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Say Aloha To Cinco De Mayo

This Cinco de Mayo, Chef Beverly Gannon has some ideas for putting a twist on your traditional Mexican fare. She'll demonstrate a few of her recipes on Wednesday's The Early Show.

Gannon is getting ready to open a new restaurant in Hawaii, featuring dishes that combine the flavors her two favorite cuisines: Mexican and Hawaiian. The foods of both regions share similar spices and flavors, notes Gannon, who is one of the 12 original founders of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement.

She is the chef and owner of Hali'imaile General Store, Joe's in Wailea and Celebration's Catering, and has numerous awards for her culinary accomplishments, including Honolulu Magazine's coveted Hale 'Aina Award (2004, 2003, 2002, 1999). She was also voted Maui's Best Chef in 1997 by readers of "The Maui News." And she is up for a James Beard nomination for Best Chef Northwest/Hawaii.

Before embarking on her culinary career, Gannon was road manager for the entertainers Liza Minelli, Joey Heatherton and Ben Vereen. She enjoyed that work, but decided she was more serious about food. To accomplish her goals, she enrolled in London's Le Cordon Bleu and took classes with Marcella Haza and Jacques Pepin.

The following are her recipes:

Asian Pear and Duck Tostada

This dish evolved out of having to do pretty small plates for special culinary events. Everyone always does fish, Gannon says, so she always does duck or quail. If you can't find Asian pears, Bosc pears will do.

1 (5 pound) duck
1 tablespoon duck spice mix
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Ginger - Chile Cream Dressing
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Thai garlic-chile paste)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 pound mixed baby salad greens
1/2 cup peeled and finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced green onion, white part only
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons macadamia nut pieces, toasted
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Asian pears, halved, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup wonton chips

Serves 8

To prepare the duck, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the skin of the duck all over with the point of a very sharp knife. Rub the duck with the spice mixture. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for another 40 minutes, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced. Transfer the duck to a platter, reserving the duck fat in the pan.

When the duck cools, remove the skin and the meat and julienne both. Place the skin in a small sauté pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved duck drippings and sauté slowly over low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the fat is rendered from the skin and the skin is crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap the tortillas aluminum foil and place in the oven for 6 minutes, until hot.

To prepare the dressing, place all the ingredients except the canola oil in a blender. Blend for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add the canola oil. If the dressing is too thick, add a small amount of water to thin it to desired consistency.

To prepare the salad, in a large bowl, mix the greens, carrot, green onions, cranberries, and macadamia nuts. Drizzle with 3/4 cup of the dressing and toss to coat.

To assemble the dish, place a tortilla in the center of each plate. Brush with the hoisin sauce. Fan the pear slices on the tortillas. Divide the dressed greens among the tortillas and mound in the center. Divide the duck meat among the salads. Top with the wonton strips and duck skin crackings and serve.

Kalua Pork Enchiladas, Chile Verde Style

Says Gannon: "My Tex-Mex youth rears its enchilada head! If Pancho Villa knew about kalua pork, I guarantee you that Mexicans would use it in all their pork dishes. Chef Tom's mole sauce is so good that it can be eaten with a spoon!"

Serve with avocado salsa and spicy cherry tomato salad.

1 (2 1/2 pound) pork butt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup drained canned tomatillos
1 cup chicken stock
Mole Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 large tomato chopped
2 tablespoons pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ancho chiles, toasted, softened in warm water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 corn tortillas
1 cup chicken stock, heated
1 cup shredded manchego cheese

Serves 4

To prepare the pork, preheat the oven to 350. Place the pork butt in a roasting pan and season with garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and liquid smoke. Add the onion, tomatillos, and stock to the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes more, until fork tender. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the pork to a plate, and allow to cool. Shred the pork and set aside.

While the pork is cooling, pour the contents of the roasting pan into a food processor and process to create a coarse puree. Season with salt and pepper. Reserving 1 cup of the puree, add the remainder to the shredded meat to moisten it.

To prepare the mole sauce, in a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and tomato and sauté for 2 minutes, until softened. Add the pepitas, sugar, chiles, oregano, cinnamon, stock, vinegar, and chocolate. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until thickened. Puree with a hand blender and season with salt and pepper.

To finish the dish, preheat the oven to 350. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the reserved pork sauce. Dip a tortilla in the hot chicken stock and place on a plate. Place about one-eighth of the pork near the edge and roll up into a cylinder. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the tortillas and pork are used.

