Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Taste of Hawaii

As you probably know, trying out new foods is a big part of the cruising experience. I always like to choose things I wouldn’t make at home. So far, I’ve had escargot, rack of lamb with mint jelly and calamari fritti.  And part of the fun is in the presentation of the food.

Here are the beef medallions my DH had for an appetizer one night. I swear the meat was sliced thin enough to read a newspaper through, but he says it was seasoned so well, he didn’t mind that there wasn’t much of it. After all, an appetizer isn’t supposed to fill you up.

According to Kainoa, our native island guide, food has always been important to the Hawaiian people. When the first immigrants from the Marchesas wandered north in their gigantic double hulled canoes, some of the most important things they brought with them was food—poi, yams, breadfruit, and their favorite meats, chickens, pigs and (I’m sorry to have to tell you) dogs.

I’m mildly adventurous in the dining room, but I won’t be trying anything remotely canine.

One of the activities aboard ship is cooking classes at the Culinary Arts Center. Today we watched one of the chefs prepare SWEET & SPICY SEARED PORK CHOPS WITH ISLAND SLAW.
Here’s the recipe. Brace your feet. There’s a ton of ingredients, but it’s so worth the effort. I plan to give it a whirl myself when I get home.

Ingredients for Island Slaw (serves 4)
½ cup cider vinegar
2 TBS honey
3 TBS soy sauce
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sesame oil
1 TBS crushed red pepper
2 TBS ground cumin
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup scallions, finely diced
1  jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup julienne carrot (about one large carrot)
5 cups thinly sliced red & green cabbage
1 cup julienne red bell pepper (about one pepper)
2 cups diced pineapple
¾ cup toasted, chopped macadamian nuts

Whisk together the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce. Drizzle in the oils in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify. Whisk in the crushed red pepper, cumin, cilantro, scallion, and jalapeno. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine carrot, cabbage, red pepper, pineapple and nuts and mix well. Add the dressing to the vegetables and mix well again.

Place some slaw on a plate. Top with chops and drizzle with a bit of the reduced marinade.

For the chops marinade
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
2 TBS sesame oil
2 TBS rice vinegar (can substitute cider vinegar)
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS minced ginger
½ Teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (1/2 inch thick) pork chops
¼ cup honey
Vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine the hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Remove the chops from the marinade.

Save the marinade and combine with honey in a medium sauce pan. Bring the honey marinade mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat, coat bottom of skillet with vegetable oil and sear the chops until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Pour the reduced marinade over the chops and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the chops from the oven and set aside a few minutes to rest. After plating the chops, drizzle with a little of the marinade.

Sounds good, right?  

Yeah, but it also sounds like more time on the treadmill to me. Fortunately while we're on board, I get a mile on the machines in the gym. And another couple of miles just walking from our cabin to the dining room twice a day. That ought to count for something.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Note: On Thursday, we make landfall in Honolulu. The DH and I will be at the Polynesian Cultural Center pretty much all day, so I probably won't post again till Friday. See you then!

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