30.9.08

HotM 18: Preserving the Harvest (Round-up)

Heart of the Matter (HotM) is an event designed to promote healthy eating and heart disease awareness. Specifically, each month Joanna, Ilva and I ask you to devise recipes around a specific theme that are healthy for your heart and your body and share them with the rest of us. We archive all the wonderful entries at the HotM blog, so that whenever you need a heart-healthy recipe for any occasion, you have a plethora of options to choose from. HotM has been going strong now for over a year, and we are grateful to all of you who have participated in this important event - people who have been sending in entries from the very beginning, people who have hopped on in the middle of the ride and those just now joining in.

The entries for September's theme of Preserving the Harvest comprise a surprising variety of wonderful ways for you to extend the harvest of whatever season you may be celebrating in your end of the world - sit back, grab a cup of green tea, and start planning your pantry...

The ever-faithful HotM participants, Jai and Bee from Jugalbandi, conjured up a Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. Their delicious photography and just getting ahold of the recipe for this salsa ought to be enough on its own to send you running to their site, but you'll have to read their post to get the full effect of their entry - it's hilarious!

Hailing from my old stomping grounds in Eugene, Oregon, Culinaria Eugenius has created one of the most unique entries we recieved: Vegetable Salts! What a cool way to use up extra vegetables, reduce your sodium intake while upping the flavor quotient, and have cute little jars of your own making to add to the pantry! Not only that, this woman is a Master Preserver! Check out her fabulous blog for additional recipes (and witty commentary) - from fermented pickles to dried tomatoes and beyond!

Ever end up with so many of the same vegetable that you just didn't know what in the world to do with it? Sarah from the blog, What Smells So Good?, used up her 11 lbs of carrots and got a big dose of beta carotene to sweeten the deal by making her Curry Carrot-Ginger Soup. Sounds like a wonderful way to start the cooler season to me! While this is probably an easy-to-freeze recipe too, she also suggests a great way to use up extra food: give it away to your loved ones!

Melissa, our resident nutrition expert from Gluten Free for Good, tells you all about the health benefits and nutritional details about apples, then shares her recipe for dehydrating them and turning them into healthful, tasty and easy to carry snacks that you can take with you no matter where you want to go - whether to school, to work or even hiking up a 14,000 foot peak!

Tanna, from My Kitchen in Half Cups recounts her experiences in making Preserved Lemons and takes you through a photographic feast of links and useful recipes so that not a single one goes to waste. Then, to help you even more, she provides links to other sites that have made Preserved Lemons too so that you can load up on wisdom from other bloggers and new ways to use these beautiful and tasty treats before you begin making your own!

Forget buying those dried out, tasteless and scentless red pepper flakes from the store to put on your pizza or add spice to a dish. My lovely co-host, Ilva, from Lucullian Delights offers her simple method of sun-drying chili peppers. She keeps her Dried Chili Peppers in her kitchen for use the entire winter long, making them available whenever she needs them. What a great idea!
Last of all, I conquered my fears of fermenting my own foods and made kimchi (kimchee). It's a great, heart-healthy (and body-healthy) way to use up a head of Napa cabbage and adds tons of flavor to all types of foods. You can read about it at my blog, The Accidental Scientist.

Thank you to everyone who participated! If I somehow missed your entry or you forgot to send it in, please email me and let me know so that I can add you to the round-up. Join us next month for a new theme, when Joanna is host!

29.9.08

Take Two Bites of Kimchi and Call me in the Morning

Fermented foods have been around for ages and are a large part of the diet of Korean, Japanese and North and Central European people. Fermentation is used to enhance flavor, create new versions of food (think: yogurt) and preserve certain types of foods which would otherwise perish far quicker. Not to mention the fact that they are delicious and very nutritious for you. They are enzyme-rich, can act as antioxidants, and through the breakdown (or pre-digestion, if you will) of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, many nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and B12, and many different minerals are made more available for absorption into our digestive tracts. Fermentation is essentially encouraging the growth of "probiotics," or friendly bacteria, that are good for our immune system, digestive system and over-all health.

I've always been intrigued by the process of fermentation - maybe it's the scientist in me or just the numerous health benefits, but it's an amazing transformation of food that can take place right before your eyes - turning one type of food into another...milk into yogurt, yeast and flour into bread, and barley into beer. Bit I've also always been reluctant to try it, especially since I moved to Hawaii. It's so warm here...I had visions of strange bacterial cultures growing in anything I tried to make, things fermenting too fast and/or getting contaminated, making myself sick, or having whatever I made make someone else sick - all culminating in me never wanting to eat or make another fermented food in my life (how sad and awful would that be?).

Well, the time had come to set my fears to rest (or at least confirm them). The theme for September's HotM is "Preserving the Harvest." One useful reason to try fermentation is simply to extend the shelf life of certain foods - and then use them in different ways. So why not take some fresh Chinese (Napa) cabbage from the Farmer's Market, set it in a salty brine at room temperature for a few days - leaving it crunchy but soft at the same time and taking away the edge of the raw, green-ness of it (think: ruffage!) - and then pack it into jars with a solution of spicy, garlicky flavors for later use with LB's tofu burgers (coming soon!), stir fries and other rice dishes? In other words, for my entry this month, I wanted to make kimchi (kimchee).

Kimchi itself has been around since ancient times - references of the stuff date back all the way to 2600-3000 years ago. Traditionally considered a Korean condiment and side dish, the most common kimchi is made from Napa, or Chinese, cabbage and is called bechau kimchi (according to Wikipedia). It's fat free, has a high quotient of antioxidants (good for your heart!) and the particular recipe I tried has a lower amount of salt than most. Kimchi is also a great beginner's introduction to fermented foods: it's easy to make, has a simple ingredient list and it's got a short fermentation time. Even better? My neighbor offered to try it first if we were too scared (I was!)...and so far, he hasn't keeled over...

