Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Thursday, Dan and I came home from doing laundry and Phil, our neighbor was outside loading his truck up for the dump. It was a fine day; warm and breezy and the shelter of the trees in our yard is always welcome. We hadn't gotten around to breaking down the cardboard boxes and taking them to the recycling center so they were still piled up in the yard. Phil offered to take them in for us, so as I put the laundry away, Dan and Phil broke down the boxes and Phil took off for the dump. I wanted to show our appreciation for his kindness so I made some chocolate chip cookies and after dinner, we took the cookies over. They were ok for my first attempt at sea level baking, a little too crispy for my liking. I like them big, soft and chewy. Simone wasn't home yet so we sat down and had a chat with Phil until she came home. Sitting around the table, getting to know each other better, I realize how fortunate we are. Simone is really kind, funny and thoughtful as is Phil, these guys are going to be great neighbors! I tell Simone that I am a certified personal chef and I was thinking about working part time at the Hukilau Lanai. I want to learn more about the island and the people before going out on my own. She doesn't like this idea. She thinks I should go straight for the personal chef gig and to help out, she has a friend who is a millionaire on the north shore. Her idea is for me to throw a small party at her house where she has invited her friends. I do the whole thing for free so I can make connections. Maybe I meet someone there who wants to throw a party and I cook for free but they pay for the food, then I can start charging full price. It'd be like a coming out party. I like this idea, a lot. Every morning, I wake up thinking about it.

We went to Hanalei (north shore) on Friday to try some surfing but the water was too rough. Dan got up once but kept getting pummeled by the big, choppy, foamy waves. I decided to not even try! Standing around, looking at the waves, we met Sam and he suggested going up to the St. Regis resort in Princeville to check out the huge waves. Princeville is like the Aspen of the area, very well to do. Laird Hamilton, Todd Rundgren, Bill Kreutzman, Adam Sandler and Pierce Bronsnon are some of the people who live there or have homes there. St. Regis sits atop a bluff, overlooking the ocean and is perfect for watching big waves crash against the cliffs. There was no convenient parking so we cruised around the neighborhood infatuated with the larges homes on beautifully manicured lawns.

I want to take my flyers up to Princeville, armed with cookies, and hit the pavement. I'll put them on people's doors and, if they're outside I'll give them a cookie, a smile, and a flyer. My idea is to make a meal in their home. Whether they work and want to have a nice meal at home, celebrate a romantic evening or special occasion, are in a vacation home and don't want to go out, want to have a small party, or go for a picnic. Picnic packages come with a really cool Hawaiian collapsable cooler, Dan's idea. The picnic idea came up because I made some really great sandwiches the other day. There is a bakery down the street that makes a 12 sprouted grain bread with a fantastic, chewy crumb. I mixed up some tuna, fresh lilikoi juice, curry powder, diced avocado and mayo, put it on the bread and topped it with some farmers market greens, YUM! We had to get that on the menu somehow so, the picnic idea was born. I also want to provide agtours and of course I will have a children's menu, along with gluten free and vegan options for everyone. Comfort food will also be on the menu. Sometimes, you just want good, old fashioned comfort food like you get on the mainland; pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, mac and cheese. So many personal chefs here focus on island food, raw food, vegan and gluten free food. I want to offer those things and things that bring people comfort.

There will be cocktail and wine options available and Dan will fill that role, recommending wine parings or mixing up a batch of cocktails. Today we are going to experiment with the Hawaiian lemons, a simple syrup and vodka. I want to experiment and see if I can come up with a Hawaiian sangria, maybe I'll call it the Kauai Cooler; pineapple, mango, blood oranges and Hawaiian lemons.

We found our place to get fruits and some veg besides the farmers market. Nok, a sweet asian lady, works at the outside Kauai Market in town, she is there everyday. She has a farm towards the north shore in Kilauea. I am going to create a partnership with her so I can order my produce the night before I need it and when I head to the north shore for my cooking gig I can stop by and pick it up. She is a biodynamic farmer and her produce is fantastic. We got some starfruit from the farmers market and it was sour and pale yellow with hints of green, it tasted ok, nothing memorable. Nok's starfruit, nurtured by a special compost tea, are a golden orange and sweet.

Dan is thinking of doing the same type of thing with a computer business. Kind of like a computer handyman.

Simone works at Tradewinds, a bar in the Coconut Market. So, Friday night we went up there and she hooked us up! She made Lilikoi (passion fruit) margaritas and they were so good, we ended up having 3 each! Plus the happy hour Mai Tai we started with. There was a local guy playing guitar and singing Hawaiian music, plus, he was really funny. Our bill should have been $70.00 and she charged us $35.00, of course we tipped her based off $75.00, we don't want to take advantage of her kindness.

Yesterday we hung all the pictures and some blinds. It's almost home, there are a couple more things we want to do; a mirror between the closets in the bedroom, surfboard clocks in the living room and bedroom, blinds in the living room, something to balance out the totem in the kitchen, and seriously clean and caulk the bathroom.

We are going to take the dogs to the beach this afternoon and tomorrow we are heading downtown. We have to get plates for the jeep and a safety inspection. Every year you spend $15.00 and they go over the car and give you a sticker, no emissions here just the safety check. We are also going to get local phone numbers.

The Spain wall, all of the pictures are from there except the one on the bottom right, that is from Jon Freeman. He and Athena went to Santa Fe and the print he brought back is a kitchen prayer with the patron saint of of the kitchen, I love it so I had it framed! This is the window I want to put blinds on. It's also the window where the first shot (of the sunrise) came from. In the morning it is blindingly bright!

All my cookbooks fit! Dan made a stand to put the TV on and the receiver under.  We want to put a surfboard clock above the TV (the one in the picture does not work anymore) Dan found a surfboard clock that is horizontal.

On the left of the stove is a roller cart with a wood top so I have extra storage/counter space. Dan put the towel rack on it. He also put in a new faucet, the old one leaked and was too low. See the basket Deb? Thanks for encouraging me to bring them! The right of the stove, next to the window, is where I want to hang some Hawaiian art that balances the totem on the other side of the window. Up top (on top of the cabinets) are my polish casserole dish, tajine, and polish pitcher (My folks got me the Polish ware). Pictures from our trips to Chicago and Spain as well as plates from our honeymoon in Spain remind us of good times.

My toys are at the ready! Kitchen Aid, Pampered Chef utensil holder and my knives. Up top are my sangria pitchers, popcorn maker and teapots. 

Plates from Spain and Poland line the wall above the window. My platters sit next to the orchid on top of the pantry.

On the wall to the immediate right hangs a wedding totem from Ireland, my folks brought it back for us, carved from a single piece of wood. The few non cook books we brought sit on the shelf. Dan hung some bamboo blinds. He also put up the shelf so I'd have somewhere for my jewelry box.

Above the bed is a picture of mom when she was a little girl (top) and her family. The pictures below it are of Dan and me.

The only door in the house is to the bathroom. I closed it because the bathroom needs some work! Dan hung our wedding pictures between our 10th anniversary leis. The big piece of art (with the glare) is what Dan made me when our relationship was young. 

Our closets, my side is the left side. The space between them is where I want to put a mirror and above that a surfboard clock. The bathroom is too small for two people so an extra mirror would be great!

One shot of the bathroom I will show. Dan hung this great towel rack and a shower head attached to a hose, easier to clean the dogs with.

The cool cooler we found that will be included in Kauain Fresh picnic option.

The final logo Brian made me.