This unlikely fusion came about this way: we had only one cod and one salmon filet in the freezer, we had roasted butternut squash in the fridge, and I was craving risotto. Butternut squash risotto was a no-brainer, but I wanted fish, too. Well, butternut soups are often seasoned with curry powder, ostensibly the spices act as a foil to the rich squash; and we often pan-fry fish dusted with curry spices, so it seemed like there was potential there. But how to tie the seemingly disparate classics, Italian risotto and Indian spiced fish? Answer: Two spices that are found in neither classic recipe but which compliment both and literally marry them in perfect union.
The key turned out to be using chicken broth infused with fresh ginger and cinnamon, which lifted the flavor of the butternut brilliantly without taking over. Both are also used extensively in Indian cooking and so did not fight with the curry spices in the fish. T prefered the cod with the risotto, while I liked the richer flavor of wild salmon better with this combination.
Although this recipe developed as a way to use ingredients we already had on hand, this combination was a winner with us both and something we will plan for in future. Although this recipe may look daunting at first glance, it's really and truly quite do-able when you roast the squash ahead of time — throw it in when you have something else going in the oven anyway. We had roasted squash on hand for this recipe because we roasted it when we were baking Stuffed Tomatoes earlier in the week. And enriching a store-bought chicken broth with ginger and cinnamon is something that requires little attention from the cook as it simmers on a back burner. Go on, you can do this.
Last Friday evening, the weather was in fact quite dreary and wet most of the day. But with a warm and colorful bowl like this to cheer us indoors, we say, "Let it drizzle, let it drizzle, let it drizzle!"
ROASTED BUTTERNUT RISOTTO with PAN-FRIED COD & SALMON
Whenever I make risotto, I still hear Valentina Harris, author of "Risotto! Risotto!" in my head coaxing and wooing risottos to their creamy finish. Chef Harris was our guest risotto instructor at Leiths, and the method I follow is hers although this recipe is my own.
(For 4 persons)
Prepare the Squash:
2.5 lb or 1kg butternut squash, washed well
2 TBL olive oil
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds.
Oil baking pan, and place squash in pan with the cut side down. Place in cold oven and set temperature to 350F/180C. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until the flesh is pierced easily with a knife.
Cool for at least 20 minutes (or completely if doing this step 1 or more days in advance). Scoop out flesh — it will be pretty smooth and creamy, but you can blend or puree it to ensure a uniform texture (I don't dot this) and set aside.
*Squash can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Re-heat in microwave to heat through before continuing.
Prepare Broth for Risotto:
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 slim finger of ginger, well scrubbed and sliced lengthwise
1 stick of cinnamon
Bring all broth ingredients to a rapid boil in a 3 or 4 qt/L saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Ready to use, but for deeper flavor, allow broth to cool with ginger and cinnamon. Remove ginger slices and cinnamon, and return to full boil for 10 minutes before continuing with risotto.
Leave broth on low simmer while making risotto.
Prepare the Fish:
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
scant 1/4 tsp cayenne (red chili) powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
juice from half lemon, about 2 TBL
1 filet Alaskan cod, about 6 oz/ 170g
1 filet wild Alaskan salmon, about 6 oz/ 170g
2 TBL olive oil
Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and garam masala.
Cut each filet into 1-inch pieces.
Toss fish with lemon juice, and coat with spice mixture. Set aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes while you finish risotto.
For the Risotto:
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 TBL olive oil
2 TBL unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup Carnaroli rice (if using arborio rice, you may need only 5 cups of broth)
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups/360g warm roasted butternut squash puree
6 cups Infused Chicken Broth, kept simmering and with a soup ladle nearby
As always with risotto, have all ingredients ready and within easy reach before starting.
In a 5-6 qt/L pan, cook onion with oil and butter over medium heat until onion is absolutely translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Increase heat to medium high.
Add rice, and stir well to coat with oils. Allow to cook for another 40 to 60 seconds, until the rice starts to squeak or squeal. Add brandy, and stir well. When all liquid has been absorbed, add one ladle of simmering broth, stir in and allow broth to be completely absorbed. Add second ladle of broth, stir until broth is absorbed. Add third ladle, stir, absorb.
