I had the chance to sign up for a workshop offered by the professional development committee at Hawaii Community College and taught by the culinary program chef-instructor Brian Hirata. He taught a group of ten Hawaii Community College faculty and staff how to prepare a healthy meal using modern (but easy) cooking techniques. In this two-hour, hands-on workshop, we learned to prepare two dishes. Chef Brian is in his eighth year of teaching at Hawaii Community College. Prior to that, he spent nine years at Hualalai Resort with the last four years there as sous chef at the Hualalai Grille by Alan Wong. The culinary program at HawCC is so lucky to have Chef Brian as part of its faculty. (Here is a link to a post that the HawCC culinary program participated in. Mealani Taste of the Range. https://livinghilostyle.com/2015/10/10/mealani-taste-of-the-hawaiian-range/)
On to the food we learned in our cooking class. One dish we learned was a warm salad of grilled vegetables with quinoa. In addition to quinoa, this salad included yummy healthy ingredients like garlic, achiote oil, red onion, diced grilled zucchini, cilantro, green onion, charred red bell pepper, and lemon juice. I have never charred a bell pepper before. I know that the definition of char means to burn. I didn’t realize that when charring a bell pepper, you burn it until it is completely black! We peeled off the black skin to reveal a perfectly cooked smoky pepper for our salad.
The second dish we learned was an olive oil poached fish with a tomato relish. The fish we used was hamachi. I LOVE hamachi! This was the first time I poached a fish and did not know that using oil was a good way to poach a fish. I thought that poaching a fish in oil would cause it to be oily, but I was wrong. The fish was flaky, moist, and not oily at all. The hamachi served with the tomato salsa and quinoa salad complemented each other perfectly and would have gone perfectly with a crisp white wine.
My partner Violet and I were so happy with the finished product. This is a class that is tailor-made for me. I’m busy, I love to cook, I love to eat, and I want to be healthy. I’m so lucky my workplace offered this class to us. I’m going to try and make these dishes at home one day soon. Are you interested in coming over for a taste test? Or better yet, can I come to your kitchen and practice cooking there? Living Hilo Style!