Making Coconut Milk

May 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

Coconut milk is one of my favorite foods. Or at least it is an ingredient in a lot of my favorite foods, most notably Thai curries. Mmm…I love Thai curries.  During our 150 days of eating within 150 miles, I didn’t make curry dishes as often as I normally do because, well, I am sure you can guess not many coconuts grow near Austin, TX.

But, coconuts are aplenty in Hawai’i. Even so, I have still bought canned coconut milk from the grocery store. And even the Hawaiian brands of coconut milk are made in Thailand.  So when a co-worker gave us some fresh coconuts, I set out to make my own coconut milk.

The hardest part was cracking the coconuts open.

I had some help from our friend, Dan, who was visiting on his way to Korea.

Together we hacked away at the husk…

Until finally….

…we reached the shell!

And then had to hack some more to open the coconut up and get to the good stuff.

I have a Hawai’i Farmers’ Market Cookbook, which explains two methods for cracking open a coconut. One is to tap around the middle of the coconut with a hammer, making an imaginary line, which should make the coconut split open. The other is to puncture the “eyes” of the coconut, drain the water, and place the coconut in the oven at 300 degrees for 45mins, and then tap with a hammer to crack it. I am sure both these methods do work, but I tried both to no avail. Maybe it helps if the shell is dry, and if you actually use a hammer (I didn’t have one, so I used a rock).

Eventually, we cracked both open with a rock.

I drained the water and scooped the meat out (the meat from the one I baked was warm and slightly toasty…mmm!)

Have you ever had coconut water? It’s very unique…pretty sweet, slightly more viscous than water, and very refreshing. It contains fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Though I could have used this water for making the milk, I couldn’t resist drinking it as is.

To make coconut milk, you pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 cups of grated coconut and let it stand for 20-25 minutes then strain though a cheesecloth. But I was impatient and didn’t plan enough time to prepare everything for dinner, so I took the expedited route and pureed the coconut meat with the boiling water in a food processor. If I wanted it to be more milky, I could have strained it, but I liked having little pieces of coconut meat in the milk (like pulpy orange juice, which I also love).

I used the coconut milk in this recipe for mango chicken curry. And it was delicious!

All of the vegetables and the mango were local. I was hoping to use local, organic chicken from Tin Roof Ranch. However, a bunch of their chickens were sadly attacked & killed by mongooses a few weeks prior. So I just used the one type of organic chicken sold at the near by grocery store. Evan and I both really liked this recipe, and I will probably be adding it to my regular recipe repertoire. I’m curious to try it with Texas peaches instead of mango…. I’ll let you know how that goes.

{The picture is not that pretty, but I assure you, it sure was tasty!}

Here is a just for fun picture of my husband tapping into his primal instincts and cracking open a coconut we found on the beach one day:

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Gandule Bean Hummus

April 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

I love finding new things at the farmers’ market. This week I came upon a beautiful bean called the gandule bean, or more popularly known as the pigeon pea, though they aren’t really much of a pea at all. What lured me in were the beautiful markings on the pod.

Bill, from Kolea Farms, explained that they were similar to soybeans and could be eaten like edamame. I’ve had a recipe for edamame hummus that I’ve been eying since we moved out here, but haven’t found soybeans to be in season. When I saw these, I jumped on the chance to make hummus with them.

And to take pictures of them in my backyard. I just loved how they looked on the green grass.

I learned from Julie @ Dirty Fingernails 808 that gandule beans were introduced to Hawai’i in the 1900s by Puerto Rican plantation workers who immigrated to the islands. They are grown around the world in most tropical and semi-tropical regions, with India, Eastern Africa, and Central America being the top producing regions. As is typical of legumes, they are a good source of protein when complemented with a grain (I’ll be sure to eat my hummus with some whole grain bread or pita!)

A neat thing I learned is that green pigeon peas & rice (called Moro de Guandules) is a traditional dish in the Dominican Republic. I was just there a few weeks ago visiting my sister, and may have even tried this dish there, if not on this visit than perhaps on a previous one.

