Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was responsible for cooking Thanksgiving dinner for our family. I pretty much stuck with the planned menu - a traditional theme, with local flavor.

The turkey was done kalua style in the oven. Click here for a copy of the recipe.

To make the cranberry relish, I used fresh cranberries, sugar, crushed pineapple, a mixture of pecan and macadamia that I candied myself, and li hing powder. It's garnished with a couple of orange slices.

The yams were baked in sugar and covered with marshmallow. I dusted the top of the whole thing with cinnamon and li hing powder.

Here's a picture of my kim chee cornbread stuffing. It's made of onion, carrot, celery, fresh thyme and sage, butter, beer, kim chee, Zippy's cornbread, vegetable stock, and salt. Garnish is just a few sage leaves.

Instead of mashed potatoes, I went with garlic infused mashed Okinawan Sweet Potato. This is one of the simpler dishes, made with just potato, salt, butter, cream, and garlic.

Here's the picture of the full spread. You'll see some green beans in there. Those were marinated in a garlic-ponzu sauce and pan fried. They aren't much to look at, which is why I skipped the picture.

Here's the far end of the table. I shredded the turkey and served the white and dark meats separately. The gravy was also homemade: turkey gizzards, onion, carrot, celery, crystallized ginger, beer, shoyu, thyme, water, and cornstarch.

For dessert, I made a pumpkin haupia crunch. It's actually a combination of two recipes: pumpkin crunch from a coworker and haupia topping from @konaish.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

4 Kings | Honolulu, Hawaii

Our babysitter (aka my mom) has been sick, so last week's "date night" was a family outing to 4 Kings restaurant on Waialae Ave. Those of you familiar with the Kaimuki area would probably remember the space as being previously occupied by Green Papaya. It feels very homey, with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Overall, we enjoyed the food at this family-friendly establishment.

4 Kings
3579 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-8820

In addition to Green Papaya's location, 4 Kings has also retained some of their menu items. You'll find lots of vegetarian-friendly options here, which is a big plus for wifey.

There aren't very many places to sit, but we went early enough that we sat down right away. It began to fill up by the time we left, though.

Our son wasn't very hungry so they made him a special rice-only temaki.

I ordered the "spicy Thai noodle soup," which I'm presuming is their version of Tom Yum. The soup was very flavorful without being overly spicy.

Wifey got vegetable tempura and the veggie roll. Yes, I realize now that I should have turned the veggie roll around before taking the picture.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kalua Turkey Recipe


I used this recipe (given to me by my uncle) last year. It's very easy and the turkey tastes amazing - almost as if it came out of an imu. If I were doing a more traditional dinner, I'd brine the turkey for 24 hours and cook it upside down. If anyone's interested, I can post that recipe as well.

Prep the pan:
1. Line an aluminum pan with lots of foil, going from top to bottom and side to side. Make sure you have about two to three feet of foil hanging over the pan on all four sides, which will be used to make a seal.
2. Line banana leaves, if you can get them, in the bottom of the pan. Save some for the top of the turkey.
3. Then line the pan with ti leaves. Save some for the top of the turkey.

Prep the turkey:
1. Rinse the bird inside and out.
2. Take out the neck and the bag of gizzards.
3. Rub Hawaiian rock salt and liquid smoke all over, inside and out. I use Alea Hawaiian rock salt (the red one) and Mesquite smoke flavor.
4. Place the turkey in the pan.
5. Place the remaining ti leaves over the turkey, then the banana leaves.
6. From the sides, wrap and seal the turkey with the aluminum foil. Then do the same with the top/bottom foil. Wrap the foil as airtight as possible.

Bake at 300 degrees for eight (8) hours.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

I've been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family for the past several years. I usually cook the usual turkey, stuffing, yams, etc. Don't get me wrong, traditional is not bad, but it is sure is boring. Being that wifey is back in school, she's also invited some friends over to share the meal with us. Since none of them are from here, I've decided to add some local flair to the usual fare. Here's what's on the menu so far:
• Kalua Turkey with Giblet Gravy (considering a gravy that's either miso-based or has a light ponzu flavor)
• Candied Ginger Cranberry Relish
• Kim Chee Cornbread Stuffing
• Roasted Garlic Infused Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potato
• Li Hing Pineapple and Yams
For those of you who are interested, I will post recipes as I come up with them.

So what about you? What are your Thanksgiving plans like?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ryan's Grill + The Pill Box | Honolulu, Hawaii

Last night, we had dinner at Ryan's Grill, a longtime favorite (when we were first married, we'd have dinner there almost every week). It's been awhile, though, since we'd been back and a gift card from @KaizenHawaii was a good excuse to return.

Ryan's Grill
1200 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 591-9132
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The Pill Box Pharmacy
1133 11th Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-4966

Of all the restaurants that used to occupy the second floor of Ward Center, Ryan's is the only one to have survived. I think that speaks to the quality of food and service.

Our first appetizer was the Jamaican Jerk Fries. Wifey was disappointed that they don't make them like they used to. She remembers them being thin and crispy, with the seasoning evenly distributed throughout. Last night's fries were cut thick and all the spices were clumped in the middle.

The spicy edamame, too, was different. It was sweeter and not as spicy. It wasn't bad - just not what we were used to.

Wifey ordered the Pizza Insalata. It's a four cheese pizza, topped with bruschetta, basil, and mixed greens. She said it was absolutely delicious.

For some strange reason, I was craving fish, so I went with the Spicy Ahi special. Seared to a perfect medium-rare, it was served with an avocado-cucumber salad and furikake rice. This dish was the perfect balance of heat and coolness.

We had a tough time picking a place for dessert, since Little Oven was closed. We finally decided on ice cream from the Pill Box Pharmacy in Kaimuki. They usually have 20 or so flavors for you to choose from. I've tried almost everyone and they are all good.

Wifey and I both had Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. A scoop this size will only set you back $1.50 (and that's including tax).