Lunch Ideas

WINTER COMFORT FOOD – VEGETABLE SOUP

Comfort Food is Food that warms the body and the soul.  It makes you feel good and satisfied after eating it.  I think Comfort Food is different for different cultures and different people but there are variations within the dishes that we call ‘Comfort Food’.  The differences are not so much in the main ingredients but in the preparation techniques and the seasonings used.  Here is another great Comfort Food that really warms you inside – Vegetable Soup – it can be served as a complete meal with the addition of some protein and delicious fresh bread.  It can also be served as a first course and the leftovers are great for lunch.

 

I love to make Vegetable and it is one of my favorite ways of cleaning out the Vegetable in my refrigerator. If you have ever wondered what you are going to do with all those vegetables that you just can’t seem to getting around to use or even if like I do, you have little bits and little bits of that, Vegetable Soup is the perfect vehicle for using up those items.  So when I taught school, I taught my students how to make ‘Clean Out the Refrigerator’ Vegetable Soup.

 

What you will need is a large pot and some Olive Oil and whatever you can forage from your refrigerator.  If you don’t have items in your refrigerator that you can use, you can always visit your local Farmer’s Market or Grocery Store to pick up whatever you wish to put in your soup.  For the last batch I made, I used Onions, (a must), Celery, Carrots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Tomato Paste, Frozen Peas and Corn.  For the batch before this one I used a Sweet Potato and Spinach.  Visit vegetable-soup for the complete recipe.

 

Saute your Vegetables (starting with the Onion and Mushrooms)  in Olive Oil. I always salt the Mushrooms as they do need and it helps to leech out some of the water in their pores.  Once they have cooked and started caramelizing add the remaining fresh Vegetables and dried herbs.  For the liquid I use either de-fatted Turkey, Chicken or Beef Broth, depending on what is in my freezer.  Vegetable Soup does not need to cook for a long time – you do not want really mush vegetables.  It is much better to have some texture left to bite into. About 10 minutes before serving bring the soup up to boiling and add about 1 cup uncooked Pasta.   Once the Pasta is ‘al dente’ add fresh Herbs  (in this case two kinds of Basil), and frozen Peas and/or Corn if you are going to use them.  A couple of minutes is all you need for these frozen Vegetables.

 

 

To make a complete meal out of your Vegetable Soup, add some Protein such as Tofu (for Vegans), Chicken, Sliced Hot Dogs or Sausage or Turkey.  Any one of the above make a great addition to your soup which is also delicious without it.  Just serve it with some Hot Fresh Bread.

 

                                Fresh Vegetable Soup with Pasta

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2017/01/18 at 7:59 PM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Dinner Ideas, Farm Markets, Leftovers, Lunch Ideas, Main, One Dish Meals   Tags: , , , , , , ,

BACKYARD BOUNTY – TOMATO BASIL SOUP FROM BACKYARD TOMATOES

i love growing Tomatoes and contrary to the rule of thumb that you only need one plant per person in the household, I like to have many more.  First of all, I like variety and second of all, not all plants will produce as they should.  This year I planted 6 Tomato Plants and have two left over from last year.  Unfortunately, the ones from last year are not producing too well.  Probably because they are not in full sun – we only have so much garden space that will get sun.

 

 

 

Even though my larger Beefsteak type Tomatoes produce more and larger fruit, my favorites this year are the Green Zebra and the Lucky Tiger.  I don’t think my Lucky Tigers are growing to the size that they should but they are fun – they are shaped like the Romas, but thinner and are green with orange/red stripes that are supposed to be dark purple according to the tag that was on the plant when I bought it.  In spite of that, I still love the tomatoes.  They are fun to grow and delicious to eat.  They have a slightly tangy taste to them in contrast to the red tomatoes which are very sweet.

 

All this being said, what do you do with Tomatoes when you have an abundance of them? You can only make some many salads and eat so much salsa.  In past years I have made Chili Sauce and will probably do that again this year if the plants keep producing like they have.  For this batch though, I decided to make a Tomato Basil Soup.  This is a tasty soup that can be eaten hot, warm or cold so it is perfect for summer or any time of year.  The recipe actually calls for Roma Tomatoes, but not having Roma Tomatoes, I just used what I have growing and that is mostly red round tomatoes.  Even though I put the tags that came with the plants in front of the plants, they somehow get lost or covered up so except for a couple of the plants, I’m not really sure what kind they are.  Just round, red, sweet and delicious!

