Back to the Kitchen: Have a Summer Luau Party!

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Where did the Luau come from and where does Hawaiian food get its influences? Hawaiian chefs are accustomed to mixing and matching a multitude of Polynesian, Eastern and Western flavors. Flawlessly and bravely creating a unique cuisine mixed with the amazing local fruits, nuts fish and vegetables and yes, the world’s finest coffee.

In ancient Hawaii, men and woman were not allowed to eat together. Commoners and women of all ranks were also forbidden by the ancient Hawaiian religion to eat certain delicacies. This all changed in 1819, when King Kamehameha abolished the traditional religious practices. A feast where the King ate with women was the symbolic act, which ended the law, and the luau was born. The favorite dish at these feasts is what gave the luau its name. Young and tender leaves of the taro plant were combined with chicken, baked in coconut milk and called luau. You may not want to roast a whole pig, but you can create a fun event using themed food and drinks and decorations.

Serve fresh fruit and decorate with pineapple, papaya, and bananas. You can have so much fun with big leaves, flowers and coconuts. Tiki torches and shells make great and fun presentations. You should always greet your guests with a flower or shell lei and you can easily find fun Hawaiian music. So grab your grass skirts and plan a summer luau.

Cold Ginger Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken stock

1 Maui onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 inch ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and then cover and remove from heat and let cool. Remove chicken and refrigerate to cool. Arrange on platter and cover with sauce.

Ginger Sauce

1/2-cup canola or macadamia nut oil

1/2 cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Heat oil to a smoking point and add ginger (watch out for splattering) let cool and whish together remaining ingredients.

Curried Mahi-Mahi

1-pound Mahi-mahi

3 tablespoons curry powder

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Whisk together curry, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Marinate Mahi-mahi for 1 hour. Bake in a 350 oven until cooked through about 12 minutes. Or you can grill over med-low heat about 6 minutes per side. Serve at once.

Pistachio-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass

6 6-ounce pieces of Chilean Sea bass

1-cup ground pistachios

1 cup Panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 shallots chopped

1 stalk lemon grass, chopped

3-garlic clove, chopped

1 stick butter, softened

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns

2 cups white wine

1-cup cream

Mix together Panko, cilantro and pistachios. Brush fish with Dijon mustard and coat with Pistachio mixture. Bake at 375*F. for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile put shallots, garlic, wine, peppercorns, lemon stalk and bay leaf in a medium sauce pan. Reduce slowly to a syrupy consistency. Strain through a fine sieve.

Add cream and reduce a little more. Whisk in the butter a little at a time over low heat until all the butter is used. Sauce should be creamy. Pour over fish and serve.

Shrimp with Coconut

3 pounds Shrimp

3 cups shredded coconut (on a plate)

2 cups pancake mix

1 cup orange juice

1/2-cup coconut milk (more to thin the batter)

2 eggs

1-teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peanut oil for frying

Set deep fryer or wok for 375. In a bowl mix pancake mix, eggs O.J. coconut milk and cayenne pepper. Holding by the tail dip each shrimp into the batter, roll in the coconut and drop into bubbling oil. Do not over crowd the fryer; cooking several batches as necessary. Fry until shrimp are golden brown; about 3 minutes. (Don’t over cook, as the shrimp gets tough). Drain on a brown bag. Serve hot.

Sweet Potato Salad

1/4-cup canola oil or macadamia nut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

2 inches ginger, peeled and minced

1/2-teaspoon cinnamon

1/4-teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk all ingredients to blend in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

6 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup Macadamia nuts

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup brown raisins

Steam sweet potatoes in batches until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer sweet potatoes to large bowl. Cool to room temperature. Add green onions, parsley, macadamia nuts, and all raisins. Pour dressing over; toss gently to blend. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Coconut Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups sugar

1/4-teaspoon salt

6 eggs

1-teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1-cup coconut milk

1 cup flaked coconut

Pre-heat oven to 325. Cream butter, sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, flour and milk. Fold in coconut. Pour batter into a loaf pan sprayed with bakers joy. Bake until toothpick comes out clean about 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle with powder sugar mixed with coconut flakes. (I also like to sprinkle with edible flowers for a pretty presentation.)

Haleakala Ice Tea

1-gallon water

12 black tea bags

1-cup sugar

4 sprigs mint

3 cups pineapple juice

2 cups lemon juice

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Steep teabags and mint until very dark. Remove mint and teabags. Add sugar and juices. Stir to dissolve sugar pour into containers and refrigerate. Serve with ice and fresh sprigs of mint and pineapple spears.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.