mango chiffon cake

Mango Chiffon Cake

I just ran across a really nice recipe for Mango Chiffon Cake

I substituted a few ingredients and turned it into a cake that easier to make but just as good. The ingredient list is nice and short on my version, too – it’s easy to find everything you need.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cake Flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup + 3/4 cup White Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 7 large Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 7 large Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 3/4 cup Mango Puree

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8″ x 4″ tube pan by lightly greasing the inside. (Be sure to use a big enough cake pan to prevent the batter from overflowing while baking!)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, and baking powder. Whisk to combine, then set aside until ready to use.
  3. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip on high speed until soft peaks form (the egg whites will look white and foamy), then slowly pour the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form (the egg whites will appear shiny/glossy).
  4. Make a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, and add the egg yolks, oil, and mango puree. Whisk together until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is pale and creamy. Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites, and fold it in to lighten this mixture. Next, gently fold the mango-flour mixture in batches into the rest of the egg whites.
  5. Once the batter has completely come together, pour it into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. A thin wooden skewer inserted into the cake should come out cleanly.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then use an offset spatula or knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Cover the cooled cake with icing.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
ahi poke with ogo seaweed

Ahi Poke With Ogo Seaweed

Ahi Poke is a common sight at Hawaiian family get togethers and outdoor activities.

In Hawaiian, Ahi is another name for raw tuna (preferably yellow fin) and Poke means to “mix up”. So, mixed-up raw tuna. 

The tradition of ahi poke goes back many years.  Real Hawaiians eat their poke with their fingers. It is not unusual to see this still done today at luaus.

I like to serve my poke with tropical fruits on the side – mangoes are a great addition when cubed and chilled. Sprinkled with coconut shavings and diced pinapple, mangos go well with any fresh ahi or sashimi dish.

Ahi poke can be served chunky or mashed into a paste. If served as a paste, most native Hawaiians will add it to a leaf of lettuce. This way, they can take it with them on picnics and hikes. Sometimes, poke is served layered with sheets of ogo seaweed for contrast. This layering adds a real beauty to the dish.

Ahi poke is a great go-to meal on a hot summers day. It is cold and refreshing, with bites of cold cucumber or lemon along with the diced raw (sashimi) ahi. It can be fixed in several different ways. Sometimes, people like to add sesame seeds, macadamia nuts and diced green onions. Recipes for ahi poke are as varied as the people that make it. 

ahi poke with green onions and black sesame seeds

ahi poke with green onions and black sesame seeds

Listed below is my husband’s favorite recipe that he often asks for after a run or a long day working in the yard.

This recipe uses sea salt, lemons, minced onions, and ice cold cucumbers cubed. The combination makes the tuna even more refreshing due to the chilled ingredients. Because of the lemon juice, the ahi is not completely raw. Lemon acids break down and chemically “cook” the tuna when left to marinate a while in the fridge.

Sometimes I add ogo seaweed and black sesame seeds, which gives my poke an earthy flavor that most good pokes have. Another good thing to add to a poke are small pungent mushrooms. The dusky taste of mushrooms really balances the fresh flavor of this particular poke. Mince or dice the mushrooms for a finer texture and try out different kinds.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of finely diced yellow fin ahi raw tuna
  • 1 cup white onion, finely minced
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup green onion, minced,
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds,
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil,
  • 1 cup lemon juice,
  • sea salt and pepper to taste,
  • ogo seaweed, chopped,
  • variety of mushrooms, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Mix the raw diced ahi tuna with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  2. Set this mixture aside in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  3. Then mix together all of the remaining ingredients and return to the refrigerator over night.

This combination makes a great dish for the family and a great start to a summer meal. It can also be served on a salad or in a wrap. But most of the time my husband eats it by itself, with a side of Hawaiian sesame bread.

mangos and sticky rice

How to Make Mango Sticky Rice from Scratch

When I grew up in Hawaii, we ate sticky rice pretty much every day for lunch or breakfast.

Every once in a while, though, my mom knew how to turn that boring starch into a Thai dessert magic – by adding mangos, of course.

Seriously, mango sticky rice is to die for. But in truth, it is not really made with regular sticky rice – to make this dish, you need sweet rice.

