(A little) taste of Hawaii

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This is our twelfth day in Kona, and we’re enjoying every moment of our stay. As you might expect, good food always plays a large part in my appreciation of a place, and Kona has not disappointed.

Every morning (afternoon, evening) begins with a cup of 100% Kona coffee. Grown in this region and shipped all over the world, Kona is.the.best. A few days ago we toured Greenwell Farms, a four-generation family owned and run operation consisting of 200 acres of coffee trees growing up from the coast. (Why didn’t my ancestors think of this? Gorgeous.)  Coffee beans are harvested in the fall.  When Ryan and I visited this area in October, 2009, we were able to witness the process from red cherry to drying to losing the green outer shell in preparation for roasting.  The green beans can last for up to three months, so businesses (including Seattle’s Best, Caribou, and Peet’s) purchase the beans and roast their own Kona blends. Kona coffee is super smooth, they say from the nutrient-rich lava soil. My sister Emily says she may be able to start drinking coffee black after her visit.  Go get yourself a cup of Kona, you deserve it.

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This morning we took Genevieve and Everett to make Portuguese sweet bread at the Kona Historical Society down the coast near the Captain Cook monument.  They had a great time pounding on the dough and forming the rolls, though they couldn’t do their usual taste-testing — not allowed, and, with eggs, not vegan.  The process reminded me of the importance of having them cook and bake with me.  When we return to Pocatello in a several weeks I’m going to start making my own sourdough bread. Michael Pollen’s “Cooked” has inspired me to make sourdough starter. Stay posted – I will share my favorite recipes and techniques.

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The finished product!

The finished product!

Aside from bread and coffee – which could happily sustain me for quite awhile – we are consuming incredible amounts of strawberry papayas, apple bananas (Genevieve asks me why fruits here need to be named twice?), mangoes, bok choy, Thai basil, coconuts, local lettuces and avocados, macadamia nuts, pineapples and more from the nearby farmer’s market.  Ryan, always a fan of sampling ethnic cuisine, courageously presented us with breadfruit bread pudding and Poi (mashed taro) this week, to mixed reviews. I’m excited to create a vegan poke this weekend, replacing the raw fish with taro or tofu cubes.

We play in the salty waves, laugh in the sunshine, and eat local. Several members of my family visited the first week and we have more guests arriving in a few days. Pretty much a dreamy situation.  I’m planning to bring back a few Hawaiian recipes and flavors to incorporate a bit of warmth into our Idaho winter!

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