ALOHA!!! OK, let’s face it, YUMMY DRESS ROCKS! But it’s quite a mouthful and is sorta on the epic side of life. So I have decided to interject YUMMY with EAT ME! EAT ME will be a quickie delish post featuring ONE food item and ONE style item. For it’s debut I decided the theme should be ELUSIVE DESIRE. OoOoOoOoOoh, how wintry and deep and dark and penetrating into your psyche!!!! But fo’ reals, BOTH of the featured items are WIKKED HARD to find and will probably put you in debt. NO JOKE! So for the fashion fetish it is a bag, and as you BAG LADIES know, bags are basically crack for true fashionistas (hey, I work my 2006 Fendi Cognac Spy bag like a CHAMP!). It’s not just a bag, though, it’s a CHANEL BAG. Oh yeah, a discontinued CHANEL bag at that. RIGHT??? WAY CRAY! It’s not truly called the BUBBLE BAG but I call it that and the sicko bag minions adhere to this moniker as well…THE CHANEL BUBBLE QUILT BAG from 2006-2009. NO, not that regular CHANEL quilt that is all normal and very deb. NON! It’s like a mutant huitlacoche, to quote my fabtastique pal Carrie. I mean, it is really UGLY in a GORGEEOUS WAY. So google it and decide if it’s your dream or nightmare. Remember when Blake Lively was the Chanel “It” girl and she was sportin’ it EVERYWHERE?!! This is THAT bag!
Speaking of UGLY in a GORGEOUS way, let’s segue to the other star of the show: THE BREADFRUIT! This is one weird-ass, tropical anomaly and I was introduced to it by Dot, my mother-in-law. She grew up eating them on Kauai where they would roast them outdoors over coals in open pits. She still says THIS is the best way to enjoy the delicacy. The last time I was on Oahu I slathered it in butter and crackly sea salt on her recommendation. IT WAS INSANE! So way cray delish, so original and so unique… like a roasted chestnut having a three -way with a butternut squash and some hot, fresh Hawaiian sweet bread. And VOILA – a breadfruit LOVECHILD! Dot LOVES it but her hubbie Tosh does not. Neither does my hubbie Jon – WEIRD! But rally darlink, who cares, more for us wahines! Here is Dot flashing the shaka and riding the hot-buttered, freshly roasted breadfruit fantasy boat! OH YES! OH YUM!
So to get this pomelo-looking item you must have a breadfruit tree or have nice generous neighbors that do. I mean really! I was gifted with some Caribbean breadfruit for my birthday from my gorgeous man Jonny and OMG! STILL so GREAT! But different. It was like eating a HUGE artichoke heart! INCREDIBLE! You can order it here…or go to Honolulu and spock out a tree and maybe wait for one to fall.
There are so many varieties of breadfruit but the bubble bag only came out in a few colors: grey, dark grey, caramel, chocolate, mossy green, mustard, butter, burgandy, petrol blue, dark white, black, dark beige and rust. Plus a buncha styles. Every year they messed around with the styles AND colors…so it truly is a crazy hunt to get YOUR BUBBLE. Good luck. It is TWEEKED. It’s not the TYPICAL yawn Chanel quilt. It’s a totes MUTANT BEAUTY I WILL LUST FOR FOREVER! Here’s a peekie…
While working my fave runway in Santa Fe (Whole Foods) I bumped into my pal Paisley and just GUSHED about my recent breadfruit experience. Well, as a chica whose boyfriend has a pad on the Big Island, she TOTALLY knew breadfruit. LIKE FO’ REALS. Like way more than novice moi. So I asked her to guest blog about said yumminess and well, let’s hear from the seasoned aficionado. Take it away Paisley!!!!
