Jaboticaba (myrciaria cauliflora)—Although native to Brazil, these fruit trees are found in many backyards in Hawai‘i. The tree is a slow-growing evergreen. It has salmon-colored leaves when young, which turn green as they mature. The tree prefers moist, rich, lightly acidic soil. Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk. Jaboticaba may flower and fruit only once or twice a year, but when continuously irrigated it flowers frequently, providing fresh fruit year round in tropical regions.
The fruit is a thick-skinned berry and typically measures three to four centimeters in diameter. Resembling a slip-skin grape, it has sweet, white or rosy pink gelatinous flesh encased in a thick, purple, astringent skin. Embedded within the flesh are one to four large seeds.
Jaboticaba fruit is largely eaten fresh; its popularity has been likened to that of grapes in the United States. The fruit begins to ferment three to four days after harvest, so it is often used to make jams, tarts, strong wines and liqueurs. Due to its extremely short shelf life, fresh Jaboticaba fruit is very rare in markets.
Slowing down has allowed James Babian to reenergize his love for food and family. Last year, Babian transitioned from a grueling position as executive chef of a four-star resort to ownership of a family-run restaurant. Now he’s able to wholeheartedly pursue his passion for providing the Big Island with an authentic taste of Italy.
In early 2013 Chef James Babian and his wife Christine opened Pueo’s Osteria in Waikoloa Village, a restaurant that caters to locals, visitors and their peers in the hospitality industry. [Pueo is the native Hawaiian owl, and the restaurant caters to night owls by staying open until midnight.] The idea came from his and his wife Christine’s love of Italian food after a recent trip to Italy. James has Sicilian roots on his mother’s side and always remembers growing up being exposed to superb food and how it positively affected his soul.
Indeed, the restaurant has a family feel. Christine is there all the time, greeting everyone hello and goodbye. Her influence extends to the decor, menu and recipes. Through the osteria (basically an Italian version of a bistro), the Babians reinterpret the authentic flavors of Italy without ever losing the flavor of the islands.
After working in his family’s restaurant on the East Coast where he grew up, Chef Babian attended the California Culinary Academy in the early ‘80s. He came to Hawai‘i in 2000 where he worked at the Fairmont Orchid as Executive Chef. After seven years, he moved to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, ranked as one of the top resorts in the world. During his time there, he helped champion the concept of RSA, “Regional, Seasonal and Artisanal” menus.
His steadfast philosophy is to create rewarding dining experiences that are culinary adventures. “I like to stay in the region, buy products only when they are in season, and support all the local artisan food producers I can,” explains Chef Babian about his locally sourced ingredients, which include goat cheese, macadamia nuts, Kona coffee, honey and Hawaiian salt.
Life is different now that he runs his own restaurant catering to the dinner crowd, in contrast to to the 12-14 hour days he spent as an Executive Chef at the resort.
“I spend much more time with my family than when I was working at the Four Seasons,” Chef says. At the resort, I was ultimately responsible for running six operations including the restaurant and 24-hour room service. Now, I run one restaurant and I can get a knife on a cutting board again. I am back out at the Farmer’s Markets, talking to farmers, buying fresh produce and being involved with the daily creation of specials.”
Clearly, he is happy to be in his element of crafting menus utilizing both the finest imported Italian products while choosing the freshest local ingredients. “If you want to experience how the food tastes in Italy, this is the place. We buy 80-pound wheels of Parmesan each week. My team and I look at three to five variations of a recipe to decide how we can make it more flavorful by applying the plant to plate concept,” Babian explains. “I don’t know who has more fun, me or the guests!”
Trim chicken breasts to remove any sinuet or fat and pound out to an even thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Dust in flour, dip in egg wash and bread lightly with breadcrumbs. Sauté in olive oil until golden brown on each side. Place in 350 degree oven until internal temp reaches 160 degrees. Remove from oven and pat off any excess oil. Divide onto 4 plates. In the pan used to cook chicken, discard used oil. Add the butter and 1 tsp. of flour. Melt and mix well. Add wine and remaining sauce ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning. Place a few tablespoons on each chicken breast and top with arugula salad.
4 C. arugula
6 Hamakua grape tomatoes cut in half
2 oz. Parmesan Reggiano
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
4 lemon wedges
In mixing bowl put arugula, tomato halves, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit of fresh lemon. Toss, taste and adjust seasoning. Divide onto 4 portions of Chicken Milanese and garnish with cheese and lemon wedge.
Marmani Alspach is a typical ten year old girl in South Kona. She loves Monster High, animals, hula and Japanese animation. But frequent visits to the nearby home of Grandpa and Granny are anything but typical. There, instead of sitting at the table eating spam masubi, Manami is more likely to don chef hat and apron and assist in making products. Her grandparents, owners of Love Family Farms, make 150 products from lilikoi syrup to jackfruit marmalade that are sold at the weekly Keauhou Farmers Market and online at Localharvest.org.
Manami began honing her culinary skills when she was only three and had to stand on a chair to reach the counter. She enjoyed helping out so much it has become a regular activity during her frequent visits. She even has a recipe / scrapbook book made from photos of her endeavors. Also she helps with pickling, making Waimea strawberry jam and a host of other exotic fruit jellies. Her favorite activity is making chocolate mint candies with grandpa for the holidays.
