Category: What’s Cooking?

SHOYU ‘AHI POKE

Recipe Courtesy of Alana Kysar

Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound fresh sashimi-grade ‘ahi steak, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1⁄2 tablespoons soy sauce (shoyu), plus more to taste

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 ⁄4 teaspoon Hawaiian salt (‘alaea), plus more to taste

1⁄4 cup thinly sliced Maui or yellow onion

1⁄2 cup chopped green onions, green parts only

1⁄8 teaspoon gochugaru (see page 30)

1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts

2 cups steamed rice, for serving

METHOD:

> In a bowl, combine the cubed ‘ahi, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, Maui onion, green onions, gochugaru, and toasted macadamia nuts and gently toss with your hands or a wooden spoon. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.

> Serve over rice and enjoy immediately.

PIPI KAULA

Recipe Courtesy of Alana Kysar

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

1⁄2 cup soy sauce (shoyu)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar 

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt (‘alaea)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced or grated

1 Hawaiian chili pepper (nīoi), crushed

1 1⁄2 pounds flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips

Neutral oil, for frying

METHOD:

>In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic, and chili pepper together.

>Place the meat in a gallon-size ziplock bag or a baking dish and pour the marinade over.

>Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 8 hours,preferably overnight.

>Preheat the oven to 175°F.

>Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and set the strips of meat on the rack.

>Bake until the meat has a chewy texture, similar to a jerky, about 5 hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

>To serve, set a skillet over medium heat and add a teaspoon of neutral oil. Fry until the meat is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cut into small pieces and serve warm.

POHOLE FERN SALAD

Recipe Courtesy of Alana Kysar

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound pohole fern

1 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered

1⁄2 small Maui onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

5 green onions, green parts only, chopped

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1⁄4 cup soy sauce (shoyu)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar 

2 tablespoons sesame oil 

1⁄4 cup sugar

METHOD:

> Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with a handful of ice cubes and water, and set it aside. Wash and remove any little “hairs” from the pohole fern shoots. Cut the shoots into 1 1⁄2-inch segments and blanch for 1 minute in a pot of boiling water. Drain the shoots into a colander and immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath. 

> Once cooled, drain the water from the ferns and place them in a bowl with the tomatoes, Maui onions, and green onions.

> In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and gently toss with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

TIP:

Fresh pohole will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. If you aren’t in Hawai‘i, I’d recommend checking with a specialty foods purveyor to help you source the fern.

WELCOME TO THE ALOHA KITCHEN

WRITTEN BY LILY DIAMOND

THE Hawai‘i DEPICTED ON TELEVISION and in film, on people’s Instagram accounts during and post-vacation, in advertisements and commercials—that Hawai‘i does not exist. Hawai‘i is wildness and scent and taste, smoke and lava and sweat and the pounding of poi, Hawai‘i is the wai, the water, thrusting through valleys, Hawai‘i is a collision of flavor born of the cultures that arrived here over the past centuries. And Hawai‘i is rarely depicted as holistically—or as deliciously—as it is in Maui native Alana Kysar’s debut Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai‘i (Ten Speed Press, 2019).

Aloha Kitchen delivers a visceral experience of the islands through photographs, food, and stories, tracing the culinary bloodlines of seven distinct regions of influence that inform local Hawai‘i cuisine. From native Hawaiian and Japanese to Filipino, Chinese to Portuguese, and Korean to European, Kysar reveals the imprint of immigration, colonialism, and plantation life on food in Hawai‘i, past and present. With a deft history lesson, Kysar illuminates Hawai‘i’s journey to statehood, and, for readers unfamiliar, clarifies the difference between local food (the food resulting from Hawai‘i’s collective regions of influences) and native Hawaiian cuisine—while forever abolishing the fetishization of “Hawaiian” food as anything containing ham or pineapple.

Kysar herself grew up in Kula, Maui, where the flavors of her Hilo-born, Japanese-American mother’s mochiko chicken and her Californian father’s taste for French fare informed her competence and creativity in the kitchen. After solidifying her eye as a photography coordinator at Williams-Sonoma, Kysar created Fix Feast Flair, a food and travel blog that showcased an uncommon talent. In 2015, Kysar’s stunning photography and distinctive recipes garnered her a SAVEUR magazine Blog Awards win for Best New Voice. But the more immersed Kysar became in the world of food media, the more she recognized the need for a cookbook that properly represented the food that informed her most intrinsic culinary proclivities: local Hawai‘i food.

