When my husband and I decided to elope way back when, Hawaii was our obvious destination. We’d both visited before and loved it.
Today happens to be the 40th anniversary of our wedding in Lahaina, Maui. Since 1982, we have continued to visit Hawaii – for special occasions, non-occasions, taken young kids, taken older kids and their friends… we even renewed our vows with our children present. (Not recommended.)
I just had to include this photo. It’s personal, but I hardly recognize these people! I do treasure it as it’s our only photo. That’s what happens when you elope! (Which I highly recommend!)
It’s safe to say that we love the islands. There is so much to do and experience, and the food is wonderful. And, to quote my young daughter, “It just smells good there.”
There was a particularly fabulous restaurant we dined at called A Pacific Café in Kapaa, Kauai, located in a crappy little shopping center. The owner was chef Jean Marie Josselin, who was originally from Chamonix, France, trained in Paris, then moved to Hawaii in 1985. He opened this restaurant in 1990.
My husband and I ate at the Café for our 10 year anniversary, in 1992, and later that year Hurricane Iniki wiped out part of Kauai including the restaurant. Very sad.
Because of our wonderful restaurant experience, however, I purchased “A Taste of Hawaii” by Chef Josselin, published in 1992. The book is a delight. Hawaiian cuisine is varied – it’s not all about macadamia nuts and pineapple. There are so many influences on its cuisine by Asian countries, and even Spain and Portugal.
The recipe I chose to make from the cookbook is Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo. It’s an unexpected surf and turf combination that originated in the Phillipines – not something I would have ordered from a menu myself, but it shows the diversity of Hawaiian cuisine. Plus I got to buy lobster!
From the author, “Adobo is widely considered to be the national dish of the Philippines. The flavors balance beautifully in this dish, especially with the sour tang of the vinegar. The lobster in this dish is my own variation, but you can also make it with shrimp – or simply with chicken and pork.”
If you want to read more about Chef Josselin, who is referred to as a pioneer of Hawaiian cuisine, and also known for joining 11 other chefs in starting the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine movement over 25 years ago, this is a great article.
Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened with a knife
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/2 pound boneless pork butt, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces cooked lobster, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 medium tomatoes, cut into cubes
3 teaspoons cilantro
In a saucepan, combine the bay leaf, garlic, vinegar, salt, pork, chicken, and water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding water if needed to keep mixture moist.
Drain the meat and reserve the cooking juices.
Using a hand-held strainer, remove the garlic from the liquid. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and when it is hot, add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic turns golden, then add the chicken and pork and sauté until the meat is golden or lightly browned.
Add the reserved cooking stock to the pan, followed by the lobster.
Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Cook for another minute or so, and serve at once.
This is definitely what I’d call a “peasant” dish, but it doesn’t lack flavor. It has a fabulous zing from the vinegar.