Friday, July 27, 2012

Two Farmers' Markets in Two Nights

Wednesday night, after a day of THREE appointments in a row, we headed for the bustling Blaisdell Farmers' Market. We ate, as usual, at The Pig & The Lady, Vietnamese street food. No photos of what we ate - it's all in our tums - but it was all good! From the kim chee bruschetta - so messy it squirted out on my shopping bag and slacks - to the bun cha (yes, I know bun is noodles, but only pork patties, pickles and other goodness on crusty French bread) to the oxtail pho - so, so yum!

Then there was Mr. Le's series of "special" drinks - from the iced coffee to the delicious tea made even more so with some ginger syrup, meant for the tofu dessert. All the Le family members have fantastic, inventive palates! After the sun goes down, the Blaisdell Honolulu Farmers' market turns into a cool oasis of relief.

Cheese plate: Naked Cheese Bastille Day dinner
We came home with Ho Farms Indigo Rose tomatoes, a large watermelon radish, enough TP&TL leftovers for lunch, and Naked Cow Dairy Waianae Sunset tomme cheese and cultured butter. I spoke to her for only a few minutes, but congratulations to cheesemaker Gida Snyder on her recent, well-deserved award from Les Dames d'Escoffier International!


The next night after work, we headed for the Thursday night market at St. Clement's, in Makiki. If you get there just around 5:30, there's ample parking on Wilder next to Makiki Park. We headed straight to our favorite food vendor and got 2 plates of the shrimp stir-fry: well seasoned with a pile of fresh vegetables. We both had enough leftovers for another meal. I was happy to see a new produce vendor, and picked up an avocado and a bunch of watercress.

Before I left, I stopped at the Sweet Revenge tent to congratulate Kathy Masunaga, the second Hawaii recipient of the Les Dames d'Escoffier International award.

Two farmers' markets, two award winners. No coincidence here; this is where you'll find the best food. And the best people in Hawaii.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bastille Day Cheese Dinner at the Naked Cow Dairy

The DH and I are townies, so anything beyond city limits is an excursion!

Last week Saturday, we headed out to Waianae, old-school map and GPS, with two lady food writers, @NonStopMari, & @Melissa808. Our destination was Naked Cow Dairy, where Gida Snyder cooked us an amazing dinner. Gida has just been recognized - deservedly so - with an entrepreneurial legacy award by Les Dames d'Escoffier for her locavore activism and mad cheesemaking skills.

Earlier in the week, Gida commented that she'd never cooked for us before. She needn't have worried - we were blown away by the menu she devised, from the champagne/cherry aperitif, to the entree, cheese course and sweet ending!

I can't stop thinking about the first course of red, white & bleu sauce with sweet potatoes, chard and entrecote - that has embedded itself in my taste memories! It is astounding that all the vegetables were so delicious: from the arugula to the Tokyo negi! Here's the rest of the menu from NonStopMari.

I remember we toasted to "local", and that was the most marvelous part of it - that 90+% of what we ate that night was grown or raised in our islands. Butter & cream from the Naked Cow Dairy cows, and other cows. Rabbit from Kapolei, beef from Waianae. Local vegetables, herbs and fruit. All the ladies - NKD and adjuncts - were lovely. Especially Sabrina/Sam and Monique! You must read NonStopMari's account of the evening, including a newborn calf, and fabulous photos from @dallasnagata - she of the "hottest kiss" - and some from @MikeSumida!
The flip side to that story is that most of the time, 90+% of what we eat came from somewhere else! Since I started going to farmers' markets regularly, we eat a lot more fruit and vegetables that were grown here: from the mango and cantaloupe ripening in my baskets to the local eggs, beets and cucumbers.

Here is some of what came to be after this memorable cheese dinner:
I took the leftover butter from my Indiegogo NKD grilled cheese sandwich perk to work, along with artisan bread baked by Christopher Sy. One coworker was hooked on the butter, so I bought her some the next time I was at the farmers' market. Another one loves the bread! Still another asked me what my latest food adventure was, so I'll let her know when the next cheese dinner is scheduled. As a librarian, I never knock people on the head with information, rather, I introduce them gently, with a taste. A taste of change.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dinner @ Home

How boring? No!

The night after we came home I made a watermelon salad dressed only in chili pepper water with mint and cilantro. The DH shucked opihi from Hawaii island so fresh, it was moving! Just add shoyu and lime. Stew luau from Hawaiian Style Cafe - just outside of Kamuela - came as a portion so huge, we brought half of it home, frozen in the tiny ice tray section of our hotel mini-refrigerator. I added a heaping saimin-spoon of powdered coconut milk to tone down the saltiness, heated and served it with day-old poi and chili pepper water. Rounds of purple Okinawan sweet potato completed the meal - a feast!

How do you gild a lily? Go for a walk, then come back to vanilla ice cream with Kona King mango (from the Hilo Farmers' Market) cubes - so buttery they could crown an expensive French/Japanese pastry!