While spring has its many great qualities, it can often be a gray and somewhat dreary time of year.
Sometimes the only hope for a tropical getaway is related to food. As I stare into the refrigerator I see one ingredient. It sparks thoughts of a remote, warm place, a place of sand, surf and Mai Tais.
I’m staring at a jar of homemade Liliko’i jam. It was a Christmas gift straight from the islands of Hawaii and up to this point I haven’t been quite sure what to do with it. Liliko’i is a passion fruit cultivated commercially or growing natively in Hawaii and many other warmer, frost-free climates around the globe. It is a small, round fruit with a juicy interior and numerous seeds. Its flesh is a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium and dietary fiber.
Luckily for me, I have it in a prepared form, ready for transformation. I also have a pork shoulder roast begging for some slow-cooked preparation and I’m beginning to think a Pacific Rim flavor profile is in my future.
The cuisine of Hawaii is a fusion of many different foods brought by immigrants to the islands. Particularly Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Polynesian and American all weave throughout the history of island food.
I love the idea of cultural fusion in the foods I prepare. It’s a recipe for exciting the taste buds. So, if island-style luaus, Mai Tais and sandy feet aren’t on your travel agenda this spring, then bring it to you. Who says you can’t cook in a grass skirt?
Pacific Rim Pork with Coconut Cilantro Lime Rice
- 3 1/2-4 pounds locally produced bone-in pork shoulder roast
- 1 cup passion fruit preserves (peach or apricot would be fine substitutes or puree 1 cup of pineapple)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tbs. chopped garlic
- 1/8 cup grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs. sriracha (Asian chili paste) or more to taste
Mix the preserves, soy, garlic, ginger and chili paste in a bowl.
Reserve 1/2 cup and set the rest aside.
Make small slits all over the roast with a paring knife and rub the pork all over with salt, pepper and the 1/2 cup of passion fruit sauce.
Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put meat in a roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast uncovered, about 3 1/2 hours.
The last hour of roasting baste every 15 minutes with reserved sauce.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
For less attentive preparation you can put all ingredients in a crock pot and set on high for five hours!
For the rice
- 2 cups jasmine rice, or any long grain white rice
- 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt
- Zest of one lime (lime reserved)
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- Sliced green onions
Put rice, coconut milk, water, salt and lime zest in large saucepan.
Cover and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender.
Fluff with fork and stir in cilantro and squeeze the juice of reserved lime.
Serve with roasted pork and garnish with green onions.
Jamie Liphardt is a personal chef with Delicious HomeCooked Food in Bigfork.
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