 

The Soup can be served as a first course or as a Vegetable Dish along with a meal – that is what I did last night.  We had Meat Loaf, Baked Potatoes and the Tomato Basil Soup which I actually served first, but we had seconds along with the meal.  I serve this soup in small bowls but it can be served in larger ones. Another way I like to serve it is in demitasse as a ‘stand-up appetizer’ for company meals.

 

The recipe calls for 2 lbs. of Tomatoes, 1/2 cup of diced Onion, Chicken Stock (I had Beet Water leftover from cooking Beets so I used that instead thereby making the soup good for the Vegan or Vegetarian Crowd.  Of course you also need Basil which I also have growing in the yard.  I used the Italian Sweet Basil for the Soup and Purple Basil for the Garnish along with the Lucky Tiger Tomatoes.

 

 

2 lbs. Garden Tomatoes

   2 lbs. Garden Tomatoes

 

 

After the Tomatoes are washed and cored, chop, quarter or dice them.  (It doesn’t really matter too much as they are going to be pureed after cooking)

 

 

Cut Tomatoes

  Cut Tomatoes

 

Saute the diced Onions in 2 Tbsps. of Olive Oil until they are soft – from the photo below, you will notice that mine are slightly caramelized.  This add additional flavor as long as you don’t let them burn.  If they do burn, discard and start over – the burn taste will ruin the soup.

 

Sauteed Onions

    Sauteed Onions

 

Once the Onions are sufficiently cooked, add the prepared Tomatoes and Basil and cook until the Tomatoes release their water.  Mix as they cook.  When the tomatoes are sufficiently cooked, transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender or a food mill.

 

Sauteed Onions added to the Onions

 Sauteed Onions added to the Onions

 

Run the processor or blender until the Tomatoes are completely pureed and then return to the pot.  Add the remaining seasonings -taste and add additional salt or Vinegar, if so desired.

 

Serve Hot with tiny Meatballs or at Room Temperature or Cold as an Appetizer.  Garnish with additional Basil and diced Tomatoes, if desired.  I used the Purple Basil and Lucky Tiger Tomatoes which only need to be sliced vertically down the middle.  For additional zest add a splash of  your favorite style ‘Old Boney Mountain Hot Sauce’.

 

 

 

Purple Basil

  Purple Basil

 

 

Tomato Basil Soup garnished with Purple Basil and Lucky Tiger Tomatoes

  Tomato Basil Soup garnished with Purple Basil and Lucky Tiger Tomatoes

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Posted by Admin Test - 2016/08/21 at 4:33 PM

Categories: Dinner Ideas, Italian, Lunch Ideas, Main, Recipes for 'Boney Mountain Hot Sauce Products   Tags: , , , , , ,

NATIONAL SHRIMP DAY

 

May 10th is ‘National Shrimp Day’.  Shrimp are absolutely one of my favorite seafood in any form or style.  Below are a few recipes for you to try – one or all.  Enjoy preparing them and then enjoy eating them.  

 

 

Grilled Shrimp – marinated in Garlic, Basil, Lemon Juice and Olive Oil.  These shrimp are delicious as an appetizer, main dish or in a salad.  Good for any time, not just National Shrimp Day.

 

 

 

Grilled Shrimp

                                              Grilled Shrimp

 

 

 

 

Coconut Fried Shrimp – great for a Backyard Luau or any Summer/Spring Meal.  Served with an Orange-Lime Sauce.

 

 

Coconut-Shrimp

                                                Coconut-Shrimp

 

 

Shrimp Fritters – a delicious and different way to eat Shrimp.  For those of us who love Shrimp and who Fritters, this is the perfect dish.  Shrimp Fritters can be served as an appetizer with Cocktail Sauce or as a main dish with a salad and or vegetable.

 

 

 

 

Shrimp Fritters and Cocktail Sauce

                            Shrimp Fritters and Cocktail Sauce                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Enjoy your Shrimp today in whatever way you wish to prepare it, but remember that Shrimp are good any time and any place.  So try one or more of these recipes today and save one for another day or month!  ENJOY!!!                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Posted by Admin Test - 2016/05/10 at 10:13 AM

Categories: Condiments, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dinner Ideas, Holiday Meals, Lunch Ideas, Main, Tropical, Tropical Food   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Southern California Farmer’s Markets – Calabassas

Saturday Morning Farmer’s Markets abound in Southern California.  Within the distance of approximately 33 miles, extending from the city of Ventura to Calabassas (at the far Western end of the San Fernando Valley) there are 4 markets that I know of:  Ventura, Camarillo Old Town, Newbury Park and Calabassas.  You can go further South and find quite a few more but of course, it would be difficult to attend all of them in one day.  On my foray to Calabassas I also went to Newbury Park and could have hit Camarillo if I had so desired.  The market is across the street from the most prominent and probably well-known business in Camarillo and that would be the Sage Brush Cantina.  The Cantina opened years ago in a one store front location and soon took over the properties next to it, so that now the whole block (where there used to be a bakery and other businesses) is now all Sage Brush Cantina and their parking lot.  It has become a gathering for locals and out of towners as well.