Gandule Bean Hummus

(can also be made with chick peas, edamame, or probably any other bean you want to experiment with)

1lb beans (cooked and shelled…this is particularly important if you are using soybeans, as they are poisonous raw)

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup tahini (optional, but I think this adds a certain delicious smooth & creaminess)

juice of fresh lemon or lime

salt, to taste

(Again, I don’t typically measure ingredients so these are just estimates. I’m learning though that if I want to share recipes with people, I should keep track of measurements better…so that is a goal!)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency.

And enjoy! Preferably on the porch on a beautiful Hawaiian day :)

PS – If you are wondering how gandule bean hummus compares with chickpea hummus, I’d say it is crisper and more earthy in flavor, but not as creamy and nutty.

Some things I’ve been cr[eating].

April 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I haven’t cooked as much as I ‘d like since we’ve been in Hawaii. I blame it on laziness, busy-ness, the convenience of eating out, and overall lack of inspiration. I really admire wives (and husbands) who work a full-time job and still have the energy and inspiration to come home and cook. I only work part-time and it becomes all too easy to rely on Annie’s Mac & Cheese or Lei Lei’s (a restaurant pretty much in our backyard) for dinner.

The thing is I love to cook.  It is my creative outlet. All that chopping and stirring and mixing things together helps me relax and unwind. So when I don’t spend time cooking, I feel out of sorts, detached….

Do you have something like this? Something that when you don’t get to do it, you feel…lost?

Well, thankfully I have squeezed in a few cooking fixes the past few weeks. Here are just some of things I’ve been cr(eating).

This dish is inspired by a few different meals I have had on the island. It is an herb-seared fillet of Mahi atop a salad of avocado, tomatoes, red onions, and jicama with a cilantro-lime dressing atop a field greens mix.

With the exception of some ground pepper and Parmesan cheese, everything in this dish was grown (or caught) locally. The sauce for the fish and the salad were pretty much the same: a blend of cilantro, mint, and basil with fresh-squeezed lime juice, Naked Cow plain yogurt, Kona sea salt, and pepper to taste. I whipped these ingredients up in a mini food processor until it was a pesto-like consistency. I was kind of making it up as I went, and I think I’m mostly happy with how it came out.

I coated the Mahi in the sauce and let it sit in the fridge to soak up some flavor while I prepped the rest of the dish. I chopped the onions, tomatoes, avacado, and jicama and tossed them together with the remaining cilantro-lime dressing. I tossed the salad greens mix with a homemade lime vinaigrette, assembled, and sprinkled with some grated Parmesan.

I had wanted to include hearts of palm with the tomato, avocado & jicama salad, but they didn’t have it at the farmers’ market this week. Have you ever tried jicama or hearts of palm? These were both new to me in coming to Hawai’i. Jicama is a root vegetable native to Mexico. It is very crisp and refreshing, and delightful to snack on on a hot day. Hawaiian heart of palm comes from the peach palm trees along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island. I think it resembles (in taste & texture) a cross between an artichoke heart and asparagus.

This has been my go to marinade since we’ve been in Hawai’i…

…minced ginger, minced garlic, diced onion, soy sauce, fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, Sambal Oelek chili paste, and salt. I typically only measure when I am baking, so everything is to taste, and each time I make it it comes out a little different, which can be fun. I’ve used it to marinade chicken for shish kebabs, and as a sauce for stir fry. I love the color the red onion added!

I’ve been really enjoying ginger lately. My mom used to make me ginger tea when I was sick, and recently I rediscovered some of the health benefits of ginger. Of particular interest to me is ginger’s help with digestion. I’ve had digestive problems for several years, and I’m always looking for natural ways to calm a continuously upset stomach. Peppermint and ginger are two of my favorite remedies. Do you have any other suggestions?

The other day I made a tropical smoothie with ginger. It had papaya, mango, apple banana, fresh-squeezed orange juice, a touch of lime juice, and fresh ginger (all  local). It was a small, but refreshing drink, and the ginger added a nice kick. {I am drinking another one as I finish up this post…mmm!} I nibbled on a bit of this chocolate bar with the smoothie. It is Hawaiian dark chocolate with passion fruit. The tropical flavors of the chocolate went well with the tropical flavors of the smoothie. I think chocolate might be my favorite food to have access to locally in Hawai’i! I bet you couldn’t you have guessed that! In Texas, it’s a toss up between peaches and pecans. What is your favorite local fruit/vegetable that perhaps you can’t get other places?

