Recipes to enhance your reading of the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries
`Ahi is a delicate white fish [yellowfin tuna] featured on many Island menus. I mention it often in the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries. The following recipe is an adaptation of one shared with me by Auntie Caroline Kuliaikanuʻukapu Wilcox DeLima Farias, the subject of an oral history project that I hope will be published in both hardcopy and audio editions. This special woman was one of the first people to welcome me to Honolulu in 1972.…
As always, I encourage you to adjust the following ingredients to meet your taste preferences. For instance, I don't care for parsley and often use marjoram in its place. You might consider experimenting with flavor enhancements such as a dash of Worcestershire, Asian, or hot sauce. If you're in a rush, consider augmenting a prepared white sauce with a few seasonings and fresh ingredients. Carol’s recipe cooked the fish cooked within the prepared sauce. I suggest sautéing the fish separately until light brown and then adding it to the sauce. If you do not eat fish, you can substitute another protein [including tofu] or a blend of your favorite vegetables.
COCONUT Milk SAUCE
1 Medium Maui or other sweet onion [diced]
3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Lemon [sliced into rounds]
2 Sprigs of Parsley or other fresh herbs [chopped]
1 Whole Bay Leaf
1-2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper [white if you wish to produce a truly white sauce]
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
PREPARING THE SAUCE
Sweat onion slices in a large pan or skillet for five to ten minutes on medium low heat. [Cooking more than that will produce caramelized onions, which taste great but will color the sauce. Stir corn starch into the coconut milk and add to onions. Add lemon slices, chopped herbs and bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to keep the sauce smooth. Remove bay leaf and set aside until you are ready to pair with a protein or vegetables.
If you are not going to use immediately, allow sauce to cool to room temperature, then place in a tightly sealed container. It may be refrigerated for a few days. When ready to use, reheat slowly, stirring to keep smooth.
SAUTÉING PROTEIN OR VEGETABLES
Heat a tablespoon of your preferred cooking oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Depending on size and thickness, cook protein for 2 to 4 minutes. Vegetables may be cooked at a higher temperature. Add sautéed food to the pre-heated sauce. Gently cook for a couple of minutes to integrate all of the ingredients. Regardless of whether you are presenting the dish on a platter or serving guests individually, creatively garnish with your preferred fruit…
SUGGESTED ISLAND GARNISH
1 Papaya, sliced in ½ inch strips
2 Kiwis, sliced in rounds
Here is my original design concept for the cover of Murder on Mokulua Drive...
Allow me to unveil one of my secret treasures, bookworm and bookman extraordinaire, Viki Gillespie. She is the friend who has inspired me with both encouragement and editorial direction for many years. Her professional career was in the retail end of the publishing business, which has honed her keen perspective on the realities of today’s publishing marketplace. The times when I have not followed her guidance have often led to less-than-stellar creations.
We met over four decades ago, when I was playing the lead in a production of A Shot in the Dark in the Blue Room [theatre in the round] at the Portland Civic Theatre in Portland, Oregon. PCT may be long gone, but the Portland Civic Theatre Guild has continued to please audiences with their staged readings since 1958. I look forward to enjoying one of their performances if I find a bookstore in my hometown that chooses to book one of my own readings from the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mystery series.
Often utilizing produce from her personal garden, Viki enjoys planning meals and special events for her family and friends. As always, I encourage my readers to experiment with this recipe to meet the desires of their palettes. Of course, that’s with the caveat that, as in my writing, you do so at your own risk…
VIKI'S HAWAIIAN SCALLOPS
The following scallop dish can be served with or without pasta. By itself, it is recommended that the marinade be cooked and served as a sauce. A side of pasta may feature the marinade sauce, OR consist of the separate preparation that follows the scallop recipe. Scallops are rarely found in the waters of Hawai'i. Wherever you live, you may need to use frozen scallops for this dish. As with all foods, be cautious about the freshness of your ingredients.
Sweet Soy Marinade
3 Tbsp. Scallions, minced 2 Tbsp.
Pure Maple Syrup 1 Tbsp.
Soy Sauce, low-sodium 1 Tbsp.
Mustard, course ground 1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper, ground
8 Sea Scallops, large
Preparation of Scallops
Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add scallions and marinate for at least 10 minutes. Refrigerate if marinating longer.
If you wish to serve pasta, it can be cooked and drained while marinating the scallops…
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove scallops from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade. Sear scallops in the skillet until golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes in total. Scallops should feel firm to the touch [be careful not to overcook, as they will get tough]. Remove the scallops from the skillet.
Add the reserved marinade to the skillet. Boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes, until it thickens and forms a sauce.
Scallops may be served with just a topping of the cooked marinade. Or, once the marinade has started to thicken, toss cooked pasta in the sauce. Serve topped with scallops. [Doubling the marinade provides additional sauce to pour over the pasta]
3 Strips Low-sodium Bacon, diced, sautéed until crisp [about 5 minutes], drained on paper towels
4 Oz. fresh linguine or angel hair pasta, cooked per instructions [no oil; salt optional] and drained
1/2 Cup diced fresh pineapple
1 Tbsp. Red Onion, minced
l Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, minced [optional]
Toss all ingredients except pasta in a large bowl.
Add and blend in pasta.
Stir in cilantro, if desired.
Sprinkle fresh scallions on top of the final dish Serve fresh pineapple spears or rings on the side
NOTE: One of my special readers suggested that coconut milk could be added to the recipe to add a creamy richness!
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