Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kauai

This is an entry I have been meaning to do for a long time... ever since Ed and I got back from Kauai on January 21st (2009). This was my first trip to Hawaii, and Ed's first to Kauai (though he had been to other islands on business). He has instrumentation in Kauai but he seldom installs his own stuff, especially in desirable travel locations. We were blessed with absolutely awesome weather, Waimea Canyon was not engulfed in fog as it so often is this time of year, and we accomplished all we wanted and more in just a week's time.


The first day I was up early (as most of the trip, never fully leaving mainland time) and treated to spouting whales not far off shore from the beach near our bed and breakfast, Po'ipu Plantation, which was recommended by friends. They suggested we stay in the 4 bedroom "main house" which has a wonderful porch and dining area where an excellent full breakfast with lots of tropical fruit and juice is served every morning. We spent the day hiking the Nu'alalo Trail to Lolo Vista (3.8 miles each way). As with many trails in Waimea Canyon, this trail starts at the top and goes down (1,426 feet) and since it was wet making the red mud very slippery, I could not have done it without my hiking poles. The views of the Na Pali Coast from Lolo Vista are spectacular. Given our late start, we opted to retrace our steps rather than continuing on a considerably longer loop option via the Awaawapuhi Trail. Since the warm winds and sun dried out the mud to some degree and we were going up-hill the return trip was easier. We joined friends for dinner at the Hyatt's Yum Cha! which offers a good selection of small and large plate Asian cuisine and local draft beer, both at reasonable prices.

Day 2 began with a drive along the North coast with a stop at Kilauea Lighthouse where we saw lots of white colored shore birds including red-footed boobys. We drove on to Hanalei, getting sushi take-out, at the Dolphin Fish Market on the way into town, which we ate on the shore of the bay. We then drove on to the "end of the road" at Ke'e beach where we watched the exceptionally high waves thunder in. As is not unusual for this time of year, most all of the beaches were closed because of treacherous conditions. A stop at the Wishing Well for shaved ice and a walk down to and along Secret Beach completed our day. We had dinner at Roy's which we thought was over-rated and over-priced and would not recommend.

Day 3 we stayed close to our bed and breakfast hiking along the coast to Mahaulepu beaches (Gillins and Kawailoa Bay). It was windy with a a few isolated showers, but warm enough for us to enjoy a swim at Kawaiola Bay. We saw several whales off-shore.





Day 4 was more ambitious, we returned to Waimea Canyon and hiked the Pihea Trail (1.8 miles each way) to the Alaka'i Swamp Trail (2.0 miles from intersection to the end). The trail was steep, wet and slippery at the beginning, again going down at the start, but as the going becomes muddier, boardwalks appear and the last part of the Pihea Trail and most of the Swamp Trail are on boardwalks. The wire mesh that covers most of the boardwalks has come loose in many places and presents a tripping hazard. The view from the end, Kilohana Look-out, gave us absolutely spectacular views of the north shore and Hanaleli Bay 4, 000 feet below. We were lucky, however, as the view cannot be assumed this time of year as the weather tends to be very foggy in the canyon and on the North Shore. We had dinner at Plantation Gardens, an old manor house with interesting antiques set in beautiful tropical gardens. We had pan seared local fish on a salad bed of arugula, mango and papaya topped with an avocado-cilantro mousse and lilikoi cider vinaigrette - delicious. Some variations have and others will be included in this blog.

Day 5 was another hiking day. We got up early (one drawback of Po'ipu Plantation is that breakfast is not served until 8) to drive to Ke'e Beach at the end of the North Shore to hike the first part of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Beach (2 miles to the beach).   We had a wonderful hike up and down along the coast to the beach which was being pounded by incredibly large waves. After watching one hiker fall in with boots and full gear, we removed our boots and crossed the stream. We started up the 2 mile trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls but after crossing the stream again and then coming to a crossing that was much deeper, we decided there was too much water in the stream to continue. On the way home we stopped at Queens Bath and at Kiahuna Beach to watch the sunset. Dinner at the Beach House, macadamia crusted fish, was good but not spectacular.

On day 6 we had another awesome trip to a still clear Wiamea Canyon this time taking the Canyon Trail to Waipo'o Falls. Enroute we met an interesting local who pointed out goats along the Canyon walls and told us about hunting pigs with "dog and knife". The falls, a smaller and one larger (800') fall, are visible from the west side of the Canyon but not from the end of the trail (except for the very brave) which ends at the top of the large falls. After our hike we tried to go to Polihale Beach but as we heard might be the case, the gate was locked due to washed-out roads. We watched the sunset from Salt Pond beach then returned to our favorite restaurant of the trip, Plantation Gardens for dinner.

