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


Sunday, February 27, 2011


Dinner tonight: pasta with tomato & sausage

Pasta 110227Writing about cinnamon put me in the mood for pasta with a hint of Ceylon cinnamon to enhance the tomatoes. I sautéed half a large red onion and some ginger in olive oil. When they were lightly browned I added white wine, cooked that down, and added a can of chopped tomatoes, a bay leaf, a cinnamon leaf and a dried chili. After simmering a few minutes, I added some cooked Italian sausage. By that time the pasta water had come to a boil.

When the pasta (whole wheat shells) was almost al dente, I added it to the sauce with a little of its water to finish cooking. A handful of chopped parsley, and dinner was served. Larry’s verdict: YUM!

The onion & ginger were from Pit Farm, parsley from Milner Farm, and cinnamon & bay leaf from Wailea Ag Group.


Cinnamon or “cinnamon”?

by Nanette Geller

CinnamonThe spice most Americans call “cinnamon” is actually true Ceylon cinnamon’s close relative cassia. Both have a prominent place on my spice shelf. Like most of my spices, I buy Ceylon cinnamon and Vietnamese cassia cinnamon from Penzeys. The branches of Big Island cinnamon I bought from Wailea Ag Group at the KCC Farmers Market are true Ceylon cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon is subtle and complex. It is rarely used in the US, but is the one usually used in Mexico (where it is known as canela). Cassia is much stronger and hotter. I often mix them, using mostly Ceylon cinnamon with a little Vietnamese cinnamon for emphasis. We like to add both to our cereal in the morning. American recipes are written for cassia, so if you want to substitute Ceylon cinnamon you will need to increase it.

Americans usually use cinnamon/cassia in sweets but elsewhere it is also used in savory dishes. I especially like the subtle fragrance of Ceylon cinnamon in tomato dishes, such as pasta sauces. Unlike cassia, which would be overwhelming, the Ceylon cinnamon adds an almost unidentifiable background complexity. I used to add either a piece of Ceylon cinnamon stick or a dash of the powder, but now that I have cinnamon leaves I just add a couple along with the bay leaves (which I also get from Wailea Ag Group). They are also wonderful in stews, soups, and bean dishes –  anyplace I use bay leaves.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Farmers market finds

by Nanette Geller




This is just some of our haul from KCC last Saturday. On the left is a branch of cinnamon from Wailea Ag Group. Next to it in the front are leek and red onion (Pit farm), curry leaf and lemon balm (Ma’o Organic Farm) and frisee (SKA Tropicals). In back are Russian kale and Swiss chard (Milner Farm), mizuna (Ma’o) and purslane (Otsuji Farm).

What do you do with fresh cinnamon? I leave it out in the kitchen, along with branches of bay. The leaves dry out after a while and can be used fresh or dry. I now add cinnamon leaves pretty much any time I use a bay leaf. When the leaves are gone, I add pieces of the branch to soups, stews or sauces, picking them out at the end.


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