Recipes, News, and what's going on at Living Foods Kauai

A Message from Jeff and Howard ~

Thank you for your continued support of your local gourmet grocery store and cafe. Our major focus this month is to continue to create the finest bakery offerings on the island.  In the last couple of weeks, we have added a remarkably talented pastry chef, Catherine Vire from Paris, in our bakery to expand our pastries and desserts.  Please come in and try our new baked goodies.  We think they are of the highest quality on the island. Of course, we will continue to expand our bread offerings and gluten free products.  On another note, we will be moving the wine, beer and spirits section to the opposite corner of the store later this month so we can expand our offerings and open up the space. We hope it provides a better shopping experience for those looking to purchase fine wines, hard to find spirits.  We already have one of the finest beer selections on Kauai, however we will be looking to enhance this with more craft brews and a wider selection of other varieties. We continue to listen to all of your comments and feedback regarding product assortment, new items and things you want to see fine-tuned.  We have added Stevia to the coffee bar selection as a sweetener, improved our chocolate syrup offering and our coffee station has been reorganized in a more efficient manner.   Our prepared salad offerings have been expanded to include some new favorites.  The grab and go section has been tremendously successful as we continue to expand items and explore new, creative dishes that are suitable to eat on the run.

As always, thanks for your suggestions and comments.  They are enabling us to serve you better!

Game Day Pretzel Recipe and More!

Homemade Pretzels
Horseradish Beer Mustard
Choucroute Garni
Apple and Pear Kuchen

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 Tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water
  • Kosher salt for coating

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and salt and stir to combine.  Knead on a floured surface about 8 to 10 minutes till smooth and elastic.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes till doubled in size; punch down and turn out onto a floured surface.
Divide into 24 equal pieces rolling each out to a rope 12 to 15 inches long. Take by the ends and make a loop bringing each end back to the middle of the loop to form the traditional pretzel shape- any shape will work- don’t worry. Place each with room on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees; brush the egg mixture on the pretzels and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Let them rise for 20 minutes and place in the oven 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Horseradish Beer Mustard

  • 1 cup coarse grained mustard
  • 1 Tbs. Colemans Mustard powder
  • 2 Tbs. dark Bavarian style beer
  • 3 Tbs. prepared horseradish

Mix well.

Choucroute Garni

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 8 assorted sausages (smoked bratwurst, kielbasa, knockwurst or beer sausage, mild chorizo, Italian or chicken sausage)
  • 2 # slab bacon such as Nueskes- cut into thick 1 inch pieces
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and rough chopped
  • 12 peeled garlic cloves, smashed
  • 8 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 2 Tbs. caraway seeds
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 # sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups light lager beer
  • 15 small Yellow Finn potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • parsley for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole on medium high and when hot but not smoking, brown the ham hocks, bacon and sausages thoroughly. Remove them to a platter and drain off all but 3/4 cup of the oil. Saute the onions, carrots, apples, garlic and shallots for 5 or so minutes till wilted.  Add the caraway, bay, black pepper and sauerkraut and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, beer, potatoes and reserved meat and combine thoroughly. Cover with aluminum foil or the casserole lid and cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/4 hour.  Remove from the oven and arrange the sauerkraut and vegetables on a serving platter and place the meats on top with the potatoes. Arrange with parsley.  Serve with the Horseradish Beer Mustard.

Apple and Pear Kuchen

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. finely ground hazelnuts (Filberts)
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 # well chilled butter cut into small pieces
  • about 3 Tbs cold water

Combine flour, nuts, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix with chilled butter and as little of the water as needed to bring it to a dough.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead to evenly distribute the butter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Filling and Glaze

  • 1 # Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 # firm Anjou pears, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 Tbs. cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup currant or apricot jelly for glazing

Roll pastry dough out to a 1/4 inch thick round disk and place into a 10 inch fluted tart pan. Prick the bottom with a fork. Preheat oven to 350.
Arrange the apples and pears in a spiral pattern in the tart pan and bake 30 minutes. The shell should be a light brown color.
As its baking, mix creme fraiche, cream, sugar and eggs in a bowl and take the tart from the oven and pour the mixture evenly into the tart. Continue baking 15 minutes or until just brown.  Heat jelly in a sauce pan and brush carefully after it is done cooking and cooled slightly.
Serve slightly warm, if possible. Serves eight.

