Tag Archives: Food/Drink

Driving and Flying and Kauai, Oh My!

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Po’ipu Sunset

Well, the blog is Periodically Peregrine, the periodicity has just changed a bit… for a while.

One of Janet’s sisters generously invited us to celebrate Christmas in a villa in Po’ipu, Kauai. Who could say “no” to that? All told, there were eight of us. Three sisters, our niece and four husbands …eight appetites in all.

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Kilauea Light

Logistically, it went like this. Drive Vero Beach to NW of Houston — Fly to LAX — overnight in LA — Fly to Honolulu, then Kauai — (Eat, Shop, Vegge, Sightsee) x 7 — Fly to LAX (too soon) — overnight — Fly to Houston — Linger in Houston — Drive to San Antonio to see my Mom’s husband — overnight at the Hyatt Hill Country — Drive to Houston — Linger — Drive to Arlington to see my father and his wife — overnight in Mansfield — Drive to Sam Rayburn Reservoir — Linger with family — Drive to Slidell, LA to visit sailing friends — Linger in Slidell — Drive to Vero Beach — recuperate.

We all shared the cooking when we weren’t sampling the local restaurants.  Po’ipu’s Red Salt, 1849 Eating House, Merriman’s, and the Olympic Cafe in Kapa’a all lived up to or exceeded expectations. I’m told Bubba Burger in Hanalei did too, but I came to Kauai for the Ono, Ahi, Hapu’upu’u, and Onaga!

The Christmas celebration included Janet’s Kalua Pork and many appetizers, sides and desserts from the others. Gift exchanges were small and thoughtful, as we drew recipients names from a basket (it took four tries) and shopped locally with a spending limit. Another gift was the older husbands got reacquainted after quite a few years. For eight folks pretty set in their ways, the dynamic was delightful.

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Wiamea Canyon on Christmas Day

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Wailua Falls

Kauai didn’t disappoint either. It has been 19 years since Janet and I were there last. Hurricane Iniki had just ransacked the island four years prior (rebuilding is slow on an island this isolated). The island has gone from 57,000 folks then to 69,000 now. It has new infrastructure, and goods and services only imagined back then. Fortunately these are largely constrained to Lihue, and the rest of the island has benefited. We went all the way up to Haʻena State Park beyond Hanalei and back over to Waimea canyon (on different days). It all remains Wow. Even though we arrived with 35-40 knot winds offshore and rain squalls, the weather moderated once we had adjusted for the time zone change, and it became classic tropical — temperate and intermittently showery. What’s not to love? Leaving, that’s what.

Although our peregrination home took us through some down right cold places, we returned to weather that matched Kauai’s for that day and time. Not bad.

Now we are looking at 25-35 mph winds gusting to 50 mph and 35 degrees tonight! At least it’s not snow.

Mole Poblano con Cerdo

Recently I made about 7 quarts of chili for a charity event (along with 12 other cooks of various concocti). Fortunately, Janet and I snuck a couple of dinners worth out of the pot before attending the event. There was none left, especially after some folks came back for seconds.

The chili was good, but for competitive reasons, it was beef based, and we prefer lighter meats these days. So, I dragged out my much tweeked Mole* recipe, but I didn’t want chicken, so we stopped by the mobbed Fresh Market (Tuesdays are sale days.) where we bought a four pound Boston Butt.

At home I deconstructed it, removing about 10 oz of fat, and cubing the meat. It went into the following preparation:

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil (Potent)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (11 tsp)
2 4 oz cans Chopped Green Chilies

Mix into meat and let work 6 – 12 hours in a refrigerator in a zip bag. Massage the mix a few times through the period.

1/4 cup White rum
1/4 cup Sultanas (Golden Raisins)
2 Cloves garlic, minced roasted
1 Sweet pepper, chopped
2 tsp Agave Nectar
2 – 4 tsp Soy Sauce
Micro-planed rind of 1 orange (Softball sized)

Mix and cover for 6 – 12 hours in reefer. Stir occasionally.

Dry spices
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Bloom all together in hot saute pan

Sauce Base
3 Yellow Onions, (tennis ball size) chopped
1/2 tsp Salt (adjust later)
1.5 boxes Pomi brand finely chopped tomatoes or equivalent
2+ oz bitter chocolate, chopped (86% cacao, wax free, or 3 oz 60% cacao)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (yes, again)
1 cup Chicken stock
1 cup Hot Coffee, black
1/4 cup finely ground unsalted toasted almonds (also provides some thickening) [From a cookie sheet full of raw almonds toasted at 325° F for 23 minutes. Must be room temp for grinding.]