Yesterday, I woke up with a hankering for pancakes. I haven’t had pancakes since Christmas day, and for some reason yesterday I really wanted pancakes. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for oatmeal pancakes.  I love how the pancakes came out, except the Kona sea salt I used has a pretty large granule. The granules didn’t break down much during the cooking process so every now and then I’d get a really salty bite of pancake. In the future I will probably grind the salt before baking with it. I topped the pancakes with another version of the tropical fruit & ginger smoothie…this one had yogurt to make it creamy. I added a bit of coconut syrup on top to make for a truly tropical breakfast!

There you have it…a few ways I’ve been experimenting with the local food bounty in Hawai’i. I’ve been having a bit more inspiration to cook and create this week, so hopefully blog posts will be a bit more frequent as I share with you more ways I am getting creative in the kitchen!

Chocolate Decadence

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few posts back I promised you I would make a 100% local chocolate cake. But I was eagerly awaiting a good excuse (but really, who needs an excuse to eat chocolate?! ). This past week my good excuse came in the form of a second visit from Evan’s parents and a very belated birthday celebration for my mother-in-law.

Here is a little background on how chocolate is made {from The Hawai’i Farmers Market Cookbook, Hawai’i Farm Bureau Federation, 2006}:

“Cacao trees only grow in a narrow band 20 degrees north or south of the equator, making Hawai’i the only place in the United States that can support commercial cacao production. Locally produced chocolate has been around for less than 20 years, but with the great growing conditions in Hawai’i, the new Hawaiian chocolate industry has a great head start.

Cacao trees produce fewer than 100 pods per year. The pods are extremely colorful when ripe, ranging from red and purple to yellow, orange, and even magenta.

Pods contain large white “beans” that must be fermented before being processed. Farmers ferment the beans in wooden boxes about one week, then dry them in the sun for about a month. Once dry, the pods are carefully roasted, then hulled to release the meat of the nut (called the “nib”). The nibs are put through a process called “conching,” in which they are put into a spinning refiner that grinds and presses them together with sugar, vanilla, lecithin and other ingredients that merge into a chocolate paste called “liquor”. The processing gives the chocolate a smooth texture and removes some of the bitterness.

Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor that has been cooled and formed into bars. Also known as bitter chocolate, it is best for recipes that can stand a really solid dose of chocolaty flavor. Cocoa powder contains only 10 to 24 percent cocoa butter, which is where the fat in chocolate comes from, so it can add some nice chocolate flavor to your treats without adding as many calories. So-called white chocolate is actually not a chocolate since it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, but it must be at least 20 percent pure cocoa butter…Milk chocolate must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and 12 percent milk solids. Very smooth, sweet, and easy on the palate, it’s great for snacking, but not so great for baking.

Bittersweet (dark or semi-sweet) chocolate contains anywhere from 35-75% chocolate liquor. Strong in chocolate flavors with a smooth texture, this type is most commonly used for mixing into chocolate desserts. The intensity varies with the percentage of liquor, sugar, as well as the manufacturer and the care taken in the manufacturing process.

Dark chocolate is considered one of the “super foods,” a short list of foods high in nutrients and antioxidants. Chocolate also contains natural stimulants that increase your alertness and fight fatigue. Even better, eating chocolate can raise the level of your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. But 55 – 65% of chocolate’s calories come from fat. The average American eats more than 12 pounds of chocolate a year. For the greatest benefit, enjoy your chocolate for its nutrients and delicious taste, but go for quality not quantity.”

