Apr 22, 2019

A Lite Summer Lunch

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It's not an exaggeration to say that for much of the year, fresh tomatoes aren't even worth buying. Out of season, almost all fresh tomatoes are bland, mealy, and watery. But come summer, it's a completely different story. You can find beautiful ripe, flavorful tomatoes at farmers markets everywhere you go, even here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i. Here's a lite summer lunch for you to try:

Baked Tomato Bagel Pizzas
1 large whole tomato, sliced into four 1/4 inch slices
fresh garlic, salt and pepper to taste
2 large bagels or English muffins, sliced in half (available at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i)
olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup grated Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese, or to taste
a handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (available at Kumu Farms)

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place four bagel halves on the foil lined baking sheet. Top each bagel half with a drizzle of olive oil, and a 1/4 inch thick slice of tomato. Season the tomatoes with a little garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Top each tomato with grated cheese, and fresh chopped basil. Bake until tomato slices are tender and cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with a little more fresh basil and serve immediately with iced tea or lemonade.

Makes 2 servings

Apr 21, 2019

Herb Crusted Tri-Tip Roast Beef

I have cooked this delicious tri-tip roast many times, and it turns out great every time. I have tried other cuts of beef but keep coming back to Tri-Tip because of its rich beef flavor, tender texture, as well as the cheaper price tag than similar steak cuts.

Tri-tip roast from Friendly Market on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i.
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1 tri-tip roast, about 2 1/2 pounds, 
trimmed of all fat

Ingredients for marinade:
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground 
   black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock, heated

The first step is to trim off all of the fat from the meat. You will probably notice a large slab of fat on the bottom of the trip-tip. Take a small sharp knife and slowly remove and discard all of the fat. I weighed the fat that I removed from the meat pictured above and it weighed 3/4 of a pound.

The key to creating a perfectly tender and flavorful try-tip roast is to give the meat time to marinate, allowing the muscle to soften and the flavors to seep in. Start by rubbing the Italian seasoning and garlic powder mixture into the meat. Then coat the meat with olive oil. Place the meat into a Ziplock bag. Allow the spiced meat to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of a few hours, or better yet, overnight, turning the bag a couple of times. The longer you give the roast to soak up the spices and oil, the deeper the final flavor will be. 

When ready to cook, sprinkle the roast with the sea salt, leaving all of the herbs on to the meat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet, I use my large iron skillet. When hot, add the meat and brown over high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Now transfer the skillet to a preheated 425˚F oven and cook the roast for 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare, until the internal temperature has reached 140˚F for medium rare. Add the heated stock to the skillet and let rest, covered with foil on your stovetop for 10 minutes before carving. I like to cut Tri-Tip fairly thin across the grain because sometimes it can be a little tough. After carving the roast, add any of its juices to the hot stock. Serve with the natural meat cooking juices and mashed potatoes with tuscan kale and a nice bottle of red wine.

Makes 4 servings.

Apr 15, 2019

Fresh Local Asparagus Wrapped In Phyllo Dough

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Phyllo Asparagus Blankets
Simply wrap asparagus in a little blanket of phyllo dough, brush with butter, sprinkle with cheese and bake. The thin phyllo dough gets crisp around the asparagus, and the flavor combination is fantastic. Also they make a wonderful presentation.

Fresh local asparagus from the Molokai Farmers Market
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.
Sheets of thin Phyllo Dough from Friendly Market

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.

Apr 10, 2019

Rosemary Pork Ribs

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My favorite way to cook St. Louis cut pork ribs is to cover them with chopped FRESH rosemary. Rosemary is a popular herb here on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, mostly used for cooking venison, which is abundant here. Not being a hunter, I find that rosemary really works well with pork.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ribs apart with a sharp knife, then line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place ribs, bone side down; meat side up on the foil, so the fat melts over the meat and the flavor of the rosemary enters the meat. Sprinkle the ribs with powdered garlic, salt and pepper, and chopped rosemary. Bake ribs for 1 hour.

I like to serve the ribs with baked sweet potatoes (skin on), that have been baked in the same oven, at the same temperature, for one hour. I also like to make a nice Asian Coleslaw. Enjoy!