Originally published in the Taste Our Love for the Land cookbook, published 2015.

For me the definition of sustainability means making a difference today to help keep our resources available for tomorrow, as well as teaching future generations to embrace it as a way of life. When people ask me if farm to table or buying local is a trend, my response is that it is a way of life for me.

“I like to work closely with our growers, fishmongers, ranchers and dairy farmers to create a menu that highlights Hawaii and its various ethnic influences.”

Chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka: Embracing sustainability as a way of life. Photos: courtesy of Michelle Karr-Ueoka/Taste Our Love for the Land,” 2015

I like to work closely with our growers, fishmongers, ranchers and dairy farmers to create a menu that highlights Hawaii and it’s various ethnic influences. Because we are an island, it is important for us to buy local so we don’t have to rely on importing goods. In school we learned about the economic cycle and how—to keep Hawai‘i sustainable—it’s important to invest in our people. By buying local and helping to spread the word, we will keep Hawaii more sustainable and self-sufficient. 

As a friend once told me: “Don’t just be part of a trend—a trend has a beginning and an end. Be part of a movement—a movement lasts forever, and movement makes a difference. That’s what creates a legacy.”

Meyer Lemon Meringue

Serves 6-8  | By Michelle Karr-Ueoka

Meyer Lemon Meringue

Serves 6-8 |  By Michelle Karr-Ueoka

2 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
Meyer Lemon Sorbet (recipe follows)
Meyer Lemon Semifreddo (recipe follows)
Edible flowers, for garnish

Whisk egg whites until foamy. Add sugar slowly and whisk until a stiff meringue forms. Place in a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe tear drops on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 260°F for 30 minutes or until they peel off the parchment paper cleanly. Set aside.

To plate, spread a thin layer of Meyer Lemon Curd in the middle of the plate. Rake the curd with a cake comb to create a Zen garden look. Place a scoop of Meyer Lemon Sorbet in the center. Scatter rounds of Meyer Lemon Semifreddo on the plate. Garnish with baked meringue drops and flowers, using a pastry bag with a ¼-inch tip to create ½-inch teardrop-size drops.

Meyer Lemon Curd
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
Meyer lemon zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a double-boiler, combine eggs and yolks with sugar in a bowl and whisk until it reaches ribbon stage. (Mixture should be pale in color and form ribbons when whisk is lifted from the bowl). Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined. Add in the lemon zest and butter, mix thoroughly, strain and chill, covered.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet
½ cup water
2 cups sugar
¼ cup glucose
2 cups Meyer lemon juice

In a pot, combine water, sugar and glucose together and bring to a boil. Chill, then add strained lemon juice and spin in an ice cream machine until set.

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup cream, whipped to soft peaks
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
Meyer lemon zest

Add yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and allow to come to room temperature. In a small saucepot, combine the sugar and water and heat until the mixture reaches 236°F. With the mixer running, slowly add the melted sugar to the yolk mixture and whisk together until it is room temperature.  

Add lemon juice and zest. Gently fold in the whipped cream in thirds by hand. Set into cylinder-shaped acetate molds and freeze. Cut into ½-inch-thick rounds when set.