Atomic red hot dog musubi from Foodland market on Maui.
Like Neon-Red Hot Dogs
Yes, hot dogs the very unnatural color of atomic red are a thing in Hawaii.
Think of them as the red velvet cake of hot dogs.
You can find them in packages in the supermarkets, atop musubi or nestled into buns.
As one Hawaiian-born chef joked to me, “We do like our carcinogens.”
Even though he and his friends grew up on them, none could offer an explanation as to why they are the color that they are.
Even a Maui News article published a few years ago wasn’t able to shed much light on it.
I’ll take a wild guess and surmise they’re that hue to emulate char siu or Chinese barbecued pork. But who knows?
Oh yah, this is how I like to celebrate.
If any food has celebration written all over it, it’s caviar, isn’t it?
First, it’s the anticipation that comes with the opening of the tiny jar or tin. Second, the delicate handling of it with a mother of pearl spoon so as not to impart any unwanted metallic taste. Third, the arranging of the accoutrements of minced onion, hard-boiled egg and sour cream on teeny, pillowy pancakes. And fourth — well, it’s the price. Let’s face it, if caviar cost the same as popcorn, we’d be eating it all the time. Instead, it’s a splurge, leaving it reserved for only the most special of occasions.
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve coming up, now’s the time to indulge if you can. I did just that when I a chance to try a sample 2-ounce jar of French Sturgeon Caviar from Southern California’s Anderson Seafoods.
Miso-glazed black cod to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Got a tub of miso lingering in the back of the fridge? And a great piece of fresh, fatty fish you just picked up at the market?
Then, you have the makings of a restaurant-quality dish at home in no time.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at a Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant, you probably know one of his signature dishes quite well. Miso-marinated black cod is one of those dishes you can’t help but order again and again. It’s just that good.
You have rich, succulent fish fillet coupled with the umami bomb known as miso. The fermented soybean paste gives the fish a powerhouse of meaty, salty savoriness that’s downright craveable.
Grilled salmon with an Asian-style glaze.
Every summer, I look forward to heirloom tomatoes, peaches, plums, and one other very special item:
Wild local King salmon.
Like fruits and vegetables, seafood also has a season. For California wild salmon, it’s summer. And it ends all too soon for my liking.
Indeed, get your fill now because the season will soon come to a close toward the end of September.
There’s nothing like eating salmon in summer with its bright reddish orange flesh that tastes downright luxurious. To be sure, it’s not an inexpensive ingredient at $25 or more per pound. But it tastes far more expensive than that with its unbelievably lush texture and resonating flavor that just fills your mouth like a dream.
I like to enjoy it simply. Sashimi-style, when you can really taste the fat and freshness. Or grilled, with a kiss of smoke to heighten its robust richness.
Snowy white halibut chunks get grilled with pancetta and artisan bread cubes for a taste sensation.
I like nothing better than working up a sweat by hiking or snow-shoeing through the great outdoors.
But at the end of that, when I’m spent, starved and sweaty, I long for a hot shower (with adequate water pressure) and a real bed (preferably with fine linens).
Which is probably why I confess I’ve only camped once in my life.
And I had to be sweet-talked into it.
That’s why I was happy to find that “The Great Outdoors Cookbook” (Oxmoor House) by the editors of Sunset magazine, of which I received a review copy, is made for die-hard campers, as well as folks like me who’d rather do their outdoor cooking in their own backyard.
The book is divided into recipes for “Campfires,” “Home Fires,” and “Inspired Fires” (when you dig pits and such). There are even tips for foraging and doing a seafood boil on the beach.
“Halibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta” is as easy as it gets. Chunks of halibut are quickly marinated in olive oil and fresh rosemary before being threaded on long skewers with pancetta and bread cubes.