Making It Easy To Eat Your Vegetables

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - August 31, 2011
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Manager Kunani Blake and Chef Michael Longworth at Romano’s. Photo courtesy Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Congratulations to Kunani Blake, the new general manager of Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the awardwinning restaurant at Ho’okipa Terrace in Ala Moana Center.

Kunani was born on Oahu, and is a food and restaurant industry veteran. He was the food service production manager at his alma mater Kamehameha Schools and has held positions at Kincaid’s, Palomino, Dave & Buster’s and Hard Rock Café in Hawaii and on the Mainland.

Blake, and Chef Michael Longworth, a member of the team that opened the restaurant in 2005, look forward to welcoming kamaaina and visitors daily to Romano’s Macaroni Grill. For more information or reservations, call 356-8300.

Here Chef Mike shares one of his personal recipes with MidWeek readers.

Eggplant originated in India, and is a berry that is consumed as a vegetable. It has been cultivated in China since around 500 B.C. and presumably was introduced into Italy in the 14th century. Years of crossbreeding and cultivation have greatly improved the flavor of the eggplant.There are a number of different varieties of eggplant, but the most common both in the United States and Europe is the deep purple, ovalshaped variety.

Eggplant is a good source of potassium, and contains copper, folic acid, vitamin B6 and magnesium. It is said to be diuretic, laxative and sedative.


* 4 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
* pinch salt
* pinch black pepper

For Sauce:

* 1/2 ounce extra virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
* 1/2 ounce lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh oregano rosemary and parsley

Place chicken breast on a hot grill and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 3-5 minutes, turn over, cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. While chicken is cooking, mix remaining ingredients.

Serve chicken over grilled vegetables and top with lemon olive oil sauce.

For Grilled Summer Vegetables:

* 1 eggplant
* 1 zucchini
* 1 yellow squash
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 red onion
* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (note: If fresh is not available you can substitute dried
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (can substitute dried)
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

Cut the vegetables in half lengthwise, then cut the width in half. If the eggplant is large, cut one more time in half. Mix the oil with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and oregano, then toss with the vegetables. Grill the vegetables on a hot grill about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Makes four 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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