Sweet rice is sometimes called glutinous rice, and you can find it in most Asian groceries and on some Asian food shelves at your local market.

Because this dessert was such a delight during my childhood, I decided to share the recipe with you, especially since it is so simple. As long as you have a couple of products bought from your local Asian food market, your sticky rice will undoubtedly turn out great – and I am honestly warning you that you will fall in love with it.

Ingredients

mango sticky rice coconut milk

Making sticky rice is as simple as saying ABC, as you will only need one main ingredient: sticky rice. However, don’t start looking for sticky rice in your local stores and markets, because you won’t find it – at least, not with this name. Instead, look for sweet rice, or glutinous rice, which should be available in most markets that have Asian food shelves.

To make the mango sticky rice recipe I mentioned above, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 sweet rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 3 mango fruits (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.

If you don’t usually eat white refined sugar, replace it with brown sugar – the taste will be pretty much the same, although your sticky rice is going to look a little brown.

Preparation

Now that you have all the ingredients, you are ready to start making one of the most delicious Asian desserts you will ever eat.

  1. Start by combining the sweet water and rice in a saucepan, then bringing them to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat from medium to low and cover the saucepan.
  3. Simmer the mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is completely absorbed. At this point, you shouldn’t be able to see any water, just the rice that has absorbed it all.
  4. In the mean while, mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 salt in a second saucepan over medium-high heat, bringing them to a boil.
  5. Now remove them from heat, and put the saucepan aside.
  6. Once the rice has absorbed all of the water, stir it into the coconut milk-based mixture you have just made, then cover it. Allow it to cool for about 60 minutes.
  7. Now it comes my favorite part: making the sauce that will give the sticky rice such an amazing taste. Mix together 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, tapioca starch, and 1/2 cup coconut milk in a separate saucepan, and bring the entire mixture to a boil.
  8. Serve the rice on a plate with mango arranged on top, pour the sauce you have just made over the mango slices, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. If sesame seeds aren’t your favorite, forget about them – your sticky rice will taste fabulous anyway!

mangos and sticky rice

Beer & Bacon Waffles

bacon waffles

Many years back, I went out to brunch with a pal at one of the places that has a wide-ranging menu of pages and pages of information.

I normally loathe this, as I don’t possess the sharpest decision making abilities. In a special small carton, I saw Bacon Waffle through my sleep-addled gaze and was intrigued.

Over the next 30 minutes, I came back to that page over and over again until my friend told me to purchase the darn thing. So I did and it absolutely was divine – buttery crispy batter with bacon bits throughout.

I promptly told the chefs on duty when I went to work the following day. The truth is, I couldn’t shut up concerning bacon waffles!. I told everyone who came to work that day and likely everyone in a 5 mile radius the entire week. Those things rock!

I had come to believe that bacon waffles were, hands down, the biggest thing ever and everyone had to understand about it. It was like I needed to convert the basic waffle heathens and was in a wild bacon waffle cult.

On my last day at the restaurant, my favourite chef made me some. It turned out to be a touching send off.

Afterward, I recognized it was not easy to make them at home. Through trial and error, however, I have figured it out.

I began with my favourite buttermilk waffle recipe and tweaked it until I enjoyed the results. My significant moment arrived when I added left bacon fat to the batter.

I love high-end bacon, but for this recipe I favor the inexpensive stuff.

Scatter the bacon in addition to the batter in the waffle iron – you’ll be able to command the quantity you would like in each individual waffle and it remains crunchy. The touches soften and you’ve got pork waffles, when stirred into the batter, the distribution per square is not appropriate.

Bacon waffles

Serves 3 to 4 people.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound thick cut bacon, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat

 

Directions

1. Cut the bacon into rather small dice – about 1/8” or about the size of bacon bits.

2. In a heavy sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy.  Drain on paper towels.

3. Measure off 2 Tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat for the batter and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.

5. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and the eggs, whisking to break up the eggs.

6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk/egg mixture and stir to just combine.

7. Add the melted butter and the bacon fat and stir only until just smooth, careful not to over mix.

8. Heat your waffle iron.

9. Spray all the panels well with cooking spray then ladle the batter into the iron – I use about ¼ cup per waffle square.

