Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coconut Taro Bread Pudding by Kaulana Dameg


So happy to have my first guest blogger! Kaulana has been a student (KS Middle School boarder), colleague (Hawaiian language/Hale Kuamo'o) and friend for many years. She is also a fellow foodie and baker extraordinaire! She and I drool over each other's food pics on Facebook, mostly on desserts. Oh, do we love to bake and eat. Kaulana's latest concoction, made special for her husband on Father's Day, is a wonderful coconut taro bread pudding, Hilo style. 
Here she is. Isn't she beautiful? Always has been. Inside and out. Here is her post:

Low's International Foods is a restaurant in Hilo that's popular for its many different flavored breads. 

There's taro (most popular), cinnamon, rainbow, ʻulu, coconut, pumpkin, guava, mango, lilikoʻi, banana, and just plain 'ole sweet. Low's breads are always pillowy soft and have a great mild flavor, not too sweet. 


For Father's day, I decided to make bread pudding using their taro and coconut bread. The coconut bread had little bits of coconut baked into it, so instead of mixing additional coconut into the dessert, I just sprinkled some on top. Btw, because you sprinkle the coconut on the dessert midway through baking, it comes out perfectly toasted and makes the whole house smell heavenly. This recipe is based on a coconut bread pudding recipe I found on my favorite recipe website: Allrecipes.com

The verdict: Delicioso! My husband thought it was perfect the way it was, I would have liked to have an accompanying sauce, like creme anglaise or even fresh whipped cream. We paired it with Roselani's haupia ice cream, that was also a good match. I bet this recipe would work with many different flavors of bread, it would be fun to experiment with all the different colors too. Enjoy!

Here's the dessert plated:


Here's the recipe:

Taro Coconut Bread Pudding
butter for greasing the pan
confectioner's sugar for dusting the pan
1 cup white sugar
4 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk, beaten well
1 (14oz.) can coconut milk
1 (14oz.) can regular milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 1/2 c. flaked coconut (if using coconut bread from Low's, you'll only need 1/2 c.)
1/2 lb. taro bread, cubed
1/2 lb. coconut bread, cubed

1. Grease a 9x13 inch pyrex baking dish with butter and dust with confectioner's sugar.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs well, then add all ingredients except flaked coconut and bread cubes. Mix until smooth. 
3. Stir in 1 cup of flaked coconut. 
4. Fold in bread cubes until evenly coated.
5. Pour into prepared baking dish and set aside while preheating oven.
6. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
7. When oven is ready, put dish in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes. 
8. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 c. flaked coconut then return to oven and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until center springs back when lightly tapped.
9. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before eating.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Honey

There have been so many things I have learned since moving to the big island almost 18 years ago. Random Things. Like the difference between a heifer, cow, steer, and bull (reproduction is the key). And when lehua trees bloom, how protea grows, what mountain oysters taste like (yummy goodness, that's what). I also have seen the cycle of life. Creatures being born, namely, calves, kids (as in goats), foals, puppies and kitties (but I did see a lot of those last two on O'ahu). I have been to 4H auctions, watched a horse being inseminated, witnessed a uterus being massaged with sugar and stuffed back into the cow.  I have played in snow, and gone to the beach. Almost on the same day.
Today is another day. Today Kaipo and I extracted lehua honey. From honeycombs. At a neighbor's house. Yes, it's true. And lehua is in full bloom right now and my neighbor can tell that it is honey made from bees who are feasting on lehua nectar. How cool is that?
My friend, Kepola, has been a beekeeper for the last few years and she invited me over today to help her extract honey. WOW! That's all I got to say.
Here's a honeycomb. It's a wooden structure and beneath all that white (white caps made with beeswax) lies yummy delicious honey. All bee made. Incredible. She had SEVERAL. And they were heavy. Heavy with delicious lehua honey.


There's a special knife you use to cut off the caps of each cell. It's a skill. When I tried, it was obvious that I was cutting a bit too deep. Wasting honey. The point is to uncap the combs so that you can extract the honey. Just kinda like shave off the caps. 


Sorta like this.


Ta-da!


This one is completely uncapped (both sides. By yours truly). See all the beeswax on the side? I'm gonna melt it all down to extract the honey stuck to it and then figure out what to do with the wax.


Good view of the very long and very sharp serrated like uncapping knife.


Then you place two uncapped combs into an extractor like this one. Hand cranked. Not fun. Invest in an electric one if you can. This one had issues. We are hoping Mr. Honda can fix the issues for the next extraction in July.


This really doesn't depict the incredible speed with which I am spinning this crank. It is NOT fun. And the extractor is trying to move all over the place. My foot is on its foot trying to hold it in place. Did I say it was hard?