The Calabassas Market is probably the most diverse and exciting of the one that I previously mentioned.  The time slot is from 9 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon.  You can buy produce, flowers, artisan bread products and foods ready-made to eat on the spot.

The first thing when you walk into the market is a sign for Valet Parking and an attendant to manage it.  The fee is only $3.00 which is the same that the parking lot across the street charges.  There is very little street parking in Calabassas and since the Market is well-attended the lot or Valet Parking is well worth it.  An alternative is to park in the shopping center on Valley Circle – it is about a one block walk but if you are carrying market produce it can be a little tireing.

 

There are many flower vendors and they are the ones that are most prominent in the front of the market.  This is not to say there are no produce vendors there – there are plenty but the flowers are so colorful and beautiful that they do stand out.  If you are planning on purchasing flowers as well as produce wait until you are finished and almost ready to leave – that way your flowers will have stayed fresh in water until you pick them and take them home.  If you carry them around the market there is a strong possibility that they will start to wilt, especially if it is a hot day.

 

Orchids 3

Flowers at Cal. Mkt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many produce vendors but one of my favorite has produce similar to Underwoods in Camarillo in that they have those beautiful heads of Purple and Gold Cauliflower along with Romesco which is shaped like a castle with little turrets.

 

Gold and Purple Cauliflower

    Gold and Purple Cauliflower

 

Green Cauliflower

          Green Cauliflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romanesco

              Romanesco

 

One of the ways in which I like to use the Cauliflower is to prepare it with a Cheese Sauce – the simplest Cheese Sauce that you will ever make.  Simply shred as much Medium or Sharp Cheddar Cheese and combine it with enough Mayonnaise to make a spreadable mixture.  Place the washed Cauliflower in a microwavable dish and spread the Mayo/Cheese mixture all over it.  Microwave for approximately five minutes or until the Cauliflower is fork tender.

 

Golden Cauliflower

Golden Cauliflower

2016-02-29 17.58.58

 Covered with Mayo/Cheese Mixture

             

 

 

Micro-waved - Ready for Eating

    Micro-waved – Ready for Eating

 

I love Mushrooms and one of the Vendors has a great variety of Mushrooms and they are locally (in the Conejo Valley just West of Calabassas) raised.  Mushrooms grow best in the dark and not exactly knowing I asked the Vendor where he grew them – in a Greenhouse?  The answer was no – he actually grows most of them in a warehouse building – probably in raised beds or flats.  You could purchase one type of mushroom or a variety pack of different sizes and different prices.  I couldn’t resist and did buy a $15 pack which did last me for several meals.

Mushroom Varities

   Mushroom Varieties

 

 

More Mushrooms

    More Mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also at the market were Citrus Vendors, Vegetable Vendors, Egg Vendors, Hot Sauce Vendors and many more.  I am pictured below at the booth of a vendor from Central California – at this point in the day (about 1 hours before closing) his products were marked down to 3 for $5.00.  An excellent and everything I purchase from his was of excellent quality.

 

 Sylvia at Calabassas Mkt

Sylvia at Calabassas Mkt

Organic Produce

Organic Produce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

This next vendor sells Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Beans at both the Calabassas Market and the Market in Thousand Oaks on Thursday afternoon.  When I visit these markets her stand is always one that I stop at.  The Cucumbers are of the Japanese variety and do not need to be peeled.  They are always sweet and crisp and delicious.

 

Wonderful Cukes

   Wonderful Cucumbers

 

One of the Vendors at the Calabassas Market was not selling produce but instead he had Pasta and Olives – the booth was called Zona de Italy.  Lots of interesting pasta and delicious Olives of various varieties.

 

So take a trip out to Calabassas and check out their produce, flowers, pasta, etc.