10. Sprinkle each waffle square with a healthy pinch of bacon bits.

11. Close iron and cook until golden brown.

12. Serve immediately with butter and real maple syrup.  And maybe more bacon on the side — what else were you going to do with that extra half pound?

hawaiian shaved ice sign

Hawaiian Shaved Ice With Homemade Syrup

September is often the hottest month of the year in California.

Sometimes temperatures soar up to 90 degrees or higher!

For many CA families, it’s not a problem because they own an air-con – but many of us don’t have an easy way to save ourselves from the scorching heat.

During these times, a Hawaiian shaved ice can serve as a huge relief for yourself and your family. I remember a time when my family was hit with a heat wave and this recipe saved us. It made the heat a lot more bearable! It became a favorite recipe of mine and my children from then on.

hawaiianshavedice

Hawaiian shaved ice (the real stuff) can only be found in the Hawaiian islands. It is a Nectar of the Gods! You have to try it to believe it. Really, if you’ve never had a proper Maui ice before, you are missing something truly special.

My recipe is a replica of the real authentic Hawaiian shaved ice you’d find on Maui: it is topped with condensed milk and uses homemade sugar syrups that are flavored with real fruit. Two of my favorite homemade syrups are strawberry and pineapple.

Though you may not be able to enjoy the real Hawaiian shaved ice, you can get pretty close to it with my Hawaiian shaved ice using this home made fruit syrup recipe.

home made shaved ice syrup

Homemade Strawberry Syrup

  • 2 lbs strawberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  1. Rinse the berries and pull out the stems by slicing with a knife.
  2. Slice the strawberries to small cubes and place them in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add enough water to immerse them completely and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Next, reduce the heat to medium-high and let it simmer for 20 minutes while skimming any foam that may rise on top.
  5. Remove from heat once you notice the berries have lost their color and the water turns red or pink.
  6. Remove the strawberries from the liquid using a strainer.
  7. Keep in mind that if you don’t want your syrup to turn cloudy, so don’t press on the solids to extract more juice!
  8. Now add all of the sugar to the liquid and let it simmer until sugar dissolves.
  9. Lastly, remove from heat, let it cool completely and then refrigerate the mixture.

Pineapple Syrup

  • 4 cups cane sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small pineapple

Instructions

  1. Take a container and pour water and sugar.
  2. Skin the pineapple and cut into fine cubes to add to the mixture.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
  4. Then remove the cubes and press on them with a hand juicer.
  5. Stir the mixture until sugar dissolves and then pour the syrup through a cheesecloth or tea-strainer.
  6. Lastly, add a small amount of spirit as a preservative and refrigerate.

Vanilla Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Take a small saucepan and pour water and sugar.
  2. Add in the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean and throw in the pod.
  3. Next, heat this mixture over medium-high heat.
  4. Make sure to stir it frequently until the sugar dissolves completely.
  5. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Lastly remove the pod and add the vanilla extract to it.
  7. After the mixture cools down, refrigerate it.

You can make more flavors of syrup using the same technique and some creativity!

SHAVED ICE

Next, to make the shaved ice, you can use any decent ice shaving machine like a Rival or a margarita machine if you have one. It might not make the ice as finely grained as real Hawaiian ice, but it gets close enough.

How to serve

REAL HAWAIIAN SHAVED ICE

Put the shaved ice in a glass and then top it with your preferred home made syrup. You can try two or more combination of syrups at the same time as well for a rainbow effect and mixed flavor

You can also add the evaporated milk ( 3 to 4 ounces) on top to make it creamy.

Add your favorite toppings such as sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, strawberry or chopped nuts.

Like with ice cream, the world is your sweet-and-icy-cold oyster when it comes to Hawaiian Shaved Ice!

Mango Monday The Detox

Use This Delicious Carrot-Mango Juice to Detox

Detox Time!

