Labor Day weekend was the setting for a chic intimate wedding. One of little paper lanterns, polynesian music, Kahlua pork, and bride's maids dressed in Hawaiian gear.
The bride requested of me Asian inspired hor d'oeuvres. The exact suggestion was "Polynesian, Indonesian". Of course I freaked. Polynesian, Indonesian! The only Asian food I can cook with confidence is Korean. Well, being Korean and having had Korean food almost every single day for the last 25 years.
I was pulling my hair doing research for the menu and also from fear that I was going to completely ruin the wedding with my subpar hor d'oeuvres. Through taste tests, adaptation, editing, and lots of brain-hurty thinking I came up with this menu which also includes the bride's requested mini hamburgers.
Japanese Cucumber Salad with Soba & Crab
I cut out the base from a wonton skin with a fluted cutter then baked them off in a greased baking sheet for a few minutes. It's good to keep checking their toasting process since one side of the sheet may cook faster than the other, or worse, burn! Originally I planned to make the sweet and sour Indonesian cucumber salad but the recipe test deterred me. I think the type of cucumber (English) and the shape of the pieces (diced) put me off. But I moved on anyways and decided on the Japanese cucumber salad which uses vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
To this I added some soba noodles with tamari dressing, for a 50-50 cucumber to noodle proportion. The crabmeat got a quick splash of seasoning from the leftover cucumber salad dressing along with cilantro and green onion. And for garnish, chives and black sesame seeds.
Ahi Poke with Mango Salsa
Marinated lightly with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, scallion, sweet onion, sriracha, red chili oil, and Korean red pepper powder, the super fresh ahi tasted delicious. After filling little wonton flowers with the ahi poke, I topped it off with a simple mango salsa made with mango, lime, cilantro, red onion and jalapeno.
Maui Sliders with Sweet Onion-Scallion Soy Relish
I seasoned the ground beef simply with soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. Now the onion scallion relish is where I brought in a little bit of my Korean. The scallion soy relish condiment is one that my mom and I makes a lot and it is so simple and delicious. It is sliced scallion, soy sauce, Korean red pepper powder, garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. This is good on practically EVERYTHING. Until now I never even thought about it, but yes, even on these sliders.
I added chopped sweet onions to the relish which added an extra crunch to the sliders, refreshing but not sharp like regular onions. The mini patties were custom fit for the soft sweet Hawaiian rolls [which were less than perfect shaped. :P], and topped with the sweet onion scallion relish and few sprigs of watercress, it was the most popular item at the wedding.
I did try to see if custom ordering the sweet rolls from King's Hawaiian was possible. Preferably ones that weren't cooked side by side but individually which would have made the presenation so much prettier. But they never got back to me and plus it would have probably put me out of my budget considering the cost of the ahi and crab. But flavor-wise these sliders won people over, including me.
A tiring day but a successful one thanks to Dylan who came out to help me work the event. Although we did almost die from breathing smoke from the grill in a very poorly ventilated kitchen. We survived though. Then we drank.