The verdict: You already know it's good for you and your heart, with all those probiotics and antioxidant leanings, but it's quite tasty - although this particular recipe tastes and looks nothing like the thickly-coated red kimchi you might be used to. I pretty much kept the recipe the same, only substituting fresh ingredients for the dried because it was all I had. It has a subtle sour flavor, with just a touch of heat from the cayenne and red peppers and a bit of saltiness to it that will compliment any sort of mild-flavored food you might wish to pair up with it. It stays crunchy, which I like, and the color is still fairly greenish, without being gray, which I guess can be a bit of a problem sometimes. The fermentation was easy, painless and only mildly stinky (also a consideration in deciding to make it). So, I think I'm ready for my next fermentation project: yogurt!


Kimchi, makes 2 half-quart jars
adapted slightly from RecipeZaar

2 medium-sized heads of Napa (Chinese) cabbage, sliced into 1" pieces
2 tbsp kosher salt
4 cups filtered water
1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp. chili pepper flakes, or Korean chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1" fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt

Clean all your jars and utensils prior to use! Dissolve 2 tbsp of salt in the filtered water...do not use tap water if your water is not filtered because the chlorine will inhibit the fermentation. Chop the cabbage and place it in a large ceramic or glass bowl, then pour the salt/water mixture over the top. Weight it down with a plate or something heavy to keep the cabbage submerged and then cover the whole thing so that no other "bad" bacteria will get in there. Leave for two days at room temperature...it should begin to bubble slightly. If it isn't, then let it go another day or two.

Combine the rest of the ingredients - honey through 1 tbsp. salt - and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let cool to 100F. Meanwhile, drain the cabbage and pack into two half-quart sized jars (it looks like it's too much, but once it's packed, it fits perfectly). Pour the liquid mixture over the cabbage, making sure it's all settled in and covered. Then cap, put in the fridge for a day, and eat to your health and heart's content!

23.9.08

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: `Aha`aina - Recapturing the Global Flavors of the Luau (Part II, The Recipes)

Here is a sampling of the amazing food that we shared at our `Aha`aina (Great Feast), complete with recipes. You can read about and see more photos of the area, the event and the food from the other food blogger in attendance, Deb, from Kahakai Kitchen. Recipes here are courtesy of the friends and coworkers who attended and agreed to share their recipes* with the people in attendance, and with you - the rest of the world. I promise you, everything was absolutely, incredibly, mouth-wateringly delicious! Enjoy!


APPETIZERS:

Tapenade: (France, Eric R.)
400g pitted black olives
5-10 anchovies

10-15 capers
1 large spoon of olive oil

Hummus: (Greece, Eric R.)
400g of chickpeas
2 garlic cloves
2 large spoons of fresh shredded basil
2 large spoons of olive oil
1 large spoon of water
1 small spoon of white vinegar
salt and pepper

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor for the tapenade until well mixed smooth; clean your processor. Then pulse together the ingredients for the humus until smooth. Serve with cut up local veggies - including cucumbers, celery, carrots and bread.


MAIN DISHES:

Kalua Pork Burritos (Baja California/Mexico, Craig M.)

Kalua Pork Burritos:

1 tbsp. rock salt
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. minced garlic
5 lbs. Pork roast, slashed
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients and rub over pork roast. Place in roasting pan and cover. Roast for 4 hours at 325 degrees (to 170F internal temp). Shred the pork using 2 forks or fingers. Reserve juices and saute with cabbage until cabbage is tender. Add rock salt and roll into steamed tortillas. Serve with mango salsa.

Salsa:
4 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
3 small Maui sweet onions, finely chopped
2 jalepeno chiles, minced (include ribs and seeds for hotter salsa)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
approx. 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, diced
chili powder, salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients for salsa in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it’s too hot or acidic for your tastes, you can add more diced avocado.


Chicken Long Rice (China, Mackenzie M.)

2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin and fat removed
1 inch thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. bean-thread noodles, aka cellophane noodles, aka "long rice"
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 medium carrot, julienned
half medium yellow onion, minced
6 green onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
sea salt, to taste
4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Submerge the chicken and ginger onion and garlic in broth and simmer for one hour. While the chicken simmers, soak long rice noodles in separate bowl of warm water for at 45 minutes. Cut noodles into three inch lengths with a pair of scissors and set aside. Prep carrots, mushrooms, onion and green onions... set aside. Remove the chicken, reserving broth, and let cool slightly. Remove chicken bones and discard. Chop chicken into fine pieces. Taste the broth and lightly salt to taste. Bring the broth back to a simmer, add the carrots, mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken and long rice. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the long rice turns translucent. Don't overcook, or you'll end up with gelatinous sludge! Just before removing add the green onions. Most of the broth will have been absorbed, but you want a little to remain.



Huli Huli Yakitori Chicken (Japan, Yumi K.)

Servings ~20 skewers

4lbs. of Chicken thighs
pinch of salt
1 cup of Sake (Japanese cooking wine)
1 cup of “Hawaii’s Famous Huli Huli Sauce”

Cut up the chicken thigh to small pieces. Marinate chicken in mixture of salt, Sake, and Huli Huli Sauce for an hour. Put chicken pieces on skewers. Cook skewered chiken in an oven at 300F for about 70 minutes (Rotate skewers half way).

Kalua Pork Cabbage Rolls “Kaldomar” (Sweden, Deb C. – from Kahakai Kitchen)
Serves 6 as a meal (more as a pupu!)

