Archive for the ‘Home Cooking’ Category

Shep Gordon, Supermensch

By
October 6th, 2016



He still manages Alice Cooper, but Shep Gordon is otherwise retired and enjoying life on Maui, his home of the last 43 years.

Just out with a book, "They call me Supermensch," Gordon tonight talked about his life at an event that quickly outgrew its intended venue at CookSpace in Ward Warehouse. Instead, it was in a seating area next to the courtyard at the IBM building, and got started just after the evening's well-attended yoga class.

For those not versed in Yiddish, "mensch" means a person of integrity and honor.

Shep Gordon, manager to rock stars, movie stars and chefs, and a leader of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, appeared at a book signing in Honolulu Thursday night. Photos by Erika Engle.

Shep Gordon, manager to rock stars, movie stars and chefs, and a leader of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, appeared at a book signing in Honolulu Thursday night. Photos by Erika Engle.

The book represents "a backstage pass to the amazing worlds of film, food, and rock 'n roll," according to the cover, and yes, he's well-known in show-business circles. For Hawaii, though, he is likely best-renowned for helping to create and promote Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) starting in 1991.

In the audience was chef Roger Dikon, one of the original 11 chefs of HRC, as well as chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney and Brandon Lam, an owner of La Tour Cafes, as well as recording artists Jack Johnson and Makana.

Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi, CEO of the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival and wife of HRC chef Roy Yamaguchi, introduced Gordon, as well as CookSpace Hawaii co-owner Melanie Kosaka, who led Gordon through a question-and-answer session.

CookSpace partner Melanie Kosaka led Gordon through a Q&A session before opening up questions to the audience.

CookSpace partner Melanie Kosaka led Gordon through a Q&A session before opening up questions to the audience.

It was a chef that saved his life, Gordon told the audience. He was at dinner with a bunch of movie stars and other noteworthy figures of the time, after winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival. He was young and "too successful," he said, indicating a proclivity for drug use back then, as well as the then-recent deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, both of whom he'd known and with whom he had interacted. At that same dinner, when chef Roger Verge entered the room and Hollywood actor James Coburn leapt to his feet to hug him, Gordon thought of Verges, "this was the guy who was going to save my life," he said.Verge, who died last year at 85, told Gordon if he learned to cook, he could come work in his kitchen some time. Gordon took the classes, showed up at Verge's restaurant looking to cook with him, but instead traveled with him to Thailand. The journey made them fast friends and Verge, a leader in the nouvelle cuisine movement (along with Paul Bocuse and others), as well as Dean Fearing, a leader of the Southwestern cuisine movement in the U.S., came to Hawaii to help Hawaii's chefs lay the foundation of HRC.As for Gordon's decades-ago drug activities, he said it had been an awkward subject until friend and celebrity chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain jokingly referred to Gordon's past activities as his pharmaceutical career, which got a hearty laugh from the audience. Gordon's book, published by HarperCollins, also is labeled "an Anthony Bourdain book." Bourdain has never been a client, Gordon said, but described Bourdain as a rock star, and it was clear the two are friends.Gordon also has cooked for the Dalai Lama more than once, along with a cadre of volunteer chefs and other team members. Even then-Kauai Mayor Joanne Yukimura volunteered to scrub pots and pans and wash dishes for his Hawaii visit, Gordon said, describing her as a short, hard-working woman whose daughter was taller than her, and saving her name until the end of the story as a punchline, not intended to be funny as much as surprising.Given his long and storied career, Gordon was asked about his passion, about what makes him get out of bed in the morning. "I don't have a record player, and I don't really watch movies," he said. The culinary world is what inspires him, he said, and to illustrate the point, he said he soon will be going to Italy for truffle-hunting.

Chef Roger Dikon, Shep Gordon, Jack Johnson and chef Ed Kenney gather for photos after Gordon's talk-story session.

Chef Roger Dikon, Shep Gordon, Jack Johnson and chef Ed Kenney gather for photos after Gordon's talk-story session.

