Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

The Easter hen came a-layin'

April 22nd, 2014
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nest   I looked down to find 10 eggs, nine white and one brown.Nadine Kam photos

Easter came a day early for me when I returned home from an early morning blessing and grand reopening celebration at the Louis Vuitton store at Ala Moana Center, to find that recent high winds had blown a bird nest out of my mango tree.

It was a small nest, likely meijiro, and appeared to have been long abandoned, so I tried tossing it in my compost heap, in a repurposed water fountain, from about four feet away. But the winds picked up and blew it off course. As I walked over to pick it up off the ground, there was a huge commotion as I shared the terror of the chicken that came clucking and flying off the compost heap.

I had purposely filled the heap with thorny bougainvillea branches just to keep chickens from digging up the compost. I don't mind their churning leaves and dirt, but in doing so, they also eat the worms that help break down the dried leaves, grass and vegetable scraps.

My whole yard is often overrun by feral chickens, and as much as I try to scare them off, they keep coming back, not only digging up dirt but pavement foundations, causing a lot of destruction. Finally, I set up a trap last week, baiting it with corn and peanuts. The only thing is, the trap attracted the doves that roost in the eaves of my house. They set up camp near the trap, nestled in the ground, none stupid enough to actually enter the trap, but smart enough to enjoy the free meal.

Perhaps the presence of food also made the chicken feel at home enough to start nesting in the compost? The number of eggs roughly corresponds to the time the cage appeared, at about an egg a day, if two chickens are involved. The brown egg would have come from a second chicken.

I wasn't about to allow more chickens to hatch and continue their path of destruction. But then I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not it was safe to eat the eggs. Of course I was going to try out of pure foodie instinct. But as a city slicker, it dawned on me that I knew nothing about how to eat an egg straight from a chicken.

eggThese eggs passed the water test by sinking to the bottom of a container of water.

A craving for eggs usually means heading straight to the grocery store and picking up a carton. So what does the modern person do when he/she has a question? We put it to our lifeline, our Facebook friends, whose responses ranged from, "Don't eat them," to "If there's something inside, isn't that just balut?"

The most helpful came from my sister-in-law Laurie Jacobs, who referred me to two websites http://www.thekitchn.com/kitchen-tip-testing-eggs-for-f-46368 for testing eggs for freshness and embryos http://lancaster.unl.edu/4h/embryology/candling.shtml

The last thing I wanted to find on cracking one open was balut, or, for those not familiar with the Filipino delicacy, the developing embryo.

At any rate, the eggs were dirty from sitting underneath the mother, so I did what came naturally and washed them.

WRONG!

I had to go out again, so I simply left the eggs sitting on the counter for the rest of the day.

WRONG AGAIN!

About midnight, when I had a chance to rest and read up about my eggs, I learned that washing destroys the protective bloom that coats the eggs and prevents bacteria from entering the porous shell. Washing pulls in bacteria, which can grow quickly at room temperature, so washed eggs should be eaten immediately, or stored in the refrigerator.

With bloom in place, eggs will stay fresh in your refrigerator for about 8-1/2 weeks.

Reading on, I had to get out of bed to candle the eggs, holding them up to the light to see whether there is anything solid inside. Satisfied that none of the eggs held chicks, I looked forward to a breakfast of scrambled eggs on Easter morning.

egggGolden yolks are a mark of fresh eggs.

The benefits of fresh eggs is that, compared to typical store-bought, pasteurized eggs, they contain:
>> 1⁄3 less cholesterol
>> 1⁄4 less saturated fat
>> 2⁄3 more vitamin A
>> Two times more Omega-3 fatty acids
>> Three times more vitamin E
>> Seven times more beta carotene
>> Four to six times more vitamin D

There was one more test to perform before actually cooking the eggs. Because I don't peer into the compost heap every day, I had no idea when the eggs started appearing and how old they were. The water test, for freshness, can be performed with a glass of room temperature water.

Place the egg in the glass and see how it falls. If it lands on the bottom of the glass on its side and stays there, it's a good egg. If it stands on one end, it's older, meaning air has entered the shell, but you may still be able to eat it hard-boiled. If it floats, it's full of air and gasses and should be discarded.

On Facebook, chicken expert Sandy Tsukiyama put it much more dramatically and colorfully: "Floats = danger of exploding pilau, but pretty, turquoise-colored, sulphurized contents all over. Carefully wrap in newspaper & dispose asap!"

Finally satisfied that the eggs were edible, I cracked one open, relieved to find a perfect yolk inside, just as described as being more golden than the typical supermarket egg.

