Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pasta May Have Come From The Middle East?! or The Myth of Marco Polo

Food for thought...

Buttermilk Biscuits and Strawberry Jam

We had some strawberries in the fridge that were losing their luster, in perfect condition for a simple jam. Jam needs a medium and there is nothing better than buttermilk biscuits.  Bingo! Breakfast. 

My simple versions of both are loosely based on Epicurious recipes. Perfect for a spring weekend, thirty minutes is all you'll need. 

Buttermilk Biscuits 

yield: Makes 6 biscuits



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. (I got a little help from Jada and Michele here.) 

Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary.  

I went old school and used a simple tea cup to cut my biscuits. 

Transfer as many as you can make with your dough to a greased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. 

Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

On to the strawberry jam. You can make this while the biscuits are baking. It takes about the same time. 

Strawberry Jam 
yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups



  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen, thawed) hulled, quartered strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine 1 cup hulled, quartered strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a large heavy skillet. 

Stir in 1 peeled, coarsely grated large Granny Smith apple. 

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up strawberries, until sugar dissolves. 

Simmer until jam is thickened, 10-15 minutes. 

Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. 

Transfer to a bowl or jar; let cool. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Malino's Sunset Serenade

Simple songs offered on the porch of The Baldwin House. Island nights...

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sandcastles At Sunset, Kanaapali Beach

Here, sunset anchors the day. Early hours are spent preparing for the big show, putting the line of work and responsibilities behind you so that you are free to idle when the sun begins its drop.

Today, we drove up to Kanaapali for a new perspective. Built sandcastles. So simple. Satisfying. Grounded in the ebbs and flows of forces beyond our self-imposed tethers on time. Resigned and content when we finally turn our backs on the sea.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sautéed Romaine, A Revelation

Wilted, warm lettuce? That's what I thought when Mike presented this side dish tonight. My instinct was to pass, but I try to give everything new at least one taste.

This was a revelation. Simply prepared with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper cooking the lettuce reveals a depth of flavor and a heartiness that I would never expect from my favorite salad green. So, I'm passing it on.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Swimming Lessons"

YouTube Video

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140th Anniversary of The Banyan Tree

This weekend, Lahaina celebrated the 140th Anniversary of its Banyan Tree. In many ways, it was a typical weekend here. Fairs under the tree are constant and spring up for almost any notable occasion. Vendors dot the ground beneath like colorful seeds, offering the best of themselves up to be carried away by passersby. Performers and dancers open up their arms and voices beneath its vast leaves. Here is a humble offering by a local, high school ukelele band. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Husband's Matriciana

For all of my people out there who have always want some small insight in to Michele's culinary mastery, this one's for you.

In keeping with our theme of using the odds and ends of spare foods left in the fridge before we head back to Maui, I give you last's night's dinner...Michele's Matriciana.

Our inspiration? An already opened pack of leftover bacon. 

Dice it. 

Sauté it with or without a tbsp of olive oil, your preference. 

Cook until fat is rendered, but not until crisp. 

Slice onions and a few leaves of basil and add to the pot. 

Season with salt, pepper and the rind of a small piece parmeggiano reggiano . 

Cook covered, slow and low, until onions caramelize, at least fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. 

In the meantime, pull out any pasta that you have in your pantry. (In our case, for our party of eight, we used two boxes of mini farfalle.)

Boil water for your pasta. 

While you wait for that to bubble, pull out your tomato sauce. We only use Cento Tomato Paste in a Tube, 4.6 oz. (Google Affiliate Ad) Cento, whole or crushed tomatoes. 

Stir in to the bacon and onions. 

Simmer at least thirty minutes, seasoning to taste. 

Go back to your boiling water and drop your pasta. 

Cook until al dente. 


Once your sauce tastes ready, the sweet and salty and smoky flavors of your ingredients harmonized, pour half of it in to the now empty pasta pot. 

Transfer the pasta from the strainer back to the pasta pot, on top of the sauce. 

Then, pour the remaining sauce over the pasta. 

Stir until sauce covers pasta evenly. 

Grate as much parmeggiano reggiano as you would like over the pasta. We like a small heap. 

Add another handful of basil. 



Here's a recap of the ingredients that you will need: 

a standard, 16 oz package of bacon
2 large onions 
a bunch of fresh basil 
28 oz can of Cento crushed tomatoes
a chunk of Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese, grated with rind separated
Two boxes of pasta 

Bon Appetito! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sole with Leeks and Tomatoes

We are heading to Maui again on Tuesday and this is what the fridge looks like. 

