Dec 30, 2019


I have eaten fried calamari in many Italian restaurants. Calamari steaks on the other hand come from giant squid usually found in the cold waters around the world near continental and island slopes from the North Atlantic Ocean, especially Newfoundland, Norway, the northern British Isles, Spain and the oceanic islands of the Azores and Madeira, to the South Atlantic around southern Africa, the North Pacific around Japan, and the southwestern Pacific around New Zealand and Australia. Specimens are rare in tropical and polar latitudes.

I first had calamari steak "strips" on the Hawaiian Island of Maui while sitting at a golf club bar in Kahului. They were served as an appetizer with drinks, and are delicious served as a first course or a lite meal.  If you live on Molokai, you can usually find these steaks at Friendly Market (see photo below). 

Here's my recipe, I think you will like it:

Calamari Steaks Cut Into Strips And Pan Fried

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Ingredients for fried calamari steak cut into sticks:
4 calamari steaks that were already tenderized
Package of two frozen calamari steaks
from Friendly Market on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i

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1/3 cup of canola oil for frying in a large skillet
2 eggs beaten in a small bowl
3/4 cup of cornmeal
salt and pepper for seasoning

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 lime or lemon
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
hot sauce to taste

Place oil in a large skillet. Place each calamari steak on a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. You will get 5 strips per steak depending on the size of the calamari steaks. Season the sticks with a little salt and pepper to taste. Beat eggs in a medium size bowl and place the calamari steak sticks into the eggs to coat them. Now put the cornmeal on a large bowl and coat the calamari sticks with the cornmeal. Fry the coated sticks in the skillet over medium high heat until crisp, turning the sticks while cooking them. These cook fast – do not overcook as they will get tough!

I usually make a dipping sauce out of a 14 ounce can of tomato sauce that is seasoned with fresh lemon or lime juice, garlic powder and a little hot sauce to taste. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings.

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Lemon Garlic Calamari
This dish makes a great appetizer. Serve over a bed of greens for a salad course, or over pasta for an entrée. Serve with the same wine you used for cooking. 

1/2 pound calamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Large squeeze fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add wine, reduce by half. Add calamari; toss to coat; and cook for about 2 minutes or until just translucent (be careful not to overcook).

Add butter and swirl to melt. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the lemon in, sprinkle with parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Calamari Salad
This is a wonderful main-course salad using squid (calamari), that has been briefly cooked then marinated in a flavorful dressing.

1 1/2 pounds of cleaned squid
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Red Boat brand fish sauce
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
1 cup of red and 1 cup of yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Rinse squid under cold running water, then lightly pat dry between paper towels. Halve tentacles lengthwise and cut bodies (including flaps, if attached) crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide rings.
Cook squid in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just opaque, about 60 seconds of cooking is all it takes. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. When squid is cool, drain and pat dry.

Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, oil, fish sauce, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl, then stir in onion and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine squid, olives, tomatoes, celery, and parsley in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and let stand at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator to allow flavors to develop.

Makes 4 servings.

Fried Calamari
The secret to tender yet crunchy calamari is to start with a soak in buttermilk. This slightly acidic liquid gently tenderizes the squid, and since the buttermilk is extra thick, it helps the breading adhere to the rings, eliminating the need for beaten egg. For added crunch, you can’t beat cornmeal; its fine, pebbly grains fry up crispy. Serve with your favorite marinara.

1 pound cleaned squid, tubes cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings and tentacles left whole (about 2 cups), rinsed
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 ounces)
3/4 cup corn flour (about 3 1/4 ounces)
6 Tbsp. fine yellow cornmeal (about 2 1/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Lemon wedges, for serving

Place cleaned squid pieces in a medium bowl. Pour buttermilk over squid, and toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, pour canola oil to a depth of 1 3/4 inches into a Dutch oven; heat over high to 375°F.

Stir together all-purpose flour, corn flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow dish.

Working in batches, remove squid pieces from buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge squid pieces in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Add to hot oil, and fry until lightly golden and crisp, about 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain. Let oil return to 375°F between batches. Transfer fried calamari to a large bowl, and toss with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a platter, and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings

Dec 4, 2019

Christmas Dinner For Two

Happy Holidays everyone. What's for dinner? I love Cornish game hens because one is the perfect size for two people. Add a tasty side dish and a salad and you are ready for an easy but delicious Christmas Dinner.

Honey Glazed Roasted Cornish Game Hen
1 Cornish game hen, thawed then halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Season hen halves with salt and pepper. Place game hen halves with skin sides up into a 9x13-inch roasting pan. Roast hens in the preheated oven until partially cooked, 30 minutes.

Mix orange juice concentrate, honey, and ketchup in a saucepan; bring to a boil and cook until syrup consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Brush mixture over hens; continue roasting, basting every ten minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone reads 180˚F, 20 to 25 more minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving with wild rice. 

Makes 2 servings.

Wild Rice Casserole

I'm a big fan of wild rice. It's sometimes very pricy to purchase here in Hawaii, so I usually order several pounds of it on so I always have it handy. This mixture of wild rice, brown rice and mushrooms makes a wonderful earthy side dish with chicken, pork, venison, or fish dishes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon each dried sage, thyme and rosemary
2 cups wild and brown rice, mixed
3 1/2 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion until soft. Add mushrooms, garlic and celery and sauté until mushrooms are cooked. Add parsley and dried herbs and stir to blend. Add rice and water or chicken/vegetable broth and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer, partially covered, and cook for 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Fluff with a fork before serving. 

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Sweet Ginger Dressing
Ingredients for salad: 
a mixture of sliced fresh fruit (mango, papaya, orange slices, bananas, pears, etc., whatever is in season) on a bed of watercress, or other salad greens that you like.

Ingredients for dressing:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Serve over your favorite salad greens with fresh fruit. 

Makes 2 1/3 cups of dressing, enough for 6-8 salads.