Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kalua Pig Pizza with Lomi Tomato

I’m so excited for the long weekend!  Please don’t be jealous, but on Friday night I am going to the NKOTBSB concert!  LOL yes New Kids combined with Backstreet Boys.  I’m hoping it will be cheesy awesome goodness and bring back lots of good memories.  Yes they are older, but so am I and I think they still got it!  

Photo from

On another note, I hope you’ve enjoyed my Hawaii series so far, we’re almost wrapping it up.  As I mentioned in my Lomi Lomi Tomato post, there is a common misconception that Canadian bacon/pepperoni and pineapple is a Hawaiian pizza.  While I totally get the marketing/naming convention, I want to share with you what I think is a REAL Hawaiian pizza!  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen this a couple of weeks ago!   


Kalua Pig Pizza with Lomi Tomato

1 package pizza dough
flour, to handle dough
1 cup kalua pig
olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup caramelized onions, about 1 medium onion
1 cup Lomi Lomi Tomato
1 stalk green onion, sliced

Note:  You can find Kalua Pig at most Hawaiian Supermarkets, or in the Hawaii section of some Japanese supermarkets.   

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Stretch dough to form a pizza, using flour and rolling pin to help you shape.  Place pizza on a pizza pan or baking sheet.  Drizzle dough with olive oil and sprinkle minced garlic evenly on the dough.   


2.  Sprinkle half the mozzarella on the pizza, add the kalua pig, caramelized onions and add the other half of the cheese.  *Use those crockpot caramelized onions that you froze earlier!*


3.  Put pizza into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and crust is crisp.  Top with Lomi Tomato mixture and green onions.


Um this was amazing!!  The salty smokiness of the Kalua pig on the pizza was so good with the refreshing lomi tomato on the top… Topped with a splash of Tabasco and I was in heaven.  This moved to the top of the list of what I am doing with all my left over Kalua pig from now on.  Alright alright, for those of you who still want some pineapple- I’m sure some pineapple habanero salsa would also be amazing on this as well.  =)  Have a great 4th of July!   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kalua Pig

For years this was requested by my friends and co-workers every time we had a potluck get together.  Little did they know, it is easily one of the cheapest and easiest main dishes to bring!  Kalua pig is a dish that is synonymous with Hawaii!  Traditionally in Hawaii (and at any Luau that you go to on the island), people will dig a hole in the ground which is called an imu.  This basically serves as an underground oven that is lined with fragrant woods, stones, and banana leaves that steam that cook the entire pig.  Please see my lovely models below as they lift the pig out of the imu.   

532 The pork is then so tender and juicy the meat basically falls apart as your pick it up with your fork.  While I have been lucky enough to participate a couple times in the imu process, most of us don’t have time to dig a large hole in our back yard or time to catch a pig (or have any desire to).  So today we are going to make this in our crockpot.  Non crockpot owners – I think you can also adapt this to the oven.  Wait- but since this series of post is all about Hawaii thought I would leave you with a few pics of some of my favorite places on the island!  (Makapu’u, Portlock, Haunama Bay, Waikiki at the Moana)

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Crockpot Kalua Pig

1 pork butt or shoulder (3-5lbs)
1 1/2 Tbsp Hawaiian Salt (or any type of rock salt)
1 Tbsp liquid smoke

1.  Pierce pork with a knife several times.  Rub salt and liquid smoke all over the pork and place in the crockpot. *Please resist the urge to trim the fat, the fat turns to liquid and is what cooks the meatIf you are an oven user, at this point you would cut the pork into several pieces to fit into your baking dish (if needed), season with salt and liquid smoke and wrap them tightly in foil*

2.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours. *If you are an oven user, place your tightly wrapped pork pieces in a roasting dish and add 1/3 inch of water to the pan.  Cover pan with foil and seal well and create a little tent at the top.  Place into the oven at 325 degrees for 4 –5 hours depending on the size of your pork butt.*  

3.  Remove meat from crockpot (or oven) and shred.  Reserve some of the cooking liquid and add to meat to moisten.  Season with additional salt if needed.  