Olives

                      Olives

Zona Italy

   Zona Italy

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Posted by Admin Test - 2016/03/16 at 10:41 PM

Categories: Dinner Ideas, Farm Markets, Fruit, Lunch Ideas, Main, Pasta, Salads   Tags: , , , , , ,

NATIONAL HOT DOG MONTH

July is ‘National Hot Dog Month’ and nothing is probably more American than a Hot Dog except for perhaps a Hamburger.  These two popular foods though made thoroughly American have their roots in Europe and mainly Germany.  It’s just that we have so thoroughly Americanized these products that if this were a hundred years or so ago, they wouldn’t even be recognized in Europe.  Thanks to vastly improved communication, Hot Dogs and Burgers are seen not only in Europe but all over the world.

 

We all have our favorite Hot Dogs and will probably remember at least one Hot Dog Stand as ideal.  Since as a child I never had Hot Dogs outside of our home (except once) I cannot remember one single Hot Dog Stand.  However, my sons have a whole repertoire  that they can recite to you – many of which are of course my adult favorites too.  The most recent addition to our locale is Dayne’s Chicago Dogs.  Dayne’s is located on Thousand Oaks Blvd. in the city of Thousand Oaks and their specialty is the Chicago Dog.  What makes a Chicago Dog different from other dogs?  The points are listed below.

1.     A Chicago  Dog  has to be in a natural casing – it just isn’t a Chicago Dog unless it has that crunch         to it.

2.    It also must come with Tomatoes, Green Relish and Peperoncini in the bun along with the Dog.              And of course  don’t forget the mustard.

2015-07-06 13.50.15

2015-07-06 13.52.06

2015-07-06 13.52.00 Dayne’s Chicago Dog

 

Also pictured with Dayne’s Dog is Garlic French Fries.  If you are a Garlic Lover these are ‘Heavenly’.

 

One of the oldest Hot Dog Stands in the city of Los Angeles is Pink’s which is on La Brea and ironically is practically right next door to where I went to school.  Oddly enough, I never heard of Pink’s until maybe a dozen years ago.  However, I’m sure I did have a Pink’s Dog unknowingly which was given to me by the Aunt of a girl who I was playing with at the time.  This was the first time I had ever had a Chili Dog and quite honestly at 9 years old, I did not like it.  More recently though, I did a class that featured the most popular Hot Dogs in and around the Los Angeles area.  While I do not like Hoffy Dogs (which Pink’s uses) the toppings at Pinks were outstanding but oddly enough the item I liked best at Pink’s was their Coconut Cake.

 

Probably my favorite San Fernando Valley Hot Dog was Cupid’s.  I first noticed the Cupid’s stand when I was about 11 years old and we had just moved to the Valley.  By the time I got around to eating at Cupid’s their main stand was at Victory and Tyrone and it is still there today.  The other stand that they have that I have frequented is across the street from Cal State Northridge.  For years, Cupid’s only sold their Dogs one way and that was in a bun with mustard and Chili and Onions.  As I recall the last time I was there they have added a few things to their dogs such as cheese.

 

2015-07-16 14.09.49

 

2015-07-16 14.00.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite Dog to cook at home has to be a Kosher Dog with a crunchy skin.  I usually buy Vienna as they fit the bill.  Boar’s head is second best for at home purchase.  Today for lunch I had a Coleslaw Dog made with Boar’s Head Hot Dogs, Homemade Coleslaw and home-grown Yellow Roma tomatoes.

 

2015-07-20 13.44.59

 

 

 

 

 

Last year when we were on Kauai, I had a Pineapple Dog – certainly something you would expect to get in Hawaii if nowhere else.  It was delicious – just the right amount of sweet/tangy compliment to the Hot Dog.

 

 

Pineapple Dog

Pineapple Dog

 

 

 

If you have a favorite dog and pictures of such please feel free to comment and share your photos.

 

On an ending note, Hot Dogs can be boiled, grilled, barbecued, baked with beans broiled and/or wrapped in pastry.  Take advantage of ‘National Hot Dog Month’ and frequent your favorite local Hot Dog Stand.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Admin Test - 2015/07/14 at 10:57 PM

Categories: Cooking for Kids, Dinner Ideas, Family Fun, Lunch Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , ,

NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER MONTH

November is ‘National Peanut Butter Month‘. Peanut Butter as we probably all know is made from grinding Peanuts.  Now, technically Peanuts are not actually nuts.  The Peanut does not grow on a tree but rather from plants that are much like Vegetables. Peanuts are also known as ground nuts because of this reason.  But to repeat, Peanuts are not actually nuts;  they are  legumes. Unlike legumes, Peanuts are not usually cooked as a vegetable or even as a main dish.  Instead, they are treated much like the tree nuts – they are roasted and salted and eaten out of hand.  They are chopped up and added to baked goods.  But probably the most popular use for Peanuts is that rich spread we all know as ‘Peanut Butter’.

