06 June


Sunomomo

(Japanese Cucumber Salad)

June 14: National Cucumber Day

As the hot summer season starts soon, stay cool as a cucumber with a light Japanese-style salad called sunomomo. Many Asian countries have their own version of a vinegary cucumber side dish, like the Filipino suka pipino we made for National Vinegar Day on November 1. The ingredients have changed slightly by using the products from that particular country. This recipe has a little alcohol (mirin—a sweet rice wine—or sake—Japanese rice wine) added to it for a subtle sweetness in this side dish. Sunomomo tastes great with grilled meats (Japanese teriyaki steak, chicken and/or seafood are sensational for a summer BBQ) and on National Cucumber Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food.com)

 Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or sake
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of dried mint or dried parsley (optional)

Directions

Wash and peel the cucumber. Cut into thin slices. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the rice wine vinegar with the mirin or sake.

Stir in the sugar, water, salt and red pepper flakes. Toss in the cucumber. Sprinkle dried mint or parsley. Cover, refrigerate and allow the flavors to set for at least half an hour.

Notes

  • Try our teriyaki sauce and baste some steak, chicken, shrimp and salmon when grilling or barbecuing meats.
  • Bake teriyaki chicken as an alternative to grilling/barbecuing. Serve with sunomomo.

Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

June 8: World Oceans Day

Islander grew up on the south-central shore of Oahu. But sometimes she and her family went up to the North Shore for some reason or another. The drive was about an hour one way but the mauka and makai scenery was a nice distraction that made the trip seem shorter. While on the other side of the island, we would stop to eat at one of the many food trucks/lunch wagons that sold shrimp dishes (classic cocktail, sweet and spicy, lemon pepper, fried coconut and garlic butter flavors). They taste so ‘ono (delicious)!

While the North Shore shrimp trucks use fresh shrimp from the Kahuku farms, we use sustainable shrimp harvested from the world’s oceans to cook our mainland meals. When trying any of the seafood recipes posted on our blog, we encourage readers to use brands that practice ethical and sustainable fishing and farming methods (look for labels on the package).

Celebrate World Oceans Day with sustainable seafood and cook Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp. Aloha!

Recipe

(Adapted from I Love Hawaiian Food Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails intact
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ stick butter
  • 12 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon white wine
  • lemon wedges (optional garnish)

Directions

Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. In a pie plate, combine the flour, paprika and cayenne pepper. Dredge the shrimp in this mixture, shaking off the excess flour. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

Saute the chopped garlic for about a minute. Then lay the shrimp on the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle salt to taste and cook for about three minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook for a few more minutes. Finish the dish with white wine, cook until slightly evaporated, the garlic has browned and the shrimp is reddish in color. Serve hot with scoops of white steamed rice garnished with lemon wedges.

Notes

  • Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp is a variation of our shrimp scampi. Search our blog for other seafood recipes.
  • After eating at the shrimp truck in the North Shore, we would head to Ted’s Bakery for dessert and have a slice of chocolate haupia pie. Try our copycat recipe here.
  • One of our favorite movies is Disney’s “Moana” (“Vaiana”), which means “ocean” is many Polynesian/South Pacific languages. It is fun to watch this film on World Oceans Day.
  • Islander’s hometown is ‘Ewa Beach. Her ‘ohana (family) would spend some Sunday afternoons at the nearby beach park, with a distant view of Honolulu and Diamond Head. While Daddy would grill something on the hibachi, she and her brother and Mommy would gather a little limu (seaweed) for a side salad to complete our supper menu.
  • Islander is partial to the Pacific as her home state of Hawaii is right in the middle of the ocean. She used to participate with her schools to do volunteer trash pickup in ‘Ewa Beach so the community’s park and shore would stay clean. Please keep ALL beaches beautiful by picking up your trash (especially plastic products) and pet waste! Protecting our oceans from land litter is one of the premises of World Oceans Day.

 

Mango Kulfi

(Indian-Style Mango Ice Cream)

Mango Kulfi

 June: National Mango Month

As a sweet ending to our savory and spicy meals at an Indian restaurant, we like to scoop up some mango kulfi in our buffet bowl. This is a brightly colored and intensely flavored Indian version of ice cream. Those who are “mad for mangoes” will surely care for some kulfi, especially during National Mango Month.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned mango pulp (kesar/saffron)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-5 cardamom pods (optional flavoring)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the mango pulp with the condensed milk. Pour in the evaporated milk.

Mango Kulfi

Add the whipping cream and blend well. Stir in the cardamom pods, if using. Pour into a freezer-safe container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least six hours. Serve chilled.

Mango Kulfi

Notes

  • Kesar mango pulp contains saffron, which gives it a vibrant golden yellow color and a distinctively delightful taste.
  • If using cardamom pods, remove prior to serving.
  • Search our blog for more mango recipes.

No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

June 7: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

Earlier this spring, we took a road trip to Brenham, Texas (about an hour-and-a-half’s drive northwest from where we currently live), with our Hawaii ex-patriate friends Pat and Phyllis S. from San Antonio. We wanted to see blue bonnets and the Blue Bell Creameries. We did see a few of the wildflower fields but, unfortunately, the ice cream factory tour was cancelled due to listeria. News crews were in front of the creamery ready to report about the recalls. 

Lately we have been experimenting with making ice cream at home. At least we know what ingredients are going into our recipe—no listeria hysteria! We do not have an ice cream maker and do not want to buy one. But the no-churn method of making ice cream seems to work just fine!

