Tag Archives: Hawaii

White Chocolate Macademia Blondies

We’ll end this week’s tour de Hawaii with one of my favorites, white chocolate macademia cookies. I’ve always loved the white chocolate macademia nut combo and when someone once brought me back one of those tins of Mauna Loa macademias from their Hawaiian vacation, I was hooked. Did you know you can buy all kinds of macademia flavors at Costco in Hawaii? I loved the local flair. Yes, we went to Costco on our Hawaiian vacation, just to check it out…my husband got a Hawaiian shirt there and everything.

Costco Kauai

On our way to the airport when departing from Moloka’i, we stopped off at the macademia nut farm. There we learned the process by which their macademias are picked, opened, and roasted and had the opportunity to dig in ourselves.

Macademia Nut Farm

Those macademias, straight from their shells, were delicious…though made me appreciate the already cracked, roasted, and salted ones a whole lot more!

macademia nut farm

Macademia Nut Farm

So there is definitely a fond place in my heart for macademia nuts and I knew I wanted to highlight them in my last post about Hawaii (for now…I actually still have a few more Hawaiian cookbooks to cover later, maybe next year when I need a mid-winter pick-me-up).

Thus, these White Chocolate Macademia Blondies were created. Meanwhile, I didn’t realize it at the time when planning this post at the end of my Hawaii themed week, but today is National Blonde Brownie Day. So these blondies are not only delicious…but it was fate!

White Chocolate Macademia Blondies

I took the recipe I used for White Chocolate Peppermint Blondies and in my Black and White Brownie Blondie Swirls, and changed it up just a bit. I used only vanilla extract instead of a splash of peppermint extract and I mixed white chocolate chips and roasted macademia nuts in with the batter as well as pressing them onto the top of the bars before baking them. Quick and easy…only one bowl needed, so easy clean up too!

White Chocolate Macademia Blondies

I hope you’ve enjoyed our brief vacation through some Hawaiian themed dishes. I still have a few Hawaiian cookbooks waiting to be experienced so we’ll revisit Hawaii someday soon. In the meantime, be sure to share some of these treats with your Ohana! Until next time, Aloha…

White Chocolate Macademia Blondies______________________________

White Chocolate Macademia Blondies

Yield: 8×8-inch pan (about 9 large blondies)

nonstick cooking spray

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 large egg

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white chocolate chips, divided

3/4 cup macademia nuts (I used roasted and salted), divided

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.

2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla with a fork. Then stir in the flour until just combined. Add in 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of macademia nuts.

3. Pour the batter in the pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Press the remaining chocolate chips and macademia nuts on top of the batter.

4. Bake for 23-25 minutes (23 minutes for very moist and chewy/25 minutes for crispier on the outside but still very moist and chewy inside). Let cool in pan before slicing.

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Pineapple Inside Out Cake

We’ve had Garlic Edamame for an appetizer and Pineapple Curry Stir Fry for dinner. The next stop on our Hawaiian journey is dessert. Yum. And of course I had to include pineapple once more because we are talking about Hawaii, after all. We visited the Dole Plantation on both of our vacations to Hawaii. We love the Dole Whip (which incidentally you can also get in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom in Disney World) and had a great time planting pineapples and going through their huge maze.

Dole Plantation

So I wanted to feature pineapple once again. This recipe was originally titled Pineapple Squares. I made it expecting a shortbread-type cookie crust topped with pineapple, and initially I was a bit disappointed with the outcome because that’s not really remotely close to what came out of the oven. However after tasting my creation, my disappointment abated, because I still ended up with a delicious pineapple treat.

#pineapple #Hawaii #aloha

This cake tastes almost like a pineapple upside down cake, however all the pineapple is mixed in to the batter, making it what I will call “Pineapple Inside Out Cake.” It’s a sweet delicious end to any Hawaii themed meal or on its own. It is super fast to prep too so you can quickly whip up a cake and get it into the oven while making the rest of dinner. Just cream together the butter and sugar, then add in the eggs one at a time and then the dry ingredients. Last, add in the not-so-secret ingredient, drained crushed pineapple. Pour into a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Pineapple Inside Out Cake

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through. Just enough time to get the rest of dinner prepared.

Pineapple Inside Out Cake

Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with a little bit of confectioner’s sugar. Come back tomorrow for our final Hawaiian treat for the week. Hope the jet lag won’t be too rough when we come back home to reality…

Pineapple Inside Out Cake

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Pineapple Inside Out Cake (adapted from Best of the Best from Hawaii Cookbook)

Yield: one 9×13 inch cake

nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained

confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer on high speed. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add the the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, combining on medium speed.

2. Drain the pineapple and and add it to the mixing bowl. Combine on low-to-medium speed until fully mixed. Pour batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan.

3. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. The cake will appear golden brown on time and should be cooked through. Let cool and cut into individual pieces. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar just before serving.

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Garlic Edamame

Have you ever gone to an Asian restaurant and enjoyed steamed edamame (soy beans) as an appetizer? They’re generally served still in pods and are delicious when lightly salted and a healthier alternative to fried eggrolls and such. It’s easy to get the same effect at home, just boil the edamame pods for about 10 minutes, lightly sprinkle with salt and that’s it. Use your teeth to get the individual edamames out from the pods. I’m not sure if the pods are really edible but they impart a lovely salted flavor when eaten like this. Edamame also make a tasty appetizer or side dish when entertaining. Serve them family style, and make sure to have extra empty bowls for people to deposit their empty edamame pods. You can even serve them alongside your chips and salsa and wings for game day.