[Additional Thickener
1 can drained rinsed pinto beans pureed — only if feeding a crowd. (Pureeing with a ladle of tomato sauce speeds the process and evens out the texture.)]

Putting it together.

  • Brown marinaded meat in large kettle with olive oil. It will be too damp for a deep browning. Stir from time to time.
  • While meat is browning, saute the onions to translucent.
  • When meat is browned and onions are ready, pour the sauce base ingredients into the kettle.
  • Wipe the saute pan dry, and bloom the dry spices per above.
  • Add these to the kettle along with the macerated ingredients.
  • Simmer for an hour or two, lid-on, stirring from time to time. Drain water from inside lid each time before recovering the kettle.
  • Transfer solid ingredients to crock pot.
  • Continue to simmer sauce in the kettle until reduced by half then add to crock pot.
    Crock Cook for 6 – 8 hours before serving, stir from time to time, skim fat.
  • It’s done when the meat falls apart as it sees a spoon coming.

*When I was a tween (do we still use that portmanteau word?) my widowed Grandmother, who was quite the traveler, took me and my brother to Mexico — Mexico City, Taxco, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara et. al. We binge-toured museums, climbed pyramids, hitchhiked, and hung out with a plain clothes Federale who found her interesting. The real revelation was Mexican cuisine. I was used to, and liked Tex-Mex, or Mex-Tex depending on whether the Rio Grande was west or east, but I had never had the pleasure of the symphony folklorico of flavors we encountered deep in the country.  One such symphony was my first taste of Mole Poblano. I liked it so much I asked what was in it. The adults looked embarrassed on my behalf; one simply did not ask that question. To their chagrin (I guess) I was invited into the kitchen where I was shown what went into the Mole. I snacked on fried grasshoppers while I watched a woman older than my Grandmother, with a face off a pyramid, pound and grind the ingredients while she spoke a language I could not fathom. When I asked her in Spanish, she said, “La lengua de los aztecas,” and tapped her chin.  I was hooked — on Mole and Aztec history… I had met one!

What’s Cooking?

CauldronA good friend commented this blog was morphing from a cruising blog to a food blog. Not really, we are just mentally anchored in a food lagoon right now, thanks to hurricane season.

We have posted 848 times. Of those 116 posts have been tagged “Food/Drink.” 13.6% overall. Of those tagged Food/Drink, 20 have been posted since we moved into this house or 17%. During that time there were 16 non-food posts. So 54% were about food.

We sacrificed the last sailing season to getting the house the way we wanted it before other demands on our time made that difficult. But cruising or not, one has to eat and eating well is not that much more difficult than eating like a dorm rat in college. It just takes imagination and enthusiasm, that’s what we have sought to convey.

The latest additive to the bread recipe — 2.5 oz smoked white cheddar — oh wow!

There is another recipe coming. Mole Poblano Con Cerdo

What, No Cod ?!?! — Faux Bacalaitos

From Wikipedia

Salt Cod (via Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I decided to try a Cuban recipe for Bacalaitos (salt cod fritters).

Well, it turned out we had used our cod and not replenished it. So I decided to use smoked trout instead. Turned out we only had half the 2 cups needed. We had some left over crab cake casserole (ala Janet) from the night before, so I decided, deconstructed with a vigorous fork, it would become the faux salt cod.

As I assembled the dry ingredients, I discovered I had exhausted the self-rising flour and not replenished it in favor of making my own. So I whisked some together from 1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.

But the recipe called for a fish fume from cooking the multi-rinsed dried salt cod. Oops. So I made a faux-fume from chicken stock and fish-sauce (nước mắm). Be very careful with the fish sauce, it is a strong flavor. Don’t pour it over the mixing bowl.

The onions were buried in the reefer, so I used an easier to reach shallot. I whisked all of the ingredients (below) into a crepe-y (not creepy) crab laden batter that promised good things to come. I wanted to let the batter rest, so I turned to the cabinet for the canola oil I would use to pan fry the fritters. 1/4 cup was all we had left. We had lots of extra virgin olive oil, but that’s too heavy and flavorful for what I wanted.