In Aloha Kitchen, Kysar presents a work unrivaled in its ability to catalog and represent the diverse culinary voices that comprise local Hawai‘i cuisine. Kysar’s humble voice, generous spirit, and meticulous, approachable recipes—from classics like lomi salmon and the anatomy of a plate lunch to deep cuts like squid lū’au, pansit, and cascaron—make it an instant classic.

The book opens with stunning vistas of Hawai‘i’s backyards and shorelines, evoking the local lifestyle its pages so effortlessly embody. 

Kysar describes: The aloha spirit…‘is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. Aloha must be extended with no obligation in return, and to live aloha, you must ‘hear what is not said, see what cannot be seen, and know the unknowable.’

Aloha Kitchen carries the potency of this charge to live, forge relationships, and cook “…placing the aloha spirit at the core of relationships and actions.” 

Aloha Kitchen introduces 85 recipes from pantry staples like pickled mango, chili pepper water, and prune mui to pūpū and snacks, meats and seafood, noodles, and luscious desserts (including a heavenly sea salt and coconut-topped butter mochi). There’s even a mai tai crafted by two-time “World’s Best Mai Tai” champion and Honolulu’s Bar Leather Apron owner, Justin Park.

Kysar’s Aloha Kitchen is a gift to Hawai‘i, and anyone lucky enough to taste the food that embodies the state’s history, diversity, and power. Welcome to the Aloha Kitchen: You won’t ever want to leave. [eHI]

POHOLE FERN SALAD

PIPI KAULA

SHOYU ‘AHI POKE

PARTY PROFESSIONAL GROWN IN LOVE

WRITTEN BY SHANNON WIANECKI
IMAGES BY BARRY FRANKEL PHOTOGRAPHY

PARTY PROFESSIONAL GROWN IN LOVE

WRITTEN BY SHANNON WIANECKI

IMAGES BY BARRY FRANKEL PHOTOGRAPHY

ON A BEACH ON MAUI, CHEF LEE ANDERSON’S BUSINESS IS BLOOMING

“There are events and there are events,” says Lee Anderson. The chef-turned-entrepreneur clearly specializes in the latter. When we meet at her opulent beachfront catering venue on Maui, she wears candy pink lipstick and a matching pareau. Pink is her signature color; Anderson regularly works in hot pink chef’s coat, and in 2018 for her fiftieth birthday she threw herself a party awash in pink French tulips, toile, and paths carpeted in 60,000 pink rose petals. That was most definitely an event.

Anderson moved to Hawai‘i in 2004 with a vision. She wanted to create a top-class catering company. She came from Charleston, South Carolina, where she had worked in restaurants since age seventeen. “After so many years cooking, I wanted to learn about the front of the house,” she says. For on-the-job training, she took a hostess position at Spago in the Four Seasons Resort Maui. Her boss recognized her talents and promptly promoted her to banquet manager. During her time at Spago, Anderson catered to the resort’s celebrity clientele, ensuring their rehearsal dinners and anniversary parties were both flawless and memorable. 

In 2007 she launched Aloha Events, a small offsite catering company. Traveling from party to party, she got to know Maui’s booming wedding and event industry firsthand. She saw that what the island really needed was a one-stop shop for celebrations—an en vogue venue with a kitchen and coordinators included. So she leased a parcel of North Kīhei real estate from her father and began drafting plans.

“I LOVE THE WHOLE IDEA OF THE PARTY, THE CELEBRATION,” ANDERSON SAYS. “THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE STRESS OF MAKING IT PERFECT—THAT’S WHAT MOTIVATES ME.” 

DON’T JUST DREAM IT — BUILD IT

Anderson worked with local architect George Rixey to design a space that functioned like a banquet facility but felt like a home. The result is a palatial two-story house shaped like a Hawaiian hale (house) with a pitched roof and huge open interior. Unique columns inside and out are shaped like poi pounders—painted jet black and textured like lava rock. 

Rixey and Anderson outfitted the house with every necessity for throwing epic parties: an extra-long commercial kitchen, custom bar, roomy dance floor, separate bride and groom quarters, and nautilus-shaped staircase that practically begs for a bridal train. The biggest draw, naturally, is the wide lawn that empties onto the beach. Sweeping her hand towards the panoramic view of the sparkling Pacific, Anderson says, “I tell everyone: ‘you’re sitting in my life’s dream.’”

