CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Parent volunteers Ruth Foster Chang, left, Caroline Murayama and Myra Conant shared a laugh about all the work involved in heading the general store committee for the 'Iolani Fair. CLICK FOR LARGE
Moms on a mission
Preparing the 'Iolani Fair favorites involves an army of volunteers
AMONG THEM, these women have 10 children and four full-time jobs, but for the last many weeks they've also become bakers, picklers and food-packers. All because they dare to have children enrolled at 'Iolani School, and the annual fair approaches this weekend, with all of its annual demands.
Myra Conant, Carin Makishima, Caroline Murayama and Ruth Foster Chang -- all second-grade moms -- share the task of supervising more than 100 volunteers preparing all the homemade foods for the fair's general store (dubbed Mercado de 'Iolani in honor of this year's "Fiesta Fever" theme).
» When: Noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
» Place: 'Iolani School, 563 Kamoku St., Moiliili
» Admission: Free; scrip sold to benefit school activities
» Call: 943-2339
It's the kind of commitment that can consume your life.
"I haven't done laundry for one whole month," Conant said. "I'm lucky my husband is doing the laundry."
Under the constitution of volunteerism at 'Iolani, it is the job of the parents of second-graders to run the market, which means weeks devoted to making mango chutney, kim chee, salsa, pickled mango, boiled peanuts, mochi and 11,000 cookies.
If you've ever volunteered to run so much as a bake sale at a preschool you know it takes organization and no small amount of effort. Multiply that by a million when it comes to the gargantuan fundraising fairs put on by the likes of 'Iolani and Punahou Schools.
Last year's 'Iolani Fair made a $300,000 profit. The market grossed $23,000. "We want to net $23,000," Conant said of this year's aims.
"We are energetic, we are fun, we are desperate."
Actually, the four moms-in-charge put a smiling face on their indentured servitude.
Chang remembers somewhat fondly collecting the mangoes that one family donated for pickling. They all had to be peeled, sliced and seeded. "My mother-in-law and I prepped it all. We had 19 2-gallon Ziploc bags. We got to know each other really well."
The end is in sight, though.
"Sunday I'm booking a spa," Chang said. "Guaranteed by the end of the day, my bones are going to be cracking."
THE 'IOLANI Fair has many classic treats, but Karen Kobayashi singled out the Almond Cookies she purchased last year when she wrote for a recipe. "They were crisp and flaky with just the perfect almond accent."
Volunteer bakers made 1,000 this year, to be sold for $5 for a bag of 14 to 16.
'Iolani Fair Almond Cookies
2 -1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons almond extract
Red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
Combine flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Cut shortening into dry ingredients. Add egg and almond extract.
Mix and knead dough until soft. Form into small balls (about size of a half-dollar). Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Flatten with thumb. Press a dot of red food coloring into center of cookie (use the end of a chopstick). Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.
Nutritional information unavailable.
» More fare from the fair
'Iolani School shares classic recipes from yearly fair
» Almond cookies and more from the fair
YES, THERE will be entertainment and games at the 'Iolani Fair, but with all the cooking going on, you'd think they were building a restaurant out there on the Moiliili campus.
This year's theme is "Fiesta Fever," a natural inspiration for casual dining. A new Café Ole will offer plates of tamales, burritos and chicken fajitas, along with a taco salad and the almost scary-sounding El Plato Grandisimo that incorporates everything.
The school's Spanish Club will "meet and greet" at the cafe.
THE LE GOURMET booth has been a fair favorite for several years, offering a bit more upscale dining, courtesy of volunteer chefs from Oahu restaurants.
Featured dishes include:
» Chinese Chicken Salad from Roy's Restaurants
» California Cobb Salad from Nieman Marcus
» Made-to-order-salad by Chef Goran Streng
» Chocolate Pyramids from J.J. French Pastries
» Guava Lilikoi Chiffon Cake by Chef Mark Okamura of New Stage restaurant
» Pulled pork wrap and flan by Adriana Torres Chong of Kapiolani Community College
» Apple Cobbler from Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab
Cooking demonstrations at the Le Gourmet tent:
5:15 p.m. Friday: Kevin Henney of 12th Avenue Grill; Braised Short Ribs with Cinnamon and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
7:15 p.m. Friday: Don Maruyama of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar; Lobster, Crab and Shrimp Ravioli
7:15 p.m. Saturday: Ronnie Nasuti of Roy's Restaurant; Teriyaki-Grilled Monchong
NOW FOR the recipes. Here are three 'Iolani classics served year after year at the fair. They've been reduced for home cooking.
1 whole top sirloin butt, 10 to 12 pounds
10 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons sesame oil
» Dry rub:
1 cup Hawaiian salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
Combine dry rub ingredients.
Cut slits in beef with knife and insert garlic cloves. Rub all over with sesame oil. Sprinkle with dry rub ingredients (use just enough to cover) and rub into meat. Let marinate overnight or one full day.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roast until desired doneness is reached. Slice and serve on rolls. Serves 20.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (based on 12 pounds meat, without rolls): 500 calories, 30 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, greater than 2,500 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, no fiber or sugar, 48 g protein.
20 green common mangoes
Handful dried li hing mui
1 quart white vinegar
1-1/2 quarts water
1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt
4-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons li hing powder (optional)
3/4 teaspoon five-spice (optional)
Peel and slice mangoes, discarding seeds.
Combine sauce ingredients and bring to simmer; stirring to dissolve sugar and spices. Cool to room temperature.
Soak mango slices in sauce 3 to 5 days.
Nutritional information unavailable.
3 heads won bok, cut in fourths lengthwise
3 cups Hawaiian salt
3 cups water, divided
1 small daikon, in thin strips
2 bunches watercress, in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup mochiko
2 cups water
2 cups salted baby shrimp
1/2 cup chopped ginger
1/2 cup crushed garlic
3 to 4 cups Korean chili pepper powder
Sprinkle won bok with salt, putting more on the white stalks. Sprinkle with water and let soak 3 to 4 hours. Rinse and squeeze out water. Cut into smaller pieces.
Meanwhile, make sauce: Mix mochiko with water in saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until thickened. Cool.
Combine mochiko mixture with salted shrimp, ginger, garlic and chili pepper and let sit two hours.
Combine sauce with won bok, daikon and watercress. Let soak 2 hours before eating. Store in jars in refrigerator. Makes about 1 gallon.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.
"By Request: The Search for Hawaii's Greatest Recipes" is available at bookstores and through www.mutualpublishing.com. Send queries to "By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send queries along with name and phone number to: "By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. Or send e-mail to email@example.com