Dining Outside the Home: Avalon Gastropub in Kapaa, Kauai! When a waiter at another restaurant tells you where he goes after a hard day, you sit up and take notice. Avalon Gastropub is a trailblazer for this genre on the island. It is a place that offers a casual, yet refined atmosphere. The top-notch food and drink selections step up the freshness and creativity of the daily menu. Crabmeat Crostini is one of those delectable special features. The chef recommended Scotch Egg features a soft boiled egg wrapped in pork belly sausage. It’s one of several tantalizing small plates, that’s for sure. Some crafted cocktails aim to tickle the palate with smoke-infused alcoholic beverages, such as the Jalapeño Smoked Margarita shown here. It actually comes to the table in a smoker box. Talk about a multi-sensory experience.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Quartered Chicken with Oranges! If you are fortunate enough to be the recipient of a Fruit-of-the-Month Club, you will not only have premium fresh fruit delivered to your door, but tucked inside the box is a recipe card with serving suggestions. Thanks go out to the families of Brandi and Jennifer! Today’s special features the Cara Cara Orange, which is a sweet seedless variety with interesting undertones of cherry and blackberry. The delightful taste is less acidic than ordinary oranges. And the pinkish-red flesh reminded me of its distant cousin, the blood orange. My compliments to Harry & David.*
QUARTERED CHICKEN WITH ORANGES
2 sections of quartered chicken, leg and thigh portion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 Cara Cara oranges, quartered
1/2 onion, chopped in chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350°. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Place chicken in an iron skillet. Surround it with oranges, onion, and garlic. Rub the chicken well with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and Herbes de Provence. Tuck two sprigs of thyme in between chicken. Bake one hour until golden and internal temperature is 165°.
*I receive no recompense for featuring Harry & David Fruit-of-the-Month.
Dining Outside the Home: Duke’s Kauai in Lihue, Kauai! An open-air view of the deep blue Pacific Ocean may leave you wondering what tasty sea creatures lie beneath the surface. One glance around the dining room may answer that thought. The chefs at Duke’s Kauai respect the Hawaiian tradition of local fishermen. Their catch-of-the-day is determined by the season. It could be Ahi with its steak-like texture seared and crusted in furikake seasoning. Or it may be Ono with its juicy and mild flavor grilled in a spicy sesame-ginger glaze. Other island favorites are always an option. Add vegetables, fruit, and bread selections from their famous salad bar to complete the entree. When it’s all said and done, no one walks away hungry from Duke’s Kauai.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Pan-Seared Pork Carnitas! What if I told you this recipe will give you the crunch of bacon and the tenderness of a roast? And what if I also told you there’s no shame in eating a plate of tender, super-crispy meat without tortillas and refried beans on the side? (It’s true. I actually had these pork carnitas for breakfast one day.) If you’ve ever ordered this house special in a Mexican restaurant, I challenge you to give it a try. I simply threw all the ingredients together before I went to bed and let the slow cooker do its magic overnight. The next morning, the aromas will drive you crazy! Be creative. Have tacos, tostadas, nachos, or simply eat them as is. I did, without regrets. Mmmmm.
PAN-SEARED PORK CARNITAS
7-pound pork shoulder, bone-in
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 tablespoon Hawaiian Rub*
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vinegar
Rinse and dry pork shoulder. Pat dry. Cover with olive oil. Rub in oregano, cumin powder, Hawaiian Rub, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Place the pork shoulder, fatty side up, in a slow-cooker. Add chopped onion and jalapeño slices. Mix together orange juice and vinegar. Pour over all. Cover. Cook on Low for 10 hours. When done, the meat will be very tender. Remove the roast from the slow cooker. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Shred the meat using two forks, allowing some pieces to remain in bite-size chunks. Strain the juices into a medium size saucepan. Discard solids. Warm the drippings over medium heat to skim off the fat. Set aside. To serve, warm an iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place shredded pork in the skillet and drizzle in a ladle of juices. Avoid overcrowding. Use a screen lid cover to eliminate splatters. Let the juices evaporate for 2-3 minutes so the bottom of the pork appears charred and crusty. Carefully turn over the pork pieces to cook golden brown. Overcooking will reduce tenderness and juiciness. Remove pork from skillet. Take a lime wedge and squeeze fresh lime juice over all. Garnish with cilantro. Leftovers may be divided into storage containers. Pour the juice equally over the pulled pork in each container. Freezing is also an option.
