Monday, August 11, 2014

Kaua'i, Day 1: Purple Long Beans with Garlic and Mustard Seeds

The downside of cooking away from home is navigating a foreign kitchen. For instance, I would have thought low heat was lower than medium, but that may just be me and my sheltered mainland ways. And under no other circumstances would you be likely to hit upon the idea of trying to rinse rice with the aid of a coffee filter. (Tip: Don't.)

The upside to cooking away from home? Grabbing the most unusual things in the market to make for dinner.

Found on the way north from the airport: Fresh-caught moonfish at Fish Express, local purple long beans at Papaya's Natural Foods, palm trees, green cliffs, bougainvillea and bromeliads, a vast and shimmering sea.

The long beans I just threw in a wide pan with some olive oil, a smashed clove of garlic, and a scattering of black mustard seeds, then tossed, covered, and cooked till al dente.

In the face of what I can only assume is an island-wide drought of coconut milk (since I can't imagine why else a store would be completely out of it...maybe coconut-obsessed island gnomes who strike in the dead of night?), I bravely abandoned my go to recipe for moonfish in favor of a new one (sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, pan fry until almost cooked through, serve over black rice...then melt a pat of butter in the pan, toss in a couple tablespoons julienned ginger and let caramelize, throw in some cilantro and a glug of white wine, simmer briefly, pour over the fish).

It'll do.

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