It’s likely that you don’t know about Breadfruit. Here on the mainland of the United States it’s pretty uncommon. In Hawaii, though, it’s a traditional staple and it’s fabulous! The Hawaiian word for it is Ulu, and you see it on menus there all the time. There are even Breadfruit Institutes on Maui and Kauai, which are committed to promoting Breadfruit for reforestation projects and food use around the world. Breadfruit grows on huge, gorgeous trees and is one of the only foods in the world that could sustain you for years all by itself. It has that many nutrients and minerals and other good stuff in it. So yay for Breadfruit! You might think a diet of Breadfruit alone would be mighty boring and you’d be right eventually, but honestly, there are so many ways to prepare it that it would take you a while to get bored.
Now I have to admit that the way I was introduced to eating Breadfruit is the ultimate way to be introduced to eating anything – I picked it, wild, from a tree. Then, I brought it home and a chef taught me how to cook it. Does it get any better? If Haggis grew wild and this was how I was introduced to it, I would probably love Haggis. At the time, my boyfriend and I were living on the Big Island of Hawaii. I could go on for pages about the amazing eating opportunities in Hawaii, but this episode definitely stands out. One day, a chef friend of ours took us “scavenging,” which is a completely legitimate and amazing way to gather vegetables in the islands. There are so many plants that grow wild all over the place that you can, without going much more than 100 yards from the road, and without stepping onto private property at all, drive around and collect produce like limes, lemons, oranges, papayas, coconuts, bananas, avocados (wild avocados!) mangoes, onions, herbs of all kinds, and breadfruit. So yes, my introduction was pretty perfect, but even if you purchase yours mundanely from the grocery store, as I now do, you will still love it.
Breadfruit can be a little daunting when you first encounter it in uncooked. It’s a big, football-shaped, green object that has a tendency to ooze white goo from its cut stem and from any nicks in the rind. Do not be intimidated! You must be bold! Approach with confidence and then STOP! There is one very important thing to know about coming into contact with Breadfruit. That white goo I mentioned? It’s latex. All natural, of course, but it does tend to seep out at the most inconvenient times, like constantly. This sounds completely disgusting, but it’s fine. If you’re allergic, wear gloves (not the latex kind, obv). And before you even think about cutting into it, oil your knife! This is very important because getting that sticky goo off of your knife afterward will be a nightmare. Also, put some parchment down on the counter, too.
Ok, taking a page out of Julia Child’s book (I wonder if she ever had Breadfruit?), you must CONFRONT the Breadfruit with poise and calm. You are fully protected. You are prepared. You are the Ninja of Breadfruit.
As I said, there are a million ways to cook breadfruit, but a couple of my faves are baking/roasting and frying. We’ll start simple…
This is the simplest preparation I know of and also one of the best.
• 1 Breadfruit
• Salt & Pepper
• Pre-heat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
• Cut the stem from the Breadfruit and then cut the whole thing in half. This will basically allow it to cook a little faster, but you could also just stick the whole thing into the oven, uncut. Or hell, if you’re on a beach or camping, wrap it in foil and bury it in campfire coals. But if you’re in your kitchen and in a hurry to eat you some yummy Breadfruit, cut it in half and it will cook faster.
• Lay the halves cut-side down on the baking sheet and stick it in the oven.
• Much like baking a potato, the time it’s going to require depends mostly on the size of the Breadfruit. I suggest checking it after 1/2 an hour. It probably won’t be ready by then, but it will give you an idea of how it’s coming along. You check it by sticking a knife into it. When the knife slides in easily, it’s done.
• When it’s done, remove it and let it cool just enough to touch it. Now it’s easiest to simply slice it. Scoop/cut the seeds out like you do from an apple slice. Serve with lots of butter, salt, and pepper. Delicious!
You could also peel it, scoop the seeds, and mash it with butter, salt, and pepper. Equally delicious!
There you go! Breadfruit mastery is yours!
So, having dealt with the easiest preparation, let’s try something not difficult, but a teeny bit more daring.
