Category: Winter 2016



Photo by Aaron Feinberg
Editorial Note – The recipes presented within this department, Cooking Fresh are without directions and measurements. Here is a quote from chef Adam Watten that will help guide you.
“My hope was that I could translate the process of approaching food this way to print. By doing so, my thought was that we could teach people to look at the cooking process differently. They now have to be much more engaged and open to the concept that cooking can be more than a repetitive process. They assume more of a role in the act itself. It becomes an intimate experience and adds another level of excitement to making a meal. It helps create awareness of our time and place here in Hawaii. The recipes do require some knowledge of cooking. I think that most of your readership will have the ability to make any of those dishes. By showing people this method we can hopefully empower them to eat this way. I believe that it’s good for our small local producers, our health, and our collective well-being.”
Course: Main Course
Author: Adam Watten


  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Knife
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Fine Mesh Strainer



  • Opakapaka Filets (Skin Removed)
  • Cassava And 'Ulu Flour (50/50)
  • Salt
  • Lime Juice
  • Rendered Pork Fat
  • Katuk Blossoms (For Garnish)

Kaua'i Legume Ragout

  • Lima Beans
  • Wing beans
  • Green Onion (Root End)
  • Ginger (Grated)
  • Ni'oi
  • Preserved Limequats
  • Cilantro (Chopped)
  • Opal Basil (Chiffonade)
  • Kaffir Lime (Zest And Juice)
  • Coconut Water
  • Salt
  • Pink Peppercorns
  • Meyer Lemon (Juice)
  • Lemongrass Stalks (Bruised)

Vegetable Torchon

  • 'Ulu (Chips, Ripe, Roasted)
  • Moloka'i Yams (Blanch)
  • Jackfruit (Green, Braised)
  • Squash (Kabocha Or Similar)
  • Ginger (Juiced)
  • Galangal (Juiced)
  • Turmeric (Juiced)
  • Chives (Chopped)
  • Garlic Chives (Chopped)
  • Cilantro (Chopped)
  • Thai Basil (Chopped)
  • Calamansi (Juiced)
  • Salt
  • Sunflower Shoots (For Garnish)
  • Nasturtiums (For Garnish)

Jackfruit Seed Poi

  • Jackfruit Seeds (Braised)
  • Water
  • Salt

Banana Sauce

  • Banana (Cooking Variety)
  • Garlic Chives
  • Green Onion
  • Cilantro (Roots)
  • Turmeric
  • Galangal
  • Ni'oi
  • Water
  • Lychee Vinegar
  • Calamansi
  • Thai Basil (Stems)
  • Coconut Oil


Prepare Opakapaka.

  • Remove skin from Opakapaka and portion to desired size and reserve. 
  • Mix flours and reserve.
  • Heat cast iron skillet to medium heat.
  • Season and dredge fish in flour.
  • Sear in pork fat, flip when golden brown, cook till heated through.
  • Finish with avocado oil and katuk blossoms.

Prepare Kaua'i Legume Ragout.

  • Sweat green onions and chilis in pork fat.
  • Add preserved limequat and ginger, continue sweating.
  • Add beans, coco water, and lemongrass.
  • Season with salt and pink peppercorns, cook until tender and thickened.
  • Finish with cilantro and basil.

Prepare Vegetable Torchon.

  • Cook fruits and vegetables separately.
  • Lay out plastic wrap and season vegetables with juices and herbs, roll tightly to compress.
  • To serve slice torchon into rounds and sear till brown in a large hot cast iron skillet.
  • Serve with ulu chips, sunflower shoots, and nasturtiums.

Prepare Jackfruit Seed Poi.

  • Cook jackfruit seeds in water or liquid of your choosing, blend with cooking liquid once soft.
  • Season with salt to taste and pass through a fine mesh strainer.

Prepare Banana Sauce.

  • Sweat the green onions, garlic chives, cilantro, chilis, ginger, and Galangal in coconut oil.
  • Add lychee vinegar then bananas and water, simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and calamansi juice.