The chocolate used for this cake was definitely a high quality chocolate, bought from Malie Kai Chocolates. It was a rich, bittersweet chocolate with 70% cocoa. I splurged on this at the farmers market a little while back: 500 grams (17.63 oz) for $20. But it was well worth it to make this oh so delicious, 100% local chocolate cake.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from Kanu Hawaii’s Eat Local Week Recipes):

Flourless Chocolate Cake

½ cup water
¾ cup sugar (I used ½ cup and I still thought it was a bit sweet, so adjust according to your sweetness preference)
18 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease one 10 inch round cake pan. (Our kitchen supplies are limited here, so I used a muffin tin and made a dozen little chocolate cakes)

In a small pan, heat water, sugar and salt. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.

Put the chocolate into a bowl and microwave until melted.



Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. You will have a very thin batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared round pan. Put the round pan into a larger cake pan, and fill the larger pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the round pan. (I placed the muffin tin on a baking sheet and filled the baking sheet with boiling water)

Bake the cake in the water bath at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. The center of the cake will still look a little wet when it’s done. Chill cake over night in the pan (or if you are really impatient and just cant wait to eat this deliciousness, place it in the freezer for an hour or so).

To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate…or bake in a spring form pan.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with raw sugar and enjoy! I recommend pairing the cake with fresh fruit and/or some non-chocolate ice cream to balance the richness of the cake. We’ve been enjoying it with some locally made macadamia nut ice cream….mmm mmm, ono!

.:Local Ingredients Used:.

{Malie Kai North Shore chocolate}
{Naked Cow Butter}
{Kona Sea Salt}
{Local eggs from Tin Roof Ranch}
{Maui cane sugar}
{Hawaii’s Gold Macadamia Nut Oil (for greasing pan)}

Did you know?

The melting point for cocoa butter is about the same as our body temperature, which is why it melts so smoothly and pleasantly on the tongue.

Mmm! Who is ready for some chocolate decadence?! If you do decide to make this at home and you don’t live in Hawai’i where you can buy local chocolate, please, please consider buying slave-free, fair trade chocolate (Divine, Equal Exchange, and Endangered Species brands are among the best).  For more info on slave-free chocolate, visit TheMarginalized.com.

Say No to GMO!

February 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

One reason I began writing this blog was a desire to understand and experience food as it was created to be, in a pure, natural, straight from the land sort of way. I wanted to be more connected to the food I consume, to know where it comes from, how its grown and by whom. I wanted to know as much as I could about the journey my food takes from seed to plate, and I wanted to be involved with as many steps of that process as possible. I have learned a lot during this process, and I know there is always more to learn.

One thing I have come to value through this journey is the rights we have as consumers to know what is in our food, and even more so to choose what goes into our food. Though we may opt to not know what is in our food, or how it is grown, or where it comes from (though I hope reading this blog and investigating these things for yourself has prompted you to want to know more), what matters is that we have a right to be informed food consumers. However, the government and large biotech corporations are trying to take that right away from us.

In the past 3 weeks, the Obama administration has unbelievably chosen to approve three biotech crops, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets and a new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production. Obama’s recent approval of them will allow them to be planted as early as this spring, despite widespread acknowledgement that these crops are certain to contaminate both conventional and organic farmers’ non-GMO crops. Only last Friday, the USDA’s approval of the new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production occurred despite massive outcry from major food companies who know that it will contaminate and possibly ruin the food they sell to you everyday.

These decisions are a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and the rights of consumers who increasingly choose organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts. Please tell President Obama that it’s time to stand up to Monsanto and reject these GMO crops today!

To read more, check out:

http://www.nofa.org/policy/USDA.php

http://www.rodale.com/alfalfa

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20110206_USDA-approves-genetically-engineered-sugar-beets

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/02/11/vilsack-clears-industrial-biotech-corn/

Loco Cocoa

February 15, 2011 § 4 Comments

Last week, Evan and I said goodbye to the last of his co-workers that had been in Kahuku with us, signifying the start of Hawai’i being our home for a bit.  I’ll admit it has been a bit hard. You’d think Hawai’i is paradise, who wouldn’t want to live here for 6 months? It truly is a beautiful place and I am not sad to not be around for the frigid temps back home. But I guess home has always been defined by the people not the place. We haven’t been able to lay down relational roots here yet, which is probably why it doesn’t feel like home. I have made one spectacular friend, Lindsay, who I am extremely thankful for (thanks, Angela!). It is hard also to watch life go on without you in the place you do call home and to feel like you are missing everything. But I am trying not to dwell on these things too much, to trust that this is where we are supposed to be right now, and to make the most of what is truly an amazing opportunity.

