Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hungarian Mushroom Soup From "The Vegan Slow Cooker" for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Hungarian Mushroom Soup is a favorite of mine. It has made two other appearances at Souper Sundays, (The New Moosewood Cookbook version, and my favorite from Old Wives' Tales restaurant in Portland, OR). So when I saw a version of the Moosewood recipe in The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester, I knew I had to try it.

This version uses cashew cream in place of the normal sour cream. I have used cashew cream in sauces both sweet and savory, and as a base for curry, but never in a soup and I was curious on how similar it would be to the soup I know and love.

Kathy Hester says, "There is a special place in my heart for Mollie Katzen. I taught myself how to cook from her Moosewood Cookbook. This is one of her recipes that I have veganized and adapted to the slow cooker. It is a thick, super-creamy, earthy treat on a cold winter's night. It's also one of my most requested soups."

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
By The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester
(Yield: 4 Servings)
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes / Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours

For the Cashew Sour Cream:
3/4 cup (100 g) raw cashews
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
juice of 1/2 lemon

For the Soup:
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, minced
2 packages (10 oz or 280 g each) mushrooms, chopped
2 cups (470 ml) water
1/2 Tbsp (3 g) vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 Tbsp (4 g) minced dill (to taste), plus extra for garnish
2 Tbsp (14 g) paprika

The Night Before:
To make the sour cream: Combine the cashews, water, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and purée until fairly smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

To make the soup: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown and give off their liquid, 8 to 10 minutes, Store in a separate airtight container in the fridge.

In the Morning:
Combine the sautéed vegetables, water, bouillon, lemon juice, salt and pepper, dill, and paprika in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Garnish the bowls of hot soup with extra dill.

Recipe Ideas and Variations: Don't have any cashews on hand? Use the same amount of silken tofu instead. It makes a great non-dairy sour cream, too!

Notes/Results: Excellent--as much flavor and creaminess as the original, but dairy-free and filled with more nutritional benefits than sour cream. Of course cashew cream is not low fat, but most of the fat is the healthier kind and there is about a 1/4 cup of it per serving of soup so not too bad. I plan to play around with it in more soups. This is a soup you could serve to anyone and they would have no idea it didn't contain dairy. I had a feeling I would like this soup so I doubled the recipe--plus mushrooms were on sale this week. I used low sodium veggie stock in place of the bouillon and added an extra cup of water and put my cooker on for 8 hours. It was nice to come home to a delicious-smelling kitchen and just have to mix in the cashew cream and have dinner ready to go. I would make this again.

I am sending this tasty soup to Cookbook Sundays, an event created by my friend Sue at Couscous and Consciousness and celebrating using all those cookbooks we all have stacked around. Check out her blog for the links to some tasty dishes and great cookbooks.

It's a little quiet this Christmas Day in the Souper Sunday kitchen, but we do have two glorious soups, a colorful salad and some delicious burgers on this busy holiday weekend.

Joanne from Eats Well With Others has a healthy, hearty Curried Eggplant Soup to help stay on track during a holiday week of eating. She says, "'s not the one slice of cake that's going to do the damage. It's all of chocolate and the cookies and the peanut butter I'm going to eat afterward that do. To combat that, this week. I planned. I planned light dinners on days that I knew that there would be lunch out. Lots of exercise on nights that I knew would involve birthday cake. And it worked. Fancy that. One of those light dinners was this curried eggplant soup. It's sweet and spicy and has a lot of staying power due to the white beans that are pureed into it and all the fiber from the eggplant and apple that are mixed in there as well. (Yes, there's an apple in it. Trust me. It's a good move.) And, um. Minus the feta I threw on top for photogenic-izing purposes. It's vegan."

