Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl

Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl

Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl
Almond Ginger Scallion Ponzu

“Chopped raw fish, or poke, was part of my everyday life when I was growing up in La’ie, the rural town on O’ahu’s north shore. The sea was our playground,” penned Chef Sam Choy in his book Poke, Mutual Publishing, 2009. In the old days, fresh-caught reef fish would be cut up and seasoned with salt produced by evaporation of the ocean water. Then inamona (ground roasted candlenut) and limu (seaweed) were mixed in. That’s it.

As a nod to Hawaiian poke of the past…here, buttery marcona almonds stand in for local candlenuts, and dashi seaweed broth brings the essence of the sea. Ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and yuzu juice lend background complexity and Japanese touches, while cucumber adds a cool fresh crunch. But this recipe keeps true to its old-style Hawaiian roots – simple, delicious, and uncomplicated – high quality fish with no spicy mayonnaise or syrupy sauces squirted on top.

Chef Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.

Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl Recipe

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Herby Turkey & Corona Bean Soup

Herby Turkey & Corona Bean Soup

Herby Turkey & Corona Bean Soup

It’s that time of year again. Time for the Annual Leftover Turkey Soup. This year with beans! Huge, enormous, gigantic beans! And lots of fresh herbs. Rosemary, sage, thyme, and bay perfume a broth that is rich and flavorful. The beans are super-plump, tender and creamy.  Nutty, cheese notes brought by a sprinkling of Parmesan and piquant spice notes by red chile flakes complement the shredded roast turkey. This year’s leftover soup is a huge delectable winner!

Herby Turkey & Corona Bean Soup

Herby Turkey & Corona Bean Soup Recipe

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Stuffing Mushroom Casserole

Stuffing Mushroom Casserole

Thanksgiving Leftovers
Stuffing Mushroom Casserole

For Thanksgiving, we always serve The Stuffing Everyone Loves, and there is always plenty leftover because, you know, we never want to run short on that! Rustic ciabatta, with its porous, chewy texture is the perfect bread for this stuffing. A 50-50 ratio of vegetables (mushroom, celery, onion, and leek) to the volume of ciabatta creates a balanced, not overly bready-y dish. Plenty of butter, Italian parsley and butter-fried sage bring the classic flavors of the season.

Leftover from the green bean topping, there were homemade bacon bits. And miscellaneous cheeses were leftover from our appetizer buffet.

I happened to purchase extra mushrooms when shopping for the Thanksgiving feast. And so, two days later…the tasty Leftover Stuffing Mushroom Casserole was born. I suspect your favorite leftover Thanksgiving stuffing would work equally well with this basic template.

Stuffing Mushroom Casserole Recipe

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Basque Pumpkin Cheesecake

Basque Pumpkin Cheesecake

Basque Pumpkin Cheesecake

We’ve made Basque Burnt Cheesecake several times, and it is always a big hit. With no fruit topping, no crust and five simple ingredients – cream cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, and cream – it is astonishing how absolutely fabulous the original cheesecake actually is…it is baked in a very hot oven so the top and bottom caramelize where the insides remain soft and luxurious.

For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make a pumpkin version of the Basque Cheesecake instead of serving pumpkin pie. Whoa! Another big hit. It’s rich and ultra creamy; earthy, sweet and pumpkin-y; and flavored with the warm spices of the season.

The cheesecake recipe was originally developed by Santiago Rivera, Chef of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. The Chef says, “Its popularity amongst our clients have become La Viña Restaurant’s Cheese Cream Cake a great classic of the San Sebastian cuisine.”

Basque Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

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Fast & Fabulous Duck à l’Orange

Fast & Easy Duck à l'Orange

Fast & Fabulous Duck à l’Orange
Over Braised Carrots and Leeks

White Pekin duck has a delicate flavor that is not at all gamey.  Maple Leaf Farms White Pekin ducks hail from the original Long Island Pekin ducks brought over to the US from China in the 1800s.

They are now raised humanely and sustainably in Northern Indiana on family farms by mostly Amish farmers. The ducks eat a healthy balance of grains and veggies and are free to roam in cage-free barns.

I was thrilled to discover Maple Leaf Farms fully cooked Roast Half Duck at Costco. The delicious half ducks can be prepared in less than 20 minutes and paired with a myriad of sauces and sides. Here, the lean, succulent roast duck is served over savory carrots and leeks where the colors and flavors harmonize perfectly with the French inspired Duck à l’Orange recipe.

My orange sauce is citrusy, sweet, and tangy where soy sauce adds depth and umami notes while cider vinegar adds a brightness. Fast & fabulous, the sauce takes about 5 minutes to prepare.

Fast & Easy Duck à l'Orange

Fast & Fabulous Duck à l’Orange Recipe

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