Here we are again talking about Breakfasts. Since September is ‘National Breakfast Month’ this is a good format to use – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – simply because you are breaking a long fast between the last meal of the day before and the first meal of the current day. Your body, like your car, needs fuel to run on and your brain especially needs that fuel to keep you thinking straight. In the last blog I talked about Western Style Breakfasts – that is the Breakfast as we know it in American and also in parts of Europe.
Pictured above is Pineapple and Pork Fried Rice – this would make a good and healthy breakfast for any culture so try having an Asian Style Breakfast sometime if you have leftovers.
Today I am going to be talking about Asian Breakfasts. People in Asia, for the most part, do not have special foods that they eat for Breakfast. Usually it is food left over from the day before. However, in China, Congee, a porridge made from Rice is the preferred Breakfast. Usually leftovers of vegetables, fruit or meat are added to the Congee. Interestingly, the last time we were in Thailand our Hotel served a Breakfast Buffet every morning. Since a considerable number of Chinese people visit Thailand, along with Westerners, the Hotel served a Chinese Breakfast. Congee with a large number of different items that could be added to it. They also served a Western Breakfast. I always have a habit of observing what other people are eating and I noticed that the Chinese guests were eating the Western Style Breakfast. I who always eat a Western Style Breakfast at home was eating the Congee or the Chinese Breakfast. I guess people all over the world do like a little variety in their food.
Japanese people usually eat whatever is left over from the night before as do the people of Thailand. Even though Breakfast Foods per se are not common among the Thai people there are plenty of restaurants in Thailand that do serve a Western Style Breakfast. That being said, if you are Thai you probably have Rice along with perhaps some Pork or whatever happens to be available. When my Sons and Daughter- in – Law were here visiting, my Thai Daughter – in – Law fell in love with Breakfast Jacks. She also loves to make a Thai Omelet which isn’t necessarily eaten for Breakfast. A Thai Omelet is similar to Egg Foo Young but is still different. It is quite delicious and can be eaten for any meal of the day.
More Fried Rice Photos just to the left. The top one is Chicken-Fried Rice – a good way to use up leftover Chicken and the one on the bottom is Fried Rice I made when we were in Kauai. There is a strong Asian influence in modern Hawaiian Food and Rice is frequently eaten for any meal.
For Western Breakfast Ideas please see the previous post ‘Breakfast’ in this Blog.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Needless to say Fish in the Hawaiian Islands is outstanding – fresh and delicious.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, October 4th is ‘National Taco Day’. Like many other ethnic foods, Tacos have become as American as Apple Pie, although Apple Pie actually originated in England. Just like people, there are many variations of tacos. If you want authentic tacos, try going to Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles where there are many Mexican Restaurants. Here in Newbury Park, we have a taco place that is as authentic as I have ever eaten here in the States. It is called ‘Taco Sanchez’ and it is situated in the old Taco Bell building by Roma’s Italian Deli right off of Borchard Road.
Pictured are Carne Asado Tacos
with Mango Salsa and Guacamole
Since Thursday is ‘National Taco Day’, it would be fun to make tacos for your family and/or your friends for dinner. Tacos are one of those dishes that can be turned into party food very easily and what is more fun than to have a Taco Bar Party. To make a Taco Bar Party or just Tacos for dinner you will need some important ingredients and you will have to decide what fillings your Tacos should have.
MEAT FILLINGS ACCOMPANIMENTS
- Carne Asada (Beef) Salsa Cruda
- Carnitas (Pork) Guacamole
- Chicken Shredded Cabbage or Lettuce
- Shrimp Diced Tomatoes
- Lobster Shredded Cheese
- Ahi Green Onions
- Tofu Sliced Radishes
Crema (Mexican version of Creme Fraiche)
Grilled Scallions (Green Onions)
To make your Tacos, it is best to prep all the items ahead of time, except maybe for the Meat Fillings which should be hot when served. Some items can be reheated, but most are best right after being origianlly cooked.
Prepare your Garnishes or Accompaniments first and refrigerate if there is going to be a lot of time between prep and serving.
salsa-cruda/ is an uncooked Tomato Salsa usually made with Tomatoes, Chilies, Garlic and Cilantro along with a little Salt and the Juice of a Lime or two.
Guacamole is a wonderful condiment made from Avocadoes, Garlic, Jalapenos (optional), Salt, Cilantro and Lime Juice. The Guacamole we were served in Guadlajara was simply mashed Avocadoes and Lime Juice, but I like it with the additional ingredients listed above. Mole refers to ‘sauce’ and the name guaca as told to me by one of my Hispanic Students just means crazy, mixed, so therefore,Guacamole is just a sauce of ‘mixed up’ Avocadoes. Hence, the mashed Avocadoes and Lime in Guadalajara. The lime wasn’t even in it – just served on the side. For the recipe go to chunky-guacamole/
Shredded Lettuce and Diced Tomaotes
The filling that I recently used was Ground Beef cooked with Garlic, diced Onions and diced Red Bell Pepper or Pimiento in Spanish. The Garlic and Onions were sauteed first and then the Beef was added. The Bell Peppers were added just at the end to avoid being overcooked.