Add butternut squash puree, and stir through with rice. Continue adding broth one full ladle at a time, stirring continously and allowing liquid to be absorbed each time before more is added. This will take another 10-12 minutes.
Cover and let rest while finishing fish.
Pre-heat skillet over medium high heat.
Gently pat dry fish pieces, being careful not to rub off spices.
Add 3 TBL oil to skillet, and add fish, being careful not to crowd pan.
Brown fish on all sides. Remove to warm plate, and repeat with any remaining fish.
To serve, place one-fourth of risotto in warmed bowls, and top with fish and chive or scallion garnish. The richness of the risotto and spiciness of the fish promise that this dish can hold its own against a fruity red wine. Our go-to weekday wine is Trader Joe's Charles Shaw, and we called on a Merlot for this experimental meal, and it was fine. But now that we have reclassed this unlikely combo as worthy of a special occasion, next time we will look deeper in the cellar.
Roasted Belgian endive is one of those dishes that is infinitely more nuanced and addictive than its name first implies. Both sweet and savory, and meltingly tender, this works equally well as a vegetarian entree served on top of mashed potatoes, or as a side dish with roast chicken. We used to live in a place where this vegetable was grown so it was abundant and cheap, and graced our dinner table a couple of times a month, at least. Now it is more of a treat, both in price and in availability — when he sees it on the table, T usually exclaims, “Roasted endives — is it my birthday?!”
If you know Belgian endive as a raw vegetable, you know it has a bitter edge. Some people seek out that edgy bite, many others shy away from it. But once baked this way, Belgian endive mellows, allowing the underlying sweetness of the raw vegetable to come through. It is assembled from a few common pantry staples, so when you spot this delectable vegetable in your market, you know you can put this together without searching out a lot of other ingredients. To make this dish, look for large spears that are creamy white, tinged with pale yellow at the tips.
ROASTED BELGIAN ENDIVE
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 slice of whole wheat bread
2 TBL fresh grated parmesan
1kg/2.2 Belgian endive
sea salt (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup (60ml) very dry white wine or water
2 TBL. + olive oil
Tear bread slice into smaller pieces and place in the small bowl of a food processor with the parmesan. Process briefly to make coarse bread crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Cut endive lengthwise in half, and lay with the cut side up in a baking dish that will hold all the tightly -packed cut vegetable halves. The endive will shrink as it bakes, so it’s okay to squeeze them in together even if they look uncomfortably tight in the dish, just keep the flat side facing up. Season with a few grinds of fresh pepper and salt (we usually omit the salt — the saltiness of the parmesan is enough for us). Pour broth and wine over and around endive. Scatter bread crumb mixture to cover the vegetable, then drizzle with olive oil to moisten the bread crumbs (you may need more than 2 TBL.)
Cover with a sheet of wax or parchment paper, then aluminum foil. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then remove foil and parchment, and continue roasting until vegetable becomes translucent and softens, and crust is golden brown, about another 10-15 minutes.
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, PROVIDED you actually use all the stuff you buy before it takes a turn. With stable items that are frozen, canned or otherwise shelf-stable, this isn’t generally a problem. But what about fresh produce?
Two of our favorite items from the warehouse store, Costco, are the fresh bagged spinach and the sweet peppers. Thing is, both come in 4 lb.quantities which is a lot for one household to use quickly unless you’re expecting a crowd. The photos above show the full quantities of each item after their vinegar washes.
For the spinach, the biggest problem is simply space. That volume of spinach just won’t fit in the fridge in our kitchen. We don’t eat a lot of raw spinach, though T. will occasionally make a spinach salad. The rest will be flash-cooked so it’s ready to use in a variety of dishes: omelets, dressed in sesame or garlic dressing as a side dish, added to pan-fried noodle dishes, topping for ramen or soba, filling for a pie or lasagne. One of the most time-consuming chores when using fresh greens of any kind is washing it, so by doing the whole quantity at once you’ve saved yourself valuable prep time for the rest of the week. My 16” wok will fit one colander-ful of cleaned spinach so it takes 3 turns on the wok to cook all the spinach, but with only 5 minutes cooking for each panful. Drain the cooked spinach, pressing lightly to remove as much water as possible, cool, and store.