Gordon and the HRC chefs launched a movement some 25 years ago …

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/02/27/business/from-a-small-fraternity-came-an-identifying-style/

… and some returned to the James Beard House in 2011 to blow away some mainland taste buds.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/03/21/business/hawaii-regional-cuisine-pleases-palates-that-matter/

An alumnus of that Beard House dinner, chef Wade Ueoka, now owns and operates MW Restaurant with his wife Michelle Karr-Ueoka, and it was at MW that Gordon, the Dikons, the Johnsons and the Kenneys enjoyed a pre-event dinner.

Gordon's book is $25.99 and is available at bookstores and online.

Look for more insights into Gordon's thoughts about, and love for, Hawaii and its food, in next week's Crave.

 

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Pitmaster champ shares techniques

By
June 17th, 2016



Myron Mixon sprinkles a rack of ribs with his signature rub. He advises a "medium" coating of rub, which was really quite thick.

Myron Mixon sprinkles a rack of ribs with his signature rub. He advises a "medium" coating of rub, which was really quite thick.

I'm not sure there are metrics for barbecue championships, but Myron Mixon is known as "the winningest man in BBQ" and you're not likely to find anyone to contest that.

Certainly not in the crowd at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Friday, where Mixon beguiled a sellout crowd of 120 — most of them his fans, but all of them fans of the art of the smoker.

Mixon is a television BBQ celebrity, featured in Discovery's Destination America shows "Smoked," "BBQ Pittmaster," "BBQ Rules" and "BBQ Pit Wars." He has his own line of gear, including a $4,000 smoker. He's got cookbooks, a cooking school and this summer opens restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

He's gruff and tough and does nothing small. "Go big or go home," he said, " 'cause nobody ain't gonna care 100 years from now."

If you've never heard of him you're just moving in the wrong crowd.

Mixon has won more than 200 grand championships in competitions that can involve more than 100 grilling teams. "He's always the top dog," said Norris Sherfield, an attendee who follows Mixon on TV.

Press your rub firmly into the meat, on both sides, Mixon advises.

Press your rub firmly into the meat, on both sides, Mixon advises.

In Friday's session, Mixon gave out proportions for his brine and his injection recipe, measured by gallons, and his tips for how to prep a rack of ribs and a whole chicken for the smoker.

Class participants followed Mixon's demonstration with a hands-on application of his techniques. They took it very seriously.

Class participants followed Mixon's demonstration with a hands-on application of his techniques. They took it very seriously.

For example, never oil a chicken. It makes the skin rubbery, and don't put your spice rub under the skin or it will taste over-seasoned and possibly chalky. On the other hand, always oil your ribs. It helps the rub adhere. Press down firmly to set the rub (don't actually rub it in).  And always use St. Louis spareribs, taking the time to remove the membrane and the excess fat, but not to the point where you puncture the meat.

"I'd rather you take less of it off than make a hot mess."

Racks of ribs prepared in the class were sent to the smoker to be served at Saturday night's BBQ and Blues Festival at the Hilton.

Racks of ribs prepared in class were sent to the smoker to be served at Saturday's BBQ and Blues Festival at the Hilton.

 

A barbecue meal followed the class, with Southern sides of grilled corn on the cob, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans with peaches, mashed sweet potatoes and coleslaw.

A barbecue meal followed class, with Southern sides of grilled corn on the cob, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans with peaches, mashed sweet potatoes and coleslaw.

For more of Mixon's tips and his recipe for ribs, see Wednesday's Crave section

 

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Poke preserver still passionate

By
June 2nd, 2016



Chef Sam Choy sure knows how to work a room.

Chef Sam Choy prepares for a poke demonstration and a talk to culinary educators at ChefZone.

Chef Sam Choy prepares for a poke demonstration and a talk to culinary educators at ChefZone. Photo by Erika Engle.

Talking to a group of culinary educators from Hawaii high schools and community colleges, including some retirees who remain active, he had them in rapt attention as well as roll-laughing as he shared personal experiences and amusing stories to help them continue to keep their students — the next generation of Hawaii’s culinarians — inspired.

It didn’t hurt that there also would be pounds and pounds of expertly prepared poke, as well as numerous small plates prepared by Chef Jacqueline Lau assisted by her son Dustin.

