27 October 2015

Making a passable Hawaiian plate lunch at home

The first time I went to Hawaii, I thought, "I'm curious, but I bet it's not as great as everyone says" which is probably more revealing of my personality than anything else. I said the same thing about Vienna, and like Vienna, I totally fell in love with Hawaii.  I even loved the skeevy lunch counters scattered around Honolulu, and that is, strangely, what I crave when I wish I could fly back to Hawaii.

There's a place near us that serves great lunch plates, but it's not cheap, and the ambiance is all wrong--full of upper-middle class retirees in resort wear. Also, I have to drive there.  So, I tried out some recipes at home, and they worked OK!  Plus, I finally caved on my hated of slow cookers, so enjoy that, Mom.

My memorable lunch at  Ethel's Grill in Honolulu

Kalua Pork from www.pineappleandcoconut.com

Serves 6-8

1 4-6 lb pork shoulder or Boston butt roast
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
2-3 tsp red Hawaiian Sea salt (for a smaller roast, 2-3 tbsp for a larger)

Wash and pat dry the pork roast and place in the slow cooker. Pierce all over with a fork, pour the liquid smoke evenly over the roast and sprinkle liberally with the sea salt.

Place the lid of the slow cooker on and set the time for 8-12 hours on LOW. Check at about 8 hours for doneness. If not done, let go the full 12 hours, checking every hour.

Either remove the pork from the pot and shred with a fork and return to pot or shred in the pot when its done. You can remove some of the liquid and shred then add some back in to keep the pork from drying out.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad from favfamilyrecipes.com

Serves 6-8

1 lb box of Elbow macaroni
1/4 cup Carrots finely chopped
1/4 cup Onions very finely minced
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4cCup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
fresh cracked black pepper
Paprika (optional)
1-2 Tbsp vinegar to taste

Prepare macaroni according to instructions on box. Afterwards, rinse with cold water and drain again. Stir in vinegar and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Add finely chopped carrot and mix well. Add finely chopped onions and mix well. Combine mayonnaise and milk. mix well, then add to macaroni. Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

Chill before serving.

Basic Sticky Rice

Serves 6-8 as a side

2 cups short grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar

This can get really fussy, or you can just approximate it.  Cook the rice with the salt according to package directions, either in a sauce pan or a rice cooker (my preference). When it's done, stir in the sugar to taste.