Eat Local with Chef Keoni Chang

Man how time flies! Can you believe that it is time again for the Eat Local Challenge? I know that we typically focus on this challenge once a year, but how did you do all year? Were you able to incorporate more items into your day to day diet? I hope so!

Last year, one of the things I talked about was substitutions for things you may be used to cooking and eating with. I did a little more thinking about the challenge and other things that could add even more meaning to eating local, and one thing that dawned on me was that eating local can also be a great way to improve your diet and overall health.

I looked back at menus and recipes that I had written in the past and many of them were really healthy! They utilized whole fruits and vegetables, had lower fat meats, lots of fish and few carbs. Take a look at the recipe I did this year. The local Mahi Mahi with Ho Farms tomatoes, inamona and basil is full of herbs, vegetables and lean fish.

Can you imagine the benefits of a year round diet that included items only grown in the state?

Consider starting your day with a different variety of local fruit - from Oahu grown Hawaiian Crown Sweet Gold Pineapples to Kahuku Papaya, Kona Dragon Fruit or local Apple Bananas. You could finish that off with some nice local coffee.

How about a lunch that was a wonderful salad from Nalo Farms or Ma`o farms that was garnished with Ho Farms tomatoes or Hamakua Springs tomatoes?

For dinner, you could do quite a few things with local grass fed beef. You could do burgers, maybe meatloaf or even a stir fry with Hamakua mushrooms. Now I'm getting hungry! Try mixing it up with different fish varieties.

How about some fresh mango for dessert?

Remember, for cooking, use Hawaiian salt, macadamia nut oil, and chili pepper for heat. Instead of vinegars, you can use local lemons or even Ka'u Oranges.

Look at how healthy you just ate over a week? Imagine one year!

Oh, and yes, a nice treat once in a while doesn't hurt. Enjoy a piece of local chocolate or even a glass of wine from up country Maui!

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Aloha From New York City! We travel to Kauai every summer (Aug). We are poke obsessed! This past August, we enjoyed something new at the deli counter, Pineapple Kale Salad. I have searched the internet and tried a few recipes, but none compare to what you did in the deli. Apparently someone liked it too, because they posted a picture on Yelp.com of the salad. Please please please share the recipe. My email address is madawna [at] hotmail [dot] com. Mahalo!

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