Keep the Meat warm while frying your Taco Shells. You can also do the Taco Shells ahead and keep warm in the oven. Tacos are usually made from Corn Tortillas, but you can also use Flour Tortillas, especially if you want soft tacos. Corn Tortillas are usually fried crisp but you can also cook them so that they will be soft. When frying your Tortillas in Oil, be sure to either drain them on a rack set over a baking pan or drain on paper towels. The rack method is best in that the oil drips down. With the paper towels, the Taco Shells will be sitting on the oil that drains off of them. First fry them on each side, flat then use a wooden spoon to help fold them and leave a space for the filling to be put into.
Mexican Fruit Salad is a nice accompaniment to a Taco Meal. Use Tropical Fruit such as Papaya, Pineapple, Mango and Melons.
To complete the meal, add Mexican Rice mexican-rice/ or refried Beans.
Whichever way you make your Tacos, enjoy them or if you don’t feel like cooking, just go to your local Tacqueria!
Today was another early rising day as we had decided to drive towards the northern end of Kauai to look for birds in the reserve in the Wailua River Valley. We also stopped to view the waterfall and to look over the Wailua River into the restored Hawaiian Village. It was a beautiful day and we had some good viewing. We also saw quite a lot of birds there as well.
After our early morning sightseeing we stopped at Smith’s Tropical Paradise. Their lush tropical gardens cover 30 acres of land; it is right next to the river. In the evenings they host luaus that anyone can purchase a ticket to attend. They also offer boat rides on the river. We saw quite a few different birds here but the most entertaining were the peacocks which of course are introduced birds. It is breeding season, the mails in all the finery strut around and around as if they were in a fashion show. (Will put up a video of one on U-Tube).
Back in Poipu we went to the Poipu Shopping Mall for lunch and tried out the dogs at Puka Dogs. The most outstanding thing about this eatery is all the different toppings that they provide for their dogs. Ev decided on the Polish Dog with Coconut Relish and I had the Polish Dog with Mango Relish. Their Polish Dogs taste more like regular hot dogs. I normally don’t like Polish Dogs, but their regular hot dogs were veggie dogs and that didn’t sit too well with me. I like my hot dogs to be made with beef. The best thing about this eatery was their fresh made-to order lemonade. It was very good. To see Puka Dog’s Menu go to http://www.pukadog.com/menu After lunch it was more beach time.
For dinner this evening we went back to Kalapaki Joe’s and tried out a couple of their menu items that featured fresh lobster. Ev had the lobster burrito which was quite large and contained more than an ample portion of lobster. I had the lobster salad and it too had an ample portion of grilled lobster with a variety of vegetables and was topped with grilled pineapple slices. This salad came with a wonderful sesame dressing which was absolutely perfect.
After dinner we walked back to the condo and spent some time outside on the grounds to soak up what was left of our time on the island. Kauai is a very peaceful place with beautiful scenery. With the gentle breeze, you feel like you are being bathed in silken strands. It is a wonderful feeling and one that you can carry with you in your memory for a long time afterwards.
Today was Sunday so we decided to have breakfast out again at Burgers in Paradise. As mentioned earlier, this restaurant offers a lot more than Burgers and provides quite a variety of breakfast items. Ev had Pancakes which were rather large but quite good tasting. My breakfast was a Papaya /Pineapple Boat that was served with toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts. The boat was a very healthy and tasty breakfast. We both enjoyed cups of Hawaiian Coffee with the meal. After breakfast we returned to the condo and then to the beach for more sun, sand and surf.
For lunch, we ate the leftover stir-fried vegetables with what was left of the Tako and Ahi Poki. So far, our meals have been quite healthy and tasty. Eating good fresh fish with perky seasonings is really a good way to go, whether you are looking to lose weight or to just have a healthy, tasty and satisfying meal.
For dinner this night we decided to try Brennecke’s Broiler. We have been to Kauai many times, but never actually ate at this restaurant as we usually stay at the North Shore and don’t like driving at night between the North and South Shores. The main restaurant is upstairs with a great view of the ocean and beach just across the street. The restaurant features both steaks and seafood and since by this time we had just about had our fill of seafood we decided to go with beef dinners. Ev ordered the Prime Rib and I ordered the Rib Eye Steak. Both these items are basically from the same cut of beef, but one is roasted whole and then sliced and the other is cut into steaks before cooking. Both dinners were served with rosemary mashed potatoes and the Rib Eye was served with a mushroom wine sauce. The Prime Rib was served with au jus and horseradish. Since Ev doesn’t like horseradish, I used that on my steak along with the mushroom wine sauce.
When we finished dinner there was an unexpected downpour (typical of tropical climate) so we waited it out in the downstairs portion of Brennecke’s where we purchased a few items for our breakfast ‘on the go on’ Monday morning. After about 5-10 minutes the rain let up enough for us to make to the car without getting wet. We shortly arrived back at the condo for another relaxing evening in Paradise.
