I recently cooked for a Youth Fundraiser for our church, Midvale Community Lutheran Church, and the theme was camp life at Camp KilikiWakaWikoo. It was a fun, challenging, and rewarding event, with over 100 people attending.
First of all I wish to thank all who helped me in the kitchen on Friday and Saturday. It was great to have such pleasant and cheerful help!
I am always gratified when after a successful dinner or cooking event people ask for recipes. It is the most sincere form of flattery. When I do one of my adult, teen or kids cooking classes I follow recipes exactly, so that when the participants prepare any of the dishes again, they taste the same. But at my dinner parties or special dinners, I don’t always exactly follow a recipe. I know what I did and what I used, but trying to write it out is like having your great aunt describe how she make bread dough without using measuring cups and spoons over the phone. So instead of trying to give out precise recipes for everything, I thought the best way to share would be by describing what I did.
When I found out that the theme of the Youth Fundraiser was Camp KilikiWakaWikoo, I immediately thought about Polynesian cuisine (which includes the wonderful foods of Hawaii). My wife Laura is a Girl Scout Leader and hearing the word “camp,” immediately suggested S’mores. So I figured out dessert first.
The S’More Napoleon began with a small dab of Chocolate Crème Chantilly (see below) on a small plate. That was to glue the graham cracker to the plate and keep it from flying off the plate while it was being transported to the table. On top of the graham cracker went a dollop of the Chocolate Crème Chantilly. Three marshmallows that had been toasted with a blow torch were embedded in the Chocolate Crème Chantilly and then chocolate syrup was zigzagged on the plate.
The Polynesian Chopped Salad with Miso Dressing (recipe below) was a combination of hand-sliced green cabbage, red cabbage, red peppers, green peppers and red onions. These were tossed with a dressing made with rice vinegar, granulated garlic, pineapple juice, Mandarin orange juice and Miso paste. (Miso paste is salted fermented soy beans and rice. It can be found at most Asian grocery stores.) I mixed the dressing and vegetables together about three hours before the dinner so the vegetables could marinate and then drained them before I put them on a bed of greens.
I had planned to add cucumbers to the sliced mixed vegetables, but the European seedless cukes were so pretty, I decided to use them as a garnish. I cut them into perfect rounds, instead of slicing them into matching strips, and doused them with freshly-squeezed ginger juice, sprinkled them with a mixture of salt and black pepper and added just enough sesame oil to make them glisten as they sat on top of the salad.
If anyone has ever been to Hawaii and had Huli Huli Chicken I am sure they thoroughly enjoyed it. First of all they were eating the chicken in Hawaii for goodness sake. Second, the ingredients that make up the sauce would taste good on just about anything! These ingredients include ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, sesame oil, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce (plus salt and pepper). These are pretty much what I used but I must admit that it was dump, pour, stir, boil, simmer and then taste. Then it was add, stir, taste, add, add, taste, ask opinions, add, agree and finally strain. Use as desired. I hope that helps.
The chicken breasts came beautifully-trimmed from Metcalfe’s so all that needed to be done was preheat the oven to 400 F, and place the breasts (with a bit of space between them so they didn’t steam) on parchment-lined sheet trays. Then they were seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted 20-25 minutes until done. An instant-read thermometer would have read 155-160 F. Once the chicken was cool enough to handle, I cut it into large dice and chilled it in the fridge. When it came to plating the entrée, I started by placing some pineapple chunks and mandarin orange segments on the plate, added some chicken and then spooned a little of the sauce on top. Next to the Huli Huli Chicken sat the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (recipe below).
Here’s the menu: Polynesian Chopped Salad with Miso Dressing; Huli Huli Chicken with Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and Vegetables; S’more Napoleons.
Polynesian Chopped Salad with Miso Dressing
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
½ green pepper, thinly sliced
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons miso
Salt and pepper to taste
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated and then squeezed to get the juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 cups spring salad mix
Method: Combine the cabbages, peppers and onion in a bowl. In another bowl combine the juices, vinegar, garlic and miso. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to coat. Let sit 3-6 hours in the fridge. Meanwhile place the cucumbers in a bowl and add the ginger juice and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to use. When ready to serve, drain the vegetables. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Place the salad greens on plates or a platter. Place the drained vegetables on the greens. Top with the cucumbers.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
The key to this macaroni salad is the addition of the milk. It makes it very moist and what I call sloopy.
1 pound macaroni, cooked
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 small bunch scallions
1 cup diced carrots, blanched
1 cup diced celery, blanched
1 cup diced zucchini, blanched
Method: Place the cooked macaroni in a bowl. Sprinkle the apple cider vinegar on top. Stir well to combine. Put the milk, mayonnaise and brown sugar in bowl. Mix well. Add to the cooked macaroni. Fold in the blanched vegetables.
Chocolate Crème Chantilly
What a great name for whipped cream!
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Method: Whip the cream gently until it begins to build volume. Slowly add the sugar and finish whipping the cream. Stir in the vanilla and cocoa powder. Do not over whip.