09 September


Moroccan Roast Chicken 

with Saffron and Rose Water

Morrocan Chicken

September:
National Chicken Month

At one of Islander’s culinary club monthly meetings, members were challenged to bring a dish made with edible flowers or floral essence. Some of the potluck items included lavender scones, lavender lemon bars, blueberry pie with rose petals and a salad with sunflower seeds. In addition to bringing Maui lavender-mint iced tea, Islander shared a Moroccan chicken dish made with saffron and rose water. Other ingredients in this recipe include honey, cinnamon, hazelnuts, lemon and ginger, making the medley of flavors an exotic yet delicious combination. No wonder it was the members’ favorite flower-themed food! Make Moroccan roast chicken and savor the floral flavors during National Chicken Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 large chicken, cut up into thighs, breasts, etc. (we used 12 chicken legs)
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (we used freshly grated ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, unskinned and toasted
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (not extract or essence)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the saffron, chopped onion, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.

Moroccan Chicken

Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Arrange them in a large baking dish. Cover. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator, uncover and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Moroccan Chicken

Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts by stirring them in a skillet over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn them. Let cool then coarsely chop them. Place the nuts in a small bowl. Mix with honey and rose water to make a thick glaze.

Moroccan Chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and spread the glaze over each piece. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped green onion. Serve hot with rice or couscous.

Moroccan Chicken

Notes

  • Thanks to Lisa L. for giving us a little jar of saffron as a souvenir from her visits to Spain and Morocco. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice because it takes between 70,000-250,000 flowers to make just one. The stigmas of the flower must be individually and painstakingly handpicked when in full bloom during the autumn season before drying them.
  • Rose water is not the same as rose extract/essence. The latter is derived from floral oils and is sometimes steeped in alcohol that makes the flavor taste more concentrated. Rose water is lighter and is made by distilling rose petals in water.
  • Search our blog for more chicken recipes.

Coffee and Nut Cookies

 Coffee and Nut Cookies

September 29: National Coffee Day

We have visited coffee plantations and estates while in Kona (Big Island of Hawaii), Kualapuu (Molokai), Kalaheo (Kauai) and Waialua (Oahu, Islander’s home island). We even got to sample some of the peaberries (bitter yet aromatic) grown on the property of some of the Hawaiian coffee companies. We buy their products and take them back to the mainland so Highlander can enjoy a cuppa joe (or, in Hawaiian, kope), and Islander can bake coffee-flavored desserts, such as coffee and nut cookies.

Hawaiian Coffee - HI Cookery

Inspired by Kauai Kookie’s Kona coffee macadamia nut shortbread cookies, Islander used Hawaiian ingredients in a simple coffee cookie recipe to give it a tropical twist. Coffee lovers will definitely appreciate these flavorful treats. So celebrate National Coffee Day and bake a batch of coffee and nut cookies with a little aloha!

Recipe

(Adapted from Ferra Coffee

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup sugar (we used C&H brand), granulated white
  • 2 tablespoons roasted ground coffee (we used Hawaiian Kona coffee)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand) 
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (we used Mauna Loa macadamia nut pieces)

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar. Mix in the ground coffee. Beat in the egg. Add the flour.

Coffee and Nut Cookies

Mix in the vanilla and nuts. Blend well until cookie dough forms. Use a small scoop to drop the dough at least two inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to a crisp on wire racks. Yield: Approximately 1 ½ dozen coffee cookies. 

Coffee and Nut Cookies

Notes

  • These cookies spread while baking and are soft when they come out of the oven. When cool, the edges become crisp while the center is somewhat chewy.
  • Search our blog for recipes containing coffee as an ingredient. Also peruse for more posts on other cookie recipes.

Carlota de Limón

Carlota de limon

September 16: Mexican Independence Day

Although Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is a popular holiday associated with Mexico, el Dieciséis de Septiembre (16th of September) is seen as more important. Whereas May 5 commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over Napoleon’s French troops/invaders in 1862, September 16 marks Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1810. Either date is cause for celebration, especially in South Texas where we have many Mexican friends and neighbors. From them we have learned a little bit about their Hispanic heritage as well as some of the foods they prepare for special events.

