Friday, January 29, 2010

Food Poetry Friday: The Colors of Maui

Welcome to Poetry Friday. Anastasia Suen is hosting the round-up today. Here at She-Smoke, I like to focus on food poetry. Today I'm interpreting this as food for thought.

I'm calling this a photo-poem, inspired by my recent trip to Hawaii. (I know, I know, won't she ever shut up about it? She wrote 1-2-3 blog posts about it). My response is that I get very little time off, people. Or sleep. So indulge this one very last post about my Hawaiian vacation.

The colors of Maui
by Julie Reinhardt

When I stepped on to the beaches of Maui
I learned a new meaning of




If we could see faces and think

lava sands shifting with resting Monk seals

corral crumbles sifting while Humpback Whales carouse in the bay

 shell treasures hiding along windy cliff-edged beaches

maybe then we could smile and breath and sigh and nothing else.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue...part 3: Back in Seattle

We've settled back in to Seattle weather after a relaxing Hawaiian vacation. In case you missed it, we sampled some tasty barbecue on our trip to Maui, recounted in part 1 and part 2.

Getting out of the routine always inspires creativity. One of the first things Eric did when he got back to Smokin' Pete's BBQ was whip up a Hawaiian marinade. He dunked a whole pork butt in the marinade for four days, then seared it on the grill, smoked it, chilled it, cut thick slices and grilled them to order. The last step was to dip the slices in a glaze. I was amazed by how well it matched the barbecue we ate on our trip. It took me back.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but in reality, this is a great way to make barbecue for a party, whether at home or professionally for you caterers out there. The long marinade and smoking times are out of the way before your event. All you have to do is slice and get the meat up to temperature on the grill, making some nice crosshatch marks on each slice for presentation.

Here is the recipe for Eric's Maui Marinated Pork. Serve it with white rice and macaroni salad for an authentic Hawaiian combination.

Marinade Ingredients. Note: You will make this twice, once for the marinade, and once for the glaze.
2 T. fresh grated or powdered ginger
16 oz pineapple, orange, guava juice (Nantucket Nectars has this flavor, substitute something similar)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 cup soy sauce
1 T. pepper oil (we make our own at Smokin' Pete's, but any chili oil will do).
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or 1/4 cup white vinegar

Combine all marinade ingredients and put one Boston butt in the marinade. Let pork marinate for 4 days in refrigerator. Turn pork a few times a day to make sure all parts get covered by marinade.

Remove pork and pat dry. Sear over direct flames of grill, then cook in smoker slow and low for about 10 hours. You want the pork to be tender but not falling apart.

Fully chill (at least 2 hours per pound). Before getting ready to heat and serve, make the marinade above again. Heat on medium low and add a little cornstarch to thicken. Keep warm near grill.

Cut 1 inch slices. Grill over direct flames for a few minutes, then rotate 30 degrees on same side to make crosshatch marks. Flip and repeat. Check that the slice is fully heated in the center.

Remove from grill and either mop with the warm glaze, or dunk the slice whole into the glaze. Serve with white rice and creamy macaroni salad.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue - part 2

Aloha from Hana, Maui! The road to Hana is breathtaking, both for its view and for the stomach-clenching curves, one-lane bridges, and narrow roads often just wide enough for one. Along the way we also found some tasty "Hawaiian-style" barbecue. To read about barbecue during the first part of our trip, read part 1.

Our first stop was at a shack, Ka-Haku's BBQ Smokeshack. You won't find this one in any guidebook. It was as rustic as it comes, but the young man behind the grill put plenty of love into his food. I ordered the pork, of which there was some left, plus he "added some chicken because I had it ready." I also made sure to grab a still-warm loaf of banana bread that just about every little fruit stand or craft shack sells along the way. These aren't your mama's banana breads - they are dense and gooey slabs mostly of fresh picked ripe bananas, a little flour and sugar to keep it all together. Mmmm.

