I woke up today in California and couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I just returned from the Aloha State and no matter how long I am there, it never feels like enough time. Don’t get me wrong; I love California, but every time I am in Hawaii, I feel more and more at home there. Although I did have a fair amount of business to attend to, this trip, like all of my others was also jam packed with delights.
When I arrived, the sun was shining and hot. I stopped over at Wow Wow Lemonade first thing and picked up an ice cold, perfectly sweet star apple lemonade. From there, I began my journey over to the northwest side of the island. I stopped at one of my favorite grocery spots, Down to Earth, an entirely vegetarian market with a hot bar–similar to Whole Foods. To my delight, they had a pile of mangoes from Yee’s Orchard in Kihei. Yee’s has been growing mangoes for over 60 years. One of their specialties is the Golden Glow, a variety of mango known for its sweet, juicy, string-less flesh. I am not a huge mango person; the mangoes we get in SoCal are very hit and miss. Sometimes they are wonderfully tasty and other times they are chalky, stringy and dry. But with Yee’s, you can always count on the fruits being memorably delicious.
The first time I laid eyes on breadfruit was when my friend and I were driving the road to Hana. After we grubbed on some Coconut Glen‘s vegan ice cream, we continued to drive until I saw a sign that said: lava tubes. I followed that sign down a dirt road and we ended up checking out a little place that rents helmets and lights for people to go exploring with. We decided we didn’t want to do it, so I continued to drive down the dirt road, hoping it may lead us some place magical. I started to see massive trees, some with what seemed like enormous green orbs hanging from the branches. Row after row of trees and we came upon the entrance to Kahanu Garden. Kahanu Garden is home to the largest collection of breadfruit species in the world, some of which are now extinct in their native lands. We found it all by accident.
Back in California, I wanted to see what I could do with breadfruit in my own kitchen. Recently, I was lucky enough to find a single fresh breadfruit, the last of its shipment in a small caribbean market. It was a fairly large fruit (lucky!), so I thought I could get two solid dishes out of it. And I was right. The first thing I wanted to make were nachos, as breadfruit makes notoriously good chips. I opted to bake the chips, rather than fry them. I topped them with black beans, Daiya and homemade Mango Salsa Fresca w/ Avocado.
It seems like monthly subscription boxes are really popular right now. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and include treats for everyone it seems. From make-up, to organic goodies for you (or your pup) to boxes that are filled with strictly plant-based goods. To be honest, none of these really excited me. No offense intended, but I just wasn’t interested in receiving a box of detox powder or raw energy bars that “maybe” contained one thing I actually liked or would use. Then I discovered Hello Makana and the monthly Makana box.
Pink pillows of tropical heaven.
Apple bananas. Tart little bananas that taste like a Granny Smith and a regular banana got together. No apples involved.
A long time ago, I posted about a Taro Cupcake. It turned out tasting just fine, but rather beige in color. It was an all together unattractive little cupcake and needed some tailoring. I think this lavender colored, Vanilla-Hibiscus frosting did the trick. For purple color, you can use a few drops of the water from boiled purple cabbage, or a natural food coloring like Seelect.
Funny thing: It’s warm as ever here in Los Angeles. As this frosting sweats, it becomes more purple!
I’m happy. I’m off to Maui early next month and I simply cannot wait. Coconut bagels, fresh lilikoi, picking strawberries on the bright green Kula hillside, a long horseback ride through the jungle are filling my thoughts and dreams. It feels so good to look forward to it.
In the aloha spirit, I’ve been in my kitchen inspired to create healthier, plant-based versions of classic Hawaiian dishes. Huli-Huli chicken has been part of Hawaiian cuisine since the 1950’s. Huli means “turn” in Hawaiian and refers to the cooking method used to cook the chicken which is also basted in a special teriyaki sauce as it cooks. I am really happy to present you with this super delicious recipe.
Today I thought I would tell you a story about pork chops, but it turns out I don’t really have one. What I do have, is a story about the first pig I met in person. My parents took my brother and I into a pet shop when we were just littles. I loved pet shops because I have loved animals my entire life and have always been fascinated by them. In this particular pet store, we met a baby black piglet. He was a friendly fellow and he wagged his little curl with such enthusiasm. He snorted a bit and was eager for pettings and treats.Even my parents were a little enamored with him and I could see that my mom was really thinking about getting him. We ended up leaving him at the pet store, but I’ve never forgotten him.
When I think back on him and know what I do now about the nature of the domesticated pig, I can’t believe I ever ate them. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve eaten pork. I stopped eating pork and beef long before I became vegan or even vegetarian. I know bacon and pork belly are popular menu items because they taste delicious. But do you know what else is delicious? COCONUT BACON. And this vegan pork chop. 🙂