Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kale Salad with a Bacon Vinaigrette or Healthy Meets Happy

So as I have stated Kale is a small obsession of mine these days. Well not just mine but the whole country, especially chefs. Last Summer I spent several weeks coming up with two new Kale salads. Now I still love those but I was in the mood for something a little different yesterday. I wanted something meaty and something substantial. So I got to thinking about how much I loved the old 1980's spinach salad. You know the one with bacon bits, chopped boiled eggs and mushrooms served with a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing. It was iconic in the 1980's and nothing says love on a salad like bacon.

I mean my first remembrance of this sort of spinach salad was eating it on the Ocean Liner that my family took when we returned to the mainland on from Hawaii. I remember three things from the dining room of that ship. Perfect scrambled eggs in the mornings for breakfast, hearts of lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing and crispy bacon and tomatoes and the warm spinach salad of which we speak. Of course I remember all the fun things we got to do on the trip but from a food perspective those were my memories.

Later when I worked at the Magic Pan I came across another version of this salad. I chronicled this in an entry on this blog which you can see here: http://cookforrestcook.blogspot.com/2012/10/magic-pan-spinach-salad-1980s-superstar.html

This was of course the eighties. A time of glamor and cultural explosion. This decade defined forever the American obsession with opulence and elegance in it's modern forms in all areas of American life, fashion, homes, lifestyle and food. In the food arena superstar chefs were born and new and exciting tastes, ingredients and food fusions came into the limelight. Wolfgang Puck draped salmon on pizza and Le Cirque served pasta with spring veggies creating a revolution, one that continues yet today.

So that brings us up to today and to my new Kale Salad. So I will warn you this is not your Mother's Kale salad, not that many mothers made Kale salads for us. It's a hearty dish. Kale and green cabbage and finely chopped mint leaves combine to make a sensational  greens base for red onion, fresh mushrooms chopped hard boiled eggs and bacon bits. This all topped off with a warm tarragon bacon vinagrette. In a word it's a meal!

So when you want a salad as a meal or a hearty side dish give this one a try. Enjoy ya'll!


Kale Salad with Warm Tarragon Bacon Vinaigrette

For the Salad

1 small bunch Kale leaves stripped off the stems and chopped into ribbons
2 cups very finely shredded green cabbage leaves
1/4 cup finely chiffonade of mint leaves
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/2 pound fresh white mushrooms sliced
2 hard boiled eggs finely chopped
3 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped into bits

For the warm Bacon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Tarragon vinegar
3 Tablespoons melted bacon fat
1/4 teaspoon sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except bacon fat and whip till smooth and emulsified
Heat Bacon fat in a skillet
Add the mixture and whisk to combine
Heat through and pour over the salad and toss well
Serve immediately! Enjoy!















Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer Burger Journal, Cheeseburger Sliders with Caramelized Onion Jam and Mustard Bernaise Sauce


Ok it summer it's finally warm enough to get outside and get grilling. And what says summer grilling more than a delicious burger. Well that being said these burgers I am going to tell you about today actually came about because I needed to make a goodbye dinner for a friend of mine who was leaving the city. The weather had warmed up enough that I thought we are golden to be back up on the roof of the building and celebrate with the first al fresco dining experience of the Summer. But no Mother Nature did not see fit to give us a nice day and the rain drove the party inside. So while this is a burger recipe it it I suppose not limited to the grill.

Sliders are one of those things that are associated with all kinds of things. Diners, drive in's, old school Hamburger joints and within the last 10 years bar food. A slider is technically a mini hamburger or cheeseburger. They are usually adorned with some special toppings and served in multiple batches. One rarely eats one slider. More like 3 or more.

My first real contact with sliders came while living in the South. There is a chain of burger joint drive throughs called Crystal Burger. They are the southern version of the White Castle burger also a main stay of slider lore. While White Castle burgers are steam cooked on a grill with onions and served with ketchup. Crystal burgers are cooked with the onions and served with dill pickle chips and mustard. It's the southern flavor take on the slider. I prefer the Crystal take to White Castle but whatever.

Well there have been so many famous people making burgers that I can't even pretend that what I will bring to the table has not done somewhere in some fashion by someone else. But like when I posted my famous "Forrest Burgers" recipe found on this blog, you can bet that this and every burger recipe I ever give you will be decadent and delicious.

