Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fine Art, Bygone Days

Dan’s mom emailed us a picture of a 24 x 36 drawing Dan gave her many years ago. He drew it when he was 15 years old and won five awards for it. The picture is 28 years old now. 
He’s spoken about his fine art days. His eyes reflect joy as he relays the details of drawing for hours. Going through cases of pencils and reams of paper in a single semester, he tells me he was a pencil and paper snob. 
I have never seen anything from that time. He doesn't own any of it. Well, I take that back. Once, I glimpsed a copy of an Einstein drawing his folks have. Another award winner. I have seen his doodles.
I just sat and stared at the drawing. Amazed that this came from a 15 year old who is now my husband. I drank up the American Indian, the eyes specifically. So life like. Spirit is reflected is those eyes. I like how the lines of time roll across the face. 
After 16 years together, I saw a part of Dan for the first time. I was stunned. Surprised. How could I not know? How could this not have flourished? A person has a gift like that, people know about it. Right? 
I wonder why his art wasn’t supported. It makes me sad. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. A bright burst of brilliant flame. A lingering flair. Forever extinguished by a teardrop.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Moonbows and Milkshakes

Andrea King at Moonbow Magic's grand opening

Last Sunday we went to the grand opening for Moonbow Magic. Dan designed the Web site and the owner wanted us to come and celebrate with her. About 50 of her friends showed up and everyone brought something to eat. In Hawaii, it’s customary to have a blessing when you start a new venture like a business, new home, wedding, birth, anniversary or graduation. 
It’s hot in the mid afternoon sun when the kahuna begins with an ole (chant) in her native Hawaiian tongue. The ancient words, projected to the good people of Hanapepe, are infused with power and grace. Soon, black bumble bees the size of ping pong balls, are buzzing around and shadows are cast from shimmering butterfly wings. Someone looks up and notices the moon hanging low in the sky.

Andrea's husband, the Kahuna and Andrea 
Bees symbolize industry and wealth. Butterflies symbolize transformation and good fortune. I was grateful to have witnessed such a powerful moment and happy to share my ha, (breath, life force) with the fifty or so other folks who came to wish owner Andrea King goodwill.

She sells hand made jewelry

and cool decorations for the house.

Dan surprised me on Valentine’s day with a coupon for a facial. When he got home from work, we took a walk along a beach close to home and picked out pretty shells that dotted the shore. It’s winter so that means high surf on the east side, and lots of shells, coral, coconuts, seeds and plants wash up on the sandy beaches.
Explosive rock collapses inside Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park created beautiful sunrises all week. Even though the days are overcast from the vog, it’s still warm, averaging 75 degrees. 

Birthday sunrise

On my birthday, I took the dogs to the beach before I went in for the facial. Dan works with Bonnie and because she really likes him, I got the hook up. I was supposed to get an hour facial but she spent two hours on me giving me a massage, facial and painted my toes. When she was done, she gave me a white ginger lei that her friend made. It was the most beautiful lei I’ve ever worn and smells divine!

Dan and I met at Tutu’s Soup Hale for lunch. Bert whipped up a “birthday cake” made of Hawaiian sweet bread in a pool of coconut and chocolate syrups and topped with whipped cream. YUM!
We spent dad and mom’s birthday money at Oasis. Luckily, they like us (I’m sure it has nothing to do with the restaurant review that just ran) and gave us a great deal! Sitting by the beach and listening to live ukulele music, we had squash blossoms stuffed with ahi, ahi civiche with avocado, oxtail risotto and strawberries with creme fresh ice mousse. All with a matching cocktail or wine!
Port, tuaca and amaretto cocktail

Ahi civiche on avocado

Kauai Kunana goat cheese makes an interesting caprase salad

Thursday, we went to do a restaurant review at the Waipouli Deli, owned by two Japanese women who immigrated here 40 years ago. Their deli has been open for 33 years serving excellent local style food. I came home to an email from the paper saying it was due in four weeks instead of Monday! I had to hustle and get something scheduled.
Friday found us reviewing Kauai Pasta. I really like the food here. High end dining in a casual environment with a liberal use of truffle oil. The bartender Joe suggested we review them on several occasions. We tried pizza, pasta and fries; beer, cocktails and a rum and coke float - a milkshake for adults!
Rum and Coke Float made with ice cream and ground ores.