Inspecting the combs following the spinning, making sure that most of the honey has been spun out of it (it's all about centrifugal force). If I spun it, it probably has to go in again for additional spinning. I tell you, it's a skill!




All those caps. Mixed with honey. I had to scoop some up and try it. It's kind of like chewing gum. When you first get it in your mouth and give the first few chews all the flavor seeps out. And then you're left with flavorless chew. But with this you're left with wax. And a wonderful honey goodness in your tummy.


The honey exists through a spout on the bottom of the extractor that has a very high tech device to catch any residue. It is called "women's pantyhose". 
Thanks, Kepola. It was GREAT GREAT FUN! And we want to do it again. I'll even crank that damn extractor again.


Oh, and we found a turkey egg in the driveway. Yay. Breakfast tomorrow.

Semi Roasted Tomatoes

I still have a bowlful of tomatoes and who knows what I will conjure up for them (I think salsa will go over quite well as a hana hou) but here is probably the last of my tomato posts: semi roasted tomatoes. I blogged several months ago about roasted tomatoes that were roasted so long I could pick them up to put them in a bowl, pour olive oil over and store in the fridge for a few days. Most of the liquid in the tomatoes were roasted out of them. They reminded me more of sundried tomatoes. I could chop them up and sprinkle them on pizzas or put in pasta. The "semi" roasted tomatoes is more for the lazy man use right away cooks. All I did was turn the oven on to 400 degrees, cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a pan (olive oil drizzled on the bottom). Then I sprinkled them with Hawaiian salt, pepper and I put peeled garlic cloves all over the place. As a last minute idea, I chopped up a red onion and sprinkled it on top of one half of the tomatoes. This was a great addition. The onions caramelized nicely (as did the garlic). And then I drizzled more olive oil on top of the tomatoes. And then I roasted for maybe an hour or so. Not nearly as long as my other post (the roasted tomatoes). Semi roasting them, if anything, allowed me to deepen the flavor of the tomatoes and then add them, once I deemed them done (which is when I was hungry and wanted to eat already), to mushrooms and snow peas.
This was just the right amount of tomatoes (this is a 10x13 pan, I think) for a pasta dinner. I had the pot of water on the stove, ready to start it up for the noodles (spaghetti) in about an hour).
Hāmākua Mushrooms. They are the best. I think these are oyster mushrooms. It doesn't matter what kind of mushrooms they are. I love them all. Yum. Yum.

In this pan: mushrooms, snow peas (not a popular veggie is pasta dishes but I had it in the fridge and I wanted to use them and I wasn't sure when I would get the chance to so I just added them in. And they turned out to be a good addition).

Close up view. I also threw in some fresh basil leaves, which I happened to pick up at the open market. You can get a nice bunch for just $1. Not a bad price! I wish I had a picture of this sauce ladled on top of spaghetti noodles, with parmesan grated on top. It would make for a nice photo. Oh well. We were HUNGRY! And everything got eaten up, if that is any indication of the 'ono factor.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Salsa Luahiwa Style

With all the tomatoes in my house and Facebook as my friend, I queried my friends for some suggestions (I mean, seriously, what does one do with 20 lbs of tomatoes?). While a couple friends suggested salsa, Luahiwa actually gave me a wonderful list of ingredients that got me on my way. Sorry, no amounts of ingredients but pictures may help.
Here are Luahiwa's suggested ingredients:

tomatoes, yellow bells, sweet fruit (papaya or mango), crunchy fruit (apple or nectarine), lemon juice, cilantro, 'alaea salt. No such thing as a recipe; just chop and mix. Make it today, start eating it tomorrow. Consume with lime chips, tortillas, or fried i'a.

I took her ideas and then went with ingredients I had on hand: yellow bells, one medium mango (that sucker cost me $2.75 at the open market and I'm still recovering from the thought), lime juice (half a lime), cilantro (you either love it or you hate it. I love it so I put a lot), round onion and green onion, Hawaiian salt (Hanapepe is always my favorite choice but you could use a kosher salt, maybe start with 1/2 tsp and add to taste), pepper, chili pepper flakes (I wish I had a hot pepper like a jalapeno to add instead) and a few tomatoes.
I thought the color was so beautiful--yellow bell peppers and ripe mango. I think I could have just eaten this and be perfectly happy.





We ate it with tortilla chips. Then I got a corn tortilla and melted some cheese in it, scooped some salsa on it and wrapped it up. Ate it like a burrito. Then I had to leave the house. I would have eaten it all up. When I returned an hour or so later, the big bowl of salsa was being held by an unnamed family member who looked at me and just nodded. I think it was the nod of approval. Next thing I saw was an empty bowl in the sink. I was hoping to at least have some leftover that I would keep in the fridge to be eaten the following day. You know, the way things taste better the next day? No chance.

Stewed Tomatoes