Serve with hot rice and Lomi Lomi Tomato.  An alternate serving is to quickly sautee some cabbage until it is soft with the kaula pork and also serve with rice, I did it with some spinach since that’s what I had on hand.  Or my bosses favorite, just serve it sandwich style in some King’s Hawaiian sweet bread rolls!   

One of the great things about Kalua pig is that it freezes extremely well and is a great thing to have on hand in your fridge.  Over the years my friends and I have found many uses for the leftovers.  Next post I’ll show you a truly “Hawaiian” pizza that you can make with it! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lomi Lomi Tomato

As you may or may not know, I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Growing up in paradise I was exposed to beautiful rainbows, amazing ocean views, daily treks to the beach and a wide variety of food.  Hawaii is literally a melting pot of food, cultures and people.  While ads and TV/movies depict Hawaii a certain way (some better than others) for some reason every dish with pineapple is associated with Hawaii!  I have breaking news- no one in Hawaii eats pineapple on pizza, on their hamburgers or on most savory dishes.  Yes I would say 95% of the people in Hawaii do not eat pineapple on their pizza or have never had it on a burger. 

I thought I would share with you some real local/Hawaiian foods!  I grew up eating Lomi Lomi Salmon whenever I had Hawaiian food.  My friend Jon was the first person to serve me Lomi Lomi tomato.  “Lomi Lomi” means to massage in Hawaiian, which is the way that this dish was traditionally prepared.  All of the ingredients were mixed or massaged by hand to combine.  This recipe is super easy and comes together so quickly.  If you can get a Maui onion or sweet onion, definitely use it!  Maui onions are great and so much milder with a great flavor.      


Lomi Lomi Tomato
16 oz. (1 lb.) grape tomatoes, or 4 large tomatoes
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 Maui onion (sweet onion), chopped
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Hawaiian Salt (rock salt)

1.  Cut up tomatoes into bite size pieces.  Add in green onions, Maui onion, apple cider vinegar, Hawaiian Salt and Tabasco and mix well.

2.  Chill thoroughly and serve.


Serve with Kalua Pig or your favorite Hawaiian dish!  One of my favorites is to eat this with Poi!  Poi is a Hawaiian side dish which is steamed taro that is ground into a paste like texture.  It sounds weird, looks gross, but you either love or hate poi,  Try it with lomi lomi tomato and you will fall in love! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Bread, an Ode to Flour Bakery!

I fell in love with Flour Bakery during my trip to Boston.  The hype around Joanne Chang and her lovely bakeries, was much deserved.  As soon as I got home I had to look up more of her great recipes.  As luck would have it, I had some over ripe bananas so I was able to make Flour Bakery’s banana bread! 

Let me tell you that this banana bread is so moist and so good!  Five days later people were still raving about how moist it was.  (I had forgotten to take it over to a friends house so I had brought it into work).  I didn’t even think it needed a little pat of butter on it either since the bread is infused with great banana flavor.  (Super awesome considering I made some changes to lighten up the recipe.)


Banana Bread
adapted from Flour Bakery

1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 1/2 bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. non fat vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. 

2.  Combine eggs and sugar in a separate bowl and whisk for 10 minutes until it turns light and fluffy.  Add in mashed bananas, vanilla extract, non fat yogurt and applesauce. 


3.  Fold in wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in chopped macadamia nuts and mix well.  Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan or butter and flour pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pork Chops with Mustard Pretzel Crumbs

I love this recipe.  It’s as simple as that.  Pork is one of my favorite meats, but I feel like it is often over looked for chicken or beef.  As “the other white meat” pork cuts can be lean and delicious and is more affordable than people may think.  This recipe is great since it combines two of my favorite ingredients, pretzels and mustard! 

