Monday, September 29, 2014

Watermelon Basil with Goat Cheese

When you think of Hawai`i, you think of papayas, mangos, pineapples or something exotic or at least a tropical fruit so watermelon is not one that would automatically come to mind.  I only discovered last year how sweet and delicious watermelon is over here.  Like I said, everything seems to taste better here.  So when I came across Ka’ana Kitchen, one of the places on my list that really takes the concept of farm to table to heart, had watermelon with feta cheese from Surfing Goat Dairy, I knew I wanted to recreate it myself.  Note that this will not taste exactly as the one at Ka’ana Kitchen since I believe they marinade their watermelon first and has a little something extra to make it worth $15 a square but this is something I thought was worth trying to replicate at a fraction of the cost. 

¼ of a watermelon from Honokowai Farmer’s Market

Mac Nut Cheese from Surfing Goat

Fresh basil from the herb garden at Ocean Vodka
 
Served it up as a huge side with my leftover opakapaka and poi

Price:  $18 for 4 servings = $4.50 per serving  - picture is only 2 servings



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eating Like a Local

One of my pet peeves is seeing people travel to all these faraway lands and countries only to see them running to a McDonalds for a Big Mac or a chain they can go to at home when eating out.  If you want to do it for one meal or two, fine, but to never give the local cuisine or restaurants a try seems like such a shame since it is a big part of the cultural experience of traveling. 

This will probably be my 15th time in Maui so often I do feel like a local and have often been mistaken as one as someone offered to come by to check out an issue we were talking about at home.  Just have to work on my Pidgin’ brah. 

We use to go to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina for plate lunches before it had gotten way too touristy and they started nickel and dime’ing for the silliest things that left a bad taste in my mouth.  I am all for them being successful but many times it is at the expense of service or the authenticity of the experience.  So yes, we do hit up a couple of “local food trucks” or actually “lunch wagons” that have been serving the local workers for years before the food truck craze.  But the word does seem to have gotten out lately for at least one of them where in the past you will find us eating lunch at one or two benches alongside the MPD officers and construction workers that file in for their affordable mid-day grindz served by friendly faces. 
 
But even with affordable prices that are tailored for the locals, it still is not feasible to eat out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 weeks so we make use of our fully equipped kitchen in our condo and eat at least half our lunches and dinners and all our breakfasts on our lanai overlooking the ocean at a third of the price.  

So now our shopping list for making half of our meals in our condo can pass for that of a local. 
 
Lau Laus

Kalua Pork

Aloha Maid 6 pack

Meadow Gold cartons of POG or Guava Nectar

Beef from Takamiya Market

Fresh Fish from Fish Market

 
Honokowai Farmers Market

Papayas

Local Watermelon

Starfruits

Local Butter Lettuce

Butter Avocado Guacamole

Pineapple and Coconut Bagels

This is an example of a traditional Hawaiian Plate we put together - Kalua Pork and Lau Lau and freshly pounded poi which we picked up at the Launiupoko Farmer's Market.  Stay tuned for more local or farm or ocean to table creations.





 
 

 

Farm or Ocean to Table

Hawai`i long ago may not have been known as a culinary mecca but with the blending of the flavors that was brought over from many of the early immigrants with the farm to table movement started by like visionary chefs like Peter Merriman it has truly evolved.  So I am excited to go back to Mama’s Fish House after 10 years for fish that is freshly caught daily that the name of the fishermen that caught is credited on the menu to the new Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz where the menu is actually divided into sections where it features ingredients from that farm and Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon’s newest venture Migrant which highlights his Filipino roots in his dishes.

Although this trip evolved into eating out more than usual due to a couple of unplanned dinners, I still try to follow that same philosophy for the meals that I cook in the condo.  The following is a perfect example for a Farm or Ocean to Table dinner we made a week ago.

Fresh opakapaka with a mac nut crust from the Fish Market at Honokowai – not cheap at $27.99/lb but still cheaper for the amount you get vs. going out for the same dish for dinner.  We had enough for dinner and lunch for 2.  – Popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and it was perfect. 

Starfruit – Launiupoko Farmer’s Market – This reminds me of a farmer’s market with backyard farmers so you can get fresh produce for a reasonable price.  Starfruits were $1 a piece and we split just one. 

