Week 23 - Luau Lunch
Every year around my birthday my Mom and Aunt Mary come to visit and we all go out to lunch. This year since we have a new kitchen to show off, I decided to make lunch instead. I chose a number of recipes from the 2004 cookbook "Retro Luau: Planning the Perfect Polynesian Party" by Richard Perry. Even though I've been making a lot of pineapple-based recipes lately, I though a Luau Lunch would be a wonderful way to kick off the summer.
This book is full of all sorts of wonderful recipes, perfect for a luau. Much like the "Retro Fiesta" cookbook from week 18, most of these recipes are written for large groups of people, so I had to cut many of them in half. Since I was making so many different things, I chose easy recipes that I could prep the night before and have ready for the next day.
As a starter, I made curried spread for crackers. This was made with canned crushed pineapple, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream, curry and garlic powder. It was very quick to make and the result was a sweet and very flavorful dip and probably the favorite of the entire lunch.
For lunch I made Lava Pork Tenderloin served with sides of Ambrosia Polynesia, Surfer's Slaw and sweet potato salad. Pork tenderloin is one of the easiest things to make and something I have made often, although I have never made this particular recipe. The night before I marinated the pork in a sweet sauce of brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, wine and a bit of red food coloring. The recipe called for Riesling wine which I couldn't find so I substituted Moscato wine instead. The pork was delicious and tasted much like the boneless spareribs you can get at most Chinese restaurants. This is a recipe I would absolutely make again, although I would leave out the food coloring the next time as it really isn't needed.
Ambrosia Polynesia is a pretty simple fruit salad with mandarin oranges, fresh pineapple, bananas, flaked coconut and maraschino cherries. To make things extra festive, I served it in half of a pineapple shell.
To make the sweet potato salad, I cooked the sweet potatoes and made the dressing the night before and then assembled the salad the next morning. In addition to the potatoes, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, the recipe also called for pineapple chunks (I used fresh), chopped bacon and macadamia nuts. The pineapple complemented the sweet potato nicely, the macadamia nuts provided a nice crunch , the saltiness of the bacon bacon offset sweetness of the rest of the ingredients and the mustard provided a bit of a bite. It was good, but I prefer regular potato salad, so don't see myself making this all that often.
The surfer slaw recipe served 10 - 12, so I cut the recipe in half. The first step was to mix the cabbage with salt and let rest for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, I forgot the cut the salt in half, so even though I rinsed the cabbage for quite a while the resulting slaw was much too salty. Besides the usual mayonnaise and vinegar found in most cole slaw recipes this one also called for golden raisins, flaked coconut and toasted sesame seeds. It also called for fresh tarragon, which I could not find, so I just left that out. Despite the saltiness, the flavors of the slaw was really good so I plan on trying this again with much less salt.
To drink I made Hawaiian Punch. There wasn't much to it; just pineapple, guava, papaya and lemon juice. It was good but the guava and papaya juices were quite pricey, so I don't see myself making this much.
Overall my luau lunch was a success and very easy to put together. The "Retro Luau" cookbook has many more wonderful sounding recipes so I plan to cook from this book again.
Cookbook: "Retro Luau: Planning the Perfect Polynesian Party" by Richard Perry, published in 2004
Recipe: Curried Spread, Lava Pork Tenderloin, Surfer's Slaw, Sweet Potato Salad, Ambrosia Polynesia and Hawaiian Punch
Difficulty: Easy, but with so many recipes it did take a while to prepare
Alterations: In general, I cut most of recipes in half. I used Moscato instead of Riesling wind for the pork maranade, and I left out the tarragon in the surfer's slaw.
Results: The curried spread was probably our favorite, followed closely by the Lava Pork Tenderloin. I made the Surfer's slaw much too salty.
Make Again: I would definitely make the pork and spread again. I want to try to make the slaw again, without too much salt. I probably will not make the sweet potato salad or the juice very much.