So I made faux cod crepe-y pancakes. This meandering recipe made 12, 4.5 inch cakes using a non-stick skillet at 360° F (three at a time).

They were delicious with a Cesar for an early dinner, but they needed a sauce. We daubed a bit of salad dressing on them, but knew we could do better. They were tasty and filling. We had half left over.

This morning, I nuked just the chill out of the leftover cakes and popped them in the toaster. At the same time I made an Aoli of mayo, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and Wye River Red seasoning. This I nuked just enough it wouldn’t cool the cakes off. A little cooked around the edges, and I just whisked it back into the rest.

This was the way to serve and eat them. They are Faux no more. We’ll still make the Bacalaitos some day, but these cakes are now a standby. Comer bien!

Cake Recipe.

  • 2 cups lump crab
  • 1 cup self rising flour (1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 cup chicken stock — fish sauce added to taste (Remember 1/2 tsp roughly equals one anchovy fillet.)
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp table salt.
  • For a thinner batter, add room temperature white wine to the desired consistency.

Sauce Recipe

  • 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ~2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ~1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • Wye River Red seasoning to taste (or Chipofi*, or any seafood seasoning blend.)

*Chipofi = 7 Badia Redfish Blackening Spice + 1 oregano + 1 ginger + 1 basil +1/4 cayenne

Bean Zapped

pintoThe Red Sausage needed something to go with it. Later, the flounder Janet cooked in salsa, en papillote, did too. We have been cooking the pantry down to late Hurricane Season levels, so a sauce for the mix of 1 can Pinto and 1 can Cannellini beans had to be built from scratch. The idea is to make just enough to coat and marinate the beans for a couple of hours before heating and serving. Bean Zap takes:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Ketchup*
  • 3 Teaspoons Agave Nectar
  • 2 Teaspoons minced roasted garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Red Chili powder to taste
  • Heavy Splash red wine vinegar
  • Heavy Splash Soy Sauce

Whisk until blended, taste and adjust and fine tune, fold into the drained, rinsed beans. Chill for a couple of hours, refold the mixture a couple of times to bring the sauce up in the container. Works for a cold bean salad as well.


*If you use sun-dried tomato ketchup, you won’t need the red wine vinegar.

Red Sausage in the Sunset

RedsausageLately we have purchased some expensive sausage that had an unpleasant texture (twice) and underwhelming spicing (several times). So, we decided to make some bulk from scratch. The first test batch (1 lb) turned out well. This is easy, no harder than making meatballs or burgers.

For 1 Pound of ground meat (we used pork butt — about 80% lean)

Mix “Red Sausage Spice” with a whisk or spice grinder (this is enough mixture for 2.75 pounds of meat)

  • 2 tablespoons sweet or smoked (or a blend thereof) paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds — fresh ground
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper +/-
  • 3/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine 2 tablespoons Red Sausage Spice with:

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped — we used 3 teaspoons minced roasted from a jar.
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro paste or chopped fresh cilantro
  • [Leave out what you don’t care for. Basil (or mint with lamb) subs pretty well for cilantro.]

Spread the ground meat by gently patting it out flat like pizza dough. Spread the admixture across half the meat and then fold the meat in half and then half again. Spread it again and fold three or four more times, or until paprika color is uniformly distributed. Form into a ball, place in a bowl and and cover closely with clear wrap. Let sit for 3 to 24 hours. The folding approach reduces the likelihood you will toughen the meat through too much handling. Cook as you please. Grills* well.

Makes six nice patties and three to four generous burgers. Leftover grilled patties were delicious chopped and added to scrambled eggs with sesame-soy** ciabatta and Fortnum & Mason Marmalade (thanks Harriet & Skip)

*Grilling hint. We have found the following technique to improve the flavor and tenderness of grilled meats. Meat sticks less where grill marked as well.

  1. Transfer prepared meats to the grill on a sheet of non-stick foil allow to cook for 1/3 time.

  2. Transfer meat to grill bars for 1/3 time.

  3. Flip and grill for remaining 1/3 time. Let rest in warm covered dish for 3-5 mins.

**Sesame-Soy Ciabatta = add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted optional) + 1 teaspoon sesame oil to Soybatta recipe >> Here.