First Tuesday Recipes: January 2021

Happy New Year! I’m eager to begin sharing some of my favorite recipes with you for the next twelve months! As many of you know, I share three recipes on the first Tuesday of each month. I welcome recipes from readers, so if you have one (or more) you’d like to share, please email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be happy to include your recipes (with credit, of course).

What would you like to see?

And speaking of sharing, if you have any suggestions for posts you’d like to see, please let me know either by email or down in the comments below. My goal is to make this blog as responsive as possible to reader wishes, so any and all input is welcome and appreciated. I do a reading round-up on the last Tuesday of each month and a worldwide blogfest of good news on the last Friday of each month, but otherwise my Tuesday posts are yours to help create. So reach out and let me know what you’d like to see!

Let’s Get Cooking!

The first recipe I’m sharing this month is one I serve my family every New Year’s Day. It’s chock-full of flavor and calories and always gets the new year off to a delicious start. If you’ve resolved to lose weight, well…it’ll have to wait until January 2nd. The loco moco is a Hawaiian comfort dish often served with a scoop of macaroni salad. You can (actually, you should) start making this dish a day or two in advance. There’s very little hands-on work.

Kalua Pork Loco Moco

Lots of servings

5-6 pound pork butt roast

1 T. Liquid Smoke

1 T. salt

hot cooked rice (I make this a day or two ahead of time and reheat it)

eggs (1-2 for each person)

brown gravy (I also make this ahead of time. You can use your favorite recipe or just a mix or jar from the grocery store—we use a mix)

Place the butt roast in a slow cooker. Pour Liquid Smoke over roast, then sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on low for 20 hours (this is not a typo), flipping about halfway through cooking. Shred with two forks and return to slow cooker.

Prepare 1-2 eggs for each person. They can be prepared any way you like, but we like ours over easy.

Place 1-2 scoops of hot cooked rice in a shallow bowl. Scoop desired amount of pork over the rice. Top with the egg(s) and pour brown gravy over the entire thing. Serve with a side of macaroni salad, if desired.

The leftover pork is great in omelets and/or sliders and/or tacos.

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If you eat the loco moco on January 1st as we do, then you’re going to want something much lighter after that. My suggestion? A salad that checks the boxes on flavor, ease, and nutrition.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Walnuts

4 servings

3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 shallot, minced

1/2 t. honey

salt and pepper to taste

8-12 cups fresh baby spinach

4 firm, ripe pears, cored and chopped

1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped

bleu cheese crumbles (optional, but I always add them)

Combine oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, and salt and pepper in a medium-sized jar with a lid. Shake dressing vigorously.

In four shallow bowls, divide the spinach. Top the spinach in each bowl with 1/4 of the pears, then with 1/4 of the walnuts. Crumble bleu cheese on salads, if desired. Shake vinaigrette again and pour the desired amount over each salad. Store the rest of the dressing in the fridge.

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The last recipe for January is another comfort food that goes well with vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. It’s especially good with curry, no matter you like your curry. And it’s even good as a dessert—just sprinkle it with a handful of chopped mango.

Sticky Rice

2 c. Arborio rice

1 1/2 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk (not coconut cream!)

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 t. salt

Cook rice according to package directions. Shake coconut milk very well before measuring. In a small saucepan, warm coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add milk mixture to rice and stir gently. Serve as a side dish or dessert.

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Remember to email me or comment below with recipes and suggestions for blog posts! I’m eager to hear from you.

Until next time,

Amy

My Five Favorite Hawaiian Foods

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Today I’ll be working on the page proofs for House of the Hanging Jade which, as you may know, is set on the Big Island of Hawaii. Re-reading the manuscript has got me thinking about Hawaii all over again, as if I need an excuse to do that.

But it’s also Thanksgiving week, and on Thursday (which, coincidentally, is exactly five months before the release of House of the Hanging Jade), we here in the United States will be enjoying one of the most traditional meals of the year. So is it any wonder that I have food on my mind? (Again, not that I need a reason to think about food, but it is a good excuse.)

Specifically, I’ve got Hawaiian food on my mind. That’s why today’s post is all about Hawaiian foods and the ones I love best.

1. Poke. For those of you who don’t know what poke (pronounced “poh-kay”) is, it’s cubes of fresh raw fish, often ahi, usually with a marinade or dressing. My personal favorite is spicy ahi poke, which is made with ahi, regular or Japanese mayonnaise, soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame oil, green onion, and masago (roe of the capelin fish). Before I tried poke the first time, I never could have guessed it would end up to be one of my favorite foods, but I fell in love with it.

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2. Lilikoi, or passion fruit. There are two main varieties: red and yellow. Though most people recommend the red because it’s sweeter, I prefer the yellow. It’s tangy with a zing that no other fruit can replicate. When you open a lilikoi, there is a pulpy mass of seeds inside. That’s the delicious part (don’t eat the white layer inside the skin, which is bitter). My favorite way to eat lilikoi is straight out of the fruit, stirred into yogurt, or pureed and added to any drink.

3. Pineapple. The island of Maui is home to the Hali’imaile Pineapple Plantation, the only working pineapple plantation in the United States, where visitors can take a tour and see first-hand what goes into growing and harvesting the sweetest, most delicious pineapples you’ll ever taste. Click here to see a video of how to cut a pineapple. The juice just runs out of the pineapple and it’s got an amazing sweetness that has nothing in common with the pineapple you find in the grocery store.

4. Loco moco. This is a local specialty that you have to taste to believe. It’s a conglomeration of white rice topped with one or two hamburger patties, a fried egg, and brown gravy. The first time my eldest daughter ate one I told her it looked disgusting, that I wouldn’t try it if she paid me. Long story short, it’s now our traditional New Year’s Day meal,  served with a side of macaroni salad.

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5.   Shave Ice. Some people compare shave ice with snow cones, the ubiquitous treat of state fairs all over the US, but the comparison is misguided. Shave ice has nothing to do with those scoops of tiny ice balls that are thinly coated with colored sugar water. Shave ice is more like a mound of loosely-packed light and fluffy snow, completely permeated with a delicious fruity syrup. The best shave ice is mixed with vanilla ice cream and includes real coconut. See the holes in the shave ice below? Those are from a straw, which is poked repeatedly through the shave ice to ensure the flavor reaches every part of the dessert.

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Are you hungry yet?

Finally, since Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I wanted to tell you all that I’m thankful for YOU! I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving and safe travels if you’re going to be on the road this holiday weekend.

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Until next week,

Amy