Articles from August 2010

Meet a Local Farmer: Tomatoes Grown Green

Island Fresh-Buy Local, It MattersA mission of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is to encourage and support local ag products. To that end, we are featuring Big Isle food producers promoted in the local Hawai‘i Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) campaign, “Island Fresh-Buy Local, It Matters.”

Every few weeks, we will showcase one of the 12 different food producers featured in the campaign, along with a handy recipe using their product. These farmers, ranchers and aquaculturists hail from Hawi to Ka‘u and from Kona to Hilo. One of them could be your friend…

By supporting our local food producers, we get fresh and better-tasting products. We also strengthen our economy and community, while helping preserve open space. Island Fresh-Buy Local, It Matters!

Kawamata Farms – Kamuela Tomatoes
Ahead of the Curve

Island Fresh tomatoesDavid Oshiro, supervisor at Kawamata Farms since 2006, helps support the family-run business through his extensive farming background. Kawamata’s tomatoes are grown hydroponically, an eco-friendly alternative to traditional soil-grown crops that allows plants to make more efficient use of valuable land and water resources.

Founded as a small operation in the 1950s, today Kawamata Farms produces 20,000 tomatoes each week. By having the foresight to take advantage of innovations in farming methods, the Kawamatas are ahead of the curve and the people of Hawai‘i are rewarded with fresh, high-quality tomatoes in local stores and restaurants.

Come talk story with Kawamata Farms at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range!

Enjoy Local Flavors
An Ono Recipe to Savor the Freshness

Tomatoes are one of the most frequently consumed vegetables, and can be eaten raw, steamed, stewed, crushed, pureed or reduced to a sauce. Dozens of varieties are available and come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Whether eaten whole, sliced or diced, tomatoes add color and flavor to salads, salsas, soups, stews, vegetable dishes and casseroles.

Recipe: Fresh Tomato Salsa

“Island Fresh-Buy Local, It Matters” is funded in part by the County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development. The campaign was produced by the Hawai‘i Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) and the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR) to help increase demand for, and familiarity with, locally grown commodities.

Info on more Hawai‘i food products


Fresh Tomato Salsa

Fresh Tomato Salsa
Yields 4 cups
1/2-3/4 lbs. fresh tomatoes
1/2 small round onion
2 T Chinese parsley
1 piece chili pepper
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Finely chop tomatoes, onions, and parsley. Mince chili pepper. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, chili pepper, lemon or lime juice, and Chinese parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per ¼ cup Serving
Calories 5• Total Fat 0g • Carbohydrate 1g • Protein 0g

Meet a Local Farmer: Tomatoes Grown Green


Guest blog by Sandy Barr Rivera, Chef Instructor in the Culinary Arts Program at Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) in Hilo

This week we feature a guest blog by Sandy Barr Rivera, Chef Instructor in the Culinary Arts Program at Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) in Hilo A retired Chef of Merriman’s Waimea, Barr Rivera has been involved with Taste for numerous years, as both a chef and instructor. She teaches what she believes and lives, saying, “local beef is the best—its flavor, nutrition and benefit for community sustainability.” Chef Sandy shares she always serves grass-fed beef to her family. “It is the Big Island,” she adds.

Bamboo Hale lunch service

Lunch service at HawCC’s Bamboo Hale campus restaurant in Hilo.

Culinary World Tour Recipes

I’m sharing recipes used in our Culinary Arts Program. The capstone semester for our students takes them on a World Culinary Tour in HawCC’s fine dining restaurant, Bamboo Hale. We start in Europe and travel week-by-week to different countries and continents, offering three-course menus with multiple entree choice, breads, beverages and desserts. The food is as authentic a culinary experience as we can provision.

Hawaii CC Culinary Instructors

From Left: HawCC Hilo culinary instructors are Brian Hirata, Sandra Dubczak, Allan Okuda, Sandy Barr Rivera, and Shawn Sumiki.