A new friend and a new haircut!

Anyway, I started this post a while ago. I am learning to let go of guilt for not writing posts regularly. I think I will remain a casual blogger, writing posts here and there as things spark my interest and I feel its worth sharing with others. Chocolate is one of those things…

About a year ago, Evan and I changed how we eat chocolate. After reading about  the horrific presence of slave labor in the chocolate industry, we said goodbye to companies like Hershey’s and M&M Mars. Our friend Joanna has some insightful resources on slavery and the chocolate industry that we highly recommend checking out. As she writes “80% of the world’s chocolate comes from small farms in West Africa, and unfortunately, many of those farms are using child slaves – in particular, the cacao-rich country Ivory Coast“. We wanted to be free of the blood-guilt of supporting child slavery and be able to enjoy our chocolate too, so we began buying Slave-Free and Fair-Trade chocolate only. We hope that as we make purchases to support justice in our food system, the farmers that traffic child slaves and the corporations that buy this cacao will pay attention and stop supporting such gross injustices to people. I believe we consumers do have power through the choices we make.

A few Sundays back we had the rare opportunity to go to one of a few cacao orchards in the US.  Hawaii is the only state to produce cacao – the crop that chocolate is made from. The Hale’iwa Farmers’ Market was having a Cacao Festival that included tours to the Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate Plantation. After walking around the farmers’ market, purchasing some produce, and sampling some delicious local chocolate (mmm…chocolate coconut OnoPop….seriously, check out their site…so many cool flavors, and they are passionate about local ingredients…I think I’m going to try a new one every week…except I usually go at 9am…hmm…popscicle for breakfast anyone?), we went over to the plantation for a brief tour.

The Waialua Estate Cacao Plantation covers just a small 20-acres in the town of Waialua. Waialua was once home to one of the largest sugarcane plantations in Hawai’i. It remains an agricultural town and the old sugar mill is a prominent structure in the town. As sugar became increasingly unprofitable in the 90s, the sugar industry moved to developing countries where land and labor were cheaper (and where they refuse to let laborers unionize…check out pgs 6 & 7 of The Scrooge Report). The closing of the Waialua Sugar Mill displaced a lot of workers and resulted in a lot of vacant agricultural land. In response to this, Dole began a program to diversify agriculture in the area. One of the crops they experimented with was cacao. They soon found that the terroir of the region provided a rich quality chocolate (and coffee).

I will be the first to say that I am not defending Dole as a business. Dole has such a strong influence in Hawai’i and especially in this area of Oahu, some of which they use for good, some of which they don’t. It does seem like they have tried to ameliorate the negative impacts of a dying sugar industry by creating new agricultural opportunities and providing agricultural land for local farmers to lease. Yet, Michael Conway, the Director of Dole Diversified Agriculture, unabashedly told us during the tour that Dole has relocated its sugar and most of its pineapple industry overseas (mainly to the Philippines) where labor is cheaper and more readily available. He also boasted of how the cacao plantation uses no pesticides, yet they seem unwilling to go far enough to be completely organic because “organic fertilizer is too expensive”. Dole, a multinational corporation with a total revenue of almost $2 billion last quarter alone, finds it too expensive to use organic fertilizer on 20-acres of cacao trees. Hmm…….

Michael Conway, Director Dole Diversified Ag.

It was neat to see the cacao plantation up-close and personal as I always enjoy learning where my food comes from. I may not enjoy supporting Dole, but I do enjoy supporting locally grown, single origin, slave-free chocolate.  (However, as Joanna explains on her blog, the benefits of slave-free chocolate grown in parts of the world other than West Africa do not reach West Africa and therefore do not encourage farmers in West Africa to stop using child slaves.) And did I mention the chocolate is ONO (delicious!). It is a bit pricy, so I must savor it. Also, I am saving it up for an exciting undertaking – an 100% local chocolate cake.  I am just waiting for a good occasion to make it. Valentine’s Day was going to be it…but I really don’t want to make it for just Evan & I. So if anyone wants to come visit us in Hawai’i and share some local chocolate cake with us, you’d give me a good excuse to make it :)

Local banana and chocolate chip muffins!