Hawaiian Hospitality



“Loyal employees say deep family connections fortify the resort’s longevity; families that exemplify solidarity as older generations teach younger generations about ethics and standards of quality.”

Acr76091936195584-16043130In 2015, Hawaii Island’s Mauna Kea Beach Hotel celebrated its 50th anniversary as a luxury resort. Though the Mauna Kea boasts world-class views of Hāpuna Bay and Hualālai Mountain, visitors and staff members alike know there’s more to the resort’s continued success than a picturesque setting. Its loyal employees say deep family connections fortify the resort’s longevity; families that exemplify solidarity as older generations teach younger generations about ethics and standards of quality.

Wes Yamamoto Jr. has worked as a bellman at Mauna Kea for 16 years. His lineage boasts three generations and five family member employees, including his father, who started as a busboy and is now the resort’s butcher.

“I was here for the 25th anniversary,” says Yamamoto. “I was 13 years old and my grandpa worked in the engineering department. Back then, they had the blasting license to do the fireworks, which I got to help load. I was about 15 feet away from the big ‘two-five’ that they lit up. We are celebrating 25 years later. I never thought I’d be here for the fiftieth.”

Acr76091936195584-21672133In Lisa Carpio’s family, three generations and thirteen family members have been employed at Mauna Kea. Her mother and father worked at the resort when it opened in 1965. After working on the mainland, Carpio returned home and started as a dishwasher, then moved to the kitchen and worked with her mother.

Carpio works at the Hau Tree, the resort’s lunchtime restaurant overlooking Kohala Coast’s Kauna‘oa Beach. During peak service, up to 400 lunches are served. When Carpio first started, she didn’t enjoy preparing sushi. As a left-hander, she rolls sushi in the opposite direction of her mother – who insisted that her daughter roll sushi the way she did. Carpio didn’t understand why she couldn’t do it her way when the finished product looked the same. With 50 orders coming in for one service, and three pieces per order, her mother finally gave up and let Carpio do it her way.


“You have to live up to the older generation’s standards, so the pressure is on you,” says Carpio, who remembers playing in the resort’s bay as a child. “There are a lot of bumps in the road but it smoothes out. We all have our differences, but when it comes to work, we pull together.”

Thirteen years ago, Judy Itzig-Heine landed her first job as a waitress at the Hau Tree. She stayed on for 10 years before becoming the food and beverage manager and, today, is the human resources coordinator. Within her family, four generations have worked at Mauna Kea, including her grandmother, who worked in laundry; her mother, who was a hotel operator; her mother-in-law, who was a popular waitress; and her two daughters, who work in the landscaping and golf departments.

Generations of employees looking after generations of visitors lends continuity to a guest’s experience. With 50 year’s worth of generational team members, personal relationships blossom into international connections, which enlarges Mauna Kea’s singular family.

“Throughout the years, we’ve come to know the families who visit regularly. They look for the generations, the tradition and the old grand Mauna Kea feeling,” says Itzig-Heine, who always wanted to work at Mauna Kea because of its family-oriented quality. “I’m trying to get the younger generation to adapt to the Aloha Spirit. It’s hard to get them to say aloha naturally, which was easy for the older generation. Aloha means hello, love and welcome. It’s like sunshine.”

Family dynamics have great power. Families can clash as lifelong enemies, or come together in peace and harmony. Life’s challenges weave generations into an indelible tapestry and forge a united family; a family whose heart is filled with aloha.

Q & A with Poni Askew



Born in Waialua, raised in Wahiawā and seasoned in the Nashville music industry, Poni Askew returned home with the intention to make and sell Mexican popsicles. Instead, she had three kids, worked at Starbucks and conjured up the unique idea of organizing a large-scale food truck rally every month in Kaka‘ako.

Today, the 42-year-old Mililani resident is the founder and CEO of Street Grindz, an events management company that currently hosts Eat the Street, Honolulu Night Market and ARTafterDARK. This summer, the company debuted Makers & Tasters, an outdoor venue with food truck vendors at the old Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant site in Kewalo.

