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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pickle Lady has flair for diverse fare

By Wanda Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

By Leonora Ching; self-published, spiral-bound, $9.97

A retired occupational therapist known to her friends as the Pickle Lady, Leonora Ching has gathered an international collection of recipes, but with a local flair. Chinese tea eggs, pickled mango, chili pepper water, preserved ginger, kim chee, eggplant namul, wrinkled radish and pickled onion all are Island favorites, though they hail from a variety of cultures.

It's clear in looking over these recipes that Ching knows what she's doing and feels comfortable experimenting. Less-experienced cooks may find some directions a little vague (amounts listed as "a handful," for example).

That said, there are some very interesting ideas in this book and some recipes you won't readily find elsewhere. For example, Ching tells you how to preserve chili peppers when you've got more than you can use (yes, you can freeze them, but they get mushy and lose their heat). She offers a homemade hot sauce recipe that sounds 'ono-luscious (and HOT). She explains that the secret of reducing the acidity of pickled mango and the bitterness of bitter melon is to first marinate the fruit with salt, then rinse and drain before pickling.

Ching will be doing pickle demos 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. on June 24 and 25 at Taste of Honolulu; at 10 a.m. and noon Tuesday, next Wednesday and May 26, 27 and 29 at Marukai Dillingham; and in mid-July at Shirokiya's

Island Fair. To order, see www.picklepassion.com. Books also are at the Foster Botanical Garden gift shop, Executive Chef, Native Books, Bishop

Museum, Pah-Ke's Restaurant, Daiei, the Gallery at the Willows and Marukai.

Moanalua High School Project Graduation 2006, spiral-bound, $10

This collection contained a higher number than usual of recipes that caused me to stop and attach a Post-It to the page (my way of saying — "Might wanna cook this!"). Worth the entire price of the book: Side Street Inn's recipes for fried rice. To order: write editor Jenny Crippen at pg06@hawaii.rr.com, including name, address and phone number ($3 postage and handling).

Hawaii Canines for Independence, spiral-bound, $15

This collection — which begins with breakfast and ends, appropriately, with dog treats — benefits an organization that trains companion dogs. More than 250 recipes, lots that look interesting. To order: (808) 250-5799 ($4 postage and handling).