Currently viewing the category: "Tarragon"

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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.

imageThis colorful, flavorful salad features 100% Kauai grown fruits and vegetables:  cucumbers, carrots, fennel, radishes, oranges, lime juice, ginger, tarragon, mint and cilantro!

Recipe
1 lb cucumber
2 carrots
1 bunch radishes
1 fennel bulb
3 oranges
2 limes
2 tablespoons each cilantro, mint, tarragon
1 inch ginger
salt

I used a zester to make the decorative design on the cucumber and a mandolin to shave the cucumber to 1/4″ thickness.   Shave carrots as thin as possible with vegetable peeler or mandolin.  Shave or slice radishes to 1/4″ thickness.   Slice or shave fennel to 1/4″.   Section 1 orange and juice the other two.  Juice limes.  Chop herbs.  Fine mince ginger until it’s almost a paste.  Combine orange juice, lime juice, ginger and salt.  Add to vegetables and orange sections and let marinate 1 hour before serving.  The longer the salad marinates the better it is!
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Cucumbers are challenging to grow on Kauai so I leave this one to the pros.  Dylan Strong of Growing Strong Farms grows beautiful organic cucumbers and sells them  at the Wednesday Kapa’a farmers market.   He covers each cucumber in a protective sleeve so it does not get stung by the fruit fly which damages most squash on Kauai.  Kauai Fresh Farms grows their cucumbers hydroponically in a greenhouse which also protects them from being stung.  Their cucumbers can be found at most health food stores and at Banana Joe’s, an old school fruit stand in Kilauea that sells local fruit, produce and a plethora of Kauai made goodies! image
Radishes are an easy grow here.  They germinate quickly and mature in 30 days or less.  They are so refreshing and wonderful to balance salads that need a loud, spicy quality or crunchy texture.  Pickled radishes are also great to have on hand as a condiment to savory, fatty, salty foods. Radishes are in the Brassica family.  I plant them in a composted, raised bed after a non-Brassica for crop rotation.  They are a light feeder so I don’t use a fertilizer.  I direct sow the seeds 1/2 inch below surface.  When the radish sprouts are 2 inches I thin them to 1 inch spacing.  Not thinning will cause the radishes to grow vertically instead of nice and round.  After I thin, I dress sprouts with Hawaiian spirulina tea.  Any kelp, seaweed or compost tea will do.  This helps with any shock the roots experience due to thinning.  Save the sprouts and add to a salad or as a garnish for a hint of heat. image
Shaved carrots gave me a greater appreciation for the humble carrot.  Slicing them paper thin and marinating them in lemon juice and orange juice makes them tender, delicate and bursting with flavors.   They become a versatile vehicle for many herbs and marinades.  They can be sliced on a mandolin or vegetable peeler.  I like the mandolin however, because it’s fast and makes a more consistent peel. Some exciting news about carrots for Kauai is that a couple of farmers have been http://laparkan.com/buy-tadalafil/ growing carrots for seed which is a considerably long process and takes an ample amount of space.   The seeds are not yet available commercially but will be soon.  Robin, of Heaven on Earth Starts will be the first to have them.  Her starts are available at the Kilauea Farmers Market on Saturday’s from 9-1 and at Hoku Whole Foods in Kapa’a. I have the best luck with my carrots in the fall, winter and spring.  I try to plant as many seeds  as I can during this time because the summer may be too warm for them to germinate.  Some summers I have been able to grow them others not. I always dig a deep fluffy bed for carrots so the roots will have plenty of space to grow vertically.  I usually plant after a light feeder such as arugula, beans or herbs.  I add compost and Hendrikus complete fertilzer.  Carrots take  7-14 days to germinate.  After they get to be 4 inches I thin them to 2-3 inches apart.  I then feed with compost tea or Hawaiian spirulina to support the seedlings after thinning.  Once a month until maturity, I feed them with more compost tea or spirulina tea. fenneluse
Words cannot express how happy I am that I have a beautiful row of fennel right now.  It is a consolation for the shorter winter days and 2 weeks of straight rain we just had!  I am also very excited that after many years of cooking I finally figured out a use for the stalks other than using them for tea and stock.  Fennel pesto!  That is most likely my next post! For this salad I use only the bulb and shave it thinly on the mandolin.  It’s crunchy, celery like texture and licorice flavor are a perfect compliment to the flavors and feels of the other ingredients.  Growing tips for fennel can be found on my post for the Lilikoi Tarragon Chevre Salad.