Askew managed to find time to talk story with us about her vision for Street Grindz, the challenges of being a small business owner, and her plans to take her wildly popular food truck rally on the road.

1. What inspired you to work within the food industry?
Prior to owning Street Grindz I worked for Starbucks.   It was a great company to work for, but I felt that I needed to work and provide impact. In 2010, when we started Street Grindz, I actually thought that I’d be a street vendor myself and make ice pops. That changed as I learned quickly that I did not like chopping and blending fruit that much! What I do enjoy is finding ways to provide opportunities to small business owners by providing locations and venues for them to be successful at their business. Street food is a long-lived tradition here in Hawai‘i and, in 2010, I thought it was very under-appreciated and under-recognized. I wanted to bring attention to some of the most ‘ono food in the islands — street food!

2. How would you describe what you do?
It’s always so difficult to describe what we do. Many people call us event planners – and we do plan events. However, I consider us to be community and commerce developers. Our events bring the community together, giving them a place to gather over food, and our makers to showcase their talents. Our mission is to connect people, grow small businesses and, at the end of the day, the output is a very cool virtuous cycle of local economy.

3. What motivates you to feed the community?
Local food business success is what drives me. It’s satisfying to see our street food vendors realize their dreams to be entrepreneurs. We are passionate about building systems of abundance starting right here in Hawai‘i, and that all starts with little shifts in how we buy and what we eat. We’re hoping to create a space where that can happen; where, with every plate, we see both residents and tourists venturing outside of chain restaurants and fast food joints to support local businesses.

4. Why food trucks for your business model?
When we started our business in 2010, I wanted Hawai‘i to be placed on the map for street food. I knew that street food in Hawai‘i has been around for over 100 years. It’s a legacy here and we wanted to make sure we stood out against cities like LA, San Francisco and Portland, which, at the time, were getting all the attention for street food. There is much to applaud (these cities) for success in social media integration and street food. They even led the way in bringing about the gourmet food truck. But, at the end of the day, Hawai‘i has its own story to tell. We have had the manapua man forever and the Kahuku shrimp truck was slinging plates way before there were any taco fusion trucks out there.

5. What is your vision for creating the food truck initiative?
I  believe that through community and commerce we can find a virtuous cycle that supports our local community of small business owners and local farmers. An approachable educational opportunity for street food vendors will increase their opportunities for  success.  Imagine a local economy where small local food  entrepreneurs and street food vendors work together by aggregating their Top 10 produce items purchased and sourcing as a collective their food from local farmers. We can all be part of a virtuous cycle just by taking part in eating from our local food entrepreneurs.

6. Tell us about Makers & Tasters, your newest venture?  Where do you hope this will lead to in the future?
I hope that Makers & Tasters provides the next step of  opportunity to street food vendors that are looking for a permanent or semi-permanent place to park. I also hope to provide the community of “tasters” the opportunity to enjoy food trucks/street food outside of large-scale events like Eat the Street. A place to sit and relax with their families and pets in an environment so unique and special to Honolulu while providing all of the creature comforts, including clean bathrooms, plenty of seating, pau hana drinks and an amazing view. We are looking forward to finding success in our first venue. Who knows? There may be one in a neighborhood near you.

7. How do you see your work impacting future generations here on this island?
Street food is a great way to start a  business with a minimal amount of overhead to get started. This, in itself, provides hope and encouragement to people who are eager to be their own boss. Street Grindz and Makers & Tasters were designed to support the hopeful food  entrepreneur – providing venues, events and marketing. I hope that this inspiration translates to future food entrepreneurs. We have presented to several colleges and are looking forward to a local high school’s career fair. I think that there is a ton of opportunity for the budding entrepreneur.


8. Are there any plans to take this to other islands in the future?
We have aspirations to venture into the other islands. We have not only provided events and venues for vendors, but we have advocated for the food truck industry as well. I think our experience can translate to something more than creating an Eat the Street or Makers & Tasters on other islands.

