Saturday, September 28, 2013

S'more Bites

Let's talk about opposites. Sometimes all I eat are vegetables from the farmer's market and garden and sometimes I can't resist a SPAM musubi or poke bowls with fish from Lord-knows-where. You might catch me making my own yogurt or pasta, but you'll never find me making my own mustard or nutella, because ain't nobody got time for that. Sometimes I make you a healthy coleslaw and sometimes s'mores are just on my brain. I hope you don't mind.

Seriously, I try not to keep sweets in the house because it'll be stuffed in my face faster than you can say high fructose corn syrup. My name is Gwen and I'm addicted to sugar. So I hope you understand that while I tempt you with the cutest marshmallow treats ever, I totally want you to eat your vegetables, too.

S'more Bites
serves as many as you want to make!

1 bag marshmallows
2 cups chocolate chips
4 graham crackers

Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until chips are melted and smooth.

Place graham crackers in a ziplock plastic bag, seal and crush crackers into a fine meal, a little smaller than the size of rice kernels. Place crushed crackers on a plate.

Dip marshmallows, one at a time, in the melted chocolate and then in the crushed graham crackers. Allow to cool on a drying rack. Serve as a dessert, party favor, holiday treat or snack. Great recipe for kids to make. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cochon Island: Pork Party on the Big Island

You had me at nose to tail. Some of Hawaii's most talented chefs gathered at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Saturday, September 21st to celebrate sustainably raised, heritage breed pigs as part of the Cochon U.S. Tour, now in its fifth year. One of only 18 stops along the way, the Big Island hosted the first stop ever in the Hawaiian Islands...

To read the rest of this post, head on over to HuffPost Hawaii. This is my first post as a HuffPost blogger, wish me luck! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Good times and ono grinds were had by all at the first annual Pupupalooza appetizer contest, part of the Puna Culinary Festival, held at Kalani Oceanside Retreat.

Guests were treated to live music as they selected which pupus to try. Scripts for tasting were sold 10 for $5 which was a great way to keep down the feeding frenzy that tends to happen at free tasting events. Guests were relaxed as they perused the offerings and made their choices, getting the chance to talk with contestants as well as vote for their favorite pupu.

The big winner of the day was Lori Kong, owner of Aloha Lehua Cafe, with her Hawaiian Nachos which took the best overall award and the people's choice award. Other prizes went to Ellen Einhorn (Most Creative), William Butako (Best Presentation), and Josef Schneider (Best Use of Local Ingredients).

As far as cooking contests go, and I have been to A LOT of them, this was one the most enjoyable and best organized events yet. I hope they host this contest again next year.

I didn't place at this contest, but if you are interested, the recipe I submitted is below.

Avocado Kim Chee Potstickers
Gwen Edwards

For potstickers:
·      1 package locally made potsticker / gyoza wrappers  (about 50)
·      1 ripe Big Island avocado
·      1 Big Island, organic egg
·      1 cup locally made kim chee
·      1 chopped Big Island green onion
·      ¼ cup chopped Big Island cilantro
·      ¼ cup chopped Thai basil
·      1 Big Island lime
·      Salt to taste
·      About 6 TBL spoons coconut oil

For dipping sauce:
·      ½ cup Hawaiian shoyu
·      ½ cup water
·      4 TBL spoons rice vinegar
·      4 tsp Hawaiian sugar
·      4 tsp sesame oil
·      1 chopped green onion
·      2 chopped garlic cloves
·      1 tsp chopped Big Island ginger

Make dipping sauce first, so it can marinate.  Combine ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
In a small bowl, combine and mash avocado, chopped herbs, lime juice and salt.
In a food processer, pulse kim chee until shredded.
In another small bowl, beat the egg.
Working one at a time, fill each wrapper with 1 tsp avocado mixture and 1 tsp kim chee.
With your finger, put a little egg on edge of wrapper, fold over and press to seal.
In a skillet over medium heat, add about1 tsp coconut oil.
Cook 6 – 10 potstickers at a time - do not crowd in pan.
Cook covered for 2 minutes, flip and cook another 2 minutes uncovered.
Repeat until all potstickers are cooked, adding coconut oil as needed.
Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cochon Island September 21 at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

You had me at nose to tail.

Some of Hawaii's most talented chefs, including the Big Island's own Devin Lowder, will gather at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on September 21 for Cochon Island, an event celebrating heritage breed pigs.

Have you ever wanted to meet and taste the food of the likes of Lee Anne Wong (Top Chef), Mark "Gooch" Noguchi (Pili group), Michael Young (Bistro Molokini), or Ed Kenney (Town)? Cochon Island is your chance to not only taste amazing food made by stellar chefs, but to celebrate what the Big Island is best at: quality, local ingredients.

Cochon Island is part of Cochon 555, the fifth anniversary of the Cochon US tour, a celebration of pork all over the country.

