Sunset Sea Scallops: Page 168, Another Taste of Aloha

When I’m ready for a quick evening meal (or a meal even my husband can put together), I keep finding myself reaching for Another Taste of Aloha.  The recipes are exactly what they claim to be – quick, healthy and delicious, and it’s such a pleasure to cook with.  For example, we love scallops, but we get tired of the same old drawn butter topping that pairs so naturally with the sweet, tender morsels.  The Sunset Sea Scallops, on page 168, Another Taste of Aloha, in the Seafood section, have a delicious citrus dressing that really brings out the scallops’ sweetness.

The dressing was easy to put together, the scallops and spinach cooked up quickly, and everything came together nicely on the plate and tasted delicious.  The citrus and basil is an excellent pairing with the tender sweet scallops and spinach.  It was a perfect quick evening meal, and a perfect way to bring out the best in the delicious scallops.  Whip it up tonight!

Golden crust + golden dressing = light evening meal worth its weight in gold!

Sunset Sea Scallops

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh scallops
  • 1 1/2 fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons orange peel, finely grated

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, mustard and pepper.  Slowly stir in olive oil.  Add 1 tablespoon basil and season with salt.  Set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Over medium heat, cook half of the scallops at a time for 4 to 5 minutes or until opaque and lightly browned.  While scallops are cooking, steam the spinach in the moisture that clings to the leaves until tender, about 3 minutes.  When scallops are done, drain the spinach and arrange on a large serving platter.  Center the scallops on the spinach and pour orange dressing on top.  Garnish with remaining basil and orange zest and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Advertisements

Bombay Chicken: Page 128, Another Taste of Aloha

I get so excited to make ethnic foods myself, so it’s lucky for me that our cookbooks offer cuisine from around the world for beginners like me.  Today I made the Bombay Chicken on page 128 of Another Taste of Aloha, in the Poultry section, and it was really tasty and quite easy.  No more takeout for me!

The overnight marinade plus quick broiling method for this chicken made it a snap for a weeknight dinner, which was great. The broiling, which I first discovered in the Spicy Pork Tenderloins recipe, gives the meat a delicious caramelized crust but keeps it juicy on the inside, just the way I like it.  The flavors in the marinade really soaked into the chicken and gave it a depth of flavor I wasn’t expecting for such a simple recipe.  This will become a regular in my repertoire, for sure!

A delightful change for chicken.

Bombay Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon
  • 1 1/2 cups orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 lime, sliced

Combine peanut butter, mustard, tarragon, marmalade, olive oil, curry powder and lime.  Add chicken, cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  Broil 6 inches from heat for 10 to 15 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear when the breast is pierced with a fork.

Serves 4 – 6.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Poulet Dijon: Page 134, Another Taste of Aloha

Dijon mustard.  Before starting this journey, I’d never have expected that to the key ingredient to cooking with aloha.  But there it is, in so many recipes, expected or unexpected, adding its uniquely spicy tang to all these delicious dishes.  So, celebrating one of Hawaii’s favorite ingredients, oddly enough, here is the Poulet Dijon on page 134 of Another Taste of Aloha, in the Poultry section.

I certainly can’t explain why Dijon mustard features so prominently in our cookbooks.  But who am I to argue?  It’s like garlic, soy sauce, chicken broth…it adds that little extra something that makes you go – “mmm!  I want more!” Maybe it’s umami, like I discussed in the post “Coconut-Crusted Chicken Nuggets“.  All I know if, I’ve gone through four bottles in the last two months – and I’m excited about it.

This sautéed chicken recipe is quite simple but has a fancy feeling to it when put together – like many of the recipes in Another Taste of Aloha.  The Dijon mustard takes center stage here in the creamy, tangy sauce, and it is yummy.  Easy, fast, and delicious – what a treat!

Dijon mustard, taking center stage

Poulet Dijon

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Garnish:  Tomato wedges and parsley

Sauté chicken in butter over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.  Stir flour into pan drippings.  Slowly add broth and cream, stirring until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Stir in mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with tomato wedges and parsley.

Serves 6 – 8.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Island Salad Niçoise: Page 86, Aloha Days Hula Nights

I’m a lover of all things French (and of the lovely Julia Child, who made French cuisine accessible to American home cooks), so I knew my block of sashimi-grade ahi would be put to good use in the Island Salad Niçoise on page 86 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Salads – Savory section.