9. What is the most challenging aspect of doing business in Hawaii for you?
Gosh, that’s a loaded question. People always say that Hawai‘i is the most difficult state to start your own business or be an entrepreneur. To that I always as this question: “Have you tried to do business anywhere else?” The grass is truly always greener on the other side. But one of the challenges I have had along the way was really defining who we are, what we offer. We do not see ourselves as event planners; we see ourselves as community developers. From the view of a street food vendor, I’d say the biggest challenge is that there are too many people looking to their neighbor to see what they do and then they try to do something “better.” I think the better way to move within an industry is to look for what you can’t find and then ask why is it not there.  For example, I have been giving presentations for three years now. The first thing I say is there are two food trucks that are overdone. Please do not open a cupcake truck or a taco truck! There are so many of them out there. Don’t duplicate what you find. Come up with something new. That’s the only way to stay ahead.

10. What is the best thing about doing business in Hawai‘i for you?
The people of Hawai‘i are truly unique and  amazing. I left home (Hawai‘i) for almost 15 years. During  that time I met lots of different people from all kinds of backgrounds. There is nothing like the people of Hawai‘i. Between small business owners and the hundreds of  thousands of people we have hosted at our events over the years, it’s just amazing to see that overall the people of Hawai‘i are community-oriented, local-supporting residents.  We couldn’t be in business if it were not for the people we work with and work for. Our community humbles me and that’s what keeps me going at Street Grindz every day. So, mahalo to all the tasters for being such loyal supporters of Street Grindz and all the food trucks in our network.

Baking Bread


The intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread mingles with the scent of kiawe smoke, as members of the Maui Portuguese Cultural Club pull golden loaves from a stone oven in Kahului. It’s the club’s monthly baking day; a way to raise funds for scholarships and club activities. The all volunteer crew produces dozens of loaves, using an old family recipe and an oven that could have been found in an Azores village or a Maui plantation camp more than a century ago.

Portuguese families first arrived in Hawai‘i in the 1880s, bringing with them from the islands of Madeira and the Azores a cuisine that featured their soft, white breads still popular today. The women of these families generally baked once a week in a community wood-fired oven.

According to Club President Laura Paresa, ethnic cooking was the one thing plantation bosses allowed immigrant workers to pass down, noting that when students applying for Club scholarships are asked what it means to them to be Portuguese, most write about food. Paresa believes there is much more to a culture than its cuisine, but it is food—their famous bread—that supports the Club’s efforts to move beyond cuisine in order to revive forgotten aspects of their culture.

The Club’s oven sits on a lawn at one of Kahului’s Hale Mahaolu housing complexes. Founded in 1968, the Maui Portuguese Culture Club began baking bread to help raise funds for the maintenance of the Portuguese casa, fountain and garden at Heritage Gardens, the ‘Ïao Valley park celebrating Maui’s radiant multicultural population. The Portuguese section of the park was designed by its founding members, including then-mayor Elmer Cravalho, and the Club’s Portuguese bread and bean soup were a favorite treat at the old Maui County Fair, (before the fairgrounds near the Kahului Safeway closed in 1988). When the Club attempted to move their oven, it fell apart.

Mayor Cravalho insisted a new Portuguese oven be built at Hale Mahaolu‘Akähi, the first independent living complex for Maui’s elders, and so the bakers moved with it. They use the oven once a month, along with the little kitchen off the complex’s craft and recreation area, a shaded lanai with tables and plenty of room for bread making, cooling and packaging.

Baking day starts the night before. Most months, club member Greg Perreira arrives to start the fire,using kiawe wood he has collected and cut to fit the oven. Either Perreira (napping in a tent he pitches the lawn) or Paresa (dozing in her car) monitors the fire through the night.


The kiawe burns within the oven’s dome, whose walls reach temperatures as high as 1100°F. The bakers scoop out the coals, clean up the oven, and leave the door open to cool it to no more than 700°, judging the temperature by tossing flour on the oven floor to see how quickly it browns. Coals left at the front of the oven help to maintain a stable temperature.