Sugar Beach Events—a full-service catering venue—opened for business in July of 2013. Anderson’s assessment of the industry need was accurate; within three years she had made enough to purchase the property outright. The business has logged twenty-five percent annual growth over the past five years. It’s now a multimillion-dollar operation that employs sixty full and part-time employees and supports a wide range of community fundraisers. Anderson hosts wedding industry professionals at Sugar Beach for an annual holiday party, in addition to multiple year-round benefits in support of student filmmakers, people living with disabilities, and other local causes. 

This summer she’ll participate in “The Longest Day,” a global effort to cure Alzheimer’s disease.

While Anderson feeds her soul by giving back to the community, she satisfies her creative impulses with an ever-evolving inventory of décor. Her storage closet resembles a theater prop room, with opulent fabrics, various types of risers, and accent pieces designed to dazzle. She proudly shows off one of her most notable pieces—a European bicycle cart, which she climbs onto and effortlessly pedals around the dance floor. Dutch vendors traditionally used large pedal-powered contraptions like this to sell cheese or bread. Here on Maui, this one serves as the Sugar Beach Events mobile barista bar. The antique accoutrement gives Anderson’s events a contemporary chic feel.

Keeping ahead of the trends in entertaining is no easy feat. Anderson regularly invests in new servingware: Nick and Nora glasses for celebratory toasts, mini wooden cutting boards for cheese platters, and cigar boxes for smoked appetizers. To accommodate it all, she first filled her ample closets, then an outdoor hutch, and finally rented space next door in a neighbor’s garage. The extra effort and expense is worth it when she sees her guests’ delighted response. “Vintage tumblers are what’s hot right now,” she says. “Those glasses from the 1970s with Smurfs and other cartoon characters…It’s all about nostalgia.”

STAY SHARP

Anderson keeps her skill set as sharp as her kitchen knives. She belongs to the International Caterers Association and routinely attends culinary conferences. She seeks out opportunities to work with celebrity chefs and encourages her employees to do the same. “My role is to share and teach and help people be successful,” she says. Three of her chefs have won scholarships to study in New Orleans. As a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic culinary organization led by women, she helps cultivate emerging cuisines and chefs worldwide.

When Anderson travels—which is often—she takes cooking classes wherever she lands. “I try to learn what’s local in each place,” she says. This year alone she will visit New Orleans, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Portland, Portugal, and Morocco. Back at home, she develops new recipes based on her excursions and incorporates the stories behind each one. Inspired by a milk-poached pork dish, she created a coconut-milk-poached fish entrée that suits Hawai‘i’s tropical atmosphere.

SHARE THE LOVE

Like most savvy business owners, Anderson credits much of her success to her exceptional staff. She slowly built up her team from ten to sixty. “It takes a lot to find the right people,” she says. “We’re like a family here.” It’s true. That eye-catching lipstick she’s wearing? It’s a gift from employee who knows her taste well. The pareau is another gift. Upstairs, in the groom’s quarters, three party planners laugh and work side by side, piecing together the elements of someone’s big day.

Sugar Beach Events hosts well over two hundred events per year. Despite the heavy traffic, Anderson strives to give each special occasion a personal and intimate feel. “Our clients mean something to us,” she says. “This building is filled with the love and emotion from every event that has happened here. I think people feel that when they walk in the door. It seeps in.” 

Using Sugar Beach as a springboard, Anderson aims not only to fulfill her guests’ desires, but also those of the community at large. Maui residents can attend on site cooking classes and movie nights under the stars. “I try to anticipate what the island is going to need,” says Anderson. Next on her to-do list: establishing a mid-tier catering company for local customers. Maui Ohana Catering will offer affordable, more casual menu selections for residents and business professionals. She also plans to offer a stand-alone barista service for clients who want fancy coffee drinks on demand. 

“Anything that keeps me in the party business,” she says, flashing a bright smile. “I really love what I do.” [eHI]

Ramp Up Your Ramen

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BARRY FRANKEL PHOTOGRAPHY

FOLKS ON A BUDGET, college students, people with limited cooking skills… we’ve all found cause to eat packaged ramen at one time or another. These economic noodle packets keep forever and are a cinch to throw together. For this issue, we decided to ramp up our packaged ramen by adding in a few simple ingredients. We suggest you cruise the grocery store aisles for new brands and flavors- you may be surprised at the new types of noodles, too.

 

Spinach or any greens • Dried Shiitake mushrooms
Furikake • Eggs • Curry paste • Firm boxed tofu
Red chili flakes • Gochujan • Fried sliced onions • Dried shrimp