Hawaii Part Three

Hawaii Part Three
Feb 09, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose, posted here.

Hawaiian Home
Our home base for the entire visit to Hawaii was at Patti and Marty Kimball’s beautiful home high in the Kona Mountains with a panoramic view of the ocean below.Ocean liners and their entourage of smaller boats looked like toy boats in one’s bathtub.

The first thing we both noticed before entering the house was this stunning ‘dinosaur egg’ cement planter made by Marty’s brother Mark Kimball.

Imagine being able to go out into one’s half acre yard to pick passion fruit, several varieties of avocado (Marty explained that the most delicious, the large and plump Kahalu’u variety cannot be exported because of it’s loose pit that shakes around during transport damaging the flesh), mangoes, oranges, apple bananas, papaya, pineapple, star fruit, and all manner of vegetables. Truly we had landed in tropical paradise. A paradise with no snakes as years ago the mongoose population wiped them out, however, the Coqui frogs, which have no other natural predators, abound. We were serenaded by their bird-like chirping all night until the roosters took over at 4:00 am (Many Hawaiians have a slightly different opinion of this concert!). This created a life-style of early to bed and early to rise–ideal as the best time for ocean swims to prevent sunburn is before the sun rises too high.

During our swim at Kahalu’u, a favorite of the locals, we saw many of the fish that I had seen growing up in my cousin’s aquarium. Hector held up a rock to attract them. The black, white, and yellow angelfish and butterfly fish with their long streamers, the bright yellow tang fish, and blue parrotfish all flocked to him.

After our swim we went to Sam Choy’s for lunch, recommended by my dear friend Leslie Harlib, formerly food editor of the Marin County News. She said it was the best view on the Big Island but she didn’t know at the time about the view we were to have chez Kimballs! The food was quite good. We had our first fish, poke, two ways: marinated, w/onions and chives, and fried w/cabbage. We also sampled another of Hector’s favorite fish, ono w/ brown rice and purple sweet potatoes.
Mornings began with freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges harvested from the backyard, while Woody was busy answering blog questions, and Hector was busy organizing and reorganizing the rest of the trip. Hector had brought a house gift assorted Hawaiian coffees and made us cappuccini.

We presented Hector with daily gifts ranging from a book–to a copper tin-lined cake pan–to a white satin jacket with “The Cake Bible” embroidered in hot pink. We also brought gifts for Patti.

Patti’s large and well-organized semi-commercial open kitchen was a dream to work in. We all walked barefoot on the most satiny-exquisite wood flooring I’ve ever seen, made from Robusta Eucalyptus trees. The walls were decorated with beautiful paintings by their daughter Sean Kimball.

Patti and I worked together making the coffee panacotta I had contributed several years ago to a booklet on the Hawaiian Sugar in The Raw.

And Hector, Woody, and I worked together at last, creating an adaptation of one of my favorite pastries using many Hawaiian ingredients such as Sugar in the Raw, macadamia nuts, and Hawaiian Rum. (The wonderful pastry will be included in our next book, even though we had said we were done adding recipes.)

Hector and Patti turned out many fabulous lunches and dinners. Patti prepared specialties such as Mexican style black bean cakes with a chunky avocado , Mahi Mahi, purple sweet potatoes, delicately delicious baby Kale greens, and shrimp/chicken gumbo. She honored me by making my pizza and my mother’s coleslaw with avocado.

Hector made some of his Spanish specialties from his childhood in Peru. A crisp and delicious onion salad called Salsa Criolla with lemon and hot pepper, and a savory sofrito rice with passion fruit juice.

Hector’s dear friend, astronomer Luca Rizzi, brought a lovely Tira Misu and entertained us eloquently and informatively about the Keck telescopes and our upcoming visit to it.

With all this wonderful eating we tried to get some exercise by walking, but the mountain road was so steep Hector and Woody had to hold me on either side to keep me from rolling down. Next posting: the demo at Leeward Community College in Honolulu!

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Hawaii Part Two

Hawaii Part Two
Feb 02, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose, posted here.

Culinary Event at the Fairmont

Things started off with a bang: We were invited to a special event at the Fairmont Hotel, coordinated by Hector’s friend chef Patti Kimball. It was the Culinary & Wine Extravaganza Charity Event for the Kitchen Campaign Palamanui to buy equipment for the school. Hector arranged to have three of my cookbooks at the auction!

On the way to the Fairmont Hotel we were treated to a landscape of black lava, decorated with personal messages written with small white rocks. We thought about bringing some lava rock home as souvenirs but were warned by Hector that the goddess Pele would bring bad luck to anybody who does this. As we drove up to the hotel it seemed strangely familiar. It took a few days to discover that Elliott and I had stayed there 18 years ago when it was called the Ritz.

The hotel was decorated for Christmas which included unusual gingerbread house.

