Upcountry Hawaii is often overflowing with avocados in the Winter. They have been sliced, scooped, mashed, and now roasted. I often clean my kitchen cabinets this time of year, and one of the items that I discovered was an unopened bag of Japanese style bread crumbs, known as Panko. With the winds, and heavy rains bringing down even more avocados, I roasted warm dish was in order. I selected a perfectly ripe one, cut off the bruised bit where it fell to the ground, and sliced it into planks. Next, I beat one egg, and dipped the avocado in it before dredging through the breadcrumbs. I lined them up in a baking dish, and sprinkled them with seasoned seaweed flakes. I set the oven to 450 and let them turn golden (about 15 min.) For a dipping sauce, I combined chili garlic paste, sesame oil, tamari (or soy) sauce, and two spoonfuls of my lemongrass tea (optional.) The result was a lovely warm appetizer with a Pacific twist. I ate it as a meal, but it could be served as a side as well. Simple, healthy, and using our produce abundance in a new, tasty way. Aloha.
I learned to love chayote, an edible gourd that is known as pipinola here in Hawaii. You may recall that I learned to ferment with it, cook with it, and even how to breed it for the characteristics that chefs find desirable. Here is a look at the start of one of my 10 minute meals. When I was getting ready to travel, pipinola were ripening, so I took the time to shred the fruits in a food processor, pack into 1qt freezer bags, then squeeze out the air from the bag. The result were a nice stack of pipinola blocks. Today, as you see in the image, I took one of those frozen blocks, dropped it into my slow cooker, and added tomato, onion, chili pepper, taco seasoning, pumpkin and more to the mix. I will leave it to cook all afternoon, and when I return from the farm, dinner will be waiting. This same technique would work for chili. The pipinola takes on the flavor of the taco spices, and acts as a great filler. It is a great way to add vegetables to your cooking, while also making use of the fruits at your doorstep. I have plans on topping the lot with refried beans and cheese before stuffing the mix into tortillas.
I just returned home to find my neighbor telling me that he can smell my cooking down the street! It is a homemade smell that we all want to come home to. I just finished it by thickening it with a can of refried black beans, and some of yesterday’s rice…and I realized that this would make a great dip too! I will be happy to eat this in many different ways in the days ahead. Taco salad? Maybe my kraut tacos…with scrambled eggs in a breakfast burrito. See the bottom photo to see the transformation it made while I was at the farm trellising more pipinola vines. Now it is time to top with cheese and test it out.