This one is no exception. I love a burger that has substance and is saucy and juicy. I also like a burger that is composed. That meaning the chef prepares the burger with toppings to create a flavor profile much like any other dish a chef prepares. You don't choose how you get it you just get it that way end of story. So I dressed this burger up with toppings and my "secret sauce".

It starts with a buttered and grilled till toasty brioche mini bun. The patty is cooked medium rare and blanketed with melted cheddar cheese. Then the toasted bun is garnished with a dallop of mayo, and squirt each of Catsup and of BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and then smothered in a Bernaise that has mustard and tarragon in it.

 It's so juicy and delicious it's a crazy. And they are little guys. You can't eat too many. Or you can't eat enough!

So if you want to try your hand at something new and gourmet for a dinner party. Ramp up your burger game with these little babies. They are sure to make you very popular with your guests or family. Enjoy Ya'll!


Forrest's Mini Burger Sliders with Caramelized Onion Jam and Mustard Bernaise Sauce

For the Burgers

1 pound 80/20 ground chuck formed in 8 small patties
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices American or Cheddar cheese cut into 4 pieces each.

Mix meat and spices together well
Form 8 well shaped patties
Season with the S&P

Heat grill or grill pan till medium hot.
Place burgers on the grill pan and cook for about 2 to 3 mins a side for medium rare
After to have flipped the burger the first time place 2 pieces of cheese on it. When its just melting it's done remove and place on the bun.

The Buns

Buy Mini Brioche buns ( Trader Joe's, Whole foods) or mini potato rolls
Using room temperature butter lightly butter the buns
Grill the buns in a pan until they are nice and toasty the reserve
When ready to build lightly spread mayo on the bottom bun and place a smal squirt of each Catsup and BBQ sauce on the Bun. The place some of the onion Jam on the bottom bun.

Onion Jam

Cut up 1/2 of a large red onion into thin ribbons
In a pan heat equal parts oil and butter add onions cook slowly over medium high heat till soft then add 1 tablespoon each balsamic vinagar and honey
Stir into onions add some salt and stir in then reduce heat to low and slowly cook will caramelized and delicious.

Mustard Bernaise

In a bowl soften 2 Tablespoons Dried Tarragon with 3 tablespoons of hot water let sit 5 mins.
In a blender add 4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar ( if you have it if not red wine vinegar. Add 1 tablespoons chopped shallot and 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard add the tarragon and water and pulse till blended
Melt 3/4 of a stick of butter
With blender running slowly pour the butter into the blender
When thick and combined place in a metal bowl and if not using right away keep warm over simmering water.

To complete the sliders place the patty on the bottom bun and drape the burger in the sauce. Place top bun on and present right away to eat. Yum Yum Yum!




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Original California Cuisine, Sunset Magazine Remembers When.


BEFORE Alice Waters picked her first Little Gem lettuce and Wolfgang Puck draped smoked salmon across a pizza, California cuisine meant something else. 

This is the first statement in a article from the NY Times article chronicling the influence Sunset Magazine has had on informing people about what California Cuisine is all about. The article goes on to examine the original California Cuisine based largely in grilled meats, salads and avocados from the article. It's really amazing how this magazine kept up with the lifestyle and cooking trends of the largely little known but very coveted West coast lifestyle. Through the 50's and 60's the mystic of the West was something that Eastern readers could only glimpse through it's pages. And largely it helped to inform those who had moved into this state in alarming numbers during this time on how that state's culture was devleoping. Even in a sense what it meant to be a modern Californian.

There is mention of "Patio Style" Cooking being the central theme in this early 50's and 60's home food movement in California. However there are also mentions of some old-school California dishes grilled BBQ turkey, cioppino, barbecued oysters, Crab Louis and fish tacos included amongst the descriptions of Tri-tip Sirloin Santa Maria Style, patio salads with citrus and Date Milkshakes. 

The point made was in the article that unlike in the East there was an ease and casual nature to dining and entertaining in California in the 1960's. No fussy white table clothes were on the menu and no ornate china and silver set ups. Also the point was that anyone could be a Californian by embracing this new open thinking, outdoor casual way of lifestyle and cooking which was showcased non better than by Sunset Magazine. It's readership included amongst others, my Parents, who loved the style and ease which Sunset put at the forefront of their articles. Especially since we lived in warm climates where outdoor dining was a way of life and not just a special occasion. These ideas flourished in our home.