Our last day started by watching the Obama inauguration before breakfast.  Since the day was hot and sunny we opted to repeat the beach walk we did on our third day, again enjoying the swimming and seeing many whales off-shore and a carefully protected monk seal on the beach.  We shower then head for a last dinner at Yum Cha! and our red-eye home. Awesome trip.



All photos this entry © 2009 Edward C. Kern, Jr.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Greek Roasted Potatoes

This side dish was recommended by Ada Graham, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer (2009) manager, to compliment the Chicken Italiano she recommended for Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend Saturday night dinner. Although this recipe appears in Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd as "Greek Roasted Potatoes", it is known around MRL as "Potatoes I Love You!" because when MRL first served these potatoes one of the appreciative diners made this exclamation.

Serves 8ish depending on how much you love the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

In shallow baking pan, toss

10 c raw potatoes, cubed

with

1/2 c lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1 T (or less) salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t oregano, dried
2 cloves garlic [minced - I use more]

Add:

2 c hot water.

Bake uncovered at 475 degrees F for 1-1 1/2 hours stirring every 20 minutes. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking - try to let potatoes brown and liquid evaporate in the final few minutes.

Chicken Italiano

This is the entree recommended by Ada Graham, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer (2009) manager for Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend Saturday night dinner. She said Chicken Italiano paired with Greek Roasted Potatoes is is a MRL favorite for wedding dinners. Coincidentally, the recipe is from the Creme de Colorado Cookbook, which has long graced Moogie's cookbook shelf in Carbondale.





Combine:
1/2 c fresh ground Parmesan cheese
2 T minced fresh parsley [plus extra whole/coarsely chopped for garnish]
1 t dried oregano [or 1 T fresh, chopped, plus extra whole/coarsely chopped for garnish]
1 glove garlic, minced
1/2 t fresh ground pepper

Dip:
2 whole chicken breasts boned and skinned in
3 T butter, melted
then in the cheese mixture

Place in shallow baking dish, drizzle remaining butter over chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees F 25 minutes or until tender.

[Serve garnished with coarsely chopped/sprigs of fresh herbs.]


Maple-Pear Grilled Pork Chops

This is my further adaption (adapted in part because I had a several ripe local pears on hand) of Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried Cranberries. It is simpler to prepare and uses the grill, instead of the oven.

Serves 2






In a small flat dish (just large enough to hold the pork on one level) combine:

3/8 c maple syrup
1 1/2 t balsamic vinegar
1 T dark brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Mix well and pour most of the mixture into a small sauce pan, leaving just enough liquid (about 2 T to evenly coat pork chops on both sides). Place

2 boneless pork chops (1/4 - 1/3 pound each)

in the flat dish with the remaining syrup mixture and turn chops until both sides are well coated.

Grill chops until cooked through, approximately 6-7 minutes on a side, depending on thickness, coating with any remaining maple syrup mixture. Remove from grill and let sit while making sauce.

SAUCE: Warm the maple syrup mixture that was placed in the saute pan and then add:

1/4 c pecans
1/4 c dried cranberries

cook for 2 minutes and then add:

1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced
several sage leaves, coarsely chopped

and saute just until pear is tender.

Place one chop on each of two plates, top with the sauce and garnish with a few sage leaves.


VARIATION: Use thinly sliced apples instead of pears.


Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried Cranberries

This recipe, an adaptation of "Vermont Pan-seared Pork Medallions with Cranberry-Pecan Sauce" from the cookbook From a Vermont Kitchen by Amy Lyon and Lynne Andreen, was recommended by Ada Graham, the Summer 2009 Manager of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, for Friday night dinner of Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend at the Lodge. The MRL adaptions are in brackets.

Makes 4 servings.

Make 8 large Zucchini and Onion Pancakes*  [MRL omits] and keep warm. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120C)

Place:

12 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 8 equal slices [MRL uses pork chops]

between 2 pieces of waxed paper, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. [if using pork chops, do not pound]

In a medium bowl, mix together:
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup maple sugar or firmly packed light or dark brown sugar [MRL uses 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 maple syrup]

Coat the pork with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.



in a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Add the pork slices, making sure they do not touch each other. If needed saute in batches. Saute 5 minutes; turn, and saute until brown, 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce. [MRL dips pork chops in mixture then BAKES about 1/2 through; sauce (see below) is then poured over chops and then chops baked until done.]

