First day of summer, I got ya. I have the requisite new bottle of sunscreen, a floppy hat, and a bottle of bug spray: I am more than ready to samba into the sunlight. How about you? Put on your best Hawaiian shirt and let’s tikki! Here’s an easy menu you can make for an island inspired evening of fun.

Set the mood with bowls of shells, tropical prints, floating candles, bamboo everything, and tikki torches. Tap those tropical vibes with an exotic cocktail. Make your favorite Mai Tai, Fog Cutter, Banana Daiquiri, or Piña Colada, and don’t forget the little umbrella, fresh flower or fruit slice. Use the menu below, and add crab rangoon, beef skewers, egg rolls, sashimi, poke, wontons, chicken wings or coconut shrimp, if you like. Cue the tikki music and let’s have fun!

Start with some of those beautiful strawberries we’re seeing right now at the market. Make this fresh Strawberry Pineapple Salsa and serve it in a festive pineapple bowl. Deliciously sweet and slightly spicy, plan to make this a few hours ahead, so it looks bright and fresh for serving. 

Edamame is a perfect appetizer, but dressing it with garlic, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sesame oil gives it pizzaz . You can quickly mix the ingredients for this Flavor Packed Edamame while the edamame cooks, and in just a few minutes, you’ve got yourself a delicious finger food. If you don’t have mirin, substitute sake, sherry, or rice vinegar. I used 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic, to keep the flavor a little more mild. Use tamari to keep this vegan and gluten-free. 

Kalua Pork Sliders are perfect for serving a crowd. Tender, juicy and delectably smoky, they’re easy to make and totally hands-off when made in the slow-cooker. Cook the pork roast until it’s moistly tender and shreds easily with a fork. I opted to toast the buns, but you can skip this step if you don’t want to turn on your oven. Stuff the pork into a slab of Hawaiian rolls, and let everyone top their own with Hawaiian Pineapple Coleslaw or let them eat the slaw on the side. You can also serve this in a big bowl surrounded by lettuce cups as a gluten-free or low carb option. 

I bought the world’s largest pork shoulder at Costco. It weighed in at a humongous 10-plus pounds and I was literally panicked at 12 a.m. when I started to stuff it into my 7-quart slow cooker. It went in just fine and I was able to close the lid without any trouble. Lesson learned: if it fits, it cooks. Buy the biggest pork roast you can fit in your slow cooker. You can bag and freeze the shredded pork and you’ll be glad you did. 

Make the coleslaw dressing in the bottom of a large bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking, adding more or less of any ingredient, then add the coleslaw mix and pineapple. You can use the fresh pineapple and juice that you will have leftover from the pineapple bowl. Using bagged coleslaw mix saves you prep time, but you can also shred your own. Add a little purple cabbage and some shredded carrot for color. 

Summer’s here. Put an umbrella in your drink and let’s tikki!

Flavor Packed Edamame

  • salt
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari 
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound frozen unshelled edamame 

Bring a large pot of salted water (similar to the saltiness of the ocean) to a boil. While water is boiling, make the sauce. Using a small bowl, combine soy sauce or tamari, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic, stirring until well combined. Add edamame pods to boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the pods begin rising to the surface. Remove edamame from water and place in a bowl. Pour sauce mixture over and toss to combine. 

-Relle Lum 

Strawberry Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 whole Pineapple 
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • 2 cups red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • tortilla chips

To make pineapple bowl, cut about 1/3 section off one side of pineapple, leaving the stem intact to the larger section of the pineapple. Set the small pineapple section aside. 

Lay the large section of pineapple on its side and cut around the outer edge. Make cuts across the middle, then use a large metal spoon to loosen and scoop out the pineapple chunks. Save pineapple chunks in a bowl. Drain juice into another small bowl and set aside.

Dice pineapple to make 2 cups for salsa. Save the rest of the pineapple chunks for another use. 

In a small bowl, combine diced pineapple, diced strawberries, diced red pepper, diced jalapeño, minced red onion, and chopped cilantro. Pour lime juice over diced fruit and sprinkle with salt; stir gently to combine. 

Transfer salsa to pineapple bowl for serving. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Kalua Pulled Pork Sliders 

  • 1 6-pound pork butt roast
  • 2 Tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
  • 2 packages King’s Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • black sesame seeds or everything bagel seasoning, to sprinkle

Rub salt, then liquid smoke, over meat. Place roast in a slow cooker and cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 190-195º F and shreds easily. Remove pork and shred with 2 forks. 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Cut each pack of rolls in half horizontally with a serrated knife, keeping the rolls attached. Place top and bottom halves cut side up on oven rack, then toast until crisp and light golden, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small dish in the microwave. 

Spoon pulled pork over bottom half of the rolls, covering edge to edge, then flip roll tops onto the sliders. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds or bagel seasoning before serving. Sliders can be rewarmed on a baking sheet in 350º oven, if needed. Serve with Hawaiian Pineapple Coleslaw.  

Hawaiian Pineapple Coleslaw

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons pineapple juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 10-16 ounce bag coleslaw mix or about 4-5 cups shredded cabbage 
  • 1 green onion, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced pineapple 

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, pineapple juice and kosher salt and stir until combined. Add coleslaw mix, green onion, and diced pineapple; toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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