Recipes, Salad, Vegetarian, Veggies

Pea Salad with Feta, Mint & Lemon-Dijon Dressing

July 15, 2016

Pea Salad with Feta, Mint & Lemon-Dijon Dressing

This light and refreshing salad is ideal for those days when you want a change from your typical bowl of mixed greens.  Sweet and crisp sugar snap peas are the perfect companion to the slightly peppery radishes, lemony dressing and feta cheese.  Scatter some fresh torn mint leaves over the salad just before serving.  It’s a beautiful side dish to serve at a small dinner gathering this summer.

Thinly Sliced Radish

I’ve been appreciating radishes more and more these days.  They are especially good in salads or served on top of tuna tartare with avocado.  A quick soak in ice water and the radish slices become delightfully crunchy.

Radish Slices in Ice Bath

Hydroponic Watercress

Hydroponic watercress works very well in this salad because of its mild flavor, delicate leaves and stems.  If you are on Maui, our local Whole Foods store regularly carries this item.

Pea Salad with Radishes & Feta - 1 (2)

The sugar snap peas are blanched for 30 seconds then transferred to an ice bath.  Once cool, they are sliced in half to reveal the tender peas within.

Pea Salad with Feta, Mint & Lemon-Dijon Dressing

Pea Salad with Feta, Mint & Lemon-Dijon Dressing
Serves: 2
  • Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Salad
  • ½ cup green peas, defrosted if frozen or blanched for a minute if using fresh
  • ½ cup shelled edamame, boiled for 5 minutes, cooled in ice water
  • 1 small bunch hydroponic watercress, washed and stems trimmed - optional
  • 3 ounces sugar snap peas, blanched for 30 seconds, cooled in ice water and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 small radishes, sliced very thin, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta
  • handful of fresh mint leaves
  • *Drain and place blanched and chilled vegetables on paper towels, carefully pat dry before using.
  1. Whisk together Dijon, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Dressing can be made a day in advance.
  2. In a medium wide salad bowl, gently mix together the green peas, edamame and watercress.
  3. Scatter sliced sugar snap peas and radishes over the top of the salad.
  4. Sprinkle salad with feta and fresh torn mint leaves (tear the mint leaves right before serving as they can turn brown if torn in advance).
  5. Drizzle salad with dressing just before serving.





Dinner, Fish, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Grilled Tuna Burgers

July 3, 2016

Grilled Tuna Burger

Tuna (ahi) tartare  and poke in all its variations, are all the rage.  There are also various versions of tuna burgers which incorporate many of the same ingredients as these popular dishes.  This recipe, however,  pays homage to the traditional steak tartare.  It incorporates many of the classic ingredients that are found in steak tartare such as Dijon mustard, capers, shallots and chives.  We love to grill these tasty tuna burgers and serve them on homemade brioche buns with Ina Garten’s tartar sauce.

Fresh Ahi (tuna)

Only very fresh fish makes its way into our kitchen. I always ask if the fish was cut the same morning, if not, I look elsewhere.  Fish can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator and be just fine, but I favor fish that doesn’t sit around for very long.  One of the most unpleasant things I can think of is opening up a package of smelly fish.  So try to find the freshest ahi (tuna) that you can, even if it means taking a trip to another store.

Shallot, Parsley, Chives

Tuna Burger Ingredients

All of the ingredients are mixed up together in a large bowl, then formed into patties.  You can do this a few hours in advance which will help to firm up the patties before you grill them. Place the patties on individual pieces of parchment paper, cover loosely and store them in the refrigerator.

Tuna Burger Patties

Grilled Tuna Burgers

We ate two of the fish burgers for dinner, and the other two for lunch the following day.  Wrapped in foil and placed in the toaster oven to warm up a bit, they were just as good as they were on the first day.

