Category: What’s Cooking?

ROASTED ONIONS WITH WARM BACON VINAIGRETTE

Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds mixed small onions, such as pearl onions, cipollini and/or shallots

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 strips bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

METHOD

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in the onions and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain well and run under cold water.

2. When cool enough to handle, peel the onions and trim the root ends, dropping the onions into a mixing bowl as you work. Add the olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper.

3. Arrange the onions in a single layer in a medium baking dish and put in the oven. Roast until tender and lightly browned in spots, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a small skillet over moderately high heat, stirring from time to time, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the bacon and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Keep any fat that remains in the skillet.

5. Return the skillet to the heat and add the vinegar, mustard, sugar and ¼teaspoon salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

6. Pour the hot dressing over the roasted onions, along with the crisped bacon. Toss everything gently together, garnish with the parsley and serve warm.

RED ONION GOAT CHEESE GALETTE

Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino • Serves 6

FOR THE DOUGH

1 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

FOR THE FILLING

4 medium red onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

4 ounces goat cheese

DOUGH METHOD

1. To make the dough, combine the flour and ¼teaspoon salt in a bowl and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, quickly work in the butter, squeezing or cutting it until the floury mixture is filled with pea-sized lumps.

2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture and stir together with your hands or a fork until it will just hold together when squeezed. Add the remaining water if you need it.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly, then wrap well in plastic wrap.

4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days; the dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

FILLING METHOD

1. Peel the onions, neatly trim the root end and cut them lengthwise into ½-inch wedges, keeping the root end intact so they hold together.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Arrange as many onion wedges as will fit in a single layer in the skillet and season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook the onions, without stirring or moving them, until the bottoms are nicely browned, about 5 minutes.

4. Spoon the onions onto a plate, taking care not to break them up, but not worrying about it if you do. Repeat with the remaining onions.

5. Combine the scallions and goat cheese in a bowl and mash together with a fork until very well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

2. Roll the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured countertop, then transfer it to the baking sheet.

3. Spread the goat cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the onions, browned sides up, over the cheese, then fold the edges of the dough over, pleating as necessary.

4. Bake the galette until the pastry is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

PEARL ONION TARTE TATIN

Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino • Serves 6

FOR THE DOUGH 

1½ cups all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

FOR THE ONIONS 

1½ pounds pearl onions

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

METHOD

1. Combine the flour and ¼teaspoon salt in a bowl and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, quickly work in the butter, squeezing or cutting it until the floury mixture is filled with pea-sized lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture and stir with your hands or a fork until it just holds together when squeezed. Add the remaining water if necessary.

2. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly, then wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a couple of days.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the onions into the water and blanch for about 30 seconds. Drain well and run under cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel and trim them.

4. Heat the butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, over moderately high heat. When the butter has melted and foamed, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan, followed by ½ teaspoon salt.

5. Lay the onions in the skillet and cook, without stirring, for about 8 minutes. Give the skillet a shake to jostle the onions around a bit then continue cooking until nicely browned all over, another 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the onions are not fully tender; they will continue to cook in the oven.

6. Drizzle the vinegar over the onions then scatter the thyme leaves over top. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

7. Heat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pastry dough into an 11-inch round. Lay the pastry round directly over the onions, folding any excess dough up over the top. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, then place a serving plate over the skillet and carefully invert it to unmold the tarte tatin. Don’t fret if you lose any pearl onions in the transfer, simply pop them back into place. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

TIP

If you just want some delicious glazed onions, omit the crust and simply cook the onions until they are fully tender before adding the vinegar, which should take about 10 minutes longer than noted above.

ONION AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino • Serves 8 to 10

FOR THE DOUGH 

1 small russet potato

2½ cups cold water

5 cups all-purpose flour

2½ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan

FOR THE TOPPING 

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

2 small sweet onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt

METHOD 

1. Peel the potato and cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine the potato and 2½ cups cold water in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Boil the potato until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes.

2. Use a handheld blender to purée the potatoes and cooking liquid to a smooth slurry (alternately, run the mixture through a food mill or mash with a fork until as smooth as possible). Let cool until just warm (the water should not be boiling hot when added to the yeast).

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and 1½ teaspoons salt in a large bowl.

4. Add the olive oil and the warm potato mixture and stir until the dough just comes together (it will be very soft and sticky).

5. Generously oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to it, rolling the dough around to coat it in the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6. Strip the rosemary leaves and coarsely chop them. Combine the rosemary, onions and olive oil in a bowl and toss together.

7. Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a half-sheet pan, then scrape the dough onto the pan. With lightly oiled fingers, stretch and pull the dough to fill the pan. Press your fingertips into the dough to create deep dimples. Scatter the onion mixture evenly over the dough, drizzling any remaining oil over everything. Sprinkle the sea salt over the topping.

8. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until the dough is almost level with the sides of the pan, about 1 hour.

9. Bake the focaccia until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before cutting into big squares.

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]