Saturday, March 31, 2012

Five Things I Love Right Now

If you listen to the Joy the Baker Podcast (and if you're not, you should) you'd know that they assigned some homework for their blogging listeners. Here's mine!

1. Breadfruit. I've cooked with it a few times in the past, but it wasn't until recently when I boiled and mashed it that I became straight up obsessed with this versatile fruit. It seriously tastes like doughy, fresh baked bread.

2. The Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew. My parents have been using this method for a few years now and after they sent me a copy for Christmas I got super excited about replanting. Sixteen carrots in one square foot? Yes!

3. Jacaranda trees. Spring is here in the islands! The purple tufts popping up along the mountainside tell us so.

4. Immersion Blender. How did I ever make soup without this little guy? Thanks Loree!

5. When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie. Yes, it's for real, you can get locally sourced bacon, sausages, and other great products right here in Kona. I have been putting their pancetta in everything. Pictured above are some breakfast enchiladas made with their portuguese sausage. Read more about them here: When Pigs Fly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coco Banana Cocktails

And now for my husband's favorite funny of all time...

Do you know what we call days like this is Hawaii?


Coco Banana Cocktails
serves 2

3 oz (shots) golden rum
2 frozen bananas, sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup ice
1 lime (optional)

Add all ingredients, except lime, to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add a little lime juice if desired. Adjust thickness by adding more ice/milk as needed. Garnish with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ditch the SPAM: Eating Local in Hawai'i

Most of the food consumed in Hawaii is shipped in from the US mainland and points beyond. It's no secret why goods are so expensive on the islands. Buying and eating local can do a lot of good for the local economy, the environment, our health, and our taste buds (just ask my friend Sybil). I'd like to show just how easy it can be. 

Yesterday I gathered some friends, armloads of goods from the farmer's market, and headed to the beach for a meal made entirely of locally sourced ingredients. My friends at FoodBuzz were kind enough to have selected my proposal for their monthly 24x24 event where 24 food bloggers are chosen to prepare a meal and blog about it in the same 24 hours. I'll also be sharing some recipes at the end of this post. Fun! 

Keauhou Farmer's Market (look at that line for fish!)

This meals begins at the farmer's market. Since you never know exactly what you'll get, our menu evolved as the ingredients were selected. I scored some fresh ono (wahoo), pancetta made by When Pigs Fly Charcuterie, honey, ulu (breadfruit), sweet corn, purple sweet potato, beets, lettuce, green onion, poi, apple bananas, papaya, tomatoes, cucumber, macadamia nuts, cilantro, napa cabbage, ginger, oranges, lemons, and limes. 

At the grocery store, I was able to find some locally made mac nut oil, Maui rum, Kona coffee, grass-fed beef, and wai wai ole ogo (a type of seaweed). Friends had supplied me with avocados from their back yards, coconut milk zipped through a Vitamix, and smoked wild boar. 

After a little chopping, roasting, boiling, whisking, and stirring (with a lot of help from my wonderful assistants) we loaded up our treasures and headed to a favorite beach picnic spot along our lovely Kona coast. The grill flared with banana leaf wrapped fish as the children played in the tide pools and parents gathered around in beach chairs. Dark clouds swarmed the mountains behind us, allowing that dusky light to fill the table. 

We enjoyed plates of ono salad (see recipe below), steamed ulu with fresh coconut milk, a green salad with orange vinaigrette, coffee marinated steak (see recipe below), fruit salad of banana and papaya, grilled sweet potatoes (see recipe below), pink coleslaw, thick poi (cooked and pounded taro root), roasted broccoli salad (see recipe below), smoked wild boar with tomatoes, and sweet corn. 

We washed it all down with cups of cold Kona coffee, lavender lime water, or rum cocktails with honey and lime.  

Another meal in paradise. 

Before you run off, check out some of the recipes we made for this meal below. Eat fresh, eat healthy, eat local!

Ono Salad
serves 4

1 pound ono fillets
1 large, ripe avocado cut into bite sized chunks
2 large tomatoes, chopped 
2 cups wai wai ole ogo (seaweed) torn into small pieces
sea salt 
1 banana leaf, cut into 8"x10" pieces
1 lime

Prepare a hot bbq grill. Sprinkle ono fillets with some sea salt. Wrap the fillets in the banana leaves, leaving the end open, like a cigarette. Place the wrapped fish on the grill, grilling for 1-2 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Ono dries out easily, so do not overcook. Leaves will burn a little, this is fine. 