Chef Jacqueline Lau and her son Justin prepare some small plates for presentation to members of the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation at ChefZone. Photo by Erika Engle.

The gathering at ChefZone, staged by the Hawai‘i Culinary Education Foundation, was to give educators insights into Choy’s culinary journey, offer practical tips on minimizing food waste, see a demonstration of classic and contemporary poke dishes, and to watch the chef prepare a dish from a box of mystery ingredients.

Choy demonstrated a recipe which included only pre-contact ingredients, and he shared a recipe.

Before Captain Cook Poke

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh ahi, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
3/4 cup limu kohu*
2 tablespoons inamona*
2 Hawaiian bird chilies, minced (optional)

Method:

In a bowl, mix ahi with salt and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Choy’s secret tip is to serve the poke very, very cold, paired with beer or a good wine.

* Choy says limu kohu and inamona can be purchased from Young’s Fish Market and Haili’s Hawaiian Foods.

Made with pre-Western-contact ingredients including Choy's favorite limu (kohu).

Made with pre-Western-contact ingredients including Choy's favorite limu (kohu). Photo by Erika Engle.

Choy insisted about being kept in the dark as far as the contents of his mystery basket. He wanted it to be the way it was when he appeared on “Chopped,” on Food Network.

When he opened the basket he found: fish sauce; cardamom pods; tomatoes, pre-packaged, fully cooked bone-in braised shortribs; cilantro, Guilin Style Chili Sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand); and Big Island macadamia nut honey.

He put the ribs into a hot skillet, tossed in some cilantro, added water, which he jokingly referred to as chicken stock; tasted the chili sauce and added just a little bit, perhaps a generous teaspoon; drizzled in some mac nut honey and squeezed in fresh lime juice followed by a generous splash of fish sauce. At some point he took a single cardamom pod, crushed and minced it, and added a portion of it to the sauce, then almost-surreptitiously tossed what remained on the knife blade over his shoulder, drawing a chuckle from the crowd. He cut the tomato into wedges and added some to the pan. After tasting the sauce he was building, he added more honey and more “chicken stock” (water, in this case), and then added the remaining tomato wedges to the pan, stirring as he went along. Choy took a one-pound block of butter from the refrigerator and cut off about a 3/4- to one-inch deep prism shape off the end of the block, cut it into smaller pieces, and added it to the pan sauce to enrich it.

The short ribs were placed atop scoops of rice on long rectangular plates, which each then got some tomato on one end, and a generous spoonful of the butter-enhanced pan sauce on the other end. Decadent was a word one might use to describe the fall-apart tender meat slathered with the pan sauce. That’s why he’s Chef Sam Choy, and we are but mere mortals.

The dish Chef Sam Choy made from a mystery basket.

The deliciously decadent dish Chef Sam Choy made from a mystery basket. Photo by Erika Engle.

After the demonstration and the noshing on two types of poke Choy made and Lau’s dishes including “Foil Chicken” comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese; spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast; fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, and sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, participants heard a presentation from HCEF sponsor Hawai‘i Gas, and then it was time for the culinary teachers' sessions with professional chef mentors for program planning.

Chef Jackie Lau's "Foil Chicken," “comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese.

Chef Jackie Lau's "Foil Chicken," “comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese.

Chef Jackie Lau's spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast.

Chef Jackie Lau's spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast.

Fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, by Chef Jackie Lau. Photos by Erika Engle.

More on Choy’s talk and his “new wave” poke will be in Wednesday’s Crave in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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Food and wine fest features fish

By
May 25th, 2016



This opah, or moonfish, was presented at the United Fishing Agency auction. It is also known as Moonfish.

This opah, or moonfish, was presented at the United Fishing Agency auction.

