Island Songstress Anuhea Can Cook, Too

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 13, 2011
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Rylee Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins may not be a name you hear often. But mention the name Anuhea to the teens and twenty somethings in your ohana, and you’re bound to get a positive reaction.

Born on Maui, the singer-songwriter is creating a name for herself in the music industry. She recently released her debut album, Anuhea, and is busy touring the country. Embarking on a summerlong East Coast tour, she is bound to return home with a whole new legion of fans.

Her music is a blend of acoustic soul, pop and reggae, and that certain something that gives it true pop appeal. Much like a delicious recipe, Anuhea’s songs are a fusion of sultry and irresistible sensations.

Prior to launching her career, Anuhea worked at one of Maui’s most famous restaurants, Mama’s Fish House. Here she shares her Mama’s-inspired rendition of a favorite appetizer.

Ripe papayas should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within one or two days for maximum flavor and texture.

Most people discard the seeds, but they are actually edible and have a peppery flavor. They can be chewed whole or blended into a creamy salad dressing.

Papayas are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid, minerals potassium and magnesium, and fiber. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme papain, which is extracted from the papaya skin and used in the meat industry as a tenderizer.


I was inspired to attempt to replicate one of my favorite appetizers from my No. 1 restaurant on Maui, the five-star oasis Mama’s Fish House on the North Shore. I worked at Mama’s up until I left to the Mainland to record my album. I love going back when I can, but in between, I do enjoy attempting to replicate the Seared Beef Polynesian with this super-quick and easy home version. Hope you enjoy it as much as the roommates and I do! -Anuhea

* 1 whole ripe papaya, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon
* about 10 ounces filet mignon, cubed
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 cup chopped onions
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 6-10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* 1 cup chopped cilantro
* 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* salt and pepper

Combine oil, garlic, onion and almost all the lime juice in a pan on medium heat and cook until onions are halfway soft. Add steak.

Cover pan and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until steak is medium rare.

Add cilantro and tomatoes, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring lightly. Add salt and pepper and more lime juice, to taste.

Spoon the steak (and the juices!) into the halved papaya like it’s the bowl, and enjoy this savorysweet, virtually carb-free appetizer, lunch or light dinner.

Be sure to scoop a little bit of everything, including papaya, in every bite.

Makes two servings.

(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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