Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco Moco

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Honolulu is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have a huge Asian population, mostly Japanese, plus constantly rotating military families. Throw in the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and other Polynesians, along with us regular haoles (technically, I’m hapa, or part Hawaiian) and you’ve got yourself one serious melting pot of awesome.

Also awesome is the fact that Hawaiians love to eat. Growing up, I remember my Hawaiian grandmother’s house felt like one constant party. It seemed like there were always visitors playing music and cooking and enjoying plenty of food. Out here in the middle of the ocean, comfort food is taken to a whole new level. All those different influences combine for some unusual, but very tasty dishes.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Today, at my daughter’s request, we’re sharing loco moco. She helped me make it, and gleefully wolfed down almost this entire portion by herself. This dish can be found at just about every local eatery on the island. It may not be sophisticated, but it’s for real. You’ve got to try it.

Loco moco is simple and delicious. It starts with a bed of white rice, topped with a juicy hamburger steak, a sunny side up egg, and enough gravy to drown the entire thing. Truthfully, I held back on the gravy a bit to make the photo a bit more pretty, but that’s not what loco moco is about.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

This is what the locals call ono grinds. It’s not fancy. You could try to make it healthy. You could try to make it snobby. But I think that if you mess with a good thing, screw with tradition, then maybe you’ve created something else all together. It might still be good, but is it still loco moco? 

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco moco should be dirty, greasy, down home, made with aloha, and probably eaten on styrofoam. Try to avoid the last bit if you can. It won’t be easy. Unless you make it at home, which you should. It’s dead easy and kind of amazing. It might even make you a better ukulele player. I haven’t tested that theory.

Loco Moco
Serves 4
A local Hawaiian favorite of rice, hamburger, egg, and gravy. Ono kine grindz!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the rice
  1. 2 cups white rice
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
For the hamburger steaks
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  6. 2 tablespoons green onions, the white parts only, finely sliced (or scissored)
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1 tablespoon oil
For the gravy
  1. fat from cooked burgers
  2. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 to 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
For the egg
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Green onions, the green parts, thinly sliced (or scissored)
For the rice
  1. In a medium pan with a tight fitting lid, bring four cups of water to a boil, then add salt.
  2. Stir in rice, put the lid on, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to continue steaming for five minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Or just put it in the rice cooker if you are awesome enough to have one of those. I don't.
  5. When it's ready, divide the rice between four plates so it's ready to have juicy hamburger steaks placed on top.
For the hamburger steaks
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine beef, seasonings, soy sauce, onions, and egg. Work quickly with your hands and try not to handle it excessively.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes a side or to desired doneness. Just make sure you get some good browning on the outside.
  4. Place a hamburger steak atop each mound of rice so that the juices will soak into the rice. Don't waste the flavor.
For the gravy
  1. First, remember that gravy making is as much an art as a science, so go with your gut and adjust as needed for your conditions. Everybody likes it a little different. Do what you love.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low on the remaining fat and delicious bits in your skillet. Sprinkle flour over the fat, just enough to absorb the fat and create a paste. Cook for a few minutes until the flour mixture turns brown.
  3. Add stock about a quarter cup at a time, stirring well to remove lumps. Also make sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. They are full of flavor. Keep adding liquid until you get your favorite consistency and season to taste.
For the egg
  1. Add butter to a nonstick skillet and melt over medium low heat.
  2. Crack you eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook slowly until whites are just set.
Assembly
  1. Rice goes on the bottom.
  2. Put your hamburger steak on top right out of the pan to catch all the juices.
  3. You can put the egg or gravy on next, it doesn't matter. Just don't skimp on the gravy. (Unless you're crazy and want to take your food's photo)
  4. Scatter green onions over the top.
  5. Dig in and live the aloha.
Notes
  1. This recipe serves four normal humans or two big Hawaiians. It's easily scalable for a small family or a big gathering.
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
http://awesomeon20.com/
Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

4th of July is looming on my calendar. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disgusted that it’s here already. Time needs to take a bit of a break if it doesn’t mind. I’m about to be the mother of a teenager. Can we please make the next month go by as slowly as possible?

Of course, when I think of the 4th, the first thing that pops into my mind is a backyard barbecue with charred hot dogs, chips and dips, potato salad, and a million cans of soda, all from the neighborhood grocery store. I had a lot of fun as a kid eating all that junk food and running through the sprinklers to keep from melting. These days, though, it takes a bit more to impress me. But just a bit.

Making your own potato salad takes about fifteen minutes of work, and it’s at least a million times better then that mushy, gloopy stuff from the store. And you can customize it to your own taste, which means you don’t have to pick out any celery if you don’t want to.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s potato salad. I fell in love with it because it contains dill, which is a phenomenal flavor, in my opinion. Now, if you have a house in the Hamptons and have fourteen kinds of imported French mustard in your fridge and a gardener to provide you with every type of fresh herb known to man, invite me over. And make this potato salad with the very best ingredients you can get your hands on.

