Articles from September 2012

Recipe: Grilled Tri-Tip Of Beef with Smoked Kabocha Pumpkin

2012 Taste of the Hawaiian Range
Cooking Grass-fed Beef 101
Yield 4-6 portions
Executive Chef James Babian
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai


1 c   Good quality red wine
6 oz  Oyster Sauce
1/4 c Yellow onions, chopped
1 TBS Garlic
1 Small sprig Rosemary
3 Bay leaves
12 ea Black Pepper Corns
2 oz  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix together all ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

1 ea  1.5 – 2lbs Beef Tri tip

Marinate beef overnight and for up to 2 days but no longer. Remove Beef from marinade and let drain. Season both sides with Hawaiian Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Grill to desired temperature, rest for 5 minutes slice thinly across the grain and serve. You can finish the sliced meat with a small sprinkle of Hawaiian Sea Salt

Smoked Kabocha Pumpkin

1 ea  Kabocha pumpkin
2 oz  Butter
3-4 oz  Milk

  1. Cut in half, one Kabocha pumpkin and rub liberally with olive oil. Bake in a 350ºoven cut side down uncovered until tender about 40 minutes. Test by piercing with a knife.
  2. Remove pumpkin from skin by scooping out with a spoon. Place cleaned flesh in smoker for about 2-3 minutes depending on desired outcome. (Because the pumpkin is moist, it will pick up the smoke flavor very quickly. Be careful to not over smoke)
  3. Put pumpkin through a food mill, mix in milk and butter. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Recipe: Chef Babian’s Braciole

2012 Taste of the Hawaiian Range
Cooking Grass-fed Beef 101
Yield 6 portions
Executive Chef James Babian
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

2 eggs beaten
1 tsp Italian Parsley
1 TBS parmesan
2# Dry aged Grass fed beef top round
4-6 Very Thin Slices of Good Quality Prosciutto
4 TBS Fresh Bread Crumbs
1 oz Grated Pecorino Cheese
1 TBS Fresh Chopped Garlic
1 TBS Italian Parsley Chopped
2 TBS Toasted Pine nuts
Olive Oil as needed
1 Onion Chopped
2 Celery Ribs Chopped
1 Carrot Chopped
1 Cup Good Italian Red Wine
1 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
2 TBS Tomato Paste
2 Fresh Island Tomatoes
4 Bay Leaves
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

  1. Take the first 3 ingredients and mix together season with salt and pepper. In a non stick pan make 2-3 thin omelets, reserve.
  2. Lay the beef out and butterfly cut. Place between plastic and pound out till half inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Lay the prosciutto slices on the beef, then the omelets. Mix the breadcrumbs, pecorino, parsley, pine nuts, 1 egg and a touch of olive oil sprinkle mixture over omelets.
  4. Roll the beef up roulade style and secure with string.
  5. In a heavy bottom skillet add a few TBS of Olive oil and sear the beef on all sides.
  6. Add the celery, onions, and carrots and sauté till onions are translucent.
  7. Add the beef back in, add the wine, tomato products, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cover
  8. Cover and braise till tender 2-3 hours.
  9. When tender remove from heat let rest 5-7 minutes, remove String
  10. Run sauce through and blender, taste and adjust seasoning. Place sauce down on plate and top with sliced Braciole.



New Chefs, Products and Displays Debut at 2012 Taste

There’s something for everyone at the 17th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village:

• Enjoy fresh food using local ingredients-starring forage-fed meats-by 36 chefs

• Taste local ag and value-added products and meet the folks who produce them

• Enjoy ag-related educational displays

Culinary Newbies

Eight of the 36 culinary participants are first timers, including The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and new Executive Chef Hubert Des Marias, who recently came to the Kohala Coast from Kenya.

“I like grass-fed beef for its flavor profile and healthful benefits,” says Des Marias, who was named one of “America’s Ten Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine. He prefers “simple preparation” to let grass-fed beef “speak for itself.”  For Taste, chef will prepare a tasty “Tongue and Cheek” dish: tamarind-glazed beef cheek and sweet potato laulau with pickled lomilomi beef tongue and mustard greens salad served with Waimea tomatoes and a golden pineapple turmeric salsa.

Another 2012 Taste newbie is the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa and Executive Chef Sven Ullrich. Assigned beef flap-a bottom sirloin cut also called beef loin tip-Chef Ullrich is serving extra virgin olive oil-poached beef with jackfruit slaw and micro chives.

Kelsi Ikeda of Sandy’s Drive In debuts at Taste to make kalbi-braised clod (cross-rib) quesadillas with a pineapple kim chee relish and kochujung sour cream. After jobs at Alan Wong’s, Nobu Waikiki and Trump’s Waikiki Beachwalk, Chef Ikeda is back on the Big Island working at her family’s Kainaliu restaurant.

Chef Ippy Solimenes

Fresh from the Food Network, Chef "Ippy" Aiona of Solimene's debuts at Taste

Fresh from competition on cable TV’s “Food Network Star,” Chef Philip “Ippy” Aiona of Solimene’s Restaurant in Waimea makes his first Taste appearance using a favorite butcher’s cut known for its great flavor-hanger steak.

Other restaurants and their chefs debuting at Taste include Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa with Chef Colin Stevens preparing beef top round, Blue Dragon Restaurant in Kawaihae with Chef Noah Hester cooking beef bottom round, Sodexo/UH-Hilo Dining Services with Chef Timothy Choo using beef chuckroll and Hilo’s Banyan Drive Café and Chef Courtney Larson assigned beef bottom round.

New Ag and Value-Added Products

In addition to “grazing” at a host of culinary stations, festival goers can enjoy samples from a variety of Hawai’i’s local food producers offering tastes of their products. Also on display are ag-related educational exhibits. It’s all part of the focus on food sustainability at the annual event that showcases the isle’s grass-fed beef industry while bringing together local ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and eager eaters to celebrate a bounty of locally produced food.