For a no-churn chocolate ice cream, we tried mixing cocoa powder and melted chocolate in the basic recipe. The colors varied from pale cocoa to muddy brown, depending on what was added. The tastes ranged from milk chocolate to intensely dark. The textures went from icy-chunky to smooth and creamy. All versions were delicious!

As the hot summer season approaches, stay cool and safe from listeria by trying a homemade no-churn chocolate ice cream recipe for National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Nigella.com)

 Ingredients

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder OR 3-4 ounces melted semi-sweet/bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR ½ tablespoon of crème de cacao liqueur (optional)
  • chocolate syrup to drizzle on top (optional)

Directions

Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk with the cocoa powder OR melted chocolate. Stir well. Add a pinch of salt (optional). Mix in the vanilla extract or liqueur (optional).

Chocolate Ice Cream

Fold the whipped cream into this mixture until smooth, being careful not to whip more air into it. Place in a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for a few minutes and scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Drizzle with chocolate syrup (optional).

Chocolate Ice Cream

Notes

  • If using melted chocolate, let cool slighty before mixing with the condensed milk and whipped cream.
  • National Ice Cream Day is also celebrated on the third Sunday of July.
  • Search our blog for other no-churn ice cream and chocolate recipes.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

June 21: Summer Solstice/Midsummer

We blogged before about Mexican wedding cookies (also known as Danish wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes and Hawaiian snow balls). A similar sweet is the Swedish heirloom cookie, which includes walnuts instead of pecans. These beloved wedding cookies are rife with symbolism—white for bridal purity, sugar for a sweet married life and nuts for fertility.

Although these cookies are popular during the holiday season (Christmas and the winter solstice), we make Swedish heirloom cookies for the midsummer season (midsommar in Swedish) and the summer solstice. We also serve them to our June brides and the engaged couples we sponsor through our church’s marriage preparation program.

Coincidentally, the famous “Wedding March” by Felix Mendelssohn was composed for William Shakespeare’s play titled “Midsummer Night’s Dream”! Summer seems to be an ideal time for weddings. So make these simple and sweet Swedish heirloom cookies for summer weddings and summer solstice celebrations.

Recipe

(Adapted from Saveur)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the walnuts. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Add the flour and salt and blend well. Mix in the walnuts. Form into a cookie dough. Roll into balls between ¾-1 inch.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet about two inches apart to allow the cookies to expand. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Cool completely and place in mini cupcake papers.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Notes

Swedish Visiting Cake

Swedish Visiting Cake

June 21: Midsommar/Summer Solstice

We used to attend the Swedish Day Midsommar Festival when we lived in Illinois. Hailed as the Midwest’s oldest and largest “midsommar” (midsummer) festival, the city of Geneva, where it took place, was less than a half-hour drive from our home. We enjoyed the Swedish cultural costumes and performances, the colorful maypole-raising ritual and, of course, the smörgåsbord of Swedish foods!

To celebrate the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—we baked a simple “Swedish Visiting Cake”. Reminiscent of other European almond cakes, like the German Magdalenenstriezeln (for St. Mary Magdalene), Greek Vasilopita (for St. Basil) and Spanish Tarta de Santiago (for St. James), this “Swedish Visiting Cake” could be made for St. John, whose feast day on June 24 is also associated with midsummer.

This is a quick and easy cake to make, especially when visitors are arriving at short notice (hence, the name of “visiting cake”). Serve this Swedish sweet with coffee and tea to show hospitality to guests—or to welcome the summer season.

Recipe

(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan)

Ingredients

  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used vanilla paste)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds (we used slivered almonds)

Directions

Grate a lemon. In a large bowl, mix the sugar with the freshly grated lemon zest. Beat in the eggs. Add the salt. Mix well. Meanwhile, melt the butter and cool slightly.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in the flour. Pour the melted butter into the flour mixture and blend until the batter is smooth.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Pour into a greased pie pan or 9-inch cake pan. Sprinkle with almonds and a little granulated sugar on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown (the edges will be lightly crisp but the middle should be soft and moist). Remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly before loosening the sides with a knife or spatula. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or cool.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Notes

  • “Swedish Visiting Cake” is traditionally baked in a cast iron pan.

Chicken Oreganata

Chicken Oreganata

June 10: Herbs and Spices Day

Breaded chicken breasts are sometimes boring. So we like to spice (and herb) them up with oregano, mint, salt and pepper and turn them into a simple yet savory, tender and aromatic dish. The addition of tomatoes makes this meal moist and more flavorful. Cbicken Oreganata is our choice for observing Herbs and Spices Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Healthy Home Cooking by the Editors of Prevention Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, flattened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • olive oil

Directions

Line a baking dish with foil and mist with cooking spray. Set aside. In a lipped pan, combine the lemon juice with minced garlic. Toss the chicken in this mixture and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Chicken Oreganata

In a small bowl, mix together the oregano, mint, salt and pepper.

Chicken Oreganata

Combine half of this herb and spice mixture with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned breadcrumbs and place in the prepared baking dish. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and scatter them around the chicken.

Chicken Oreganata

Sprinkle the remaining herb and spice mixture over the chicken and tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and juicy. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and arrange the tomatoes around it. Pour any pan juices over the chicken. Serve hot with rice.

Chicken Oreganata

Notes

  • Thanks to Highlander’s Mum for gifting us with the cookbook from which we used the recipe for Chicken Oreganata.
  • Search our blog for other chicken recipes.

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