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Ehu is the Hawaiian name for Red Snapper. One of the many beautiful and delicious species of fish found locally around the island chain. Ehu is mild, firm, flaky and extremely versatile in preparation. I baked this in a salt crust to insure an even and gentle cooking method. The result is an incredibly delicious flavor and lovely presentation.

Inside, I seasoned the ehu with toasted fennel, coriander, black peppercorn and lemon. Then baked it for 25 min at 450. This simple preparation highlights what we love about fresh ocean fish. It’s perfect for a family style dinner or wedding reception. Contact us for your next private dinner, wedding, birthday party, vow renewal, or yoga retreat. We aim to create to the perfect event for any celebration. Mahalo nui loa!

Aku Blog

‘Aina Ho’okupo O Kilauea Community Garden inspired my plate.  I recently subscribed to a CSA with them to supply my personal chef dinners and catered weddings.  With 75 acres to play with, the AHK team of dedicated staff and volunteers is growing gorgeous organic produce for the community.  In this weeks box: beets, turnips, kale, butter lettuces, green onions, eggplant, beans, baby bok choy, chard and cilantro.

For this dinner:  grilled uku (super fresh local grey snapper), pickled beets, roasted eggplant, turnips, grilled green onion and bok choy, furikake sushi rice with sesame lime vinaigrette

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Pickled gold and red beets in rice vinegar, kombu, sugar and salt.

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Don’t throw away your turnip greens!  Lightly rub them with olive oil, place them flat on a tray and roast them at 400 until crispy.  They add a delicious, savory, crunchy dimension to your plate.

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There is a strong movement here on Kauai to encourage residents and visitors to buy local.  90% of our food is still being imported.  Call us for your next dinner party or to cater your wedding.  Taste what Kauai is growing!

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And local lamb has not been easy to get.  A new market has recently opened however, featuring a wide variety of local meats.  Hanai, in Kapa’a is thankfully providing the community with Hawaii raised cuts of lamb, beef, venison, and pork.  This lamb, Sanchez lamb, is tender, flavorful and delicate.

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 Seasoned overnight with fresh herbs from my garden:  mint, http://www.health-canada-pharmacy.com anise, za’atar.

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 Grilled it and served with gingered carrot puree, fried okra and grilled kale with minted yogurt.

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If you live on Kauai or are just visiting, check out Hanai.  They have a great selection of  high quality local meats, fruits, veggies, house made sauces, marinades, and jams.  And contact me and I will cook you up some lamb.

P1060459 (2) Austin is a foodies paradise.  Not only for the quality restaurants and cafes on almost every corner but for the vast abundance of beautiful produce, dairy and meat available at farmers markets and groceries.  I always look forward to family visits knowing I will get an edible infusion of interesting and delicious foods!  This hearty salad is perfect for a wintery day here in Austin.  Black radishes and pears sautéed in butter garnished with green olive tapenade and creamy lamb chopper cheese from Henri’s.  Sweet salty and umami!
P1060478 (2)                        Beautiful black radishes
P1060466 (3)                 Green olive tapenade with capers, anchovies, parsley and lemon
P1060494 (2)If you’re in Austin check out Henri’s, Elizabeth Street Café, The Odd Duck, Urban Roots, Boggy Creek Farms, Springdale Farm, Sustainable Food Center.

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Ahi is plentiful this time of year. My favorite preparation is to dredge it in furikake and sear for 1 minute on each side. I used Lifefoods Superfood Furikake made on Maui. It contains no sugar or preservatives commonly found in commercial furikake. It is also made with highly nutritional hemp seeds and sesame seeds giving it a nutty flavor and crunchy texture when toasted.  Underneath this steaky tuna is fresh lettuce and cabbage from Sun and Lisa’s One Song Farm, local pumpkin and coconut meat hash, Japanese cucumber from the Kilauea farmers market, avocados from my friend Conrad and Big Island mac nuts.  I also throw in hefty amounts of fresh basil, mint and cilantro with a sesame lime vinaigrette.  Super refreshing yet rich and hearty!
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Ken Lindsey of Ono Organics grows these adorable sweet pumpkins perfect for 1 or 2 meals.  Starch options are somewhat limited here but more and more farmers are finding ways to cross pollinate squashes that are resistant to the fruit NYGoodHealth fly.  Different varieties are showing up at the markets on a more consistent basis.  Olana Farms had some beautiful kabocha squashes last week at the Kilauea Farmers market.

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I grate the squash and saute it with scallion, salt and pepper and make a crunchy hash.
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On the left is fresh coconut meat and on the right the grated pumpkin.P1060211 (2)
I saute the pumpkin and coconut together first until soft.  I then add scallion salt and pepper until the pumpkin carmelizes a little and gets crunchy. Set that aside and let it cool.

