A menu worth repeating

7 01 2019

Oh, the food! Does the food make the party? In the case of last Saturday’s art show opening, yes! Kealoha and Kahikionaokalā Domingo of Nui Kealoha caterers outdid themselves with its farm-to-table menu, supplemented with basic additions of punch and cookies made by me.

Here we share the Nui Kealoha’s menu for the January 5 “Fiery Volcano Collages & Doodles” and the recipes for the cookies and punch, giving credit to their origins. Easy peasy and refreshing.

Kids loved these as well as seedless grape clusters on the side. Take precaution with grapes, a possible choking hazard, for very young children. For the punch, look for a ginger ale without high fructose corn syrups at the store.

Clockwise from lower right: classy menu, poke ʻulu, koʻele pālau tartlets, burnt ʻuala canapé.


I found the recipe for chocolate cookies on the back of the Western Family Baking Soda box.


Punchbowl recipe by my cousin Elly. From Everyone, Eat Slowly: The Chong Family Food Book (Chong Hee Books, 1999)

~ Rebekah

Wake up to a Dutch Baby

1 01 2013
New Year's Day breakfast: Instead of finishing the Dutch Baby with powdered sugar and lemon, I chose maple syrup and fresh calamansi wedges.

New Year’s Day breakfast: Instead of finishing the Dutch Baby with lemon and a dusting of powdered sugar, I chose fresh calamansi wedges to squeeze and maple syrup.

I awoke to a rainy morning and decided to surprise the rest of the family with a Dutch Baby German Pancake for our first breakfast of the New Year. While they were asleep it baked and rose in a large cast iron frying pan. When Miss Marvelous’s mom was a youngster and lived with us, the call of “Dutch Baby!” would roust her out of bed. She liked to watch through the oven door window how it rose into an interesting shape. Not only fun to watch, but fun to eat, too!

The recipe is traditional and most likely public knowledge. I see variations of it from time to time. The one I use always works. I think I got it from an old friend, reporter Bob Jones, who got it from Carl A. Lindquist (I like to give credit where credit’s due). The only thing I changed this morning were the toppings. See top photo.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl beat 3 eggs until blended.
Measure 1/2 cup flour. Sift, measure 1/2 cup again (discard any excess), sift again with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Add flour to eggs in 4 additions, beating after each addition until smooth.
Add 1/2 cup milk in 2 additions.
Lightly beat in 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Generously butter bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch unheated cast iron frying pan.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10 minutes more. Slip onto a serving plate.
Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Out of the oven, the pancake has pulled away from the pan. Just loosen the sides with a knife and slip onto a serving plate.

Out of the oven, the pancake has pulled away from the pan. Just loosen the sides with a knife and slip onto a serving plate.

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Rebekah’s Kaʻaʻawa Mountain Apple Pie

3 07 2011

My mountain apple pies

Okay, okay, here’s the recipe. Jeez. I must say, it’s too good to not share. When there was a mountain apple tree outside the studio — Hawaiians call the fruit ʻōhiʻa ʻai (Eugenia malaccensis) — I made these pies every summer, one after another, so many that I froze them to eat later.

One year I was too late, and I could only watch the bulbul birds eat the entire crop in 20 minutes. “Hey fellas, come on over: breakfast!” Another year afterwards, the fruit was just not edible anymore. I think the tree was just old, so we cut it down.

This past Friday, I went to Candy’s house to catch a ride to our art show reception at 1132 Bishop Street in Honolulu. But first she pressed me into service to help pick the mountain apples from her tree for the refreshment table.

Oh, my gosh, I have never seen more beautiful mountain apples!  Candy and her husband had found from a garden shop a solution that repelled the pesky fruit flies that love to sting the fruit (causing the fruit to become wormy. Yecch!)

Clearly, Candy and Ken have a harvest they cannot possibly eat by themselves alone, and I was overjoyed when they offered me the surplus. Thinking about our family potluck gathering the next day, I thought, I’ll make pie!