Most importantly, valuable fridge real estate is preserved when those 3 colanders of fresh spinach now fit in 2 flat quart-size containers that stack neatly. Cooked spinach will also keep a bit longer than fresh, but I would still use it up in 4-5 days. After 2 days, I make it a point to re-heat the spinach thoroughly either in whatever it is cooked with or to the point of steaming in the microwave if used as a side dish or topping for noodle soups.
The sweet peppers we love for their wonderful sweetness, and they’re great for snacking on just by themselves. But with their rich colors, they’re also a welcome addition to stir-fries, stews, fajitas, omelets, and just about anything that would benefit from their color and sweetness. We probably use about half the peppers fresh, then I clean and trim the remaining peppers, vacuum seal them and freeze until needed. Most are cut into strips, but I like to leave a small quantity in halves so I have the option to do other things with them — cut into chunks for stews, or leave in halves and stuff for baking. When we have a filling leftover from making potstickers, gyoza, or even last year’s fried olive delights (remember those?.... so good...), pepper halves make perfect vessels for baking off the leftovers and treating yourself to a nice light lunch or an appetizer.
So whether you’re shopping at a warehouse store, or your local grocery is having a too-good-to-resist sale on your favorite produce, or your CSA box comes with loads of veggies you don’t plan to use right away, set aside an hour or two to prep them the more delicate, perishable ones right away, even if you’re not certain what you will do them later. Knowing you have them on hand and ready-to-use, will make it more likely that you will find creative ways to add them into your week-day meal planning or last-minute brain-storming.
Happy Cooking, Everyone! And remember, “Cook food, but serve Love.”
If you’ve visited this site before, you may have noticed I have a fondness for briny or pickled things. So one of the reasons I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans was less about Mardi Gras and more about the New Orleans famed Muffuletta sandwich at Central Grocery. (I don’t want to know what this says about my psyche...)
Muffuletta is basically a type of sub or hero sandwich made with Italian deli meats, a particular type of bread, and provolone and mozzarella cheeses — but the thing that is said to set the Muffuletta apart from mere mortal sandwiches is the olive salad which is part filling, part condiment. The salad is a conglomeration of olives, pepperoncini, pickled onions, capers, veggies and assorted seasonings. Once assembled, the sandwich is wrapped and allowed to rest so the salad has a chance to permeate the bread and meats with its oily goodness and create a delicious mess. My kind of sandwich!
Anyway, earlier this year while searching the Web for something entirely different, I repeatedly came across references to Muffulettas — maybe a dozen times in one search session. As I understood it, this was a sign from the universe that I could no longer wait to visit New Orleans to sample a Muffuletta, I’d just have to make one here.
First I read a couple of dozen recipes for that key ingredient, the olive salad, and used as a starting point the one that had the highest ratings or most positive comments from others who have actually had a Muffuletta from Central Grocery. After gathering everything in the rather lengthy and pricey list of ingredients (except the bread — I did not find the right bread, and used a ciabatta instead), I realized it might be more cost effective to buy a ticket to New Orleans instead! Just kidding. Sort of.
So once the salad was made and allowed to sit overnight, I couldn’t wait to assemble the actual sandwich. Some writers were very particular about the actual order of layering the meats and cheese, something I respect because I know that can affect the final flavor. I followed this order: bread, mozzarella, provolone, ham, mortadella, genoa salami, olive salad; then dutifully wrapped my sandwich in plastic and let it sit for a couple of hours.
All in all, it was a delicious creation. And, as promised, a very messy sandwich. Was it as good as I had built it up in my mind? After 20 years of imagining and lusting after this sandwich, there’s really no way it could be. But it was worth trying, and if I do find myself in New Orleans in the future, I will still find my way to Central Grocery for the Real Thing. Despite the Bad News (see below).
The olive salad, though, is useful in many other things and I will definitely make it again. It would make a great pizza topping all by itself, and is an instant gourmet flavor boost to any tuna or chicken salad with mayo for sandwiches and wraps, or mix with macaroni or tortellini for a picnic pasta salad. Whether you decide to go for the Muffuletta or not, this olive salad is a handy fridge staple to have on hand especially with the summer picnic season just ahead.