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Thinly shaved cabbage using a mandolin makes it easier to digest.
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I make a light dressing using equal parts tamari, rice wine vinegar and light sesame oil with grated ginger and garlic. I toss all the ingredients together, the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, coconut pumpkin saute, fresh herbs (cilantro,mint, basil)  and dressing. I sear the ahi, place it on the salad and add my avocado and mac nuts. Enjoy and a hui hou!

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Liliko’i, also known as passionfruit, could be one of my very favorite Hawaiian flavors.  It is uniquely tart and sweet with a floral aroma and taste, truly unlike any other fruit I have enjoyed.  It grows abundantly on a vine in fall and winter.  It has a hardy thick yellow or purple skin that encases hundreds of seeds in each fruit.  The seeds are surrounded by fleshy pulp.  When strained from the seeds a velvety juice remains to add to desserts, juices, sparkling water, jams, and salad dressings.  This “cheesecake” is made with liliko’i juice, coconut meat, coconut butter, local honey and a macadamia nut crust.  A fun alternative to traditional cheesecake using local ingredients higher in nutritive value and wonderful flavors!

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Cut open a liliko’i with a serrated knife.  You will find a glorious gold pulp surrounding the seeds.  The pulp with the seeds can be eaten unprocessed straight from it’s thick outer skin.

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To strain liliko’i for juice, place the pulp and seeds together in a nut bag over a bowl or container.  Squeeze the juice from the seeds and let it drain into your container.

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Gold nectar!

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Next I open my coconut.  I started with a coconut with it’s husk.  I sometimes buy coconuts that are shelled which can be opened with the back of a knife or hammer.  For a coconut with the husk attached, I use a machete and chop off the bottom of the coconut until the shell  is revealed.  I then chop at the top of the shell creating a small opening from which I can drain the water.  After draining the water, I chop the coconut vertically until it splits in half.  For coconuts with no husk, just the shell, I cut open the soft eye and drain the water.  I hold the coconut horizontally so the eye is facing away from me.  I then hit the coconut with the back side of a sturdy chef’s knife and rotate it.  I keep hitting it until I hear a flat spot in the shell.  This is a soft spot on the shell.  I keep hitting the coconut on this spot until it breaks in half.  One of my favorite websites Food52 gives a great coconut opening demo on one of their pages.

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Coconut meat can be very difficult to separate from the shell.  The more mature the coco, the thicker the meat, thus the harder it will be to extract.  An amazing tool to invest in is a sharp curved blade with a handle that will scoop the meat right out of the shell.  I purchased mine from a friend however they can be found online.

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For the crust I use Big Island macadamia nuts.  I purchase them at the Healthy Hut or Hoku Whole Foods in bulk.  They have the best flavor and are consistently fresh.  I process the mac nuts in a food processor until crumbly.  I add a little sea salt and coconut oil to make it cohesive.  I then press the mix down into a springform cake pan and freeze for 15 minutes.

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The Recipe:

Crust
2 1/2 Cups mac nuts
2 Tablespoon coconut oil liquid
1 Teaspoon sea salt

Place nuts in food processor with s blade until crumbly.  Reserved 1/2 Cup for garnish.  Transfer remaining nuts to a mixing bowl, add coconut oil and sea salt and incorporate.  Transfer to springform cake pan and press mix down covering surface of pan.  Freeze for 15 minutes.

Filling
2 Cups liliko’i juice (about 20 liliko’i)
1 Cup coconut meat
2 Cups coconut butter
1 Cup coconut oil liquid state
1 Cup local honey

Place all filling ingredients in vita mix until very smooth.  Taste and adjust for sweetness.  Pour mix over crust, cover and refrigerate overnight until cake sets.  Garnish with reserved chopped mac nuts and honey.  Cut and serve!

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Opah, also known as moonfish, is one of my favorite types of fish.  For this preparation, I brushed nori with a wasabi and mustard paste, added cress, wrapped the opah in the nori and baked it for 10 minutes.  Opah is an oily fish, high in Omega 3’s yet mild in flavor.  Adding the bold mustards and baking the opah in nori creates a tender, rich,  flavorful dish.  Cilantro and dill can be used instead of cress and are equally as great.
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Marinate the opah in tamari, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.  Let sit in the refrigerator a few hours.
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Brush the nori with equal parts mustard and wasabi paste.  Make the wasabi paste first.  Then mix it with an organic stone ground mustard.
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Place the opah with fresh herbs on the nori, roll forward tucking in the sides until a nice tight seal is made.
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For the vegetables I roasted ulu, carrots, turnips, and collard greens from One Song Farm.  One Song has the most beautiful collard greens, cabbages, lettuce, Tahitian taro and eggplant.  Lisa Fuller part owner with Sun is making fantastic kim chee and a variety of pickled vegetables with their gorgeous organic produce grown on Kalihiwai Ridge.  They can be found at the Kilauea Farmers market at 9am every Saturday.  Get their early because everything they have sells out fast!