This recipe has already been published in Everyone, Eat Slowly: The Chong Family Food Book (Kaaawa: Chong Hee Books, 1999). I adapted it from a formula a chef at the Kahala Hilton gave me many years ago when I worked for Sunset. For my recipe, the Betty Crocker brand mix is a must. Yesterday I used 15 very large mountain apples for one 9″ pie. I substituted 3 tablespoons fresh calamansi juice for the lemon juice, and I brushed the top with half-and-half cream for a golden brown finish.

Gorgeous mountain apples, freshly picked and washed. The foreground shows the apples pitted, trimmed, and cut into chunks with a paring knife.


In Kaʻaʻawa the season for ʻōhiʻa-ʻai (mountain apples) is in June, usually, and it last for about two weeks. The challenge is to harvest them before the birds do. And then, what do you do with them? There are only so many fresh mountain apples one can eat. Now you can try them in a pie! The flavor is a cross between apple and rhubarb.

Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix
5 cups sliced fresh mountain apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut up in pieces
Juice of 1 lemon, or equivalent in lime juice
3 tablespoons tapioca OR 1/4 cup flour

Prepare Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix for a double-crusted pie.

Combine the mountain apples, salt, cinnamon, sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Cook until the mountain apples are half done, about 10 minutes in the microwave on full power. Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in tapioca or flour. Cool mixture. (Place the mixture in its container in the freezer to cool down fast; be careful not to freeze). Pour into unbaked pie shell. Cut a vent in the top crust and place over pie. Seal the top crust to the bottom crust.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before slicing. The filling sets as it cools.

Rebekah Luke

Ready to bake. I decided to make a pretty lattice top like the picture on the box of the Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

Calamansi marmalade

8 02 2011

Calamansi tree with ripe fruit

Calamansi tree
flowering and bearing both.
Let’s make marmalade!

My father’s former caregivers grow a calamansi tree outside their back porch in Kahuku, Oahu, and they use the juice of this fruit in their Filipino cooking to season meats, fish, and noodles.

I was so happy to learn about it, I planted a tree of our own several years ago in the garden where it gets full sun and good drainage. Growing food is so satisfying!

The botanical name is Citrofortunella microcarpa, sort of a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange, and it is native to the Philippines, according to my reading. The average diameter is slightly bigger than a quarter dollar. The flesh is tart, and the skin is sweet and thin.

Calamansi is believed to be a hybrid of a kumquat and a mandarin orange.

You can use it in cocktails in place of lime or lemon, and as the acid in a vinaigrette dressing. Yet, there are only so many cocktails one can drink and only so many salads one can dress.

When our tree starts bearing and the fruit begins to ripen, I make calamansi marmalade in the microwave, one small batch at a time.

I like marmalade with a lot of bitter peel, and I can’t always find it in the market. Calamansi preserves has the right amount of that flavor for me. It’s wonderful on toasted English muffins or on pancakes.

Here is my easy recipe, basically one part fruit to one part sugar. How sad that sugar is bad for our health. Calamansi marmalade is so delicious!

1 cup sugar + 1 cup calamansi


Have ready a clean glass jelly jar and lid. Either run them through the dishwasher or under hottest tap water and allow to drip dry. Wash and scrub 1 cup of whole ripe calamansi fruit with orange skin. Cut each fruit into fourths and remove seeds with the tip of the knife. Combine with 1 cup granulated sugar in a 4-quart glass measuring cup or similar microwave-safe container. Cover loosely with plastic wrap to catch splatters, leaving a vent so it won’t boil over into a mess. Place container in a larger dish to collect any syrup that does boil over. Cook in the microwave on full power for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring half way through to blend, until the calamansi appears cooked and shriveled, and until the mixture thickens but is still liquid. The mixture will be very hot. Using hot pads, carefully pour into the jelly jar. Put on the lid securely and refrigerate. As the marmalade cools, it will further thicken and gel into jelly and cause the lid to seal tightly. Keep stored in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup.

Beautiful homemade marmalade!

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

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