This is a great-tasting detox drink that can really help you recover after a long weekend.  It’s so detoxifying, it might even help you pass a hair drug test!  Also provides a ton of Vitamin A. Makes about 2.5 cups.

carrot-mango-juice-01

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium carrots
  • 1 mango, pitted
  • 1 large strip of orange peel
  • 1/2 peeled navel orange

DIRECTIONS

  1. Press all ingredients through a juice extractor. Stir, and drink immediately.

NUTRITION

Amount Per Serving
Calories 120 Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0%
Saturated Fat 0%
Trans Fat  
Cholesterol 0%
Sodium 115mg 4%
Potassium 670mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 29%
Sugars 21g  
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 580%
Vitamin C 75%
Calcium 8%
Iron 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Cherry Beer Bread

cherry beer bread

Here is a quick and easy beer bread recipe that’s perfect for sharing with friends on a cold day (with tea or maybe something stronger).

Feel free to mix up the recipe by adding ginger or cinnamon or swapping-out my choice of fruits and nuts. Beer bread is really easy to make and is quite filling.

Cherry Beer Bread Recipe

Ingredients

4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
6 oz beer + 6 oz Cherry Cola or Cherry soda
1/4 cup sweetened dried cherries (cranberries also work nicely)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
2 tsbp sugar

Directions

  1. Add beer, yeast and 2 cups flour to stand mixer bowl. Stir by hand until well mixed. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove mixture from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
  3. Place bowl in stand mixer and attach dough hook.
  4. Add salt and remaining flour. Mix at low speed until dry ingredients are incorporated. Increase speed to medium and knead dough for approximately two minutes. If dough is sticky add flour 1 tsbp at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
  5. Remove from mixer and place on lightly floured surface. Knead in cherries and nuts.
  6. Coat bottom and sides of a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl turning to coat all surfaces. Cover with a dishcloth* and allow to rise in a warm area one to two hours or until doubled in size.
  7. Punch down dough and let rest five minutes.
  8. Remove from bowl and form a round loaf.
  9. Place a piece of parchment paper or silpat mat on a baking sheet.
  10. Place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for one to two hours or until doubled in size.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  12. Lightly beat egg white and water. Brush lightly over loaf covering all exposed surfaces.
  13. Sprinkle with sugar. You may also sprinkle with additional nuts if desired.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking rack.
  16. Dig in and enjoy!

Tip: this is a hearty bread, so make a bunch of loaves and give ‘em away. Cherry Beer Bread makes a great Christmas gift :)

Hawaiian sea salt french fries

Hawaiian Sea Salt French Fries

It was raining hard and cold yesterday. And I was alone in the house – the kids were in school and my husband was at work. 

I was craving hard for something I couldn’t quite put a name on. I wanted something salty, something crunchy and something I could nibble on while watching a movie I had downloaded. It was me time, and I needed a treat.

Hmmm… french fries. They’d be perfect for this weather!

So I combed through the cupboard and the fridge to see if we had the ingredients to make the dish. I was lucky: we just had enough potatoes left to make Sea Salt French fries for the evening.

This double-fried finger food also goes well with Ponzu Steak, Hawaiian style pit roasted pig, cheese steaks and paninis (just thinking of these makes my mouth water!) Sea Salt Fries are also perfect at grilling time, as a side dish for any BBQ’d meat.

Here’s the fastest recipe I know:

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Olive or canola (deep frying) oil
  • Hawaiian Sea Salt (any salt will do fine)

Instructions

sliced french cut potatoes

1. Start by peeling off the potatoes and cutting them lengthwise. If they are hard to peel, first soak them in ice water – it will loosen the skin to make them easier to peel.

2. Heat the oil in a deep fryer. You can also use a deep frying pan, it just takes longer because you need to fry them in batches.

3. Drain the potatoes well by patting them with paper towels.

4. Place the potatoes in the fryer and start frying. Don’t take the potatoes out of the frying pan until they begin to color and blister around the edges. They should be ready in about 7 to 9 minutes.

5. For a more crispy texture, I recommend that you fry the potatoes twice. Just make sure you don’t burn them!

6. Remove the potatoes using a fry basket and drain the oil on a paper towel.

7. Sprinkle the fries lightly with sea salt. I also like to sprinkle fresh rosemary or thyme on top.

Now enjoy your fries! I highly recommend making them double-crispy. It adds more texture and a deeper brown color to your fries, which I find it more enjoyable to eat. You just have to fry the potatoes twice; but keep in mind that you have to be careful so as not to burn them.

