Get Buzzed with Chef Alan

At his July Farmer Series Dinner last year Chef Alan introduced Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi who teaches a beekeeping class at UH-Hilo. It may seem like an unusual course to be taught in Hawai‘i, but honey bees are vital to our survival here on Planet Earth.  It takes diligent efforts to identify and control the mites and pests that threaten our island bees.

From this first meeting, Chef Alan team initiated a trial adopt-a-beehive project with Dr. Tsutsumi’s beekeeping class.  Students sent progress reports and photos periodically about the health and welfare of  “our” honey bee colony.

When we visited our bees again nine months later, we found that the program which started with only one bee colony had already expanded to thirteen!  We had the unique opportunity to extract the abundant honey from our own honey combs.  It was a great experience and the honey was delicious!

We just returned from another trip to visit our bees, this time to provide a sneak preview of the “Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong” program that has been formally established through UH Hilo and the University of Hawai‘i Foundation.  The UHH Office of Development is receiving a buzz of calls from interested donors and are excited that others are eager to join the call to support Dr. Tsutsumi’s beekeeping program. For more information on the program — including how to adopt your own hive, or part of a hive — see this flyer and visit the UH Hilo Chancellor’s blog.

We are also happy to announce that 100% honest-to-goodness honey from our adopted beehive will be on the menu for our next Farmer Series Dinner scheduled for Wednesday, August 3, 2011. Make your reservation by calling Alan Wong’s Honolulu at 808.949.2526.

**See the end of this post for a tasty recipe from Chef Alan’s Blue Tomato cookbook to serve with your own 100% Hawaiian honey!**

Here’s a video of Chef Alan with Dr. Tsutsumi at the beehive, introducing the program and talking about the importance of bees. Please note: the references to the Farmer Series Dinner (and the menu you will see) are from LAST YEAR’S dinner. And check out this Honolulu Star-Advertiser article by Joan Namkoong about Chef’s Adopt-a-Hive program for more information and two more tasty recipes from Joan and Chef Alan!

The following recipe makes up one component of Chef Alan’s Hawai‘i Island Goat Dairy Cheese Sampler platter from The Blue Tomato. Serve it with a drizzle of Hawaiian honey over the top (and won’t it taste that much better if you knew you had helped support the bees that made the honey?!) for a delightful treat before or after a meal:

Refrigerator Goat Cheese Cake
Makes 6 servings (135 grams)

The Goat Cheese Cake Base
¼ pound (114 grams) fresh, local goat cheese
½ tablespoons (7 grams) sour cream
Dash of Kosher salt

The Gelatin
1 sheet “Silver”-grade clear gelatin (or ¼ package Knox® powdered gelatin)

Making the Goat Cheese Base

  • In a saucepan, gently heat the goat cheese, sour cream and salt.

Blooming the Gelatin

  • In a small bowl, soften the gelatin (if using sheet gelatin) in cold water.

Making the Goat Cheese Cake

  • When the cheese base is hot, place ½ of the cheese base in a bowl. Remove the softened gelatin from the water and squeeze out excess water. Add the gelatin to the cheese base and whisk until the gelatin is dissolved. Add half of the remaining cheese base to the gelatin and stir to combine. Add this mixture back to the remaining cheese base and stir until smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into a 2” x 2” x 14” mold. Chill in the refrigerator until it is set.
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