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Kau Kau Kitchen
by Leilehua Yuen

     Kau kau, pronounced "cow cow," means "food," or "meal" in Hawaiian pidgin. It is also used to mean "to eat," as in "let's go kau kau" - "let's go eat."  You'll seldom find "Pacific Rim Cuisine" here - mostly just good home-cookin', island style.

Pea
(Avocado, Alligator Pear)
Persea Americana


Leilehua preparing to bake kalo during a class on Hawaiian food.

     Pea, known in English as Avocado or Alligator Pear, this member of the Laural family (lauraceae) is native to tropical America. Called ahuacatl in it's homeland, it may have first been harvested around 300 BC in what is now Mexico. The early Spanish explorers considered the fruit tasteless, though the Aztecs enjoyed them, and used them as an aphrodisiac. As avocados are a good source of Vitamin E, a shortage of which can contribute to lack of interest and/or ability, this certainly makes sense! 
     Pea are a good source of vitamines E and C, thiamine, and riboflavin. The avocado fruit has a high fat content, containing 10 to 20 percent oil, and is rich in protein. My grandmother fed overripe avocados to our dogs to keep their coats beautifully shiny.
     In Hawai`i, the avocado is an important agricultural crop. In 2002, Hawai`i farmers harvested 700,000 pounds of avocados for market.
     The big old avocado tree in my grandparent's back yard still produces delicious buttery fruit, which I harvest daily in season, enjoying the taste as well as the memories. The extras I take Downtown to sell at the shop my friend Sara and I share. 
     As wonderful as it is, there are so many more ways to enjoy pea than sliced into a salad. Try my:

Avocado Creme Pie
1 large avocado, very ripe
1/4 cup white sugar
2 ounces cream cheese
condensed milk

     Soften the chese and cream it with just enough of the condensed milk to make it smooth. Mash the meat of the avocado, adding the sugar and cheese mix. Beat with a fork until very smooth, or use a food processor. 

Simple version
     Pour into your favorite pre-made pie crust. While this will go nicely in a good pastry crust, it is wonderful in a freshly made grahm cracker crust. Serve chilled. Cut with a wetted knife.

My favorite version
     Make a crust of short bread and bake it. pat a thin layer of cream cheese on the crust. Now fill with the avocado creme. Serve chilled. Cut with a wetted knife.
     

Related Cookbooks
   Absolutely Avocado

 

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