Garlic Edamame

In exploring my Hawaiian cookbooks, I came across this recipe for Garlic Edamame and immediately knew it would be on my menu for the week. I love edamame and I really really love garlic and needed a side for the Pineapple Curry Stir Fry meal. So Garlic Edamame it was.

The soy beans are cooked in pods in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes as I described above, then drained. In the meantime, I prepared a compound butter, which is just butter with other added ingredients to provide extra flavor. I used a stick of butter and combined it with a healthy dose of garlic, some minced shallot, a touch of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, some lemon juice, and a pinch of dried parsley. If your butter is at room temperature it will be easier to combine. Use your hands to get all the flavors melded, if you need to…that’s what I had to do since my butter was a little cold and the paddle attachment for my mixer was in the sink.

Then I melted the compound butter in a large wok over medium heat, and added olive oil and even more garlic, sauteeing the garlic until it began to brown slightly. I tossed the cooked soy beans into the lovely garlicky sauce and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Despite the quantity of garlic in this recipe, it wasn’t overwhelming at all. My husband, who does not favor garlic quite as much as I do (sorry, honey) enjoyed them with me, but you can definitely cut back on the garlic a bit if you’re not a fan. Try edamame for a game day snack, an appetizer at your next dinner party, or as a side with dinner and take it to a new level with Garlic Edamame. Make sure to share it with someone you love.

Garlic Edamame

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Garlic Edamame (adapted from Star Advertiser By Request 2)

2 pounds frozen soy beans (edamame) in pods

salt, for the boiling water

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

8-9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (can reduce amount if desired)

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste

pinch of dried parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. Boil the edamame pods in well-salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Prepare the compound butter by combining the butter, 1 tablespoon of the minced garlic, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of parsley in a bowl until the butter is slightly softened and all the ingredients are mixed evenly.

3. Melt the butter in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the remaining minced garlic and saute until the garlic starts to lightly brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the edamame. Toss to coat with the butter sauce. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

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Pineapple Curry Stir Fry

As we approach mid-winter, with its dreary gray cold days and heaps of snow in some parts of the country, it’s easy to dream about somewhere a bit more tropical than the east coast I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several wonderful vacations over the years but the tropical locale I’ve visited so far that stands out in my mind the most is our 50th state, Hawaii. My husband and I spent our first Hawaiian vacation exploring Oahu. We hit the typical tourist stops to include Pearl Harbor, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Waikiki, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and hiking up Diamond Head (which turned out to be a crazy experience…but I’ve save that story for another day).

Hawaii

On our second trip to Hawaii, we first visited Moloka’i. I wanted to experience the old leprosy colony since I find the history fascinating and my husband agreed to it because we got to ride mules down sea cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in the world. Nerve wracking, to say the least, but totally worth it.

Molokai'i

My mule took me up and down this cliff!!

My mule took me up and down this cliff!!

Then we went island hopping on a cruise and got a taste for Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai’i. I look forward to getting back to Hawaii someday. Though not yet because the thought of that long of a flight with my little son induces a panic attack.

Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of Pacific Rim (Asian-American), Hawaiian regional, ethnic cooking from the multiple nationalities that make up the population, as well as local favorites and ends up being quite diverse in flavors and ingredients. It may be cliche but I made it my business to eat pineapple, in some form, every single day while vacationing in Hawaii. We even planted some at the pineapple plantation to help replenish the supply.

Gecko at Pineapple Plantation

I made sure to bring home a few cookbooks with me as souvenirs and this week, I’ll share several recipes I discovered from those books. Are they traditional Hawaiian cuisine? I’m not totally sure. But the flavors sure do remind me of a sunnier, warmer time. Aloha!

We’ll start with this Pineapple Curry Stir Fry showing off the local food (pineapple) and the Asian influence. There is some spice to this dish but it’s nicely tempered by the sweetness of the pineapple. We used tofu as the protein in this meal but boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small chunks would work great as well. After cooking minced onion on low heat to sweat out the flavor, garlic, ginger, and several other spices (essentially creating your own curry mixture) are added in along with the tofu (or chicken). After it’s cooked slightly, it’s simmered on low until cooked through, then pineapple is added. Use fresh pineapple if you have it available but canned works just fine. Coconut milk (which also brings back Hawaiian memories…I did not know you could eat the skin of a coconut!), cashews, and a little cilantro are stirred in to finish it off and the curry is served over rice.

Pineapple Curry Stir Fry

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Pineapple Curry Stir Fry (adapted from Best of the Best from Hawaii)

Yield: serves 4

1 package of firm or extra firm tofu (or 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 yellow onions, finely minced

3 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnmon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup water

fresh lemon juice, to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)

salt, to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)

1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or canned)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup cashew nuts (I used salted but unsalted would work too)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

rice, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Drain the tofu and cut it into 1 inch cubes. Let sit on a plate lined with paper towels covered with more paper towels and another plate to get some of the liquid out. If using chicken, cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces.

2. In a large deep skillet, heat the oil over low heat and saute the onion until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and other spices to the skillet along with the tofu or chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the water, and lemon juice and salt to taste then cover the skillet and let simmer over low heat for 6-7 minutes.

4. Stir in the pineapple and let simmer for another 4 minutes.

5. Add in the coconut milk, cashews, and cilantro. Stir together and cook for 1 minute. Serve hot over rice.

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