Hawaiian Sea Salt fries are perfect for any cold/rainy/snowy day inside, and they make a great side dish for any type of meat. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

A chocolate chip cookie ice cream cake is an easy, quick way to serve a crowd something special – without killing yourself in the kitchen!  I like this recipe that J&J put together years ago. It’s simple and straightforward.  You can substitute a butter cream icing or my favorite – sprinkle it with chocolate peanut butter hard shell topping to add an extra crunch!

Ingredients

1 ½ (18 ounce) packages chocolate chip cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 ½ cup hot fudge topping + some for drizzling on top
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
Cherries, for garnish

Directions

  1. Crush half of one package of cookies (about 20) to make crumbs. Combine crumbs with melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (or pie plate.) Stand remaining cookies (of the first package) around edge of pan.
  2. Spread 3/4 cup fudge topping over crust. Freeze 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, soften 1 quart of ice cream in microwave or on countertop. After crust has chilled, spread softened ice cream over fudge layer. Freeze 30 minutes.
  4. Drizzle ¾ cup fudge topping over ice cream layer.
  5. Scoop remaining quart of ice cream over fudge layer. Freeze until firm, 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Crush up about 10 – 15 cookies to sprinkle on top of cake before serving. Drizzle with hot fudge topping.
  7. Garnish with cherries, if desired.
kiwi passion margarita

Kiwi Passion Margaritas

It’s margarita time!

Well, it’s Cinco de Mayo time again in California. And that means time for ‘ritas.

Margaritas are great for parties, but they can get boring after a while. What we need is an infusion of fresh tropical fruit to get the party started again!

My sis and I went for Passion Fruit and Kiwi this year. Our Kiwi-ritas were the hit of the party, and the relatively low alcohol content means we didn’t have to suffer the next day (too much!).

The Cinco de Mayo party was such a blast. We had it in the afternoon, invited a few friends and neighbors, and my sis. We put on some tunes, and danced out on the deck in the sunshine. It makes you feel like the summer is never going to end. As well as the Kiwi Passion Margaritas, one of my neighbors brought Four Seasons margaritas, too. They were delicious, and many of the guests were alternating between the two.

The food on offer was simple and definitely said Cinco de Mayo.

shrimp ceviche on plate yum

We had:

  • Coconut Shrimp Tacos – I really love the fusion of Asian and Mexican flavors!
  • Shrimp Ceviche, with big chunks of shrimp and that delicious lime kick that makes it such a hit with the margaritas.
  • Fried Plantains are one of my favorite treats, and we served ours with a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon, and some vanilla ice-cream.

My mouth is watering just thinking about all that delicious food!

The party went on until after sundown. We had beautiful lanterns out on the deck, a bouncing pinata full of goodies for the kids, and of course we all got out the sombreros and woolen blankets when the evening began to chill.

I can’t wait for our next excuse to party Mexican style. I’ve got tons of new ideas for recipes, new cocktails to try and new decorations to put out on the deck. I think the kids may be old enough to get in on the action a bit more too, and a great big cactus might be the table centerpiece!

The following recipe is for a pitcher of Kiwi Passion Margaritas.

Get a stock of ingredients in, because it’s so delicious that you’ll certainly be making some more. These margaritas are so special. They’re sweet, but also sour. They’re ice cold, and they make you feel like Summer. In my book, any good recipe has to have some lime in it somewhere. So really, this recipe is hard to beat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of lime juice, fresh is best and 8 or 9 limes make enough
  • 1/3 cup of superfine (caster) sugar
  • 4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 2 or 3 passion fruits
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur – Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • 2 cups of crushed ice – get a bag of ice cubes and bash with a rolling pin
  • 1 wedge of lime

Instructions

  1. wash the passion fruits, then slice in half and scoop the pulp and seeds into the blender. Blend until smooth;
  2. Add the lime juice, sugar, 3 of the kiwis, tequila, orange liqueur and ice to the blender.
  3. Blend until you have a smooth mixture (I love my Nostalgia blender)
  4. Rub a wedge of lime around the rim of the glasses, then pour in the margarita and garnish with a slice of kiwi.

Enjoy!

kiwi passion margarita blended