Janet from The Taste Space has a soup and a salad to share this week. About her seasonally colorful Christmas Eve Borscht (or Barszcz) she says, "Polish barszcz has numerous variations, but the vegetarian version is commonly reserved for Christmas Eve. With the bloody blazing red beets you have a very festive soup with the dilly green accent. This version, tinkered from Rebar, makes a huge pot of soup filled with vegetables – beets, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes – and white beans for good measure. Lemon juice and balsamic vinegar add that necessary tang, a key feature in Polish barszcz. Traditionally, the soup was aged to get that acidic tang. Sounds like a project to tackle in the new year. ;)"

Janet's salad is this Garlic-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Pomegranate. She says, "First of all, let me apologize for the less-than-stellar photos. That’s the sacrifice for making a new recipe for guests away from home. Trust me, though, that the salad is stellar. Wilted kale. Garlic roasted butternut squash. Pomegranate arils. Smothered with a lemony vinaigrette. Oh so festive with a green base and sparkly red jewels. ... It is hard to muck up a salad with such delicious ingredients, so add what you like. :) This made a ton of food, and the beauty of kale salads is that the leftovers are just as good… which is what I brought home to photograph for you. ;)"

We have one luscious sandwich submission from Foodycat, these Burgers with Dan Lepard's Slider Buns. She says, "We were just having burgers for dinner at home, so I made large buns, not dainty little slider buns. I also didn't have an egg so I glazed them with milk. My burger patties were made from an equal quantity of bison mince and 12% fat beef mince, with a little chopped garlic and salt and pepper mixed in. I usually just do salt and pepper, but Paul particularly wanted garlic in them. They certainly don't need anything else added. I split the buns, piled in some shredded lettuce and topped with a cooked burger, with some mature cheddar melted on, and a good spoonful of chilli relish."

Thanks to Joanne, Janet & Foodycat for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Happy Holidays, & Merry Christmas.

Have a healthy, happy week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lamb and Guinness Stew with Potato Scones for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It seemed like a good idea... make a Lamb and Guinness Stew that could do double duty both here at Souper Sundays, and serve as my dish for Regional Recipes: Ireland, hosted by one of my very favorite blogging friends, Joanne at Eats Well With Others. Not to mention that St. Paddy's Day is this week and it also gave me a chance to cook and post from another book in my collection and get me closer to my "Cook from Each Book" initiative. OK, so that is actually quadruple duty, even better. Plus I found a recipe for some Potato Scones in yet another cookbook to go with it that sounded wonderful too. So how did I go from my perfect master plan to a stew salvage and recovery effort? Can this stew be saved? For the answer, you will just have to keep reading below.

The recipe for the stew came from "The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals From Around the World" by Lynn Alley, a book I have had for a while but had not cooked from. The original recipe called for beef but Alley also mentions subbing in lamb shanks and I went a slightly different route, using some lamb shoulder pieces to keep it a bit more lean. I had the lamb, some nice locally-grown potatoes, carrots, onion and thyme and a large bottle of Guinness stout and it all went together smoothly. I didn't think the 2 cups of Guinness was going to give me quite enough broth, so I also added a cup or so of some low-sodium beef stock to the mix, browned my lamb and popped everything in the slow cooker. After the appropriate amount of time, the stew was cooked, the veggies just right, the lamb very tender, and the broth... well the broth was ...bitter. And not just slightly bitter, or beer bitter, this was nasty, bordering on inedible bitter. I've had Guinness and liked it, I have cooked a corned beef brisket in Guinness and loved it, but this stew was pretty bad. Tempted to toss it, I decided to search online and see if I could find a solution. The main suggestion that came up was brown sugar, so I added a tablespoon. Better but still more bitter than I wanted. I then found this article by Cook's Country suggesting bittersweet chocolate to "enhance the beer's complex coffee / chocolate flavors" and added an ounce and continued cooking the stew on low for another 30 minutes. Surprisingly, it was much better but still not quite right. I decided to let it rest overnight in the fridge and try it again in the morning. (I will not accept defeat!) The next day, I skimmed off the bit of fat that had collected on the top and using the rest of my beef stock, put together a roux, added the meat, veggies and about half of the broth into it and heated it through allowing the roux to thicken, then seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. It actually was good! Still with the complex flavor of the Guinness, but softened, not bitter and more than edible. Not my favorite stew ever but tasty and mission accomplished because I didn't have to toss it.