In French, “Niçoise” (pronounced “niece-was“) simply means “from Nice”, which is in the Provence region in the South of France.  For the salad, “Niçoise” refers to the traditional olive from Nice usually included in the recipe.

Now, salade Niçoise is a classic dish, and like all classic dishes, its “appropriate” ingredients and recipe are hotly disputed.  Purists like chef Jacques Médecin from the Provence region of French have many rules when it comes to the Niçoise: canned tuna or anchovies (never both, and never grilled fresh tuna), nothing cooked except the hard-boiled eggs (no potatoes or green beans, please), only olive oil and herbs for dressing (forget the vinegar!), plus the usual tomatoes, bell peppers, shallots, fava beans, and those Niçoise olives.

But a classic is always open to re-interpretation, and cooked potatoes, green beans, and vinegar have found their way onto many a Niçoise salad, along with grilled tuna, or ahi.  And I am glad to try an aloha version of one of my favorite salads with all of the above!

This salad was delicious.  So, so good.  The dressing was flavorful, the vegetable mixture was rich and satisfying, the salad greens were crispy and refreshing, and the ahi was smooth and smoky.  It’s a lot of work, but so worth it when it comes together on the plate.  I will definitely do some entertaining with this salad!

PS: Now, you’ll see from the picture that I let the ahi sear a little too long – I got too excited placing my capers just so on my hard-boiled eggs, if you want to know the truth.  You want nice rare ahi, so do as the recipe says!

Now that’s an entrée!  Who said salad can’t fill you up?

Island Salad Niçoise

AHI Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces good quality fresh ahi fillet
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

VINAIGRETTE Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced Maui onion
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried Maui lavender flowers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

SALAD Ingredients:

  • 1 pound red potatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 4 ripe Kula tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups Kula salad greens or Manoa lettuce, washed and patted dry
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 4 large anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Several sprigs of fresh basil

Brush ahi with soy sauce and oil.  Sprinkle with thyme and pepper.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Whisk together oil and vinegar in a small bowl until blended.  Whisk in onion, mustard, parsley, thyme, lavender, salt, and pepper.  Pour into bottle or jar with lid and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and place in a large bowl. Steam green beans about 2 minutes until bright green but still crisp.  Drain, and add to potatoes with tomatoes, olives, green onion, and basil.  Shake dressing well, pour half the vinaigrette over the vegetables.  Toss gently to coat.

Heat grill or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Brush with olive oil.  Add ahi and sear both sides about 3 minutes each side.  Remove and let stand a few minutes before slicing thinly.  Ahi will be rare.  Place greens on serving platter.  Top with vegetable mixture.  Layer ahi slices on top.  Arrange quartered eggs around platter.  Sprinkle with anchovies and capers.  Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.  Garnish with fresh lemon slices and basil.  Serve.

Note: To hard cook eggs, place eggs in saucepan, cover with water, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes.  Drain off warm water, place in bowl, cover with cold water.  Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Edible dried lavender flowers can be obtained from natural food stores.

Serves 4 to 6.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Watercress and Bacon Salad: Page 82, Another Taste of Aloha

I always grab a bag of spinach at the grocery store, because I know how good it is for my family.  I used to use it mainly in a lasagna (have I mentioned my lasagna?), but these cookbooks have opened my eyes to the classic spinach salad (which I first described when I the awesome Aegean Spinach Salad).  The Watercress and Bacon Salad on page 82 of Another Taste of Aloha, in the Salads section, actually has more spinach than watercress, and the warm dressing has a similar effect to the hot oil in the classic spinach salad.  So here’s another spinach salad, with a twist – bacon!  We all know bacon makes everything better…

I really enjoyed this salad.  I found this recipe because I was in the mood for bacon, but wanted something a little healthier than a BLT.  Although the recipe calls for fresh uncooked mushrooms, I couldn’t resist sauteing the meaty portabella mushrooms in the bacon fat to give them a smoky flavor.  The hot mushrooms certainly added a little extra bacon oomph! and satisfied my craving.

The dressing was a new method for me – an egg dressing cooked and whisked over medium heat, then chilled quickly over ice to “slightly warm”, which warmed the sniach when poured over the salad.  It was delicious and interesting!  I will definitely be using my spinach in this recipe again soon.

If you love bacon, this recipe is for you.  (Which makes it for everyone…right?)

