Gourmet Gwen — Recipes For The New Year

Gourmet GwenBy Gwen Edwards

It came. That holiday when we face another year, that moment in time when we look back and ahead all at once. I have a love hate relationship with the New Year holiday. Love it for offering a fresh start, an opportunity to reflect on making life better and celebrating the year behind us and ahead. Hate it for just about the same reason, reflecting on making life better is sometimes a little daunting, especially when thinking about those New Year’s resolutions from last year that didn’t quite happen.

This year, instead of the usual resolutions, I’ve decided to celebrate the great things already in my life. Instead of wishing I could do something less: eat less candy, drink less diet soda, spend less time on the phone, instead of wishing I could something more: go to yoga more, drink more water, spend more time with friends, how about just accepting what is? I’d like to focus on what I do have: health, home, food in the fridge, maybe a couple of dimes to rub together.

In this new year, let’s celebrate what we do have right now. We are so lucky to have access to beautiful, fresh produce in our markets and grocery stores. The more we make an effort to buy these products instead of food that has been shipped in, the brighter the years ahead become. So let’s celebrate this amazing abundance with a glamorous orange and anise cocktail and the day after  with a filling breakfast (Both recipes follow).

Happy New Year everyone, may you celebrate what’s great about the here and now.


Orange Anise Simple Syrup 

(for cocktails and mocktails)


1 cup Hawaiian sugar

1 cup water

1 star anise

zest from 1 Big Island orange


In a small sauce pan bring sugar, water, anise, and orange zest to a boil. Bring back down to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Allow to cool and store in a glass container in the fridge for up to 6 months.

For a festive cocktail, add a dash of this syrup to a glass of champagne and an ounce of locally made rum (like Koloa rum). Be sure to garnish with a star anise a curly orange peel.

Breakfast Skillet

(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 purple sweet potatoes, diced

1/2 cup smoked pork meat, cut into bite sized pieces (a couple strips of bacon will do, too)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large handfuls of spinach

or any other greens

4 locally sourced eggs

salt & pepper

1 Big Island avocado

Steam diced sweet potato for 5-8 minutes or until it can be easily pierced with a fork.

In a large cast iron skillet, while the potatoes steam, heat the oil over medium high. Add the meat, and cook for 5 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add the steamed potatoes and cook for another 5-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Turn down the heat to medium low and add the garlic, spinach, meat, and some salt and pepper, stirring a bit.

Crack the eggs into the skillet and cover, 5-8 minutes, depending on how well you’d like your eggs cooked. Check them often, but don’t touch them.

To serve, scoop some skillet goodness onto a plate and top with avocado. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy!

(Gwen Edwards is a food blogger and special education teacher in Kona. She has a passion for sharing recipes using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible as well as entering recipe contests. Find her at GourmetGwen.com (formally Saturdays with Maggy).


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