The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Thursday, January 27, 2011


Hawaii Department of Health issues food product recall list

by Larry Geller

The Hawaii Department of Health has issued a recall list for products manufactured by First Commerical Kitchen LLC. These include popular items sold at Farmers Markets and elsewhere. The list is posted on the Department of Health website here.

A DOH news release included the following information:

On January 24, First Commercial Kitchen LLC was issued a Notice of Permit Suspension and an Order to Cease and Desist by the DOH after it was determined there were inadequate control measures taken during the manufacture and packaging of food products that may lead to health risks. First Commercial Kitchen LLC has requested a hearing to contest the suspension and order.

An earlier notice to consumers included the following instruction:

If you have any of these products in your possession, please return them to the place of purchase. If the product has already been opened, discard it. Consumers should not use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Below is a copy of the DOH list as of 1/27/20100.

The revised list of recalled products as of January 27, 2011 is as follows:

Aloha Salads: Pineapple, Passion Orange and Mango Vinaigrettes

Hot Sauces: Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Big Island, Oahu, Makai Chili Peppa Water, Habernero Vinaigrette, Nitro 3, 7 and 10, Red Shark, Chipotle BBQ, Hawaiian Passion Teriyaki Sauce, Pineapple Salsa, Green Flash, Hot Hawaiian Savory Sauce, Hawaiian Passion Ginger Fire Sauce, Hawaiian Passion Sweet Pineapple Hot Sauce, Mango Delicious, Mango Vicious, Phitias Hot Sauce, Polli's Hot Sauce, Pineapple Pepper Salsa

Refrigerated Salsas: Maui Onion Sauce, Red, Red Hot, Red Very Very Hot Shelf Stable Salsas: Red Medium, Red Mild, Red Hot, Red Very Very Hot

Barb's Favorite Recipes, Barb's Local Style Black Bean Sauce, Barb's Kal-Bi Sauce

Bob's Bar-B-Que Teriyaki Sauce

Cabais Capital Sweet Wasabi Sauce

Fu Manchu Chilli Peppa Water

Grand Cafe & Bakery: Dessert Topping, Sherry Vinaigrette

Hana Hotties Hot Sauces - Pineapple, Lilikoi Guava, Mango, Papaya

Healing Noni - Noni Juice

India Cafe: Curry Sauce for Meat, Sauce for Seafood, Tikka Masala (General Sauce)

Jen-e Tropical Creamy Garlic Dressing

Kabuki Restaurant: Yakitori Sauce, Batayaki Sauce

Molokai Roadside Creations Steak Marinades: Original, Mild, Mo'Spicy

Mom's Recipe Sauce

Natural Edge: Noni Juice

Pacific Poultry: Huli-Huli Sauce

Poke Stop: Remoulade, Creamy Ahi Dressing, Soy Lime Dressing, Pickled Onion Tartar Sauce, Teri Sauce

REI Food Products (Gyotaku): Sesame Ginger Dressing, Shoyu Dressing, Sweet & Sour Dressing

Soul de Cuba: Mango Salsa, Mojo Marinade

Sunset Sauces: Pacific Pesto - Mac Nut Style, Pacific Pesto - Asian Style

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Purslane–a nutritional powerhouse, not a weed

by Nanette Geller

PurslaneMost Americans think of purslane as a weed. Yes, even in Hawaii you may be muttering under your breath as you pull it out from your garden. Next time, try weeding with a fork!

Purslane is, in fact, a nutritional powerhouse, with more heart-healthy omega-3 than any other green vegetable. It’s commonly eaten in India, Asia, the Mediterranean and Mexico and is delicious raw or cooked. It has a pleasantly tart flavor with a succulent, juicy texture. Raw, it is slightly crunchy, especially the stems.

Purslane in salad

I’ve been buying purslane almost every Saturday from Otsuji Farms at KCC. Sometimes I just put it out on a platter with other veggies to be eaten as-is. Otherwise, I make a simple salad, tossing coarsely-chopped purslane with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, onion, pepper and salt. Depending on what I have on hand, I may add some sliced radishes, chopped tomato, or chopped Italian parsley. Leftovers keep well, especially if I only salt the portion I’m serving. This is so good that until last week I haven’t really experimented with other preparations.

