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Archive for July, 2010

Photo Credit: Ifinite Trends

I got an email from Auntie Martha yesterday with a note about a bruschetta she was making to take to a friend’s house for dinner that evening – the ingredients were decidedly summery (namely the fresh peaches) and the combo sounded delicious so I thought I would share…

Topping: fresh tomatoes, fresh peaches, basil, parsley, onions, garlic, olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar to liven it up. Served over toasted bread which she brushed with olive oil before hand. Yum!

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I volunteer with an organization called Kanu Hawaii, and right now we are in the midst of planning our annual Eat Local Challenge (where we challenge everyone to improve their health, support local businesses and sustainability in our communities by eating only locally grown/produced food for a week – more on this as it gets closer).  We have been meeting weekly at Whole Foods because it seemed to be the most central place, but last night we agreed to switch it up and meet at committee members’ Alani & Cherub’s home in Kailua.

I volunteered to bring dessert (shocker, I know) and although my intention was to create something using local ingredients, I ran out of time to hit the grocery store and ended up making the Apple Grand Tortoni from the cookbook Another Taste of Aloha (sort of local I guess?!).  Cherub and Alani provided a feast of garden fresh salad, locally raised steak, locally caught fish, Okinawan sweet potatoes steamed in coconut milk (just slice the potatoes and boil in coconut milk until tender), and garden fresh Japanese eggplant with stir fry sauce, garlic, red chili paste and clarified butter.  Stuffed and mid-meeting, Alani and I served dessert – and then the meeting stopped.  Everyone was so complimentary about the dessert (nice to hear after my giant dessert fail just the previous night), which I have learned is a dead-on crowd pleaser wherever I go.  Before mango season ends, I think I am going to give it a go with Mangoes and see how it turns out.

Next week we are going to meet at Cherub & Alani’s again…and I am charged with dessert again.  I’m thinking I may have to dig deep and try the chocolate mousse cake OR see if I can recreate the mango/lilikoi pie that my mom buys at the Kauai farmers market….hmmmm, decisions, decisions.

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I have definitely been MIA on the blog lately with a new job and summer school, but I wanted to post this yummy recipe since it has been a big hit at my house. Usually when I ask my boyfriend what kind of veggie he wants with dinner, his response is “no veggie.” Since I am studying nutrition and know the importance of veggies, this is really frustrating to me, but I have found a veggie that he loves now, so I try to make it as often as I can. We came up with this recipe pretty randomly but I am glad that we did, because it is delicious. It is so tasty that it almost seems like dessert, but it’s also good for you, since sweet potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient),vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Here is the recipe for these delicious sweet potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes (depending on how many people you are feeeding)
  • Butter, for greasing the cookie sheet(s)
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease cookie sheet(s) with butter or PAM spray.
  3. Peel and rinse sweet potato(es). Slice into thin rounds, about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar onto greased cookie sheet, just as much as you would like. I do a medium coating. Place sweet potato rounds on top and then sprinkle more brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Place cookie sheet(s) in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until sweet potato rounds are soft.

Note: I think that this would be an amazing side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner too… it will definitely be on our dinner table when these holidays come up!

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Photo Credit: Food & Wine

My little lanai herb garden (consisting of mint, thai and sweet basil, and rosemary) is flourishing.  I love that I can go out there and pick things here and there for a bit of seasoning or a garnish, but beyond that, I find myself wondering what on earth to do with it all.  I got my answer the other day in the form of an email from Food & Wine with a whole bunch of great recipes focused around summer herbs.  Check them out here.  Personally, I can’t wait to try the Spicy Brussels Sprouts and Mint and the Apricot-and-Basil shortbread tart.  Have fun exploring the possibilities, and let us know if you find any great recipes in the process!

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I got the following e-mail and accompanying photos from my mom today.  My question to her was who are these friends and when can we go over and make some pizza!  Until then I’m thinking I will coerce Tori into another pizza night and bring some sweet toppings for one of the pies…

Ann took these pictures last night. We made our own pizzas and cooked them in a friend’s outdoor pizza oven. This was my dessert pizza, half blueberry, pineapple and honey and half almond butter, banana and brown sugar – ohhh yea!  Xxx, Mom


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Every single week a note about Wine Down Wednesday pops up on my twitter from owner @edstown, and every single week I think “I need to go and do that.”  But, despite my good intentions, I have to admit that yesterday was the very first time I ever actually followed through – something that may not have happened had we not had a nudge from Sky Cameron, a friend of ours who was conducting the tasting for the evening.

What is Wine Down Wednesday you ask?  Pure genius in my opinion.  The middle of the week is generally a bit hairy, no matter which way you slice it.  And what better way to unwind and re-energize for the rest of the week than over a four course wine tasting/food pairing in the company of some really fabulous friends? Pretty much nothing.

So, in keeping with this line of thought, Jacky, Tori, Justin, Haley, 15 wonderful strangers and I joined Sky at town in Kaimuki for an array of Argentinian wines from the Mendoza region (on the western coast about halfway down), paired with four complimentary dishes – all of which was divine.  Here’s what we were working with:

Sky...our fearless wine leader

Wine: Nieto Senetiner, Torrontes Reserva '09 (the ultimate summertime lounging-by-the-pool wine - Torrontes is only found in Argentina) - Food: Salmon skin, risotto cake, apple, fried capers

Wine: Vina Cobos "El Felino" Cabernet Sauvignon '08 (aptly described by Sky as "juicy" this one tasted even sweeter because of the spice in the food) - Food: Pa'i'ai hash (pulled pork), watercress

Miss Haley...the most well behaved (and adorable) two year old who has an incredible palate to boot!

Wine: Pulenta Estate "La Flor" Malbec '08 (from vines that are 5-15 years old) - Food: Porchetta, Mushrooms

Wine: Bodegas Renacer Punto Final Malbec Reserva '06 (from vines that are 50 years old and up - one of Wine Spectator's top 100 wines!) - Food: Grilled leg of lamb with mint infused chili

We ended the evening by sharing a crazy delicious bittersweet chocolate and apple banana panini served with ice cream and some whipped cream goodness. Haley demonstrated how one should most effectively get every single ounce of ice cream out of a dish once a spoon just doesn't cut it. Thank you Uncle Sky!

Remnants of a good time

We were all at one long table which didn’t make for the most ideal social or easy to educate situation, but Sky did an amazing job of explaining things and we had a most wonderful time overall.  We’ve decided that WDW would be a great thing to gather a bunch of friends together and do again (read: completely take over with people we know and have a raucously good time) – hopefully sometime very, very soon.  Want to join us?  Town does WDW every week at 6:30 – just make sure you call ahead for reservations as seating is limited.

On a side note, it has been not only wonderfully fun because of his overall fantastic-ness, but also very educational getting to know Sky because of his extensive wine knowledge.  My notes above only scratch the surface of what he taught us last night, but here is a little more info on Mendoza and the whole wine situation in that area.  Now all I have to do is convince Sky to take me on one of his fabulous wine trips someday!

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Mmmmmmm...

What better way to start the day off than with banana stuffed croissant french toast and an amazing cup of coffee from Covenant Books & Coffee on 12th. Avenue in Honolulu?  I dare say not much.  If you can’t make it for breakfast (they also do a mean breakfast burrito), stop in for soup (a different one made fresh daily) and a sandwich (my fav is the veggie delight)….hands down one of my very favorite breakfast/lunch places of all time.

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