Her love of cooking was passed on to her by Grandpa, tropical fruit specialist and chef Ken Love. He began his own career at the young age of 4 when he made his mother a special breakfast of Crepes Suzette, complete with batter on the ceiling. Since coming to Hawaii he has become immersed in the agriculture and culinary fields, having served as president of ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assoc. and is currently Executive Director of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.
Manami also enjoys assisting Granny in baking gluten-free fruit loaves that are made weekly for sale at the market. Also, every Christmas Manami devotes an entire day in baking goodies that are passed out to friends at local banks, post offices and library as well as family and friends.
Whenever Manami craves a snack, she is in luck because Grandpa, is happy to share whatever exotic fruit is in season.
Some scoff at the mention of soda, but there is nothing artificial or unhealthy about this home-brew. In fact, these wholesome local ingredients may never come together more perfectly than in this summer sipper. Plus, homemade soda is ready to drink in just one day. Play around with the ratio of tart (citrus), sweet (honey), and heat (ginger) adjusting to your personal taste.
Calamansi Ginger Ale
Recipe adapted from UH-Hawaii Community College Ag Program
Makes approx. 2 liters
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated fine
2 C water, plus more to fill bottle
12 Tsp Hawaiian honey (or cane sugar)
6 Tbl calamansi juice, fresh squeezed
1/8 Tsp dry champagne yeast
1. Heat. To make the syrup add all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a quick boil, stirring to incorporate.
2. Carbonate. Allow mixture to cool, strain, and pour into a plastic bottle using a funnel. Sprinkle in yeast to start the carbonation process. Top off with enough water to fill, leaving 2”from the top. Very gently shake to incorporate.
WARNING: Using plastic bottles is highly recommended, as it is safer and easier to assess the level of carbonation.
3. Wait and refrigerate. Let the bottle sit at room temperature, away from the sun or heat, for 12-24 hours, checking often. When sufficient carbonation has accumulated the bottle will feel solid with very little give; refrigerate immediately to stop the process. Over carbonation can occur and bottles can burst if not monitored. Contents will be under pressure, use caution when opening bottle for the first time. The soda will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Purchase champagne yeast online or check your favorite gourmet food store. Do not use bread yeast.
For a quick cheat, create the syrup concentrate and top with seltzer water as needed.
Get fancy: garnish like mint sprigs or rounds blood orange elevate the presentation—and flavor.
COOK. It’s a skill, an art, an act of love. If you like to eat, it matters. Our job this issue is to inspire you to cook. It does not need to be complicated or complex; just find a recipe in these pages and simply cook. This summer I’ve got my mind on barbecuing with family and friends in the backyard or outside at the beach. We do it all year ‘round here in the islands, but somehow, in the heat of summer it’s different. I’m always looking for new ideas, which is why I love our feature on easy summer entertaining with private chef Jana McMahon. Be sure to read her advice; I learned a number of good tips and have already brought a few of her delicious recipes to my home table. Most people would assume that my kitchen is fancy and full of the latest cooking gadgets. The truth is, all I have is a set of good knives, a few quality pots and pans, and an overused coffeemaker. (Okay, and a secret obsession for artisanal cutting boards—I’m revealing my current favorite here in this issue!) I love preparing simple, clean food, and to do so I rely on excellent knife skills and little else. James Beard said, “Next to hands, the most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife.” We asked acclaimed Hawai‘i food writer, Wanda Adams, to talk to the pros and bring back some useful words on what, exactly, this means for the needs of us home cooks. Turns out it’s nothing fancy. No, really. Given the spirit of the summer, we had to heat things up a bit. In these pages is our HOTTEST centerfold yet. It’s saucy, spicy and guaranteed to shake up how you are serving grilled meats, fresh fruit, even ice cream. As we celebrate our 8th year publishing Edible Hawaiian Islands, I’m thrilled to continue sharing stories and following our food passions across the islands. I want to give thanks to each of our readers, and to everyone that contributes to creating this publication: every writer, photographer, designer, stylist and salesperson. And to each and every one of our advertisers, mahalo nui loa! It is only with your support that this magazine is possible.
We usually have a few guidelines for selecting the cover of each issue. It should be edible and it should reflect Hawaii. We also like to have it reflect the theme of the issue and for summer 2014 it’s COOK.
Well, it seems like we were successful with all three, weren’t we?
The cover for all you photo geeks out there was shot with an iphone 5 in the late afternoon with no other bells or whistles. It was a bbq in the front yard. We were riffing off the refrigerator, as our chef friend Jana McMahon describes it and we had an overripe Maui Gold pineapple on the bottom shelf. We cut it in half and threw it on the coals. First facedown in the grill then removed the grill and set it in the coals.
The pineapple started singing, literally. It was probably the cold pineapple on the super hot coals it started making these sweet sounds. So get out there and cook something this summer. Nothing fancy or complicated – just simply cook. I added a simple recipe to inspire you further.
Maui Gold Pineapple
4 Tablespoons Local Honey
2 Tablespoons Local Lemon or Lime Juice
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to Taste
Peel, Cut & Core Pineapple
In a small bowl, combine honey, lemon or lime, and black pepper. Brush the glaze onto each slice of pineapple, coating completely.
Preheat BBQ grill. Oil the grill rack. Place pineapple wedges on the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until the pineapple becomes fragrant. NOTE: Don’t overcook the pineapple spear. Watch carefully or they will burn.
Remove from the grill and brush with any additional glaze one more time. Serve and enjoy!
Note: The grilled pineapple can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Re-warm before serving.
Makes 6 servings
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