It started with the cranberry pie.

My aunt’s cranberry pie recipe, to be exact. I was in high school and it was Thanksgiving. My mother and I were making pies, and I decided to make a lattice crust for the cranberry pie.  Taking her battered and stained copy of the McCall’s Cookbook from the shelf, I taught myself how to interlace the strips of pastry into a woven lattice crust (my mom still rolled out the pastry) that turned a wonderful pie into something beautiful as well as delicious. The compliments (and requests for seconds) poured in. I was hooked.

Since then I’ve come a long way. I still make the cranberry pie (and still get asked for seconds), but I expanded my Thanksgiving dessert repertoire into pumpkin cheesecake last year.  And I moved out of the oven and onto the stove top for savory fare as well as sweets. I moved out of my mother’s house and into the dorm and, eventually landed in my own condo in the Makiki neighborhood of Honolulu.

I’ve grown up in Honolulu and my palate has been influenced by the international flavor of living in the islands. My ethnic roots are German but my soul belongs in the multicultural kitchen of urban Honolulu.  I’m just as likely to make a Thai curry, or Chinese-influenced stir-fry as I am to put together a Pennsylvania Dutch style potato salad or apple pie.

My name is Janine and I’m calling this blog the “Haole Girl Gourmet.” In today’s Hawaii “haole” means “white/caucasian,” somebody who looks like I do. I cook fresh, tasty, casual gourmet food.  I love to cook with and for my friends and family. I’m not afraid of rich ingredients like butter and cream, and I love cheese of all kinds. But, I also strive to eat in a heath-conscious manner and I make good use of the farmer’s markets as well as my mother’s garden.  I eat just about everything, but you’ll find my cooking leaning away from red meats and prepared foods, and towards seafood and fresh veggies. If pressed to define my style of cooking I’d have to say that it comes closest to the “Mediterranean Diet” in substance and style.

Lately I’ve been wanting to share my culinary explorations with a wider audience.  I hope to find one here.

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7 Responses to Introductions

  1. Jan McGrath says:

    What a delight. You should give master classes in writing as well as lighting! I used to love cooking, all the way to day-long Beef Wellington or week-long Russian Easter pashka. Though I settle for sparer fare today, it’s still luscious reading, and I’ll enjoy visiting your site. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Jan! I do miss writing – no one was requiring me to put proverbial pen to paper, so I wasn’t doing it. This blog is an outlet for those otherwise languishing skills as well as a place to share my food.

  2. Shell Dalzell says:

    What tasty writing. Keep it up and share your goodies.


  3. Carey Padmani Brwon says:

    Hey Janine,

    Wow, a cool blog while also working and making all this wonderful food – and the photos! I love them too. Great job – you’re an inspiration. Don’t suppose we’ll be seeing that cranberry pie recipe here though, isn’t it a closely held family secret?

  4. Dana says:

    I’m not sure it all started with cranberry pie. I seem recall you hovering over the many food description while reading Little House on the Prairie books in 3rd grade-:) And your Aunty Audrey’s 5th birthday present of a paring knife and cutting board may have had something to do with it too. . . You’ve gone from being the student to the teacher in the kitchen and I couldn’t be happier!

    • Thanks so much! Those early kitchen moments are largely lost in the recesses of memory for me. I certainly have earlier food memories than the cranberry pie, but that is a vivid one, and makes a good story. I’m so happy to be confident enough in the kitchen that I can share some of what I’ve learned. And to document my continuing discovery of new things!

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