MUFFULETTA OLIVE SALAD
(based on jenn’s Real N'awlins Muffuletta)
1/2 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pickled cauliflower florets and carrots (giardiniera)
2 TBL capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
2 TBL chopped marinated cocktail onions
1/2 tsp raw sugar
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive container, and allow to marinate at least overnight.
The Bad News: This recipe came from allrecipes.com which has the added feature of providing nutritional information for the recipes on the site, which is a very Good thing. The bad news about the Muffuletta, though, is that one serving size (which is 1/8 of jenn’s full recipe) has a whopping 973 calories, 556 of which are from fat. But that isn’t even the worst of it — are you sitting down? — it also has 3,242mg of sodium in one serving. The sandwich in the photo above is probably just shy of 2 servings...
Another handy pickle to have in the fridge: Indian Spiced Cauliflower, Daikon & Carrot Pickle
One John Joseph actually went by the Italian version of this name, Giovanni Giuseppe, as he was born in that faraway land and had come to the U.S. as a young boy; we met Gio last year in Remembrances of Caponatas Past. The other John Joseph was of Irish descent and here we’ll call him JD. Both men enjoyed being in the kitchen, but were very different kinds of cooks. Gio picked up a pot of his mama’s homemade ragu every week to use for his bachelor meals, most of which featured this ragu. (Hey, with homemade ragu, how can you go wrong?!) JD was more of an experimental cook, who thrived on innovation in the kitchen as well as the workshop. One of his signature original (he swears) dishes was a quick saute of zucchini that requires only the most basic pantry staples, yet produces an addictively tasty and easy vegetable side dish. I’ve been making JD’s saute for over 20 years now and everyone who tries it, wants the recipe and is amazed how simple it is to prepare. This is perfect both for quick weekday meals and for serving in your best dishes to guests.
JD’S ZUCCHINI SAUTE
For 2 persons
Plan on 1 medium-sized zucchini per person, and this recipe easily doubles and triples
2 medium zucchini, about 1 lb/455g
1 TBL olive oil
1 medium to large clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp *dried basil
1/2 tsp *dried oregano
1/8 tsp *dried thyme
(* Someone once asked me why I don’t use fresh herbs for this, and the simple answer is that JD used dried herbs, and out of habit I do too with this particular recipe even when we have a garden full of basil, oregano and thyme...)
1-2 TBL unsalted butter
4-5 drops soy sauce, about 1/4 tsp (See Hint for controlling soy sauce drops below)
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Wash zucchini well, trim ends and slice to about 1/4” thickness.
In wok, or large skillet, heat oil and garlic over medium high heat until garlic is fragrant. Add sliced zucchini, and saute until zucchini just begin to become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add dried herbs and butter, and stir to melt butter and distribute herbs. Continue cooking until zucchini almost reach desired doneness — we prefer them to be slightly translucent but not completely limp, about 5 minutes for 2 zucchini (longer cooking if making larger quantities). Sprinkle soy sauce over, and stir well, cook for another 30 seconds, then remove from heat and correct seasoning. The soy sauce has to “cook” a little to achieve the right flavor but you don’t want it to scorch.
Serve with your favorite pasta or roast chicken.
If you have any leftovers, add with leftover spaghetti or diced potatoes, and eggs to make a great frittata for lunch the next day!
Hint for controlling shoyu when pouring or dribbling: If you have one of these soy sauce servers (at most Asian markets, they are less than $2 filled, then you re-fill them when empty), it’s easy to control the amount of soy sauce you add when pouring or drizzling drops of soy sauce as you cook. Simply place your finger over one opening as you tilt the bottle to pour. By quickly lifting your finger from the opening, you allow either a stream of liquid or just a few drops through, depending on how long your finger is off the opening. By also keeping the angle of the bottle tilt shallow, you can literally control the liquid drop by drop!
Costi prepared his mother's recipe for this sauce with only 5 ingredients: zucchini, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and fresh eggs. I’ve made this dish regularly since I learned it from him, but I also include a touch of garlic as a personal preference (but Costi would not approve). In this instance, I’ve also added asparagus because it was also seasonal and its flavors would marry well with the other ingredients.