Peanut Butter has long been a favorite of kids and adults alike.  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches not withstanding, how many different ways can you think to use Peanut Butter?

My favorites are Peanut Butter Cookies, Thai Peanut Sauce (made with Peanut Butter) and Reese’s Pieces.  There is Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanut Butter Brownies just to name a few.  So to observe ‘National Peanut Butter Month‘ I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite recipes.  If you have any favorite recipes using Peanut Butter please feel free to share them with my readers.

/One of my very favorite things is the Peanut Butter Sauce served with Chicken and Beef Satay in Thai Restaurants.  Technically, Satay is an Indonesian Dish but it has become a popular mainstay in Thai Cuisine.  And it is the sauce that really makes the dish!  Try this recipe – if you don’t like Chicken you can always substitute Beef or Pork or even Lamb!     chicken-satay-with-peanut-butter-sauce/

 

For lunch today I made a Salad with leftover Shrimp Taco Ingredients.  The salad consisted of shredded Lettuce, diced Tomatoes, Cilantro with a squeeze of Lime and Dressed with Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing.  Very delicious and taste bud pleasing.

 

Shrimp Salad with Peanut Dressing

Shrimp Salad with Peanut Dressing

Growing up, Peanut Butter Cookies were always a favorite in our household.  Probably the most intriguing thing about Peanut Butter Cookies is those ‘Criss-Cross’ marks made with a fork.  Why, I don’t know but if the cookie does not have them, there is definitely something missing!  It is those tell-tale marks that tell us that the cookie is a Peanut Butter Cookie.  I know of very few other cookies that use this decoration.  Instead of plain Peanut Butter Cookies, try this recipe that mimics that childhood favorite – the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.  cookies/peanut-butter-jelly-cookies/

Everybody loves Rice Krispy Marshmallow treats and what better than Rice Kirspy Marshmallow treats with Peanut Butter added to them!  Try it for yourself or your kids and you will never make them without the Peanut Butter again!  /peanut-butter-rice-krispy-candies/

In Hong Kong there is a favorite street food known as Hong Kong Waffles.  They are soft waffle that can be rolled up.  Before they are rolled they are usually spread with Nutella or Peanut Butter.  They are quite delicious and not at all hard to make if you have a waffle iron.  deserts/hongkong-style-waffles/

Last but not least there is Chocolate/Peanut Butter Fudge.  This contains two favorites – Chocolate and of course Peanut Butter.  This is a really simple fool/proof fudge recipe that anyone can make in a very short amount of time.  So if you are a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover, be sure and try this recipe.  candy/peanutbutter-chocolate-fudge/

Then there are the items that we don’t need recipes for.  Celery stuffed with Peanut Butter, Crackers with Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey Sandwiches, etc.

All in all, enjoy ‘National Peanut Butter Month’ and see which ways you come up with to enjoy this all time favorite.

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/11/05 at 1:35 PM

Categories: Baking, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Family Fun, Lunch Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ADVENTURES IN CHEESE MAKING – CHEESE BLINTZ

Now that I had a batch of fresh homemade Ricotta Cheese the next step was to make something with it.  I decided to make a batch of Cheese Blintz to serve for Sunday Brunch with fresh Strawberries.  The crepes for the Blintz are easiest to work with if the Batter is made at least 1 hour ahead of time and then allowed to rest in the refrigerator.  If you try to make the Crepes right after making the Batter there will be too much air in the batter for the pancakes to form properly.  Now as far as I am concerned, the thinner the crepes the better, but of course you do need to have them thick enough to hold the filling without tearing.  You can use the Sweet Crepe Batter Recipe under the Recipe/Dessert Section of this Blog.  deserts/sweet-crepe-shells/ Just reduce the Sugar in the recipe from 1 Tbsp. to 1 tsp.

 

I made the Crepe Batter with the residual Whey from the production of the Ricotta.  This reduces the waste that normally would result from making the Cheese.  To make the Crepes, the Filling and the topping just follow the procedure below.

 

#1 – Make the Batter and refrigerate for at least one hour.

#2 – Rinse, dry, slice and sugar the Berries.  If using Blackberries, Boysenberries or Raspberries eliminate the slicing procedure.  Place the Berries in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime (for every pint of berries) over the Berries and then toss with 1/4 cup of Superfine Sugar.  Taste and add more Lime Juice and/or Sugar as desired.