Tuesday started early for Hawaii Food and Wine Festival participants who wanted to see Honolulu’s famed fish auction and visit Tamashiro Market to sample poke.
Chefs George Mavrothalassitis and Lee Anne Wong accompanied the tour and talked story with paid guests, answering questions along the way. They were to conduct a poke demonstration at the  Kahala Hotel & Resort, host hotel for the HF&WF Culinary Journey launch event.
John Kaneko of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council led the United Fishing Agency fish auction tour, which started pier-side with an explanation of how commercial long-line fishing boat crews lay their lines while out on the ocean, with hooks at depths ranging from 50 meters to 350 meters.
With some 3,000 baited hooks, the percentage of fish caught each time the line is laid, is 1.1, he said. “Ninety-nine of 100 hooks are empty,” he said, so the boats are out for 11 to 14 days, and immediately process the fish and stow them below deck on ice.
Once inside United Fishing Agency, the auction was in full swing, with pallets of fish being wheeled in as Kaneko explained the differences between the grades of fish, the basics of what to look for when choosing fish at the market, and more.

John Kaneko, of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council, explains the fresh fish grading process.

John Kaneko, of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council, explains the fresh fish grading process.

The fish are laid side-by-side with a portion of the tail cut out, yielding a flat, or fileted cut and a “steak” cut, as well as a cored sample. The auctioneer barks out information about each fish, and fish buyers stake their claims before moving on to the next fish.
For those of us who are not experts, the differences between the big eye ahi flesh from fish to fish was stunning. Color and texture ranged from lusciously glistening and red, to lighter red with pinky, fatty tissue prized by many, to brown and dull, some with space between the muscle tissue. Kaneko described the latter as “gaping,” and said the brown flesh definitely would not be destined for use as sashimi.
Anything at the supermarket that is cherry red and “screaming at you” has likely been gassed with carbon monoxide to enhance the fish’s color, Kaneko said. The council offers fish auction tours via its website.

It was then on to Tamashiro Market, where owner Guy Tamashiro, a regular at the fish auction, is getting a new parking lot at his North King Street shop.
Tamashiro’s is known not just as one of the go-to stops for New Year’s ahi, but for selling reef fish and other seafoods popular with local residents, as well as produce including green papaya, marungay leaves, raw peanuts, and other items not readily found at many supermarkets.
Of the reef fish, Uhu is very popular, Tamashiro said.
They live in “harems,” Tamashiro explained, adding that if the male should die, a dominant female will transform into a male to keep the group going. Males are blue, and females are red, and while undergoing the gender change, the red female will begin to turn blue.
“I only learned that today,” said Mavro, though he loves cooking uhu, and says the female of the species has a superior flavor.

Tamashiro Market owner Guy Tamashiro pulled two uhu from the display, to show the gender-changing process the formerly female one in front had been undergoing. The blue fish immediately behind it, is male.

Tamashiro Market owner Guy Tamashiro pulled two uhu from the display, to show the gender-changing process the formerly female one in front had been undergoing. The blue fish immediately behind it, is male.

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Super cool tool

By
May 18th, 2016



spurtle

Ever stumble upon a tool that ends up being something you can’t live without? This happened to me years ago, when I still lived at home and my mother was gifted with a wooden spatula, slightly curved and pointed on one end, that made nearly every stovetop task easier to execute. When I moved out I pondered stealing it.

So it was with this educated eye that I assessed the Spurtle, from Mad Hungry. Part spoon, part spatula, the Spurtle is a seemingly unassuming paddle with a long, wide flat surface that allows for efficiency and versatility. It makes quick work of tossing a panful of stir-fry or fried rice, folding delicate whipped cream into a dessert, scraping the flesh from a squash, scraping the edges and corners of a pan, and scooping and spreading a nut butter over a slice of bread in one fell swoop. And because the Spurtle is flat, it's simple to scrape off any food or sauce stuck on its surface, by simply scraping it against the edge of the pan or bowl you're working with.

It’s a tool to reach for everyday. And because it's wooden, it won't scratch pots and pans. The Spurtle is based on a 500-year-old tool from Scotland, originally used for stirring vats of oatmeal.

Mad Hungry is a cooking website run by cookbook author and television cooking show host Lucinda Scala Quinn and her sons. Quinn is also a senior vice president at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. All this media experience has made Quinn quite savvy, and she peddles her Spurtles on the television shopping channel QVC (channel 2 on Oceanic Time Warner), which is where I got my set.