The method is simple: thinly sliced zucchini are gently sauteed in copious amounts of olive oil until translucent, then the hot cooked pasta is heated through with the vegetable. Off the flame, beaten eggs are added and gently stirred through to combine. And when I say "copious amounts of olive oil," I mean enough to make most people faint at the thought of it — when I helped Costi make this dish for a dinner party thrown by our host family in London, he used almost a liter of oil for an 8-person serving! The hostess almost had a heart attack watching him devastate a prized bottle of olive oil she had brought back with her from their family’s last trip to Italy.
I cut back a bit on the amount of olive oil here, but this is about as far down as you can take it and still retain the creaminess of the original. I rationalize the amount of oil in this dish by thinking that 1) olive oil is at least a monounsaturated oil, approved by the American Heart Association for reducing bad cholesterol, and 2) we have this only once a year.
The freshness of the eggs is especially important in this dish, because the eggs are just barely cooked so they retain their creamy texture and do not “set” or scramble. I actually prepared this last spring when we were still on Oahu and zucchini, asparagus, and eggs were all local and fresh. When buying “farm fresh” eggs at the farm or market, let the proprietor know that you plan to use the eggs in a semi-cooked state and ask for the freshest they have on hand. Until I can find all these again in our new local area, I’ll wait and continue to dream of our next taste…
FETTUCCINE WITH SPRING VEGETABLES IN EGG “CUSTARD” SAUCE
Serves 4 persons
This dish contains semi-cooked eggs and, even when using the freshest eggs possible, should not be consumed by pregnant women, young children, the elderly or anyone with a compromised or weakened immune system (including those who are taking or have recently taken a course of antibiotics) without first consulting your physician.
1 lb. fresh or dried fettuccine, or other flat pasta
½ lb. zucchini
1 lb. asparagus spears
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cup olive oil (not a typo)
sea salt to taste
fresh grated Parmesan, about ½ cup, plus extra for the table
4 large very fresh eggs, preferably organic and without antibiotics
Bring water to boil for pasta. Warm pasta bowls/plates. (See hints for warming plates below.)
Wash and dry the zucchini and asparagus well, preferably in a vinegar wash. (See original Gai Choy post about cleaning vegetables to remove pesticides, wax and dirt and a link to an NPR story about cleaning vegetables.)
Slice the zucchini cross-wise on the diagonal. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the asparagus lengthwise into thin strips or ribbons.
Wash eggs well, and dry. Beat eggs together with ¼ cup oil. Set aside.
In a skillet or wok large enough to hold both the sauce and pasta, heat ½ cup olive oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic becomes fragrant. Add another ½ cup oil and zucchini, and stir gently to coat vegetable with oil. As zucchini absorbs oil, add another ¼ cup and allow vegetable to absorb new amount. Continue cooking until zucchini just starts to become translucent, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta (remember to salt the water just before adding your pasta).
Add asparagus ribbons, salt to taste (but remember that the Parmesan will add saltiness too), and combine to coat asparagus with oil. Continue to cook until asparagus just becomes bright green, about 4-5 minutes. Add Parmesan and stir.
Drain pasta, but do not rinse, and add hot pasta directly to skillet with the vegetables, and stir through to combine. Immediately pour beaten eggs over everything, and stir well but gently. Cover for 5 minutes.
Serve in warmed pasta bowls, garnished with extra Parmesan if desired. (If you don’t always warm your pasta bowl or plate — *guilty!* — this is one dish where you really want to take that extra step.)
With a garlicky bruschetta and glasses of Pinot Grigio or Soave, you’re set for a spring fling al fresco! Happy Spring!
Hints for Warming Bowls/Plates:
* If you’re making garlic bread, put your plates in the oven as it’s pre-heating. Remove them from the oven to put in the garlic bread, and keep covered with a clean towel. Or if you’re like us and use a toaster oven for this task, put the stacked plates on top of the toaster oven while making your garlic bread — if you have 4 or more plates, you may have to rotate the plates around to get them all warm.
* Bring a kettle of water to a boil, and pour ½ cup into each bowl just before serving. Set aside for 1 minute, pour off water and dry.