Grilled Tuna Burger

Grilled Tuna Burgers
Adapted from Eating Well magazine
Serves: 4
  • 1¼ pound fresh tuna (ahi) finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Frank's
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • toasted buns, sliced onion and tomato, crisp lettuce, tartar sauce or mayonnaise for serving
  1. Finely chop the tuna. Place tuna in a large bowl. Add shallot, capers, parsley, chives, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce. salt and pepper. Mix gently until combined.
  2. Divide tuna mixture into four even servings (about 6 ounces each) and form into patties.
  3. Grill tuna burgers over medium high heat for about 4 minutes on the first side so the patties set. Flip and cook 3 -4 minutes on the second side or until they are cooked to your desired doneness.

Appetizers, Dinner, Fish, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish

June 17, 2016

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish

Over the years, we have enjoyed many different versions of tuna tartare.  The best have been at favorite restaurants (those from Plouf in San Francisco and BLT in Honolulu come to mind).  However, with this recipe, we are making a version at home which rivals or even surpasses our previous favorites.  It’s hard not to love this tuna tartare.  There’s something about the rich and creamy avocado, silky fish, and delightful ponzu-like dressing.  It all goes together so very well.  And, it’s really the perfect summer meal for a warm day when cooking over the stove or turning on the oven just seems out of the question.  This dish relies on using the best quality sashimi grade tuna. Fresh, well chilled, and cut just this morning type-of-tuna from a reliable source is what you are looking for.  I can’t wait to make it again.

Sashimi Grade Ahi (yellowfin tuna)

Though I usually pay a dear price for the tuna at Whole Foods, I find the quality to be superb.  I always ask the staff at the counter whether the fish was cut that morning.  If it has been sitting around for more than a day, I skip it, and try again the following week. I find it most satisfying when the fish is very well chilled before serving.  Keep the fish in the refrigerator until you are ready to plate and serve the tartare.


I didn’t eat radishes when I was a child, except for the long and slender daikon variety that is commonly used to make Japanese pickled takuan.  These days I enjoy these pretty red radishes in salads as well as in this ahi tartare preparation.  The secret is to slice them ever so thinly and soak them in an ice water bath for a half hour to really crisp them up.

Chili Oil

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish + Taro Chips

Serve the tartare with taro chips as an appetizer or as an entrée with rice and a side of crispy vegetable tempura.

Tuna Tartare with Rice & Vegetable Tempura

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish
A lovely appetizer for a warm summer evening. Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.
Serves: 4 as an appetizer
  • Dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (from two small or one large lime)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • Tuna:
  • 10 ounces sashimi grade tuna, very finely diced and well chilled
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large avocado, halved, pitted and finely diced
  • 2 radishes very thinly sliced, chilled in an ice water bath for 30 minutes
  • chili oil
  1. Combine lime zest, lime juice, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil (this will happen in no time at all). Transfer liquid to a small glass bowl, cover and let cool completely. Strain cooled liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. The dressing can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and chill.
  2. Toss tuna with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Add chile and shallot, season lightly with salt.
  3. Mix diced avocado with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
  4. To assemble the tuna tartare, you may use a round mold or gently shape the avocado with your hands as I do, onto a serving platter. Arrange tuna over the avocado keeping a circular shape. Spoon some of dressing over the tuna and around the avocado. Top with radish slices and more dressing. Drizzle with chili oil. Serve right away.


Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Korean, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Rice Dishes

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice

June 7, 2016

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice Kimchi and Spam are staples in many households here in Hawaii.  Crunchy, pungent, spicy, kimchi pairs perfectly with a bowl of steaming rice and Korean hamburger patties.  And Spam?  Well, there are lovers and haters, just as there are for cilantro, Marmite, and anchovies…. Everyone I know loves a bowl of homemade fried rice and most would not turn down this version with kimchi, Spam and a perfectly  fried egg.  Spam may look unappealing straight out of the can, but once fried up into crispy little Spam croutons, it pairs perfectly with rice of any kind.  You ought to give it a try!

KimchiThere is an abundance of kimchi choices at the markets.  Use your favorite brand, but choose one that has a medium heat level rather than mild.

Glorious SPAM!Glorious SPAM!  I always chuckle when I see this little guy on the can.

Crispy Fried SpamFrying the Spam until each piece is perfectly crisp makes all the difference.  You won’t be able to avoid nibbling on them before they make it into the fried rice.

