Toasting An Italian-style Pupu

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 18, 2007
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This week it is my pleasure to dedicate this column to two wonderful folks who work for Verizon Wireless at Windward Mall, and go above and beyond the call of duty to help their customers.

Lei Souza has been with Verizon for more than a year. She and her husband Jack are Kahaluu residents and have been married for 35 years. Jack works for Honsador Lumber Company at Campbell Industrial Park.

The Souzas have four children: Shannon, Tonya, Shealee and B.J., and have adopted their foster child, Amber.

Their son-in-law is a pastor at Grace through Faith Ministries in Kahaluu, and the whole family is involved with the church, doing volunteer work and raising donations for the Philippines.

Lei’s colleague, Manuel Quinones, has been a sales representative with Verizon for more than three years. He is a Honolulu resident, was born and raised in Hawaii, and has family in Puerto Rico. Manuel went to Heald College and did installation of computer systems for military bases here in Hawaii.

His girlfriend Anngie is from the Philippines, and they both enjoy movies, and getting together with family and friends, especially his mother, Eva, who lives in Waikiki. Manuel credits his parents with his success in life and thanks them for their love and support.

The tomato is native to Mexico and Central America. Spanish settlers were introduced to the tomato by the Indians who cultivated it. Tomatoes can be kept for about a week at room temperature, if not exposed to direct sunlight. If tomatoes are very ripe, store in the refrigerator in the vegetable compartment; for the best flavor, remove about 30 minutes before serving. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They also contain folic acid, and vitamin A.

This is a wonderful accompaniment for pasta or fish. It can also be served as an appetizer or a snack, and is a healthier alternative to chips or fried snacks. As a time-saver, I like to keep a sliced French bread in the freezer as it can be defrosted in a few minutes and toasted.


* 2 large, firm vine-ripened tomatoes, fine dice
* 1 medium Maui onion, fine dice
* 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 cloves crushed fresh garlic
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* 1 loaf crusty Italian or French bread, sliced into 16 slices and toasted
* grated Parmesan, to sprinkle on top

In bowl, mix tomatoes, onion, basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and garlic; add pepper to taste. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about two hours to allow flavors to meld. To serve, divide mixture evenly to top toast slices. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Makes eight servings (two slices each).

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 100 Fat: 2.2 grams Cholesterol: 2 milligrams Sodium: 49 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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