I had picked up a gourmet Chipotle Honey mustard a while back and had spotted these Sea Salt and Pepper pretzels the other day.  Those pretzels by the way are addicting!  If you recreate with this flavor, definitely do not open the bag before you set aside your pretzels for the pork chop!  These pork chops come together in less than 30 minutes and are so moist and flavorful.    


Pork Chops with Mustard Pretzel Crumbs
adapted Epicurious

Serves 2

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2/3 cup Snyder's Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Pretzels Pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsp. Dijon or Honey Mustard
2 Pork Chops, 1 inch thick (1 lb. total)


1.  Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the Salt and Pepper Pretzel Pieces into the blend and pulse a couple times until the pretzels turn into a crumb like topping.  *If you do not use the Sea Salt Pretzel flavor, you may need to season additionally with more salt.*


2.  In a preheated pan, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic, pretzel crumbs, garlic, Italian Seasonings and salt and pepper.  Brown crumbs and combine mixture for a couple minutes until crumbs turn a golden brown. 


3.  Remove crumbs into a bowl and clean pan.  Add remaining olive oil to the pan and brown pork chop for 4 minutes on each side. 


4.  Place pork chop in baking dish and spread mustard over each pork chop and cover with pretzel crumbs.  Place into the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.  *Watch carefully or your pretzel crumbs may burn!*


Serve with additional mustard for dipping if you like.  I had it with some Israeli Couscous sautéed with spinach and tomatoes.  But it would be great with some mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.  I hope you guys like it, this recipe is being added into my regular rotation for sure!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breakfast for 2, Spicy Baked Eggs

I love having eggs on the weekend, for some reason its just so comforting and it really signals “weekend” in my head.  Growing up my dad and I would go out to breakfast every Sunday.  It was our time to talk, catch up on what was going on in each others lives and enjoy a yummy meal.  During the span of our breakfast outings, I went through many eating phases.  First there was the Spam/Eggs and Rice combo (Hawaii’s breakfast of champions), then there was the Belgium waffle obsession, the love affair with eggs benedict and then a return to eggs with omelets/scrambles. 


I love eggs and am definitely one of those people who love eating breakfast for dinner.  I would easily eat this dish anytime of the day.  Who says eggs are just for breakfast?!  I realized these eggs aren’t really baked, but I decided to just go with the name.  LOL, I’m pretty sure you could pop this in the oven and it would turn out great too.  The yummy tomato goes so nicely with the kale and when that delicious yolk explodes, this dish becomes luxurious. 

Spicy Tomato Baked Eggs

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 bunch of kale, cut in 1 inch strips
2 eggs
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red chili flakes (less if you don’t like spice)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

1. Heat up olive oil in a skillet and add in the onion, garlic and kale.  Cook until kale wilts slightly. 

2.  Add in can of diced tomatoes, season with chili pepper flakes, salt, and sugar.  Heat until tomato sauce starts to bubble slightly.  *I add the sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes slightly, if you don’t mind it you can skip.*


3.  In the pan make a hole in the tomato sauce, making room for where you want to put the eggs.  Crack the eggs and place into the holes you made.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over entire mixture and cover with lid and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how much you want to set your yolks. 


Looking at these pictures I totally want to make this again!  So yummy and so comforting, I might add in some mushrooms to give it an earthy meaty goodness next time.  This would be amazing with some cornbread or whole grain toast too! 


Friday, June 17, 2011

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a long time but I just never got around to using it!  In an effort to clean my cupboards I’ve been trying to use up what I already own and only buy fresh veggies or herbs to add on to it.  This recipe was perfect for that since I had some corn, beans, and a wide variety of different tomatoes all ready to go.  Bonus- this recipe was low fat too! 


If you haven’t been over to Gina’s Skinny Recipes you are missing on some tasty low fat dishes.  In fact if the word skinny wasn’t in her title, you would never know by her pictures of the name of her dishes that she was counting calories/points.  