Alley says, "Root vegetables are always found in the cuisine of cold northern climates. In this delicious traditional Irish stew, beef is paired with carrots, onions, potatoes, and hearty Guinness stout. For a completely different flavor using basically the same ingredients, try using lamb shanks rather than beef. Both are Irish favorites."

Lamb & Guinness Stew
"The Gourmet Slow Cooker" by Lynn Alley
(Serves 4-6)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 lbs very lean stewing beef or lamb cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 to 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 to 3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 to 2 sprigs thyme
2 cups Guinness stout or other dark, hearty beer
1 tsp salt
hopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag. Add the beef to the bag, several pieces at a time, and shake to coat completely. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. In batches if necessary, add the beef and cook, turning , for 8-10 minutes, until browned on all sides. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Place the beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and thyme in the slow cooker and pour the beer over the top. (If you prefer the vegetables with more texture, let the stew cook for 1 hour before adding the vegetables.) Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Season with salt. Remove and discard the thyme.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish generously with the parsley.

Notes/Results: Although it ended up working out, I won't be making this particular recipe again but I will try others from the book. I wouldn't have thought of the brown sugar and chocolate, but they really helped with the bitterness and saved the stew. The Cook's Country article also recommended adding Guinness in at the beginning and then at the end for a fresh kick, but I didn't have any more Guinness and decided to leave things as they were. A good learning experience and speaking of good experiences, lets get to these tasty little Potato Scones.

I was looking through a used cookbook I bought called "Nothing Fancy: Recipes and Recollections of Soul-Satisfying Food" written by Diana Kennedy, noted author and authority on Mexican Cooking when I came across these Potato Scones, basically griddled little potato and oat cakes. The book is written from her ranch in Mexico and features the food she likes to cook and eat at home and recipes from around the world.

Kennedy says, "These doughy potato scones, a speciality of Scotland and Ireland, can become addictive, especially if you love potatoes as I do. They are generally made with white flour or rough oatmeal mixed with peeled mashed potatoes, and are eaten hot spread with butter. When I lived in Scotland, I used to eat them for breakfast with a fried egg on top, but they are also good with bacon, with melted cheese on top...what you will. Sometimes I add coarsely ground whole wheat flour (2 ounces) instead of the oatmeal."

Potato Scones
"Nothing Fancy" by Diana Kennedy
(Makes about 10 scones)

1 1/2 ounces (rounded 1/2 cup) quick oats
1/2 pound unpeeled potatoes, cooked and roughly mashed with their skins
1/4 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 Tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus flour for kneading and rolling
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Put the oats into the blender jar and blend for about 3 seconds. They should be broken up rather than ground. Add them to the potatoes, together with the salt, flour, and melted butter. Knead well. Sprinkle the pastry board lightly with flour and roll out the dough to approximately 1/8-inch thick. Heat a griddle and brush with butter.

Cut the scones with a round 3-inch cutter, prick them well, and cook for about 3 minutes--by this time the underside should be lightly browned--turn the scones over, and cook for a further 3 minutes on the second side. As soon as they are cooked, cover with a napkin and keep warm until ready to eat. you can freeze them and then reheat on a well-buttered griddle.

Note: It is easier to work with the dough if the potatoes are still slightly warm.

Notes/Results: Kennedy is right about the addictiveness of these little potato cake-like scones, they are yummy. They are easy to throw together, cooking the potatoes is the longest step, and I liked the texture of the oats. I added some black pepper to them because I add black pepper to most things. ;-) They are a great little side dish and were excellent reheated with some eggs for breakfast. I also think they would be fun to make a bit smaller and top with some smoked salmon as a little pupu. I will definitely be making these again.

So one recipe that worked out well in the end and one with two enthusiastic thumbs up. Joanne will be recapping all of the Regional Recipes from Ireland at the end of the month on her blog so go take a look.

Let's see who is in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week and what delicious dishes they brought with them.

