Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blue Moon, Hawaii Kai and Proms by Margaret Ullrich - Blue Hawaii recipe and Sweet and Sour Mix

A couple of weeks ago I posted the recipe for Piña Colada.
If you liked it, you’re going to love Blue Hawaii.

Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by Harry Yee, head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii, when a sales representative of Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a drink that featured their blue Curaçao liqueur.

Yee is also the father of the  tiki bars such as Trader Vic, and did much to popularize a faux Hawaiian tiki culture, both in Hawaii itself and on the Mainland.

Back in 1967, my classmates and I - and hundreds of other recent grads - rounded out our Senior Prom night by going to Manhattan to have a drink at Hawaii Kai.

That was just the thing to do in the 60s.
The owners saw us coming and slapped a three drink limit on each customer.
They weren't about to face a bunch of angry parents of drunken kids.
But, for one night, we were dressed up as adults, and in a night club.
Ah, the days of wanting to be older and all grown up.

Back to Blue Hawaii…
There had been a 1937 Bing Crosby film called Waikiki Wedding
Also there was a 1961 Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii.
That was inspired by the song written by Leo Robin for Crosby’s movie.
Yes, everything is connected in life.

Because Blue Hawaii is easy and inexpensive to make, it is often served as a punch. 
Basically it is a bottle or two of plain or coconut-flavoured light rum, a bottle of blue Curaçao, a can of pineapple juice, and a bag of ice, mixed together in a punchbowl. 
It’s perfect for summer get togethers.
Because it contains yellow pineapple juice, the Blue Hawaii will look green.
Now you know.


You can substitute vodka for all or some of the rum in this recipe.
You can also use a flavoured rum or vodka,or add crème of coconut. 
The pineapple juice can be replaced by an equal amount of Sweet and Sour Mix.

For best results do not use bottled Sweet and Sour Mix.
Make your own with fresh citrus juice and simple syrup. 

In the spirit of Trader Vic, have fun with the glasses when serving this drink.
Dig out the Tiki mugs, hurricane glasses, over-sized cocktail glasses, parfait glasses, coconut halves or carve out a few pineapples.
It’s a fun drink, so have fun.

                        Sweet and Sour Mix

Place in a small saucepan
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup water
Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Then turn down the heat to low.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
Pour the syrup into a jar that has a cover.
1 Cup lemon juice
Cover and refrigerate.

                        Blue Hawaii

3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Curaçao (blue colour, if you can find it)
3 ounces pineapple juice, unsweetened 
1 ounce Sweet and Sour Mix
Blend or shake very well.
Pour into a glass with ice.
Garnish with 
a pineapple or orange slice scored and on the rim of the glass
use a toothpick or cocktail umbrella to spear a maraschino cherry through the centre and attach it to the top of the fruit slice 
float a cherry on top of the ice

About the moon this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

On July 31 there will be a Full Blue Moon.  
it’s called that because it is the second of two full Moons in July. 
The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight, and appears full for three days. 

Don’t forget to put out your crystals for recharging!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Cornbread and Polenta, Maltese Style

A few days ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s Barbecued Pork Side Ribs.
The post also included the recipe for her barbecue sauce.
I mentioned that I would serve it with a salad and cornbread.

Got an e mail… 
I should’ve included the recipe for the cornbread.

A couple of years ago I posted the recipe for Carmela Soprano's Salmon Steaks with Avocado Salsa.
I mentioned that cornbread would be good with it.
I guess no one tried my suggestion for Carmela's salmon dinner, because I didn’t get any requests for the cornbread recipe.

Cornbread is not a Maltese recipe.
It’s a quick bread that contains cornmeal and is leavened with baking powder.
Since it doesn’t have yeast in it, it doesn’t need to rise.
If you’ve made muffins, you know how to make cornbread.

I don’t know where Ma got her recipe for cornbread.
She already had cornmeal in the kitchen.
Sometimes, as a change from pasta or rice, she used the cornmeal to make polenta.
Most of the time she served the polenta straight from the pot, as is. 
Sometimes she poured it into a greased pan and baked it to make a bread. 
She also served the leftovers by slicing the baked bread and frying the slices.
She thought cornbread was easy to make.

