Friday, August 31, 2012

Late Summer Dinner

The temptation to eat out is huge after a day of work, when my brain is fried. It helps me to do two things before I even leave work. First, I make a short list of the produce available at home. Then, I try to think of ways to combine those vegetables so they resemble something approximating dinner, and write them down.

Last night, I sauteed the few remaining asparagus spears and Hamakua alii mushrooms with sweet onions in a little bit of olive oil, then dumped in leftover whole wheat spaghetti. Please try the Garofalo brand whole wheat variety from Costco - it actually tastes good! I added four good glugs - you know what I mean! - of leftover dry white wine and a healthy grinding of black pepper. To all of this, I added about 3 tablespoons of the compound butter I made with stinky Red, White & Bleu cheese from Naked Cow Dairy. Yes, I figured out another use for the butter, other than bruschetta, or on some lean steak! Finally, I added about a cup of purslane sprigs and some fresh thyme.

I served the above topped with a few Gida Snyder oil-packed Roma tomatoes grown by Ho Farms and local over-easy eggs. And accompanied the pasta with thinly sliced, toasted Christopher Sy bread topped with Naked Cow Dairy cow's milk chevre. You must taste this chevre - to die for! We tried this at the Wednesday Blaisdell Honolulu Farmers Market, and HAD to buy some to take home - so, so good!

The DH asked if I'd dreamed up the above pasta. Yes! Who else would?

Please check with the above vendors to see if these tomatoes and cheeses are still available. If not, find the very best substitutes you can afford, as using fine ingredients truly makes a difference. Enjoy the bounty of summer; the produce is at its best.

More nights of summer dinners to come, including adobo eggplant and red pepper tortas. The eating is constant, especially the consumption of fresh vegetables; the writing is unfortunately more sporadic.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday Night Dinner Party

We were invited to dinner at a cigar friend's home. It's ALWAYS last minute, and when there is nothing fantastic in the cupboards or refrigerator, I just grab or buy a couple bottles of wine.

This time, there were some goodies! He grilled ribeye steaks and sauteed onions to go with them. Other people brought noodles, giant wontons and roast pork. I took Christopher Sy artisan bread, sliced it thinly, had the DH toast it, and spread it thinly with compound butter made with Naked Cow Dairy stinky Red, White & Bleu cheese, topped with cucumber and Ho Farm mixed grape tomatoes. If only I hadn't forgotten the watermelon radishes!

After dinner, I put out a plate of Naked Cow Dairy Waianae Sunset cheese with a sliced French bread epi, Naked Cow Dairy cultured butter and sweet black seedless grapes. Spread bread with butter, top with cheese, eat with grapes - heaven!

I'd seen these Ines Rosales tortas in R. Field, but the price was prohibitive. When I found them on the bargain shelf at Foodland Beretania, they were marked down 70%! I bought half of them, and I should have bought them all, because there were none when I returned. I bough 3 flavors: plain, rosemary & thyme and orange. They're made in Seville, Spain and they're delicious! At the dinner party, I broke the orange flavor tortas - which are sprinkled with sugar with orange zest, and slightly caramelized - into wedges, and spread them with the last of the kaya. I topped this with slices of sweet white nectarine. When the nectarine ran out, that was it!

I later found out this went over very well with the cigar guys. They asked for more, the DH said, "No more!" They now call this the "Not Enough" dessert. Who knew? Guess they don't lose their sense of taste!

Are there photos of any of this? No, the food was in our tummies, and it was good!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dinner at Whole Ox Deli

Bob McGee served his first dinners on Tuesday, August 14th. Two nights later, this bunch of hungry eaters assembled, and two bottles of wine were shared. This is the current menu:

Whole Ox menu photo via @docrock
And there are specials. For the four of us, we ordered the lardo, the poutine, the kielbasa and the sirloin. How do we describe the poutine? Laurie (@konaish) tweeted it was better than any poutine she'd ever eaten. I forgot what Michael said about it. I'd never had poutine, and I can't imagine curds larger than cottage cheese that squeak being a good thing. Ever.

Whole Ox Poutine with foie via @konaish
Upon seeing Laurie's Instagram, @NonStopMari said: "Omg i wish i cd crawl thru my phone and eat that food!!" Here's the poutine, with that jaunty piece of foie gras on top, and stinky, delicious taleggio. I'm pretty sure Mari meant that about the lardo, too. 

Bob explained that the lardo could only be made from piggies from Malama Farm on Maui. These Berkshires - or kurobuta - may have a better lifestyle than mine! They sure have a better view! Their diet and life make a difference in the way they taste. And the fact that it takes Bob weeks to cure the lardo, and weeks more to age it, means that it took almost 5 months to get to perfect. And a few minutes for us to eat it! Sooo delicious. The kielbasa with Ma'o kale, pierogi and kim chi cream was as good as it looks and sounds. The sirloin was lean and tasty, and all of us ate the baby carrots like they were candy. 

Did we have dessert? Of course! We won't tell you what they were, except that they were made by @KIAWE_FIRE , Alejandro Briceno. It'll be a sweet surprise! 

Whole Ox Lardo with Asian pear via @konaish
Kielbasa with pierogi, kim chi cream via @konaish             
Whole Ox Sirloin with baby carrots, potatoes via @konaish

When Whole Ox Deli & Butcher first opened, I wrote about the dream of having my own butcher, as my mother used to. Well, that dream is now possible. From time to time, Bob now offers lovely cuts of pork and beef - chops and steaks. Follow him on Twitter, @WholeOxDeli.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Too Many Cucumbers?

I'd make this salad I had Saturday night at the Pacific Gateway Center, an organization that helps immigrants become self-sufficient. No recipe, I'd finely shred the cucumbers after deseeding and removing some of the peel. Dress with mild vinegar like rice or apple cider, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon or less of sugar. Let dressing sit with a sliced clove of garlic and one teaspoon sliced deseeded jalapeno pepper for at least an hour. Remove the garlic and pepper before dressing the salad, and garnish with mint. 

The other things on the plate are vegetable curry and chicken biriyani, and they were all delicious! This dinner was $20 for 5 courses, $4 for beverages. The next Burnese dinner will be Saturday, August 25th at 6 pm. Call 851-7070 for reservations. Seating is limited.

The best thing about the dinner - besides the food - I got to meet three Burmese people! Delightful!