Happy new year everyone! I just got home yesterday from our Christmas holiday trip to Hawaii. We spent 9 days in a cottage in Lahaina, Maui and 2 days in a hotel in Honolulu. Husband M and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, but we never got a chance to make it to Maui. We decided Christmas would be a great time to make the trip there. It was such a fun, memorable vacation and I wanted to share a few of the recipes I made while we were there.
On the night we arrived, we were too tired from the trip to grocery shop and cook. Fortunately, I had rented some baby equipment from Akamai Mothers and utilized their grocery service to pick us up some milk, coffee, yogurt, and fresh fruit for the morning. When Baby T had a 4am jet-lagged wake-up call, it was a welcome sight! We also woke up to the beautiful view seen in the pictures above and below. Those mountains remind me of the tv show Lost!
The next day, we made a grocery list and planned a few nights of meals. In addition to the regular grocery store, we found a local market and a fish store to pick up some authentic Hawaiian food. At the fish store, we bought marlin, opah, shrimp, and walu (more on the walu in a bit!) Here is the recipe I used to cook up the first two fish:
Grilled Local Fish with Chili Garlic Compound Butter in Foil Packets with Scallion Rice
-4 fish fillets (any type of white fish would be good, but I used marlin and opah)
-salt and pepper
-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softenened
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1 /2 tsp grated orange zest
-2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
-2 garlic gloves, minced
-2 tbsp diced green chilies (from a can)
-1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1/2 red onion, diced
-3 scallions chopped
-1 cup white rice
-2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Heat a grill to medium heat or preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine with a fork the butter, the chili powder, the orange zest, half of the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the green chilies, the orange juice, the remaining garlic, the beans, onion, 2/3 of the scallions, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well to combine.
Lay out 4 squares of foil and place a fish fillet on each square. Spread the butter mixture evenly over each fillet. Then, divide the bean mixture up and place on each fillet. Fold up the edges of the foil to seal the packet.
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Once done, stir in the remaining scallions and set aside.
Place the packets on the grill, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Or, you can bake the fish in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the fish is cooked thoroughly. (We had trouble with the grill that night so we ended up doing a combination of both and it still turned out great!) Open the packets and plate them. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve with the scallion rice.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Right before I left, I happened to see Sunny Anderson make Hawaiian Pork n’ Greens on the Food Network. We decided that would make a great Hawaiian dinner for Christmas Eve. The only changes I made were that I omitted the white pepper and chicken broth, used pork chops instead of tenderloin, and grilled the pork (vs. cooking it in the oven.) Here’s a picture of the final result:
For our Christmas dinner, we grilled up shrimp, steak, and bread and served it with garlic herb compound butter. At the local market, we had picked up some really tasty homemade Asian salad dressing so we used that to make a side salad.
Now onto the walu…Husband M was trying to give us the true local experience and asked specifically for special local seafood at the fish store. They recommended the walu. I decided to cook it up in this great recipe for fish tacos by Aarti Sequeira (host of Aarti’s Party on the Food Network.) We decided to look up what a walu was right before we started cooking it up…we were definitely surprised by what we found! It’s also known as escolar, Hawaiian butterfish, and it’s known for causing…err, how do I say this…gastric symptoms within 30 minutes to 36 hours of consuming (thus also known as the ex-lax fish). We freaked out at first, but then read if you consume less than 6 ounces at a time and grill it, it would not cause any side effects. We did up going ahead and eating it, but I’m pretty sure it was on the back of our mind with every bite. Fortunately we did not experience any symptoms from eating it. It was quite a delicious fish, but be aware if you see it on a menu as I read that many restaurants serve it without informing their guests of the potential side effects.
At another organic grocery store, we found purple Maui sweet potatoes. I cut them up into fries and baked them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was a tasty treat!
I loved using all the local produce that is quite different than what is grown in New England:
I also loved being able to open an entire wall of glass to cook al fresco each evening!
We had a cocktail each evening for sunset and I made Bobby Flay’s version of the Mai Tai. Here is what the sunset looked like each night:
I also made smoothies each morning with a combination of Fage Greek yogurt, fresh Maui pineapple, papaya, a squeeze of lime juice, guava nectar, orange passion fruit juice, and ice. I really want to get into the habit of making smoothies for breakfast on a more regular basis, but I never seem to find the time!
It was great to have a Mele Kalikimaka in Hawaii and I would definitely recommend experiencing it yourself sometime!