The bakers arrive at 6 a.m. to start the masa, dough that will rise into a cushiony mound in a large stainless-steel bowl. Chief baker Yvonne Aoki learned to make bread from her father, former president of the club and its baker. “He would be running back and forth” between his mixer and the oven, but with enough helpers (including her husband, Paul), Aoki can focus on filling the giant bread mixer to make dough. When the dough has risen, Club Vice President Lorraine Evans pinches off big chunks, weighing and setting each into greased pans.

Now the club members all pitch in, rolling out chunks to form loaves, sometimes sprinkling dough with a mix of cinnamon, sugar and raisins, then rolling up the loaf to create a sweet swirl. With other portions of dough, they form seven small rolls—traditionally, one for each day of the week— and set them all into a round pan. These loaves come out of the oven looking like puffy little golden crowns.


The first hot loaves are ready to remove within 15 minutes. The oven workers line them up on a contraption built from an old gurney with wheels recycled from a wheelchair and a wheelbarrow. Carrying 15 cinnamon loaves and 15 seven-roll pans to the recreation area, the gurney is unloaded onto cooling racks.

The workers slice into a “sacrificial loaf” that is less perfect than the others, a reward to enjoy with a fresh cup of coffee and a scoop of homemade jam. It’s a pleasant morning, as customers come to pick up the loaves they’ve preordered and members take time to relax and talk story.

In addition to supporting Club scholarships and activities, proceeds will help care for the Heritage Gardens casa, where the Club meets monthly and holds an annual Festa every May to celebrate Portuguese culture and traditions – a celebration that goes to the heart of the Club’s purpose.

President Paresa descends from both Madeira and Azores immigrants . She joined the club in 2004 after a life-changing trip to the Azores. “The enormity of Portuguese customs and traditions lost in subsequent generations born in Hawai‘i was obvious from the moment we stepped off the plane in the Azores,” she states on the Club website. “In a land of easy, laid-back, simple lifestyles where faith in God is the priority, I found myself to be far more American in culture than Portuguese.”

“We really lost a lot,” Paresa says of the changes since the Portuguese arrived in Hawai‘i. By the time Paresa asked her grandmother to teach her to pray the rosary in Portuguese, plantation-boss suppression of the culture had been internalized. Her grandmother refused, saying,“You are an American.” Today, says Paresa, Islanders of Portuguese descent tend to believe “Portagee jokes,” knowing little about their culture’s richness or about Portuguese explorers who headed bravely into an unknown world—Columbus, Magellan, da Gamma. “I’m learning through this club so we can bring back some of this culture.”

So while the club uses its well-known and beloved food to support its efforts, its goals reach far beyond savory soups and sweet breads to restore a people’s history. At each meeting of the group at the Heritage Gardens casa, they begin by praying as their ancestors did—in Portuguese.


Star Fruit

Star Fruit: Averrhoa Carambola is a species of tree native to Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

This popular winter fruit is also cultivated throughout non-indigenous tropical areas. The fruit 2” to 6” in length and oval in shape has five or more distinctive ridges running down the side. The skin is thin, waxy and smooth and turns yellow when ripe. When sliced in cross sections it resembles a star, hence it’s name.

The entire fruit is edible. It can be eaten raw or juiced. It can also be dehydrated and is most often used as edible décor as in fruit salads or in a drink.

Star Fruit contains caraboxin and oxalic acid which are harmful to individuals suffering from any type of kidney disease.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Island Style


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, remove outer leaves, Brussels sprouts may be left whole or cut in half.   I usually leave the marble sized ones whole, and cut in 1/2 when they get closer to the size of a ping pong ball 3-4 oz. Maui onion, thin slices (1/2 an onion)
3 oz. Red bell pepper, thin sliced (1/2 a pepper)
1” piece of ginger, peeled, thin sliced, julienne
5 cloves of garlic, peeled, thin sliced
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp rock salt
1 oz. Parmesan Reggiano, thin sliced (Optional)

Marinate Brussels sprouts in 1 oz. Of olive, oil,1/4tsp chili pepper flakes. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.   Place Brussels sprouts in heavy bottom skillet, (I like to use cast iron frying pan, but any oven proof dish will work). Place in hot oven
Turn when dark brown. (About 10 minutes)
Add garlic slices
Cook until Brussels sprouts begin to get soft (about 5 more minutes) Add ginger, salt, Maui onions, red bell peppers,
Cook 2-3 minutes.
Add Parmesan if desired and serve
NOTE: Don’t worry if your sprouts get too black. These miniature cabbage have a large margin for error.

