Monthly Archive for July, 2011

Mint-a-fied Sugar Snap Pea Salad

This refreshing salad gives the perfect blend of sweet, savory with a twist of tang to keep the fork coming back for more. It’s a nice addition to a salty meal, refreshing and crunchy on the palate. Peas can be prepared two days ahead of time, or salad mixed with its dressing can be prepared 1 day ahead of time.

Mint-a-fied Sugar Snap Pea Salad


1 -1/2 lbs sugar snap peas, ends snapped off and strings removed

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1 small shallot, minced

1 tsp grated lemon zest (do not scrape bitter white part of lemon)

1 TBS lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta


Clean peas and remove ends and strings. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl; 4 cups water and 4 cups ice cubes. Set aside.

In a large pot, on high-heat, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add peas and 1 TBS salt and cook until crisp and tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Drain peas in a colander and immediately transfer to the ice bath to cool completely. Remove peas from water, pat dry with paper towel.

Cut peas in half crosswise. At this point, peas can be refrigerated for 2 days in a zip-lock bag.

To prepare salad dressing, in large bowl whisk mint, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, honey and oil. Add peas and cheese to bowl and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temp.

Salad can be place in an airtight container for 1 day, once mixed with dressing.

Serves 4-6

Fat Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad

There is nothing more yummy than Hawaiian diner food, in particular, over cooked (or ‘fat’) macaroni salad. The perfect ‘plate lunch’ is two scoops of sticky rice, one heaping spoon of macaroni salad and some type of protein such as Huli Huli chicken, BBQ English Short Ribs, or a thick cut pork chop. As tempting as it might be to make this pasta recipe ‘low fat’ to shave off a few calories, substituting low-fat milk or low-fat mayonnaise will make the dressing too thin. Enjoy every bite and forget about the carb-fest.

Fat Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad


2 cups whole milk

2 cups mayonnaise

1 TBS light brown sugar

salt and pepper

1 lb elbow macaroni

1/2 cup cider vinegar

4 scallions, sliced thin

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 rib celery, chopped fine


In a large pot, bring 4-quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 TBS of salt and pasta and over cook, until very soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until well absorbed. Transfer to a bowl to cool for 10-15 minutes.

While pasta cools prepare dressing. In a medium-size bowl whisk 1- 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsps pepper. Pour dressing over pasta and coat well. Allow to cool completely.

Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining mil and mayonnaise to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and no longer than 2 days.

Serves 8-10.

Huli Huli Chicken – Get Your Hula Hula On

There was a spot of sun that made its way into my atmosphere and instantly I was mentally transported to thoughts of a sunny Hawaiian day. To celebrate my instant move from the land of water and more water (Northern California had the most rain it has had in 100 years!) to sunny skies a Hawaiian BBQ was in order. With inspiration from my friend in Kawaii, Kat, and few pointers from ‘Cook’s Country Magazine’ a feast was made. The menu will be revealed these next few weeks, so stay tuned:

– Huli Huli Chicken

– Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

– Mint-a-fied Sugar Snap Pea Salad

– Gourmet Krispie Treats

To get this succulent and crispy chicken fired up, you will need some lead time. The good news is that both the brine and the glaze can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days. DO NOT brine chicken more than 8 hours or it will become VERY SALTY.

Huli Huli Teriyaki-Style Chicken (Turn It, Turn It Chicken)

Chicken Brine Ingredients

2 quarts (8 cups) water

2 cups low sodium soy sauce

1 TBS vegetable oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBS ginger, fresh grated

4 split chicken halves (2 chickens approx 8 lbs)

Chicken Glaze Ingredients

3 (6 oz) cans pineapple juice

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup rice vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 TBS ginger, fresh grated

2 tsps **** Asian black bean chili sauce

2 cups mesquite wood chips (soaked in water for 15 minutes)


When buying the chicken, ask the butcher to cut it lengthwise through the breast bone. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger, cooking until fragrant, approximately 30-60 seconds. In a large bowl or soup pot, combine water and soy sauce. Stir ginger and garlic into soy mixture. Add chicken and refrigerate, covered for at least 1 hour and no longer than 8 hours.


