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Bar Acuda makes debut

For the last two years, Jim Moffat enjoyed going to the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a’s Taste of Hawai‘i fund-raiser as a patron.

“It’s just a great event. I always thought it was a great way to spend the day on Kaua‘i,” Moffat said. “Now I actually get to be a part of it.”

Moffat is the general manager and owner of the posh Hanalei restaurant and bar, Bar Acuda. He and his team of chefs will be making their Taste of Hawai‘i debut this Sunday.

“It’s a great way to show them that there’s a new sheriff in town and that we’re serious about what we do,” Moffat said.

Bar Acuda, which opened in October, is an upscale restaurant and bar with crescent couches, fancy glassware and a shiny stainless steel open kitchen.

Moffat said he hopes Taste of Hawai‘i will educate people as to what Bar Acuda is all about.

“I think we’re going to turn some heads out there and turn up the heat a little bit on the other restaurants out there,” he said. “I think it will up the ante a little bit and make everyone better across the board.”

Moffat came to Kaua‘i three years ago from San Francisco. There, he ran a restaurant called 42 degrees and was voted one of America’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine.

For their debut at Taste of Hawai‘i, he and his team will be serving Savory Baked Empanadas and Sweet Baked Empanadas.

“They’ve certainly got an Argentinean influence to them, the beef and the raisins,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll win some awards.”

Because people will be walking around from booth to booth, Moffat and his team will be keeping it simple.

“Last year when I went, people had these bowls and all these utensils. It was either too big or too gooey. It was just too complicated,” Moffat said. “At least with these empanadas, they can take it in the banana leaves and a napkins and be on the go.”

Pork Empanadas

Empanada dough:

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 table spoon vinegar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour

(For sweet dough, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest.)

Pork empanadillas:

3 pounds pork shoulder

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon Spanish paprika

1 tablespoon oregano, chopped

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 cup red wine

2 cups rich chicken stock

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoon parsley, coarsely chopped

For the dough, bring all ingredients except flour to a boil.

Add wet ingredients to flour and mix to incorporate. Knead to a firm dough. Divide into two discs and refrigerate two hours.

For pork, sear whole pork shoulder in cast iron pan and place in hotel pan or appropriate size cazuella.

Sauté onions and garlic and deglaze the pan with all other ingredients, except olives and parsley for garnish.

Pour over pork. Cover pan with foil and braise at 275 degrees for four hours or until very tender. Remove pork and cool for one hour.

Strain pan juices and skim fat. Shred pork, add juices to moisten, add olives and parsley. Adjust seasoning and let cool completely before filling empanadas.

Cut dough into 5-inch circles and fill each circle with an ounce of filling. Paint dough with egg wash. Crimp over and fold over and seal with fork.

Bake empanadas in 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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