1 large head Savoy cabbage or 2 smaller heads green cabbage
Water to boil cabbage in
1 tsp salt

Filling:
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups cooked white long grain rice
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked Kalua Pork, shredded (see recipe below)
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 stick of butter (to top cabbie rolls when baking)

Sauce:
1/3 cup liquid/drippings from cooking Kalua Pork (cooled and fat skimmed off)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Core cabbage and cook in salted boiling water until leaves are slightly soft and easy to remove (about 10 minutes). Remove cabbage from water, peel off leaves one by one and place on a towel to drain. While cabbage is cooking, sauté onion in butter until soft and translucent. In a pan, place cooked rice and mix in milk, cooked onion, Kalua pork and five spice powder; add salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To assemble rolls: Take a cabbage leaf, trim any thick edges and trim the coarse center vane (easiest to make a small “v” cut into the leaf. Put a 1 1/2 Tbsp of the filling on the cabbage leaf, fold up the bottom of the leaf, tuck in the sides and roll up to the top (thin end) of the cabbage leaf, as tightly as you can. Place the cabbage roll, seam side down in a large oven proof pan or casserole. Repeat and fill casserole, packing rolls tightly together to keep them intact. Once pan is filled (about 24-26 small rolls), place several pats of butter on top of leaves and place in oven to cook about 20-25 minutes until rolls are slightly brown on top. While cabbage rolls are cooking, make sauce. Place liquid/dripping from Kalua Pork in pan with Tbsp butter. Once butter is melted, add 2 Tbsp cornstarch and five spice powder and blend. Gradually add milk and cream, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth and heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove cabbage rolls from the oven, top with sauce and serve with the boiled potatoes and preserves.


Easy Slow Cooker Kalua Pork:
4-5 pounds Pork Butt Roast
1 Tbsp Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt (or substitute regular sea salt)
2 Tbsp liquid smoke flavoring

Trim any excess fat from pork butt. Using a fork, pierce the pork butt all over. Rub pork butt with liquid smoke and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low for 12-16 hours depending on size of roast (Two 2.5 lb roasts took about 12 hours, one 4.5 pound roast took about 16). Turn roast once during cooking time. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred pork, adding some of the drippings/cooking liquid if needed to add moisture to the meat. Allow the surplus dripping/ cooking liquid to cool; skim fat from the top and use if needed for sauce or gravy.

Inspiration: Cabbage Rolls or Kaldomar are a classic Swedish dish where the cabbage is stuffed with ground beef or pork, onion and either rice or bread crumbs. It is believed to have originated when the Swedish King Karl XIII was campaigning in Turkey in the 1700s and brought back the idea of making a “dolmades” or stuffed grape leaves. Since there are not a lot of grape leaves in Sweden, cabbage was used. In searching the internet there were many recipes for this dish—some baked, some fried, some using a sweet syrup, some using a creamy sauce, some with breadcrumbs, others with rice so I took inspiration from all of them and came up with what sounded best to me. To add the Hawaiian touches to the dish, I substituted Kalua Pork (smoked, shredded pork butt) for the ground meat. Here is Hawaii you can buy containers of Kalua Pork but it is simple and much cheaper to make your own—all it takes is some time and a slow cooker. Since allspice was featured in a lot of the recipes, I decided to add Chinese Five Spice, since this seasoning is used frequently in cooking here and I felt it would compliment the smoky flavor of the Kalua pork. In Sweden, this dish is traditionally served with small boiled potatoes and Lingonberry preserves, I dressed my potatoes with butter, parsley and Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt and served it with Poha Jam (poha is a sweet/tart berry grown in Hawaii). Check out Deb's experience at the `Aha`aina here!

















Mole (Mexico, Heather M.) Recipe coming soon!


Hawaiian Lau Lau with a Fijian Twist (Fiji, Haruka and Todd R.)

Lau Lau Leaves (= Taro leaves)
Ti Leaves
Kalua pig
Coconut Milk
Sweet Onions

Twine to tie

Wash Lau Lau leaves and Ti leaves. Slice sweet onions. Wrap Kalua pig, sweet onion and coconut milk in Lau Lau leaves and then in Ti leaves, and tie the ti leaves by twine into small purses. Steam or bake until Ti leaves turn black (approximately 4 hours). **Please do not eat Ti leaves nor twine! Kalua pig can be substituted with any other type of meal, fish or starch.


Inspiration: Normal Hawaiian Lau Lau does not use coconut milk. However, when I stayed in Fiji for over 3 months, I discovered that Fijian people add coconut milk to Lau Lau, giving it a nice creaminess and sweetness. Why not borrow this wonderful idea?


Kadon Pika (Guam, Alesia B-P.)

1 whole chicken, cut up into small pieces or chicken parts
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder (or fresh garlic, crushed)
1 large papaya, chopped
3-6 hot peppers, crushed (use less or leave out if you don’t like it spicy)

2 eggplant (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 bundle string beans, 1 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375F. Place eggplant on a cookie sheet and add a little oil. Lightly season with sea salt and bake for 20 minutes. Brown the onion in a medium sized pot with very little olive or canola oil. Add chicken and cook at medium heat until brown, then add the water, vinegar, soy sauce, coconut milk, black pepper, garlic, bay leaves and hot peppers if you are using them. Add baked eggplant and string beans to the pot. Cook on high heat until it starts boiling, then turn down to medium and cook until the chicken if fully cooked.

Kroppkakor (Sweden, Mattias O.)
Filling:
1 kg boiled potatoes 1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 250 g Kalua pork
2½ dl flour 2 onions
Teriyaki sauce

Mix boiled potatoes, eggs and flour together. Fill with filling. Boil for 5 minutes. Serve with pineapple.