If, on the other hand, when you visit the store, you find yourself searching for the most inexpensive ingredients available, don’t worry. Expensive ingredients do taste a bit better, but the inexpensive ones can still taste awesome, and making it yourself makes it automatically better. I changed a few things to make this recipe a bit more accessible by using condiments I had in my fridge, and a dill paste rather then using a few snips of the fresh stuff and then letting the rest go to waste. The paste is full of flavor and lasts much longer, so you’re more likely to get your money’s worth out of it.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

I hope you get to spend your 4th with some awesome people eating some awesome food. And by all means, see some stuff explode!

Dill Potato Salad
Serves 4
A creamy flavorful potato salad with a punch of dill.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  2. Salt
  3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  4. 1/4 cup buttermilk
  5. 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  6. 1 tablespoon dill paste*
  7. Black pepper
  8. 1 green onion
Instructions
  1. Put your potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until you can pierce the largest potato with a sharp knife. Mine took about 30 minutes, but it will vary depending the size of your potatoes.
  2. Drain the potatoes then put the colander back over the hot pot. Place a clean kitchen towel over the colander and allow your potatoes to continue to steam for another 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, dill paste, and salt and pepper. The mixture will be quite thick.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to not burn your fingers off, cut them into bite-sized pieces. The skin of Yukon golds is quite tender, so if the skin sticks you can leave it on. If it falls off, I discard it. Don't stress yourself out.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and toss with dressing.
  6. Using scissors, cut your green onions directly into the bowl and give it a final stir.
  7. Allow your salad to hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours before revealing it to your family. Then go blow stuff up. In a fun way.
Notes
  1. *You can, of course, substitute fresh or dried dill. Use whatever is easiest.
  2. This is actually half the original recipe, so you can easily double this to feed a larger crowd.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
http://awesomeon20.com/
Check us out at Inside BruCrew's link party
Check us out at Inside BruCrew’s link party
Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy Spaghetti for Dad

Cowboy Spaghetti

Dudes, my dad is awesome! He showed me the stars, took me on hikes, made me pancakes, and gave me rides on his motorcycle. He watched me dance, read my bad poetry and let me cry on his shoulder. He gave me piggy back rides to bed for way longer than his back was probably happy about. He taught me that it’s totally okay to eat cake for breakfast. Best of all, he taught me to read which has been a precious gift. My dad has always been there for me and believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I am so very lucky.

photo by Gareth Grindle
photo by Gareth Grindle

We live half an ocean apart, which is not the farthest away I’ve been. I wish I could make him a feast for Father’s Day. He deserves it. Alas, dinner will have to be virtual. He’ll forgive me.

Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy spaghetti is the dish my dad requested. I’ve made it for him before, and he loves it. At least I can share the recipe with the world so he can make it himself, or even better, get someone else to make it for him. It’s the least a daughter can do.

This stuff is perfect man food. Why? Two words: bacon and beer.

There’s also ground beef, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce for added awesome, but for me it’s the bacon that makes it magical. And since my dad loves beer, and he puts it in just about everything, I knew the first time I looked at this recipe that he’d love it. I’ve slightly adapted this old Rachael Ray recipe to make it more conducive to my vegetable loathing palate, but if you’re into chunky tomatoes just swap out the crushed tomatoes for something with more texture.

Cowboy Spaghetti

Make sure you have plenty of extra cold beer for your dad on Father’s Day. He’s worked hard your whole life to give you stuff you probably didn’t even appreciate. The least you can do is make him dinner and bring him a cold one. Let him put his feet up. Feed him with love and cowboy spaghetti. He deserves it.

Cowboy Spaghetti
Serves 4
Meaty, manly spaghetti with bacon and beer
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound spaghetti
  2. salt
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 slices of bacon
  5. 1 pound ground beef
  6. 1/2 onion, diced
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. black pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon hot sauce (or more if you're into that sort of thing)
  10. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (it's required that you read that line out loud)
  11. 1/2 cup beer
  12. 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  13. 1 cup tomato sauce
  14. 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
  15. 4 scallions, scissored
Instructions
  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Don't forget to put a lid on it, or it will take forever. When the water boils, add salt and spaghetti, stirring occasionally. My pasta cooked for 10 minutes. Check your package. Bite into a piece to see if it's done, or throw it against the refrigerator to see if it sticks. That's what my mom used to do.
  2. In the mean time, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cut your bacon with scissors right into the pan. Cook to desired level of crispness (the correct answer is very crisp). Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and pour off some of the fat, leaving enough to coat the pan.
  3. Add your ground beef to the pan to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Depending on how lean your beef is, you may want to drain the fat off before proceeding. I'm poor so I have to get ground chuck, which needs to be drained.
  4. Add onions and garlic to your ground beef and then season with hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add the beer and scrape up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and sauce. Bring everything back up to a simmer and check for seasonings. This is usually where I add more hot sauce.
  6. After you drain your pasta, put it back in the pot, then pour the sauce over the spaghetti and stir to combine.
  7. Top your bowl or plate of spaghetti with plenty of cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of crunchy bacon, and green onions. Serve it to your dad in an old recliner, and don't forget to bring the man a beer.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
Check us out at Chef in Training's link party
Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party
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