Staff and Studies at HawCC

Our Culinary Arts Program has been in existence for over 50 years.  This fall, our enrollment is the largest ever: 45 first-year students and 25 second-year (returning) students.  Our program coordinator is Chef and Professor Allan Okuda.  Altogether, there are five instructors: in addition to Chef Okuda and myself, Shawn Sumiki, Brian Hirata and Sandy Dubczak complete the team.


Hilo’s HawCC culinary students in action in the cafeteria.

We teach within the structure of operating restaurants, with our first-year students managing our cafeteria throughout the year with a lunch menu that changes daily.  Second-year students operate the ‘Ohana Corner Cafe in the fall semester, serving breakfast and lunch with a standard menu, plus weekly specials.  In the spring semester, these students operate Bamboo Hale.

All our restaurant outlets serve the public as well as our students, faculty and administration. Our restaurants are housed in the Culinary Arts building on the Manono, or Lower Campus, in Hilo.

Participation in Taste of the Hawaiian Range


HawCC students get hands-on, creative experience participating at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

We look forward every year to the “Taste;” our students have participated for a dozen years.  We have not only prepared our assigned meat cut for the throngs of guests, but also assisted all the island and off-island participating chefs.

For our students, it offers an eye-popping, mouth-watering look at the breadth of culinary creativity and presentation. They get to sample dishes they have never even dreamed of while enjoying the opportunity to work side-by-side with our state’s most noteworthy chefs.

After 50-plus years of educating cooks, our program graduates are working around the island, state and in the Mainland. After 12 years of participation in Taste, many HawCC students have found positions in the kitchens of event chefs.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range offers our future chefs an education of the palate, the mind and a chance to network and “show their stuff.” See you there!

Recipe: Caribbean Spice Rubbed Island Steaks
Recipe: Provencale Style Braised Shortribs


Recipe: Provencale Style Braised Shortribs

Serves 6
Hawai‘i Community College
World Tour

2-3 T Olive Oil
2 tsp salt and grinds of fresh pepper
6 lbs meaty grass-fed beef shortribs
3/4 C ½-inch diced celery
1 1/2 C ½-inch diced carrots
1 C ½-inch diced onion
2 T garlic, chopped
2 T AP flour
3 C red wine
2 C beef stock
2 C peeled, seeded diced tomatoes
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 C nicoise olives
2-3 T chopped Fresh Parsley

1 1/2 to 2 gal heavy pot with lid

Preheat oven to 325. Heat oil in heavy pan. Salt and pepper shortribs. Add the ribs to the hot oil in batches.  Don’t crowd.  Brown on all sides. Remove from pan and hold on the side. Reduce heat in pan and add vegetables.  Cook until softened and onion is translucent. Add garlic and flour and cook briefly. Add wine and stock.  Be sure to scrape up browned bits on pan bottom. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, bay leaves to pan. Add back all the ribs.  If liquid doesn’t quite cover the ribs, add a bit of water until just covered.

Bring to simmer, cover tightly and finish cooking in the preheated oven. Cook 2-2 1/2 hours until shortribs are very tender. Add olives and cook 15 minutes more.    Remove ribs to a serving bowl.  Discard Thyme and bay leaves. Reduce pan sauce if necessary (should be lightly thickened) and season to taste with salt.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with Big Island Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes or wide noodles.


Recipe: Caribbean Spice Rubbed Island Steaks

Serves 6
Hawai‘i Community College
World Tour

2 T minced garlic cloves
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 T minced shallot
1/3 C chopped parsley
1/3 C chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
zest of 1/2 lime
6 T Lime Juice
6  7-8 oz Grass-Fed Beef Steaks

Suggest: Rib Eye, Tenderloin or New York cuts

For ease, grind all hard spices in a spice grinder (fresh ground-flavor). Place lime juice, garlic, shallots, ginger and fresh herbs, roughly chopped in a processor. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Choose your favorite grilling cut of Island Grass-Fed Beef.

Rub steak surfaces with marinade 1 to 4 hours before grilling.

Heat grill.

Season steaks liberally with salt.Grill to medium rare and enjoy.