 

Strawberries

#3 – Make the Cheese Filling for the Blintz.   /deserts/cheese-filling/

 

Ricotta Cheese Filling for Blintz

 

4.  Make the Crepes –

 

Heat the crepe pan until a drop of water splashed on it sizzles;  melt the Butter and stir into the  Batter.

  • Use approximately ¼ cup of Batter (the exact amount depends on the size of the pan)
  • While you are pouring in the Batter, tilt the pan with your other hand to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • When the edges begin to dry and bubbles appear on the crepe surface, turn it over with a heat-proof spatula and cook a few seconds more on the turned side.  (Cook one side to a light brown and the other just enough to set the batter.  This side should still be almost white when you remove it from the pan.) 
  • You will be browning the Blintz in Butter before serving them so you do not want the second side to be cooked too long.

 

5.  Filling the Blintz –

  • Lay the Crepe Shells on a flat plate or work surface
  • Place a scoop of the Cheese Filling in the middle
  • Fold in the sides and then fold over the top and bottom.  You should have a square package.

 

Filled Blintz

Filled Blintz

 

6.  To Serve –

 

  • Melt enough Butter to make a thin sizzling layer in the bottom of a medium to large frying pan.  When the Butter starts to sizzle add the Blintz, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2″ between each one.
  • When the bottoms brown gently turn and cook the other side.

 

Browned Cheese Blintz

Browned Cheese Blintz

  • Serve while hot with the sliced Strawberries and Sour Cream or Whipped Cream as a Garnish.

 

Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/07/29 at 11:38 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Cheese, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dairy, Dessert Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , , ,

MORE MAUI MEALS

The Hawaiian Islands are one of our favorite vacation spots;  Maui is one of those spots in the world where you feel different as soon as you step off the plane.  The warm flower scented breezes caress you skin and make you feel relaxed and dreamy.  What better place in the world than to enjoy the food that has been created in the Hawaiian Islands.  While locally caught fish is the protein mainstay of the Islands other meats are delicious as well.  Pork is one of those proteins that are done beautifully in the Hawaiian Islands.  Today’s Hawaiian Cuisine is a blend of the tropical with Asian flavors, two of my favorite flavor profiles.

One of the restaurants in Kihei is ‘Café O’Lei’, a restaurant which specializes in locally caught fish and however incongruently, steak.  That being said, when we ate there on Friday Night neither one of us had fish or steak.  My choice was the Asian style Shortribs and Ev had the Macadamia Nut roasted Pork which of course  is an Hawaiian favorite.  Both dishes were served with Rice and Vegetables along with a delicious first course salad.  For dessert we shared the Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  When we go back to Maui I would like to go back to this restaurant and try the raw fish or Sashimi Stacks that are one of their signature dishes.

One of the Items I purchased at the Tropical Plantation that we went to on Monday was a package of Gourmet Pancake Mix made in Hawaii.  Since there was a waffle iron in the Condo, I decided to make Waffles for Breakfast on Saturday Morning.  Even though the mix had dried Eggs and Buttermilk in it, I added fresh Eggs and Milk along with melted Butter to the mix to make a richer waffle.   We had Coconut Syrup (made in Hawaii) on the Waffles and Bacon and Coffee on the side.

 

Pancake Mix

Pancake Mix

Waffle Breakfast

Waffle Breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Breakfast we drove to Kaanapali to go to the 25th Annual Maui Onion Festival.  Many Chefs from around the Island were participating in a recipe contest.  We were able to view the demonstration by Chef Chris Coulis in which he made an Hawaiian Onion Gnocchi with a Onion/Tomato Confit.  It was quite delicious as we did get to taste it.  The participating chefs had their wares displayed on tables set up near the stage.  And of course right near the stage and in full visibility were 50 lb. bags of Maui Onions.  Maui Onions are just like the Yellow Onions found here in California except that the soil that they grow makes a difference in the taste.  The Volcanic soil of the Hawaiian Islands somehow yields a sweeter, less pungent onion than California and other States produce.  They are so sweet that you can just about eat them out of hand!  Of course you can’t to an Onion Festival and not have Onion Rings.  These were being cooked right on the spot by about 12 different people to keep up with the demand.  And they were very good!  You had your choice of Caramelized Onion Ketchup or a spicier type dip.  We opted for the Caramelized Onion Ketchup.  What else would you eat your Maui Onion Rings with?