SMALL DISHES/SIDES/SALADS:

Vegetable Pancakes: Taro Jun (Korea, Marisa)

2 bunches of green onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 white onions, finely chopped
2 taro, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cups of flour
4 eggs
2 tbsp. sesame seed oil

Mix everything together, add enough to the skillet to make them about 4 inches across and very thin, then fry like pancakes.


Tortilla Espanola - with a touch of Hawaii (Spain, Christine G.)

3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 medium-sized sweet Hawaiian potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
10 eggs
1 big Maui onion (or 5-6 small Maui onion), chopped
1/2 liter olive oil
salt


First, heat the oil in a large frying pan and then gently fry the sliced potatoes and the onions until almost soft, stirring from time to time so that they don't burn on the bottom of the pan. Drain the vegetables in a colander to get rid of the excess oil. Beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt. Add the potatoes and onions and mix well. Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a moderate heat. Pour in the potatoes and eggs and shake the frying pan from time to time so that the omelette doesn't stick to the bottom. Once the bottom of the omelette has set (about a couple of minutes approximately), turn the omelette by placing either a flat plate or saucepan lid on the frying pan and quickly turning over. Gently slide the omelette back into the frying pan and continue frying for less than a minute, once again shaking the pan from time to time so that it doesn't stick to the bottom.



Roasted Vegetables Provencal with Pineapple (Italy, Michael Layden)
serves a lot of people!

1 large head of cauliflower, separated into florets
6 Molokai sweet potatoes 15 mini Ewa sweet onions, cut in half (or two large sweet onions)
1 medium Maui Gold pineapple
2 large green peppers,
4 medium red peppers
8-10 large carrots
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. salt
pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne
olive oil, to coat


Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut all of the vegetables and pineapple into 1 – 1 1/2” pieces. Toss with olive oil and spices, and spread in a single layer on 2 cookies sheets. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables become caramelized and browned.

Inspiration: I chose the roasted veggies because it is a rustic style dish that makes a great staple at any meal and the flavors meld well with many other dishes. Also, my typical version of the roasted veggies is savory and I though that the addition of sweetness brought by pineapple would give this dish a great island flavor. To me, the unique flavors melting together while the veggies roast represents the melting of culture and tradition to bring out the best in all and I fee
l this dish could do that.


Mango Shrimp Salad (Korea, Marisa)

1 head of lettuce, chopped or torn
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 Roma tomatoes
1 cucumber, sliced
2 mangoes, chopped
1 Fuji apple, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup of cooked shrimp
1 bottle of Annie's Papaya poppyseed dressing



German Taro Salad with Portuguese Sausage (Germany, Tim D.)

1⁄2 large taro root (equivalent of 5-8 potatoes depending on how much salad is to be made)
1⁄4 cup chopped green chives
1⁄4 cup chopped green onions
1⁄2 cup chopped Maui onions
1⁄2 stick butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 Portuguese sausages
6 hard-boiled eggs
Mayonnaise

Remove outer skin of taro, dice into 1⁄2 inch x 1⁄2 inch cubes. Bring large pot of water to boil, then add taro, boil until taro becomes soft. Drain water from taro. In a separate pan, melt butter and olive oil in saucepan, next add the maui onion to cook it slightly. Add some taro to the simmering butter/olive/onion sauce and fry until golden brown (you can do this with most of the taro, it gives it a crunchy texture). Add the remaining butter sauce to the taro and mix. Add the chives, green onions, and an adequate amount of mayonnaise until the mixture becomes creamy. Gently mix in the cooked Portuguese sausage and enjoy!


Lomi Sea Asparagus Tofu Salad (Japan, Yumi K.)
Serving Size : 20 people

3 Packages of Sea Asparagus
6 Tomatoes
3 Japanese Cucumbers
1 Package of medium firm Tofu
1 package Nalo Greens
1 head Romaine Lettuce
1 bottle “Hawaii’s Special Peppered Papaya Seed Vinaigrette“

Boil Sea Asparagus for 30 seconds. Drain and soak ice cold water. Cut up to a 1 inch pieces. Chill for at least an hour.
Chop up tomatoes, cucumbers, and tofu. Mix up all the ingredients and pour over to bed of greens and lettuce. Pour dressing over the top.


Green Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing (Hawaii, Michelle P. from The Accidental Scientist)

Salad:
1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bag mixed greens
1 small bunch basil, finely chopped
1 small bunch mint, finely chopped
2 large red peppers, sliced
1 package goat cheese, small pieces
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1 large papaya, cut into 1/2" pieces

Dressing: (makes about 3 cups)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon whole mustard
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons papaya seeds

To prepare dressing: In a food processor, combine sugar, salt, mustard and vinegar and process until smooth. With the motor running, add oil in a steady (but slow) stream and blend the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the shallots and the papaya seeds and blend until the seeds are the consistency of ground pepper. Serve the dressing with the above salad.



DESSERTS:


Kolacky Cookies (Lithuania, Dan B. – recipe from his grandmother, Elizabeth Barshis)

1 c. butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Guava, Strawberry Guava and Pineapple-Coconut preserves

Cream butter and cream cheese with vanilla extract until fluffy. Blend flour and salt; add to creamed mixture. Chill dough thoroughly. Preheat oven to 350F. Form small ~2in diameter circles by hand or alternatively roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on floured surface and cut with 2 inch round cutter. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Make a small indentation in center of each round, then fill indentation with fruit preserves. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.


Taro Lefse (Norway, Hollie and Travis P.)

4 cups mashed potatoes (substitute taro or poi)
3/8 cup shortening
1/8 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup flour (the less the better)

Stir to mix. Make small balls of the mixture, flatten and roll out thin. Fry on ungreased hot griddle. Cool and store covered in the fridge. To rehydrate wrap in a moist cloth or towel. Spread butter and powdered sugar mixture on one piece of lefse. Place another piece of lefse on top and cut both layers with butter sugar mixture between into strips.


