A few weeks ago our trip to the Big Island of Hawai’i happened to coincide with a local food event: Mealani’s Taste of the Hawai’ian Range. A special thanks to Fern Gavelek and Mealani’s Taste of the Range/Hilton Waikaloa Village for hosting us. We got a fantastic overview of the eco-friendly movement happening on the Big Island, tasted local food and met the producers, and I convinced Chef Scott Lutey of Eddie Aikau’s Restaurant to share an amazing recipe.
This was the 16th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawai’ian Range, an event designed to bring together food producers, chefs, foodies, and hotel and restaurant BUYERS in one fun and informative evening.
I absolutely loved this concept and hope to see someone bring the idea to San Diego and other food/ag hubs. Foodie events can be stuffy and upscale, with a high price tag to match. By bringing producers, buyers, and other aspects of the food and cooking community into the mix, it allowed better visibility for these producers and more likelihood of them expanding their reach into the marketplace. Plus, I met these cowboys!
The idea for the event was to promote local grass-fed beef and other livestock. While I no longer eat meat, I totally support this type of sustainable, pastured food production. It was fun to see how the chefs took on the challenge. Each chef was assigned a “body part” before the event and given 100 pounds of meat to produce their dish. This helped support the nose-to-oxtails concept, showcasing cuts that are difficult to prepare. If one is going to eat meat, it’s appropriate to use all the cuts of the animal and know how to prepare them. Grass-fed beef is much leaner, so it requires shorter cooking times, with quick-searing and braising to bring out the tenderness. They also had wild boar, mutton, veal, and lamb.I especially enjoyed meeting some of the people involved with the environmental movement, or who were producing vegetarian or vegan items.
One highlight for me was meeting Chef Scott Lutey and tasting his Bloody Mary mix. As he said, “I like to drink Bloody Marys, but most commercial mixes use canned tomato juice and too much Tabasco, so you can’t taste the tomato or anything else. No one has used Big Island produce for the bar, so I wanted to feature our local “WOW” brand tomatoes.”
Spicy bloody mary mix
Makes 2 quarts of mix, about 8-10 drinks
6 (3 lbs/1.4 k) WOW brand tomatoes or good farmer’s market organic heirloom tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
½ C. (115 g) red onion
2 C. (470 ml) vegetable stock
½ C. (115 g) fresh basil
¼ C. (60 g) parsley
1-2 Hawaiian chili peppers or jalapenos (or substitute 1 t. garlic chili paste)
2 C. (470 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 T. (15 g) sea salt
Ice cubes as needed
Core and chop the tomatoes. Peel the garlic and onions and chop roughly. Remove the top of the chili pepper and cut into several pieces.
Add olive oil to a heavy saucepan, heat to medium-high, and sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato and vegetable stock, and reduce until sauce thickens, about 60 minutes. Let cool. Put in blender with basil, parsley, and 1 chili pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and add additional peppers until the mix has the kick you want. Place in refrigerator and chill completely.
Once cool, add lemon juice and sea salt and mix using a wire whip. Add one ounce (shot glass or jigger/30 ml) of vodka to about 6 oz. (175 ml) of the mix and stir thoroughly. Serve with a celery stick garnish.
All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. Look for midweek posts on meditation, service, and life lessons, helping you create inner balance.