Beet Kvass



Photo credit: Bella Doty
Beet kvass carries with it all the benefits of beets, marrying them with the benefits of fermented foods for a deeply cleansing tonic. Beets possess a strong antioxidant capacity with an ORAC value of 1,776 which may be why beet kvass is considered a nourishing tonic for the liver, blood, and intestinal tract. The fermentation process enhances the already strong nutritional profile of raw beets, increasing levels of food enzymes and B vitamins. It also inoculates the beets with beneficial bacteria which support immunity and digestive system health.
It is easy to make and delicious when chilled. A 4 oz drink twice a day is sure to soothe your tummy and delight your palate.
Course: Drinks
Author: Susan Teton


  • Peeler
  • Knife
  • Glass Jar With Lid, Fermentation Crock, Or Canning Jar (Don’t Use Plastic Or Metal)
  • Cheesecloth(Optional)


  • 2-3 Beets
  • 1-2 Tbs. Sea Salt
  • Whey, Kefir Starter Or Living Sauerkraut Juice (As A Fermenting Agent) (As A Fermenting Agent, Recipes For Each Below)
  • Optional: Additional flavorings like ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, rosemary, peppers, allspice, coriander, cardamom, or orange peel make for lively and highly medicinal kvass. Experiment to your own liking.


Prepare Starters(Any Below Work).

  • Whey Starter: Strain fresh live plain yogurt through a cheesecloth capturing the liquid whey, or use a Greek yogurt maker to access the whey from the yogurt. Use about 1/4 cup of whey per quart of kvass. Whey does have a slight effect on the flavor.
  • Kefir Starter: Mix the kefir starter in about a cup of lukewarm or room temperature water. When the starter crystals are thoroughly blended with the water, add them to the kvass water mixture. Kefir starter is flavor neutral.
  • Juice from Sauerkraut or Cultured Veggies: Use about 1/3 cup fresh live juice to ferment the batch. This juice also has an effect on the flavor. Don’t use juice from pasteurized sauerkraut or kimchi as it is not living.

Prepare Beets.

  • Wash, peel, and chop enough beets to fill about one-third of the container you will be using to ferment the kvass.
  • After peeling the beets, chop them into small pieces about the size of a green olive. If the pieces are too small or grated the kvass may result in an alcoholic type beverage. Alternatively, cutting them into large pieces may result in a weaker beverage.

Prepare Kvass.

  • Combine the beets, starter of choice, salt (to taste), and any other flavorings to the jar and fill with water.
  • Secure the lid, and cover the jar with a light towel to keep out the light. Set in a cool dry place to ferment for 1 week and then decant.
  • Once decanted, leave the beets and flavorings in the jar and make another batch by filling the jar with water, salt, and about 1/2 cup of the batch you just decanted. This will serve as your fermenting agent this time around. I have found that my second batch is always weaker, but always good!


The salty brine is what keeps your kvass from molding, and of course, provides flavor and minerals. However, there are many times I went to decant my kvass and there are small mold discs floating on the top. This does not seem to affect the kvass. Remove the mold and then taste your kvass. You will taste if anything has gone wrong with it. I have never experienced a batch going bad even though some mold will appear. In addition, the beets and other foods added take on a new look and color as they ferment. Don’t let this concern you. It will still be yummy.
Once you have completed the process for either one or two batches you can discard the beets to the compost pile or cook them in a little water until soft. With a little butter and some salt, they are delicious!