*Available through Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts. I receive no recompense for promoting their product.
Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai! Everyone loves a barbecue whether it’s the blaze of fire or the smell of the wood. Perhaps it’s the fiery outdoor cooking. Either way, the smoky taste is amazing. The owners and staff of Paniolo understand that attraction for personal enjoyment. Eating at picnic tables adds to the allure. Top it off with live entertainment and you’ve got a reason to gather together. People want to savor and enjoy food. Look no further than Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ. Check out their menu online. Many items are served with homemade chili, fresh garden salad, and grilled garlic bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Olive Oil Herb Potatoes! Being raised in the Midwest, practically every evening meal consisted of meat, potato, and vegetable. Perhaps that is why I love potatoes so much. I learned how to make homemade potato soup at the hem of my mother’s apron, without measuring or a recipe. But that’s a story for another day. I like the baby potatoes available now at the supermarket. By slicing them, with the skin on, and drizzling them with herbs and olive oil, the taste is unbelievable! Who wouldn’t fall in love with these tasty little nuggets?
OLIVE OIL HERB POTATOES
5 baby potatoes, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°. Leaving skin on potatoes, wash thoroughly and pat dry. Put one potato on a soup spoon. Beginning at one end, slice in strips, being careful to stop before slicing the bottom skin. The knife will hit the spoon to prevent it from cutting through. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Continue until all potatoes are sliced. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic powder, Herbes de Provence, and chopped rosemary leaves. Brush each potato with herbed olive oil, separating slices to coat both sides. Drizzle remaining oil over all. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake potatoes one hour until crispy, basting occasionally. Serve immediately.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai! No, the rooster isn’t the host…he just thinks he is. If he could speak, he would probably recommend the catch-of-the-day and lead you to a table outside where the view is simply mesmerizing. The staff at Oasis on the Beach focuses on quality of ingredients by using local growers and fishermen for diversity in cultures as well as flavor. For example, the Pork Wonton appetizer is complemented by a spicy ginger soy sauce for dipping. Pair it with the Okinawan Sweet Potato Wrap for something new and different. The roasted peppers and charred onions enhance the creamy texture of the Hawaiian sweet potato. You can’t get flavor like this on the mainland. Choose your next meal at a place that stays true to their mission statement of sustainability.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza! Before you roll your eyes, let me explain about Neapolitan pizza. The dough itself is made of four basic ingredients. I like that. The Italian flour makes the dough stretchy and easy to work into shape with your fingers. If you cannot find Italian flour, bread flour is an acceptable substitute. I went on a quest to find it, though. A Neapolitan pizza is made to be eaten with a knife and fork as a personal pan pizza. And it is not precut, simply because the center of the bottom crust is soft and chewy. Trust me, it’s worth every bite. This dough recipe will make six individual servings of thin crust pizza. Bellissimo!
NEAPOLITAN TOMATO CHEESE PIZZA
4 cups Italian “00” flour plus extra flour for dusting
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced rounds
6 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine flour, sea salt, yeast, and water into a Bread Machine. Set to “Dough”. When finished, divide dough into 6 portions, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 72 hours. Remove 45 minutes prior to preparation for dough to come to room temperature. Transfer one ball of dough to a medium bowl that has a handful of flour in it. Flip to coat. Pat off excess flour and transfer it to a floured surface. Gently stretch dough, with fingertips, into a circle. Pick it up and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. With one hand in the center of the dough round, use the other hand to stretch the edge outward without tearing, rotating as needed. Place the oven rack on its highest setting. You should still be able to place an iron skillet on it. If not, lower the rack. Preheat the Broiler on High. Dust the iron skillet with flour; tap out excess. Heat the empty skillet until it is smoking lightly, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer dough to the skillet. Moving quickly, top the dough with tomato sauce, mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer skillet back to the broiler and cook until pizza is puffed and charred in spots, up to 4 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Serve immediately. For more than one pizza, repeat process.
Dining Outside the Home: Little Fish Coffee in Hanapepe, Kauai! Follow your nose in historic Hanapepe to the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Be transported to your “happy place” where the smiling fish on the sign invites you to sit awhile for an energetic caffeine fix. Little Fish Coffee’s quirky decor makes for a very social environment or oasis, so to speak. Take time to check social media, nibble on a bagelwich, and people watch. The outdoor seating in the courtyard may present a sunny spot for fresh air and sunshine until that hypnotic coffee aroma lures you back inside for a refill.