Note: To make creme fraiche mix 1 part sour cream with 4 parts cream, heat it to 98 degrees, cover and allow to stand at room temperature overnight. Chill.

Prime Rib with Horseradish Herb Crust au jus ~ Chef Michael Simpson

There are several approaches to salt cooking. One involves making a crude pastry with coarse salt, water and flour that is wrapped around the food. Another is burying something, say a whole fish, in a pile of loose salt before baking, while still other methods call for adding water to make a salt paste.

The theory behind certain types of salt cooking is that heat and moisture are trapped under a hermetic crust, forcing seasoning to permeate the food rather than allowing them to escape, as can happen in broiling and sauteing.

The cementlike enclosure of a salt crust creates a kiln effect that cooks up to a third more quickly than other methods. Moreover, people concerned with fat in their diet could benefit because the hot salt absorbs some fat from meat.

The technique of salt cooking has parallels in many cuisines – Indian clay-pot cooking, the French ”en papillote” style, which requires paper, and Oriental techniques that involve wrapping food in the leaves or bark of plants – and all are aimed at minimizing moisture loss and maximizing the effect of seasonings.

One account of salt cooking’s history dates to ancient Mongolian warriors who carried food preserved in salt on long journeys. They cooked their food over open fires while it was still encased in moist salt. The heat formed a petrified crust, no doubt dulling many a warrior’s sword when he tried to break it.

Considering the essential role that salt played as a preserving agent in the centuries before refrigeration, it seems logical that many peoples must have cooked this way at one time. More recently the method has been associated primarily with the Chinese, who have several recipes calling for lining a wok with salt, and to a lesser extent the Spanish and French.

Raymond Richez, a retired French chef who has worked in various New York restaurants in the past 25 years, recalled a French style of roast beef cooked under a lid of coarse salt.

”You know how often here in America when roast beef is cooked the inside is rare and the outside can be almost black,” Mr. Richez observed. ”In France I have seen people make a paste of coarse salt, flour and egg whites. The roast is cooked in the oven for about a half hour, then the paste is put over the top. It becomes hard, and as you rotate the roast you keep moving the crust on top of the meat. This keeps the outside meat moist.”

We at LFM for Christmas are using this time honored method with our offering of prime rib on our Holiday menu.

Without getting into too many details, the following is roughly the procedure:

  • 5 or 6# Prime Rib
  • garlic
  • horseradish- fresh is best- grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh herbs
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper

Make a paste with the above and apply to the entire surface of the meat. Roast at 350° for 1 ½ to 2 hours to an internal temperature of 125° with a meat thermometer.

Merry Christmas! From the Culinary Team at Living Foods



Butternut Squash, Parsnip and Apple Soup

Serves 8

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion rough chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 2  roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and sliced parsnips
  • 2 peeled, cored and chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ Tbs. curry powder
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • chopped chives for garnish

Sweat the onions in the olive avoiding and color on low heat. Add the garlic, squash, parsnips and apples and white wine and reduce slightly.

Add the stock and seasoning and cook till the squash is soft enough to puree. Do just that and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish each bowl of soup with chopped chives.


Linzer Wreath Cookies

Yields 2 dozen

  • 1 ½ cups toasted and finely ground almonds
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 yolk
  • raspberry jam, preferably unseeded
  • powdered sugar for dusting

In a stand mixer blend the first 8 items and cut the butter in on low till it looks pebbly. Don’t overmix.

Add the egg and yolk and vanilla and mix till it forms a ball. It will be sticky. Divide into 2 equal balls. Flatten and wrap. Chill several hours. Roll out under fresh plastic wrap into two disks ¼ inch thick and chill one.

Remove the top layer of film wrap and cut 2 inch cookies with a fluted cutter and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 9 or so minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let them cool a few minutes and move them to a cooling rack to cool more.

With the other cut 2 inch rounds and cut the centers out with a ¾ inch fluted cutter. Save the scraps to make more cookies. Bake them the same as the first batch and cool.

Sift powdered sugar over the rounds with the cutout circles. Spread the remaining circles with 1-2 teaspoons raspberry jam. Top each with a cut out round and press gently together. Spoon a little more jam into the opening of each. Enjoy!