Cilantro grows best in the winter and spring.  It likes the cool weather and ample rainfall.  I plant cilantro similar to radishes.  Direct sow to 1/4″ in a composted raised bed.  I feed with spirulina or compost tea when seedlings are 4 inches.  When harvesting I select the outer leaves only, not the entire plant.  It will continue to grow until it goes to seed.  When it begins to go to seed, I harvest the whole plant or let it continue to seed.  The seeds can be harvested and used fresh in salads or left to dry on the plant.  If left to dry they can be collected and replanted or used to make coriander powder.

Check out my previous posts for information on ginger, mint and tarragon.
As spring approaches citrus is beginning to dwindle.  I stock up from the farmers markets and juice oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits and freeze them.  Perfect for defrosting and adding to salads and marinades! Lucky we live Kauai!

pmm_20131009_470This traditional Mexican soup has been on my list of things to make for some time.  Inspired by a former co-worker who made Albondigas soup for our kitchen staff family meal.  Esteban was one of the best line cooks I have ever worked with.  Quiet, methodical, clandestine.  He had 10 plates working and made it look like two.  An ex-wrestler, culinary grad with a great palette.  The recipe was his grandmother’s.  His simple, flavorful soup is one of the best soups I have ever tasted.  My version has a different theme but my homage is still to the duo that perfected it.

Albondigas Soup Recipe
2 large onion
2 carrots
8 cloves garlic
4 cups kabocha squash
1 cup fresh chopped herbs (basil, tarragon, mint, oregano)
1/2 cup chopped mint
2 cups tomatillos or tomatoes chopped
8 cups stock or water
1 lb free range or organic ground beef or turkey
1 lb green beans
salt
1 green onion
black pepper
2 Hawaiian chile pepper
Olive oil

Peel and chop 1st four ingredients. Saute onion in a soup pot til soft and golden.  Add carrots, squash, 6 cloves of  garlic, and the 2 hot pepper and saute about 5 minutes until everything is coated with olive oil and heated.  Add minced herbs to pot for 2-3 minutes.  Add diced tomatillos or tomatoes.  Let this combination saute for 10 minutes stirring frequently adding olive oil if needed.  Add stock and bring to a soft boil.  Add meatballs.  Simmer 20 minutes.   Garnish with a pinch of fresh chopped herbs.

Meatballs
Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 1 minced green onion, salt and black pepper to ground meat.  Mix thoroughly.  Roll into small meatballs.

pmm_20131009_223pmm_20131009_283pmm_20131009_347For the meatballs I used Princeville Ranch Beef, a family owned ranch just 2 miles from our home.  It is not certified organic but the cattle are humanely raised and free of hormones and antibiotics.  Local meat  is not in abundant supply for retail purchase on Kauai.  The supply has increased recently but is still limited.  Princeville Ranch sells their beef at the Princeville Chevron.  Yes I wrote Chevron.  It is delivered on Thursdays and often sold out by Monday.  Some ranchers and farmers only sell their beef and lamb to restaurants or wholesale.  Kaneshiro Farms sells their pork and lamb wholesale directly and retail at Kojima’s store in Kapa’a and a handful of other stores.  Moloka’i and Big Island beef are also available in various markets around the Island.  The absence of federally certified slaughterhouses to process meat is the main reason there is not much available in the retail sector.  The Kauai Grown website is a comprehensive and streamlined site for finding local meat and locally made products.