Angle hair pasta with prawns and edamame in a buttery chicken broth

Parmesan Truffle fries with four dipping sauces

The KP Lounge is super swanky!

Lucy has a bladder infection so we took her to the vet Saturday. Today, as I write this, rain is coming down and low thunder vibrates the walls. I have homemade chicken broth simmering on the stove for a meat and bean stew. Dan is chatting with someone who wants his vacation rental shot. 

We cut Lucy's hair. There was enough hair left over for a whole other dog!

Same with Baxter

Baxter, with his new mohawk, and Lucy want pancakes

Dan and I went to a botanical garden on the north shore and he got this shot of a bee

Kids can feed koi in the lagoon

There are bronze sculptures throughout the gardens

Papery plants grow up the trunk of a palm tree

and exotic plants like this 8 foot fuzzy thing are among the unusual sites.

Aloha nui loa

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birthdays, Muffins and Magic

Happy Birthday mom! You spry, young thang! I love you and miss you very much.
Thursday greeted us with rain loud enough to wake us up. It was going to be a grey and wet day so we cancelled our plans. Since Dan has Thursdays off, we were going to do a little off road journey. He was going to take pictures and I was going to write about it for the travel blog. 
You don’t want to play in the mountains of Kauai when it’s raining unless you want to spend a good part of your day getting unstuck. I had made a Portuguese bean soup the night before to use up a enormous bunch of red Russian kale we got from the farmer we buy our veggies from. 
Since the day promised to be spent inside with a book I heard was hilarious, I decided to make some muffins I read about on one of my favorite food blogs. I figured we’d have some for breakfast and then again at lunch with the leftover soup.
I was in a hurry so I skipped an important step in baking. I didn’t let my cold ingredients, eggs and buttermilk, come to room temperature. I followed the directions; pulverizing fresh ginger in my food processor until I got one tightly packed quarter of a cup; warming it in a small saute pan with two tablespoons of sugar until the sugar melted; adding the zest of two lemons and some more sugar.
I mixed the flour, baking soda and salt together and sat it beside my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, along with the lemon/ginger mixture, eggs and milk. I whipped the stick of butter until it was smooth and creamy and added sugar until it was smooth and creamy.
I added an egg. Since it was still cold, the butter sized up, leaving little ribbons floating in raw egg. Hoping the warmth of my hands would help melt the butter to a more pliable stage, I held them under the stainless steel mixing bowl.
I added the other egg and it got worse. I added the buttermilk and the butter completely seized up. Now, there were large chunks of butter floating in liquid. I was nervous, all the effort might be for nothing. I decided I may as well finish and added the flour mixture until it came together as a batter. I looked ok, like a batter should, so I added the lemon/ginger mixture and popped them in the oven.
The muffins rose high. When I broke one in half, it had a spring to it. Scents of butter, lemon and ginger rose from the escaping steam. The edges, nice and brown, added a slight crunch. The inside was tender and moist. The muffin wasn’t too sweet and I tasted lemon with a hint of ginger. I’s warm heat building with each bite. 
Dan said, “These are awesome honey!” I agree, they turned out just fine!
I am not longer writing for the coffee farmer, we had a contract dispute. It’s a good thing, it’ll force me to take the next steps to better work.
Last night our friends at Tutu’s Soup Hale celebrated 2 years and invited us to their intimate private party. I was happy because Willie and Dixie brought champagne which only Dixie and I drank. We sat on the lanai and got to know folks better over drinks and pupus (the Hawaiian word for appetizers pronounced poo poos). It was chilly and rainy so as the evening wore on we were forced inside. Dan too the shots, so I don’t have any of him to post. Too bad to because he was looking great in his crisp white linen shirt.
Today we are going to Hanapepe to celebrate the grand opening of Moonbow Magic, complete with a Hawaiian blessing. Most new ventures have one when they open a business. It clears all bad energy out and creates a sacred space for a profitable business. It’s a potluck so I’m going to bring some Snowshoe Naan and hummus I made.
Well, I’m off to do laundry at the laundry matt =(

Dan took the beautiful pictures of these delicious muffins. I love how high they rose.

Fresh lemon zest gives them a subtle lemony flavor.

The brown exterior gives them a satisfying crunch.

Hanging out on the lanai. Sage, the proprietess, is on the right. She has friends visiting from Washington state. This is Grace on the left.

