Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cooking Club #3

Let's all go to Hawaii!
This was our theme for meeting #3 of the Cooking Club.
(to check out all of our cooking club fun click here)
The Cuisine and customs of Hawaii.
Hawaiian cuisine is a hard cuisine to pin down, only because it is so influenced by so many other cultures, but we all had fun making up our own versions of Hawaiian dishes.

Don Ho was our official mystery guest--I guess.
Debbie E. was our host, and she laid a pretty outside table for appetizer's
and a pretty inside table for the meal!

And here she is in her coconut bra showing off her shish-ka-bobs.
(during dinner talk, I heard that she made her own soy-sauce.  I'll have to find out her secret)

We were sad that Gina and Mark were out of town again, but  happy that Shelly and Lorin could step in as our permanent subs.
Now, I think she really has a permanent place at the table--whether someone is absent or not.
She can bring the bread. 
This time she brought the dessert.
A Yellow cake topped with tropical fruit.

As always we had this great evening with friends, but what did we learn about Hawaiian Cuisine?

Well... we are pretty sure it was Poi and Seafood at the beginning,
pre-dating contact with Europeans and immigration from China, Japan, and the Philippines/south pacific islands. 

We didn't really want Poi (and I don't know why we didn't do some seafood), but we were glad that Polynesian seafarers arrived on the Islands around 300-500 AD.  Because they added:  GOOD STUFF.
Interestingly,  they brought yams and sweet potatoes, which we usually don't think of when we think of Hawaii --or at least I don't.
But last night I made a  Hawaiian sweet potato dish that resembled what is passed around at our own Thanksgiving table.  Sliced Sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, then (and this is the Hawaiian part)  sprinkled with macadamia nuts and flour and coconut syrup.
I'm sad that I didn't get a picture of it.
But I do know it is original from Chef Sam Choy's "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Hawaii's Cuisine!

Later, the Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese had huge influences on Hawaiian Cooking.
It's all a blend now.
Except for the Poi of course. 

A list of common entrees:

We stretched our imaginations and came up with:
Bok-choy salad
Spam Fried Rice
Hawaiian baked Sweet Potatoes

And Don Ho.
My imagination came up with Don Ho.
Singing 'Tiny Bubbles'.

For our appetizers--Sally made 'Poke' (the raw salad that comes in sections)  and bacon wrapped fruit,  sprinkled with some spicy spice.
(that's a new thing---spicy spice)

This is Sally and her Poke.

Charlie looks sad.
He's most likely worried that he won't win the Hawaiian Cuisine Quiz!

And apparently the Handyman thinks he is 12 years old! 
But at least Charlie isn't so sad anymore.

AND--the traditional table shot!
It was hard for me to get everybody, so I had to take it from both angles.

And last, but never least, is April with her Bok-choy salad.
It was very tasty, as you can tell by it being almost gone.

As it always is, it was tons of fun.
We are foodies (80% of us anyway, the other 20% comes for the company)
And we love to eat, share stories about food, and talk about food.
 I don't know if you noticed but there aren't any photos of me OR my food... and I made some of the most traditional!
It is the fate (or the luck?) of the photographer to not be in any photo!

So I tired to remedy this and took a picture of the rice the day after:


That fried rice is made with SPAM!

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a problem with Spam.

It's not real meat ( I think it's ground up people), and who the heck eats meat from a can?

Um... the Hawaiians, people from Guam, the Philippines,  Tahiti, anywhere in the South Pacific.  All the places we dream about going!
Spam is popular!  So popular that McDonalds in Hawaii offers some Spam items on their menu.

The principle explanation for why SPAM® is popular in Hawaii is that is portable, durable meat that does not require any type of refrigeration. It was first introduced during WWII by American soldiers to Hawaiian natives, who quickly adopted it as an important part of their diet. In the Hawaiian islands where the weather quickly changes, and especially during wartime, the ability to have portable meat products that can be used in case of emergency was especially desirable.
I have to be honest here, although I like to give my friends a bad time about SPAM being the only thing I don't like-- I do like it in fried rice.
(and I don't hate it really---it just looks so gross)

I meander so much that sometimes I lose track of my own story!  What was it? Cooking Club?  Vacations? Food?
Oh...Spam fried rice!!

I do not make it as good as my brother does.
He is an expert Spam fried rice maker....  and he will kill me for a couple of these pictures: (as one of my favorite sisters-in-law might)
Sylvia is from Guam.  She went to the University of Hawaii, where she met my brother, or he met her (?).  He was a United States Marine, stationed in Hawaii.
SO--I figure they do know something about Hawaiian Fried  Rice!
Which is what I made! 
(whew!  Long story)

And here is their's!
I took a photo of it once to prove to my friends that I was eating Spam.
And.... they eat it for breakfast mostly.

This is how you make the fried rice
cook rice-- my brother uses a rice cooker, but I don't have one.
Fry Spam, cut up, onion, red pepper, green pepper, in a bit of oil (maybe a drop of sesame oil too?) 
Add for eggs to scramble with.
Add cooled cooked rice and splash with a bit of soy sauce.

(he'll kill me for this one)

What's up next time for the Cooking Club, you ask?

Well, let me tell you...
American Regional Cooking!

We each get a region and the we go wild with a recipe popular to that region!!

here are the regions we can choose from:
Deep South--  Alabama - Arkansas - Florida - Georgia - Mississippi
Far West (CA, Hawaii, NV)
Great Lakes ( Illinois - Indiana - Michigan - Minnesota -
Ohio - Wisconsin )
Mid-Atlantic---Delaware - Maryland - New Jersey -
New York - Pennsylvania -
District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
Midwest/Plains--Colorado - Iowa - Kansas - Missouri - Nebraska -
North Dakota - Oklahoma - South Dakota
New England--Connecticut - Maine - Massachusetts - New Hampshire - Rhode Island - Vermont
Pacific Northwest--Alaska - Oregon - Washington
Idaho - Montana
Southeast--Kentucky - North Carolina - South Carolina - Tennessee - Virginia -West Virginia
Southwest:  Arizona - New Mexico - Texas - Utah
South Central--Louisiana - Mississippi

Cooking Club is SO MUCH FUN!
in the words of our Hawaiian Host--I'm so glad you made us do this Debbie!
Yes, I kind of forced everyone's hand!  We had been talking about it for years.
I'm so glad I did too!!
What is life without friends and food?
oh..and books. Books too.
As for Don Ho--- the album is from my parents collection, which I now have.
It reminds me of growing up...my parents had a huge stereo (piece of furniture) and played records all the time.  The Handyman doesn't understand why I can't let these things go.  Vinyl!!
I know the song has special meaning to some of my friends and family too.
Enjoy the song--It's great!
Tiny Bubbles!


bermudaonion said...

I'm with you on Spam but you had to have it since the theme was Hawaii.

JoAnn said...

What fun!! Thanks for sharing the evening with us.

Karen said...

Ground up people? Hahaha! Your cooking club looks like so much fun!

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