Pepeekeo Bananas Foster


Photograph by Linny Morris
Caramel, bananas, and vanilla ice cream—what’s not to like? Our twist on this perennial favorite includes lime zest and some coconut cream, plus my friend Richard Ha’s locally grown bananas. Note: Unsweetened canned coconut cream is not always easy to find, but you can use the top layer of cream that forms in canned, unsweetened coconut milk.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 6 People
Author: Peter Merriman


  • Sauté Pan
  • Wand Lighter


  • 6 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 6 Bananas (Peeled and cut in half lengthwise and crosswise)
  • 1 Cup Dark Rum
  • Zest Of 1 Lime
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Cream
  • 6 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream


Prepare Bananas.

  • Heat a sauté pan over high heat, add butter, and cook until the butter is brown and most of the foam has subsided. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sugar, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Cook until sugar dissolves, less than 1 minute.
  • Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side.
  • Transfer 4 pieces of banana into each of 6 individual serving bowls.

Prepare Flambé Sauce

  • Carefully add rum to the hot butter-sugar mixture, stirring continuously. If the sugar is very hot, the rum might flame up on its own. Otherwise, flambé using a wand lighter. If sugar crystals form, they will mostly dissolve as you continue to stir the sauce. 
  • When the flames subside, stir in lime zest and coconut cream.


  • Add a scoop of ice cream to the bananas in each bowl. Spoon sauce over bananas and ice cream. Enjoy!

Merriman’s Hawai’i

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The first time I met Peter Merriman was in 1993 during my first trip to Hawai’i, a place I’d never had on my radar. To my then unschooled mind, Hawai’i was just one big Cancun, and I’d never much enjoyed going to Cancun. But I’d been invited to an important chefs’ summit on the Big Island. So I packed my bags. I should of packed tremendous expectations too, because I landed in Kona’s tiny airport and stepped into a magical land that, to this day, holds a place of exotic wonder in my memory.

Perhaps I said hello to Peter at the conference-I know he was the muse behind so many of the thrilling experiences and tastes I encountered over the next few days I was there -but I honestly don’t recall. I was too infatuated with the fishing expeditions, the cooking demos and the luau hosted by the taro farmers in Waipio Valley.

No, it wasn’t until I drove from the Kona coast where our summit had taken place, up the road to Waimea to Merriman’s restaurant that I felt I really met Peter. I really met him as I tasted plates of stunning local opah and ono gilded with freshness of island herbs and tomatoes and greens–ingredients that all the hotel chefs had said had to be brought from the mainland. I basked in Peter’s effervescent enthusiasm for the beef and lamb from a nearby farm and the engagingly ripe fruit that had been delivered by an old hippy homesteader he’d met somewhere along the way.

Long before anyone had coined the phrase “farm-to-table,” Peter saw the true possibilities in Hawai’i’s land and in the people that surrounded him. All these years later, those nascent possibilities have blossomed into everyday pleasure for so many, and Merriman’s in Waimea has begotten seven more opportunities for folks to enjoy delicious food that celebrates the bounty of Hawai’i’s islands and those who so beautifully craft that food.

As I leaf through the inspiring pages of Merriman’s Hawai’i, my only regret is that all this vivid deliciousness remains a half-day plane ride from Chicago, where my home fire burns.

Candied Lemon Peels


Photographs by Monica Schwartz
Seasons change gently in Hawaii with just a cooler nip in the air. One change that we do notice is the abundance of citrus at the farmers’ markets. Last week a basket of lemons was left at our office doorstep. Around the office, we all shared ideas on what to do with them and finally decided to contact one of our favorite photographers who also happens to be an accomplished chef to see if she would share a generational family recipe. The chatter in the office went quiet as we all went to work on our assigned task of making candied lemon peels. Thank you Monica Schwartz for not only sharing your family recipe but for taking the photographs too!
Course: Snack
Author: Monica Schwartz


  • Medium Saucepan


  • Lemons
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups Water


  • Peel lemons
  • Add peels to a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat 4 times. This step is important to remove the bitterness. Cool.
  • Cut lemon peel in julienne strips about ¼” wide.
  • In a medium saucepan add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to low. Carefully add julienne lemon strips and simmer gently until all the white pitch is transparent, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Store peels in cooled syrup or allow them to cool and roll them in sugar. Store in an airtight container.

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