Price:  $34 for 4 servings = $8.50 per serving which is super cheap in Hawaii standards







 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tropical Breakfast

Maui has become like a second home to me which is why I actually get homesick for it when I leave and spend the next 50 weeks counting down to when I can return again to my home away from home.  For extended stays over a week, it is worth it to stay in a condo as the price of food here can be twice as what you would pay in the Mainland since most has to be “imported” in from other states.  So over the years I have tried to be as much of a locavore as I can be while here, not necessarily because groceries are so expensive here even to eat in, but because I want to support the local farmers and purveyors to hopefully enable them to go back to their roots of self sustainability by living off the ‘aina. 

Certain items like milk I still have to drop up to $7 a gallon for Safeway Milk since unfortunately Haleakala Dairy which I got a quart from last year for an arm and a leg no longer even operates from Maui.  My go-to daily breakfast on island for years now have been half a bagel with half a papaya and a glass of milk with some slight evolution due to my locavore movement. 

BEFORE:  Half a Thomas Bagel with cream cheese and half a papaya with glass of milk for me and glass of Meadow Gold POG or Guava for hubby. 

NOW:  Half a fresh pineapple or coconut bagel topped with guacamole and half a papaya all from the Honokowai Farmer’s Market that is there MWF from 7-11 with drinks remaining the same.  (I do plan on checking out Wow Wow Lemonades for their fresh pressed lemonades but not exactly a breakfast drink.) 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking about guacamole on a bagel for breakfast but I had to cut the cream cheese even though I only ate it for 2 weeks a year since I was borderline on my cholesterol a few years back.  I absolutely love the guacamole from the Farmer’s Market as they make it with their butter avocado which is literally like butter.  I would buy containers of it for my sandwiches and to enjoy with tortilla chips before one day I slathered it on my bagel and absolutely loved it and have not turned back since.  So this is my breakfast everyday for 2 weeks!


 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Plane Food

I have never been a big fan of plane food so when I had picked up a tuna nicoise sandwich in Paris for the plane ride on the way back from our honeymoon years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how something so simple can still taste good hours into the flight.  So I had a light bulb moment of how this is the perfect plane food as the ingredients on its own does not spoil and is satisfying enough to last you until you reach most domestic destinations. 
Ingredients
Olive Oil
Sliced Olives
Hard Boiled Egg sliced
Canned Tuna
French Bread Sandwich Rolls or Baguette
Preparation
  1. Spread a little olive oil on the inside of the sandwich roll
  2. Put in canned tuna, sliced hard boiled egg, sliced olives, close and put into sandwich bag or wrap in saran wrap
Sorry, no picture as it is way too early and had a flight to catch. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Egg Balls

If you have some bread crumbs that are about to expire like I do, I thought this would be a great way to use some up especially since I had bought an extra pack of Italian Parsley that I ended up not using for my dinner party.  Since I did not want to consume half dozen eggs per person in a week, I went for the half recipe with the 6 eggs for both of us and was able to get a dozen meatballs out of the mixture. 

Egg Balls – Buddy Valastro Recipe from Rachael Ray Show  - http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/18521_egg_balls/index.html

Notes: 

  1. This is a great recipe for meatless meatballs that would work for vegetarians but not for vegans however since it has eggs
  2. Make sure to spray your hand with olive oil in between rolling the meatballs but I ended up discovering that wetting your hands with water was even better than olive oil as I would have to wash my hands between each olive oil spray anyways and I seem to get a few more meatballs with wet hands vs. olive oiled hands
  3. I was too lazy to make marinara sauce so I just used a jar of Classico and poached the egg balls in that 6 at a time.  If the sauce starts to burn during the second batch, add some water to the sauce.   
Price:  $4 for 12 golf sized egg balls



Monday, September 15, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

I had a bunch of veggies left over from the minestrone recipe and since I happen to record an episode of Jacque Pepin’s Fast Food My Way that was using those same ingredients, the allure of the French accent lured me in telling me I had to make this soup.  So I picked up some leeks from the Farmer’s Market, a baguette from Farmer Joe’s since Chef Jacque said bread and butter is all you need to be happy. 


Note: 
1.  Sweat out the leeks in olive oil before adding the rest of the vegetables and water

Price:  $4 for 4 servings = $1 per serving