Carlota de limón (also called postre de limón) is one of the quick and easy recipes they have shared with us. It is like a trifle that consists of alternating layers of cookies and a creamy lime filling. This makes for a delicious dessert for Dieciséis de Septiembre and during other Mexican holidays.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup lime juice (from approximately 6-7 fresh squeezed limes)
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 rolls/packages of Maria Mexican cookies
  • sliced limes (optional garnish)

Directions

Juice the limes. Place the juice with the evaporated and condensed milks in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Carlota de limon

In a large glass casserole dish, layer the cookies. Pour 1/3 of the lime-milk mixture over the cookies and spread to cover them. Arrange more cookies on top. Pour another layer of the lime-milk mixture over it and spread to cover them. Arrange the last layer of cookies and finish spreading the lime-milk mixture over it.

Carlota de limon

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight to allow the cookies to soften, the lime-milk mixture to solidify and the flavors to develop. Before serving, garnish with limes (optional). Cut into 24 squares.

Carlota de limon

Notes

  • Some recipes add a cup of softened whipped cream cheese to make the filling fluffier and thicker.
  • Pipe a pretty border with whipped cream to decorate the edges (optional).
  • Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all our friends from Latin America!

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Corned Beef Hash Patties

September 27:
National Corned Beef Hash Day

Hawaii locals love their canned meats! Besides Spam, corned beef is another favorite food. Whenever we get together with fellow “expatriates” for a Hawaii homestyle get-together on the mainland, our friends Patrick and Phyllis S. often cook corned beef hash patties because they are a popular pupu. They are so ono (delicious) that they are eaten quickly. Add some aloha to an appetizer tray and cook corned beef hash patties on National Corned Beef Hash Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Patrick and Phyllis S.)

Version I

  • 3-4 jumbo potatoes (Russet)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 can (12 ounces) corned beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (if mixture is too wet)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • oil for frying

Directions

Boil the potatoes in salted water until a fork easily goes into the middle of the potatoes.  Peel the potatoes then coarsely mash them. Dice the onions. Crumble the corned beef.

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Add these to the mashed potatoes. Beat in the egg. Mix in the bread crumbs a little at a time (if mixture is too wet). Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Refrigerate the soft mixture for 2-3 hours to firm up. Shape mixture into 2-inch round patties. Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a skillet. Place a few patties (do not overcrowd) and fry over medium high heat until the bottom is browned and crisp. Carefully flip the patties over and continue frying. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Version II

  • 1 can (12 ounces) corned beef
  • 3 cups frozen hash browns, thawed (or grated potatoes)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • oil for frying

Directions

Place thawed hash browns or grated potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped onions and corned beef. Mix well. Stir in the egg and combine well.

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Roll into a small ball then flatten into 2-inch round patties. Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Coat in panko. Fry like above. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Corned Beef Hash Patties

Notes 

Spicy Garlic Eggplant

Spicy Garlic Eggplant

September 25: National Eggplant Day

We blogged about a Filipino-style eggplant omelet (tortang talong) before. This recipe post is about a Chinese-style side dish—eggplants in a spicy garlic sauce. Our Hawaii friends, Patrick and Phyllis S., introduced us to this appetizer when we all went to a Chinese restaurant in town. It tasted rich, spicy, garlicky and so very delicious!

We know that Patrick loves eggplants, so when we go to their house for a potluck meal, we bring tortang talong or this spicy garlic eggplant dish to make our host happy!

Celebrate National Eggplant Day with a simple Szechuan side dish and cook spicy garlic eggplant.

Recipe

(Adapted from AllRecipes.com) 

Ingredients

  • 2 Asian eggplants
  • 2+ tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, granulated white or brown
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
  • sliced green onions or chopped cilantro (optional garnish)

Directions

Wash and dry the eggplant. Trim off the top. Dice into 1-inch pieces and cut in half (moon-shape). Heat the oil in a skillet or wok. Add the eggplant pieces and cook until soft, gently stirring occasionally. Add more oil a little at a time, if needed, to cook the eggplant.  Pour in the water and red pepper flakes. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed.

Spicy Garlic Eggplant

Stir in the minced garlic. In a measuring cup, combine the sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Mix until smooth. Pour over the eggplant and mix well. When the sauce is thickened, remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with green onions or cilantro. Serve hot with plain rice.

