Food to Write Home About
Something to Write Home About My friend and boss Bill Tobin wrote a book. The title, Food to Write Home About is Bill’s answer to the sort of comment he sometimes comes across in on-line reviews. Anyone who knows Bill and his passion for the Hawaii culinary scene could imagine his reaction when he scrolls down to see: “The food was OK, but nothing to write home about”. When you’ve come to appreciate the quality and variety of Hawaii’s cuisine like Bill has, something like that could get under your skin. It’s a testament to Bill’s character that from his frustration came inspiration and not surprising for Bill, action. Along with his coauthor Brian Berusch, Bill has set out to tell the story of his culinary evolution in Hawaii. Each of his stories comes in the form of a letter home to his mom and he uses many well-known local chefs to illustrate each culinary revelation along the way. Twenty-one of Hawaii’s top chefs are featured along with a recipe from each chef. I was honored to get a keepsake copy of the book, my reward... Read more
Who Are You Calling a Fruitcake?
Not Your Granny's (Or My Mom's) Fruitcake In mid-October, I appeared on Kitchen Creations to make another Betty Shimabukuro recipe. This time, it was for her popular "spice cake," a.k.a. that most dreaded and ridiculed holiday pastry of all--fruitcake. In her article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, she jokes how she brought the fruitcake to work, called it a spice cake, and watched it disappear. Since the holidays are right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to revisit this TV segment, and set the record straight about fruitcake. Now, I don't have the normal aversion to this pastry that some people seem to have, in large part because my mom used to traditionally make it for the holiday season--like I mention in the video, giving out fruitcake was the 70's housewife thing to do. Betty's recipe calls for brandy, and you can substitute whiskey for this, but all the alcohol will cook out. The brandy is to add flavor, but will also help the cake to rise, because alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature, which ma... Read more
Mom’s Homemade Piccalilli Makes a Special Appearance
[caption id="attachment_7087" align="alignright" width="720"] Mom's homemade piccalilli[/caption] A couple months ago when I was visiting in Massachusetts I rummaged through my mother's cabinets in her absence to locate a childhood favorite, homemade piccalilli. I was unsuccessful. I simply figured she was slacking on the canning and enjoying life so much! Low and behold this came in the mail a few weeks ago. Piccalilli is relish with green tomatoes, peppers, and onions. My mom would put it on my roast beef sandwiches for bag lunch in high school, and my friends would barter for my sandwiches. I can't remember what I got in return, but more often than not I wouldn't want to trade! For our new Lunch Menu rollout (coming soon to you all in a few weeks!), I'll be featuring my own version of piccalilli, using Mom's tried and true recipe, of course. It will complement our revamped Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Melt Sandwich & Soup. The panini will be made with fresh island ahi tuna salad (dolphin & green sea turtle free and safe), Swiss cheese, the housemade picca... Read more
KITCHEN COMMANDMENTS! – 10 Tips to Help You Cook Like a Pro
“Of course, everyone knows that.” It was just a good natured tongue-in-cheek jab from Grace Lee, host of the Kitchen Creations segment on Hawaii News Now Sunrise Show. My off handed comment had begged for a little sarcasm. She made a good point. I was mixing up the batter for Banana Andagi and mentioned that the recipe emphasized not to over-mix. When I added “cuz then you can activate the gluten in the flour - right” I made it sound like something so obvious it hardly needed saying. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75KYqb8odng&feature=youtu.be[/embed] While it’s something a trained chef would definitely know, someone with a little less kitchen experience might still be wondering why their cakes always come out tough and chewy. It got me thinking about what other basic kitchen know-how has been buried under piles of microwave meals and fast food wrappers. Here are 10 great tips to get started on the right foot. 1. Don’t Over-Mix the Batter - See above if you... Read more