Month: September 2017

It about Storage!

I thought I’d circle back about my food waste post, earlier this week and storage.

The leading culprit of food waste is proper storage and the biggest areas of waste are seafood (50%) and produce (48%). Neither of those really surprised me but I would have put produce first in my house.

So here are a couple of notes on proper storage.:

Herbs– Store your  like fresh flowers, in a glass of water. I find that some do better in the refrigerator and    some are better on the counter. You have to experiment.

Flour – Unless you are baking often, store your flour in the freezer. This surprised me. This is because all grains, especially whole-grains, have some natural oils in them. Oils go rancid. Freezing or even storing in the refrigerator prevents this. If you do store this way make sure it is in an airtight container and that you let what you use come back to room temperature.

Cheese – I always knew I didn’t like plastic storage but now I know why. Plastic holds in moisture and as a result can promote mold. For items like cheese, use wax paper. I love the wax sandwich bags my mom used to use for lunches. For Bread, use a good old-fashioned paper bag, on the counter.

Oils – Most oils go bad after 2-3 months, once they are opened. Be sure to keep them in a dark environment. Sesame oil can be stored in the refrigerator.

Nuts – You can, and should, keep your fresh nuts in the freezer. Depending on the nut, they will keep in freezer 2-9 months versus 1-3, just on counter or in your pantry.

There are also simple ways to revive some foods that may just need a little help taking that last step, before the trash or compost heap.

Wilted Vegetables and Lettuce, simply give them a quick soak (5-10 minutes) in ice water.

Stale Bread, toast it and enjoy or season and toast then run through a food processor for great bread crumbs.

If you accidentally over salt something, add an acid like lemon or vinegar. If you are making soup or sauce, throw a raw potato in to absorb the extra salt.

Even overcooked veggies can be pureed and made into a soup or added to a sauce.

Buy and use the ugly fruits and vegetables. They, too, often end up in the trash of the grocery store.

For additional information go to savethefood.com.

 

My Refrigerator Wasteland

My refrigerator, after the Jewish Holidays, could be a case study for food waste programs everywhere! It happens every holiday. My family makes requests of what foods they would like, I make them and we end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers. Even this year when I tried so hard to avoid the excess, I am still have a fridge full. There’s even half an egg salad sandwich (on rye) in there.

Recently, the Save the Food campaign has really ramped up and it seems that I see the commercial every 20 minutes. This year it really got me thinking and I am going to share some recipes that I‘ll be using to re-use and repurpose some of my leftovers.

I was astonished to learn that 40% of all food in the United States is never eaten; but 1 out of 8 Americans struggle to put enough food on their table. This has inspired me to offer myself (and my fridge) as an example. Here are a few recipes I am using this week for my leftovers. The steak and kugels will definitely get eaten on their own. But there’s milk in there that was 2% instead of 1% and my picky kid wouldn’t drink it. If you can catch milk and that first tart smell, it makes great pancakes or biscuits. Then the blueberries and lemon will make a great syrup or jam. Finally, I’m going to make a carrot/potato soup and garnish with chives that I have crisped up in a little oil. Enjoy!

Leftover Carrot/Potato Soup
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Leftover Carrot/Potato Soup
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a soup pot, sauce the onions and garlic in the butter, until translucent.
  2. Add the chicken broth, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf and seasonings. Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender enough to puree. If you are using leftovers you may not have to cook too long. If not, cook 25-30 minutes.
  3. Discard the bay, then puree soup. I like an immersion blender. You can also do it in batches in a food processor, just do a little bit a time. You can puree until smooth, but I like a little of texture.
  4. In a separate saute pan heat 2 T. oil and saute chives until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Use to garnish soup.
  5. Adjust salt & pepper to taste and serve soup with five garnish.
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Sour Milk Pancakes
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Sour Milk Pancakes
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl wish together all dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, eggs and oil.
  3. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and stir in milk mixture until batter is smooth.
  4. Heat a large pan or griddle and grease.
  5. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter, onto pan, for each pancake.
  6. Once bubbles form and appear to be drying, flip pancakes and cook for another minute or two. Repeat until batter is finished.
  7. Brush with melted butter and serve with Blueberry Lemon syrup or your favorite toppings.
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Blueberry Lemon Syrup
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Servings
2 cups
Servings
2 cups
Blueberry Lemon Syrup
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Servings
2 cups
Servings
2 cups
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan bring the berries and water to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour berries, into a bowl, through a sieve. be sure to press down on the fruit to extract every bit of juice. Hopefully you have 3 cups of liquid. If not, add water to bring to measure.
  3. Return to saucepan and add sugar, salt, lemon peel and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  4. You can use a candy thermometer and boil until reaches 225° or reduce heat and simmer until syrup has reduced until thick enough to coat back of spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and discard lemon peel.
  6. Whisk in butter and vanilla.
  7. Allow to cool. Store in airtight jar in fridge, for up to 6 months.
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Chuy’s Rainforest BBQ

