Manolo gave me a challenge… Why don’t we plan a Vegetarian Festival with the flavors of Hawaii?? Hawaii?? Why?? I asked. He replied: “Well… I did this Rice with Pineapple the other day and I think it’s pretty awesome… so I thought it would go well within a Hawaiian-themed festival.”
Just like Manolo… he gets an idea in his head, and then the rest of the world needs to accommodate to it. “Oh… and the decorations would look so pretty!!!! Don’t you think, Madelyn??” And that’s how the idea about this Hawaiian Festival came about. Because… I have never been to Hawaii, Manolo has never been to Hawaii and the closest we have been to something truly Hawaiian are our friends Kenny and Tim, who one is from Hawaii and the other lives currently in Maui.
So I went to the internet and social media to gather some ideas of what a traditional Hawaiian Luau would be like and how could I make it into a vegan, gluten-free affair. My friends were enthusiastic about the idea and recipes started to flow. What surprised me the most was that many of the ingredients in Hawaiian/Polynesian cuisine are the same as in Puerto Rican cooking – taro root, breadfruit, sweet potatoes… with a few unexpected twists, such as nori, gomasio, rice vinegar, and macadamia nuts…
During the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the menu of this Vegetarian Hawaiian Luau. But this post will serve as an anchor and summary of all the recipes served that Sunday at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand. Let’s all travel through our taste buds…
Alohas and Mahalo!!!
Tofu Mushroom Poke
Roasted Breadfruit with Spices
Haupia with a Carob Drizzle
Banana Mango Bread
Lilikoi and Grapefruit Juice
Yes… I went there. My sister has been dairy-free for some time now and she was craving Coquito.
Being the good big sister that I am, I developed this version omitting the evaporated and condensed milks. I must admit, this turned out to be a really cool experiment. The flavors and the spirit of Coquito is still there – without rum or dairy.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I and my sister did.
1 pint coconut creamer
2 containers coconut cream
2 containers of coconut milk
30oz of spiced tea – using a baggie each of cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, star anise, cloves and a 5” piece of ginger
2 tbs vanilla powder or extract
2 tbs cinnamon powder
2 tbs nutmeg
- Just like my regular recipe for coquito, you first make a spiced tea – In a medium saucepan pour 3 cups of water, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, star anise and cloves. Add also the piece of ginger cut up into small pieces or rounds. No need to even take off the skin. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes to create a strong spiced tea. This will give the coquito most of its spiciness. Turn off the heat and allow the spices to concentrate the flavor of the tea. Let cool a bit. You could even make this the day before and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the Coquito recipe.
- I find that if you have a really large pitcher or plastic jug with a large mouth that will accommodate about 90oz of liquid, this is the best way to assemble this…
- In the large pitcher I described above, combine the coconut creamer, coconut milks and creams of coconut with 30oz of the spiced tea. Add the vanilla powder, cinnamon powder and freshly grated nutmeg. Using an immersion blender, blend the whole thing well to combine and make a tad frothy.
- Allow to chill in the refrigerator in that same pitcher you made it in.
Serve chilled in small shot glasses. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
When it’s Summer, all I want is something refreshing to cool down the temperature… be it at home, at the beach or at a friend’s.
When someone asks you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage), it doesn’t need to be something alcoholic… but it doesn’t need to be something boring either. You can bring a punch, make sangria or take advantage of all the refreshing mint that evokes the freshness of summer.
Just a few ingredients and you’ll have a great non-alcoholic alternative that will make any pregnant mom or young kid feel like they’re not missing anything at all.
½ cup of Simply Limeade
The juice of 2-3 limes
½ cup of lemon/lime sparkling water or natural lemon/lime soda
2 tbs of brown sugar simple syrup or 2 tbs of turbinado sugar
4-5 mint leaves, sliced thinly or chopped
½ a lime, sliced thinly
- Add the lime slices, sugar and mint leaves to an old fashioned glass. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, smash together all the ingredients.
- Add the limeade juice, fresh lime juice and sparkling water or natural soda. Mix well with a stirrer and enjoy!!!
This was the smoothie recipe we shared at the 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class recently. I just wanted to share with the class how easy it is to add nutrition to a fruit smoothie by adding fresh spinach. The green flecks might be a bit strange, but the vegetable flavor is masked with the sweetness of the banana and berries.
If you prefer not to see any green flecks at all, you can try my Stealth Shake which has darker berries and the spinach is completely masked.
Also, you can boost the power of your smoothie by adding chia seeds, flaxseeds, maca all together or any of them individually.
FRUIT SMOOTHIE WITH FRESH BABY SPINACH
A handful of fresh baby spinach leaves
½ cup plain yogurt or kefir
1 cup passion fruit juice
A squirt of honey or agave nectar
1 tbs ground flaxseeds
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs maca powder
3 ice cubes
- Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
- Serve ice cold.
Growing up I did not like any of the tropical fruit flavors… tamarind, mango, papaya or soursop. I would only like cherry, grape or orange. You know… the artificially-flavored stuff. Buying piraguas in Old San Juan, I remember they had syrups made from our Puerto Rican fruits flavors, but I always chose the deep dark red one; the one I would stay farthest away from nowadays.
Then your tastes change… and they evolve and those flavors that you once thought were not that appealing are the ones you crave and appreciate the most.
Soursop is one of those flavors to me… I remember my grandma offering us guanábana at our casa de campo and we refusing profusely. Now, it’s one of my favorite flavors. But soursops are very hard to come by sometimes. Soursops have a newfound rep of having cancer-fighting properties and when those types of reports start crawling around the internet, things get scarce. Whenever you see soursops at the grocery store, they’re expensive. So if you have a fruit-bearing tree… take very good care of it.
I found some soursops at the grocery store the other day and I decided to treat myself to some juice… it’s so easy to make yourself.
Look for soursops that are starting to give a little bit. If they’re hard, they’re not fully ripe yet. Allow them to fully ripen on your kitchen counter. And if they are beginning to soften and you can’t get to it, place it in the fridge to stop the ripening process.
SOURSOP JUICE for one…
1/3 cup of soursop pulp
About 1 cup of filtered water
2 tbs brown sugar
I like to remove the seeds from the pulp. I read from someone on Facebook that you could leave the seeds in… I guess you could, but it will become a mess when you strain it. I prefer to remove the seeds and try to grow some new soursop trees from them.
- In a blender or your Magic Bullet, add the fruit pulp, water and sugar. Add an ice cube if the water is not cold. Blend well together. The mixture will become white and creamy.
- I like to strain it… It’s not necessary, but I think the texture is better if you strain the juice before drinking it. Besides, if you miss a seed, you’ll be sure to take it out before drinking.
This is the measurement I use to make juice just for me in my Magic Bullet. I prefer to keep the pulp in the fridge and make the juice fresh right before I am about to drink it. All you need to do to make a larger batch for your family is to increase the quantities. Basically you’ll need 1 part pulp to 3 parts water and sweeten to taste.
Add sugar as you see fit. I like my soursop juice sweet. Sometimes the pulp is not as sweet as you would like. So feel free to adjust the sugar amount to your taste.