pmm_20131009_056pmm_20131009_072pmm_20131009_113pmm_20131009_410We love kabocha squash on Kauai because it grows so well and is one of the few squashes that will survive the nagging sting of the fruit fly.   It also tastes so wonderful, somewhat of a cross between a pumpkin and a butternut squash.  Hearty, not too sweet, versatile.  It does take a bit of space to grow so if this is not an option they can be found at most farmer’s markets.  If a kabocha is not available use a squash or potato grown  in your area.  Fellow farmers Jillian and Gary Seal’s have a CSA and just yesterday announced butternut squash in this week’s CSA boxes!  They are at kauaifarmconnection.com located in Kilauea on a beautiful 12 acre working farm, the real deal! Organic Sweet potatoes grown in Kilauea can also be found at the Tuesday Waipa market at 2 pm and the Thursday Kilauea market at 4:30 from Ben Ferris of Kolo Kai Farms.

pmm_20131009_354pmm_20131009_383Herbs.  Grow as many as you possibly can.   Grow them in pots, on your lanai, in your yard, on your kitchen window sill.  Parsley, marjoram, basil, dill, tarragon, mint, lemon basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, lovage, sorrel, chervil. Having a stock pile of  fresh herbs will change your relationship with food and with life.   Herbs are the impetus that inspire me to create .  They remind me of the close friends  that augment the joys of living and provide comfort in times of doubt. Herbs will transform any doldrum into a celebration reminding me that life is a series of incremental moments each replete with their own splendor.  This beautiful variegated Cuban Oregano produces large, luscious, pungent leaves.  It is so pretty in the garden I would plant it as an ornamental even if it wasn’t edible.

One last note about this soup is in regards to using either tomatillos or tomatoes.  Our one tomatillo plant has hundreds so that is what I used.  I love their tart, crisp flavor that is unique and refreshing.  Traditionally this soup calls for tomatoes but I am always willing to experiment with something that I have an over abundance of and take the chance that it will succeed.

Recently, I read a wonderful book by Tamar Adler “An Everlasting Meal”.  The Appendix of  her book is titled “Further Fixes”, en entire chapter devoted to fixing kitchen disasters.  The theme of the chapter is to take the risk, it can almost always be transformed into something else if the original intention failed.  Taking the risk is how exciting flavor combinations come to fruition.  It is being in the moment with intuition and understanding.  It is listening to ourselves, our palettes, our ideas, trusting with confidence, expressing, and enjoying.  More of a design for creating than following the recipe too closely.  I have a friend that is almost 90 years old.  He began painting some time in the last 20 years.  He always tells me when he looks back on his life, he wishes he had made more mistakes, because that is when he learned the most.

A hui hou! Until next time!

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This refreshing colorful salad is simple and quick to prepare yet satisfying and full of flavor.  It can easily be made into a dinner salad by adding a protein or enjoyed for lunch.  Most ingredients were recent harvests from our garden save for the Kauai Kunana Dairy chevre which is arguably the best part of the salad.  I could eat their cheese every day of my life for the rest of my life.  It’s the creamiest fresh chevre I have ever tasted.  My reasoning behind the cheese tasting so sublime is that the goats are treated like royalty. As they should be.

The Kunana Dairy is one industrious entity.  The Wooton’s make chevre (from milking their own dairy goats), grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs, make delicious baked goods, cultivate honey, make health and beauty products and give farm tours.  I probably missed something in there but you can see for yourself by going on their farm tour and seeing a successful working, family farm in action.

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For greens I used arugula because I love it and we have a ton of it.  This small crop is the second generation from the seeds we saved from the last crop.  It’s healthy, spicy and crisp! Arugula seeds are extremely easy to save.  Just let one of your prize arugula plants (one that was slow to go to seed, disease free and healthy) go to seed until the seed pods start drying out and turning brown.   Once they do this remove the plant, store it somewhere dry and cool (not in the sun) and hang it upside down for about two-three weeks.  Open seed pods, collect your seeds and plant them!

Bush beans! We had a 3 day respite from one crop to another and now we are back on.  Our first harvest was at least 2 lbs.  This crop is the “Provider” variety.  A little crunchier and fatter than our last “Tendergreen” bush bean but just as nice.  I sauteed these with garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil for 3-5 minutes.

The beets are just about the last from the spring crop.  It’s a little too hot for them in summer so we will plant more in the fall.  I boiled them for 20-30 minutes in salted water, dropped them in an ice bath until completely cooled and removed skins.  I then marinated them in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (this can be done the day before, the longer they marinate the better).