About the cornbread…
Don’t get annoyed if the family doesn’t finish it at one sitting.
You can crumble the dry bread and use it in poultry stuffing.


grease an 8 inch square pan
preheat oven to 350º F
Bake 45 minutes

Combine in a small bowl
1 Cup cornmeal
1/2 Cup milk
Set aside.

Combine in a small bowl 
1 1/4 Cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Combine in a measuring cup
1 Cup milk
1 large egg

Place in a medium bowl
1/2 Cup shortening
Beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in
1/2 Cup sugar
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid (3 dry and 2 liquid).
Blend in the cornmeal mix.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake 45 minutes.
Cool bread in the pan 5 minutes.
Turn out and serve hot.
It can be sliced and served with butter, as any bread.
It can also be sliced thinly and served with syrup and butter, like pancakes.


Place in a medium pot
4 Cups water
Bring to a boil.
1 teaspoon salt
Gradually stir in 
1 Cup cornmeal
Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Serve hot.

As a breakfast cereal polenta can be served in a bowl with milk and butter.
If you made it for dinner, it’s like serving mashed potatoes.
You can top polenta with butter, or gravy, or a sauce.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Barbecued Pork Side Ribs and Barbecue Sauce, Maltese Style

Most grocery stores are having good sales for pork side ribs.
They are available raw, in the meat department, and also pre-cooked - and in a barbecue sauce - in the frozen food and deli sections.
Ma would’ve headed straight for the raw ribs in the meat department.

Really… the frozen stuff is fine, if you’re in a rush and just cooking for two.
But, do the math: 
When I went to the store on Saturday, a box of prepared ribs (about 1 1/4 pounds, including sauce) was selling for about $15.
The raw pork side ribs were selling for $2.49 a pound.

As I said, the small box of frozen ribs will do for a couple in a rush.
But, if you’re feeding the family - and I mean the whole family - well, the prepared stuff turns those boney things into a meal of awfully pricey ribs.
Like I said, Ma would’ve headed straight for the meat department.
She wasn’t working 40 hours a week at Lily Tulip because she thought it was fun.

Pork side ribs have quite a bit of bone in them.
A quarter pound per person won’t do.
Plan on a half to a pound per person.
See why that tiny box wouldn’t go far?


The sauce can be prepared while the ribs are simmering.
Or even a few days before.
This sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about 2 weeks.
It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

If you’re cooking a large quantity of ribs, they can be simmered in the oven.
Fill a dutch oven with water and bring it to a boil.
Place the ribs in a large roasting pan that has a cover.
Pour the boiling water over the ribs.
The ribs should be covered with water.
If they’re not, boil more water and add it.
Cover, place in a 350º F oven and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

If you're cooking these ribs over a grill instead of in a broiler:
While they're simmering, prepare medium coals or medium high heat on a gas grill.
Place on grill, baste with sauce and grill until well browned, about 8 minutes.
Turn the ribs over, baste and grill another 8 minutes.

You might serve a salad and cornbread as a first course.
That helps to take the edge off everyone's appetites.
If it’s Fall or Winter, soup and bread is good, too.
Ma also killed our appetites with a big serving of pasta.

                        Barbecued Pork Side Ribs

Yield: 4 servings

Place in a Dutch oven
2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into serving-size pieces
1 small onion, quartered
Sprinkle with
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Add enough water to cover the ribs.
Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
Drain the water out. 

Line a broiler pan or large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Place a rack or two on the cookie sheet.
Pat the ribs dry and arrange them on the rack. 

Place the broiler pan 5 inches from the heat.
Preheat the broiler.
Brush the ribs with the sauce. 

Broil for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Turn the ribs and brush  with the sauce.
Broil another 5 minutes.

                        Barbecue Sauce

Place in a medium saucepan
1/4 Cup ketchup
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
1/8 Cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
dash cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.