I gulped when he told me it would be twenty bucks. I knew that wasn't the local price, but it was enough for two and had something other than the standard macaroni salad on the side. Instead it had a piquant salad made from the fiddleheads of the Lawai fern. I tasted a little vinegar, salt, and something else I couldn't decipher. Whatever it was, it was damn good. This same salad could be served at the spa as "Native Hawaiian, sustainably harvested fiddlehead greens from the Lawai Valley". So twenty bucks was a fair price in the end.

The meat was of the sweet kalbi-marinade grilled-style of Hawaiian barbecue. I think it spent a few days in the marinade, almost cooking it, giving it a deep sweet flavor. It was of course served with rice. The smoked pig you find at the expensive tourist luaus would be more for special occasions, while grilling seems to be the standard "everyday" barbecue. Like I said in part one, Hawaiians know the difference and do both well.

Near or in Hana proper, we've tried two other joints thus far, and a third is on our list. I tried the pulled pork sandwich at Tutu's Snack Shop down at Hana Bay. The beach there is nice and mild for the young ones, so after a day of chasing waves, my son and I worked up an appetite. The pork was lightly smoked, but was a little watery. Definite reheat. The portion was also pretty wimpy. The slaw was crisp, had a little pineapple in it which was nice, and served properly on the bun. It was about what I expected from a snack shop. Their bread and butter is from the hot dog, burger, ice cream crowd. Still, it wasn't drowned in barbecue sauce. In fact, I haven't seen a bottle of barbecue sauce since I've been here.

I felt much more barbecue love at Braddah's Hutt's BBQ Grill. It was all grilled, marinated meats as stated on the sign, "Island Styles". Grillmastah Braddah Hutt and his wife have been grilling for the public for 11 years. Located just past the general store in Hana, he has a nice set up in his yard with tables under cover, drinks, and quite a few menu offerings.

We ordered the chicken, pork, and short rib plates. I wish I had a better picture. I thought I left my camera there so I had to dash back there while the family ate. They left me plenty, but you don't see how hearty the portions were.

The chicken was the best - absolutely tender. The pork was a thick slab. I'm not sure of the cut. It seemed too lean for pork shoulder, but it could have been butt. I wanted smoked pulled pork, so the grilled slab wasn't my favorite. The short ribs were tasty. He mopped all of them in a slightly sweet brown sauce that most likely had brown sugar and soy sauce in it. All of the meats were cooked perfectly - not overdone, no char, and the short ribs on the rare side, or as he said, "medium-raw". They served each with two scoops of rice and a scoop of homemade macaroni salad. I'd definitely be back if we had the time.

Will there be a part 3? I sure hope so. So many places, so little time. Besides, we have to leave time to swim on beaches of every color - black, brown, red and white. It's like that with the barbecue here, many colors and cultures have influenced the cuisine so each little hole in the wall interprets things their own way. I love that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue - part 1

Aloha from Maui! Besides playing on stunning beaches of white, black, brown and red sand, getting "mugged" by two humpback whales, and hiking along jagged lava rock trails, we've been enjoying another offering from Maui: barbecue.

I was going to write this as a daily series of each barbecue joint, but as internet service is very limited, I'll post what I can now. Cross your fingers I'm able to finish.

We started out in the super touristy area of Kaanapali, but are now in the more remote area of Hana. This is more our style. Still, we ate some tasty pig getting here.

The Kaanapali Beach Hotel boasts as being the "most Hawaiian hotel". Perhaps when compared to the other high rise corporate structures they are, but to me the place felt more like a Hawaiian-themed hotel in Vegas. I didn't feel like I was really in Hawaii. Perhaps watching native Hawaiians sweep native leaves and flowers from the non-native grass three times daily was it. We checked out after two days in search of more local digs.