Sage's husband Bert, always a good time!

Yours truly

Inside Tutu's

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Whale of a Great Week

This week started out with several interviews with Kona coffee farmers. I am writing an article based on the 10% Hawaii blending law that will run next month. A deceptive law that allows coffee sellers to prominently display the Kona name if the coffee has at least 10% Kona coffee beans. It's an example of consumer fraud and a perfect case for truth in labeling. How something that is 1/16th real Kona coffee can be called Kona is beyond me. Farmers have been fighting this war for 19 years, their cries falling on deaf State ears. I have an in with the new Governor of Hawaii, given to me by the president of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association, we'll see if they want to talk!  Right now, Kona is dealing with a crop devastating pest and this month, I have written an update here.

I got to do two fun restaurant reviews. One was for a Tapas place in Poipu and the other was a favorite place of mine because you can dine ocean side. For some reason, MidWeek keeps making the photos really yellow. I've added some shots of Josseline's that Dan sent in with his original color work so you can compare the shots. It's ridiculous, he's about ready to tell them not to print his name!

Other than writing, I have been reading about writing or reading the New Yorker magazine. They have excellent writers so I'm hoping to learn from the experts! I'm getting closer to spreading my wings and will look for more writing work soon. I plan on submitting articles to Yoga Journal, Islands Magazine, and several coffee magazines. Tomorrow, I am submitting sample articles the editor at MidWeek for a new column I want to do, wish me luck!

Dan is still plugging away at Papayas and hoping to transition out of there sooner than later. It was raining this morning so I dropped him off at work and went to do laundry. When I picked him up, he shared his dramatic morning. A lady collapsed in the peaking lot and an ambulance came to pick her up, he doesn't know if she was alive or not. Later, a homeless guy came wandering in one hour before they were open. He wanted to buy some things using EBT (electronic food stamps) but Dan told him they were closed. The guy got angry, started cussing and Dan asked him to leave. He refused so Dan had to physically escort him out.

The highlight of our week was a whale watching trip. In October, we took mom and dad on a sunset dinner cruise of the Na Pali. They have excellent food on the cruise and I got to do a review on them! I am still amazed that I get paid to eat well (and for free) and write about it. In my wildest dreams I would have never dreamed this!

On the fun side, I have walked the dogs twice this week at the beach and once at the dog park by our house and I get my yoga in most mornings. The coffee farmer I write for bought Dan and I tickets (45 bucks each) to the Poipu Rotary Club Fundraiser. A wine tasting with food from 12 island restaurants and live music. The event took place at the Kilohana Plantation. They do train ride tours of the farm, have a restaurant that only cooks from their garden (well they buy meat) so the menu is never the same and the Koloa Rum Company is there. The room was open air and about 200 people showed up. Dan and I had a great time trying the different wines and sampling the food, we even knew several people there! 

Dan had fun playing with his new lens and taking shots of Baxter and Lucy. 

Mom and dad mailed our down comforter about 4 weeks ago. When we finally got it, Lucy had to cuddle up in it!

This looks way better than the one on the web site. 36 Hour Braised Pork Belly-Yum! It just looks like something I want to eat, the one in the article doesn't. In fact, I can't even tell what it is in the article!

The sangria is awesome! I had the lychee - on the left. Dan had the Pom on the right. They serve it in huge glasses. One glass lasted us all night. These guys were posing for the shot. Chef puts the Deconstructed Ahi roll on top of dry ice, you can see the smoke.

The chef, Jean Marie Josselin, in front of his Kiawe wood oven.

 Deconstructed Ahi Roll

 Another shot with our models and the steamy Ahi

Steamed dumplings made with Kaua`i shrimp

An anole, or mo`o at the botanic gardens in Kilauea

Our sunset dinner cruise. The Na Pali looks splendid due to the rains we have been getting.


Unbelievable! We saw between 50 and 60 whales. Dan lucked out and got a great shot of this breach.

and tail. They even put a hydrophone in the water so we could hear them.

He's having a little Photoshop fun here!

Blue Dolphin Charters  uses Grinds Cafe in Ele`ele to make their food. These chewy chocolate chip cookies are made exclusively for them and totally addicting!

Fresh pineapple

Kalua pork, Yum!! They also served teriyaki chicken, poi, steamed rice and a caesar salad. Plus, all the beer, wine and Mai Tais you can drink! Excellent!