Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Miscellany & Chicken Sausage and Mushroom Pasta

Technically this post should be called Friday/Saturday Miscellany, but I was too lazy to post it then so Monday it is. Just some random weekend (mostly) foodie stuff.

I started the weekend attending a panel seminar at KCC Community College (through their culinary program) called "Special Challenges Facing the Food Entrepreneur" about the challenges facing people starting or currently in food related businesses. I was interested in the subject matter, hearing the panelists and it was free to the public so my friend Natalie and I went. Panelists included Chef Roy Yamaguchi, of Roy's Restaurants (36 of them) and Ed Kenney of my favorite Honolulu Restaurant, Town (and also Downtown), there was also a fairly new Bakery owner, a former restaurateur who now is running a lunch wagon and catering business and a chef about to open his second high end plate lunch place. It was quite a wide range of speakers and very interesting to hear their experiences.

There was good discussion and lots of information. Some of the key messages:
  • the food / restaurant business is hard work
  • you have know who you are and love what you do
  • do your homework, find your niche
  • trends are "casualization" of fine dining--great gourmet food in a casual setting; focus today is on people, planet and profit; people growing food, cooking and eating together more and more.
The panel was moderated by a local food editor and critic, Wanda Adams of the Honolulu Advertiser. When discussing marketing and PR for food businesses, she made a point of saying that Food Bloggers are the leaders today in word of mouth marketing for food related products and businesses and not to discount their importance and power. Go bloggers!

An interesting way to spend a couple of hours on Friday evening. We followed it up with dinner at The Green Door, a Malaysian restaurant in Kahala. I did not have my camera with me (bad blogger!) but I will have to bring it along next time as dinner was amazing; tamarind pork, sea bass in a peppery-garlic mushroom sauce and special shrimp rolls rolled in a latticed rice paper cover. Nat knows the owner Betty, who sat with us and chatted about her challenges in running her business.

For Saturday we had Plan A or Plan B, depending on the weather which was supposed to be stormy and windy with torrential rains. If it was calm, the KCC Farmers market, brunch and a sample sale. If stormy, cancel the market and still do the rest. (I can do rain or wind at the market but not both). The winds and rain came so we ended up meeting for a Dim Sum brunch at Happy Day in Kaimuki. This was my first visit and although my favorite Dim Sum is still Mei Sum in Chinatown, they were pretty good. Here are a few dishes below:

Pork Shaomai (or shui mai, shu mai, etc..)

Turnip Cakes

Steamed Bean Curd

After early brunch, we headed across town in the driving rain to a sample sale at a private home. The woman hosting reps several lines of candles, teas and other gift items. The sale started at 10:00 and we were there at 10:05 and the house was already crammed with about 30 people. I only did a little shopping and ended up with a couple small candles, a couple of teas and a Foodie Fight Game, full of food trivia (yes I am geeky like that!), that I thought would be fun to have. Here are my purchases and the cool cloth tote bag from India was from Natalie, she had picked it up at another sale earlier in the week. I love it! Thanks Nat!

Here's a few random Foodie Fight questions to test your knowledge:
  1. What part of the apple contains higher levels of antioxidants--the skin or the flesh?
  2. In what month of the year do the greatest number of Americans diet?
  3. What course follows the salad course and is served before dessert in European-style dining?
If you want, leave your answers in a comment and I'll post the answers to these questions tomorrow in the comments section of this post.

Finally, to cap off our morning, a shopping trip to Whole Foods and a cup of chai tea and some magazines at Barnes & Noble. By that time the rain and winds were down to a dull roar and I headed for home.

It did seem like the kind of day when you should stop for a cupcake. This was the daily special at Cake Couture, a chocolate cake, topped with chocolate ganache and a raspberry buttercream frosting.

Stormy days are also suited to comfort food for dinner. Whole Foods carries these chicken sausages with basil and sun-dried tomatoes that are nicely spiced and really great in pasta.

I used them with a bunch of ingredients I needed to use up; oyster mushrooms and basil from my CSA box, pasta, pecorino cheese and of course capers.

Chicken Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken sausages, casings removed
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup white wine
1 Tbsp capers
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
12 ounces fresh pasta, like linguine, cooked

1/4 cup grated cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped for garnish

Saute garlic and sausages in oil over medium heat until sausage is almost browned. Add mushrooms and wine and saute until mushrooms are soft and sausage fully cooked. Add capers and warm through. Season to taste. Place cooked pasta in pan and toss with sausage mixture. Place in serving bowl and top with grated cheese and fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!

Delicious and a great way to use up random things in the fridge.

Not the driest Saturday to run all over town half the day, but a fun way to start the weekend.


  1. I heard that restaurant is good, will have to check it out the next time I'm home. sigh...I miss chicken/italian sausage. your pasta looks delicious :)

  2. Sounds like you had a really fun Saturday, despite the rain. That cupcake looks delicious.

  3. Oh, those turnip cakes again. I must get to Manhattan.

  4. I want to be you. You have so much fun!
    I suck but here are my guesses -
    1. the skin
    2. January
    3. Cheese
    ..........I lost on Jeopardy... baby.... oooh oooh oooh oooh.........

  5. I am a foody trivia person too - recently won a jeroboam of prosecco at a trivia night here! My guesses:
    - the skin
    - January
    - cheese

  6. Kat--thanks! Visit the restaurant and Whole Foods for the sausage!

    Gloria--it was way too good I am afraid!

    Arlene--turnip cakes are worth the trip!

    Natashya--awe shucks--I am really pretty boring most of the time. Answers will be in the next comment but you did well!

    Susie--foodie trivia is fun. I should have offered a prize though! Answer below. You did well!

  7. *Spoiler Alert*
    Answers to trivia questions:

    1) Skin
    2) March (?!?)
    3) The Cheese course

    Natashya and Susie--I missed number 2 as well. I am surprised at March as Jan. is usually resolution time but maybe its pre-swimsuit season that does it! I think its a trick question! Great job! ;-)


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