I was surprised, then, by how good the pulled pork hash was at breakfast. Big tender pieces of lightly smoked smoked pork mixed with potatoes and onions. It was best early, but mighty good. The other thing "most Hawaiian" was their nightly luau. The musicians and dancers were excellent and genuinely loved what they did.

We headed to Lahaina to see some whales (and boy did we!) and to lunch at a place we'd read good things about, the Aloha Mixed Plate. It did the reviews justice - generous portions, affordable, and tasty. Eric tried the Kalbi Beef Short Ribs and I ordered the Hawaiian Plate. His ribs were classic Korean barbecue that has greatly influenced Hawaiian barbecue. In fact they seem to have three types of barbecue here - kalbi marinated then grilled meats, slow cooked pork, and mainland 'cue.

My Hawaiian plate included pulled pork and cabbage, rice (traditionally served here), a creamy macaroni salad (also traditional here), poi, a sort of yogurty-tasting apple sauce-looking dish made from taro, and lomi lomi, a salmon-tomato salsa. Everything was delicious on its own, but they especially were lovely together.

That day we went out on a whale-watching tour and got mugged by two humpback whales. That means THEY came closer than 100 feet, the closest boats can approach them. Our two humpbacks sidled up within FIVE FEET of the boat! Thousands of humpbacks come to the warm waters of Hawaii to mate and give birth. They don't eat a bit of food during their visit. It's hard to think of a creature the size of a school bus not eating anything for months. We sure couldn't do that!

We didn't stay in Lahaina, but headed toward Kihei. There we tried another great offering in Hawaii - sushi. Sansei Sushi was packed to the gills with hungry locals and tourists. I think our waitress was a little shocked by just how much we ordered, and by the fact that our one and four year olds both put away the eel like it was candy. Though Kihei looked like a great town, we decided to head a day early to the more laid back lodgings in Hana. I'll post about that next. Until then, Aloha!

Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue part 2: A trail of pork along the road to Hana.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

University Book Store's Birthday Soiree 110/110 on 01/10/10

I just got back from a wonderful evening at the University Book Store, celebrating its 110th birthday. To commemorate the date, they published a book of 110-word pieces written by mostly local writers. I wrote a "Grilled Birthday Cake" recipe which I'll share below.

But first I must say, I can't put it down. I love this little book. I love reading what these amazing writers wrote in 110 words.

Stesha Brandon drew a number of author names out of a hat to read in front of everyone. I knew I was going to be called. Knew it. But it wasn't all that bad. My voice quavered a few times, but my tongue behaved and didn't stumble over itself too much. I forgot to say that I worked at UBS one winter break for a few weeks during college. I'm pretty sure I spent most of my paycheck on books there. Kind of a scam when you think about it, but one in which both parties end up happy.

You want to know the best part about it? Tom Robbins was called to read his very funny piece in the book. Now I can say I did a reading with Tom Robbins! And you know what else? My book sat right next to his new book on the 110/110 bookshelf. Yeah. Well, they were placed alphabetically. Still.

I forgot my camera, as usual, but friend and fellow contributor Holly Cupala took some pictures for me with her fancy phone. She said, "Do you want me to take it of you next to your book?", and I said, "No, I want you to take a picture of my book next to Tom Robbins' book." She laughed, but also made me get in one of the photos. I'll post them when she sends them to me.

That was the other amazing part of the evening. I knew a ton of the contributing writers at the event: Meg Lippert, Kirby Larson, Dia Calhoun, Deb Lund, Karen CushmanMartha Brockenbrough, Jaime Temairik, Liz Gallagher, plus a few who didn't make it or I didn't see: Justina Chen Headley, Laura McGee Kvasnosky.  There, I've name dropped and linky linked. Go read their books. Better yet, buy their books at University Book Store and get a free copy of the 110/110 book!

Now for the Grilled Birthday Cake recipe that appears in 110/110:

One pound cake, slightly aged
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Fresh strawberries

Cut thick slices of pound cake.