Unwrap the fish on a cutting board and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut the fish into bite sized pieces. 

Gently toss fish, avocado, tomato, and seaweed, with the juice from the lime. Add more sea salt if desired. Enjoy! 

Don's Grilled Sweet Potatoes
This recipe was borrowed from my friend Don Oshita. Such a simple recipe, but I can't get enough!

purple Okinawan sweet potatoes (you decide how many you'll need)
sea salt

Boil a large pot of water. Add sweet potatoes and boil 15-20 minutes depending on size of potatoes. They are done when they can be pierced all the way to the center with a fork. Drain and allow to cool. Cut into 1/3 inch rounds. Season with sea salt. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side, or until potatoes turn bright purple and form a brown crust on the outside. Enjoy!

Grass-fed Steak with Coffee Marinade
serves 4

1 pound grass-fed beef steak (round, flank, or sirloin)
1/2 cup rosemary, chopped
1/2 sage, chopped
sea salt
2 cups brewed Kona coffee

Trim fat from steaks. Please in a baking dish and season with sea salt. Add herbs and coffee (cooled first) to the baking dish, making sure steaks are covered on all sides with the herbs and coffee. Marinate for about 1 hour. 

Discard marinade. Grill steaks to desired doneness and season with sea salt. Allow the steaks to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli Salad with Pancetta and Mac Nuts
serves 4-6

2 broccoli crowns and stems cuts into bite sized pieces
2 small beets with greens attached
2 TBL mac nut oil
sea salt
1/4 cup pancetta, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup salted and roasted mac nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 425. Place broccoli pieces and whole beets (greens removed and reserved) on a baking sheet. Drizzle oil overall and sprinkle with sea salt, toss to coat. Roast broccoli and beets for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is soft and a little browned. 

While the veggies are roasting, add the pancetta to a pan over medium heat and cook until it releases some of it's liquid fat. Add the onion, white part only, and the greens from the beets. Saute, about 15 minutes, or until the greens have softened. 

When broccoli is done, peel and chop the roasted beets. Toss, broccoli, beets, greens, mac nuts, and remaining green onion. Add more salt if desired. Enjoy! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

When Pigs Fly

Bacon. Pancetta. Andouille sausage. Treats I'd given up due to a commitment to eat as much locally sourced ingredients as possible.

Until now guys, until now.

The Big Island officially has charcuterie, made by talented chef Devin of "When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie." 

He and his wife, Kristin, post up every Saturday at the Keauhou Farmer's Market and every Wednesday at the Kings' Shops Farmer's Market. They offer a long list of sausages, including the popular Portuguese and the practical breakfast sausage, as well as bacon, pancetta, and other tasty treats. Also available are a variety of take-away meals and snacks such as tacos. You don't want to miss out on Devin's cooking.

Be sure to arrive early for your top picks as they almost always sell out. Did I mention they use locally sourced pork and grass-fed beef? Major!

"When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie" also does catering and accepts advance orders for pick-up. The best way to contact them is via their Facebook page.

P.S. I was not paid for this post, I'm just stoked about getting my hands on some real pancetta.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Award-winning Shrimp Poke

I'm very excited to share with you that my Paniolo Shrimp Poke was the overall amateur winner as well as the cooked category winner in Sam Choy's Keauhou Poke Contest. I even got to meet Sam Choy himself!

Poke (poe-kay) means "to slice" and is often served as a pupu, or appetizer, here in Hawaii. Poke has deep cultural roots on the islands and the classic combination of raw ahi, inamona (ground kukui nut), sea salt, and limu seaweed can't be beat. Over the generations poke has evolved to include countless versions influenced by the rainbow of cultures we enjoy here. We can basically sum up poke as being a seafood salad that is served raw or cooked.

When creating this recipe, I thought about what I could bring to poke from my cultural background and personal love for the islands. I also wanted to include as many locally sourced products as possible (we were required to use locally sourced seafood). As I experimented with various ingredients, it became clear that my "little bit of country" wanted to come out in this recipe. Because that is what the Big Island is for me, a wide open space and nothing but country.