Sunset was one of the first magazine's I remember being in our house growing up. It remained the one my folks held onto. They had every volume from 1965 on in bookshelves in out house. As of late my Mother tried to give them to the local library, but sadly they were not interested and they ended up in the recycling. Before we threw them out I flipped through some of the older ones just to see what was up and made an interesting conclusion. Nothing was so radically different from the magazines I read today. Sure the stories and the articles were specific to the time but the themes and the overall ideas were the same we see in todays lifestyle magazines everywhere. 

As far as cooking is concerned I give you a recipe for your summer BBQ. that if you try will give you a little bit of the taste of the old Californian style. Make sure you use the powdered garlic and parsley cause it just won't taste right otherwise. Give it a try it's an old staple in my house growing up even through we never called it by it's proper name. Enjoy Ya'll.

Santa-Maria Style Grilled Tri-tip
Based on the original Sunset Magazine recipe served 8


2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 beef tri-tip (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), preferably with some fat on one side. ( you can find this cut at Trader Joe's a California based chain or else you will have to get your butcher to cut it for you)
1. In small bowl, mix garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley; rub well into meat. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, soak 2 cups red oak chips in water for at least 20 minutes (optional). Prepare a medium-size fire on one side of a charcoal or gas grill. Add chips to fire, if using. Set tri-tip over fire, fat side up (with a gas grill, close lid), and brown well, 3 to 5 minutes; turn over and brown other side.
3. Move meat over area of the grill without fire, cover, and turn every 10 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 125 to 130 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
4. Place meat on cutting board to rest at least 15 minutes. Slice across the grain.
Note: Red oak chips are available online from susieqbrand.com.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

California Dreaming: Why Alice Waters is so famous for what someone else does!

You take your first step into Chez Panisse in Berkeley California and you realize that nothing you thought about this Mecca to Farm to Table prepared you for the meal you will have there. While incredible and delicious it is the mere simplicity of the food and indeed the quality of the ingredients that makes Chez Panisse an iconic dining experience.

As I traveled through California this last trip I was again struck by the amazing quality and variety of produce available to Californians. It makes the New Yorker head reel to look at the variety and quality which even with our many green markets we never see because of the climate! My friend's in San Diego got a package from their local CO.OP. which made my poor shopping baskets at the supermarkets in New York pale in comparison.

The meal at Chez Panisse was simple enough. The starter a salad of warmed blanched asparagus, roasted morel mushrooms, prosciutto, baby rocket ( Arugula) and a brilliantly lemony dressing. The Main a "Stew" of roasted lamb loin and fresh peas and carrots with a risotto cake. And dessert fresh Strawberries and an ice cream profitole. Delicious, fresh and simple simple simple. But what made it so good were the ingredients. That's the magic os Chez Panisse. Simple preparation of deliciously fresh fresh fresh food. No spice profile, no ridiculous preparations, no smoke and mirrors, just amazing ingredients.

So for a moment during and after the meal I sat and pondered how Alice Waters has become an icon in the food world. I have read her books. No super fancy tricks there, just straight forward preparations. Elegant for sure. High end definitely. But simply letting food speak for itself while enhancing it's natural qualities with spices and preparations seemed genius to me somehow. I somehow wondered how this was so different and how we as a country had gotten away from this knowledge as we slid into a abyss of Applebee's and TGI Friday's food preparations soaked in salt and oil and lacking any finesse. Not to say those places are all bad. But I will say kinda bad. They certainly represent a commercial food engine using frozen foods and commissary driven preparations to deliver standards and a consistent product. But is it good, well if I am honest in a word, no. Is it all bad, no but it's rarely good or good for you.

So Alice Waters is really famous for what some farmer does. I mean she didn't grow the food. The meat, dairy products and produce that enter her kitchens are the fruit of someone else's labor. But what she and her chefs do is prepare them in such a way that no one can miss the impact their quality has. And she is famous for championing this trend. That's her real fame. Reminding us that good food is better in every way for us. Just like out forefathers knew, but never thought about because it was always there.

So I have some new inspiration for my own cooking at home. Not that I will pretend that I don't enjoy convenience foods and that I will never eat at Red Lobster again ( cause I will ) but at least in more ways and at more times I want to be aware of cooking things that speak for themselves and find simpler preparations.

