Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Preparing the Palate

Only days away from the tropical beaches of Kailua-Kona, on the main island of Hawai'i - and I'm jumping up and down on the inside. Ready to burst. I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait. I've decided to prep and prime myself for the foods to come. In learning of the abundance of guava, liliko'i, pineapple, Macadamia nuts, Kona coffee, and many others... one could only imagine the rotational spin that my brain maneuvers in the excitement.
I spent some time rummaging through the library's vast collection of cookbooks and came across a gold mine: Hawaiian cuisine. Unbeknownst to me, I had taken home a veritable masterpiece of cookery written by world renowned chef Beverly Gannon. Her book, The Hali'imaile General Store Cookbook is a collection of recipes conceived in her restaurant (by the same name - sans the cookbook part) in Maui. Every one of the dishes in her book is exciting and unique. Using all local produce and catch, the recipes are imbued with elements of Polynesian, Japanese, South-East Asian, Chinese, and even a little Texas (her hometown) style cooking.
I studied it like a textbook. I'm still going back and re-reading recipes, to completely absorb them into my head. Now I feel like Bev and I go way back, like old college buddies. I think I even have nickname rights now. I can call her 'Bevvy' or 'BevBev' as I see fit. Or maybe not.

Day 1: Paniolo Ribs w/ Hali'imaile BBQ Sauce
and Coconut-Butternut Squash Cakes

Paniolo Ribs

1 1/2 lbs Butternut squash (original calls for Moloka'i sweet potatoes)
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs palm sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c shredded dried coconut

BBQ Sauce
1 Tbs butter
1 c onion, diced
1 1/4 c ketchup
1/2 c hot sauce
1/3 c cider vinegar
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs prepared mustard
3 Tbs dark molasses
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
juice of 1/4 lemon
juice of 1/4 lime
juice of 1/2 orange
freshly ground pepper
3 racks baby back ribs (about 3 lbs)

1. Mix the bbq sauce in a sauce pan. Set aside
2. Coat ribs with half the sauce and cover in aluminum foil.
3. Bake for an hour on 400 degrees F.
4.Remove from foil carefully. Pour out any juices and baste meat in remaining sauce.
Do not cover meat this time.
5.Turn on broiler and cook for another 10 minutes or until crispy

1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel, seed and quarter squash.
3. Cook for one hour, or until very tender and mushy.
4. blend in processor, add butter and cinnamon, etc.
5. Refrigerate for 30 min.
6. Form balls and coat in coconut. Fry in batches.

Wow, that's good stuff. Make sure you use good quality ribs with lots of meat on them. The sauce is incredible as well. You could almost eat it alone, if you were strange like me.

Day 2: Pork Tenderloin
with Fresh Pineapple Chutney and Wild Rice

Hawaiian Pork Tenderloin

Pork Marinade
1/2 c frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 c Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbs dark molasses
3 Tbs oil
1 tsp black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic-chili sauce
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 lb pork tenderloin

Pineapple Chutney
1 Tbs butter
3/4 c chopped onion
1 1/2 c diced pineapple
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic-chile paste
1/2 c raisins
1 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
1. Mix marinade ingredients together and coat pork.
2. Refrigerate for 2-8 hours.
3. Place in a dish, cover and bake for 30-45 minutes

4. Mix chutney ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook down until a chutney-like consistency.
5. Cook up some wild rice and serve.

The pictures don't do any of the food justice. I'm serious. This is good stuff. And I realize the list of ingredients can be daunting, but I still insist you go out and make yourself some Hawaiian goods. Put on a lai, coconut bra, and a grass skirt. Get into it! Just try not to dig a hole in the back yard and roast a pig. Don't get that into it.


At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

Well, I will be making some of these recipes so I can feel like we're on vacation too!


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