 

Maui Onion Festival

Maui Onion Festival

50# bag Maui Onions

50# bag Maui Onions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maui Onion Festival

Maui Onion Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maui Onion Rings

Maui Onion Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to tasting the Gnocchi I purchased some Shortbread Cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company.  They have many different varieties and when you go into the shop you can sample as many types as you wish.  Since Ev likes Chocolate and I like everything else, I bought a pack (my choices) of both Chocolate and Macadamia Nut/Pineapple Cookies.  Needless to say, they did not last us very long.  They were quite delicious.

 

Honolulu Cookie Company

Honolulu Cookie Company

 

 

For dinner this night we went to Rita’s Steak House where Ev had the Sirloin Burger and I had the Mussells Molokini which were just stamed Mussels in a White Wine Butter Sauce, but were very tasty.  Along with this I had a Salad and Rolls and Butter.

 

Steamed Mussels

Steamed Mussels

 

 

 

Green Salad

Green Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was Sunday and for dinner we went back to Coconuts Fish House.  Ev again had the Fish and Chips and I had a Seafood Salad.  Usually when you go to a restaurant and order a Seafood Salad there will be small pieces of Fish or small Shrimp in it.  Not so the case here.  There were two or three large pieces of fish including Mahi and Ahi along with 2 large Shrimp.

 

Seafood Salad at Coconut

Seafood Salad at Coconut

Fish and Chips at Coconut

Fish and Chips at Coconut

 

 

 

 

Needless to say Fish in the Hawaiian Islands is outstanding – fresh and delicious.

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/05/24 at 8:46 AM

Categories: Dinner Ideas, Family Fun, Lunch Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , ,

DINING ON MAUI – (cont’d.)

Tuesday we lunch at a Storefront Restaurant called Coconuts Fish Cafe.  Even though it was storefront restaurant, the food quality was excellent and the décor was very attractive.  In the photo above, the car is reflected in the door’s windows.  (Not great photography, but the only photo I have)  The tables and benches were all made in the shape of Surfboards as were the recipe boards.  The fish was all very fresh and prepared quite well.  Ev wanted Fish and Chips;  these were not your ordinary Fish & Chips that one would get Stateside.  The meal consisted of Ahi and Mahi and the Fries were skinny and crispy.  I ordered their signature dish which was Fish Tacos.  Again these were no ordinary Fish Tacos – the Fish was not breaded, just grilled and good and was again Hawaiian Fish.  Diced Mango, Lettuce and Tomato were also on the Tacos. The order consisted of two Tacos and each was served on a separate plate.  This meal was so good that we visited this Restaurant again before we left for home.

Fish and Chips at Coconut

Fish and Chips at Coconuts

Fish Tacos at Coconut

Fish Tacos at Coconuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday night, since lunch was sufficient to call dinner we decided just to stay in and cook a simple meal for ourselves.  Dinner or Supper consisted of Bacon and Eggs, Grilled Pineapple and strips of Baby Jicama.  If you have never had Baby Jicama do try it during the summer when the Farmer’s Markets Vendors are bound to have.  It is tender and sweet and the skin is much thinner than in the more mature varieties.

 

The next day was Wednesday and we spent most of the morning at Hosmer Grove in Haleakala National Park.  The object of course, was to look for Native Birds and we did see the birds we set out to see – the I`iwi, `Apapane, `Amakihi and Maui Creeper as well as the  Redbilled Leiothrix.  On our way back from the Mountain we stopped and picked up lunch of Roast Beef Sandwiches and Potato/Mac Salad.  The Potato/Mac Salad is an Hawaiian traditional side dish.  Potato/Mac Salad is as it sounds:  Potato Salad with cooked Elbow Macaroni in it – in this way you get two salads at once – Potato and Macaroni.

After exerting a lot of energy on the Mountain we went back to the Condo and spent the afternoon resting.  I tried out the Hot Tub at the poolside and treated myself to a Shave Ice – another favorite specialty in the Hawaiian Islands.  For dinner we went to a Restaurant called Pizza Madness and had a  Pepperoni/Vegie Pizza.  Even though it was only a medium it was so large that we had enough to take home for lunch the next day.

 

Pepperoni and Vegie Pizza

Pepperoni and Vegie Pizza

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/05/19 at 8:23 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Fruit, Lunch Ideas, Main, Pizza   Tags: , , , , , ,

DINING ON MAUI

 

 

 

Just about one year ago, I blogged about our Food Odyssey on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai.  This year we spent our tropical vacation on Maui and did eat some very good food so I am going to talk about it here and display some photographs.  Maybe even give some recipes.  Hope you will enjoy this tropical respite.

