Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"We, the Women of Hawaii Cookbook" & "A Taste of Aloha" - Waikiki Chicken and Regency Royals (bars) - celebrating Hawaii's 55th anniversary as a state

Date I made these recipes:  August 28, 2014 (recognizing Hawaii's 55th anniversary as a state of the Union)

We, the Women of Hawaii Cookbook – Favorite Recipes of Prominent Women of Hawaii
Published by:  Press Pacifica
ISBN:  0-916630-47-1; revised edition 1986
Purchased at Talk Story Books, Hanapepe, Hawaii
Recipe:  Chicken Waikiki – p. 123

A Taste of Aloha – A Collection of Recipes from The Junior League of Honolulu
Published by:  The Junior League of Honolulu
ISBN:  0-9612484-0-8; First Printing  September, 1983
Purchased at Talk Story Books, Hanapepe, Hawaii
Recipe:  Regency Royals (bars) – p. 30, submitted by Adele Davis

Well, Alo-ha everybody!  On August 21, 2014, Hawaiians everywhere were (hopefully) celebrating their 55th year as a state of the union.  Prior to becoming our 50th state 55 years ago, Hawaii was a territory of the United States, same as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the (who knew?) Northern Mariana Islands. (The Northern Mariana Islands are located between the Philippines and Japan...sort of.)  Hawaii was always popular:  in addition to being a tourist destination, the military made some of the Hawaiian islands home to military bases (my dad shipped out from Maui in WWII) as well as R&R outposts for Vietnam War military personnel.   Still, life as a territory (technically, a Commonwealth) is tricky as you're governed by the federal government rather than a shared federal and state government and well...there are issues.  Statehood is much better!

So hooray for Hawaii for getting the last fender in on statehood.  Now all of us visitors can move freely about the [tropical] cabin (and from island to island) and this is a good thing.

As to Hawaiian food, I've posted a few recipes in this blog from Hawaiian cookbooks and I think even Hawaiians would be hard-pressed to come up with truly native food.  Early on, Hawaii was populated with Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and Portuguese transplants (to name a few) and their food soon became Hawaiian food.  Over the years, transplants from other countries have just added to the mix.  Additionally, Hawaiian cookbooks published by groups like The Junior League started including (as they all do), favorite recipes for casseroles or appetizers or soups that are definitely not Hawaiian.

So when selecting recipes for this blog post, I tried to find recipes that at least included Hawaiian ingredients and this is why you are getting two recipes containing macadamia nuts.  And let me tell you, these suckers are so expensive that I considered flying back to Hawaii to pick them up at the airport for a lot less money.  As it is, I sourced mine at the Seward Co-Op.  (Note:  Macadamia nuts are not indigenous to Hawaii but rather, Australia. Please store this information for future use in a quiz show.)

So, let's look at Cookbook #1, We, the Women of Hawaii Cookbook.  I loved this cookbook because it contained an entire chapter called Island Recipes.  This is where I found the recipe for Chicken Waikiki which is coated with macadamia nuts.  Other recipes included Miso Soup; Shrimp Tempura; Lomi Lomi; Shrimp Chinese; Fried Mahi Mahi and Korean Ribs.  I could have easily made several of these recipes.  By comparison, I was disappointed in the Fish chapter as almost every recipe called for either shrimp or lobster or shrimp and lobster.   Huh.  I guess the few recipes in the Island Recipes section are it for the time being but that makes sense given that the cookbook was published in 1986.  Now, every menu in Hawaii has several fish options.

Two interesting items of note about this book:  First, "We, the Women of Hawaii," is the name of a club originating in 1946, to protest a general utility strike.  Mrs. E. E. Black, who started these strikes, said "There is nothing a woman can not do, once she makes up her mind," and from that the We, the Women of Hawaii club was born.  Alas, I cannot find any information that tells me whether or not the club still exists.  Maybe it's taken on another name and another purposes—that would be fun.

The second interesting thing about this book is that it used to be a library book and the inside front cover is loaded with due date stamps, as well as the card catalog information using the Dewey Decimal System.  Well, if this doesn't bring me back to my high school student librarian days, I don't know what will!  Love this unexpected added touch.