Fennel is the beauty queen of the garden pageant.fenneluseI could eat fennel every day.  It’s licorice/anise flavor is delicate and sweet.  It’s crunchy texture adds life and it is surprisingly versatile.  I often roast it with other vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, and beets.  I also roast it with chicken and herbs and use it’s beautiful sweeping tops for tea and stock.

Fennel is fairly easy to grow on Kauai.  It germinates well but is slow growing by nature.  It takes a full 3 months to reach maturity.  I should say it is slow growing for me because we usually eat it up before the next crop is planted.  I cut it at the base however, and a new bulb grows out of the original one which takes less time than to start again from seed.  I have grown fennel that has regenerated 3 times.  For the salad I simply cut off the tops and shave the bulb width wise using a mandolin or knife.  If the fennel is a little older cut out the core which is tough and inedible.

lilikoiuse

If fennel is the beauty queen lilikoi is the princess bride.  Also known as passionfruit, lilikoi is a wonderfully unique addition to many dishes.   Lilikoi is  a trifecta in flavor components.  It’s a little sweet, a little sour, a little bitter.  It grows on a vine during summer.  This is the lilikoi flower which will grow into  a green tennis ball size fruit ripening to yellow or purple. lilikoi2useTo eat the lilikoi, simply cut in half and scoop out the seeds.  Lillikoi is a wonderful addition to fruit salad, savory salads, dressings, sauces, desserts, beverages etc.  It can be eaten with the seeds or blended and strained through a sieve to omit seeds.  Personally I like the crunch of the seeds for added texture.

The roasted pumpkin seeds are from the delicious kabocha squash.  The kabocha is one of the few (possibly the only) squash that grows on Kauai with a skin too thick to be stung by the fruit fly.  It’s a hearty, flavorful starch that  I love to use for soups, stews, and roasting.  The Regenerations International Botanical Garden harvested 300 from their food forest last spring. Some weighed 15-20 lbs!  Definitely a viable and sustainable food source for Kauai.

To get to the seeds, cut the squash open and scoop them out.  Remove pulp from seeds rinsing excess pulp off with cold water.  The seeds can be dried out for a couple of days in a cool dry area or they can be roasted in the oven right away.  I like to dry them out, they seem to have a little extra crunchy texture to them.  I season them with salt, black pepper, and olive oil before roasting for 20 minutes at 350.

 

Lilikoi Tarragon Chevre Recipe

8 Cups Arugula

4 beets

1 lb green beans

1 bulb fennel

6-8 oz chevre

1 cup pumpkin seeds

Lilikoi Tarragon Salad Dressing

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 lilikoi

1/2  inch ginger

1/4 cup fresh tarragon

1 lemon or lime

1 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

honey to taste (about 1-2 tsp)

Place vinegar, lilikoi, ginger, tarragon, lime, salt, and pepper in blender and blend until smooth.  Drizzle olive oil into blended ingredients while blender is on to emulsify dressing.  This gives the dressing a nice, thick and creamy texture.  I like my dressing on the acidic side so always adjust to your own taste.  The goal is to have the salt, acid from vinegar and lemon and sweetness in balance.

Salad

Wash arugula and spin dry in salad spinner.  Saute green beans with olive oil, salt and black pepper until al dente, about 7-8 minutes.

Place lid on the beans about 4 minutes through to steam them a little but stirring frequently to avoid burning.

Boil beets for 20-30 minutes until soft.  Not too soft though.  Poke with a bamboo skewer or fork to determine if they are ready.  The skewer should slide through easily.  Place in ice bath to cool.  When cool remove skins and quarter beets.  Marinate in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Cut tops from fennel and shave the fennel thinly, widthwise.

Season pumpkin seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast 15-20 minutes.

To assemble salad, gently toss arugula with salt, pepper and 1/4 cup dressing.  In a separate bowl mix green beans and fennel with enough dressing to coat.  Place green beans and fennel on arugula.  Next place beets on arugula.  Then add chevre and pumpkin seeds. This can all be done in a large salad bowl or on individual plates.  Serve immediately as arugula wilts quickly.  Salad ingredients can all be made in advance then dressed just before serving.