Olivia from Cooking with Libby is here again this week with a delicious Backyard Garden Tomato Soup. She says, "This is another recipe from the cookbook, Prevention's Quick and Healthy Low Fat Cooking. Just by glancing at this picture, you can tell that this isn't your normal, average Tomato Soup. I have never been a Tomato Soup fan. However, I made a vow to myself that I was going to try to make every single recipe in this low-fat cookbook, so I made this soup a couple of days ago. I have no regrets either :) It is chock full of tomatoes, onions, and red pepper. Since the recipe is low-fat, I was scared it was going to taste like cardboard and lack the flavor of most normal soups. But I'm happy to write that it is not bland, nor is it robust. It's perfect :) I also topped mine off with some grated parmesan cheese."

Tomatoes are popular this week! Joanne from Eats Well With Others has Michael Symon's Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup to share this week. She says, "Now. It's a commonly known fact that I'm not really a soup person. But this wasn't soup. This was heaven. In a bowl. I ate it hot. And I ate it cold. Sometimes both. In one day. Yeah it was that good. It tasted almost like a pink pasta sauce with a blue cheese/sriracha twang to it. And with that being said. I would consider pouring it over pasta. If I weren't pretty sure that I would just end up sipping it from the pot with a straw."

Like Joanne, Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies has Symon's Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup and also his Shaved Fennel Salad with Oranges, Lemon, Dill and Cress. She says that the soup is "made with Sriracha hot sauce and creamy, pungent blue cheese. This was an elegant soup to serve but very daring in flavour. Not for the faint of heart - we loved it."

And about the salad Natashya says it is "a light and crunchy salad with citrus and anise flavours. The key to the salad is to shave the fennel very thin - you will need a mandoline or it will just be too thick. We did enjoy this salad, it is light and crunchy with unique flavour, but I have to say the soup was my favourite."

Christine from Kits Chow has a unique Hot Nappa Cabbage Salad with Pancetta. Christine says, "I am making kimchi with Napa cabbage. I used the leafy part and was left with a big pile of white Napa pieces. What to do with the leftovers? I thought of making pickles but didn't have enough vinegar. Then I saw a little hunk of pancetta in the refrigerator. That's it. I'll braise the cabbage with the pancetta. Cabbage and bacon go very well together and I figured this combo would be good too. The salad was very good - crisp vegetables, crunchy, salty pancetta with a garlicky, sweet and sour dressing."

Last but certainly not least with have one glorious Reuben Sandwich from the talented Foodycat, who not only cured and smoked her own pastrami meat, but baked her own rye bread too. Foodycat says, "A good slice of bread, thickly smeared with mustard (we used Dijon), topped with overlapping thin slices of the pastrami, then forkfuls of well-drained sauerkraut and slices of gruyere cheese. That went under the grill until the cheese melted and the sauerkraut and pastrami was hot through. Topped with a second slice of bread and served with tall glasses of German beer, this was pretty much the perfect sandwich experience, and made a really delicious lunch. Genuinely worth the effort!"

Some really wonderful recipes this week--thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have something to share for Souper Sundays, just click on the logo on the side bar for all the details.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kalua Pork Quesadillas

I blame this one on Prudence Pennywise since she had to post her Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Chicken which looked pretty tasty and then she made it worse by using the leftovers to make Sweet and Spicy Chicken Quesadillas which were downright crave-worthy. Desperately wanting quesadillas, I didn't have a chicken in my freezer but I did have some leftover Slow Cooker Kalua Pork in there from making Swedish Kalua Pork Cabbage Rolls last month so I decided to make some island-style quesadillas.

Kalua pork quesadillas are pretty ubiquitous here in Hawaii, appearing on most pupu menus in restaurants across the state. There is a reason for that, they are darn good!

I like mine a bit "overstuffed" with some cabbage and red onion, a bit of cheese, a touch of cumin and cayenne and the extra special ingredient; some gingery plum sauce (check the Asian foods section at your grocery store--mine is made by Kikkoman), which really complements the smokey taste of the pork. I served these on whole wheat tortillas, grilled to crispy perfection on each side.