 

Since we live on the west coast of the United States during the Daylight Savings time we are 3 hours ahead of Hawaiian time or Pacific Standard Time.  Our plane left Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 PDT and arrived in Maui at 10:30.  Even though we had eaten at the Airport and had some snacks on board, my husband was still up for breakfast.  We stopped at the Azeka Plaza and ate our Sunday Brunch at Amigos Mexican Restaurant.  Ev had the Banana/Macadamia Nut Pancakes (definitely Hawaiian style) and I had the Shrimp Ceviche.  Ceviche is very similar to the Hawaiian Poke (a marinated fish dish) so I really was right in keeping with the tropical food theme.  The pancakes huge which made me glad that I didn’t order them because I would only have been able to eat about half.  The Avocado Shrimp Ceviche was perfect for me.

 

After eating we went to our Condo Complex and checked in.  Fortunately, even though we were early our unit was ready for us.  We had a fantastic garden and ocean view with palm trees waving and two fountains operating.  After unpacking and resting a while, we went out to pick up some food essentials for our stay here.  Before shopping, we decided to eat dinner and ended up in a small place called King’s Chinese Barbecue.  We had delicious Roasted Duck and Vegetable Chow Mein.  The seating was outdoors and was right across the street from the beach, so again we had the ocean view and the palm trees waving, even though there were cars driving down the street in front of us.

 

Vegetable Chow Mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

 

We purchased Blueberry Muffins, Hawaiian Vanilla/Macadamia Nut Coffee, Half & Half, Turbinado Sugar (grown and processed on Maui) and a few other things such as juice and soft drinks.

 

The next day after a Breakfast of Cornflakes and Coffee we went to the Kealia Ponds which have been designated as a bird refuge.  One of our major hobbies is ‘birding’ and when in the tropics (or any vacation for that matter) we try and see as many birds as possible.  The last time were here, the ponds were half dry, but this time they were quite full.  As a result, we saw many more birds this time than we did last time.  After our birding venture we drove up to a Tropical Plantation that we like to visit when we are here.  One of the reasons we decided to go this day (Monday) because my list of Farmer’s Markets said that they had one on Monday.  Wrong, when we got there the sign said Tuesday.  No loss though, because we did get to see more birds as there are plenty of ponds in this venue as well as beautiful tropical plantings.  They also had a store where we could purchase tropical food items.  One of the things which I bought was a bag of Pineapple/Coconut Caramel Corn – this was very yummy!

 

On the way back from the Tropical Plantation we stopped at an ‘Open-Air Market’ on Kihei Road and purchased some fresh Tropical Fruit which included Papaya, Maui Gold Pineapple, Apple Bananas, Baby Jicama and a lime which was almost pink in the middle.  Our next stop this morning was the Market again where we purchased ready-made sandwiches (one thing we noticed this visit is that all the Markets and ABC Stores and Whalers Stores have a very nice Deli Counter and you can get almost anything for any meal.  Competition I’m sure the restaurants don’t like)  In addition to the sandwiches we  purchased Cornflakes which managed to last us most of the 11 days that we were there.

For dinner we went to the Five Palms Restaurant which was just down the street from our Condo.  Not only was the food delicious but the view was fantastic.  In addition to the foregoing they also have a very good ‘Happy Hour’ that lasts from 3PM until 7PM.  We got there about 5 PM and since it was so busy and the patio was full we were seated inside and had great comfortable seating and a great view.

 

View-at-5-Palms

View-at-5-Palms

We ordered California Roll, Coconut Fried Shrimp and Chicken/Lettuce Wraps along with Beverages.  Not necessarily Hawaiian Food except for the Shrimp but nonetheless very good.

 

Calif. Roll at 5 Palms

Calif. Roll at 5 Palms

Coconut-Shrimp-at-5-Palms

Coconut-Shrimp-at-5-Palms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lettuce-Wrap-at-5-Palms

Lettuce-Wrap-at-5-Palms

 

 

The next day for Breakfast we each had a half of a Papaya filled with cubed Pineapple and sliced Bananas sprinkled with a little Turbinado Sugar and sweet Lime Juice as well as Hawaiian Coffee.

 

Papaya Halves filled with Pineapple and Banana slices.

Papaya Halves filled with Pineapple and Banana slices

 

To make the Fruity Breakfast simply slice a ‘ripe’ Papaya in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (a delicious Salad Dressing  – popular in Hawaii can be made from the seeds), squeeze a little lime on the fruit and then fill with fruit of your choice such as sliced Bananas and Pineapples or whatever your preference is.

 

Check back for more on our Maui Food Adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2014/05/16 at 4:27 PM

Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, Tropical Food   Tags: , , , , , ,

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