Monday, March 26, 2012

Maui Farmer's Union Meeting 2/28/12 - Cooking with Taro

Chef Susan Teton and Penny Levin talked about taro at last month's Maui Farmer's Union meeting on 2/28/12.

The video is below, and for those who can't access youtube (I did find out that some people cannot access youtube), I have included a rough transcription. 

Chef Susan Teton is speaking:

Penny picked 11 varieties of taro, steamed it, and peeled it. The best time to peel taro is when it’s still warm, not cold

Taro is an amazing local, cultural food.

Taro that I grew a while ago - I don't know the variety!
It may be bun-lun or one that's white inside
(and has dark leaves with purple veins). 

Susan still speaking: We made taro egg salad with Molokai sweet potatoes, celery, Maui onion - all local except for the vegenaise.

We made venison stew  - getting the bones from Lokahi Sylva, we boiled the bones for 36 hours, added the meat, added the taro the morning of the meeting (meeting was at 6:30 pm)  – cooked it for 2-3 hours. The taro gets a gravy-like soft consistency. We added Maui onion, chayote squash, local carrots, etc.

Susan: When I made the broth, it’s important to cook it as long as you can and add some salt. I use fresh local herbs, thyme, oregano, basil, celery, onions, rosemary. The broth was fantastic, you'll agree. I think the herbs had a lot to do with the broth.

Penny: Mostly in the store, you’ll get 1 variety of taro,  bun-long, which has a white tuber with purple flecks.

In our dishes, we used all Hawaiian varieties; they have different colors, consistencies, tastes.

Ask for different varieties in the store, to encourage stores to carry them.

There are still 50 + Hawaiian varieties out there still.

Some of them you’ll have to work w/ when hot, as they are very hard, solid taros, others are really light like the Lehua variety, and others when they are cool. They make all kinds of great dishes.

Susan: I like to make cooking with taro simple. I get my taro, steam and cook it, wait till it cools down a bit, peel it, and put it in the fridge.

It lasts for a few days, then it’s really simple. Refrigerated taro keeps really well.

I cut some taro into cubes and put it in the fridge for 3-4 days. It worked really well for a salad we made at a retreat..

Keep it simple. Step one: cook the taro, peel, and put in the fridge. Next step: add the cooked taro to recipes. It's good in a stir-fry. 

If you’re curious, come to the next meeting. You can ask Penny what varieties she used in those dishes last month. (Meeting is tomorrow: 6:30 pm at the Pukalani Community Center, above the pool, bring a potluck dish to share, open to the public, free).

By the way, Maui Farmer’s Union is NOT the same as the Maui Farm Bureau, which has a dubious reputation among true farmers. 


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