To the same pan, add:

2 shallots, coarsely chopped [MRL uses yellow onions]
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 T maple sugar or firmly packed light or dark brown sugar [MRL uses 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 maple syrup]

Cook 2 minutes. Stir in:

1/2 cup port wine [MRL uses cooking sherry]

Boil, stirring until reduced by half.  Add:

1/2 cup beef stock [MRL sometimes uses vegetable stock]
1/2 cup cranberry juice

Boil until reduced by half.  Add:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Simmer 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Add:

© 2009 Chris Kern
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces

Stir until butter is incorporated. Return the pork to the pan, and bring to a boil.

To serve, place 2 pancakes [MRL omits] on each plate and top each with a pork medalion. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over each medallion and top with 2 tablespoons each of:

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves



*ZUCCHINI AND ONION PANCAKES

In a medium bowl mix together:

3 cups grated zucchini
1 small onion, grated
1 medium potato, peeled and grated
1 small jalapeƱo chili, finely minced
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 t finely chopped fresh parsley
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper.

Sprinkle with:

2 T all-purpose flour

Mix to combine then add:

2 eggs, beaten

And mix again to combine. In a large frying pan, heat

2 T canola oil over medium heat.

Drop the zucchini mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn, and fry on the other side until brown, 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding oil as needed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best Rum Cake Ever

This June I met with Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer manager, Ada Graham, to discuss menus for Alex and Dan's August wedding. One of the recipes Ada recommended for the Friday night dinner was an adaption of "Vermont Pan-Seared Pork Medallions" from In a Vermont Kitchen by Amy Lyon and Lynne Andreen. This recipe sounded interesting so I found the book and tried it (very good!). While perusing the book for other recipes I came across "The Best Rum Cake Ever". My Mom makes a rum cake but her recipe calls for a white box cake and instant pudding so I haven't made it in a long time. Looking over the ingredient list, I thought this recipe might be a good alternative except I could not understand how a serious recipe could involve so much rum .....

"Helen S. Atwood, our formidable neighbor of eighty-something, who has lived here forever and knows everyone, gave us this recipe from her trove. (It's kept her going all of these years.) It's a keeper! SERVES?

1 or 2 quarts rum
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups chopped dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar .
1 cup chopped nuts

Before starting, sample the rum to check for quality. Good, isn't it? Select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the rum again. Good, isn't it? (It must be just right.) To be sure that the rum is of the highest quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and drink it.
(If the rum quality is not the best, the cake will not be superior!)
With an electric beater, beat the butter into a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 seaspoon of tugar and beat again. Meanwhile make sure the rum is of the finest quality-try another cup. Good, isn't it?
Open a second quart of rum if necessary, add two large leggs, 2 cups of fried druit, and beat until high. If the druit gets stuck in the beaters, just pry it loose with a drews-crivers.
Next, sift 3 cups baking powder, a pinch of rum, a seaspoon of toda, and 1 cup of pepper or salt (it really doesn't mattter which). Sample the rum again. Good, isn't it?
Sift 1 1/2 pint of lemon juice. Fold in butter and strained nuts. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (or whatever color you can find). Mix well. Grease and flour that crazy oven, and crank up that cake pan to 350 greedees. Now, pour the whole mess into the oven. You don't need a pan. Just throw it on in. Now, check the rum again. Good, ain't it? Now, get someone to watch the oven, cause if you feel like I do, you're goin' to bed.

NOTE: I have tried this recipe three times and never did find the cake when I woke up from my nap. All I found was this sticky brown mess all over the kitchen walls and oven, and two empty rum bottles."

I believe all of the other recipes in this cookbook are serious.

STELLA'S RUM CAKE (NOT A JOKE)

Just for the record,  here is my Mom's recipe, which was given to her by a New Mexico family friend, Stella Baker. Stay tuned as sometime I am going to figure out a version without white box cake and instant pudding, meanwhile I prefer the Orange Poppy Seed Bunt Cake

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In the bottom of a non-stick Bundt cake pan spread

1/2 c chopped nuts [pecans]

Mix together:

1 box white cake mix (Betty Crocker)
1 box instant pudding [recall this must be vanilla]
1/2 c light rum
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
4 eggs, well beaten [Egg Beaters would probably work]

and pour into Bundt pan.

Bake for 55 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven [Mom's notes say 35-45 minutes]

While cake is cooking, make icing by combining in a small sauce pan:

1 cube butter [4 oz?]
1 c sugar
1/2 c light rum
1/4 c water

Cook for 2-3 minutes and pour slowly over the cake as soon as it comes from the oven. Leave in the pan for about one hour.