I have no recipe today just these thoughts. As we progress towards the summer and grilling season I will endeavor to find some fresh recipes lighter and built around natural flavors. See you then.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Napa Valley and the best Pork Chop I have ever had....Mongolian Pork Chop from Mustards Grill!



Napa Valley. Oh the visions it can bring to mind. Long lazy roads and green and brown hills covered with trees and grass. Fields of grape trees and arbors laden heavy with grapes juicy and ready to give up their nectar. Wine flowing in covered and shady tasting rooms and patios and the smell of wood grills cooking meats and vegetables fresh form local farms and fields.

Grilling really is a singular smell there with all the apple wood casting it's scented purfume through the air. It fills every corner of the small towns around dinner time and really makes one hungry for meat. Yes that's right wine and meat is a very good combination. Tasty to say the least.

I recently visited Napa with my brother and sister in law and we had a really amazing time. We ate lunch at the famous Rutherford Grill and then went to a private tasting at Hall vineyards where we were treated to samplings of many of their delicious and richly aged wines. Very good indeed. And after picking up some wine to go we traveled back towards the San Francisco area and stopped just inside of Napa at Mustards Grill for dinner.

Now I had eaten at Mustards many years ago and had the opportunity to try their signature dish. So when I heard we were going to Mustards I announced to my Brother and Sister in Law that I had been there before and remembered how good the Pork chop was, In fact I said I remember it being really good. Well funny to see upon arrival that the pork chop is the most famous thing on the menu. And they have served over a million. And there is a reason for this. Because it's amazingly good! What's particularly good are the asian spices used to make the chop's marinade and the sauce all mixed up with traditionally western flavored side dishes like red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

I loved this dish also because of the name. For me it conjures up memories of "Mongolian BBQ" as form of cooking done at restaurants of the same name. As a boy my family did a lot of things offered on the bases as entertainment. One of the rare treats was when we would go to the Mongolian BBQ night at one of the local officers clubs. There you would select your meal from a cold food bar, meat veggies etc. Then you would carry it to a cooking station where it was cooked atop what looked like a metal kettle drum the size of an oil barrel with fire under it.

This pork chop recipe is perfect for your up coming bbq season. It's not mine but I mean to own it! Try it and be inspired!

CHINESE-STYLE MUSTARD SAUCE:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mustard powder, such as Colman's
  • egg yolks








Put the sugar and mustard in the top of a double boiler and mix with a whisk. When well combined, whisk in the egg yolks and vinegar. Cook over simmering water, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is thick enough to form ribbons when drizzled from the spoon. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. When cool, fold in the creme fraiche. Keep refrigerated until needed. Makes about 2 cups.


Mongolian Pork Chop from Mustards Grill

  
  • Six 10-ounce center-cut double pork chops
  • cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • tablespoon sesame oil
  • tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black bean chilesauce, such as Lee Kum Kee
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • scallion, white and two-thirds of the green parts, minced
  • Braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes, for serving
  • Trim the excess meat and fat away from the ends of the chop bones, leaving them exposed. Put the pork chops in a clean plastic bag and lightly sprinkle with water to prevent the meat from tearing when pounded. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, pound the meat down to an even 1-inch thickness, being careful not to hit the bones. Alternatively, have your butcher cut thinner chops and serve 2 per serving. 

    To make the marinade, combine the hoisin saucecilantrosoy sauce, sherry vinegar, rice vinegar, oil, sugarblack bean chile sauce, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, pepper and scallions in a bowl and mix well. Coat the pork chops liberally with the marinade and marinate for 3 hours, or up to overnight, in the refrigerator 

    Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the chops on the grill for 5 minutes on each side, rotating them a quarter turn after 2 or 3 minutes on each side to produce nice crosshatch marks. It's good to baste with some of the marinade as the meat cooks. As with all marinated meats, you want to go longer and slower on the grill versus shorter and hotter, because if the marinated meat is charred, it may turn bitter. The pork is ready when it registers 139 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. 

    Serve the pork chops with braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes. Offer Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce on the side for dipping. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Hawaiian Style BBQ treat, Huli Huli Chicken, To everything turn turn turn.....