Cooking in Hawai’i

January 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

We eat out a lot here. With a per-diem and the ease and access of a few pretty good restaurants, its easy to not eat in. We’ve become “regulars” at a few places and are still finding new places we love, like Opal’s, an out-of-this world Thai food truck…so good! I try to choose locally-sourced, healthy options as much as possible when we do eat out.

About once a week I will make one big meal for Evan’s co-workers. I stock up on as much as I can from the Hale’iwa Farmers’ Market on Sunday mornings and supplement whatever else I need from the grocery store. To accommodate taste preferences and quantity, I’d guess that about half of the food I buy comes from the Farmers’ Market and half from the grocery store.

This past week, Evan’s parents came to visit, which I thought would be the perfect time to create a completely Hawaiian meal. Though, to be honest, I didn’t realize it was all from Hawai’i until we sat down to eat and Papa asked what was sourced locally. Dinner included pan-seared mahi mahi with a pineapple salsa, candied ginger mashed Hawaiian sweet potatoes, and sauteed asparagus with macadamia nuts.

You are probably wondering what that purple mound on my plate is.  In Hawai’i sweet potatoes come in a few different colors, one of which is purple. They are beautiful and fun to cook with. The water I boiled them in even turned a deep purple color.

After boiling the sweet potatoes until they were tender, I mashed them (with a cup because I don’t have a potato masher here). I minced some fresh ginger and sauteed it in a pot with some macadamia nut oil and added a bit of Maui-grown sugar to make a candy-like ginger sauce. I mixed the sweet potatoes in with the ginger and added some milk to make them a bit more moist and creamy. In retrospect, I probably would have used some of the water I boiled the sweet potatoes in or coconut milk. I also would have added some orange zest if I had an orange.

I made the pineapple salsa from some pineapple we had grilled at a cookout on Saturday so it had a nice smoky flavor -Evan says everything is better grilled, and I find it hard to disagree with him. I diced up the pineapple, added some diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and some leftover corn we had also grilled on Saturday. I didn’t have any hot peppers, so I added some fresh chili paste, and then salt to taste.  I made this first so it could develop flavor as I cooked the rest of the meal.

We had gotten the fish earlier that day from a fish market in Honolulu called Tamashiro Market. Just going in Tamashiro was an adventure – they had so many different types of seafood, some fresh and local, others from around the world.

Lots of fish…

…squid and king clams…

…and toads!

(Don’t know that I could ever stomach that one)

I stuck with a classic Hawaiian fish – mahi mahi (which means very strong in Hawaiian). I seasoned it with salt and pepper and let it soak in fresh squeezed lemon juice. I pan seared the fish with garlic and onions just a few minutes on each side.

Finally, I sauteed the asparagus in a bit of macadamia nut oil with minced garlic and Hawaiian sea salt. I added some crushed macadamia nuts for some crunch and added flavor. And…there you have it, an almost completely Hawaiian meal! Apart from a few seasonings and the lemons, everything in this meal was Hawaiian, and I have to say it was quite delicious. I think everyone else enjoyed it too!

It’s amazing to live in a place where almost anything can grow. Some of the foods I missed the most during our 150-day challenge grow abundantly here: bananas, coffee, sugar, avocados, to name a few. We can have our fill of tropical fruits and vegetables and yet also enjoy some more familiar favorites. To be honest, I find myself selecting the familiar favorites rather than being adventurous. I am considering joining a CSA for the next few months so I am forced to cook with new things.

Oh, did I mention Evan & I are sticking around Hawai’i for a few more months? His work asked us to stay to do some more work, and we’ve accepted this as the next adventure in our marriage. I am hoping it gives more opportunities to dig into the local food system, which I haven’t had nearly enough chances to do since we’ve been here.