Haupia Flan Casero (Mexico, Pablo “The Flan Master”)

1 can of coconut milk

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of table cream
2-3 eggs (depending on size)
1 little spoon of vanilla
1 bar of cream cheese
sugar (as much as you want)
1 small can of pineapples or fresh small pieces

Mix the coconut milk and the next 5 ingredients (through cream cheese). In the empty flan container, add the sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved and has a golden color. Then let it cool to room temperature. Once sugar has cooled down, add the coconut milk mixture and put it in the oven. Let it bake for 45 minutes at 200 degrees. (Note- it is very important that the container in the oven has a lid and also is placed on another container with water, Bano Maria). Check the flan as needed, baking time will depend on your location. To know that is ready insert a wood stick and if it stays and doesn't move, the flan is ready! To decorate use the pineapple around the flan, now you are ready to enjoy your Haupia Flan!

Inspiration:
The flan master (Pablo) is originally from Mexico. Flan is a very common dessert in Mexico shared in family dinners. The Haupia flan was inspired by the good moments with family and friends in both Mexico and Hawaii. For him is a way to say thank you to this beautiful land with some Mexican-Hawaiian flavor!


Dobos Torte with Lilikoi curd (Hungary, Neva M.)

Lilikoi (passionfruit) curd:

1 1/4 cups sugar
pulp from 4 lilikoi (~1/2 cup or more)
1/4 cup lilikoi concentrate, sweetened
3/4 cup butter (European style)
9 eggs, room temperature
juice from 1/2 a lemon
~1Tbsp Cointreau liquor

Torte:
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sifted bread flour
8 egg whites
Thin mango slices
Crushed macademia nuts

For Curd: Squeeze the lililkoi through a strainer or cheesecloth to get as much pulp and juice as possible. Melt the butter in a non-reactive pan over low heat. Stir in the sugar, lilikoi (both pulp and concentrate), and lemon and bring just to a boil. Whip half of the hot liquid with the yolks and then pour back into the remaining hot liquid. Add the Cointreau. Return to a simmer, whipping until it starts to thicken (several minutes). Do not bring to a boil. Strain and chill.

For Torte: Beat egg yolks and sugar together until thick. Gradually add heavy cream, and stir well to blend all ingredients. Add bread flour, sifted. Mix thoroughly, and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Divide batter into 7 equal portions. Butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform mold. Spread a thin layer of cake batter with a spatula. Bake at 400oF for 8 min., or until done. Sandwich layers together with lilikoi curd. Spread top layer with lilikoi curd, arrange mango slices, and sprinkle with macademia nuts. Keep chilled until served.


Victorian Sponge Cake with Coconut Cream and Guava Jam (England, Michelle P. – from The Accidental Scientist)

3/4 lb. salted European-style high-fat butter, softened (plus extra for pan)
3 cups self-rising cake flour (plus extra for pan)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups double Devonshire cream (or 4 oz. mascarpone and 4 oz. cream cheese)
3 – 4 tbsp. coconut milk (not light) or coconut cream
3/4 cup guava jam
confectioner's sugar and mint sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 360F. Grease two 2" deep 8" round cake pans with butter and dust with flour; set aside. Beat remaining butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Combine eggs with 6 tbsp. water in another bowl and whisk together. Add half the egg misture and half the flour to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat well for 1-2 minutes, then add remaining flour and egg mixture. Beat for an additional 5 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Invert cakes onto a rack, remove pans and let cool completely.

Beat cream (or mascarpone and cream cheese) in a medium bowl until stiff (or smooth if you are using the cream cheese/mascarpone mix) . Add 3 tbsp. coconut milk and mix well. If too stiff, add the last tbsp. of coconut milk - if not stiff enough, chill slightly. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, spread the top with jam, then cover the jam with the cream. Spread top of remaining cake layer with remaining jam and place it, jam side down, on top of cream. Dust cake with confectioner's sugar and add a mint sprig to the center.



Drinks:


Coconut-Mint Limeade (Hawaii, Michelle P. from The Accidental Scientist)
makes approximately 1 gallon of limeade - can easily be cut down!

limeade:
2 cups of lime juice (from approximately 24 limes)
2 cups of simple syrup (recipe below)
5 cups of coconut water
1/2 large bottle of sparkling water, or to taste
1 lime, slice thinly, for garnish

mint simple syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 large sprigs of mint

For the simple syrup, mix the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil undisturbed for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the mint sprigs and cover with a tight lid. Allow it to rest for at least one hour or cool to room temperature. For the limeade, mix all the ingredients together (except additional lime) and chill it or pour it over ice. Add the lime slices for garnish and serve.

*Most people used locally grown ingredients for their dishes; alterations in recipes to make them "Hawaiian fusion" are indicated in purple. Keep in mind that many of the recipes served at least bites to about 30 people - so they'll make great pot-luck sizes, or else you may need to pare them down!

21.9.08

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: `Aha`aina - Recapturing the Global Flavors of the Luau

"24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs" is a global blogging event, devised, collected and showcased by the amazing folks at Foodbuzz.com. This event celebrates the scope and diversity of food blogs by capturing the cultural diversity and unique local perspective of bloggers from around the world: it's real food, experienced by real people, and shared real-time.

In Hawaii, community celebration comes in the form of feasting on delicious food in the company of family and friends. Today this feast is often called a luau, but sadly, the only luau that visitors to Hawaii (even long-term visitors) are able to participate in has gone the way of many other fine traditions – turned to entertainment for tourists and comprised of a pared-down menu of accepted (and expected) dishes...and I believe, losing the very reason for its being in the process.