Huli Huli Chicken is a Hawaiian treat for the upcoming Spring and Summer months not to be missed. Huli-Huli Chicken is one of those great "only-in-Hawaii" foods. When we moved to Hawaii, because my Father got stationed here, we were embarking on a culinary and cultural journey that was hard to imagine. Hawaii was probably one of the most ethically mixed places one could imagine. No where was this more evident that at the Church we came to call home for the four years we lived there. Chinese and Japanese, Filipino, Tongan, Korean, Hawaiians, Black, Hispanic and of course White people. It was a vibrant community of faith and a great congregation for a young family such as my Parents had. We learned a lot about many cultures and cultural traditions and culinary traditions through our Church. Enhancing not only our souls but our temporal lives as well. 

The Women in the household, my Mother and Grandmother ( her Mother who had come to live with us) also made inroads in the greater community beyond the Naval Base where we lived. For example my Mother became active in the community lobbying for better television programing for children. She launched an entire campaign to get the local stations to carry Captain Kangaroo. Meanwhile, my Grandmother helped found the first official Senior Citizen organizations while in Hawaii, the Silver Bells. She had some excellent experiences through fellowship, food and travel which really enhanced her life. And got to help a lot of people connect who otherwise never would have. 

One of the hallmarks of living and being a part of a vibrant church was the potluck fellowship dinners that seemed to happen often as I recall. My family certainly got a lot of exposure to various types of foods from various cultures. Oh no ordinary church supper foods here. No! Here there were Lumpia, which are Filipino egg rolls and Kimchi beef dishes along with amazing fried rices. These were of course peppered by the normal mainland dishes offered up by the naval wives and other folks like fried chicken, green bean casserole, rolls and and array of salads. Not to mention all the baked goods, Jello molds and sweets form various households. All in all an amazing introduction to church potluck suppers I must say!

One other element of food which was introduced by way of this church experience was a method used to fundraise. That method I am referring too and which was used often as a fundraising platform was to host a big bbq dinner an sales event which would sell something called Huli Huli chicken. Now Huli means turn in Hawaiian. And that was appropriate. For the method used a large roadside grill to grill the chickens in a large rotating cage on a spit. Great clouds of dark charcoal smoke engulfed the grills as they would turn in the parking lot of the church slowly roasting the marinated birds to perfection. 

Huli Huli chicken was the brain child of one man according to him. You see in 1955, Ernest Morgado of Pacific Poultry barbecued his version of teriyaki chicken for a farmers gathering. 
The chicken was such a hit, it became a favorite Hawaii fundraiser, raising perhaps millions over the ensuing years for schools, churches, softball teams and hula halau (hula groups).

Huli-Huli chicken all but disappeared after Morgado legally claimed his rights to the trademark, and started marketing a bottled sauce under that name.

Of course, you can still buy Huli-Huli-style chicken in the Islands, practically anywhere you see billows of great-smelling smoke emanating from a large roadside grill. It won’t be called Huli-Huli Chicken. But that's pretty much what it is.


This is a marinade recipe just eyeball it but these are good starting measurements.

The recipe is enough for about three chickens, split in half.  You can use chicken pieces which is what I usually use. Marinate your chicken for at least a half-hour up to 3 hours or even overnight.
                               

                               1/2 cup pinapple juice
                               1/3 cup ketchup
                               1/3 cup soy sauce

                               1/4 cup brown sugar
                               1/4 cup honey
                               1/4 cup sherry
                               
1-2 Tbsp. sesame oil
                               1-2-more pieces ginger root, crushed
                               3 cloves garlic minced
                               Worchestershire sauce to taste
                               Sriracha or Asian chili paste (or red pepper flakes) to taste
                               Lemon juice about 1/2 a lemon

Brush the chicken with the remaining marinade while cooking over a grill. And don't forget to huli the chicken.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Robert Lewis Stevenson, Hawaii,the Waiola Tea Room and Chicken Salad


Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a lot of books about adventure. Adventures which took place in far away places, and in historical settings, and featured Freedom Fighters, Evil Counterparts, Ladies Fair, Pirates and young heroes. Stories that boys, who were spending lots of time reading came to love and devour with ravenous abandon.

