Help others and collect the year's best recipes


POSTED: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so let us all give thanks. I'll go first: Thanks to everyone who loves recipes and those who share them with me. The cycle keeps me employed.

It is my tradition on Thanksgiving eve to look back on the year and present my Top 5 choices for the best, most popular or most interesting recipes that have been printed in this space.

The recipes are available in exchange for a $5 donation to the Star-Bulletin's Good Neighbor Fund, which assists the Community Clearinghouse in its good works on behalf of Hawaii's needy.

Every year, we collect several thousand dollars, proving once again that you should never underestimate the power of recipes.

To collect your 2009 set, send $5 to By Request, 7 Waterfront Plaza Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Make checks payable to the Good Neighbor Fund. Deadline for ordering is Dec. 31.

Feel free to donate more, but be sure to indicate how many recipe sets you'd like. For example, if you send $20, let me know whether you want four sets of recipes or just one, with the rest of your cash a pure donation. And if you do want more than one set, don't send a tiny envelope; make it at least legal size.

This is a snail-mail offer only, and it's all or nothing. No discounts if you only want one recipe. And no e-mail requests.

Here are the recipes. If you make them all, you'll have a steak dinner with a side dish of noodles and two desserts. And then, as in the best of restaurants, you can send your guests home with a mignardise, or sweet afterthought: a couple of balls of coconut candy.

» Slavonic Steak: This sizzling pan of buttery steak was a signature of the old Crouching Lion Inn. No doubt many date nights began with the guy impressing the girl with his intellectual capacity, manifested in ordering such a sophisticated dish. Chef Robert Denis, a longtime employee of the Fred Livingston restaurants, which included the Crouching Lion, provided the recipe, which involves lots of garlic, butter, pepper and herbs.

» Gai See Mein: Basically, this is Chicken Chow Mein, but not quite. It's packed with shredded chicken, shiitake mushrooms and strips of bamboo shoots, but the goodness is in the gravy. June Tong, author of the revered “;Popo's Kitchen,”; shared this recipe and her secret: Use duck bones to make the gravy. Master this technique and you'll be able to whip up any type of chow mein. As for Gai See Mein, it was popular in local Chinese restaurants a generation or two ago, and some people still yearn for its comforting flavor.

» Hawaii-Style Custard Pie: This recipe was an answer to several requests from expatriate readers who insisted that custard pies on the mainland taste different from the local pies they so loved. Veteran baker Henry Shun posits that the difference is evaporated milk, and he offered his own luscious filling solution, as well as his formula for perfect pie crust. If you've been looking for the ultimate custard pie recipe, this is it.

» Frosted Flake Chocolate Chip Cookies: Add these to your holiday baking repertoire and you are likely to emerge a hero. The recipe comes courtesy of an anonymous cafeteria manager who bakes the cookies to help raise money for Roosevelt High School's Project Graduation. The cookies are light and crisp, coming together almost magically with no eggs or liquid.

» Coconut Candy: These little red balls of sugar-coated sweetness are easy to find at crack-seed stores, but trying to find a recipe that works is another matter. This one is as close as you can get to the real thing — in fact it's an improvement. The key is to use the right kind of coconut — unsweetened dried coconut, not the shredded stuff sold in grocery stores. You'll have to go to a health-food store, but if you really like this candy, it'll be worth the extra effort.