An interesting way to make dressing!

Watercress and Bacon Salad

SALAD Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watercress leaves, washed and torn into bite-sizes pieces
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
DRESSING Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the watercress, spinach, bacon and mushrooms.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  In a saucepan, whisk egg, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar and mustard until thick and foamy.  Cook over a medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick and smooth.  Do not allow to come to a boil.  Immediately place saucepan in a pan filled with ice water.  Whisk for one minute to cool slightly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon slightly warm dressing over salad.  Toss gently and serve immediately.

Serves 6 – 8.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Pineapple Chicken: Page 233, Aloha Days Hula Nights

As I flip through my cookbook, I keep seeing the gorgeous photo of the whole-pineapple presentation for Pineapple Chicken on page 233 of Aloha Days Hula Nights in the Entrees – Poultry section, and I made sure to pick up a pineapple this week so I could finally make it myself.  It is just as pretty in real life, and super-delicious–not to mention a great healthy choice.

It was so easy to make – even though my boys didn’t go to sleep until very late this evening, I was able to put this together and have a tasty dinner for myself (and great leftovers to take to work for lunch).  I thought the sauce might be too sweet, but the Dijon mustard added a nice (and unexpected) kick that balanced the sweetness perfectly.

I used fresh orange and pineapple juice, since I already had the pineapple and orange around – it was easy to get 1/2 cup by squeezing one orange and scraping the inside of the pineapple after I took out the cubes.  Oh, the cubes – the recipe is silent on how to carefully remove the inside of a pineapple and keep the shell intact, and I’m afraid my pineapple pieces looked more like a kindergartener’s shape sorter and less like lovely squares – but they still tasted yummy!

A party in a pineapple!  Mine looks just like the book – pretty cool.

Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe fresh pineapple
  • 4 to 6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Twist crown from pineapple.  Cut pineapple in half lengthwise.  Carefully cut out pineapple meat, keeping shells intact to use for presentation.  Cube pineapple and place in a bowl.  Set aside.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.  Season with salt and set aside.  Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until tender.  Add chicken and sauté until nicely browned and cooked through.  Place in a bowl.  Add pineapple to skillet and sauté until lightly browned.  Add red pepper to skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add to chicken in bowl.

Combine juice concentrate, wine, mustard, and cornstarch in skillet.  Stir until blended, deglazing pan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook until thickened.  Add sautéed pineapple and chicken.  Heat thoroughly.  Season with pepper. Mound into pineapple shells.  Place on serving platter.  Garnish with chopped basil and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad: Page 80, Aloha Days Hula Nights

We’re trying to eat healthy lunches around here, and the delicious Warm Goat Cheese Salad on page 80 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Salads – Savory section, made it easy today.

We never had goat cheese growing up, but after living in Paris for a while, salad never seemed like salad without broiled goat cheese on top.  Now we always have goat cheese in the house – its tangy, unique flavor is irreplaceable.  I absolutely love this version of my favorite Parisian meal (well, favorite healthy meal).  Coating the goat cheese in pistachios is a yummy way to make this dish stove-top friendly.  And the page will be permanently dog-eared for the easy and delicious vinaigrette – if I don’t memorize it by making it too often.  If only extra cheese would be just as healthy…

Now that’s a salad!

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

SALAD Ingredients:

  • 1 pound plain goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup crushed roasted pistachios
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 pound mixed greens
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Edible flowers, olive slices, radish rosettes or grape tomatoes

MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Shape 2 tablespoons of goat cheese into a circle about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick.  Place on sheet of plastic wrap.  Make 12 to 16 patties, depending on number of servings desired.  Place the crushed pistachios on a small shallow plate.  Add cheese patties a few at a time.  Press firmly to coat both sides throughly with nuts.  Set aside.

Brush a heavy skillet lightly with oil.  Heat over medium heat.  Add coated patties, in batches, to hot skillet and sauté about 2 minutes per side until golden brown.  Remove, set aside and continue to cook all the patties.  Arrange salad green on individual salad plates. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette.  Place 2 sautéed cheese patties in the center of each.  Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.  Garnish as desired.  Serve immediately.

Vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard until well blended.  Stir in sugar and garlic.  Season with pepper to taste.  Mix well.  If the vinaigrette is made in advance, whisk again just before serving to blend ingredients.

Serves 6 to 8.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.