One of those boys was me. I came to love stories like Treasure Island, The Black Arrow and Kidnapped whose young boy heroes were within the realms of my imagination, just like me. I was transported to exotic Islands in the Pacific or the Caribbean, the dark smokey fields of Scotland or onto Ships filled with Pirates. His books were easy to read and classic in their approach to historical drama and adventure. Popular in his day, he continues to be an inspiration for boys and girls growing up and reading his books today. Sailing away in their imaginations to amazing adventures, just as I did.

Now you who have been following my blog for awhile know that as a young boy I lived in Hawaii. I grew up as a navy brat and that experience shaped many of the ways I actually view the world.

Being a military brat can be a difficult thing for a kid. For example you move around a lot. You have to start over at schools. You have to make new friends every 2 years or so. Not to mention that you have to find ways to carry a sense of home with you every time you move without being able to rely on physical surroundings to support you in that.

It's about creating relationships which while being on the one hand are temporary, are also real and necessary. Family relationships also become elevated in their importance. It's a balance. And one which is typically never perfectly walked by people. Most military brats I know all have issues perhaps stemming from the manner they were raised. On the other hand, they also develop social and interpersonal skills that help them to succeed and shine in various parts of their lives. Skills, that other people raised under more traditional circumstances might not develop till later in life. It's a trade-off of sorts. But it's a trade-off, that is like many things in life, is the result of reacting to and dealing with circumstances. Circumstances One as not chosen, but has been handed.

Like many my experience as a navy brat took me all over, but Hawaii was the one place, that as a young boy of 7 to 11, was most pivotal. It was definitely the place that I had many life affirming and exciting experiences. Aside from the natural beauty and the weather, living on a naval station, going to school, and doing the things a boy of that age does. I had my first exposure to many cultures. Asian and Pan-Asian cultures mixed with Pacific Island peoples as well as the Anglo Natives living there since the time of Captain Cook, and lots of military and tourists.

So what does all this have to do with Robert Louis Stevenson? Well while looking for a warmer climate to help his weak respiratory system. He spent time in the Hawaiian Islands where he became good friends with the King and his Daughter. He lived for a time as a guest on a plantation which today is a famous 10 acre park and tea room called the Waiola Tea room. There you could have high tea or lunch, browse the gift shop, roam the grounds and even see a hut where Stevenson lived while he was staying there. It's run today by the Salvation Army as a park and is a really nice thing to do if you are visiting Oahu. It's definitely old school with table clothes in white or pastels hanging baskets full of flowers or plants and an older cliental but nonetheless a really neat experience. It was a place we took visiting relatives and friends for an authentic old Hawaii experience like my Aunt Lucy and Cousin Priscilla when they came to visit. And back in the 70's when I was there it was more military wives and ladies who lunch, than grannies and senior citizen, but I can't speak for it today.

Needless to say as a boy this was endlessly cool, great paths and historical structures to explore. And then there was the really yummy food. One of the dishes that I remember really well was the house baked Breads and the Curried Chicken Salad supposedly based on the original tea sandwiches served back in the day. At Waiola Tea Room this salad was piled onto really good homemade wheat bread and was served with a delicious mayo, sliced tomatoes and crisp lettuce. As a boy it represented everything yummy and elegant about having lunch at the Waiola Tea Room. And I never forgot it.

So today I want to offer up my family's version of this classic Old Hawaiian Tea Room offering. I love fussy little teas sandwiches cause I think they are really fun. And while this recipes is not really based on anything but my recollections of that Waiola chicken salad, it is still fun to imagine Robert Louis Stevenson sitting on the porch of that old house with his hosts the King and Queen of Hawaii back in the time. Enjoying tea and a sandwich like this. For the recipe and as a benchmark my Grandmother made a great curried chicken salad. This was from my Grandmother's hand written cookbook. It's the recipe that was served to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Charlotte N.C. in 1976.  So I hope you enjoy this and have some of your own adventures recreating chicken salad fit for a King or Queen. Just take a moment remembering Old Hawaii in your kitchen.

Grandma's QE II Curried Chicen Salad Recipe ( circa 1976 )

2 cups chopped cooked chicken cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup water chestnuts sliced
1/2 pound white seedless grapes halved
1/2 cup toasted almonds slivered
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks juice drained
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely diced red onion ( optional )

Dressing
3/4 cup Mayo ( or greek yogurt )
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder ( Use Madras powder if you like it hot )
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Mix ingredients add dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 3 hours or more before serving

Enjoy!