It comprises four pieces made of acacia: a full-size, 12-3/4-by-2-inch Spurtle; a full-size slotted version, a mini, 8-3/4-by-2-inch solid Spurtle, and a long, made-to-fit spoon rest. Though the set was priced at $19.98, after an exorbitant $9.22 shipping to Hawaii, plus $1.31 tax, the grand total was $30.51. Still, at about $7.63 apiece and a one-year warranty, the ease it provides in the kitchen makes it a worthwhile investment.

Here are some other things I saw Quinn do with the Spurtle in a video on QVC's site (qvc.com), which is posted along with the product info: With the regular tool, she scooped mayo into a bowl with some canned tuna or chicken (I couldn't tell which) and was able to stir and break up meat chunks, then fold in other ingredients, in mere seconds. Using the slotted Spurtle, she efficiently incorporated butter into a pot of cooked potato chunks while roughly mashing them; scrambled eggs by using the tool as a whisk; whisked dry ingredients, then whisked it with wet ingredients; and even separated eggs by resting the tool over a bowl and carefully pouring precracked eggs over the slots. The mini spreader made rapid work of frosting cupcakes with one quick twist of the wrist.

At madhungry.com, a two-piece bamboo set sells for $24.99, with a standard $8 shipping to Hawaii. It includes a 13-by-2-inch Spurtle and a 8-3/4-by-2-inch mini version.

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Making the most of a chicken

By
May 11th, 2016



Four dishes from one chicken.

Four dishes from one chicken.

One of the games I play in the kitchen is to maximize the number of meals I can get out of one rotisserie chicken. This is the topic of a story I'm working on — with flow chart — for the May 18 edition of Crave.

We took photos for the piece last week over a two-hour period that took eight hours of prep time, which may seem excessive since the whole point is to demonstrate how a rotisserie chicken menu can simplify your life.

 

From whole chicken to a handful of bones.

If you make all four dishes your whole chicken will be reduced to a handful of bones, which is all that you'll throw away.

First, we needed three chickens: One to photograph whole, one to photograph dismembered for parts and one to make all the finished dishes. All the shots had to be lined up ahead of time, otherwise it would have taken hours.

Keep in mind that we do not have a kitchen in the newsroom. We have a lunchroom with a sink. By the end of the day it was in shambles. All of the actual cooking: making a soup and various sauces, plus most of the chopping and slicing, was done at my house, and then everything was packed up for the drive into town.

My week of dishes made from one chicken will feed a family of two to four (depending on size of the eaters) for four days. The three chickens used in our photo shoot, though, fed 40-plus, when supplemented with bread. We set up a sandwich bar with all of the remains.

 

 

 

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Mom's secret ingredient

By
May 4th, 2016



The complimentary pistou soup being served at Chef Mavro on Mother's Day is the good chef's mom's recipe, and a favorite of the Mavrothalassitis family.

The complimentary pistou soup being served at Chef Mavro on Mother's Day is the good chef's mom's recipe, and a favorite of the Mavrothalassitis family.

Watch your salt, eliminate sugar, beware of GMOs, think organic. Healthful food takes consideration.

But there's more to nourishment than dietary guidelines. The key is something that's often lost in our cerebral world.

A heartfelt note from a son about his mother's food brings it all into perspective. The son: George Mavrothalassitis, chef-owner of Chef Mavro.

He starts, " My mom was an angel," and goes on to explain the details of his mother's beloved pistou soup, a hearty dish filled with fresh produce, ham hocks and pork belly. It was the stuff she raised her family on.

Then, he continues, "I must tell you a secret. My mother was not a good cook …"

Mavrothalassitis said family long wondered about the mystery of what made his mother's soup so great. In his function as a chef, he's solved the puzzle.

"Since she left me I'm still making every spring her recipe with a lot of emotion (and) love," he wrote. "I didn't change anything from the ingredients to the method ... nothing ... thinking of her I'm putting the ton of love she used to add as a secret ingredient!"

And so, for Mother's Day dinner at Chef Mavro, he shares with diners a bit of his late mother's love with a complimentary serving of her pistou soup as an additional course.