OnoPopsFresh from Honolulu’s Food & Wine Festival, OnoPops is among the new products at Taste. The refreshing popsicles are based on the gourmet Mexican paleta. Shaped like a shovel or paleta, these treats are made with almost 100 percent Hawai’i ingredients: raw cane sugar, milk, eggs, butter, fruit and spices. Josh Welch of Ono Pops says a variety of products from the Big Isle are employed to concoct some of its 70-plus flavors like Kona Latte, Pink Lemon Crème, Honey Apricot, Jaboticaba and Mango. “Nothing is artificial, including our li hing mui,” shares Welch.

Inaugural Educational Display

CAFNRM student

UH Hilo CAFNRM student gets hands-on experience

For the first time at Taste, attendees can find out all about UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM). The college offers a BS degree in six areas of specialization and certificates for specialized areas. Assistant Professor of Horticulture Norman Arancon says the display will not only have info and handouts on the full academic program, but also updates on the college’s popular Adopt a Beehive program and a display on verimicomposting.

Pre-Taste activities include a culinary demo, with sampling, on how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef. Time is 3 p.m. for the 2012 installment of Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101. This year’s guest presenter is Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Executive Chef James Babian who will be preparing Grilled Tri-Tip with Kiawe-Smoked Kabocha Pumpkin and Braciole de Manzo or Italian beef roll.

Tickets for the evening Taste and 3 p.m. Cooking 101 demo with are conveniently sold online at Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door, while the fee for the cooking demo is $10. Watch for ticket giveaways and event updates on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village offers Taste of the Hawaiian Range Kama’aina Room and Ticket Packages (code TSH) starting at $229 plus tax for one night stay on Sept. 21 and two event tickets. Room-only accommodations are available starting from $149 per night (code MTH). Visit or phone 808-886-1234 and ask for the “Taste of the Hawaiian Range Ticket Package.”


What’s Happening at Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station?

Marla blueberries

Mealani Manager Marla Fergerstrom with research blueberries

Open since the 1960’s, the Mealani Research Station is part of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). It’s located on the east side of Waimea on Hwy. 19 and investigates and demonstrates products for farmers and ranchers- including healthy system crops like grass-fed beef and green tea. We hooked up with Marla Fergerstrom, Mealani manager, for an update on agricultural research.

New Grass in Study

Mealani is experimenting with a new variety of grass in its forage garden-Stylo. Planted in March 2012, it’s a nitrogen-Forage Trialfixing forage that animals can graze. Fergerstrom says it is drought tolerant, can thrive in poor soil types and has been used as animal feed that has been “cut and fed.” Started in 1987, Mealani boasts one of the Pacific Basin’s largest collections of tropical forage grasses in investigation and demonstration gardens. Forages include pangola and kikuyu grasses and legume covers like perennial peanut. The goal of the forage garden is to make different efficient tropical forages available for ranchers to plant in their pastures.

Cattle Breeding

The research station recently hosted animal science students from U.H. Manoa for a week-long field trip as part of their curriculum. Mealani goes into “breeding mode” during the summer, bringing cows into heat for artificial insemination to ensure a quality, grass-fed herd. Students conveniently stayed in the on-site cottage, attended lectures and got valuable hands-on experience.

Weaning Weights Project

Under the direction of Dr. Ashley Stokes of UH’s Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, Mealani is participating in a Weaning Weights Project. In the study, 24 animals were weaned at three different weight classes: 400, 500 and 600 pounds. These animals were then provided the first grazing from each paddock with weights taken to determine their average daily weight gain. At harvest, the carcasses will be graded according to the USDA standards. Fergerstrom says this info will provide insight to compare the performance of the animals among weight classes.

“The project will examine any differences among study groups in carcass quality and weight,” Fergerstrom explains. “We’ll be looking at the size of the rib eye cut, desired marbling of meat and back fat.”

Also, UH Masters of Science student Whitney Preston recently performed an immunology study on Mealani-born and weaned calves. It provided info to compare immunological status at birth, as shown through genetic profiles, with changes at weaning. Fergerstrom adds that “Mealani is proud to be a part of Whitney’s thesis and she was awarded a Masters of Science degree in July 2012.”

The research facility maintains a herd of about 220 animals. Each year, it selects herd replacements (heifer and bulls), project animals (grass-finishing steers and heifers) and any remaining surplus animals are offered for sale in the annual livestock sale in November.

Peach Crop

Peaches are part of an Alternative Crop Study

Blueberries and Peaches

Mealani hopes to again be serving tastes of its popular blueberries at this year’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Research continues on testing 34 different varietals for rust resistance. As part of an Alternative Crop Study started in 2009, Mealani planted a small orchard of different types of tropical fruit trees. The peach trees surprised technicians with their hefty yield this spring. “The fruit wasn’t so big, but there was a lot of it,” Fergerstrom shares. The goal of the blueberry and peach research is to develop alternative crops for farmers.


The tops of green tea are hand-cut for a current harvest yield study

Green Tea

Mealani is doing a harvest yield study that involves different pruning techniques done at new intervals. Previously, tea was harvested every week and now it’s been pruned every two weeks. Technicians will see if less frequent harvesting increases yield. Mealani has been growing green tea since 1999; it has an acre under cultivation and has also examined methods of tea processing. The facility provides local tea growers with cuttings, educational workshops and tours while striving to develop unique, Hawai’i-grown teas.

For details on how Mealani produces quality, grass-fed beef through research and intensive pasture rotation, visit the Mealani page on the Taste website.

CTAHR Blueberries

The annual Mealani booth at Taste is an attendee favorite