Thursday, January 31, 2013

Culinary inspiration from Maui

My recent lack of blogging has been due to a fantastic, sun-filled vacation in Maui. I'm back now I'm and trying not to be grumpy about the unbearably cold temperatures here in Saskatoon (-47 with the windchill today).

Just a few weeks ago I said that travel often gives me new inspiration in regards to interior decoration. Having eaten a lot of great food in Hawaii, I was reminded of the influence travel has when it comes to my love of good food and trying new recipes.

After a trip to San Sebastian in northern Spain, Josh and I came home and topped our home-made pizzas with poached eggs with delectably runny yolks. Who would have thought egg on a pizza would be so delish? After visiting Wellington, New Zealand I attempted to hone my culinary skills by reproducing a melt-in-your-mouth potato rosti topped with sinfully-good smoked salmon that we had devoured at Beach Babylon.

As a sushi fanatic and seafood lover I was in seventh heaven in Maui. Sansei, The Waterfront, Spago and Capische offered up enough sushi, mahi mahi and ahi tuna to keep me satisfied and sated during our trip.

Sushi at Sansei

However, due to the fact that, A: I don't aspire to make incredible sushi (why bother when I can buy it?), and B: I don't have access to fish like mahi mahi here in the Prairies, it was our lunch on our last day that inspired me to spend some time in the kitchen upon arriving home.

After a morning on Wailea Beach, we popped into Longhi's for lunch. I ordered the chicken picatta. I had never heard of it before, but the description (chicken sauteed in lemon, butter, white wine and capers, served open-faced on toasted Italian bread) was enough to convince me.

While we waited for our meals, they brought us fresh focaccia with onions, olives and rosemary. It was some of the best focaccia I've ever had. We didn't want to ruin our appetites, but we ate all six pieces they gave us it was just so good.

When my chicken picatta came out, it was just so exquisite looking, I had to take a picture. Yes, I'm turning into one of those people who takes photos of their food. It just takes a second, but it becomes a little perilous when it's a photo of something Josh and I are sharing and I'm making him wait (such as the sushi photo above). The picatta was as yummy as it looks, the buttery, lemony sauce was to die for.

So, long story short, last night I attempted to duplicate that delicious focaccia at home. I found this recipe but omitted the potatoes (too much effort!) Making my own bread without the help of a bread maker is enough of a stretch for me.

Although it wasn't as moist and chewy as Longhi's, it was still pretty yummy. I'll give it another shot with a new recipe. This one sounds promising considering the fact that the description: "moist and chewy, with an irregular hole structure, and an oily, crunchy underside" sounds exactly like Longhi's version.

Warm focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar might just be the cure for my cold-weather funk.

Up next for me is to master the chicken picatta. However, I refuse to leave the house for groceries until it's warmer than -40, so tonight I'll be eating leftovers.

For the family and friends looking for Hawaii pics with people instead of food - they'll come soon. I just have to sort/edit/curate my 600+ photos. Might have gone a little overboard...

I'll leave you with one photo. Josh's parents' trip to Maui coincided with the first week of our trip. Here we are with them at The Waterfront restaurant.

The dress I am wearing belonged to my late grandmother. She bought it in Honolulu 40+ years ago. When she and my grandfather got back home to Nova Scotia, they went to a Hawaii-themed party. She wore the dress and my grandparents were voted "best dressed couple" that night.

When she passed away, I inherited the dress. It was fun to bring it back to Hawaii - like coming full circle.


Richard C. Lambert said...

My recent lack of blogging has been due to a fantastic, sun-filled vacation in Maui. I'm back now I'm and trying not to be grumpy about the unbearably cold temperatures here in Saskatoon (-47 with the windchill today). uber select alternative wailea

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