Eggnog and Walnut Breakfast Muffins

  • Yields approx. 15 large muffins
  • 4 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ Cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
  • ½ Tbs. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. clove
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2# cold butter cut into ¼” pieces
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 Cup cold eggnog an
  • ¾ Cup sour cream

In a large bowl mix the dry ingr. and spices

Cut in the butter and keep it intact.

In another bowl mix the wet and add to the dry. Combine thoroughly and spoon into buttered muffin tins. Bake at 350 and add the streusel after 12 minutes continuing another 10 or so till a toothpick comes clean.


  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup packed brn. Sugar
  • 1# unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Mix in food processor and pulse in the butter

Pre Order Thanksgiving Menu Options


  • Diestel Free Range UNCooKED Turkey (10-12 lbs. OR 14-16 lbs.) – $7.14/lb. (Gluten Free)
  • Curried Pumpkin Soup with Croutons (Quart serves 4-6 ppl) – $11.95/qt.
  • Maple Roasted Yams & Carrots (Quart serves 4-6 ppl) – $15.95/qt. (Gluten Free)
  • Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Lardons (Quart serves 4-6 ppl) – $16.95/qt.
  • Cranberry Relish (Pint serves 4-6 ppl) – $7.95/pt. (Gluten Free)
  • Classic Stuffing with Dried Fruit, Celery & Sage (Quart serves 4-6 ppl) – $11.95/qt.
  • Traditional Madeira Gravy (Quart serves 6-8 ppl) – $12.95/qt.
  • Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes (Quart serves 4-6 ppl) – $12.00/qt. (Gluten Free)
  • Pull Apart Rolls (6 rolls) – $8.00 for 6 rolls
  • Classic Pumpkin Pie, Walnut Tart or Pumpkin Cheesecake (8 in. serves 6-8 ppl) – $16.00 each

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Candied Ginger and Pumpkin Cookies

yields 36 cookies

  • 1 stick or 1/4# unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup diced candied ginger
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg

In a standup mixer fitted with a paddle cream the soft butter and both sugars till smooth.  Incorporate the pumpkin, ginger and vanilla and add the egg last.

Blend in the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Spoon large tablespoons of the dough onto sprayed parchment lined cookie sheet and with the palm of your hand slightly press each cookie.  Bake 20 minutes at 350˚ and cool before drizzling the cream cheese frosting over them.

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz. cream cheese

Sift the powdered sugar over the softened cream cheese and use a pastry bag with a small tip to apply the frosting.

Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Mix thoroughly and cool to just warm.

  • 1/4 # or 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 whole egg

With a paddle on a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix completely.  Blend in the molasses mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add the dry to the wet to form a batter.

  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, yes- ground
  • 1/2 tsp. clove
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder

Butter a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a fitted piece of parchment. Butter that, also and set into a 350˚ oven to bake until a toothpick comes clean.


Pumpkin Dream Cake with Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 3 layer cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.  Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and immediately place in freezer for 45 minutes. (This keeps the cake moist by immediately stopping the baking so the cake does not continue to bake when you remove it form the oven.)  For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

Pumpkin Muffins

yields 16 muffins

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup safflower oil
  • 1# 1 1/2 oz. pumpkin puree- unsweetened or spiced
  • 21 oz. sugar

Mix till smooth.

In another bowl mix but don’t sift:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 oz. AP flour

Add to the wet ingredients.  Spoon 3/4 of the way up the sides of buttered muffin tins and bake at 350˚ till a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.




Hawaiian Holidays Are Here!

Aloha Living Foods Devotees!

All of a sudden that time of the year is bursting onto the scene, as the coolness of the north winds descend on our Island Paradise and necessitate another blanket or two.  It was a chilly 62˚ this morning- burrrr….

Pondering the traditional, along with the unusual adaptations of holiday offerings and celebrations, let’s start with the center piece – the protein du jour – our turkey for the main meal. We, at Living Foods, are offering the Diestel Turkey this year.  This is the best, tastiest, moistest and organically raised bird available. And never frozen!  Available in two sizes, 10-12 lbs. and 14-16 lbs. The quality of the bird is most of the game!

