Kendra Thornton, my Fabulous Food Finds guest today, is going to whisk you away (virtually) to beautiful Maui with this delicious recipe, and some travel tips in case you wish to plan that winter getaway you deserve! Enjoy, Robyn.
Let’s begin with this mouth-watering recipe:
Maui Onion & Sesame Seed Crusted Seared Ahi
I recently visited the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui and indulged in an exquisite meal at the Lahaina Grill Restaurant. I could not wait to share this decadent dish with my east coast friends so I talked the chef into giving me the recipe. Bring a taste of Hawaii into your home with this dish, so you can share my experience.
- 4 (6 oz.) tuna steak fillets (about 2 inches in thickness)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced onions, dried and crushed
- 2 cups sliced onions for caramelizing (see below)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil</li>
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds (not toasted)
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare caramelized onions: Over medium high heat, cook 2 cups sliced onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron pan or sauce pan. Stir frequently, until onions appear to have a glazed appearance. Set the onions aside.
For tuna steaks: Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Roll Ahi fillet in dried crushed onions and sesame seeds. Sear the steaks on all sides until browned, about 2-4 minutes per side.
VANILLA BEAN JASMINE RICE
- 1 tbsp. shallots, chopped
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 2 cups clam or fish broth
- 1 tbsp. split vanilla bean
Cook rice over medium heat with remaining ingredients, bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until no liquid remains. Remove mixture from heat. Fluff with fork.
APPLE CIDER-SOY BUTTER VINAIGRETTE
- 2 cups apple juice
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 oz. margarine, cubed
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 oz. chives, finely chopped
- Mix the vinegar and cider in a sauce pan over medium heat until 1/2
liquid remains. Slowly add butter and margarine to liquid while mixing over medium heat. Place in a blender and pulse for 2 seconds. Sprinkle with chives.
Arrange vanilla jasmine rice in center of plate, and top with seared Ahi and a tablespoon of caramelized onions. Drizzle sauce over and around fish, and garnish with chopped chives. Serve with freshly steamed vegetables such as organic baby carrots and/or roasted baby beets. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much my family and I have. Enjoy!
Now for the getaway! Let’s escape to MAUI!
While Honolulu has a big draw for nightlife, arts and beautiful private beaches, Maui is a more serene, charming area in Hawaii that offers picturesque beaches, lush green parks and whale watching right off the coast. Haleakala National Park is one of the major draws to “The Magic Isle” but there are also plenty of award winning resorts, golf courses, gourmet restaurants and local fare that keep visitors returning to this wondrous part of Hawaii. Personally, I lust thinking about the warm weather during the winter months so why not getaway for a bit and give yourself a treat?
1. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
This hotel is rated number one for a reason. With five stars and over 1400 top reviews, the Four Seasons Resort in Maui was named one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hotels in 2012. People love this resort for the beautiful location, complimentary drinks and excellent customer service. This resort also has one of the best views in Hawaii, right on Wailea Beach.
2. Whale Watching on the Coast
If you love water activities and animals; this is a family-friendly activity that Maui is known for. In December and March, whales migrate to this area and take advantage of the warm waters. There are more than a dozen different whale watch companies in this area, but the Ultimate Whale Watch promises either a two-hour Maui whale watching tour or five hour Lanai dolphin snorkel event. In addition, this whale watching tour promises no crowds upon the boat, making it easier to get a great view and enjoy a day on the water with these amazing sea creatures.
3. Pineapple Grill in Kapalua
You can take a break from golfing and relax at the Pineapple Grill, a place famous for its pineapple upside down cake and wasabi pea crusted rare ahi steak. With fabulous reviews, the Pineapple Grill keeps people coming back many years after their initial visit to the Magic Isle.
4. Jungle Adventures
The nature aspect of Maui can’t be ignored, and there are tons of things to see, even as you soar above a waterfall. The Skyline Eco-Adventures in Maui provides two different locations right over Ka’anapali or Halcakala. This is a fun, family friendly exploration activity that will take you through the luscious jungles of Maui’s forests and allow you to zip ahead for an unbelievable thrill.
5. Travaasa Hana
A top-ranked and award winning hotel on Maui, the Travaasa Hana is known for its location on Hamoa Beach while also providing connections to local culture and luxurious amenities like the lava rock whirlpool. Private and friendly, Travaasa also offers smaller cottages to rent for more exclusive visitors which come with a 50-minute treatment at the Honua Spa, which is located right in Travaasa Hana.
If you love donuts, you’ll love malasadas, a delicacy of fried dough that’s stuffed with some Hawaiian ingredients like pineapple or even strawberries, then dunked in sugar. The best place in Maui to experience the malasada and other treats is the Komoda Store and Bakery located in Makawao.
7. Kula Botanical Garden
For a fun hike that also serves up the perfect picture-taking opportunities, check out Kula Botanical Garden located right on the hills of Haleakala. Spreading across eight acres, you can find tons of colorful and one-of-a-kind flora and fauna located at Kula while also enjoying the spectacular views.
8. Mama’s Fish House
Located on North Shore in Maui, Mama’s Fish House is a delicious local restaurant and inn that has some delicacy items and gourmet fish dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Hawaii. From the Mahimahi Macadamia nut sauté to the tomato ginger bisque soup, there’s something delicious brewing inside of this historic restaurant.
9. Best Budget Hotel
Recommended by Frommer’s and top rated on U.S. News and World Report, the <a Kaanapali Alii resort offers beach views within a casual atmosphere. Along with the perfect outdoor barbeque and picnic area on the beach, the staff at Kaanapali Alii has been reviews as thoughtful, attentive and quick to answer service calls. Located on the shores of Ka’anapali Beach, it’s a quiet atmosphere nestled in a lush green spot of Maui.
10. Wake Maui
For water sports lovers; Wake Maui is a snorkeling and boat charter that offers thrilling water skiing and wakeboarding in private areas around Maui. Top rated by reviewers, this wakeboarding adventure is definitely extreme but also provides some high-speed boat rides, jet skis and snorkeling adventures.
Getaway these winter months and jump the Spring break madness by heading to one of my favorite places on my hefty travel list; go visit Maui. Just remember where you rest your head at night is just as important and your daytime adventures. Aloha!
About Kendra: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. Kendra is a long time travel expert who has been packing her bags and traveling the world since she was 3 months old! She mixes her excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to her own home with unique recipes. Find Kendra on twitter at https://twitter.com/KendraThornton