Pickled pink about easy Lahaina Nasu
In the purple world of the eggplant, the residents are big and round or long and skinny. Generally the big ones are for Western preparations like Eggplant Parmesan, and the skinny ones are for Asian dishes.
Then comes the Lahaina eggplant, small, round and cute -- a baby brother to the other two. It's turning up a lot in farmers' markets.
Steve Gihring wants to pickle these mini-eggplants. His family's had them that way before, describing them as coming "in a pinkish/purple clear syrup."
This sounds like a Japanese preparation, often called nasubi or nasu zuke (nasubi is Japanese for eggplant). Several recipes turn up in local community cookbooks and they're all similar, with a sugar-water syrup and a pink/purple color coming from the eggplant skins.
Some also call for brown sugar and/or beer -- I ruled those out, as the syrup would be dark.
This simple recipe comes from "Japanese Foods," first published by the Hui Manaolana Foundation in 1951. If desired, a 1/4 cup of sake could be added to the syrup.
2 pounds Lahaina eggplant
1-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
Cut eggplants in half and remove stems and place in bowl.
Bring water and salt to boil; cool. Pour over eggplant. Cover with a plate and weigh down plate to press on eggplant. Let sit 12 hours.
To make syrup: Bring water and sugar to boil; cool.
Drain eggplant and place in jars. Cover with syrup. Refrigerate 3 to 4 days. Makes about 1 quart.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Kathie Young's request for a brown rice salad served years ago at a small vegetarian restaurant on King Street was printed here a couple of weeks ago. She said it had white cheese, sprouts and sunflower seeds.
I wasn't holding out much hope of finding it, but then came an e-mail from Judy Carlson, who says she worked for eight years at a vegetarian restaurant near the old stadium called Laulima. This was in the 1980s. She's pretty sure Young's dish is what they called the Sunday Special.
Carlson no longer has the recipe for the dressing, but says any good oil-and-vinegar or Caesar dressing would work.
She provides this general guide to making the salad: Put a generous amount of warm brown rice in a bowl ("We always cooked our rice with wheat berries or rye berries.") Top with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions, then a layer of shredded jack and cheddar cheeses.
Warm in the oven or microwave to melt the cheeses. Top with dressing and a salad mix that includes lots of sprouts and sunflower seeds.
"The secret of the taste of this salad is to take each bite from top to bottom so that all the flavors are combined in each bite," Carlson says. "Simple, but very ono!"
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