Then came a second and a third, and I soon had a perfect Easter breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs. I will make omelettes of the others and hope the chickens come back with more peace offerings.

eggssThe end.

Hyatt Regency's SHOR launches Chef's Table

March 11th, 2014
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hyattjarAquarium in a mason jar at SHOR's Chef's Table at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.Nadine Kam photos

SHOR American Seafood Grill in Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, hosted an introduction March 6 to its new Chef’s Table menu available Thursdays through Sundays, with reservations 48 hours in advance.

The exclusive event puts the services of chef Jake Andrews team at your service to create a five-course menu highlighted by fresh island ingredients purchased from the Hyatt's Thursday Farmers Market, downstairs in the Grand Atrium from 4  to 8 p.m. Five wines are also paired with the dishes and chef will discuss each course and selection throughout the meal.

The aim was to create something special for anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions when people are looking for a combination of memorable venue, food and company.

The cost is $500 for four people, and $150 for each additional person up to 12 people.  Reservations may be made by calling (808) 237-6145.

SHOR is known for offering sustainable seafood and shellfish, as well as beef from the Big Island and many other locally sourced ingredients.

This particular press event started with a handful of pupu at Japengo, before moving on to SHOR.
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SHOR American Seafood Grill is in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Ave.

hshooterWe started out with a few appetizers at Japengo that are not on the regular menu, such as this seafood shooter with Kumamoto oyster.

hyattSpicy Singapore crab omelette.

hyattchipSalmon skin rice cracker topped with seafood salad.

hyattbeesAfter the warmup, we were able to visit the Hyatt's beehives, tended by Michael Kliks, owner of Manoa Honey Co. and president of the Hawai'i Beekeepers' Association. While we were safely behind glass, he pointed out the queen bee and didn't care how many times he got stung. Ouch!

hyatttableSHOR's Chef's Table is set in casual, fun style, as if you were setting up a spur-of-the-moment dinner party for friends at home.

hyattplatingJon Matsubara plates the ahi portion of the crudo dish, presented on brown paper in keeping with the casual vibe of the event.

hyattcrudoIsland crudo with smoked bonito and sesame granola. A dollop of avocado and wasabi gelato was added prior to serving. (more…)

First course: Goofy Cafe embraces local

February 6th, 2014
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goofyfishGrilled mahimahi with chardonnay butter and local vegetables. — Nadine Kam photos

In the old model of national invasions, the conquerors would plow over native cultures and instill their own set of values and traditions. The current tide of Japanese investment in our islands is much more respectful. It would seem they like us, they really do, and many, like Goofy Cafe—which I reviewed Feb. 5 in the Star-Advertiser—are doing what they can to help us negotiate a changing world to preserve what we can of our land, sea and culture.

I feel a similar protective instinct toward China. If I had the proper global standing, I would have told their leaders 20 years ago, look at us and learn from our mistakes. Don't promote the automobile. Don't build super highways. Keep your bikes; promote public transportation. They did the opposite to the detriment of their air and quality of life.

At the front of executive chef Keigo Yoshimoto's menu is Goofy's Traceability Report, as well as its food policy, which is "Local first, organic whenever possible." About 80 percent of its food and condiments are sourced locally, from the basics of Kunia tomatoes, Ewa onions and Big Island Kulana Ranch beef, to rum from Lahaina, and honey and vanilla from the Big Island.

The surf-themed cafe is very comfy, done up in rustic style with a warm wood interior. "Goofy" is a surf/skate/board sport reference to that small proportion of goofy-footed boarders who lead with their right, instead of more common left, foot.

These right-footed folks are viewed as being more artistic and rebellious, terms that reflect nicely on the cafe. Here's a look at a few of the dishes.
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Goofy Cafe is at 1831 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 201, in front of the Grand Waikikian Hotel. Call 808.943.0077. Open 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and 4 to 11 p.m. for dinner. Also www.goofy-honolulu.com

goofykaleKale namul.

goofyajilloA special of Big Island abalone ajillo, with plenty of garlic cloves. There is also a Hamakua mushroom version available daily. The textures are similar.

goofycornKahuku corn penne with cream sauce. (more…)

Explore Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmer's Market

January 29th, 2014
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hyattcaneOne of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmers Market vendors is Lincoln Vo, “the sugar cane guy,” who runs stalks of cane through a specialized cold-press juicer for a full cup ($4.50) of pure sugar cane juice, with a touch of calamansi. We've been taught to fear products associated with sugar, but according to the Livestrong organization, sugar cane juice keeps glucose levels constant. It’s also an alkalizing drink that decreases acid and is full of essential minerals.Nadine Kam photos

As soon as Sven Ullrich took on executive chef duties at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki in fall 2011, he embraced all things local, and then some. He scoured markets for all Hawaii had to offer, from fresh seafood to artisan cheeses to tropical fruit including cheesy mabolos, puddinglike sapotes, mangosteens, jackfruit and dragonfruit, items not common on local tables.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, he sampled everything in order to fairly represent Hawaii on his menus. “It was very interesting for me. I had to try everything, Rainbow Drive-In, all the L&Ls. It’s been very fun and very educational.”


