And I Can Cook, Too

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Party in Larg’s!

The luau research for my final paper didn’t just make me homesick; it also made me hungry. I had only two questions: 1) Could I find luau ingredients in Adelaide and, 2) Could I convince my classmates that Larg’s Bay isn’t really that far? I’d hit the Central Market on Thursday and managed to acquire more than reasonable ingredient substitutes, and as I rubbed pork shoulder with salt, black pepper and Magi Seasoning (an absolutely offensive substitute for the Liquid Smoke that cannot be found in Australia but more on that later), I wondered if people would come. The first two guests arrived bearing wine and an absolutely addictive cilantro pesto that we devoured on toast. Little by little more people trickled in until almost everyone who was actually in town for the break had made their way to Larg’s. After a quick tour of the property (and general agreement that that I’d won the housing lottery), we poured our wine into paper cups and made our way to the beach. We stood on the pier and watched the sunset, and by some magic all actually managed to avoid mentioning school. Back home, I laid out the luau and we dug in. There is a reason they say a carpenter is only as good as his tools.

The Kalua Pig was disgusting! Vile! Absolutely nothing like the real thing! I’d never used that Magi seasoning crap before and I will never use it again! (Truth be told, I was the only one who thought that. As one of my classmates said, “We think it tastes great. The only reason we know it doesn’t taste right is that you keep telling us.”

I’d found all the right stuff for Chicken Long Rice (after all, Asia is directly up), so it was delicious as usual. I was quite complimented when a classmate from Taiwan told me it tasted like home. The luau leaf was almost ok, made with spinach and coconut milk; I’d added another depth of flavor with a dash of fish sauce. The lomilomi salmon was surprisingly good – the surprise being how good the salt salmon was. I was a little worried; because I’d only salted it the day before, and the normal salt time is two to three days. But it was cured through and through, and was quite flavorful to boot. The poi, however, left something to be desired (even more so than those who don’t like poi would imagine). I used Chinese taro, readily available in Adelaide. It was a much lighter shade of purple than Hawaiian taro, and not remotely as sweet as fresh poi can be. Several people, however, commented that it was a nice compliment to the lomilomi, and although technically that’s supposed to be the other way around, it once again appeared that I was the only person who was unsatisfied. Lastly, I served the haupia. I’d used brown sugar (what I had on hand) and added vanilla because I like it, but other than a slightly different color and a slightly different flavor, it was just like the real thing. After dinner, my classmates wandered out to the yard with cocktails. As I tidied the kitchen, I glanced out the door. They had lit the candles that sit on the lanai table, found a few balls that they were tossing for the dogs, and were simply kicking back and enjoying each other’s company. The house echoed with their laughter and it occurred to me that the house could use a lot more of that.


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