Kalua Pork Quesadillas

For each quesadilla:
1/3 cup Kalua pork
1/3 cup chopped green cabbage
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
cayenne pepper taste
black pepper to taste
cumin to taste
2 Tbsp shredded jack cheese
1 Tbsp plum sauce
1 whole wheat tortilla

In a medium pan, saute cabbage and red onion in olive oil, over medium heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add Kalua pork, cayenne, black pepper and cumin and heat through. Place mixture on 1/2 of tortilla, sprinkle cheese on top. On opposite side spread 1 Tbsp plum sauce and fold over filling. Heat a pan with a bit of olive oil and place folded tortilla on it. Grill over medium heat until tortilla is brown and crispy, then carefully flip and repeat on other side. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream or plain yogurt.

Perfectly crunchy and chewy at the same time. The plum sauce is so ono! (good or delicious in Hawaiian). No Kalua pork in your freezer? Its very easy to make, just pork butt, liquid smoke and salt cooked for hours in a slow cooker.

Easy Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
4-5 pounds Pork Butt Roast
1 Tbsp Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt (or substitute regular sea salt)
2 Tbsp liquid smoke flavoring

Trim any excess fat from pork butt. Using a fork, pierce the pork butt all over. Rub pork butt with liquid smoke and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low for 12-16 hours depending on size of roast (Two 2.5 lb roasts took about 10-12 hours--you'll know its done when it is tender and falling apart). Turn roast once during cooking time. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred pork, adding some of the drippings/cooking liquid if needed to add moisture to the meat. Allow the surplus dripping/ cooking liquid to cool; skim fat from the top and use if needed for sauce or gravy.

Although I am still craving Prudy's ooey-gooey sweet and spicy chicken quesadillas and will probably make them someday; these were mighty good too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup For My New Initiative: "Souper Sundays"

It occurred to me as I was about to make a slow cooker full of black bean soup that a good percentage of the recipes I have marked in cook books or put in my magazine cut out pile lately are for soup. I love soup--the different flavors, textures and how it is comfort in a bowl. Since fall is here (which just means a slight temperature drop and a tad more cloudy skies here--but I can still think about Fall!), my cravings for soup increase. Because of this I have decided to start "Souper Sundays" where for the next few months at least, I will make a weekly batch of soup and post it on Sundays. (It makes great lunches for the week). The recipes will be from cookbooks, magazines and my own "throw it together" creations. Anyone is welcome to join me in making soup for fall (or spring if you are reading this from the other side of the world). Soups, stews, chili (even "stroups" for you Rachel Ray fans) all count as soup in my book. You don't have to actually make it on Sunday but that's the day I am going to post. Very informal and casual--pop in whenever you want and if you send me a link to your soup post, I'll link to it from mine.

For my first Souper Sunday post, I am starting with Black Bean Soup from Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. (I posted a few of the recipes from her Carb Conscious Vegetarian cookbook here, here and here). I have made this soup recipe before (pre-blog) and like the ease of throwing it all into the slow cooker as well as the combo of flavors in it. It also is pretty healthy and economical to make.

Black Bean Soup
Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
Serves 4-6
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 medium size carrot, chopped
1/2 small green pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked black beans or two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, left undrained
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic, cover, and cook until softened , about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 4-6 quart slow cooker, add the beans, tomatoes and their juice, stock, bay leaves, cumin, thyme, and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf and taste to adjust the seasonings.
To thicken, puree at least two cups or up to one half of the soup solids with an immersion blender used right in the cooker, or ladled into a regular blender or food processor and returned to the cooker. Serve hot. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice, if using.

Notes/Results: I made just a couple of changes--I used a red pepper as I prefer them to green peppers, fire roasted diced tomatoes and a 1/2 tsp of chipotle chili powder in place of the cayenne pepper. I also squeeze in a bit of lime juice before serving rather than the lemon juice in the recipe. (BTW--the giant bay leaves you see are the ones from the Farmer's Market). You can leave the soup as is but pureeing half of it really enhances the texture. And if you don't have an immersion blender put it on your Birthday or Christmas list, mine is one of my favorite kitchen and soup making tools. I like to serve this soup with some cheese, avocado chunks, a bit of cilantro and one of my favorite chips.
These are a gluten-free rice chip made by Lundberg Family Farms and they come in assorted flavors but my favorite is the Fiesta Lime. They are great crumbled in the soup. This soup is excellent as is or if you wanted to add some protein, you could put in some shredded chicken, turkey or some turkey sausage.