Non-flash video

That early experience has led to a new farmers market, introduced last fall, that takes place 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays at the Hyatt. The chef selects purveyors whose locally made products he loves and who aren’t widely known, understanding that these artisan food companies could use a boost to make their efforts sustainable. One of the newest products is a delicious Kona coffee butter spread made in Waimanalo by Eric “Fats” Gaspar and his wife, Kahea, infused with Kona coffee from Kuni Goto. It’s delicious spread on toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles or steak, at $10 a jar.

What's more, the Hyatt is also starting a boutique project of its own, introducing an apiary housing 20,000 honeybees, which by summer may result in enough honey to serve in its restaurants and to make available at the farmers market.

“We’re working on the bottles and labeling now,” Ullrich said. “It’ll be 100 percent sustainable for the hotel.”

A whirl around the market:

hyattplateKalihi Corner's Tiffany Bracero, left, offers her local specialties ($8 per plate), including hamburger steak, beef stew, stuffed pork chops, and shoyu pork with turnips and black mushroom, ewith a touch of star anise.

hyattmoreWhat's a farmer's market without plenty of beautiful fruit and veggies?

hyattfruitLilikoi from Frankie's Nursery.

hyattmalaThere's fruit cream-, chocolate- and custard-filled malasadas for about $1.75 apiece.

hyattccSpun Paradise's yummy cotton candy is made from 100 percent organic cane sugar and contains no additives or dyes. Among flavors are lychee, pineapple, mango, coconut, sea salt caramel, macadamia nut and lili­koi. A 2-ounce container goes for $4. Don’t feel bad about eating it all — it has only 75 calories per container.

hyattmacawOne of the market's fans, a hyacinth macaw. When I last saw him, he was eating a Thai summer roll.

(more…)

Lunch at John Hardy, in Bali

August 27th, 2013
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hardyguy

John Hardy CEO Damien Dernoncourt and creative director Guy Bedarida, pictured, hosted lunch at the John Hardy compound in Bali Aug. 26.Nadine Kam photos

I feel fortunate to have visited the John Hardy compound outside Ubud, where I had the opportunity to view the copany's entire jewelry-making process. As if that were not enough, I was lucky to enjoy a traditional Balinese meal with the company's CEO Damien Dernoncourt and creative director Guy Bedarida, and witness a rarity: a company that takes an interest in keeping employees happy from making sure all families have spousal medical care—in Bali society, women traditionally are not offered medical coverage for their husbands because it's assumed all men work—to treating its 700 workers to lunch every day.

It's a big commitment. The company goes through 160 pounds of rice a month. All the cooking is done by 20 kitchen workers, who prepare food traditionally, with no electricity, over bamboo-burning stoves and a brick oven.

As a sustainable company, all the ingredients are organic, with much of the produce raised on site, including rice grown in paddies surrounding the property. It was amazing to see and they set a good example that I wish other companies would follow.

The John Hardy employees get an hour-long lunch break, during which they are also allowed to nap!

jhlunch

Fried chicken and salad. There was also a second chicken dish in a mild curry sauce.

hardycook

Twenty cooks prepare lunch for the company's 700 employees and guests every work day. The cooking is done traditionally, with no electricity. This woman works over bamboo stoves, with brick oven behind her.

jhsambal

A wet sambal on left was fiery, but a dry sambal of onions and bell pepper was thankfully mild. I could only handle one bite of the hot one, even though it was delicious.

jhdessert

A rice pudding dessert topped with toasted coconut and palm sugar syrup. The palm sugar itself is wonderful, dry and less sweet than brown sugar because it doesn't contain molasses. John Hardy creative director Guy Bedarida went light on lunch, opting mostly for grilled vegetables, but he couldn't resist asking for more of the syrup with dessert.

hardywork

A few employees relax after lunch, before going back to work.

jh offering

An offering to gods placed just outside the communal dining area comprises a little bit of everything on the menu.

jh rice

One of the rice paddies on the property. These are brown rice.

jhgoats

Two of several goats on the property.