Too full. We have to use all of this stuff by Monday night or it will all be tossed. I hate waste, so I ticked off each item for inspiration tonight. Random.  Mushrooms? No. A bushel of basil? Not in the mood for pesto. Two heads of romaine? Wasn't in the mood for a salad. A bag of peppers? Nothing. 

Then I slid out the vegetable drawer and spied a lonely bundle of leeks. Leeks. Lovely leeks. They speak to me of spring time and I pulled one free. 

This is when my Epicurious app comes in handy. I typed in "leeks". More ticking. I scrolled past the Mushroom and Leek Soup. Game Hen with Creamy Leeks and Vadoum. Risotto. Boring. I was seeking something simple, that Jada would enjoy, but with dimension, maybe even a little luxurious. An old Bon Appetit recipe, Sole with Leeks and Tomatoes, seemed perfect. 

I am sharing my variation of the recipe with you here. Enjoy! 

3 tbsp olive oil 
1 cup sliced leeks 
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 
1 cup chicken broth 
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp crushed tomatoes 
2 5-6 oz sole fillets 
all purpose flour 

First step: chop your leeks, garlic and thyme 

Sauté them in half of the olive oil under they are tender, about three minutes. 

Add your chicken broth and wine. 

Boil for three minutes until it looks like this: 

Add tomatoes and boil until the sauce thicken, about five minutes. 

Season to taste and it's done. 

Next step, prepare to sear your fish. 

Specifically, this means sprinkling your fillets with a little salt, pepper and a dusting of flour. Place gently in to a hot skillet with the rest of your olive oil, medium-high heat. Sauté, three minutes each side. 

I placed my fish on a bed of rice but mashed potatoes would work just as well. Top fish with sauce. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First Food Truck Rally at Grand Army Plaza!

It's nice to come home to the familiar. Sunday's Food Truck Rally at Grand Army Plaza, in the heart of our home base, was a warm welcome back. There's nothing like the gathering of community around good food. 

Asia, Michele and I spread out as soon as we walked in to the square. Lines were long and time was short. Through the maze of trucks and the thick crowd, I made a bee-line for the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck

My favorite restaurant in Red Hook, they were completely devastated by Hurricane Sandy. It was so exciting to see them back and I wanted to show my support. 

The Connecticut lobster roll is their ultimate offering and never disappoints. The lobster was perfectly cooked, warm and creamy, elevated by the light splash of melted butter and sprinkle of chives on a perfectly toasted bun. Heaven. I shared a bite or two with Asia and Michele, as they waited on their own lines. 

Asia opted for Rickshaw Dumplings. Another classic in our family's repertoire, she picked up two orders of the pork and chive dumplings and one order of the chicken dumplings with peanut sauce. We set them up on the top of Jada's stroller (who was sleeping) and went in with a frenzy with our chopsticks. 

Second course down and completely satisfied, we listened for Michele's order number to be shouted out from Kimchi Taco's Truck. This was a new one for us, a fusion of Mexican and Korean barbecue that seemed undeniable. 

They did not let us down. The chicken tacos were palate bending, marinated in roasted garlic, onions, cilantro, soy sauce and sesame oil and served with pico de gallo, pickled daikon, and kimchi chipotle aoili! We are definitely believers and will stop whenever this truck crosses our path in the future. 

After our extended stay in Maui and our long trip home, our day at the rally felt like a warm embrace from our own part of the world. We left happy and satiated, feeling grounded and connected and finally at home. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

Sun. Check.
Fun. Check.
New Maui apartment. Check.
Market research for restaurant. Check.
New seeds planted. Check.

Heading back to NYC.
We will be back soon.
To all of you who have followed us on this little journey, mahalo & thank you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pineapple Wine via Ulupalakua Vineyards

Yes, pineapple wine. Found only on the rolling hills of Haleakula, Upcountry Maui. In a real vineyard, to boot.

We bought this one home. Most balanced of the offerings. Soft. Undertones of tropical fruit, but clean finish.

Perfect with fish. Last night we made a lime butter sauce for our wild salmon and added a few glugs of the wine to add some depth of flavor. Gorgeous! Rich and bright. A novel and memorable meal.

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