Green Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing (Hawaii)

The luau didn’t begin this way. It originated with King Kamehameha II, who brought peace and equality to the ancient Hawaiians in the early 1800s by finally bringing the social classes together and banishing the arcane rules that had long dictated their lives. This historic change was christened and celebrated by a great feast, called an `aha`aina. Suddenly, commoners were permitted to eat with royalty and women were allowed to eat beside men - everyone rejoicing around a single table.

Korean Pancake (Korea)

For the first time, Hawaiian delicacies such as bananas and coconuts that were previously reserved for royalty were enjoyed and shared between all and traditional Hawaiian staples such as poi (taro), crab, pig and yams, were eaten alongside exotics from the New World. Since the inception of the`aha`aina, culinary influences such as miso, rice and teriyaki from the Japanese; sweet bread, sausage and malasadas from the Portuguese; and dishes like lomi lomi salmon from the West have been incorporated into Hawaiian cuisine.

Huli-Huli Yakitori (Japan)

Modern Hawaii is a global melting pot more than ever. Across the Islands, people celebrate life and pay tribute to their heritage by bringing and sharing dishes that reflect their own cultural customs and backgrounds. In keeping with the spirit of celebration for life and fellowship that began so long ago, we wanted to revive the `aha`aina for the for the Foodbuzz “24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” event. To create this `aha`aina and to promote the sharing of cultural ideals and food traditions, we brought our friends and coworkers – all home cooks - together to celebrate global diversity in true Hawaiian style…to simultaneously recreate and reinvent the `aha`aina on a tiny island off the coast of Oahu.

Tortilla Espanola de Patata (Spain)

For the event, rather than devise a specific menu, we challenged them to do one of two things:
1) Create a new version of a traditional Hawaiian dish, using ingredients that are prominent staples of their country or ethnic background; or
2) Make a traditional dish from their country or ethnic background using locally available Hawaiian ingredients.

Lau Lau with a Fijian Twist (Fiji)
The response was overwhelming – we had nearly 30 people, most of whom didn’t know each other prior to the `aha`aina. Our one requirement, beyond the creating of the dish, was that each person be willing to share a bit of themselves, their culture, and their cooking with the rest of us. The group embodied the global community that has been drawn to Hawaii because of its unique location and spirit of aloha, and included people from over 16 different nationalities - from Hawaiian to Guamanian, Japanese, Mexican, Lithuanian, and beyond.

To bring home the concept of community, not only between those of us living here in Hawaii, but across the world wide web as well, we even invited other Foodbuzz Featured Publishers in Hawaii to join us - to bring their own cultural identity and cooking prowess to the table, and to cover it on their own blog and in their own style. Only one, Deb, was able to attend and you can read her thoughts about the whole experience on her fabulous blog, Kahakai Kitchen.

Kalua Pork Cabbage Rolls "Kaldomar" (Sweden)

For the `aha`aina, cooks and non-cooks alike came out swinging – the food was a veritable feast, both for the stomach and for the eyes. Since each recipe was newly created by the person that brought it to the table, many people were hesitant when they arrived – worried that their food wouldn’t taste right, wouldn’t be right; that it might not look or taste “good enough,” but as the tables were set up and filled with beautiful food, there were satisfied faces and smiles all around. There was no “best dish” of the day – instead of competition between dishes and people, there was only sharing, tasting and discovering the tastes of everyone’s unique heritage, combined with the flavor of land we live in and love (Hawaii, of course!).

Roasted Vegetables and Pineapple Provencal (Italy)

The quality and deliciousness of the feast was clearly evident in the audible exclamations and sounds of surprise and delight that were heard across the table amid the other conversation (and in how much and how fast all of the food disappeared). Before long, as the scent of coconut, mangoes, and pork wafted out into the air, we even had "neighbors" that began to trickle in and ask if they could join the feast. The food literally brought an unexpected and unique group of people together. There were kids running around exploring the new surroundings and providing the feeling of a large family joined together, while the adults were having a different kind of new experience – on the palate and in the spirit of fellowship and new friendships forming.

Many people reflected that they reconnected to parts of their heritage through the experience of coming up with their dish – to mothers, to grandmothers, to childhood memories and family gatherings, and even through traditional recipes they had never heard of nor tried before. Some created their dish as a way to thank the land and the people there – using ingredients from Hawaii and integrating a piece of themselves and their culture with the land they now live in, and sharing it with the people there. One even swore off the luau, exclaiming they would "rather have an `aha`aina any day! Everyone agreed they would definitely come back together for another one (next year, perhaps?).

Kadon Pika (Guam)

We believe this feast represented the true meaning of the `aha`aina and the aloha spirit of the people of Hawaii, reinvigorating the tradition of fellowship and community celebration in the hearts and minds of the people who attended. But the `aha`aina needn’t be specific to Hawaii. It could be recreated anywhere - near or far, around a smoldering imu (an underground oven for cooking Kalua pig) or in your own backyard...you can recapture the global flavors, and the spirit, of the luau in your own way.

As you know, the food blog world truly represents a global community – connecting people across the world at tables and in kitchens, regardless of any borders. But food itself is the universal language of the planet: no matter who you are, where you live or how much money you have, you have to eat – it’s a requirement of human survival and part of the whole human experience. But there is a global community, and a world of creativity, existing right outside your doorstep too – in yourself, your family and your friends. Bring them together, ask them to share a bit of themselves with you, and relish in learning something new about them. I guarantee you’ll be feasting and celebrating life together around a table of amazing food...and what could be better, or more worthwhile, than that?

Dobos Torte with Lilikoi Curd (Hungary)

Stay tuned for the incredible recipes (plus more photos) from this amazing event - they'll be posted soon!

