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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Sweet And Savory Salad Sings Spring

Malia Ka’ai-Barrett started her singing training in junior high school, where she remembers always loving to sing, but didn’t think that she even had a nice voice, or that she would eventually make it her career.

She heard about Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus (HYOC) while pursuing her graduate degree in Pacific Island studies at UH-Manoa, and started singing under Nola Nahulu, artistic director of HYOC, who was the Hawaiian choir director at UH. She started working part time for Nola’s Honolulu Children’s Opera Choir in 1991, when there were about 25 kids in the choir and only three staff members: Nola, Wendy the accompanist and herself.

Today, Malia is general manager of HYOC (which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary), a Hawaiian lyric soprano, and an active soloist and choral member who sings with Hawaii Opera Theater, Kawaiolaonapukanileo and Kawaiaha’o Church.

HYOC also will premier a new youth opera commission this summer as part of its summer OPERAtunities program. This year’s opera is based on the life of Queen Emma and composed by Herb Mahelona Jr. For more information, go to hyoc.org or call 521-2982.

This is a great entrée salad, or a dish to make for company and special occasions. This recipe was given to Malia by R. Buddy Naluai, organist and ministry of music at Kawaiaha’o Church.

Many think that the history of the strawberry goes back to the Romans and even to Grecian times, but it was not widely cultivated. By the 1300s, the strawberry was cultivated in French gardens, and by the 1500s, physicians and apothecaries used it for medicinal purposes, and it was widely cultivated in European gardens. By the 19th century, strawberries were commercially cultivated in the U.S.

Fresh strawberries are an excellent source of vita-min C, rich in B complex vitamins and contain vita-mins A and E. They also are rich in minerals such as potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine. I prefer organically grown strawberries to avoid pesticides.

STRAWBERRY SHRIMP SALAD

Ingredients for a platter serving:

* 1-2 heads romaine lettuce, cut or torn (desired amount)

* 1/2 pound fresh, ripe strawberries, either small whole or larger berries, halved or quartered

* 25-30 cooked, peeled shrimp, tail off, medium to large size(desired amount)

* 1/4 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced, to taste

* 1/2- 3/4 cup salted, roasted whole or halved macadamia nuts, to taste

* ranch dressing (lowfat or fat-free, for less fat)

You can prepare either individual servings or arrange on a platter for impact.

Wash and prepare lettuce. Place on clean serving plates or platter.

Sprinkle evenly with thinly sliced onion.

Arrange shrimp and strawberries.

Sprinkle evenly with the macadamia nuts.

Serve with ranch dressing.

Ono loa!

Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in theKapiolani Community College culinary arts program. heartychef@hotmail.com

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