Spicy Garlic Eggplant

Notes

  • Other versions of this recipe include ground pork and minced ginger.
  • Asian eggplants are of the long variety, although the fatter, rounder eggplants may be used. Cut the latter into bite-sized pieces and cook until soft but not mushy. Cooking time may vary, depending on the thickness of the eggplant.

 

 

Linguine with Shrimp

and Garlic Cream Sauce

Linguine Shrimp

September 15: National Linguine Day

Islander’s co-worker, Luigi M., invited us to dinner with his wife and daughter to celebrate Islander’s promotion from a part-timer to a rare full-timer position in their department back when we lived in Illinois. The hospitable family from Sardinia prepared a delicious dinner of bruschetta (Luigi insists on pronouncing it “broos-ketta”), salad (made with fresh vegetables and herbs from their garden), linguine with shrimp and garlic cream sauce and tiramisu!

We remember Luigi and his family every time we cook linguine (his nickname in Islander’s department was “Luigi Linguine, ” although he always brought his beloved bruschetta to potlucks and probably reserved his pasta dish for special dinners at his place).

In honor of her co-worker and in observance of National Linguine Day, we made linguine with shrimp and garlic cream sauce. Buon appetito!

Recipe

(Adapted from Luigi M.)

  • ½ pound linguine pasta noodles
  • 1 dozen jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cook the linguine pasta noodles al dente, according to the package. Drain the water and keep the linguine warm. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil in medium heat. Sauté the garlic cloves until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

Linguine Shrimp

Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Remove the shrimp from the skillet. Stir in the sour cream constantly so it does not separate from the butter and oil. When the sauce has a smooth and creamy consistency, season with salt and pepper. Put the shrimp back into the skillet and mix with the sauce. Put the linguine on plates and pour the sauce and shrimp over the noodles. Garnish with additional parsley (optional) and serve immediately.

Linguine Shrimp

Notes

  • The garlic cloves may be minced instead of kept whole for this recipe.
  • National Pasta Day is October 17. Search our blog for more recipe posts on pasta.

Side Street Inn-Style Fried Rice

Side Street Inn Fried Rice

September: National Rice Month

When we are back home in Hawaii, we eat comfort food for cheap at L&L Drive-Inn or Loco Moco. But our best friends wanted to treat us to something a little more “gourmet” and took us to Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Avenue near Waikiki. That restaurant is always packed with people for good reason. The food is filling and tastes so ‘ono! We all ordered different dishes to share but had to double-up on the fried rice because our group can consume it quickly!

Rice is a staple in Hawaii where the food is influenced from Asia and the Pacific Rim. Like Hawaii’s cuisine, fried rice is a mixture of many cultures. Side Street Inn’s fried rice features Portuguese sausage, Chinese barbecued pork (char siu) and Japanese seasoning.

Rice is usually served as a side dish but when fried with a variety of vegetables and meat, it becomes a main entrée. For National Rice Month, cook some comfort food like the locals do and make Side Street Inn fried rice.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • ½ cup Portuguese sausage, diced
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup char siu (Chinese barbecued pork), chopped
  • ½ cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce (not oyster-flavored sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons hon dashi (ramen/saimin noodle soup flavoring)

Directions

Refrigerate the cooked rice overnight to remove moisture. When ready to fry it, remove from the refrigerator and loosen up the kernels. Dice the Portuguese sausage.

Side Street Inn Fried Rice

Chop the bacon, green onions and char siu. In a large pot/pan/skillet, saute the Portuguese sausage and bacon until cooked through. Add rice and mix well.

Side Street Inn Fried Rice

Stir in the green onions. Add the char siu and peas and carrots. Season with oyster sauce, salt and hon dashi. Mix well. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with extra chopped green onions.

Side Street Inn Fried Rice

Notes

  • Day-old rice that has been refrigerated is best for fried rice dishes.
  • Although the Side Street Inn chef says that hon dashi is what adds flavor to the recipe, we eliminated the salt and lessened the oyster sauce so that the seasonings would not taste too overpowering. Hon dashi is available at most Asian grocery stores and markets.
  • Search our blog for more rice recipes.

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