Victorian Sponge Cake with Coconut Cream and Guava Jam (England)

15.9.08

Going Bananas in Hawaii

Forget everything you know about bananas...those long, mushy or hard as a rock green phallic-looking things you get at the grocery store that are typically imported from Central or South America and taste, at best, slightly banana-like or way too sweet and banana-like - going from perfect to completely mushy in 60 seconds. You know the ones I'm talking about...they're as long as your forearm and taste about like it would probably taste to lick your forearm too...if you covered it in banana mush. It's not the other Americas' fault the banana varieties they typically export - the Cavendish and Williams are sub-par...but it doesn't make them taste any better by wishing they were either (sorry Other Americas).

Lucky me, I've never been one to like bananas much anyway (can you tell?). Sure, I loves me a good loaf of banana bread (especially one that is dense and caramelized on top, or with some dark chocolate chips in it - xoxo Kristin!), but eating one raw? Bah. Only if I have to so that it won't go to waste and if it hasn't gone too black and brown and mushy and overly banana flavored on me. And don't even get me started on banana "chips" - more like poker chips if you ask me, since that's about all they're good for (pass me a big one, LB - I win!). As a side note, dried bananas of any type are a dream...and we're talking whole, dried bananas people! Banana-y (but not too much), soft, chewy...they're positively onolicious (Hawaiian slang for super-dooper delicious)! But those can be sometimes be hard to come by, and expensive (if you're in the neighborhood, Kimberly often has dried apple bananas at her booth at the Farmer's markets or the next time you're in Haleiwa, you can find them at Celestial Natural Foods; if not, then try your local natural foods stores for dried bananas. Trader Joes also has them, but they flatten theirs and cut them into thin slices and it's just not quite the same.). I digress.

Hawaii's bananas, called apple bananas because of their slight apple-like scent, only slightly resemble their longer, mushier cousins. They are sweet (but not as sickeningly sweet as the other varieties), they are short and fat, they have a slight tang to them, and they stay firm (just the right amount of firmness) for far longer than other bananas. And they won't even go all brown on you as soon as you cut them and expose them to air! But it's the tang and the firmness that get my heart racing. I have loved these little babies since the first bite after we arrived here. Better still, we just happen to have several apple banana trees in our back yard! (oh Hawaii, how I love thee...oh landlord, how I love thee for planting thy trees...). But if you don't have an apple banana tree of your very own, or friends that have their own trees because they'll have them coming out of their ears every time they harvest, most of the supermarkets here have them too. I have also been told that some specialty stores on the mainland will carry them imported from Hawaii. (One note: do not harvest bananas from your tree in clothing you like - there is a super sticky resin that will look like rust on your clothes and never, ever come out). Also, while apple bananas can be found elsewhere, the soil in Hawaii makes them the most luscious, sweetest apple bananas out there...or so They say...and I believe it.


Funny, but here you will often find people buying their apple bananas green, not yellow, and letting them ripen at home. That's just how it's done. With most of the fruit here, actually. Buying fruit at different stages of ripeness allows you to get a variety of fruit on the same day (like the once-a-week farmer's market) and eat it all week long, at the perfect ripeness. Perhaps it's also because most of the tropical fruits sweeten as they ripen, so it's easy and accepted to buy them green and wait for that peak of ripeness from the comfort of your own home.

While I could eat several apple bananas a day raw (and I do), when we harvest from the tree, a large clump of bananas comes down at once...and they all ripen at once (bananas give off ethylene gas which will ripen any fruit around, even if it's not a banana, so keep your other fruits away if you don't want them to ripen too). So you can give them away, eat them yourself, freeze them or start baking and cooking with them right away. And I've been doing lots of all of these options, leaving me with several yummy banana recipes I'd like to share with you. So, expect more to come in the future. To tease you: apple banana gingerbread; caramelized apple bananas with brandy; and frozen apple bananas dipped in chocolate...

Those recipes are all delicious, but the first recipe I want to share with you really stemmed from not wanting to waste any food. Looking for something interesting to make for breakfast, I convinced LB to make a batch of Heidi's Baked Doughnuts (LB is the bread/yeast man in our house). They turned out pretty great and we ate them for breakfast twice - but LB had made a full batch of these babies, so we had several left over. I tore them up into 1/2"-1" pieces, and threw them in a freezer bag...I figured they'd make a good base for a sweet and scrumptious bread pudding. Well, I was right - they did.

It was LB's general idea, and my recipe, and it turned out fabulous: (Apple) Banana Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Sauce. It's a mixture of basic bread pudding recipes, reduced to four servings and made with what we had available, and we'll definitely be making it again (we still have doughnut pieces in the freezer!). An ever so slightly crisp topping set on a smooth and creamy base, it has just the right amount of a gentle tartness from the bananas to offset the sweet and rich butter sauce that feels like silk on your tongue, and the whole dish just screams comfort...it's like something your grandmother would make (you do know that Granny was always adding a touch of alcohol to your sweets, right? Helps with toothaches and such...). But better still, it's the perfect compliment to a dark, rich mug of Kona coffee.

Next time, I'd like to make a caramel sauce instead of using the Grand Marnier, although I do feel the very slight orange flavor complimented the gently tangy banana flavor quite well. I'm sure you could use brioche or even store bought sugar and cinnamon rolled doughnuts (or just add a bit more sugar and cinnamon to the recipe if you use something else) and you could probably use the more common varieties of banana in this recipe also (although you'll be missing that tiny bit of tang - maybe reduce the sugar a bit?) - but, my friends, you are certainly welcome to simply come on over and join us for breakfast, any time. We'll definitely be serving this to our house guests in the future.

