A Spicy, Island-style Jambalaya

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 16, 2008
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Randy Schoch came to Hawaii from La Canada, Calif., as a very young man looking for waves to surf, and in the course of the next decades not only found himself an amazing career in the restaurant industry but also the perfect wife for him, Cheri.

Now the parents of 16-year-old Randall, a student at the prestigious Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and 14-year-old Victoria, who resides with her folks and three dogs in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Schochs spend every summer in the Islands and have passed on their love of Hawaii to their children, who can be found surfing, swimming or paddling daily.

Randy began his upward climb from busboy to restaurant owner with tenure at Nick’s Fishmarket, which he ultimately owned. He and celebrity partners Pat Bowlen, Tom Selleck and Larry Manetti also founded The Black Orchid in the late 1980s.

Randy relocated to the Mainland and worked for the corporate Ruth’s Chris Steak House organization, became the first franchisee for Roy’s (ultimately selling his multi-locations back to the corporation) and the buyer of the Hawaii franchise for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

So here’s to the Schoch family with best wishes to enjoy their Hawaii vacation!

In Louisiana, food cooked in Creole style combines sautéed tomatoes, onions, celery and peppers, and usually includes rice. The many local ethnic groups - French, Spanish, African American and Native American - all influence this cooking style.

Most Creole seasoning contains garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika.

Cajun originally pertained to the French-Canadian settlers in Louisiana, and Cajun cooking combines French methods with rural Southern ingredients. Cajun seasoning also contains garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne, nutmeg, chili powder and sometimes cumin, paprika and thyme. Variations are abundant in these seasonings, and you can experiment to make a seasoning mix that you like best.


* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 large onion, diced
* 2 ribs celery, chopped
* 1 large green pepper, diced
* 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
* 1 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
* 2 8-ounce cans no-salt tomato sauce
* 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth (no MSG and low-salt)
* 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2 pounds fresh ahi, cut into chunks
* salt and pepper, to taste
* paprika
* cooking spray
* 8 cups cooked brown or white rice

Heat oil in large Dutch oven or deep skillet. Sauté the onion, celery, peppers and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth, and stir to combine. Add seasonings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

While sauce is cooking, coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray, season ahi with salt, pepper and paprika to taste, and cook on high until browned on both sides, but not fully cooked through. Set aside and keep warm. Add fish to finished sauce and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes more on low heat. Serve over cooked rice.

Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 250
Total Fat: 4 grams
Cholesterol: 50 milligrams
Sodium: 873 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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