Sam Choy’s in the Kitchen: Joint Team Hawaii


Did you know the military has culinary arts training programs?

In fact, Joint Team Hawaii is the top culinary team in the Department of Defense, and has earned multiple awards.

Joint Team Hawaii is made up of service members from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 25th Infantry Division, the 311th Signal Command – Theater, 18th Medical Command, 8th Military Police Brigade, 130th Engineer Brigade, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Sustainment Brigade, and the U.S Air Force’s 15th Wing.

Filet Mignon with Butternut Squash Purée and Asparagus

  • 4 (5 oz) Filet mignon fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to grill pan and cook for 2 minutes. Rotate steak counter clock wise to create diamond pattern. Repeat process on the other side of the steak. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove steak from grill pan and place on a baking sheet. Place 1 teaspoon of compound butter on top of the steak and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and let rest for 3 to minutes for medium rare.

Compound butter

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely minced

Take all ingredients listed and mix thoroughly. Wrap mixture in plastic wrap and mold into the shape of a cylinder. Refrigerate for later use.

Red wine sauce

  • 1 cup red port wine
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon, cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water

In a sauté pan, cook shallots and red wine over medium heat until tender. Strain mixture into a second small pan. Add Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to mixture. Combine cornstarch and water into a slurry (this will resemble milk). Add slowly to the sauce mixture and whisk rapidly to your desired thickness.

Butternut squash puree

  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Nutmeg to taste

Place butternut squash in a medium pot. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Test squash to ensure it is cooked and strain. Combine squash and heavy cream and purée in a Vitamix or blender until smooth. Add seasonings to taste.

Herb butter asparagus

  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 1 teaspoon compound butter

Use a vegetable peeler to shave off the stock and cut to 3 inches in length. In a pot of boiling water, blanche asparagus for 1-2 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. In a small pan, sauté asparagus in 1 teaspoon compound butter.

Pan Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach and Bacon

  • 4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Capers to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Coat salmon with olive oil. Place in skillet and increase heat to high. Cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with capers, salt and pepper. Turn salmon over and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Sautéed Spinach and Bacon

  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces baby spinach

In a large sauté pan, melt the bacon grease over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are very soft (about 5 minutes). Add red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir. Add spinach and toss, cooking for 1-2 minutes until it’s just wilted. Serve immediately to avoid sogginess.

Remoulade Sauce with Horseradish

  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tabasco
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

Using a food processor, add ingredients gradually with motor running until sauce is well-blended. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Taro & Guava Bread Pudding

  • 2 loaves taro bread
  • 3 loaves Hawaiian sweet bread
  • 3 loaves guava bread
  • 3 loaves brioche
  • 16 eggs
  • 12 cups milk
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1 1/2 cup flour

Cut all bread at the same thickness. Mix eggs, milk, 3 cups of sugar and vanilla extract. Dip bread in mixture and place in a baking pan. After each layer is complete, place equal amounts of butter on bread. Drizzle caramel on last layer. Mix flour and remaining butter and sugar and sprinkle on the top layer of bread pudding. Bake uncovered in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with caramel sauce, macerated berries and cream chantilly.

Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan, mix sugar, syrup and water together until sugar is moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber (380 degrees F). Remember to brush down sides of the pan with water to avoid crystallization of sugar. Immediately remove it from heat and slowly pour heavy cream into the caramel (careful as it will bubble up furiously). Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until smooth. Add butter and vanilla extract and mix well.

Macerated Berries/

  • 6 lbs mixed berries
  • 1/2 cups rum
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate.

Cream Chantilly

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients and whip until soft peaks form.

Taro Crunch

  • 3 taro roots, boiled or steamed
  • 1 can evaporated milk (13 oz.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted and melted
  • 1 guava juice concentrate
  • Parchment paper

Boil or steam taro for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Peel taro roots and mash with evaporated milk. Let cool to room temperature and set aside. Once taro mixture is cooled, add sugar, eggs and guava juice concentrate. Mix well then pour into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Pour cake mix (dry) over the taro mixture and sprinkle walnuts over the cake mix. Spoon melted butter evenly over the cake mix and walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

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