There are many approaches to getting the turkey on the table, all of which have their particular merits and drawbacks:


The traditional and most common turkey preparation is oven roasting. With stuffing in its cavity and all trussed up and seasoned, this seems to be the most user friendly approach while being handsomely presentable. Into the oven, timely basted with its own juices, it allows for a near perfect bird. Smaller turkeys are quicker to roast to completion, whereas the larger ones take longer and are subject to drying out as the time required to finish dries out the white meat of the bird. Look in the bottom of the pan, all that juice and taste, well that goes for gravy, you say. But how to put that lost taste and moisture back into the turkey??? Hmmmm. Some roast the bird on its breasts, with breasts on the bottom forcing those juices into the driest part of the bird. It’s a worth a look anyway.

Roasting in Clay

This age old method of baking chicken, or other small birds, involves an enclosure of ceramic clay. Chinese in origin, the bird is first stuffed, trussed, carefully pan-seared if possible in hot oil to help lock in the natural flavors and valuable juice and browned to make it presentable.  It’s then seasoned and covered in parchment and encased in a covering of potters clay, whether it’s low fire terra cotta or a higher clay body such as stoneware. Set it into a pan to catch the inevitable leaking of juices.  Roast it off and test the internal temperature, as with all meats with a thermometer, probed into the depths of the turkey, and voila!  It actually steams and most of those tasty juices circulate right back into the bird. Depending on the efforts you put into the decoration of the clay, when presented at the table, and ceremoniously and carefully opened, it is quite the show!  This is my favorite preparation.

Grilling (Groasting)

In 1982, Hurricane Iwa saw the local advent of the grill as the popular and storm induced cooking method for day-to-day cooking, as we had no power to cook with.  Since the hurricane occurred around Thanksgiving, the grill came into play with much success. It seared and cooked the meat.  With the lid closed, and in time, it produced a very tasty and succulent product indeed.  Picking up flavor nuances from the wood of choice, this, if watched and tended to, seems to be a step up from oven roasting. With the ability to save the juices by setting it into a pan to capture those essences, this might be the method for you if you have access to forgiving and favorable weather and a grill.


Taking a departure from common turkey cooking methods, steaming is a bit awkward for most cooks to set up, and it requires care and space to do properly.  Fashioning an enclosure large enough to cover the bird is problematic for most home cooks, and if done on the stoves’ burner, takes up valuable space for other things.  I would first sear the bird, stuff and season, and set the bird in a pan to catch those precious juices, and then into the pan with whatever liquid used to create the steam. Cover tightly with a lid or parchment and foil, adjust the heat and let the steam do the work.  Feel free to season the water with whatever fancies you. This is where you can make a vast difference in the taste to your turkey, and tie it in or contrast it to the other dishes you are making, to accompany the bird at the table.

Remember that steaming is quick and hot. Take great care when handling, as steam heat is wickedly dangerous.

Deep Frying

Most often cooks do not have the equipment, or ability to accomplish this type of cooking.  Without the experience in frying, large cuts of meat should understandably be avoided.  It bubbles up with threatening, overflowing hisses and pops as it starts.

Common sense has it that the dangers outweigh the advantages. Oily? Messy? Acceptable method to your guests? These issues rightfully should be considered.  But, it has its merits. It quickly sears the entire bird so those juices stay put, inside the meat where it does the most good. I’m told it rises way above the results of the other methods and is the superior bird. But, where’s the gravy, you may ask?  That’s a problem and you can’t stuff the bird, either. And as for the safety and the inherent mess to deal with, I’d reserve this for the professionals. Worth ordering, if you see someone doing it.

Turkey Safety

According to the University of Illinois thawing, the bird safely requires a modicum of common sense.

  • Thaw the turkey in its original wrap on a tray placed in the bottom section of the refrigerator.
  • Allow about 24 hours of defrost time for every 5 pounds of turkey. Example: a 20-pound turkey will take 4 to 5 days to thaw.
  • Do not thaw on the counter. Thawing at room temperature increases the risk of bacteria growth.
  • At room temperature, bacteria on the turkey can grow rapidly when the outside portion of the bird begins to thaw. These bacteria can multiply to dangerously high levels producing toxins that cooking may not destroy.

Use a meat thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

See you at Living Foods! — Chef Michael Simpson