As to the recipe, we loved it!  The chicken was moist and tender and the macadamia nuts made for a nice crust.  Although the recipe said to "dice" the macadamia nuts, I found it far easier to use my mini food processor to do the chopping.  This recipe is to be served with a chutney sauce and I have to say we were split on this:  Andy wasn't too keen on it, saying that the sauce was too thick.  I thought it was fine although the batch was huge.  No way could we use that much sauce!  I also baked the chicken breasts whole even though the recipe called for small dices that you then loaded onto a toothpick along with pineapple and parsley.  Not sure about that parsley part. 

The second cookbook du jour, A Taste of Aloha, is a compilation of recipes from The Junior League of Honolulu (Junior League: they're everywhere!).  Surprisingly, this cookbook, published three years before We the Women of Hawaii Cookbook, contains a lot of (native) fish recipes.  Not that I'm all that fond of fish, mind you, but I like to see recipes match the location.  Again, it was hard to choose from some of the recipes, especially those in the Luau section ("serves 20" is a bit of a problem), but since I already had the chicken recipe lined up, I went with dessert.  Since I was on a roll with the macadamia nuts, I decided to make Regency Royals, bars made with macadamia nuts and shredded coconut, topped with a orange juice, lemon juice and chopped macadamia nut frosting. 

So here's the thing about these bars:  they're pretty dense and gooey and I'm not sure that was the intended result.  You see, I knowingly and willingly baked them with "old" baking powder.  And here's why:  evil food manufacturer's must still think that everybody is baking themselves silly and so they put things like baking powder into cans that I will never use up "in time," never mind that the cans are on the small side.  And I hate to waste things.  So...I had an unopened can of baking powder in my pantry but I was loathe to open it because I hadn't used up half the can of the stuff I opened 2011! 

So I crossed my fingers and made the bars anyway and they were good if not a bit gooey.  Maybe they are supposed to be that way, in which case, I win!  If not, oh well, we ate them anyway.  Still, this poses a problem:  the holidays will soon be upon us and that is the one time I do bake.  So it's likely that the new can will be opened and then sit there but better that than to take a chance of a complete holiday Armageddon in the baking department! 

Now this book wasn't library stamped like the last one but I loved the simplistic two-color drawings of Hawaiian flowers that separated each chapter by artist, Pegge Hopper.  Shall I just tell you that for the first time ever, I'm tempted to deface my own book and cut them out?  (No, I shall not tell you that.  Forget I said it.)

And with that, Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o! (Happy Anniversary, Hawaii!) 

Chicken Waikiki – serving size not stated
*Requires 30 minutes to marinate
1 lb chicken cutlets (boned – skinned)
¼ c. dry sherry
¼ c. lemon juice
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. flour
1 egg (beaten)
½ c. Macadamia nuts (diced)
½ c. dry unseasoned bread crumbs (Ann's Note:  the book said "crimbs."  Ah, the days before spellcheck...)
¾ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. prepared mustard
3 T. chutney (Ann's Note:  I used Major Grey's)

Cut chicken into 1 in. cubes (Ann's Note:  I left them whole).  Place in a bowl.  Combine sherry, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour over chicken, toss to coat completely.  Marinate for 30 minutes.

Place flour in one bowl and egg in another bowl and combine macadamia nuts and bread crumbs in the third bowl.   Remove chicken from the marinade.  Dip chicken first in flour, then in egg, then coat with macadamia nut mixture.

Place chicken in a single layer on a greased shallow baking pan.  Bake (uncovered) in a preheated oven at 350 until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 20 minutes.  (Ann's Note:  if you are using whole breasts, bake another 10 minutes.).  Skewer on toothpicks with pineapple chucks and parsley.

Serve with chutney sauce.  To make the sauce, combine mayonnaise, mustard and chutney (recipe says to chop the chutney).  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Regency Royals – makes 2 ½ dozen
1 cup sifted flour
½ cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Orange-Lemon Frosting
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix flour and butter.  Press into a 9-inch square baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Stir in coconut and nuts.  Spread over warm crust and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  When cool, ice with Orange-Lemon Frosting.

For the frosting:  mix butter and sugar together.  Add juices.  Spread over Regency bars and sprinkle nuts on top.

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