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THE TURKISH COOKBOOK

BY MUSA DAGDEVIREN The definitive cookbook of hearty, healthy Turkish cuisine, from the leading authority on Turkey’s unique food traditions, Musa Dagdeviren, as featured in the Netflix docuseries Chef’s Table.Vibrant, bold, and aromatic, Turkish food – from grilled meats, salads, and gloriously sweet pastries to home-cooking family staples such as dips, pilafs, and stews – is beloved around the world. This is the first book to so thoroughly showcase the diversity of Turkish food, with 550 recipes for the home cook that celebrate Turkey’s remarkable European and Asian culinary heritage – from little-known regional dishes to those that are globally recognized and stand the test of time, be they lamb kofte, chicken kebabs, tahini halva, or pistachio baklava.

You’re invited to Dine at Merriman’s on Kauai and Hawai’i Island for a Great Cause

It’ll be a night of incredible food for a good cause on Friday December 9, 2016 when the Hawai‘i Island Paina takes place at Merriman’s Waimea with guest chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of O’ahu. This farm-to-table culinary experience, in which Chef Noguchi of the Pili Group will team up with Merriman’s own chef Vince McCarthy, is the first of two fundraisers held statewide for the Hawai‘i Islands Land Trust (HILT). The second fundraiser will be held on Kauai on Sunday December 18, 2016 in collaboration with Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof Maui at Merriman’s Fish House in Poipu, Kauai, Hawai’i.

With this much talent in the kitchen it’s going to be a lot of fun to see – and taste – the delectable dishes prepared by the chefs, each a leader in Hawaii’s sustainable food movement. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience how award-winning chefs use the wide variety of foods produced and raised right here in the islands.

There’s a close connection between cooking with locally sourced fresh food and preserving the land from which that food came. Thus it’s only fitting that fundraisers for the state’s largest land trust are being held at restaurants owned by Peter Merriman, a long time champion and ardent supporter of local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman. Peter, a past HILT board president, pioneered Hawaii’s Regional Cuisine movement more than 25 years ago. His Waimea restaurant, like his other establishments on Maui and Kauai, are built on the premise of serving the freshest, Hawaii grown food. In fact, 90 percent of Merriman’s food is locally grown and raised.

At their very core, the mission of each of Peter’s restaurants reflect a deep respect for the land and the people who work that land. This core mission is seen in their “Do the Right Thing” campaign and is instilled in every member of the Merriman’s team.

The Waimea event will also host professional free diving and spear fisherwoman Kimi Werner as their social media ambassador to share this unique experience with others and her own personal take on the collaboration.

Helping to conserve and protect open lands across Hawaii Island is just one way Merriman’s and collaborating chefs like Chef Simeon and Chef Noguchi help to #DoTheRightThing and #MalamaAina. It’s hoped that those attending these mouth-watering Paina’s will also be inspired to help support organizations like HILT.

Hawaii Islands Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2011 out of the merger of four local land trusts, and it is the first and only nationally accredited local land trust in Hawai‘i. To date they’ve conserved more than 17,500 acres across Hawaii, protecting scenic views, recreational areas, water and agricultural resources, and historical sites. Fundraisers such as these Paina’s help provide the land trust with much needed funds to conserve additional lands for Hawaii’s future.

Both dinners start at 5:30 pm. Tickets for the Hawai‘i Island Paina are $90 per person; Kauai Paina tickets are $120. To reserve your tickets for this sumptuous culinary soiree, call (808) 244-LAND (5263) or go to www.HILT.org. For more information on Merriman’s restaurants, visit www.merrimanshawaii.com.

chef Mark "Gooch" Noguchi
Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi
Chef Peter Merriman and Chef Neil Murphy
Chef Peter Merriman and Chef Neil Murphy
Chef Sheldon Simeon
Chef Sheldon Simeon
Kimi Werner photo courtesy of Justin Turkowski
Kimi Werner photo courtesy of Justin Turkowski

What’s Cookin’ with Noah Hester and the Blue Dragon

By Fern Gavelek

The Blue Dragon is spreading its wings to offer delicious food beyond the Kawaihae restaurant.

Executive Chef and General Manager Noah Hester recently debuted the Blue Dragon Puako Grab & Go in the landmark Puako General Store. And this fall, the new Blue Dragon Wagon will be offering daytime food truck fare from the restaurant’s parking lot.

Hester grew up in Puako and remembers how he and his sister Marley would set up a little mango stand along Puako Beach Drive and then take their hard-earned cash to buy treats at the General Store. Today, Noah’s mom, Mary, owns the store and Blue Dragon operates the on-site kitchen.

From left: Mary Fox, Chef Noah Hester and Marley Taufmann
From left: Mary Fox, Chef Noah Hester and Marley Taufmann

Noah says the new Puako Grab & Go focuses on “beach-friendly food.” Offerings include sandwiches on fresh-baked breads, salads, spicy clam dip, poke bowls and kim chee kohlrabi with veggies sourced from Blue Dragon’s farm.

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“We get fresh fish from local fisherman,” details Noah. “We have a daily hot special or a poke bowl that get posted on the outside blackboard.” Specials are available 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays.

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A refrigerator case is stocked daily with Grab & Go items that are available during store hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Noah says everything is priced under $12.

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Tables are set up on the store’s front porch for casual dining. Grab & Go uses all compostable carryout containers.

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The new Blue Dragon Wagon is equipped with a flat top grill, deep fryer and refrigerator to prepare a variety of hot sliders, kosher hot dogs, hand-cut french fries, made-to-order pork belly musubis, mini Dragon Ballz with crispy blue crab and chipolte aioli, mango summer rolls and an FBI Salad—compiled of “everything from the Big Island.” Noah says the food truck will also be available for mobile catering.

To get the latest Blue Dragon news, signup for the e-newsletter at www.bluedragonrestaurant.com or check out Blue Dragon Restaurant on facebook.

Spilanthes

Acmella oleracea (syn. Spilanthes oleracea, S. acmella) is a species of flowering herb in the family Asteraceae. Also known as the toothache plant. Its native distribution is unknown, but it is likely derived from Brazil and widely grown in tropical climates, such as Hawaii. It is grown as an ornamental and it is used as a medicinal remedy in various parts of the world. A small, erect plant, it grows quickly and bears gold and red inflorescences.

For culinary purposes, small amounts of shredded fresh leaves are said to add a unique flavor to salads. Cooked leaves lose their strong flavor and may be used as leafy greens. Both fresh and cooked leaves are used in dishes. They are combined with chilis and garlic to add flavor and vitamins to other foods.

The flower bud has a grassy taste followed by a strong tingling or numbing sensation and often excessive salivation, with a cooling sensation in the throat. The buds are known as “buzz buttons”, “Szechuan buttons”, and “electric buttons”.