir in potatoes, celery, carrots, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic and vinegar. Cover, and continue simmering for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in cabbage and kidney beans, cook until the cabbage has softened, about 10 minutes. Taste, then add salt and pepper and more water if needed. Serve with a garden salad and fried bread (recipes below).

Makes about 10 servings.

Note: The photo above shows macaroni in the soup, many Portuguese soup recipes have macaroni in them. I decided to take it out of the recipe because it gets mushy, and I can't believe that the Azoreans used pasta in their soup anyway. If you still want to use it, use 2/3 of a cup of uncooked macaroni and put it in the soup with the potatoes.

Left Over Corned Beef Hash
I love corned beef and cabbage, but there are always leftovers. Not a problem in my house, I make corn beef hash with eggs for breakfast. All you need is a big skillet, in my case, a 10" cast iron skillet, but any skillet will do. Here's the simple recipe:

Canola oil for frying
half an onion, chopped
2 small potatoes, skins on and chopped
left over corned beef, chopped into bite-size chunks (about a cup and a half)
1 small red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
2 large eggs

Put about 2 tablespoons of canola oil into a hot skillet. Add the chopped onions and potatoes. After a few minutes of frying, reduce heat to medium and add 1/4 cup of water and cover with a lid. Let steam 3 or 4 minutes then remove lid and add the corned beef and red bell pepper. Continue cooking on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Make a hole in the middle of the skillet. Add a tablespoon of butter. When melted, crack two eggs in the center. Return the lid to the skillet, which will help cook the eggs a little without having to flip them. As soon as the eggs are done to your liking, serve with buttered toast and jam, with sliced fresh mango on the side.

Makes 2 servings.

Kabocha Squash Rice with Edamame
Japanese Kabocha Squash
Click on photos to view larger
Portuguese sailors introduced the kabocha squash to Japan in 1541, bringing it with them from Cambodia. Today it is eaten all over the world, and is very common here in Hawaii. The sweet squash flavors the rice, and the edamame (soy beans) not only tastes wonderful, but add a nice contrast to the dish. Serve with chicken, pork, or fish.

Japanese Kabocha Squash Rice with Edamame
1 1/2 cups short grain rice
3 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sake (Japanese rice wine)
2 1/2 cups kabocha squash (peel and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 1/2 cups cooked & shelled edamame (soy beans)
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

Put rice in a bowl. Wash and pour water out, then repeat 2 more times (this gets rid of some of the milky white starch on the rice which makes it sticky). Place rice and 3 cups of water in a heavy medium sized pot. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel and cut the squash (I like to use a serrated bread knife because the tough to peel, so be careful). Set the squash aside. Just before cooking the rice, add salt and sake to the water and stir. Then add the cut kabocha squash to the rice and bring everything to a boil on high heat without a lid. When it reaches the rapid boil, put the lid on and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand for 10 minutes (don't open the lid.) Fluff the rice, and cooked squash, with a spatula (the squash will be so soft that it will be mashed a little bit with the rice.) Serve and garnish with the cooked edamame, or perhaps pumpkin seeds, or both.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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 cut into small bite-size florets
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.

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!

Click on photos to view larger

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.

Jul 14, 2018

Fresh Asparagus From Moloka'i, Hawaii

Asparagus grows really well here in Hawaii, especially on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Hawaiian asparagus farmers harvest nearly any time of the year with proper timing and forethought. As a matter of fact, there was a time (between 1937 and 1939) when asparagus was exported from Hawaii to Mainland markets.

A friend and local farmer, Chris Hammond, started a large crop of asparagus here on Moloka'i. A few years later, plus a lot of hard work, he is selling his crop at the Moloka'i Saturday Farmers Market. People here have discovered him and his fresh green and purple asparagus. He usually sells out everything in his large cooler within a couple of hours. Naturally I am one of his loyal customers. There's a big difference between store bought and fresh local asparagus.

As a green vegetable, asparagus is actually quite high in protein (3 grams in 1 cup of raw asparagus). It has quite a few vitamins and minerals and is very low in fat. Of course, if you add a lot of high-fat sauces or use butter as a dip, an asparagus side dish may not be a diet dish. But eaten steamed with a little vinegar or lemon juice sprinkled on, it makes a tasty, low-fat, nutritious addition to any meal.

Here are a few asparagus recipes for you to try:

Click on photo to view larger

Phyllo Asparagus Blankets
Simply wrap cooked asparagus in a blanket of phyllo dough and bake. Very tasty, and they make a wonderful presentation.
Sheets of thin Phyllo Dough from Friendly Market
Click on photo to view larger

8 asparagus spears
8 phyllo dough sheets, thawed
   (available at Friendly Market)
1/2 cup butter, melted (or use olive oil)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Special equipment
basting brush
parchment paper
baking sheet

Pre-heat oven to 350˚F. Snap off the tough end of one of the asparagus spears, then cut the rest of the asparagus the same length. Heat a large sauté pan filled with 1/2 inch of water to boiling. Add a generous pinch of salt. Boil for a couple of minutes until the asparagus is almost tender but not cooked all the way. Drain and pat dry. Cool.

Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half if the sheets are big. What you want is for one side of the phyllo sheet to be the same length as the asparagus spears.

Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter (or olive oil). Sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan cheese, a tiny bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fold the buttered sheet of phyllo corner to corner in half making a triangle. Place one asparagus spear on the straight edge across from the point. The dough should be the same length as the asparagus. Simply roll the asparagus up towards the point of the phyllo dough. It sort of shows you the distinct layers of the phyllo dough.

Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter (or olive oil). Repeat until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place the phyllo wrapped asparagus spears on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Do check on them, as you don't want them to burn. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan cheese when they come out of the oven.

Makes 2 servings.

Click on photo to view larger

Sesame Asparagus with Bean Thread Noodles
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1 1/2 inch pieces
4 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
a few drops chili oil (to taste)
3 2-ounce packages of bean thread noodles (rice noodles, I use Mum's brand)
3 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch (quickly cook) the asparagus until just tender (it should still have a snap), about 90 seconds. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon and quickly plunge them into a large bowl of ice water. Let cool for a few minutes, then drain and transfer onto paper towels to dry. Using the water you used to cook the asparagus, bring back to a boil then add bean thread noodles. Cook for 2 minutes (do not overcook). Drain noodles, then chop into 2" chunks and set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and chili oil. Add asparagus and gently toss to coat. Divide noodles among 8 small bowls. Place coated asparagus on top of noodles. Pour sauce from asparagus bowl on top of each serving. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 appetizer servings.

Salmon with Roasted Asparagus 
and Lemon-Caper Sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2-pound skinless salmon fillet (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk first 6 sauce ingredients in small bowl to blend, set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut three 1/2-inch-deep slits crosswise in top of salmon (as if dividing into 4 equal pieces but do not cut through).

Arrange asparagus in even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place salmon atop asparagus; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until salmon is just opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

Transfer asparagus and salmon to platter. Spoon sauce over salmon. Cut into 4 pieces along slits and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Asparagus-Hominy Stew with Chicken
This is a very simple meal made with fresh asparagus, gold hominy, and leftover chicken.

Click on photo to view larger

1 pound fresh asparagus
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chicken flavored bouillon
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 pieces of pre-cooked leftover chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 15 ounce can Gold Hominy, drained
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Wash asparagus and trim the tough ends. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces, leaving about 3-inch of the top, set tops aside.

In a wok, add water, soy sauce, bouillon, sesame oil, and garlic. Now add the chicken pieces, and drained gold hominy, Bring to a simmer and then add the cut asparagus stalks. Simmer for about 5 minutes, not covered.

Put the corn starch in a small ramekin with 2 tablespoons of water, stirring to combine. Add this thickening mixture to the sauce in the wok and gently stir to combine.

Now add the tender asparagus tops and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste. Serve and garnish the top of each serving with toasted sesame seeds.

Makes 2 large servings.

Note: If you don't have any leftover chicken, then cook some uncooked seasoned chicken in the wok with a little canola oil, then remove bones and cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

It's important not to overcook the asparagus, nobody likes soggy asparagus. It should be slightly crisp.

To toast the sesame seeds, put them in a dry frypan over medium heat and toast them making sure not to burn them. It only takes a couple of minutes and the seeds have a lot more flavor. 

Asparagus Fries with Roasted Pepper-Chive 
Aioli Dipping Sauce
A great alternative to regular French fries, crispy and good for you.

1 pound of fresh asparagus, rinsed, woody ends trimmed
1/2 cup of flour
3/4 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten

Ingredients for Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup canned roasted red bell peppers drained and minced 
    (or broil a fresh red bell pepper until black then remove skin, seeds, then mince)
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Prepare the dipping sauce in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, set aside.

Combine the flour, Panko, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Place a casserole dish, long enough to fit the asparagus, in front of you on the kitchen counter. Add the beaten eggs to the dish.

Now put all of the fresh asparagus spears in with the beaten egg and turn to coat each with the egg.

Now sprinkle the Panko mixture over the egg coated asparagus, turning to coat evenly.

Place coated asparagus spears in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place in heated oven and cook until asparagus is tender and crispy. Turn the asparagus once as it cooks to ensure browning on all sides. This should take about 8 to 12 minutes. 

Divide dipping sauce into 4 ramekins and serve with the asparagus fries.

Note: Asparagus is best served immediately after removing from oven. 

Makes 4 servings.

Bacon Lovers Asparagus-egg Salad
with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Ingredients for salad:
4 large hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 pound fresh asparagus
4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
4 tablespoons of capers
12 lettuce cups (use the outer leaves of leaf lettuce, or butter lettuce as a container for the salad)

Ingredients for honey mustard vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/8 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cover eggs with cold water in a small pot. Bring to a gentle boil. When you reach a boil, turn off heat and cover pot for 15 minutes. Remove eggs and run under cold water to stop cooking. Gently crack and peel the eggs under a trickle of running water. Set peeled eggs aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the salads.

Steam asparagus in a wok, with a steamer rack, for 5 for 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. You want the asparagus to be tender yet firm, not mushy. Drain and run under cold water to stop it from cooking further. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Cook bacon until crisp, then crumble the bacon and set aside.

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients. Taste the dressing in case you want to add more honey, mustard, or salt to your taste.

Put one cold lettuce cups on each of 4 plates. Cut cold asparagus into bite-sized pieces and arrange in each lettuce cup. Top asparagus with sliced egg, crumbled bacon, capers and drizzle each salad with 2 tablespoons of honey mustard vinaigrette.

Makes 4 servings.