Next Souper Sunday, I'll be cooking the Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup from the newly published Giada's Kitchen. Come join me with a soup you love or having been wanting to try.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Memorable Foody Event--An `Aha`aina for Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 with Swedish Kalua Pork Cabbage Rolls (Kaldomar)

Food Blogging these past almost 6 months has brought a lot to my life the most meaningful thing being great new friends and experiences. One of the most memorable experiences has to be the event I attended this Saturday. An `aha`aina, or "great feast", hosted by the incredibly wonderful and talented Michelle at The Accidental Scientist as part of the Foodbuzz 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs Event. When Michelle first told me what she was proposing to Foodbuzz for this event, I was sure she had a winner and would be chosen. The `aha`aina was the precursor to the more modern-day luau when King Kamehameha II brought the masses and all social classes--rich, poor, royalty and commoners, to share food and fellowship as one group or ohana (family). This opened up Hawaii to all sorts of new foods as people brought and shared the foods from their regions, countries and cultures.

That is exactly what happened on Saturday! About 30 of us, headed to a private, secret little island location of Oahu (I'd tell you where we were but then I would have to kill you!). I will say this--could anything start a gathering off better than arriving to it on a small motor boat shuttle? In this perfect spot for a party we gathered, pans, plates and dishes in hand.
Michelle and her fun and fantastic husband Mike (referred to as LB on her blog), tasked us with either creating a new version of a traditional Hawaiian dish, using ingredients that are prominent staples of our country or ethnic background or making a traditional dish from our country or our ethnic background using locally available Hawaiian ingredients. I was amazed at how seriously and with what great spirit people took the assignment--so much amazing food and wonderful interpretations of so many dishes--over 16 different nationalities and cultures were so wonderfully represented. I tried at least a bite of every dish and was blown away with the creativity and the incredible flavors--I only wish I could have eaten more! Even though most of the people there didn't know each other well, there was such a sense of sharing and community, which is the beauty of people coming together over good food, cooked lovingly.
Here are a few pictures of only some of the incredible dishes from respectively: Hawaii, England, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Fiji, & Japan. You can check out Michelle's post with more details of the event and many more fabulous pictures here. Recipes for the dishes will be posted soon on her site too.

I struggled a bit with what to make as I don't have a strong cultural identity. I am made up of 1/4 each of Swedish, Danish and German, with 1/4 of a miscellaneous mix. Outside of the occasional Swedish pancakes or meatballs, the rare Danish ebelskiver or some German sausage and sauerkraut, we didn't eat a lot of food from the cultures that make up me. I finally decided on Swedish Cabbage Rolls (Kaldomar) only "Hawaiianized" with Kalua Pork.

Cabbage Rolls or Kaldomar are a classic Swedish dish where the cabbage is normally stuffed with ground beef or pork, onion and either rice or bread crumbs. It is believed to have originated when the Swedish King Karl XIII was campaigning in Turkey in the 1700s and brought back the idea of making a “dolmades” or stuffed grape leaves. Since there are not a lot of grape leaves in Sweden, cabbage was used.
In searching the Internet there were many recipes for this dish—some baked, some fried, some using a sweet syrup, some using a creamy sauce, some with breadcrumbs, others with rice so I took inspiration from all of them and came up with what sounded best to me. To add the Hawaiian touches to the dish, I substituted Kalua Pork (smoked, shredded pork butt) for the ground meat. Here in Hawaii you can buy containers of Kalua Pork at the store but it is simple and much cheaper to make your own—all it takes is liquid smoke, some time and a slow cooker. Since allspice was featured in a lot of the recipes, I decided to add Chinese Five Spice, since this seasoning is used frequently in cooking here and I felt it would compliment the smoky flavor of the Kalua pork. In Sweden, this dish is traditionally served with small boiled potatoes and Lingonberry preserves, I dressed my potatoes with butter, parsley and red Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt and served it with Poha Jam (poha is a sweet/tart berry grown in Hawaii).