The first person we met turned out to be a colleague of mine I hadn’t seen since she moved to Hawaii: The chairwoman of the event Jean W. Hull (pictured with Hector below, at breakfast the next morning)

Hector describes Jean as the Grand Dame of Hawaii Culinary. She wrote the curriculum for the West Hawaii Culinary College and now is a consultant for major culinary events

Out in the garden, chef students helped man the booths. After meeting our host Patti Kimball, we raced around to try to taste everything!

Favorites were the ginger chicken salad, wild boar meatballs, and eggplant cake frosted with avocado.

We met and were charmed by French born chef Fernand Guiot who opened a bakery in New York in 1980 and a few years later opened a bakery in Hawaii. He now teaches at the culinary school. It was his students who made the gingerbread house above and several other ones, under his supervision.

The next morning we were treated to the brunch buffet and were blown away by chef Curtis Lea making omelets. Not only were the omelets made with Portuguese sausages, cheddar and spinach so good we had to go back for seconds, what impressed us still more was when he volunteered that having a metal prosthesis served as a great advantage. He never worries about burning or cutting his left hand or arm, and can run the metal device under boiling water to sterilize it. (Talk about silver linings!) Patti told us later that she and he were in culinary school together and the students all took up a collection to buy him a better prosthesis.

Before departing for Patti’s home we walked to the hotel beach and learned that the white sand was imported from California. A few of the beaches in Hawaii are black sand, but there are also beaches of plain rock, lava rock, and white sand. The Fairmont is located in an area where there is a mixed landscape of all these forms and colors.

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Finally meeting hector

Finally Meeting Hector Wong in Hawaii
Jan 26, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose, posted here.

Hector Wong and I first met over the internet in December of 2006 when he posted a question on my blog about Panettone. Since that time we have had an enormous influence over each other’s lives. Hector baked his way through many of the recipes in The Cake Bible and all of the recipes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. He read through all of my books and became intimately familiar with my work and in the process became a masterful baker. His renditions of my cakes were so stunning I gave him a spot on the blog called “Hector’s Take on My Cake.” And Hector taught me how to make the leap from a PC to a Mac and innumerable techniques on the computer. He also edited and posted over 150 of my video and tv appearances on YouTube so that every one could benefit. He also often jumps in to answer questions on the blog. It hardly seems possible that we have been friends for 6 years, only having spoken once on the phone, but having exchanged hundreds of e-mails.

Hector has been inviting me for several years to come to visit him in Hawaii. Finally the time came this past December to meet in person. It took a lot of planning on all our parts and even included a culinary demo at Leeward Community College, arranged by another wonderful new friend Haley MatsonMathes.

The 10 day visit was the trip of a lifetime. And for Hector, it meant achieving several of his wishes:
A chance to interview me over the period of many days and long car trips
The chance to do a drop dead mis en place for my demo
The perfect opportunities to show off his baking and culinary skills
Getting me to taste his avocado rendition of my chocolate oblivion
And to work together to create a Hawaiian adaptation of one of my favorite recipes that will be in the upcoming book.

The trip included so many special highlights that I’ve divided it into several postings to share with all of you and I hope that you will feel almost as if you were there. Truly it was an embarrassment of riches: the people, the fruit, the demo, the landscape, swimming in the ocean. The most unusual highlight, the visit to the Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea, arranged and led by the astronomer himself, Hector’s close friend Luca Rizzi, was video taped by Hector along with appropriate music. It will be posted in the posting about touring in a few weeks time. Do Not Miss It!!!

Woody flew out of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, which had 14 inches of snow
I from out of cloudy gray, 40˚F/4˚C New York City
We both arrived to 80˚F/27˚C sunny Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Baby 06 Lemon Cheese (page 327) – kona lemon pistachio take

when i make ROSE’S heavenly CAKES: Baby Lemon Cheesecakes (page 327), i need A LOT of lemon juice. here is a handy tool:

juice lab -beater blade -new metro - 4

i had a lot of snack pistachios, those commonly snacked, salted, in the shell, and though of using them as a cheesecake base.  i shelled the pistachios, and to my amazement, the cleaned pistachios were not salty; most of the salt resides on the shell!  now u all won’t need to buy hard to find unsalted pistachios sold for baking.

i used the crust recipe from the Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake (page 247), replacing the gingersnap cookies (by weigh) with shelled pistachios, and indeed this crust becomes wheat free!  instead of pecans, you replace them with more pistachio, too.  omit the salt.  this is what it looks like:

Kona Lemon Pistachio Cheesecake - 1

and the lined cupcake molds:

Kona Lemon Pistachio Cheesecake - 2

 

Whipped 11 Cream Cake (page 29) – rice flour yellow cake slice

click here to buy ROSE’S heavenly CAKES.  my take on the Whipped Cream Cake (page 29) with rice flour:

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the taste was excellent, and the cake was moist too.  the texture was a little gritty, and my tasters thought it was just a yummy crunch.  i speculate if i run the rice flour on my food processor or on my grain mill till very fine, the texture will be less gritty.  perhaps i should soak the rice flour (overnight with the cream component), instead.