• 1 Breadfruit (any size works, but I really love these so I would probably get a larger one)
• 16 oz. oil or fat (the amount here depends on the size of your Breadfruit. Fries should be almost completely submerged in the cooking fat.)
• Parmesan, Gorgonzola, other yummy cheeses, spices, whatever you think would make French fries even more delicious are welcome here.
Special equipment that is not necessary, but would be handy:
• Deep Fryer- if you don’t have one, use a Dutch oven or any heavy-bottomed, fairly high-sided pan
• Spider skimmer- alternatively, try a fairly broad strainer or a slotted spoon
• Deep-Frying/Candy thermometer – again, no problem if you don’t have one. You can use the old trick of the wooden chopstick or spoon handle. I’ll explain below.
A couple of notes about the oil and fat for this recipe: You want to make sure you use an oil or fat that has a high enough smoke point for frying. Otherwise, it’s a grease-fire fest and that’s not what we’re going for. Olive oil is no good. Before it bursts into flames, it burns and (a) tastes awful and (b) turns carcinogenic. Really – burning does something to the molecules of olive oil that makes it carcinogenic. Again, not what we’re going for. You could use coconut oil, which is great, but you have to get the refined kind. Refining ups the smoke point and makes it possible to fry with it. Macadamia oil has a high enough smoke point (413 degrees, F), and it would be delicious, but it is super expensive so if you want to use it, make sure you’re feeling luxxe that day.
Do I actually need to say that Canola and basic “vegetable” oil are right out? They are. Both are made primarily with rapeseed oil, which is totally genetically modified and chemically toxified. Ew.
Grapeseed oil (with a ‘G’) is the best thing for frying because it’s healthy, has a high smoke point, and a totally neutral flavor. But if you’re feeling like Grapeseed is a little “ho hum” and you’re not feeling quite up to macadamia oil, you could use duck fat. Yes, seriously. It is 20% lower in saturated fat than butter, you can re-use it (just drain it and then stick it in the fridge once it’s not blazing hot any more), and it is crazy delicious.
As you can see, there are many options. Choose one and off we go!
First, prepare a bowl of water for the Breadfruit to hang out in after it’s been cut and before it’s fried, so it doesn’t turn brown. Second, prepare three trays/plates liberally lined with paper towels. The first one is going to be for your Breadfruit after it’s dried and before it goes in the oil. The second one is to drain it after it comes out of the oil the first time and the third one is going to be for draining after the second frying. Yes, the second frying. The secret to great fries of any kind is the double-fry method. Absolutely key! The first time is just to get them cooked through. (Undercooked Breadfruit or, worse, potatoes? Yuck.) The second time is to get them nice and crisp!
You want to skin the Breadfruit and cut it into strips, like large French fries, each about 3″ long and maybe 1/4″ to 1/2″ square. There are several ways of going about this, but the easiest is probably to cut off the Breadfruit’s stem, first, and stand it on that flat cut, for an even surface. Then slice it on all four sides, leaving the middle, where the seeds are. Then skin those sections. You could skin it first, or slice it straight into even sections, but whatever works for you. As you go, toss the strips into the water bowl so they don’t turn brown.
Ok, so if you’ve got a deep fryer, great. If not, no problem, use a Dutch oven or some other heavy pan that has pretty high sides. Melt all the oil and let it get good and hot. If you have a thermometer, clip it to the side of your pan so that it is well submerged in the oil but NOT touching the bottom. That will skew your reading. You want the oil to get to about 325F for this round. If you don’t have a thermometer, all is not lost. Take a wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon and stick it into the pan. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, it’s hot enough. If it bubbles like crazy, that’s too hot. Turn the heat down and let it cool a little bit.
While the oil is heating, dry the Breadfruit sticks. DRY THEM REALLY WELL!! If you throw damp Breadfuit into hot oil, you need to be wearing goggles and an aluminum suit because the oil will go flying and you will wind up with, like, 19th degree burns.