Purslane with chicken

Purslane DalI was inspired by learning that purslane was one of Gandhi's favorite vegetables. A quick internet search for Indian purslane recipes yielded several for dal. I made masoor dal (red split lentils) with chilies, onion, garlic, tomato, ginger and spices. When the dal was done, I added a lot of purslane, chopped into fairly small pieces, and simmered just until the purslane was tender. Larry made chapattis, and we really didn’t need much else for a satisfying dinner. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


La Tour Café flatbread does a darn good impersonation of pizza

by Nanette Geller

IMGP2228La Tour Café has only been open for 10 days, and we’ve already enjoyed lunch there three times. I really like the flatbread, which reminds me of the pizza I ate almost every day when staying with my mother in Nice. Why eat pizza in Nice? Nice used to be part of Italy, so pizza, pasta, and other “Italian” foods are as common – and as good – as French food.

La Tour Café’s flatbread is made from organic-flour sourdough, which they age to allow the development of complex flavors. The crust is flavorful and thin but still flexible, not cracker-like. It comes lightly charred (as it should be) and with toppings in proportion. We’ve had the Italian and grilled vegetable toppings.

We also enjoyed the Croque Monsieur tartine, an open-face version of the classic hot ham-and-cheese sandwich. Actually, pretty much anything would taste good on La Tour’s hearty, flavorful sourdough bread.

The Vietnamese-style chicken curry is served with thick slices of La Tour’s baguette instead of rice, which makes sense given Vietnam’s adaptation of French foods when they were a colony. The Vietnamese-style baguette, long familiar to lovers of Ba-Le sandwiches, has a crispy crust with a soft interior, perfect for mopping up the curry’s sweet, coconutty gravy.

I was disappointed in Nadine Kam’s review, especially since her descriptions of the flatbread and Croque Monsieur were so different from what we ate. I can only assume that, since she ate there within a day or so of opening, they were still ironing out some glitches. John Heckathorn’s Honolulu Magazine post is more in line with our experiences.

We will probably continue to buy Rodney Weddle’s marvelous La Tour artisanal breads at the farmers’ market, but it’s nice to have an alternate source if we run out, or if we want just two macarons or one croissant to share. By the way, we did agree with Nadine Kam’s description of the macarons as “more chewy than crispy, light and airy” when we ate them cold, but left at room temperature for a couple of hours they were perfect. Martha Cheng did a nice piece on the bakery side of the business in the Honolulu Weekly.

La Tour Café is open every day 7am to 9pm. There’s a breakfast menu which includes Croque Madam (Croque Monsieur topped with a fried egg), and dinner specials such as gnocchi. It’s located at the Diamond Head corner of the old Weyerhaeuser building on Nimitz Highway, right near Best Buy, Home Depot and Costco.

La Tour Café
888 Nimitz Highway
(808) 697-5000

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Slow roasted asparagus

By Nanette Geller

IMGP2169When I’m able to score fat spears of asparagus from Milner Farm, I want to showcase them front and center. Here’s my take on a recipe from the New York Times. Slow roasting leaves them silky and meltingly tender but not mushy.

I use a covered casserole instead of parchment. I add sliced leek (Pit Farm) or green onion (Milner Farm) and if I don’t have shiitake or tarragon I just leave them out.

Peeling the spears takes just a few minutes, and I don’t have to trim much from the end to be left with a completely tender spear. I put them in the casserole with  sliced leeks, cut-up prosciutto (Costco), olive oil (Costco’s extra virgin), Big Island nutmeg (Wailea Ag Group), kosher salt, and lots of freshly-ground Tellicherry black pepper (Penzeys). Last time I had a small bulb of fennel (Pit Farm), so I added it, sliced crosswise.

After one hour at 200 degrees, dinner is ready to be served with whole wheat couscous.


IMGP1164Leftovers can be cut up as a pasta sauce, or served at room temperature (shown here with duck eggs from Blue Lotus).

Find Milner Farm and Pit Farm at both KCC and Blaisdell farmer’s markets. Blue Lotus is at KCC. Wailea Ag group is at KCC twice a month with hearts of palm and other Big Island goodies.


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