Make chocolate ganache: Heat cream on low heat. Stir in chocolate until fully melted. Keep warm.

Fire up grill on medium high. Once pre-heated, swipe grill grate with oiled rag. Place pound cake slices on direct heat for 10 seconds, or until grill marks form. Flip and repeat.

Serve warm. Drizzle chocolate ganache and serve with fresh cut strawberries or fruit in season. Insert candle and make a wish.

Happy 110th birthday, University Book Store!

Monday, January 4, 2010

1.10/110 Birthday Celebration for University Book Store

You are invited to a party! University Book Store celebrates its 110th birthday this Sunday on January 10th. Stop by the bookstore from 12-5pm for some birthday cake, sparkling cider, and signings by local authors who participated in a book they published for the event. I was one of many local authors invited to write a 110-word piece for the book. I submitted a grilled birthday cake recipe, of course.

You can read the book at the event, or receive a free copy when you purchase any of the contributing authors' books at University Book Store, while supplies last.

Come celebrate a long-standing independent bookseller!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year: In a Kierkegaard Frame of Mind

Happy New Year everyone. I always look back more than I look forward at the new year. I had a great year - new baby daughter, new book, great reviews and growth in our business - I can't complain. Yet I found myself feeling a bit ornery on New Year's Eve. I was irritable, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. By New Year's day I had settled into a funk that was, well, Kierkegaardian. What struck me about this year was that I was too busy, as usual, but that much of this business was self-created. One of my favorite quotes from Either/Or by Kierkegaard came to mind.

"What, I wonder, do these busy folks get done? Are they not to be classed with the woman who in her confusion about the house being on fire carried out the firetongs? What things of greater account, do you suppose, will they rescue from life's great conflagration?"

Kierkegaard had this wonderful irritability at all the boring busy bodies of the world. To him, the worse offense was a life not lived with passion and authenticity.

I haven't posted even a nibble on my blog since December 18. I love writing this blog, but I find I need to let life happen sometimes apart from it. I don't want to post something because I have to, but because I want to and have something significant to share. I am not a brand. I can't always stay on message. Heck, this is a barbecue blog and I'm sitting here writing about Kierkegaard. See what I mean?

A big part of why I didn't post was because my brother and his family were visiting from afar. Since we don't get to see them as often, we try to spend every minute possible with them. And we did. After nearly 10 straight days of family gatherings, Eric and I and the kids spent the last two nights at my folks in a pre-teen-like slumber party complete with rounds of Uno, Pictionary, chocolate and talking late into the night.

That's not easy to do with a 1 and a 4 year old. We had the entire Reinhardt clan spread out on a futon and make shift bed of couch cushions and a baby mattress on the floor. Youch.

I had planned to photo document our holiday meals and post pictures, but sometimes I just want to live in the moment without a part of myself thinking about how to describe that moment at a later time. As Kierkegaard wrote,

"The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived."

My mantra for 2010? Less is More. My need to minimize some of the busy buzz of my life this year means blogging only twice a week and skipping the whole twittering thing. I never really connected with twittering anyway, so that isn't a tough one for me. Kierkegaard would both fear and tremble over twitter.

What I hope is to use that time for 1) more sleep (critical if I want to be more awake) and 2) writing the next book, be it cookbook or novel. Truth be told that since I stopped blogging for a few weeks, I started a novel, but I hate to talk about something so early in its infancy.

I'll be keeping the same headings: Barbecue 101, News, Reviews & Interviews, Food Poetry Friday and Weekend Warrior Recipes, but I'll just pick two of the four categories each week.

My other major resolution is one I may share a little later. Another one of those, "I don't want to talk about it too early, lest I jinx it" sort of things. Until then, smoke on, and may your 2010 be abundant and significant.

I know I ate a double helping of black-eyed peas last night to help bring abundance.

I'll leave you with one more quote from dear cranky Kierkegaard.

"It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important."