Rancher's Lamb and Eating Locally Grown Stuff

A few posts ago, I mentioned some lamb I bought at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Waimea. We were thrilled to be able to buy locally raised lamb, right from the ranchers themselves.  And, it was excellent, I might add.  Should you be interested, the source is Kahua Ranch, (808 882-4646) on Kohala Mountain Rd.  They have meat available at a local Farmers Market, which is usually held on the first Saturday of the month in Waimea, as well as Monday thru Friday at the Ranch.  Call for directions and availability.

And, going along with the concept of locally produced foods, a worker at my favorite, healthy foods store, Island Naturals, was able to put me in touch with people selling fresh, local pork products.  Things are looking up around here.  If you're an omnivore.  And, I am.  Our neighborhood CSA, Ke Ola Farm, is doing more veggies now (not only greens) and I've been really happy with the last boxes....


Pork Enchiladas in Green Sauce

Chocolate is the secret ingredient here.  Don't tell anyone.  I had roasted a pork loin for Sunday and, was faced with the oldest question in gastronomic history, what to transform some left-over meat into.  A resplendent reincarnation, altogether new, is called for.  A favorite with this Left-Over Diva is enchiladas, or cannelloni if we're going Italian style.  Meat pies or empanadas would be a good option, but that's another post.

First off, I wanted to simmer the pork, diced into small cubes, in a marinade of citrus juices and white wine until the liquid was almost all evaporated or absorbed into the meat.  Just because it sounded like a good idea.  Then saute some cooked, diced potatoes (more left-overs, ha), a bit of onion, some minced chili pepper, and add that to the meat.

It was at this point that chocolate popped into my head.  Can't imagine what cosmic dimension the thought arrived from.  But, what the heck.  Everything goes better with bacon, right?  Well, we've already got pork covered, so what else is almost universally loved?  Right, chocolate.  I ground some cacao nibs (yes, these are from my tree) and toasted pumpkin seeds, just because they go well together, then added that into the pork mixture.  Ready for stuffing those tortillas.  Recipe after the jump.


Save the Mangroves

  I thought the following information  was worth passing on, as it appears the eco thugs are busy once again (are they ever not?).  Destroying the environment, in the name of environmentalism.  The article is by Dr. Singer.
A lawsuit has just begun on the Big Island of Hawaii to seek an injunction ending the environmental destruction caused, not by invasive species, but by invasive species eradicators.
Being eradicated is the famous mangrove tree, which lives in brackish waters along shoreline wetlands. Mangroves are valued around the world for their beauty, protection of the shoreline during tsunamis and storms, protection of coral reefs from runoff and silt, creation of fish nursery habitats, and purification of polluted waters, among other things.
But in Hawaii, where native species supremacists run amok, the mangrove's “non-native” status has condemned it to extermination, to the very last propagule.
Currently under attack are 15 acres of prime shoreline and conservation land, some near popular beaches, with swimmers, snorkelers, and surfers nearby, all deemed guilty of harboring mangroves. These include Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo, Isaac Hale Beach Park in Pohoiki, Paki Bay, and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
           The method of attack is to apply herbicide, killing the trees and leaving them dead, decaying, and rotting in place. The dead trees will stay there for years to come. Proponents of this method state that using poisons avoids the need to conduct an Environmental Assessment, and is less expensive than hand removal, which can disturb the soil and trigger an Environmental Assessment.
An Environmental Assessment is necessary to determine if an action poses a potential threat to the environment, human health, the economy, cultural resources, etc.
Why avoid an Environmental Assessment? It takes time, money, and involves public comment and scrutiny, which could backfire on plans to experiment with poison on trees along the shoreline.


Colombian Cassava Cake

 Basket of Manioc (Pia in Hawaiian)
I just watched a video of some villagers in Brazil preparing manioc.  Incredible!  What a tremendous amount of work goes into the preparation of tapioca or manioc flour.  You see, I had the, no doubt idiotic, idea to make some of the traditional Colombian/Brazilian, etc. (South American) bread, called Pandebono, or Cheese rolls. From scratch, turning the above, rustic looking, tubers into flour??  After watching said film clip, I don't think so.  We won't be doing that here.  I mean I'm all for using the products of the land, etc. etc., but there's a time and place to farm out certain procedures.  Brake jobs, sewer cleaning, brain surgery...   you get the picture.