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken
adapted from Gina’s Skinny Recipes

1.5 lbs. chicken breast
15 oz. can black beans
7 oz. can green chilies
11 oz. can corn
14.4 oz. can roasted tomatoes with green chilies
14.4 oz. fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt

1.  In crockpot combine beans, chilies, roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, cilantro, green onion, cumin, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.  *Save corn for later unless you are using frozen corn in which case you can put it in now.*

2.  Season the chicken breast and lay on top of the mixture.

3.  Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hour.  Half an hour before serving shred the chicken and add the canned corn.  Return the chicken to the crockpot and stir mixture well. 


Serve over Lime Cilantro Rice and garnish with green onions, cilantro.  Top with non fat sour cream (or Greek yogurt) , fresh tomatoes, avocado and low fat cheese.  You know a dish is great when you can transform the leftovers into other things as well.  I had some tortilla’s in the fridge and wrapped this mixture up with some of my cilantro rice and added some cheese and it was delish!   


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

East Coast Tour: Pt 3 Washington DC

The last stop on my East Coast trip with my mom!  From Boston we hopped on a plane to Washington DC and on a shuttle to our hotel in Crystal City.  My friend ML and her husband had relocated a couple of years ago to the Virginia area and they were nice enough to come pick me up so we could go hang out!

We headed out to National Harbor, a new area full of shopping, dining and entertainment options.  We started out by having diner at Cadillac Ranch, then had some yummy blended margaritas at Rosa Mexicano.  While walking around we saw a Peep store (yes the little marshmallow chicks and rabbits).  Look at the crazy exhibit they had there.


Then we ended the night by going to Bobby McKeys, a super fun dueling piano bar!  Thanks ML and hubby for coming all the way to see me! 

On Day 1 in DC we headed out to Georgetown to do some shopping!  After a nice brunch my mom and hit the shops and had fun looking at the Dean and Deluca.  They don’t allow you to take pics in there, but I love all the stuff that they have there.  We did stumble upon the famous Georgetown Cupcakes, home of the TLC show DC Cupcakes.  After a short wait in line, and being told we just missed Nancy Pelosi, we got into the store and mom and I each had a cupcake.  I got the Carrot Cake (I never see carrot cake without walnuts in it- so I sorta had to get it) and my mom got one of the seasonal flavors, strawberry! 

DCcup  DCcup2

I’m never one to refuse a cupcake, but I didn’t understand what the hype was all about.  I just thought that these cupcakes were good, but not spectacular.  It seems like most people who rave about this place get the chocolate ganache cupcake, so maybe that’s where I went wrong?  DC locals- any thoughts? 

The next day we did a trolley tour, I had wanted to visit Eastern Market and a place featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives.  However it was waaaaaay to humid and the walk plus the “hill” was a little too much all combined.  We settled for some Potbelly sandwiches instead. 



One of the most interesting things I visited in DC was the Newseum!  This was one of the best museums that I have ever visited.  Unlike the Smithsonian and other national museums in DC, this one is not free since it is privately owned.  Online and at most hotels you can find coupons for admissions though.  When I visited they had Pulitzer Prize award pictures, and exhibits on FBI/Mafia, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and dogs of the Presidents. 

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They also had a piece of the Berlin wall, and covers of many newspapers covering 9/11.  There are tons of interactive elements and so much to see.  If you visit definitely allow yourself 2-3 hours to really enjoy the museum.

At the end of the day I convinced my mom to end our day at Capital City Brewery, a local DC brewery.  The bartenders there were super nice and let my mom and I try a couple “tastes” before I decided on getting a Belgium Gold Brew.  Luckily when we went it was Happy Hour, unlucky for me my mom did not get a 3 dollar beer but a 9 dollar mojito.  LOL, oh well!   Oooh and did I mention that when you go to Capital City Brew you get some hot soft pretzels with a yummy mustard dipping sauce.  The perfect snack with your afternoon brew. 