Apple Banana Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Sauce
serves 4

1 cup of soymilk (or regular milk - we can only afford soymilk here!)
1 cup of half and half
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. high quality vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups doughnut pieces, torn into 1/2 inch pieces (preferably Heidi's)
5 apple bananas, thinly sliced

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier, or another orange-flavored liquor

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soymilk and the next 7 ingredients (through salt), adding only 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar (reserve 1/4 cup). Place the doughnut pieces in a large bowl and pour the mixture over the top. Mix gently and allow it to sit for about 5-7 minutes (since the bread component is doughnuts, it doesn't need very long to soak, you just want to make sure that all of the pieces are moistened thoroughly). If it doesn't seem moist enough, add an extra splash of milk or soymilk until it looks very moist, but isn't completely soggy. Gently mix in the apple banana slices.

Butter a 6"x 4" casserole dish (or you could probably use a pie dish, just adjust the ingredients accordingly (ie. up everything by 1/4 or so), and pour the mixture into the buttered dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Cover the dish with a piece of buttered foil, and put it into a larger casserole dish on the middle rack in the oven. Pour hot water into the larger dish until it reaches about 1/2 up the smaller dish. Cook for for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the sugar becomes crispy and slightly browned, forming a little crispy shell on the top.

Just before it's about to come out of the oven, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat with the powdered sugar, stirring until the butter is fully melted (but not brown!) and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier. Serve over the top of the bread pudding - with extra on the side (it's good)! The whole thing - bread pudding and sauce alike, is just as delicious the following morning if you end up with leftovers (but you might not).

Resources:

  1. Hawaiian words: ono - delicious; onolicious - super, duper delicious
  2. Dried bananas: apple bananas from Kimberly; regular dried bananas from Celestial Natural Foods, 66-443 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, 808.637.6729; or check your local natural foods store (Whole Foods in Hawaii does NOT have them)

11.9.08

A Cure for the Grumpies

So, I have a little confession to make...I get grumpy when I am hungry and when my blood sugar gets low. And when I say this, I don't mean "grumpy" as in a little testy or sad or cute-when-you're-mad sort of grumpy. No, when I say "grumpy," I mean full-on, ready-to-battle, talk-to-me-or-look-at-me-sideways-and-I-will-rip-your-head-off grumpy.

This confession will come as no surprise to LB (in fact, I think the last moniker he mumbled under his breath for me after a recent *episode* was something like "mean devil woman" - I heard you by the way, LB). Poor LB has been the recipient of my grumpiness on the way home from work on more than one occasion when I had salad for lunch (I actually refrain now from having only salad for lunch - I'm convinced that salad is not really "lunch"...it's only lettuce leaves and therefore disappears from my belly quickly - or it has a secret compound that activates my grumpiness in 3-4 hours). I know, however, that this is not a phenomenon that is unique to me and me alone. In fact, I know it happens to many other women out there because I have seen and heard their husbands/boyfriends/parents chime in when LB starts describing this particular trait of mine to friends - just why he feels the need to share this information with them in the first place is beyond me, but that's another discussion. Does it happen to men too? Probably. But not LB. Which only makes me grumpier when I am already grumpy.

"Why the hell aren't you grumpy too? Aren't you starving? I'm starving. And stop looking at me like that..."
Well, if you happen to be one of those women (or even better, if you live with one of them - because when we're like this, we're practically incapable of doing anything but being grumpy, trust me!) or if you happen to be a man that is not like LB, then this recipe is a good one to have on hand. It's also just a great dish if you've just come home from work and you're tired, you're hungry, (you're grumpy), you don't have anything specific planned for dinner, and you're supposed to be somewhere in an hour (or, maybe not). This is a great dish for when you want something that will fill the empty void (or, perhaps, the enormous abyss) in your stomach, that tastes delicious and doesn't take a lot of work. This is the kind of food that is hearty, comforting and easy...and heck, it's just simply good. And it will certainly cure even the meanest case of the Grumpies.

In fact, I can't even take credit for this little beauty really - the idea isn't even my own. I saw a coworker eating her version of this dish and it looked so delicious that I asked what was in it, then went with what I had on hand (okay, I'm totally lying - I went right out and bought the broccoli because it looked so darn good on her version and the potatoes because I didn't have any, and then went with what I had on hand). So, you can (and should) switch up the ingredients if you don't have the exact ones that are listed here. You can add spices as you feel like or go with your intuition. Mine didn't even need any because the sausage had so much flavor (and heat - the good kind of heat) by itself, but if you don't choose flavored sausages, a tsp. or so of red pepper flakes or a few fresh herbs (thyme, maybe? or basil) would be a nice addition. This would also be an easy vegetarian recipe, and probably be just as tasty - add tempeh maybe or just go with the veggies and potatoes (potatoes are fairly filling on their own I suppose), using vegetable broth instead of chicken and adding a few spices for extra flavor. Either way, you have a meal in minutes to enjoy with hardly any work required at the stove...and who knows, it could even save your spouse from cowering in the closet for most of the evening.


Simply Good Sausage and Potato Supper, serves 4

4 sausages, sliced on a bias - I used Aidells Habanero and Green Chili
cooking spray or olive oil spritzer
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small head of broccoli, florets sliced into 1/4"-1/2" slices (add the stem too if you'd like)
1 medium sized yellow or sweet onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 medium sized carrot, sliced on a bias
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
6 red potatoes, cut in quarters
1 - 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or broth, divided (preferably stock because it has more flavor)
salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a large saute' pan with olive oil or cooking spray and allow it to heat up over medium high heat. Add the sausages and cook until browned on both sides. Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon and place aside. Add 1 tsp. olive oil to the pan, then add broccoli, onion, red pepper and carrot to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the potatoes to the pan, and about 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Cover and cook until the stock has reduced and nearly disappeared, and stirring the mixture occasionally. Keep adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time until the potatoes are tender and unctuous. Add the sausages back to the pan, season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Serve.