Warning. This post is going to have a lot of orchid photos.
The first time I remember seeing orchids and hearing that word, was on the Big Island when I was a kid. We had been driving around the island all day. We met a man from New Jersey who grew coffee (and maybe some other things 😉 ) and sold ice cream. We went into a macadamia nut packing house where I watched a bunch of ladies in hairnets in front of a conveyor belt I Love Lucy style. And then after running around on a black sand beach, we headed back to Kona. On the way, we stopped by a giant greenhouse, which ended up being filled with orchids.
I remember seeing purples. Whites, yellows….they were so delicate and beautiful. A few years ago, I bought one. I kept it alive for a while, but ignorance got the better of me and it died. Poor thing. On my most recent Maui adventure, I ventured over to Orchids of Olinda. I took the “tour”, which is really more of a class, but a great class. If you’ve ever wanted to have orchids and have been intimidated by them, this is the place for you. Actually, this is the place for you even if you know everything there is to know about orchids. It’s orchid paradise.
Orchids of Olinda is up in Makawao upcountry, just around the corner from one of my good friends. You’ll go into a big green house, filled with the most exotic and beautiful orchids you’ve ever seen. There were so many different varieties in all kinds of bright colors and gorgeous shapes… I don’t think I got pictures of them all. You’ll meet Dan, who is a master of all things orchid. The way he talks about orchids is truly captivating. This was one of the best days of my recent trip. And now I have two orchids here in my house, all the way from Maui. I’m hoping to do right by them with my new found knowledge.
As some of you may or may not know, the vanilla bean is actually a seed pod from a rare type of orchids. It turns out, not just the vanilla bean is edible. Orchid species Cymbidium and Dendrobium are also edible. I got the idea for these tarlets from Cooking with Flowers, but the recipe for the passionfruit/lilikoi curd was so egg heavy, I chose to make something completely different. I juiced/pureed enough lilikoi for a little over a cup. I combined it with unbleached cane sugar and a bit of agar powder to make the curd. I used a gluten free oatmeal/cookie crust I just learned from Heather & Jenny of Spork Foods. I pushed it into a muffin tin because I didn’t have mini-tartlet pans. The cream is a simple cashew-water-maple-syrup combination that went into the Vitamix.
I couldn’t find an edible species of orchid locally, so I just used a loose blossom that fell off a grocery store plant. You can order edible orchids online, but I didn’t want to wait and it was too many flowers to use for just a few tartlets.
Now for a medley of more orchids. So pretty.