Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pasta, Sausage & Spinach...and a word to the wise for planning a menu

The lesson here will not be the recipe, since that's fairly simple - though I will include it. The lesson is how to plan a dish (or an entire menu) around one central ingredient, no matter what it is.

So I bought chicken sausage at Trader Joe's (I recommend, its good), specifically chicken, spinach, garlic and fontina cheese sausage. I could've just grilled it and then dropped it on a plate with some rice and frozen vegetables, but, if I did that, I wouldn't be me. So instead I put on some water to make penne and then I sauteed a can of diced Italian tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, some thyme and oregano and in a separate saute pan cooked fresh spinach in olive oil, garlic and white wine until it was gently wilted. Meanwhile the sausage was grilled (though the TJ's sausage is pre-cooked) until it was crispy on the outside and then I diced it up, added it to the tomato sauce and added in the spinach.


Last, I took the mix, topped the pasta and then tore up some fresh basil and grated some parmesan on top.

The point is that I looked at what the sausage was made of and then I created an extension of it for the dinner. Granted, I had no fontina cheese but parmesan worked just as well and is optional anyway. This is great trick - especially when you buy things like the sausage that are sort of pre-made.

- Melissa

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our Oahu Oasis of Food

Baja Surf: Mango, jalapeno-infused tequila, cilantro and lime. Spicy and sweet and wonderful. Available at the Westin Moana Surfrider.

Hula Grill's Ahi Poke tacos...served with avocado, Maui onion and wasabi aioli
A breakfast at Eggs n' Things: Five-spice, seared ahi tuna steak, eggs sunnyside up, white rice with spicy pico de gallo. I ate it all and then we walked it off....for awhile. 
The first course at Morimoto Waikiki inside the Waikiki Edition hotel. Want to talk amazing? Not sure you can tell by the photo, but everything on the board was sliced thinner than paper and it melted in your mouth - even the wasabi. If you like sushi, this is a fantasy for your mouth. Also, the small cup contained a tea used to cleanse your palate and the small berry was to follow that and set you up for the next course. CanNOT recommend this enough. Unfortunately we enjoyed it all so much (complete with wine & sake pairings) that we neglected to take further photos. 

Yet another yummy breakfast at Cream Pot: Makura (tuna) Benedict. So rice patties, an orange demi-glaze, avocado, eggs and slices of raw ahi. Accompanied by a spring salad mix. (I almost cried) 
During the Azure tasting menu, specifically the Summer Seafood Celebration, this is the 1st course, which included sashimi, avocado salad in the middle, heirloom radishes and a soy vinaigrette. The radishes were particularly spicy and paired well with the fish.  
Please ignore me and focus on the plate. Still at Azure, this is the 4th course, the Hawaiian swordfish cooked in duck fat and surrounded by a port wine and kalamata olive sauce, as well as a tomato tartare. A symphony, I swear. 

We were allowed to take a copy of the Azure tasting menu...please review it. And when you are in Hawaii, seek out these fishes, etc.

Aloha - Melissa :)

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