The only meal I prepared in Hawaii that I thought was worth talking about was an Asian-inspired wonton soup. We had all been to the Punahou carnival and eaten all kinds of less-than-healthy options there, so I thought that a leaner meal at home was in order.
But, since we were chaperoning my brother's two teenage progeny while he and his lovely wife of 20 years were sampling the peaceful luxuries of a marvelously upscale retreat on the island of Lanai, it had to be tasty, too. Teenagers, no matter how well raised, won't hesitate to tell you if they don't like the food.
I had never made wontons in my life, so this was a bit of a challenge for me. Luckily, all the ingredients were easily available in the local grocery store and wonton instructions abound on the interwebs. I bought the wonton wrappers, the ground turkey, green onions, fresh ginger, Maui onion, organic vegetable broth and shiitake mushrooms all in a single stop.
I started by finely chopping the onion and mushrooms, then sautéing them in a wide pan. Once they were ready, I added the ground turkey, salt, pepper and a grating of fresh ginger, cooking them together for just a few minutes. The wonton wrappers are square, so I brushed two adjoining edges of the wrappers with a little beaten egg, put a teaspoon or so of filling in the center, folded the wontons over and sealed them with the egg to make a triangle around the filling, then dipped one of the tips in the egg and pulled the two tips together to stick them into a sort of dumpling shape.
With all the wontons set aside, I heated the veggie broth and, when it was briskly boiling, added the wontons to it, cooking them until they floated to the top - really, just a very few minutes. Ladled it into bowls over the green onion slices, just to briefly cook them but leave them bright green. The photo I took in their gently lit dining room doesn't do justice to the soup. It was very clean tasting and pure, with just a hint of ginger spice when one of the wontons gave way to the bite. Another time, I think I'd use my own clear chicken broth but this broth-in-a-box was tasty and very quick.
The whole meal took less than half an hour to make, start to finish, including chopping and all. The Youth slurped it down and complimented the cook - no ughs, no faces, just apparent enjoyment all around. If they lied, they both are destined for a career on the stage.