I'm not sure if there are still seats available on Mother's Day but it would be worth a call to inquire, just for a chance to taste first-hand a dish that truly nourished — and no doubt shaped — one of Hawaii's finest chefs.

Chef Mavro is at 1969 S. King St. Call 944-4714 or visit chefmavro.com.

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Emmy-winning Hawaii food and travel series makes isle debut

By
April 6th, 2016



Chef Ed Kenney works the loi on Kauai in the season premiere of "Family Ingredients."

Chef Ed Kenney works the loi on Kauai in the season premiere of "Family Ingredients." (Photo by Renea Veneri Stewart)

Anyone who’s grown up in Hawaii understands the deep connection between what we eat and where we come from. “Family Ingredients,” an award-winning locally produced series about how food ties into our identities, made its isle premiere April 5 with the screening of two episodes at the 2016 Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Showcase.

The series, produced by Heather Giugni, Renea Veneri Stewart and Dan Nakasone, and directed by Ty Sanga, was picked up by national PBS and will begin airing in Hawaii on June 22. The first season comprises six 24-minute episodes.

The first installment of the evening is the first in the series. It introduced series host Ed Kenney — chef-owner of Town, Kaimuki Superette and Mud Hen Water restaurants — and explored his food history, leading back to the Kauai taro farms of his youth. The second episode followed an Oahu resident back to his homeland of Tahiti, where his family crafts winning canoes and Kenney delved into poisson cru, a classic Tahitian dish of raw fish doused in lime juice and tossed with coconut milk and vegetables.

Other shows travel to Okinawa, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Japan.

The Japan episode, which served as the series pilot, won an Emmy in 2014. It focuses on chef Alan Wong's food roots in Wahiawa and Japan.

Easter dishes great all year

By
March 29th, 2016



With an eye toward healthfulness and a love of cooking and baking, Corri Lee Kojima devised her own spring fruit trifle, assembled with homemade vanilla pudding, whipped cream from scratch, fresh bananas and strawberries, and Nilla Wafers. Kojima's creation was part of the Easter potluck table on Sunday.

With an eye toward healthfulness and a love of cooking and baking, Corri Lee Kojima devised her own spring fruit trifle, assembled with homemade vanilla pudding, whipped cream made from scratch, fresh bananas and strawberries, and Nilla Wafers. Kojima's creation was part of a casual Easter potluck table on Sunday.

Though some families fix a proper meal for Easter Sunday, serving a baked ham or leg of lamb at a prettily set dining table, my family is all about casual. Priority No. 1 is getting our dozens of eggs boiled and the kids to the dyeing table at a reasonable time. After that, we've still got egg fights to brave, egg to hunts to navigate, egg salads to mix (from all those eggs that lose the battle). You get the picture.

That means whatever goes on the food table either has to be made well in advance or  be relatively easy to execute. Most of us pick the latter.

My sister, Jo Ann Kimura, who's slowly but surely building her kitchen chops, contributed a salsa that's absolutely delicious. Whenever she shares some with me, I take it home, put it down, turn my attention to a quick task — and find that I'm out of luck. Hubby and daughter make quick work of making it disappear.

It's a recipe that's as good for Jo Ann as it is the taste buds because it doesn't require turning on the stove. All that's necessary is chopping, measuring and running a blender.

And what made it even better this holiday was that she used tomatoes straight from the  backyard garden of her daughter, Dara Ann. Talk about farm to table.

At the other end of the spectrum is my cousin Corri Lee Kojima, who loves all things cooking, from Food Network to Mark Bittman to experimenting at the stove. For this gathering, she created her own version of a trifle, light and relatively healthy with fresh fruit, homemade pudding and whipped cream from scratch.

"That way, at least you know what's in it," she said about the extra effort of whipping her own cream, to which the rest of us could only respond, "Wow."

Her dessert was inspired by a rumor that Magnolia Bakery uses Nilla Wafers. If they could turn to such a thing, she reasoned, so could she.

I've included both their recipes here. If you're not of Corri's ilk, use instant pudding and Cool Whip. That's my plan.