I went for a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) theme in my recipe and table display. The Big Island is covered in cattle ranches and rodeo is a very popular event. I like to think the paniolo would enjoy this poke of whole shrimp, simmered in a chipotle sauce, and mixed with sweet corn and cilantro. Please see the recipe below.

Paniolo Shrimp Poke
Makes about 1 pound

1 pound whole, unpeeled shrimp
1 can chipotle peppers, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 TBL olive oil
1 cup water
salt to taste
1 ear corn
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 lime

From the can of chipotle peppers, add 1 pepper plus all of the liquid from the can to a pot. Stir in the garlic, and the white part of the green onion. Add the water, olive oil, and salt. Simmer on medium low heat for 20 minutes, covered.

Add half of the shrimp to the pot and cook for 5 minutes or until both sides of the shrimp are pink. You may want to flip them over halfway though. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Peel and chop the shrimp, reserving the heads. Place shrimp meat in a bowl.

Add shrimp heads back into the pot with the sauce. Simmer on low for 15 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Add salt if needed. Discard heads. Add the juice from the lime to the sauce. Transfer sauce to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Blanch corn for 1-2 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Cut kernels off the cob.

Add corn, sauce, remaining green onion, and cilantro to the chopped shrimp. Stir to combine.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fresh Ginger Tea

Yesterday was awkward. I went to the dentist for a cleaning and my hygienist was a nice young lady about my age.

Every other hygienist I've had has been my mom's age. So I thought, cool, someone chat with about feather hair extensions and lychee martinis. Right?

Wrong, apparently. Having someone my own age stick their hands in my mouth and scrape junk off my teeth was just awkward. Turns out I kind of want someone a little like my mom to give the flossing lecture.

But I did learn a fun fact, you're not supposed to rinse with water after you use mouthwash. Huh.

This ginger tea is a little like mouth wash, it will certainly give your mouth that "clean" feeling. Enjoy it hot or iced, strong or gentle.

Fresh Ginger Tea
makes 12 cups

1 big piece of fresh ginger, about the length of your shoes
12 cups of water
lemon slices, if desired

Break ginger into small pieces, no need to peel. Toss the pieces into a food processor and pulse until it reaches the size of grains of rice. Dump ginger into a coffee filter, there should be about 1 cup of ginger.

Add 12 cups of water to your coffee maker and brew the ginger as you would coffee.

This is a fairly strong brew, so adjust amount of ginger as desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Award-winning Miso Sesame Dressing

Last weekend I entered a salad dressing contest at the Taste of Kalo in Kapa'au. Kapa'au is a small town in North Kohala on the island of Hawaii. The Taste of Kalo (kalo = taro) was put on by Community Harvest Hawaii, a wonderful organization that promotes food distribution in the community via free meals made from excess produce, and many other programs. Please check them out if you live in the area.

The event also included an Iron Chef style competition in which the participants had to use kalo in their recipes. We got to taste all the ono entries and vote for the best one. There was so much food, and the best part, it was all free!

Here the judges are presiding over the salad dressing tastings. My friend took this photo because contestants weren't allowed to watch the judging. Good thing for me, it's a little nerve wracking.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious island kalo and produce, the awards were announced. My salad dressing got third place! See the recipe below.

Rae with mounds of salad
Community Harvest Hawaii is helping to build a local, sustainable food system in North Kohala. Join them on the 2nd Friday and Saturday of every month at the Kohala Intergenerational Center in Kamehameha Park. 

Miso Sesame Dressing
Recipe also featured on Easy Natural Food
Dresses about 4 salads

1 garlic clove
1 piece of ginger, peeled, same size as garlic clove
1 green onion, white part only
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp agave syrup
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except oils into a food processor and pulse until combined and solids are thoroughly chopped. With the processor on, slowly drizzle in oils. You may need to add a little more oil or vinegar depending on how thick you like it. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vote for my recipe on Iron Baker Blog Edition

Aloha! Please take a moment to vote for my Caramel and White Chocolate Sammys over on the 20 Going on 80 blog. Just click on the image above to get there and vote or click here: Iron Baker Challenge. Don't they look good? Click here for the recipe: Caramel and White Chocolate Sammys.


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