At My Kitchen Table has moved to Hawaii !
The last few of years have been a series of fits and starts and ever shifting priorities that have rearranged everyone’s lives, my own included. I found myself longing for the easiness of my day to day life I left behind in the tropics. A plan was quietly fermenting for an eventual return. So when a window of opportunity finally arrived I jumped at the chance and booked a flight to Honolulu.
Once again I was” figuratively” packing up “my kitchen table and heading back to the Asia Pacific. A serendipitous offer for a place to live in the middle of Honolulu’s ethnically diverse Chinatown was a cooks dream. I have been exploring every imaginable Asian cuisine in the street, as well as restaurants, shops, and markets all within a few short blocks of my own kitchen.
Luckily I also live directly across the street from Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery at 1027 Maunakea Street where you will find Honolulu’s most popular Char Siu Manapua (Hawaiian) Char Siu Bao (Cantonese) steamed buns filled with Asian barbecued pork. Crowds queue up at the door every morning at 7am sharp!
Char Siu Baoare Chinese steamed buns filled with barbecued pork have got to be my favorite alternative wake up and smell the coffee breakfast, be it in a Chinatown coffee shop in New York, LA, Honolulu, or from my local 7 Eleven back in Chiang Mai! Steamy hot billowing white clouds of dough bursting with the aroma of barbecued char siu pork along with a seriously strong cuppa java with a pinch of Hawaiian salt kick starts the day Asian style.
You may also want to try making your own char siu bao at home. It requires a few easy steps but well worth the effort as well as an open invitation to get creative with seasonings and flavors added to the filling.
I posted a recipe for Char Siu Bao back in 2014 (Clicke here for recipe) which you might enjoy, especially if they are not available where you live.
Honolulu’s Kekaulike Market place at 1039 Kekualiki Street in Chinatown is
Open daily. Best to get there early for local produce, meats, poultry, seafood, herbs and spices, woks, kitchenware’s, and you name it.
Hawaiian favorites as well as the ethnic cuisines from all over Asia are all available right here in Honolulu’s Chinatown.
Chinatown also has a burgeoning art scene well worth exploring!
Join in on the fun !
It is free and don’t miss out on all the food and fun
to be had here in Hawaii!
Today I want to share some of Wayne Thiebaud’s painterly confections which are as buoyant and beguiling as any baked creation you could ever possibly imagine!
Wayne Thieboud was a founding member of the Pop Art movement of the 60’s, along with Andy Warhol, Roy Licktanstein, Robert Rouschenberg, Jasper Johns, and others. His paintings stand apart and quietly occupy their own space. I like to think of him as the Morandi of pop art.
Wayne Thiebaud died on Christmas day this past week at 101 .
Chef’s Table Season 5 has arrived on Netflix with four documentary episodes on chefs who celebrate their native cuisines through traditional foods, their origins, their cultural bonds, and a return to sustainable organic farming.
This season of Chef’s Table, as well as all the preceding seasons, should not to be missed by anyone who loves food and cooking.
This is compelling food television at its very best!
Chefs’s Table Trailer ( click here)
Chef’s Table Season 5
Episode 1: Christina Martinez South Philly Barbacoa & El Compadre
Both restaurants are located on South 9th and Ellsworth, South Philadelphia
Episode 2: Musa Dagdeviren CIYA Kebap and CIYA Sofrasi, Istanbul, Turkey
Episode 3: Bo Songvisava Bo Lan, Bangkok, Thailand (www.bolan.co.th)
Soi 24 Sukhumvit 53, Bangkok BTS Thonglor station
Episode 4: Albert Adria Tickets, Enigma, and Pakta, Barcelona, Spain
The episode with Christina Martinez had particular resonance for me as I have an enduring love for Mexico and its cuisine. But also, as a working chef in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure to have worked with dedicated kitchen crews who were all immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Christina’s story is so like millions of others in many ways, but told through her love of her native food and culture. Her determination to make the best of her circumstances as an immigrant and thrive and, by example, giving a face to the mostly invisible immigrants who work behind the scenes in the American food industry.
Of course I am also very familiar with the food culture in South Philadelphia and was delighted to learn that Christina and her husband Ben Miller have been growing native Mexican corn on a farm in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where I grew up.
Episode 3 also has particular resonance for me as Bo Lan Thai restaurant is here in Thailand. The lush photography, the street food, the markets, and Thai kitchen banter feels particularly familiar of course as this is where I live. Thai food is like none other and is only really understandable when you encounter all the totally unrecognizable produce and spices that are at the heart of real authentic Thai food.
All a real visual feast for anyone who loves food!
I resently found myself reading an article in the Bangkok Post entitled “Yes, adults can have chocolate for breakfast” by my favorite NY Times food columnist Melissa Clark. Well, yes indeed…why not? I was in the kitchen early the following morning cooking up Melissa’s recipe which turned out exactly as described and, as always, was absolutely delicious.
In the article Melissa cuts right to the chase. “…there will always be something grey and Dickensian about a bowl of morning porridge. ” Who hasn’t had those very same thoughts while stirring and peering into the saucepan of simmering opaque pasty grey oatmeal. “Unless that is you add chocolate.” There is the game changer!
The idea of mixing grain with chocolate has been around since the Maya and Aztecs’ invented atole. Atole is a warm gruel made with corn based masa harina (corn meal/ flour) flavored with chocolate, panela (unrefined cane sugar), and canella (cinnamon). That said, a chocolate oatmeal is still a bit of a revelation that turns oatmeal into a much more enticing prospect for breakfast along with some added health benefits a well. Unsweetened cocoa powder is naturally fat free and loaded with antioxidants. Just try to keep the sweetener of choice to a minimum. Bitter sweet is better than too sweet!
Before continuing, a quick rundown on oats available for making oatmeal. There are steel cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats. Steel cut means the whole oat groat is cut into smaller pieces. It resembles rice and will have a pronounced bite when cooked.For rolled oats, the whole oat groats are steamed and then rolled to flatten them. Rolled oats will cook faster while still retaining a bite. Quick, or instant, oats are precooked groats that are dried, and rolled. They cook faster, but most of the texture is lost in the process.The cooked quick oatmeal tends to be mushy.
Melisssa’s recipe calls for steel cut oats, but rolled oats are more readily available and work just fine with a slightly shortened cooking time.
To read Melissa Clark’s article and recipe (click here)
Brown Butter Chocolate Oatmeal (Recipe; Melissa Clark, NY Times) makes 4 servings
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 4 1/2 cups water, or 2 1/4 cups water and 2 1/4 cups milk
- Raw sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste
Cream, milk or coconut milk
- Flaky sea salt
- Sliced bananas
- Shredded coconut
- Sliced dates
- Sliced avocado
1 In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Let cook, swirling occasionally, until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty, 2 to 4 minutes. You’ll know it’s close when the bubbling quiets down as the moisture cooks off. Add oats and saute until they turn golden at the edges, 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sauted buttered oats into a bowl and reserve.
2 To the same pot (no need to rinse it out first) add 4 ½ cups water (or half water and half milk) and bring to a boil. Add the cocoa powder and whisk well to dissolve lumps. Whisk in buttered oats and salt.
3 Lower to a gentle simmer. Let cook stirring occasionally until the oatmeal begins to thicken, Then stir more frequently until done to taste, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 5 minutes. Check the thickness, thin with boiling water if needed. Stir in sweetener to taste and serve with toppings of your choice.