* Find your warming tray and put it to use! We have one that uses 2 votive candles to keep serving dishes warm at the table, but it can pull double duty here by warming your pasta bowls while you are preparing the meal.
* In the microwave, place a 1/4 cup or so of water in each bowl, stack them and place in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your oven. Remove water and dry.
My bento is ready to go and so am I. An unexpected trip to the Bayou State has presented itself and I will be away one week. Airline meals being what they are, I usually pack my own when I can, like this easy meal of rice, pickled plum, (umeboshi), pickled ginger, sesame burdock and carrots (kinpira) and miso-glazed chicken. Simple flavors, lots of rice and ginger for a sometimes queasy stomach, and I'm good to go. Miso glazed chicken is quick and easy enough for weeknight meals, but elegant enough as well for your next dinner party.
1lb (450g) boneless chicken
3/4 cup (375ml) water
1/2 cup sake, or dry sherry, or apple juice
1 slice fresh ginger
2 TBL. mirin
3 TBL. sugar
4 TBL. white (aka "shiro") miso paste
Combine water, sake and ginger in saute pan. Lay chicken in pan, and bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook about 5 minutes.
Turn chicken over in pan, and add mirin, sugar and miso paste. Cover and simmer another 5 minutes.
Remove cover and continue cooking until liquid thickens and coats chicken. Turn meat to glaze both sides. Remove from heat. Garnish with green onions, or sesame seeds.
Papayas&Apple bananas --- Lychee(top)&Dragonfruit ---Taro,Russetts,Okinawan sweets&Red-skin Sweets --- Long beans,Squash blossoms&Red shallots
As a fairly new resident in Hawaii, I’ve really enjoyed combing through local farmers’ markets, ethnic groceries, even supermarket produce aisles to find what’s local and fresh here. Of course one expects to find tropical fruits (papayas, mangoes, dragonfruit, bananas, pineapples) and Asian vegetables a-plenty, and there’s certainly no shortage of these. What took my breath away is the abundance of unexpected delectables that are also grown locally: mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, strawberries, apples, oranges, and corn (corn?!). (And one of the local papers reports that coming soon…. blueberries from cool volcano slopes!) ©2007 setsat3
Another striking thing about the local produce is the variety that one will find in each category.
Do you like beans? You’ll find Kentucky green, yard-long, flat romanos, wing, sugar snap, and snowpeas.
How about sweet potatoes? They come in three colors – Okinawan purple or white flesh, and the traditional red-skinned yellow flesh (none of these are the orange yams called “sweet potatoes” on the Mainland).
Squash fan? Try zucchini, tongan or upo; or the hard-skinned kabocha.
Then there are the papayas – sunrise (orange flesh) or rainbow (red-orange) , or the unripe green ones for cooking;
and the luscious mangoes -- ripe greens, purples, reds, and deep orange Manilas.
And if you like cabbage, you’ve come to the right place – napa, Chinese mustard (also called gai choi, not US “mustard greens”), bok/pak choi (regular & baby sizes, white or green stem), choi sum, Chinese broccoli, green or white head cabbage.
Bananas that are locally grown include regular (Cavendish), apple, WIlliams, and saba (Philippine cooking bananas); but one can also find baby varieties, red eating and cooking varieties (separate types), as well as plantains in many shops.
But the crème de la crème for me is definitely the local mushroom bounty – fresh shiitake, shimeji, enoki and oyster mushrooms . . . . all year long. Mmmm.
The Hawaii Agriculture and Food Products Directory is compiled by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture compilation of Hawaii fruits and vegetables, showing peak availability, month-by-month. In addition to fruits of the tree and vine, there are also eggs, milk, pork and wonderful grass-fed beef --- all locally produced.
Other local products to look for:
- coffee, of course, both from the Kona coast and from the other islands;
- fragrant honeys;
- vanilla beans;
- Hawaiian Heritage chocolate;
- macadamia nuts and oils;
- alae sea salt (a wonderful finishing and preserving salt mixed with red clay);
- farm-raised sweet shrimp and white-flesh moi (fish);
- and award-winning goat cheeses from Maui and the Big Island.