I might have mentioned that I love to go to Maui, a lot. Usually, my vacation routine is: wake-up, favorite tropical granola for breakfast (and Portuguese sausage), plop on beach, fruit plate or chips & salsa by pool for lunch, nap, fantastic dinner at amazing local restaurant, go to bed and hit repeat. I’ve been doing it that way for nearly 20 years and it works. Occasionally, I will throw in a horseback ride or snorkeling. Once, I even went to Haleakala for sunrise. But I try to stay true to my routine.

This year my trip was not with my husband or family, but with my great friend Mariana. We decided to make this trip more adventurous than my usual. The highlight of this adventure was our almost trip to Hana.

Our Road to Hana was abbreviated, gladly. We started out on the same road as everyone does. The road was a simple two-way black top. The air was perfumed with flowers like pikae and plumeria, but it hung heavy with the humidity. The aroma of the water, flowers and highway mixed was inviting us to keep driving. We saw lots of fruit and smoothie stands, we saw the Painted Eucalyptus, which was very cool, and we got lots of bug bites. The highlight of our drive was meeting Chuy at Ka Haku Smokeshack. Let me say that by shack, I mean a lean-to in the middle of a rainforest. Oh sure there were grates for a BBQ and a corrugated tin roof to protect from the rain. There were two picnic tables fashioned out of trees and Chuy had set up a cooler with water and some cups. But that was the extent of our lunch restaurant.

The menu consisted of one $20 plate. “Plates” are big in Hawaii. The meal was marinated BBQ chicken and pork belly served with Fern Pohole Salad, white sticky rice and grilled bananas sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon with a generous dollop of whipped cream. You could buy a beer or bottle of water. If there were coconuts available, there was guy that would open them up, with his machete, for you to drink. We got really lucky and a crazy lady picked up the machete herself and started hacking away at a coconut. She said this was okay because they “do it at Whole Foods”. YIKES! But I digress.

Chuy had a marinade that he used on everything and even sprayed on the salad and rice right before serving. I can’t say for sure what was in the marinade but I know there was soy sauce, ginger and a little sugar in it. It created such a nice caramelized, crispy skin on the chicken and pork belly. It was exactly the right acid and sweetness to cut the fat too. Chuy promises to share his recipe when he finishes moving but I found a recipe for pork belly and another for the salad that I think come close, minus the rainforest.

Kalua Pork Belly
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Servings
8-10 servings
Servings
8-10 servings
Kalua Pork Belly
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Servings
8-10 servings
Servings
8-10 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, over a medium heat, combine the first 9 ingredients ending with liquid smoke
  2. Bring to a simmer and then cook for 3-5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and stir into chilled chicken stock. This is your marinade.
  4. Place the pork belly into a deep roasting dish and pour marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  5. Remove pork belly from fridge one hour before cooking. You want it to come back to room temperature.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Cover roasting dish with foil and braise, in oven, until pork belly is tender, about 4-5 hours.
  8. Remove from oven, but DO NOT turn oven of.
  9. Transfer pork belly to a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and st aside.
  10. Strain your marinade through a fine mesh sieve, into a saucepan and skim the fat.
  11. Over a medium his heat, cook the marinade liquid ad reduce until you have about 3 cups of a thick glaze. Watch it but this should take about 25 minutes.
  12. Brush the glaze, generously, all over the pork belly and return to oven for another 25-30 minutes.
  13. When it comes out of the oven, let pork rest for a few minutes then slice into desired sized pieces. I like to cut in strips , but bit-sized is great too.
  14. Serve over rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Don't forget about the Pohole salad.
Recipe Notes
  • The marinade and pork belly can both be made a day ahead of time. Just bring back to room temperature, glaze the pork belly and heat through at 350° for 25 minutes.
  • If you can't find a dark chicken stock, try making it yourself or you can use beef stock. Just make sure the store bought ones are rich.
  • You can also do the last part of cooking on a BBQ instead of finishing in oven, just watch it.
  • The marinade can be used for chicken too.
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Pohole Fern Salad
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Pohole Fern Salad
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Wash the hairs off the fiddlehead fern. Start breaking pieces off. Use only the ones that break off easy.
  2. Blanch the Pohole pieces in boiling water, until color pops (about 3 minutes).
  3. Plunge into cold iced water to stop cooking
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients together.
  5. Toss salad ingredients into dressing. Season with salt & pepper.
  6. Serve chilled.
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Always Mama’s!

