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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

A Made-in-Hawaii Macadamia Pesto

This year, the Made in Hawaii Festival, Aug. 17-19, celebrates its 18th anniversary, attracting more than 35,000 visitors each year.

The festival brings together many of Hawaii’s chefs, artists, craftspeople, farmers and many others to showcase products and foods that are certified as made here in the Aloha State, as well as emphasizing the importance of sustainability and supporting our local economy.

Returning as one of the festival’s most popular exhibitors is Oils of Aloha. Founded in 1988, Oils of Aloha has manufactured top-quality natural oils from botanicals grown throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Utilizing a minimal refining process, Oils of Aloha’s Macadamia Oils are expeller pressed (natural extraction without chemical solvents) to maintain the optimum quality and purity of the oil.

Company co-founder and vice president Barbara Gray explains that the company originally processed macadamia oil only for cosmetic and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and then began a research and testing program that led to discoveries about the health benefits and taste superiority of macadamia oil for food applications as well.

There also will be opportunities to sample local foods and learn directly from guest celebrity chefs at cooking demonstrations, co-sponsored by Hawaii’s Seal of Quality program, which is a guarantee of “Hawaii Made or Grown” quality. Admission is $4. Find more information at madeinhawaiifestival.com.

I would like to thank Barbara Gray for sharing this delicious recipe with MidWeek readers.

Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. Unshelled nuts can be stored for long periods of time if kept dry and refrigerated. Once shelled, nuts deteriorate and become rancid, and can be frozen to preserve their flavor. When purchasing, always look for a date on the package to ensure that they are fresh. As with all nuts, they contain fat and should be eaten in moderation. They also contain some protein and fiber and do not have any cholesterol.

MAC PESTO PASTA SALAD

• 12 ounces rotelle or other pasta

• 1/4 cup Oils of Aloha Kaua’i Herb Macadamia Oil

• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Mac Pesto (see recipe below)

• 1 cup frozen tiny peas,thawed

• 1 cup diced bell pepper

• 1/2 cup diced purple onion

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, combine pasta, macadamia oil and white wine vinegar and let cool to room temperature. Stir in Mac Pesto Sauce, peas, bell pepper and onion; toss lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Makes eight to 12 servings.

For Mac Pesto:

• 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves

• 1/3 cup pine nuts or macadamia nuts

• 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (may use low fat)

• 1/2 cup Oils of Aloha Kauai Herb Macadamia Oil

salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, com bine basil, nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese to a paste. With the machine running, slowly add macadamia oil; blend to make a smooth purée. If the sauce seems too thick, add additional oil. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.

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