Instead, I will be turning the roots into a Colombian Cassava (another of the many names of manioc) Cake, called Enyucado.  I've written about cooking with this starch before, but this will be a completely different approach for me.  In the past, I've only used it as a sort of potato replacement.  This recipe calls for shredded manioc.  I can  will do that. Often choices are involved. The task here is not so daunting.


Is it Spring?

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Waimea, Hawaii.  Whoopie!  Bumper to bumper traffic crawling slowly though the usually quiet, little town.  A drought afflicted season, so the trees were not flowering as abundantly as in some years.  Still... an occasion, I guess.  I was just a bit down because we didn't get to eat where I wanted.  Closed, and on such a day??  Maybe they preferred to be part of the crowds everywhere.
However, the company was good.  And, the fair style shopping.  I visited the Fudge Lady, bought an arugula plant, got some Kahua Ranch raised lamb from the lovely Ranch people.  The major food groups were covered.

But, do you know what blossom really thrills me?  One currently blooming away in my own wee orchard??
Yes, folks, MANGOS.  My favorite of all the fruits.  If we're really blessed this year, they'll actually hold onto their little progeny.  Often on this rainy side of the island they don't.
Do you see those cute baby fruits?  I am looking forward to mango season, in case you wondered.


Heart Healthy Chicken Salad

Friday, February 5th is National Wear Red Day® sponsored by The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to encourage women to better understand their own heart health, risk factors, and ways to decrease heart disease among women. Robin Sue from The Big Red Kitchen is hosting her own take on the day, with a round-up of Heart Healthy recipes. So, get out that red dress, Ladies.  Or, tee shirt.  And, cook heart healthy.
My contribution, a Chicken Salad, with olives and carambola slices.  Carambola or starfruit is juicy and mildly citrusy, a terrific combination with the tangy, black Kalamata olives and tender, succulent chicken.  That birdy was especially moist, as I did the Ruhlman Brined Roast Chicken thing (which he posted last week) on Sunday and had a nice supply of the best ever cooked chicken on hand.  I will be doing that a lot.

For additional heart healthy recipes, the Mayo Clinic has an extensive list, and also check out Robin Sue's round-up on her site after Friday.

Chicken Salad with Olives and Carambola
1 cup cooked, chopped chicken
handful of torn romaine lettuce
handful of torn red leaf or Manoa lettuce
handful of watercress or arugula leaves
6 or 7 black olives, sliced in half
2 starfruit (carambolas), sliced and seeded
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 red onion, minced (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar (I used lemon juice and Balsamic vinegar)
1 bruised clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Shake together in a jar and use about 3 tablespoons for your salad.  The rest will keep nicely in the fridge for a week or so. I arranged the fruit on top after tossing the salad with dressing.  Serve with fresh bread and a soup, if you have some really hungry guys.  The salad and bread were enough for us.


Recipes to Rival: Eggplant Parmesan

These were so pretty, calling to me from the market produce bin, I couldn't resist.  And, that purple-flowered basil matches so well.  However, don't know about the rest of you, but I tend to forget things in my fridge.  They were fast approaching their "use by" date, when I finally had everything together for Eggplant Parmesan, Mario style, our latest Recipes to Rival dish, hosted by Temperance at High on the Hog.

Most of my family (extended included) don't really care for eggplant, so the real challenge is always to make it so they can hardly resist.  Quite a feat for my granddaughter especially.

The dish was good, though I really don't see the point of those individual towers, other than for cute servings.  I think it works easier and just as good to layer them in the ordinary way.  The towers likely derived from the whole haute gourmet plating style in restaurants, where everything has to be artfully stacked on top of each other.  Just my opinion.  Also, I think my usual recipe tastes lighter.  I first roast the eggplant slices with just a brushing of olive oil.  I had to use way too much  in this.  Probably the oil wasn't hot, hot, hot enough??  Really not sure.  But, there certainly wasn't any left in the pan after the first batch was done.  Had to keep adding more.  Also, if you roast the eggplant, there's no need for any breading.  You can just sprinkle the herbs on when layering.
For the recipe -