A Spicy Southern-style Delight

Some people seem to get the most out of both work and play. Chenty Bonifacio is one of them.

She has been the manager of the Walking Company in Kahala Mall for the past four years, and is an expert in helping both world travelers and local folks find right-fitting shoes.

Born and raised in Kaimuki, Chenty graduated from Kaimuki High School and attended UH-Hilo, where she earned her bach-elor’s degree in business administration.

As for play, Chenty has been coaching girls basketball at Kaimuki Middle School for the past seven years. She says she gets exercise, finds it rewarding helping the girls, and tries to be a good role model to them. Family is important to her, and she has fun playing with her nieces and nephews for relaxation.

This column is dedicated to Chenty, a great example of a successful woman.

In Louisiana, food cooked in Creole style combines sautéed tomatoes, onions, celery and peppers, and usually includes rice. The many local ethnic groups -French, Spanish, black and Indian – all influence this cooking style. Most Creole seasoning contains garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika.

Cajun originally pertained to the French Canadian settlers in Louisiana, and Cajun cooking combines French methods with rural Southern ingredients. Cajun seasoning contains garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne, nutmeg, chili powder and sometimes cumin, paprika and thyme. Variations are abundant in these seasonings, and you can experiment to make a mix that you like best.


* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 large onion, diced
* 2 ribs celery, chopped
* 1 large green pepper, diced
* 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
* 1 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
* 2 8-ounce cans no-salt tomato sauce
* 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth (no MSG and low salt)
* 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2 pounds fresh shrimp
* salt and pepper, to taste
* paprika
* cooking spray
* 8 cups cooked brown or white rice

Heat oil in large Dutch oven or deep skillet. Sauté the onion, celery, peppers and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth, and stir to combine. Add seasonings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. While sauce is cooking, coat non-stick pan with cooking spray, season shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika, to taste, and cook on medium-high until browned on both sides, but not fully cooked through. Set aside and keep warm. Add shrimp to finished sauce and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes more on low heat.

Serve over cooked rice. Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 250
Total Fat: 3 grams
Cholesterol: 250 milligrams
Sodium: 373 milligrams, depending on salt added to taste

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