Flavorbliss Lazy Mainland Style Laulau

 

laulau

I’m always homesick. Coming from Hawaii, I always miss the beaches, the people, the Aloha spirit, and the food. Since I’m on the mainland, I have always tried to make the local Hawaiian food myself to kill the food craving and homesickness. Trying out different kind of recipes.

I gathered this recipe from 3 different recipes. And so far, below is what I got and I have been happy with it. I have made it numerous times. Everyone loves it. It is the “lazy” shortcut kind, and mainland style because some ingredients you can’t even find them here, such as the taro and ti leaves. But, I found that, the banana leaves makes up for the ti leaves, and the canned spinach makes up for the taro leaves.

SO, it’s a lu’au!, and it’s ono! 🙂

Dried banana leaves
Cooking string/ twine
Cod or butter fish (optional- I normally don’t put any fish)
1 big slice of pork belly (I use this instead of fish), cut up into 1 inch cubes
Sea salt or kosher salt
2 cans (or more) of Del Monte spinach (I ALWAYS use Del Monte brand- to me, it has taste and smell like taro leaves)
1 lb pork butt, cut up or cubed

Season pork butt with salt. Give about 3-4 big pinches on each bundle (explanation below). If you use fish, also cut up the fish, or pork belly and season with salt. When you are done, prepare the banana leaves. Once you clean and dry up the leaves and they become soft, cut about 10- 12 inch in length. You want to make sure that at the end, you can wrap those pork like a bundle or a present. Place the cut up pork at the bottom, then the fish or pork belly, and season with salt on top. When they are done, place a handful of spinach on top of them then wrap your leaves into a bundle and secure it with the string on all fours sides. Make sure it is all tie up and secured.

Your choice of using steamer or crockpot, make sure you place the seam on the bottom to avoid the leaves from opening up. If you use crockpot, set it on low for 6-8 hours. I always put about 1/2 cup of water before I turn the crockpot on, so the laulau are moist and not too salty. If you use steamer, pile them in steamer, with metal strainer underneath so they don’t touch the water. You will be steaming for a while, at least for about 4 hours. Keep on checking though, especially for water level. You don’t want your laulau to burn. They will smell bad.

Easy and simple, right? That is why I called it “lazy”! Good luck.

Beef Donburi For Two (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl)

beef donburi

I was looking for some inspirations of what to make for dinner when I came across a recipe for Beef Donburi. Since I haven’t had it for a while, I thought it would be a good idea to make it. I have the similar ingredients but the beef at home. So, I modified this recipe according to what I had that day in my pantry.

I have never thought that finding a thinly sliced beef for “sukiyaki” would be so hard in Texas. I remember when I was in Hawaii they sell that kind of beef everywhere in supermarkets. Anyway, what I was able to find in our nearby supermarket was what they called “Stir fry beef”.  They are not as paper-thin as I want them to be, but they were okay. I thought, I could cut them even thinner, but I was not going to do that. Besides, I don’t have the right kind of knife to do it.  If you can’t find the thinly sliced beef,  find the thinnest possible then use hand meat tenderizer to make them even thinner. It worked out well for me and it made my meat even moist and tender!.

This recipe calls for sweet white wine. You want your beef donburi to taste kind of sweet, so sweet white wine and mirin would help do that. I heard some people use Moscato, I used Texas Sweet Chardonnay that is what we had.  The wine really enhanced the flavor of the beef.

Ingredients:

1/4 lb thinly sliced beef
1/2 medium size onion
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups of spinach (optional- I like mine with a little veggy in it)
Seasoning sauce (recipe below)

Seasoning Sauce:

1 cup of sweet white wine
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoon of sugar
3 tablespoon of Japanese mirin
1 teaspoon of Japanese sake

Direction

1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

2. In a flat saute pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil on high heat. Add onions to saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil on high heat. Then reduce to medium heat. Just before you simmer the sauce, add the mushroom, spinach, if using and simmer for another 15 minutes. At this point, the onions should be soft and carry a sweet taste. Pick them up and place them in a separate bowl, set aside.

4. When you are ready, add the beef just minutes before you serve because the thinly sliced beef cooks quickly. Do not overcook the beef, or it will turn tough.

5. Put a bowl of warm rice, add the beef on top, and the rest of the ingredients that you set aside on top of the beef.

It is fast and easy! Enjoy!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

071 spaghetti carbonara

Nowadays, I find it hard to find spaghetti with carbonara sauce in the menu in an Italian restaurant. Carbonara sauce is one of my favorite pasta sauces! And, when I do find it in a restaurant, it is unlikely as good as I expect it to be. Maybe because it is made from raw eggs and people are afraid to consume it at a restaurant? I’m not sure. But, I sure do miss it from time to time.

So, since there were a lot of leftover ham from New Year dinner, I decided to make spaghetti carbonara sauce. I found this very good recipe online, and of course, being me, I had to modify it to my liking. Everybody loved it!! No leftover this time. Shucks!! 🙂 That’s ok, besides, carbonara sauce is not good if you heat it up because of the eggs in the sauce will be cooked and it would not only look weird but it will taste weird as well. So, serve the sauce immediately when it is still warm.

This recipe serves 8 people:

1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 lb of ham, chopped (I used smoked ham)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, put some salt in it if you like. Cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, add minced garlic and saute it until fragrant. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Then put in the chopped ham until slightly crisp. Saute for about 2 minutes then add wine if desired; cook one more minute.

Add cooked and drained spaghetti into the mixture. Toss to coat and heat through in a medium high heat, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Remove from heat. You don’t want the eggs to cook. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that ham and parmesan cheese are salty).

Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Enjoy! I hope you like it as I do!