Quick blending of fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions and lemon juice, plus a jalapeño if you like spice, make for a delicious homemade salsa.

Quick blending of fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions and lemon juice, plus a jalapeño if you like spice, make for a delicious homemade salsa.

California Salsa
Adapted from a Vitamix recipe
1/2 medium onion, peeled and halved
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and membranes removed (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ripe Roma tomatoes, quartered and divided (substitute with favorite tomato)

Place onion, jalapeño if using, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and 6 pieces tomato into blender. Secure lid and start blending on medium, gradually increasing to high, about 20 seconds.

Remove lid and push ingredients down from sides of blender, then continue blending about 20 seconds, or until ingredients are roughly processed.

Remove lid, add remaining tomato pieces and pulse to desired consistency. Do not over mix; tomatoes should be chunky.
Depending on size of tomatoes, makes 2 to 4 cups.

Spring Fruit Trifle
Courtesy Corri Lee Kojima
1 box Nilla Wafers
3 cups vanilla pudding
4 cups whipped cream
5 bananas, sliced into coins
2 baskets strawberries, cleaned and sliced

In bowl, layer ingredients, starting with a little bit of pudding to hold a layer of wafers, followed by bananas, pudding, strawberries and whipped cream. Repeat.

Place cookies and fruit along the side of the bowl if you like. End with whipped cream and top with fruit. Serves 12 to 15.

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Filipino dishes ready for their closeups

By
March 15th, 2016



 

This plate of lumpia is a potential cover shot for the cookbook.

This plate of lumpia might make the cover of the cookbook.

Chef Adam Tabura of Aloha Food Truck fame is preparing for the publication of his first cookbook, on Filipino home-style foods.

"The Filipino Kitchen" will be the fifth in the "Hawaii Cooks" series, a partnership of Mutual Publishing and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Past publications have covered Korean, Portuguese, Okinawan and Chinese cooking, always with a focus on the way these cuisines have evolved in Hawaii.

Kaz Tanabe shoots a plate of pulutan, barbecued pork belly sticks.

Kaz Tanabe shoots a plate of pulutan, barbecued pork belly sticks. A coating of honey gave the sticks a nice shine for the camera.

Photographs for all the cookbooks have been shot at Leeward Community College (except the Okinawan book, which was shot at Kapiolani Community College), with culinary students preparing the dishes. The exercise offers benefits to all those involved — the students get a hands-on introduction to a cooking style they may not know very well, and a chance to participate in professional food styling and photography. For the author and publisher, the school offers a huge kitchen and many hands to prepare the food.

Tabura also brought star power: He and his team won the Food Network's "Great Food Truck Race" and he was a recent competitor on the network's "Cutthroat Kitchen." And as a former executive chef and chef de cuisine at several restaurant and resort properties he was able to pass on career advice and cooking tips:

>> Learn to break down a fish, for example. It's a skill chefs look for when they hire.

Tabura, left, demonstrates breaking down a fish for chef-instructor Matt Egami and his students.

Adam Tabura, left, demonstrates fish butchery for chef-instructor Matt Egami and his students.

>> Always cut beans on the bias. It shows you took care in preparing your dish. Even if the beans are hidden — inside a lumpia roll, let's say — if someone should see the beans they'll know you prepped the dish by hand. Beans that were frozen, canned or cut by a machine won't look like that.

Adam Tabura, left, explains to students Dustin Iwasaki and Jannah Simmons the importance of the bias cut.

Tabura explains the importance of the bias cut to students Dustin Iwasaki and Jannah Simmons.

>> When preparing a food to be photographed, undercook it. Vegetables, especially, hold their color and look better when parcooked, or raw. And honey puts a nice shine on cooked meats.

Undercooking kept the colors of the vegetables in Ginisang Sitaw vibrant.

Undercooking kept the colors of the vegetables in Ginisang Sitaw vibrant.

"The Filipino Kitchen" is due out in October.

In the end, the leftovers were shared by all (everything was fully cooked by then).

In the end, the leftovers were shared by all (everything was fully cooked by then).

 

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