In a large-size sauce pan combine pineapple juice, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ginger and chili-garlic sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thick and syrupy, approximately 20-30 minutes. You should end up with 1 cup of sauce.


Drain water out of wood chips, seal in a foil packet and cut vent holes on top.

If using a gas grill, place foil packet directly on primary burner. Turn all burners to high and cover until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, approximately 15 minutes. Turn all burners down to medium low. Scrape and oil cooking grate.

If using coals, light approximately 75 coals. Open bottom vents on grill. When coals are covered with fine gray ash, spread evenly over bottom of grill. Place foil packet directly on coals. Put cooking grate in place and heat, covered with lid vent halfway open until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, approximately 5-8 minutes.


Remove chicken from brine mixture and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange chicken, skin-side up on the grill being careful not to place chicken directly above foil packet. Grill covered until chicken is well browned on bottom and has an internal temperature of 120 degrees. Cooking time will be approximately 25-35 minutes. Turn (or huli) chicken, skin-side down and continue to grill, covered, until skin is crisp and thigh meat registers 170-175 degrees. This should take another 25-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, bush generously with glaze and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Use remaining glaze at table when serving chicken.

Serves 6-8.

Kalua Pork Tacos & Grilled Pineapple Relish

It seems that since the sun first peeked out in mid-June, I’ve had a hankering for Hawaiian inspired dishes. But being a native Californian I also like to incorporate a healthy dose of Mexican fare into every day meals. If you are looking for a new way to switch up your typical 4th of July BBQ, I hope that this post will inspire you to make the ultimate Hawaiian taco. With Tortilla Land‘s fresh flour tortillas at hand, this is a do-ahead dish that is just too good to resist. Get your hula skirt on and drop your jaw, these Kalua Pork Tacos will leave your friends counting down the days until next year’s party.

Kalua Pork Tacos

Taco Ingredients

1 (6 lb) pork shoulder or butt roast

1-1/2 TBS pink Hawaiian sea salt

1 TBS liquid smoke flavoring

24 (6-inch) flour tortillas (I used 2 packages of Tortilla Land flour tortillas)

cherry tomatoes


pineapple relish (below)

Taco Directions

Pierce pork all over with a sharp knife. Rub liquid smoke over meat and then rub in salt. Place roast in a slow cooker.

Cover, and cook on Low for 16 to 20 hours, turning once during cooking time.

The next day, cut tomatoes and cilantro and mix well. Prepare pineapple relish. Before serving, I deviated from the typical package directions and put my tortillas on the BBQ, over a medium heat. Tortillas cooked for 35-40 seconds on each side. As the tortillas cook they tend to puff-up, flip and turn to brown on both sides.

Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten. To assemble tacos place a tortilla on your plate and in the center add a healthy line of shredded meat, garnish with tomatoes, cilantro and pineapple relish. Fold taco in half and eat!

Grilled Pineapple Relish

1 whole Pineapple, cleaned and cored, cut into long spears

1 (12 oz) bag frozen pineapple

1/4 cups of Scotch Whiskey

1/3 cups of brown sugar

1/3 cups of soy sauce

Relish Directions

On a BBQ, roast large slabs of pineapple for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from BBQ and rough cut 2 spears of pineapple into small-size piece. Use remaining spears of pineapple to garnish the plate.

Place the frozen pineapple into a food processor while frozen and pulse until the fruit is in fine chunks.

In a medium-size pan, over low heat, add the frozen pineapple, brown sugar and Scotch Whiskey. Cook for 15 minutes at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld together.

Before serving, add the chunked BBQ pineapple to the relish, cook stirring until slightly softened.

Serve at room temperature.

Note: This dish is especially nice when served with rice and beans.

Makes 24 tacos.

Tortilla Land Flour Tortilla Information:

All Natural Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Water, Canola Oil, Salt, Sugar – yep, that’s it.

Nutritional Facts: (click on Nutritional Facts)