Mama’s Fish house was officially opened in 1973, in Pa’ia, Maui. I went to Maui for the first time in 1974. So we practically grew up together. I was on the Kannapali side of the island and Mama’s was on the Wailea side. I was hitchhiking from our apartment in Napili to Lahaina, while over at Mama’s, fisherman were pulling their boats up onto the beach to sell their fresh fish. If you look on a map of Maui there is a natural divide and back then, and even kind of today, that divide was very real. As a resident of the Westside I very rarely ventured to the North. If I did, it was probably to go to the airport and if we were eating, it was at Chuck’s Steakhouse. Steakhouses were big in the 70’s & 80’s, on the island.

Throughout the 80’s I would go back to Maui again and again, but it was always back to the Kannapali side and it was mostly to “party”, lay in the sun and repeat. In the mid-nineties, I was invited back by my soon to be fiancé and we stayed on the North side, in Wailea. It was 1997 and this would be my first trip to Mama’s.

Even in 1997, 24 years after it opened, Mama’s was still more a hidden treasure for locals than an in demand tourist destination. The restaurant was way bigger than the shack it started out as, but I bet it still only sat maybe 50 people. The, always missed the first time, driveway was now marked by the very boat they used to catch their fish on. The menu had not changed very much. They still told you who caught the fish and where, on the menu. Their signature dish of Macadamia Nut Encrusted Mahi-Mahi, stuffed with crab was still their best seller and you still got sand in your shoes walking to your table.

After that 1997 trip to Maui, going to Mama’s became a tradition every trip. From 1997, when we got engaged, to 1999 the birth of our first child and beyond; we went every year until 2013. Each year as our children got bigger, so did Mama’s. Now you walk in and go down some stairs to get to the hostess stand. They have valet parking and postcards to send back to the mainland. But they have always remained true to their roots.

When Mama’s opened in 1973, they wanted to showcase the fish and foods of Polynesia. Even in 2000, that remained their driving force. That was the year they re-introduced the long neglected, breadfruit, a fruit similar in texture to a potato but sweetens when cooked, and other Polynesian foods. They began working with local Farmers to grow the best organic produce and they continue to put the name of the fisherman, his catch, and where it was caught on the menu.

Today, Mama’s stays true to itself, even in a restaurant big enough for a convention, that might be held at the new Mama’s Inn, on property. The mahi-mahi is still the signature entrée. Through the years they also became famous for their Ceviche and Maui Banana Macadamia Crisp. This was my first trip there in four years, but it was just as fantastic as it has ever been. They keep their recipes pretty close, so I was unable to get the recipe for the mahi-mahi I had this year. This year it was served with a pineapple beurre blanc. However, I think I’ve come pretty close in re-creating it. I hope when you bite into the tender and mild white fish, the salty taste of the crab and the sweetness of the pineapple beurre blanc, you will be transported to a shack on the beach in Maui.

 

Macadamia Nut Encrusted, Crab Stuffed Mahi-Mahi with a Pineapple Beurre Blanc
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Macadamia Nut Encrusted, Crab Stuffed Mahi-Mahi with a Pineapple Beurre Blanc
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Ingredients
Fish
Stuffing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Make a horizontal cut in one edge of each fillet, creating a pocket, but leaving the other sides in tact.
  2. Lightly dust the fish fillets with the seasoned flour.
  3. Toss together the macadamia nuts and bread crumbs. Saute the nuts and breadcrumbs in 1 T. butter until just toasted and golden brown.
  4. Mix together the crabmeat, mayonnaise, parsley and old bay. Set aside.
  5. Fill each fillet with about an ounce of stuffing. You can eyeball it. Just make sure it is even among the fillets.
  6. Heat remaining butter and oil in a large sauté pan.
  7. Dip stuffed fillets in egg. I like to do one side at a time and let the excess drip off. Then repeat on other side.
  8. Press the fillet firmly into the topping.
  9. Make sure the sauté pan is hot before placing the fillet and cooking until golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes. Turn and repeat. Be sure to watch closely. Macadamias have a lot of natural oil and can burn quickly.
  10. Remove from pan and keep warm.
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