When the oil is hot, use your spider or spoon to put a bunch of the Breadfruit in. Working quickly, put enough in so that the pan is about half full. You don’t want to dump all of them in at once because you want to give them some room, but you don’t need to do them 10 at a time either.
As I said, the first round of frying is all about getting them cooked through. When they start to turn golden after a few minutes (say 7), stick one with a knife. It should slide it in pretty easily. If it doesn’t, leave them in for a few more minutes. If they’re starting to brown too fast, turn the heat down a little bit. When they’re close to the texture that you want, fish them out and set them aside to drain. Remember that you don’t want them to get overdone and you have one more, shorter, round of frying to go. This time, they just need to be cooked through and slightly golden. Now do the next batch.
When you’re all done, it’s time to do it again, this time for crispness. Turn the heat up a little bit. If you’re working with a thermometer, you’re going for 375F. If you’re doing wooden stick method, just wing it. You’ll be fine. As before, work in batches and fry them all a second time. Keep your eyes on your fries and let them to the color you want them to end up with. As they are done, take them out and set them aside to drain.
Salt immediately upon removing from the oil so that the salt sticks. You could also, at this stage, throw on some grated Parmesan or crumbled Gorgonzola! Cheesy fried Breadfruit? Yes, please!
A shot of Miss Paisley in da Islands working that sublime, “I have Breadfruit at home just waiting to be devoured” smile!
I asked Paisley to do a mini interview over some glorious hot chocolate at Kakawa Chocolate House… OK, elixirs, not just run of the mill hot cocoa (I got the Aztec Warrior she had 1/3 Jeffersonian and 2/3rds Zapoteca)
1. What is your dream bag?
I have dreamt about many bags, but one that has never left The List is the good ol’ Hermes Birkin, just because those are so damn big and useful. The sort of daily bag changes constantly, but it’s always something slouchy and roomy but never loose and dumpy. And of course, if we’re seriously discussing baggage, hard-sided Louis Vuitton, please, along with the staff and aircraft to correctly transport it.
2. How would you describe the taste of Breadfruit?
Breadfruit is very mild, slightly nutty. The name Breadfruit is so perfect because it really is like bread, which is tasty on its own, but is so mild that it could be said to exist purely as a vehicle for other flavors.
3. Where are you from and where are you going?
Wow, what a question! From? That’s easy. I am from the South. That’s where I learned to cook, in a family of female cooks. The Southern men of my grandfather’s and father’s generation had not yet embraced cooking as they have now. My brother, for instance, is a wonderful cook, but when I was growing up, the women cooked, and they did it magnificently. They taught me in a purposeful way how to cook and bake. Without consciously thinking about it, they taught me about family and tradition and non-tradition, the joy of doing things because it makes you happy, and the even greater of joy of doing things because they make other people happy. I learned how to embrace new ideas and ways of doing things. There were a lot of recipes and a lot of modalities that we used because that’s how they were done. But my grandparents were from Tennessee and we were in Florida and my father was a gourmet in the finest sense. In that kitchen, fried chicken was adored, but so were Chicken Marbella and seared scallops in beurre blanc and Thai curry, and Cuban black beans. It’s a big world and the kitchen was my introduction to it.
As for where I am going – anywhere, that’s the beauty of it!
4. What is your favorite food?
Impossible to say. It’s like asking my favorite color. My favorite food when I’m curled up in front of a fire in Santa Fe is completely different from my favorite food when I’m sitting on a beach in Hawaii. But that’s what I love about food, it can be altered to suit you.
5. What is your dream food?
A twenty-course meal with foie gras, oysters, bread, cheesecake, ice cream, wine, and anything else that might not be 100% good for me, but all with absolutely no negative side effects like weight gain or drunkeness. Technically, this does not exist, but that’s why Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays do exist – because anything you consume on those days does not count!
AHHHHH! Mahalos Paisley! That clandestine Whole Foods meeting turned into a yummy EAT ME!!!