The purple cabbage is a quick pickled cabbage.  I marinate purple cabbage in rice wine vinegar, lemon, salt and Kilauea honey and let it sit in the fridge a couple of hours.  The marinade should be strong, lemony, salty and sweet.  I do this type of quick pickling frequently to add a punchy condiment to bring out the rest of the flavors in the dish!

 

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Featuring the Kailani Farms mixed green salad with radicchio, home grown, marinated beets and carrots, Kunana Dairy chevre, and toasted walnuts. Tossed with fresh herbs and an orange tarragon vinaigrette. This salad, enjoyed by last weekends guests at the Makale’a Palms wedding is one of three salad choices on my catering menu.
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Lettuce cups with green papaya, carrots, avocado, Big Island macadamia nuts, and lemon basil, coconut cream sauce.  Light, crunchy, creamy, salty, so delicious!
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Fresh wild caught ahi poke with wasabi aioli on seaweed crisps.
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Fresh Lomi with Kunana Dairy cherry tomatoes, local sweet onions and wild caught smoked salmon. Laulau isn’t complete without Lomi and poi!
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Macadamia nut crusted wild caught Ono, lemongrass coconut rice, and Kaneshiro Farms pork laulau.

imageThese purple sweet potato chips are oven baked in coconut oil and alaea pink sea salt then topped with cilantro, mint, basil, ginger pesto and coconut cream.  A sweet, salty, crunchy dream come true.
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Recipe
2 Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes
Coconut Oil
Alaea Sea Salt
Coconut Cream
1 Coconut Cream 7 oz package (“Let’s Do Organic” brand)
Juice of 1-2 Limes
1 inch Ginger
Alaea Sea Salt
Pesto
1/4 Cup chopped Cilantro
1/4 Cup chopped Basil
1/4 Cup chopped Mint
1-2 inch grated Ginger
Coconut Oil-drizzle
Aelea Sea Salt
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Thinly slice sweet potatoes as thin as you can possibly slice them.  At the most 1/8 “.  The thinner they are the crunchier they will be.  A mandolin is easiest to use on these and will get the thinnest most consistent cut but you can use a knife.   Toss potatoes in room temperature coconut oil and a little salt.  Place on baking sheet in one layer.  If they are overlapping they will steam and not crisp.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes.  If they are not crispy enough bake longer.  Watch closely so they do not burn.
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Soak package of coconut cream in hot water until it is pliable and easy to remove from package. Remove from package and place in vitamix with 1 cup of water and blend with ginger, lime juice and salt.  Refrigerate until it returns to solid form.

Chop all herbs, add grated ginger, salt and drizzle with liquid coconut oil. Mix well.

Place pesto on chips, add a dollop of coconut cream and serve.

Okinawan purple sweet potatoes can easily be found in grocery stores and health food stores all over Kauai however they are usually from Molokai, Maui or the Big Island. There is not a large commercial crop of Okinawan sweet potatoes in production on Kauai.  Kolo Kai Farms sells them at the Thursday Kilauea farmers market however.  They specialize in growing these sweet potatoes organically along with ginger, turmeric, galangal, avocado and various greens.  I try to get my sweet potatoes from them depending on availability.  Check out their beautiful new website! Good people!

All the herbs I used came from our garden but are also available at the farmers markets.  The Saturday market in Kilauea has several vendors with a beautiful array of herbs.    Now is the time for cilantro, mint is year round and basil is more prolific in the summer however, I have had my little basil finissimo plant for almost 9 months and it’s still going strong.  I got it from Robin at Heaven on Earth Starts also at the Saturday Kilauea farmers market.  This plant continues to produce heavily even after falling over 5 or 6 times in heavy rain.

Cilantro does best here in winter and spring.  I direct sow seeds in a raised bed with 3 rows about 6 inches between each row.  I thin them at 4 inches, keep the remaining plants in the ground and harvest the leaves individually until it goes to seed.  I save the seeds for replanting or cooking.

Thank you for visiting! A hui hou! Until next time!

pmm_20140301_153Need a light, crunchy appetizer bursting with flavor? Featuring the cucumber zest pupu: locally grown cucumbers, pickled radishes,  and fennel pesto.  The fennel is roasted with garlic and salt and minced into a paste.  Radishes are marinated in lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, mint and orange zest.  Sitting atop Kauai Fresh Farms cucumber:  it’s fresh, vibrant and singing! Lucky we live Kauai!
pmm_20140301_109pmm_20140301_100pmm_20140301_096Photos by Paul Myers