Cover the enchiladas with the mole sauce. Sprinkle with the manchego cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling hot.

To serve, place two enchiladas on each plate and spoon the mole sauce from the bottom of the baking dish over each serving

Avocado-Salmon Salsa with Taro Chips

Avocado-Salmon Salsa
2 large or 3 small ripe avocados (not too soft), halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup of medium diced smoked salmon
1 Maui onion or red onion, chopped
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the salsa, in a non-reactive bowl, combine all the ingredients including salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Set aside.

Taro Chips
Two whole pieces of Taro
Canola Oil

To prepare the chips, peel skin off taro. Slice taro lengthwise into very thin strips. A mandolin or electric slicer gives best results. Heat oil in fryer or deep 4-quart pot to 375 degrees. Drop in a few chips at a time and fry until crispy but not brown, about two minutes. Drain on paper towels and lightly salt with kosher salt.

Blackened Ahi Burrito

Ahi Burrito
6 - 12 inch spinach flour tortilla
3 cups mashed potatoes
3 cups mesclun greens
3 tablespoons wasabi vinaigrette
1 tablespoon tabiko caviar

2 pounds sashimi grade Ahi cut into 12 - 1.5 inch x 2.5 inch logs
1/2 cup blackening spices (any name brand is good, Paul Prudomme for example, or Gannon's recipe)
4 tablespoons canola oil

Wasabi Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
1 teaspoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon ground toasted sesame seeds

Mashed Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cubed
2 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
White pepper

Blackening Seasoning
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons salt

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
4 cups rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or mint
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Thai garlic-chile paste)

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To prepare the mashed potatoes, in a large pot, combine the potatoes and water to cover over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher, then add the milk and butter and continue mashing until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the seasoning, in a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Spread on a plate.

To prepare the sauce, in a saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until reduced and syrupy. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the reduced liquid, stirring well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Set aside 3/4 cup to use for this recipe. Store the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until the pan stops smoking and ash collects on the pan bottom. This will take 10 to 15 minutes.

Dip a chilled Ahi fillet into canola oil and roll in the seasoning. Place in the skillet. Sear all sides for 20 to 30 seconds on all sides, until the seasoning blackens. The fish should still be very rare. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining fillets.

To assemble the dish, in a bowl, toss the greens with wasabi vinaigrette, then add the tabiko and toss again. Heat a 12-inch skillet or flat top griddle over high heat until very hot. Place tortilla on hot surface for 30 seconds and then flip over and heat another 30 seconds. This method will soften the tortilla. Place tortillas on flat surface. Place 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes on bottom third of tortilla about two inches from the bottom. Place two Ahi logs across the potatoes. Place 1/6th of dressed lettuce over Ahi. Fold the bottom up over the filling and fold the sides in towards the middle and roll all the way up. Make sure filling is tightly enclosed by the tortilla. Cut burrito in half on an angle and serve with sweet chili sauce.

Serves 6

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pound Cake
2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 pound unsalted butter

1/2 pound unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar

1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the pound cake, sift all dry ingredients together. Combine milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Soften butter to room temperature. In a mixer, add butter to dry ingredients and mix slightly. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to mix. Gradually add the egg yolk mix. Mix until smooth.

To prepare the caramel, melt butter to boiling. Add sugar. Mix until smooth and light brown color.

Cut 12 slices of pineapple. In an un-greased 12" x 3" round metal pan, pour the caramel mixture. Layer the slices of pineapple on top of the caramel. Next, pour pound cake batter on top of the caramel and pineapple slices. Leave about 1" empty in the pan, enough for the pound cake to rise. Bake for 45 minutes. Rotate and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes, until center is cooked.

Makes one - 12" x 3" cake

Banana Lumpia

10 lumpia wrappers
5 large bananas (peel, cut in half, then split each half lengthwise)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Cinnamon/sugar mixture (1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon)
Canola oil

Pour oil into wok or frying pan and begin heating (stove set at medium-high heat or 375 degrees). On a clean surface, lay a wrapper with the point facing you. Lay 1/2 banana on lumpia wrapper on bottom third of wrapper. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Fold the bottom up over the banana and fold in the sides toward the middle. Start at the bottom and roll up into bundle. Brush the last point with egg wash to seal. Deep fry in wok (sinks when first put in, then floats when done, about 3 minutes) or fry in a frying pan about 2 minutes on each side (making sure oil is deep enough to cover half of lumpia). When done you may sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.

Makes 20

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