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice

Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice
Adapted from Kenji's Serious Eats recipe.
Serves: 6
  • 5 cups cooked jasmine rice (I use my rice cooker and the measuring cup that came with it - 2 cups uncooked rice)
  • 1½ cups finely chopped kimchi, about 325g (kimchi drained with 3 tablespoons liquid reserved)
  • canola oil
  • 1 12-ounce can Spam, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 cups finely diced onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • fried eggs, for serving
  • 1 Fresno chili thinly sliced (optional)
  • Sriracha hot sauce, for serving
  1. Cook rice and let cool completely. I cook my rice in the morning and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. For this dish it is better to use day old rice.
  2. Place kimchi in a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Squeeze out excess liquid (reserve 3 tablespoons liquid). Finely chop kimchi.
  3. Heat a few teaspoons of canola oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add Spam cubes and cook, tossing frequently, until well browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out wok.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons canola oil over medium heat and sauté onions until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add ½ tablespoon canola oil to wok. Increase heat to medium high and heat until oil just begins to smoke. Add the rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is warmed. Press rice against the sides of the wok to crisp up (like bibimbap and tag dig). Add onion and garlic mixture, kimchi, Spam, and ⅓ cup scallions tossing with rice to combine. Pour in reserved kimchi juice and season generously with black pepper. Add sesame oil, fish sauce and cilantro. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve fried rice in ceramic bowls, topped with a fried egg, reserved 1 tablespoon scallions, Fresno peppers and sriracha sauce.


Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Miso Turmeric Dressing

May 26, 2016

Miso Turmeric DressingThis is a beautiful and versatile dressing.  It’s delicious with chopped iceberg lettuce and cucumbers, or drizzled over a crisp watercress salad.   It’s the perfect match for a cool summer soba salad with finely shredded red cabbage and pan-fried tofu.

White MisoThis Hawaiian Style Mellow White Miso is perfect for this dressing.  It has a semi-sweet flavor that compliments the rest of the ingredients.

White Miso

Ground Turmeric

Shredded Ginger & CarrotThe dressing can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.  All the ingredients are whisked together in a small bowl.  That’s it!  It will keep nicely in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.

Miso Turmeric Dressing with Soba Salad

Miso Turmeric Dressing
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves: about 1 cup
  • ⅓ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2½ tablespoons finely grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve over crisp salad greens such as iceberg lettuce, watercress, chopped cabbage or use as a dressing for soba salad.


Dinner, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, Veggies

Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Salad

May 15, 2016

Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Salad

This is the perfect salad to take on a summer picnic or potluck party.  Everything can be prepared in advance and put together in one bowl just before serving.  I love the crunchy texture of the cabbage, ramen and almonds.  Sometimes I’ll add leftover shredded rotisserie chicken to the salad.  You could also add baked or pan-fried tofu for a tasty vegetarian lunch.  This is a salad, with its refreshing ingredients and delicious dressing, that I will never get tired of eating.

Ramen Noodles

Though the ramen is already baked, I prefer to enhance it just a bit to make it very crisp. I toast the crushed ramen in my toaster oven for 4 minutes before adding it to the salad.

Slaw Mix

Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Salad


Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Salad
Adapted from the kitchn blog recipe
Serves: 4
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot (about 3 ounces)
  • ¼ cup shelled edamame
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil (Kadoya brand recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds, white, black or a combination of both
  • 1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles, crushed and toasted (discard seasoning packet)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Place shredded cabbage, carrot and edamame in a large bowl.
  2. Combine seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, canola oil, honey, and sesame seeds in a jar. Shake to combine ingredients.
  3. Preheat toaster oven (or oven) to 325 degrees. Spread crushed ramen noodles on a foil lined baking sheet and toast for about 4 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn.
  4. Toast sliced almonds for 4 -5 minutes. If you use your oven, you'll have enough space to toast the ramen and almonds at the same time (on separate pans). The ramen and almonds should be slightly toasted with just a hint of golden color.
  5. Add dressing to the cabbage mixture by the spoonful. Toss, then fold in ramen, green onions and almonds. Toss again and serve right away.











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