From the people at Cochon:
"Host Chef Peter Pahk (Mauna Kea) will curate some of the finest flavors the islands have to offer at this first-ever, pork-centric island event. In addition to the pork feast, guests will also experience each chefs spin on Whole Pig Ramen in addition to pigs roasted whole, and under various delicious influences. There will be a Perfect Manhattan Bar, Chupito (Mezcal) Bar, the famous Cheese Bar, cured meats provided by Devin Lowder of When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie Company, beer by Anchor Brewing, reserve wines, pork-spiked desserts and more."

Join the fun Saturday, September 21st, 2013 - 2 pm VIP opening ($200); 3 pm general admission ($125). Tickets can be purchased here: Cochon Island

Overnight Specials: The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is offering special room rates for Cochon Island attendees. Resort Rooms start at $275/night for a Mountain View room to $399/night for Ocean View. Event Packages are $499/night for a Deluxe Ocean room. For Reservations or more information, call the hotel’s Legacy Desk at 1-877-880-6524.

This is a sponsored post. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Great Waikoloa Poke Contest

Beautiful amateur contestant poke display

Fish and seafood of all kinds were celebrated at The Great Waikoloa Poke Contest, part of the Hawaii Island Festival, September 7, 2013. Amateurs and professionals competed for top honors in traditional, limu (seaweed), soy sauce, and cooked poke categories. Meaning "to slice," poke can be made with any fish or seafood the cook dreams up, although this contest made a point to only include locally sourced seafood.

Packed house for poke tasting
Aloha was in the air as contestants gathered early Saturday morning to assemble their dramatic display tables and plate their poke entries for the blind judging. The awards were based 100% on taste, with the exception of one award for presentation, judged separately.

Amateur presentation winner
Hosted by the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, the event also included a poke making demonstration, an appearance by the Royal Court, and of course a tasting for the public.

The chefs from Waikoloa Beach Marriott swept the professional division, including the presentation award. Amateur winners were Jason Wood (shoyu), Anthony Carvalho (cooked), Doug Wang (traditional) and Grady (Pono) Bintliff (limu).

My "diner" themed display for the BLT poke. Get it?
My BLT poke entry didn't make the cut, but it was hard not to be impressed by all of the wonderful and creative entries. Overall, this was a fun event overflowing with aloha and I'd love to compete again next year. If you'd like to try my BLT poke, the recipe is below. Mahalo to When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie for making the awesome bacon.

BLT poke

BLT Poke
Makes about 2 pounds

1 lb ahi
2 TBL shoyu
5 slices thick-cut bacon
1 French baguette loaf, if desired
2 TBL butter, if desired
1/2 lb Waimea tomatoes
3 TBL mayonnaise
2 TBL fresh lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped and divided
3 cups Manoa lettuce leaves, if desired
salt to taste (if needed)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut ahi into bite-sized pieces, toss with shoyu in a medium bowl and allow to marinate in fridge.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place bacon slices on top. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until small bubbles form on the bacon. When done, place bacon on paper towel to drain, then chop into small pieces when cooled.

While the bacon is cooking, slice the baguette into very thin slices, about ¼ inch thick.  Melt butter and brush both sides of bread using a pastry brush. Place on a baking sheet and toast in oven about 10-12 minutes, flipping bread once, until both sides are golden brown. [This step is only if desired, can be served without bread, butter and lettuce]

Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl with the chopped bacon. Drain excess shoyu from ahi and add fish to bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, and one chopped green onion. Add mayo mixture to large bowl and toss lightly to coat. Taste, add salt if desired.

[This step is only if desired, can be served without bread, butter and lettuce] To serve, place one small piece of lettuce on each piece of toast. Top with a spoonful of poke and garnish with chopped green onion. Enjoy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cheese Plate 101

For those not in the know, I am very fancy. We enjoy a fine selection of canned beans in the cupboard, toss rocks for our dog to retrieve and if you're lucky I'll even wear make-up on the weekend.

Another way we keep it fancy is by enjoying cheese plates down at the beach on a Saturday evening. If you live in Kona, head down to Westside Wines where you can buy samples of their large cheese collection for $2-3 plus a great bottle of wine to wash it down.

For this fancy cheese plate date you'll need:

- A decent bottle of wine. White or rose is nice for a picnic, but get what you like.
- A selection of cheeses. If you are lucky enough to live near a cheese store, grab a few small portions of whatever sounds good, try some you've never heard of. Be bold. If you are not lucky enough to live near a cheese store, places like Safeway have some decent cheeses. Or slice up the cheddar block in your fridge, it's no big deal.
- Root through the contents of your refrigerator door for things like olives, artichoke hearts, peppers, pickles, kim chee maybe a sauce or two. Don't worry about trying to pair them with the cheese, just grab.
- Cut some veggies and fruit like cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, carrots, apples or peaches. Fresh herbs are nice.
- Find some bread or crackers.
- Pack up your goodies, don't forget wine glasses, a wine key, a cutting board, small knife, and some napkins.
- Find a picnic spot. We like Otec because we can bring the puppy.
- Mix and match! A little brie with some honey and jalepeno? Truffled goat cheese on toast with olives? Get creative. Get fancy.

The puppy that chases rocks


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