All posts filed under: Recipes

(Hawaiian) Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie with Haupia Topping

This pie has a vibrant purple layer made from Okinawan sweet potatoes which are naturally purple, a rich coconut milk layer that has the consistency of firm gelatin though it’s made from only sugar, cornstarch, water, and coconut milk, and a delicate shortbread pie crust. Since the Okinawan sweet potatoes taste similar to chestnuts or taro, it is reminiscent in flavor (but not texture) to a Chinese-style sponge cake filled with a chestnut purée. It can be made any time of the year; it would be fun to serve as an unusual Hawaiian-inspired alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato pie. Okinawan sweet potatoes have tan or brown skin and a dark purple flesh that becomes even more vibrant when cooked. They have a dry dense texture, taste sweet, and their flavor is similar to chestnuts or taro. They are most likely to be found in Hawaiian or Japanese grocery stores. This pie must be made with Okinawan sweet potatoes; other types of yam or sweet potatoes cannot be substituted because their flavor and texture is very different. Source: Modified from …

Fried Roman Jewish Style Artichokes

These fried artichokes are especially pretty because they are pressed so that their leaves open up and resemble flowers. The leaves are crispy like chips and the hearts are meltingly soft. Either regular artichokes or baby artichokes can be used. Regular sized artichokes have a nice big heart and big leaves. Baby artichokes are cute; they have a very small heart so they will be mostly crispy leaves but are faster to prepare since they don’t have a choke. Since there is no batter, these are very simple and easy to fry. The frying is done in two steps–the first frying is at a low heat to cook the artichokes through, and the second frying is done quickly at a high heat to brown and crisp them. Source: “Carciofi alla Giudia — Crisp-Fried Whole Artichokes” from “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. Marcella Hazan’s recipe is written for whole artichokes; for baby artichokes, I used the timing for baby artichokes from “Baby Artichokes, Jewish Style” from “Vegetable Love” by Barbara Kafka. I like to use fried herbs …

Trout Amandine

I had a trip to Yosemite planned when the federal government shutdown cause the park to be closed. So I visited the area close to the park boundaries instead. I mountain biked to a small waterfall and also took a fly fishing lesson. I didn’t catch anything. But since we were practicing catch and release, even if I did I wouldn’t have been able to eat it. After spending four hours knee-deep in river water learning to cast and scrambling along slippery algae-coated rocks, I suddenly had a craving for trout, specifically trout amandine. It is a classic French dish of trout topped with almonds and is often served with green beans or asparagus. Amandine indicates a garnish of almonds; it derived from the French word for almonds (“amandes”), though it is sometimes misspelled as almondine in American restaurants or cookbooks since this is more recognizable as relating to almonds to English speakers (wiki). I choose the recipe for “Truite aux Haricots Verts et Amandes” (Trout with Haricots Verts and Almonds) from “Bouchon” by Thomas …

Japanese Pickled Ginger (Gari)

Pickled ginger is well-known as an accompaniment to sushi. It is it known in sushi shop jargon as “gari” (otherwise it is called “beni-shōga). It refreshes the palate, has antiseptic properties, and goes well with grilled items, such as grilled fish (especially oily fish since ginger helps to cut the oiliness) or grilled beef. It is easy to make at home if you can find young ginger. Young ginger can be found sometimes at Asian farmer’s market stands in the spring through early fall and sometimes at Asian markets. It is distinguishable from the brown-skinned mature ginger by its pinkish stems and tips, very thin translucent skin, and creamy white color. Often it still has all or part of the green stem still attached. The best young ginger has tender bright green sprouting leaves and long slender stalks with a pink blush at the bottom. My recipe below is for a very small quantity of pickled ginger, about 1/2 cup (1 small jar) made from 1 large clump of ginger (2.75 oz, measured with the stalks …