Today, I am going to skip right ahead to dinner as breakfast and lunch meals were not exciting and the day was pretty ordinary. For dinner we went to Keoki’s Tropical Paradise at Poipu Village Shopping Mall. Keoki’s interior is true to its name. It is truly a Tropical Paradise and as in most Hawaiian Restaurants, the walls are open to the surrounding outdoor area, which included Palm Trees and a Lagoon. We were seated nearest to the outdoor area which made the ambience very nice for dinner. In addition, on weekend evenings there is entertainment, Hawaiian Style; we enjoyed the music while we ate.
Since we are both light eaters we opted for the Sea & Land Pupu Platters. The Sea Platter consisted of Scallops, Shrimp and Crab Cakes and the Land Platter contained Beef Teriyaki Skewers, Egg Rolls, Pork Ribs on Mashed Potatoes with Skinny Onion Rings. The sauces and marinades were excellent and we entirely enjoyed our choices. Our beverages were Lite Beer for Ev and a Tropical Fruit Cocktail for myself.
For dessert we just had to try their famous Hula Pie. The Hula Pie is a large portion and was enough for the two of us. It was built on a chocolate cookies crust and contained Vanilla Ice Cream shot through with Coffee and was topped with Hot Fudge Sauce, Macadamia Nuts and Whipped Cream. The Hula Pie was a thoroughly satisfying ending to a delicious meal.
Thursday was Day Five and it was another early rising day. Again we had breakfast on the go and that consisted of hard-cooked eggs, banana bread and apple bananas. We drove to Koke’e, a natural area located in the upland area of northwestern Kauai, along with Waimea Canyon and Nä Pali Coast State Parks. Our purpose was to view the native birds that inhabit this area. This time we did the easy trails and did get to see quite a few different birds. When we were here in 1996, we actually did the trail in the Alaka’i Swamp. By the time we finished our clothes were covered in Kauai’s red dirt mud and actually had to hose off in the park before we got into our car. It was quite an experience though and am glad we got to do it.
The birds that we say this time were: Hawaiian Amakihi, which is a greenish bird with a long curved beak, the Kauai Elepaio, which is a small bird with a long tail. Its head is a reddish brown and it has a small beak designed for foraging for insects. We also saw the Akeke’e, which is a greenish-yellow bird with a black mask around the eye (especially prominent in the male) and a bluish bill. We saw an Anianianu; a honey-creeper with distinct yellow coloring. This bird unfortunately has been prey to malaria brought in by mosquitoes and its numbers are dwindling. The birds can now only be seen in the higher elevations where there are fewer instances of mosquitoes. The last native bird we saw this day was the Hawaiian Iiwi, whose bright red feathers, pink curved bill, and black wings and tail distinguish it from the rest of Hawaii’s forest birds.
Other than native birds there were a few introduced species such as Erkel’s Francolin, Jungle Fowl and the Red Crested Cardinal. We also had many Red Crested Cardinals visiting us at our condo. The Jungle Fowl are chickens who roam freely around the island. The Jungle Fowl have become so symbolic of Kauai that you can even purchase a red dirt t-shirt with a picture of a jungle fowl on it.
This has been enough about birds now, when I’m really supposed to be talking about food. But the birds did lead us to our lunch today and that was at the Shrimp Station in Waimea. We did get there a little early and had to wait for them to open up. The Shrimp Station is more of a stand than a restaurant and all seating is outdoors. Since their kitchen is open to view, we just sat and watched them set up for the day. This is mainly a lunch and early dinner place as the hours are from 11 AM – 5 PM daily. Ev had a craving for Coconut Fried Shrimp and that is what he had along with fries. My cravings went towards the sweet chili garlic shrimp and that was served with white rice of potatoes. The portion of the sweet chili garlic shrimp was more than ample and even though it was sweet chili there was still a kick to it that the rice helped to buffer. A salad would have been good with this dish as well as some bread. Fortunately we did have cold drinks.
Again, the afternoon was spent on the beach and just relaxing and enjoying the tropical weather. For dinner, I made hamburgers which I ended up calling Tropic Burgers and will probably feature in one of my classes. I had purchased the ingredients the day before and that included ground sirloin, buns, and we had lettuce and tomatoes from the farmers market along with cheese from Big Save. The items I did forget to purchase were mustard, mayo and ketchup so I became innovative and used our Papaya Seed Dressing as our only condiment. They turned out very good.
Here is how I made the burgers; sautéed sliced red onions in butter until they were soft and just starting to caramelize. Toasted the buns in the toaster and then cooked the burgers with salt and pepper and some garlic powder. Put cheese on them after they were turned and started to cook on the second side. The dressing went on the buns and the burger on one side and the onions on top of the meat, and then the tomato and lettuce. This really turned out to be an excellent burger. Along with the burgers we opened the bottle of wine that came with the condo. All in all, it was a very good dinner.
After dinner, we drove around the corner to the beach and checked out Brennecke’s Beach Broiler for a future meal. The downstairs portion of Brennecke’s makes fresh sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and even dinner, if you are so inclined, and they also sell chips, sodas and other various sundry items. Later on we went back to the condo and sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunset.