Star-Bulletin Features

Frank Gonzales, second-place winner in the 5 A Day Challenge, joked around in the Kapiolani Community College kitchen with Jana Tano during the cookoff in May. Vegetables, above, were prepared on a grill.

Veggie showcase

Taste of Honolulu has food
representing both ends of the
health spectrum this year

By Betty Shimabukuro

Let's pretend I am your mean auntie. As you pull on your elastic-waist pants and head out for Taste of Honolulu -- as will thousands of people this weekend -- I'll call out, "Don't forget to eat your veggies!"

Ismael Portillo created the first-place Honey-Baked Salmon, above.

What a witch, eh? Now, amid your earnest yearning for something smoky and grilled, crispy and fried, creamy and full of pasta -- or all of the above, plus a beer -- you're going to have to find a salad.

This is possible at Taste of Honolulu. Out of two dozen restaurants and caterers represented at the annual eat-a-thon, a few booths will offer salads or vegetable dishes.

Or, you could pay a visit to the booth sponsored by HMSA and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific. These organizations challenged culinary students in the community colleges to create dishes in which plant substances would play a featured role.

The top five dishes will be sold at the HMSA/Culinary Institute booth, and the winning cooks will demonstrate their dishes at the Healthy Cooking Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

The message here is 5 A Day. That is, three servings of vegetables plus two servings of fruit every day for all-around better health. In Hawaii, HMSA says, only 22.4 percent of adults and 16 percent of children meet this minimum.

The "5 A Day Challenge" called for dishes low in fat and cholesterol that contained at least one full serving of vegetable or fruit.

Taste of Honolulu

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Place: Honolulu Civic Center grounds
Admission: $3, to benefit Easter Seals
Call: 536-1015 or visit

"I liked the idea that you didn't need to add salt or sugar or other bad things to make it taste good," Maui Community College student Ismael Portillo said of his first-place dish. His Honey-Baked Salmon is served with a healthy spoonful of a gingered relish made with mangos, pineapple, bell peppers and cucumber.

Ismael Portillo Culinary student

"I think that more and more people are changing their ways when they go out to eat and they would rather have a healthy meal," Portillo said in presenting his dish during judging in May.

Frank Gonzales, architect of the second-place dish, said his family enjoys rich food, but because of a history of high blood pressure and diabetes, healthy alternatives are necessary.

His Hearty Opakapaka Delight is a lightened-up version of a traditional Fijian dish made with coconut milk, relying on lemon juice and chili peppers to boost the flavor. Gonzales said he created it as a pupu for a Thanksgiving Day potluck last year. "Healthy food does not have to be tasteless food," he said.

Honey-Baked Salmon with Ginger Fruit Relish

Ismael Portillo, Maui Community College

18 ounces salmon fillet, cut in 6 pieces
2 tablespoons grain mustard
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cooking spray
>> Relish:
2 cups mango
1/2 Maui onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons EACH red wine vinegar, lime juice and minced ginger
1 tablespoon EACH sugar and olive oil
8 ounces crushed pineapple
1/2 cup finely chopped, seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

To prepare relish: Combine ingredients and refrigerate.

To prepare the fish: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Lay salmon pieces in pan.

Combine mustard, ginger, honey, olive oil and pepper. Brush tops of fillets with mixture. Bake about 12 minutes, or until done to your liking. To serve, place a large spoonful of relish on a plate and top with a fillet. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 240 calories, 8 g fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 18 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber.

Hearty Opakapaka Delight

Frank Gonzales, Kapiolani Community College

16 ounces skinless opakapaka fillet, cut in medium cubes
1 cup EACH finely diced Maui onion, green onion and celery
1-1/2 cups finely diced Roma tomatoes
2 Hawaiian chili peppers, minced
Juice from 2 lemons
1 can Congo Lite brand coconut milk
Hawaiian salt to taste
Matzo crackers, salt- and fat-free
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves

Combine ingredients, except crackers and cilantro. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour. Serve cold, with crackers, garnished with cilantro.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 17 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber.

Taste Of Honolulu Special Events

This being an election year, the politicos are cooking up attention at this year's event. Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mazie Hirono and Ed Case will square off in a cooking competition Sunday. Later that day, legal beagles Peter Carlisle and Margery Bronster take the stage.

More highlights:


5:30 p.m.: Cookoff, Clayton Hee vs. Jon Yoshimura
7 p.m.: Cookoff, Duke Bainum vs. an opponent to be announced
8:30 p.m.: Mark Ellman, Maui Tacos


10 a.m. to noon: Brunch with Augie and Lanai; $15
11:30 a.m.: Cooking demo, Troy Teruya, Catch of the Day
1 p.m.: Dalton Tanonaka vs. James Aiona
3, 4:30, 6 and 7 p.m.: 5 A Day Challenge cooking demonstrations, featuring healthy recipes by culinary students


11:30 a.m.: Cooking demo, Kevin Tate, Kevin's Two Boots
1 p.m.: Cookoff, Ed Case vs. Mazie Hirono
2:30 p.m.: Cookoff, Lanai and Augie vs. Da Bruddahs
4 p.m.: Cookoff: Peter Carlisle vs. Margery Bronster

R. Field Wine Tasting Centre
Requires separate admission of $18; $31.50 per couple


7 p.m.: Italian wines (David Gochros)
8:30 p.m.: What justifies the price of a wine? (Tim Learmont)


5 p.m.: How an eccentric mind can craft a winning wine (Bill Van Aspen)
6:30 p.m.: "XYZs of Wine" (Chuck Furuya)
8 p.m.: Classic elements of great wines that can taste "off" to a novice (Kevin Toyama)


3 p.m.: "Robert Mondavi & His Plan for World Domination" (Alan Suzuki)
4:30 p.m.: Dessert wines (Marvin Chang)


Musical acts perform throughout the weekend, including DisGuyz, Three Plus, Guy Cruz and more. For a schedule, see Friday's Weekend section.

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calendars and events.

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