Hawaiian Luau! Oven-Roasted Kalua Pork

I like Hawaiian food for many reasons. It is a meld of many types of cuisines: Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, American, Portuguese, and more–many of which I like to cook. Hawaiian food also has retro and vintage flair. Tiki first become in style in the mid-century, possible because American soldiers brought stories back about Polynesia and the South Pacific when they returned home after WWII and the commercial airline industry made travel more accessible. The bright colored (and often over-the-top) Hawaiian prints and rum drinks make tiki fun, and the tropical climate, flowers, and warm waters are something to long for. And it makes me reminisce about relaxation, a slow-paced small town life, and vacations (particularly the vacation that my parents surprised my sister and I with as a Christmas present years ago and the vacation that William and I took in Hawaii about a year ago). Kalua literally means “to cook in an underground oven” in Hawaiian (wiki). It is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method which uses an imu, a type of underground oven made from a dirt pit which is …

Lomi Lomi Salmon

Even though salmon don’t swim close enough to Hawaii to be caught in its surrounding waters, early European explorers, missionaries, whalers, and the armed forces exposed Hawaiians to salt salmon (and many other types of salted, dried, or canned meats, such as Spam). It has become so integrated into Hawaiian cuisine that lomi lomi is a traditional luau (wiki) dish. The salt salmon needs to be made at least 1 day ahead, so start this recipe a day before you want to serve it. Food Safety: Use only very fresh high quality salmon, preferably sashimi/sushi quality, since the raw salmon is only lightly cured (see here for more information about what types of salmon can be eaten raw and also this wikipedia article on raw fish). I used sushi salmon (from Super Mira Market in San Francisco) to ensure that it was safe to eat raw because it has been commercially deep frozen to remove any parasites (home freezers are not cold enough), very fresh, and had a great texture. If you can’t find sushi salmon, then you could consider …

Lobster Sandwich

This lobster sandwich is served on a toasted croissant and is flavored with diced cucumber, tarragon, lemon zest, poppy seeds, mayonnaise, and whole-grain mustard. The tarragon adds a bright herbal anise-like flavor which unexpectedly goes well with lobster. Poppy seeds and seafood are an unexpected combination that works so well that David Chang specifically mentioned this flavor pairing in his Momofuku cookbook. Lobster and butter are also another great combination — this sandwich gets its butteriness from the croissant. This isn’t a traditional Maine-style lobster roll–that’s what makes it unique. Source: Modified “Boiled Lobster” from “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters. We used “Crab Sandwich” from “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson as our recipe for the lobster sandwiches, but we left out the chervil that the recipe suggested, since it isn’t available in our markets.

Shrimp Stock

If you buy shrimp with their heads and aren’t going to cook them whole, then you should make shrimp stock. You can also make shrimp stock with just the tail shells, if you don’t have the heads, though the stock will be less rich. Source: My own recipe, based on generic recipe available from many sources.

Cajun-Style Roux

Roux is a mixture of fat and flour which is used to thicken gravy, sauces, and stews. The flour is mixed into hot fat and toasted until the raw flour taste disappears and the mixture is the desired color. There are several colors of roux that can be made: white, light brown (the color of honey), medium brown (a tan-brown leather color), dark red-brown (a mahogany color), and black. Many cuisines such as French, Italian, and Eastern European make roux but Cajun roux is unique because it is typically toasted until it is at least a deep brown color, which gives it a rich nutty flavor. Several colors of roux are used in Cajun cooking, such as medium brown, dark red-brown, and black*. Roux has less thickening power the more it is toasted; according to Wikipedia, a chocolate-colored roux has about one-fourth the thickening power by weight of a white-colored roux. Most sources suggest cooking roux at a low heat for a long time, however Paul Prudhomme’s method uses very high heat to quickly cook the roux …

Cajun Basic Rice

The benefit of using the oven to cook this rice is that it frees up your stove to make other things, and you don’t need to watch it closely. Source: Heavily modified from “Basic Cooked Rice” from “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen” by Paul Prudhomme