After that it was time to go head home back to LA.  We hopped on a train back to NYC and then it was on to our flight back to LAX.  Good times with the mom, next post will be back to some yummy recipes!  Hope you guys enjoyed seeing the sights and eats of my vacation with my mom. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

East Coast Tour: Pt 2 Boston

After a great time in NYC, my mom and I were off to Boston.  We headed to Penn Station and took a train up.  When we arrived we were greeted by crazy thunder and lightening!  Turns out there were actually tornados on the more western side of Massachusetts!  We were staying in Beacon Hill and had a quick dinner at a Japanese restaurant near our hotel and got to bed early since the next day we would be doing the Freedom Trail! 

For those of you who have never been to Boston, the Freedom trail is a 2.5 mile trail that weaves through Boston and takes you to many historic sites such as Paul Revere’s home, the site of the first school, where the Boston Massacre occurred and many more.  It’s a fun tourist activity, we even saw Sarah Palin at Paul Revere’s house, minutes before she made her on air media gaff.  (I guess someone wasn’t paying attention during the tour?)      



When in Boston, there are of course Pubs- even along the Freedom Trail!  The Pub on the right, The Bell In Hand Tavern is actually the FIRST Tavern in the US!  Using that as a selling point, I convinced mom to go in for an afternoon drink with me. 


Also along the Freedom Trail is Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.   Faneuil Hall was originally a place where farmers, fishermen and merchants all came to trade.  Today with the inclusion of Quincy Market and North/South Market it’s a hub for shopping, dining and drinking!  My mom and I stopped for lunch here and had a “Clam Chowda Match Off”.  I went with the chowder from Boston Chowda and mom went with Fisherman’s Net.  Boston Chowda won hands down, the amount of clams, the fresh seafood flavor and the seasonings made it the clear winner!  From there we took a Duck Tour of Boston, which was so much fun and a nice way to see everything without walking everywhere! 



I had asked several people what to do and where to eat in Boston.  Everyone had the same answers: Legal Seafood, Lobster Rolls and Mike’s Pastry for Cannoli’s.  DONE!


Clam Chowder and a Lobster Roll at Legal Seafood!  Both were amazing!  The lobster was so sweet and on that nice buttery bun, with the squeeze of lemon adding a bit of brightness.  My first lobster roll, but definitely not my last! 


Up in the Italian district we stopped by at Mike’s Pastry.  They have tons of different types of Cannoli’s at Mike’s Pastry!  And check out that Lobstertail!  I so wanted one, but I had my eye set on the Boston Cream Puff. 


A chocolate chip cannoli for my mom and a Boston Pie Cream Puff for me!  I am not a super fan of the Cannoli, and this cream puff lured me instead.  Mom was nice enough to let me have a bite, and they ARE super good.  I can see why they are famous! 

The one place I had on my list was Flour Bakery, by Joanne Chang.  You may have seen or heard about this cookbook, it was on the Amazon top 10 list forever!  My mom and headed out to Cambridge to check it out and have an amazing lunch! 


We split a Caprese salad and the Chicken Jicama Avocado Sandwich.  Such simple items but both extremely well executed.  Can I talk about that bread for a minute?  How could it be so dense and chewy but fluffy at the same time.  That bread was perfection and I wanted to buy a loaf just to carry with me. 


You didn’t think that I could visit a bakery without getting some sweets too right?  After all their slogan is “make life sweeter eat dessert first!”  You may have seen Joanne go up against Bobby Flay for title of Best Sticky Bun in America.  Just by looking at that pic, can you tell who won?  Do I need to even tell you that the bun was crazy delish?  I had also wanted to try her homemade oreo, pop tart and lemon ginger scone.  Unfortunately they only had the scone the day we went…. I’ll have to save the other two for another time I guess!

Wait one more stop before we leave Boston! 


Yup the Sam Adams Brewery.  I highly recommend this if you are in Boston, it’s a fun little tour and explanation of the brewing process.  And the best part?  You get to taste 3 beers in their beer garden and get a cute little tasting cup as well!  Bye Boston- now on to the last stop, Washington DC!  Let’s follow the “Make Way for Ducklings” to the DC area!