Aloha! Last summer, we decided to have a little family luau. It was a great success and a lot of fun.
The problem was that the pictures I took of the food made the food look grotesque...to the point of appearing inedible and unappetizing. I figured that I could either post the recipes without the pictures or try to fix the pictures so that they were presentable. The pictures turned out to be beyond repair. They were that bad. Time passed and before I knew it, it was nearly a year after we had originally had our luau. (The cropped pictures of fruit represent the only presentable pictures I took last year. I just couldn't get the pork to look as good as it tasted!)
My mom chose a few recipes that I didn't find for her and thus, I don't remember what they are. But she made a very nice pulled chicken teriyaki (made in the slow cooker) and a refreshing, fruity punch. I'll have to see if I can get those recipes from her and add them to this post.
The recipes that I found and contributed are for Hawaiian macaroni salad and slow cooker Kalua pig (pulled pork).
The Hawaiian macaroni salad tasted just like the macaroni salad you can find at Hawaiian restaurants (such as Moki's and Mo' Bettah Steaks). I must stress the importance of following the macaroni salad recipe exactly. You might think that you can combine or skip steps, but trust me, it's much better if you follow it exactly as written. When I made it again, I didn't have time (and didn't want to use the dishes) to follow the step where you let the apple cider vinegar soak into the warm macaroni before adding the other elements of the dressing. I didn't think it would make a difference, but it did. It was much better the last time I made it! But it was still a super yummy macaroni salad and it is pretty kid friendly. I would also suggest that you refrigerate the macaroni salad for at least two hours prior to serving in order to allow the flavors to meld.
The slow cooker pork also tastes just as good as what you can get at a restaurant--salty and smoky. Mmmm. Just note that it takes a lot longer than your usual slow cooker recipe. The recipe recommends slow cooking the pork for 16-20 hours! But trust me, it makes a huge difference in the texture of the pork. It is so tender, it will melt in your mouth.
And I made a discovery in re-making these recipes this year. I discovered that while Hawaiian food is super tasty, it really isn't pretty. My pictures this time around were way better than last year's pictures, but they still aren't great pictures. Hawaiian food is all nearly the same color! Oh well!
Serve some brown rice and tropical fruit along with your macaroni salad and pork and you'll have a very satisfying meal--even if it isn't the prettiest meal you'll ever serve! Trust me, you'll want to add the fruit for two reasons: first, Hawaiian food is really salty and it's nice to have refreshing, juicy fruit to balance the salt and second, because it adds a much needed splash of color to your plate!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Notes and Explanations from the original recipe:
- Hawaiians cook their macaroni until it's "fat," or very soft. It turns out they know what they're doing. Here's what the Test Kitchen discovered:
- While overcooking the pasta seemed like a bad idea, it actually enabled the macaroni to absorb more dressing.
- The dressing had to be thin enough to soak into the pasta. we used an equal amount of mayonnaise and milk, and we used a lot--a full 2 cups each--to get the right texture.
- to prevent the cider vinegar from curdling the milk, we poured the vinegar directly over the hot macaroni.
- After the vinegar soaked in, we poured on about half the dressing, gave the mixture a stir, and let it cool. We then stirred in the remaining dressing and added grated carrot, chopped celery (for crunch), scallion, a bit of brown sugar, and some vigorous shakes of salt and black pepper.
- Don't use low-fat milk or mayonnaise because it will make the dressing too thin.
- Serves 8-10 (in my opinion, it serves a lot more than that--especially if you have a lot of other side dishes).
2 cups whole milk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste (you're going to want a lot--especially pepper--since it is the only seasoning for this salad)
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery rib, chopped fine
Make dressing: Whisk 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in bowl.
Cook pasta: Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Transfer to bowl. Cool pasta 10 minutes, then stir in dressing until pasta is well coated. Cool completely.
Make salad: Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining milk, and remaining mayonnaise to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Serve.
Source: This recipe comes from Cook's Country Magazine. I found it on another recipe blog by doing a Google search for it.
Notes: Follow this recipe exactly. Don't change a thing and it will taste exactly like the macaroni salad you can get at Hawaiian restaurants. Be generous with the pepper.
Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker
1 (6 lb) pork butt roast
1 1/2 tbsp Hawaiian sea salt
1 tbsp liquid smoke flavoring
Pierce pork all over with a carving fork. Rub salt, then liquid smoke all over meat. Place roast in a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 16-20 hours, turning once during cooking time.
Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten.
Source: Allrecipes.com submitted by KIKUCHAN.
Notes: I couldn't find Hawaiian sea salt, so I just used plain sea salt. Also, I didn't pierce the pork. I simply sprinkled the salt and liquid smoke over the roast. Finally, when I shredded it, I shredded it directly in the slow cooker and decided that I would drain it if it was too juicy. However, the drippings that the roast rendered were the perfect amount to keep the meat moist and the meat absorbed all the juices after it was shredded, so it was perfect just the way it was.