Monday, August 4, 2014

UnRecipe: Live Every Day Like it's Aloha Friday

I think many share this sentiment, which is: I'm not in Hawaii, but I sure wish I was. Maybe not right now, in the heat of summer where it's hot, humid, no one has air conditioning, and the airfare prices are as much as dragon eggs on the Westeros black market... but you know, all the other times when you're Not in Hawaii. Which leads me to the insatiable craving I get for the most unholy of unholy Local Kine Grindz, the infamous Locomoco. Beef burger patty, rice, gravy and a fried egg. It's so simple and cbeap enough to where it's about as much to go out to have it as it is to make it at home. I'm pretty sure McDonalds makes a version for the Islands. But we don't have such luxuries on the Mainland. We must fashion our own Moco of Loco!

Locomoco, Cascadia-style - yep, with kale - Photo by Wasabi Prime

There's just no reason to publish a tried-and-true recipe for Locomoco. It's the embodiment of an UnRecipe, literally the aforementioned description: beef, egg, rice and gravy. Granted, there's plenty of riffs on it -- people swap fried rice with plain rice. You can use brown rice because... you know... healthy(??). The gravy is typically the powdered packet stuff you get for less than a dollar in the spices aisle of your grocery store. You could make a meatless version with a vegetarian gravy and swap the burger with a grilled portobello mushroom. You get the idea -- it's a versatile meal, which can really be eaten at any time of the day or night.

My last Locomoco Craving created a Northwesternized version, using wilted kale, shallots, some mushrooms, and a pan gravy that was a mad mix of everything. I used pan drippings from the burgers being cooked,. some reduced poultry stock, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, some porcini powder -- basically anything in the pantry to build a richly flavored gravy. The burger was made from local beef, so good quality meat. This was definitely no $2 breakfast special, locals would likely consider this too fancy. And it was all on brown rice, to boot. Not that I was trying to make it healthy, it's just the only rice we keep around, and by the time you pile on all this stuff, plus a fried egg, any hopes of balanced nutrition is out the window.

At-home version vs Kihei Caffe's awesome Fried Rice Moco - Photos by Wasabi Prime
This messy pile o' food satisfied a humble craving, plus helped clear out the produce drawer in the fridge. Proof yet again that kale goes with everything, it's also a great way to eat your greens. I always think back to the last great 'Moco I had, which was the Fried Rice Locomoco at Maui's Kihei Caffe last year. What a marvelous beast that was! And sometimes you just can't beat packet gravy, which I know sounds crazy. But the Cascadia 'Moco was no scrub; fresh ingredients and a homemade pan gravy makes it a dish all its own. 

While I can't be in the Aloha State as often as I'd like, and I'm still hoping I can fit a trip in this year, here's to wishful thinking, eh, brah?

Let's just pretend we're in Hawaii for a moment, shall we...? - Photo by Wasabi Prime

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