Kalua Pork Cabbage Rolls “Kaldomar” from Sweden
Serves 6 as a meal (even more as a pupu!)

1 large head Savoy cabbage or 2 smaller heads green cabbage
Water to boil cabbage in
1 tsp salt

1 small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cups cooked white long grain rice
½ cup milk
2 cups cooked Kalua Pork, shredded (see recipe below)
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
Salt and pepper to taste
½ stick of butter (to top cabbage rolls when baking)

1/3 cup liquid/drippings from cooking Kalua Pork (cooled and fat skimmed off)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 ½ tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
3/4 cup milk
½ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Core cabbage and cook in salted boiling water until leaves are slightly soft and easy to remove (about 10 minutes). Remove cabbage from water, peel off leaves one by one and place on a towel to drain.

While cabbage is cooking, saute onion in butter until soft and translucent. In a pan, place cooked rice and mix in milk, cooked onion, Kalua pork and five spice powder; add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To assemble rolls: Take a cabbage leaf, trim any thick edges and trim the coarse center vane (Its easiest to make a small “v” cut into the leaf). Put a 1 ½ Tbsp of the filling on the cabbage leaf, fold up the bottom of the leaf, tuck in the sides and roll up to the top (thin end) of the cabbage leaf, as tightly as you can. Place the cabbage roll, seam side down in a large oven proof pan or casserole. Repeat and fill casserole, packing rolls tightly together to keep them intact. Once pan is filled (about 24-26 small rolls), place several pats of butter on top of leaves and place in oven to cook about 20-25 minutes until rolls are slightly brown on top.
While cabbage rolls are cooking, make sauce. Place liquid/dripping from Kalua Pork in pan with Tbsp butter. Once butter is melted, add 2 Tbsp cornstarch and five spice powder and blend. Gradually add milk and cream, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth and heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove cabbage rolls from the oven, top with sauce and serve with the boiled potatoes and preserves.

Easy Slow Cooker Kalua Pork:

4-5 pounds Pork Butt Roast
1 Tbsp Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt (or substitute regular sea salt)
2 Tbsp liquid smoke flavoring

Trim any excess fat from pork butt. Using a fork, pierce the pork butt all over. Rub pork butt with liquid smoke and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low for 12-16 hours depending on size of roast (Two 2.5 lb roasts took about 12 hours, one 4.5 pound roast took about 16). Turn roast once during cooking time. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred pork, adding some of the drippings/cooking liquid if needed to add moisture to the meat. Allow the surplus dripping/ cooking liquid to cool; skim fat from the top and use if needed for sauce or gravy.

Results: Surprisingly (to me anyway) the recipe worked well. The sauce with the smokey drippings from the Kalua Pork and the Chinese Five Spice was incredible--I could have just eaten that on my potatoes. The cabbage rolls were a bit tricky to master the tight wrapping necessary--packing them into the casserole helped. I had 26 rolls in the dish and all but one were eaten so considering I thought I might be known as the weird one who brought cabbage to a potluck, I guess people liked them!

The Kalua Pork makes enough for leftovers and since some potatoes were left, I had an excellent Sunday morning breakfast. (If only I had leftover sauce!)

Many thanks to Michelle and Mike for an incredible, unforgettable event and of course to Foodbuzz for coming up with such a great idea for a mass blogging event! With 24 Bloggers hosting 24 meals in 24 hours, I am sure there were many unique and wonderful events out there this weekend. Maybe I am biased but I think few could have possibly had the heart, spirit and sense of friendship that our `aha`aina had. There is a saying (and a bumper sticker) that says "Lucky we live Hawaii" and I know that those of us that were fortunate enough to attend this gathering truly know how lucky we are!