"Good luck! Stella"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moosilauke Ravine Lodge Wedding



© 2009 Julie Ireland
This blog is more than about food, it is in large part about food that is special to our family and that has been and will be shared on special family occasions and holidays --- and what could be more special than a wedding --- Alexandra Martha Kern to Daniel James White on August 15, 2009 at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren, NH! While several subsequent entries will offer recipes for the menus given below, chosen with the help of the Lodge's summer 2009 manager Ada Graham, it seemed appropriate to first provide an overview of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (MRL) and the celebratory weekend.


For a long time Moosilauke has been a special place for the Densmore-Kern Family. Ja and Moogie (Densmore) enjoyed Moosilauke as one of the earliest New England ski areas.  Pris was one of/the first female summer crew members (1962) and Moosilauke was a second home for Ed while he was at Dartmouth. Alexandra and Christopher were introduced to Moosilauke's trails as soon as they were big enough to scramble up the mountain, and Alexandra spent many happy days there while she was at Dartmouth. She lived there the summer of 1999 while working on Dartmouth's "bio crew" and was on the MRL fall crew in 2000. Alex served and Ed still serves on the Moosilauke Advisory Committee.

© 2008 Edward C. Kern, Jr.
Soon after Alex and Dan became engaged in October 2008, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge was added to their short list of potential places to be married. Alex, Dan, Ed and I had a wonderful powder-snow ski into Moosilauke just before Christmas to introduce Dan to the Lodge. After this trip, Alex and Dan decided this is where they would like to be married. We all made an additional trip to Moosilauke in May with Dan's Mom, Leslie, and Dan's Dad and Step-mom, Jim and Paula. The food and weather could not have been better. We were treated to a delicious beet soup along with yummy bread and salad and a vegetable chicken couscous (the large Israeli couscous which was very moist). Dessert was a lemon cake topped with raspberries and a balsamic vinegar reduction - awesome. All this followed by tea on the guest porch (in May!).

© 2009 Chris Kern
The wedding weekend began on Friday afternoon, August 14 when immediate family and close friends of Alex and Dan gathered at the Lodge for cocktails and dinner. We were blessed with perfect weather the entire weekend and on Saturday many guests along with Alex and Dan climbed the mountain before the 4:30 ceremony.



Breakfasts were "typical" MRL breakfasts (if you can call such a breakfast "typical"):



© 2009 Chris Kern
Saturday: Orange juice , fresh (the fresh and assorted melon and berries were special for the wedding) fruit, steel-cut oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, partial whole wheat raspberry pancakes with Canadian bacon and maple syrup.

Sunday: Orange juice , fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, (heart shaped) lemon scones, scrambled eggs and bacon.





© 2009 Julie Ireland
Friday Reception: Artichoke and spinach hummus with wholegrain chips, artichoke dip with pita chips, assorted cheese and crackers, pistachios.


Saturday Reception: Shrimp cocktail, hummus and veggie tray, and assorted cheese and crackers

Dinners: MRL has a tradition of posting the dinner menu on a blackboard in the dining room. For dinner menus, see photos of this board. For recipes see: Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried CranberriesChicken Italiano, and Greek Roasted Potatoes



© 2009 Chris Kern
The wedding cake was made by Umpleby's Bakehouse in Hanover, NH. Charles Umpleby was very accommodating, first hosting me at a tasting and then when I had decided, based on my other tasting, this was the bakery to go with, hosting Alex and Dan along with both sets of parents at another tasting to determine exactly what kind of cake Alex and Dan wanted. The chocolate cake and white butter cream frosting decision went very quickly, but Dan and Alex had much debate about what the fillings should be, finally settling on a layer of chocolate ganache and a layer of raspberry mousse with fresh raspberries for each tier. For decoration they decided the outside edge of each tier would be lined with raspberries and the top of the cake would have a mound of raspberries, later giving Charles the option of adding additional local fruit on the top. Thinking all the decisions had been made, they breathed a sigh of relief only to discover they also had to decide on:

The inside edge of the cake .... they opted for pearl butter cream decorations.
The outside edges... they opted for a clean edge with no butter cream decorations.
The sides of the cake... they opted for a "3 dot" motif of butter cream.

Charles delivered the cake to the MRL on a lovely maple cake board which he gave to Alex and Dan  along with an anniversary cake. I recommend this bakery without any qualifications.