I’ve Moved!

7 Oct

Please visit my new blog My Lilikoi Kitchen at: mylilikoikitchen.com

Aloha & Mahalo!

Ragu alla Bolognese

2 Oct

Here is a recipe I adapted from Saveur magazine.  It’s a rustic dish I think your family and friends will really enjoy.  Once you add all the ingredients to your pan, the meat sauce will simmer for 2 1/2 hours and you’ll have time to tidy up the kitchen before your guests arrive.

A mirepoix of celery, carrots and onion.

Ragu alla Bolognese

6 – 8 servings

Adapted from Saveur Magazine


1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion peeled and finely minced (about 1 cup)

1/2 medium carrot finely minced (about 1/2 cup)

1 large celery stalk finely minced (about 1/2 cup)

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I use lean ground sirloin)

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup hot milk

1 cup beef or chicken broth

1 28 oz. can tomato purée (I use Muir Glen)

salt and pepper


Heat oil in a large sauce pan (I use my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven) over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the ground beef to the pan and season with salt and pepper.  Start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Break up the meat and cook just until the meat is still slightly pink.  Do not fry or brown the meat.  Add the wine and cook, stirring until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the hot milk stirring the meat mixture occasionally until the milk has evaporated, about 8 – 10 minutes.

While the meat is simmering in the milk, heat the broth and tomato purée together over medium high heat until hot.  Add this to the meat once the milk has evaporated.

Reduce the heat and gently simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with more salt and pepper before serving.

It is equally delicious served on spaghetti, wide pasta noodles such as pappardelle or short pasta shapes like rigatoni.  A generous sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano completes the dish.

***The sauce freezes well.  Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and heat gently before serving.  The meat sauce makes a delicious filling for lasagna.

Salsa Fresca

27 Sep

With lots of Big Beef tomatoes in the garden now, we have sliced and layered them on toasted homemade country sourdough bread. I’ve made Green Beans with Olive Oil & Tomatoes, fresh pasta sauce and big, big bowls of salsa fresca.  Fresh salsa is nothing like the bottled salsa you find on the grocery store shelves which many times seem too “tomato pasty.”  Since fresh salsa is best consumed within a day or two, we have eaten many meals that highlight the salsa; tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and tamales.  A simple Sunday breakfast of scrambled eggs with a bit of extra sharp cheddar and topped with a good serving of salsa fresca is the perfect way to start your day.

I don’t follow a specific recipe because there are just 6 ingredients.  You can add as much cilantro, onion and jalapeño as you like.  The best suggestion I can offer is to use good juicy tomatoes (plum tomatoes seem too dry) and taste your jalapeños to see how hot they are since their heat varies considerably especially if using fresh jalapeños.  I prefer to used nacho jalapeño rings that John grows and cans each year. They are hot (!) and I can judge just how much I will need for each salsa recipe.  You can buy jarred jalapeños at the grocery store or canned, chopped jalapeños such as Ortega.  These will work fine.

These containers of salsa were sold to co-workers.  I will donate the monies collected to the 2013 Visitor Industry Charity Walk which is an annual event that helps hundreds of local charities throughout the state.

Salsa Fresca

Fresh tomatoes, cut into small dice with seeds removed

Maui onion or sweet onion finely diced

Chopped cilantro

Minced jalapeño

Fresh lime juice


This is so easy since there’s no specific measurements for each ingredient.  Once you chop the tomatoes you decide how much of the other ingredients to add to suit your taste.  Some of you may not care for cilantro so you might choose to leave it out, but I highly recommend you give it a try.  It adds a bright color and fresh flavor to the salsa.

It is best to eat the salsa the day you make it.  If you have leftovers use it within two days.

Green Beans with Olive Oil & Tomatoes

24 Sep

This recipe comes from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.  I bought this book many years ago  (published 1994) and it sits on a low shelf where I can easily reach it.  Though there are many recipes in the book I have yet to try, I found a few favorites, this being one of them.  What’s so special about this recipe?  It’s easy to make with only few ingredients that are easily found at your local grocery store.  It’s ready in an hour.  It is simply delicious.

Fresh green beans cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch lengths.

Green beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil simmer for 40 minutes.

Green Beans with Olive Oil & Tomatoes 

Serves four as a side dish

Adapted from Nancy Harmon Jenkins ~ The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook


1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut into  1 1/2 – 2 inch lengths

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Wash the green beans and cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch lengths and rinse in a colander.

In a saucepan large enough to hold the beans, cook the onion in the olive oil on medium heat for about 8 minutes.  Once the onions begin to brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the green beans and stir them into the onion mixture.  Add the tomatoes, sugar and salt and mix the ingredients together.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan.  Check the heat after a few minutes. If it seems too high turn the heat down to low.  Let the beans simmer, covered for 40 minutes.  The beans should be soft but not falling apart.  Stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if necessary.

Though the beans lose their vibrant green color after simmering, their flavor is not compromised.  In fact the  tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil provide a luscious sauce that is very satisfying with an accompaniment of brown rice.

Korean Style Hamburger Patties

21 Sep

My recipe card says “Korean Buns.”  My mom used to make these for me and my friends when they would come over for a slumber party.  The name of this dish derives from the “Korean” ingredients my mom added to the ground beef that she spread thinly on split hot dog buns. The buns would be placed on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for a few minutes until the meat was cooked through and nicely browned.  These were the perfect slumber party snack.  My variation is to make mini patties which can be eaten with rice and Japanese pickles. Leftover patties make a satisfying bento lunch.

I include water chestnuts in the patties which adds a nice crunch.  They remind me of jicama adding texture to the patties without affecting the flavor of the other ingredients.

Diced water chestnuts.

Form the meat into small patties and either fry or if time permits heat up the barbecue grill.

Japanese pickles (radish and cucumbers).

Korean Style Hamburger Patties


1 pound ground beef (I use lean ground sirloin)

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 heaping teaspoon sugar

1 whole egg


In a large mixing bowl add onion, green onion, garlic and water chestnuts to ground beef.  Mix gently with a fork to combine ingredients.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and mix again.  Add whole egg and mix until all ingredients are distributed well.  Lightly form meat mixture into small patties (2 1/2 inch).

In a large non-stick fry pan heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, add half of the patties.  Fry for 3 minutes then flip patties over and fry for another 3 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through (cooking time will depend on the size of your patties).  Repeat with the remaining patties.

They are especially delicious served with white or brown rice, Japanese pickles and Kabocha No Toroni (Kabocha squash simmered in rice wine and soy sauce).

***These patties are super when grilled on the barbie.  And by all means, try the recipe the way my mom made it; spread meat mixture on hot dog buns and finish under the broiler.

Dilly Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard

17 Sep

Recently Bay Area Bites posted a recipe for potato salad and mentioned how this old favorite sometimes gets a bad rap because all too often it can be laden with mayonnaise. Stephanie Hua was inspired to make her own potato salad after she tasted one in New Orleans which didn’t seem too rich thanks to the generous amount of mustard used in the recipe.  In my version of her recipe I use Yukon Gold potatoes rather than red-skinned potatoes, less dill, and added chopped hard-boiled eggs to my salad.

With just a few simple ingredients you can quickly put together a really delicious potato salad in less than an hour.

Mayonnaise, Dijon, whole grain mustard.

Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, mix them with some of the dressing, add diced hard-boiled eggs and more dressing.

Dilly Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard 

Adapted from Bay Area Bites ~ 6 servings


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 eggs, hard-boiled and finely chopped

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

3 scallions or 6 chives, finely chopped

2 + teaspoons of  finely chopped fresh dill or to taste

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down to medium.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and let the eggs simmer.  Drain the eggs and run under cold water.  Once cool enough to handle, peel and finely chop the eggs.  Set aside.

Place potatoes in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium – medium high and cook the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 – 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place in a large  bowl.  Sprinkle the vinegar over the potatoes while still hot.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the potatoes and toss gently.

Combine the mayonnaise and mustards and chop the dill and scallions or chives.  Once the potatoes are cool, add some of the dressing and all the herbs and toss with a spatula.  Add the chopped eggs, more dressing and mix gently.  If you prefer, you may add more mayonnaise and mustard to the potato salad.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

These Peppers are Hot!

13 Sep

These little beauties are Hawaiian chili peppers.  Our friend Venus brought us some homemade pickled onions one day.  They were crunchy and spicy and we gobbled them up. I was determined to make a batch of these tasty pickled onions so I went searching for the peppers and finally found them at a small family run grocery store in Kahului. Many people in Hawaii grow these peppers in their gardens and they are so attractive don’t you agree?  Thanks to Venus who later brought us our own Hawaiian chili pepper plant, we now have our own supply whenever we feel like making those delicious pickled onions.

Pickled Maui onions with Hawaiian chili peppers.

We also have jalapeño peppers in the garden which we use to make jalapeño nacho rings and jalapeño/tomatillo hot sauce.

Roasted jalapeño/tomatillo hot sauce.